Guns in America

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ThisDinosaur
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Guns in America

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:47 am

So, there was another school shooting. I expect both political parties will proceed to execute the usual PR programs and change nothing.

No other country has a recurring mass shooting problem like the US. Democrats say its because of our weak gun laws. Republicans say...I'm not really clear on their position here. Australia solved similar firearm issues in the 90s. I'm not clear on why we can't seem to do the same, but my inclination is to believe it has to do with NRA lobbying.

Anyway, I'm interested in possible solutions as well as how you view the nature of this problem.

slowtraveler
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Re: Guns in America

Post by slowtraveler » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:20 am

I've heard Texas has more guns than most countries, by a long shot. The mass shootings are often instates with stronger gun laws. When people try to do a mass shooting, people with guns stop them, unless everyone is scared of guns and then they have to wait for police rather than defending themselves. Gun laws only stop good people from having guns and stopping mass shootings. Criminals can always get guns easily as they don't care about legality.

Prohibition does not work, never has and never will. What percentage of deaths come from mass shootings vs police brutality?

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Re: Guns in America

Post by jacob » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:55 am

A bunch of reasons not to worry about gun death... or if you are, how to fix your situation without any need to get political about it!

Consider that 2/3s of all gun deaths are suicides, mostly by [middle-aged] white males. The US leads this stat because guns are extremely easy to come by in the US and because a gun is a very effective no-return way to kill yourself. Perhaps preferable in case of terminal cancer, but perhaps not for reasons of depression. In other countries, people use less effective attempts, often survive, and then get treatment.

Fix: If you suffer from depression, you can significantly lower your risk of death by your own hand by not owning a gun.

That leaves 1/3 of all gun deaths being homicides.

Out of those 33%, 1/4 are killed by family (typically it's either the wife or the son who gets murdered) and another 1/2 are killed by "friends" or someone they already know.

About half of all these deaths are due to arguments in which someone gets shot in the heat of the moment.

In short, you're most likely to be murdered by a confrontational and short-tempered gun-owner in your own circle of family and friends.

Fix: If anyone you know have a history of fights, arrests, ... and they own a gun, you can lower your odds by at least 75% by staying away from them. Don't hang around. Get a divorce. Restraining order if needed. Etc.

This leaves 1/12 of all gun deaths, so less than 10% at this point.

The majority of the remainder are young black males killing each other in gang-related crime.

Fix: Move out of gang areas. It's a deadly environment, especially if you're a young black male. In particular, check out of a crime heat map or the local police blotter. It is clear that the odds of getting randomly shot in some areas (because you pulled into a gas station and a robbery happened) are very high in some areas and practically non-existent in other areas.

If you can afford a gun you can likely afford to move. It's just a question of priorities. In terms of cost, also consider that pulling the trigger on someone and killing them will cost at least $10,000 in legal fees, much more if the situation wasn't clear cut (see "arguments with family and friends" above). Even if you felt you were in the right, if it goes to court, the cost will exceed several years worth of rent.

People also get killed by cops. The number of Americans killed by cops each month easily exceed the number of all people killed ever throughout history by cops in other western countries. This is because cops in the US are used to criminals shooting back and so compared to other countries, American cops are understandably more twitchy.

Fix: If you are in a situation where cops are involved: Show your hands. Don't run. Move very slowly. Don't get agitated.

In extremely rare cases, people get killed in mass shootings. In the past 24 years, some 660 people have been murdered. That's about 28 per year which is the same number of people who die annually from unsecured furniture and lightning strikes. Now, I understand how a mass shooting feels more traumatic than getting crushed by a flat screen TV, but really, it's mostly an irrational fear of something that will never happen to you (if you take the precautions above). Unfortunately, the media and politicians have learned that mass shootings are a great way to get eye-balls and to push through legislation when the tears are still hot.

Fix: You can contribute by not paying attention to media reports on mass shootings. Don't click on them. Don't give media your ad money. Eventually, mass shooting events will be as unremarkable as the daily/weekly Chicago gang shootings.

ffj
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Re: Guns in America

Post by ffj » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:09 am

The first step is to back away from partisan arguments or boogeymen. I distinctly remember after the Vegas massacre watching a gun channel on Youtube with several participants literally frothing at the mouth because some people were calling for banning bump stocks. I've owned guns my entire life and I've never needed a bump stock (nobody does) for anything but in these guys minds it was the slippery slope to total gun confiscation. Nobody trusts the other side to be honest in their arguments because of all the hidden agendas. I just kept thinking about what a missed opportunity this was for gun owners to cede a useless product, and the NRA caught a lot of shit from gun owners for doing just that.

This whole issue needs to be looked at objectively and the understanding of people's positions. You'll find that there are very few evil people out there but that most just want to avoid tragedies. But people will approach it differently with different trust levels.

For example, many people would like to see guns outlawed outright, but not for police, military, FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Federal marshals, etc, etc. They are trusting that the government and all of its extensions will always be honest and that a disarmed populace will always be protected by those with guns, which would solely be the government at that point.

On the other hand, a fair amount of people believe that an armed populace keeps governments in check, helps them protect their home and family, and helps put food on the table. They also believe having a firearm is a deterrent to potential attacks.

Now before you address anything downstream you have to reconcile these two positions. You'll find that there are elements of truth in each position, and I would wager that your family background and upbringing, geographical location, being a city or rural inhabitant, and personality have more to do with which side you are on than the arguments.

Now I am very much pro-2nd amendment and I can make a very good argument for it, but I also am understanding of why these shootings evoke such outrage. You always want to address the root of any problem, and while I completely understand how modern firearms are capable of killing large amounts of people very quickly, I think the fundamental question should be why are so many people wanting to perform mass shootings(killings)? Or is it that the ratio is the same as always and they just have a better way of doing it now? Or do we have many more isolated and deranged people amonst us?

The only thing I know is that there is no one simple answer.

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Re: Guns in America

Post by enigmaT120 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:41 am

Jacob wrote: "Fix: If you are in a situation where cops are involved: Show your hands. Don't run. Move very slowly. Don't get agitated."

I would add that if you are deaf or mentally ill, you can just figure they will shoot you, as they will give you some order you won't hear or won't understand.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Guns in America

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:58 am

@slowtraveler
How often does a gun-wielding vigilante hero take down a mass shooter? Are there real statistics on this? My current view is that this is a partisan talking point with no basis in reality.

But I agree that the likely outcome of a sudden ban on civilian gun ownership would be a catastrophe. I would expect legal gun owners to be immediately incentivized to participate in the black market. But, again, if anyone can explain how it is that Australia was able to accomplish this very thing, please share it here.

@Jacob
Assuming I've made the necessary precautions against falling furniture, etc., I'm not yet convinced that this is something to be ignored.
I see the suicide statistics as irrelevant. Lets focus on homicide, and explicitly the role of permissive ownership laws of automatic and semiautomatic weapons. Or, alternatively, ways mass shootings can be reduced/eliminated in a society that has these things.

I've been stopped by cops before. I know to assume that I'm dealing with a roided-up, paranoid, sociopath with a badge and I act accordingly. And, as you said, being armed only makes the odds worse for civilians.

I don't live in a gang-infested area, so moving as a solution would involve leaving the country. That's on the table, but it still leaves the open question of *why* this is an intractable American problem.

@ffj
I'm not partisan. I sympathize with the libertarian argument, but I don't believe an individual gun owner can protect himself from government tyranny. Just look at Randy Weaver. I believe that a gun owner with children is more likely to lose them to a firearm accident than protect them with said firearm. (I'm open to being corrected on this if anyone has good sources to cite.)

It seems obvious to me that all of these school shootings would have been prevented if the law-abiding, "responsible gun-owner" parents of the shooter did not own firearms. The body count would have been reduced if the firing capacity were limited. Discussions about better background checks and public mental health funding strikes me as an obvious red herring.

James_0011
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Re: Guns in America

Post by James_0011 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:05 pm

There is a book I read once which argues that the high mass shooting rate in America is related to the car dependent structure of American cities that encourages isolation. The book went on to argue that this isolation reduces empathy and increases mental illness.

In contrast, European cities are built around people not cars - which the author argues promotes social interaction and reduces the risk of isolation induced mental illness.

I’ll try to lookup what the book was called when I have time.

slowtraveler
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Re: Guns in America

Post by slowtraveler » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:03 pm

I am not partisan at all. Lived in California many years and very pro drugs, abortion, all that stuff so not partisan.

There was one stopped in Texas last year, feel free to do a deep inquiry if you want but I've heard many stories. Haven't cared enough to look up statistics. But guns are easy to get, you can even print them nowadays so laws don't stop much, just like all the medical farmers can't be stopped. In California you can't shoot a gun more than once every 3 seconds at a range, so boring. You cant have a clip with more than 10 rounds. You cant even have an adjustable stock. Oh yeah, that adjustable stock is killing more people than a car ever could. Or are we limiting individual freedom to make the populace easier to control?

The people I've seen grow up with guns respect their power and don't do the mass shooting bs. I actually don't know anyone who knows anyone who's been in a mass shooting. Drug overdose on the other hand is a bigger problem based on statistics. Systematically treating loneliness and isolation would probably go a long way to alleviating both of these. Far more effective than gun laws which don't work. Just cross a state border to bypass laws, or print one, or etc.

But we both have confirmation bias clouding our judgment. Group think let's us find evidence that we're right everywhere. All these damn biases...

Do you actually know someone who's been killed in a mass shooting? What about motorcycle or car? Let's outlaw these damn cars killing all our people. If speed limit is 5mph a lot less deaths would occur.

ffj
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Re: Guns in America

Post by ffj » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:09 pm

@Dinosaur

Something to think about. If you are for gun confiscation (I don't know that you are) than the very people that killed Randy Weavers family would be one of the few agencies allowed to keep firearms. So would that increase or decrease power structures within the government? Can you think of any negative repercussions from that shooting aimed towards the federal government? Do you think the federal government addresses such issues a bit differently now after Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing ? To say an armed populace has no recourse against a tyrannical government is just wrong. Could the same argument be made for an un-armed populace? And please everybody, I am not expressing sympathy for supremacists or bombers, just trying to follow the logic trail.

If you believe that children will die with guns in the home more often than being protected than you should research it before you come to a belief system. Let me know what you find out.

You are absolutely right that owning a firearm is a huge responsibility and that there are many irresponsible gun owners. You can't tell me that his kid's parents didn't know he was messed up. Same for Lanza. Horribly irresponsible behavior.

Regarding your response to Jacob, if I may, we don't have permissive automatic gun ownership. Now that doesn't mean we can't take a semi-automatic and modify the damn thing to get near results, but I bring this up because it is a pet peeve of gun owners when people espouse opinions without having done due research. Think about the number of people that will readily cede their 2nd amendment rights without having the most rudimentary understanding of firearms and their use. I assume you have a gun store where you live, go in there today and ask to buy an automatic weapon. I'm not picking on you but this is a problem when trying to come to an understanding.

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Re: Guns in America

Post by George the original one » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:56 pm


rube
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Re: Guns in America

Post by rube » Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:52 pm

Interesting data re. deaths by guns: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... death_rate
(I take no responsability re. the accuracy of the figures).

A huge difference between USA and Canada (over 5 times more death by guns in the USA per 100K persons), while these countries look to me as someone not from that region on many aspects very comparable (more similar then Mexico and other countries more south).

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Re: Guns in America

Post by George the original one » Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:54 pm

From https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/breaking ... li=BBmkt5R
Israel said Thursday that there was an armed school resource officer on the Douglas campus when the shooting occurred, but “he never encountered Cruz.”
Thus here's evidence that an armed person did not prevent a massacre.

[Feb 16 update - It now appears that while a sheriff's deputy is assigned to the school, the person was likely not present. No definitive word on presence has been issued, but there is a presumption that the deputy was called off campus.]

[Feb 22 update - After Sheriff's investigation, the armed deputy was present, but didn't bother entering the school to engage the shooter. He took up a defensive position outside behind a pillar. Deputy was informed of suspension, at which time he resigned.]
Last edited by George the original one on Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Guns in America

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:12 pm

@ffj
My only point in bringing up Randy Weaver is that there is no realistic amount of firepower you could purchase to protect you from the federal government, if they really wanted to get to you. However, if I'm following your logic trail correctly, you are saying that an armed populace is a main barrier to an overreaching police state. Correct? That's a fair point. My counterpoint would be to compare the incidence of "bad" uses of guns to the incidence of morally-righteous, armed revolutions. I'm saying the cure is worse than the disease and thrice as common.

As for incidence of gun accidents vs. incidence of successful gun defense, here's what I found on a quick google search:

2013 had 505 accidental gun deaths.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_viole ... ted_States

For every gun used in self-defense, six more are used to commit a crime
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/won ... b5397bc317

"guns may be used at least as often by family members to frighten intimates as to thwart crime, and that other weapons are far more commonly used against intruders than are guns"
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... via%3Dihub

"Although firearms are often kept in the home for protection, they are rarely used for this purpose."
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/a ... irect=true

I know you can find evidence to support whatever side you prefer, but these seem reasonably nonbiased to me.
ffj wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:09 pm
we don't have permissive automatic gun ownership. Now that doesn't mean we can't take a semi-automatic and modify the damn thing to get near results, but I bring this up because it is a pet peeve of gun owners when people espouse opinions without having done due research.
I am completely gun-naiive. I don't own one and I've never fired one. I assume this makes me biased towards the progressive's opinion about this. I further assume that if I was interested in guns as a hobby, I would be biased the other way. Furthermore, I don't judge anyone who is interested in firearms as a hobby, for hunting, or for any other non-homicidal reason.

So, with all that out there, please don't misinterpret me as a hardline, progressive, gun control advocate just because I'm (1)ignorant about guns, (2)concerned about this problem and (3)think there is an obvious discrepancy between the NRA-republican narrative and evidence from the rest of the world.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Guns in America

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:29 pm

@ GTOO,

And neither did the hundreds of unarmed people.

Is your point that since neither deterrent worked in this case, that we should cut out the active deterrent?

I'm open to the argument, if that's what you are saying. But I don't agree.

ffj
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Re: Guns in America

Post by ffj » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:44 pm

@Dinosaur

You should read Jacobs post again. If we have a known threat, people willing to use guns against us, then we should learn where those threats are coming from and react accordingly. We shouldn't punish regular people for the actions of a few and take away their ability for protection on even terms. Now jacob laid out a blueprint to effectively limit your exposure drastically but I'll add one more. I've worked emergency services for over 20 years and other than the suicides ( actually them too), almost every shooting and murder I worked involved drugs, either fighting for turf, selling them, or robbing people to buy drugs. Stay away from drugs, which means you'll avoid sketchy neighborhoods and gangs, and you should be well on your way to avoid this violence. Or push to legalize drugs and take away incentives, that might work too.

I mention this to highlight we should attack the most common causes of violence and not hyper-focus on outliers, tragic as they are. Fifteen dead people due to gunshots is a normal week or month in too many cities. And we should never knee-jerk away our rights because of the actions of a few.

You've listed several articles and the like. You have to be very careful on how these studies are worded, defined, and contrasted. A huge problem for gun advocacy is that we can never know how often merely presenting a firearm or the knowledge that one has a gun deters criminal actions. We do know how many kids were shot though each year however. My point is that four articles are not adequate to answer that question, especially ones with bias. You should consider reading point and counter-point to everything you assume you believe, and you will get really good at finding faulty and misleading use of statistics.

The whole military argument taking its own citizens out is fraught with holes. I don't want to get into that but it's an interesting thought experiment if you look into it enough.

Finally:

"So, with all that out there, please don't misinterpret me as a hardline, progressive, gun control advocate just because I'm (1)ignorant about guns, (2)concerned about this problem and (3)think there is an obvious discrepancy between the NRA-republican narrative and evidence from the rest of the world."

I think you care and that's admirable, you can make yourself un-ignorant about guns, its very easy and interesting, and like all platitudes, the "NRA-republican narrative" should be thoroughly dissected and understood before you are willing to type it in a response.

If you are interested in learning more from a different perspective than what the Washington Post has to say about this issue and you would like to learn about guns, I would happy to link some interesting perspectives and channels.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Guns in America

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:18 pm

ffj wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:44 pm
You should consider reading point and counter-point to everything you assume you believe,
I do this to a fault. Its one of my most annoying qualities. I think it comes off as trolling when I play devil's advocate, but I'm really just trying to figure out IF I'm right or WHY I'm wrong.
ffj wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:44 pm
If you are interested in learning more from a different perspective than what the Washington Post has to say about this issue and you would like to learn about guns, I would happy to link some interesting perspectives and channels.
Yes, please.

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Re: Guns in America

Post by jennypenny » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:29 pm

Mass shootings are frightening and unpredictable, so people tend to react emotionally — kind of like public reactions to Ebola. More people will die this year from the flu than from all Ebola and Marburg deaths combined (ever), yet people take flu deaths in stride for the most part just like they do with alcohol-related traffic accidents.

In the US, there are over 10K deaths per year from drunk driving … about 30 per day. Only half of those deaths are the drunk drivers themselves. An additional 300K people are also injured in alcohol-related crashes every year. While there’s always talk of stiffer penalties for drunk drivers and more awareness of the problem after a public incident of some kind, the general public reaction is never to stop selling alcohol.

One could argue that no one 'needs' alcohol just like no one ‘needs’ a gun*, yet most people believe that responsible adults should be able to enjoy alcohol if they want and not be punished for the irresponsible behavior of others. Granted, people aren’t trying to kill other people with alcohol like they are with guns, but it’s still extremely negligent to drink and drive, and anyone my age or younger has had that message hammered into them their entire lives. Those numbers also don’t take into account other types of alcohol-related mortality (9x the number from drunk driving), so when you compare alcohol-related mortality with firearm-related mortality -- even leaving in suicides -- it’s actually harder to argue that alcohol can be enjoyed safely as compared to gun ownership.**

Don’t get me wrong, these incidents are horrible. I have kids in school (1 in HS, 2 in college) and I’ve had to teach all of them what to do in an active shooter situation. That said, I repeatedly remind them about the dangers of drunk/impaired driving because they are much more likely to be harmed or killed in an alcohol-related incident. If I had to choose, I’d rather colleges banned alcohol from campuses, not guns.


* I think there are lots of arguments for gun ownership, which others have made.

** It’s the same with smoking. Even if you ignore how many smokers die from smoking related causes, second hand smoke is estimated to cause more than 40K deaths per year. A study was just done (I’ll see if I can find it) that showed smoking-related toxins cling to surfaces and linger in buildings (like work spaces, restaurants, etc) for years at levels considered carcinogenic to current patrons. That means that businesses and offices that are now smoke-free still pose a serious health threat to occupants. If we’re going to start banning things based on whether they're a needless danger to the public, cigarettes should probably be at the top of the list.

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Re: Guns in America

Post by jennypenny » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:39 pm

@TD -- If you're looking for a reason for the mass shootings, I don't think it's about gun laws. If it were only about access to guns, you'd see different types of people committing these acts. The profiles of most of the shooters are eerily similar. I think the shootings might be the canary in a coal mine for a looming mental health crisis, one that is primarily affecting men.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Guns in America

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:43 pm

When I was 30, I told a gun nut friend that I "didn't think there was a reason for civilians to own semi-automatic weapons. You can kill anything you want to with a bolt action rifle, and limiting capacity of ammunition and firing rate would save lives." I had no guns, and no desire to own one. I was an army veteran, who used to be the armorer, so I was in charge of all our weapons and ran our ranges. I was not unfamiliar with guns.

Now, I'm a single issue voter, in that I have never seen anyone who was pro gun control who was right about anything else. Let me describe how that happened.

Remember y2k, and all that nuttiness? I bought a stun gun, and pepper spray, and a baton, and figured I had my bases covered. That's where I was when I bought my first house, and when I said what I did, above.

Then, I had a nightmare that ended in me hearing my sliding glass door open. So with pepper spray in one hand, and the baton in the other, I moved out to clear the house. The first problem was getting down the hall from my bedroom to the living room. The pepper spray wouldn't get past the end of the hall, and the baton is useless in tight quarters. I remember being in the doorway to my room, and knowing that the next 6 paces could be my last if someone in the dining room/kitchen/living room, or stairs had a gun. Still, I had to clear the house, or I couldn't go back to sleep. I waited for what felt like forever listening for any sounds. Eventually, I did clear the house, and did go back to sleep.

But the next day, I needed to address the home security issue. I started talking to friends, neighbors, and coworkers about their arrangements. I was surprised by how many of my neighbors and coworkers had guns.

I looked into getting a taser. I looked into getting a gun. I started getting serious about the locks. I heard Larry Elder pushing his book "ten things you can't say in America", and read it. Very quickly, I converted to libertarian ideas. I bought a used glock from a local gun range, a former sheriff's office firearm, so well worn, with old night sights. It is still my bedside gun. I went to the range a lot. I went shooting in the local gravel pit, and discovered that shooting could be fun, if you do it right.

And as I got deeper into the history of gun control, I got a good feel for how wrong it goes.

When I bought the Whidbey property, having someplace to shoot, at home was a big plus in the decision. Every other year or so, I host a shooting party, where my gun nut buddies come out, and we spend all day shooting.

This didn't go over well. A neighbor called the cops. A lot. Eventually, a deputy came out to make sure everything was all right. It was deep dusk, we were inside, cleaning guns when he got there. I showed him around, where we were, where the backstop was, etc. He said they don't usually respond to these calls, but there were a lot of them. Reports of hundreds of shots, it sounded like a warzone. I laughed, talked about the guns a bit, and said "yeah, they weren't exaggerating, it was hundreds of shots." He thanked me, and drove off to do paperwork, fight crime, eat donuts, or whatever. I went around to my neighbors, exchanged phone numbers, and now I call around to let everyone know that I am hosting a shooting party on such a date, so they can be prepared. Some come join me, and some take their dogs on doggy vacations, but it has been fine for years now.

But we should talk about stats and the bigger picture, right? No. The books are cooked on both sides. All of them. The subject is so controversial, that anyone doing any research is doing it to support their current beliefs. I'll let others fight that fight. Whatever your link, going back into the study will show how completely fcuked the study was before it asked the first question. Nobody is interested in getting closer to an objective truth on this subject.

So instead, let me talk about guns as I see them. I grew up in high crime areas. But the criminals I knew usually didn't have guns, if they did, they had them as assets, not tools. Usually, they came out of houses that had been robbed. And since most of the criminals I knew were into burglaries and drugs, this made sense. But I also knew a bunch of (1%) bikers. Those were the guys who had guns as tools. And they were the guys who liked to play messed up games with people, and honestly, those guys are the reason I have guns. Although I expect to never speak to another biker, and expect to never need a gun, I have many. I have a few times carried in public, didn't like it, and don't do it anymore.

So, for me, a gun is something I have in my house, and never expect to use, and hope to never use. Why keep it?

Remember the war zone I hosted? It took all day for a deputy to find me. With nearly continual gunfire. Average 911 response is 20 minutes, with many taking 45 minutes. Pick an action flick. Start the response clock from when the good guy realizes that the bad guy is there. Where is the movie 20 minutes later? 45?

Ok, I'm in the sticks. Surely it's better in the burbs, right?

Last summer, we had a suicide very close to my Marysville house.

I woke up to 3 loud knocks on the front door. I put on my bathrobe, went to answer it. I didn't grab my Glock, which is unusual, but I was half asleep. I open the door, heard a shot, saw my (incompetent) neighbor in the street, yelling into the phone "there's a suicide... I don't know, I'm not there yet!" Which was enough to convince me to close and lock the door, and go back to grab my Glock, because I have no faith in that neighbor to be right about anything. Then I looked out the window, saw the body, saw a competent neighbor come out, and decided I wasn't needed. (Fresh bodies twitch, I have no interest in getting closer to an armed, fresh body.)

A few minutes later, a pickup rolls up, a girl gets out and runs to the body, dodging the competent neighbor. A few minutes later, the first cop shows up. They then close down my street for a few hours.

The next day, I start talking to the neighbors about what happened. It was a typical love triangle situation, the old boyfriend/ex-boyfriend was at the nieghbor's house, threatening suicide or other drama, grabbed a shotgun out of his truck, and my neighbor wrestled it from him. He went back to the truck and grabbed a nine millimeter semi auto pistol, and walked away. The first 911 call happened (from yet another neighbor) while they were wrestling over the shotgun. Then the second 911 call from the neighbor who had taken the shotgun while he walked away with the pistol. As that call is going on, the kid shot 3 times into the house and truck of yet another neighbor, who had just moved in, and never even met the kid. This is what woke me up. Then he walked back toward the girl's house, paused, then shot himself.

Two 911 calls, one starting minutes before the shooting, one with 3 shots in the background with narration, then the final shot. The first responding cop was already close enough to hear the shots, as he was outside his car a few blocks away, responding to another incident. And still there was 5 minutes before the first cop was on scene.

Again, go to a movie, and look at what is happening 5 minutes after the first shot. 5 minutes, with shots on a call, with two sources of exactly where the problem is. Now go over to FFJs excellent thread about the fire service, and read about complicating factors in trying to respond to an emergency. Now go online and check the 911 response times for your locality. This is why I have guns I hope to never need.

I look at it in a similar way to investing. DIY security by way of gun ownership is similar to DIY stock picking. I may not be as efficient as an index fund. I may not be as trained as a police officer. But DIY stock picking doesn't prevent me from owning index funds. DIY home security doesn't prevent me from enjoying the full professional range of police protection. It's not either or, it's and. In rural areas, this is easily understood.

A year ago, I got a call from a neighbor. The sheriff department had chased someone and lost them close to my Whidbey house. The deputy stopped and asked G (my neighbor) if he had seen anything. He then called each person on the street to alert everyone, and asked permission to check the houses where nobody was home. This guy, in his 80's, then spent the afternoon checking the area, with his wife up in the backhoe he used to block the street. Never found the guy, but having firearms made his improvised response far more effective. This touched a nerve amongst my less gun friendly neighbors, but that happens.

So that's my practical guide to why I have guns, but there is another reason for the heated argument. Empowerment.

If you look at the way firearms are treated in film, it is used as a magic wand that makes people do what you say. It's a great way to move the plot along, but it's not terribly accurate. In reality, telling someone what to do in an emergency gets a variety of responses, many of them unhelpful. Adding a gun doesn't narrow the range of responses, from the after action reports I have read. But regardless, we tend to think of an armed man as more empowered than an unarmed man. And that is the Crux of the Problem. If you have an opinion on gun control, it is probably tied to your opinions about individual vs group empowerment.

The gun grabbers know that guns empower individuals, and that is contrary to their worldview of group empowerment. If one is safe on one's own, one doesn't need to join up and empower the group. Surely, one doesn't understand the safety in numbers theory. One isn't cooperating. There is just something suspect in anyone who needs to place himself first, rather than join the group.

Whereas the gun nuts know that when push comes to shove, it's good not to be in a grouped target. That they, themselves are more capable of addressing a crisis by themselves, for themselves. That if one is to join a group, it should be a group of similarly capable people. People willing to look at reality, and make decisions based on what they see, rather than what they want to believe. (As with most beliefs, this isn't objectively true). That gun grabbers are all about sacrificing my safety for their feelings of safety. That their faith in the system is inconsistent with history, or current events.

This is why this is such a sensitive subject, it touches on people's identities. The gun grabbers feel threatened by guns, and safer in unarmed groups, and empowered by belonging to the group. Gun nuts feel empowered by guns, and threatened by gungrabbers. It's not the guns that cause the problem, it is a contradiction in how we feel about empowerment and safety, and the need to impose upon our nieghbors our personal standards.

ZAFCorrection
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Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:49 pm

Re: Guns in America

Post by ZAFCorrection » Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:01 pm

Not to say that Ruby Ridge was a victory for freedom-loving people everywhere, but it is somewhat of an illustration of how guns can maintain the balance of power. The feds were being a bit sneaky with Weaver and also decided to go heavy when they arrested him (owing to the existence of guns, I imagine). The siege ensued and people died, which ultimately created a shitstorm of bad publicity for the government. In the perfect gun-free world, the government could have gone goon-squad on Weaver (assuming him to have committed some other crime) with nothing more than batons and sunblock. No one would have died and the story might not have even made state news.

Guns force the government to bring a lot of firepower when they want to deliver some law enforcement, which increases the chances that someone will die. As the mass shootings demonstrate, that makes the story a lot juicier and pisses off other gun owners who did not get mowed down by the government's superior firepower. If repeated enough times, the superior firepower would stop mattering. Thus, the government has a strong incentive use a little judgment and not be too evil. See also: the strategic wisdom of using nuclear weapons to quell rebellion (they kill all the bad guys, right?).

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