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Armed and Pregnant
August 2, 2011 6:43 AM   Subscribe

"Americans who carry a firearm are often viewed as rough, gruff, middle-aged men with over-developed trigger fingers.

The truth of the matter is that gun-toters are diverse as America itself. I hope to show the softer side of concealed carry and educate the public on just what it means to be a gun-loving, pistol-packing wife and mother."


Limalife/Limatunes is a firearms instructor and enthusiast, as well as a moderator at Defensivecarry.com.
posted by dubold (269 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
If my wife had a gun during her first and third trimesters, I would be a dead man today.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 6:53 AM on August 2, 2011 [44 favorites]


My 87 year old grandmother still packs heat. She just re-qualified for her concealed carry two years ago.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 6:58 AM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


The truth of the matter is that gun-toters are diverse as America itself.

Not really.
posted by applemeat at 6:58 AM on August 2, 2011 [15 favorites]


"There is no connection - and you would be a fool and a communist to make one - there is no connection whatsoever between having a gun and shooting someone with it, and not having a gun and not shooting someone." - Bill Hicks
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 6:58 AM on August 2, 2011 [26 favorites]


I don't know if the "diversity" stats are true or not, but it's certainly not true when it comes to the braggadocio of internet tough guys.
posted by readyfreddy at 7:01 AM on August 2, 2011


It is not necessary to carry a gun in our society. Period.
posted by Sparkticus at 7:01 AM on August 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


I view them as cowards myself.
posted by Mick at 7:07 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Heh, ya'll have fun in here.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:08 AM on August 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


Not really.

Neither of those links is about gun carrying, but about gun ownership. I too doubt that men and women are as likely to carry guns as women, but it's a different question.
posted by Jahaza at 7:09 AM on August 2, 2011


rough, gruff, middle-aged men with over-developed trigger fingers.

My personal list, if the carrier is urban, also includes "fearful" and "raised on hollywood fantasy"
posted by -harlequin- at 7:09 AM on August 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


My personal list, if the carrier is suburban

FTFM.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:10 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the means existed, I would take the guys who wrote the Second Amendment to spend a day manning the phones in a call centre.

I'm pretty sure they'd say, "Jeez, ordinary people are idiots."

"What the fuck were we thinking? Maybe we should be a little more pragmatic about this right to bear arms thing..."
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 7:11 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


So instead of being a white man who's afraid that the whole world is out to get him and his stuff and his "way of life", it's a white woman who's afraid that the whole world is out to get her and her stuff and her "way of life", and writing long posts trying to defend why she should be allowed to kill those people.

Look, I live in what is commonly considered a "bad neighborhood" and people are not randomly showing up and assaulting me all over the place. I'm pretty sure your suburbs are safe. I am totally behind your right to own guns until you start talking about your right to shoot people who are a threat to your "way of life" and acting like having a gun is necessary to your safety.

Pregnancy is a vulnerable time for a woman, but most pregnant women who are victims of violence, that violence comes from people known to them. A story like Theresa Andrews makes national news because it's so rare. Having a weapon in the house if your spouse or partner is a threat to you is not going to make you safer. Aside from that, the urban wilds of Iowa are not full of people who are just chomping at the bit to rape and murder you and steal all your stuff the moment they catch you unarmed. That's just not the real world we actually live in. Women like this--people like this in general who are so terrified that everybody is out to get them? That they own weapons scares me for that reason alone, and I'm ordinarily fine with handgun ownership.
posted by gracedissolved at 7:12 AM on August 2, 2011 [40 favorites]


Neither of those links is about gun carrying, but about gun ownership.

You have to own a gun to carry it.

posted by applemeat at 7:14 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


My dad made me get a CPL because he believes we're on the verge of Mad Max style wasteland where we'll be forced to defend our foodstuffs against the neighbors.

His Y2K shelter is still fully stocked.
posted by mean cheez at 7:22 AM on August 2, 2011


His Y2K shelter is still fully stocked.

At least he's thinking it all the way through.
posted by jquinby at 7:28 AM on August 2, 2011


You have to own a gun to carry it.

Says you!

*steals gun and runs away*
posted by adamdschneider at 7:30 AM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


People interested in protecting their "way of life" are people who know they are using more than their fair share of Earth's resources...and want to keep it that way. And they do indeed need to be armed because if they don't start seeing reason (and elites/oligarchs rarely have), a revolution will be coming.
posted by DU at 7:33 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


And they do indeed need to be armed because if they don't start seeing reason (and elites/oligarchs rarely have), a revolution will be coming.

You know what you're going to need for that revolution?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:40 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Regarding bunkers and shelters, didn't Dee Xtrovert have a highly-favorited comment about how the people in Sarejevo who stockpiled were seen as kooks, even *after* the seige, while everyone else shared what they had?
posted by notsnot at 7:41 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I miss Dee Xtrovert.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:43 AM on August 2, 2011 [27 favorites]


Americans who carry a firearm are often viewed as rough, gruff, middle-aged men

So you're saying if I carry a gun, my salary will go up 15%? Neato!

I'm really not a weapons person, but I do occasionally half-wish the world offered me opportunities to say things like, "Skin that smokewagon and see what happens" and "Are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle 'Dixie'?"
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:44 AM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


You know what you're going to need for that revolution?

Probably about 4 billion starving people.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:48 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


...didn't Dee Xtrovert have a highly-favorited comment about how the people in Sarejevo who stockpiled were seen as kooks, even *after* the seige, while everyone else shared what they had?

Was it this one?
posted by TedW at 7:48 AM on August 2, 2011


Does anyone have the statistics on guns stolen from people who don't own one, and later used in crimes of violence? I'm thinking those are some pretty low numbers.
posted by facetious at 7:49 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


DU : "People interested in protecting their "way of life" are people who know they are using more than their fair share of Earth's resources...and want to keep it that way. And they do indeed need to be armed because if they don't start seeing reason (and elites/oligarchs rarely have), a revolution will be coming."

People who are interested in protecting their "way of life" also tend to be people who have very little, but are afraid the government, elites or oligarchs (basically anyone in authority) are going to take their stuff and their rights away from them.

Live in rural Texas for a while. You'll meet a few folks who are armed to the teeth and distrust anything that smacks of authority.
posted by zarq at 7:50 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]



You have to own a gun to carry it.


I own several guns, and have no interest in carrying.

I've never quite understood the desire to carry a firearm in real world circumstances. It's unlikely anyone legally carrying in the US will ever need to use it, and folks I've known who do carry readily admit this. So I argued, why not carry a pipe wrench of similar weight? There are several times when carrying a pipe wrench really would've been handy. Yet, if someone other than a plumber was to carry a pipe wrench on their person, "just in case", they'd rightly be considered kinda weird. Even if a pipe wrench would offer much more utility to the average person than a firearm.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:51 AM on August 2, 2011 [21 favorites]


You could probably figure out a way to fix a leaky pipe with an MP4 assault rifle.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:55 AM on August 2, 2011


Use it to threaten a plumber?
posted by zarq at 7:56 AM on August 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


I am amazed at how complex the gun from the first video was.. She needs a camera-man though. The static camera makes the video next to useless for its intended purpose.
posted by therubettes at 7:58 AM on August 2, 2011


YOUR SO HOT N BEUITUFUL  ESPECIALLY CAUSE U KNOW ABOUT GUNS

From the comments.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:02 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I own a lot of guns, handguns in particular, and I am fully confident in my ability to safely carry and use a firearm, including weapon retention, failure drills, situational awareness, I've even practiced ambidextrous control of every one of my guns so that I can comfortably operate them with either hand.

And you know what? I still have no interest in carrying one. They are heavy, they are bulky, they can instantly make any bad situation worse, and in my area, they seem to be a badge to help identify exactly the kind of person I have no interest in being.

If my job necessitated it, I'd reconsider, but since it doesn't, I'll stick with a pocket-knife which is smaller, lighter, and instantly more useful when I have a package to open.
posted by quin at 8:03 AM on August 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm female and I have a concealed carry permit. I also can't comment much on this topic without revealing why I have a permit, which would be a pretty stupid thing to do on the Internet.

Suffice to say that I have a permit but almost never carry a gun (I don't like handguns and deeply doubt their value for personal protection.) There's a specific, recurring, unavoidable situation in my life that makes me value having a weapon handy.

I wonder where I show up in the statistics?
posted by workerant at 8:04 AM on August 2, 2011


My dad made me get a CPL because he believes we're on the verge of Mad Max style wasteland where we'll be forced to defend our foodstuffs against the neighbors.

Just move to Israel and stockpile pork products.
"Gimme that... ham sandwich? Never mind."
"Are you sure? I know, I know, it divideth the hoof yet cheweth not the cud, but it's still a damn good sandwich."
"No, really. Thanks anyway. I'll try the neighbors."
posted by pracowity at 8:06 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


You know what you're going to need for that revolution?

...Twitter?
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:06 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


2N2222: "Yet, if someone other than a plumber was to carry a pipe wrench on their person, "just in case", they'd rightly be considered kinda weird. Even if a pipe wrench would offer much more utility to the average person than a firearm."

I recall a recent Every Day Carry thread carried a similar sentiment. Something about 9mm fashion accessories.
posted by pwnguin at 8:07 AM on August 2, 2011


Then there's this story, with its tragic ending.
posted by Man-Thing at 8:08 AM on August 2, 2011


Statistically a person is highly unlikely to be involved in a violent crime.

Statistically a person is also highly unlikely to be involved in an automobile accident, but in (at least most; I'm not sure about all) states in the US, wearing seatbelts is mandatory.

(On the other hand, I'm not sure I want the guy who almost pasted me to the Jersey barrier because he's shaving, applying makeup, smoking, and talking on his cellphone while he's driving, to also have a gun.)
posted by no relation at 8:10 AM on August 2, 2011


You could probably figure out a way to fix a leaky pipe with an MP4 assault rifle.

A what now? A tragic conflation of M4 and MP5, no doubt. Lack of gun knowledge leads to missteps on the internet kids, and unlike mistakenly shooting someone, these are for life.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:13 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


<People interested in protecting their "way of life" are people who know they are using more than their fair share of Earth's resources...and want to keep it that way. And they do indeed need to be armed because if they don't start seeing reason (and elites/oligarchs rarely have), a revolution will be coming.
posted by DU at 10:33 AM

So should I or should I not be armed. Should I be armed for my "way of life" or for a revolution...PLEASE ADVISE!
posted by clavdivs at 8:14 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Statistically a person is highly unlikely to be involved in a violent crime.

Statistically a person is also highly unlikely to be involved in an automobile accident, but in (at least most; I'm not sure about all) states in the US, wearing seatbelts is mandatory.
So you're saying you should have mandatory bullet-proof vest laws?
posted by fullerine at 8:15 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I imagine my S.T.A.L.K.E.R character watching these videos on his phone before going out into the freezing cold, swearing a lot in Russian, and being attacked by mutated pigs.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:15 AM on August 2, 2011


A tragic conflation of M4 and MP5, no doubt.

Yeah, whatever. Guns can go fuck themselves, is what.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:16 AM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Now a pistol with a wrench-handle...you may be on to something.

Get me Ron Popeil!!!
posted by Senor Cardgage at 8:17 AM on August 2, 2011


That is clever
posted by clavdivs at 8:17 AM on August 2, 2011


Meh. I own longarms but wouldn't carry a handgun to save my life, no pun intended. I'm too terrified of someone stealing it and using it to kill me or another human.
I do, however, carry Sabre Red. Works just as well on skinheads as it does on black bears.
posted by Tennyson D'San at 8:17 AM on August 2, 2011


Statistically a person is highly unlikely to be involved in a violent crime.

Statistically a person is also highly unlikely to be involved in an automobile accident, but in (at least most; I'm not sure about all) states in the US, wearing seatbelts is mandatory.
I am not sure that either of those things are true, actually. At least, in my circle of friends and family members, lots of people have been in car accidents and have been victims of violent crime. But it's also sort of irrelevent, because seatbelts aren't really analogous to guns, in terms of the risks they present, the training they require to use properly, and the degree of protection they offer.
posted by craichead at 8:18 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's analogous if you remember that seatbelts are designed to violently kill the driver of the oncoming car.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:19 AM on August 2, 2011 [24 favorites]


Look, I live in what is commonly considered a "bad neighborhood" and people are not randomly showing up and assaulting me all over the place.

I am really happy for you.
posted by resurrexit at 8:24 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a stay-at-home Mom.

You don't say?

Americans who carry a firearm are often viewed as rough, gruff, middle-aged men yt with over-developed trigger fingers.

Pretty sure this guy is off-screen, directing her:

"Yeah, baby, that's so goddam hawt!" *fap!* *fap!* *fap!*
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:24 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]



My dad made me get a CPL because he believes we're on the verge of Mad Max style wasteland where we'll be forced to defend our foodstuffs against the neighbors.

His Y2K shelter is still fully stocked.


I had no idea I had another brother.
posted by asockpuppet at 8:28 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


You could probably figure out a way to fix a leaky pipe with an MP4 assault rifle.

Don't know about that, but one time I fixed the heck out of a can with a .22!
posted by rtha at 8:30 AM on August 2, 2011


Interesting post following the one regarding Gabrielle Giffords. But of course, she and the other shooting victims were not shot by a woman, only by a legally purchased handgun.
posted by rmhsinc at 8:33 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, I regard those who carry concealed weapons as creepy, weird and strange.

As is the custom among the civilized peoples.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:41 AM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


My dad made me get a CPL because he believes we're on the verge of Mad Max style wasteland where we'll be forced to defend our foodstuffs against the neighbors.

I'm pretty sure this falls somewhere on the "self-fulfilling prophesy" continuum.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:43 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, "rough, gruff" doesn't even remotely come close to my picture of a typical concealed carry type.

(link to "I'm training to be a cage fighter" clip from Napoleon Dynamite, with a 30 second commercial at the front, best I could find sorry), that's my picture of what the typical concealed carry type is like. I'm sure they'd love to think of themselves as being rough and gruff though.
posted by sotonohito at 8:47 AM on August 2, 2011


People carry handguns for the same reasons they put ridiculously loud exhaust pipes on Harley-Davidsons or start practicing "mixed matial arts".

To appear macho, impressive, and intimidating.

Either that or they are sad, scared little people, constantly terrified that the world is going to try and hurt them.

But usually the first reason.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:09 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I still find guns fascinating but really have absolute no desire to own much less carry a concealed firearm. It just seems that owning one would increase the odds of a situation escalating to the point of actually using one. Buoyed by the comfort of a firearm at arms length it seems that many people tend to behave in a manner that escalates rather than defuses a situation. I'm not saying that people don't have the right to defend themselves but that it seems many concealed carry individuals use that handgun security blanket in place good situational awareness. Further it seems that having a handgun at least marginally increases your likelihood of choosing fight over flight, and in the modern age I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Add in stuff like accidental discharges, the ability for minors to gain access to a handgun, and the viability of other self-defense strategies and it just seems like the relative cost of owning and carrying a handgun exceed the benefits.
posted by vuron at 9:11 AM on August 2, 2011


And frankly I'd rather some shithead get the $18 in my wallet rather than me threatening his life so that I can keep the $18 in my wallet.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:13 AM on August 2, 2011


Can I borrow 18$.
posted by clavdivs at 9:15 AM on August 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


It is not unnecessary to carry a gun in our society. Period.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 9:20 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is not unnecessary to carry a gun in our society. Period.

Well, that settles things.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:24 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is a Starbucks in one of the whitest exurbs in the area
posted by asockpuppet at 9:33 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe it isn't. The article is written about St. Peters (which is) but the pics are in Olivette (which isn't)
posted by asockpuppet at 9:34 AM on August 2, 2011


Still, you're packing heat at a Starbucks, people.
posted by asockpuppet at 9:35 AM on August 2, 2011


Still, you're packing heat at a Starbucks, people.

Those lines can get really long in the morning.
posted by orme at 9:39 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


That guy in the orange shirt and shorts looks like he desperately wants someone to try to unbolt and make off with the espresso machine.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:40 AM on August 2, 2011


People carry handguns for the same reasons they put ridiculously loud exhaust pipes on Harley-Davidsons or start practicing "mixed matial arts".

To appear macho, impressive, and intimidating.

Either that or they are sad, scared little people, constantly terrified that the world is going to try and hurt them.

But usually the first reason.


Do you have a theory as to why people overgeneralize on the internet? Those exhaust pipes I'll give you, and even the guns, hey, but MMA?
posted by adamdschneider at 9:42 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


it just seems like the relative cost of owning and carrying a handgun exceed the benefits.

People just like the shit out of carrying and firing guns. That is the overriding benefit to them. They will give you a hundred reasons why they supposedly have to own them, all sorts of shit about constitutional rights and responsibilities, as if gun ownership were some burden they bear for the common good, but most gun advocates really just like having them.

Suppose you legalized hand grenades today. People would have shitloads of fun with grenades and get into collecting them and going to the grenade range and carrying concealed grenades in grenade belts and joining grenade clubs and showing off their grenade collections. A huge industry would grow up around hand grenade ownership. And you would never get that dumbass genii back in his bottle.

If five years later you suggested that grenades should be illegal after all, all you'd hear would be "But we need hand grenades to defend our homes in the upcoming troubles. With weapons being the way they are these days, with every common criminal carrying automatic weapons, a man just can't properly maintain a sustained perimeter defense of his home with simple handguns anymore. Constitutional scholars have of late determined that the US constitution essentially requires landowning gentlefolk to own and carry and always be prepared to use handheld explosive devices. Had GOD in HIS infinite wisdom given our FOUNDING FATHERS [*cue patriotic music, the sound of marching boots, and a twitch in the speaker's erection*] the ability to foresee the state of our world today, the FOUNDING FATHERS [*a grunt of release*] would have spelled out in the Constitution of these United States the right and responsibility of all good citizens to own fragmentation, concussion, and anti-tank grenades."
posted by pracowity at 9:55 AM on August 2, 2011 [17 favorites]


I'd be interested to know how many people who feel that a pocket knife or pipe wrench would do in a pinch are men and how many are women.

I am not strong and not a good fighter and I assure you that a pipe wrench and all the warning in the world wouldn't do me or a lot of people much good.

I don't carry and don't intend to. Half the time I reach in my purse I stab myself with something sharp or end up with hand lotion all over my money. Frankly, I don't trust myself with a gun added to the mix. But I have absolutely no problem with any one who does trust themselves with it.

I am completely in favor of evening the playing field of physical might and I am always surprised at the people- feminists even- willing to trust their well being to the dubious power of the law.

Yes, I agree, people SHOULDN'T have to defend themselves, but in this society (whatever the hell that means- I feel I run in a couple of "societies" even in my little region) that isn't reality, and if someone doesn't want to leave it to the hope that the police will show up (fat chance), I certainly don't blame them.

And the idea that "People interested in protecting their "way of life" are people who know they are using more than their fair share of Earth's resources..." is horseshit and really offensive. Come out to central and north Richmond, Calif and see who's getting mugged, robbed, and burgled. I'll tell you right now that it's not the Rockefellers.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:59 AM on August 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


America is screwed when it comes to gun control. It will be a long time, if ever, before America rids ourselves of guns - especially handguns - because there are hundreds of millions of them owned by Americans, including handguns. My last link gives away my stand on the issue of handgun ownership, but I'm a realist about the prospects of outlawing firearms, especially handguns, in America. Here's more history, if anyone is interested

The luxury of carrying handguns, or owning just about any gun one wants, is just one more symbol of excess in this culture. We are, and continue to, pay for this excess in ways that further demean our culture. Guns don't protect anyone, not really. Many nations get along fine without permitting gun ownership. Gun ownership - especially handgun ownership - ups the ante re: what's needed for protection. If your neighbor has a gun that can kill you, there is an impulse to want to protect oneself from that neighbor, just in case. Classic game theory conclusions indicate that this is the case.

That said, there is a very slow but steady impulse toward gun control in America. It will be resisted by those most fearful - or unable - to settle differences amicably.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:00 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


If carrying a handgun is such a bad idea, why does every cop carry one?
posted by mikelieman at 10:02 AM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


The crime rate in the western world is consistently heading in a downward direction. Western societies are increasingly less violent over time.

The crime rate. IS GOING DOWN.

THE CRIME RATE IS GOING DOWN, PEOPLE.

I think those folks just really like their guns, like pracowity so eloquently noted.
posted by Hildegarde at 10:03 AM on August 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


My dad made me get a CPL because he believes we're on the verge of Mad Max style wasteland where we'll be forced to defend our foodstuffs against the neighbors.

Your dad wants you to be licensed so that the then-non-existent civil police force can handle the relatively minor (malum prohibitum) offense of carrying a weapon without a permit?

I own firearms, have real-world (i.e., non-Hollywood) training concerning their use and the results of their use. Some people need to deal on occasion with bad people and want something handy (just in case), but without needlessly unsettling other people they might encounter. In some places, you can legally do this at your place of business or home without a permit. But every time you have to go out to the car, etc., you have to disarm, or break the law. For that reason, a license is useful. I sometimes fit into this category of people.

Also, I'm not rough or gruff. But I guess I'm guilty as charged on the "middle-aged" count.
posted by Hylas at 10:03 AM on August 2, 2011


It will be resisted by those most fearful - or unable - to settle differences amicably.

What an odd way to look at the world of drugs and gangs, especially in the era of the market-driving war on drugs. There is too much money in gangs for them to disappear.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:04 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


If carrying a handgun is such a bad idea, why does every cop carry one?

Because other people carry guns. Again, guns encourage and cause violence; the last thing you want is the last barrier between you and public safety - i.e., the police - not having weapons equal to those who would violate social norms re: violence. e.g. Most British cops don't carry guns.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:07 AM on August 2, 2011


the last thing you want is the last barrier between you and public safety

The police aren't the "last barrier" between you and public safety, you are.

And as GRIESHABER v. CITY OF ALBANY shows us, the police have no responsiblity to your life and safety. If you're counting on them, you're going to be dissapointed, if not dead.
posted by mikelieman at 10:12 AM on August 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


Heat is not the only thing that two of the men (Marc Perez &Steve Randall) are packing at Starbucks. Glad they are affirming their rights to carry hand guns and some extra weight. I simply can not find adequate words to describe how obscene, repellant, and adolescent I find that picture and them. Grown men acting out adolescent fantasies--do they really believe they are so important that they have something to defend. It is right up there with yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, sexually exposing yourself to an adolescent or wearing a T-shirt that says 'I am special and F.... you ". OK, I feel better
posted by rmhsinc at 10:12 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Had GOD in HIS infinite wisdom given our FOUNDING FATHERS [*cue patriotic music, the sound of marching boots, and a twitch in the speaker's erection*] the ability to foresee the state of our world today, the FOUNDING FATHERS [*a grunt of release*] would have spelled out in the Constitution of these United States the right and responsibility of all good citizens to own fragmentation, concussion, and anti-tank grenades."

Had GOD in HIS infinite wisdom given our FOUNDING FATHERS the ability to foresee the state of our world today, the FOUNDING FATHERS would have changed the wording of the Amendment that purportedly gives Americans the right to sully their social and physical environment with guns.

Really, guns are not adaptive in any positive sense; they simply up the ante; they accelerate the impulse toward violence. Guns beget guns. That's just the way it is.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:16 AM on August 2, 2011


How dare they be fatter than you think is reasonable!

I don't get the feeling their defending anything except their right to bear arms. If they were the 1st amendment they were trying to defend would you be as repulsed?
posted by small_ruminant at 10:16 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


If carrying a handgun is such a bad idea, why does every cop carry one?

To compensate for their tiny penises and the fact that they were picked on in high school?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:17 AM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


And as GRIESHABER v. CITY OF ALBANY shows us, the police have no responsiblity to your life and safety. If you're counting on them, you're going to be dissapointed (sic), if not dead.

By your logic we should disarm police officers? What does GRIESHABER v. CITY OF ALBANY have to do with that? Nothing.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:20 AM on August 2, 2011


If carrying a handgun is such a bad idea, why does every cop carry one?

To compensate for their tiny penises and the fact that they were picked on in high school?


Is this a projection, or a statement of fact? If the latter, please cite.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:21 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


i have lived in some moderately uncool places and those were the places i was least willing to cop to the fact that i loved and owned some guns, since i am not willing to shoot a guy under normal circumstances and i didn't want my stuff stolen, including guns. if you shoot a kid who comes to rob you one night, his friends are going to come after you the next night. or the next week. i cannot fathom being in a position to excuse yourself from that world of violence and inviting yourself to be part of it by carrying a fucking gun. gun present means gun becomes an option and i haven't actually been part of any situation where someone was packing heat and it was not a huge escalation in the level of potential violence in the area.

also cops carry guns 'cause the state has the monopoly on violence.
posted by beefetish at 10:24 AM on August 2, 2011


I can definitely understand the feeling that a firearm can potentially allow someone to defend themselves from a larger, stronger assailant but does it really serve that purpose? Does it truly serve as a deterrent against violent crime? Or does it tend to escalate potentially violent encounters to the point where a fatality is a likely outcome?

I'm asking these questions in good faith because I'm not sure that there really has been good research done to answer them.

I think all too often people assume that just because they have a gun handy that in a potentially violent situation they will be safer than someone without a gun. It seems that unless you are prepared to use lethal force every time you draw a gun on someone else you would be better served by employing a non-lethal alternative in order to give yourself time to flee the scene. Further it seems that the second you pull a handgun you are instantly promoting yourself to potentially lethal threat which encourages a potential assailant to escalate their level of violence towards you.

But if people have good research indicating that concealed firearms make people safer during potentially violent encounters I'd be fascinated.
posted by vuron at 10:24 AM on August 2, 2011


Actually, they are heavier than is reasonable. And I probably would feel the same way if they were defending the first amendment by wearing T shirts with obscenities or wearing Nazi uniforms to show that they could. We could get into endless discussions about the second amendment. I certainly would have a different reaction if they were carrying long rifles and lived in an area where self defense from others or predators was essential. There is nothing wrong with protecting yourself--they are just showing off.
posted by rmhsinc at 10:24 AM on August 2, 2011


By your logic we should disarm police officers?
that is your logic. mikelieman is dead on, er, correct.
posted by clavdivs at 10:25 AM on August 2, 2011


also mentioned upthread but worth repeating, boy howdy women carrying guns to protect against "rapists" and shit sure does buy into the stranger danger idea that sexual violence comes from the outside intead of coming from someone you know. man i fuckin' love guns but i find carrying guns for protection repellent in a hard to explain way.
posted by beefetish at 10:28 AM on August 2, 2011


beefetish, do you suggest to let the kids just rob and control your freedom because of you fear to confront them or are you afraid to shoot some person who has broken into your home, is armed, and wants your stuff or something worse.
posted by clavdivs at 10:31 AM on August 2, 2011


oh jesus christ. you shoot one kid that comes in and the rest of his crew may retaliate. you have to deal with the fact that you shot someone on the emotional and legal level. there are many, many other ways to deter burglars from your property that don't involve taking a fucking gun to someone.
posted by beefetish at 10:36 AM on August 2, 2011


If carrying a handgun is such a bad idea, why does every cop in the us carry one?

FTFY. There are lots of countries where they don't arm every single police officer with a handgun 24/7.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:41 AM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I moved to a city that was openly and enthusiastically anti-gun and I have never had so many break-ins and car thefts. I now view anti-gun posters as engraved invitations to burglarize my neighborhood.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:42 AM on August 2, 2011


Actually, they are heavier than is reasonable

Bringing anti-fat prejudices to the argument isn't helping the discussion.

I certainly would have a different reaction if they were carrying long rifles and lived in an area where self defense from others or predators was essential.

So we should only defend the rights we think we'll need in the very near future?
posted by small_ruminant at 10:48 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


By your logic we should disarm police officers?
response:
that is your logic. mikelieman is dead on, er, correct.

How? mikelieman is conflating two issues. I posed a question that inferred from his statement about not counting on police officers, within the context of a discussion about the advisability of carrying handguns. mikelieman is making a general assumption about the police that is not universally true. Can mikelieman deny that police officers have never saved a life via intervention in a violent confrontation between hostile parties? I'd be interested in seeing that cite.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:04 AM on August 2, 2011


I used to be a high school chemistry teacher, and moonlighted at a carwash for extra cash. Then I ran into some medical problems and didn't know what to do. I ended up befriending one of my former students and we spent some time working on various chemistry experiments that turned out to be very lucrative.

These experiments were so lucrative in fact, that a local entrepreneur (runs a chain of fried chicken restaurants) heard about what I was doing and got into business with me. He set up a lab and everything. It was pretty sweet except that he didn't like my partner and tried to replace him a couple of times with a guy who was really very nice but got on my freaking nerves.

Long story short: the chicken guy tried to elbow me out of the business (story of my life) but I managed to keep my job. Despite this, the chicken guy started acting REALLY weird. I didn't know what to do, so I ended up buying a gun. I was going to go for a 9mm or a 45, but the guy who sold me the gun convinced me to get a .38 snub.

For defensive reasons.
posted by nushustu at 11:05 AM on August 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


Does it truly serve as a deterrent against violent crime?

Gangbangers in any city I've ever lived in would say no.
posted by rtha at 11:05 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, I suppose the belief that life is so perilous that one must arm herself with a firearm to feel secure coupled with the intense absorption with said firearm must lead to some excellent outcomes for society.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:12 AM on August 2, 2011


I moved to a city that was openly and enthusiastically anti-gun and I have never had so many break-ins and car thefts. I now view anti-gun posters as engraved invitations to burglarize my neighborhood.

I fuckin' LOVE anecdotes. Did you hear about the welfare queen?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:14 AM on August 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


@small_ruminant, Bringing anti-fat prejudices to the argument isn't helping the discussion. Actually, I like to think of it as a public health issue just as handguns are a public health issue. But you are right, it serves no purpose in furthering a reasonable discussion. Purely an emotional reaction. I have not completely thought this out--but it seems to me if someone is so concerned about their own safety they should simply carry a shotgun with them. I am deeply and profoundly opposed to handguns and other firearms that are not solely and singularly designed for regulated game hunting. I commented on this yesterday on the post regarding firearms so I will not repeat it. No semis, autos, handguns, revolvers, machine guns, or other explosive devices etc. Just simple long rifles/shotguns and nothing concealed
posted by rmhsinc at 11:15 AM on August 2, 2011


Did you hear about the welfare queen?

Do you know her personally? I have since moved into two different cities that are famous for their crime (and guns) and haven't had that trouble at all. What's the use of our experience if we aren't supposed to learn from it?
posted by small_ruminant at 11:16 AM on August 2, 2011


Eh. I just view them as wankers.
posted by Decani at 11:17 AM on August 2, 2011


They might be. Heck, they probably ARE. But we don't know anything about them except a photo.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:18 AM on August 2, 2011


To compensate for their tiny penises and the fact that they were picked on in high school?

Is this a projection, or a statement of fact? If the latter, please cite.


A friend of mine was driving through downtown San Diego late at night. He was returning home from a rehearsal for some charity theater work he organized. He made an illegal right turn on a red light and was pulled over. The police referred to it as a 'routine traffic stop.' There was a prop gun on the back seat of his car with bright orange tape on it. The cops told him to get out of the car, which he didn't want to do.

He wound up getting shot three times in the chest from opposite directions. After getting pepper sprayed.

This isn't an argument for anything, I dunno. The guy down the street from my parents, just last month, shot his two boys and then set his house on fire and then shot himself. A friend of mine from high school shot himself back in January. None of this adds up to anything, I guess. I have a hard time buying the idea that guns make me safer, no matter whose hands they're in.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:18 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I went to that Starbucks and dove underneath a table while shrieking "LOOK OUT! THAT MAN HAS A GUN!" what do you suppose would happen?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:18 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do you know her personally?

No, but some guy told me about her.

I have since moved into two different cities that are famous for their crime (and guns) and haven't had that trouble at all.

Wut?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:18 AM on August 2, 2011


I used to be a high school chemistry teacher, and moonlighted at a carwash for extra cash. Then I ran into some medical problems and didn't know what to do. I ended up befriending one of my former students and we spent some time working on various chemistry experiments that turned out to be very lucrative.

These experiments were so lucrative in fact, that a local entrepreneur (runs a chain of fried chicken restaurants) heard about what I was doing and got into business with me. He set up a lab and everything. It was pretty sweet except that he didn't like my partner and tried to replace him a couple of times with a guy who was really very nice but got on my freaking nerves.

Long story short: the chicken guy tried to elbow me out of the business (story of my life) but I managed to keep my job. Despite this, the chicken guy started acting REALLY weird. I didn't know what to do, so I ended up buying a gun. I was going to go for a 9mm or a 45, but the guy who sold me the gun convinced me to get a .38 snub.

For defensive reasons.


Wait, is this the Breaking Bad thread?
posted by adamdschneider at 11:21 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you were going to burglarize a house, would you pick the one that has an anti-gun poster in the window or the one that didn't?

In the neighborhoods I moved into where it was EXPECTED that everyone owned a gun, the burglarly rates seem a lot lower. (Drive-bys, however, are higher.)
posted by small_ruminant at 11:24 AM on August 2, 2011


If you were going to burglarize a house, would you pick the one that has an anti-gun poster in the window or the one that didn't?

I guess I'd pick the one without, but wait until no one was home and steal their guns.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:27 AM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


small_ruminant, take your crime rate and compare it against the crime rate in a country with actual gun laws.

You see what we're saying.
posted by Hildegarde at 11:30 AM on August 2, 2011


If I went to that Starbucks and dove underneath a table while shrieking "LOOK OUT! THAT MAN HAS A GUN!" what do you suppose would happen?

The oft-mentioned, never-before-seen "circular firing squad" that I've heard so much about.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:32 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Countries with actual gun laws are different from us in a lot more ways than gun laws.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:37 AM on August 2, 2011


The US is a special snowflake that cannot be compared to any other country? Not even, say, another North American country?
posted by Hildegarde at 11:41 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


If carrying a handgun is such a bad idea, why does every cop carry one?

If you were going to burglarize a house, would you pick the one that has an anti-gun poster in the window or the one that didn't?

It is not unnecessary to carry a gun in our society. Period.

Countries with actual gun laws are different from us in a lot more ways than gun laws.


Seriously, this is what passes for rational argument among the gun lovers?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:41 AM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


> Look, I live in what is commonly considered a "bad neighborhood" and people are not
> randomly showing up and assaulting me all over the place.

There is no.overlap.evar between metafilter antigun threads in which being assaulted is as rare as fish fur and rabbit feathers, and metafilter rape threads in which one woman in five gets raped.
posted by jfuller at 11:41 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Well, regardless of arguments about concealed carry, open carry, gun ownership, etc, there is one thing I think we can all agree on: the people doing open carry at Starbucks are doing so for no reason other than to annoy those with whom they disagree politically.
posted by sotonohito at 11:43 AM on August 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


I have a hard time buying the idea that guns make me safer,

They probably don't. Though, to be honest, they probably don't make you significantly more at risk either. The thing is, guns have become a sort of totemic item in the US culture; people who dislike them ascribe far too much power to them and fear what they can do to an almost irrational level, whereas people who fetishize them also misunderstand their power and believe that the gun confers some special abilities upon them.

Neither are true. Guns are just things, they aren't good or evil and becoming convinced that it's more than just a very specific tool continues to perpetuate the mythos behind them. Yes, you can do some amazing and terrible things with guns, but the same can be said about literally every other tool in existence.

It's not an argument that comes up much, but you know what is way more terrifying to me than a kid with a gun? A kid with a gallon of gas and a book of matches.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't be wary people with guns, but the key feature here is the people part. I have lots of guns, and I hope that none of you would ever be afraid of me because of it.

But give me a Zulu spear and some and some Molotov cocktails and I'll show you how to get this party started.
posted by quin at 11:44 AM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


There is no.overlap.evar between metafilter antigun threads in which being assaulted is as rare as fish fur and rabbit feathers, and metafilter rape threads in which one woman in five gets raped.

The rarest thing ever is the story of the woman who was threatened with rape, but her .38 saved her.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:44 AM on August 2, 2011


It's not an argument that comes up much, but you know what is way more terrifying to me than a kid with a gun? A kid with a gallon of gas and a book of matches.

If police carried gallons of gas and books of matches, I would have one more living friend.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:46 AM on August 2, 2011


The rarest thing ever is the story of the woman who was threatened with rape, but her .38 saved her.

Cite, please.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:46 AM on August 2, 2011


Seriously, I wish gun lovers would stop trying to make utilitarian arguments for their sport. Not only is the utility not there, but they seriously degrade their credibility on other topics. It's like Everest climbers trying to argue that it's the best thing for their health.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:46 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cite, please.

You'd like a cite for a non-existent story?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:47 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously, I'd actually like to see some stats on this stuff, though I don't know if such a situation (situation= prevention of a crime) would even get reported.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:48 AM on August 2, 2011


One woman in five (if that's the current stat) has been sexually assaulted by a husband, a lover, a boyfriend, a friend, a brother, a father, a classmate, or a casual acquaintance during times when even a gun-toting pregnant woman would be unlikely to be wearing her holster. Stranger danger random from-the-bushes grab-and-rape is, indeed, pretty rare.
posted by Hildegarde at 11:49 AM on August 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


Seriously, I'd actually like to see some stats on this stuff, though I don't know if such a situation (situation= prevention of a crime) would even get reported.

Well, given the vociferous nature of the gun lovers, if this ever did happen it would be splashed across the news.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:52 AM on August 2, 2011


rtha: "Don't know about that, but one time I fixed the heck out of a can with a .22!"

Some cans just need fixin.
posted by danny the boy at 11:53 AM on August 2, 2011


The sporting aspect is a different topic from this one. That's why people aren't talking about it.

Again, I don't carry but I don't mind if other people do. I mean, people already are, so it's sort of a moot point, despite the tut tutting that happens on metafilter.

That said, I give a lot more weight to the anti-gun arguments made by people directly affected by gun violence than I do those made by people who are privileged enough to live in a neighborhood that has low crime and decent police response. These are economic features, though, not gun control ones.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:53 AM on August 2, 2011


The sporting aspect is a different topic from this one. That's why people aren't talking about it.

If that was aimed at me, I was using the word "sport" ironically. I was referring to all those people who love to own and carry handguns. They try to justify it with utilitarian arguments, but, like mountain climbers or skydivers, they just like the thrill of it.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:56 AM on August 2, 2011


Well, given the vociferous nature of the gun lovers, if this ever did happen it would be splashed across the news.

We are not a monolithic block. Also, "gun-lover" isn't necessarily accurate. Not-freaked-out-by-guns-person might be closer to it. It's not "You're not either for us or against us," despite what the fringes would suggest.

I hate that this "for us or against us" thing makes up so much of modern discourse. I feel it shuts down communication.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:58 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


mental wimp, i'm in here talking about guns not being a great first-line security solution and i FUCKING LOVE GUNS

fyi
posted by beefetish at 12:01 PM on August 2, 2011


That said, I give a lot more weight to the anti-gun arguments made by people directly affected by gun violence than I do those made by people who are privileged enough to live in a neighborhood that has low crime and decent police response. These are economic features, though, not gun control ones.
Hmm. What do you make of the fact that attitudes towards gun control are corrolated with race, with white non-Hispanic Americans supporting gun rights at much higher rates than black and Latino Americans? Or the fact that people who make less than $30,000 a year are much more likely than those who make more than $30,000 a year to support gun control?
posted by craichead at 12:06 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seriously, this is what passes for rational argument among the gun lovers?

And YOU are expressing a rational reasoning response to this? I am just seeing you dismissing someone with different ideas from you as such an idiot that you have no need to counter the argument. Kinda like they are doing?

I am seeing a lot of non rational arguments on both sides of this. The anti-gunners here are engaging in a totally non-self aware way a display of bigottry and other-ing of gun owners that if apply to just about any other self-identify interest group would probably get very rapidly condemned and possibly even pulled by the mods (and rightly so). But becuse they are engaged in an activity that YOU disapprove of it is ok to belittle them or try to take away their hobby/activity that is no threat to you because it makes you uncomfortable. I am not talking about actual armed criminals here, I think both sides can agree we don't want guns in the hands of criminals. Just because a person takes some responsibility for their own safety doesn't mean they want to take away yours or is interested in harming anyone who isn't an immediate and clear threat to them. In several cases of public shootings recently a concealed carry holder has been present, but has not used their weapon, for fear of shooting the wrong person. This is a good argument agaisnt the effectiveness of concealed weapons but also a good argument for the non-threatening nature of most concealed carry holders and their cautiosness.

Law abiding Gun-owners are just like you and me. They just have guns. Kinda like kinky people or homosexuals or bisexuals or people who collect beanie babies or vegetarians or any group of people who have some behaviour that is found threatening or unusual to other people. And they pose no more threat to you than any member of the groups I just listed (or any other special interest group). In fact concealed carry permit holders commit crimes (any crimes) at a rate lower than police officers. Really, look it up.

The pro gunners are engaged in slogans that fit on bumper stickers. The rational way some of the arguments here is that it is easier to steal/harm someone who doesn't resist or lacks the mean of effectively resisting. I see the same argument being made all the time in regard to equipping the means to defend their interests(and being able to defend yourself agaisnt personal violence is very empowering). The historical roots of gun control laws in this country are largely ones of keeping the guns out of the hands of minorities who were being oppressed by violent means(really, even a couple of supreme court cases state this rather blatantly-part of the ).

And gun control laws do exist in this country, quite a lot of them actually. Most of the laws are also non rational and based on a very flawed understanding of what people with guns are capable of and the technology of them. As are countries without a strong gun culture gun laws. Some are based solely on non standard nomenclature where changing the name of gun or cartridge can make it legal. They are also about as effective in preventing violence as drug laws are in preventing drug abuse. Gun violence rates are sometimes less in countries with less availability of guns, but overall violent crime rates are not so easily correlated. Rawanda managed to have a genocide just fine without guns.

posted by bartonlong at 12:07 PM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't really have a dog in this fight, but I wonder if anti-gun statistics take into account situations where the victim pulls out a gun and the bad guy runs away without the police being involved.
posted by digsrus at 12:11 PM on August 2, 2011


@Small-Ruminant-Surely you've been on Metafilter long enough to understand that correlation does not equal causation. Further your personal experiences are merely a single data point. Anecdotes shouldn't drive public policy.

There are a variety of other potential causes and deterrents of violent and nonviolent crime and it seems (although still hotly contested) that concealed carry laws have no measurable impact on violent crime rates. Of course it seems that gun control laws also have no measurable impact on crime rates so it's quite likely that other factors (socioeconomics, social capital within a neighborhood, etc) are probably more likely to be the reason why break-ins and car thefts were so commonplace in those locales.
posted by vuron at 12:13 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm. What do you make of the fact that attitudes towards gun control are corrolated with race, with white non-Hispanic Americans supporting gun rights at much higher rates than black and Latino Americans? Or the fact that people who make less than $30,000 a year are much more likely than those who make more than $30,000 a year to support gun control?

I'm aware of these stats and that was exactly what I was talking about. When they speak (especially in my violence riddled city), I listen.

Here's an interesting recent news item in the city I live in. As I read it, it talks a little bit about how we might cut down on the violence. Gun control is a piece of that, and education/intervention being a bigger one.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:13 PM on August 2, 2011


If [it] were the 1st amendment they were trying to defend would you be as repulsed?

You're comparing apples to clams. Freedoms of speech [et. al.] while not uncontroversial find more general support among Americans than does the right to bear arms, possibly because vast changes in American life since the 1790's have only increased people's general expectation of personal expression while reducing their anticipation of a need to execute marauding Red coats or confront angry elk in their kitchens.
posted by applemeat at 12:16 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The luxury of carrying handguns, or owning just about any gun one wants, is just one more symbol of excess in this culture.

One recurring problem with the gun debate is exemplified by this statement. Symbols become reason to oppose or support private gun ownership. It's a clue that guns are not quite the issue here, but rather, it's just another culture war front.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:18 PM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I haven't conflated anything. The court case cited illustrates quite clearly that the police have NO LEGAL DUTY to protect you. You are on your own, the police aren't coming to save you.

That said, shouldn't you have the same tools available to yourself to protect yourself?
posted by mikelieman at 12:20 PM on August 2, 2011


Or... 911's A Joke...
posted by mikelieman at 12:20 PM on August 2, 2011


I think a big distinction needs to be drawn between "the right to own, and even carry, a handgun" and "the mind-blowingly scary idea that the country is now full of people who are carrying loaded handguns right this very moment who think that any second now someone is going to jump out and assault them".

People who live in neighborhoods with high crime and bad police response don't need guns. They need better police protections, better poverty prevention, better drug laws, better educational and employment opportunities. Everybody else is inventing these stories in their head that are vanishingly unlikely. The stranger who is coming to murder or rape or kidnap their children. These strangers do not exist. They are invented and painted with the faces of the Other: the poor, the black, the Mexican, the mentally ill, whatever. It's this idea that needs to be stripped away. Nobody, not men or women, not the elderly or the young, nobody should believe that their safety lies in the ability to kill any possible opponent. That's barbaric. Especially when you're much more likely to be talking about protecting your television than your life.

Or, in other words, Jesus Christ, no, I don't believe that anybody should have the right to be their own law just because we let them have a machine that is capable of killing, whatever the potential deficiencies of law enforcement.
posted by gracedissolved at 12:29 PM on August 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


It's a clue that guns are not quite the issue here, but [are just symbols in] another culture war front.

How many people in your town killed by Truck Nutz last year?
posted by applemeat at 12:36 PM on August 2, 2011


It is not necessary to carry a gun in our society. Period.

It's not necessary to drink alcohol in our society. Period.

It's not necessary to read Slaughterhouse Five in our schools. Period.

Just because something isn't necessary, doesn't mean the government should ban or outlaw it.

Even if the 2nd amendment was removed, we'd still have the 9th amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

I don't own a gun, I probably never will. But I'm from the Michigan school of Democrats, along with Michael Moore and crew. We grew up in a society where gun ownership was a normal thing. Where deer season meant kids having hunting rifles in their trucks during school hours wasn't some absurd terror plot, it just meant they were heading up to deer camp with their dad that evening.

2N2222 nails it with this being a culture-war issue. Guns have become associated with Republicans and conservatives and that's what this is about.

The problem isn't guns, it's the culture of fear we've created in this country with our media and politics. As others have pointed out, many other countries have liberal gun ownership laws and they don't have the same kind of violence we do. So we need to ask what's different with our culture.

Sure, we could remove guns, but that's not treating the cause, just a very visible symptom.
posted by formless at 12:49 PM on August 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


Kinda like kinky people or homosexuals or bisexuals or people who collect beanie babies or vegetarians or any group of people who have some behaviour that is found threatening or unusual to other people.

I don't disagree with some of what you're saying here, bartonlong, but there is a qualitative difference between something that appears threatening to bigots (e.g., homosexuality) and something that actually threatens other people (e.g., owning guns). Equating the two is a falsehood.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:04 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The one time I was the victim of a violent crime in Chicago, there isn't a fucking thing a gun would have done for me. The guy came at me in an unexpected way, and had his gun out before I realized what was happening. If I had gone for a gun, he probably would have shot me (I should mention that he was a pretty nervous-looking kid, btw). Instead, I gave him my money, he went away, and the cops picked him up about two hours later. My life is worth more than $40.

Interestingly, when I did live in a pretty druggy area (in a different part of Chicago), I was rarely worried about robberies of this sort. The thing about drug dealers is, if you're not buying or selling drugs, they really don't want to have anything to do with you. They are trying to do business, and they don't want to attract attention.

The thing most people worry about in a drug area is someone having a beef with someone else and taking a bunch of random shots at their house- the usual result being a rifle bullet going through two other houses and killing some kid in their bed.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:08 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's just that many of us don't buy the assumption that owning guns = threatens other people, which you take as self-evident.

Also, there are lots of things that threaten other people that no one thinks are reasonable to ban.

After reading formless's comment, which I agree with 100%, I guess I'm of the rural old-California school of Democrats, or possibly old-Northwest school of Democrats. Is there such thing? There ought to be, because there are a lot of us.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:12 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


The only people who are even the tiniest bit a threat to our way of like are politicians, bankers, and the medical/insurance industry. Please explain to me how carrying a gun is going to help fend them off.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:16 PM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't disagree with some of what you're saying here, bartonlong, but there is a qualitative difference between something that appears threatening to bigots (e.g., homosexuality) and something that actually threatens other people (e.g., owning guns). Equating the two is a falsehood.

How, precisely, does the mere fact of my owning guns "threaten other people"?
posted by vorfeed at 1:18 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


The biggest problem with having a gun in your house is that it makes it much more likely that someone in your household will impulsively or accidentally kill themselves or someone else who lives there.

I'm not afraid of guns, but I think that having them around is risky, so if you're doing it to keep yourself safe you've got it a bit backwards.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:19 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, there are lots of things that threaten other people that no one thinks are reasonable to ban.

Like what? What other things are purposely intended to cause violent death, but are still legal?
posted by desjardins at 1:20 PM on August 2, 2011


Rat poison.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 1:24 PM on August 2, 2011


It's just that many of us don't buy the assumption that owning guns = threatens other people, which you take as self-evident.

My experience - such as it is - with guns has come mostly because I have lived in cities where gun violence is common. In Dc and Boston and San Francisco, guns are most often used to shoot indiscriminately at someone the shooter thinks need shooting, and too bad if it's mistaken identity or bystanders get caught in the crossfire. I assume that people who own guns are often a threat because that's what my eyes and ears have observed.
posted by rtha at 1:24 PM on August 2, 2011


I'm surprised no one has mentioned suicide yet and its relationship to the availability of guns. Young men in particular are much more likely to shoot themselves. I personally know three who have died in the last several years. All three were impulsive acts - not planned or drawn out. No notes, no indications to loved ones. All three were severely intoxicated. I am reasonably certain that none of them would have killed themselves that day, had there not been a gun at the ready. You never know what might have happened the next day that could have changed their lives.
posted by desjardins at 1:25 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


but there is a qualitative difference between something that appears threatening to bigots (e.g., homosexuality) and something that actually threatens other people (e.g., owning guns). Equating the two is a falsehood.

I was trying to establish with several other points in my comment that my (or other law abiding citizen)owning guns is NOT a threat to you. I don't have a concealed carry permit largely because I don't feel I need it. But I am glad the option is there in case I do some day. And even then, unless you are a clear and evident threat to me (such as actively tryign to kill me) I am still not a danger to you. People are danegerous or not, not a gun. Lots and lots of people are killed without the killers having a gun. And just because you feel threatened doesn't mean you actually are threatened and your feelings are no cause for curtailing my rights. That is the larger point I am trying to make.

The root cause of the violence in our society is not the availibilty of guns. If that was the case the crime rate would not be declining, it would be increasing as more individuals obtain concealed carry permits and more guns are sold. Lets try addressing the actual causes like mental illness, lack of oppurtunity, and glorification of violence as a viable problem solving method.
posted by bartonlong at 1:25 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Rat poison isn't intended to be used in self defense, and I've never heard it being used for such. Intentional poisonings of people, yes, but who carries it around with them? What burglar steals your rat poison and forces you to eat food? Show me one case of that.
posted by desjardins at 1:27 PM on August 2, 2011


And just because you feel threatened doesn't mean you actually are threatened

It's funny that both sides are using the same argument. In one article the woman feels threatened (though probably isn't) and therefore carries. In this thread, people feel threatened (though probably aren't) and want to ban guns.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:32 PM on August 2, 2011


Like what? What other things are purposely intended to cause violent death, but are still legal?

Well, dogs come to mind, but I was thinking of more generically dangerous things, like cars and knives.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:34 PM on August 2, 2011


But if people have good research indicating that concealed firearms make people safer during potentially violent encounters I'd be fascinated.
posted by vuron at 10:24 AM on August 2 [+] [!]


Oh jeebus, my gun-fan friend always gets stuck in this bizarre loop... he's convinced that there's no data showing how just brandishing a firearm is enough to prevent a criminal from attacking, because if it was reported to the police it would result in the gun-owner being charged with 'brandishing a firearm' and so the gun-owner just doesn't report it. So obviously there are TONS of crimes prevented by legal gun owners that just don't show in the statistics. No amount of explanation of the burden of proof, as well as how statistical data gathering actually works, etc, will dissuade him of this phantasmal talking point.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:43 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The whole purpose of having a gun for self-defense (or hunting) is to be able to shoot something and kill it. Dogs, cars, and knives have other uses. Cars aren't intended for killing. Dogs very rarely are. Only some knives are. But ALL guns are meant for killing.

Try again.
posted by desjardins at 1:47 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


About 11,000 homicides with guns in in the US in 2004. No one knows how many, but let's guess there are 250 million guns owned.

42,836 deaths in car accidents in the US, 2004. 254.4 million passenger cars registered in 2007.


Point is, if we were objective about public safety we'd ban cars before we banned guns (and they aren't even "designed for killing"). But that's the thing about the gun debate--it's mostly emotional arguments, on both sides. I haven't made up my mind about how I feel about guns, but I have made up my mind about how most people assess risk.
posted by danny the boy at 1:48 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Would you report it? My father was (attempted) car-jacked a few years ago and managed to get the young man out of his car by brandishing a small bat he keeps on hand. I don't think it occurred to him or any of the rest of us to call the police about it- not out of fear of what the police would say, but because as far as we were concerned, the incident was over.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:48 PM on August 2, 2011


The other real problem with expecting to use a concealed handgun to defend yourself is the abysmally low hit rate with a handgun in a violent situation and the extremely low ranges that most violent encounters take place.

Apparently lethal force encounters between police and other individuals have 95% of the shooting distances at less than 21 feet with over 50% at less than 10 feet distance. At these ranges police officers typically hit roughly 12%-18%. 2-3 rounds are fired over the course of 2-3 seconds.

The idea that a regular person is going to be able to assess a threat as requiring a lethal response, extricate the concealed firearm from wherever it's stashed, aim and fire in the time required for an assailant to cover those distances seems a bit far fetched. The idea of struggling with an assailant over control of a handgun seems quite honestly terrifying. Further because you've suddenly escalated the situation to lethal force possible it seems likely that the assailant will go with lethal force in response.

So basically the hand gun wielder is going to have to use the weapon as a proactive deterrent by having the gun and the ready and being willing to pop that gun out at the drop of a hat. Personally I just don't think that's a particularly safe or desirable modus operandi.
posted by vuron at 1:48 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


What other things are purposely intended to cause violent death, but are still legal?

Bows, swords (hell, pretty much any medieval weapon...), bear-traps, all manner of poison, guillotines, flame-throwers (seriously)...

To be honest, the number of things designed to kill that are illegal is a lot smaller of a number that the number of things that are perfectly available.
posted by quin at 1:49 PM on August 2, 2011


sorry- that was for FatherDragon.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:49 PM on August 2, 2011


Guns are just things, they aren't good or evil and becoming convinced that it's more than just a very specific tool continues to perpetuate the mythos behind them.

Cars are just things too, but their design encourages specific behaviors. No technology is completely neutral, because it is the product of choices made by people.

I'm always surprised that there aren't more non-lethal methods of protecting yourself available to non-police, or that tasers haven't gotten much cheaper. I'd love to have an automatic pepper ball pistol, but honestly that would be so easy to misuse, especially if I were riding my bike to work.
posted by mecran01 at 1:51 PM on August 2, 2011


So you can seriously carry a sword or a crossbow walking down the street and no one would stop you?
posted by desjardins at 1:52 PM on August 2, 2011


Point is, if we were objective about public safety we'd ban cars before we banned guns (and they aren't even "designed for killing").

Isn't that exactly the point? Guns are designed for killing, and they kill a shit ton of people. Why do we have a thing like that?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:54 PM on August 2, 2011


I'm surprised no one has mentioned suicide yet and its relationship to the availability of guns.

Frankly, this is one of the reasons why I own a gun. As far as I'm concerned, the right to decide when and how to die is extremely valuable. Having studied the risk, I believe that having ready access to choice regarding death is well worth the chance that I might one day choose poorly.

The same goes for self-defense. Yes, I understand that I'm not all that likely to need to use my handgun in defense; I don't spend my time staring out the window fantasizing about Red Dawn. Yes, I understand that having guns around makes an accidental shooting more likely. However, I still think that having access to lethal self-defense, should it be necessary, is worth the risk.

This is the same thought process I have regarding alcohol, drugs, cars, violent video games, pornography, the internet, etc: different people have different perspectives on risk and reward with regards to the choices they make in life, and as far as I'm concerned, they should be free to set those parameters for themselves. Sanctioning people who hurt other people makes sense; sanctioning people who do victimless things we don't approve of is a colossal waste, and has gone a long way toward turning our justice system into a force which does tremendous harm in and of itself.

In particular, I see little evidence that banning things is a better strategy than harm reduction; addressing specific negative outcomes is almost always more effective public policy than addressing life choices.
posted by vorfeed at 1:58 PM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


The following items are illegal to carry concealed in Milwaukee (PDF, page 587):
The following are dangerous per se: blackjack, billy, standclub, sandbag, bludgeon, nunchaku sticks, throwing stars, sling shot, slung shot, any instrument which impels a missile by compressed air, spring or other means, any weapon in which loaded or blank cartridges are
used, crossknuckles, knuckles of any metal, barbed or blade type arrowhead, bowie knife, dirk knife, dirk, dagger, switch blade knife or any knife which has a blade that may be drawn without the necessity of contact with the blade itself or is automatically opened by pressure on the handle or some other part of the knife and is commonly known as a switch blade knife, straight-edge razor or any other knife having a blade 3 inches or longer.
posted by desjardins at 1:59 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Would you report it? My father was (attempted) car-jacked a few years ago and managed to get the young man out of his car by brandishing a small bat he keeps on hand. I don't think it occurred to him or any of the rest of us to call the police about it- not out of fear of what the police would say, but because as far as we were concerned, the incident was over.

Why would you not report a violent attempted crime? Our car got broken into a few weeks ago and I filled out a report online. I don't expect the cops to catch the guy, but I do want the stat to go into the system, as the police use that data to figure out when and where to put more patrols. The incident might have been over for you, but your lack of reporting may have lengthened your carjacker's careeer.
posted by rtha at 1:59 PM on August 2, 2011


I think carrying guns is nuts. They are too damn heavy. But then I'm over 6' and no one has messed with me since I was a reedy high school kid. I'm pretty sure if I had a cash business and had to take money to the bank at the end of the day, or I owned a jewelry or pawn shop, or I was a 5' tall person with a restraining order out on an ex-lover I'd feel a little differently.

The jewelry store owner next door to me has used his gun to shoot an armed robber, and to shoot at a different armed robber. There are probably better ways for him to avoid getting robbed or killed (he was shot last time even without the gun in hand), but I'm not going to fault him for picking that one.

The post-polio woman I know who carries cash to the bank at the end of the day who shot at an armed robber on one occasion probably would have been just as well off with pepper spray, but I'm not going to fault her for carrying her chrome plated pea shooter.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:59 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Isn't that exactly the point? Guns are designed for killing, and they kill a shit ton of people. Why do we have a thing like that?

No, his point is that cars kill a lot more people than guns. Guns don't actually kill that many people relatively compared to many other preventable causes of death.

But because gun crime seems so random, and the consequences of it are often so horrible, our natural biases in risk assessment take over.

It just seems increasingly American's have become fearful of everything. Whether it's chemistry sets, or letting their kids walk home alone, our risk assessment is out of whack with reality.
posted by formless at 2:00 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


shakespeherian: "Isn't that exactly the point? Guns are designed for killing, and they kill a shit ton of people. Why do we have a thing like that?"

Well no. Even if you believe that guns are only meant for killing, they're doing a pretty poor job of doing so in comparison to an object, that we have just as many of, and that is expressly designed to kill as few as possible.
posted by danny the boy at 2:01 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


oh my god man nobody's packing a buick in their bedside drawer to crush the legs of a would-be assailant
posted by beefetish at 2:01 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Point is, if we were objective about public safety we'd ban cars before we banned guns

No, obviously not. Because an objective analysis would recognize the tremendous utility of cars. What utility do guns have other than to kill?
posted by applemeat at 2:03 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


So you can seriously carry a sword or a crossbow walking down the street and no one would stop you?

The rules may vary in other states, but in Wisconsin, they might cite you for disorderly conduct, but that's about it.

If you are threatening people with it, everything changes of course, but just owning one and having it in public? Nope. Legal. ("Legal" being a relative term in context of whether or not the cops try to cause you problems...)

The following items are illegal to carry concealed in Milwaukee (PDF, page 587):

Concealed makes a difference.
posted by quin at 2:05 PM on August 2, 2011


Why would you not report a violent attempted crime?

Well, I have to say it just never occurred to me. I have reported car break-ins when I remember, but I needed the report for insurance.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:05 PM on August 2, 2011


to follow up, it's probably from having lived in cities where the police won't show up even if someone is still in your house, let alone for a crime committed and over with.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:07 PM on August 2, 2011


I'm actually second guessing myself on the bow thing; it may actually now be illegal to have an assembled bow in public.
posted by quin at 2:09 PM on August 2, 2011


Actually, quin, I was mistaken - if I understand this part correctly, you can't carry them while concealed-but-ready-to-use, either. (as you know, IANAL)
It shall be unlawful for any person to go armed with a dangerous weapon other than a firearm within the city, unless such dangerous weapon is secured or enclosed in a case designed to prevent unauthorized access to the weapon
posted by desjardins at 2:16 PM on August 2, 2011


I don't think guns make much difference on way or the other with regards to most crime. The biggest problem I see is that any schizophrenic man can walk into a gun shop in Arizona, for instance, and buy a gun. If he has a record that would show up on a background check, he can just go to a gun show and buy a gun with no questions asked, he can even say that he can't pass a background check. There is basically nothing to stop the mentally ill from buying guns. Because that would be a "slippery slope".
posted by stavrogin at 2:16 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually that would be a bad precedent stavrogin. Basically you are saying that just because someone is mentally ill they don't deserve the same rights as the rest of us. That simply isn't some place I want the US to return to.

Restrict or delay access to everyone but don't do it because someone is mentally ill.

Now if someone has been diagnosed as a threat to themselves or to others I think that diagnosis should probably be reported to authorities but otherwise I'm not a big fan.
posted by vuron at 2:22 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Even if you believe that guns are only meant for killing, they're doing a pretty poor job of doing so in comparison to an object, that we have just as many of, and that is expressly designed to kill as few as possible.

Then maybe 2nd-amendment advocates should carry cars around for self defense. I don't think your argument makes any sense.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:26 PM on August 2, 2011


applemeat: "No, obviously not. Because an objective analysis would recognize the tremendous utility of cars. What utility do guns have other than to kill?"

I think we might have different definitions of 'objective'. If your goal is to save as many lives as possible, you'd go after the thing that causes 4x as many deaths annually.

There are plenty of reasonable people who think we can & should reduce our vehicle use for other reasons, so the utility argument for cars isn't entirely black and white.

The utility argument against guns is cultural. If it wasn't you'd wouldn't have asked, because the reasons have all been mentioned in-thread already--you just don't accept those reasons. Self defense, hunting, sport/target shooting. It's not important to you, but it's important to many.

To put it in other words, the vast majority of guns, like the vast majority of cars, don't kill people.

This is where I currently sit on this issue. I wish guns didn't exist in this country, but when most of the arguments against are not based on what actually happens... I'm not ok with passing laws based on feelings.
posted by danny the boy at 2:32 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


shakespeherian: "Then maybe 2nd-amendment advocates should carry cars around for self defense. I don't think your argument makes any sense."

Yeah but I haven't made any comment on the wisdom of carrying a gun? I think it's pretty much a terrible idea.

My problem is that the idea of guns as objects designed solely for killing people doesn't match up with reality: they don't do nearly as good of a job as something designed NOT to kill people.
posted by danny the boy at 2:38 PM on August 2, 2011


My problem is that the idea of guns as objects designed solely for killing people doesn't match up with reality

Then what are guns designed for?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:40 PM on August 2, 2011


"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

well at least this is not being debated.


to follow up, it's probably from having lived in cities where the police won't show up even if someone is still in your house, let alone for a crime committed and over with.
posted by small_ruminant


There are a few more reasons. Fear of retaliation or the victim themselves may have warrents or other legal issues preventing them from calling. There is the issue of the police actually showing up.

Stranger danger random from-the-bushes grab-and-rape is, indeed, pretty rare.

I'm not sure about that. These folks are held a rally because of some monster roaming around and here is a story on the police response.
posted by clavdivs at 2:43 PM on August 2, 2011


Even if you believe that guns are only meant for killing, they're doing a pretty poor job of doing so in comparison to an object, that we have just as many of,

Guns do a much better job of killing than do cars. How many thousand times have you driven a car without killing someone? What is the chance that someone is killed when a gun is used?
posted by applemeat at 2:43 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Guns do a much better job of killing than do cars. How many thousand times have you driven a car without killing someone? What is the chance that someone is killed when a gun is used?

The number of times I've fired a gun is probably in the hundreds of thousands. Yet I've never killed a single person.
posted by the_artificer at 2:47 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Shakespherian: The answer to your question is the rest of that sentence you quoted, or the post I made just before it? I realize we disagree on this point, but we're just going in circles now?

Applemeat: I don't know how to make it any more clear? Like cars, most guns are used thousands of times and they don't kill anyone either? Circles!
posted by danny the boy at 2:47 PM on August 2, 2011


If your point is that the purpose of guns is for sport, and hobby, and going to the firing range, then great, but that's no argument that they should be allowed to be carried out onto the streets, or used for self-defense, or kept next to your bed at night in case a burglar comes in.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:53 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are we talking about concealed carry (as in the FPP) or have we moved on to just guns in general? If we're referring to concealed carry, then the relevant fact is how many times you've non-fatally fired your gun while carrying it out in public.
posted by desjardins at 2:54 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Guns do a much better job of killing than do cars. How many thousand times have you driven a car without killing someone? What is the chance that someone is killed when a gun is used?

There's a huge disconnect revealed in this statement between actual gun use and perceived gun use. Guns are used most often for hunting and sport-shooting, not to gun down innocent civilians in some gang-feud.

They're used hundreds of thousands times every year by sportsmen throughout the country without incident, because safety is drilled into your head from the beginning, either by adults or as part of the training to receive a license.

Because of that, it's rare to hear stories about hunting accidents or gun accidents. But car accidents occur every day in my neighborhood alone, let alone my city. But it doesn't make the news because it's so common.
posted by formless at 3:03 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


What other things are purposely intended to cause violent death, but are still legal?

Firearms are not purposely designed to cause violent death. They're purposely designed to throw a projectile. Which leads to the obvious question of why you would want to throw a projectile at something, to which the most common answer is: as a hobby or frivolity.

Other things that are similarly "designed to kill" or for other assorted mayhem that are (AFAIK) at least federally legal include:

(1) Bows
(2) Clubs
(3) Darts
(4) Swords
(5) Axes, or even specifically war-axes
(6) Knives and daggers
(7) Trebuchet
(8) Mangonels
(9) War hammers
(10) Crossbows
(11) Ballistas
(12) Onagers
(13) Black powder
(14) Flamethrowers
(15) Maces
(16) Tannerite
(17) Muzzle-loading black powder cannon, unless you include that as a "firearm"
(18) Boiling pitch
(19) Pole arms
(20) Bear traps
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:03 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most handguns are used for hunting?
posted by agregoli at 3:05 PM on August 2, 2011


Those stats listed above are for gun use that resulted in homocide, right? That doesn't account for the accidental deaths or suicides, which, as I understand it, are pretty high. You can't really compare one subset of numbers for guns and a total number of car-related deaths. Those numbers are apples and oranges until all the numbers are calculated into the total.

I'm all for banning cars too, though, if you like. If you live near a busy road you know how FILTHY cars are. I can't believe we breathe near cars, really. Ban them! More public transit! I'm on board!
posted by Hildegarde at 3:12 PM on August 2, 2011


Oh yes, by all means please let's ban cars. Sweet Jesus I hate those things.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:13 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most people who I've seen mention a carry permit have struck me as somewhere between being ludicrously fearful and having febrile power fantasies.

But the fact is, civilians with legal carry permits are pretty harmless, if a little unhinged. AFAIK the number of people with carry permits who are convicted of pretty much anything is very, very low.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:14 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most handguns are used for hunting?

My grandpa had a .22 caliber handgun he used to take out to the woods with us grandkids. We'd set up some pop cans and paper on a log and shoot away.

The man was a lifelong Democrat, helped build the local pipefitters union and was a huge Clinton supporter.

As far as I know, his guns weren't "threatening other people". I'm not sure how this counts towards the utility score for guns, but it's another point towards the idea that the perceived view of guns and the real view is flawed.
posted by formless at 3:16 PM on August 2, 2011


applemeat: "What is the chance that someone is killed when a gun is used?"

BTW, I was curious too, so I looked it up. A journal article from 20001 of 132k individual patients: of those with gunshot wounds from an assault, there was a 20% mortality rate. That is, 80% survived their wounds.

For suicide attempts, I think the mortality goes up to like 70-80%.

According to the NYPD shots fired report
2006: 364 bullets fired, hit their target 103 times, for a hit rate of 28.3 percent
2005: 472 bullets fired, hit their target 82 times, for a 17.4 percent hit rate.

So basically, kind of hard to kill someone, kind of easy to kill yourself.

1 Lethality of Firearm-Related Injuries in the United States Population Beaman, et al, Annals of Emergency Medicine 35:3 March 2000
posted by danny the boy at 3:21 PM on August 2, 2011


I think the perceived view of guns as "bad" has to do with the fact that, at least in America, a large number of people have had their lives impacted in some way by gun violence.
posted by agregoli at 3:25 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


"So you can seriously carry a sword or a crossbow walking down the street and no one would stop you?"

My son bought a 4 foot antique sword in China on a trip with his mother and me a few years ago. He got it home by carrying it through customs and in public to and from hotels, etc. in four countries. The only discussion about it was on entering Jordan. The customs officer called in his supervisor who said there was no problem. It is quite substantial and could certainly inflict lethal force, but I doubt it would stand up well to a firearm. BTW, we live in the US.
posted by txmon at 3:31 PM on August 2, 2011


Most handguns are used for hunting?

Some handguns are indeed used for hunting. However, most handguns are used -- if by "used" you mean actually fired -- for target shooting. Most serious handgun owners have fired thousands of rounds at targets, and have never, ever fired at or even aimed at a human being. Non-serious handgun owners hardly use their guns at all: the guns sit in a safe/glove box/end table/etc, and again, the vast majority of these guns are never once aimed at or fired at a human being.

We have over 60 million handguns in this country -- the idea that "most" of them are used to harm is patently ridiculous.
posted by vorfeed at 3:43 PM on August 2, 2011


Hildegarde: Yeah I didn't look into the suicide stats, and looked at homicide stats instead, because they were easier to find. From a quick search, I'm seeing numbers from 2002 that say 15,000 suicides by gun. Interestingly, they were only used in 5% of attempts, but represent 50% of successful attempts.

Philosophically, I thought homicide vs. car accidents was valid because I assumed that when you have an accident you're likely hitting other people and taking them with you, but I could be wrong about that.

So, almost twice as many people killed by cars than by guns, more than 4x more if you exclude suicide.

Agregoli: Someone with actual experience can probably say, but I believe .22 pistols are used for small game and pest control. I know some people hunt hogs with larger caliber pistols, but mostly I think they're used for target/defense.
posted by danny the boy at 3:49 PM on August 2, 2011


So you can seriously carry a sword or a crossbow walking down the street and no one would stop you?

At least one state where I've practiced law had a law against openly carrying a weapon with intent to injure, meaning that you could carry your sword down the street provided that there was no evidence you intended to use it injure someone. In practice, I'm guessing you'd get hassled by the police, even if you were later found not guilty.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:03 PM on August 2, 2011


"There is no connection - and you would be a fool and a communist to make one - there is no connection whatsoever between having a gun and shooting someone with it, and not having a gun and not shooting someone." - Bill Hicks

Hmm, I'm a HUGE Bill Hicks fan, I've read every word of Love All The People, watched The Bill Hicks Story, and watched every video I can find online (multiple times), and I'd never heard this quote. Can you provide a youtube link, or a book and page number for me? Otherwise I'm going to wonder if this is being misattributed. Thanks.
posted by parrot_person at 4:11 PM on August 2, 2011


"It is not necessary to carry a gun in our society. Period."
People in other societies should hire bodyguards.

" 'It is not unnecessary to carry a gun in our society. Period.'
Seriously, this is what passes for rational argument among the gun lovers?"

As opposed to: "It is not necessary to carry a gun in our society. Period."?

"Again, guns encourage and cause violence... e.g. Most British cops don't carry guns"
Unless you're a Brazilian electrician.

So that's why the crime rate in the U.K. is higher per capita than in the U.S.(the highest crime rate among the world's leading economies in 2002, according to a report by the United Nations) and why Switzerland has the lowest gun crime rate in the world? Because guns encourage violence?

"The rarest thing ever is the story of the woman who was threatened with rape, but her .38 saved her."

Saving their daughters, surprisingly routine.

According to the Bureau of Justice in approximately 80% of attempted rape cases, girls with any self-defense training (y'know, the macho girls compensating for their tiny penises) avoided sexual assault.

And most rapists are not murderers, of the women who chose to resist an attacker fewer than 9% sustain injuries more than a cut or a bruise - according to those gun nuts at RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
The more forceful the resistance, the lower the incidence of completed rape with no corresponding increase in physical injuring (Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1998, Sarah Ullman), this would be important particularly if you know the attacker. According to the Journal of Quantitative Criminology (Lizotte), resistance with a gun or a knife is the most effective form of resistance for preventing the completion of a rape - without creating any significant additional risk of other injury.

In most circumstances the research shows that only the credible threat of a firearm is needed to stop an attack (somewhere around 2-4% actually needed to fire, depending on what years research you're looking at)

I could cite a lot of other stuff but the general idea bears up under its own logic. What deters an attacker, any attacker but most particularly a rapist who is not interesting in killing, is not the firearm but the determination and willingness of the holder to use force if necessary.

This is true of many sorts of training. Unfortunately that 3rd degree black belt is not as obvious and apparent a symbol of the willingness to use force as a weapon is - most particularly a firearm given how much of a fetish it is in the U.S. That stuff, fortunately, works both ways.
And training in the use of firearms demythologizes it in the student. Which means someone else carrying a gun is not suddenly some unassailable creature who's will is unavoidable.

All other things being equal, it's better to have the option and not use it than need the option and not have it.

"The thing most people worry about in a drug area is someone having a beef with someone else and taking a bunch of random shots at their house - the usual result being a rifle bullet going through two other houses and killing some kid in their bed."
If only that sort of thing was illegal.

"People who live in neighborhoods with high crime and bad police response don't need guns. They need better police protections, better poverty prevention, better drug laws, better educational and employment opportunities."

You are quite correct. Most of the root of crime is social, and has little to do with gun ownership.

"Everybody else is inventing these stories in their head that are vanishingly unlikely. The stranger who is coming to murder or rape or kidnap their children. These strangers do not exist."

Here, you're completely mistaken. This happened just recently up here (70-Year-Old Woman Bound With Duct Tape In Lake Forest Home Invasion).
Before we get into the "what could a 70 year old do anyway" b.s. I present: Jean Zamarripa, who, at 72, put two bullets into an assailant who had beaten and raped three other women in prior incidents.

Owning a gun has some deterrent effect (at least 'some' I mean, c'mon), and indisputably there are social costs which might outweigh those benefits.
I don't know. Depends on how one values the benefits and the costs.
I think people have a right to suicide. On the other hand, is it too quick and easy with a firearm?

Still, I don't own a pool or a trampoline and I don't think I will ever own one. Keeping an eye on kids is important and it's important to keep them away from dangerous things.
On the other hand, I teach them to swim because its better to have that skill and not need it than to be afraid of water and panic once you're in it.
That there's a metaphor so maybe it's not a 100% good argument.

Anyway, maybe we would be better off having a sliding scale on taxation for private gun ownership. Why Dick Cheney would ever need one, much less be trusted with one, I don't know. But if someone like that wants one, he should have to heavily subsidize it.
Someone well trained, responsible, serious, all that - different story.

And I'm not a big handgun fan. At least not for home defense. (People make fun of the handguns I carry for hunting). But not needing it is not the same as restricting the option when practicably applicable.

Actually, is that really the argument, there are no circumstances ever under which a firearm would be a practical necessity?
Because if there are such circumstances (and they likely wouldn't have been invented otherwise) then it is a cost/benefit argument. On the order of the costs to society of having a private pool.

Eh, whatever the case, sotonohito has it.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:23 PM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Most of the root of crime is social, and has little to do with gun ownership.
Let me augment my statement since I don't think I've got enough emphasis on the gun control side of that equation.
The remedy for crime is not gun ownership. Might be useful in a tight spot. Maybe not.
But unquestionably in terms of creating a less violent and more law abiding society you need poverty prevention, educational and employment opportunities and other social programs, like police engagement with the community (community policing for example, although some cops just like riding the segways), and most certainly health programs.
And I think this has been borne out by the downward trends.

Jagoffs sporting pistols to Starbucks does exactly zero to help any of that. I suppose you can't always pick who tries to be on your side though.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:38 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Everybody else is inventing these stories in their head that are vanishingly unlikely. The stranger who is coming to murder or rape or kidnap their children. These strangers do not exist."

Here, you're completely mistaken. This happened just recently up here (70-Year-Old Woman Bound With Duct Tape In Lake Forest Home Invasion).
People here may not know their Chicago-area geography, so I'll point out that this incident, in which the woman was not hurt, occurred in a very wealthy suburb north of Chicago. Here's Redeye's weekly Chicago homicide toll for the next week:
Victims

July 19
– Theodore Thomas, a 18 year old black male, caused by a gunshot in Englewood.

July 19
– Philon Watson, a 20 year old black male, caused by a gunshot in Ashburn.


July 17
– Marcus London, a 19 year old black male, caused by a gunshot in Greater Grand Crossing.


July 16
– Aiki Muhammad, a 17 year old black male, caused by a gunshot in Englewood.


July 16
– Lorenzo Beasley, a 25 year old black male, caused by a gunshot in Washington Park.


July 16
– Tony McCoy, a 20 year old black male, caused by a gunshot in Kenwood.


July 16
– Stanley Washington, a 28 year old black male, caused by a gunshot in Humboldt Park.


July 15
– Dawn Scott, a 37 year old black female, caused by a gunshot in South Chicago.


July 15
– Trevon Randolph, a 23 year old black male, caused by a gunshot in Washington Heights.


July 14
– Gartania Prince, a 24 year old black male, caused by a gunshot in Englewood.


July 14
– Walter Brown, a 30 year old black male, caused by a gunshot in West Englewood.


July 13
– Dante McKinney, a 21 year old black male, caused by a gunshot in Burnside.


July 13
– Dante Lawrence, a 30 year old black male, caused by a gunshot in Fuller Park.
That's one week, and not a particularly exceptional week. There were the same number of homicides in Chicago the week before.

So I don't know about "vanishingly rare," but I do think that home invasions in places like Lake Forest are relatively uncommon, especially compared to gun homicides in places like Chicago.
posted by craichead at 5:07 PM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I own several guns, and have no interest in carrying.

I've never quite understood the desire to carry a firearm in real world circumstances. It's unlikely anyone legally carrying in the US will ever need to use it, and folks I've known who do carry readily admit this. So I argued, why not carry a pipe wrench of similar weight? There are several times when carrying a pipe wrench really would've been handy. Yet, if someone other than a plumber was to carry a pipe wrench on their person, "just in case", they'd rightly be considered kinda weird. Even if a pipe wrench would offer much more utility to the average person than a firearm.


from 2N2222 waaaaaay up above--deserves re-posting down here.

(and yes, i own and shoot guns too...)
posted by DavidandConquer at 5:11 PM on August 2, 2011


To compensate for their tiny penises and the fact that they were picked on in high school?

Is this a projection, or a statement of fact? If the latter, please cite.

A friend of mine was driving through downtown San Diego late at night. He was returning home from a rehearsal for some charity theater work he organized. He made an illegal right turn on a red light and was pulled over. The police referred to it as a 'routine traffic stop.' There was a prop gun on the back seat of his car with bright orange tape on it. The cops told him to get out of the car, which he didn't want to do.


What does this have to do with your original statement - the one at the top of the page (the first line)? You are conflating examples and assumptions - i.e. committing a pure logical fallacy - i.e. assuming specific, isolated cases are universal.

I can appreciate that things go wrong in law enforcement; there are abuses - but mostly, law enforcement's presence is a deterrent. If it wasn't we be living in literal anarchy and chaos, right now.
posted by Vibrissae at 5:14 PM on August 2, 2011


I can definitely understand the feeling that a firearm can potentially allow someone to defend themselves from a larger, stronger assailant but does it really serve that purpose? Does it truly serve as a deterrent against violent crime? Or does it tend to escalate potentially violent encounters to the point where a fatality is a likely outcome?

I'm asking these questions in good faith because I'm not sure that there really has been good research done to answer them.

I think all too often people assume that just because they have a gun handy that in a potentially violent situation they will be safer than someone without a gun. It seems that unless you are prepared to use lethal force every time you draw a gun on someone else you would be better served by employing a non-lethal alternative in order to give yourself time to flee the scene. Further it seems that the second you pull a handgun you are instantly promoting yourself to potentially lethal threat which encourages a potential assailant to escalate their level of violence towards you.

But if people have good research indicating that concealed firearms make people safer during potentially violent encounters I'd be fascinated.


Check out this 1995 study: Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self Defense with a Gun. From the conclusion:

"Since as many as 400,000 people a year use guns in situations where the defenders claim that they "almost certainly" saved a life by doing so, this result cannot be dismissed as trivial. If even one-tenth of these people are accurate in their stated perceptions, the number of lives saved by victim use of guns would still exceed the total number [Page 181] of lives taken with guns."

Here's an excerpt dealing with the "question" of whether a potential crime victim is putting themselves at a greater risk by having or deploying a firearm:

"On the other hand, the scientific reasons are likely to be familiar only to the relatively small community of scholars who study the consequences of victim self-protection: the defensive actions of crime victims have significant effects on the outcomes of crimes, and the effects of armed resistance differ from those of unarmed resistance. Previous research has consistently indicated that victims who resist with a gun or other weapon are less likely than other victims to lose their property in robberies [3] and in burglaries. [4] Consistently, research also has [Page 152] indicated that victims who resist by using guns or other weapons are less likely to be injured compared to victims who do not resist or to those who resist without weapons. This is true whether the research relied on victim surveys or on police records, and whether the data analysis consisted of simple cross-tabulations or more complex multivariate analyses. These findings have been obtained with respect to robberies [5] and to assaults. [6] Cook [7] offers his unsupported personal opinion concerning robbery victims that resisting with a gun is only prudent if the robber does not have a gun. The primary data source on which Cook relies flatly contradicts this opinion. National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) data indicate that even in the very disadvantageous situation where the robber has a gun, victims who resist with guns are still substantially less likely to be injured than those who resist in other ways, and even slightly less likely to be hurt than those who do not resist at all. [8]

With regard to studies of rape, although samples typically include too few cases of self-defense with a gun for separate analysis, McDermott, [9] Quinsey and Upfold, [10] Lizotte, [11] and Kleck and Sayles [12] all found that victims who resisted with some kind of weapon were less likely to have the rape attempt completed against them. Findings concerning the impact of armed resistance on whether rape victims suffer additional injuries beyond the rape itself are less clear, due to a lack of information on whether acts of resistance preceded or followed the rapist's attack. The only two rape studies with the necessary sequence information found that forceful resistance by rape victims usually follows, rather than precedes, rapist attacks inflicting additional injury, undercutting the proposition that victim resistance increases the likelihood that the victim will be hurt. [13] This is consistent with findings on robbery and assault. [14]"

Another study focused on the effect of private gun ownership on crime rates is: Guns and Justifiable Homicide: Deterrence and Defense. If the opinions of criminals means anything to you, then you may find this excerpt to be particularly interesting:

The normal intent of a burglar is to enter unoccupied premises and to make off with valuable property without encountering the owner of the property. Wright and Rossi (1986, p. 145) found that 74 percent of criminals agreed with the statement, "One reason burglars avoid houses when people are at home is that they fear being shot during the crime."[29] The result is that most burglaries do not result in personal encounters between the burglar and the victim. Some [Page 227] burglaries do result in such encounters, however, and probably should be counted. Because the number is unknown and because there was no intent on the part of the burglar to have an encounter, these are not counted here. It is noteworthy that England has essentially outlawed most private possession of guns and has a philosophy that self-defense is not a valid reason for shooting an assailant.[30] Possibly because of those factors, there is a much higher rate of burglary of occupied homes in England than there is in the United States.[31]

I appreciate and applaud your interest in arguments showing the positive effects of private gun ownership. However, I fear that many on this site do not share your open minded curiosity and will be unwilling to go and examine for themselves evidence that may upset their worldview. Perhaps the introductory quote from the second paper can serve as a partial retort to all the insults and slurs directed at law abiding gun owners.

"". . . the victims are no doubt better than the wrongdoers, but are at the mercy of their inferiors in the field in which they themselves are inferior, where, that is, they cannot be classed among the good since they have not trained themselves in self-defense. . . . . .But at this stage some have not armed themselves-and the duly armed win the day. Not even a God would have the right to deal a blow for the unwarlike: the law decrees that to come safe out of battle is for fighting men, not for those that pray."

-Plotinus

-----

Also I agree with vorfeed that the gun as a means of suicide is an incentive for gun ownership. We're a very long ways away from society respecting the right of the individual to end their own life in a time and way of their own choosing. Some of us are willing to run the risk of making a bad decision in exchange for having that option.
posted by BigSky at 5:32 PM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'd be interested to know how many people who feel that a pocket knife or pipe wrench would do in a pinch are men and how many are women.

I am not strong and not a good fighter and I assure you that a pipe wrench and all the warning in the world wouldn't do me or a lot of people much good.


you missed the point of the earlier post. the point was that said wrench is imminently more applicable to the challenges of modern life than handguns are. so much so that, in order to convince themselves that a gun could ever be of comparable utility, civilians who routinely carry weapons must actually invent a world that is much more threatening, just to justify their practice of carrying.
posted by DavidandConquer at 5:36 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another study focused on the effect of private gun ownership on crime rates is: Guns and Justifiable Homicide: Deterrence and Defense.


In keeping with the mostly neutral references being posted by both sides in this discussion BigSky, can you find a more neutral source than SAF.org?
posted by applemeat at 6:15 PM on August 2, 2011


I'd be interested to know how many people who feel that a pocket knife or pipe wrench would do in a pinch are men and how many are women.

I'd still be interested to know this, though, since it comes up in every gun thread.
posted by small_ruminant at 6:21 PM on August 2, 2011


civilians who routinely carry weapons must actually invent a world that is much more threatening, just to justify their practice of carrying.

Assault exists. Rape exists, murder exists. Whether you think the world is "threatening" or not, these things do happen to people who are simply out and about, and the personal cost can be staggering. A handgun may not be applicable to most of "the challenges of modern life", but it is applicable to threats of serious bodily harm... and because such threats are so damaging compared to most challenges, many people find it prudent to consider them despite their rarity.

IMHO, the thinking behind concealed carry is pretty similar to the thinking behind optional flood or disability insurance -- it's primarily a response to the very high cost of disability or flood, not the likelihood thereof. Most concealed-carry holders are quite up-front (and happy!) about the fact that they'll probably never have to use their weapons; the gun is there in case of threat, not because of it.
posted by vorfeed at 6:34 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


In keeping with the mostly neutral references being posted by both sides in this discussion BigSky, can you find a more neutral source than SAF.org?

Why should I?

These aren't essays only published on a gun rights foundation's website. You are implying they are the equivalent of editorials. Not the case. Both of these studies were published independently in legal journals. They make their argument and cite their sources. I don't give a damn if they're hosted on HotDwarfPussy.com or NazisAreUs.org or JewsForLaRouche.com or FlayedKittens.net. It simply does not matter.

This just looks like a weak attempt to justify not engaging with these arguments on their own merits.
posted by BigSky at 6:43 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


What does this have to do with your original statement - the one at the top of the page (the first line)?

That wasn't my statement. My username is shakespeherian.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:45 PM on August 2, 2011


I find concealed carry - and handgun/automatic weapon - discussion in the US kind of mind-boggling. Outside the US, hardly any developed countries let you do anything with guns practically, and our society is not a cesspit of wanton crime and exploitation. I find it strange because the US really is a global outlier with this stuff, but opponents of gun control act like there's no alternative model.

I dunno, it's such a weird symbol to care so much about. I'm not in the US - thank god - with it's gross inequality, pathetic welfare system, appalling minimum wage; in short, high level of everyday desperation - but I sure as shit am glad the people I see on the street every day in Sydney, Australia don't have loaded weapons on them for the love of god. Most of the cops here don't even carry guns. Seems to work out fine - they certainly haven't been shooting as many people, and I am glad to see incidents of road-rage etc tend to result in a black eye rather than a hole in the head. Someone trying to mug you does not deserve to die, in my book.
posted by smoke at 6:47 PM on August 2, 2011


... just recently up here (70-Year-Old Woman Bound With Duct Tape In Lake Forest Home Invasion)...

....so I'll point out that this incident, in which the woman was not hurt....


I would beg to differ that this woman wasn't hurt. I bet she spends years recovering from something like this.
posted by small_ruminant at 6:48 PM on August 2, 2011


If I was a woman, I'd probably carry a gun for protection. Hell I'm a wimpy guy who lives alone. If it was legal here I'd at least have a Taser.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:11 PM on August 2, 2011


I'd be interested to know how many people who feel that a pocket knife or pipe wrench would do in a pinch are men and how many are women.

I'd still be interested to know this, though, since it comes up in every gun thread.
That poll I linked to before showed that women are much, much more likely to support gun control than men are. I think that the idea that you'll use a gun to protect yourself is mostly a male fantasy. I also think that women tend to be more aware that the primary threats to us are people we know and often care about and that these threats may not present themselves in ways that would easily be solved with a gun. I mean, your ex-husband and children's father shows up at your door screaming threats. You're scared, but you're hoping you can get him to calm down. You pull your gun and tell him to back off. He screams at you that he's going to kill you and lunges for you. Do you actually shoot him? How are you going to explain to your children that you shot their father? How likely are the police and courts to buy your self-defense explanation? How do you even know for sure that he was going to hurt you in a way that justified that amount of force?

I've actually been a victim of stranger crime, and I can't figure out how having a gun would have improved the situation. But most serious crime against women is perpetrated by people we know. And I think that most people would be hesitant to use a gun in self-defense against someone with whom they had a pre-existing relationship.
I would beg to differ that this woman wasn't hurt. I bet she spends years recovering from something like this.
I bet she'd have been pretty traumatized if she'd shot and killed someone, too, though.
posted by craichead at 7:22 PM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I thought the idea of guns was that everything wasn't decided by physical strength anytmore.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:28 PM on August 2, 2011


Outside the US, hardly any developed countries let you do anything with guns practically, and our society is not a cesspit of wanton crime and exploitation.

That's not really true, though. Lots of countries have high rates of firearms ownership -- Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic...

What separates the US is

(1) Lots of handgun ownership in particular, and
(2) A society that's fundamentally more broken.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:29 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Outside the US, hardly any developed countries let you do anything with guns practically, and our society is not a cesspit of wanton crime and exploitation.

I was called 'clinically paranoid' because I ventured that I felt unsafe walking around at 3am unarmed. I have never been attacked, despite being obnoxious and weak. However, it only takes one incident, and I think women (and men) deserve to be able to have some way of equalizing themselves with rugby players, surfers, and the like. Keep in mind that even tasers and peppers spray are banned.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:35 PM on August 2, 2011


(not to stereotype surfers and rugby players. I mean if you don't spend all your time working out you shouldn't be at greater risk of attack)
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:37 PM on August 2, 2011


That poll I linked to before showed that women are much, much more likely to support gun control than men are.

I'm not arguing that- I've noticed that too (but only anecdotally!). However, I don't run into many women who feel a pipe wrench will protect them, and I DO run into guys who feel that way.

Women seem to feel that police or bystanders will protect them, but my (anecdotal) life experience hasn't demonstrated that to be the case, so I am in favor of people figuring out how to do it themselves.
posted by small_ruminant at 7:44 PM on August 2, 2011


A gun shop owner I kinda know socially makes in excess of $5000 every Saturday, teaching a 3 hour Florida CCW qualification class, at $50 a head. So that I understood personally some of what I've heard him say about concealed carry weapon trends, I took his class, as a paying student last April. The Saturday morning I showed up, so did 107 other people, 71 of whom were apparently of the female persuasion. Each of us listened to his group instruction in Florida carry law, weapon safety, and various tactical matters, and each of us demonstrated our knowledge of weapon safety and ability to operate a firearm by taking from him a loaded Smith and Wesson .22 revolver, not pointing it at him directly, and firing 2 unaimed shots point blank into a commercial bullet trap, while wearing hearing protection, and then handing the gun back to him, while continuing to point it in a generally safe direction. The class had a 100% graduation success rate. At the state office where you go to actually apply for your CCW permit, after taking such a class, 5 out of the 7 applicants I talked with on a Monday afternoon, for the 1 to 2 p.m. hour appointments, last May were women (I had some business in a nearby Social Security office that day, and just stopped by the CCW permit office to see how many people were applying).

During his discussion of various concealment strategies for firearms, the CCW class instructor showed the Keltec P-3AT as a sub-compact semi-auto .380, good for on person concealment, or easy carry in a purse or handbag. He didn't fail to mention that it comes in pink, too, and coincidentally, is one of his biggest sellers, over in the gun store.

If you're thinking that women aren't actively self-arming, let me just say that an acquaintance of mine is making a mint, servicing the distaff market, so to speak.
posted by paulsc at 7:53 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've actually been a victim of stranger crime, and I can't figure out how having a gun would have improved the situation.

I would tend to agree without knowing the circumstances because as you say, a stranger crime, which I will assume caught you off guard or undefended. A handgun might have prevented that crime but resorting to a gun during the crime in progress would most likely have resulted in a bad end.
posted by clavdivs at 7:59 PM on August 2, 2011


"One of the few pieces of relative consensus about concealed weapons and crime is that licensees, who in most states, including Michigan, undergo background checks and training, tend to be more law-abiding than the adult population at large."

More gun licenses, more debates.
posted by clavdivs at 8:08 PM on August 2, 2011


It's not really legal gun owners I'm worried about - it's the large number of illegal gun owners and owners of stolen guns.
posted by agregoli at 8:16 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


each of us demonstrated our knowledge of weapon safety and ability to operate a firearm by taking from him a loaded Smith and Wesson .22 revolver, not pointing it at him directly, and firing 2 unaimed shots point blank into a commercial bullet trap, while wearing hearing protection, and then handing the gun back to him, while continuing to point it in a generally safe direction.

Just to point out: when I took the class in NM we had to hit (with the caliber and handgun type we were applying for, not a .22) at least 72% of 15 shots from three yards and 10 shots from ten yards to qualify, on an 18"x12" target. The instructor also made us do about half of the three-yard qualification with handicaps: 3 rounds with the dominant hand only, 3 with the weak hand only, and 3 from a kneeling position. Not hard for anyone who can shoot, really -- everyone passed -- but a fair way to weed out those who really can't.

I think it's a shame that the "test" is so weak in FL.
posted by vorfeed at 8:19 PM on August 2, 2011


"I bet she'd have been pretty traumatized if she'd shot and killed someone, too, though."

"She said she still has a gun and a dog and is thankful to her friend Carl Duncan for persuading her to keep a weapon in her home.
"Were it not for him, I might not be here," Zamarripa said. She called the other victims "three wonderful and brave women. I'm hopeful now they will go forward and not look back.
This horrible ordeal is over. Thank God."


Yeah, she sounds all broken up about shooting someone.

"And I think that most people would be hesitant to use a gun in self-defense against someone with whom they had a pre-existing relationship."
In some cases with some people, it might help.
All it takes is training. Whether one is ok with taking that step and what that entails, yes, is something else.
But I can hook you up with some Israeli sharpshooters who would be happy to elucidate what women are capable of in using firearms.

"So I don't know about "vanishingly rare," but I do think that home invasions in places like Lake Forest are relatively uncommon, especially compared to gun homicides in places like Chicago."

Lake Forest is precisely the point of the rebuttal. Higher income households generally experience lower rates of burglary. It can happen in a wealthy area, it can happen anywhere.
How this specific point refutes that being victimized by strangers is not a myth I don't know.

In the U.S., the proportion of murder victims who knew their assailants to victims killed by strangers is about 3-to-1. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice) but men are mostly likely to be assaulted by a stranger. 64% of women who are raped know their attackers. The majority sure. Still that leaves ... carry the one .... 36% who are raped by strangers. Over 1/3. Not an insignificant amount.

Almost all the shootings you cited were listed as gang-related or were obviously so. Unless people step out of cars and randomly shoot other people in some homage to surrealism.

To add to your stats: there were three armed robberies in West Garfield Park ending around June 24.
Funny thing about that. That's where CeaseFire started 11 years ago. Shootings went down by 67% in the first year.
They have a statistically proven (by the DOJ) track record of reducing shootings and killings by 41 to 73% and have a staggering 100% success rate in stopping retaliatory killings in 5 of 8 of the communities they operated it.
Chicago was doing quite well there for a while.

In one case, they exported their model to Maywood, which is in Chicagoland and was the murder capital of the country for a while. After about 3 or 4 years, CeaseFire - and changes in the local police department - that community had ZERO murders. Not one. Zip. Nada. Nothing. Nobody shot nobody. The shit f'ing worked.

Naturally the state cut all their funding for the next year and the shooting began.

Their model is engagement (I'm a big, big fan of that), anger management, drug and alcohol rehab and job counseling.

The use violence interrupters, some of the bravest human beings it's been my good fortune to be personally acquainted with, to act as mediators after there's been a shooting to stop the cycle of revenge.
That's right, they walk up to gang members - who are grieving their fallen, angry and looking to kill someone, and have the means - at hand - to do it and try to talk them out of it.
Hell, there should be a FPP post on them.

One guy I used to spar with a while back had been a former enforcer for a gang. After he went to jail he got out and went off to do this. He was called all kinds of nasty shit. He got jumped all the time by the new guys even though he was considered an O.G. by some of the older guys. He still had a rep so no one took it too him too hard.
But he got spat on and had nasty things done to him. I asked him if it was hard going from being someone who was feared and respected to this.
Something he said I won't forget: "I will humble myself in whatever way I need to to make sure these kids don't end up going through what I went through."
From that point on I thought he was Batman.

Can we at least stipulate that the guns themselves are not dragging people into the streets like ersatz Stormbringers demanding blood and souls for Arioch and there are social components here that it might be more efficacious to address?

Given all the lobby money that pours into gun control (and this is not to say there's not a whole fat lot of pro-gun money) some should be spent on programs like CeaseFire that actually address WHY the shooting occurs.

Indeed, when guns are taken off the street, when there are big raids, that's when you see the dog assault and dog fighting statistics go up for a while.

Gun topics are so subject to political pandering. It seems like abortion, one of those issues that's politically fated to never be settled because it's so polarizing.
I'm pro-gun, which apparently means I'm a gun nut even though I favor pretty reasonable regulation and permit process (by definition, I'm a hunter, permit fees help conserve wildlife areas).
But politicians prey on people ignorant about firearms (which, really could be pro-gun or pro-control folks) and fearful of violence (from a criminal or a gun nut) and distort the situation.

They do this so much so that proven methods, like CeaseFire, like other successful criminal justice programs are vulnerable to the vagaries of the blowing political wind for funding.

So I have to ask the same kind of question I ask pro-lifers, is the objective to penalize people for having abortions or to protect unborn children?
Same thing here, is the objective to prevent gun violence or to just get rid of guns?
What's Your Best Idea to Cut Gun Deaths? A Freakonomics Quorum
Disincentivising social irresponsibility seems pretty nifty.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:59 PM on August 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


Smedleyman, you make a lot of good points. As I mentioned above, though, suicides and accidental deaths are a major concern with guns as well. Not just murders.

In fact, the majority of gun deaths are suicides.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:50 PM on August 2, 2011


Lake Forest is precisely the point of the rebuttal. Higher income households generally experience lower rates of burglary. It can happen in a wealthy area, it can happen anywhere.

But there are lots of things that really can happen that it is not reasonable to fear, at least not to the extent of carrying ostensibly protective devices against them.

People really are, on rare occasions, eaten by sharks. But someone who insisted on wearing a mesh-suit to splash around on Miami Beach would still be an idiot.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:05 AM on August 3, 2011


People really are, on rare occasions, eaten by sharks. But someone who insisted on wearing a mesh-suit to splash around on Miami Beach would still be an idiot.

But we do put nets up at beaches with sharks. And some of us avoid shark-filled beaches.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:14 AM on August 3, 2011


Hmm, I'm a HUGE Bill Hicks fan, I've read every word of Love All The People, watched The Bill Hicks Story, and watched every video I can find online (multiple times), and I'd never heard this quote. Can you provide a youtube link, or a book and page number for me? Otherwise I'm going to wonder if this is being misattributed. Thanks.

It's definitely Bill Hicks; it's on his Relentless CD.
posted by nath at 12:26 AM on August 3, 2011


In fact, the majority of gun deaths are suicides.

I think you actually got this backwards, no? It's that the majority of successful suicides are gun deaths?
posted by elizardbits at 3:45 AM on August 3, 2011


No, I do not have it backwards. The majority of gun deaths in the US are suicides.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:16 AM on August 3, 2011


I very much doubt that anybody on either side of the issue in this thread has persuaded anyone on the other. Practically and legally, however, the issue of banning guns is dead in the US. The second amendment establishes an individual's right to own firearms per the Supreme Court. Local (mainly municipal) regulations may govern either ownership or open carry but must be very carefully written and limited to remain constitutional, also per SCOTUS. State legalization of licensed concealed carry is spreading and often includes "must issue" provisions.

Maybe another generation and another day. But it strikes me as the sort of issue that gains traction mainly in fat, happy times when people don't have a lot of other, more important worries; I don't see such times returning any time soon.
posted by jfuller at 6:24 AM on August 3, 2011


Yeah, she sounds all broken up about shooting someone.
That's not the same person. The woman in Lake Forest was not raped and did not shoot her attacker. She was tied up while robbers stole jewelry and electronics. And I would submit that killing someone would be more traumatic than being tied up while someone stole stuff, as traumatic as that would be.

(She also didn't turn on the alarm with which the home was equipped, and the police opined that the robbers probably would have run away if the alarm had gone off. So it looks like in that case there was another possible deterrent which would have been less trouble than having a gun in the house. Plus, it wasn't her house. She was house-sitting for out-of-town relatives. So I don't have a lot of confidence that she would have known where the gun was or how to use it if there had been a gun in the house.)
All it takes is training. Whether one is ok with taking that step and what that entails, yes, is something else.
It is not "something else." It is the whole point. Women are not likely to be protected by guns for many reasons, but one of them is because we are likely to be victimized by people who we would not be willing to shoot.
But I can hook you up with some Israeli sharpshooters who would be happy to elucidate what women are capable of in using firearms.
I am not disputing whether women are capable of using weapons. I am disputing that carrying a gun would make us safer.
In the U.S., the proportion of murder victims who knew their assailants to victims killed by strangers is about 3-to-1. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice) but men are mostly likely to be assaulted by a stranger.
I'm not sure I'm following you here. Are you agreeing with me? For women, the proportion of murder victims who know their assailants is probably even higher than 3 to 1. Hell, most things that I've read say that fully a third of all female murder victims are killed by their husband or boyfriend.
64% of women who are raped know their attackers. The majority sure. Still that leaves ... carry the one .... 36% who are raped by strangers. Over 1/3. Not an insignificant amount.
First of all, that's an awfully specific number for something that is notoriously difficult to measure. Acquaintance rape is significantly under-reported, and estimates of how common it is are always going to be estimates. I'm not sure how you could get a number as specific as 64%, and in fact it seems like one of those stats that is deliberately made specific to seem credible.

But OK, I've known some women who were raped by strangers. One of them was asleep in her bed, and she woke up with the guy on top of her. How would a gun have helped her? Another was drunk at a club, and her friends put her into a cab, paid the cab driver, and told him her address. He took her somewhere else, raped her, and then dumped her on the street. How would a gun have helped her?
Almost all the shootings you cited were listed as gang-related or were obviously so. Unless people step out of cars and randomly shoot other people in some homage to surrealism.
Yeah, you know what? I don't care whether they were gang related. I know this isn't what you were trying to say, but it sometimes feels like asshole suburbanites like to point out that violence in Chicago is gang-related because that's an effective way of blaming the victims and minimizing the horror of urban gun violence. It's not true that all gun violence in Chicago is gang-related, and it's definitely not true that every person killed in gang-related violence is in a gang. But it shouldn't matter.
Chicago was doing quite well there for a while.
Chicago still is doing really well. The murder rate for 2010 was the lowest it's been in 45 years. It's just that doing really well by Chicago standards is still an utter tragedy. I agree that the underlying causes of gun violence in big cities are social and that the solutions need to be social. It's not lost on me, though, that the same suburban and rural people who oppose gun control also generally oppose the kind of policies that could address the root causes of urban gun violence. And in the meantime, living in a gun-saturated society exacerbates the problem. It may not be the root cause, but it makes the effects massively worse.
posted by craichead at 6:36 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Almost all the shootings you cited were listed as gang-related or were obviously so.

This puzzles me. So what? Are bystanders caught in the crossfire, or who are shot because of mistaken identity, supposed to find comfort in this? Would having a gun on you help if the bullet that hits you comes from half a block away, and you don't even know there's been a shooting until you fall down? It wouldn't have helped the kid in Oakland who was paralyzed by the bullet that came though his home's wall; it wouldn't have helped the German tourist standing outside a theater near Union Square; it wouldn't have helped the baby killed by a kid who thought one of the parents was a rival gang member.
posted by rtha at 7:04 AM on August 3, 2011


I asked him if it was hard going from being someone who was feared and respected to this.
Something he said I won't forget: "I will humble myself in whatever way I need to to make sure these kids don't end up going through what I went through."


Smedleyman, that guy is awesome.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:35 AM on August 3, 2011


I thought the idea of guns was that everything wasn't decided by physical strength anytmore.

Actually, the scenarios where a person with a gun has a clean shot at distance at someone who is attacking is probably pretty rare. For example, a woman who carries a gun in her purse and is jumped by a guy in the parking lot as she is unlocking her car is not going to be able to use her gun to defend herself unless she can physically out-maneuver her assailant. In fact, if she can't, and the assailant has robbery in mind, the gun actually functions against her. The facile assumption that having a gun is protective drives much of the disagreement between camps. Unfortunately, John Lott has published (and continues to update) his un-peer-reviewed, poorly executed "research" claiming that "statistics" show crime goes down when gun ownership goes up (never mind that he's preaching to those for whom all the legitimate statistics about death from guns are meaningless). So we have gun lovers who cling to their cartoon view of the benefit vs. costs of gun ownership and brandishment.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:48 AM on August 3, 2011


the young rope-rider: "In fact, the majority of gun deaths are suicides."

Yeah but that's again ignoring the actual numbers. 5% of all suicide attempts are by guns; it's true that 50% of deaths (successful suicides) involve guns, but then there's that whole other half that use something else, and the other 90% that ostensibly still want to die and may try again. So rather than getting rid of guns, if you wanted to make an impact on suicide attempts, logically, you'd address the cause of suicide, not availability of guns.

Pragmatically, you'll never get rid of access to guns in the short term anyway, so other policy changes would seem to much more fruitful.

This is what I see anyway, both sides finding reasons to be pro, or anti gun, reality be damned.
posted by danny the boy at 10:01 AM on August 3, 2011


It's not lost on me, though, that the same suburban and rural people who oppose gun control also generally oppose the kind of policies that could address the root causes of urban gun violence.

Throughout this thread those who have been arguing for gun rights are the very same people who have been pointing out that the root cause is something deeper, something we should instead focus on.

In fact, the only people who are ignoring the root cause are those arguing for more gun control

Yeah, you know what? I don't care whether they were gang related.
...
This puzzles me. So what?

Your statement directly supports the point made way upthread by 2N2222 that the gun debate is a proxy for the culture war.

As an argument against your strawman of one, let me put forth an anecdote of one.

I grew up in Saginaw Michigan, which from 2003-2010 had the highest violent crime rate in the country. I have had friends who were the victim of gun crimes. But I don't blame Michigan's issues on guns. It's lack of economic opportunity, lack of social services for the poor, a criminal justice system focused too much on punishing and not enough on rehabilitation or helping people, and a corrupt drug war.

I live in Seattle now, and woke up a few months ago to gun shots in a shooting a block from my apartment.

So what? Well, I'm just pointing out that the misconception of gun-rights people as racist Yokels is wrong. Just like the perception corrected upthread about the majority of handguns in the US being used for harm. I'm not arguing for gun rights from the safety of my shack in the woods.

Like I said before, I don't even own a gun, and probably never will. But taking away rights always seemed like something the Republicans were known for, not the Democrats. I'll admit, I'm more passionate about civil-liberties than the average MeFi, but it's still something that's never sat right on the Democrat/Republican divide.
posted by formless at 11:42 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah but that's again ignoring the actual numbers. 5% of all suicide attempts are by guns; it's true that 50% of deaths (successful suicides) involve guns, but then there's that whole other half that use something else, and the other 90% that ostensibly still want to die and may try again. So rather than getting rid of guns, if you wanted to make an impact on suicide attempts, logically, you'd address the cause of suicide, not availability of guns.


No it's not ignoring the numbers, nor did I make an anti-gun argument. The fact is that you can talk about murders all day long but unless you talk about suicides, you're not realistically tackling the issue of gun deaths.

The majority of gun deaths are due to people shooting themselves. This is much more effective than almost every other potential method of suicide, and it is extremely easy to use this method impulsively.

I grew up around guns, have friends who own guns, had a hunter safety permit at 9, ate a lot of elk. I also know plenty of people who shot themselves to death while they were drunk or in that bad place everyone goes to when they get dumped.

It is a reality and just because you don't want to admit it doesn't make it so.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:55 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Obviously you disagree with this, but it's hard for me to put suicides in the same boat as other gun deaths, any more than I can put intentional asphyxiation in the same boat as car deaths from accidents. They seem radically different to me.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:06 PM on August 3, 2011


They are deaths via gun. How are they different? How are they irrelevant?
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:08 PM on August 3, 2011


No, I do not have it backwards. The majority of gun deaths in the US are suicides.

Sorry, I'm not attacking you, I was just asking for clarification.
posted by elizardbits at 12:55 PM on August 3, 2011


and the other 90% that ostensibly still want to die and may try again.

There's a documentary called "The Bridge" that deals not with guns, but with people who jump from the Golden Gate Bridge. Most of them don't make it. The ones that do, don't tend to try again. I'll try to find some stats.
posted by desjardins at 12:57 PM on August 3, 2011


the young rope-rider: "
It is a reality and just because you don't want to admit it doesn't make it so.
"

What? I don't know how to answer you without repeating everything I just said. None of what you wrote is related at all (or contradicts) anything I said? Assuming your goal is to prevent people from killing themselves, it is illogical to try to get rid of guns. There are several reasons why it's not a practical idea, that I think we can take as granted. It's also only maximally 50% effective at preventing deaths by suicide, and maximally 5% effective at preventing suicide attempts.

Think about that for a second. Of all the people that try to kill themselves, only 5% shoot themselves with a gun. And you still think guns are the main problem?

So basically, getting rid of guns isn't going to work for legal, practical, and logistic reasons. And even if you waved a magic wand, it would still leave an overwhelming majority of suicidal people to seek other methods.

If your true goal is to prevent people from killing themselves, you need to do other things, like addressing the root causes of suicide. And I don't think preventing people from killing themselves is the right goal anyway, because I think people ought to be able to decide when they're ready to die (a progressive value, in any discussion that doesn't have the word 'gun' in it). I think making mental health services available to more people, is where we need to put effort into.

And none of this has anything to do with guns.
posted by danny the boy at 12:57 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The film also made the point that it's an impulsive act; most of the survivors reported not having planned it out ahead of time. Again, I'll try to dig up some citations later, but I read something about how people make the decision very quickly. ANY kind of deterrent (like a fence, or a sign, or a phone) made a huge difference in the number of attempts. Like I said above, I know three people that I'm 100% sure would be alive today if they hadn't had a drunken impulsive moment + a gun.
posted by desjardins at 1:00 PM on August 3, 2011


Of all the people that try to kill themselves, only 5% shoot themselves with a gun.

Where are you getting this? "In the United States 52% of suicides involve the use of firearms" wiki
posted by desjardins at 1:02 PM on August 3, 2011


Like I said above, I know three people that I'm 100% sure would be alive today if they hadn't had a drunken impulsive moment + a gun.

You keep bringing up this anecdote, so let me relate one. My sister killed herself two years ago. She was in that bad place people go to when they get dumped, as the young rope-rider brought up earlier.

I blame myself some, for being across the country when she could of used my support. I blame my family for not being there. I blame society for not providing enough mental health options. I blame her a little for taking the easy way out. Mostly I blame depression for being a horrible fucking bastard.

But I don't blame the stupid rope she used to hang herself.

I held off on bringing this up the first time suicide came up, because to be honest, it's a cheap rhetorical trick. Personal tragedy sucks and most readers are going to emotionally relate to a story like the above. Moving away from anecdotes to evidence again: the US suicide rate is lower than many other countries with stricter gun control laws.
posted by formless at 1:20 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


They are deaths via gun. How are they different? How are they irrelevant?

Do you include people who kill themselves via tail pipe as car deaths? I am not sure anyone else does, though I could be wrong.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:24 PM on August 3, 2011


>>Of all the people that try to kill themselves, only 5% shoot themselves with a gun.

Where are you getting this? "In the United States 52% of suicides involve the use of firearms" wiki


He's talking about attempts while you're citing successful suicides.
posted by the_artificer at 1:30 PM on August 3, 2011


It's not lost on me, though, that the same suburban and rural people who oppose gun control also generally oppose the kind of policies that could address the root causes of urban gun violence.

Like formless said above, this is nothing but culture-war crap. It goes right to the heart of Smedleyman's comment about how gun control is primarily about guns and the perception thereof, not about gun violence.

Besides, one could just as easily say that urban people who support gun control also generally support severely abridging the gun rights of suburban and rural people, in order to "solve" problems which don't tend to affect suburban and rural areas. The culture war cuts both ways, and it'd be nice if we could get past it.
posted by vorfeed at 2:35 PM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's a documentary called "The Bridge" that deals not with guns, but with people who jump from the Golden Gate Bridge. Most of them don't make it. The ones that do, don't tend to try again. I'll try to find some stats.

I wonder how much of that is the intensive intervention they go through, and how much is the memory of exactly how long four seconds of doubt while falling to your death must feel.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:53 PM on August 3, 2011


formless, I'm sorry to hear about your sister. One of the three I mentioned was my cousin.

This is not a good day for me to continue this conversation, so I wish you all well.
posted by desjardins at 4:42 PM on August 3, 2011


BrotherCaine: "I wonder how much of that is the intensive intervention they go through, and how much is the memory of exactly how long four seconds of doubt while falling to your death must feel."

I suspect near death experiences, and 'cheating death', causes dramatic changes in a person's life. People who attempt suicide, but fail, see an average 20.6% increase in income when compared with people who seriously contemplate suicide, but don't make an attempt. In very serious attempts, where luck is the only reason the attempt failed, you see a 36.3% increase in income.

I don't doubt the people who jump off the bridge want to die. I think they change their minds once they realize they're about to die.
posted by danny the boy at 4:55 PM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Danny the boy, thanks, that's a truly fascinating statistic.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:06 PM on August 3, 2011


> They are deaths via gun. How are they different? How are they irrelevant?
> posted by the young rope-rider at 3:08 PM on August 3 [+] [!]

Except in gun threads to die in the time and manner of one's own choosing is (by this site's userbase) generally considered a human right, a progressive ideal, and nobody's business except the individual in question. If it's a universal human right then suicide statistics are irrelevant to the question of controlling access to firearms. (If it's not a human right, that's news to metafilter and I'm curious to know who's willing to stand up and say so. If it's not a universal human right but one possessed only by persons whose reason for wanting to die is one you approve of, then BWAHAHAHA I thought so.)
posted by jfuller at 8:42 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nice gotcha, except that I generally don't participate in those threads.

My point is not that people should not be allowed to have guns. I don't have an educated stance on gun control, either way.

My point is that if you're going to talk about guns and safety and go on and on about how guns are going to keep me from being raped and save me in a home invasion etc., then you also have to acknowledge that guns bring with them a huge risk--the risk that someone in my household will kill themselves with that gun.

The steadfast denial that guns do anything to contribute to suicides is quite amazing.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:54 AM on August 4, 2011


"As I mentioned above, though, suicides and accidental deaths are a major concern with guns as well. Not just murders. In fact, the majority of gun deaths are suicides"

the young rope-rider - fair enough points. I think the risks can be mitigated with personal responsibility. I have friends in local law enforcement some of whom don't have gun safes. A state trooper I know has kids. Used to put his sidearm on a closet shelf. I bought him a small gun safe for his birthday (four months prior to his birthday And I've gone pretty hard on him in training when discussing the topic.)
I tend to come down on the freedom side of the freedom vs. security debates pretty consistently. So I'm ok with the cost/benefit balance there.

There are costs to having certain liberties. The right to drive a car or drink alcohol or end your life when you see fit or do any other dangerous or potentially unhealthy things.
I'm pretty strongly against the U.S. PATRIOT act as well. I don't see the costs of losing certain liberties as equal to the risk, that's even accounting for nuclear risk.

But socially we're a bit schizophrenic on these kinds of topics in the U.S. Some people who are pro-lifers strangely oppose certain women's health programs, pre-natal care, sex education, capital punishment, etc. Some people who are strongly against police militarization are completely fine with sending them to kick in doors to relieve people of their firearms. (Another old lady with a gun, Patricia Konie, this situation turns out very differently, IMHO more tragically, when it's police doing it)

More people commit suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge than any other public site in the world. Funding for a suicide barrier still hasn't come through for that either.
So I don't know, people are nuts that way. Passing laws, taking freedoms, hey yeah sure. Spending an extra nickle - whoa no f'ing way.

Accidents are a different story. But I don't think firearms should be completely unregulated. I simply don't think they should be eradicated. The target of elimination through laws hasn't always turned out to be a social good. The way we treated alcohol in prohibition and the way we 'fight' the 'war' on (some) 'drugs' comes to mind. It's clearly not as effective as addressing the social problems underlying the conflict.
Minimizing suicides, I don't know much about, but I suspect would yield similar results in methodology (taking the gun away vs. addressing the reason someone wants to kill themselves).

"And I would submit that killing someone would be more traumatic than being tied up while someone stole stuff, as traumatic as that would be."

If you're going to get all turn the other cheek Christian, there's not a lot I can say about that. I deeply respect pacifism, but personally I'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six. There are cases where I would rather die or be harmed than kill or harm someone else. But if the guy is a serial rapist (as in the other case I use in contrast that you conveniently ignore) no, I'm not going to allow him to victimize someone else simply because I'm willing to take the hit.
But we don't know whether the nice man tying gramma up intends to rape her and hack her up or just split with her goods, are we?
So why take the leeway for making that judgment call away from someone before the fact?

"Women are not likely to be protected by guns for many reasons, but one of them is because we are likely to be victimized by people who we would not be willing to shoot."

Except that BJJ statistics say otherwise.
And so, what, the nice man tying up grandma is suddenly going to decide to shoot her simply because he found a gun in her house?
Shooting at someone does not induce some hulkifying rage in them to come after you. If you have a gun and you shoot at someone who does not have a gun, they run away (all statistics bear this out, many people are unwilling to have a firearm for defense, but when it's used it's more effective in helping the victim than hurting them)

Knowing your attacker doesn't change your right to defend yourself. Nor does it change the injustice being done by the attacker. Abrogating your conviction that you are worth defending puts the responsibility on someone else to address that injustice.

There are myriad situations in which women can be raped and limitations in the variety of responses are, exactly that, limitations.

Furthermore - are more casual deterrent measures which might work against a random stranger effective against someone who specifically targets someone they know? And what finality does that deterrent have against someone who might exploit the relationship to try it again?

But you're right, resistance is not an effective option unless you're taught practical defensive methods. Preferably more than one method. And certainly firearms training alone is not enough.

Explain this logic to me though: "I am not disputing whether women are capable of using weapons" vs. "but one of them is because we are likely to be victimized by people who we would not be willing to shoot."

It's been my experience that there's no difference between men and women beyond physical capability in doing violence given training that overcomes social conditioning.
This is why I'm in favor of the right of women to serve in combat positions.

So women can be trained to shoot people in cold blood reflexively like an Israeli sniper. But they won't, because it's Joe Daterapist, who they know, which will somehow overcome the training, so they shouldn't carry guns even though it's statistically provable that most defensive firearm use results in no one getting hurt?

So then they shouldn't take self-defense courses, because they wouldn't be willing to hit someone they know?
They shouldn't tell the police because they wouldn't be willing to send someone they know to jail?

No, you can argue that some methods of resistance are more or less effective than firearms, and we can disagree on whether it's worth it or not to use one, but no method is effective if one refuses to use any at all.

To wit: "One of them was asleep in her bed, and she woke up with the guy on top of her. How would a gun have helped her?"
So - just lay there and take it? Would a knife have helped? Some self-defense training? A dog? A roommate? A cell phone? A door lock? Alarm maybe? Is there any method in this particular extremely abridged no-win situation that could have mitigated the circumstance?

Also: "Another was drunk at a club, and her friends put her into a cab, paid the cab driver, and told him her address. He took her somewhere else, raped her, and then dumped her on the street. How would a gun have helped her? "

How would a rape self-defense course have helped her? How would any of the myriad techniques they teach in rape prevention have helped her?
Perhaps not getting that drunk with friends who don't have your back might have helped?
RAINN mentions that watching out for your friends is an excellent way to prevent sexual assault. Sounds to me like her friends laid off the responsibility.

But what's the choice here? Stop having a vagina? What's wrong with having the choice of using a firearm for self-defense if someone thinks it's necessary?
By your same logic - if she's that irresponsible, why are we letting her get sloppy drunk? Why not ban alcohol? That wasn't the major contributor to the assault and her vulnerability in that situation?

Rape prevention advice in many cases starts as practically helpful but often degenerates into this pity-party crap where everyone starts saying "I can't do 'X'" and it totally fucks up the point which is empowerment.
In whatever color in the spectrum that empowerment lies for the individual - self-defense, firearms or situational awareness and social pressure and taking responsibility for the safety of friends, say, who may have temporarily disabled themselves.

It's empowering to train with a firearm. Even if you never use it. Just the training itself is good for your mental outlook just as self-defense training, even if you never use it, is good for you physically. Mentally too. Builds character, teaches responsibility that might spill over into things like not simply stuffing someone alone in a cab and forgetting about them.

And it's that way with every aspect of this. Empowerment = good. 'Tips & tricks' = bad.
Someone who develops your skill set and enables you to take responsibility = good. Someone who instills fear of inanimate objects in you = bad.

It's like telling someone they shouldn't learn to swim because they might fall in the ocean some day. You're eliminating their judgment of where and when they might practically use the skill.
Maybe they'll never need it. Ok. But that doesn't mean they won't have it if they do or don't have the option to. It means they'll be able to decide one way or the other for themselves.

But unquestionably, if you're not willing to shoot someone and you've made the decision not to beforehand, then don't train with firearms and don't carry a firearm. That's an individual choice.
I respect that kind of individual judgment. But why do you question their judgment when an individual goes the other way?

"It's not true that all gun violence in Chicago is gang-related, and it's definitely not true that every person killed in gang-related violence is in a gang. But it shouldn't matter."

Well, but it does matter.
Gang members shoot other gang members for social and economic reasons. And I appreciate you not making it personal. Perhaps I'm not a fat ass suburbanite with a grudge. Fair enough, thanks. But, perhaps I'm well versed in violence and and I've been in every form of it from full scale combat on an international level to unarmed interpersonal violence on the street level and I know the difference between expressive violence and instrumental violence.
Nearly all acts of lethal street level violence have their roots in other kinds of confrontation.
The dynamics of why and that the motives for initiation of violence govern the degree of lethality. Lethality is in proportion to the degree violence is instrumental or expressive (or predatory) as an immediate goal.
This is why in one instance in Lake Forest the old woman was not killed, because the violence was instrumental and a method of getting wealth and in the other instance, in Colorado the violence was expressive and the intent itself was to do violence.
Good luck telling the difference a priori.

There are certainly exacerbating situational factors - such as having a weapon - which affect the probability of the use of lethal force.
But there are other factors, situational and otherwise and the likelihood of an assailant pursuing a fatal outcome is weighted more by factors in for example developmental socialization, such as whether the assailant had appropriate role models or experienced trauma or has an emotional problem such as depression or anxiety or fatigue or there are other stressors or drugs or alcohol which overwhelm coping resources.

Typically an individuals capacity for resilience under stress and the ability to weigh the meaning and consequences of social offenses (related to personal goals) and the failure to plan a constructive solution to the problem or means to reach the goal are bigger factors in an eventual lethal response than just possessing a firearm.

In the aggregate, perhaps firearm violence augments elements of expressive violence, but it doesn't initiate it as you presume. It is initiated in order to gain social regard, identity, reputation, self-satisfaction - in gangs, expansion of territory and membership.
Running a drug operation or prostitution or other illegal business uses instrumental violence and generally doesn't have as much violence, much less lethal, around it.

Most of the lethal crime, in Chicago historically, has occurred where there have been gang rivalries. Gangs depend on socially maladjusted individuals for membership.
Most of the internecine conflict was expressive, not instrumental, and over turf battles, not where gangs were dealing - even though they were just as well armed there.

So why wouldn't this kind of expressive violence be the heart of the cause of lethal violence rather than just firearm possession?

You can't just say "it shouldn't matter" and "Ban all guns" - it's just as knee jerk and unthinking a solution as "kill 'em all" or "torture them" in counterterrorism.
In doing that you're not making an effort to define and solve the problem, but rather push a political agenda while putting on a show for the hardliners.

Again, you have troubled young men - systematically - taken into this situation that exploits their maladjustment and abandonment to manipulate them into doing violence for self-esteem and identity.
What other motivation for crime with firearms is larger that perhaps I'm not seeing?
Are people going into the street as soon as they get a gun and going berserk?

No. These situations are created. It is not random. The young men involved are created by lack of social support and lack of coping skills which lead to their personal instability which is exploited and utilized by gang members. (The pattern is similar with some terrorist organizations and international criminal outfits)

That's where lethal violence originates. And why violence interrupters and social programs like CeaseFire and engagement and youth social support by local police departments works. And is more effective at stopping lethal crime than just "take the guns away" which, at best, addresses only one element in a long equation.

That's not just me saying some of the policies targeting just the firearms (e.g. buy back programs) are less effective than social programs like CeaseFire,, that'd be the Committee on Law and Justice from the National Academy of Science.

And gangs (et.al) generally procure guns pretty easily. Mexico has gun control laws actually more stringent than the U.K. How's that working out for 'em?
(Tangent: Yes, many firearms come from the U.S., but not from civilian gun ownership. Los Zetas don't pick up M60s and battle rifles from Joe's Gun Shop. Our government has always been pretty big on sending defense aid in material to foreign governments. And there are a lot of corrupt officials looting arsenals. Particularly in Guatemala. Even that doesn't explain all the RPG-7s and Hanwah K-400 grenades though, so not even the bulk of the dangerous stuff is from the U.S. A lot of the cartels' money comes from cannabis. Some of the logic from people who want to outlaw all firearms strikes me as the same as people who want to keep marijuana illegal)

So if you care about stopping the violence, it should matter. Of course, if you just hate guns and the thought of people with them and you want to use the law to prevent other people doing something you don't like, then no, it shouldn't matter.

"Chicago still is doing really well. The murder rate for 2010 was the lowest it's been in 45 years."

Gosh, I wonder why? Oh right the 28 year old handgun ban ended and the police and city governement started concentrating on actually fighting crime than pushing a political agenda uphill with a rope and threatening to shoot reporters.

From those Right Wing Gun Nuts at Huffington Post:

Chicago Police Department statistics, we are told, reveal that the City's handgun murder rate has actually increased since the ban was enacted and that Chicago residents now face one of the highest murder rates in the country and rates of other violent crimes that exceed the average in comparable cities.

"It may not be the root cause, but it makes the effects massively worse."

Then we agree on kind if not scale. How much worse it makes the effects is debatable and whether those effects are offset by legal protection with a firearm is also debatable, but once you ask whether private gun ownership is worth at least some (admittedly, obviously) exacerbation of lethal violence (whether suicide or gang violence) then that's a social cost/benefit question.
I'm willing to live with that danger, within reason and with social supports and some regulation. Your terms seem somewhat more absolute.

That said I think we're all agreed on the need for personal responsibility and I think openly carrying firearms in situations where it's unwarranted is completely irresponsible.

But I prefer to use social pressure rather than law enforcement and force to ensure that kind of compliance just as I prefer social support and engagement (and individual empowerment in a wide spectrum of ways) rather than straight authoritarian force to prevent violent crime.

I apologize for going on, but this thread touched on things other than gun control, which, meh. But I am passionate about the other topics touched on.
It's unconscionable to focus these kinds of social issues on one limited catch-all idea like "guns" or "drugs" or "abortion" or whatever. There are practical methods by which the causes for failure in society can be addressed without resorting to infringing on personal rights/liberties.

Typically though they involve spending money (on poor people) and giving attention to the disenfranchised so the ball is moved out of that court into this crazy zone where the perceived risk gets all the stagecraft.

What kills me is when you can demonstrate how a method is effective and the politics just rolls right over that. We've been doing that dance pretty hard since 9/11.
(Hell, talk to a cop in Rogers Park in 1975 about "community policing" and maybe getting out of the car once in a while, talking to residents, letting residents give some input, instead of just busting the right heads and you're a touchy feely communist. Twenty years later the "touchy feely" program is a proven method of crime reduction.)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:00 PM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


From here, Murders per year in Chicago

2000: 628
2001: 666
2002: 647
2003: 598
2004: 448
2005: 449
2006: 467
2007: 442
2008: 510
2009: 458
2010: 435

These don't seem consistent with the HuffPo statements or the theory that you're espousing, Smedleyman.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:11 PM on August 4, 2011


These don't seem consistent with the HuffPo statements or the theory that you're espousing, Smedleyman.

My rebuttle was to the statement that the murder rate for 2010 was the lowest it's been in 45 years. The fact of the matter being Chicago had the toughest gun control laws in the country 28 years preceding the drop which coincided with the lift on the ban.

Back in late July of 2009, you had 15 shootings in the city which still had draconian gun and knife laws (got to leave the buck at home too) including an "assault weapon" ban (for my ancient M1 Garand, which, wow, there'a a weapon as dangeous as a Tec-9 no?)
and a handgun ban.
On what world was the ban working?

Chicago’s murder rate was in 2008 up 18% over the same time frame last year. 62 people were killed in the month of July alone, and there were several high profile shootings, such as the Taste of Chicago shootings or the murder of a cop with his own gun. In the overwhelming majority of these murders, criminals used handguns, despite 20+ year long ban on handgun ownership in Chicago.
Would it be inconsistent to say the criminals were ignoring the handgun ban?
The ban was lifted just last year - crime is lower than it has been (the statistics you yourself cite - 2010: 435) since 1990.

I would say it's conclusive.
Most people who carry or who have ever carried a sidearm would agree.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:21 AM on August 5, 2011


While I agree that handguns can be a deterrent to crime, I would not necessarily say it's conclusive in this case -- the number of murders in 2010 was pretty consistent with previous years (2007, 2003/2004), and any number of factors could be affecting the murder rate (hell, maybe there were fewer murders last year simply because it was too fucking hot to go outside and kill). We've been seeing a nationwide decrease in violent crime over the last decade, and that could explain things in and of itself.

However, I would call the lack of the predicted gunpocalypse pretty damn conclusive, just as it was after the assault gun ban expired. Expanded gun rights (and the many legal guns which accompany them) may not necessarily lower the crime rate, but they don't necessarily seem to raise it, either... and that's very bad news for those who think banning them will solve the crime problem.
posted by vorfeed at 1:38 PM on August 5, 2011


Besides, there is the small matter of just not being able to get rid of them. The "modern" semi-auto pistol is piece of late-19th/early-20th-century technology; the revolver, which is perfectly serviceable as a daily-carry firearm, is from the early 1800s. Even if we could somehow wave a magic wand and wipe every currently-existing handgun from the face of the earth, anyone with a decent machine shop could learn to turn them out again... and there are thousands of gunsmiths and sympathetic machinists in America who'd do it just as a big fuck-you to the powers that be, much less for the money.

This is not an idle fantasy, either: these kinds of machine shops are already common in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, India, and elsewhere (except, of course, that they're also producing semi-auto battle rifles). The idea that criminalizing weapons is a good way to keep people from owning them is Drug-War style thinking, and the last thing we need is another War On Something.
posted by vorfeed at 2:29 PM on August 5, 2011


vorfeed - to clarify - conclusive that the handgun ban did not lead to a drop in violent crime.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:43 PM on August 5, 2011


The ban was lifted just last year - crime is lower than it has been (the statistics you yourself cite - 2010: 435) since 1990.

I would say it's conclusive.


Don't let confirmation bias creep in. 2007 is nearly the same as 2010.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:09 AM on August 8, 2011


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