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RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.
July 30, 2012 6:41 AM   Subscribe

RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. A PSA by The City of Houston released three days after the Aurora masacre.
posted by splatta (214 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
How many people are killed in mass shootings every year?

How many children will die in automobile accidents today?
posted by Western Infidels at 6:44 AM on July 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


How many people are killed in mass shootings every year?

How many children will die in automobile accidents today?


You'd think we'd make decisions that way, wouldn't you? But most of the time, it seems like we do the opposite, worrying about the extremely rare event rather than the routine dangers we encounter every day.
posted by Forktine at 6:51 AM on July 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


I was kind of hoping this was a parody video and that all the advice would consist of was that voice intoning "KEEP WORKING * NO MATTER WHAT KEEP COPYING THINGS * AND SENDING EMAILS * THE WORK MUST GO ON" But instead it was actually much more depressing than that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:54 AM on July 30, 2012 [10 favorites]


Unbelievable. Watched just the first 3 minutes so far, at work, don't want to get caught watching it.
posted by Mikon6 at 6:54 AM on July 30, 2012


Until it started giving actual advice it seemed more like a YesMen sketch.
posted by codacorolla at 6:58 AM on July 30, 2012


Good grief. Compare and contrast with:

- this article from the Atlantic: "A Land Without Guns: How Japan Has Virtually Eliminated Shooting Deaths: In part by forbidding almost all forms of firearm ownership, Japan has as few as two gun-related homicides a year."
- this late 90s British parody of American gun usage in response to attacks.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:59 AM on July 30, 2012 [15 favorites]


Well, that's it then. The Dystopia is here. Instead of dealing with the real problem--the insane proliferation of firearms in America--now we're all back to Duck and Cover.

Damn. Damn this f**king gun culture and the idea that guns everywhere is the new normal. Maybe someday public safety and sane gun policies will trump politics, but not anytime soon, and certainly not in Texas.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:00 AM on July 30, 2012 [25 favorites]


No more or less ridiculous than the propagandist forays of WalMart's partnership with the DHS.
posted by clarknova at 7:00 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reaction from the people of the City of Houston: "Run? Hide? Bullshit. This is exactly why I bring my gun to work every day."
posted by koeselitz at 7:01 AM on July 30, 2012 [11 favorites]


Workplace Shooting Prevention Tips:
  1. Never take your firearm into your workplace.
  2. Don't point your firearm at people.
  3. If you are angry at someone at your workplace, don't shoot them.
  4. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from shooting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in the workplace.
  5. Carry a whistle! If you're worried you might shoot someone "accidentally," you can hand it to the person you're with so they can blow it if you do.
  6. Don't shoot people.
posted by BurntHombre at 7:02 AM on July 30, 2012 [93 favorites]


The most effective way for a group to deal with a single shooter (or even two, perhaps) is not to run away and definitely not to hide, but to be trained to charge as a mass. A single shooter cannot fire on everyone at once, even with an automatic weapon.

But it's not easy to do - naturally all of us want to run and hide. this is why we have to train people to rush, just like we train people to do CPR. In most of the horrific recent shootings - Columbine, Virgina tech, Norway - people ran and hid, and the shooter(s) could just come along and kill people one by one -- while places where the shooter was rushed (as in the Knoxville church shooting), many fewer people died.

It's counter-intuitive and it's scary, but this is what security studies people find really is the best response. Unfortunately, hiding is exactly what they are teaching kids in schools with these new "lockdown" drills (recently imported to Canada from the US) - and my heart is in my mouth that it is just setting up the situation for another Virginia Tech style massacre.
posted by jb at 7:04 AM on July 30, 2012 [14 favorites]


People are pretty much hard-wired to notice rare events over common ones. Also, we are much more likely to overestimate the risk from things that we don't feel we have direct control over, but much more likely to underestimate the risk from things we feel we do have control over. So, flying in an airplane? TOTALLY RISKY! Driving home after a couple of beers? TOTALLY SAFE.

Statistically, to keep kids safe from molestation, they should never go home and only talk to strangers. Requiring child seats to be in the back seat of the car may very well kill more kids from overheating when accidentally left in a car than were killed in car crashes when child seats were in the front. And when it comes to gun violence, I - as a law-abiding citizen with a legally registered pistol - am probably more likely to accidentally shoot someone I know who comes into my home than I am to shoot an armed intruder trying to fuck me up. As a white woman, I'm regularly warned against 'stranger danger' - rapists will jump out of the bushes, black people will mug me, Islamic terrorists will fly a plane into my house. But when you look at the actual stats... If I were straight, I'd be most at risk from violence from a male partner. As an out queer chick, when it comes to random violence from a stranger, I'm probably most at risk from a conservative-leaning white Christian male.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go build a shelter inside my home from garbage bags and duct freedom tape. There might be a gas attack. Also, reinforcing the roof of my house because it might be hit by a meteor.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:05 AM on July 30, 2012 [41 favorites]


I'm perplexed by the reactions here. OK, so you favor gun control. And you understand that that car wrecks are more likely. And it is, of course, a very pro-authoritarian production. But if you are in this unlikely situation, there's nothing wrong with the advice. "You should exercise and eat right" does not make "take an aspirin and dial 911" bad advice.
posted by tyllwin at 7:07 AM on July 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


This will solve everything.

I've had years of martial arts training and years of military training. About the only thing I am certain of had I been in that theater is I would have had exactly the same chances of living, as anyone else seated around me, that decided to haul ass, because that's what I would have been doing. Running.

If you are going to take a bullet the ass it probably your best bet.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:07 AM on July 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


Good thing all those men were there to take charge or else all those helpless women would all just have to hide until one showed up!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:08 AM on July 30, 2012 [21 favorites]


This can't possibly be real, can it? When and where does this 6-minute "PSA" supposedly run?
posted by The Bellman at 7:08 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


In part by forbidding almost all forms of firearm ownership, Japan has as few as two gun-related homicides a year.

If only they'd allow everyone to conceal-carry, they could eliminate the carnage completely!!!111!
posted by Thorzdad at 7:09 AM on July 30, 2012 [11 favorites]


Let's not forget who we're getting quality content like this from: that's right, the taxpayer-funded Department of Homeland Security.

...who run other poplar citizenry protection outfits such as the TSA.

Watching this stuff should make people angry, but if watching the sheeple being herded through full body scanners in any US airport is any indication, its making them cower to the system even more.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:09 AM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


I immediately thought of Duck and Cover as well. This is the new Duck and Cover. Sad fucking state of affairs in gun-drunk America.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:09 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess you're screwed if you have an iPhone. (No way to silence that fucker without turning it off.)
posted by desjardins at 7:11 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Japan has as few as two gun-related homicides a year

Very different culture. Copying their gun control laws would not produce identical results.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:12 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


How many people are killed in mass shootings every year?

How many children will die in automobile accidents today?


This many.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:13 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Copying their gun control laws would not produce identical results.

Might be a good start, though.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:13 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


While I'm no fan of Piers Morgan and I can take or leave Michael Moore, I really enjoyed parts of this interview the other night. I've queued it up at the point where he talks about how ridiculous it is that in 2012 people still read the Constitution as if it's 100% applicable to today's society.
posted by gman at 7:14 AM on July 30, 2012 [9 favorites]


Well sure, Egg Shen. You could take the UK, or France or Germany or lots of other OECD countries if you preferred.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:14 AM on July 30, 2012


This many.

Hm. Syphilis is almost as deadly as War - which is not quite as deadly as Meningitis.

Did not know that.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:15 AM on July 30, 2012


If we instituted a gun ban like Japan's, what do you propose to do with all of the extant guns out there? How would you stop smuggling across the borders (because we're doing a bang-up job with drugs and immigrants)?
posted by desjardins at 7:15 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Let me be clear about this. I have guns, I like guns, I use guns, but when guns kill 30,000 people a year and car accidents kill 40,000, there is something very wrong. I don't think the solution is to completely outlaw gun ownership, but something is not working.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:16 AM on July 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


kinakeet, this country doesn't have a gun problem. It has a people problem. A gun never did anything without a person wielding it.
posted by a3matrix at 7:16 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


You're absolutely right. We should ban people!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:17 AM on July 30, 2012 [24 favorites]


A man's gotta know his limitations.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:17 AM on July 30, 2012


Also, from my own link peptic ulcers cause over 4000 deaths per year. Isn't it time we get rid of Taco Bell once and for all?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:20 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ban cars!
posted by desjardins at 7:20 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've queued it up at the point where he talks about how ridiculous it is that in 2012 people still read the Constitution as if it's 100% applicable to today's society.

The issue, once you abandon that, is "what percent and which percent is not?" You want to judge that provisions suggesting individual gun ownership be allowed aren't applicable today. Someone else wants to to say that rules against unreasonable search and seizure are outmoded since 9/11.
posted by tyllwin at 7:21 AM on July 30, 2012 [9 favorites]



kinakeet, this country doesn't have a gun problem. It has a people problem. A gun never did anything without a person wielding it.


Alright, I'll bite. If easy access to firearms isn't the cause. Then what the hell is wrong with people in the US?
posted by KaizenSoze at 7:21 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


kinakeet, this country doesn't have a gun problem. It has a people problem. A gun never did anything without a person wielding it.


Also, people can't shoot other people with bullets without the help of guns.
posted by entropone at 7:21 AM on July 30, 2012


Did not know that.

There would appear to be many things you do not know, and yet you continue to change the subject whenever someone tries to help point out those particular things to you. Now, one is either interested in having an actual discussion, and staying on track, or one isn't. It's always disappointing to see the latter here at Metafilter, cause the site deserves better.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:21 AM on July 30, 2012


I'm not surprised that this thread has ended up filled with Lol security, but I think this was well done and not a bad idea to produce.

Trying to wish away America's gun culture won't make it so, and we'll never have a shortage of bachelor males with a mind to run amok, so we might as well work to reduce the impact of events like these when they happen. Also, we spend billions on auto safety, and this must have been what, 10-15 grand?

The idea to get as many people as possible away from the shooter, get those who can't run for whatever reason to hide, and those who can't hide to try and fight is backed up by the experience of folks who comb through the data of these kinds of events. As far as best practices go, the recommendation was simple, makes a fuck ton of sense, and was not all intuitive; for example if you are in a group of five one person hesitates, it is indeed better to get the four out then have everyone stay with the one, but who would think of that in the moment? I'm not a fan at all of how our SWAT teams are used to fight our drug wars, and actively select against less vicious drug dealing, but having a team like this not so far away from most cities to respond to random active shooter events seems like a nice fringe benefit.

I know I'm going to forward this to my friends who work in the IRS
posted by Blasdelb at 7:21 AM on July 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ban all advice about lesser problems until bigger once are eradicated!
posted by Anything at 7:21 AM on July 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


We should ban people!

That's what the guns are for!
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 7:21 AM on July 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


but when guns kill 30,000 people a year

I think it is worth pointing out that greater than 50% of those are suicides.

(Relevant wikipedia article is "Gun violence in the United States", and the percentage quoted is 55.6% suicides.)
posted by BeeDo at 7:22 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ones. I'm making typos like crazy in the past couple of weeks. Brain malfunctioning?
posted by Anything at 7:23 AM on July 30, 2012


As much as people like to cry and make this video a bigger thing than it is, there are some salient points there. Police departments have money budgeted for these kinds of things. It's not like this is coming from the Oval Office or something, so have some perspective.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:24 AM on July 30, 2012


Now, one is either interested in having an actual discussion, and staying on track, or one isn't.

Back on track then...

How would you stop smuggling across the borders (because we're doing a bang-up job with drugs and immigrants)?

The "get rid of all the guns" people and the "get rid of all the immigrants" people, while occupying opposite sides of the political spectrum, are equals in favoriting emotion over practicality.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:24 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


tyllwin: The issue, once you abandon that, is "what percent and which percent is not?" You want to judge that provisions suggesting individual gun ownership be allowed aren't applicable today. Someone else wants to to say that rules against unreasonable search and seizure are outmoded since 9/11.

One hopes that common sense prevails, I guess. Especially with regards to proper licensing and which types of guns should actually be in private hands.
posted by gman at 7:25 AM on July 30, 2012


This can't possibly be real, can it? When and where does this 6-minute "PSA" supposedly run?
As a former employee of the Texas A&M University System, we had a similar video shown to every single employee on campus as part of our 'training' after the VT massacre.

I responded with (as CCW was banned in campus buildings), "Why don't you let us carry firearms instead? I'd rather shoot back than hide under a pressboard desk." I was almost fired for asking that question.

So, I guarantee that this is real, I guarantee that every CoH employee will see it, and I guarantee that it's a stupid response most likely generated by some human resources or safety officer position that needs to justify their continued existence.
posted by SpecialK at 7:25 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, this may have been released after the Batman shootings, but it was produced several months ago.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:26 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Holy shit, what a creepy video.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:26 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


think it is worth pointing out that greater than 50% of those are suicides.

Sure, but as many as 80% of suicide attempts may be impulsive. Gun availability makes the more likely to succeed. The availability of firearms in the US increases suicide. Source.
posted by entropone at 7:27 AM on July 30, 2012 [11 favorites]


Well, if we must bring this back around to gun control, I'm reminded of a recent article where people have apparently had success with creation of firearms via 3d printing. Do you wish to ban the printers, the data files, or both? You should start now, and I'm sure you'll have enthusiastic government help.
posted by tyllwin at 7:27 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, that was depressing.

Good thing all those men were there to take charge or else all those helpless women would all just have to hide until one showed up!

Yeah, they missed such an easy opportunity to reach women more directly, instead defaulting to that unnecessarily sexist crap. There was one semi-active woman in the "run" group who got the other woman out from under the desk, and the "fight" group had a woman raising something as a weapon as the shooter came through the door, but not showing any women actively and independently taking control of their own lives as the situation unfolded was really stupid.
posted by mediareport at 7:30 AM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Gun availability makes the (suicide attempt) more likely to succeed.

Agreed. I'm just pointing out that when it comes to getting killed by a gun, in 50% of those the shooter is also the target. So the real number to discuss about getting shot by someone else is 15000, not 30000.
posted by BeeDo at 7:30 AM on July 30, 2012


The "hide" woman did all right, though.
posted by mediareport at 7:30 AM on July 30, 2012


Well, if we must bring this back around to gun control, I'm reminded of a recent article where people have apparently had success with creation of firearms via 3d printing. Do you wish to ban the printers, the data files, or both? You should start now, and I'm sure you'll have enthusiastic government help.

YEAH CAUSE OBAMA WANTS TUH TAKE AWAY UR RIGHTS AND IM NOT GIVING UP MY GUNS FUCK NO
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:32 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


How well trained is the City of Houston expecting the average member of the public to be when it comes to resisting an armed madman? Didn't the Aurora casualty list include several active members of the US Armed Forces?

Like, if only they had seen this PSA, in addition to their weeks of combat training, then they might have had a chance?
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:32 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


"So, I guarantee that this is real, I guarantee that every CoH employee will see it, and I guarantee that it's a stupid response most likely generated by some human resources or safety officer position that needs to justify their continued existence."

Well, I for one certainly hope they show it to DMV employees, their tax revenue service, and folks who interface with the public. I just emailed a cop friend who would have this sort of data indexed, but I wouldn't be surprised if city employees nationwide are significantly ove-rrepresented as victims of active shooting events. I'll get back to the thread when he replies.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:33 AM on July 30, 2012


Thinking a bit more about the specific scenario and video, there is something to be said for changing the cultural expectation. Nobody will ever be able to hijack a plane with a knife again, because the expectation went from "okay, this will be a long drawn out thing and we'll sit on the tarmac and end up all surviving" to "okay, fuck that, we're all going to die, time to stop the hijackers by biting them to death if necessary."

Would the École Polytechnique massacre gone differently if all the folks ordered out of the room hadn't just left? Would more people have died or fewer? We don't know for sure.

The difference with this kind of situation, though, compared to hijacking, is that there is someplace to run to, and a way to escape. So individual survival is not necessarily linked to group survival.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:34 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


YEAH CAUSE OBAMA WANTS TUH TAKE AWAY UR RIGHTS AND IM NOT GIVING UP MY GUNS FUCK NO

I plan on voting for Obama, actually, though I'm generally more liberal than he is.

So, we're better off, not deciding about or dealing with self-"printed" guns until it's no longer a rare proof-of-concept? Let's just assume that it doesn't need to be addressed at an early stage, AMIRITE?
posted by tyllwin at 7:36 AM on July 30, 2012


YEAH CAUSE OBAMA WANTS TUH TAKE AWAY UR RIGHTS AND IM NOT GIVING UP MY GUNS FUCK NO

Your tantrum is duly noted. You can leave the thread now.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:37 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


What inane responses to a very distilled and useful message.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:37 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]



Alright, I'll bite. If easy access to firearms isn't the cause. Then what the hell is wrong with people in the US?

Canada has gun ownership rate similar to the US and they don't have the problem we seem to have with regards to white dudes shooting places up.

American culture surrounding guns is pretty fucked up.

I mean - I have and use firearms for hunting and sport. It's not at all uncommon for people to have some sort of crazed obsession with their guns - I meet them all the time.

It's pretty wacky.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:38 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm reminded of a recent article where people have apparently had success with creation of firearms via 3d printing.

And I'm reminded of how that article was completely inaccurate and critical pieces of the weapon could not be manufactured by a 3D printer.
posted by eyeballkid at 7:38 AM on July 30, 2012 [16 favorites]


America has an anger management problem not a gun problem.
posted by Mikon6 at 7:39 AM on July 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


The most effective way for a group to deal with a single shooter (or even two, perhaps) is not to run away and definitely not to hide, but to be trained to charge as a mass.

The works on all forms of bullying, by the way. I often think the reason unions are getting pounded to dust and why anti-bully education is mostly "stand up for yourself" is because there are people for whom it is against their interests to remind us that one of the most powerful things on the planet is for a group to move in an organized way.
posted by Mooski at 7:40 AM on July 30, 2012 [21 favorites]


It's depressing how people who understand how much of a complete failure the War On Drugs has been are totally willing to sign on to a War On Guns, even though it would be even more impossible to enforce and lead to even greater depths of authoritarianism in the pursuit of effectiveness. But I guess that's the other side of the coin; as long as what's being prohibited isn't something that you're personally invested in, it can always seem like a good idea under the right circumstances.

Make guns illegal tomorrow and you'd create the single biggest black market since Prohibition was repealed. And unlike the current failed war on drugs, which we can't even stop despite the fact that drugs require fairly specialized facilities to produce and are detectable by dogs and other chemical sensors, guns are almost trivial to manufacture by comparison. Any halfway autobody shop with a few machine tools and a heat-treating furnace is more than halfway to being a (small scale) gun factory. What are you going to do, start a registration regime for machine tools? Look at the conditions that they build (full auto, battlefield-usable) weapons in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It's not even 20th century technology, it's 19th at best. And that ignores the fact that there are literally millions of guns and billions of rounds of ammunition squirreled away, there would be millions more if there was ever a realistic chance of prohibition, and unlike drugs or alcohol, guns and ammunition don't go bad. There's stuff floating around in Afghanistan from the First World War; you'd literally be talking about a century-long war of attrition on gun owners and gun culture.

I understand that people get angry and emotional when mass shooting events happen, and gun prohibition seems on its face like a simple and obvious solution. But it's one of those solutions that, when you start from where we are in the US, taking into account both the current real-world distribution of guns and our culture, is simple, obvious, and wrong. It's not even really worth discussing, except that it comes up over and over -- brought up, in many cases, by politicians who know they can use it to get both their supporters and their opponents' riled up and locked into them-versus-us, culture-war thinking -- and each time it causes people to dig in and basically ends the discussion.

We need to find solutions to gun violence (insofar as gun violence is actually a significant problem relative to other issues, which it probably isn't in a dispassionate analysis) that don't turn as many Americans into criminals as the worse legislative artifacts of the drug war have, and can actually be implemented in the world that we live in.

My feeling is that what appears to be a "gun problem" or a "violence problem" isn't really either; it's a failing mental health system problem which happens to manifest itself in a particularly bloody way. In every case where mass shootings have happened, there were signs beforehand. People saw the warning signs but either felt that they couldn't do anything, or tried to do something but weren't able to intervene effectively. That seems like a tractable problem. It's not an easy one, because we need to carefully balance the rights of someone having a mental health issue (which might not ever become violent or problematic) public safety, and also make sure that we're not creating a system open to abuse. But that's the point where, if we directed our energies, I think we could actually make a difference, and something that virtually all reasonable people, regardless of where they stand on gun rights and the private ownership of weapons, can begin to agree.

Or, on preview, what Mikon6 said.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:40 AM on July 30, 2012 [62 favorites]


Setting aside the gun-control question (*), what do you think of the actual advice in this situation? I didn't like the dramatic music, but the actual advice (run if you can, hide if you can't run, fight if you can't do either) seems sound.

The Knoxville church shooting that jb mentioned earlier (Wikipedia):
When the first shotgun blast rang out, Parkey thought it might be a sound system malfunction. He turned and saw a woman with blood pouring from a wound to her face, and when the second shot was fired he saw the gunman point the firearm toward his family's place in the audience. He pushed his mother and his middle daughter, 6-year-old Aidyn, to the floor and pulled them under the pew.

By this time, the crowd was in motion and several men had already started moving toward the gunman, who had paused to reload, Parkey said. Someone wrestled the shotgun away and then Parkey, John Bohstedt and Robert Birdwell Jr. tackled him.

"The only thing he said was he was asking us to get off of him, that he wasn't doing anything," Parkey said. "We just looked at each other incredulously, like 'How dare you?' "
(*) Gun control in Canada is much stricter, but we've had public shootings here (Ecole Polytechnique, Concordia) as well as more recent shootings where the victims were not targeted (food court, block party).
posted by russilwvong at 7:41 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The "get rid of all the guns" people and the "get rid of all the immigrants" people, while occupying opposite sides of the political spectrum, are equals in favoriting emotion over practicality

Read the Denver thread where some people were advocating the necessity of owning machine guns while another professed a need to own guns because of "blacks" and plenty just cited a general fear as a reason they own guns and you'll see that the "cold dead hands" people are just as emotional.

Anyway, it's a pointless argument because the US government is more likely to put a person on Mars in the next twenty years than to exert any kind of even moderately effective control over firearms and that's largely because people favor emotion over practicality.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:41 AM on July 30, 2012


Canada has gun ownership rate similar to the US and they don't have the problem we seem to have with regards to white dudes shooting places up.

Canada most certainly does not have a gun ownership rate similar to the US. Guns are strictly controlled, with no easy access to handguns and strict controls on semi-automatics.

Hell, the last gun store closed in the city where I live 20 years ago.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:41 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


America has an anger management problem not a gun problem.

Actually, it has both problems.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:42 AM on July 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


Did anyone else feel that this was pretty reasonable? I did.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:44 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


>>>"Japan has as few as two gun-related homicides a year"

>>"Copying their gun control laws would not produce identical results."

>"Might be a good start, though."

This sentiment keeps cropping up on Metafilter, but it is impressive how fundamentally disconnected it is from American values, a knowledge of how our federal system works, or the hundreds of thousands of cold dead hands those guns would have to be pried from. The war on drugs has been lost in horrific slow motion, any war on guns would be so much worse.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:44 AM on July 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


The "hide" woman did all right, though.
Well, she hid her kids first.
posted by PapaLobo at 7:48 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The posted legal matter about guns on the building entrance--is that to remind Texans that they have no reasonable hope of being saved by a colleague armed with a gun?
posted by circular at 7:48 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the flee instinct is going to be stronger for most people in this situation than the fight instinct. So even though logically 20 guys rushing the shooter should end the incident quicker and with fewer casualties, we aren't logical beings, especially in a time of crisis. With that in mind, the advice in the PSA is probably the proper way to get people to think.
posted by COD at 7:48 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


And I'm reminded of how that article was completely inaccurate and critical pieces of the weapon could not be manufactured by a 3D printer

I'm pleased to hear that. Can you point me to that? Is there reason from that to think that it'll be impossible for a mid-to-long term?

I'm actually not trolling and really do not support a world where every wannabe gangster and psycho can just run themselves off disposable Uzis, and completely serious that if it looks possible in the next twenty years, we ought to start thinking about how to deal with it. And I have absolutely no clue what that "how" ought to be.
posted by tyllwin at 7:49 AM on July 30, 2012


Should it be a requirement of establishments prohibiting guns on the premises that each entrance /egress be guarded by an armed security guard? No guards means you can conceal carry.
posted by garisimo at 7:49 AM on July 30, 2012



Alright, I'll bite. If easy access to firearms isn't the cause. Then what the hell is wrong with people in the US?
posted by KaizenSoze at 9:21 on 7/30
[+] [!]


Desperation. Provide public healthcare, easier means to declare bankruptcy, free adult education, and drug treatment programs, and gun violence would be greatly diminished.
posted by samofidelis at 7:50 AM on July 30, 2012 [28 favorites]


Nah, it's because of all the construction on Indian burial sites.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:51 AM on July 30, 2012 [9 favorites]


the hundreds of thousands of cold dead hands those guns would have to be pried from

While I agree with everything that has been said about the futility of a War on Guns - and also agree that no such thing is ever going to happen - I strongly doubt that many people would be willing to die in defense of their guns.

Aside from the fact that blusterers tend to be cowards, there would be no point in dying to retain something that would be so readily available on the black market.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:52 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


This sentiment keeps cropping up on Metafilter, but it is impressive how fundamentally disconnected it is from American values

That's the point though: the change in the gun culture (and American values related to gun culture) is directly related to a change in regulation. The one without the other doesn't work.

Put simply, the end game is guns becoming taboo and the steps towards that are using regulation and argument to make it taboo.

And before anyone starts trotting out the old cobblers about a well regulated militia to fight the man, it's worth remembering that in places like the UK, well within living memory, people faced the real threat of being invaded by belligerent, genocidal force and yet they still don't typically argue for widespread gun ownership.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:53 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. KISS. KISS. KISS.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:53 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Your tantrum is duly noted. You can leave the thread now.

Your sarcasm meter is in desperate, desperate need of recalibration.
posted by elizardbits at 7:55 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


the end game is guns becoming taboo

Good luck with that.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:57 AM on July 30, 2012


And before anyone starts trotting out the old cobblers about a well regulated militia to fight the man, it's worth remembering that in places like the UK, well within living memory, people faced the real threat of being invaded by belligerent, genocidal force and yet they still don't typically argue for widespread gun ownership.

I think the real problem is to identify what it is in the American pysche that makes some people (who never faced the situation themselves) hear that and then want to snarl back that well, those pussies aren't Americans.
posted by tyllwin at 7:57 AM on July 30, 2012


Actually I think that was a correctly detected sarcastic tantrum.
posted by Anything at 7:57 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks Egg Shen.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:02 AM on July 30, 2012


This can't possibly be real, can it? When and where does this 6-minute "PSA" supposedly run?

It was originally a STALK. HUNT. SHOOT. training video for Academi/Xe/Blackwater, but they figured they could turn it around and make a double-dip profit if they edited the ending and changed the POV for the text pieces.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:02 AM on July 30, 2012 [9 favorites]


If we're talking about the actual video then I say it was pretty reasonable. The tone of it is a little hinky, but it's an extremely tricky tone to get right. There is good advice here and it made me sit for a minute and actually evaluate what I would do in such an event. That it is ghoulish and unlikely does not make it less prudent. If something like that were to happen to me I would be better prepared now than I was ten minutes ago. That's a good thing, isn't it?

But, if we are talking about the larger issue of guns in America the simple answer is that we are impossibly, intractably, permanently fucked.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:03 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Did anyone else feel that this was pretty reasonable? I did.

Yep. And one of the reasons why the casualty count was so high in Aurora was because people didn't fucking run, but just sheltered behind seats. Think of this as a Stop, Drop, and Roll type of thing. Yes, it's all very sickening but carping about gun control isn't going to change the usefulness of the message. I also found the suggestion that you need to commit to taking the shooter down if you're going to fight. And, it's also important for people to know that the first responders to shootings are not going to stop and render aid to victims, but are going to be solely focused on taking out the shooter. In fact, I wished they spent a bit more time on that, and also discuss how cops don't know who you are so don't assume that they think you're a good guy in a hostile situation.

Well, that last line is pretty much standard MO for cops nowadays, but still.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:03 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, in a mass charge, not many people are going to volunteer to be in the front rank, more or less dead center to an actively shooting gunman.

You maximize your own individual chances of survival if you run or hide, assuming either of those are credible options.

Only if the gunman provides an opportunity to approach while he is unable to shoot does it make personal sense to participate in a mass charge.
posted by rocketpup at 8:04 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yep. And one of the reasons why the casualty count was so high in Aurora was because people didn't fucking run, but just sheltered behind seats.

Unfortunately it seems like a crowded theater is one of the most vulnerable places to find yourself. It's dark, you're packed into rows of immovable seats. In this case there was tear gas? I don't think a lot of people had much opportunity to run.
posted by rocketpup at 8:10 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about this for some time. My first experience with guns was when me, a few of my siblings and my Dad returned from the movie Independence Day (I was 13 or 14) to find out that my older brother had been shot in front of our house while he was washing his car in broad daylight (he had already been taken to the Hospital). I still remember the blood stain on the sidewalk. I won't go through the whole story, but luckily he lived, all of the nerve damage in his leg eventually healed. So my first impression of guns was bad. This was in St. Louis.

When I moved to Texas for college, the culture surrounding guns was so casual and taken for granted it weirded the hell out of me. Overtime, I eventually came to understand the theory of gun rights, even though I was still personally against easy access to guns.

Here is what I would propose:

Gun licenses, in the future, should only be issued to those with military experience at any level (state to national), as long as they were not dishonorably discharged. The spouse and children of this military-trained person would also be allowed to get a gun license.

Those children (or the former spouse in the event of a divorce) would be able to pass on the ability to get a gun license to their spouses, but unless one of them is current or formal military, they cannot pass it on to their kids.

Anyone who commits a crime with their gun, would permanently get their license revoked (like a civilian version of a dishonorable discharge).

Would this solve the problem of gun violence? Probably not, but at least it would ensure that those who most understand what guns can do are the only ones who have them.
posted by Groundhog Week at 8:12 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


and the percentage quoted is 55.6% suicides

This is also a serious problem. Ease in access for impulsive self termination is a terrible combination- though if I recall right the last studies I read suggested ligature remains the most popular suicide method, the comparative success that males have over females is attributed to both the rapidity under which the former suddenly decide to end things but also method choice, and guns, which are more likely to have a male owner, do not help.

Whether it's all the guns, or how the gun owners psychologically perceive guns, firearms, like cars, are bloody dangerous.

The spouse and children of this military-trained person would also be allowed to get a gun license.

This is an awful idea. Why do I get to have a gun because my stepfather was in the navy and my aunt was in the reserves (and was secondary parent for one quarter of my childhood), but someone who goes hunting is not allowed?
posted by Phalene at 8:16 AM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


At the risk of sounding like I don't support Teh Troops, I'm not sure military experience is a particularly good qualification for firearm ownership.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:17 AM on July 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


...And before anyone starts trotting out the old cobblers about a well regulated militia to fight the man, it's worth remembering that in places like the UK, well within living memory, people faced the real threat of being invaded by belligerent, genocidal force and yet they still don't typically argue for widespread gun ownership....

They sure did at the time

"At first, the Home Guard was armed with guns in private ownership, a knife or bayonet on a pole, Molotov cocktails and improvised flamethrowers.

By July 1940 the situation had improved somewhat with uniforms, a modicum of training and the arrival of hundreds of thousands of rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition from the USA."
posted by de void at 8:18 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


A gun never did anything without a person wielding it.

A gun never did anything without a person being shot with it.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:20 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Didn't the Aurora casualty list include several active members of the US Armed Forces?

Three, it seems. However, a friend of mine (a Tory-voting Air Force veteran) made clear to me last weekend that this only happened because it was illegal to bring weapons into the cinema.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:20 AM on July 30, 2012


Thanks Egg Shen.

Not sure I see your point.

If it's "we regulated print advertising for cigarettes and look how much smoking has gone down", I think that regulation had much less effect than network TV shows no longer showing characters lighting up. (Which in turn had much less effect than punitive levels of taxation.)

If you can shame Hollywood into stopping making entertainment in which people solve their problems with guns, you can look forward to similar benefits.
posted by Egg Shen at 8:21 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


F y'all's I, according to the UN, Canada has the third highest rate of civilian gun ownership, after the US and Norway. I got the cite second hand from another document, but apparently the relevant UN publication is this guyover here. In 1992, apparently 26% of Canadians owned guns, but it is not clear what fraction of that number are actually bears.

More recent data from the Small Arms Survey 2007, conducted by the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, shows that the US is the most heavily armed country, with 90 firearms per 100 citizens. Yemen has the second most heavily armed populace (61/100), then Finland (56/100), Switzerland (46/100), Iraq (39/100), Serbia (38/100), then France, Canada, Sweden, Austria and Germany (approx. 30/100).

These are not the most useful figures for directly answering a question like 'how many people in country X own firearms?' because it counts the total number of guns and divides that by the total population. It does not account for hoarding. I know a guy in Virginia with 20,000 firearms. His son went to high school with me and is a complete dick.

Gun licenses, in the future, should only be issued to those with military experience at any level (state to national), as long as they were not dishonorably discharged.

I don't know where to find a good number at the moment, but I think I recall that violent crime rates are slightly higher among ex-service members than in the general population. My personal belief is that this is due to the poor treatment service members receive, but that is just a gut reaction, as I tend to view commission of a crime as a sign of illness rather than something someone does because he or she is bad.
posted by samofidelis at 8:21 AM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Good god restricting gun access to military families would never happen.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:23 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


but someone who goes hunting is not allowed?

You don't need a gun to hunt.
posted by Groundhog Week at 8:25 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, also, on a personal note, the reason I grew up thinking I didn't want to mess with guns was because of MacGyver. I am not joking one bit. He seemed like a pretty cool dude when I was seven, and one time he used a pistol frame to work a jammed pressure relief valve at a nuclear power plant.
posted by samofidelis at 8:26 AM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


What inane responses to a very distilled and useful message.

I totally agree. I don't understand the general MetaFilter hostility toward this video at all. Is it just a culmination of the fact that folks hate guns, hate all reactions to any gun-related violence that aren't gun bans, and hate Texas in general? That sounds uncharitable, but honestly, I'm having trouble parsing the response. It's just a video, and it's giving decent advice on a situation that happens. Drunk driving shouldn't happen, ever, but I'm okay with public-safety officials producing a video instructing how to extract yourself from an overturned car.

The gun-control debate is something else. I see lots of statistics being cited and comparisons to other countries/cultures. That's okay. But I wonder how many of the people discussing this subject have a really firm grasp of what the gun laws actually are in their own jurisdiction. I would bet that most don't.
posted by cribcage at 8:28 AM on July 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


Good god restricting gun access to military families would never happen.

Actually, you're right (District of Columbia v. Heller)

Consider my idea withdrawn.
posted by Groundhog Week at 8:31 AM on July 30, 2012


Y'know, I get the negative reactions to this, but I also can see how well-meaning people conceived this and caused it to be carried out.

When we teach kids to Stop, Drop, and Roll, nobody thinks that we're implying the kids being set on fire is the new normal, and nobody complains that we're putting a band-aid on the kids-on-fire situation rather than addressing the root causes of all these kids being on fire, or that we're worrying about being on fire instead of more common events. We get that in extraordinary situations, it is difficult to formulate a rational plan, so it's good to have a very simple set of instructions drilled into you just in case.
posted by longtime_lurker at 8:32 AM on July 30, 2012 [10 favorites]


Well that and you were talking about limiting guns to a percentage of the population with a 31% chance of suffering from PTSD.
posted by griphus at 8:33 AM on July 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


So THIS is what it would be like if Dwight Schrute was in charge.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:34 AM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Put simply, the end game is guns becoming taboo and the steps towards that are using regulation and argument to make it taboo.

Because that worked so well for alcohol and drugs?

In rare cases, sure, you can make the tail wag the dog. But it's the exception to the rule. And changing culture is always a tricky business.

Can you point me to that? Is there reason from that to think that [constructing a firearm on a 3D printer will] be impossible for a mid-to-long term?

Depending on how you define "3D printer" it's already possible. It's not possible with an additive-process printer, like those plastic-extruder machines that are popular with the hacker crowd. But it is totally possible with a subtractive machine, that starts off with a block of material and then cuts it away to form the part. A CNC mill, in other words. Almost any production gun produced in the first half of the 20th century can probably be reproduced in a decent machine shop, because that's how they were designed to be produced in the first place. Machining a rifle barrel is tricky, but a handgun wouldn't be that hard.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:41 AM on July 30, 2012


F y'all's I, according to the UN, Canada has the third highest rate of civilian gun ownership, after the US and Norway.

Interesting. How do we stack up when only handguns and assault rifles are taken into account?

It's one thing to own guns. It is another thing entirely to own guns specifically designed for homicide.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:42 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


A gun never did anything without a person being shot with it.

There are a lot of Olympic biathletes who would be surprised to learn this.
posted by DWRoelands at 8:45 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


So aside from almost making me cry, and causing me to vibrate with anxiety, I actually thought this was very helpful.

I am very decidedly in touch with my "flight" reaction, and so I had considered things like how to barricade myself in my office until it was safe to leave. But I hadn't ever considered what I might use as a weapon if it came to that. So, the more you know.... *shooting star*
posted by jph at 8:47 AM on July 30, 2012


Is it just a culmination of the fact that folks hate guns, hate all reactions to any gun-related violence that aren't gun bans, and hate Texas in general?

It hadn't occurred to me to distill it so eloquently, but I think you've nailed it.
posted by DWRoelands at 8:47 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know a guy in Virginia with 20,000 firearms.

Whoa. Where does he keep them? How does he keep them? Is it like that Sarah Conner bunker in T2?
posted by BeeDo at 8:47 AM on July 30, 2012


Scalia: "Obviously the Amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried — it’s to keep and “bear,” so it doesn’t apply to cannons — but I suppose here are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes"

The reductio ad absurdum of the 2nd Amendment is that the best example of a 21st century "well regulated militia" is Hezbollah.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:48 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, that 31% figure I linked above looks like an (incorrect) interpretation of this paper by some fly-by-night website I got confused with Psychology Today. Looks like there's actually a lot more variance in the numbers, and they're generally a lot lower than 31%.
posted by griphus at 8:48 AM on July 30, 2012


Anyway, our awesome lesbian Democrat mayor endorses the video, so that's enough for all of you.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:49 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like that it goes to a freeze frame right as the group in the break room gets ready to let slip the dogs of war. It would have been cool if after the credits they showed us the rest of the scene, which included someone braining the shooter and him going cross-eyed while cartoon birds fly circles around his head.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:49 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know a guy in Virginia with 20,000 firearms.

Unless he is an arms dealer, he is a very seriously unwell person. If he fired a different gun every day he'd have to go 54 years before he fired them all. I mean I guess he could do one with each hand and cut it down to 27.
posted by elizardbits at 8:49 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


A gun never did anything without a person being shot with it.

Uh...hunting rifle? Deer? No people shot?
posted by jimmythefish at 8:51 AM on July 30, 2012


> Unless he is an arms dealer, he is a very seriously unwell person.

That or a collector. Many guns tend to hold value as well as anything else.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:51 AM on July 30, 2012


A gun never did anything without a person being shot with it.

There are a lot of Olympic biathletes who would be surprised to learn this.


Yes. You are right, of course. (As my later comment basically pointed out anyhow.) Zinger rescinded.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:52 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Unless he is an arms dealer, he is a very seriously unwell person. If he fired a different gun every day he'd have to go 54 years before he fired them all. I mean I guess he could do one with each hand and cut it down to 27.

There's a good chance he's not anymore unwell than any other collector. I mean, I don't see a reason why a person would need thousands of coins either, but it doesn't really make them unwell.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:52 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


(I think what I was trying to get at was that victims of gun violence should get more protection than potential perpetrators of gun violence. Or something.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:53 AM on July 30, 2012


Because that worked so well for alcohol and drugs?

Well yes. If you just introduce regulation in bluntly then no, but that's the straw man. But, for example, if you change culture and introduce restrictions on a product then it can work.

Since you raised drugs, that is exactly the case with smoking. About the only case where we finally have some form of rational debate about personal freedom and public health.The war on drugs partly fails because it's all regulation and no cultural change. The framing of the message is completely off, as it was during prohibition.

My distaste for this video is not that it exists, nor that it does something useful (it does), but that it epitomises the debate - respond to mass shootings by doing something other than actually having an adult discussion about whether a change in gun culture and a change in regulation could yield better outcomes. In my view the third part of the advice goes hand in hand with the spike in gun sales after tragedies like this and the renewed calls for more concealed carry.

The argument that people don't get American values and there is some special and untouchable forcefield around a highly selective reading of the 2nd Amendment is plain old vanilla exceptionalism. No sensible person is advocating just trying to illegalize all guns. That's the strawman. It seems absurd that suggesting that even small steps towards reducing and restricting gun ownership/usage is seen as such a large cultural and legislative step.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:58 AM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


That or a collector. Many guns tend to hold value as well as anything else.

No kidding. Just yesterday, I went to the local gun shop to pick up a box of ammo. I glanced at the prices for used guns. Holy shit, have they gotten expensive in the last three or four years!
posted by 2N2222 at 8:58 AM on July 30, 2012


Awful, awful music in that video, and the timbre of the narrator's voice is grating.

But I'm glad things like this are being made (though not at all happy about the fact that we have to make them).

I watch the safety videos and flight attendant instructions every time I'm on a plane, unless I'm just about passed out from exhaustion. I watch videos on how to escape from submerged cars, how to escape from a high floor in case of a fire, etc. I'm not saying that I'm perfectly prepared, but I like having at least some little bits of knowledge I might be able to call forth if, G-d forbid, I ever found myself in one of those horrific situations.

And having grown up in some rougher neighborhoods, where gunfire at a block party or an outdoor concert was not an infrequent occurrence, I can say that running and hiding work extremely well. In fact, just GTFOD worked well in a number of situations when I was growing up.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:00 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else feel that this was pretty reasonable? I did.
It's a reasonable film, with good advice. Certainly were I ever in such a situation, I would run first and foremost. It's also not wrong to give advice on something that kills relatively few, as it doesn't mean that greater killers have to be ignored. But there are two things which need to be said:

1) It's not the same advice that many pro-gun advocates give. Often any discussion (such as that lately over the Batman Massacre) will involve folk who believe that such events can be stopped by fighting first. They propose that guns are good for self-defense, and that in no circumstances would they ever flee if they had a gun to hand. See also the same theories laid out in the Castle doctrine or the Stand-your-ground laws. Why the mismatch?

2) Even if the film is reasonable, the context of needing to show the film is not, or at least should not be allowed without comment. Gun massacres should be rare events, where a failure of the law, society, and the individual coincide to produce a tragic outcome. But in the US they happen all too often. Even if the death penalty is sought against James Egan Holmes, he will still live long enough to see at least a few more massacres. Indeed, were somebody to suggest that another such massacre would happen in the US before this year is out, that too would be "pretty reasonable".
posted by Jehan at 9:02 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tonight on A&E, a new episode of Gun Hoarders Intervention, followed by the premiere of an exciting new series from the producers of Gun Hoarder Intervention, Gun Hoarder Interventionist Funeral.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:02 AM on July 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


tyllwin: I'm perplexed by the reactions here ... if you are in this unlikely situation, there's nothing wrong with the advice. "You should exercise and eat right" does not make "take an aspirin and dial 911" bad advice.
I don't think it's bad advice.

I do think it encourages our natural and irrational obsession with rare, dramatic events and in so doing perpetuates a corrosive culture of fear. "You can't be too careful" is the modern superstition. Getting murdered by a stranger in a school, workplace, or public place is, even now, an exceedingly rare thing. If you are murdered, you're far more likely to be murdered by someone who knows you well.

This is like showing hospice patients a PSA on how to escape from a sinking submarine.

Today we Americans are safer from crime than ever before in our history; it's time to be (not particularly) brave, to stand up and live like it, for Pete's sake.
posted by Western Infidels at 9:02 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guns are as responsible for homicides as much as cutlery is responsible for obesity.
posted by Renoroc at 9:02 AM on July 30, 2012


Was this based on anything even vaguely approaching real-world data?

DHS has gone far beyond useless, into actively damaging territory. Probably the worst result is encouraging this authority-worshipping culture we're steeped in.
posted by odinsdream at 9:03 AM on July 30, 2012


I know a guy in Virginia with 20,000 firearms.

Whoa. Where does he keep them? How does he keep them? Is it like that Sarah Conner bunker in T2?
posted by BeeDo at 10:47 on 7/30
[+] [!]


A warehouse; I believe in Martinsburg, WV. Never been in to see it.
Unless he is an arms dealer, he is a very seriously unwell person. If he fired a different gun every day he'd have to go 54 years before he fired them all. I mean I guess he could do one with each hand and cut it down to 27.

There's a good chance he's not anymore unwell than any other collector. I mean, I don't see a reason why a person would need thousands of coins either, but it doesn't really make them unwell.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:52 on 7/30
[+] [!]
He considered it a financial investment. The guy inherited his money. He might not be the cleverest.

But these aren't guns to shoot; these are just things in crates somewhere. I'm almost positive he is a firearms dealer as a matter of course.

That or a collector. Many guns tend to hold value as well as anything else.

No kidding. Just yesterday, I went to the local gun shop to pick up a box of ammo. I glanced at the prices for used guns. Holy shit, have they gotten expensive in the last three or four years!
posted by 2N2222 at 10:58 on 7/30
[+] [!]


Ammunition price jumped with Barack's election as the numbnutses bought everything they could because you already know the because.
posted by samofidelis at 9:03 AM on July 30, 2012


Make guns illegal tomorrow and you'd create the single biggest black market since Prohibition was repealed. And unlike the current failed war on drugs, which we can't even stop despite the fact that drugs require fairly specialized facilities to produce and are detectable by dogs and other chemical sensors, guns are almost trivial to manufacture by comparison.

If this were even remotely true Canada would have a massive gun homicide rate. Particularly since we are well practised at smuggling being the ones who smuggled booze to your country during Prohibition and have a large black market distributing untaxed American cigarettes.

The thing is most people are not addicted to killing each other and gun ownership doesn't really help you unwind at the end of the day.
posted by srboisvert at 9:05 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]



I won't comment on the politics or laws, but this video always makes me wonder how those sad little stories would have ended if guns weren't easily available for the perpetrators and/or the deceased.

Note that most of them seem to be suicides and or family violence, which I presume would have just been postponed were it not for a quick solution.
posted by phax at 9:09 AM on July 30, 2012


The argument that people don't get American values and there is some special and untouchable forcefield around a highly selective reading of the 2nd Amendment is plain old vanilla exceptionalism. No sensible person is advocating just trying to illegalize all guns. That's the strawman. It seems absurd that suggesting that even small steps towards reducing and restricting gun ownership/usage is seen as such a large cultural and legislative step.

We consistently have non sensible people advocating just that. So I'm not seeing too many straw men.

Advocating small steps toward restricting gun ownership sounds reasonable. But the devil is in the details. What specifically would you propose that would actually cut gun violence?

For all the talk of whacko gun culture, violence in the US has been trending down for a while now. Through the assault weapon ban, and after. It's a welcomed trend, but highlights the difficulty with gauging causes of violence in the US. Culture has been changing. Very few reasons have come up with any credibility.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:09 AM on July 30, 2012


Was this based on anything even vaguely approaching real-world data?

DHS has gone far beyond useless, into actively damaging territory. Probably the worst result is encouraging this authority-worshipping culture we're steeped in.


Can you point to what's actively damaging about telling people to run if someone comes into their office and starts shooting? Sure, events like this are incredibly, incredibly rare, but that means most people aren't prepared for them at all, and it's not like learning to run in the event that someone starts shooting up your office means you forget what to do in the event of a fire.

Columbine happened my freshman year of high school, and our administration spent a fair bit of time worrying about it happening at our school, but we were never taught anything useful, like "run, hide, fight" instead we were just taught to fear guys who liked black clothing. People will respond to high profile events, even if they're unlikely to recur; I see nothing wrong with the police pointing them down the logical path of reaction.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:09 AM on July 30, 2012


You don't need a gun to hunt.

I hear pit traps and knives work okay too, and that it's something you can do with stone age tools. As a Canadian, looking at the comparatively responsible uses for hunting rifles in my country...

Creating a caste system with inherited rights through military service and demanding people use crossbows sound like a very odd idea compared with such steps as limiting handgun ownership.
posted by Phalene at 9:13 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hmm, I thought that video was actually quite sensible as a guide to how to deal in this sort of situation. The comparisons to duck and cover are a bit over the top: you can't run away from an h-bomb.

Yes, of course there needs to be a serious debate about gun ownership and culture blahblahbla as well, but in the short term, this sort of video might actually help people caught up in an incident like the Aurora shootings, more common than you'd expect. Especially since copycat shootings are a very real danger in the aftermath of a high profile case like this.

Also, I wouldn't put too much faith in statistical comparisons with how likely it is for you to be caught up in a shooting and more mundane dangers or you might get trapped in the lipstick fallacy: "if only we spent as much money on space as on lipstick, we'd be on Mars next year".
posted by MartinWisse at 9:24 AM on July 30, 2012


This is like showing hospice patients a PSA on how to escape from a sinking submarine.

I like that analogy. But I can also see that simply by telling people what to do in the event of these wildly unlikely events you may calm them a bit. I'd rather calm people down by the probably-useless theater of showing a video than by x-rays and metal detectors at every door.

I do take the point, though, that this plays into the hands of those who have a vested interest in making it seem that these are not the rare events that they are. Of course I think both the "More TSA-like guards and checkpoints! More cops!" crowd and the "More gun control!" crowd are guilty of that.
posted by tyllwin at 9:25 AM on July 30, 2012


What specifically would you propose that would actually cut gun violence?

Well there are real examples of restrictive gun laws in the US like New York City so it's not fantasyland.

Since you asked, although again it would take a fundamental change in the framing of the debate (guns =! liberty). It wouldn't happen overnight, but even over decades would be an improvement.

- Restrict what guns people can actually own
- Restrict what ammo people can own
- Restrict where and how and how often guns and ammo can be sold to an individual
- Require annual applications for gun licences
- Remove all concealed carry except for on duty law enforcement officers
- Introduce specific rules on how people can transport guns from outside their home. Legislate how people stored weapons in their home.
- Tighten up law on self defense and acceptable use of force.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:28 AM on July 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


We're not talking about making guns illegal.

We're talking about tightening licensing, including and especially requiring a license to sell =any= firearm, that requires recording the sale, the purchaser, proof of eligibility to own a firearm and paying a sales tax. We're talking about mandatory gun safety refresher courses and mandatory workshops on dealing with metal health issues.

We're talking about dramatically increasing the tax on handgun and assault-rifle ammunition (this will impact hunters who like hunting rifles chambered in .223. Cry me a river, it's borderline at best on deer, unethical for anything bigger, and stupidly overkill for varminting.) We're talking about a sliding scale tax on ammo sales in general - say, 5% on 25 rounds, 10% on a hundred rounds, 25% on a thousand rounds. This will only slow rather than stop a determined hoarder, but that is sometimes enough if they have bad intentions - time for second thoughts is definitely a plus. Exceptions to this are for sales at licensed gun ranges for ammunition used on-site. No tax at all on that, but the ATF will be by to count the spent brass from time to time, tho.

We're talking about the cessation of manufacture and import of high capacity magazines - the collector's market will price them out of reach of the casual psycho.

Gun control does not mean prohibition.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:30 AM on July 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


Here is the solution: at birth, issue everyone a Mosin. Ban all other guns.

You want to hunt? Fine, Mosin.

You want to target shoot? Fine, Mosin.

You want to repel the Nazi invaders? Fine, Mosin.

You want to go on a public rampage with a bolt-action rifle? Good luck. I suppose it can be done (Charles Whitman), but not easily.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:32 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Always run from a knife and rush a gun." - Al Capone
posted by tspae at 9:34 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


> "Always run from a knife and rush a gun." - Al Capone

If anything, you'll get an amusing war cry from Jaime Hyneman.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:37 AM on July 30, 2012


Right, so don't passively allow myself to be shot in the face, but in the meantime continue to be afraid. I can do that.
posted by cmoj at 9:37 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's Hoffa, not Capone, I think, but the sentiment holds.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:37 AM on July 30, 2012


Well there are real examples of restrictive gun laws in the US like New York City so it's not fantasyland.

Since you asked, although again it would take a fundamental change in the framing of the debate (guns =! liberty). It wouldn't happen overnight, but even over decades would be an improvement.

- Restrict what guns people can actually own
- Restrict what ammo people can own
- Restrict where and how and how often guns and ammo can be sold to an individual
- Require annual applications for gun licences
- Remove all concealed carry except for on duty law enforcement officers
- Introduce specific rules on how people can transport guns from outside their home. Legislate how people stored weapons in their home.
- Tighten up law on self defense and acceptable use of force.


Nearly all these things have been or are currently law around the country, usually to inconclusive effect. And it's not clear how much it would affect the very determined mass shooter.

It's not that restrictions can have no effects. It's that restrictions tend to be oversold, sometimes quite a lot.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:39 AM on July 30, 2012


They propose that guns are good for self-defense, and that in no circumstances would they ever flee if they had a gun to hand. See also the same theories laid out in the Castle doctrine or the Stand-your-ground laws. Why the mismatch?

Well, every situation is really tactically different. The guy in Aurora had armor and superior weaponry, and trying to shoot it out one on one with a concealed-carry handgun would have been suicidal. Mass charging isn't practical in a movie theater with all the seats, and the noise making co-ordination impossible. I guess the best option would have been to run while throwing a few shots his way to try and suppress his fire a bit, and using available cover to obscure your position if you can. But you're not going to make every office worker a tactician with the presence of mind to analyze their options. As a one size fits all, easy to do and remember, "Run -> Hide -> Fight" is likely the best you can do.
posted by tyllwin at 9:44 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like to think, should the circumstances arise, I would act like this guy, but I would hope to god I am never in those circumstances.
posted by Artw at 9:44 AM on July 30, 2012


And, to repeat - the second part of the equation is a fundamental change in gun culture alongside regulation. I don't specifically mean the glamorization of guns in movies - young men in Canada, France, the UK etc all get the same movies.

I mean a more fundamental shift away from the gun as a right to the gun as a privilege. A shift towards ownership of large numbers of guns as being considered more taboo or unusual. A fact-based debate on the relative merits and risks of keeping a gun in the home.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:44 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


And, to repeat - the second part of the equation is a fundamental change in gun culture alongside regulation. I don't specifically mean the glamorization of guns in movies - young men in Canada, France, the UK etc all get the same movies.

I mean a more fundamental shift away from the gun as a right to the gun as a privilege. A shift towards ownership of large numbers of guns as being considered more taboo or unusual. A fact-based debate on the relative merits and risks of keeping a gun in the home.


And to repeat, it looks like gun culture has changed for the better. It just looks like it might have changed in a way you'd rather not admit: same crazy gun culture, less violence.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:50 AM on July 30, 2012


Yeah, the ideal would be figuring out what factors cause America to have these shootings every couple of months and removing or lessening some or all of them. The former isn't hard for anyone without their heads in the sand, the later seems to be close to impossible.
posted by Artw at 9:50 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


At the place I work (community health clinic with large prevalence of drug abuse and mental illness), we run drills for this scenario at least once a year -- so and so is responsible for locking all doors, so and so for getting patients away from windows, etc. We've called for "Dr. Armstrong" a few times since I've been working there, in two of these events, there was a gun involved. We haven't had to evacuate the building yet, and this is because we are all trained as defacto mental health providers and have practiced these scenarios and have been able to de-escalate things quickly.

That having been said, there's nothing you can do about someone walking in with body armor and a backpack full guns who comes in shooting and I don't see anything wrong with PSAs about running and hiding. But I think what motivates these people is probably very similar to what motivates the people I've dealt with and I've thought a great deal about it. I mean I have children (hell, *my* children), disabled, and elderly people who come to see me who are at risk from these assholes.

At least in my world, it comes down to mental illness (often long, horrible histories of abuse and neglect), disenfranchisement, and usually some kind of chemical dependency (either intoxication or withdrawal). Yeah, guns allow these people to act impulsively on their anger and I support efforts to melt down every gun in existence, but that's just not going to happen politically.

Random gun violence is just a symptom of lack of easy access mental health care, chemical dependency treatment, and economic inequality. I suspect we will see much more of it until we have a more just society. And it's not like random mass shootings is even in the top ten reasons why we ought to address these root causes. But these shootings in the media do increase our overall level of fear and anger which ultimately leads to a less compassionate world and more violence.

It depresses this hell out of me that some people think the appropriate response this shit is to carry more guns for self defense bu don't even consider that the next shooter might be someone in their own life who needs help.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:54 AM on July 30, 2012 [11 favorites]


Well, every situation is really tactically different. The guy in Aurora had armor and superior weaponry, and trying to shoot it out one on one with a concealed-carry handgun would have been suicidal.

Now, imagine that there had been 6 people with handguns there.

Who's the friend ? Who's the enemy ?

Crossfires and misunderstandings and hilarity all around.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:56 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would be afraid to be armed in a situation like this because the SWAT team wouldn't know who the hell I was and might shoot me.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:59 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


It just looks like it might have changed in a way you'd rather not admit: same crazy gun culture, less violence.

What's to admit?

The US trends so high on firearms violence relative to other OECD countries that a modest downward shift (like 4% down 2009 to 2010) is barely worth lauding. Apart from anything else there is no evidence what is driving it. Could you show me what exactly has changed in gun culture?
posted by MuffinMan at 9:59 AM on July 30, 2012


The most effective way for a group to deal with a single shooter (or even two, perhaps) is not to run away and definitely not to hide, but to be trained to charge as a mass.

Wow, and I thought the level of bizarre from the PSA could not be topped. Congratulations!
posted by gertzedek at 10:00 AM on July 30, 2012


Guns are as responsible for homicides as much as cutlery is responsible for obesity.

Actually, the utensils available can have a significant impact on the portion sizes a person consumes. This study shows that when given a larger spoon, subjects' servings increased by 14.5%.

The background of the study is also silly.
posted by Winnemac at 10:03 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, every situation is really tactically different. The guy in Aurora had armor and superior weaponry, and trying to shoot it out one on one with a concealed-carry handgun would have been suicidal. Mass charging isn't practical in a movie theater with all the seats, and the noise making co-ordination impossible. I guess the best option would have been to run while throwing a few shots his way to try and suppress his fire a bit, and using available cover to obscure your position if you can. But you're not going to make every office worker a tactician with the presence of mind to analyze their options. As a one size fits all, easy to do and remember, "Run -> Hide -> Fight" is likely the best you can do.
Sure, but it was that exact situation for which shooting back was suggested by many of those who are most pro-gun. Likewise, Castle doctrine and Stand-your-ground laws encourage folk to shoot and not to run. It seems like the best advice on how to deal with a shooting situation is actually often ignored. Even though I accept that not everybody can be a tactician or able to fight back, there is no guarantee that those who are armed in such a situation have the presence of mind to act rightly. Moreover, advocates for guns as self-defense often believe that it would be good or better were every ordinary person to have one. It seems a highly irresponsible position on their part.
posted by Jehan at 10:19 AM on July 30, 2012


Another lesson from the video: avoid angering Vin Diesel!
posted by O Blitiri at 10:33 AM on July 30, 2012


I just don't get why people care if guns get restricted more. The drug analogies are wrong-footed, nobody is addicted to guns. Well, maybe that guy

I like the constitution like I like the Bible. It's an amazing guidebook for how to live, and I personally think its the best of its kind, but you can't take it too literally--it was written by flawed people, a long long time ago.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:33 AM on July 30, 2012


Sorry, maybe that guy with 20000 guns mentioned earlier.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:34 AM on July 30, 2012


The most effective way for a group to deal with a single shooter (or even two, perhaps) is not to run away and definitely not to hide, but to be trained to charge as a mass.

This is what I'd do honestly. Yes one or two people would get shot but the shooter would quickly be overwhelmed by 4 or 5 adults. Unless they were a ninja too, but I get the sense most of these shooters aren't anything special.

I have no flight response and an over developed fight response I admit but I know I'd feel a lot better about my chances tackling the guy with a few other people than hiding under a plastic chair.
posted by fshgrl at 10:39 AM on July 30, 2012


"The argument that people don't get American values and there is some special and untouchable forcefield around a highly selective reading of the 2nd Amendment is plain old vanilla exceptionalism. No sensible person is advocating just trying to illegalize all guns. That's the strawman. It seems absurd that suggesting that even small steps towards reducing and restricting gun ownership/usage is seen as such a large cultural and legislative step."

While, I’m not even sure how the idea that America is uniquely weird in a number of important ways that are related to guns is even disputable, American exeptionalism is completely irrelevant to the topic. What is relevant is that the plurality of Americans favor gun laws which protect the right to own guns more than laws which control ownership.

Regardless, there are people in this thread calling for laws similar to those of Japan, which, while not a total ban, would make the vast majority of legal American firearms illegal overnight. The argument that I actually made is that the idea of doing this is fundamentally disconnected from what is wanted and possible in this still democratic society of ours. Our Supreme Court (SCOTUS), which is charged with interpreting these questions, has continued to define the second amendment as significantly restricting the power of both the states and federal government to prevent gun ownership. We are unlikely to get a decision from SCOTUS interpreting the second amendment in the other selective extreme any time soon, but even if we were to the federal government would only have the constitutional authority to regulate the interstate trade of guns, and it would not be able to do it in a way both constitutional and anywhere near as effective as Japan. Individual states would still be free to set their own gun laws as lax as they pleased, and good luck convincing Arkansas to keep guns out of the hands of anyone but convicted felons.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:00 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


What does Vin Diesel have to be so upset about, anyway?
posted by Brocktoon at 11:16 AM on July 30, 2012


And I'm reminded of how that article was completely inaccurate and critical pieces of the weapon could not be manufactured by a 3D printer

I think what was actually made by the 3D printer was the receiver - that is, the body of the gun. The problematic part there is that that is the part with the serial number on it - so, if you had access to the parts, you could make a "nobody" gun using a 3D printer. But it feels like it would still be a lot easier to buy an unlicensed firearm...
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:34 AM on July 30, 2012


...I like the constitution like I like the Bible. It's an amazing guidebook for how to live, and I personally think its the best of its kind, but you can't take it too literally--it was written by flawed people, a long long time ago. ...

Unlike the bible there is a well established procedure for amending the constitution to reflect more recent developments, ya know?
posted by de void at 11:50 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


A gun never did anything without a person wielding it.

Yuh! A nuke, too! Them poor innocent weapons! Leave 'em alone!
posted by Decani at 12:04 PM on July 30, 2012


Nukes have no other use.
posted by desjardins at 12:08 PM on July 30, 2012


> Yuh! A nuke, too! Them poor innocent weapons! Leave 'em alone!

I'll just leave this here.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:13 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nukes have no other use.

Nor do handguns. This suggests a policy direction.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 12:23 PM on July 30, 2012


The drug analogies are wrong-footed, nobody is addicted to guns.

Very few recreational drug users are addicted, either. And Prohibition wasn't a failure because a whole lot of Americans developed the DTs and needed their fix; there are other reasons that drive demand for a product besides addicts jonesing for it. Culture and identity and the role a product plays in a particular social context are a lot more important and bigger drivers of consumption, whether you're talking about drugs, alcohol, or guns.

(Also, typically addictive potential is an argument for prohibition of something, not against it, so that's a ... confusing place to start from.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:24 PM on July 30, 2012


Nukes have no other use.

Obviously, you're not a golfer.
posted by griphus at 12:27 PM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


The problematic part there is that that is the part with the serial number on it - so, if you had access to the parts, you could make a "nobody" gun using a 3D printer. But it feels like it would still be a lot easier to buy an unlicensed firearm...

You can also buy an 80% complete receiver and finish it yourself. It's a lot easier than using a 3D printer -- in some cases it only requires a drill press and a bunch of jigs. As far as the law is concerned, they're just a lump of metal. But if you drill out all the right holes and finish one, then it's a firearm and you have to serialize it. (I'm not clear on whether you have to have a serial number on it from the moment it's legally "born" as a firearm, or just if you want to transfer it to someone else.) I think most people just put a serial number on the side with a set of number punches to be safe.

I've known a few people who have finished 80% receivers as hobby projects. It's pretty nerdy (existing, it seems to me, in the part of the Venn diagram where guns and the maker aesthetic overlap), and also risky in the sense that if you do something wrong, you'll ruin the whole project. But to each their own.

AFAICT, criminals don't bother to go this route, nor do people who just want to own a working gun. It's too much work for something you can buy off the shelf for only a bit more money. But if I was cooking up some sort of restrictive gun-licensing scheme, I'd be given pause by the unknown-but-probably-large number of them floating around, as this is not a new thing.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:47 PM on July 30, 2012


Guns are strictly controlled, with no easy access to handguns and strict controls on semi-automatics.

Semi-automatics, including the Ruger Mini-14 used in the Montreal Massacre are 'not restricted' in Canada.

All gun purchases require a Firearms Acquisition Certificate. The purchase of handguns and some rifles require further paperwork, and transporting these weapons requires a time limited permit. A large number of specifically named weapons, and all fully automatics, are termed 'prohibited'. Over all, I think this gives a reasonable balance between rights and responsibilities, especially in a country with a vast wilderness and a tradition of food hunting. I'd be happy enough to see handguns listed as 'prohibited' as well.

There was a further requirement to register all guns, which was eliminated earlier this year. This 'long gun registry' was expensive, poorly enforced and seriously resisted by many, especially by rural Canadians. I'd have a hard time defending it, given better places to put the money and effort.

Thanks to samofidelis for digging up the 26% gun ownership figure - this is much higher than I would have guessed.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 12:57 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the constitution like I like the Bible. It's an amazing guidebook for how to live, and I personally think its the best of its kind, but you can't take it too literally--it was written by flawed people, a long long time ago.

I think this is a terrible attitude. If we can ignore the 2nd amendment (or interpret it to fit our preconceived policy ideas) then the other guy can ignore the 1st or 4th amendment (or interpret them to fit their preconceived policy ideas). It's a recipe for destruction of our system of government.

The solution is to amend the Constitution to clarify the 2nd amendment. Is that likely to happen? Not in the immediate future. But that's how we have to proceed. Amending the Constitution to change the fundamental law of the land is the system our nation was founded upon.
posted by Justinian at 1:03 PM on July 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


Although Japan generally forbids private gun ownership, if you find yourself in a position where you think violence is likely, you can go to the police box on this corner or the next or any damn block of the city. If we somehow implemented something like that in the US then banning guns might have a chance at reducing violence. The proper distribution of police boxes throughout three time zones is left as an exercise to the reader.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:27 PM on July 30, 2012


There was one thing that was grossly inaccurate in the video. The first responder is going to be the local patrol cop who will not be dressed in camo's and most probably will not be armed with a machine gun.

Extrapolating from 2001 to today we will probably get there in another fifteen years but we ain't there yet.
posted by bukvich at 1:28 PM on July 30, 2012


> The first responder is going to be the local patrol cop who will not be dressed in camo's and most probably will not be armed with a machine gun.

Actually, it looked like they had both street cops and SWAT-type cops. The street cops here now have pretty quick access to assault rifles. But, if it's a confirmed shooter with multiple guns and perhaps body armor, then I think the first cops on the scene aren't going to charge in. Perhaps the video presumes enough elapsed time for the paramilitary cops to get there. But, that's all rather academic.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:34 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


you can go to the police box on this corner or the next or any damn block of the city.

I had to google but that's kinda cool. Kōban.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 1:36 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Every police car in my city has both a shotgun and what looks to me like an AR15 between the front seats; the paramilitarization of local police forces has been extremely extensive. If this is what they need to go after pot smokers in the war on drugs, one can only imagine the armaments needed if the people here calling for gun confiscation are listened to.
posted by Forktine at 1:58 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The proper distribution of police boxes throughout three time zones is left as an exercise to the reader.

(There are six time zones in the U.S.)
posted by desjardins at 2:04 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any argument that gun prohibition would be remotely like drug or alcohol prohibition is deeply flawed. The large majority of the developed world has very strict gun laws and gun proliferation simply isn't an issue. Of course there is gun smuggling and there is guns on the streets, but the level to which it effects society is tiny compared to drugs.

Here in the UK I don't doubt that I could find drugs with a few phone calls. I wouldn't have the faintest idea of how to find a gun. If I phoned up the right people looking to find drugs, they'd probably put me in contact with someone who could help. If I phoned up anyone I know looking to buy a gun, they'd probably call the police.

The big issue the US would have that we don't have is in dealing with the huge number of guns already in circulation. The key would really be control of ammunition sales and possession of guns in public. Effectively regulate (and enforce) those and you'd be on your way to gun laws closer to the rest of the world.

To reiterate, guns are not drugs. Owning and shooting guns is at most a hobby, closer to photography (with a dangerous element) than drugs. Drugs (and alcohol) can't easily be controlled because they are so desirable that people will take significant risks to consume them. The UK and other western countries have demonstrated categorically that very few people will take significant risks to own unregulated guns.
posted by leo_r at 2:13 PM on July 30, 2012


Talking about first responders in terms of access to shotguns and assault rifles perpetuates the "equipment myth" that is a major problem in local law enforcement. A lot of local money is wasted buying equipment on the theory that, "We need [equipment] in case we confront [situation]," when the far better investment would be in training. The wasteful, dangerous result can be well-equipped police departments whose personnel haven't been trained to use that equipment, or who attended "a training" which is not considerably different, instead of moderately equipped police departments whose personnel are well trained to confront a threat.

And I don't mean to make it seem an obvious choice. From afar I think it is, but when you are actually the guy confronted with budget decisions, you have X dollars and Y hours and you want to allot something to the worst-case scenario, but that scenario is pretty far removed from what your officers' daily patrols involve. From that perspective it isn't unreasonable to say, "Okay, we'll stash away a few assault rifles in case we have to face down a shooter before the state police can arrive. Now, let's look at those domestic-dispute trainings..."

As for gun control...? The amount of misinformation circulating about gun laws is amazing. In a single jurisdiction, you will get different answers to a single question from trained professionals—police, firearms instructors, even attorneys (who don't specialize in the subject). This goes for everything from obscure questions like, "In my state, can I own a black-powder rifle without a license?" to common and fundamental questions like, "What are the restrictions on my firearms license?"

I think there are two primary reasons for this. First, gun law is a popular subject. People like talking about it, whether or not they are informed. This means the pool of misinformation about gun laws is going to spread wider and deeper than, for instance, about the qualifications to become a Certified Fire Alarm Technician. Second, gun law is a complex subject. State and federal laws may overlap or contradict. Two neighboring states can disagree about classifications in confusing ways. Even in a single state, gun laws tend to be obtuse and trip over the classification of different guns (length, capacity, manufacture date, etc.).

Even gun manufacturers and gun-store owners have difficulty parsing the law. Whenever I sit in an open-to-the-public class about gun law, invariably there will be at least one question from a gun-store owner who is frustrated because he/she does not know whether the store is allowed to sell something, and invariably it's a good question. This is a difficult subject to master and there are a lot of people who will answer your questions confidently but wrong.
posted by cribcage at 2:24 PM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Duck and cover.
posted by telstar at 3:07 PM on July 30, 2012


If we can ignore the 2nd amendment (or interpret it to fit our preconceived policy ideas) then the other guy can ignore the 1st or 4th amendment (or interpret them to fit their preconceived policy ideas). It's a recipe for destruction of our system of government.

The solution is to amend the Constitution to clarify the 2nd amendment. Is that likely to happen? Not in the immediate future. But that's how we have to proceed. Amending the Constitution to change the fundamental law of the land is the system our nation was founded upon.
posted by Justinian at 15:03 on 7/30


QFT.
posted by samofidelis at 3:22 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I have to correct the statistic mentioned above for percentage of Canadians who own a gun. This article suggests a high figure of about 10-15%:

Muir said he thinks there are between 3.3 and four million firearms owners in Canada — registered or otherwise — and between 14 and 21 million guns.

Sure is a lot of confusion on this issue.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 4:09 PM on July 30, 2012


I don't understand the general MetaFilter hostility toward this video at all. Is it just a culmination of the fact that folks hate guns, hate all reactions to any gun-related violence that aren't gun bans, and hate Texas in general? That sounds uncharitable, but honestly, I'm having trouble parsing the response. It's just a video, and it's giving decent advice on a situation that happens.

Words can't do justice to the stunning sensation that an outsider gets from watching this video, trying to imagine the society that would make this as a PSA because it's a "situation that happens".
Kinnakeet said "The Dystopia is here." above. More and more, that's what America looks like to the rest of the Western world, a crazy, brutal, dystopia, where things really happen that you would wince at in science fiction.
posted by Catch at 4:12 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's a "situation that happens".

Less frequently, I think than getting hit by lightning. It's just that PSA's for common killers, like talking on the phone while driving, are boring.
posted by tyllwin at 4:59 PM on July 30, 2012


It's just that PSA's for common killers, like talking on the phone while driving, are boring.

Yeah, those can be pretty boring.

(/offtopic)
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:21 PM on July 30, 2012


OK: are boring not things people want to watch for fun.
posted by tyllwin at 5:23 PM on July 30, 2012


I might not be as steeped in gun culture as some here so I really don't understand the import but we managed to make quite a dent in smoking, an activity that isn't illegal and most likely never will be just by making it uncool.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:24 PM on July 30, 2012


I'll be curious to see if the "dent" that has been made in smoking continues as the anti-smoking campaign keeps getting bolder and more deliberately offensive. The television ads they are running nowadays aren't all that far removed from the shock videos you see from PETA or radical pro-life groups.

But one key difference is that cigarettes' ill effects are inescapable. In this thread you have a few ignorant comments to the effect of "handguns always kill" and "only a nut would own that many guns" and what not, but the reality is that for most gun owners, guns are a hobby and not a means to self-defense.

Most gun owners treat guns as collectibles, and/or they belong to gun clubs where they target-shoot for fun or competition. In large part these are the people standing between you and "gun control," if you take that term to mean "gun bans." They aren't nuts and they aren't dangerous. They have a hobby and they are passionate about it, and chances are they're willing to spend more money, time, and effort protecting that hobby than you are willing to spend trying to outlaw it.
posted by cribcage at 6:59 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I might not be as steeped in gun culture as some here so I really don't understand the import but we managed to make quite a dent in smoking, an activity that isn't illegal and most likely never will be just by making it uncool.

Not "uncool"; just really freaking inconvenient. And, well, yes, it's virtually illegal. You used to be allowed to smoke absolutely everywhere, but now I can count all the places in town it's legal to smoke on one hand and still have plenty of fingers left over.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:08 PM on July 30, 2012


Gun licenses, in the future, should only be issued to those with military experience at any level (state to national), as long as they were not dishonorably discharged. The spouse and children of this military-trained person would also be allowed to get a gun license.

Those children (or the former spouse in the event of a divorce) would be able to pass on the ability to get a gun license to their spouses, but unless one of them is current or formal military, they cannot pass it on to their kids.

Anyone who commits a crime with their gun, would permanently get their license revoked (like a civilian version of a dishonorable discharge).

Would this solve the problem of gun violence? Probably not, but at least it would ensure that those who most understand what guns can do are the only ones who have them.


Only let people who have been indoctrinated by the state have guns?
posted by yonega at 12:13 AM on July 31, 2012


They already withdrew the suggestion.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:14 AM on July 31, 2012


Also: Suicide, second to self defense, is one of the most ethical uses of a firearm.
posted by yonega at 12:14 AM on July 31, 2012


Good grief.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:17 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously. It's very sad, and it's unfortunately. But mentally ill people do all manner of unfortunate things. There's plenty of mentally ill people in prison, on death row, and in cemeteries who have done unfortunate things and been exposed to permanent consequences. For the most part, here in the US anyway, we don't care about them.

If I could press a magical button and make every gun in the world go away, it wouldn't be because people might shoot themselves, it would be because they might shoot me, and I want to live.
posted by yonega at 12:20 AM on July 31, 2012


Outsider viewpoint here: I live in Norway, where we've got lots of guns but very rarely shoot each other (last year's terrorism notwithstanding).

Me, I like guns, own a gun and go hunting and target shooting every now and then. I've got some military background and have training in quite a few things that go "boom".

From my outside viewpoint, the cause of gun violence in the US seems not to be caused by easily available guns, but is probably negatively affected by it. See Switzerland, Norway, Finland and other countries in the first world with high rates of firearms ownership. The high rates of poverty and low social and economical mobility the US has, with a very weak social safety net, is what sets it apart from the other countries mentioned. The amount of anger and despair caused by this is considerable, and will always find some outlet.

Working on those factors will provide more gain than working against the superbly organized NRA's influence. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much political will to do so.
posted by Harald74 at 4:23 AM on July 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


BTW, I thought the video was quite reasonable.
posted by Harald74 at 4:38 AM on July 31, 2012


PSAs really are an interesting format because they do have all sorts of implications around normative expectations. That and the potent element of fear always really catches and holds the attention. There ought to be more of 'em. Maybe a whole channel of 'em.

The advice given seems reasonable but also lacking. My own suspicions is that what really makes shooters so effective is the powerful information asymmetries that they are able to exploit. They're a single agent (no communication cost), well prepared, familiar with the surroundings, committed, and, most importantly, they are continually moving and gathering intelligence. Against this you have a mob. I really do wonder if in these situations if there was somehow more coordination, more communication, more sharing of intel and analysis, and, most importantly, an active element who could recognize and exploit opportunities then all of these situations wouldn't turn out very differently. But then I suppose that might be way too much to expect from panicked civilians. Still I am surprised that the text -- unlike the video -- didn't really seem to emphasize any element of organizing with those around you.
posted by nixerman at 4:40 AM on July 31, 2012


Just to drag it away from gun ownership in general and back to mass shooters in particular, I think this guy has a lot of the answers.

Dr Park Deitz

The problem is he has had these ideas for twenty years and nobody listens to him.

I think the media likes these mass shooting events. They are easy to cover, compelling, full of emotion and they sell a lot of ad space.

I think that is why the media use the shooter's full name (including the middle name) when referring to them because it makes the guy sound a lot cooler. If it was me, I'd mandate that every news anchor has to refer to the guy as "that fucking bellend from Aurora."
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 5:18 AM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I tend to disregard the argument that an armed populace is necessary to guard against tyranny. If you're concerned about the rise of tyranny, engage in the political process. When the time comes for an uprising, the success of your rebellion won't depend on the amount of rifles you managed to squirrel away beforehand. As soon as the shit hits the fan, the country will be awash in liberated military hardware anyway. See what happened in Yugoslavia, Albania, Iraq, Libya, Syria etc. The same will happen in the US if it comes to that. The success of your uprising will depend on organisation and popular support, not hardware.
posted by Harald74 at 5:38 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Owning and shooting guns is at most a hobby, closer to photography (with a dangerous element) than drugs.

How many megapixels does this camera have? Well, to tell you this truth, I kinda forgot myself in all this excitement. But being as this is a Hasselblad, the most powerful camera in the world, and would blow your head clean off. you've got to ask yourself: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk? (Cliks, off-camera flash goes off.)
posted by raysmj at 4:25 PM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the media likes these mass shooting events. They are easy to cover, compelling, full of emotion and they sell a lot of ad space.

"Like" may not be the right word, but the advice for creating compelling news reportage maps to the advice for creating more mass shootings in the future - repeat their names, show the footage, read from the manifesto, plunder YouTube for their videos, interview their schoolmates...

And that's a problem, because which network is going to break all the rules about creating compelling content first? "If you want drama, go to another channel. We are going to tell you the names of the victims when and only when they are confirmed, not send reporters to the scene give out police advisories while the situation is ongoing and then report when it has ended".

*click*
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:11 AM on August 1, 2012


I think that is why the media use the shooter's full name (including the middle name) when referring to them because it makes the guy sound a lot cooler.

I think it might be rather the contrary; as unlikely as this may sound, maybe they do it out of journalistic responsibility? As that CNN what's-his-doucheface demonstrated with his little "He's a member of the Tea Party" debacle, it's important to know exactly who it is you're talking about so that you -- or third parties -- don't connect the wrong dots. You say "Lee Harvey Oswald" so people don't form a lynchmob for some other Lee Oswald who might exist.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:50 PM on August 1, 2012




2) Even if the film is reasonable, the context of needing to show the film is not, or at least should not be allowed without comment. Gun massacres should be rare events, where a failure of the law, society, and the individual coincide to produce a tragic outcome. But in the US they happen all too often. Even if the death penalty is sought against James Egan Holmes, he will still live long enough to see at least a few more massacres. Indeed, were somebody to suggest that another such massacre would happen in the US before this year is out, that too would be "pretty reasonable".
posted by Jehan at 1:17 PM on August 5, 2012


Looks like Aurora is old news now. That was shockingly quick.
posted by Artw at 1:33 PM on August 5, 2012


> Looks like Aurora is old news now. That was shockingly quick.

Per The Onion.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:48 PM on August 5, 2012


Cut/Paste Wisconsin.
posted by Artw at 1:59 PM on August 5, 2012


Nukes have no other use.

Nor do handguns. This suggests a policy direction.


Edward Teller wanted to use nukes to build a harbor in Alaska.
You should see the french drain that me and my AR built to fix the drainage issues in my yard!
posted by Seamus at 2:20 PM on August 14, 2012




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