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Pastor Urges His Flock to Bring Guns to Church
June 26, 2009 11:13 PM   Subscribe

As soon as you start saying that it’s not something that Christians do, well, guns are just the foil. The issue now is the Gospel. So in a sense, it does become a crusade. Now the Gospel is at stake. Of the 40 states with right-to-carry laws, 20 allow guns in churches.

The National Rifle Association says its membership is up 30 percent since November. And several states have recently passed laws allowing gun owners to carry firearms in more places — bars, restaurants, cars and parks.

“We have a very active agenda in all 50 states,” said Chris W. Cox, legislative director of the N.R.A., widely considered the country’s most powerful lobby. “We have right-to-carry laws in over 40 states; 20 years ago, it was in just six.”

Public attitudes also seem to be turning more sympathetic to gun owners.
posted by VikingSword (180 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
It's probably a good idea to bring your gun to church - for self-defense - if you perform late-term abortions.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:18 PM on June 26, 2009 [13 favorites]


Ahhh gun control, it's like the creationism of the left.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 11:23 PM on June 26, 2009 [11 favorites]


Did I miss the LOLBERTARIAN day memo?
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:23 PM on June 26, 2009


Well, my ideal would be a nation that only used guns responsibly for recreational shooting. In a perfect world, no one would need one for self-defense, and everyone would keep up their firearm safety training to make sure they could avoid accidental discharges, etc. This also assumes a world without idiots.

Unfortunately, idiots like the pastor in the news story work coincidentally with the rapacious interests of firearms manufacturers. That means that because idiots demand guns as a god-given right, and other amoral folks make money off of maximizing the market for firearms, it's hard to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them—which itself is hard to predict. Perfectly reasonable people can have momentary incidents of lethal stupidity.

All of this means that it's nigh impossible to have a reasonable, evidence-based discussion on gun control or gun rights. Morons dominate the soundbite bandwidth, especially (much as it pains me) on the pro-gun side. That's compounded by bad data and emotional appeals from everyone.

I do look forward to the (rumored?) legislation that will mandate micro-stamping on shell casings. Making illegal use easier to detect should be a deterrent, and the opposition to it seems rather transparent industry shilling to me (though I'm fine with being corrected).
posted by klangklangston at 11:33 PM on June 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


Not moderating my own thread, merely explanation, on account of this being my first posted thread to the blue. I posted this, because I was actually unaware of the fact that there are special laws governing guns in churches on a state by state basis. Further, I found it astonishing (if true), that the NRA grew by 30% since just November 2008. I hope the discussion will not center on "lol" anything, but rather: what does such gun saturation do for America's culture, when guns have penetrated even into realms of spirituality.
posted by VikingSword at 11:35 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Still, pretty damn thin post.
posted by klangklangston at 11:35 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


On the states that don't allow guns in church are the reglations specific on the denying carry in church or are they caught up in a general ban on on carry where people gather/loiter?
posted by Mitheral at 11:37 PM on June 26, 2009


Airloaf recommend bringing drum n' bass to church instead.
posted by ...possums at 11:41 PM on June 26, 2009


The where seems a lot less significant to me than the why or who, but then, I guess the type of person who wants to strap on a gun to go to church is, barring exceptional circumstances, the last kind of person I want armed. Putting on your Sunday best indeed.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:44 PM on June 26, 2009


Pastor Urges His Flock to Bring Guns to Church

Because that's what Jesus would want them to do?
posted by amyms at 11:50 PM on June 26, 2009


There's something in the water, isn't there. Don't a whole bunch of these States draw water from the Ogallala aquifer? Or maybe it's the air. Lotta coal-burning plants in those States? Something is poisoning people's minds, that's fersure.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:54 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


What Would Jesus Shoot to Death?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:54 PM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Given that people are carrying guns at all, I don't see anything wrong or even odd about carrying them in church, though I would hope that individual congregations would have the ability to ban guns in their church if they wanted to. I don't know if they do or not, but it doesn't look like right-to-carry aka shall-issue affects that— it's just stating that the state has to come up with a reason to deny someone a gun permit, rather than putting the burden on someone to argue that they should have a permit.

Having guns in bars just seems like asking for trouble though.
posted by hattifattener at 12:01 AM on June 27, 2009


All it takes to be on the NRA's side here is to imagine how epically badass you'd feel if you had a gun on you while the preacher happened to recite that one passage from Pulp Fiction.
posted by Riki tiki at 12:05 AM on June 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


[...]I don't see anything wrong or even odd about carrying them in church[...]

Having guns in bars just seems like asking for trouble though.

What if the pastor in the church preaches hatred of f.ex. homosexuals. The congregation leaves, armed, and comes across obviously gay people. Emotions are running high.

We often hear about fiery preachers in the middle east, and how the worshippers leave chanting "death to X, Y, Z", and then the crowd burns flags or attacks symbols or actual people etc. It seems the problem is "over there" so we don't worry about it. But what if our congregations start getting armed - we already have our own fiery preachers. Is it still comfortable?
posted by VikingSword at 12:11 AM on June 27, 2009


Pretty much, yeah. Somebody could be inciting a mob outside of a church too. Nothing special about the church, policywise.
posted by hattifattener at 12:15 AM on June 27, 2009


OK. I just imagine that inciting usually takes place inside the church or mosque, not so much outside. Why would a preacher speak outside rather than inside? That's the way we see it on TV - crowds pour out of a mosque and... not crowd gathered outside and there the preacher does his preaching. Seems odd.
posted by VikingSword at 12:18 AM on June 27, 2009


Just one more reason to stay the heck away from churches and churchy people, far as I can see.
posted by metagnathous at 12:37 AM on June 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


I don't know too much detail about gun control in general, so what's the opposite of a state having a right-to-carry law? In the states that don't have that, does it mean something like you can own a gun but you have to keep it at your house?
posted by XMLicious at 12:43 AM on June 27, 2009


Too bad none of Tiller's coreligionists were armed that day.
posted by wuwei at 12:57 AM on June 27, 2009


It seems like a church should be the last place that someone should feel so suspicious, distrustful, and frightened of one's fellow man that to carry a firearm seems necessary.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:31 AM on June 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Public attitudes also seem to be turning more sympathetic to gun owners.

Cites, please? Otherwise, it's a single-link OpinionFilter.
posted by StrangeTikiGod at 1:38 AM on June 27, 2009


Pretty thin SLNYT post, bordering on agenda filter, for a first FPP, vikingsword. And then this bit of self-moderation in the thread, is really trying to steer us into controversy mud, for the sport of it, I guess:

"OK. I just imagine that inciting usually takes place inside the church or mosque, not so much outside. Why would a preacher speak outside rather than inside? That's the way we see it on TV - crowds pour out of a mosque and... not crowd gathered outside and there the preacher does his preaching. Seems odd."
posted by VikingSword at 3:18 AM on June 27

OK, I'll bite. I bet Jeanne Assam, a member of New Life Church in Colorado, who volunteers as a security guard there, has a different take on why it was a good idea to bring her handgun to church December 9, 2007.
"... Later, at New Life Church, a gunman wearing a trench coat and carrying a high-powered rifle opened fire in the parking lot and later walked into the church as a service was letting out.

Jeanne Assam, a church member who volunteers as a security guard, shot Murray, who was found with a rifle and two handguns, police said.

Assam said she believes God gave her the strength to confront Murray, keeping her calm and focused.

"It seemed like it was me, the gunman and God," she said at a news conference.

The pastor credited her with preventing more bloodshed.

"There could have been a great loss of life yesterday, and she probably saved over 100 lives."

Boyd said the gunman had a lot of ammunition and estimated that 40 rounds had been fired inside the church, leaving what looked like a "war scene."

About 7,000 people were in and around the church the time of the shooting, Boyd said. Security had been beefed up after the shootings hours earlier in Arvada, he said. The church had a total of 15 to 20 volunteer security officers inside at the time of the attack, he said. ..."
posted by paulsc at 1:39 AM on June 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


what does such gun saturation do for America's culture, when guns have penetrated even into realms of spirituality.

Not sure what it does for America's culture, but it doesn't surprise me that the some of the far-right religious types would encourage bringing guns into church, and that the gun lobby wants people to be able to carry guns wherever they please.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:44 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I ride public transportation to work every day. The vast majority of people I share my rides with seem like normal, everyday folks. They mind their own business, I mind mine, we get where we're going and it's all fine.

I don't doubt that at least one other passenger is carrying a concealed weapon of some sort - a gun, a knife, a stungun, mace, whatever - and it does not bother me in the least. It would not bother me if "open carry" was legal here in Chicago. It would not bother me if concealed firearms permits were "shall issue" here in Chicago.

It does not bother me that my neighbors might have a shotgun in their house, any more than it bothers me that my neighbors might have knives, baseball bats, gasoline and matches, hatchets, or any other "potentially lethal if used on another living being" inanimate object in their house.

I am not afraid that my neighbor is going to run me down in the street with his car. Similarly, I am not afraid that my neighbor is going to gun me down in the street with a MAC-10... because most people refrain from killing/injuring other people not because they lack access to "OMG GUNZ SCARY EVIL", but because we are aware of the consequences and because we empathize.

People who do not care about the consequences and who do not empathize ALREADY HAVE WEAPONS, and use them. Laws against firearm ownership do not deter them.

This preacher is a goofball, and his intent is to stir shit. Whatever. There's lots of guns in the US of A, and comparatively few instances of firearms being used against other people. Most of the hype around "OMG GUNZ R EVIL"/"OMG MAH SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS" is just that - hype.

Guns are inanimate objects. When inanimate objects are used to injure others, we DO NOT HOLD THE INANIMATE OBJECTS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF THEIR USERS.

Because that would be silly.

Unless the inanimate object in question is a gun, and then it somehow magically becomes responsible for the actions of the person who picked it up, loaded it, cocked it, pointed it at another human being, and pulled the trigger.

Meh. It's late, I'm tired, and I have no idea if I've made a point here or not. Good night.
posted by mountain_william at 2:45 AM on June 27, 2009 [11 favorites]


Ah, the ol' "people would kill each other with chunks of pavement if they had no guns" argument. Conveniently ignores that a) the sole purpose of a gun is to kill, while things like baseball bats, cars and gasoline are designed to do other things and b) there are still rules and regulations as to how we're to use baseball bats, cars and gasoline. There are laws about how every tool may be appropriately used. Is it so ureasonable to say, "Hey, for this tool here - the one designed to kill people - maybe we should have some pretty strict laws in place"?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:02 AM on June 27, 2009 [11 favorites]


I'd like to show up for his services wearing my reproduction Oakeshott XXa1 bastard sword.

I mean read your bible dude. Peter didn't shoot a guys ear off.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:46 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Needs the LOLAmerika tag.
posted by adamvasco at 3:59 AM on June 27, 2009


Well, I'll just comment based on personal tastes and experiences.

I grew up in the country, with guns in fact. My little brother & I were reared around guns, and from an early age saw our parents using shotguns and rifles for hunting. When you're poor in rural America its far cheaper to buy a box of shells and eat for the winter than to pay for groceries each week. All you need is to bag a couple of deer, maybe a dozen turkeys and ducks and you're (mostly) set.

All the kids where I grew up were gifted guns at a young age. BB guns but guns nonetheless. As soon as we got our first gun most of us kids would play with it, meaning we'd go shoot up an abandoned car, or house, hornets nest, whatever you came across out in the woods.

But sometimes we'd shoot at each other. I got shot several times before the age of ten. Only BBs but rock salt in my bony ass once (from low gauge shotgun) which seriously makes you hop! Over time we sorta lost a taste for shooting up objects, and the gun simply became another thing common in rural life.

Left for University then moved to New York in the early 80's, the Lower East Side, and lordy mercy was there ever guns! You'd hear shots, all night long sometimes, and the neighbourhood was so dangerous the police moved about in groups of six.

Just to illustrate what a commodity weapons were in New York back then - twice I actually found discarded handguns in the Art Galleries I owned at the time. Meaning either someone had done someone else with the gun and needed to dump it - fast! - or someone carrying a gun was leaving my gallery, saw the cops nearby and need to dump it - fast!

Regardless, the point is guns were A) easy to get, and B) of such a low value threshold they were treated as discardable commodities. And I'd suggest that neither factor is good for social stability.

I moved to Europe in 1997 and shortly after started working down in Sub Saharan Africa and The Middle East. In most of those places sidearms were (sadly) the norm, and I found myself in more than one firefight.

I tell people this all the time but it seems many can't appreciate the point unless they've had the experience - hearing those rounds go whizzing past you the first time is downright surrealistic. Unreal. You just don't know what the hell is going on until someone starts shouting "get down get down". And then you realise, but only on an intellectual level, "someone is shooting at me". However the full import isn't there yet, at least it wasn't for myself.

You see I didn't really integrate what was going on until I saw someone about three feet away from me catch one. And that bought it all home, with the power that only graphic images destined to stay with you for the rest of your life can; those people over there - those guys shooting at me - "they want to kill me".

And in that brief instant I simultaneously realised several things - this wasn't a video game, this wasn't an action movie with a heroic ending, those Kalashnikovs not only barked loud they bit even harder, that dude lying over there wasn't gonna respawn and I really didn't like being shot at.

I was fortunate enough to leave that line of work relatively unscathed but being shot at totally changed my view on guns. With few exceptions, they have no place in civil society.

I bet that anyone who has been shot at would agree.

Thats one thing I like about living in Europe. Here in London a gun shooting is big news. Its sadly routine in other parts of the world, America included.
posted by Mutant at 4:23 AM on June 27, 2009 [65 favorites]


Didn't that wimpy assed Jesus even say "turn the other cheek"? Them sort of words is just itchin' for a fella to get shot
posted by mattoxic at 5:16 AM on June 27, 2009


Saint Francis was a sissy.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:34 AM on June 27, 2009


The problem with guns as opposed to knives, rocks, etc. are several:

1) With some types, you can kill lots of people quickly-- with a rock or a knife, the people you aren't killing at that moment can stop you more easily. Not so with a gun

2) Research shows that simply having a gun in the house increases the risk for death by suicide. You are more likely to die from that than from someone trying to rob you and you having the gun where it's needed and getting him first.

3) Related to 2, guns have the unique characteristic of making a few seconds of poor impulse control into a disaster, possibly for multiple people. The same isn't true for knives or rocks because you have to get close to the person you want to kill and most people can't deal with doing it that intimately. Guns give distance and irreversibility a lot faster and more efficiently.

All of this means that having a gun on hand will increase lethal violence because of the lower barrier to killing, the ease of getting multiple victims and the impulse control issue.
posted by Maias at 5:39 AM on June 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Further, I found it astonishing (if true), that the NRA grew by 30% since just November 2008.

As soon as Obama won the election, the guns-everywhere crowd seemed to run, lemming-like, off a precipice of their own making, utterly convinced that "the government" would soon confiscate all their guns as soon as the new president took office. The NRA, of course, did nothing to dissuade this opinion. Membership=money=influence.

A serious ammo shortage, apparently brought-on by the needs of our involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan, added to the whole "here comes the crackdown" fervor. Many in the public saw something rather more conspiratorial in the ammo shortage, of course.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:45 AM on June 27, 2009


Too bad none of Tiller's coreligionists were armed that day.

Not to pick on wuwei, since this logic has been used multiple times in this thread, but folks, it's like this: Guns Fire Bullets. They do not suck bullets out of people, nor do they create bullet "No Fly Zones". Omaha beach, June 6 1944, was not a swell place to have a picnic, despite the presence of 40,000+ highly trained men with rifles.

Last year at about this time when I had an experience with a couple points in common with what mutant describes. Here are some more pictures - mine is the house with the green roof. The big hairy guy is me, standing on my front steps. The bucket in the foreground contains some of the shooter's remains - I think it was a forearm.

The firefighter in that story, had he been armed, might have been able to take out his assailant, were it not for the fact that he was made aware that he was under attack by the bullet that killed him, more or less instantly. The cops on the scene, all armed, spent the first minute or so trying to figure out who was shooting at them. One of my neighbors who didn't put things together quickly enough almost got shot by a cop when he stepped out onto the front porch to see what the hell was going on. By the time the cops had figured it all out, two of them had been hit.

I saw more and cooler guns that day than I've ever seen before. Guns that would have been right at home defending Echo Base from the Empire on Hoth carried by some of the most competent, focused looking men I've ever met. For all their put a hole in the center of a dime at 100 yards accuracy, they didn't accomplish a whole fucking lot.

All this being said, despite my decidedly liberal leanings, I'm not anti-gun. Hell, I can give you a whole list of guns I'd like to own. I decided shooting wasn't a recreation activity I needed to get involved in when a friend and I burned through 7.62 rounds with his Mini-14 at a rate of about $2.00 a minute during the poorest months of my life. (Yeah, I know, .22 and 9mm ammo is cheaper.)

I am, however, decidedly against the notion that guns are particularly useful for self defense. Crime is generally not like El Alamein where you know Rommel is coming. Robbers, rapists and murderers rarely send letters with RSVP cards. And once you've had that gun for a while there is always that possibility that you're going to get careless.

(Yeah, it was an exciting six months for me.)
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:04 AM on June 27, 2009 [16 favorites]


Conveniently ignores that a) the sole purpose of a gun is to kill

or to deter - also, some of the things that are killed with guns, such as deer, are legitimate things to kill
posted by pyramid termite at 6:08 AM on June 27, 2009


Guns are inanimate objects. When inanimate objects are used to injure others, we DO NOT HOLD THE INANIMATE OBJECTS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF THEIR USERS.

In other countries, we also hold the person, not the inanimate object, responsible for their actions.

Of course, because it's so much harder for X person to get a gun, they are so much less likely to use it on another person. And so we have fewer murders.

I'm not anti-gun, I'm anti-murder. And national gun control reduces murders.
posted by jb at 6:29 AM on June 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


It seems reasonable to me that a person who has been licensed by the state to carry a firearm should be able to carry it anywhere. That's what the license is all about. Which leads to my question : Do off duty police attending church have to leave their gun in the car?

If so, why them and not a licensed citizen?
posted by Enron Hubbard at 6:32 AM on June 27, 2009


louche mustachio: It seems like a church should be the last place that someone should feel so suspicious, distrustful, and frightened of one's fellow man that to carry a firearm seems necessary.

Dude. Have you heard the things said in churches?

Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: Not sure what it does for America's culture, but it doesn't surprise me that the some of the far-right religious types would encourage bringing guns into church, and that the gun lobby wants people to be able to carry guns wherever they please.

Why is it just the far-right? Two of the last four or so murders in churches were committed by right-wingers as acts of political terrorism against liberals.

Mutant: And in that brief instant I simultaneously realised several things - this wasn't a video game, this wasn't an action movie with a heroic ending, those Kalashnikovs not only barked loud they bit even harder, that dude lying over there wasn't gonna respawn and I really didn't like being shot at.

Interesting. Being shot at made you an adult. I don't think it made you rational.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 6:32 AM on June 27, 2009


Obviously the newly joined 1/4 of the NRA did not suddenly develop an interest in recreational shooting. It's depressing to live in a country where there is so much fear or at least so much distrust of the other people living here.
posted by sineater at 6:44 AM on June 27, 2009


0xdeadc0de: louche mustachio: It seems like a church should be the last place that someone should feel so suspicious, distrustful, and frightened of one's fellow man that to carry a firearm seems necessary.

Dude. Have you heard the things said in churches?


I don't think louche mustachio is questioning the fact that some pastors say loony things. I would argue his Christian theology is right on target if he assumes community and the common good (after all, they call it communion for a reason) are key Christian values, and ones we should seek to promote at church.

Consider the thread of humility before God running through the whole Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition. Moses removing his shoes before the burning bush. Muslims removing their shoes before entering mosques. Orthodox and conservative Jews wearing yarmulkes. The whole idea of kneeling in prayer. All indications that aspects of our earthly system of power should be left at the door (perhaps literally) when we worship together.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:55 AM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I keep reading and hearing about the deterrent effects of concealed carry laws. And then I think about the shootings in my neighborhood and city, which are mostly gang-related.

These are some of the most paranoid guys ever. And they don't care if the other guy is carrying or not - they assume he is, and they shoot anyway. They guy they shoot at doesn't usually have chance to shoot back, because he's already lying on the ground, bleeding.

In Oakland a few months ago two motorcycle cops - they carry their guns openly, you know? - were shot to death on a traffic stop. The guy got away, was tracked down, and shot another cop or two during the stand-off. He was finally shot to death himself, after killing or wounding several people who were highly trained in handling and using guns.

The cases like the one at the church, where the security guard shot the attacker, or the one at the Holocaust Museum, where the guards shot the attacker (after he had killed one of them) are few and far between. The gang members in my city who shoot at each other don't give a shit if someone's armed; it doesn't make them think "Oh, I better not shoot this guy, he might shoot me!" There's a guy on trial now who shot to death a father and two of his sons because he thought one of the sons was in a rival gang (he wasn't). I'll bet a large amount of money that the shooter assumed the victims were armed, and not only that, that the victims had friends who were armed who would come after him and his friends, and he shot them anyway.

So explain to me how concealed carry works as a deterrent?
posted by rtha at 6:57 AM on June 27, 2009 [14 favorites]


Well, I'll just comment based on personal tastes and experiences.

…apparently, Mutant has done everything at some point.
posted by oaf at 7:01 AM on June 27, 2009


There are essentially two reasons why guns are legal, and they are both bad reasons. 1 - They have historically been legal; and 2 - Companies make millions of dollars off of them.

Guns being legal for protection is idiotic. Guns are not made to protect. They are made to kill. There are non-lethal weapons for protection: mase, tasers, rubber-bullets, etc. If guns were made illegal, you can bet the gun manufacturers would give us even better non-lethal weapons. It would be in their financial interest to do so.

If guns were just invented today, there is no way on earth that they would ever be allowed to be sold. "If I point this at someone's head and pull a trigger, it blows their head off." No one would allow it to be legal. Imagine if I invented a device that was capable of doing the following: enter a person's name and date of birth into a keyboard, and that person's head would explode. Would anyone think that any state or federal government would allow me to sell that?

I agree that citizens should be able to carry weapons to protect themselves. But there is no reason at all that these weapons should be lethal.
posted by flarbuse at 7:04 AM on June 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Imagine if I invented a device that was capable of doing the following: enter a person's name and date of birth into a keyboard, and that person's head would explode. Would anyone think that any state or federal government would allow me to sell that?

Of course not. They'd keep it to themselves and be using it every minute to eliminate someone who says or does something against the government.

And you want these people to be the only ones allowed to have guns.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 7:24 AM on June 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


What Would Jesus Shoot to Death?
Had he had a gun? Moneychangers, perhaps. Lucky for them, he only had a whip.

And gee, it was in a church.
posted by Flunkie at 7:30 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


huntin' for wiberaws and big govuhment sociawists and gun contwow fweaks
posted by larry_darrell at 7:51 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


0xdeadc0de, unless you can make an Apache server your bitch using nothing more than a whistle made from an acorn, I submit to you that those people ARE the only ones with the guns that matter these days.

On a more stand up firefight level, you might last a minute and a half against the guys I was talking to in my driveway last July, but I don't know that I'd bet a lot on that estimate.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:35 AM on June 27, 2009


Conveniently ignores that a) the sole purpose of a gun is to kill

But this is false. There's just no way around it; it's false.

The sole active purpose of a gun is to throw projectiles. There are lots of reasons why you might want to throw projectiles at something (or someone), the predominant being as a frivolity or entertainment. In much the same way, the purpose of a bat is as a lever to strike objects with greater force than the human body can achieve unaided, and there are lots of reasons you might want to strike something (or someone) harder than you could without a tool.

As well, many guns have primarily the inactive purpose of being collectibles, decorations, or curiosities and aren't intended to actually be shot.

I have no particular love of firearms. But it is disturbing and annoying how quickly discussions of firearms in left-dominated places like metafilter often shift from discussions of firearms to discussions of rednecks, and how anti-gun talk seems to shift in and out of anti-bubba talk. This one, less so than most.

Likewise, I have no particular revulsion towards firearms, but it's likewise disturbing how quickly gun proponents run to the idea of home defense since it makes people who have guns seem like fevered, delusional paranoids whose grasp on empirical reality is so tenuous that they ought to be denied the right to own anything dangerous to others, including but not limited to firearms and motor vehicles.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:38 AM on June 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


And you want these people to be the only ones allowed to have guns.

If the government actually wanted to kill you, there is not a gun you could own that could prevent them from doing so.
posted by 235w103 at 8:45 AM on June 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


> It's true that people overreact when discussing complex issues like firearms.

And it's true that many people own handguns and rifles and the like for many kinds of reasons.

But this "The sole active purpose of a gun is to throw projectiles." is equally disingenuous.

A gun is a weapon. Yes, people decorate their house with weapons, yes people use them for sport shooting or target shooting, yes there are plenty of perfectly legitimate reasons to own and use a weapon.

But it's still a weapon.

Comparisons to baseball bats (which are intended for use as sporting equipment) or a kitchen knife (intended for use in the kitchen) are just as false as the statement "a guns only purpose is to kill"

This kind of fallacious equivocation doesn't help the argument one way or another.

I don't think it's unreasonable to ask that we maybe consider weapons a little differently than "generic objects that could be used in a dangerous fashion"
posted by device55 at 8:59 AM on June 27, 2009


If the government actually wanted to kill you, there is not a gun you could own that could prevent them from doing so.

it can make it harder and more costly for them to do so, to the point where they might have to think twice about killing you and people like you
posted by pyramid termite at 9:01 AM on June 27, 2009


mountain_william: "I ride public transportation to work every day. The vast majority of people I share my rides with seem like normal, everyday folks. They mind their own business, I mind mine, we get where we're going and it's all fine.

Until some bitches started singing "Beat It" the other day and it was like everyone else joined for some reason! Freaky-ass shit. Almost made me pull for Betsy.
posted by JHarris at 9:14 AM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


it can make it harder and more costly for them to do so, to the point where they might have to think twice about killing you and people like you

Step 1 - Mail you some child porn on beta max.

Step 3 - Your neighbors lynch you for them.

Start hollowing out those acorns.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:17 AM on June 27, 2009


(Wow, Kid Charlemagne wins this thread by a wide margin. What a traumatic experience.)
posted by JHarris at 9:19 AM on June 27, 2009


If the government actually wanted to kill you, there is not a gun you could own that could prevent them from doing so.

No, but unless the government also wanted to take on all your armed neighbors, they can't kill you openly with impunity. This is not a problem that governments have in other places, is it?

I don't seriously think that the US government is anywhere close to despotism, but I do think that private ownership of firearms is an important factor in keeping things that way, over the long term.

Guns being legal for protection is idiotic. Guns are not made to protect. They are made to kill. There are non-lethal weapons for protection: mase, tasers, rubber-bullets, etc. If guns were made illegal, you can bet the gun manufacturers would give us even better non-lethal weapons. It would be in their financial interest to do so.

Those things aren't non-lethal, they're less lethal. But in any case, they're not sufficient for personal defense, because they don't act quickly enough, they don't have enough stopping power, or they're too difficult to use effectively. I won't post my own anecdote again, but suffice it to say that I wouldn't have been able to use a taser or rubber bullets, etc.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:21 AM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't know too much detail about gun control in general, so what's the opposite of a state having a right-to-carry law? In the states that don't have that, does it mean something like you can own a gun but you have to keep it at your house?

XMLicious it can mean exactly that. There are a huge number of gun laws; the NRA breaks them down into general tiers:

- "No permit" needed to purchase, carry, or concealed carry. Essentially no restrictions whatsoever on gun ownership and carry. This is the law in Vermont and Alaska.
- "Shall issue" states. These states require permits to purchase and/or carry guns. The local authorities are required to issue permits to people who meet requirements set by the state legislature. The point behind this is that the local police chief could not turn you down for a permit because he thinks you look funny. Thirty six states are "shall issue" states.
- "Discretionary issue". These states also require permits but the local registering authority (the sheriff or police chief) has discretion over whether to issue purchase or carry permits or not. This is the law in Connecticut, Iowa, and Alabama.
- "Limited Issue". These states in theory allow ownership and carry, but the restrictions are tight enough to effectively dissuade all but the most dedicated person from trying to legally own and carry a gun. This is the case in California, Mass, NY, NJ, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington DC.
- "Non-Issue". Even if it's allowed by law, handgun ownership is effectively prohibited. Applies to Illinois and Wisconsin. For example in Illinois, if you can jump through the hoops required to legally purchase, you cannot legally transport the gun in a vehicle, or possess it anywhere outside your home. In Wisconsin you can purchase but cannot concealed carry (or maybe you can), and police attention to someone openly carrying is pretty intense:

"I'm not going to tell my officers assume that the weapon openly carried is being done so in compliance with the law. No. Assume you're dealing with someone who is a danger to yourself and the community, and they will have to prove otherwise." - Milwaukee police chief Ed Flynn

It'll be interesting to see how the recent supreme court decision impacts all this.
posted by txvtchick at 9:26 AM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Guns are inanimate objects. When inanimate objects are used to injure others, we DO NOT HOLD THE INANIMATE OBJECTS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF THEIR USERS.

Guns don't kill people. Physics kills people.
posted by hippybear at 9:31 AM on June 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Stupid, insane and prideful is a bad combination.
posted by chance at 9:58 AM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


hippybear: "
Guns don't kill people. Physics kills people.
"

More accurately, since your brain triggers the nerve signal that makes your finger twitch which pulls the trigger which sets off the explosive charge that propels the bullet through the air into the sternum of your victim, severing arteries causing the leakage of fluids needed for survival, it could be said that Rube Goldberg kills people.
posted by JHarris at 10:06 AM on June 27, 2009 [9 favorites]


it could be said that Rube Goldberg kills people

As hard as that made me laugh, I would posit that, perhaps, physics plays a role in each of those steps you describe. ;)

Now, having said that, I should add that I am not against Rube Goldberg killing devices.
posted by hippybear at 10:26 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


But this is false. There's just no way around it; it's false. The sole active purpose of a gun is to throw projectiles. ... As well, many guns have primarily the inactive purpose of being collectibles, decorations, or curiosities and aren't intended to actually be shot.

We're not talking about some antique blunderbus bought from an old man's garage sale here. You can use an unloaded pistol like a hammer or a paperweight, but that doesn't change what a gun is designed to do. They are lethal weapons, i.e., weapons which are designed to be able to end the life of a living thing. I wasn't aware there was any doubt about this; just who should own them and where they can carry them. I don't think it's at all unreasonable to say that such tools necessitate proper regulations with regards to their use.

Why is it just the far-right? Two of the last four or so murders in churches were committed by right-wingers as acts of political terrorism against liberals.

I don't know if you're trying to prove my point or what here. But I think the religious far-right's fascination with and propensity to use guns is pretty common knowledge.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:44 AM on June 27, 2009


As a gun owning liberal, I fall into an interesting place in this debate.

I support, as do most Americans, a form of limited gun control. Mainly in prohibiting certain categories of people (felons, the mentally impaired, spousal abusers, etc) from owning firearms, and I've got absolutely no problem with an ID check that runs your state issued ID card against a database of people excluded from firearm ownership for all purchases of guns or ammo.

That said, the pro-gun side really pisses me off. In part because they seem to be stuck fighting a threat that does not exist. Gun control, in the sense of rounding up firearms already in circulation, prohibiting ownership of firearms, etc is not only politically impossible, it isn't on the menu for any major party, or even any major faction of any major party. Yes, there are a few liberals who would like to see guns vanish, no they neither control, nor particularly influence, the Democratic party.

And, of course, there's absolutely no such thing as a pro-gun group that isn't infected with a bunch of racist, jingoistic, anti-liberal, generally pretty nasty stuff. Well over 90% of the gun owners I've met here in Texas have some pretty damn repugnant personal beliefs. My local university's gun club is basically a branch of the Young Republicans/Young Conservatives club, to the extent that I was told not to bother signing up by the president of the gun club. Which I thought was very nice...

The home defense or protect you from the government argument is purely insane. The existence of non-police state governments in which guns are illegal would seem to me to completely dismantle the argument that guns are necessary to preserve civil liberties.

Concealed carry has always struck me as an extremely bad idea. I own guns, I like shooting my guns. But I don't see any need to carry one on my person, the fact that other people do seems to be evidence more of mental instability rather than any genuine need to be armed.

Heinlein was only partially right. An armed society is a polite society, right up until someone pulls his gun at which point it becomes a bloodbath.

mountain_william wrote Guns are inanimate objects. When inanimate objects are used to injure others, we DO NOT HOLD THE INANIMATE OBJECTS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF THEIR USERS.

So there's no "War on Drugs" then? That's nice to know. Likewise we don't have a War on Terrorism, right?
posted by sotonohito at 11:07 AM on June 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


You can use an unloaded pistol like a hammer or a paperweight, but that doesn't change what a gun is designed to do.

Yes, it's designed to throw a small, dense lump of stuff. Their primary use is as a sporting implement, or other entertainment.

I don't think strict firearm regulations, or even an outright ban on functioning weapons smaller than rifles, is unreasonable.

But the rhetoric of OMG THEY'RE MADE TO KILL THEY'RE MURDER TOOLS AND NOTHING ELSE!!!!!!!!! is part of the rhetorical tone that drives me mad. I don't think I've ever touched a (working) firearm. But I know plenty of people that have, and I'm reasonably certain none had as a motive TO KILL!!!!!!!!! For lots of people out in the country, they're for skeet or plinking or other non-KILLING!!!!! activities.

To be sure, the flipside of the OMG THEY'RE MADE TO KILL!!!! is the OMG I'VE GOT TO DEFEND MAH CASTLE AGAINST THE ANGRY HORDES AND THE TYRANTS!!!!, so the two feed into each other.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:09 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


But the rhetoric of OMG THEY'RE MADE TO KILL THEY'RE MURDER TOOLS AND NOTHING ELSE!!!!!!!!! is part of the rhetorical tone that drives me mad. I don't think I've ever touched a (working) firearm. But I know plenty of people that have, and I'm reasonably certain none had as a motive TO KILL!!!!!!!!! For lots of people out in the country, they're for skeet or plinking or other non-KILLING!!!!! activities.

I'm not talking about why people buy guns here; I'm talking about what they're designed to do. There is a difference. Yes, there are outliers like antiques you put on your wall, and guns specifically designed for sport. But the vast majority of guns sold in America are tested for their ability to deliver a certain degree of ammunition that meets a certain degree of power. These guns are quite accurately called lethal weapons. As such, they necessitate an equal degree of oversight.

The pastor in this thread isn't asking people to bring their 17th century flintlocks to church, is he?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:21 AM on June 27, 2009


The issue is who should have control of the tools of violence in American society. Many firearms are intended specifically to be an instrument of lethal force. I think that in fact, citizens should have the tools of lethal force in their hands. Here's an edited version of something I posted in an older thread:

There is an important legal point here that a lot of people are missing. In the US, the people are the sovereign.

Before the US split from the British Empire, the sovereign was the King of England. This is an important thing, because the sovereign is actually the one in whose name all government acts happen. Under the British system the King actually owns the land below the high tide mark. The King can control what goes on there, who can take fish and so on. Sometimes the King can grant rights to others at his whim.

When the US split from the Empire, the sovereign became the people. This means that the lands are held in "public trust." Thus, in New York, the state government administers the lands for the good of the public. In some cases the state grants the rights to individuals for commerce etc. See: http://www.nyswaterfronts.org/waterfront_public_trust.asp for more details.

Another example of this is when the state brings a case against a person in criminal court. If you've ever watched an American (yes, that is a correct term http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/American%5B2%5D) court room drama, you will here them refer to a case as "The People vs _insert name of alleged criminal_." This is because the prosecutor exerts his or her power in the name of the people, and not for "Her Majesty's Government."

It makes sense , then , that if the people are ultimately sovereign that they should have the tools to assert said sovereignty. One might argue that the ballot box is such, and it is true, for all intensive purposes it is. However, without a formal right to bear arms, citizens do not actually have the ability to bring the state (over which the people at large are sovereign) to heel if it no longer properly serves the interest of the people. This is a fundamental part of the American legal system whether we like it or not. There are arguments up-thread about the futility of any stand by American citizens against a future corrupt government. I would like to point out that the Iraqi insurgents have made life very difficult for the US occupying force. Many of the insurgents are armed with light weapons (assault rifles) and have made ready use of improvised explosive devices. It is true, we don't permit (and should not widely permit) the widespread ownership of crew served weapons like rocket launchers and belt fed machine guns.

If Americans want to change the Constitution, then we should amend it. I would welcome a discussion over the role of firearms in the United States, because I think the discussion has to do with how we as a society sanction violence.

If it were up to me, in fact, the United States would move to a Swiss style reserve system. In that case, everyone would take their assault rifle home with them, and keep it at home. Thus, everyone would participate in the common defense of the nation, and would in fact be fully empowered as _citizens_ to make national security decisions at election time based on actual knowledge about the use of force. We will always have a military establishment , even if we were to withdraw from all our overseas bases. If everyone was a reservist, we could also drastically shrink agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, because then reservists could guard critical infrastructure etc. I'm always dismayed when I hear leftist/progressive types mock the idea of universal national service. In case no one has noticed ,the neo-Pentecostal right (think Sarah Palin) has made a concerted effort to capture large segments of the military with various types of networked religious organizations. Do progressives really want to live in a country where the levers of power are populated exclusively by a particular religious/political sect? Do you really think that, if there were some sort of Phalangist movement in the United States, that you could hold them off by waving a copy of the Constitution at them, or telling them that they had to report to an oversight committee or a review board?

That's what is really on the table when we talk about gun control,-- how much citizens will hold the levers of violence. I think a Swiss style system would be a good way to both retain the sovereignty of the people, while at the same time integrating firearms ownership into the national political system. It would also mean that the idea of some guys in setting up a private militia would be looked upon as pretty stupid, since everyone would be a reservist anyways. It would also mean that the gay, indie rocker dude from San Francisco (and his neighbors in the Castro) would be as organized , trained and well armed as a bunch of neo-Pentecostal, "Quiverful" types out in Oklahoma City.
posted by wuwei at 11:28 AM on June 27, 2009 [7 favorites]


If Americans want to change the Constitution, then we should amend it. I would welcome a discussion over the role of firearms in the United States, because I think the discussion has to do with how we as a society sanction violence.

I don't think the 2nd ammendment needs changing at all. It says "arms". That doesn't necessarily mean guns. It can mean everything from halberds to ICBMs. Fortunately, our democratically-elected officials are given the right, by the people, to institute regulations with regards to who may carry what kinds of weapons, when and where.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:32 AM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


These guns are quite accurately called lethal weapons. As such, they necessitate an equal degree of oversight.

Arguing that guns need to be regulated because THEY'RE MADE TO KILL!!!!!!! is a not very useful and rather alienating rhetorical tactic.

First, because as a simple matter of empirics, many guns are not owned to kill anything, so it's alienating in imputing a bad motive to people who disagree with you instead of treating them as reasonable people of good will.

Second, by taking the OMG THEY'RE FOR KILLING AND HAVE NO OTHER PURPOSE!!!! tactic, you're stating that you want to treat them as such. But the logic of this leads almost immediately to their ban, seizure, and confiscation, as with other objects that have no legitimate legal purpose. Taking this rhetorical tactic means that you're making the insane fears of THE GUBMINT IS GONNA TAKE OUR GUNS AND THEN ABORTS US a little less insane.

It's also completely unnecessary. You could simply say "Firearms are dangerous and should be regulated in their use and ownership like other dangerous things."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:41 AM on June 27, 2009


Can you scale back the scare caps a bit? I'm not being hysterical here. I've allowed that there are guns which are decorative antiques, and guns that are designed solely for sport. The vast majority of guns sold in this country are neither, and they're called lethal weapons. It's not a value judgement; it's a simple fact. It's how we respond to this fact that matters.

Second, by taking the OMG THEY'RE FOR KILLING AND HAVE NO OTHER PURPOSE!!!! tactic, you're stating that you want to treat them as such. But the logic of this leads almost immediately to their ban, seizure, and confiscation, as with other objects that have no legitimate legal purpose.

Sure, if you believe in the slipper slope argument. There's very little danger of the "government" taking away all our guns, for a variety of reasons. I support the right of people to own guns. I just think they, as lethal weapons, require sufficient regulation. That's it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:46 AM on June 27, 2009


Intensive purposes? Slipper slope? Is it Eggcorn Day?
posted by klangklangston at 11:58 AM on June 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


"They are lethal weapons, i.e., weapons which are designed to be able to end the life of a living thing."

Kinda and kinda not. I mean, there are a whole lot of things you could do to make guns (specifically ammo) more deadly. And civilian weapons really don't compare to military hardware (which always kinda makes the right-wing hard-on for Ruby Ridge heroics fantastical).

More to the point, I've fired a lot of guns and never killed a single thing. They're dangerous, and I agree with regulating them, but Xenophobe's right in arguing that the rhetoric of right and left amplify each other by focusing on the lethality of firearms, especially relative to their entertainment value. I mean, even if we're talking about "defending the home," handguns aren't a particularly great choice—you get more deterrent power out of a shotgun any day of the week.
posted by klangklangston at 12:05 PM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


You could simply say "Firearms are dangerous and should be regulated in their use and ownership like other dangerous things."

The states of Oregon and (I believe, correct if wrong) New Jersey regulate the dispensing of gasoline and limit that act to trained service station employees. I find that somehow to be an intelligent decision, as it is a dangerous substance which can easily be mishandled.

I find it difficult to convince right-wingers that while I, personally, have NO interest in owning a gun, I do have experience (indeed merit badges) in handling guns of several types, was once a pretty decent marksman (another merit badge), and am happy to fight for their right to own whatever guns they wish.

Why is there an assumption that not wanting to exercise a Constitutional right is equal to wanting to do away with said right? I hope NEVER to have to exercise my Fifth Amendment rights, and would hope that I never have to test my Eighth Amendment rights. Why does it therefore stand that my disinterest in exercising my Second Amendment right to own a gun somehow means that I want to ban all weapon ownership?
posted by hippybear at 12:07 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Intensive purposes? Slipper slope? Is it Eggcorn Day?

You've spotted my typo. Bravo.

And civilian weapons really don't compare to military hardware (which always kinda makes the right-wing hard-on for Ruby Ridge heroics fantastical).

A military-issued rifle being more destructive than a Glock doesn't make the Glock less deadly. It's a lethal weapon. I don't understand why we need to beat around the bush and play word games about it. It's how we respond to the fact that matters, really.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:19 PM on June 27, 2009


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing While you are correct, from a purely pedantic standpoint, I think ROU_Xenophobe has a valid point. From a purely rhetorical standpoint it might simply be better to observe that as lethal weapons, as opposed to "the sole purpose of a gun is to kill".

In the second place, its not technically accurate. I, and many other people posting on this thread, have used firearms for purposes other than killing, so what you say is not really true.

Far more important, ROU_Xenophobe is correct in his statement that descriptions like that tend to really set off the pro-gun crowd. Yes, they're mostly hypersensitive assholes, and yes you could argue that setting them off is both entertaining and possibly even a public service in that it tends to illustrate what hypersensitive assholes they are.

But if you're looking to win arguments, it isn't the best line to use. Simply arguing that as guns are lethal wepons it makes sense to regulate their use both makes your point and avoids setting off the gun nuts.

wuwei I disagree completely.

If its about who owns the levers of violence, then we need civilian ownership of tanks, missiles, ICBM's etc.

The fact of the matter is that our little civilian guns wouldn't make shit worth of difference if the 101st Airborne was ordered to attack Middleville Anystate. They've got superior training, air support, communications, everything.

I'm aware of the Libertarian fantasy that the only thing standing between Obama (or whoever) and America turning into Amerika is an armed population, but its total nonsense.

At absolute best the availability of civilian firearms makes it slightly easier to start a guerrilla movement. But any successful guerrilla movement requires the acquisition of military grade weapons, as well as training your guerrillas in how to be soldiers. My .22 rifle (even given that its scoped) won't stop the US Army, or even really slow it down. It *may* make it easier for a revolutionary to steal a real military weapon or three, but that's the end of its utility in the event of the government going bad.

Our real defense is keeping the military on the side of liberty and freedom so that they'll mutiny if ordered to do something unconstitutional.

Look, for example, to pre-invasion Iraq. You could, quite literally, go to a store in Baghdad and buy a fully automatic AK-47. You may note that this did not prevent Saddam Hussain from being a vile dictator. Post invasion you'll note that those AK-47's aren't used against American forces all that often, and that the weapon of choice is the IED or carbomb.

Back in 1790 the only real difference between civilian weapons and military weapons was that civilian weapons were usually better quality. Back then there was something to the argument that private ownership of weapons put the civilians on the same footing as the government. In an era of RPG's, tanks, flamethrowers, airstrikes, and nukes, that argument is completely false.
posted by sotonohito at 12:37 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the second place, its not technically accurate. I, and many other people posting on this thread, have used firearms for purposes other than killing, so what you say is not really true.

For the second time: I am not talking about why people use their guns; I am talking about what guns are designed for. There are decorative antiques for the den, and guns made solely for sport. The vast majority of guns bought and sold in the US are not these, and they are called "lethal weapons", like it or not. I can't see what's so inflammatory about calling a space a spade, and equating calling a handgun a "lethal weapon" with some form of hysteria is inaccurate. That a handgun is a lethal weapon isn't rhetoric, it's a fact.

Now, what we want to do about this fact is what makes the difference - do we want to ban all guns from everyone, or allow people to carry whatever weapon they please, or believe in varying degrees of regulation? I happen to take the pretty bland position that people should be allowed to own guns, provided there are proper regulations in place.

If you want to call them "dangerous projectile-firing thingies which could in some instances result in the loss of life", be my guest. Just seems kind of tiresome and counter-productive to contend that calling a handgun a lethal weapon somehow feeds right-wing hysteria or gun-grabbing impulses.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:49 PM on June 27, 2009


I didn't write what you appear to be objecting to.

"Lethal weapons" seems like a perfectly appropriate and acceptable term.

"Device with no purpose other than killing" is what I'm objecting to, mainly in that it inflames an already touchy discussion.
posted by sotonohito at 12:53 PM on June 27, 2009


"Device with no purpose other than killing" is what I'm objecting to, mainly in that it inflames an already touchy discussion.

Gosh, I'm sorry, I guess I should have been more clear by saying, "The guns that people are buying for home protection, street protection, for carrying into church as per the subject of this thread have no other purpose than killing."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:57 PM on June 27, 2009


"A military-issued rifle being more destructive than a Glock doesn't make the Glock less deadly. It's a lethal weapon. I don't understand why we need to beat around the bush and play word games about it. It's how we respond to the fact that matters, really."

It doesn't mean that a bow is less deadly either.

I mean, you can keep sputtering about GUNS KILL RAWR! but that doesn't mean that you're convincing anyone of anything. Yes, guns can be deadly. Everyone has acknowledged that, spazzmo. Got anything else to add to the discussion beyond repeating that?
posted by klangklangston at 12:59 PM on June 27, 2009


"Gosh, I'm sorry, I guess I should have been more clear by saying, "The guns that people are buying for home protection, street protection, for carrying into church as per the subject of this thread have no other purpose than killing.""

Aside from deterrence, symbolism and sport, sure.

How much you wanna bet that no one at these churches has killed anyone or plans to?
posted by klangklangston at 1:00 PM on June 27, 2009


I mean, you can keep sputtering about GUNS KILL RAWR! but that doesn't mean that you're convincing anyone of anything. Yes, guns can be deadly. Everyone has acknowledged that, spazzmo. Got anything else to add to the discussion beyond repeating that?

You know what? I realize it's kind of your thing to get shouty like this, but this is kind of uncalled for here. I don't see anything wrong with me clarifying my position when I'm being accused of being hysterical. Exxagerating these clarifications into "sputtering about GUNS KILL RAWR!" is entirely inaccurate and not especially appreciated. So dial it down a bit, could you?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:05 PM on June 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


I didn't mean to accuse you of being hysterical, only of offering an argument that was not likely to have the effect that you seem to desire.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:08 PM on June 27, 2009


On Terrorist Watch List, but Allowed to Buy Guns
posted by homunculus at 1:08 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I didn't mean to accuse you of being hysterical, only of offering an argument that was not likely to have the effect that you seem to desire.

When your interprettation of what I've said amount to "OMG THEY'RE MADE TO KILL THEY'RE MURDER TOOLS AND NOTHING ELSE!!!!!!!!!" it sure looks like that way, so I felt the need to clarify. There were also folks guessing I'm talking about why people buy guns, which I wasn't, so I felt the need to clarify that as well. But alright, I'm getting that spinning-my-wheels feeling, so screw it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:15 PM on June 27, 2009


Before the US split from the British Empire, the sovereign was the King of England.

Excuse me? Since 1707, it had been the United Kingdom of Great Britain; the King was the the King of Great Britain. (He was also the King of Ireland, but that was a separate Crown until 1801).

/historical pedantry
posted by jb at 1:16 PM on June 27, 2009


And, yes, I'd agree that concealed weapons permits are generally, when the permit owner does not have any realistic threat against them and is not employed in some protective capacity, about paranoid fantasies that, indeed, involve killing human beings. And that "home defense" is likewise nearly always a simple fantasy about power and heroism.

When your interprettation of what I've said amount to "OMG THEY'RE MADE TO KILL THEY'RE MURDER TOOLS AND NOTHING ELSE!!!!!!!!!" it sure looks like that way, so I felt the need to clarify.

Yes, I understand. Sorry. But the "sole" in "sole purpose" seemed badly motivated.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:17 PM on June 27, 2009


Under the British system the King actually owns the land below the high tide mark.

Funny enough, they totally invented that under Elizabeth I, to be able to claim the ownership of salt marshes and any lands reclaimed from them. It wasn't a right before; a clever courtier came up with it based on Flemish precedent (Thirsk 1992, "Crown as Projector," some page I forget).
posted by jb at 1:19 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


How much you wanna bet that no one at these churches has killed anyone or plans to?

Famous last words.

Clearly, guns and gun control are not just a conservative/liberal issues. People from across the political spectrum break along unpredictable lines here.

I always believed that the gun debate was about deeper issues than the ones expressed here, or in the NRA fueled debates.

In talking to people who are fanatical about gun ownership, I get the feeling that the function of the gun here is not actually what it can do, even theoretically (defend against criminals, ensure the government behaves etc.), but rather it represents a way of asserting your personhood against encroachment by "powers". "You won't take my gun away" - really is saying "don't fuck with me", "I have certain rights, which nobody on earth can take away from me"; "I am an individual, and no person nor state has the right to my soul in it's entirety and there is that special place that nobody gets to touch". The gun here is just a symbol. It's not really about guns for these (a percentage of) people. Maybe I'm just reading into things, but that's why it seems to me the pastor can actually urge people to bring a gun into church - it's because it is a deeply psychological, even spiritual issue. That's what I was hoping we'd touch upon, not the same old tired gun control arguments we've seen hashed over millions of times.
posted by VikingSword at 1:23 PM on June 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


You're all arguing with Marisa - but you haven't addressed the real issue: guns may have purposes other than killing humans, but in the US they are often used to kill humans. In countries with strict gun laws, humans kill each other much less often, because they lack those ever so convenient multi-use but still good for killing humans gun-things.

There are Americans who would rather that fewer people were murdered each year; in every other country in the world, gun control helps to reduce these murders. In London, there are muggers everywhere, but they kill people much less often. And being shot on the job isn't a standard concern for British police officers. In fact, because they aren' worried about being gunned down in the streets, British police officers can do their jobs, and be helpful and friendly to everyone else.

I think we have a balance of rights here: the right for sports shooters, etc, to enjoy their guns, and the right of people not to be shot. The second trumps the first. Gun control is necessary to protect the right not to be shot, so your right to a hobby will be abrogated. Take up darts instead.

Besides, what are handguns useful for other than killing humans? Or shooting at human-shaped targets to practice between really good marksmen, because that clearly has no relation.
posted by jb at 1:31 PM on June 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Sorry - I shouldn't have said every other country. It's a lot of countries in the world. And we don't suffer from lack of hunting rifles (which are an entirely different issue), or from our governments trying to supress us. We just have fewer murders.
posted by jb at 1:34 PM on June 27, 2009


You're all arguing with Marisa - but you haven't addressed the real issue:

Your confusion of "people arguing with MSTPT" and "people opposed to gun control" is only that.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:58 PM on June 27, 2009


"You know what? I realize it's kind of your thing to get shouty like this, but this is kind of uncalled for here. I don't see anything wrong with me clarifying my position when I'm being accused of being hysterical. Exxagerating these clarifications into "sputtering about GUNS KILL RAWR!" is entirely inaccurate and not especially appreciated. So dial it down a bit, could you?"

Hey, I didn't mean to come across as shouty—I meant it as a rebuttal to what I saw as your fairly sarcastic "Gosh," comment that didn't clarify so much as condescend. I apologize if I misread you. I thought I was over-simplifying your position to the point of noting your position was over-simple.
posted by klangklangston at 2:09 PM on June 27, 2009


Well, I didn't mean to come across as condescending so much as just frustrated. I was genuinely confused about the uproar, felt like I was having to explain positions I didn't take, and don't like having to clarify that when I say "guns are designed solely to kill" that I'm talking about the sort of weapons people are buying for home/street defense, i.e., related to the subject of this thread (unless of course the pastor was asking people to bring their favorite starter pistol to mass or something). Especially seeing as how my own gun control beliefs are fairly moderate at best. It was kind of weird, to be honest.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:25 PM on June 27, 2009


And civilian weapons really don't compare to military hardware

That's not really true. There's very little substantive difference between a military AR-15 and, well, a civilian AR-15 other than maximum rate of fire and magazine capacity - both of which are pretty irrelevant for most uses. Of course, civilians don't generally have access to .50 cal machine guns and the like, but those sorts of weapons aren't especially useful for close-range combat, urban pacification, etc.

The fact of the matter is that our little civilian guns wouldn't make shit worth of difference if the 101st Airborne was ordered to attack Middleville Anystate. They've got superior training, air support, communications, everything.

The history of asymmetrical warfare would seem to suggest otherwise. Tanks and ICBMs are not useful tools for asymmetrical warfare either, unless you're willing to annihilate the population entirely.

And for what it's worth, on the specific subject of tanks, they're not really very useful when surrounded by hostile infantry - they either need protection from friendly infantry, or they need to move out of the area quickly. Tanks are primarily designed to do one single thing, and do it very well - destroy opposing tanks.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:28 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


"... I'd agree that concealed weapons permits are generally, when the permit owner does not have any realistic threat against them and is not employed in some protective capacity, about paranoid fantasies that, indeed, involve killing human beings. ..."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:17 PM on June 27

Would your definition of a "realistic threat" include having a physical handicap, being a physically small, frail, or old person, or otherwise being an adult with less than average self-defense capabilities? Because some of the people I know with carry permits, who I see practicing at ranges, include a paraplegic man who practices survival shooting from his wheelchair, a 102 pound 64 year old woman who is a former rape victim with a 71 year old crippled husband she cares for, a man with 2 artificial hips, 1 artificial knee, and crippling rheumatoid arthritis in his spine, and a 42 year old man with congenital heart problems. None of these people are paranoid, by what I can observe, and I'm the prime caregiver for my brother, a paranoid schizophrenic, so I think I know real paranoia when I see it.

All the folks I mention here carry because they feel their weapons and skills make them, perhaps, the equal of an able bodied assailant. All of them carry concealed as one aspect of a multi-level self-preservation and defense strategy, which also includes measures like locks on homes and vehicles, lighting, cell phone communications, neighborhood watch participation, etc. They don't frequent dark alleys, or cruise in the red light districts, or belong to vigilante mailing lists, as far as I know. They carry because they given thought to their situations, and the value of their own lives, and they've spent hundreds of dollars, and many hours of time, preparing to defend themselves, or others, if the need should arise. They can all routinely put 3 shot groups in a 6 inch circle at 7 yards, some can put 3 shots in a 2 inch circle at 7 yards regularly (the last bit meaning they are consistent enough to take an aimed head shot at 7 yards, if required).

A few of these people also have long guns at home, which are their primary home defense weapons, where the limitations of public carry regulations don't apply. Most would not choose to defend themselves with a pistol at all, if they have ready access to a shotgun, or rifle. And they all seem like thoughtful folk to me, given the rising rates of violent crime in the state where I live. And please don't so flippantly dismiss the very real threat of home invasion robberies, which are a far more frequent occurrence in our area, than they may be in yours.

Many larger jurisdictions in Florida are now actually forming special police task forces to deal specifically with home invasion crimes, as they are becoming both so common, and so lethal, as ad hoc criminal groups look for easier robbery targets than commercial establishments, with cash control safes, video surveillance, and alarms now present. These task forces put together information on such crimes, and attempt to capture the thugs doing serial home invasions, and they are having limited success. But as many police departments will acknowledge, the bad guys are opportunists, and when the bad guys are busting through your door, (or your patio door), police response times will still seem like hours.
posted by paulsc at 2:33 PM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


My pastor only allows us to bring crossbows to church. hyuk!
posted by orme at 2:54 PM on June 27, 2009


There's an echo in here.
posted by oaf at 2:56 PM on June 27, 2009


You know what just occurred to me - North Korea must have built those nuclear weapons for entertainment purposes! I guess we can call off the sanctions and everything because we can't say that their purpose is to kill anyone.
posted by XMLicious at 3:37 PM on June 27, 2009


Would your definition of a "realistic threat" include having a physical handicap, being a physically small, frail, or old person, or otherwise being an adult with less than average self-defense capabilities?

Not by a long shot, no. It would only include people who have an objectively reasonable fear that some specific person or group means to harm them.

I'd accept that keeping or carrying a firearm was a realistic response to a realistic threat of home invasion if the probability of death from home invasion (for someone not connected to the drug trade or other organized crime) exceeds that from being struck be lightning, a realistic but minimal threat in south Florida. And it might.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:03 PM on June 27, 2009


One could look to what other first-world nations do re: gun control, and the consequences thereof. Learn from the best, and then do better than them. I know, it's a heretical idea.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:23 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


"You know what just occurred to me - North Korea must have built those nuclear weapons for entertainment purposes! I guess we can call off the sanctions and everything because we can't say that their purpose is to kill anyone."

That comment is like the Val-u-Pak of dumb.

1) The purpose of nuclear weapons to the DPRK is to extort money, not to kill people. That they can kill people does not mean that is their purpose.

2) The DPRK, as far as we can tell, has not killed anyone with their nuclear weapons.

3) The DPRK is largely kept from making good on any of its threats by dint of everyone else's nuclear weapons.

4) The sanctions haven't worked to prevent the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons by the DPRK.

5) Even granting all the stupidity above, folks in this thread have not said that firearms being entertainment means that they are not dangerous and lethal, or that they should not be regulated—even regulated strictly.
posted by klangklangston at 4:42 PM on June 27, 2009


Likewise, I didn't say anything about regulating or not regulating firearms. My point is simply that responding to statements about guns being designed to be lethal by asserting that they're "just for entertainment" is silly, whether or not they should be regulated. In the same way that the statements you make about the intentions of the DPRK do not demonstrate that we should act as though their nuclear weapons are not designed to kill people.
posted by XMLicious at 5:03 PM on June 27, 2009


"And it might."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:03 PM on June 27

Big of you, since it does.

Would you like me to post a string of stats and stories regarding carjacking incidence in South Florida, and the related increase in carry permits in that area? Because you might be surprised how many times a day, someone tries to force a person out from behind the wheel of their own car, particularly convertibles and Jeeps, here in the Sunshine State. Or would you accept that one mass market handgun manufacturer is seeing enough market from such incidents to have created a hybrid pistol/shotgun, which is seen as an excellent "car gun?" That's because you can put three .410 Magnum (3 inch) shot gun shells through it (in 000 buckshot loads, that's 15 .36 caliber pellets into an assailant), and still have 2 .45 Long Colt rounds left in it, for any follow up head shots that might be necessary.

And you don't even need a concealed carry permit, or the classroom training and registration involved in getting such, in Florida, to openly keep and use such a "car gun."

You've got a real "bright eyes" view of the world, ROU_Xenophobe. I don't want to disabuse you of that, although I do think that people wandering around in the world who are ill prepared to defend themselves, encourage predation, and make the rest of us somewhat less safe.

Tell you what: you don't carry, and count on the mercy of strangers, and I won't object to your choices, if you don't object to those of people who "objectively" (your silly word, because who is the "objectivist"? You? heh...) have reason to take prudent measures in advance of need. Fair enough?
posted by paulsc at 5:04 PM on June 27, 2009


"Likewise, I didn't say anything about regulating or not regulating firearms. My point is simply that responding to statements about guns being designed to be lethal by asserting that they're "just for entertainment" is silly, whether or not they should be regulated."

Your attempted analogy to sanctions was clear, and your "point" is lacking because not one single person has said that guns are just for entertainment. What I have said repeatedly is that guns are not just for killing people.

The assertion was All X Are Y. I pointed out that Not All X Are Y. I am not arguing that All X Are Not Y. Please do not reply until you can understand the distinction.
posted by klangklangston at 5:18 PM on June 27, 2009


"Would you like me to post a string of stats and stories regarding carjacking incidence in South Florida, and the related increase in carry permits in that area?"

You posted a string of stats and stories about how an airplane absolutely could not take off from a treadmill. Forgive me if I think that you are not a good judge of probability.
posted by klangklangston at 5:20 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seriously, klang? I'm not allowed to respond to you because I didn't understand what I said? Talk about the Val-u-Pak of dumb.

I really don't give a fuck at all what you're arguing because I wasn't talking to you.
posted by XMLicious at 5:39 PM on June 27, 2009


My pastor only allows us to bring crossbows to church. hyuk!

That's good. You'll be better prepared when the vampires take over.
posted by homunculus at 5:44 PM on June 27, 2009


wuwei is correct, but it isn't that complicated. Rights are assertions, backed by the threat of violence. All theories of government derive from agreements about the use and restraint of violence.

All your hugs and good intentions do nothing to eliminate that simple truth. If you relinquish your capacity for violence, your rights are only as useful as the paper they're written on, or the God you believe granted them. You are at the absolute mercy of anyone and everyone who can hurt you.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 5:57 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Would you like me to post a string of stats and stories regarding carjacking incidence in South Florida, and the related increase in carry permits in that area?

Not particularly. I'd agree that carrying can be reasonable in areas where government is either nonexistent or so catastrophically dysfunctional that it can't maintain basic law enforcement, like you assert south Florida is. Praise be, most of the US is not that fucked up.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:12 PM on June 27, 2009


"... Praise be, most of the US is not that fucked up."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:12 PM on June 27

Um, not to be insolent with you, ROU_Xenophobe, but do you see that in a country that allows concealed carry in 40 states (out of 50), according to the OP, that "most of the US" is saying, by law, that concealed carry is an appropriate self-defense posture? Most of the U.S. is therefore, by my lights, in the mainstream, because they expect some proportion of the citizenry to be readily armed, as Jeanne Assam was, when circumstances dictated her response.
posted by paulsc at 6:29 PM on June 27, 2009


"Would you like me to post a string of stats and stories regarding carjacking incidence in South Florida, and the related increase in carry permits in that area?"

Would South Florida be like that without the guns?

Many of us here live in countries with high gun control; we don't experience the kind of car jackings you claim make carrying guns necessary. We can't help it if we start wondering if you have mixed up your chickens and eggs.

How does one hijack a car a without a gun? I don't know, because despite growing up in a drug-ridden ghetto with high crime, I was never threatened. I guess I wasn't worth pulling a knife on, or I was just too far away (like 5 feet).
posted by jb at 6:41 PM on June 27, 2009


"... How does one hijack a car a without a gun? ..."
posted by jb at 9:41 PM on June 27

You'll appreciate that I'm not an expert in how to pull carjackings, jb. But the USDOJ, for a study period from 1992 to 1996 (dated, now, by more than a decade) said that
"... In about 90 percent of completed carjackings, weapons were used and in about 70 percent of those carjackings the weapon was a firearm. ..."
Meaning that, in that time, about 20% of carjackings occured by main physical force, knifepoint, garrote, strangulation (or the threat thereof), bombs (or the threat thereof), or other means.

Really, at the average multi-lane urban stoplight, on a hot summer day, if you find a car in a lane, with a window down, behind any other car, and blocked to the rear by other traffic, you can often time a successful approach/attack on a lone driver, pretty easily, just by watching the stoplight. And until your mark comes along, you can appear to be collecting change for charity, or selling papers, or simply appear to be a homeless person looking for work...
posted by paulsc at 7:01 PM on June 27, 2009


but do you see that in a country that allows concealed carry in 40 states (out of 50), according to the OP, that "most of the US" is saying, by law, that concealed carry is an appropriate self-defense posture?

Sure. Most of the US also says, by law, that homosexuals cannot marry who they want, and 18 states say, by law, that homosexuals are so icky that they can't contract with each other outside of marriage for the same rights that heterosexuals can.

Which is to say that what is legal or illegal in whatever part of the US is quite possibly the single worst guide in the entire physical universe as to whether something is a good idea or not.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:06 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Would South Florida be like that without the guns?"

I understand that you think this a fair question, jb, just as I hope you understand that I think it a hopelessly hypothetical one. South Florida is hot, a lot, and the prevelance of convertibles, and open vehicles like CJ5 Jeeps is probably greater there than it routinely is, in your country. And even for hardtop cars, the baking sun means a lot of people drop a window for a few minutes after they get in their cars, while the air conditioner gets going.

But even all that aside, it takes only seconds to shatter a vehicle side window with a commonly available spring punch, grab a scared driver by the throat, and haul them half out of their driver side window. Carjacking is growing crime, because, in the risk/reward calculation that opportunistic criminals do, its a low risk/high reward crime. Despite the best efforts of Dade County/Miami police, a guy who is professionally stealing BMWs, can deliver a newly stolen car to a rolling chop operation (a dismantling operation working out of 40 foot semi-trailers), and that car can be effectively stripped in 1/2 hour, or hidden for transport out of the country, as a re-titled "used" vehicle.

Moreover, there are already 300 million+ firearms in private circulation in the U.S. There is never going to be time when we'll see a situation "without the guns," which is why your question will always be a hypothetical. All we can reasonably do is deal with the reality of the situation, as we find it.
posted by paulsc at 7:20 PM on June 27, 2009


"... 18 states say, by law, that homosexuals are so icky that they can't contract with each other outside of marriage for the same rights that heterosexuals can. ..."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:06 PM on June 27

Cite, please? Because I have a hard time believing that 18 states prohibit unmarried homosexuals from signing contracts that unmarried heterosexuals can legally sign and enforce, simply on the basis of their homosexuality. And I don't see how trying to conflate gay rights into this discussion advances any of your dubious contentions regarding self-defense.

My point in making reference to the OP's 40 state concealed carry provisions, was simply to refute your silly contention that "Praise be, most of the US is not that fucked up." And you see, don't you, that in fact, by your lights, it is?

Here...jump around to the other side of the barrel you've put yourself over, here... I don't mind.
posted by paulsc at 7:34 PM on June 27, 2009


I see. "Most of the US is not that fucked up" means that apparently unlike south Florida, most of the US has state and local governments that are not so deeply dysfunctional that they cannot provide basic law enforcement. If you'd rather, even if I accept that south Florida exists in a semi-lawless state of war of each against all, most of the US is not that fucked up.

18 states (more or less; I'm not going to go through the specific language) have no-gay-marriage laws that also prohibit the state from allowing homosexual couples any rights that might be incident to marriage. While these haven't AFAIK been tested in court yet, on their face they'd imply that while a straight unmarried couple could contract together to gain a right or power that's incident to marriage, a gay couple could not. At the time, I didn't understand how you were misunderstanding my comment and thought that you were arguing that because 40 states do it, it must not be fucked up.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:07 PM on June 27, 2009


What an incredibly fucked-up society that one needs to pack heat out of fear of being car-jacked.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:38 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Paulsc, your absolutely right about how fast "the shit can go down."

Now go up and read my comment about why I believe guns are damn near worthless for self defense.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:50 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't seriously think that the US government is anywhere close to despotism, but I do think that private ownership of firearms is an important factor in keeping things that way, over the long term.

it's so US-centric this point of view, and the others like it. Is there something peculiar about the US government that if it weren't to be restrained by the thought of all those guns out there in the poorly-trained hands of its right-wing constituents, it would eventually have the best-armed troops in the world slaughtering its citizens?

Because it really doesn't work like that out here in the rest of the world. Out here, we topple governments without a shot being fired; totalitarian states imploding is the norm, not armed uprisings.

I'd love to see a coherent picture of just exactly what these arms that are being borne are preventing. What would the US govt do? And how exactly would the citizen militia stop it? And is this an end that can only be achieved by violence, and stopped by more violence?

(Part of it seems to be a misunderstanding of the relationship between the state and violence. The state gets a monopoly on violence, for the greater good. It doesn't have it and then need reined in at the barrel of a gun, because then it's not a monopoly).

Either way, it's kinda academic. Lots of US citizens are being killed by guns; guns available to protect against a phantom of tyranny. Meanwhile, lots of other tyranny-free states have gun control and citizens that don't die of gunshot wounds. But carry on shadow boxing.
posted by fightorflight at 9:08 PM on June 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


"I see. "Most of the US is not that fucked up" means that apparently unlike south Florida, most of the US has state and local governments that are not so deeply dysfunctional that they cannot provide basic law enforcement. ..."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:07 PM on June 27

Hey! Are you rhetorically stacking negatives to try to confuse a Florida cracker?

Lessee, this year, we've got a Detroit car jacking spree so heinous, the Feds took jurisdiction. In LA, a former basketball star was busted for carjacking. In Spokane, police made arrests after a carjacking resulting in high speed chase which ended in a fatal crash. In a Chicago suburb, the community came together to present a pizza delivery driver $16,000 after he was recently beaten and carjacked. Last month, 3 people were shot and subsequently hospitalized in St. Louis in a carjacking incident. Phoneix, AZ cops did catch a carjacker after a long high speed chase. Last April, Dallas, TX police finally apprehended a carjacker that they think may have been responsible for nine carjackings of female drivers. A few days ago in Cincinnati, 3 guys took a 1992 Chevy Caprice from a woman at gunpoint (sheesh, that's a 17 year old Chevy, for cryin'-all-days!). A few days ago, in Maryland, an armed carjacker finally did get 15 years for a carjack he pulled last December.

Look, any idiot with the time and an Internet connection to Google can demonstrate that South Florida isn't unique in hosting carjackings, and other violent crimes. And while cops everywhere, I'm sure, do their best to apprehend criminals, you don't have to look far for stories of criminals doing multiple crimes before being apprehended, and/or killing people before they are stopped by law enforcement. Even in as staid a place as Omaha, NE, perps are pulling guns to grab cars.

I think your contention regarding the geographical specifics of violent crime in the U.S., so far as I can unravel it, out of all those negatives, isn't valid, ROU_Xenophobe.
posted by paulsc at 9:09 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


But what happens if you use that magnificient hand/shotgun to stop someone from carjacking you? Does your car insurance cover cleaning a carjacker's brains from your car's upholstery?
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:25 PM on June 27, 2009


"... Now go up and read my comment about why I believe guns are damn near worthless for self defense."
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:50 PM on June 27

I read it on the way down, the first time, K.C., and you've a right to your opinion. My opinion is different, based on watching a 62 year old woman last Wednesday night, practicing her shooting, on an outdoor range. Repeatedly (like 5 times in 3 minutes), she pulled her J Frame DAO from her pocket holster, and put 3 rounds in a target 7 yards away, in under 3 seconds, by electronic timer. She didn't hurry, ever, and she was thinking, all the time.

I came away thinking that if she ever had to do it for real, she'd make a fight of it. That's all she hopes to do, and it's her right to try. If she has to, and does, maybe some mope thinking about getting himself some easy pickings will hear about it, and not assume that small, old women are easy targets.
posted by paulsc at 9:25 PM on June 27, 2009


Now go up and read my comment about why I believe guns are damn near worthless for self defense.

With much respect to your earlier comment, the Supreme Court has stated that individual gun ownership is a right naturally tied to self-defense. If you want to change our laws, go ahead, but you shouldn't stop people from exercising their rights in the meanwhile.
posted by gushn at 9:29 PM on June 27, 2009


Or maybe he'll just shoot her in the back of the head and then pick her pistol off her corpse - this seems more likely if we accept your earlier argument is that by making shops harder to rob criminals have become more viscious.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:32 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


"... Does your car insurance cover cleaning a carjacker's brains from your car's upholstery?"
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 12:25 AM on June 28

Your question invites a frivolity of response, that shouldn't be part of any discussion of weapons, and which is invariably seen as callous if it is allowed to creep in. So please don't tempt me to speculate, for rhetorical effect, on the minute amount of brains that might actually be.
posted by paulsc at 9:33 PM on June 27, 2009


Little old ladies get trained in lethal weapons and this is evidence that the system works? Wowsa.
posted by fightorflight at 9:34 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Or maybe he'll just shoot her in the back of the head and then pick her pistol off her corpse..."
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:32 AM on June 28

Or, maybe he'll be trying to jack somebody else in the parking lot of a grocery store she frequents, and she'll get off 2 or 3 effective rounds, saving some otherwise innocent. What's your point? That we'll all be better off if she doesn't carry? Try as I might, knowing her, and having watched her, I can't feel more afraid because she does, than if she didn't. That's just not reasonable.
posted by paulsc at 9:42 PM on June 27, 2009


Or, maybe he'll be trying to jack somebody else in the parking lot of a grocery store she frequents, and she'll get off 2 or 3 effective rounds

And how will that not be homicide? Sure, a car is worth a lot; but killing someone over it?
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:49 PM on June 27, 2009


"And how will that not be homicide? Sure, a car is worth a lot; but killing someone over it?"
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 12:49 AM on June 28

Explicitly, via Florida's Stand Your Ground law, in effect since October, 2005. The facts of the situation would simply have to support the shooter's reasonable perception of a direct threat to her own person, which, in Florida case law, being a line of sight witness to an armed robbery has already been decided favorably, as I understand it. IANAL, etc.

But Stand Your Ground is not a blanket authorization for shooting people in the midst of committing crimes; a Tampa judge recently required a tow company operator to stand trial for 2nd degree murder in a case where he claims immunity from prosecution under the law. We'll see how that case comes out.
posted by paulsc at 10:07 PM on June 27, 2009


criminals have become more viscious

Naw, man, they've got mad flow.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:10 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well paulsc, I admire you. And if you're ever out of a job, think about the Florida Tourism Bureau.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:12 PM on June 27, 2009


"... Either way, it's kinda academic. ..."
posted by fightorflight at 12:08 AM on June 28

It hasn't been academic since at least Ruby Ridge. Private arms are not likely to stop, say, the Big Red One from enforcing an unlawful declaration of martial law on Kansas. But they can be, and have been, effective in keeping Federal agents from unlawfully seizing private property, and killing more people in doing so, than they actually have, on more than one occasion. And over time, say a span of several years, American private arms, in organized hands, could make the long term civil occupation of U.S. domestic territory an intolerable burden for a U.S. Army ignoring Posse Comitatus, in much the same way as the IRA turned Northern Ireland into the Dien Bien Phu of the British Army.
posted by paulsc at 10:26 PM on June 27, 2009


"... And if you're ever out of a job, think about the Florida Tourism Bureau."
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 1:12 AM on June 28

Florida State Government doesn't pay particularly well, but I think I could build a heck of a tourism program around wild hog hunts, Everglades python hunts, and match competition turkey shoots. Fortunately, my current gigs remain remunerative, so you won't be seeing TV ads like

Florida: Come for the Beaches, Stay for the HOG KILLIN'

anytime soon.
posted by paulsc at 10:31 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did you really just compare how fully-trained professionals react in a firefight to how an old woman reacts on a shooting range?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:03 PM on June 27, 2009


In the Global Peace Index, which tracks a number of factors, the USA is less peaceful than the median.

New Zealand ranks as the most peaceful country, followed by the Scandinavians, all of Europe, the Commonwealth countries, much of Asia, etcetera. The US hangs out with the likes of Senegal, Rwanda, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, and Brazil. Places like Iraq, Somalia, Russia, North Korea, and Sri Lanka scrape the bottom of the barrel.

Little wonder so many Americans feel the need to carry guns: it appears likely that they really do need them. One (well, I, at any rate) sure as hell wouldn't want to go wandering through Rwanda or Senegal without a gun, and apparently the USA ranks right between them.

What I'd like to see is a per-capita measure of violence. It could be the USA is quite unique in its violence profile. Chicken or egg, though? Is it violent because there is so much reliance on guns, or are there so many guns because it is so violent?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:15 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


"... So explain to me how concealed carry works as a deterrent?
posted by rtha at 9:57 AM on June 27

OK, from the 1996 University of Chicago study (which was instrumental in efforts in many states to pass "shall-issue" carry laws):
"Using cross-sectional time-series data for U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992, we find that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes and it appears to produce no increase in accidental deaths. If those states which did not have right-to-carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992, approximately 1,570 murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravate assaults would have been avoided yearly. ..."
Once skeptical police officials admit concealed carry liberalization has reduced crime.
"Anyone who believes a self-protection firearm is not a deterrent to crime is simply being unrealistic...I’ve not seen any problems with concealed carry, either legal problems or inappropriate behavior, during the four years we’ve had a concealed carry law in our state."

Lt. Bill Booth
Oklahoma City PD
posted by paulsc at 11:28 PM on June 27, 2009


"... Is it violent because there is so much reliance on guns, or are there so many guns because it is so violent?"
posted by five fresh fish at 2:15 AM on June 28

My Japanese philosopher friends would say your question has a "mu" answer. They'd mean your question contains narrow bounds that might mask the truth of valid answers. They'd encourage you to re-phrase your question more broadly, to seek truth, rather than project pre-conceived notions, presented as questions.

The U.S. might or might not be a violent society in absolute terms, for various social measures. Even if you judge it a violent society, the root causes for that violence may be complicated, and much harder to discern than any inventory of the number of guns in circulation, per thousand residents, might indicate. Violence could stem not from the presence of guns, but from economic or societal inequalities, economic opportunity differences, population and race dynamics, etc. Guns could amplify, or damp trends in violent behavior by individuals (decreasing crime, increasing accidental deaths), and by groups, in ways which are hard to interpret.

Personally, I think such questions tend to be, always, undecidable, because of the paucity of unbiased data which could be used to try to decide the question, and because treating gun issues in the larger fabric of American history and culture is such a charged area, few people want to make a serious attempt to do so. That has been one of the issues with the 1996 University of Chicago study; a lot of people have attacked it for being nearly unsupported by other independent studies. But, nobody is doing such studies, or at least admitting to doing so, pre-publication, so the UoC study stands alone as the best quantitative model we have for concealed carry effects in our larger society.

Absent quantitative data, and suitable analytical models, that compare a gun infused U.S. society to other societies of interest on comparable basis, I tend to think such questions are really unanswerable hypotheticals.
posted by paulsc at 11:56 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


What it boils down to is this-- I think people are fallible. Even the cops. Even the best intentioned technocrat, or well intentioned government official. And because of this fallibility, I think that spreading out the control of violence over the widest possible group of people in my country. And to the person with the snarky comments about Omaha beach on D-day-- your argument is a bad analogy. You're talking about a set piece battle (soldiers assaulting a beach to take and hold ground) as opposed to a peacetime security situation (threatened doctor on his way to church, ambushed by terrorist assassin).

I notice that in all the snark after my comments, no one directly addressed my comments regarding 1) an organized Swiss style reserve in the US and 2) the necessity of preventing the military from becoming the playground for one political/religious sect. This suggests to me that people are not willing to face the hard fact that sometimes things go horribly wrong. The Spanish Civil War was one example. What happened in the former Yugoslavia is another. I understand pacifism as a moral choice-- I have friends who are pacifists and they are brave people. However, it is a different thing entirely for people to willfully ignore the possibility of societal failure. There's a word for that-- denial.
posted by wuwei at 12:55 AM on June 28, 2009


Is there something peculiar about the US government that if it weren't to be restrained by the thought of all those guns out there in the poorly-trained hands of its right-wing constituents, it would eventually have the best-armed troops in the world slaughtering its citizens?

Because it really doesn't work like that out here in the rest of the world.


it's like the history of the last century never happened - a history in which the u s government ended up having to save europe from its own governments and their genocidal policies twice, three times if you count yugoslavia

i think there's something peculiar about a view of the world that denies that governments don't need restraining - especially when the evidence is overwhelming that governments have abused their own people repeatedly

bluntly, europe has yet to show that they can institute stable sane government for a long period of time - when they do that, and furthermore, when they have to invade the u s to save us from ourselves, then they can lecture us about how our philosophy of government and our mistrust of it doesn't work

add up all the gun deaths that have ever happened in the u s and they're still a fraction of what europe did in the last century to themselves

that's the way things seem to "work" in the rest of the world
posted by pyramid termite at 5:35 AM on June 28, 2009


Apologies if this has already been mentioned wuwei, but I was under the impression that there are very serious penalties for unsanctioned use of one's government-issued ammunition in Switzerland, and assault rifle ammunition (don't ask me what calibre etc. I really don't know, or care) is not legally sold in the EU.

So, yes I agree it would probably be a great idea to 'organise a Swiss style reserve in the US' - just control ammunition instead. To quote that wise sage Chris Rock:
Gun control? We need bullet control! I think every bullet should cost 5,000 dollars. Because if a bullet cost five thousand dollar, we wouldn't have any innocent bystander ."
posted by JustAsItSounds at 6:21 AM on June 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


So you think WWII would never have happened if only the German people had guns? I actually think Kristallnacht would have been slightly different, and not in the fevered doubty-Jews-defending-their-property-with-a-rifle way you're doubtless imagining. I can see armed French villagers resisting the blitzkreig too. Likewise Yugoslavia, that would certainly have been improved by adding more guns to the mix. Thank God the Northern Irish were armed too, eh? Cripes, they could have suffered 30 years of conflict and misery otherwise.

But, still, this avoids the question of what exactly it is these guns are preventing the US govt from doing. I'll admit they're stopping it spying on its citizens without a warrant, because surely AT&T would just get shot. They sure stopped the 2000 election getting stolen. And it is a good thing they are around to stop the military getting too big for its boots and siphoning off 50% of the national budget while there still isn't enough money in the world's richest coutry for healthcare. As for Ruby Ridge, yes, it's good that there are guns so that you can shoot back when the Feds come to yr house heavily armed because, er, you've got guns. I'm sure that would have played out exactly the same had there been not a single weapon in the cabin.

Nobody in the world wants to invade the US, because it's just ludicrous to think you could subdue something that size, but it's not the threat of armed citizens, it's sheer logistics. The US government doesn't want to do it either, so the notion that guns are needed to stop it is a nonsense.

Still, good thing Europe is all one country, totally equivalent to the US, so would can see how necessary guns truly are.
posted by fightorflight at 6:24 AM on June 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


pyramid, your argument is that the reason that the general populace should be armed is to restrain the government.

I'm sorry to say that the varied reasons for the outbreak of either world wars was not due to governments going against the will of their own people. The sad fact is that all 3 of these conflicts were carried out by national governments with the enthusiastic (if however misguided and misled) support of their citizens.
posted by JustAsItSounds at 6:29 AM on June 28, 2009


So you think WWII would never have happened if only the German people had guns?

you can't prove or disprove contrafactuals in history - what i can do is point out that europe's had a miserable record of self-government and i see no reason why we should follow their example

and armed minorities are much safer than unarmed minorities

But, still, this avoids the question of what exactly it is these guns are preventing the US govt from doing.

it's called checks and balances - and having an armed populace is the ultimate check and balance

your listing of political grievances is hardly proof that guns don't work - after all, part of our political philosophy is that one should try to vote to change things first, that one doesn't start an insurrection because your phone might be tapped

Nobody in the world wants to invade the US, because it's just ludicrous to think you could subdue something that size, but it's not the threat of armed citizens, it's sheer logistics.

disingenuous - once the invading force managed to get to the u s, it's the presence of an armed populace that would make the logistics impossible

Still, good thing Europe is all one country, totally equivalent to the US, so would can see how necessary guns truly are.

fact - more europeans were killed by gun violence than americans in the last century

fact - more europeans were killed by non-gun, state sanctioned violence than americans were by guns in the last century

the simple truth is that they have no standing to criticize

---

I'm sorry to say that the varied reasons for the outbreak of either world wars was not due to governments going against the will of their own people.

hitler didn't even get a majority of the vote and surely, you're not going to tell me that his millions of victims supported him

of course, a government that has all the guns can define the will of the people as it pleases
posted by pyramid termite at 7:23 AM on June 28, 2009


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Switzerland
posted by wuwei at 10:08 AM on June 28, 2009


go up and read my comment about why I believe guns are damn near worthless for self defense

Why bother? I have my own belief, based on my own anecdotal experience, that the opposite is true. Having successfully defended myself against an armed assailant with a handgun, you're going to have a really hard time convincing me otherwise. Is being armed a guarantee of safety? Of course not. But it can certainly make a difference - all the difference in the world.

it's so US-centric this point of view, and the others like it. Is there something peculiar about the US government that if it weren't to be restrained by the thought of all those guns out there in the poorly-trained hands of its right-wing constituents, it would eventually have the best-armed troops in the world slaughtering its citizens?

Because it really doesn't work like that out here in the rest of the world. Out here, we topple governments without a shot being fired; totalitarian states imploding is the norm, not armed uprisings.


Really? I think the vast majority of recorded history is clear evidence against your conclusion. Modern democracy has been around a very short time, and despotism has been around forever. I eagerly await the collapse of the Burmese junta, though. That'll happen any day now, right?
posted by me & my monkey at 10:29 AM on June 28, 2009


Likewise Yugoslavia, that would certainly have been improved by adding more guns to the mix.

Funny you should mention Yugoslavia, a country which fielded organized resistance to its occupiers during the Second World War.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:37 AM on June 28, 2009


it's like the history of the last century never happened - a history in which the u s government ended up having to save europe from its own governments and their genocidal policies twice, three times if you count yugoslavia

pyramid, please don't use historical examples when you are so clearly ignorant about what the history is.

a) WWI was a conflict between states, and didn't involve any conflict between citizens and their own state until the Russian Revolution of 1917 (which took the Russians out of the war entirely), and the German Revolution of 1918. The U.S.'s primary contribution to the war between the European states was to sell supplies; their military force came lately and ineffectively. This war was a traumatic and horrific thing, which only ended after the death and dismemberment of millions of Europeans and colonial citizens; several thousands of Americans did serve and die or were dismembered and I honour them. But your country did not win this war; Britain, France and their allies held out until Germany et al. lost it.

b) WWII did involve the actions of a state against the majority of its citizens. The Nazi party was never elected by a majority, but by a minority, and proceeded to dismantle the democratic apparatus of the state. But Hitler was only able to do so because he had taken control of the armed citizen militias and turned them into his SA. There were fascist groups in Britain as well; notably, they were not armed to the same degree. And as for the Americans "saving" Europe; between 1940 and the end of 1941, Britain and the Commonwealth stood alone against Nazi Germany, while the Americans ignored this threat (not FDR, but many of you). British airmen saved that corner of Europe until the Soviets started hitting back hard in the east, and the Soviets bled deeply for every victory they had. The Americans did contribute to the war, but far less in proportion of their population and resources than the Commonwealth or the Soviet Union, and it was the contribution of the Soviet Union that truly defeated the Nazi regime. The US's primary contribution was to keep the Soviets from taking over more of Europe than they did. This is a good thing, and Europe honours the US - as well as the rest of the free world - for what they contributed to this. But you were only one among many, and not the one that sacraficed or acheived the most.

As for the place of an armed citizenry to protect themselves from the state - well, the history of the last century has taught us that these armed militias are themselves the greatest threat to peace and security. The Freicorps were armed citizen militias, the Interahamwe were armed citizen militias, the armies of the Somalian warlords are armed citizen militias, the Taliban are armed citizen militias, the Lord's Resistence Army is an armed citizen militia. And, as pointed out upthread, Northern Ireland suffered from 30 years of misery because of the conflicts between its armed citizen militias.

If you want real protection from a potentially fascist government, get yourself a constitutional monarch, a military which is sworn to be apolitical and have no allegiance except to that monarch (who are themselves required to be apolitical), and a strong bill of rights. And if your monarch shows fascist tendancies, introduce him to a pretty divorcee and send him off to southern France. (Okay, that American did a lot of good.)
posted by jb at 11:02 AM on June 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


disingenuous - once the invading force managed to get to the u s, it's the presence of an armed populace that would make the logistics impossible

So Australia, Canada and New Zealand are constantly being invaded? New Zealand would be a total push-over - tiny military, and they've got all those promite mines to take over.
posted by jb at 11:05 AM on June 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Guns don't kill people.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:26 AM on June 28, 2009


Two videos featured the magicians Penn and Teller, who support gun rights. In one, they stuff a folded American flag inside a rolled-up copy of the Bill of Rights before seemingly setting it (and only it) on fire; the magicians then challenge the audience to embrace the ambiguity of the illusion and to understand that, regardless, the Bill of Rights remains.

Um, whoops?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:31 AM on June 28, 2009


WWI was a conflict between states, and didn't involve any conflict between citizens and their own state

except, of course, the part where they were compelled to participate in those wars, even though in some of those countries, suffrage was limited and they didn't have a voice - in any case, i said "governments and their genocidal policies"

But your country did not win this war; Britain, France and their allies held out until Germany et al. lost it.

they lost it because american involvement was the straw that broke the kaiser's back - it was the extra troops, not to mention the support for the economic blockade that finally tipped the balance

The Nazi party was never elected by a majority, but by a minority, and proceeded to dismantle the democratic apparatus of the state. But Hitler was only able to do so because he had taken control of the armed citizen militias and turned them into his SA.

which is why wuwei made his excellent argument that one political/religious cult or viewpoint cannot be allowed to have a monopoly of violent power - the left in weimar germany let themselves be outgunned and the results were horrendous

will the left in the united states make the same mistake as they did?

There were fascist groups in Britain as well; notably, they were not armed to the same degree.

there were also fascist groups in america, who were well-armed - in a population that was just as well-armed - notably, we didn't have fascism

The Americans did contribute to the war, but far less in proportion of their population and resources than the Commonwealth or the Soviet Union, and it was the contribution of the Soviet Union that truly defeated the Nazi regime. The US's primary contribution was to keep the Soviets from taking over more of Europe than they did.

frankly, europe and quite possibly the world would have entered another dark age if the soviets, who would have eventually defeated germany, had conquered europe - the u s won the peace, which was much more important in the long run than winning the war

The Freicorps were armed citizen militias, the Interahamwe were armed citizen militias, the armies of the Somalian warlords are armed citizen militias, the Taliban are armed citizen militias, the Lord's Resistence Army is an armed citizen militia.

and none of those countries had an established tradition of democracy or human rights - you want to place the blame on mere possession of guns or formation of militias, but say nothing about whether these people had anything resembling a healthy political society

And, as pointed out upthread, Northern Ireland suffered from 30 years of misery because of the conflicts between its armed citizen militias.

forgetting of course, that the rest of ireland would still be part of the u k if not for those armed citizen militias - and that whole sorry mess started centuries before people were using guns to fight it with

oddly enough, germans, jews, arabs, africans, protestants and catholics are all armed in my country and we're not up to our necks in massive political violence

hmmmm

If you want real protection from a potentially fascist government, get yourself a constitutional monarch

we had one - we kicked his ass to the curb, remember?

a military which is sworn to be apolitical

such as being sworn to "protect the constitution of the u s of a"?

and a strong bill of rights

we have one of those - it's called "the bill of rights"

So Australia, Canada and New Zealand are constantly being invaded?

i think the word you would use in those instances would be "populated"
posted by pyramid termite at 11:51 AM on June 28, 2009


I eagerly await the collapse of the Burmese junta, though. That'll happen any day now, right?
The point here is not that there is no tyranny in gunless states. The point is that adding guns doesn't really do anything to help the mix. If the Burmese had citizen militias, all you'd have there now is an open civil war, which is hardly an improvement. It's funny that we (well, most of us) learn in the playground that just thumping one another is a bad way to resolve a dispute. Guns are extension of that. You add them to a conflict, and it's not going to solve the original problem, only escalate it.

As for "any day now", that's an incredibly short-term view of history. On the longer term, collapse or failure is pretty much exactly what happens to empires and despots. It must be incredible to pyramid termite that the Roman Empire fell without a shot being fired, though, or the involvement of the u s a.

I'm still not convinced that there is any sort of rational and reasonable hypothetical political scenario that Americans need guns to defend against. There are amorphous references to despotism, but actual concrete scenarios that lead to anything other than a couple of larger-than-life Wacos are short on the ground. Meanwhile, plenty of liberties are being taken by a government that can get whatever the hell it wants without ever having to create a situation that would require the NRA to take to the streets. And plenty of American citizens are dying from the surfeit of lethal weaponry. But these real problems have to take a backseat to a not-entirely-coherent boogeyman. It must be incredibly frustrating to be an anti-gun American.

which is why wuwei made his excellent argument that one political/religious cult or viewpoint cannot be allowed to have a monopoly of violent power
for "excellent" you must mean "that I agree with", because it isn't excellent, it's blinkered. Sure, one cult shouldn't get a monopoly of violent power. That's why it's important that the cult doesn't get control of the state, which should have the monopoly. Because if they get control of the state -- and particularly the Army -- it's already too late, and the best you can hope for is a civil war. Iraqis can tell you how well armed insurgency works against the modern US Army, by the way.
posted by fightorflight at 12:01 PM on June 28, 2009


the Interahamwe were armed citizen militias

one more thing - many of them were armed with machetes and clubs, not guns
posted by pyramid termite at 12:01 PM on June 28, 2009


It must be incredible to pyramid termite that the Roman Empire fell without a shot being fired, though, or the involvement of the u s a.

cannon were used in 1453
posted by pyramid termite at 12:04 PM on June 28, 2009


except, of course, the part where they were compelled to participate in those wars, even though in some of those countries, suffrage was limited and they didn't have a voice - in any case, i said "governments and their genocidal policies".

Oh, guns can protect you from a draft? You should let all those American draft dodgers during Vietnam know that they just should have shot the draft board instead of fleeing to Canada.

Actually, Britain didn't have the draft for a fair bit during WWI; Canada did not have it until near the end of the war. Both sent many volunteers. In those countries with mandatory military service, like Germany and France, the war was still quite popular at its beginnings.

As for the genocidal policies of WWII - being armed would have been useless. The Jews in the Warsaw ghetto got armed; they were crushed. Russian soldiers were armed; they were taken prisoner and starved to death. Europe didn't have effective gun control at the time - there were weapons all over. Soldiers went home from WWI carrying the guns and ammunition they had been issued, and there were armed conflcts all over Central Europe. As I said, the genocidal policies were made possible by harnassing not just the anger, but also the weaponry, of citizens.

But today, Europe has effective gun control, and does not have crazy dictatorial governments.

As for your further ignorance of history: the American Revolution was not about monarchy, except in the fevered mind of Thomas Paine - for most everyone else it was about the relationship between the colonies and Westminster (aka the Parliament in London). The rebels, for example, began by supporting a solution which would place each colonial assembly under George III as an independant parliament within a united British Empire. The unwillingness of Westminster to consider this is what led to more being willing to consider leaving the rule of George III. George III was, of course, not a modern constitutional monarch - the eighteenth century crown is best thought of as a limited monarchy. As for all the countries which remained under the constitutional monarch: the UK, Canada, Australia, NZ, the Bahamas, etc - yeah, we're really suffering from the oppression. Lizzie makes us all wear pill-box hats and over-pronounce our H's.

But at least our military is loyal to her, and not to our changing and capricious heads of government. Your military is not loyal first and foremost to the constitution; otherwise they would not break the constitution under orders from their Commander-in-Chief. Your military is loyal to the President, and whoever he sets in command. In the past 8 years, your military has broken both the constitution and the Geneva convention. I'm not sayinig that ours is perfect; we have been accused of turning people over to both the US and other authorities that torture. But I would hope that if it got as bad as the US that our governor-general - who is the head of the armed forces in the absence of the queen - would step in and stop violations of our constitution.

On preview: "not to mention the support for the economic blockade that finally tipped the balance".

Do you know nothing about the North Sea blockade? The Americans didn't support it, they were turned back by British ships. Until the British blockaded the Americans, they were happily selling to the Germans. And why not? The Germans were the agressors, but the Kaiser was no Hitler. But the effective economic blocade of Germany had nothing to do with anything the Americans did.
posted by jb at 12:21 PM on June 28, 2009


I'm still not convinced that there is any sort of rational and reasonable hypothetical political scenario that Americans need guns to defend against. There are amorphous references to despotism, but actual concrete scenarios that lead to anything other than a couple of larger-than-life Wacos are short on the ground. Meanwhile, plenty of liberties are being taken by a government that can get whatever the hell it wants without ever having to create a situation that would require the NRA to take to the streets. And plenty of American citizens are dying from the surfeit of lethal weaponry. But these real problems have to take a backseat to a not-entirely-coherent boogeyman. It must be incredibly frustrating to be an anti-gun American.

I think Viking Sword made a good point upthread with regards to the identity politics of gun ownership. Exercising the right to bear arms is more of a symbolic act than anything else, giving people the false impression that they're doing their bit to keep tyranny in check while, as you pointed out, the federal government usurped numerous civil rights in recent years. I'd add that during this time, voter turn-out was embarrassingly low. So while it's fun to consider yourself a part of a long, historic tradition of keeping despots at bay because you own a firearm or two, we'll still have many Americans voting for representatives who systematically remove civil liberties, when they vote at all. This reality seems sort of a backwards approach to defending liberty, to say the least. This of course is not to say that all pro-gun people vote neo-con or abstain from voting - just that the prevailing attitudes of guns defending liberty coupled with voter apathy and the recent erosion of many other civil rights shouldn't co-exist but do.

Guns can be fun and useful for a number of reasons, though. Target shooting is entertaining, and many people hunt as a means to make a living or feed their families. There seems to be conflicting evidence about how they help or hurt a situation when it comes to home or street defense, but I'd provide that there certainly must be instances when firearm protection is wholly necessary in a civilian environment. And to be honest, I'm happy with the system we currently have, where we regulate who may own what types of firearms, under what conditions, where, and when. It's when people talk about their home arsenal as it relates to defense against tyranny that it makes me wonder what we could accomplish if all these people so passionate about defending the 2nd ammendment from despotism were as passionate about defending the rest of the Constitution.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:33 PM on June 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


the Interahamwe were armed citizen militias

one more thing - many of them were armed with machetes and clubs, not guns
posted by pyramid termite at 3:01 PM on June 28 [+] [!]


This is a myth - it's a part of constructing the Rwandan genocide as both a) primitive and b) unpredictable (because machetes and clubs are easy to hide). The pro-government forces had stockpiles of AK-47s, ammunition, hand-grenades, and (most damaging of all) mortars. They mortared the airfields and collumns of refugees. They also had artillery.

That said, I'm also anti-machete and anti-club. But they are far less effective for killing than guns.

The history of the 20th century does not show that citizen militias prevent tyranny (though powerful states with many resources have helped some countries throw off tyrrany). The history of the 20th century shows that citizen militias are more likely to be co-opted by truly tyrannical regimes, or otherwise undermined weak regimes, creating horrific wartorn states.

In those cases where they have overthrown governments, a proper study of the history usually finds that the history is far less black and white than most people realise. The Irish republic was founded by an armed minority; following the rebellion, they suffered a brutal civil war. Was this better than a negotiated independence, even if that had taken longer? And was the British regime truly a tyrannical one? The penal laws were long in the past; the Irish had democratic representation. There was a long, difficult history with the anglo-elites of the British Empire which makes Irish nationalism understandable, but that is far from saying that it was a straight-forward fight against tyranny. Any more than the terrorism which has been perpetuated against the citizens of Northern Ireland (by both sides) can be said to be freedom fighting.
posted by jb at 12:43 PM on June 28, 2009


Oh, guns can protect you from a draft?

there were plenty of areas in the south where drafted men either resisted conscription into the confederate army or snuck north to fight for the union

In those countries with mandatory military service, like Germany and France, the war was still quite popular at its beginnings.

and towards the end, many german soldiers were deserting - armed - and the army was slowly losing control

As for the genocidal policies of WWII - being armed would have been useless.

neatly forgetting that it was the politics of the 30s, including the weakness of the left, that made wwii possible

As for your further ignorance of history: the American Revolution was not about monarchy

neither is the gun control issue - nor did i say the american revolution was about monarchy

Lizzie makes us all wear pill-box hats and over-pronounce our H's.

the truth is, if we adopted her as our monarch, canadians like you would be the first to scream for a republic

"she's queen of the yanks, eh? to hell with her"

i'm not interested in debating "history" with a reactionary monarchist troll
posted by pyramid termite at 12:44 PM on June 28, 2009


This is a myth

in other words, the news reports that many of the hundreds of thousands of people were killed with machetes and clubs were fictional?

funny how you didn't address my main point that the real reason for instability in those countries was the lack of a viable political culture
posted by pyramid termite at 12:50 PM on June 28, 2009


But Hitler was only able to do so because he had taken control of the armed citizen militias and turned them into his SA.

And that could never happen in the USA. It's not like the loony right would have followed their election-stealing President into whatever quagmire he proposed. Gosh, no.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:51 PM on June 28, 2009


The Jews in the Warsaw ghetto got armed; they were crushed.

Yes, what a waste of effort; how much better for them to passively step on the trains to Treblinka, rather than using their feeble supply of weapons to hold off the Nazis for several months and kill some of them.
posted by txvtchick at 2:52 PM on June 28, 2009


This is a myth

in other words, the news reports that many of the hundreds of thousands of people were killed with machetes and clubs were fictional?


There were some machetes and clubs, of course. But if the news reports claimed that the hundreds of thousands were killed primarily with machetes, then they were incorrect. We could talk about why western news would rather fixate on the machetes and ignore the small arms which proliferate throughout sub-Saharan Africa with the full support of the American gun lobby, but that would be a different conversation (one full of talking about colonialism, stereotypes and continued problems with news reporting on African countries). Suffice it to say that the Rwandan genocide and civil war which followed was not primarily conducted with edged weapons, but with projectile weapons.

You may dislike the fact that I am a monarchist, but that doesn't change recorded history.
posted by jb at 3:10 PM on June 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


In those countries with mandatory military service, like Germany and France, the war was still quite popular at its beginnings.

and towards the end, many german soldiers were deserting - armed - and the army was slowly losing control


Yes, and those armed men were part of the serious problem of the 1920s and 30s. Just like you said - they were armed, and we're not talking about elbows and wrists here. Had they not been armed, Hitler may not have been able to rise to power as he did. (And yes, historians do argue about counter-factuals, though we do so carefully).

I have no idea what you are even talking about now - your worldview is so full of fantasy I cannot make it out. After transforming the democractically elected government of France, and the limited monarchy of Germany into EVIL DICTATORSHIPS, you argued that because their populace was unarmed they could not help but be forced into fighting a war which was nonetheless popular when it began. Yes, it was unpopular when it ended; the French and British also saw some serious crises of morale and, of course, the Russians had a revolution (the first one, not the Bolshevik one). But if these are tyrannical governments, wouldn't that make the US also a tyrannical government for drafting men to fight in a European war? Why didn't these men, with their second amendment rights, resist? Oh, wait, because it wasn't a tyrannical action.
posted by jb at 3:20 PM on June 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, what a waste of effort; how much better for them to passively step on the trains to Treblinka, rather than using their feeble supply of weapons to hold off the Nazis for several months and kill some of them.
posted by txvtchick at 5:52 PM on June 28 [+] [!]


I didn't say that. I was saying that small arms would not have prevented the Holocaust, not as much as you or I might wish - and yes, when first reading about the Ghetto uprising, I was crying because I hoped so much and yet knew that it would not work. The only defence against that kind of crime is a big outside power, and that is why genocide is such a serious issue.
posted by jb at 3:27 PM on June 28, 2009


funny how you didn't address my main point that the real reason for instability in those countries was the lack of a viable political culture
posted by pyramid termite at 3:50 PM on June 28 [+] [!]


There are serious problems in many post-colonial states; colonialism destroyed the existing power structures (social, political, economic), and then the colonists bugged out rapidly leaving a power vaccumn in their wake which in many places was filled by unstable governments, and/or then warlords and other violent powers. Notably, where the colonial regime didn't destroy the existing power structures - as in Botswana - or didn't bug out as quickly - as in Malaysia - these countries haven't the same histories of violence.

As for a history of democracy and human rights; well, nowhere had these histories until it happened. Both of our governments developed out of the English parliament (with a dose of Roman government south of the border); neither the English nor the Romans believed in universal human rights - they happily kept slaves. The idea of democracy - every man and woman having a vote - was anathema to most voters (aka elite men), English or American, in the 18th and 19th centuries. Our own history of true democracy dates only to the 1920s-1960s.

and none of those countries had an established tradition of democracy or human rights - you want to place the blame on mere possession of guns or formation of militias, but say nothing about whether these people had anything resembling a healthy political society.

I'm not arguing that guns inevitably cause violence, but that guns don't help anything. And in the meantime, they are causing other problems. The point is that guns don't prevent tyranny. Tyranny has flourished and continues to flourish in many places - including post-WWI Europe - where there were lots of guns in the hands of citizens. This did nothing to prevent governmental tyranny, any more than it does in contemporary Sudan.
posted by jb at 3:42 PM on June 28, 2009


I have no idea what you are even talking about now - my account of your worldview is so full of fantasy I cannot make it out.

ftfy

i find your constant inability to argue with what i've actually said and your inability to stay focused on the subject at hand tiresome

The point is that guns don't prevent tyranny.

no, the point is that guns AND a healthy political society do prevent tyranny
posted by pyramid termite at 4:47 PM on June 28, 2009


The point here is not that there is no tyranny in gunless states. The point is that adding guns doesn't really do anything to help the mix. If the Burmese had citizen militias, all you'd have there now is an open civil war, which is hardly an improvement. It's funny that we (well, most of us) learn in the playground that just thumping one another is a bad way to resolve a dispute. Guns are extension of that. You add them to a conflict, and it's not going to solve the original problem, only escalate it.

The list of conflicts that have been solved with violence is far longer than those which have been solved peacefully. I am amazed that this needs to be pointed out to you. I would personally prefer that violence not be necessary, but my preferences are not enough to make that happen.

Yes, and those armed men were part of the serious problem of the 1920s and 30s. Just like you said - they were armed, and we're not talking about elbows and wrists here. Had they not been armed, Hitler may not have been able to rise to power as he did.

The German state allowed those people to remain armed, while simultaneously disarming the perceived enemies of the state. Nazi Germany is not a good example if you want to demonstrate the value of restricting gun ownership.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:20 PM on June 28, 2009


The German state allowed those people to remain armed, while simultaneously disarming the perceived enemies of the state. Nazi Germany is not a good example if you want to demonstrate the value of restricting gun ownership.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:20 PM on June 28 [+] [!]


No, I would point to the gun control in and complete LACK of tyranny in both Britain and Canada, and the much lower MURDER rates. As I said upthread, I'm against murder.
posted by jb at 6:07 PM on June 28, 2009


The list of conflicts that have been solved with violence is far longer than those which have been solved peacefully. I am amazed that this needs to be pointed out to you.

Are you nuts? There have been countless conflicts between eg the UK and the US, but only two ended up in violent conflicts. For every war of independence, there are hundreds of trade disputes that are settled by discussion.

Even the list of conflicts that escalated to violence and were solved by sheer violence isn't very long. Sure, some countries, like Germany and Japan, had to be ground into dust before they'd quit, but much more often the conflict is ended by a negotiated truce -- the political equivalent of the fighting playground kids going "this is stupid, let's be friends again".

It's a telling standpoint that even as someone anti-violence, you believe that more conflicts are solved by violence than any other way. I'd hate to debate you in person, for sure.
posted by fightorflight at 6:49 PM on June 28, 2009


fightorflight:
Actually what I learned on the playground is that when you're a member of a minority group, you're going to get beaten up if you aren't bowing to the majority. It wasn't just me either. Several of my Jewish classmates were routinely bullied because they weren't down with the entire "America is a Christian nation" bs. One guy left the school after a particularly bad beating. One guy kicked his assailant's ass and managed not to get kicked out. The other was expelled for fighting. I won some and lost some. Managed to avoid being expelled, due in no small part to my dad threatening to get the media and civil rights organizations involved.

I also learned that the higher authority that's supposed to protect you can turn a blind eye. I learned that when this kid twice my size decided he was going to kick my ass, and the teacher turned around like it wasn't happening. Violence definitely solved that problem, when I slashed him across the chest with mechanical pencil and told him I'd stab him if he didn't back off. He backed off.

Violence is sometimes the best solution to a problem. You, jb and a bunch of other people want to assume that society can't break down, just because things are fine right now. I don't share your faith. I assume things are going to go wrong, and want our social institutions to reflect the fact that those same institutions may come apart. I want social institutions that embody resilience, and I think that universal reserve service and firearms ownership provides that resilience. You want to fix your hope on a just leviathan state and the primacy of dialogue.

Hope is not a plan.
posted by wuwei at 9:16 PM on June 28, 2009


Hope is not a plan.

But it's all we've been living with for almost 65 years. A civil war in a nuclear power could have some rather catastrophic consequences; once the ICBMs have been launched, plans stop mattering.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:50 PM on June 28, 2009


Doesn't seem like violence was the best solution to you or your friends' problems given the consequences, and you seem to have drawn entirely the wrong conclusions from your experiences. In the real world, your dad doesn't come and sort it out, you just beget more violence. In a world where the state has broken down, minorities are fucked, because "they" have got the guns *and* the numbers.

As for hope: you're hoping private firearms will support the cohesion of a state, when the weight of history is against you. But hey, violent person with grudge who thinks violence can be the answer supports guns, news at 11.
posted by fightorflight at 9:59 PM on June 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the real world, your dad doesn't come and sort it out

in the real world, his dad did sort it out - what a moronic statement that was

obviously, you're not able to process anything that disagrees with your established perceptions of what reality should be

But hey, violent person with grudge who thinks violence can be the answer supports guns, news at 11.

non violent person goes meekly to his doom, chimney smoke at 11

---

once the ICBMs have been launched, plans stop mattering

alcohol isn't cutting it, anyone got some smack?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:27 PM on June 28, 2009


OK, that was slightly unclear: he was responding to my original analogy of state violence to playground fights. I'm saying that in the realm of state violence or post-state collapse or even just the adult world, there's no dad to come and sort out the consequences in a non-violent way, you just have to face them.

That doesn't really excuse your totally uncharitable reading, though: perhaps you just won't give charitable interpretations to arguments you disagree with?

As for the holocaust reference, I'm not going to swing those around in an argument with the likes of you. But you, surprise, ignore the history and demean those Jews who fought back violently, as well as those who were overwhelmed. Nobody went meekly to their doom, and to think you'd behave any differently in identical circumstances is egotistical nonsense.
posted by fightorflight at 10:46 PM on June 28, 2009


OK, that was slightly unclear

no, it wasn't - you were plainly telling him that his experiences weren't real

That doesn't really excuse your totally uncharitable reading

he says, after snottily implying that another person isn't dealing with the real world

as for the holocaust reference, I'm not going to swing those around in an argument with the likes of you.

you had no argument to begin with and you know it - you were committing content free snarking against wuwei

you got the reply you earned

But you, surprise, ignore the history and demean those Jews who fought back violently

and that is a bald faced lie - i didn't even demean you - you've already done it to yourself by being such a passive aggressive shit to the people who mistook you for an adult and tried to discuss something with you

you were being a jerk, you got busted, quit whining

bye
posted by pyramid termite at 11:04 PM on June 28, 2009


one more thing

It's a telling standpoint that even as someone anti-violence, you believe that more conflicts are solved by violence than any other way. I'd hate to debate you in person, for sure.

another passive aggressive, snarky and uncalled for statement to someone who was being polite to you
posted by pyramid termite at 11:11 PM on June 28, 2009


no, it wasn't - you were plainly telling him that his experiences weren't real
Oh christ, you are the fuckwit your careening logic and posting style suggests. Even on a totally contextless reading of my post, that doesn't make sense. Nothing I said there implies his experiences weren't real, or implied that he wasn't in the actual world. It does draw a contrast between the playground and a "real" world, which stands up even on your literalist reading.

As for "adult discussions" ... your contributions thus far have been low points in what was otherwise an interesting and sincere thread. Still, you've said your goodbyes, so there's hope. Er, shit, not that we're allowed that.
posted by fightorflight at 11:14 PM on June 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


fightorflight:
Actually violence solved the problem of me getting my ass kicked by a bully twice my size, when the supervising authority decided to turn away. I wasn't willing to throw myself on the guy's mercy. Neither were my two classmates who scrapped with anti-Semetic jerks. It's impossible to know what would have happened had I just stood there and took a beating. But I wasn't willing to take that chance. Neither were my friends willing to place their physical well being and personal dignity into the hands of their assailants. If that meant we got kicked out of school , so be it. Why should I put my fate into the hands of someone who is seeking to do me harm? Perhaps in your scheme of values, that is the sensible approach. Great for you. It isn't a sensible approach for me. If in fact what we have here is a fundamental values mismatch, then it's pretty pointless for us to continue the discussion.

To clarify, the potential expulsion had nothing to do with the particular encounter I detailed in my prior post. And, you are making my point that as the state breaks down, there is no unified authority. That's why you have to build a resilient social structure. It seems like you're ignoring that aspect of my argument.

I'll be charitable and assume that I simply haven't explained myself well enough. Resilience refers to something that fails in stages, instead of all at once. So, again, going back to the compulsory reserve concept: it would mean that a society distributes out the power of violence. It would still be disciplined by the polity, since the system would function under a government chain of command. Yet, in the event that the main organs of the state failed and it resulted in particular minorities being targeted, those same people would have a fighting chance. On the other hand, let us examine the leviathan model. In that model, when the state fails (or becomes ruthlessly persecutory) then what recourse does a disarmed, untrained, atomized and pacified populace have? None.

Now perhaps you will say that I'm engaging in some kind of heroic fantasy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Admittedly even the scheme I am proposing could fail. Despite the widespread participation in a disciplined state reserve, everything could go wrong. But at least then people will be able to go to their deaths with the dignity of a fighting chance. And that's all, anyone can really promise you anyway-- a fighting chance. But if people are going to die (and we're all dead, eventually) they should be able to die on their own terms, on their feet, and not on their knees. Sometimes there are just no good options-- just least bad ones.

Regarding the concentration camps: Viktor Frankl wrote (and I'm paraphrasing, sorry, I can't find my copy of Man's Search for Meaning) that when he and the other prisoners were first brought to the camp, they tried to negotiate with the guards to keep a few items. Frankl and the other prisoners clearly did not understand, at first, that the point of the camps was to exterminate them, or at best, work them until they dropped. In fact, (and I don't have cites, because it's been a while) there's quite a bit of literature that suggests that many Jews did, in fact go meekly to the camps, and by extension, to their deaths.
posted by wuwei at 11:37 PM on June 28, 2009


If in fact what we have here is a fundamental values mismatch, then it's pretty pointless for us to continue the discussion.

I suspect there is a fundamental mismatch of values here, yes, and it's interesting how we arrived at them: I too was heavily bullied at school for my minority status, and after encounters that left both sides literally bloodied took to resolving and defusing the disputes with words and got on massively better. But I still think we can discuss the other aspects.

And, you are making my point that as the state breaks down, there is no unified authority. That's why you have to build a resilient social structure. It seems like you're ignoring that aspect of my argument.
I agree completely that you have to build a resilient social structure -- I think we disagree on the best way to do that. You talk of distributed violent power that is under the control of the government, and I don't have a problem with that as a concept. Pragmatically, however, we know that homicidal and angry people use whatever is at hand while attacking. If there are guns around, the consequences tend to be more catastrophic. If the government's chain of command was restraining power enough to keep the guns out of use, we wouldn't have criminals in the first place.

In that model, when the state fails (or becomes ruthlessly persecutory) then what recourse does a disarmed, untrained, atomized and pacified populace have? None.
This of course is my model. And my answer is not none, it is that they have the same recourse that Ghandi had, or those who took part in the Velvet Revolution. Persecutory states don't, in my experience, go quietly over the threat of violence -- they rise to the threat. They have, however, gone more-or-less quietly in response to non-violent (in the main) protests.

In fact, (and I don't have cites, because it's been a while) there's quite a bit of literature that suggests that many Jews did, in fact go meekly to the camps, and by extension, to their deaths.
I don't want to seem like I'm nitpicking here, but the "by extension" makes all the difference. It's the difference between inexplicably not fighting back, and justifiably not fighting back.

It also, I think, helps my argument against the incoherence of the idea that private arms would ever be required in the US. If millions of Jews went to the camps not realising that they were death camps (and this wasn't a ludicrous belief: minorities are forever being interned, this was the first time it was as part of a mechanised machine of death), what difference would it have made at that point if they were armed? When would they have shot back? Lets further say that they did know, and did shoot back. Well, there were uprisings too, but this was state-backed violence, and nothing short of another state is going to stop it. An armed minority can go down shooting, but it's going down regardless. (You talk about the dignity of that, but it's going to come down to our values again, so I'll set it aside).

It's ultimately why I think that the costs of allowing the populace to be armed outweigh the putative benefits. We are all too aware of the risks, and there still isn't a clear picture that persuades me that: a) the guns are necessary to keep the state coherent (plenty of gun-free countries with long tyranny-free histories suggests they aren't) or b) that the state-vs-people situation that would suddenly require them could conceivably come about and be obvious at the time, especially in the US.
posted by fightorflight at 12:11 AM on June 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


You've made up your mind and I've made up mind. I won't be continuing this discussion with you. Thanks.
posted by wuwei at 12:32 AM on June 29, 2009


Suffice it to say that the Rwandan genocide and civil war which followed was not primarily conducted with edged weapons, but with projectile weapons.

You may dislike the fact that I am a monarchist, but that doesn't change recorded history.


Cite?

In terms of sheer numbers more people were likely killed by automatic weapons. However most of the people committing the actual atrocities were NOT armed with automatic weapons - but rather were gangs of thugs. Thus giving at least some weight to the idea that victims might have been able to defend themselves for a time had they themselves been armed with firearms.

That is recorded history.

Small arms DO work to in terms of defending a populace against an oppressive armed force. that is recorded history. Okay. In this thread and a hundred others just like the same bullshit get's spewed. Asymmetrical warfare is not a guy with a .22 standing against a tank or an F-16. this characterization is absurd.

A community of people can use small arms to stand against the initial band of politicized thugs that usually precede the bolder organized oppression which can, yes, escalate the oppression, or it can delay it until other means are made available. These are resistance movements.

OR it's guerrilla movements using small arms that do not confront technologically superior forces head on. And guerrilla movements, if they hold out, then acquire more sophisticated weapons from the nations states of sympathetic allies. These are what we now call terrorists, depending on which side we want to buy shit from.

Anyway. Hence the term Asymmetrical war.

The point is rather moot. The larger point is that the wealthy and power elite regardless of well intended arms controls will ALWAYS have access to thugs and guns. Such an imbalance should be unconscionable as a matter of principle to any good liberal and should not be enabled by ill-thought laws.

I personally favor hand gun controls and strict licensing but I am steadfastly against all out bans.
posted by tkchrist at 12:26 PM on June 30, 2009


You may dislike the fact that I am a monarchist, but that doesn't change recorded history.

Cite?


Sorry, a correction from the real expert (my husband, does 20th century military history): most of the killing was done with edged weapons, but this was made possible by the ringleaders having automatic guns which allowed to corralle large groups of people who could then be slaughtered with machetes, etc. Machine guns and mortars were used to bombard the airfields and attack the UN troops in the region.

citation: Shake Hands with the Devil, by Roméo Dallaire (commander of UN forces in Rwanda at the time), and Brent Beardsley.

The civil war which went along the massacre was fought with automatic guns and other small and large arms.
posted by jb at 3:08 PM on June 30, 2009


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