Women of the highest caliber
August 16, 2009 3:57 AM   Subscribe

 
Give pandas pistols!
posted by onya at 4:38 AM on August 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


Give women dancing robots!
posted by koeselitz at 4:44 AM on August 16, 2009


Hey, stop sticking the pages of my role playing game rule books together. That's just gross!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:57 AM on August 16, 2009


oh, and - not your fault twoleftfeet, you're just quoting headline, but -

THE NEXT PERSON WHO USES THE PHRASE 'FORGET CHOCOLATE AND FLOWERS...' TO BLITHELY INTRODUCE SOME SILLY, EMOTIONALLY NON-DIMENSIONAL THING THAT ALL WOMEN ARE UNIVERSALLY REQUIRED TO DESIRE, LIKE CLOTHES, SHOPPING, GOSSIP, SHOES, ROMANTIC MOVIES, AND NOT-SEX, WILL BE SHOT ON SIGHT BY A PASTY, BOOKISH MALE WHO/S NEVER FIRED A GUN IN HIS LIFE AND THEREFORE WILL PROBABLY REQUIRE FIVE OR SIX SHOTS JUST TO HIT A VITAL ORGAN, THUS MAKING THE WHOLE THING NEEDLESSLY PAINFUL. ABC ACTION NEWS OF FLORIDA, YOU ARE OFFICIALLY ON NOTICE.

posted by koeselitz at 5:01 AM on August 16, 2009 [18 favorites]


I am a woman. I do not want a gun, let alone 'guns', plural.
posted by sandraregina at 5:05 AM on August 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


How about flowers made out of chocolate? Better than guns? I certainly think so.
posted by Grangousier at 5:11 AM on August 16, 2009


Guns made out of flowers with chocolate bullets?
posted by onya at 5:14 AM on August 16, 2009


Forget chocolate and flowers. Women want guns.

Flaunting the old pudding rifle, eh, you sexist.
posted by ijsbrand at 5:15 AM on August 16, 2009




A woman needs a gun like a fish needs a bicycle.
posted by fixedgear at 5:49 AM on August 16, 2009


Everybody should have a gun.
posted by jouke at 5:50 AM on August 16, 2009


Good heavens what a stupid article.
posted by agregoli at 6:02 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


"There are so many acts of violence, I think, against women, it's not a bad idea to own a gun and know how to use it."

Why not learn martial arts, or some other self-defense training? You know, things that can be used at really close quarters if someone surprises you and you don't have time to get your gun from your purse, under your car seat, or from your locked gun cabinet?

"My son enlisted in the army, and I know nothing of weaponry, and I wanted to know what was happening"

There's the internet. It's full of information on the inner workings of guns. Do you also want to learn about bladed weapons? The history of scimitars is interesting. Did you know Egyptians of the 18th Dynasty (circa 1600 B.C.) used new weapons technologies borrowed from the Hyksos, including "the scimitar" as important tools in fostering Egypt's regional domination?

I understand the concern for personal safety, but learning how to use a gun as the primary or only way to defend yourself seems rather limited. Without the gun, you're no better off than you were before this training.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:09 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Forget women with guns.
posted by nax at 6:11 AM on August 16, 2009


I came across this site a while back: Girls with Guns. Talk about obsession. (Some images NSFW).

It's funny to me that the NY Times Ethicist had to write a followup to the first link, to kinda explain that he was joking.
posted by gemmy at 6:30 AM on August 16, 2009


I don't want a gun, but then again I have nothing to prove.
posted by bloomicy at 6:33 AM on August 16, 2009


...ummm can I retract my last comment? Knee-jerk pre-coffee. Not meant to derail. We've had enough of those lately. Carry on.
posted by bloomicy at 6:42 AM on August 16, 2009




A woman needs a gun like a fish needs a bicycle.

Hey!
posted by FishBike at 6:50 AM on August 16, 2009 [2 favorites]




We should introduce this writer to Baida a few posts down...
posted by hermitosis at 7:00 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


"What's with the shooter? You know the rule with shooters, right? If you carry a shooter, at some point, you'll end up having to use it."
—D.I. Jack Regan, The Sweeney, Series 2, 1975

posted by koeselitz at 7:14 AM on August 16, 2009


I like guns. But I work for a florist.

Buy both!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:15 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just fitted out a girl who looked like a bird. Measured .32, .44, .38.
posted by adipocere at 7:21 AM on August 16, 2009


"I went to the shooting range it was so Awesome!" is right up there with "Favorite Books: Atlas Shrugged" on my Sudden-Xtreme-Boner-Wilting-Loss-Of-InterestTM list.

The combination of following a vapid trend, and that this vapid trend, unlike tiny little purse dogs, is intended to kill people- wow. Huge huge huge turn-off.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:25 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Put another way:

At least no one ever died from sweatpants that say JUICY across the ass.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:26 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Charter Arms Pink Lady.
posted by 445supermag at 7:30 AM on August 16, 2009


Real women design and test nuclear weapons.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:34 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


drjimmy11: ... Sudden-Xtreme-Boner-Wilting-Loss-Of-InterestTM list...

I'm sorry but please don't do that. Urgh.
posted by koeselitz at 8:01 AM on August 16, 2009


After reading The Road, this doesn't seem like such a bad idea. This, and stocking up on lots of waterproof boots.
posted by voltairemodern at 8:15 AM on August 16, 2009


"I am a woman. I do not want a gun, let alone 'guns', plural."

Let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack.
posted by shammack at 8:22 AM on August 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like women with guns. But I also like the lithe, athletic types. Go figure.
posted by rokusan at 8:27 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


THE NEXT PERSON WHO USES THE PHRASE 'FORGET CHOCOLATE AND FLOWERS...' TO BLITHELY INTRODUCE SOME SILLY, EMOTIONALLY NON-DIMENSIONAL THING THAT ALL WOMEN ARE UNIVERSALLY REQUIRED TO DESIRE...

I defend your right to blog about that from your mother's basement. In pajamas.

The woman next to me, after some consideration, would like the chocolate cheeseburgers from the other post. So there's another data point.
posted by rokusan at 8:29 AM on August 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


dammit, i cannot find a copy online of the poem i read a while back, titled (iirc) "give barbie a gun." awesome and funny.

i'm a woman, and i have guns, but they're for me to take to the range and make loud noises while punishing pieces of paper rather than for household protection. (it would be a slow intruder indeed who would give me enough time to remove a pistol from the secure locked storage box, load it, and then wield it for self defense.)
posted by rmd1023 at 8:30 AM on August 16, 2009


At least no one ever died from sweatpants that say JUICY across the ass.

I do. A little, inside, every time I see them.

This thread has brought out almost every bullshit stereotype clung to on the site. Who wants to talk about hipsters?!
posted by adamdschneider at 8:43 AM on August 16, 2009


drjimmy11: At least no one ever died from sweatpants that say JUICY across the ass.

Yeah, but somebody should.
posted by spaltavian at 9:03 AM on August 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, well they would borrow that technology from the Hyksos, seeing that they got invaded by them.
posted by ovvl at 9:13 AM on August 16, 2009


I'm a girl, with guns.
Honestly, if there's more interest in women owning guns, great. I can't find an inside the waistband holster for my Kahr that I particularly like that fits me well. Trigger pulls are always too long. Any kind of bag or purse designed for concealed carry is the tackiest thing ever, ohmygod. Maybe the guys at the gun shop will stop calling all women "little ladies" and insist that they know exactly what I want.

I like teaching women to shoot, and I usually encourage my female friends to try it out once. I've been working on my NRA instructor certification for something like forever now (hard to get the second classes around here). Teaching women is usually more fun, in my experience. Less societal pressure that they have to know it all already.

For me, it's a massive array of reasons.. a fairly female-centric one is feeling empowered after rape/abuse in a uncaring patriarchal society -- regaining that sense of personal safety and control. I've spoken to other friends of mine about it, and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. Obviously, ymmv.
[therapy, meds, guns!]
posted by circle_b at 9:20 AM on August 16, 2009 [15 favorites]


I'd rather have several advanced degrees, thanks.

In a world where women are beaten for wearing clothing, physically mutilated for being raped, set themselves on fire to escape marriage, uneducated, unable to make laws or own property, legally starved for not submitting to forced sex, I have a hard time finding the humor in the concept today.

And lesbian girl militias are equally repugnant.

To quote Eddie Vedder, I'd rather be with an animal.
posted by effluvia at 9:41 AM on August 16, 2009


Math is hard, let's go shopping.

(For guns.)
posted by hippybear at 9:55 AM on August 16, 2009


the ultimate goal is to get as many freaking guns n the hands of as many freaking people as possible, preferably one in each hand and one or two stuck in your waistband.

GUNS

that'll solve all our woes, yessireebob.

[/sarcasm]
posted by edgeways at 10:09 AM on August 16, 2009


Why not learn martial arts, or some other self-defense training? You know, things that can be used at really close quarters if someone surprises you and you don't have time to get your gun from your purse, under your car seat, or from your locked gun cabinet?

No matter how you feel about guns, or personal gun ownership, it's kind of silly to argue that guns are not effective tools for self-defense. They require significantly less training than unarmed martial arts. They don't depend on the wielder's physical prowess. The threat of being shot is a more effective threat than that of being beaten.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:22 AM on August 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


To quote Eddie Vedder, I'd rather be with an animal.

More apropos Vedder quote: Glorified version of a pellet gun, feels so manly when armed.
posted by hippybear at 10:27 AM on August 16, 2009


A penis is a warm gun.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:33 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am always surprised at how many feminists are anti-gun. To me they're a great leveller. No, they aren't useful in close quarters, but they're not bad against the crazy ex that keeps threatening to blow you and your kids' brains out. Cops aren't much help for that, even if you live someplace where they show up in a timely manner.

Also, they're fun.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:34 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Guns can be fun. Not cops or crazy exes. Though probably some cops can be a lot of fun. I haven't tried.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:35 AM on August 16, 2009


Once heard a radio interview with a woman who won an Olympic medal for target shooting.

She said that once she heard a noise in her garage and called up her husband in panic. "What should I do?" "Call the police, and get out one of your rifles for your protection."

"Oh yeah."

She said that up until that point she had never thought of her rifles as anything but devices to shoot little holes in pieces of paper.

(This was long ago--no links unfortunately).
posted by eye of newt at 10:42 AM on August 16, 2009


She said that up until that point she had never thought of her rifles as anything but devices to shoot little holes in pieces of paper.

Well, to be fair, any gun you can use for Olympic target shooting isn't appropriate for self-defense, anyway. The last thing you want in a self-defense gun is non-expanding ammo which ends up 600+ yards from where you fired it!

Wait, I'm a woman and I knew that... oops, sorry, what a "huge huge huge turn off"! *rolls eyes*
posted by vorfeed at 10:52 AM on August 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, they aren't useful in close quarters

Sure they are.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:57 AM on August 16, 2009


correction: any rifle you can use for Olympic target shooting isn't appropriate for self-defense. A shotgun or target pistol would probably work, assuming you had appropriate ammo...
posted by vorfeed at 10:58 AM on August 16, 2009


And yeah, handguns are certainly useful in close quarters! Most defensive handgun uses happen within 3 yards (all the way down to hands-on physical contact), and nearly all of them happen within 7...
posted by vorfeed at 11:02 AM on August 16, 2009


All I know is, women should get their guns quick before B. HUSSEIN Obama takes them all away!
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:10 AM on August 16, 2009




I look forward to the day when every man and woman of America owns a gun, thereby ushering in a new age of peace, mutual respect and personal safety. After which America can apply the same solution to her foreign policy, and give a nuclear weapon or two to every country - thus finally achieving world peace.
posted by catchingsignals at 11:19 AM on August 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


me & my monkey: No matter how you feel about guns, or personal gun ownership, it's kind of silly to argue that guns are not effective tools for self-defense. They require significantly less training than unarmed martial arts. They don't depend on the wielder's physical prowess. The threat of being shot is a more effective threat than that of being beaten.

No matter how you feel about nuclear weapons, it's kind of silly to argue that they're not effective tools for national defense. They require significantly less manpower to operate and use than traditional weapons. They don't depend on the weilder's knowledge of strategy or geopolitical theory. The threat of having a large swath of one's home planet destroyed is a more effective threat than that of suffering a protracted invasion.

I don't mean this as a grand 'nyah-nyah, I just used your words against you' sort of gradeschool prank. I really believe that the whole reason that guns make almost no sense as a tool of self-defense is because in nineteen times out of twenty they serve only to escalate the situation rather than resolve it; in fact, even carrying a gun is escalating the situation.

That's what I was pointing up when I quoted a UK cop show from the '80s earlier in this thread. One of the things I respect about the UK is that they've staunchly refused to be sucked into the steady buildup of weapons that comes from being stubborn and tough on crime rather than smart about crime. That insight - that, if you carry a gun, you're assuming that you need it, and therefore you're going to end up using it at some point - is a good one, I think, and it illuminates the troubles that we Americans don't often accept that come along with firearms.

We just seem to be stubbornly unwilling to admit that there is a logic, even a clear logic, that applies to firearms; and, oddly, though I've seen plenty of westerns and cop shows from here in the good ol' US of A, it took that English show to teach me the lesson that they were repeating in every other episode, a lesson that seems clear as day now: human-targeting firearms are for when your life is in danger at the hands of crazy people who want to kill. They aren't, say, for guy who lives on a block where there are lots of muggings, or for the woman who comes home every night to a house in a burglary-ridden neighborhood. If you are robbed at gunpoint, or with any real threat of violence, your appropriate course of action is simple: give the thieves anything they want. Waving a gun in a thief's face is one of the stupidest things you can possibly do, because an armed thief faces the same sickening reality in that moment that you do - that he brought a gun, and so now he's going to have to face using it - and contemplating using a weapon on another human being makes people very, very nervous. In light of that fact, if you're being robbed, you have a bargain staring you in the face already. All they want is your money or your stuff or something; you can just give it to them and be done with it.

And part of what we constantly forget is that, while it's easy as pie for us to muster the annoyance and deep, soulful pissed-off-ness we get out of a good strong righeous fury, even if we 'win' we'll most likely end up worse off. Remember this guy? The guy who shot two men in Texas because they were robbing his neighbor's house? Yeah, his life is hell now, because he has to live with the fact that two men are dead who wouldn't have been if he hadn't had his shotgun out.

The only situation people seem to be able to bring up seriously is the old 'threat of the crazy ex,' I think because exes are peoples' biggest exposure to crazy.

small_ruminant: No, they aren't useful in close quarters, but they're not bad against the crazy ex that keeps threatening to blow you and your kids' brains out. Cops aren't much help for that, even if you live someplace where they show up in a timely manner.

But there are even more troubles with this bit than there are with the last. No one should have to make the choice between shooting their ex and letting their ex kill their children; society tries to prevent that sort of awful thing from happening. But, again, when you pick up a gun, it's your duty to contemplate the worst-case scenarios and the roads that it could lead down, and anybody who buys a gun because they have a crazy ex has to live every day with the fact that they'd rather shoot their ex in the brain and watch the grey matter sop onto the floor than let their ex hurt their kids. Not a bad sentiment, but they shouldn't be forced to face it every day; again, that's what we have police for.

And as a guy whose father-in-law is a lawyer, let me say: cops can be very good for that sort of thing as long as you pester them and don't let up. It's their job; if there's a threat, they're supposed to deal with it. If they can't, lawyers almost always can.
posted by koeselitz at 11:24 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


koeselitz, where is that idolized land you live in and how can the rest of us get there? The rest of us live where the cops don't always get there in time or way out in the sticks where every single individual has guns because they know by the time the sheriff deputy gets there the damage has already been done.


(My dad got a stolen trailer back once because he had a gun. And he didn't even have to fire it.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:30 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


In other words: guns are not for self-defense. They are for apprehending the few insane and somewhat loony criminals who are ready and willing to kill, which most of us will never see in our natural lives. The only people who should carry guns are people who have to deal with those folks regularly and professionally - like, say, cops.

People always forget that Lincoln said that he fought the civil war to preserve law and order first and to abolish slavery second; but that, if he'd discovered that it was impossible to abolish slavery, and still preserve law and order, he would have gone for the law and order. He didn't say why, but it's implied pretty strongly by the argument: without things like law and order, everyone in society may as well be a slave.
posted by koeselitz at 11:30 AM on August 16, 2009


but they shouldn't be forced to face it every day

This is the argument that I hear feminists say all the time and it sends me round the bend. No, they SHOULDN'T. But they do. And expecting, no DEPENDING on cops coming to the rescue? Well, it's nice when they do, (depending on the cops), but you just can't depend on it. Cannot.

And, even providing that you live in a nice urban area with responsive cops, a 4 minute response time is less useful than your ex knowing you're well armed and pefectly willing to rid the earth of him if he threatens you and your kids.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:38 AM on August 16, 2009


the few insane and somewhat loony criminals who are ready and willing to kill, which most of us will never see in our natural lives

Where the hell do you live? These people are everywhere. I don't know a woman alive who hasn't had a scary stalker or a crazy ex.

Guns and "law and order" (which in itself has turned into a scary phrase) are certainly NOT mutually exclusive.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:42 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


where is that idolized land you live in and how can the rest of us get there? The rest of us live where the cops don't always get there in time or way out in the sticks where every single individual has guns because they know by the time the sheriff deputy gets there the damage has already been done.

See, to me the next logical step from that would be 'improve the police service until you can feel safe'. For you to skip that step implies that you've accepted the police service cannot be improved to serve your and your community's needs - I don't understand why.

This is an honest question - how do you think the rest of the relatively peaceful, "developed world" manage? Do you think America is much safer than, say, the other Western countries that don't have guns?

Where the hell do you live? These people are everywhere. I don't know a woman alive who hasn't had a scary stalker or a crazy ex.

Same question: how do you think women in the rest of "the developed world" without guns manage?
posted by catchingsignals at 11:59 AM on August 16, 2009


St. Alia of the Bunnies: koeselitz, where is that idolized land you live in and how can the rest of us get there?

The West - Colorado, to be exact. The town I grew up in has held steady since I was about seven at a population of around 6000, though I'm a few hours away in Denver now.

The rest of us live where the cops don't always get there in time or way out in the sticks where every single individual has guns because they know by the time the sheriff deputy gets there the damage has already been done.

This was hardly ever true when I was a kid - at least the bit about individuals having to keep guns on hand to fight off thieves. It was nice, imagining roving bands of Mad Max-style desperadoes, but I don't think that's how the world really is now - and it's becoming less true even if merely because of population movement:
The recently releassed 2000 Census of Population reports a ten-year national population growth of slightly more than 13 per cent. Most of the large cities did not keep up with the national pace although most of ther suburbs grew at least as fast, if not faster. Of the top 50 cities, only 13 significantly beat the national growth trend (only four in the top 20); predictably, all of these were in the Sunbelt states. None of this is really surprising because city-to-suburb and frostbelt-to-sunbelt migrations have been going on for decades. Both are explained by the lifestyle choices made my millions of households, facilitated by new technologies that are dramatically reducing communication costs, and to a lesser extent, transportation costs. Indeed, the information technology revolution has resulte in such a deep plummeting of communication costs that there is a case for continued agglomeration and spatial concentration.
In other words, more people live in suburbs, and fewer in places far away from things like supermarkets and police stations, than ever before, and the number of suburbanites is still rising.

My dad got a stolen trailer back once because he had a gun. And he didn't even have to fire it.

I think that's great. And I also think it's extraordinarily rare; I'm glad he didn't have to use it. I don't know him, but I do know that people exist who are level-headed and careful enough to know how to handle such delicate situations perfectly. Those people are unfortunately very few and far between. Shooting another human being is not a very easy thing to contemplate. I'm dead certain I couldn't handle it.

You know what the best expression of my idea on this stuff probably is? This is going to sound silly, but it's a great old Western movie with Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne (directed by that old poet of the cinema, John Ford) called The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. It's a fantastic film, and there's a lot of good stuff in there about government and freedom and what it means to stand up for it, but the gist is this: Jimmy Stewart, the lawyer who brings all of his lawbooks west with him, wants to help set up a free and just society, but he can't, at least not while society's still a rough-and-tumble place where everybody seeks his own justice and doesn't have time to rely on the law or on society for anything. So he needs the renegade lawman character that John Wayne plays - a guy who's willing to wade in and get blood on his hands at the drop of a hat in the name of what's right, but who, because of that very fact, couldn't possibly fit in inside the kind of society that America is going to end up building. I think what the movie means is that, while we rely wholly on those men who fought roughly to scrape out a just and free community for themselves and their children, and while we respect that remnant of them that lives on in us, we simply can't live like that anymore and have any kind of community where people of all colors and creeds, all orientations and shapes and sizes can feel free to pursue the lives they so choose - even though we owe that society to the people who went before, the people who were willing to take the law into their own hands if it meant justice.
posted by koeselitz at 12:06 PM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's a planet that doesn't exist yet and the idea of having SO many police that they can be everywhere in an instant? I'm not sure I even WANT that planet.

I would be curious to know the difference in numbers between domestic violence murders in countries before and after they abolished guns. The UK says that between 40-45% of women murdered are murdered by an intimate partner. The US says one-third. What's the reason for the difference? When Australia got rid of guns what happened to the number of domestic violence murders? Does anyone know?
posted by small_ruminant at 12:14 PM on August 16, 2009


Heh.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:20 PM on August 16, 2009


any gun you can use for Olympic target shooting isn't appropriate for self-defense--vorfeed

It's all relative. It certainly is a lot more appropriate than anything I have in my house. I guess I could throw some large hard-cover book at the burglar, or maybe stab him with one of my kids' lightsabers.
posted by eye of newt at 12:30 PM on August 16, 2009


Real women design and test nuclear weapons.

Precisely. I probably don't need a handgun to make me feel safe when I know I'm perfectly capable of designing, testing, and utilizing any manner of interesting weapons, from trebuchets to orbital laser cannon. (Unfortunately, designing many of these things in one's backyard gets one put on various government watchlists, from which removal is often difficult. So I hear.)
posted by elizardbits at 12:41 PM on August 16, 2009


me: the few insane and somewhat loony criminals who are ready and willing to kill, which most of us will never see in our natural lives

small_ruminant: Where the hell do you live? These people are everywhere. I don't know a woman alive who hasn't had a scary stalker or a crazy ex.

Me neither. And I think that's a terrible thing; but the fact (a fact that I really believe should be more commonly known, since I meet a lot of women who don't seem to realize it) is that stalking or even loosely threatening violence toward another person is quite illegal in this country. If woman who's been threatened or stalked in the US simply recognized and internalized that fact (and then followed through by calling the police and/or their lawyers) I'd be willing to be that a large proportion of the scary folks in the country would be off the streets in a matter of hours. That's not saying it's the fault of those women; any more than it's their fault that they're worried about what might happen to them if they make a report.

To leave those women aside for a moment: I think the fact remains that we Americans are extraordinarily paranoid about crime in our country. Stalkers and crazy exes are one things - I've been lucky enough to have neither (perhaps because I'm a guy). But we seem to imagine that any and every criminal is capable of acting in exactly the same way; we tell ourselves, I think, that there's something insane or sociopathic about wanting to steal. Maybe there is some messed-up psychological grounding behind it, but the fact remains: thieves are ridiculously simple. They want to take your stuff. They don't want to hurt you. They don't want a murder rap over fifty bucks or a pair of Nikes, and no matter how confused or frantic any of them might be, they are all fundamentally different from the actual sociopath who does what he does in order to feel pleasure in the pain of others. But that's really and truly such a rare thing from a psychological standpoint that, from a rational view, it's not likely enough that we'll meet random sociopaths on the street to make it worthwhile to carry a gun routinely.

What's more, I want to stress that, for the people who are in a situation where they know very well that a particular sociopath has it in for them, there are just so many other things those people ought to do before arming themselves; getting in the habit of routinely checking in with friends, making sure that (no matter how complacent they may be) the police are at least aware of the dangers, getting in touch with a good lawyer in order to put pressure on the system to make sure that the police are forced to do something - these are all steps that are almost guaranteed to buy safety by the ton where owning a firearm can hardly afford it by the ounce.

And what's more, knowing more than a few people who've been threatened by exes or stalkers, the last thing I think they deserve is to have to face down their 'enemy' in a violent confrontation.

Guns and "law and order" (which in itself has turned into a scary phrase) are certainly NOT mutually exclusive.

No, but I really and truly believe that the use of guns for self-defense by us common citizens, who have not been trained or warranted by society to use them, isn't really something that can happen in a free and open society.
posted by koeselitz at 12:41 PM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, but I really and truly believe that the use of guns for self-defense by us common citizens, who have not been trained or warranted by society to use them, isn't really something that can happen in a free and open society

I don't want to live in a society where common citizens cannot own guns but thugs do.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:04 PM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: it would be very, very convenient if the sole threat to one's personal safety were thieves who would never ever do you any physical harm, and/or if cops (or lawyers) magically appeared whenever the converse was true.

Unfortunately, there are some people out there who are willing to hurt you, especially if you're a woman, and they often don't give a shit whether you cooperate or not, or even whether they get your stuff or not. Sure, you may be faced with someone who just wants the money -- in which case you can give it to them -- but some criminals are after more than that, and there's no guarantee you'll encounter the first kind.

I agree that drawing a firearm is generally not ideal for most "gimme your money" situations, but if, for example, that turns into "now get in the car/on the ground/in the back room", it's time to fight back and fight back hard. The same goes for beat-downs, violent home invasion, rape, attempted murder, and other nasty things which actually happen to actual people who "live on a block where there are lots of muggings". Firearms are for self-defense against the threat of imminent death or serious bodily harm, and in that kind of situation, they are usually a much better option than depending on the cops or on social mores.

No, but I really and truly believe that the use of guns for self-defense by us common citizens, who have not been trained or warranted by society to use them, isn't really something that can happen in a free and open society.

I can't parse this. Are you saying that you think America isn't, by and large, a "free and open society"? And if not, do you really think guns are to blame for that?

Frankly, "the use of guns for self-defense by us common citizens, who have not been trained or warranted by society to use them" is something which happens in nearly every society from time to time, gun control or not, free and open or not. No amount of social pressure can change the physical realities of force; the only way we can get from here to your ideal society is if everyone willingly surrenders the right to self-defense. And as recent experience in Japan has shown, even then, some people will still harm others... with guns, even.

Do you think America is much safer than, say, the other Western countries that don't have guns?

Like, say, the UK, which has strict gun control, and four times the number of per-capita violent crimes?

That said, we can sit here and cherry-pick opposing stats all day, but the fact is that crime statistics are all over the map in "the other Western countries", as is gun ownership. Thus, this question is a red herring, anyway -- gun ownership has no significant worldwide correlation with the overall rate of violent crimes such as assault and homicide.

The problem is violence, not guns... and especially not guns carried by law-abiding citizens for self-defense.
posted by vorfeed at 1:07 PM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


small_ruminant: That's a planet that doesn't exist yet and the idea of having SO many police that they can be everywhere in an instant? I'm not sure I even WANT that planet.

It's a planet that already exists in Europe. Ah - but you already knew I was going to say that, which is why you pre-empted me by saying this:

I would be curious to know the difference in numbers between domestic violence murders in countries before and after they abolished guns. The UK says that between 40-45% of women murdered are murdered by an intimate partner. The US says one-third. What's the reason for the difference? When Australia got rid of guns what happened to the number of domestic violence murders? Does anyone know?

Well, even before I get scientific, if I simply assume that those statistics are correct, they make perfect sense. 40-45% of women who are murdered (you did imply that, right? I presume you're not saying that half of the women in the UK are killed every year) in the UK are killed by intimate partners, whereas only a third of the women who are murdered in the US are. Since there are many more murders per capita in the US than the UK, this statistic actually isn't saying that more women are killed by their partners in the UK - it's actually saying that more women are killed by strangers in the US. And that makes perfect sense, since it's a hell of a lot easier to kill strangers when you can use a gun to do it.

Technically, the first question, of course, is: is there actually a difference? Are there statistics to back this up, and if so, are they comparable?

Here's a start, anyway; some UN figures on murder rates 1998-2000 in various countries, in murders per million people:

United Kingdom....14.0633 per 1,000,000 people
United States.....42.802 per 1,000,000 people
Germany...........11.6461 per 1,000,000 people
Italy.............12.8393 per 1,000,000 people
France............17.3727 per 1,000,000 people
Australia.........15.0324 per 1,000,000 people


I got this from here, which states that the source is "The Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, covering the period 1998 - 2000 (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Centre for International Crime Prevention)." I'll look around for some more illuminating and specific figures.
posted by koeselitz at 1:19 PM on August 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


vorfeed: koeselitz: it would be very, very convenient if the sole threat to one's personal safety were thieves who would never ever do you any physical harm, and/or if cops (or lawyers) magically appeared whenever the converse was true.

I never said that building a free, open and just society would be convenient. Yes, it's a sacrifice to have to cooperate with to police, to have to take on some responsibility sometimes even to get them to begin moving forward when crimes are committed. As the Greeks liked to say: great things are never easy. And I cannot convince myself that preparing to fight crime as a private citizen by arming oneself with deadly firearms is anything less than giving up on the project of a society that protects its citizens.

vorfeed: The problem is violence, not guns... and especially not guns carried by law-abiding citizens for self-defense.

My point is exactly this: to carry a gun for the purpose of self-defense is to assume that there will be violence against which a defense will be needed. This assumption goes a long, long way toward creating the environment in which people get killed - not by increasing crime, but by putting the task of counteracting crime in the hands of private citizens who should not be expected to shoulder that burden.

vorfeed: Like, say, the UK, which has strict gun control, and four times the number of per-capita violent crimes?

That's a willful misreading even of that hand-wavey and utterly unspecific article, which is attempting to claim that the Labour Party has been so soft on crime that they've made the UK the crime capital of the world. I wish we could blame this entirely on the Telegraph, but no; halfway through, it states:

A breakdown of the statistics, which were compiled into league tables by the Conservatives...

This is roughly equivalent to an article in the USA saying "Republicans have released statistics showing that crime is up, up, UP since the Democrats took office!" Consider the source; the manipulation of the data to fit a particular viewpoint is so blatant as to make any statistician vomit with frustration. I could spend all day wading through it, but here's a good illustrative highlight:

The UK had a greater number of murders in 2007 than any other EU country – 927 – and at a relative rate higher than most western European neighbours, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Fact: the United Kingdom has a higher population than any other nation in Europe except Germany and France, both of which have stricter gun control than the UK. So that (a) the fact that the number of total murders in the UK was higher in 2007 than most nations in Europe is a trivial one; and (b) the fact that France and Germany had lower total murders despite being larger is actually evidence that gun control works, since both of those nations have stricter gun control than the UK. (See, for anecdotal evidence on this, this blog (in English) by a German gun owner who's unhappy that the German Weapons Law is so very strict, without any counterweight whatsoever; and this discussion of how France's gun laws are likely to be tightening even further in the wake of recent massacres across Europe.) Furthermore, the number of murders in the UK in 2007 may well have been 927; in the United States that year, the FBI estimates (in its Uniform Report on Crime In The United States, 2007) that there were 16,929 murders. That means that, fudging a little and using the more recent estimates for population on those nations' Wikipedia pages, the UK had 15.05 murders per 1,000,000 people, the US had 55.12 murders per 1,000,000. That's actually a broader margin than it's been in years; the murder rate seems to be going up here faster than elsewhere. Roughly, at this point a person is 3.66 times as likely to be murdered in the US than they are in the UK.

Keep in mind: I'm not saying that guns are bad, or even that we need more gun control. I don't know how much the law has to do with it; I think changing peoples' attitudes would go a lot further than cramming something down their throat through a legislative session or (even worse) some kind of eleventh-hour referendum. What I'd like is to see American gun rights advocates come to the point that gun rights advocates around the developed world have already come to: the idea that guns aren't for using on humans in case humans get threatening. You'll notice that even the staunchest gun rights advocates in Australia, Germany or the UK would never argue that; they would argue that it's unfair to hunters and recreational users, and they're often right, but they would never argue that people need more guns in order to protect themselves from criminals. That may be because their traditionally less gun-friendly societies really do have less crime.

One more chart that I found interesting, this time from the US Department of Justice: a set of figures on murders per year broken down into method. Interestingly, far and away the vast majority of murders in the US are committed with handguns. I also find it interesting that these murder rates tend to spike during Democratic administrations, but who am I to make such a connection?
posted by koeselitz at 2:14 PM on August 16, 2009


And, by the way: I can't find a damned thing in that Telegraph article, not even one vague fact, that justifies their claim that violent crime in the UK is now "worse even than in America." It might be a good idea to try to find those actual figures which they're being so creative with in the original source at Eurostat.
posted by koeselitz at 2:21 PM on August 16, 2009


vorfeed: Well, to be fair, any gun you can use for Olympic target shooting isn't appropriate for self-defense, anyway. The last thing you want in a self-defense gun is non-expanding ammo which ends up 600+ yards from where you fired it!

True. As police are taught (and correctly, I think): when you shoot someone, you should shoot to kill; immobilizing isn't really something any weapon does well, especially in a situation where your enemy almost certainly has a weapon of his/her own. There's no in-between: when you point a gun at somebody, you should be ready to cut them down and walk away knowing they'll never move again.
posted by koeselitz at 2:25 PM on August 16, 2009


The woman who wrote the material in the noisy gunfire web site played Elaine to my Mortimer in our 8th grade production of Arsenic and Old Lace. Hi, Laura!

:D
posted by jfrancis at 2:29 PM on August 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Does everyone need to go watch Bowling for Columbine again?

Gun ownership doesn't decrease crime, violent crime, or murder. The United States suffers from some of the highest violent crime rates in the developed world, despite having very high gun ownership.

It's a magic tiger-repelling rock that makes you feel safer.

Doesn't. Work.
posted by rokusan at 2:39 PM on August 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


vorfeed: I can't parse this. Are you saying that you think America isn't, by and large, a "free and open society"? And if not, do you really think guns are to blame for that?

Sorry, vorfeed; you had a lot of interesting points, and I'm working on responding.

What I'm saying is this, and you'll have to forgive me for putting it in the terms of the poli sci that is sort of my background: the US has traditionally been the pioneer of democracy; in a way, we laid the foundation for the western democracies and showed them the way. But for the last thirty years or so, we've been wandering; we have, it seems, convinced the world that our ways were correct, and most of them have followed in our footsteps. That means that both sides have problems; it's easy, for one thing, for Europe to forget what it's been through in the last hundred years, easy for a French person to blithely embrace the love of Communism simply because he hasn't had to face it head-on, easy for an English person to vote for the BNP without regard for its similarities to certain nationalist parties of sixty years ago. Our national trouble is that it's far to easy for us to become complacent and rest satisfied in the knowledge that our ways have been proven to be the best ways for the democratic direction in which the world is headed.

I believe that the biggest immediate domestic hurdles facing the United States today have to do with crime, yes; it seems to me that from an unbiased standpoint our crime rates are two and three times as high as they ought to be. This is reflected in the fear people feel here, a fear which should not intrude on the public discourse as much as it does; and it's exacerbated by the fact that at this point we hardly have a public discourse, we generally just have a repetition of past stances over and over again. Gun control debates are no different; when there is crime, which is what people really palpably care about, it has usually been the custom of politicians to either (a) put as many cops as possible on the street, (b) promise to make the city safer by enacting gun laws, or (c) promise to make the city safer by tearing down all the gun laws. That's just the surface, the showy crap that the politicians like to trot out. The reality is, I think, that Americans are more indoctrinated by marketing, more apt to fear and to reject, more apt to be uncomfortable with the unfamiliar every day.

And, I think, the best way to counteract that is to talk about it - the sources of fear and its antidotes.
posted by koeselitz at 2:40 PM on August 16, 2009


jfrancis: The woman who wrote the material in the noisy gunfire web site played Elaine to my Mortimer in our 8th grade production of Arsenic and Old Lace. Hi, Laura!

:D


That brings me to my next point: now about poison control, particularly among the elderly...
posted by koeselitz at 2:41 PM on August 16, 2009


[therapy, meds, guns!]

That should be the chorus of A New National Anthem.

(Also, fake boobs and bleached teeth.)
posted by rokusan at 2:42 PM on August 16, 2009


My point is exactly this: to carry a gun for the purpose of self-defense is to assume that there will be violence against which a defense will be needed.

Except that it's not. It's to be prepared for violence against which a defense will be needed; to assume that there might be violence against which a defense will be needed. There's a huge difference in mindset and intent, there, and it's one you don't seem to be willing to acknowledge.

For instance, carrying an extra $20 folded in your wallet does not mean you've assumed that there will be a time in which you'll need an extra $20. It simply means that you're prepared against that eventuality, not that you assume it will happen. The same goes for carrying a seatbelt cutter in your car or a life vest on your boat -- you're not assuming that you will have a car accident, for example, even though the odds are a lot higher than they are for being attacked.

Carrying a gun works much the same way; in fact, I'd wager that most people who carry guns would tell you that they do not expect or assume that they'll be attacked on any given day, or perhaps even ever... mainly because they probably weren't attacked yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that.

What I'd like is to see American gun rights advocates come to the point that gun rights advocates around the developed world have already come to: the idea that guns aren't for using on humans in case humans get threatening.

Look, different countries have different cultures. The idea that "guns aren't for using on humans in case humans get threatening" may play well in the UK or in Japan, but it doesn't here, where it flies in the face of both social custom and actual experience. There are as many as 2.5 million defensive gun uses in America every year, and according to the lowest estimate, at least 80,000 -- if guns "aren't for using on humans in case humans get threatening", then how do those statistics come about? I bet you laugh at the ol' "guns don't kill people, people kill people" chestnut... and yet American guns kill people less than half as often as they defend them, even assuming an unrealistically low estimate of defensive gun uses. So how, exactly, are they "not for using on humans in case humans get threatening"?

That's a willful misreading even of that hand-wavey and utterly unspecific article

Come on. By all accounts, the UK has a problem with violence. The Eurostat site you suggested recorded over 1,100,000 violent crimes in 2007, in a nation of 60 million people. By contrast, the US recorded 1,408,337 violent crimes during the same year, in a nation of three hundred million.

Now, unless you're willing to claim that one or the other of these nations is off by a factor of five or so, I think it's not unreasonable to feel safer (or, at the very least, as safe) in the US.

But again, my larger point was that none of these individual statistics are particularly enlightening, because the data on violent crime and gun ownership is all over the map. It's incredibly easy to pick individual data points which support your side of the argument -- no matter which side that is -- and yet we have some nations with lots of guns and little crime, and some nations with few guns and lots of crime, and the correlation between gun ownership and overall crime rates isn't strong. On top of that, the actual effects of gun control on crime in places like the UK, Australia, Washington D.C., and Chicago are divergent, suggesting that other factors are more important.

I actually agree with you on addressing "the sources of fear and its antidotes", and that crime is among the primary domestic problems in this country; I simply disagree that guns are a major part of the "source" side of those equations. If anything, gun sales in this country are driven by economic problems, crime, and fear (see: the current run on guns), not the other way around. Addressing the root problem is key, and in a nation with 223 million guns and just 100,000 gun casualties, including woundings, the guns are obviously not the root problem. Not when hardly one tenth of one percent of them harm anybody.

Besides, if your aim is to decrease fear, both history and basic psychology suggest that belittling the notion of personal self-defense and/or supporting strict gun control is not the way to do it in America!
posted by vorfeed at 3:32 PM on August 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Rather than focusing on overall murder rates, I'm interested in murder specifically against women. That is to say- the gender least likely to be able to defend themselves physically.

(And not just for physics reasons. Women are viewed as victims more than men are, which means a large woman is more likely to be attacked than a smaller guy. It's a learned thing- not just a size thing.)
posted by small_ruminant at 4:41 PM on August 16, 2009


There are as many as 2.5 million defensive gun uses in America every year, and according to the lowest estimate, at least 80,000 -- if guns "aren't for using on humans in case humans get threatening", then how do those statistics come about?

Because when all you have is a hammer, it's too easy to treat every problem as a nail. Especially under stress.

A large number of those situations could have been resolved, one suspects, even if a firearm wasn't present.
posted by rokusan at 5:24 PM on August 16, 2009


heh- define "resolved."
posted by small_ruminant at 5:26 PM on August 16, 2009


vorfeed: Come on. By all accounts, the UK has a problem with violence. The Eurostat site you suggested recorded over 1,100,000 violent crimes in 2007, in a nation of 60 million people. By contrast, the US recorded 1,408,337 violent crimes during the same year, in a nation of three hundred million. Now, unless you're willing to claim that one or the other of these nations is off by a factor of five or so, I think it's not unreasonable to feel safer (or, at the very least, as safe) in the US.

You're right, and it's an odd counterpoint of statistics, isn't it? The UK does have an extraordinary amount of violent crimes, and yet at the same time we have almost three times as many intentional murders per capita. I don't want to make a knee-jerk call on why this is; I'm more interested in the fact that it seems like it's easy to argue the datapoint both ways. I could be tempted to say something like, 'ah, so you pay for a lower crime rate with a higher death rate,' but the fact is it's clearly not that simple; I don't think it's merely a statistical problem in the UK, it's also a cultural one. The UK tends to have some interesting statistics surrounding this altogether; much higher instance, for example, of public drunkenness than any mainland nation.

I don't want to write off the very problematic murder rate in the US, but - well, I admit that one of the difficulties that I feel is that it's harder, I think, for Americans to know what's going on in the whole of their country simply because it's so big; and that tends to make me look at these statistics and say to my self (in what I sheepishly confess is the standard liberal way) 'my god! If it's really like this in the US, it must be really horrible in some places - heaven knows it's certainly never been that bad for me! Must be my white male priviledge cropping up. Hmm.'

At the same time, 'violent crime' is no isolated thing. It's not a simplistic measure; and I can buy the argument I've heard UKians make repeatedly that, if they've got violent crime, well, they'd rather have that than a higher murder rate, even if I feel as though those aren't very good choices.

But again, my larger point was that none of these individual statistics are particularly enlightening, because the data on violent crime and gun ownership is all over the map. It's incredibly easy to pick individual data points which support your side of the argument -- no matter which side that is -- and yet we have some nations with lots of guns and little crime, and some nations with few guns and lots of crime, and the correlation between gun ownership and overall crime rates isn't strong. On top of that, the actual effects of gun control on crime in places like the UK, Australia, Washington D.C., and Chicago are divergent, suggesting that other factors are more important.

This is very true. Some people seem to think that statistics are an end or a definitive solution, whereas really they're just a starting point; they can't in and of themselves prove anything, given their diversity and the infinite potential to refine the tests.

Addressing the root problem is key, and in a nation with 223 million guns and just 100,000 gun casualties, including woundings, the guns are obviously not the root problem. Not when hardly one tenth of one percent of them harm anybody.

In practice I agree with you; in theory I don't know if I can. I mean, in the deepest sense, I can't really abide looking at it from the point of view that "fewer of our guns kill people than their guns, even though we have so many more." The murder rate is the murder rate, and the absolute imperative to reduce it makes any joy I might get out of the fact that, if we have millions more guns than we need, at least a bunch of people seem to be taking gun safety seriously.

But the fact is that when it comes down we can't be like Europe or the UK. We have guns; we've always had guns; and, try as we might, we're not going to succeed in some program of going door to door rounding up all of the handguns in the United States without letting the government collapse, becoming a fascist state, or both. All wishful handwringing by glassy-eyed politicians aside, real 'gun control,' at least on the legislative level, is something of a myth, especially in a country this size with states that have vastly different levels of enforcement and security. I imagine that it's painfully easy even now to acquire a very powerful and very illegal handgun in New Orleans; Louisiana has always been at the bottom of the heap when it came to federal resources or responsiveness. I'm finding myself having to face the fact that there is really no simply or rule-based way we're going to figure out the gun question, to be honest.

Besides, if your aim is to decrease fear, both history and basic psychology suggest that belittling the notion of personal self-defense and/or supporting strict gun control is not the way to do it in America!

This is absolutely true.

As an aside - and this is purely anecdotal, not grounded in stats, but then what is there in Italy that is? - I have a friend who lives in Milan; she tells me that Italy is constantly getting flack within the UN because, despite the fact that they have one of the strictest (and most convoluted and difficult to navigate) gun registration and control programs, they also somehow end up every year having the highest rate of gun deaths and especially 'accidental gun deaths.' Seems that, while petty criminals and even most legitimate hunters usually can't possibly get their hands on guns, certain people find it quite easy to get past the government restrictions and procure firearms. Whatever I might think of how things work in the US or the UK, I'm just glad I don't live in a country where the outlaws really are the only ones who have guns. Heh. (No offense to any Italians out there - I imagine you can agree with me on this point...)
posted by koeselitz at 5:29 PM on August 16, 2009


small_ruminant: heh- define "resolved."

Well, apparently if you live in the UK, "resolved" is defined: "one of us gets his head bashed in, we both stumble off to our local pubs, and we drink until we forget about it."

Dangerous, yes. It's a difficult calculus, though, when you're weighing fists against fatal weaponry.
posted by koeselitz at 5:34 PM on August 16, 2009


I would be very interested to hear the breakdown between the sexes.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:42 PM on August 16, 2009


You're right, and it's an odd counterpoint of statistics, isn't it? The UK does have an extraordinary amount of violent crimes, and yet at the same time we have almost three times as many intentional murders per capita.

Personally, I think it's the same difference here as it is in Italy -- we have a huge problem with organized crime (i.e. gangs), and a justice system which is unwilling and/or unable to deal with the problem effectively. IMHO, if we could wave our magic wand and make one single policy change, then legalizing and regulating drugs would do more to lower the murder rate in the US than getting rid of the guns ever could. And unlike gun control, I suspect that drug legalization could be re-branded (using much the same freedom-and-economics terms we use for guns and alcohol, actually) into something that might gain majority support, especially during the next twenty to fifty years or so.

Well, apparently if you live in the UK, "resolved" is defined: "one of us gets his head bashed in, we both stumble off to our local pubs, and we drink until we forget about it."
Dangerous, yes. It's a difficult calculus, though, when you're weighing fists against fatal weaponry.


Except that the UK still has plenty of trouble with "fatal weaponry" -- knives in particular. And pub glasses, for that matter. And, despite their total handgun ban, occasionally guns. I agree that you're probably less likely to get shot in an altercation in the UK, simply because there are fewer guns, but let's not pretend as though criminals aren't using deadly weapons there.

In practice I agree with you; in theory I don't know if I can.

Yeah, we seem to agree for the most part. That said, I don't really care much for "in theory" arguments in general -- in theory, humans can create any society we can imagine, but we live in practice, where there's a limited set of realistic options. Ideology is well and good, but when it doesn't match the situation on the ground, then one of the two needs to change... and frankly, it's a lot easier to push the former with the latter than the other way around.
posted by vorfeed at 6:19 PM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


But the fact is th...
posted by koeselitz 39 minutes ago [+]


Candlejack?
posted by adamdschneider at 6:28 PM on August 16, 2009


small_ruminant: Where the hell do you live? These people are everywhere. I don't know a woman alive who hasn't had a scary stalker or a crazy ex.
I guess you don't 'know' me because we've never met, but I've not ever been stalked, and my ex ain't crazy. Just my ex.
posted by sandraregina at 7:30 PM on August 16, 2009


Yep, candlejack.

Also, check out this incredibly awesome
posted by koeselitz at 7:37 PM on August 16, 2009


True. As police are taught (and correctly, I think): when you shoot someone, you should shoot to kill; immobilizing isn't really something any weapon does well, especially in a situation where your enemy almost certainly has a weapon of his/her own.

This is very, very wrong. Police in the US are taught to shoot to incapacitate, that is, to neutralize the threat. We are not taught to shoot to kill, our intent is not to kill. We are taught to shoot center-of-mass, which is the largest target area, and just so happens to have some pretty vital organs.

We are also taught to shoot 2 in the chest, one in the head kind of stuff in case the subject is wearing body armor. We are also taught to shoot across the pelvis in that type of scenario as well.

In all cases where we need to shoot someone, we shoot until the person is no longer a threat, which can mean a lot of rounds get fired.

I am all for females (and all law-abiding citizens, for that matter) owning and carrying firearms. With proper training, they are a good self-defense tool. In my neck of the woods, as well as anywhere outside a city, police response is going to take more than a couple of minutes (it can take me as long as 15-20 minutes to get to certain places in my area). The police cannot begin to help you unless they are on the scene. So if your life is in real danger, like a crazy ex trying to break into the house and kill you, you are on your own.

My point is exactly this: to carry a gun for the purpose of self-defense is to assume that there will be violence against which a defense will be needed. This assumption goes a long, long way toward creating the environment in which people get killed - not by increasing crime, but by putting the task of counteracting crime in the hands of private citizens who should not be expected to shoulder that burden.

It is better to have the means to defend yourself and not need it, then to need it and not have it.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 10:48 PM on August 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


If woman who's been threatened or stalked in the US simply recognized and internalized that fact (and then followed through by calling the police and/or their lawyers) I'd be willing to be that a large proportion of the scary folks in the country would be off the streets in a matter of hours.

I'm surprised no one has responded to this little gem yet.

The line between creepy-but-not-illegal and illegal can be crossed very fast. And of course, the police can't do much about creepy-but-not-illegal. But when it comes to actual threats...

I'm very well aware that someone who threatens me with violence is doing something illegal. However, I'm also very well aware that if I go to the police, what they're able to do under the law is limited, and what they're willing to do might be even more limited than that, due to the very real problem of domestic violence, rape, and other gender-linked crimes not being taken seriously.

I'm also aware that even with the police 100% behind me, after having utilized the law to the best of my ability... there is still the issue of response time. I estimate about five minutes for a police car to make it to my house. I know it's longer to my parents' house, because I once had to call 911 due to an intruder. (At the time, I didn't wish I had a gun.)

I don't have a dog in this fight, being really ambivalent about gun control - in the US, but this really pegged me the wrong way. You can say you're not blaming women, but you're placing responsibility for ending stalking and harassing behavior on their shoulders in order to make your case for the effectiveness of the police to protect citizens. The reason why stalking is so bad is that women don't recognize that it's a crime?

No, the problem is that everyone, including the police you think that they can rely on, doesn't treat gender violence seriously. I bet that the women who are effected are among those who recognize how serious it really is, though.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:28 AM on August 17, 2009 [2 favorites]



See, to me the next logical step from that would be 'improve the police service until you can feel safe'. For you to skip that step implies that you've accepted the police service cannot be improved to serve your and your community's needs - I don't understand why.


The police are not there to make sure you are safe as an individual: http://www.allsafedefense.com/news/CopsDontProtect.htm

My dad got a stolen trailer back once because he had a gun. And he didn't even have to fire it.

I think that's great. And I also think it's extraordinarily rare; I'm glad he didn't have to use it.


Actually in most defensive uses of a handgun they gun is never fired.

Fifty-four percent of the defensive gun uses involved somebody verbally referring to the gun. Forty-seven percent involved the gun being pointed at the criminal. Twenty-two percent involved the gun being fired. Fourteen percent involved the gun being fired at somebody, meaning it wasn't just a warning shot; the defender was trying to shoot. Whether they succeeded or not is another matter but they were trying to shoot a criminal. And then in 8 percent they actually did wound or kill the offender.

Gun ownership doesn't decrease crime, violent crime, or murder.
"Laws which allow honest citizens to legally carry concealed handguns motivate criminals to switch from violent offenses against persons (e.g. murder, rape, robbery) to nonviolent offenses" http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Espohl1.htm

As far as the article, I would be more than happy to add more guns to our collection.
posted by SuzySmith at 1:06 AM on August 18, 2009


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