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Feeling A Bit Cassandrish

On Tuesday, I wrote a piece about the recent spate of mass shootings, and discussed their common elements. In each, I noted, the shootings took place in clearly-defined "gun-free" zones, with one exception. And in each, the killer kept on killing until he ran out of victims and then took his own life, with two exceptions.

In one of those two exceptions (the Chicago strip mall), it appears not to have been an intentional mass murder, but a robbery gone wrong, and the killer is still at large.

In the other shooting, the one that was the exception to both rules, the gunman was stopped by an ordinary citizen acting as a volunteer security guard for the church the killer targeted.

Well, two days after I wrote that article, there was yet another mass shooting -- this one on the campus of the Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, killing five. And again, the gunman chose to take his own life once all the ready victims had fled.

So, how does this shooting fit the pattern? Perfectly. As Bill Quick discovered, the campus in question is a "gun-free zone" (in fact, but not quite using those terms):

Northern Illinois University The Student Code of Conduct

3-1.5 Dangerous Weapons:
1.5a Possession, use, sale, or distribution in any residence hall, building, or grounds under university control of: fireworks, firearms, shotguns, rifles, hand guns, switchblade knives, any type of ammunition, explosives, and all other serious weapons.
1.5b Misuse of martial arts weaponry, BB guns, pellet guns, clubs, knives, and all other serious weapons.
Students who wish to bring firearms to the campus must obtain written permission from the chief security officer of the university. Firearms must be stored at the University Security Office except with written permission of the chief security officer of the university. At no time will any of the above dangerous weapons be allowed in the university residence halls.

There was no Jeanne Assam on campus yesterday to stop the shooter. The college had made damned certain of that.

It's not often that I actually advocate for a lawsuit, but in this case I think it's long overdue. Every time an institution declares itself a "gun-free zone," it is making an implicit promise to the public: "you don't need to protect yourself here -- indeed, we won't allow you to do so. Instead, we will protect you." And they simply are not keeping that promise.

In essence, they are constructing sheep pens with fences just high enough to keep the sheep in, but low enough for the wolves to leap over, and rarely bothering to even get any sheepdogs. (And most of the time, those sheepdogs are toothless.) Instead, they plaster their fences with "no wolves allowed" and trust in the power of those words to keep the predators at bay.

And how well is that working out?

In Dekalb yesterday, five people were killed by the wolf. In Kirkwood, Missouri, five people (including two armed police officers) were gunned down. (The police officers, the "sheepdogs," were the first victims.) In Omaha last December, eight were murdered. At Virginia Tech, thirty-two were slaughtered.

The sole exception was the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There the gunman started his spree in the parking lot, where he killed two teenage sisters and wounded two others (including their father). But once he entered the church, he was only able to wound one more before a volunteer security guard -- using her own privately-owned gun -- stopped him.

The Church was not a "gun-free zone." Their guards were not sheepdogs, but armed members of their own flock that had chosen to act in the place of sheepdogs. And there very well may have been more armed congregationists who could have done the stopped him as well -- the Church had not taken away the rights of its guests to defend themselves, as so many schools and malls and other places have done.

I don't quite grasp the mindset of those who seek the dubious protection of "gun-free zones" and other such head-in-the-sand solutions. The message seems to be "I trust toothless rules and impersonal institutions to protect my physical safety, and will trust them absolutely and exclusively -- to keep me safe and alive, and take no steps to assume any responsibility for myself."

That seems to work out quite well -- right up until it doesn't.

Just ask those 48 people who practiced it in Blacksburg, Virginia, or Omaha, Nebraska, or Kirkwood, Missouri, or Dekalb, Illinois how well it worked out.

You can ask them all you like, but they won't be answering any time soon.

They're dead.

So are the two police officers in Kirkwood who were there to keep the wolves at bay.


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Comments (68)

I'm a student at Northern a... (Below threshold)
Heather:

I'm a student at Northern and have had to live through this horrible tragedy and I just want to say that I think bringing even more guns on campus is the last thing we should do...

I can understand what you'r... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

I can understand what you're saying, Jay Tea. I live in the most gun-liberal state in the union, Utah. Yet in a state that has one of the lowest crime rates in America, (this is not due to guns, it's due to the demographic of religious families) we had our own mall shooting a year ago, where 5 people died. Shit like this happens, no matter where you are, no matter who you are. People go crazy. I remember you gleefully blogging about a gunman invading a Hillary Cinton office in New Hampshire. "How cool is this?" That is a direct quote. Bottom line is that crazy people live in every state of the union, and a gun-toting electorate has not been shown to hinder the whims of people that go nuts. If someone goes crazy somewhere, they're going to kill some people. Guns belong in the hands of law enforcement officials, and that's it.

You don't understand what h... (Below threshold)
dr lava:

You don't understand what happened in Kirkwood at all. This happened in my neighborhood. You are totally misrepresenting this tragedy to fit your simplistic theory.

Officer Biggs and Ballman sheepdogs? You are a fucking moron.

I'm a student at N... (Below threshold)
jpm100:
I'm a student at Northern and have had to live through this horrible tragedy and I just want to say that I think bringing even more guns on campus is the last thing we should do...
Because people who plan on breaking the law, like going on a shooting spree, will observe that one?
Ryan, don't be dumber than ... (Below threshold)

Ryan, don't be dumber than absolutely necessary. The guy at Hillary's NH office did NOT have a gun. He had some road flares that he had half-assedly rigged to look like a bomb. No gun.

And as I said at the time, I was 99.5% certain that the situation would end peacefully, and it did. I was prepared to pay a very hefty price if I was wrong, but I was that confident that it would all turn out to be nothing.

And it did.

I also knew that the idiot with the fake bomb was mainly seeking attention and to be taken seriously, and I was NOT going to give him what he wanted.

But I actually cited an example where a "gun-toting electorate" actually DID stop a shooting, and numerous cases where the shooters were not challenged. Would you care to cite some examples to back up your own position?

I thought not.

J.

lava, in the classic metaph... (Below threshold)

lava, in the classic metaphor, the "sheep" are the citizenry, the "wolves" are the criminals/terrorists, and the "sheepdogs" are the cops and military who protect the sheep. They can be just as ferocious as the wolves, but their goal is to protect, not to prey.

Would you care to use your local perspective to enlighten me how that is in error in the Kirkwood situation?

J.

JT, again I get the your po... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, again I get the your point why the predictable reactionists miss it. If some students had been carrying or allowed to carry, maybe at least one or two of the now dead students would not be. And the assanine comment that gun carrying citizens dont' reduce crime, well, that is too assanine to comment on. ww

dr lava, I think you misund... (Below threshold)
goddessoftheclassroom:

dr lava, I think you misunderstood the "sheepdog: metaphor. It's a compliment, not an insult; sheepdogs protect the sheep from the wolves. I am certain that Jay Tea meant no disrespect.

I agree that crazies will be crazies, but I like to think that CC permits will keep them guessing. An average, noncrazy citizen with a concealed weapon (and I support a person's having to prove he or she can use a gun, must as a person must get a driver's license*) could stop a crazy before he or she goes even further. Uniformed security are important, but sadly they are also obvious targets.

*And just as you don't have to have a license to own a car, Constitutionally you don't have to have a license to own a gun, just pass a background check (which I also support)

I perfectly unders... (Below threshold)
dr lava:

I perfectly understand the metaphor. I'm sorry I don't have time to explain the entire situation right now. I can only say that the killer was a very well known and very well liked person. Everyone knew him. He was a star athlete in Kirkwood. Why would the sheepdog object to a friendly?

Maybe Jay is speaking of "mind reading sheepdogs".

The situation is very complex. Did I mention Wal-mart is involved?

I'd just like to point out ... (Below threshold)
Brad Schwartze:

I'd just like to point out that a lot of these shootings happened right after the Supreme Court announced they would take the Heller case. While it's still a coincidence, that coincidence is incredibly uncanny.

And BTW, the Supreme Court made up its mind last week about the Heller case, when the Kirkwood city council got shot up. There is absolutely no way they would ever rule in favor of an individual right to own a gun. That would be like giving an official seal of approval to a threat to their own power.

This is a very complex issu... (Below threshold)
Candy:

This is a very complex issue, but I have to completely agree with Jay's point. If I send any of my kids to a campus that is a "gun-free zone", I am assuming that they'll be safe. The truth of the matter is that none of us is safe in an open area, and none of us is safe in an enclosed area without metal detectors. In my life, that means I'm not safe anyplace.

Most citizens who become licensed to carry a handgun and choose to go through the process are probably the most unlikely candidates to open fire on innocent victims.

If I find myself EVER in this type of situation, I surely hope there is at least one citizen exercising his or her right to bear arms, and I hope he or she is a CRACK SHOT.

We have long guns in our home - mostly pellet guns for target practice. All of my kids are crack shots with the pellet guns. These kids have been taught to respect guns, and woodstoves, and motor vehicles, and alcohol for that matter. The guns are locked up, and only my husband and I have the keys. I'm glad I'm a crack shot, sometimes to the embarassment of my husband and his friends. I hope to NEVER have to use a gun on a human, but here is the reality: if an intruder should force his way into my home and be armed, and the dogs don't stop him, I will.

"Did I mention Wal-mart is ... (Below threshold)

"Did I mention Wal-mart is involved?"

What about Major League Baseball? The Illuminati? FEMA? I have a feeling - and you cannot prove it wrong since you were not there and he's a master of duisuise - that Dubya personally pulled the trigger and then left behind the body of an innocent well-liked athlete to confuse the coppers. He's like that. How long will the people of America allow George W. Bush to slaughter innocent citizens at malls, schools, churches and in their homes? He must be stopped!!

Dr Lava is correct. The Ki... (Below threshold)
Imhotep:

Dr Lava is correct. The Kirkwood shooter was a well known person to the City council, had been coming to City Council meetings for many years.
No one knows why he 'snapped' that particular meeting and not one of the many meetings before. No one could have predicted his behavior, unlike the others who had videotaped or posted You tube videos.

I think you have to remove the Kirkwood incident from the list, which is otherwise excellent.

Imhotep, I still don't see ... (Below threshold)

Imhotep, I still don't see why the Kirkwood incident should be taken off the list of "nut with a gun starts shooting up people in a gun-free zone" stories -- dr lava's "I live near there and know so much more than you, but I'm not telling" protests notwithstanding.

Whether the guy had a grievance or not, valid or not, doesn't have any effect on the essential thesis above.

J.

dr lava - do you live in Ki... (Below threshold)

dr lava - do you live in Kirkwood or Meachem Park?

Sorry Dr Lava, but I live i... (Below threshold)
Maruice:

Sorry Dr Lava, but I live in the area too and I'm calling bullshit on you. Why would those police officers object to a friendly you ask? Why indeed. Maybe because he's not as friendly as you claim. In fact Cookie was a trouble maker from the time Meacham Park was annexed into Kirkwood. He was cited at least 100 times for code violations and various municipal infractions including illegal dumping and the fact that he ran an unlicensed business out of his home. He'd received judgements against him totalling nearly $20,000 in fines and court costs, he assaulted a councilman, he routinely disrupted meetings by starting shouting matches and claiming that he was being persecuted. When the council wanted to ban him from the meetings entirely because he was such a disruptive pain in the ass Mayor Swoboda refused to let them because he thought it would be disrespecting Thornton's rights as a citizen. Yeah, this is a guy that the cops would never suspect because he was so well liked and everyone just loved him. My ass snowflake.

Cookie was well liked by some folks, but he was a royal pain in the ass too. He thought he was owed that contract work, and maybe he was promised the work but guess what - no business license NO CONTRACT dumbass. I'm sure that was somehow the council's fault too. Look, Cookie snapped for a number of reasons, like maybe realizing that he was bankrupt because of HIS OWN BEHAVIOR, or that he wasn't getting that big million dollar pay-day he expected from his federal lawsuit against Kirkwood because it was dismissed by the judge. I guess Cookie shouldn't have been acting as his own attorney, bet that's Wal-Mart's fault too, right? Anyway, I think the parking tickets may have been the last straw but he didn't go to city hall with a gun to make lemonade. Cookie wasn't a victim, he was a semi-literate hot head with a persecution complex and an ego that wouldn't let him accept that most of his problems were of his own making. So go peddle your bullshit somewhere else, I know the story and it's not the fantasy you're selling.

"Guns belong in the hand... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"Guns belong in the hands of law enforcement officials, and that's it."

Yeah, that would be perfect as long as there is a law enforcement official in every house, in every room of every building, in every classroom, on every street coner and prettymuch everywhere else, 24 hours a day.

Maybe we could just assign a team of personal law enforcent officials for every single person in the country so they can keep all under their protection 24/7.

Anything less than that Ryan, and your idea is moronic.

Guns don't kill but gun-free zones sure do.

Maruice,How dare y... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Maruice,

How dare you suggest that someone be accountable for their own behavior! It's always the government's fault- unless the democrats control the government, then the problem is that the government is not big enough and more laws are needed! Get with the program man!

(/sarcasm off) (Just in case.)

Guns are one of those areas... (Below threshold)
Greg:

Guns are one of those areas where the knee-jerk emotional reaction "make the guns go away" by not allowing regular citizens to carry will actually cause the opposite of the intended results. Try to take your emotions out of this and look at the results of where this has been tried. In places where regular citizens cannot own/carry crime goes up, in places where citizens can own/carry crime goes down. Perhaps this is counter-intuitive but it is reality.

The Church was not a "gu... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The Church was not a "gun-free zone." Their guards were not sheepdogs, but armed members of their own flock that had chosen to act in the place of sheepdogs.

But they were still official, if volunteer, security guards who were sanctioned (does anyone know what New Life's stance was on regular members of the congregation carrying guns on the grounds?). At NIU there are campus police, and they are armed as well. You seem to be making the distinction between paid and unpaid sheepdogs, as if they don't serve the same purpose. I don't understand why you say this:

There was no Jeanne Assam on campus yesterday to stop the shooter. The college had made damned certain of that.

The college made damned sure there were a good deal of armed guards, they just couldn't get there quickly enough, as the entire shooting was over in a span of two minutes or so. The only way this man could have been stopped is if another student or teacher in that classroom, armed or not, was able to act quickly enough. You'll note I'm not making a case for Gun Free Zones here, but I also don't think we should be encouraging students to go to class armed.

You seem to be blaming NIU in this, or at least the culture that led them to declare the campus a gun free zone. I would say that is misplaced for at least one reason. Illinois has no concealed carry provision. Students can't carry guns in class (unless they're out in the open, I guess) because they can't carry concealed weapons in Illinois at all. NIU's Gun Free Zone is essentially meaningless.

I'm a liberal but not an anti-gun liberal. I support the second amendment for the same reasons the founders wrote it. But I'm not blaming NIU for this. It isn't their fault.

The same "culture" that cre... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

The same "culture" that created the "gun-free" zones is responsible for your not having a right to carry a concealed weapon, mantis. So no, that argument doesn't hold up.

Ok, but in any case the gun... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Ok, but in any case the gun free zone is irrelevant in Illinois.

In the interest of truth in... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

In the interest of truth in advertizing, wouldn't it be better if instead of calling them "gun free zones" they called them "defenseless victim zones" or "self-defense fee zones"?

Mantis,There are not... (Below threshold)
Jess:

Mantis,
There are not many armed NIU Police officers on campus, and they most emphatically do not regularly patrol buildings - that's handled by the unarmed University Security Guards.
No one is "blaming" NIU in particular, over the balance of the state of Illinois, so drop the feigned outrage.
People are hurting. Let us acknowledge that, and then take real steps to ensure real (not feel good) safety.
J

every time this happens, al... (Below threshold)
richard b cheney:

every time this happens, all the gun nuts come out in favor of "more guns everywhere," as if the only possible outcome of more guns is that more people will be saved. seems kind of counterintuitive to me, though- nuts with guns kill people, therefore the solution is to encourage more people to carry concealed weapons because none of the concealed weapons carriers will be nuts, all will be crack shots, and all will be there right in the nick of time like heroes. there are some other possibilities that could happen, too, like more people getting shot in the chaos.

as a liberal, i have conceded the gun war to conservatives. but i will say this- there is no stopping this phenomenon. we as a society have permitted a very liberal gun culture compared to almost any other country. it is easy to get a gun- if it weren't, many fewer psychos would have them. thus, the issue to me is not "more guns" vs l"ess guns," or how do we stop this. the issue is that we must accept this as par for the course in the society we have chosen for ourselves. if you support guns, and there are legitimaste reasons to do so, fine. but if you support very liberal gun laws, don't be shocked when people die. concealed weapons will simply not deter people whose aim it is to shoot people and then kill themselves. why is this not obvious to everyone?

My question would then be, ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

My question would then be, mantis, did NIU declare itself to be a gun free zone or did someone else?

Whoever did, unless they built an inpenetrable barrier around the campus, then sweep every square inch of the campus to veryify that it is in fact gun free to begin with, then screened every single person and package that passes through that barrier, they should be legally liable for every death and injury cause by a person with a gun within the gun free zone they designated.

That makes sense richard b ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

That makes sense richard b cheney, after all they outlawed drugs and now it is totally impossible for anyone to get any drugs anywhere. I'm sure if we outlawed guns the same would be true.

(/sarcasm off)

who said anything about out... (Below threshold)
richard b cheney:

who said anything about outlawing guns? my point is that, more guns = more people die from guns. period. it is obvious. the evidence is plentiful. stop wringing your hands and accept this as the cost of doing business in america.

No one is "blaming" NIU ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

No one is "blaming" NIU in particular, over the balance of the state of Illinois, so drop the feigned outrage.

Jay certainly seems to be blaming NIU, at least in part.

And it's not feigned outrage, it's a legitimate objection from someone who is quite close to this tragedy as well. Many of the people involved are friends and colleagues.

"every time this happens, a... (Below threshold)
Maurice:

"every time this happens, all the gun nuts come out in favor of "more guns everywhere," as if the only possible outcome of more guns is that more people will be saved. seems kind of counterintuitive to me,"

That's a given, your lack of understanding of a complex issue and your denigration of those that disagree with your viewpoint are the hallmarks of a close minded ideologue who will resist facts in evidence that disagree with his or her predetermined viewpoint. Let me suggest some reading material, try John Lott's book More Guns, Less Crime. Shorter John Lott: More Guns in society does not equate to a rise in crime, gun violence, or accidental death. Funny fact, 39 states have conceal and carry laws that allow us poor ignorant citizens to protect ourselves with firearms and there's no blood in the streets of any of them, however in Washington DC - a city that you should love because it's virtually illegal for anyone who's not in law enforcement to possess a gun, the crime rate is through the roof and gun violence is rampant. How's that fit into your world view?

"concealed weapons will simply not deter people whose aim it is to shoot people and then kill themselves. why is this not obvious to everyone?"

Possibly because it is so obvious that we didn't think it was a point of contention? No one here is saying that allowing people to carry concealed weapons will deter someone who is determined to shoot people then kill themselves, what we are saying is that it is better to have an armed populous in that case. Or to put it another way let me give you this scenario:

You attend a conference at a convention center that is a "Gun Free Zone" with private security in evidence. You are seated comfortably in a crowded auditorium you note that there are exits located only in two areas, the front and rear of the room. As the guest lecturer starts two men stand up and head for the respective exits, as if to leave, only to chain and padlock the doors. When the speaker starts to protest the man nearest him pulls out a pistol and shoots him. You then become aware that both men now have pistols out, in fact they appear to be carrying more than one gun each, and are positioned in front of the now padlocked exits. As the gunmen begin to execute your fellow conference attendees which situation would you prefer exist:

A) No one else in the auditorium is armed. You have only one option, wait patiently for help to arrive and hope that by staying low hoping you can avoid getting shot until the police arrive or the gunmen run out of ammo.

B) Hope that someone in the room ignored the "Gun Free Zone" ignored the rules, is carrying concealed, and can engage the gunmen while you stay low and hope you can avoid getting shot.

cheney,If it's obv... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

cheney,

If it's obvious and the evidence is plenty would you care to share some with us?

Seems to me the evidence shows just the opposite. In fact where there have been stricker gun control laws enforced the crime rate has increased. I can't think of a single example otherwise.

who said anything about ... (Below threshold)
Maurice:

who said anything about outlawing guns? my point is that, more guns = more people die from guns. period. it is obvious. the evidence is plentiful. stop wringing your hands and accept this as the cost of doing business in america.

richard b cheney

Funny, but your point doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Look at Florida, when they were debating liberalizing conceal and carry all the anti-gun liberals like you were up in arms, blood would run in the streets you all said, every citizen having a bad day was a potential dirty harry you all claimed, vigilantism would run rampant you threatened, and yet the result was...none of the above. Crime dropped slightly, including reports of gun violence. So if more guns = more people die from guns, why doesn't the statistical evidence support your theory?

You're problem is that the argument you use is discredited but rather than deal with reality you cling to the notion that it is not you, but the world that is askew. Well it's not the world. Fact is millions of Americans have conceal and carry permits and only the tiniest fraction will ever disharge their weapon outside of a firing range.

Obvious evidence:N... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Obvious evidence:

New Jersey adopted what sponsors described as "the most stringent gun law" in the nation in 1966; two years later, the murder rate was up 46 percent and the reported robbery rate had nearly doubled.

In 1968, Hawaii imposed a series of increasingly harsh measures and its murder rate, then a low 2.4 per 100,000 per year, tripled to 7.2 by 1977.

In 1976, Washington, D.C., enacted one of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation. Since then, the city's murder rate has risen 134 percent while the national murder rate has dropped 2 percent.

Source: Morgan O. Reynolds, Crime By Choice: An Economic Analysis (Dallas: Fisher Institute, 1985), pp. 165-68

Here's the question no one ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Here's the question no one seems to asking....

Why is it these deranged losers are more often picking places such as college campuses rather than say a gun shop ? or police precinct ? NRA meetings ?(for maximum contrast)

Hint: If your goal is to shoot as many people as possible before being killed, you'll choose a place with (a) lots of people and (b) where it's unlikely that those people will be armed and therefore incapable of defending themselves quickly.

of major industrialized cou... (Below threshold)
richard b cheney:

of major industrialized countries, america by far has the most liberal gun laws. america also by far has the most gun deaths, and most psychos going nuts and shooting up people and themselves. this is the only statistic i think is really relevant.

look, despite how you, predictably, have framed my arguments, i am not advocating taking people's guns away. i just think that all the debate about "more guns, less guns, concealed carry, whatever," that happens every time some psycho goes nuts is totally pointless. we have a lot of guns. they're pretty easy to get. we have, apparently, a lot of psychos. thus, psychos will get guns, and commit acts of mass murder. my point is that the hand wrigning is a waste of time- if we as a society have chosen to allow easy access to guns for anyone, including psychos, this is going to happen. it is what's happening. it is what has happened, and it is what is going to happen again in the future.

someone asked for evidence. how many school/workplace, etc shootups do you need to satisfy whatever evidence you require? what other evidence do you want?

as for the book you mentioned, i have read about this book, though i have not read it. i am not against getting a dissenting viiew. i am not doctrinaire. however, those who are pro-gun are. you mentioned only that one book, which from what i understand has been described as being based on not 100% watertight methodology. however, ths issue of crime reduction and psychos killing people are not the same. while i do not know whether it is actually true or not, i can see that more guns could in certain circumstances reduce crimes, because most crimes are committed by somewhat rational actors, or at least people who do not want to die. however, the whole psychos killing people phenomenon is in a completely different category. as long as these types of people can get guns, and you loudly support their rights to be able to do so, this will continue to happen. i don't get very worked up about this. this is part of our society. that's all. i just don;t really get why people are surprised this happens. guns + easy access + psychos = sometimes psychos will get guns and cause mass murder. this is not an argument to win or lose, it is a statement of reality.

as for somebody's drugs comment, yes you can still get drugs. if cocaine were legal, many more poeple would do cocaine, and many more people would become cokeheads. there is a lot of debate tha can be had about the effects of the drug laws on certain segments and aspects of society, etc, but more legalized drugs would mean more people would do drugs. so i don't really accept your argument.

More guns, more violence. R... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

More guns, more violence. Really?
Then what is this?

http://www.reason.com/news/show/28582.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2656875.stm

Those intending on violent crime tend to do as
water, and take the path of least resistance.
An armed citizenry makes for a polite and secured
society.

One more thing before I hea... (Below threshold)
Maurice:

One more thing before I head off for work, the UK has the strictest gun control laws in the western world, how strict? The Firearms Act of 1997 completely banned handguns from private ownership with a small number of exceptions for weapons such as muzzle-loaders, antique pistols and shot pistols for pest control. A citizen can get a PPW (Personal Protection Weapon) Licence in rare circumstances, but the ban is so total and restrictive that the Britain's Olympic shooting team has to train outside the country. So crime must be practically non-existent in the UK right? *BZZZZZ* Wrong, but thanks for playing.

Sure, gun crimes are down but the murder rate has seen a longterm growth trend unaffected by the ban on firearms, assaults are through the roof as are robberies, thefts, and home invasions. In fact you are five times as likely to be mugged or robbed in London as you are in New York City. Crime is so bad in Britain that the Home Office has taken to telling the police to discourage citizens from filing complaints for non-serious crimes and it openly encourages officers on the scene to issue cautions (formal reprimands just short of prosecution) for crimes upto and including Assault, Robbery, Home Invasion, and Auto Theft if the officer feels it's unlikely they'll do it again. But hey, at least it's illegal to have a handgun, right?

Yeah prohibition works. Th... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

Yeah prohibition works. That is why
alcohol is still illegal in this country.
Not
Not too many years back there were no
draconian gun laws in this country, and
you rarely heard about shootings at schools.
The Texas campus shooting saw professors
shooting back while waiting for the law to show up.
What this is about is denying the individual
their inherent right of self defense

do you not think it is poss... (Below threshold)
richard b cheney:

do you not think it is possible that there are reasons OTHER than simply the gun rules responsible for the phenomena you mention? you are much miore rigidly doctrinaire about this than I am.

again, don't confuse the issues of crime with psychos shooting people up and then killing themselves.

i am not trying to take away your guns. go shot as many birds/targets whatever as you want. i am surprised, however, that all of you find it so hard to recognize that guns + easy access + psychos = homicidal rampage. what is your explanation, if not my simple formula? i mean, these rampages are clearly happening. it has nothing to do with guns? that seems a stretch. a long stretch. if you like guns, you gotta take the good with the bad. that's all i'm saying. psychopathic shooting sprees are part of the bad. how is this not patently obvious?

richard b cheney: Which of ... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

richard b cheney: Which of the anti gun
groups do you work for.
You are advocating the denial of self defense.
Once they've banned the guns, next will be
bows, swords, knives, right on down the line
of banning using an umbrella fending off thugs.
Apparently the left is in love with the idea of
a society of victims. The left = janjaweed, the
rest of us unarmed Dafurians.

richard,of major ... (Below threshold)
Maurice:

richard,
of major industrialized countries, america by far has the most liberal gun laws. america also by far has the most gun deaths, and most psychos going nuts and shooting up people and themselves. this is the only statistic i think is really relevant.

Well I see three problems here: one you want the right to pick and choose what statistics are relevant, so you have no intention in arguing in good faith on this issue; two you seem to be cherry picking data even from within the set of "acceptable" statistics you support because you ignore historical trending; three you seem to be confusing anecdotal evidence and opinion with statistical data.

look, despite how you, predictably, have framed my arguments, i am not advocating taking people's guns away. i just think that all the debate about "more guns, less guns, concealed carry, whatever," that happens every time some psycho goes nuts is totally pointless. we have a lot of guns. they're pretty easy to get. we have, apparently, a lot of psychos. thus, psychos will get guns, and commit acts of mass murder. my point is that the hand wrigning is a waste of time- if we as a society have chosen to allow easy access to guns for anyone, including psychos, this is going to happen. it is what's happening. it is what has happened, and it is what is going to happen again in the future.

You know, I don't disagree with you except that I've framed your arguments in the exact manner in which you argue with my own. Don't like it then pick a different tactic. I'm not wringing my hands at all, I'm simply pointing out that the more guns = more deaths argument is specious. Did a gunman kill the folks at NIU? Yes. Does Illinois have prohibitively restrictive gun control laws? Yes. So how did the gunman get the guns? Why didn't a gun free zone stop him? Would a small number of armed students on campus have meant more deaths or would it have meant fewer deaths? Those are the questions we should be discussing and you are studiously avoiding them.

someone asked for evidence. how many school/workplace, etc shootups do you need to satisfy whatever evidence you require? what other evidence do you want?

You're asking exactly the wrong question, it's not how many "shootups" I need to satisfy me, it's how many in context. We're a nation of over 300 million people. How many school shootings in the context of schools that exist. What is the percentage, the mean, median, modal, the upper and lower control limits for the trending of the data? What you are citing is anecdotal evidence, that's nice but meaningless when taken out of context. What about the school, restaurant, and workplace shootings where an armed civilian STOPPED an assailant who intent on killing people? Or is that data not significant because it doesn't fit your preconceived notions of gun violence? In fact the over reliance on anecdotal evidence is the problem I have with Jay's post. IMO he's made a list and relying on it as if it is statistically valid when each point might be simply anomalous.

as for the book you mentioned, i have read about this book, though i have not read it. i am not against getting a dissenting viiew. i am not doctrinaire. however, those who are pro-gun are. you mentioned only that one book, which from what i understand has been described as being based on not 100% watertight methodology.

Interesting, you've not read it but you'll quote evidence against it. I've read it and the dissenting study and found both very good reading but did not accept the very narrow focus of the dissenting study Ayres and Donohue as being the silver bullet that so many of Lott's critics claim it to be. I think there's room for Lott to improve on his methodology but Ayres and Donohue seemed intent on discounting the weight of his evidence based on interpreting data that indicated not countervailing trends, but a lack of any significant trending, and by selectively citing population stratification in an attempt to discredit his criteria overall. Suffice to say, I was not convinced wholly of their argument but will warrant that some criticism was valid. Interestingly historical data trends seem to be bearing Lott out.

guns + easy access + psychos = sometimes psychos will get guns and cause mass murder. this is not an argument to win or lose, it is a statement of reality.

Not disagreeing with you, but I must ask, "so what?" Why make that point unless you're underlying preference is to make the case for greater gun control? It's like saying "beer + water skiing + poor judgement = sometimes drunks will drown while water skiing". Why make a causal linkage like that if your aim is not to advocate? It makes no sense. I'm honest about my bias. I'm in favor of liberal gun laws, conceal and carry, the castle doctrine, and personal responsibility. I accept that in a world where all of these exist there will still be murders, accidents, and psychos intent on killing me, but at least I have a chance to defend myself - why do you think I would be safer otherwise?

You can put some blame on s... (Below threshold)
hermie:

You can put some blame on society becoming desensitized to violence but I place a far greater blame on our willingness to turn away from problems.

We have become afraid of confrontation. Afraid that we are 'imposing' our ideas of what is right and permissible. People saw this guy and knew that something was wrong with him...but they chose not to bring it to anyone's attention because doing so would mean being called a 'busybody' and 'how dare you invade his privacy'.

If we see someone suspicious we are told that we shouldn't be so judgemental, and that we can even be sued and dragged into court because we 'imposed' our ideas of behavior and 'invaded' this person's 'space'.

We all too often now, cease getting involved because we are taught that only the 'experts' can handle this. We see more surveillance cameras and assume that the 'experts' on the other side know what to look for. We are told to call 911 and get out of the way if we see something that demands human intervention. We expect the populace to meekly wait for the 'experts' to 'protect' them from life and death situations (Like VA Tech), rather than protect themselves.

We also assume that medication will keep those with behavioral problems from 'imposing' upon our 'space'. This gunman was supposedly on medication...for how long was he on meds? Could it be that the problem was easier to handle by just medicating him, rather than 'impose' any 'standards' or 'morality' on him and to provide guidance on what is the right thing to do?


Maggie,Interesting... (Below threshold)
Maurice:

Maggie,

Interestingly enough the scenario you describe is being acted out in the UK. They banned handguns in 1997, when they did that the number of assaults and murders involving crossbows, knives, and cricket bats went up so startlingly that possession of any bow weapon or blow-gun requires registration and a back ground check, walking around with sporting equipment unsecured is grounds to be cautioned because you are considered to be spoiling for a fray, and they are seriously considering banning, not regulating but banning, all knives including kitchen knives. Their theory is that there is no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all. Add to that the fact that in the UK you have no right to self defense, you are expected to retreat in all circumstances and not fight back, and you can understand some of the problems in comparing crime statistics between countries even when they are as closely related as we are to the Brits.

People tend to discount the impact of culture, when in fact cultural differences are paramount to understanding the differing crime and violence rates in other countries. There is no single European country with a history or culture similar enough to the US to make any comparison truly valid. In fact the stats I used in referencing the London and UK crime rates are valid only when one considers them as part of the growth of crime in the UK overall versus the decline in crime in the US overall. Despite sharing a common language with us, crime stats in Britain and France are more relevant than they are between the US and the UK. In fact even Canada has more in common with the UK than we do. From the founding of the colonies to the American revolution there exists a significant point of cultural separation between the US and the rest of the Anglophobe. It's fascinating really, but much to long to get into here. Suffice to say the founding of the American colonies was done on the cheap and primarily as a for profit concern, so for them to succeed an largely autonomous and heavily armed populous was necessary. That's why we're so different culturally, even when compared to Canada. From our the founding of the colonies to our independence from Britain the majority of the population was encouraged to be self reliant, act with autonomy, and provide and defend for itself making us unique in the western world.

Maurice,I agree with... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

Maurice,
I agree with the differences between british and
american cultures. As I posted yesterday evening
one half of my family is english. Members of my
family have been assaulted, had their property
vandalized and stolen. They can do nothing about it, including defending themselves against attacks.

Here's the question no o... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Here's the question no one seems to asking....
Why is it these deranged losers are more often picking places such as college campuses rather than say a gun shop ? or police precinct ? NRA meetings ?(for maximum contrast)

No one's asking it because it's not applicable. The location of most mass shootings, including the ones under discusion here, are chosen because of a particular grudge or history that the shooter had with that location. It's not people searching for "gun-free zones" on Google Maps, as Jay would have you believe.

Brian,1. Then why ... (Below threshold)
ras:

Brian,

1. Then why is it so much more likely that these shootings will occur in a gun-free zone aot elsewhere? Geographically, GFZs are an almost insignificant portion of the US, yet they host a huge percentage of such crimes.

2. The correlation is overwhelming, so if the gun-free zone per se has no causative contribution to the crime, there must be a 3rd factor connecting the shootings to the zones. What would that be?

3. Is it that the kinds of people who create such zones are also the type to inspire retribution? Or do the environments that encourage the formation of gun-free zones also attract psychos?

---

Such relationships can be statistically tested. For ex, one can compare otherwise similar university campuses across the US, which differ in their GFZ policies. Total the number of people in each category, then total up the retail violence (the "usual" shootings by gun-carriers, such as during a domestic dispute) vs the mass violence (such as at NIU) at these places.

That would give you a first-level utilitarian comparison, and your args, as with those of other GFZ advocates, are clearly utilitarian.

It would not address the q of govt violence that I mentioned to you on a prev thread on this topic - the elephant in the room - but it would give a better start on the GFZ issue than by comparing overall violence across disparate (by definition, non-comparable) areas, such as a crime-ridden downtown core vs a quiet suburb vs a university campus vs a Swiss canton.

---

JACA

... Justification (attacker believes vics deserved it)
... Alternatives (attacker perceives none)
... Consequences (considered acceptable)
... Ability (attacker believes he can do it)

Get all 4, you are likely to have an attack, be it an angry employee killing his boss, or a mass shooter targeting dozens. These things are so much more predictable than is usually admitted. This is all textbook stuff.

---

I would, myself, generally add a 5th:

Narcissism...

... in the psych sense of someone who is at heart insecure and compensates by creating/maintaining an image of his or her self, with everyone else a mere prop in their play. Spot such a type, add JACA, expect violence.

GFZs contribute to the Narcissism by making a larger death toll likely and the killer more "important." They also contribute to the killer's self-perceived Ability.

BTW, a full-blown narcissist would rather die than lose their image. And a psychopath (psychos are narcissists) has little fear of death; they're as indifferent about danger to themselves as they are about danger to strangers. Part of the profile.

Maurice-I apprecia... (Below threshold)
richard b cheney:

Maurice-

I appreciate your well thought response. I don't agree with you on all points, obviously, but this is the starting point of an actual debate. I am not rigidly doctrinaire- give me the evidence and I could change my thinking- I already have from the way I used to think. The thing for me, however, is that I don't agree with underlying "pro-gun" assumptions.

Let me try to respond to some of your points:

richard,
of major industrialized countries, america by far has the most liberal gun laws. america also by far has the most gun deaths, and most psychos going nuts and shooting up people and themselves. this is the only statistic i think is really relevant.

Well I see three problems here: one you want the right to pick and choose what statistics are relevant, so you have no intention in arguing in good faith on this issue; two you seem to be cherry picking data even from within the set of "acceptable" statistics you support because you ignore historical trending; three you seem to be confusing anecdotal evidence and opinion with statistical data.

There is no denying this statement is somewhat anecdotal. However, unless I am wrong about my assertion (liberal gun laws, US gun deaths & psychos), which I don't think I am, I feel that my statement is more of a description of the facts than a controversial argument. If any of the above assertions are not correct, please provide me some links. Basically, if it is true that we have the most liberal gun laws, and the most guns and the most gun deaths, it is hard for me to see that increasing the amount of guns will decrease gun deaths. This is what I am talking about- more gun deaths is a corollary of more guns. Not even just psychos, but accidental, etc. I mean, we already have the most guns, and also the most gun deaths. How does adding more guns make gun deaths go down?

look, despite how you, predictably, have framed my arguments, i am not advocating taking people's guns away. i just think that all the debate about "more guns, less guns, concealed carry, whatever," that happens every time some psycho goes nuts is totally pointless. we have a lot of guns. they're pretty easy to get. we have, apparently, a lot of psychos. thus, psychos will get guns, and commit acts of mass murder. my point is that the hand wrigning is a waste of time- if we as a society have chosen to allow easy access to guns for anyone, including psychos, this is going to happen. it is what's happening. it is what has happened, and it is what is going to happen again in the future.

You know, I don't disagree with you except that I've framed your arguments in the exact manner in which you argue with my own. Don't like it then pick a different tactic. I'm not wringing my hands at all, I'm simply pointing out that the more guns = more deaths argument is specious. Did a gunman kill the folks at NIU? Yes. Does Illinois have prohibitively restrictive gun control laws? Yes. So how did the gunman get the guns? Why didn't a gun free zone stop him? Would a small number of armed students on campus have meant more deaths or would it have meant fewer deaths? Those are the questions we should be discussing and you are studiously avoiding them.

Well, here I am going to disagree with you. How do you define prohibitively restrictive? According to this news article (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/niu_shooting) the gunman legally purchased the guns from a gun shop in Champaign less than a week ago. We may have to agree to disagree on this, but to me that does not really seem prohibitively restrictive.

I don't really understand why you think the more guns - more gun deaths argument is specious, though. You largely have argued that more guns reduce crime. I personally don't know the stats on that, but I can accept it for the sake of argument to be true, at least in some cases. However, the fact that there are more gun deaths, total, and more guns seems to strongly suggest that more gun will mean more gun deaths. I did some research on the internet, and you can find studies for and against these positions, so while I am not a statistician, I am not sure you could call my argument specious.

someone asked for evidence. how many school/workplace, etc shootups do you need to satisfy whatever evidence you require? what other evidence do you want?

You're asking exactly the wrong question, it's not how many "shootups" I need to satisfy me, it's how many in context. We're a nation of over 300 million people. How many school shootings in the context of schools that exist. What is the percentage, the mean, median, modal, the upper and lower control limits for the trending of the data? What you are citing is anecdotal evidence, that's nice but meaningless when taken out of context. What about the school, restaurant, and workplace shootings where an armed civilian STOPPED an assailant who intent on killing people? Or is that data not significant because it doesn't fit your preconceived notions of gun violence? In fact the over reliance on anecdotal evidence is the problem I have with Jay's post. IMO he's made a list and relying on it as if it is statistically valid when each point might be simply anomalous.

Well, I don't have the data on this. I did a google search, and getting data on how many crimes were stopped/lives saved because of gun use is not that clear or easy to come by. If you have some evidence, please provide. I am a casual observer of the gun debate, not an expert. However, by saying you want this data in context of raw numbers seems to indicate you accept some relationship betweens guns and rampages. I am not playing gotcha here, so if this is wrong clarify. My other question is, does it matter? If there are 10 rampages and 50 schools, is that worse than 10 rampages and 5,000 schools? It would mean that percentage of being killed by a rampage is higher with 50 schools, and lower with 5,000. If the latter is the case, and the percentages are low, I am not sure this strengthens an argument for arming everyone, if the concomitant effects of more people being armed are not taken into account. We could, I suppose, then argue about what those concomitant effects are. I think it is increased accidents, etc. This is actually sort of what I'm saying- while we definitely have the highest number of gun deaths, the chances of any individual being involved is pretty low, so getting worked up a bout it isn't really that logical. But in my mind, neither is the other position of arguing for the introduction of guns everywhere to offset the very remote chance that this might happen to any given individual.

as for the book you mentioned, i have read about this book, though i have not read it. i am not against getting a dissenting viiew. i am not doctrinaire. however, those who are pro-gun are. you mentioned only that one book, which from what i understand has been described as being based on not 100% watertight methodology.

Interesting, you've not read it but you'll quote evidence against it. I've read it and the dissenting study and found both very good reading but did not accept the very narrow focus of the dissenting study Ayres and Donohue as being the silver bullet that so many of Lott's critics claim it to be. I think there's room for Lott to improve on his methodology but Ayres and Donohue seemed intent on discounting the weight of his evidence based on interpreting data that indicated not countervailing trends, but a lack of any significant trending, and by selectively citing population stratification in an attempt to discredit his criteria overall. Suffice to say, I was not convinced wholly of their argument but will warrant that some criticism was valid. Interestingly historical data trends seem to be bearing Lott out.

Like I said, I cannot specifically address this, but I will say form my reading about the book, I think the guy who did the study is not a hack, so I would certainly be interested in reading it at some point. However, I will note that there are other studies out there which state the opposite- whether they are good or not, I really can't judge. Honestly, as a non gun afficionado, I don't put a whole lot of time or thought into this issue on a daily basis, although I have thought about it (probably not as much as you). Just felt like putting in my two cents today.

guns + easy access + psychos = sometimes psychos will get guns and cause mass murder. this is not an argument to win or lose, it is a statement of reality.

Not disagreeing with you, but I must ask, "so what?" Why make that point unless you're underlying preference is to make the case for greater gun control? It's like saying "beer + water skiing + poor judgement = sometimes drunks will drown while water skiing". Why make a causal linkage like that if your aim is not to advocate? It makes no sense. I'm honest about my bias. I'm in favor of liberal gun laws, conceal and carry, the castle doctrine, and personal responsibility. I accept that in a world where all of these exist there will still be murders, accidents, and psychos intent on killing me, but at least I have a chance to defend myself - why do you think I would be safer otherwise?

Well, I can't resist pointing out that although I think your analogy is pretty good, the difference is that my solution would not be to order five more cases of beer as a method of decreasing incidents of drowning by drunk water skiers. In fact, banning beer at areas of water skiing would probably much more dramatically reduce drowning than would increasing the beer supply. I agree that if we allow drinking and water skiing and poor judgment, there will be drowning deaths. It's just to me it ends there- if our society allows this behavior, the results will occur, more beer or not.

As for your point of view on self defense, this is simply an agree to disagree issue, but also the crux of the argument. I respect your viewpoint, I am just not convinced that most people would actually have their wits about them at the time. perhaps you would, i don't know, as i don't know you, but in the absence of being on guard for this type of thing 24/7, which is unlikely for even those with the best of intentions, especially in an environment, such as a school seminar or city council meeting, where people are not expecting to be gunned down at 10 am on a Wednesday. My view is that adding more armed individuals into the mix just makes accidents more likely to happen. What about the armed guy with good intentions who judges wrongly that someone is about to start shooting people? I don't see why that scenario is any more farfetched than the hero scenario. Or, what about the person who wants to get the bad guy, but actually gets a good guy or guys. You have to admit that this could happen. I guess I just have a problem with the more concealed weapons argument because it seems to be based on the perfect situation occurring for the hero, which I think probably isn't very likely or realistic. so maybe you could sya my position, if i have one, is i am against increasing the number of indivuidals walking around armed with concealed weapons. to me, this is not a solution within my paramters of cost benefit analysis

RBC,If there's no ... (Below threshold)
ras:

RBC,

If there's no denying that your data is anecdotal, then the rest of your statistical argument is moot because it is based on anecdotal data.

They took away the cricket ... (Below threshold)
Candy:

They took away the cricket bats? What's next, everyone has to use sporks?

My game of Clue has a candlestick, I believe, as one of the weapons. Those will have to go as well.

1. Then why is it so muc... (Below threshold)
Brian:

1. Then why is it so much more likely that these shootings will occur in a gun-free zone aot elsewhere? Geographically, GFZs are an almost insignificant portion of the US, yet they host a huge percentage of such crimes.

I facetiously suggested in a previous thread that we designate uninhabited lands in open fields as "gun-free zones", since that would obviously draw the psychos away from populated malls, churches, and schools.

You would seem to subscribe to this idea.

You dodge the pt, Brian. It... (Below threshold)
ras:

You dodge the pt, Brian. It's a fair pt, too, so why do you dodge it? Is it more important to you to protect your ego than to follow the evidence? If so, begone; if not, then I'll give you a do-over and await your serious reply.

As I noted earlier, an apples-to-apples comparison of gun-free zones across various campuses would provide an answer to at least the "retail violence vs mass violence" utilitarian arg.

brilliant response, ras. s... (Below threshold)
richard b cheney:

brilliant response, ras. simply ignore everything and maintain your viewpoint. no wonder you're a republican.

rbc,brilliant r... (Below threshold)
ras:

rbc,

brilliant response, ras. simply ignore everything and maintain your viewpoint. no wonder you're a republican.

I'm a Canadian, actually. Speaking of "ignoring everything and maintaining your viewpoint!" Projection, much?

Did you even read my response btw. If so, you might note that I did not ignore your arg in the least; I disagreed with it and pointed out the flaw in its methodology, which is a far cry from ignoring it, n'est-ce pas?

The only arg actually ignored so far in this thread is the one about comparing kill rates inside GFZs vs the rates outside GFZs. If your goal is to save lives, then that arg needs to be addressed, but if you are only interested in childish sniping (lives be damned), you can let it rest.

We await your answer ... or non-answer ... it will tell us which.

To me, the entire guns vs n... (Below threshold)
me2:

To me, the entire guns vs no guns issue is just so much overkill. I consider myself a moderate on guns - I support an assault weapons ban but will always defend the right to hunt, for example.

I think though, that the conversation about guns in reaction to crimes that have been committed misses two important points. First, most crime stats track with the economy. Why? Most crime is economically motivated. Simply put, if you've got a decent job, you don't need to hold up a bank. (That's an oversimplification, of course, but just intended to illistrate the point.)

Second, that crime that is not economically motivated usually is a result of some form of mental illness. (aka the "psychos") So perhaps if there wasn't such a stigma attached to mental illness in this country, and, say, more people got the testing and treatment they need, we'd have less psychos. Or at least we'd have psychos on meds instead of on rampages.

Look, all I'm saying is that whatever your opinion on gun laws, there are other things we need to look at here, too, especially in terms of prevention.

me2,Unfortunately,... (Below threshold)
ras:

me2,

Unfortunately, there are at present no known med treatments for psychopathy, nor for malignant narcissism.

If you wanna prevent their crimes, the sol'n is gonna have to be very comprehensive, and will likely involve locking them up indefinitely (asylum or prison, per one's beliefs, but either way it's forcible confinement) anytime they're a threat, which is pretty much all the time after their first conviction.

Lesser-known factoid: according to the world's expert, Dr. Robert Hare - who invented the major diagnostic tools used to ascertain psychopathy - the brain scans of such folk are markedly different from you or I.

Read a list of words for ex, emotional words such as "rape," "murder" etc, and most people will process them immediately and will start in the emotional areas of the brain.

Psychos take a moment longer and no emotional areas are involved. It's more like an abstract math problem to them.

So ... let's say that Evil Ras (Mom always liked him better) has been arrested for assault. You scan his brain and find that he is a psycho. Do you put him in an asylum, potentially for life?

me2,One last pt: i... (Below threshold)
ras:

me2,

One last pt: if you categorize psychopathy as an illness, as your comment did (but I'm not sure if you'd still say that when picking your words more carefully), then ... psychos are entitled to special treatment as disabled under the law, and they cannot be held responsible for their actions.

me2,OK, one more l... (Below threshold)
ras:

me2,

OK, one more last point (this one's laster than the last, I guess): 4% of the population - that's one person in 25 - is a psychopath. Most do not kill and maim, but they are all heartless and do damage of some sort as a matter of course, and they know the diff between right and wrong.

In Japan, the whole damn co... (Below threshold)
Herman:

In Japan, the whole damn country is a gun-free zone, handguns being illegal there (and rifles being very hard to get). From wikipedia: U.S. death-by-firearm rate = 15 per 100,000 people; for Japan: 7 per 10,000,000.

Conservatives: if no one has a gun, no one gets murdered by the gun. Such a simple concept, but the poor education that you have received has left you incapable of understanding it.

<a href="http://www.guncite... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcgvintl.html


"Gun death" statistics are frequently cited, in the manner above, to strongly suggest that guns are the cause behind the high violent death rate in the U.S. As in the case of the Los Angeles Times article, no mention is made that over half of those violent deaths are suicides. The CNN article mentions gun homicides and gun suicides, but fails to show us the total violent death rate of other countries, not just gun deaths. For example, in Japan, where gun ownership is rare, its total suicide rate is higher than our total suicide rate.
>

You can read the rest at the above link.

Herman,In Japan... (Below threshold)
ras:

Herman,

In Japan...

You are comparing apples to oranges. Japan has never been the US, nor vice-versa, in many ways.

The only valid statistical comparison is between similar areas: e.g. compare total gun deaths for the set of US university campuses that are gun-free zones against the set of US campuses that are gun-allowed zones.

This would still leave the elephant in the room - i.e. govt violence against the disarmed - but would at least give us a measure on the relative day-to-day effectiveness of the two approaches under discussion.

[btw, you do realize that your arg could be rewritten effortlessly to advocate banning blacks from having guns, eh? After all, they are more likely to use them on innocent people ... but that would not be a valid statistical comparison, any more than would be the US vs Japan, unless we first normalize for other factors. See? Apples to apples, kid, apples to apples]

And do read my comment #46. It outlines the usual dynamic in such shootings, which a gun-free zone will abet, not discourage.

You dodge the pt, Brian.... (Below threshold)
Brian:

You dodge the pt, Brian. It's a fair pt, too, so why do you dodge it? Is it more important to you to protect your ego than to follow the evidence?

I did not dodge the point. I attempted sarcasm to show how poorly reasoned "the point" was.

Your point is that there's a causal relationship between designating a gun free zone and shooting deaths. But you don't consider that it's the same external third factor that may cause both... namely, because that's where the people are! A crazed gunman won't choose to shoot up an abandoned building, nor would a city council bother to ban guns from an abandoned building. And if they did, it wouldn't magically attract the crazed gunman to come a-callin'.

Your "evidence" is just sloppy conclusions from incomplete data.

The only arg actually ig... (Below threshold)
Brian:

The only arg actually ignored so far in this thread is the one about comparing kill rates inside GFZs vs the rates outside GFZs.

It's a silly argument. It's like comparing the death rate in categories of vehicles with seatbelts installed and the death rate in categories of vehicles without seatbelts, and then concluding that seatbelts cause deaths because the former is greater than the latter, without ever considering that vehicles that have seatbelts installed are inherently more dangerous and that's why they have seatbelts in the first place!

No Brian, I specifically ca... (Below threshold)
ras:

No Brian, I specifically called for normalizing the other variables to get an apples to apples comparison: e.g. similar universities in similar areas, some w/GFZs, others without.

You have a strong need, empirically speaking, to express disdain. I suggest you seek answers first, and put the flimsy excuses to sneer in a little box where no one can find it.

The stats I refer to will come out soon enough. I think they will show that GFZs increase the overall danger, not decrease it. And then your sneer will work against you, as you already seem to know.

ras said:... (Below threshold)

ras said:

You have a strong need, empirically speaking, to express disdain... (about Brian) he stats I refer to will come out soon enough.

First point: right on the nose. He can't debate without sneering -- usually when he's got nothing to sneer about.

Second point: I kinda thought that was the point of my article -- most of these mass shootings HAVE BEEN in gun-free zones, and the only one that wasn't was stopped almost as soon as it began.

Not a perfect scientific study, but certainly relevant data.

J.

JayThere was a massa... (Below threshold)
Greg:

Jay
There was a massacre averted by armed students at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia. It occured Jan.16, 2002. The shooter dropped his weapon and surrendered when confronted by two students who went to their cars and retrieved their weapons. Most of the media didn't even report that the students were armed, just that the shooter "was confronted by students" and I don't believe this ever was widely reported. If these young men hadn't had their weapons it would have been a greater tragedy. Grundy is straight up Route 460 from Va Tech. What a different outcome.

I am authorized by permit t... (Below threshold)
LG1:

I am authorized by permit to carry a firearm in my state. Property owners can post a sign at the front door identifying their property as a gun-free zone, which means I should take my gun off and leave it in the car. I refuse to do so, unless I'm going into a government building or a place with metal detectors. My reason is simple: CRIMINALS ARE ALREADY BREAKING THE LAW BY CARRYING GUNS, AND THEY AREN'T GOING TO STOP CARRYING BECAUSE OF A SIGN!

I am authorized by permit t... (Below threshold)
LG1:

I am authorized by permit to carry a firearm in my state. Property owners can post a sign at the front door identifying their business/property as a gun-free zone, which means I should take my gun off and leave it in the car. I refuse to do so, unless I'm going into a government building or a place with metal detectors.

My reason is simple: CRIMINALS ARE ALREADY BREAKING THE LAW BY CARRYING GUNS, AND THEY AREN'T GOING TO STOP CARRYING BECAUSE OF A SIGN! I cannot fathom why people cannot understand this simple concept. We can argue all day about whether guns should be legal or illegal, and we will never convince each other to switch our opinions on this matter. However, we CAN take measures to ensure the safety of ourselves and our family.

The ONLY way anyone will ever know that I am carrying a gun is if I use it in defense of my life or someone else's, at which time I certainly don't care if I get charged for carrying a gun in a "gun-free zone." I'll at least be ALIVE to face the jury and tell my side of the story, and I believe it would be very difficult (not impossible though...) for a jury to convict a good citizen of carrying a weapon in a "gun-free zone" if he/she used that gun to save lives against a gunman intent on mass murder.

In other words, "I'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six."

You have a strong need, ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

You have a strong need, empirically speaking, to express disdain.

For shoddy logic, yes that's true.




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