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1 Dark_Falcon  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 11:06:00am

Stories like this do need to be highlighted. Thanks.

2 Renaissance_Man  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 11:11:23am

Wait. So the man is confronted by an armed robber, who has the gun pressed to his head. He is robbed of $40. Once the robbery is over and the robber is fleeing, he draws and fires at a fleeing man.

This is a successful self-defence?

Despite carrying, he was unable to defend himself and he and his son were still helpless and could have been shot easily at any time. Despite carrying a firearm and thus statistically being at much higher risk for harming himself or his family, he was still unable to defend himself from an armed robber. All he was able to do was fire randomly in possible revenge once the event was over, and probably hit a guy who was running away with $40, but in fact might have hit anyone. As he says, ‘I think I hit him’. The armed robber, fortunately, did not fire back but instead continued to flee, otherwise we would probably be looking at at least one more injured adult and probably another dead 2 year old. Yay.

As stories of successful gun defence go, this sucks. This isn’t even good anecdotal evidence. The guy carrying the gun was completely unable to actually defend himself or prevent the crime. All he was able to do was escalate the event, and it is by simple good fortune that more people were not injured or killed, including innocent people across the block or worse, his own son.

Statistics don’t lie. Guns for self-defence are a sham and a delusion fed to people to sell more guns, and the cost in human lives be damned.

3 Charles Johnson  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 12:18:08pm

re: #2 Renaissance_Man

You’re right. This is not a case of concealed weapons saving the day. Not at all. The robbery was already over and the criminal was fleeing.

How did this guy protect anybody from anything? In fact, he endangered other people in the vicinity by irresponsibly firing at someone who was running away.

This is a terrible example if you’re trying to make a case for concealed carry.

4 Renaissance_Man  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 12:32:07pm
This is a terrible example if you’re trying to make a case for concealed carry.

And yet another excellent example of how the odds of using a gun successfully for self-defence are vanishingly small, and heavily stacked against you.

And also, incidentally, an example of how widespread firearms escalate situations that don’t start out deadly into potentially or actually deadly ones.

5 Political Atheist  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 12:41:59pm

re: #3 Charles Johnson
re: #4 Renaissance_Man


If a gun is being pointed at you, it’s a threat to your life and everyone behind you. Why did the robber not point the gun the way he was running or pocket it? Maybe this guy should have held his fire. But a cop could have done exactly the same thing and not faced any charges.

Ideally, the robber runs away and nobody gets shot. In those awful seconds during a potentially deadly incident, ideally rarely happens. We have to have realistic expectations of professional defenders like police, and CCW civilians wit lives to protect besides their own.

6 Political Atheist  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 12:44:14pm

re: #2 Renaissance_Man

BTW the escalation is 100% on the robber who started with a gun. Not harsh language, not a club.

7 Political Atheist  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 12:47:13pm

re: #3 Charles Johnson

You’re right. This is not a case of concealed weapons saving the day. Not at all. The robbery was already over and the criminal was fleeing.

How did this guy protect anybody from anything? In fact, he endangered other people in the vicinity by irresponsibly firing at someone who was running away.

This is a terrible example if you’re trying to make a case for concealed carry.

Would you have any comment to this incident?
East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s spokesman Greg Phares says Officer Brian Harrision was escorting a funeral procession Friday when he pulled Temple over and wrote him a ticket for breaking into the procession. According to Phares, that’s when Temple attacked Harrison. Police say Perry Stevens was walking outside of the Auto Zone on Greenwell Springs Road when he heard Harrison yelling for help. Harrison was reportedly on his back with Temple on top of him. That’s when Stevens went to his car and grabbed his .45 caliber pistol.

According to Col. Greg Phares, “[Mr. Stevens] orders Mr. Temple to stop and get off the officer. The verbal commands are ignored and Mr. Stevens fires four shots, all of which struck Mr. Temple.”

8 Renaissance_Man  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 12:54:50pm
Ideally, the robber runs away and nobody gets shot. In those awful seconds during a potentially deadly incident, ideally rarely happens. We have to have realistic expectations of professional defenders like police, and CCW civilians wit lives to protect besides their own.

I do have realistic expectations of civilians. That’s why I don’t want them carrying guns, because realistically and statistically, they’re much less safe, as is everyone around them, and extremely unlikely to successfully use them in self-defence.

Stories like this demonstrate that perfectly. And, as DF said, they do need to be highlighted. Thanks.

9 Charles Johnson  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 12:59:46pm

re: #7 Political Atheist

Would you have any comment to this incident?
East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s spokesman Greg Phares says Officer Brian Harrision was escorting a funeral procession Friday when he pulled Temple over and wrote him a ticket for breaking into the procession. According to Phares, that’s when Temple attacked Harrison. Police say Perry Stevens was walking outside of the Auto Zone on Greenwell Springs Road when he heard Harrison yelling for help. Harrison was reportedly on his back with Temple on top of him. That’s when Stevens went to his car and grabbed his .45 caliber pistol.

According to Col. Greg Phares, “[Mr. Stevens] orders Mr. Temple to stop and get off the officer. The verbal commands are ignored and Mr. Stevens fires four shots, all of which struck Mr. Temple.”

The article goes on:

Police are calling the shooting death justified. Perry Stevens has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Col. Phares would not give out any more details relating to the shooting. Both Phares and Baton Rouge Police Chief Jeff LeDuff stopped short of crediting Stevens with saving the officer’s life.

And that’s probably because in this situation, the attacker was apparently unarmed and had already been shot in the abdomen by the police officer he attacked.

The police chief sure isn’t calling this a victory for concealed carry either, and I think he’s right not to.

10 Interesting Times  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 1:01:03pm

re: #7 Political Atheist

Would you have any comment to this incident?

But after the bit you quoted, the story goes on to say:

Perry Stevens fired four shots into Temple’s torso. Officer Harrison had already fired one shot into Temple’s abdomen. With Temple still struggling with the officer, Perry continued to advance toward the scuffle.

“He again orders Mr. Temple to stop what he was doing and get off the officer. Those commands are ignored and he fires a fifth shot and that hits his head. The incident is over with, and as you know, Mr. Temple is dead.”

It takes a grand total of six shots to finally kill the assailant? Geez, if you must have a gun for self-defense, at least develop better aim!

Seriously, though, this illustrates once again that proper use of a gun to stop a crazed, determined assailant is not nearly as quick or easy as some people would have you believe. Had the assailant been armed (just seems like pure luck he wasn’t), the officer would be dead. The bystander could have shot him by mistake as well. Isn’t it rather disturbing that two armed men took that long to take out an attacker that wasn’t?

11 SpaceJesus  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 1:14:28pm

Oh, story and example time. I got one too

[Link: en.m.wikipedia.org…]

12 Political Atheist  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 1:32:56pm

re: #10 Interesting Times

Hindsight is great huh?

I would have done about the same. A cop on his back is a cop that is in big possibly deadly peril. And yes fights are a chaotic damn mess, including gunfights.

13 Locker  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 1:56:17pm

re: #12 Political Atheist

I don’t know if some cop on his back just grabbed the guy’s wife by her boobs. I don’t know that the cop on his back isn’t wearing a Halloween costume. I don’t know that the cop on his back isn’t having a heart attack and the guy I just shot was giving him CPR.

This is why vigilantism is illegal, because regular citizens are not constantly being drilled like law enforcement and even they get it wrong sometimes.

14 Political Atheist  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 2:06:18pm

re: #13 Locker

CCW (or anyone at all) helping a cop down and under attack is not vigilantism by any stretch. That is a highly unfair contention. And none of the things you mention actually happened in this instance. We can speculate all the things going possibly wrong we want to.

Look at the CCW disaster in the the mass killing in Aurora. Oh, wait nothing like that happened despite the very good likelihood there were one or more CCW people in the theater during the attack.

15 Dark_Falcon  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 2:29:01pm

re: #10 Interesting Times

But after the bit you quoted, the story goes on to say:

It takes a grand total of six shots to finally kill the assailant? Geez, if you must have a gun for self-defense, at least develop better aim!

Seriously, though, this illustrates once again that proper use of a gun to stop a crazed, determined assailant is not nearly as quick or easy as some people would have you believe. Had the assailant been armed (just seems like pure luck he wasn’t), the officer would be dead. The bystander could have shot him by mistake as well. Isn’t it rather disturbing that two armed men took that long to take out an attacker that wasn’t?

You try hitting a moving target that precisely, geez! He hit the man he was aiming at, but that by itself does not ensure that man will stop right that second so he kept firing, which is SOP. Life isn’t like Hollywood, people.

16 Decatur Deb  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 3:15:35pm

Two data points, or 100 data points, is not an argument.

17 Political Atheist  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 3:53:38pm

re: #15 Dark_Falcon
Some of the objections above amount to demanding perfection, then when an imperfect but acceptable outcome incident comes up, it can be put in the negative column. Classic unreasonable expectations.

Asking a parent to ignore or forgive a gun pointed toward their child is completely unreasonable. Maybe you take that chance for yourself, but with your child right in the line of fire? Nope.

This incident likely did prevent an armed robbery. The next one this felon would have committed. These things are rarely one offs. It was an imperfect shoot, but with an acceptable outcome. No bystanders hurt. Parent and child unhurt. I’m happy the bad guy survived. No need for a death. He’s lucky.

Given a fair chance at an accurate shot, it is not irresponsible to shoot at a man aiming a gun at you. Sorry to disagree Charles, but we do stand apart on this one.

18 Obdicut  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 3:56:43pm

re: #17 Political Atheist

Given a fair chance at an accurate shot, it is not irresponsible to shoot at a man aiming a gun at you. Sorry to disagree Charles, but we do stand apart on this one.

Why do you think he had a fair shot?

19 Political Atheist  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 4:00:28pm

re: #18 Obdicut

The outcome.

20 Obdicut  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 4:18:15pm

re: #19 Political Atheist

The outcome.

Seriously? Come on, dude. Just because someone hit something doesn’t mean that it was a good shoot. It means they hit it. I’d hit something some of the time if I tried, doesn’t mean I’d even know what a good shoot was. And especially in a case like this where the guy says “I think I hit him?”

21 Political Atheist  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 4:44:19pm

re: #20 Obdicut

re: #2 Renaissance_Man

The actual result is what we have. “Someone” did not hit “something’. I do not understand why you would diminish the reality like that. A man with a baby and a gun aimed at him took a shot and hit the mark. Nobody else got a scratch. You are arguing with an imperfect but successful end result here. Thankfully nobody died at all. Not much wrong with this result at all.

We can dig up many individual cases where things went right, and another bunch with where they went wrong. Lessons to be absorbed are in both columns. That way we learn from the bad, and have a chance to reinforce the better results. To me that’s important to adjust the tactics according to real world results. That is how training, education and tactics evolve to be a curriculum good enough to constantly improve results.

I admit it can go wrong. Violent attacks have that all over them like paint on a car. A gun wielding violent robber was the bad guy here.

Not the Dad.

22 Obdicut  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 4:54:55pm

re: #21 Political Atheist

I cannot possibly deal with judging unique actions by their outcomes.

I’m not calling the dad a bad guy. I’m saying that firing at someone who’s running away and then saying “I think I hit him” is not indicative of someone who had great confidence in the shot.

Nobody is debating that incidents of people protecting themselves with guns exist. Citing them is emotional, but doesn’t have anything to do with policy. If people didn’t realize that violent crime actually existed, then this would be informative, but as it is, nobody denies that guns can be useful in some circumstances.

23 Renaissance_Man  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 5:26:53pm

re: #22 Obdicut

Nobody is debating that incidents of people protecting themselves with guns exist. Citing them is emotional, but doesn’t have anything to do with policy. If people didn’t realize that violent crime actually existed, then this would be informative, but as it is, nobody denies that guns can be useful in some circumstances.

Maybe they can be. They weren’t in the ones above.

Seriously, the first case is, if anything, a perfect example of why guns for self-defence don’t work. The guy didn’t manage to defend himself at all. He was carrying the gun and still couldn’t do jack. All he could do is start the shooting after the crime was done and thus increase the danger level for himself, his son, and everyone around. Had the robber fired back, we would most likely be looking at yet another gun tragedy. But because only a criminal got shot, some want to spin this as ‘well, firing at fleeing criminals is exactly the right thing to do because it’s a service to society to prevent his next crime’. That’s pathetic. Seriously? Firing at criminals who are running away is what passes for ‘common sense gun use’? If it were possible, I despair even more for the common sense of gun fantasists who think walking around with guns will make them safer.

But sure, I accept that on a few rare occasions, a gun is successfully used for defence, even though it wasn’t in either of the above examples. Stranger things have happened. People have had cancers go away through meditation and herbs. That doesn’t mean we ignore actual data, science and facts. And those inconvenient things demonstrate very clearly that guns make you less safe. And make everyone around less safe. And even though blazing away at a bad guy who’s running away might make you feel awesome, that feeling of awesomeness is not worth tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths every year.

24 EPR-radar  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 5:35:06pm

re: #23 Renaissance_Man

Spot on. I’d add that the party line against any form of gun control taken by the NRA et al. is entirely based on emotional appeals (most of which is crude fear-mongering —- e.g., LaPierre’s screed). The numbers simply aren’t there for any other kind of pro-gun argument.

So it is very strange when the NRA et al. tells the country to “not get emotional” after a mass murder using guns.

25 Obdicut  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 5:45:10pm

re: #23 Renaissance_Man

Maybe they can be. They weren’t in the ones above.

It’s not maybe. There are clearly some circumstances where the citizen having the gun is actually useful. If they’re highly-trained and responsible. A diamond-courier, for example, who has reason to believe he might be attacked at some point, trains heavily with his gun for actual tactical use. Don’t go so far in exploding the myth of the gun you create the myth of the anti-gun.

Seriously? Firing at criminals who are running away is what passes for ‘common sense gun use’?

His stated reason was that the guy was pointing the gun at him. The guy hadn’t fired yet, but he might have. Asking people to simply stand there when they have a gun pointed at them is silly. Moreover, it actually is a good gun control argument: guns are a lethal threat. That’s what they are. Gun owners are people walking around with the very, very easy ability to rapidly kill other people, and we want to treat that seriously.

You cannot simultaneously treat the gun in the man’s hand as a danger and threat to all and sundry and the one in the criminal’s hand as to be ignored.

I doubt it was the right call to shoot at the guy, but that’s not an argument for this poor shit-scared dude who was facing the very real possibility of himself and his daughter being murdered. At least, it’s an argument that if he had that gun he should have been very well-trained in its use. At most, it’s a strong argument for getting the gun out of the criminal’s hands, which would require much heavier regulation than we have now.

26 Dark_Falcon  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 6:07:15pm

re: #25 Obdicut

You cannot simultaneously treat the gun in the man’s hand as a danger and threat to all and sundry and the one in the criminal’s hand as to be ignored.

This.

27 Renaissance_Man  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 6:13:35pm

re: #25 Obdicut

My point is the same as it ever was - guns have no useful purpose in everyday civilian use. The few rare instances like diamond couriers are obviously not ordinary civilians going about everyday business.

Furthermore, in this particular anecdotal example, the crime is over and the criminal is retreating. Even though he has a weapon, escalating the situation by starting the shooting is absolutely not ‘common sense gun use’. As you note, even though the outcome in this case is not tragic still does not make it common sense gun use. And it clearly proves my point - the civilian with the gun was unable to defend himself or prevent the crime, and was only able to make a poor decision and escalate the situation into something more dangerous.

28 EPR-radar  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 6:24:08pm

re: #27 Renaissance_Man

The argument for arming diamond couriers etc. can be made on a rational basis —- there is no need to rely exclusively on emotional appeal.

This is in sharp contrast to the free-floating self defense angst that often dominates this issue.

I’m in favor of measures like requiring good cause and good character for CCW, assuming the implementation is such that people with a rational need to be armed can do so.

29 Obdicut  Wed, Jan 9, 2013 7:57:46pm

re: #27 Renaissance_Man

My point is the same as it ever was - guns have no useful purpose in everyday civilian use. The few rare instances like diamond couriers are obviously not ordinary civilians going about everyday business.

Furthermore, in this particular anecdotal example, the crime is over and the criminal is retreating. Even though he has a weapon, escalating the situation by starting the shooting is absolutely not ‘common sense gun use’.

As you note, even though the outcome in this case is not tragic still does not make it common sense gun use. And it clearly proves my point - the civilian with the gun was unable to defend himself or prevent the crime, and was only able to make a poor decision and escalate the situation into something more dangerous.

Criticizing his decision, at that moment, when his life and that of his child is being threatened, is dumb. Criticize having a gun in the first place, but not his decision to use it. Obviously criminals have a motivation to kill you after a crime. A guy who just robbed you still pointing a gun at you and your child is a threat.

I don’t agree that it’s common sense gun usage, but it’s completely understandable and a cop who was in the same circumstance would have done the same thing if he felt he had an accurate shot.

I am doubting whether he did, because most people with CCWs are not very well-trained in tactical usage of weapons and so I doubt their ability to accurately judge such circumstances. But there is a scenario where the guy is well-trained enough to make this a defensible shooting.

People wanting to defend their families are not the problem. The myth that guns are the best way to do that is the problem. The gun in the criminal’s hand, that probably started out as a legal gun, is the problem— and the only way to get the gun out of the criminal’s hand is to vastly reduce the number of guns in circulation in this country. And if you want to do it on the cultural level that you think is necessary, then it’s to convince people that their best option in such a circumstance isn’t to shoot, not to assert it.

30 goddamnedfrank  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 3:26:08am

re: #23 Renaissance_Man

But sure, I accept that on a few rare occasions, a gun is successfully used for defence, even though it wasn’t in either of the above examples. Stranger things have happened.

I’ve mentioned here before that I once stopped a drunken assault on a woman by waving a rifle at the assailant. She was beat all to shit, blood running all down her face, the entire front of her shirt stained red. He was stomping her with his feet when I yelled down from the kitchen window of my apartment and showed him the rifle I was going to shoot him with if he didn’t stop.

I’d already called 911 but it looked like she was at real immediate danger of permanent brain injury or death so I figured the situation warranted me risking a brandishing charge. Yeah, it’s a very rare situation, I get that. On the other they don’t really keep statistics on this sort of thing, and the threat of my testifying against him got the assailant to accept a plea deal.

And those inconvenient things demonstrate very clearly that guns make you less safe. And make everyone around less safe. And even though blazing away at a bad guy who’s running away might make you feel awesome, that feeling of awesomeness is not worth tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths every year.

I didn’t blaze away at anyone, don’t ever intend to and don’t fantasize about it. My guns are kept in a TL rated safe that’s tied in to my central alarm system. The safe has an alternate duress opening combination that activates a silent alarm and I’m the only one that can open it - I don’t leave the combinations written down anywhere. I hold a lifetime hunting permit and that’s the primary purpose for ownership. I’m not sure exactly what “everyday civilian use” means to you, but it seems like you’ve already decided that responsible ownership is some kind of metaphysical impossibility.

31 Interesting Times  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 6:12:35am

re: #30 goddamnedfrank

I’ve mentioned here before that I once stopped a drunken assault on a woman by waving a rifle at the assailant.

I remember that story, and I’m very glad things worked out as well as they did given the circumstances. But ironically enough, a tactic very similar to the one you used proved unsuccessful in the Paged article above - the concealed-carry guy told the cop’s assailant several times to stop, and he didn’t, even after being shot several times. I also fear that, for every genuinely responsible gun owner like yourself, who takes safety seriously, there are several more who carelessly swagger about in a state of blissful macho mush-headedness.

My (pie-in-the-sky for now, perhaps, but not impossible) solution would be development of a non-lethal incapacitating weapon for civilian self-defense use - even though it may wind up used foolishly, unnecessarily, or accidentally, at least the end result won’t be more dead bodies.

32 Renaissance_Man  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 7:28:25am

re: #30 goddamnedfrank

I’m not sure exactly what “everyday civilian use” means to you, but it seems like you’ve already decided that responsible ownership is some kind of metaphysical impossibility.

Why? Because I don’t preface every comment with how I believe in 2nd Amendment individual rights, and how I only want to stop the bad guys and bad guns and not inconvenience responsible gun owners?

Well, I don’t ‘believe’ in the 2nd Amendment, certainly not in the way it’s interpreted. But I’m also a foreigner, and thus was not raised to ‘believe’ in the Constitution. It’s a legal document, not a religious text. I accept that for people born and raised here, that’s how it is. So be it. But I have more respect for the Founders than to believe that they intended the 2nd Amendment to enshrine the culture of human sacrifice for profit that it is currently interpreted as.

That said, I’m not interested in debating the intent or verbiage of the 2nd Amendment, nor am I interested in telling people over the internet that I’m sure they’re responsible gun owners, but it’s those other gun owners and those bad guys with guns that are the problem. That sort of complacency is part of the reason why nothing ever changes and why Americans continue to die in unconscionable numbers. Like I’ve said, after every massacre I’m sure Nancy Lanza and all those at her gun range congratulated themselves on being responsible gun owners, not like those other guys. The problem is larger than gun safes, or gun locks, or magazine sizes, or scary black guns versus nice cuddly guns. The problem is widespread proliferation of guns, and a culture that treats them like magic totems rather than the very lethal objects they are. The problem is a culture that responds to every public tragedy by rushing and buying more guns, and avoids any actual solution to gun violence, but especially any solution that involves even one less precious, precious gun.

The facts and data on guns, such as they are, are clear. Guns in the home are far, far more likely to harm you or your family than a criminal. Carrying a gun makes you more likely to be shot than not. Widespread gun ownership does not significantly impact crime overall, but definitely increases gun deaths and gun violence. Whatever a responsible gun owner is, it’s not someone who ignores these basic facts. Insisting that gun ‘rights’ trump these basic facts, or believing that guns somehow are the same thing as a right of self-defence, does not in my mind make for responsible gun ownership.

Even with that said, though, I think it’s possible for people to own guns without widespread gun violence. They do in other places, after all. But for that to happen, people have to treat them as what they are - extremely lethal weapons that have a few specific civilian uses as tools or entertainment, not magic wands that protect you from tyrannical governments or bad guys. And they will have to understand that to change this toxic culture here in America that blithely accepts far, far too much blood in the name of profit-motivated fantasy, there are going to be more important concerns than ‘inconveniencing’ people who want to own lethal objects.

And that it’s going to involve a lot less guns.

33 Obdicut  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 7:50:50am

re: #32 Renaissance_Man

What’d your post have to do with Franks?

34 iossarian  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 10:18:22am

re: #33 Obdicut

What’d your post have to do with Franks?

Partly I think the point is that “responsible gun ownership” doesn’t really exist in the context of contemporary US society, a fact which is borne out by the statistics. I think that’s a fair response to GDF’s comment. Obviously there is more to the subsequent comment than that.

35 Obdicut  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 10:31:25am

re: #34 iossarian

Easy examples of responsible gun owners: those who use them in their work, such as bodyguards, diamond couriers, security guards, private investigators, bail bondsmen, process servers, repossession agents, insurance investigators, people in rural areas who actually do hunt, etc. And that’s just the really easy stuff.

I am really, really strongly for very tight regulations on gun control, but claiming that a gun is never on the positive side of a risk-benefit analysis is wrong. You can make that claim for guns that are owned only by ordinary citizens for self-defense— it is much more likely that that gun will endanger than protect your family— but it’s better to make the case for it than make the claim.

Just as guns are not magic wands that can protect people, neither are they malevolent spirits that spring out at people. They’re dangerous objects that need regulation in line with their level of danger. That doesn’t mean that we need to pretend that a woman who’s ex-husband has threatened to kill her would, if she had sufficient training, benefit from having a gun to defend herself.

36 iossarian  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 10:36:28am

re: #35 Obdicut

The point is simply that, in the aggregate, guns make people less safe, not safer. I don’t think the above comment simply asserted this, unless you think it needed to actually link to the various studies that show, for example, that having a gun your house makes you more likely to be harmed by gun violence.

I think it’s disingenuous to say that people who cite statistics that show that guns make people less safe are denying that in some cases, a gun might be useful. Obviously in any statistical analysis you have events that fall outside the expected range.

The point is, simply, people would be safer (and thus, according to a certain moral calculus, better off) if they didn’t have guns, on average. And since you can’t tell in advance which people are going to turn out to be on the “lucky” side of the equation, the way to improve aggregate utility is to restrict guns.

37 Obdicut  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 10:40:27am

re: #36 iossarian

The point is simply that, in the aggregate, guns make people less safe, not safer.

Yes, in aggregate. But not every single freaking case, and pretending that the gun myth is entirely a myth is silly.

I think it’s disingenuous to say that people who cite statistics that show that guns make people less safe are denying that in some cases, a gun might be useful. Obviously in any statistical analysis you have events that fall outside the expected range.

In what way am I being disingenuous? You just flat-out stated there’s no such thing as a responsible gun owner.

The point is, simply, people would be safer (and thus, according to a certain moral calculus, better off) if they didn’t have guns, on average. And since you can’t tell in advance which people are going to turn out to be on the “lucky” side of the equation, the way to improve aggregate utility is to restrict guns.

You can tell some people who are more validly needful and capable, such as a woman who is being stalked and has taken tactical-self protection classes.

Or a black family in a heavily racist area where they’ve just had a cross burned on their lawn.

I absolutely agree that the case is to be made about the guns in aggregate. That’s why talking about the aggregate is important, rather than saying there’s no such thing as responsible gun ownership.

38 iossarian  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 10:46:35am

re: #37 Obdicut

I absolutely agree that the case is to be made about the guns in aggregate.

We basically agree.

That’s why talking about the aggregate is important, rather than saying there’s no such thing as responsible gun ownership.

What I’m saying is that there’s no such thing as a person that you can point to and say: “this is a responsible gun owner”. There are only past histories of responsible gun ownership, but these are not good predictors of future behavior. Anyone who owns a gun is a potential cause of a massacre.

Was Nancy Lanza a responsible gun owner? Maybe up until a few weeks ago she was. Now it’s a different story.

39 Obdicut  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 11:20:17am

re: #38 iossarian

What I’m saying is that there’s no such thing as a person that you can point to and say: “this is a responsible gun owner”. There are only past histories of responsible gun ownership, but these are not good predictors of future behavior. Anyone who owns a gun is a potential cause of a massacre.

This starts off way too abstract, and winds up hysterical. They are not the ‘cause’ of the massacre. They’re a facilitator of it at worst. Please, this is a fucking hard fight, acting like it’s won and we don’t need to actually convince people of the rightness of the argument is just foolish. If we want real change, and not venting, it’s better to make a solid argument than a flashy one.

It is a very good point that Nancy Lanza’s guns didn’t make her safer, and that her owning them endangered others. It’s a very good point. It gets to the heart of gun ownership for self-defense, since the old saw that you are most likely to be killed by someone close to you is true, and guns are of very limited defense in those circumstances. That doesn’t mean that saying that anyone who owns a gun is a potential cause of a massacre is going to get anywhere. Anyone who owns a gun risks that gun being stolen and used to commit crimes. That is why strong regulation about how guns are stored and how guns are transported is vital. It’s also why people who don’t have an actual reason to worry about home safety shouldn’t own a gun, and should be educated as to the realities of gun ownership and the risks versus the benefits.

40 iossarian  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 12:27:39pm

re: #39 Obdicut

There’s no reason to get upset - we agree on 99% of this but for some reason we’re having a fight over whether it’s reasonable to say that banning guns altogether would make people safer. I think it would. If I read you correctly, you think that in some cases guns make people safer, but my response to that is to say that those people would be safer yet in a society that had banned guns. Europe provides good evidence of this.

It’s also why people who don’t have an actual reason to worry about home safety shouldn’t own a gun, and should be educated as to the realities of gun ownership and the risks versus the benefits.

Other than extremely limited situations such as witness protection programs I can’t really see how you’d come up with a way of defining people who “have an actual reason to worry about home safety” and who would be any safer with a gun than without one.

I’m not “acting as if the argument is won”. Obviously there are loads of people out there who believe, in the face of all actual evidence, that owning a gun makes you safer. However, I don’t see the point in claiming that some people would be made safer by owning guns when this is manifestly not true, or at least, not in the sense that they would be safer than they would be if guns were banned.

People in different countries do lots of crazy things. In the US, one of those things is allowing people to own guns in a more or less completely unregulated way. I don’t think it’s unreasonable or bad to point out that this is stupid.

41 Obdicut  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 12:31:18pm

re: #40 iossarian

There’s no reason to get upset - we agree on 99% of this but for some reason we’re having a fight over whether it’s reasonable to say that banning guns altogether would make people safer. I think it would.

Right now, at our present moment, it would not, because of the sheer number of guns out there. If we were starting from scratch, sure. We’re not, and talking as though we are is useless.

Other than extremely limited situations such as witness protection programs I can’t really see how you’d come up with a way of defining people who “have an actual reason to worry about home safety” and who would be any safer with a gun than without one.

I’m not trying to define them, since I’m not trying for a total gun ban. I want to regulate guns so that everyone who has one has to pass a tactical test with a high bar for whatever purpose they have the gun for, and to keep it highly secure.

How are you going to achieve your total gun ban?

42 iossarian  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 12:40:20pm

re: #41 Obdicut

Actually, the total ban is probably achievable via a two-step process. First you go to your proposed solution (the tight regulation). Then, in about 10 years’ time, when another school massacre occurs with someone’s “highly regulated” weapon (e.g., Dunblane) you go to an (effective) outright ban.

In the interim, deaths may be somewhat reduced. Time will tell how much of an effect the regulation will have.

In any case, I don’t think that talking as if a total ban is achievable is pointless. It’s useful to keep reminding people that such an outcome is desirable. Even in America.

But I do agree that the tight regulation (tighter the better!) is probably the best achievable outcome in the short term.

43 Obdicut  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 12:42:45pm

re: #42 iossarian

Actually, the total ban is probably achievable via a two-step process. First you go to your proposed solution (the tight regulation). Then, in about 10 years’ time, when another school massacre occurs with someone’s “highly regulated” weapon (e.g., Dunblane) you go to an (effective) outright ban.

So in 10 years you think we’ll have the votes to amend the constitution?

In the interim, deaths may be somewhat reduced. Time will tell how much of an effect the regulation will have.

You’re being kind of an asshole now. Mocking my desire for strong regulation as perhaps maybe saving a life or two, maybe, is shitty. Obviously regulation that results in fewer guns being owned and higher standards for those owning them would reduce gun deaths.

44 iossarian  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 12:49:14pm

re: #43 Obdicut

Look, I’m not trying to get at you - if this is upsetting it’s probably not worth arguing over.

Of course I don’t think it’s likely the constitution will get amended. This is Amerika after all. But equally I don’t like to give up on good ideas just because of the idiots. Sometimes you have to act as if unlikely things are achievable.

I’m not mocking your idea by the way. I simply don’t know how much of an effect different specific types of regulation will have, because I have very little expertise in this area. On the other hand, the differences between nations with effective bans on personal gun ownership and those without are stark.

It is possible that really significant gun regulation short of an effective ban would take us to a Canada-like situation. If that happens, that would obviously be a hugely positive outcome (given my admittedly superficial knowledge of Canadian gun laws and gun violence statistics).

45 Obdicut  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 12:53:43pm

re: #44 iossarian

I’m not mocking your idea by the way. I simply don’t know how much of an effect different specific types of regulation will have, because I have very little expertise in this area. On the other hand, the differences between nations with effective bans on personal gun ownership and those without are stark.

So are differences with countries with lots of guns but very high regulations. Partially because gun regulations also reduce the number of guns. Time spent talking about a total gun ban is time wasted and it’s not something a majority of people are on board with now.

46 iossarian  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 12:58:04pm

re: #45 Obdicut

So are differences with countries with lots of guns but very high regulations. Partially because gun regulations also reduce the number of guns.

Lots of guns + high regulations -> reduce the number of guns? Seems a bit odd.

Time spent talking about a total gun ban is time wasted and it’s not something a majority of people are on board with now.

Well, on that note I’m going to go and be (more) productive.

47 Obdicut  Thu, Jan 10, 2013 1:01:10pm

re: #46 iossarian

Lots of guns + high regulations -> reduce the number of guns? Seems a bit odd.

It’s not. Because it helps to break the gun myth, and to make people view them as the real, dangerous things they are.

48 Political Atheist  Fri, Jan 11, 2013 5:41:58pm

iossarian, jamesfirecat, palomino, Henchman 25 (SteelPH)

I understand your disagreement or objection to my #17. But your reaction to my #5 tells me on one level you do understand how dangerous guns can be but have no idea how robber with a gun threat assessment actually works. Or means to the people he aims at. No matter what direction he might be running.


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