Friday, August 22, 2008

Tennessee School Shooting

Boston covers the story of another fatal shooting, this time in a small school in Knoxville Tennessee. Chief Deputy Bill Roehl reported that the teenage suspect was taken into custody minutes after the incident.

"This wasn’t a shooting that was a random act," Roehl said. "It was an individual directing his aggression toward another individual, not the school or the students inside the school."

I guess that's an important distinction. A personal one-on-one murder on school property is certainly preferable to a shooting spree aimed vaguely at the school itself or the student body.

Yahoo News also reports on this tragic killing. Knox County School System Superintendent Bill McIntyre must have attempted to alleviate the tension with this incredible statement.

"I want to assure parents and others in this community that despite this tragic ... and isolated incident that our schools are safe," the superintendent of the 52,000-student system said. Those not attending would get an excused absence.

At this point the names of the juvenile actors have not been released, nor have many details of the case. Where did the gun come from, for example? Are teenagers in Tennessee in the habit of going around with guns? What was the problem between these two schoolmates? And my favorite question of all, is this shooting simply an isolated incident as the Superintendent said, or is it another example of the too frequent situations that arise from our insistence that the availability of guns is good and should not be curtailed.

Please tell me what you think.


  1. Really depends on a lot of factors. Definitely kids of that age often "Have" guns (Legally possessed by parents or guardians) but legal for them to operate unsupervised given various restrictions (I don't know TN, but in Maine kids as young as 16 may operate long guns without supervision so long as they have a valid hunting license...which requires safety training.) But all local, state, and federal laws still apply, and Schools are OFF LIMITS to gun possession, age independent. Does this mean anything? Nope. Could turn out that this is a gang assassination, could be this is a simple school fight taken to horrible extremes (The wires right now say the students have a history of a "feud" So what did the school do? I know I got punched around after school one evening so I went to the administration, with witnesses...the school did NOTHING)

    But let's say the gun belonged to the kid's Dad. We can Assume Dad didn't say "Sure, Son, Take the gun to class and blast your classmate", so technically the gun would be stolen.

    How can you avoid that? Honestly you can't! Want to take away Dad's guns because he has a son? What will that accomplish? And still this is another national news story...yet locally a man was shot last night:

    Not news...while tragic these type of murders amount to only a handful per year...while shootings like the one above amount to the brunt.

    I understand the emotional appeal of this angle, but we must remember that Emotions aren't facts.

  2. you left out the most important question by far, which weerd came close to asking: what was the motive? if we knew that we'd know quite a bit about whether this was preventable, and if so what might have had to be done to prevent it.

  3. Still nothing yet on motive besdes the very open term of "fued". In the morning paper I read that the kid killed was repeadly bullied about his appearence. Sometimes that's used as an exucse (tho often unfounded) for the shooter....but not for the one that was shot.

    There is a lot more to this story, yet, and with the law the way it is about minor children, and the lenths the anti-gun groups will go to further their agenda (I'm sure you've all read my resent post on John Rosenthal) It will be hard to know what information can be trusted.

    Still, Murder is illigal, bringing a gun to school is illigal, likely the gun was being used against the wishes of the lawful owner (Either stolen from a standard robbery ect, or Stolen from a relative) and likley clasified by the law at the time of the shooting as Stolen Property. There was definetly some sort of fighting between the two students before this happened, which is likely against school policy, and possibly against state laws for assualt and harrassment et al.

    So the big question is: With all the laws being broken, would one more...or dozens more laws have prevented this?

  4. brrr... these school shootings, wherever they are, give me the chills...

  5. Mike,

    I know you aren't fond of statistics, but here are some numbers that I find absolutely incredible

    For 2006 in America

    Assaults - 2,238,480 - 6,132 per day
    Burglaries - 2,151,875- 5,895 per day
    Car Thefts - 1,246,096 - 3,414 per day
    Total Murders - 16,204 - 44 per day
    Murders w/Firearms - 9,369 - 25.6 per day
    Murders w/o firearms - 6,835 18.7 per day

    Total Crimes 11,877,218 - 32,540 per day.

    32 thousand crimes per day--and how many are even reported in the local news papers, much less the national news. Why is nearly every shooting in a "gun free zone" reported? Could the media have an anti-firearm agenda?

    Now that I've bombarded you with numbers, do you think if we could remove every firearm in America would those numbers go up or down?

  6. All right, one of my questions which we've never really answered or agreed upon is this. What percentage of the legally owned guns ends up in the hands of criminals? Bob said there were 60 million pistols, I think it was. So we've been trying to figure how many of them will eventually end up being used in crimes.

    I'm taking another angle on it now. How many guns are right now in the hands of criminals? 1 million, 10 million? Whatever the number, when they were manufactured, they were all legal. Excluding the zip guns and such, which I don't think we're talking about anyway, all guns start out legally owned. That means 100%. Considering that, let's look again at my utopian fantasy. Cut the total number in half and by constraint, you cut the crime in half.

  7. I'll defer the stats to somebody else (I thought I knew of a place to find the number you're looking for but I couldn't find the paper) But yes, here in America just about 100% of the firearms are legally made by licensed manufacturers. I've read about poorly secured rail cars so the guns never reach the FFL for legal sale, but I suspect that isn't a common occurrence. But overall the Number is around 250 Million legally owned guns in America, and the number of guns held illegally is less than 1% of that (most legal gun owners own several...if not dozens, while crooks just get what they can get their hands on, and often gangs share guns among members)

    But Where I lost you is in your utopia talk. I think you're missing some other arguments, lets look at England who essentially banned and destroyed most of the guns in country. What Happened?

    -Crime rates didn't change. Knife and Boot murders went up, and gun crime went down Untill.....

    - Black market guns started being made or imported into the country. Zip guns, guns made from replica firearms, and guns made in machine shops et al suddenly became worth the risk to make.

    -Crime Levels shifted to violent crime. Before the ban most robberies happened on empty houses, this switched to occupied house. Today 50% of all break-ins happen while the occupants are home.

    So what exactly are you getting at with this "Cutting Crime" talk? Its been tried before, and it did just the opposite.

  8. Mike,

    Sorry to be stubborn, but you keep avoiding answering the question.

    Given the crime stats, rates, etc; What happens to the crime rates once we achieve Utopia?

    I can provide the source for the stat showing approximately only 10% of all violent crimes involve firearms?

    Do those criminals stop committing crimes?
    Do the criminals not using firearms increase their crime rate because the risk factor has just been lowered?

    To me, it's common sense that crime will go up. If I know senior citizens aren't armed...purse snatchings, muggings, robberies all increase because the victims are physically unlikely to be able to fight back.

    How assaults, muggings, murders involving more then one crook. If someone is out to rob me, they can recruit many, wait until I'm alone, then commit the crime counting on overwhelming numbers, right? I'm in my 40s, I don't think I could fight off 1 young punk, much else 2 or 3.

    So what happens to the crime rate once guns are gone?

  9. Sorry for some stats, but you asked this time :)

    During 1993 there were 4.4 million murders, rapes, robberies and
    aggravated assaults
    in the United States--more than one-quarter involved a gun.

    Call it 1.5 million crimes to be on the safe many criminals committed multiple crimes with a handgun in 1993?

    Even still, let's back up the 65 million hand guns and call it only 45 million? Probably a very low ball estimate.
    Assuming that each gun was unique (highly unlikely) that's 3.3% of 45 million handguns.

    Here is another, source
    Average number of firearm thefts that occur every year in the US: 341,000
    (Source: US Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Guns and Crime, 4/94)
    Percentages vary on how many criminals get their firearms though theft, some as low as 30% some as high as 80%. So each year approximately 426,000 to 1.1 million firearms could be in criminal hands. Think that stacks up closely with the first statistics.
    This chart shows that in 2005 less then 500,000 Nonfatal firearm-related crimes occurred.

    Let's be generous and say that only 1/3 of any criminals owning firearms will commit a crime in any given year.. gives us a high end of 3.3 million firearms illegally owned.

    I hope this makes sense. I've can't find any direct numbers so I've extrapolated...trying to shoot for the margin of error on the high side.

    Best guess...between 500,000 to 3.3 million versus 65 million handguns (criminal's preferred weapon) and probably 210 million rifle and shotguns.

    Hope this is what you wanted folks.

  10. Said it before, saying it again:

    If a person is not to be trusted to behave properly in general society where all sorts of weapons from pencils to cars to knives to guns to airplanes exist, they should be SERVING A CUSTODIAL SENTENCE IN THE PRISON OR BOOBY HATCH OF THEIR OR THE STATE'S CHOOSING.

    In the UK they took all the guns away to the point that their own Olympic shooting team members have to travel to France, Germany, Belgium, or Switzerland to visit their guns and practice. This has led to the kids getting all stabby and the contemplation of making it illegal to own a pointy kitchen knife because "you don't need a pointed knife to cut things when cooking".

    Here endeth the lesson to those who wish they could NERF the world.

  11. Bob, to answer the question, without guns the assaults and robberies would go up because the thugs would know their intended victims are not packing guns for self-protection. But how much would they go up? I don't know. But the point is without guns the gun murders would be zero.

    Slyde, I'm with you, man. The chills, big time.

    Dear White Rabbit, I hope you're reading this and would offer us your opinion. My friends here keep talking about your fair land, which I really don't know much about. I don't think I've heard of many school shootings in Great Britain, not like we have in the US. What do you think about the comments of Weer'd and Thomas? Weer'd actually says crime went up with the absence of guns. Thomas made reference to the increased use of knives, which to me would be preferable. What do you think?

  12. Mike,

    Okay, so most other crimes would go up, but gun murders would go down. That means you are willing to trade an unknown number of assaults, rapes, robberies, thefts, etc for less then 20,000 murders a year. I'm not sure that makes sense...especially sense as Weer'd has pointed out the number of other types of murder would go up. So we wouldn't even get a loss of 20K murders, maybe not even a reduction in the total number of murders.

    As for as knives being preferable, I don't understand that at all.
    Are you saying that it's better for someone to be assaulted with a knife then a gun. That is is better for a family to loose someone to a knife murder then to a firearm murder?
    Consider also that most of those murders are related to criminal activity anyways. I'm not making light of each life, but do you really think the drug runners or gang bangers will stop killing each other without firearms?

    On the economic side, consider these numbers:
    1,100 manufacturers
    100 distributors
    14,000 retail outlets
    31.9 million hunters and shooters
    986,000 jobs
    all combining for an economic impact of 31 BILLION dollars.
    That is the impact your utopia would have.

    On the criminal side, John Lott and other researchers have estimated that there are somewhere between 400,000 to 2.5 million defensive gun uses(DGU) each year. A DGU is where the presence, display or use of a firearm prevents or stops a crime. If firearms are gone, it's easy to imagine those crimes happening. I am not willing to trade that amount of personal protection for less then 20,000 murders each year, are you?

  13. the point is without guns the gun murders would be zero.

    i hear this a lot. i've never understood why we should care so much about this as to even ignore an increase in assaults and robberies.

    as archie bunker put it, would it make you any happier if they was pushed out windows? what's so uniquely terrible about murders committed with guns, specifically?

  14. Gun Crime and related "Gun Murders" has gone up, some UK press says "three fold", in the UK since they basically outlawed all private ownership. Same people that smuggle drugs have no problem at all smuggling guns and a clean, unfired gun, is awful hard to teach a dog to sniff for. Just metals, plastics, and oils.

    Home invasions in the UK when the resident is home have also gone up tremendously because of disarmed homeowners and the fact that if you injure somebody breaking into your home you often are found more criminally liable than the home invader.

    Same in Oz.

    I reckon we should learn from the misguided experiences of these other nations and do our best NOT to emulate them.

  15. Okay - The UK and guns. We have the toughest gun control laws in the world and that suits me fine. Guns are now more prevalent than they used to be. This is because of two factors (a) the collapse of the Soviet bloc caused - and continues to cause a flood of marketable firearms heading west (b) underground 'factories' converting replica firearms into usable ones and manufacturing bullets. The guns are largely in the hands of inner city gangs of feral youths. Even so the problem needs to be put in context. Murder by gun crime is still very rare here - its very unusualness means that death by shooting is newsworthy. Also remember that the murder rate in the UK is miniscule by comparison to the US - even pro-rata by head of population.

    Knife crime is far more common - you can't ban knives per se (think kitchen) and so the knife as weapon is incomparably more accessible. I don't know what proportion of murders are by knife but it must be very high. Again, the rate of murder/violent crime - knife and otherwise - is much lower than in the US.

    'Crime Levels shifted to violent crime. Before the ban most robberies happened on empty houses, this switched to occupied house. Today 50% of all break-ins happen while the occupants are home'.

    This really is nonsense on stilts. The vast majority of burglaries are by unarmed drug addicts who are too desperate to care whether the premises are occupied or not. Burglary is one of the categories of offence that has actually declined. The offence of aggravated burglary - basically entering with weapon - is very, very rare indeed. I can't think of the last time I dealt with one. To suggest that there is a link between the incidence of aggravated burglary and firearms controls is delusive.

  16. An afterthought - To get a proper grip on this it needs to be understood that hardly anyone over here kept a firearm at home - even before the toughening of gun control laws. The contrast with the US - where it seems to be routine to have a firearm at home - could not be more extreme. Of all the people I have known in my life, I can think of only one who kept a gun at home (a licensed shotgun for country sports - oh and I countersigned his certificate application!)

  17. We have the toughest [...] laws in the world and that suits me fine.

    i wonder if you realize that, absolutely no matter what you substitute in at the ellipsis, the sentiment you're expressing will make the majority of us Americans in your audience shake our heads and pity you for a fool?

  18. nomen nescio - you are soooooooooo tempting me here ;) - I better not say what I'm thinking...

  19. oh, i think i could handle it --- remember, for all i'm an American now, i'm also an immigrant here. i can't speak for weer'd and bob though.

    (FWIW, as an immigrant, i'll happily admit the USA has many, many flaws. but it does get some things right. the American attitude to personal liberties is one, i think. i just wish fewer people here would be so hypocritical about that attitude; unfortunately, hypocrisy is one of the things wrong with America.)

  20. Could i just ask the Americans in here a question,please?

    One thing i don't get is.. why do you feel you have the need to have a gun?
    If you do not live in the country there is not much to hunt around the city squares and only a small percentage are involved in shooting clubs?
    Do you have them in the house in case somebody will come and rob you? Or do you collect them and just take them out on Sundays to polish them?

    Imo a gun is a gun and its only purpose is You shoot with it or intend to do so. The aim might vary though.

  21. Did a post on it not a while back brit girl.

    For me personally the only thing I DON'T keep guns around for is hunting...and that's mostly because hunting legally in my part of the world is both expensive, and difficult....and I didn't grow up in a hunting family so I really don't know what I'm missing.

  22. why do you feel you have the need to have a gun?


    ordinarily, i'd just answer a simple question like this up straight, but this particular one has stopped being a question. it's a chestnut; a cliche; it asks me nothing, it merely proclaims to me your prejudices. it has become old, and has begun to piss me off. so i shall speak my mind instead. rant mode engaged...

    "need" has nothing the hell to do with it. i do not "need" to own a gun, any more than i "need" to own a bicycle, a microwave oven, six computers four of which are functional and modern enough to use, two air conditioners (windowsill units), or four pets. i do not "need" to own an automobile, more shoes than i can wear at any one time, or a leather couch.

    do you possess an itemized list of everything you own, complete with individual explanations of why you need to own each thing? no? why should firearms be any different? the assumption that they should be is one thing that sets Europeans apart from Americans, and the root causes for this assumption are among the things that America gets right.

    sure, firearms can be dangerous. so can my car, my kitchen knife (a quite nice nine-inch model i do my best to keep really sharp), the household cleaning chemicals that could easily kill me if misused, and the electricity i keep overpaying for. life is dangerous; adults cope with that.

    sure, firearms give one the power to kill., they don't actually; i could easily kill without a firearm. humans were gruesomely killing each other for thousands of years before firearms came along, and i do not think i am less human than they were. i'd have the power to kill even if i didn't have my guns, and i'd be very angry with you for having taken them away from me; why should you feel any safer then?

    i'd like to get into target shooting as a hobby, some day. right now, i lack the time and money --- ammunition's expensive, and all the good ranges are a fair drive outside of town, and i'd prefer not to burn that gasoline right now. i'd like to get into gun collecting as another hobby, but even WW2 milsurps are getting expensive, and i've got nowhere to put the safe i'd need to buy. but that's just me, and i have no need to explain myself or my reasons for living my life the way i do to you. i live in a free country, which means that so long as i neither hurt, nor threaten, nor endanger anybody else, i can do just about exactly as i please. and that's another thing America gets right!

    ...a fellow named Eric Raymond wrote an essay on the ethics of guns a longish while back. i quite like it. that's remarkable, because most everything else that man has to say i cannot stand; his politics are fit for a nuthouse. but his remarks on power, responsibility, and what mature people should be able to expect and demand of themselves --- of how and why adult humans should be able to have and wield the power to kill, safely --- they resonate with me.

    and in the end, that is why i myself own guns. as a purely symbolic signal, from myself to myself. a signal that says, i am a mature, responsible adult; these symbolic items that could very well kill, i can own, i can handle, and i am not a menace for it; i can bear the weight of that power and responsibility. it's a measure of my own adulthood, which is a measure of my fitness to be a fully equal member of society, a measure of my fitness to be a citizen.

    do you seriously believe that you, yourself, could not handle such responsibility? i hope you don't; you would be ethically crippling yourself, infantilizing yourself to a pitiable degree. if a person cannot be trusted with a gun, what if anything CAN they be trusted with?

  23. White Rabbit,

    Assaults per Capita
    #6 United States: 7.569 per 1,000
    #7 New Zealand: 7.478 per 1,000
    #8 United Kingdom: 7.459 per 1,000

    Very close in the number of Assaults between our countries

    Burglaries per Capita
    #7 United Kingdom: 13.8321 per 1,000
    #17 United States: 7.09996 per 1,000
    U.K. is nearly double burglaries and most of those happen, as you mentioned, while the owner is home.

    Murders with Firearms
    #8 United States: 0.02792 per 1,000
    #32 United Kingdom:0.00102 per 1,000
    As you said, UK has historically enjoyed a low murder rate and has a long history of gun control, going back many decades.

    Rapes per Capita
    #9 United States: 0.301318 per 1,000
    #13 United Kingdom: 0.142172 per 1,000 people

    Total Crimes
    #1 United States: 11,877,218
    #2 United Kingdom: 6,523,706

    Population USA -301,139,947
    Population UK - 60,776,238

    That gives a Per Capita Total Crimes as:
    USA 0.03944
    UK 0.107339

    Notice though when we get to the total amount of crime, UK has nearly 3 times as much. Why?

    Of course UK has a problem, real or perception of under reporting crime, see here or here

    You ask why I feel the need to own a gun? Nomen answered very well, I'll just add.

    I say that I feel the need to own firearms for the same reason I feel the need to own a fire extinguisher. I don't plan on a fire happening, but I would be remiss if I wasn't prepared for one.
    I feel the need to have home, car and life insurance; not because I think I'm going to die tomorrow, but that I should be ready in case something does happen. I'm a family man with wife and 3 kids. Wouldn't I be irresponsible if I didn't prepare?

    Those are the reasons I feel the NEED to own a firearm.

    There are also many other reasons why I want to own them. My current firearms are gifts from my dad. Those are a legacy that I cherish, firearms have a permanency. I should be able to pass those onto my children or their kids. How many other objects have that possibility?

    I also enjoy the challenge of target shooting. The control, the mastery, the knowledge of how to better my scores and abilities. Isn't that an admirable reason to want to own firearms?

    I also enjoy the friendships and fellowship involved in shooting sports. I shoot occasionally with
    my wife, my friends...and make new friends.

    Most importantly I want to own firearms is to preserve the culture of independence and self reliance. There is a saying that people who don't own firearms are subjects/slaves but those that own firearms are citizens. Consider the trajectory of UK and many cities in the USA. The citizens become victims of the mobs, of yobs who are allowed to control the streets. What happens when homeowners, when citizens fight back against crime?
    They are charged with committing crimes, with violating the rights of the criminals. I want to avoid that in America. I want people to stand up for themselves, to hold people accountable for their actions. All people; criminals or politicians-- of course some people say there isn't much difference between the two.

    I hope this helps you understand a little more.

    My question to you is: Given the crime stats, how can you not want to own the most effective means of protecting you and yours?

  24. Bob S - the temptation to say that you should get out more is irresistible but here goes...

    1. Rolled up statistics are pretty near to meaningless. An assault can be by shoving with an open palm or even spitting at someone. The great majority of assault cases reaching the criminal courts in the Uk are unarmed and causing relative monor or even no injury.

    2. I didn't mention that most burglaries are when the owner is at home. They aren't.

    3. 'Total crimes' as a rolled up category is meaningless. Dropping litter? Being drunk in a public place? Driving without due care and attention? They are all criminal offences.

    I know where I would feel safer. Okay, that's an overgeneralisation but there ya go...

    'You ask why I feel the need to own a gun?' No I didn't...

    Personally, I've never had the slightest desire to own a gun and, in my sixth decade, never been in a situation where I wished I had one.

  25. Another afterthought - The burglary statistics do not seem to distinguish between burglaries of domestic and commercial premises.

  26. White Rabbit,

    Thanks but I get out often enough..

    1. So assaults that don't cause more then minor injuries are okay? Perhaps you and I have a different interpretation of okay. Isn't possible that most of the assaults are forms of intimidation? Yobs and other crooks terrorizing citizens by shoving them around, spitting on them.

    How many times is a person allowed to touch me, to shove me around, to take a swing at me before I'm allowed to defend myself? From what I'm reading in the news and scholastic reports; citizens are being stripped of their rights to defend themselves in England, true?

    2. You might not have mentioned it, but those of us studying self defense know the rates and have to plan accordingly.

    In America, 13 percent of burglaries are called "hot," where the burglar enters an occupied home. In England, nearly half of all burglaries are "hot."

    You are correct, you didn't ask that question Britgirl did. I apologize for the confusion. I mis-typed.

    Does it matter if the burglaries are committed in residential or commercial properties? The material taken represents time spent out of people's lives to earn it. When someone is robbed, that crook is taking that time away....basically making the victim a slave of the robber.

    That is the major trend I see in England and starting in America is who gets to control me. You talk about the total number of crimes being meaningless but it show 2 things. Either more crimes are being committed, serious crimes OR more things are against the law in England.

    If more serious crimes aren't being committed, why does England feel the need to control more and more aspects of everyone's lives?

  27. one question i keep trying to ask of gun control advocates, and keep trying to find better ways to phrase it:

    why is it that, the more strict the gun control laws are in some given jurisdiction, the more likely it seems that jurisdiction also "controls" or outright bans non-guns, non-weapons, like pepper spray?

    i know why i think that is so. i think it's because "gun control" is rather more about control than it is about guns. but how would a gun control advocate explain this apparent correlation?

  28. I could respond to the last comments but I've had enough. There is a huge transatlantic divide on this one. Here the issue doesn't figure at all - there is a universal consensus that possession of firearms by private individuals should be illegal - no exceptions - and penalties for contravention should be severe. Does this make us more safe or less safe? It's a no brainer - more safe.

    'Nuff said.

  29. There is a huge transatlantic divide on this one.

    indeed there is. having lived on both sides of the atlantic, i've become convinced that America got this one right.

    It's a no brainer

    oh come on, don't be such an intellectual coward. that's just a stupider-sounding way of saying "it's obvious", which in turn is just a disingenuous way of handwaving away the fact that it's not obvious at all.

    the vast majority of the USA is perfectly safe to live in. the differences between the parts that are and the ones that are not could well be explained by economy, or local culture, or some combination of both.

    interestingly, the safest areas in the USA tend to have the most guns per capita...

  30. Thanks everybody for a wonderful discussion. It won't surprise anyone here that I liked what White Rabbit had to say. I swear I did nothing to prompt his saying what he did about the stats. Bob, you must have noticed how that was almost a rephrasing of what I've said a few times. One of the ways statistics can be deceiving, as Rabbit pointed out, is that extremely minor infractions can be included in the total figures. On another thread, you asked me if I'd be willing to trade 20,000 murders for an unknown number of assaults, robberies and rapes. Well, yes I would because each murder is serious while many of the other crimes are not. Of course I'm talking about the minor robberies and assaults - rape is always serious.

    All that is just fantasy talk anyway. Mainly what I gathered from this thread is that all these comparisons to the UK need to be taken with a grain of salt. What Rabbit said about his personal experience with guns - never having had one or even wanting or needing one - speaks more loudly to me than any number of statistics or reports.

  31. Mike,

    I'm not wanting to be cold here, but what I said about trading firearm murder for additional crimes was only part of the issue.

    Who are being murdered and by whom?

    Study and after study shows that crooks are killing each other. The murder rate, even firearm for those not involved in criminal activities is low. Pick any major newspaper and you'll see what I mean.

    Here is an example of what I mean...Police shooting in Chicago- an "innocent boy" dies right?

    "He was a good kid . . . he just needed a little guidance," Arnold said. "He fell behind the wrong crowd and he just did some wrong things. But we all make mistakes, and he didn't deserve for the Chicago police to take his life. He didn't deserve it . . . he was just a regular kid."

    Maybe not so innocent, eh?

    I see no way that removing firearms is going to stop the criminal culture, certainly England proves that.

    Then moving on to the rapes, assaults, robberies, thefts; those aren't targeting the criminal element as much. Those are targeting largely innocent people who just want to live their lives without having to fear walking to the market.

    As far as the other crimes being minor, consider property theft. No one is injured, no major damage to the property but something is stolen..maybe several items. Let's say a television set, jewelry, computer, etc - total costs about $2,000 ok?

    So what was taken from that person? The correct answer is a major portion of their live, the time they spent at work instead of their family. Let's say that person is fairly well employed, $20 an hour for math's sake....that property taken represents 100 hours of a person's life. 100 hours that the criminal, though his minor crime, turned that free person into his slave. That's right slave. Marko Kloos has a better explanation at Munchkin Wrangler but I can't find it now.
    Think about it, if I walked up with a knife and forced you to work for me for 100 hours, how would you feel? Isn't that what the thief does?

    Does banning firearms stop murder, no. Would it stop thefts, no.
    Until we address the root of the problem, the criminal culture it's like treating pneumonia with cough syrup, all you are doing is making less noise not curing the problem.

    Disarming innocent people does not protect innocent people.

    As for as not needing or not wanting a gun goes, I was there. I have never needed a firearm in my life. I am a recent member of the gun owners club. I fully support anyone's right NOT to own a firearm....but I don't see the converse being exercised. People who don't want to own firearms don't want me to own any.

  32. "As for as not needing or not wanting a gun goes, I was there. I have never needed a firearm in my life. I am a recent member of the gun owners club. I fully support anyone's right NOT to own a firearm....but I don't see the converse being exercised. People who don't want to own firearms don't want me to own any."

    That isn't 100% true...I do know several people who are essentially Hands-off on the gun issue..they don't own any guns, and don't want to, and don't care what I have so long as I'm bahaving like a good person.

    Still even the most benign at the anti-gun side we have people like Mike. A Great, respectful person, with not a whole lot of irons in the political fires...but he says "There are too many guns!"

    On the far side you have the politicals (Obama and Biden definetly included) who as far as I can extrapolate would LOVE to take us right where England is now.

    No offense to our brothers and sisters in the United Kingdom....but If I wanted the UK life I'd have moved to UK!

    And in the end my guns have killed nobody, and nobody I know's guns have killed anybody.

    And on the other side there are countless people who's guns have saved thier lives (often while killing NOBODY!)

    I won't let that be taken away!

  33. Weer'd,

    You're right. I spoke in too broad of terms in condemning non-gun owners. That wasn't my intention, I meant it to apply to those that want to ban guns.

    Thanks for the correction.

  34. No worries, dude.

    BTW, Mike, you definetly need to keep posts like these comming, they're a croud pleaser!

  35. First of all, thank you very much for answering my question.

    Wee'rd beard, will check the link out :)

    NN, answering your question if i have a list of items i NEED to have and why.. nope, because their uses are pretty OBVIOUS (i.e. microwave, bicycle, car etc). But what interests me more about your comment is that you state:

    a signal that says, i am a mature, responsible adult; these symbolic items that could very well kill, i can own, i can handle, and i am not a menace for it; i can bear the weight of that power and responsibility...

    I think it is a bit sad that you have to pin something like being a mature adult on your ownership of gun. Maybe this is a male come into adulthood thing? For me being an adult means to act responsibly in my deeds and words in every day life and does not mainfest itself in what items (dangerous or not) i own as they are totally irrelevant.

    And of course you do not have to explain to me why you live your life the way you do, i asked a question and you answered it. I am glad you chose to live now in a country that is more to your liking and suits your life syle better.
    To answer your last question to me, i am sure i could handle the responsibility of owning a gun but i don't have the need or use for it. A little bit like owning a set of golf clubs, means nothing to me and would be a most useless item unless i'd use it to club a burglar over the head with it.

    Thank you very much! We just have to agree to disagree on the issue.

    Last but not least, Bob: again thank you for answering my question so honestly. See, we over here just don't get it as you gathered from rabbit's comments.

    Again, i understand all your reasons from wanting to keep them in the family as heirlooms and using them for target practise in a controlled environment.

    i do understand your wish to protect your family and property, we all do. But you'd have to be armed day and night to do that effectively??!!
    Frankly, i am in the fortunate position that i do not live in a crime riddled area and even burglary is very rare ( i do hope that i dont have to eat my words in the next few weeks though ;))but i doubt very much that if we all get armed up to our back teeth would make the situation better. There will be always somebody faster on the trigger than you.

    Thanks for the debate and your frank comments, guys i really enjoyed it!

  36. Britgirl,

    You are welcome, I come to blogs like this so we can expand upon our understanding; both yours and mine.

    I am glad I could help a little. The answer to your questions is complex; But you'd have to be armed day and night to do that effectively??!!

    First, I don't know that many, if any people armed day and night. In Texas, it is illegal to carry in any establishment that makes more then 51% of its profit through sales of alcohol, can't carry in schools, even community colleges or universities, hospitals, and many other places.
    Some places are allowed to post signs prohibiting lawful concealed carry; many churches, restaurants, and other private businesses choose to do that. I respect their property rights and try to take my business elsewhere.

    So, as you can see there are many places a person can't legally carry. Guess where most of the mass shootings have been in the last 2 decades? The Gun free zones described above. How many gun shops, police departments, or shooting ranges have had mass shootings?

    The other part of the answer is the one many people struggle with, do I need to carry everyone.

    I carry life insurance, I'm sure you do also. I have auto insurance, medical coverage, home owners insurance. Just like I'm sure you do....would you call and turn off your car insurance for a short run to the grocery store? The likelihood of something happening is remote, right?

    How about canceling your life insurance when you are at home? You are safe in your home, you shouldn't need it right?

    It's the same with being armed, you never know for sure when you are going to need it so doesn't it make sense to always have it with you?

    The biggest part is that which, in my opinion, gets the least coverage. It's the mindset and awareness that being armed requires. Being aware of the surroundings, the people there, being aware of my own moods and feels are all required parts of being armed. The law, my own morality, requires greater responsibility on the part of those armed.

    How many times have you heard of people beaten, robbed and murdered only to hear that victim had no idea anything was wrong. People who are armed teach themselves to be aware of problems, not to be able to solve them but to avoid them if possible.

    Keeping bad things from happening to me and mine is the result of that mind set.

  37. oy, britgirl, we've got nowhere.

    i don't have to pin my maturity on anything. symbolic signals aren't necessary for the thing symbolized to nevertheless be real; i was a mature adult well before i came into gun ownership. but i can do so --- here in the USA, anyway --- and since doing so happens to resound strongly with my personal conceptions of responsibility and duty, i choose to do so.

    some folks do something similar with home ownership, or even more commonly, parenthood. well, my mortgage lender has more of a claim to my house than i do, and i can't stand kids --- but guns are actually kindof neat.

    i quite agree that the requisite qualities of maturity --- primarily responsibility --- do not depend on owning any mere piece of property. guns just happen to be a kind of property whose inherent qualities of deadliness put their owners' responsibility on very prominent display, that's all. raising children well does something similar, although i'm not cut out for that task myself.

    (similarly, the purpose and use of a gun is just as obvious as that of a microwave oven. the purpose of a gun is to shoot things with. as for what things you shoot, that's where your personal responsibility and maturity get put on display...)

  38. bob s. posted while i was typing. i'd like to loudly second his remarks about mindset and awareness; ever since i first heard about Jeff Cooper's "color code" concept, i've been doing my very best to not live in condition white. and i never go armed!

    most explanations of the "color code", including the one i linked to, tend to use fairly martial language to describe what it's on about. me, since i don't normally carry weapons, i tend to think of it in terms of awareness.

    "code white" is oblivious --- walking down the street lost in your own thoughts, or distracted by your cellphone, you're not really aware of anything going on around you. people can sneak up on you unawares, or sucker punch you right in the face even, because you're not paying enough attention to really know that they're there, much less what they're doing or about to do. this is a bad thing. even if nobody ever will attack you, why should you ever want to be so unawares? it's easy to live in condition white, but it's also careless and unwise.

    "code yellow" is what i like to think of as paying some damn attention. at least enough to know roughly how many folks are in reach of you, what directions they're moving and how fast, whether they're large or small, whether they look aggressive or calm. this way, if somebody does up and attack you, you'll likely see them coming.

    "code orange" is paying attention to something in particular. as in, that fellow over there, he's not acting normally; better take care, he might be unpredictable, or even outright malicious. or, those two who just entered the room, they seem to be cooperating on something, and i'm not sure what, better watch and see.

    "code red", to me, would be "holyshit i'minafight igottagetAWAY". but that's because i'm not a fighter, i don't go armed, and i live in a very safe area. i've never had to experience code red, not since high school anyway, and i never want to. still, the very knowledge that this state of mind exists and that it exists on a continuum i can access is useful to me.

  39. I'll chime in too.

    britgirl, have a look at the link I posted for a further expansion on this, but for a quick read:

    "i do understand your wish to protect your family and property, we all do. But you'd have to be armed day and night to do that effectively??!!"

    Nope, I don't, but just like buckling my safety belt just before I get in a car wreck, or buying a fire extinguisher just before I have a kitchen or furnace fire, or buying a life raft and survival suit just before a squall founders my ship (Used to earn my pay doing Field Marine Biology) just doesn't work that way.

    Gun ownership is hardly the end-all-be-all, just like any martial art (Defensive gun use is a martial art just like Karate and Kung-fu) teaches threat assessment and how to avoid a fight, I do the same, but I'm sure you'll agree that not all victims of violence "Had it Coming". There is such a thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In that instance statistics are irrelevant, so long as your violent crime rate is non-zero it means there's a possibility that it could happen to you. What's the relevance of how rare a vicious attack is if you're currently being attacked?

    Essentially, by being armed I'm taking responsibility for my own safety, at all times. I'll avoid trouble whenever and however I can, I'll defer to the help of police when I can be afforded to...but in the end there are times when such options aren't available.

    So as I said in the linked Blog Post: Do I need a Gun? No! But I don't know if or when I WILL need a gun. If that need ever occurs, I'll be really glad to have a gun.

    Also, I understand there's a cultural difference here, but what's with all the talk of masculinity? My wife also happens to be one of people who is taking responsibility for her own are several of my female friends. There's a cultural shift happening in America as well, a generation ago Guns were tools for the men, and as a rule Women were an oddity to the gun world...not so much anymore. The previous president of the NRA is a woman, the person who was most influential to bringing conceal carry to Texas was Suzanna Hupp, and groups like Second Amendment Sisters, and Pink Pistols (Who cater to gays and lesbians) are gaining huge support in recent years.

    Also the shooting sports are starting to see a huge influx of women shooters, and even gun makers have been targeting the female demographic with items like colorful guns (not limited to, but including pink)Holsters designed to accommodate the different body types of women, and firearms designed for the smaller hands and body sizes of women.

    So, while there is still likely a majority of men in the Gun Owner demographic, the females are gaining on them.

  40. Two Gospel musicians/recording artists were recently murdered in Garland, Texas by "two urban youth". Video of their confessions is available on the web. One mused on the fact that when they went through the fellow's wallets, one of them had a concealed carry permit but wasn't carrying.

    Not suitable for work viewing, but I think some of the anti-gun people should watch these confession films.

    Film at Eleven

  41. Mike snd Weer'd,

    Further flogging the horse:

    You might find this an interesting read, along with the link to go to from there.

  42. Dear Brit Girl, I loved what you said about "words and deeds." I'm glad you weren't scared off by these rough and tough gun enthusiasts. I think they're beginning to weaken. I'm expecting any day now to get an unequivocal surrender from them on the question of whether there are too many guns in America. Keep reading.

  43. "One mused on the fact that when they went through the fellow's wallets, one of them had a concealed carry permit but wasn't carrying."

    Essentially the exact point I've been trying to make, thanks for the flesh-and-blood (and sad) example of it.

    Obviously the dead don't need a gun...and for that whole last day all but his last few hours he didn't need a gun...But man those last hours are big ones.

    Would a gun have saved him? Maybe, maybe not...but I'd say my life is worth it.

  44. I'm expecting any day now to get an unequivocal surrender from them on the question of whether there are too many guns in America.

    that reminds me, have we ever asked you just how many guns you think would be about right in America, and why?

  45. More people bought hunting licenses in the mid-term elections season than voted, by many orders of magnitude. You aren't putting any genie back in any bottle.

    Wishful thinking of anti-gun people. We Americans are, as King George put it, "A people numerous and armed".


  46. Dear Mike, well i been raised to ask questions if i don't understand where the other person is coming from, and a huge part of that is listening what they have to say. In debating about issues we keep our own arguments alive and get forced to think about our point of views. And other's.

    In this case i have to say it must be a cultural difference and it is very interesting to find out more about our cousins acoss the big pond.
    And the guys have been very nice and polite to me (if not i know where to kick where it hurts ;))

    wee'rd bear and Bob, Hi there, thanks again for the explanaton. Keeping your eyes always open and be aware of your surroundings is something i was taught from an early age. I grew up in a inner city area, so that was crucial to avoid getting into trouble. I practised this art many times in the US when i drove through areas which looked less than savoury. Maybe a gun is some sort of confidence booster for some people, and then they do not "look" like victims and get attacked. I sure struggled at times to portray the look of a strong woman who isnt afraid of anything!! Espesh in the more seedier areas of Miami and Washington.
    Now getting back to the danger of being attacked, yeah i know that danger is real BUT it is also pretty minute as i don't venture out at night on my own, take safety measures etc etc.. i suppose the most danger i have getting attacked is by a cow or a runaway sheep. I cannot live my life being in fear of everything and anything around me. Life is a gamble, with calculated odds if you aren't to careless.
    My remark about the "machoism" in regards of having a gun was a bit of a sarcastic remark to NN, i admit that. But it smelled to me a bit like.. oh son when ya 14 we gonna git ya a gunnnnnn and then ya a man!I agree that women might like to shoot or hunt ( i personally never had the urge but wasnt introduced to it, maybe i would have liked it, who knows) but still those sports are predominantly male, aren't they.
    Oh and one last thing, my explanation that gun crime is very high in gun fee zones is that those zones are high profile and very well populated, so the potential victim rate can be higher. Something the shooter would aim for.
    I can certainly see that all the people on here take their responsibilities very seriously, what bugs me though are the "others" who don't.

    Hope i didnt leave anybody's remarks to me out.

  47. Britgirl,

    I meant to address something yesterday but you touched on it in your reply.

    I cannot live my life being in fear of everything and anything around me.

    It's not fear that drives me, this is a common mis-perception.

    I don't fear fires but I realize they can happen. What are the odds of a fire happening, very remote. If I have a fire extinguisher in my home, I'm not in fear of fire but prudent.

    I have a first aid kit at home (mostly because I'm a klutz) but there are items in the kit for very unlikely events. I'm a afraid of accidents or prepared?

    I live in a section of America called Tornado Alley. I don't fear them but I have a small stock of food, preparations for water, cooking, etc. Isn't that a wise thing to do?

    So it is with firearms. Not only am I aware of the two-legged animals in my area, but the four legged type you mentioned. I have seen foxes, opossums, rats, raccoons (rabies concern)in my backyard. My friends have reported seeing coyotes. Several towns near me have recently had problems with cougars and I live in a very developed part of the state.

    My work is another town getting to it takes me through many areas, my wife works for the local free hospital (in a very bad part of town). That story Thomas linked to happened in my metro area. So these aren't theoretical considerations for me.

    Life is a gamble, with calculated odds if you aren't to careless.

    Your are absolutely right it is a gamble....but what are the consequences if I loose?

    I've studied the statistics-ask Mike :> - I've considered the options. I have deliberated long and hard before I decided to seek by concealed carry permit, before I brought firearms into my home.

    It is not out of fear but out of responsibility that I do these things.

  48. Good to hear you do your part to keep safe, britgirl!

    Yeah, maybe carrying a gun will get crooks to think otherwise on picking on me because fighting when attacked is always an option I'm prepared to exercise...but its more than that, as if they overlook the subtlety I have ONE more tool in my tool box.

    Here's an analogy. When I worked on offshore fishing boats they taught us basic fire fighting. Why? Well if my house catches fire, the worst case scenario I have to jump out a window can call the Fire department from my neighbor's can't leave your boat when you're hundred's of miles from shore, you can't just cross the street.

    Same idea goes for personal defense. I have locks on my doors and windows, and I live in a fairly crime-free town, also my home has a security system. All that, but still the crime rate ANYWHERE is non-zero. What happens if my number's up? The alarm goes off, the police get called...then what? Maybe the guy ran off when the alarm was sprung, what if they didn't? Police are now minuets away...but the person who broke in is just in the other room!

    Of course I live in one of the safer towns...but others don' the fact that I can afford to live in a nicer area make my safety more important than theirs?

    While I live in a safer town, I often find myself working or traveling in less safe areas. Again, more tools in the tool box. I can be on the lookout for shady characters, unsafe areas, show my self-confidence...but if these things were even close to 100% effective we wouldn't be having this conversation!

    I could give them what they want...but that's a rational argument superimposed on an irrational person (rational people don't attack, rape, or rob) also what if they want to rape me or my wife? Kidnap my kid? What if they don't want witnesses? What if they're just in the mood to kill something? I could run away, but unless I'm a MUCH faster runner than they are that essentially just gets me to turn my back to a known threat...not a smart idea.

    We have lots of tools in our tool boxes, you and I, when my life is on the line, I'm pleased to know my government allows and protects my right to have one more tool.

  49. Nomen, A few times I suggested, in the fantasy scenario, that we cut the number of guns in half. That would halve the number in criminal hands. These are just wild ideas. It would help to try to understand where the criminal guns come from.

    Thomas, Thanks for quoting King George. We've got to keep these Brit commenters on their toes.