Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cars and Guns - Apples and Oranges

On a recent post I received this comment from Bob S., and not for the first time. In fact so often has this type of questioning been used by my gun enthusiast friends, that I've been accused of dodging it.


Simple question, please answer truthfully.

There are thousands of drunk driving deaths a year. You are a car owner, do you bear the same responsibility for the illegal actions of those car owners?

You've asked repeatedly if gun owners bear responsibility for illegal acts with firearms but aren't illegal acts with cars more frequent, have more deaths and injuries?

How dare you accuse/impugn or imply that I have responsibility for illegal acts if you aren't willing to accept the same responsibility.

November 21, 2008 1:32 PM

My first impression, whenever one of these questions was put to me, was that it's like comparing apples and oranges. We've had cars, knives, alcohol, any number of things compared to guns in this way. I tried, without much success, to point out that perhaps the problem with this type of comparing is that guns are unique among all these items. hand guns, especially, have but one purpose. But a big discussion ensued as to what that purpose really is. And we got nowhere.

So, I'll give it a go. I say gun availability is a problem and that law abiding gun owners bear some responsibility for the problems caused by criminals using guns. Here's how, using cars as an example.

Let's say there are 1000 people. 900 of them want cars, 100 do not. The 900 have a powerful lobby that fights against any laws that might prevent them from having cars; the 100 are always trying to limit or curtail car availability. So far the 900 prevail.

Of that group, 100 are irresponsible. They include drunk drivers, drug addicts, mentally ill people, road rage maniacs. These 100 cause tremendous problems, but the 800 good drivers, insist they are not to blame. "That's them," they say. "We have nothing to do with them." The 100 anti-car folks, naturally say this is proof that cars are dangerous and bad and will always result in problems and should be banned. The 800 are too powerful to let that happen and continue to insist it's not their fault or problem. That's where we stand.

I say the 800 bear some responsibility for the problem. Certainly the 100 anti-car people don't. And the 100 problem drivers wouldn't even be a problem if it weren't for the 800 and their powerful lobby.

Translated into everyday language, for me to deny any responsibility for the drunk driver who kills a kid on a bike, would be wrong if there were a serious movement afoot to ban all cars from the road and I opposed it. By supporting car availability, I would automatically bear some responsibility for the consequences, good and bad.

What do you think?


  1. ummm, you analogy doesn't really make any sense.

    I can only peice together two possible ideas you might be trying to express.

    Either you're saying cars are far to available, and we're all in part responcivle for vehicular crime. (If that's what you're trying to say I disagree with that statement)

    Or that cars are less available or easy to access than guns in America. I'd say that statement would be pure fantasy and implies some severe ignorance of US law.

    Maybe neither are what you were trying to say. But at least we've got a discussion going, and I'm glad you started it.

    Also I find it odd your statement: " The 900 have a powerful lobby that fights against any laws that might prevent them from having cars"

    I would assume the lobby you speak of is the NRA, as no other gun lobby. But what laws or repeals has the NRA proposed that would allow the criminals, the mentally ill, and the violent better access to guns?

    As a matter of fact what laws have any of the anti-gun lobby proposed that would limet access of those "100" (I'll take the numbers as VERY generic and not concern myself with them) from guns.

    A common joke is the groups like the Brady Campaign or the Ceasefire groups is they propose to make it "More illegaler", as that's often what their propositions entail. Either they want to make what is already an effective and streamlined process, and make it expensive, time consuming, and loaded with false negatives, or simply stacking more laws on top of previous laws in attempts to make the current laws that are improperly enforced "More powerful" actuality just making it "More illegaler".

    Meanwhile the NRA does great work to better streamline and improve the system. They worked very hard to allow access to the NICS system so gun owners wouldn't need to wait a week for paperwork to go through various law agencies, and because the electronic process accessed larger databases the program is MORE ACCURATE at determining weather a person is prohibited or not. Also now the current system freezes in the closed position. With the waiting period background check, you showed up at the shop 5-7 days after purchases the shop keeper was required by law to present a failed background check or the gun. If paperwork was lost in the mail, or one of the many police departments were backlogged with work and the paperwork went late, the buyer could still leave with a gun, even if they were prohibited. Now you flunk your NICS they run it again just to make sure there wasn't a transcription error. If a second fail occurs they ask you to leave their shop, and they place the gun back in the display case...takes about half-an-hour to fill out all the paperwork, and the NICS takes 10 mins (An hour for a failed and retry)

    the NRA last year even lobbied hard for the NICS improvement act also supported by the Bradies.

    So maybe your post needs clarification...maybe you're simply confused. But lets not let this dialog trail off, shall we?

  2. Mike,

    First, you start off with a falsehood; firearms, especially handguns have more then one purpose.

    Are you telling me that when I shoot targets, for target shooting sake, I'm misusing my firearms? That the Olympic shooting team should only be using their guns to kill, not put holes in paper?

    Second, firearms don't have to kill to be effective for another purpose; protecting lives. You consistently refuse to recognize or even learn how many times firearms are used to save lives.

    Third, this is a blatant falsehood also:
    The 900 have a powerful lobby that fights against any laws that might prevent them from having cars;

    If the "car lobby" was fighting against any law, why are there over 20,000 laws about automobiles on the books already?

    There are already laws against murder, against robbery, against assault, against certain people having cars, etc. Let's look at the proposed laws for ammunition serialization. That would be like having each and every car part have a unique identification number. Manufacturing costs would sky rocket, right? But the part anti-car folks don't talk about is that it wouldn't do much good to have serial numbers without recording every transaction of that part. So, Manufacturer A sells it and has to log that it was sold to Distributor B, Distributor B sells it to Auto part store C and has to log it, Auto Store C sells it to customer D and has to log it, Customer D would be fined or jailed if that part was ever sold, thrown away or given as a gift if they didn't go back to Auto Store C and tell them they sold it to Friend E.
    How much would all of that add to the cost of a car? Especially given the hundreds of thousands of parts produced each and every day, sold every day.

    Fourth, You simply state, as you have in the past, that car owners bear responsibility without showing how morally, legally or ethically that responsibility is theirs?

    If you sell a car to another person, are you responsible for any subsequent misuse of that car? No, it is only the person who misused it that has responsibility.

    If you own a car and safely drive it, how can you be held accountable for the actions of a mother who uses her legally bought car to drown her kids? Should you have insisted on every car having a flotation system? A child drown proof system? Or should the mom who misused it face the consequences of her actions?

    Fifth, Liberty is dangerous. The freedom to choose your response will always allow some people to be hurt. The fact that some people misuse cars does not negate two important aspects, the positive benefits of cars and my right to have a car.

    Would you ban cars to prevent misuse knowing that thousands will die because there are no more ambulances?
    That many more people will be raped, assaulted, robbed, murdered because the cops can NOT respond in a timely manner to catch and stop criminals? You would be condemning society to the law of the jungle, the strongest take what they want because the physically weaker, handicapped can't escape in a car, that the police can't respond in time to catch a crook in the act.
    How much of a city are you willing to allow to burn down because the horse drawn carts carrying the fire department can't get to a house fire in time? Shouldn't we also outlaw horse drawn carts and buggies, people can use those pre-automobile devices to injury others?

    Lastly, my freedom to drive isn't tied to only the proper use of a car by others. The right to free speech isn't banned because someone used it to con another person out of money. Would you want to have to get a permit from the government to speak to someone in your own home? That is what the gun ban in D.C. effectively did, did it stop crime?

    You refuse to recognize the positive or even neutral use of firearms and focus on the negative. Therefore all you ever see is the bad that happens. Show how your banning of cars or firearms would stop the bad guys from having them. I say it can't be done.

    When you make it harder for ordinary people to have firearms, to own them and use them; you give power to the crooks. You posted the story of the grandma who held the burglar at gun point, making him call the cops. I dare you to rewrite the story, telling how you think it would have happened had she not had a firearm.

  3. Translated into everyday language, for me to deny any responsibility for the drunk driver who kills a kid on a bike, would be wrong if there were a serious movement afoot to ban all cars from the road and I opposed it. By supporting car availability, I would automatically bear some responsibility for the consequences, good and bad.

    how on earth does this make sense? you're partly responsible for what harm drunk drivers do, if and only if there's a mass movement to ban cars?

    a large enough number of people wanting to enact a ridiculous knee-jerk overreaction into law, even if they haven't succeeded yet, transfers onto you part of the responsibility for a third party's negligent crimes?

    so if there was no such mass movement on, and drunk drivers killed twice as many, and your own position was otherwise unchanged --- you would not be responsible, simply because there was no such mass movement on?

    i hope you didn't mean to say that, mike. if you did, i think you need to take a few undergraduate classes on ethics, because moral philosophy, it does not work that way.

  4. I realized that on many of the gun related posts, we only hear from the "gunnies" and Mike.

    Any folks out there who aren't strongly pro-gun want to weigh in?

    I would really be interested in hearing from others on this issue.

    Thanks in advance.

  5. Weer'd, How can you say, "ummm, you analogy doesn't really make any sense?" Was it mine? And later you said, "and I'm glad you started it." Did I start it?

    It's not my analogy and I didn't start it. You and Bob keep challenging me to use cars and other things in place of guns, as if that would make me see the error of my ways. When finally I try to play the game, you say things like that. Is it because you didn't like the conclusions I came up with?

    After reading the other comments, I can see my attempts at utilizing this silly analogy, which I have always considered apples and oranges anyway, have failed.

    Let me just say this. I'm more convinced than ever that gun availability is the problem and I'm seriously leaning towards agreeing with any changes in the law that limits or lessens that availability. Deny it as you will, but the connection between legal and illegal guns in America is clear to me. And I'm not the only one. I feel I'm in the middle between the anti-gun fanatics and you guys. I'm still working on understanding what laws they want to enact or enforce and how that will help. Meanwhile, stay tuned for tomorrow's post. It'll be about the "Gun Show Loophole." You're gonna love it.

  6. Mike,

    Are you responsible for the illegal actions others perform with their cars because you don't call for a complete ban, stricter regulation, etc of automobiles?

    If you answer yes, please explain how.
    If you answer no, then why are gun owners responsible?

  7. Of course your theory doesn't take into account the rise of gun crime (and violent crime in general) in places that have outright ban on it American Cities like DC and Chicago, States like Mass or NJ, or whole Nations like the UK and Australia.

    All of those locations legal guns were made less available, and yet crime INCREASED.

    Certainly your difficulty to recognise the HUGE number of defensive gun uses is a large factor in this. I'd say the other componant is your avoidance of actually talking about potentail laws to be taken to reach your goal.

    Also I beg your pardon for any confusion, but by "Analogy" I was referencing to your odd "100, 800, 100" analogy.

    I'm also a little disheartened by your trite responce. If we're taking your statements wrong, explain why...and if we've affirmed that "Avalibility of Guns" is the issue, why do you think that as well?

    Let's discuss the issue rather than badger it.

  8. Bob, Forget cars, let's get back to guns. If you oppose laws that would limit the guns which are used in criminal acts, then you are partly responsible. I can't make it any plainer, except perhaps to talk about the gun show loophole.

    I've taken this discussion to the new post. The Famous Gun Show Loophole.

  9. Not about gunshows, and not a loophole, Mike.

    That's the whole point, Mike!! These laws DON'T limit the guns which are used in criminal acts!!

    And most often they INCREASE criminal acts.

    What you present is a logical disconnect. You belie we are partially responsible because you believe in things that are untrue.

  10. BTW, Mike, by parroting and supporting the false agendas of the Anti-Gun groups, you are partially responsible for those who wish to destroy the 2nd Amendment, and spread misinformation about guns in America.

    Given that you should, by now be well aware of the level of defensive gun uses in America, but seem adverse to discussing it, you're totally fine about spreading ignorance on this issue.

  11. Mike,

    Stating and restating a position does not explain the moral or ethical reason for that position.

    I'm sorry but I just don't see how I am responsible for the illegal actions of someone else.

    Let's forget guns, let's forget cars.
    Are you saying that if I don't call for the abolition of all violence done with a person's body that I am responsible for someone beating up another person?

    There are already laws against violence, how does my saying that sometimes I might have to use violence to stop violence make me responsible for another person's violent acts?
    What is the moral justification behind that claim?

    I also see another problem with your claim
    If you oppose laws that would limit the guns which are used in criminal acts, then you are partly responsible.

    This doesn't make sense and if I read you right you totally misunderstand my position.

    Couple of questions,
    Are you aware there are approximately 20,000 laws concerning firearms, their use, their transfer, their possession, etc already?

    Out of those 20,000 laws, which are limiting the use of firearms in crimes? Absolutely NOT ONE.

    Do you consider the right to keep and bear arms to be on the same level as the right to free speech, freedom to assemble?

    What I've asked you, repeatedly, is to explain how you can limit guns used in crimes without limiting my right to keep and bear arms?

    What I've said is that it can't be done and I can provide example after example.

    Lastly, once again you are blaming a tool and not the criminal doing the action. You've repeatedly refused to address how to apply the same limitations you advocate to firearms to other fundamental rights like free speech.

    Trying to get the tool out of the hands of the criminals, takes the guns out of the hands of the law abiding and puts someone like me at a disadvantage. Sorry but I will not allow that to happen.

  12. If you oppose laws that would limit the guns which are used in criminal acts, then you are partly responsible. I can't make it any plainer

    that's plenty plain enough, mike. what we want is for you to explain why you think that.

  13. "If you oppose laws that would limit the guns which are used in criminal acts, then you are partly responsible."

    The Criminals have lots of guns, you've seen it yourself, Mike in the news stories you post.

    Then what you do is turn around and support laws that disarm the lawful public.

    Remember the shooter, like many others like him only turned the gun on himself when the police (with guns) arrived. Until that point the only guns were his.

  14. Mike,

    Just to add more fuel to the fire, here is a recent Foxnews post from Australia:

    Australian teenagers involved in a fatal car crash sat down and ordered takeout food as rescuers fought to save an 82-year-old man and his 72-year-old partner, reported.

    The cars collided at a Gold Coast roundabout in Miami. The teenagers were riding in an unregistered Suburu WRX with an unlicensed driver.

    Residents near the roundabout were outraged when they came to the aid of the elderly couple and saw the teenagers standing motionless on the sidewalk. They said none of the teens attempted to help.

    "They just stood there, and then they sat down and then someone dropped Maccas off to them," a witness told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

    Using the Jaws of Life to cut the roof off the elderly couple’s van, the woman suffered from abdominal and leg injuries, while the man suffered from fatal chest injuries.

    After the police interviewed the teenagers on the scene, the driver was charged with obstruction while the other teens were arrested but not charged.

    Now, comparing firearms to cars may sound silly, but aren't there laws against this type of behavior? How does adding more laws, more restrictions stop people from breaking the laws?

    As a car owner, do you feel responsibility for their illegal actions, halfway around the world, because you didn't call for the greater restriction of cars?

    You shouldn't because no matter how many laws there are, it is up to a person to obey them.

    Do you ban cars to prevent the occasional misuse and condemn everyone else to walk?

  15. I said, "If you oppose laws that would limit the guns which are used in criminal acts, then you are partly responsible." Anonymous wants to know why I think that. Weer'd says it's just a crazy disconnect on my part or that I'm just parroting what I've read. I say it's because I figure you guys support the NRA which opposes all gun-limiting and gun-controlling laws, even those which would diminish the criminal violence, all because you think it'll eventually lead to gun confiscation and the loss of your precious right. I say that's the fallacy in your thinking. And that's why you're partly responsible. America is not the UK. There will never come a day when guns are outlawed and you're asked to turn them in. That's pure paranoia. Therefore, you'd have nothing to lose by supporting some common sense laws that would help. If you don't, then you're partly responsible for the results.
    How's that sound?

  16. The things that you said above that were factually incorrect in above statement makes you sound very ignorant on this issue. Seeing as we've been talking about gun control for a good long while now, I can only assume you are simply avoiding the facts for some internal reason.

    Why is that Mike? Why do you feel the need to protect your anti-gun feelings at all costs?

    Did something happen to you in the past?

    I'm going to be blunt, Mike. YOU ARE WRONG on this issue. Not in an idological sense like how I personally think you're incorrect on the death penalty. That subject matter is far too nebulous for me to make a declaration of "right" or "Wrong". No, Mike, on this issue you're on the same page as people who think the earth is flat, who thinks that women can't hold the same jobs as men, and people who think that gays getting married will somehow harm society.

    You're wrong because you recite things that are untrue, you avoid hard information you are presented, even on a critical level. You don't even dare to get behind proposed legislation. You perpetuate stereo types, and you only pick parts of the issue to discuss as they better support your case.

    I don't know if this avoidance is subconscious or fully conscious, but its there, and until you can face the facts, and heed the arguments we're making, you are simply on the wrong side of the issue.

    You're smarter than this, Mike.

  17. Mike,

    Please look up the word "compromise" and post its meaning.

    Over and over again, gun owners are being told we need to compromise on gun laws. NO MORE. There are over 20,000 gun laws on the books, the compromise has always been one sided with OUR CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHTS BEING CHIPPED AWAY EACH TIME. NO MORE.

    Before you claim that additional gun control laws don't lead to confiscation, you might want to study history a little more because just about everywhere registration and other schemes have been implemented, it has lead to confiscation, including the UK.

    Also, check out the draconian laws in America. Tell me how additional gun control laws has made Chicago, Washington D.C. safer?

    You want compromise but aren't willing to give up anything. Additional gun laws haven't been shown to work at stopping gun violence. You ignore every example we point out. You ignore the fact that this is a right on the lines of free speech. You ignore the fact that the UK has been down the same path. I challenge you to do a little research into the history of gun control in the UK, the same lies were told there.

    Let's boil it down to the basics. Let's suppose you and two other people are on an island, sole survivors in the world. Rules are developed and agreed to for basic behavior; no stealing, no murdering, no using rocks to hit or to kill.

    Eventually, one of the other people picks up a rock and kills the last person. Are you saying that you have responsibility for his actions, even partially, because you didn't try to ban rocks? Even though there are rules against using rocks, you are claiming culpability for the other person's actions?

    Sorry, it doesn't work that way morally or ethically, each person is solely responsible for his actions.

  18. (the anonymouse on Nov. 25th was me, BTW. blogger delenda est.)

    I figure you guys support the NRA which opposes all gun-limiting and gun-controlling laws

    one: i do not support the NRA, since i consider it too much of a republican party mutual admiration club. they may endorse the occasional democrat to get a fig leaf of "impartiality", but you don't have to read their publications very deeply to see where their partisan preferences lie, and how deeply those preferences run.

    that said, two: the NRA has helped write a lot of our current gun control statutes! you don't have to study legislative history very hard here in the USA to realize how false that canard is; they've never taken any kind of ultra-libertarian extremist, "all laws are ipso facto bad" stance. quite the contrary.

  19. Nomen, while I agree with you on the National level (Their endorcement of John McCain for president was nothing short of partisan posturing. I don't fault them for it, as Bob Barr was probably the best gun candidate on the ballot...but also a born looser for the positon...and therefore eusuring an Anti-Gun win) On the local level the NRA is VERY balenced in their support and endorsement. They have an active presence here in Mass, dispite it being a VERY blue state, and probably 90% of their endorcements here were Democrats, and there are quite a few elections where Democrats have been endorced over anti-gun Republicans.

    Still I am splitting hairs here, and your complaints are valid.

    But indeed, the NRA has its enemies because of its sponsorship of gun control measures. Hell I linked here about the "NICS Improvment Act of 2007" a bill endorced by both the NRA AND the Brady Campaign. I can only assume, like other background information, Mike ignored it for fear of challenging his wrongheaded ideology.

  20. Nomen, My ignorance about the NRA is embarrassing. You said, "the NRA has helped write a lot of our current gun control statutes!" I had no idea. I assumed the NRA opposed any and all laws about guns. No wonder Weer'd's getting so upset with me. I just want all of you to know one thing: I come by my ignorance honestly. There is no guile here.

  21. That is good to hear, but acknowledging your ignorance/bias is just one step.

    Without taking steps to combat your own bias it is of little good.

    Yes, Mike that is why you've gotten me so upset. As I've said before I was very anti-gun, and the only acceptable use for them is a plaything for those who could afford them, and a halmark from an era where food was not comertially availble (Hunting).

    I felt that outside certain firearms (mostly ones that looked like my relatives hunting guns) most were only good for killing, and killing LOTS OF PEOPLE.

    Obviously I don't belive in any of that rubbish anymore. Why? I found out it was ALL LIES, and lies spread by the News Media I thought was around to keep us all informed. Well they aren't, and they didn't, and through my own independant research on the issue I came to the stance on the issue I now am at. Of course I continue to engage in debates with people not of a like mind wherever I can so I can re-affirm my stance on the issue. I was wrong once, and I'm humble enugh to know I could be wrong again.

    I'm frustrated with you when you parrot these false ideas because you are part of the same web of lies that got me to be against firearm ownership in the first place.

    You are currently part of the problem. Will you chose to become part of the solution?

    This doesn't mean you have to like or support DOES mean you cannot avoid facts and repeat lies.

  22. Weer'd, You said, "I found out it was ALL LIES, and lies spread by the News Media I thought was around to keep us all informed." Well, I find that hard to believe. No side of a controversial issue is all lies. Both sides have some true and valid stuff. The trick is to sort it out, which is exactly what I'm doing on this blog. After all this time, Nomen gave me a great piece of information about the NRA. To me stuff like that is fascinating and it will be incorporated into my arguments from now on.

    I thank you and the other commenters for educating me about a subject that you know far more about than I do. And please forgive me for not doing as much reading and researching as you'd like - it would be a full time job.

  23. "And please forgive me for not doing as much reading and researching as you'd like - it would be a full time job."

    Can I get an hour a night from you of free study of firearms and the 2nd Amendment? I think that would be more than enough to get your nose pointed in the right direction on the issues. Right now you're all over the map...and it seems that you always end up pointing in the path of least resistance...which in the media you dabble in is most often the lest amount of truth.

    As for my comment about "All Lies" I'll bow to a true accusation of hyperbole. Still I'll ask you one quick exit question: What do you feel about President George Walker Bush's ability to tell the truth?

    I think your answer will put you on the same page as me. (I'm sure you could substitute "The Police" and get a similar result as well)

  24. "What do you feel about President George Walker Bush's ability to tell the truth?


  25. Point Proven. The Media on Guns is about as Truthful as Prez W.

    Don't join those ranks, Mike.