Friday, May 11, 2012

Darra, The Pakistani Illegal Gun Market

This is an old story but well worth another look. Now I Know posted an article about this amazing place.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are both economically depressed, with a per capita GDP of roughly $3,500 and $1,000 respectively. Yet both of these nations have many well-armed men, at least relative to the typical Westerner. With money tight, infrastructure rare, and even literacy often lacking, where do the guns come from?

The answer: a small town called Darra Adam Khel.

Located in Pakistan south of Peshawar and near the Afghan border, Darra Adam Khel (or simply Darra, for short) is, as the Washington Post described it in a headline, "like the Wild, Wild West -- plus Al-Qaeda." The town is in one of a half-dozen frontier regions which are considered "Federally Administered Tribal Areas," or "FATAs." FATAs are exempt from many of the laws passed by the Pakistani government. Instead, Darra is administered by the Frontier Crimes Regulations, which, in turn, gives individual tribes in each area the power and responsibility to govern its people, and with wide discretion. In practice, this means that the town of Darra is outside the purview of Pakistan proper -- and its people take advantage of this.
 

29 comments:

  1. Ban guns in America, and we'll have hundreds of such markets and home factories spring up. As it stands, minus the full-auto guns, we have the same kind of thing every few months. They're called gun shows.

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    1. Greg, did you miss the part about this being in a geographic location that is immune to government control and protected by the local clans?

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    2. I realize that you've moved to a small country, but did you miss the part about how large America is? The total armed forces, military and police, of this country number around five million, give or take. You apparently don't understand the resistance that would arise if our government ever tried to impose the kind of tyranny that you desire.

      And yes, your proposals are tyrannical. They wouldn't work, so you'd ask for more. That wouldn't work, so you'd ask for even more. We know where it leads.

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    3. "the kind of tyranny that you desire" You mean like background checks on all gun sales? You mean like prohibiting accident-prone and negligent assholes from owning guns?

      Your second paragraph in which you try to justify the strong language is one of your best crystal-ball paranoia, not to mention mind reading.

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    4. It's not speculation. We've seen gun control in one form or another here, and it didn't produce the paradise desired. What was the result? Calls for more control.

      But Mikeb, you don't understand the majority of Americans. We can only be pushed so far. We're generally a peaceful and cooperative lot, but there's a limit to how much the government can demand of us.

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  2. This is why I keep posting on here that making guns isn't that hard. You can make a simple single shot "zip gun" with $20 in parts at your local hardware store. A person who is a little bit more motivated can make a full fledged firearm with the most basic and rudimentary of tools.

    This is why gun control will never work.

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    1. Yep. Shot guns are not hard to make, pipe bombs are not hard to make, propane bombs are not hard to make. Improvised explosive devices, hand grenades, plastic explosives, toxic bombs, etc, all easy to make. Fortunately thugs chose to use firearms.

      Going postal and no gun, no prob, just make a suicide suit. Want to go on a killing spree without a gun and not wanting to kill yourself? No problem. Just make some hand grenades or pipe bombs. At least one bullet usually can only kill one person, whereas one hand grenade can kill several people and injure several more. Tim MCV used one truck to kill 168 people and injure more than 800 and didn't even need a gun.

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    2. I admit this video does clarify how home-made guns are feasible. But if we ever got to the point in the US where criminals would have to resort to this sort of thing because gun availability dried up so much, we will have won.

      Please note, in that utopian picture, you lawful gun owners would still have your objects of desire just like you do now. We're only talking about making guns more difficult for unfit and dangerous folks to get. You keep conflating that with total gun bans because it's easier to argue against the latter. But that's not what we're preaching.

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    3. Nearly a 1/4 of firearms used in murder can't be classified as a shotgun, handgun or rifle. It would be a safe bet that a large majority of those were home built.

      Here's an interesting fact for your readers. Knives are used as murder weapons 6 1/2 times more often than assault weapons.

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    4. Bill I reject your 1/4 statistic as total bullshit. The other one about knives, who cares?

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    5. Wow, harsh. Table 20 FBI UCR. There were 8,775 murders with firearms. 2,035 could not be classified as a handgun, rifle, or shotgun. that's 23.190883190883190883190883190883% or like I said, "Nearly 1/4"

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    6. "Bill I reject your 1/4 statistic as total bullshit"

      Hahahahahahaahah! Yes Mike, you certainly know a bullshit statistic when you see one. You've had lots of practice.

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    7. Bill Baldwin said Improvised explosive devices, hand grenades, plastic explosives, toxic bombs, etc, all easy to make. Fortunately thugs chose to use firearms.

      and now we have this in the news
      Man Attempted to Rob a Store with Gun and Improvised Explosive Device

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    8. Bill, would you kindly tell us what this means to you, exactly.

      "could not be classified as a handgun, rifle, or shotgun"

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    9. mikeb, when filling out the supplemental data for criminal homicides for the UCR, where firearms are used, the responses must be handgun, rifle, or shotgun. There is no other classification for 'other' firearms. On table 20, column 7 (firearms, type unknown) is where 'other' or unknown firearms are listed. A 'zip gun' is not classified as a handgun, and neither is a piece of pipe used to discharge a shotgun shell classified as a shotgun. These two examples would fall under column 7. I'm not suggesting that all of the firearms listed under column 7 are home made firearm, there are several reasons why a firearm would be unknown, but I stand by my original statement of "It would be a safe bet that a large majority of those were home built."

      The only other weapon that is calculated for the UCR is knives/cutting instruments (column 8) and every other non-firearm, non-cutting instrument is included in column 9. Column 9 would include explosive devices, blunt objects, and pencils poked through the eye.

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    10. Stand by it all you want, Bill, but to account for one-quarter you'll have to do better than that.

      When you read something, do you accept it regardless of whether it makes sense or not, as long as if it supports your argument?

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  3. Something tells me that the violent crime rate in that town is zero ... in spite of all the guns. How can this be?

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    1. Sure, unless you count the violence against women and children as administered by those in power. And I'm sure there's a tribal rivalry here and there, but you wouldn't want to count that either.

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    2. "... violence against women and children ..." that is an excellent point and it highlights the fact that culture, not weapons, dictate violence. All weapons do is give the potential victims a chance to fight back.

      As for a tribal rivalry, if another tribe wants to attack, they are going to attack as long as they think they have an advantage. The primary advantages are weapons, the will to fight, organization, and the element of surprise. (I am assuming roughly equal numbers on both sides.)

      It was the same with race discrimination in the U.S. The whites continued to discriminate against blacks because the blacks had little/no weapons, no organization, and they didn't have the will to fight back. Once black citizens found the will to fight (e.g. Rosa Parks), organized (e.g. Martin Luther King), and enlisted government weapons by proxy, the tide began to turn.

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    3. "All weapons do is give the potential victims a chance to fight back."

      That's not ALL weapons do, they also give the violator even more power.

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    4. Only when the violator's targets are unarmed or too afraid to fight back. But as the example of the eldery man in California shows, thugs get surprised. If the two who tried to invade that home live, they may consider a new line of work.

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  4. You know what else is interesting? The first priority of those people is to make and possess firearms. Xbox 360? Who cares. High definition television? Not so much. Microwave oven? Don't need it. Running water? It would be nice but can do without. Semi-automatic pistol in 9mm caliber? Got to have one. AK47? Need two.

    Chances of a group of 10 drug gangsters coming into town and calling the shots? Zero. Chances of the Soviet Union coming into town and taking over? 100% on the short term, 0.000% after the counter offensive.

    What amazes me is that U.S. citizens cannot see this. But my "left leaning" (his words) neighbor explained it to me today. People have a paradigm and they want things easy. Their paradigm is that someone else (government, law enforcement) will take care of them. Considering a new paradigm (that government and law enforcement neither wants to nor is capable of taking care of them) is very uncomfortable. And they want things easy -- it's easy to hope that nothing ever happens and that law enforcement will be there if it does. It's a lot harder to use discretionary money to purchase a firearm, train how to use it, carry it around, and think about what might go wrong.

    Apparently people like me are bursting people's bubbles and that's why they want gun control.

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    1. "Chances of the Soviet Union coming into town and taking over? 100% on the short term, 0.000% after the counter offensive."

      Please clarify. Do you mean that literally?

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    2. Oh, I apologize ... that is confusing. I meant if the Soviet Union ever decided to come into town and repeat their Afghanistan exercise of the 1980s, they would take the town in the short term and then lose it in the long term. I am not asserting that the Soviet Union currently has any plans to invade.

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    3. That's a frightening movie--both for its bad acting and its assessment of where we could end up. Your point?

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    4. My point is that we CAN'T end up there and only fantasy dwelling gun guys think that way.

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    5. A while ago, I would have said that the United States would never hold people in prison without charge or trial. I would have said that we wouldn't send suspects over seas to be tortured. I would have said that there couldn't be a secret list of people we don't trust, a list that would include Teddy Kennedy. Longer ago, I would have said that the idea of companies being able to peer into our private lives without restraint was only something from dystopian fiction.

      Do I need to go on, Mikeb?

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    6. Greg, from those things you mentioned to the "red dawn" scenario is a mighty big leap. It can't happen here.

      As far as continuing with your list, yes you should until you get it out of your head that the US is such a great country with such wonderful freedom and individual rights. It just ain't so.

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