Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Guns and More Guns

CNN reports on this, another fatal shooting in South Carolina. I realize it's not fair or very scientific to extrapolate an entire theory from one incident, unless that one incident is fairly indicative of the society at large. That's the question. Is this an anomaly? Or is this a fairly typical scene of what happens when the "good guys" are armed.

A South Carolina man shot an unarmed teenager to death after a scuffle at a weekend party thrown by his children and then shot two teens involved in a retaliatory shooting at his home, authorities said Tuesday.

You see, we're not talking about criminals here; these people are not crack dealers or mafia hit men. At least they weren't criminals until this tragedy occurred. These guys are just your normal South Carolina residents, an ever increasing number of whom go around armed.

Here's a wonderful video of the Pennsylvania granny who pulled a gun on a burglar in her home and held him till the police arrived. I love the way she made the crook dial 911 himself. Bob S. commented on another post about this case, which in my opinion is a perfect example of how gun ownership should be managed.


  1. Wow, now that's just a fucked-up stupid story, and I'm glad the guy was caught. Likely he'll go away forever...if SC doesn't execute him for it.

    But your statement about this being non-scientific is very true. Heck going by your post, you have one very bad case where likely legally-held firearms were used to commit a crime, and one where a legally held one was used to prevent a serious crime from happening, without a shot being fired.

    Of course the 2nd story ONLY made the news because the woman was in her 80s, and did some really ballsy thing, like arresting the punk and making him call 911 to turn himself in, but unless a person is shot, or somthing else odd happens the story doesn't make the news. A story like this:

    Meanwhile I'll move to my friend Jay's blog to a story that WAS in the news....but CNN won't bother covering it:

    Similar end-result as the CNN story, two boys shot and this time both killed, but this time the shooting was a 17 year old kid.

    As Jay notes, you can't legally buy a hand gun ANYTWHERE until 21, and this little shit wasn't obeying the countless other laws that Mass has to restrict gun ownership that SC doesn't have.

    So why did CNN pick up one story and not the other (or the countless other youth shootings in Boston...or the stabbings, or beatings) Because like a little-old-lady holding up a thug with a gun, lawfully held guns being used in Murder is fairly rare, and when it happens its a similar event to a pair of hunters shooting a bigfoot.

    Yep, it happens, Mass Alone probably has 1-2 murders with lawfully held guns a year, meanwhile BOSTON alone has about 70 murders a year (I don't know...or care if its all from shooting...and the murder victims and their family probably don't care either)

    Want a little exercise to prove the point? Look up an estimate on how many gun owners/ guns that are legally held in America. Its probably somthing to the tune of 200 million gun owners, and 1 billion guns.

    Now apply your above theory to those numbers. Why does the US have a population? And why, if your theory is valid, is there even room for murders to be committed by gangs and criminals...let alone other weapons?

    Finally, what do you propose with your observation? (Maybe you propose nothing, but there are pleanty who propose otherwise)

    More, stricter laws? Well the story states the jerk who did the murdering was likely drunk, Its likely illigal to handle firearms while drunk in SC, but that didn't stop him. Why? Well its likely the same thing that didn't stop him from pointing a gun at several people who were unarmed, and posed no threat and shoot them.

    And for that he's likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

    One more analogy would be: Should the US no longer allow immigrants from Italy or Russia to enter the country because of the crimes done by the Russian and Italian Mafia?

    Are there Italians and Russians involved in serious organized crime? Yes. Should we be going after those nationalities, or against the small group that IS committing the crimes?

  2. Want a little exercise to prove the point? Look up an estimate on how many gun owners/ guns that are legally held in America. Its probably somthing to the tune of 200 million gun owners, and 1 billion guns.

    actually, most of the estimates i've seen put the number of guns at around 200 million, and gun owners at usually less than 100 million.

    i know, less than one in three americans own guns! i think it's borderline scandalous too! but that's still individuals, not households; i'd not be considered officially a "gun owner" myself, even though there's two shotguns and a pistol in the house.

    and yet another story i had to learn about from the blogosphere:

  3. Mike,

    I'll take a different approach from the others, let's say your desire to get rid of all guns happens.

    Currently, only 10% of all violent crime involves firearms. Because it's early in the morning here, I'm going to work with 100 crimes and assume each one is committed by a different person, ok?

    So we have currently 90 criminals not using firearms and 10 using firearms....POOF....ALL firearms are gone!
    So, what do the 10 criminal do? Do they stop committing crimes?

    If they do, we've reduced crime only 10%, right?

    If not, we've achieved less then that....say half aren't brave enough to commit crimes with a firearm- 5% reduction.

    Then what about the other 90 criminals, do they stop committing crimes or do they commit more crimes?

    If only 10% of them commit an additional crime, that is 9 more crimes....nearly wiping out all of the crime not committed with firearms.

    Let's go back to the beginning also, these are only violent crimes. Theft, burglary, etc aren't counted. Since there are no good guys with guns, does those types of crimes go up or down?

    Will the world be better off if we remove all the firearms?

  4. The unscientific nature of my extrapolation is clear. The question still seems to be, how commonplace is it.

    On the Italian news this morning, there was a fairly rare case of a guy killing his girlfriend, the baby and then himself. He'd gone into a rage because she threatened to leave him. In cases like this, it's the high lethality of the gun that matters. He could have beaten her to death with his fists, or taken a kitchen knife to do the job, but if there were no weapon available, he might have had just enough time to calm down. The girlfriend might have gotten off with a good beating instead of what she got, a quick bullet in the brain.

  5. "He could have beaten her to death with his fists, or taken a kitchen knife to do the job, but if there were no weapon available, he might have had just enough time to calm down."

    When exactly is ANYBODY without a weapon? My fists and feet are ALWAYS with me, and knives, rope, pipes, sticks et al are so commonplace that its rare when they're NOT available.

    In some cases the gun makes the difference (The Verginia Tech Massacre was done by a frail Korean Boy, and the victims did fight back...if he had a knife or a stick he probably could have killed one or two, but would have been overpowered IMHO) in this instance hands and feet are all that is needed to kill a wife and kid.

    Also was there a histoy of domestic violence? Maybe she didn't report it, but I doubt this was the asshole's first offence, you NEVER go from an upstanding citizen to a double-murderer/baby killer in the blink of an eye!

  6. as the saying goes, "the human brain is the only weapon; a gun is just a tool".

    strikes me that if you have to rely on a homicidal maniac being inconvenienced enough to get over their mania before they can inflict lethal damage, then your real preventative measures have already failed. relying on the common sense and tender mercies of somebody willing to even try at a deadly assault is not what i would consider wise or prudent.

  7. Nomen, you made my Quote of the day! Very well put.

    Also to note back to the VT tragity, Verginia has a one-gun-a-month law, and Cho simply took several months to buy his guns.

    In the end, blaming the gun laws are stupid when you overlook a Judge who decaired a convicted Stalker (Cho) a "Danger to himself and others" but sentenced him to voulentary psychiatric care.

    Essentially Cho was free to go after that conviction, and because of the nature of that sentence (and the fact that Cho Lied on his ATF from about his mental illness) he passed a background check.

    On top of that its hard to ignore that he was only a 2 hour drive from DC where virtually all guns are illigally held, and gun crime is very prevolent....if he failed his background check in the shop, nothing is stopping him from spending his cash in the black market.

    Inconvenience is only a factor if the person inconvenienced is not deturmined...would you want to stake your life and safety on that idea?

  8. I'm trying to understand how we affect the culture considers violence not just an acceptable method of problem solving, but often the first response to any problem.

    Consider this report on attacks on police
    What was available “was the overriding factor in weapon choice,” the report says. Only 1 offender hand-picked a particular gun “because he felt it would do the most damage to a human being.”

    If what was available is the primary determination; then the violence is still going to take place if they have to use a hammer, a knife or a home made zip gun.

    And then this:
    Several of the offenders began regularly to carry weapons when they were 9 to 12 years old, although the average age was 17 when they first started packing “most of the time.” Gang members especially started young...Almost all carried when on the move and strong majorities did so when socializing, committing crimes or being at home.

    Where are the parents, the grandparents if kids as young as 9 are carrying firearms? That is what I mean by the culture. The parents either have to be oblivious, absent or consider it acceptable. My kids couldn't carry a firearm for any length of time without me knowing. I've told them the Constitution protects them from the government, not their parents.

    How does taking away a firearm help when people grow up with a complete disregard for other's lives?

    The offenders were of a different mind-set entirely. In fact, Davis said the study team “did not realize how cold blooded the younger generation of offender is. They have been exposed to killing after killing, they fully expect to get killed and they don’t hesitate to shoot anybody, including a police officer. They can go from riding down the street saying what a beautiful day it is to killing in the next instant.”

    “Offenders typically displayed no moral or ethical restraints in using firearms

    I think they could have stopped after restraints. Allowing kids to grow up with that absolutely lack of morality has to change...until we do that it is like trying to cure someone by only treating the symptoms not the underlying disease.

  9. I'm afraid these incidents are too frequent to write off as anomalies. They're like the case of the 20 something guy, kicked out of a disco by the bouncer who goes to the car real quick and comes back with the gun shooting. It's common enough to be practically proverbial. Everyone recognizes that type of hothead.

    I say, there's got to be a way to make it harder for guys like that to get their hands on a gun.

  10. maybe there is some way to identify hotheads and ban them from gun ownership, but i can't think of what it might be. like bob, i'd much prefer to make hotheadedness be culturally unacceptable, assuming that is somehow possible.

    ...i must be getting to be an old man; i was about to blame hollywood and television for their glorification of violence as part of the problem, making hotheadedness and violent tendencies seem like acceptable ways to behave... you know you're a crotchety old fart when you find yourself saying such things.

  11. "maybe there is some way to identify hotheads and ban them from gun ownership" Well that's the great thing about humanity, AND it dovetails well with why it seems guns get a disproportionate amount of attention.

    They get attention because you can do a LOT more damage with a gun than you can with your fists...but most hotheads, who are always packin' fists often use those in hothead way LONG before they ever get a chance to pick up a gun.

    You a barroom brawler (ie plead guilty to assault and disturbance if the peace) NO GUNS FOR YOU!

    That was 20 years ago and you've since straightened your ways? Lawyer up and have your records sealed....but guess what? You've got a criminal record...that's more than I have, and I had to make some smart, and sometimes hard choices to keep it that way...don't expect it to be easy for you to erase that!