The Song Remains the Same

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255 Responses

  1. Murali says:

    I’m comfortable enough with gun control that I dare not bandy it about for fear of being forced to hand in my libertarian decoder ring.Report

    • Road Scholar in reply to Murali says:

      @murali , no one’s seen fit to remark upon your comment but I’m interested in your reasoning. Is it an issue of negative externalities?Report

      • Murali in reply to Road Scholar says:

        No, its two four things

        1. Since the state (as an entity which has a monopoly on the legitimate use of force) must always either view its own activities as either legitimate or when not legitimate reserve for itself the right to punish those who use state power illegitimately, it cannot consistently afford people the legal right to resist its officials

        2. Weapons qua weapons are tools made with the aim of killing other living things. Where hunting or sport shooting are the sort of pastimes, all other uses of weapons are to kill other persons. Given that this is the case the right to own a gun is fundamentally suspect in a way that the right to own private property in other stuff is not.

        3. I live in a place with extensive gun control. While hunting is not a thing here, the Singapore Rifle Association is the oldest sports club and sports shooting is enough of a thing that we win some prizes in regional competitions. People who collect weapons or who shoot for sport can apply for licenses and easily get them approved. For anyone else, it is almost impossible. We also have an absurdly low homicide rate. For a population of 5 million, less than 1 a year on average is a pretty good record. It may be just one case, but at least over here I don’t want things to change regarding this.

        4. Gun shot wounds are almost always lethal. It is ridiculous to think that the increased presence of guns does not contribute to increased rate of violent crimes. It seems odd that people who ordinarily are sensitive to the effects of incentives, costs, opportunity costs etc do not think that making it easier to cause more violence does not increase the incidence of said violence.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Road Scholar says:

        Gun shot wounds are almost always lethal

        Surprisingly, not always as lethal as you’d think.

        If a gunshot victim’s heart is still beating upon arrival at a hospital, there is a 95 percent chance of survival, Dr. DiMaio said. (People shot in vital organs usually do not make it that far, he added.)

        Shots to roughly 80 percent of targets on the body would not be fatal blows

        Which is not to say getting shot is any picnic, or that it’s not extremely, extremely dangerous. Don’t shoot me, bro.

        If this is accurate, more people in the U.S. now die of overdoses than gunshot wounds:

        Overdosing is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, accounting for more deaths than traffic fatalities or gun homicides and suicides.


      • Murali in reply to Road Scholar says:


        Fair enough. I always thought that bullets tended to do the spiralling/tumbling thing which left a whole mess of your internal organs before leaving the body. That’s why exit wounds were so much larger than entry wounds. Or maybe only some kinds of guns have that effect.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Road Scholar says:

        Basically, bullets that deform on impact do a lot more damage than ones that keep their shape. There are bullets designed to deform that way, specifically to increase their lethality. Though they also have other useful qualities, like being less likely to go through walls.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Road Scholar says:

        @murali – to be fair, even that NYT article, right after the part I quoted, reinforces the fact that getting shot is a lottery, so what you describe is certainly a possible outcome.

        Anecdata/uselessly-small sample time to that effect – I know 3 guys who attempted suicide by gun. My grandfather and brother-in-law succeeded in their attempt. My friend did not, even though he did not receive medical attention for hours (though he’s certainly not the same).

        These were guys shooting point-blank at their own heads, and they only killed themselves 2/3 of the time.

        Many gunshots aren’t that close-range nor that precisely, carefully aimed.Report

      • Damon in reply to Road Scholar says:


        Much depend upon the firearm used and the ammuntion used in regards to tumbling and spiraling. In general, you want a bullet to spiral. That’s the whole point of rifling: to shoot farther and straighter. More accuracy and distance is a good thing. However, some rifles and ammo were designed to generate a tumbling bullet to increase the damange when they struck. I believe that some of the older Soviet AKs and similiar weapons did this. I also think that there was some UN agreement that these weapons would not be used on the battlefield, but could be mistaken. However, I’m quite sure that, by military convention, ammo used in military weapons now are not the kind that expand upon impact.

        Cops, however, do you expandable bullets, also called “dum dums” as they are less likely to pass through the person being shot and hit what’s behind. There are also “frangible” rounds that disintregrate upon hitting.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Road Scholar says:


        Just to reinforce what Damon said, handgun bullets are designed to not tumble in normal flight. Handgun effective ranges are very short, usually 25-30 yards or less, depending on caliber & barrel length. If your handgun rounds are tumbling, either your gun is defective, or the shooter is jerking the trigger (both will seriously reduce accuracy and effective range). Hollow points will usually “mushroom”, causing the round to slow down a lot & cause more damage (although thick clothing has been known to fill the hollow point & prevent it from acting as designed). Frangible rounds are not lead or jacketed, but are made of a sintered alloy that essentially turns to tiny fragments or even powder if it hits anything hard.

        Some rifle rounds are very lightweight, specifically the 5.56 used in the M-16/AR-15, & will begin to tumble at a range of about 200 yards or so if there are strong air currents, otherwise it will begin to tumble upon impact with something. This will increase the damage the round does to a person. Part of the reason people like the the AR-15 rifle is due to the fact that the rounds tumble & fragment easily when they hit a wall, so even if the round over-penetrates an interior wall, it will have lost so much of it’s velocity as to be relatively harmless to anyone not sitting directly against the wall.

        This is also the reason many of the troops in Iraq & Afghanistan wanted to be issued M-4s, because the heavier 7.62 round could pass through common residential walls, so troops could shoot through cover and hit the fighters they were engaged with, even though the heavier round meant they could not carry as much ammo on patrol.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Road Scholar says:


        If your handgun rounds are tumbling, … or the shooter is jerking the trigger

        Can you explain that? When I was taught to shoot I quickly learned that jerking the trigger meant missing my target, but since the bullet still has to go through the barrel, I would presume it would come out straight. So, since my presumption is apparently inaccurate, what causes the tumbling?Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Road Scholar says:


        They won’t always tumble, but if the barrel is in motion as the bullet leaves it, the motion can give it a little kick that can start it tumbling (this is why the movie Wanted was so much horsepucky, you can’t “bend a bullet” by swinging the gun, but you can set it to tumbling). This is a tiny fraction of a second kind of thing, but it will happen. You also won’t notice it at close range, since the bullet won’t have enough time to tumble before it hits paper.

        When I was first learning to shoot & I began to open up the range to target, I started to notice the holes in the paper took on a keyhole shape, which my instructor explained was from me jerking the trigger. Once I overcame that, my holes were nice & round again.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Road Scholar says:

        was from me jerking the trigger. Once I overcame that, my holes were nice & round again.

        My inner Beavis just snickered.

        But thanks for the explanation.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Road Scholar says:

        Settle down, Beavis.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Road Scholar says:

        If he pulls his shirt over his head & starts giggling, I’m out of here.Report

  2. Brandon Berg says:

    Can we have this has a compromise? People can own guns for protecting their homes and property. They can take them to the shooting range or use them for hunting. They cannot take them about in public with some Yippie-Kay-Yay Die Hard version of themselves or thinking we live in a world that is like Mad Max, Escape from New York, or any other post-apocalyptic fantasy.

    Generally, don’t mass shooters conceal their weapons until they begin shooting? How is this going to stop them? Banning public carry might reduce the incidence of manslaughter during fights, but I don’t see how this helps with mass shootings. If you want to stop mass shootings, you need to keep guns out of these peoples’ hands altogether.

    And you still don’t stop mass stabbings.Report

    • trizzlor in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      I think the incidents of mass stabbings serve the gun-control argument. What’s the casualty rate of guns compared to knives? Still, I don’t see a direct path to limiting guns in the US such that they reach the level of other countries. If we take guns in America as a given, the gun-control measures that *have* passed or have been proposed would do essentially nothing to limit spree killings. And if a proposal doesn’t address the recent tragedy, I think it’s impolite to tie the two together.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Seatbelts don’t do anything about bathtub drownings either, but I’ve never known a libertarian to use that as an argument against them.Report

  3. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    First off, this happened in CA, a state with some of the toughest gun control laws around. For whatever good that did.

    Second, while banning public carry would stop Internet Commandos from scaring the piss out of Chipotle employees (way to go you fish-heads in TX), it would do nothing to stop mass shootings. Again, this happened in CA, where concealed carry is only granted to the famous & politically connected, and the open carry of loaded weapons is absolutely illegal.

    Please tell me how restricting carry stops this, or reduces it in any significant way & I will happily discuss the particulars with you. How does it coerce the mentally unhinged to obey the rules?Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      In the statement, also posted on its Facebook page, Open Carry Texas acknowledged that its tactics, which are intended to encourage broader acceptance of firearms in public, were having the opposite effect.


    • Saul DeGraw in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      Maybe one day someone will tell me how concealed carry would really create supermen and women who would stop a shooter in their tracks.

      Really what is much more likely is that people used to shooting on the range will panic in a combat situation, will potentially hit other and more civilians instead of the target, and potentially/probably be confused by police as the killer.

      Usually all I hear are Action Movie fantasies…..

      Maybe some day people will tell me why it is absolutely necessary to own hundreds of guns includes weapons that were always meant for the combat zone.Report

      • notme in reply to Saul DeGraw says:


        No creating supermen or women, just giving a person about to be killed a chance to defend themselves and others. The only Dirty Harry fantasies I ever hear are the ones spun by liberals about why folks want to exercise their rights and protect themselves from attackers. Take the Lubby’s shooting in Texas. One of the survivors, Suzanna Hupp, lost two members of her family. She had a gun but left it in the car to obey the law at the time. She regrets obeying the law, given that the gunman didn’t care and has worked to see silly laws like that one repealed.Report

      • Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        “Defending” yourself is fucking stupid. It’s a fucking gun. Unless you’re carrying openly — get the fuck down. Hit the fucking dirt. Find cover. Then maybe reach for a gun.

        You tell me — how many people with guns have you known who can competently find cover, and shoot an obscured target?Report

    • greginak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      The pushy open carry guys tend towards the clueless side. I’m surprised they even figured this out.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


      Let me rephrase your request in the OP. Once, while talking with one of my less than agreeable family members, the topic turned to some news item about a guy who was convicted of molesting little boys. My family members suggestion was very similar to yours:

      That we should outlaw homosexual public displays of affection.Report

  4. greginak says:

    Without knowing how he got the gun he used, its not really possible to reflect on gun control. This guy was a seething mass of rage and violence. That was the trigger issue.

    The dirty harry fantasy some gun owners fall for isn’t going to help with this but isn’t really part of this story.Report

    • Saul DeGraw in reply to greginak says:

      The problem though is that these shootings always bring out the Dirty Harry fantasies and this usually leads to looser regulations.

      Why is there a need to carry a weapon around? I really don’t understand it and people like the open carry people in Texas just seem like bullies who can’t respect others. There was a similar video I saw from Oregon a few years ago where some rural Oregonians went into liberal Portland with assault rifles and basically admitted to doing it to rile liberal Portlandia.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        If I had time, I would write a post about the idiocy of people who openly carry rifles in urban areas. Rest assured that many on the gun rights side of the debate are less than happy with people who think it is OK to do crap like that (& I’m happy to offer links to any who want proof of the disdain).Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Re Dirty Harry Fantasies

        Err, so what? Let them have their fantasies. When I start seeing a rash of wannabe heroes making a hash of things with bullets, I’ll worry. Until then, so far the only people carrying guns who consistently shoot innocent & unarmed people in public all have badges & uniforms & immunity.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Re: Carry

        I am never going to be able to give you any insight as to why people carry weapons, especially since it varies from person to person. However, as long as they aren’t harming anyone, as long as the weapon stays holstered, as long as they are exercising their right within the law, I say leave them alone.

        I mean, I don’t understand why anyone belongs to a religion, but as long as I can safely not expect the Inquisition, I’m happy to leave them be.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        When I start seeing a rash of wannabe heroes making a hash of things with bullets, I’ll worry.

        So long as the gun lobby’s response to every mass shooting is “This only happened because too few people carry”, it’ll be necessary to point out the likely result of lots more people carrying, i.e. most would freeze, some would shoot in a wild panic, some would be calmer but still miss, few would be helpful and efficiently deadly. And the last group might get shot by the second and third groups.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Dirty Harry fantasies

        This is some high quality discourse we have going on here.Report

      • LWA in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist –
        Re: carry. You don’t think that carrying a weapon is, in and of itself, a hostile and belligerent act?Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw says:


        Depends on the manner of carry. A handgun carried concealed is not. A handgun openly carried in a good holster is not (unless you keep putting your hand on it, that is clearly belligerent). A rifle carried slung across the back is not, but one carried in the hands or on a chest sling is very much so.

        Basically, if you keep touching it, I have to wonder why.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Saul DeGraw says:


        When I start seeing a rash of wannabe heroes making a hash of things with bullets, I’ll worry.

        We had that exact scenario a few weeks ago at the Bundy ranch – gun totin’ crazies who were fully prepared to fire on BLM employees and use women as a front-line defense to reveal – ironically! – the senseless brutality of the Fedrul Gummint.

        Until then, so far the only people carrying guns who consistently shoot innocent & unarmed people in public all have badges & uniforms & immunity.

        So the solution is for citizens to arm up? Didn’t we have a discussion a few months ago about the militarization of the police and all the concomitant bullshit accompanying doing so? Is there really nothing problematic revealed in the logic of this dynamic?Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        I think the Bundy ranch issue is a categorically different type of action.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        This is some high quality discourse we have going on here.

        Well, it’s no “people are liberals because they want free stuff.”Report

      • Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        When the police ain’t gonna get to you for a full day? you might just want a gun.
        Particularly if it’s a bear what’s after your honey, and not even a human at all.Report

  5. Saul DeGraw says:


    Basically your stance is “Heads I win, tails you lose.”Report

    • North in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

      @Saul-Degraw Saul, full disclosure, I was raised in Canada where handguns are mostly driven out of society entirely via gun control* and I generally am inclined to approve of that; so I am a gun control supporter. That said you’re doing us no favors in your arguments here because you’re not addressing the point @mad-rocket-scientist raised and it’s a painfully effective one so dodging around it does gun control supporters no favors.

      MRS notes that this disgusting crime occurred in California which has strict laws against conceal & carry. He notes, correctly in my mind, that these pathetic shooters conceal and carry their arsenals (in the case of CA illegally) from their homes to their targets. He notes, correctly as far as I can see, that conceal and carry laws appear to have had pretty much zero effect in this shooting.

      If conceal and carry has no effect then what is the point in fighting for it? I agree with MRS that banning conceal and carry would appear to have not had any impact on the incidences of mass shootings. I have googled a bit and found very little about conceal and carry doing anything to help mass shooters. So, then, what is the efficacy of conceal and carry bans?

      I would like to note again I have no moral opposition to gun control. I am concerned only with the usefulness of the laws. Were it up to me I’d generally favor more blanket eliminations of these kinds of weapons but A) the second amendment is going nowhere anytime soon and B) I am pessimistic about the culture and gun availability changing anytime quickly even if by some miracle the 2nd was removed.

      *Which is to say only criminals and cops have them for good and ill.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to North says:

        @saul-degraw ‘s question actually wasn’t so much why can’t we agree that banning public carrying is the right for m of gun conrol to focus on. That was a policy variable he chose just to illustrate the question of why it seems like the gun rights movement won’t settle for a compromise at any given point on the gun conrol policy spectrum. if gun control advocates say, okay we accept a personal right to own a bear in the 2nd, if we accept that that means municipalities can’t make their own determinations re McDonald, if we accept this and that, but can we talk compromise on this? The “this” then comes defined as the position of the liberal elites that want to take your guns away no matter what the “this” happens to be. There is simply no political openness to compromise around reasonable policy on the gun rights side – at least that’s what I took to be Saul’s complaint. That’s certainly debatable, but I think it misses his point slightly to become too caught up in the open/concealed/no carry debate in particular (though I take it he does think that that is a reasonable area for compromise). I think his larger point/question is, if not that, then what *are* the right places at which to direct our attempts to reach reasonable compromise?Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to North says:

        …or to own AND bear (Arms), though, hell, come to think of it, why SHOULDN’T the Second Amendment protect a personal right to own a bear?Report

      • zic in reply to North says:

        @michael-drew my complaint that we ignore the “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, . . .” portion of the II.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to North says:


        Apparently at NRA headquarters the 2nd is inscribed on the wall with the whole first clause omitted. Just, “..the right of the people to keep & bear Arms shall not be infringed.”Report

      • James Hanley in reply to North says:

        The reason the “well regulated militia” part gets ignored is that it’s boilerplate. The 2nd is unique among the Bill of Rights in having an explanation of purpose. It’s like those resolutions that say “wherefore…” They explain your reasons for the resolution, but they aren’t actually controlling or restrictive language.

        I’m not aware that anyone really knows they they did this in the 2nd and only the 2nd. But imagine the effects if we started letting “wherefores” become controlling language. We know, for example, that the implicit “wherefore” of the First Amendment free speech protection is to protect political speech.Would that mean, then, that we could regulate literature on the grounds that it’s not directly enough related to elections and public policy?

        Now if the language of the 2nd had been, “So long as an armed citizenry is necessary…” we’d have language that could be interpreted as controlling, rather than merely explanatory.Report

      • Gabriel Conroy in reply to North says:


        I see your boilerplate argument, and it’s probably more correct than not. But I think it’s plausible to interpret the “well-regulated militia….” phrasing to also function in part as a definition, in a similar way that a statute might say, “for the purposes of this law, x is defined as …..”

        Maybe what I discern as a plausible interpretation is a post hoc reading of something that can’t be supported when it comes to analyzing the 2d amendment. But is it really established that the introductory clause is to have no import and is only boilerplate?Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

        We know, for example, that the implicit “wherefore” of the First Amendment free speech protection is to protect political speech.Would that mean, then, that we could regulate literature on the grounds that it’s not directly enough related to elections and public policy?

        If I recall correctly, Robert Bork thought so.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to North says:


        Yeah, that’s the dominant legal understanding, as I understand things.

        It’s not that we couldn’t change that. It’s just that reading introductory clauses as controlling would require a change in long-standing traditions of interpretation–which is possible, just hard–and would have consequences far beyond how we interpret the 2nd Amendment–which might be acceptable, at least to some, but that call can’t be honestly made by anyone unless they have some realistic idea of what those consequences would be.

        I’m just trying to point out that reading that clause as controlling wouldn’t necessarily be as simple and limited as people might at first assume.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to North says:


        And Robert Bork is not within the mainstream of American legal thought; not even within the mainstream of conservative American legal thought.

        He’s just an anecdote.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

        Sure, saying “Robert Bork thought so” is the opposite of corroboration. Though he was well within the mainstream of contemporary conservative thought: whatever liberals were for, he was against it.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to North says:

        I have no brief for Bork, but your interpretation of him is so simplistic as to be laughable.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

        I was going by what he wrote in The Tempting of America. Earlier in life, he might not have been so eaten up by resentment.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to North says:

        That’s an overly simplistic interpretation of that book as well (not that I had any agreement with the book).Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to North says:

        As greginak had mentioned early, absent knowing where he got the gun from, questions of gun control are kind of premature.

        @michael-drew I grow weary of calls for compromise. Start in 1934 & work forward. Gun rights have been “compromised” for the sake of crime reduction since prohibition, and even more so since the drug war & the GWOT. We’ve had this discussion numerous times here. It’s only been since the sunset of the AWB & the Heller decision that the tide has turned, and violent crime, including murders & gun crime have all been constantly trending down since before, and all during.

        What are you willing to grant gun owners in return for what you want? That is the heart of the word compromise.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to North says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist And I grow weary of gun owners acting like victims, when you’ve won every political battle for the past 30 years and still act like the day’s just around the corner when the Gestapo is coming to take your hunting rifle.

        So, yeah, I’m tired of compromise too. Since obviously, policy at the federal level isn’t going to happen, maybe in the next ten to twenty years, an Obama and Hillary appointee dominated Supreme Court will reverse one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in the past 20 years (I only say one of the worst ’cause there’s so many to choose from) and states will have to stop acquiescing to the NRA.

        And yes, congratulations. Our violent crime rate and murder rate is only insanely higher than the Western Europe instead of ungodly higher. But, you can thank Roe vs Wade, the lack of lead in paint, and technology in crime fighting for that, not your precious guns.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to North says:


        I think your words demonstrate the attitude well enough on their own. Compromise? Nah, not so much interested. That’s the attitude. You don’t seem to be contesting that that’s the attitude.

        If you do want to talk compromise, I’m all ears. I don’t know the concerns of gun owners as well as gun owners. What would it be good for me to offer you by way of concessions? What are you offering me?Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to North says:

        Whether the clause is controlling or explanatory, the NRA still makes a choice to omit it. It’s significant that the stated reason for the amendment is unsatisfactory enough for them to selectively quote the text on their wall.

        Also, as I understand it most pre-Heller originalist arguments against a personal right in 2A (eg. Rakove) aren’t dependent on a claim that the first clause is controlling, but at most use it as one of various indications of the original public meaning of the Amendment.Report

      • North in reply to North says:

        Michael, I grant your point entirely. I’m not sure, however, how much of that is unique to gun control exclusively and how much is just a symptom of political conservatism’s general mania at this particular time.

        It seems to me, though, that efficacy is an important element. It is very incumbent on the gun control movement to focus on gun control policies that work. It doesn’t appear, for instance, that conceal-carry bans have much useful impact. If the only policy gun control advocates can be certain works is European/Canadian style blanket bans then that means their brief is with the 2nd amendment itself and gun control advocated should immediately begin the titanically slow and arduous process of building up support for a constitutional amendment* and that patchwork legislation below that level is a general waste of effort.

        What we should really not do, though, is fall into the fallacy of something must be done and this is something.

        *And lets not fool ourselves, support for said amendment is not currently even close to sufficient in the electorate.Report

      • zic in reply to North says:

        NYT oped by Joe Nocera addresses this today; based on the book, “Second Amendment: A Biography” by Michael Waldman.

        The surprising discovery is that of all the amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights, the Second was probably the least debated. What we know is that the founders were deeply opposed to a standing army, which they viewed as the first step toward tyranny. Instead, their assumption was that the male citizenry would all belong to local militias. As Waldman writes, “They were not allowed to have a musket; they were required to. More than a right, being armed was a duty.”

        Thus the unsurprising discovery: Virtually every reference to “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” — the second part of the Second Amendment — was in reference to military defense. Waldman notes the House debate over the Second Amendment in the summer of 1789: “Twelve congressmen joined the debate. None mentioned a private right to bear arms for self-defense, hunting or for any purpose other than joining the militia.”

        In time, of course, the militia idea died out, replaced by a professionalized armed service. Most gun regulation took place at the state and city level. The judiciary mostly stayed out of the way. In 1939, the Supreme Court upheld the nation’s first national gun law, the National Firearms Act, which put onerous limits on sawed-off shotguns and machine guns — precisely because the guns had no “reasonable relation” to “a well-regulated militia.”

        But then, in 1977, there was a coup at the National Rifle Association, which was taken over by Second Amendment fundamentalists. Over the course of the next 30 years, they set out to do nothing less than change the meaning of the Second Amendment, so that it’s final phrase — “shall not be infringed” — referred to an individual right to keep and bear arms, rather than a collective right for the common defense.


  6. Burt Likko says:

    I think this is the Newtown issue all over again. If that creep wanted a gun, he could have got one. Same thing with the UCSB shooter, touched in the head though he was.

    There are plenty of large gatherings at UCSB, as there are at most larger colleges. Concerts, protests, sports, rallies. If guns did not exist, he could have knifed dozens of people at such a gathering before being stopped through use of force. And if not knives then something else.

    For me, it’s not about the weapon, it’s about identifying the lunatics before they go off.Report

    • aaron david in reply to Burt Likko says:

      This, a thousand time this. That said, without some massive intrusions into our personal lives, I don’t know how we could get there.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Beyond knives, he could easily have made a bomb, like the Boston Marathon guys.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Another way to say this is that we shouldn’t be focusing on specific means, that are replaceable, but on causes.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I think the weapon is important because the type of weapon controls the level of damage. It is possible to kill people with a knife but unless you cut or slash in the right place its a lot more difficult than a gun. Medicine is a lot better at preventing knife deaths than gun deaths. China has had a few similar incidents with mad man with knives in the past year with a Newton style attack occurring about the same time as our tragedy did but the fatalities are lower. Many of the mass knife attacks have had zero in fatalities because its much more difficult to kill with a knife. People are also going to have an easier time neutralizing a mad mans with a knife than a mad man with gun further reducing fatalities.

      Bombs can wreck more havoc than guns if done right but its much more difficult to buy a bomb or make one for yourself. There is always a chance it could detonate while still in preparation and only off the maker.

      What makes guns deadly is that they are readily available, that its very easy to kill with a gun compared to other weapons, and that stopping a mad man with a gun is a very risky proposition.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

        The first three people he killed were killed with a knife.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Jaybird, I said that it is very possible to kill with a knife but harder. Do you think that if Mr. Rodger’s went on his public killing spree with a knife rather than a gun that the results would be as bad?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Um, he *DID* begin his killing spree with a knife. He killed the first three people with one.

        Would you say it was as bad as if he had shot them or better or what?Report

      • North in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Yes he killed the first three with a knife, but I think Lee has a concrete point that had his only weapon been a knife that it’s likely the body count would have been much closer to three than it ended up being with a gun. A drive by stabbing, I suspect, is a difficult thing to pull off.Report

      • Glyph in reply to LeeEsq says:

        A drive by stabbing, I suspect, is a difficult thing to pull off.

        It’s easier than drive-by trebucheting though.Report

      • Patrick in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I think Lee has a concrete point that had his only weapon been a knife that it’s likely the body count would have been much closer to three than it ended up being with a gun.

        If he hadn’t had access to a gun, he might have just driven down Isla Vista in a car during Halloween and killed dozens more people.

        Or used a few firebombs and burned down one of the multi-story residence halls.

        Knives are also surprisingly effective mass killing weapons, because during spree killings, the potential victim pool is generally speaking just trying to get away.

        (just read the linked post).Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Or a spree killer might invent a way to accelerate the rate of nuclear fusion that occurs in the sun, quickly ending all life on Earth.

        So next time you read that some madman gunned a few dozen people down, count your blessings.Report

      • Patrick in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Yes, Mike, one counterfactual is entirely equivalent to another.Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I disagree. We save people with gunshots all the time. Saving people with knife wounds is harder, because they tend to be more large scale. You have to hit the femoral with a bullet, but if you slash the leg, you might take out the artery.

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to Burt Likko says:

      This seems like the key point. You can tighten gun laws incrementally and fewer and fewer people will get guns. Unfortunately, the last people who will still have them are the crazy folks and the dangerous criminals. I’ll grant that if we completely ban guns and start sweeping them up every chance we get, we’ll make a serious dent in gun crime (given enough time and energy). But half measures seem unlikely to do much other than piss off law abiding citizens and create political hot button issues.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Absent the gun, he could have run everyone over with his car; he could have packed the car with explosives or other volatiles and rammed a singles bar or a crowd; etc.

      If I want to sow terror & death, I don’t need a gun. The gun isn’t even the easiest way, merely the least imaginative.Report

      • zic in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        You’re pushing into territory that discomforts me terribly. We’ve been through the statistics on domestic violence, so I’m not going to lecture or drag them out again; but beyond any shadow of a doubt, guns are used to threaten and murder women in their own homes far, far too frequently for me to just agree and not push back.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist There are no massive spree car killing attacks in Germany. Nobody is killing a few people every month or so with knives in Japan. People aren’t planting bombs in London every two months since the IRA has been shut down.

        So, yes, easy access to guns are the problem.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @jesse-ewiak – conceded that guns are apparently used in most (and generally, the most deadly) rampage killings. But you may want to re-think the concrete simplicity of your statement.

        Note that:

        A.) melee weapons (knives etc.) are quite popular in China/Indonesia/Philippines

        B.) There are plenty of countries, without the initials ‘U.S.’ and with strong gun control laws (i.e., no easy access to guns) in these lists – yet the killers used guns anyway, and

        C.) You can apparently do a surprising amount of damage with a car (though for fatalities-per-incident, arson, bombing or poison are the clear ‘winners’).Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        To me, the China/Indonesia contrast demonstrates that the problem here likely is related to the easy availability of guns, though I suppose if you can produce evidence that the rate of spree killing incidents is the same in those places as here, I’d let go of that. So to me, those examples don’t on their face show that @jesse-ewiak ‘s diagnosis is wrong, though it’s presumably not monocausal. The problem, of course, is that even if gun availability is a big part of the problem, that doesn’t mean that a prescription aimed at that source of the problem will be efficacious. But to me it means that attempts to treat the problem through that route are fully legitimate.Report

      • @jesse-ewiak

        There are no massive spree car killing attacks in Germany. Nobody is killing a few people every month or so with knives in Japan. People aren’t planting bombs in London every two months since the IRA has been shut down.
        So, yes, easy access to guns are the problem.

        As I have noted previously, teasing out the causality of gun violence is exceedingly difficult. For example, it could be the case that US culture strongly favours violent retribution. This would explain high rates of violent crime and opposition to gun control. As an aside, it would also explain why your criminal sentences are so severe and prison conditions so poor.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Believe me, @james-k, I get there are other reasons and I’ll happily include the idea that many American’s are total assholes who are obsessed with vengeance and punishment among those reasons.

        But, I also honestly think that if we only had say, I don’t know, 1 gun for every 5 or 7 people and most of those guns were hunting rifles instead of a gun per person and a lot of those being handguns, we’d have a much, much safer and saner country.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Nobody is saying that without access to guns their wouldn’t be any violent spree attacks in the United States. We know that its perfectly possible to commit murderous spree attacks with guns. The problem with guns is that they make our violent spree attacks more deadly because its easier to kill people with a gun rather than a melee weapon and harder to takedown a mad man with a gun than a mad man with a knife.Report

      • @jesse-ewiak

        I really don’t know. Medieval Europe had fewer guns than the US (lower quality ones too), but a much higher murder rate.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @james-k, Medieval Europe also had worse medicine than modern societies. Its easier to save the life of a victim of a knife attack than a gun attack. Death is more likely to be instantaneous in a gun attack. The knife attack victim has a much better chance of surviving the encounter especially if the perpetrator is in a rush job.

        I’m not sure why so many people are having a very difficult time understanding that guns make spree violence worse because they are more potentially deadly than other weapons. The willful blindness is frustrating.Report

      • @LeeEsq

        It’s my training at work – I know how hard it is to disentangle the causality here. There are just too many variables at work here.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @michael-drew –

        To me, the China/Indonesia contrast demonstrates that the problem here likely is related to the easy availability of guns, though I suppose if you can produce evidence that the rate of spree killing incidents is the same in those places as here, I’d let go of that. So to me, those examples don’t on their face show that ‘s diagnosis is wrong, though it’s presumably not monocausal.

        Jesse was rhetorically comparing rates of hypothetical rampages using other types of weapons than guns in other countries, to those in the US (which primarily use guns), and asserting that it was clearly the easy availability of guns here that is the cause of the problem.

        I don’t have the granularity you are requesting, but in China (which admittedly is a ginormous population) there were 7 school rampages between 2010 and 2012 *alone*.

        Germany, with a much smaller population than ours, has also seen a few school shooting rampage incidents (Steinhauser, Kretschmer).

        Now, per my initial concession and LeeEsq’s point in other threads, it is almost undoubtedly true that a gunman can kill people more quickly and effectively than a stabber (see those China numbers over two years – at least 25 fatalities and 115 injured – versus Sandy Hook’s 26 fatalities in one incident). If Jesse were making *that* point, I wouldn’t have said anything.

        But I keep seeing people blithely assert that

        A.) Rampage killings are a uniquely-American phenomenon when they are clearly not (in fact, I suspect that controlled for other factors, we’d find that rampage killing is just as misunderstood as serial killing, and a fairly consistent percentage of people, usually men, just sort of “break” in almost any population).


        B.) That gun control would clearly solve the problem, when plenty of examples of countries with both strict gun control AND rampage killing may be found by a quick trip to wikipedia; it doesn’t automatically make gun control an illegitimate avenue, but it does call into question the assertion that easy access to guns is the cause of our problems (though again, it may exacerbate the effects).Report

      • Glyph in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        That sentence in B.) should read “when plenty of examples of countries with both strict gun control AND gun rampage killing”Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        James K,

        For example, it could be the case that US culture strongly favours violent retribution. This would explain high rates of violent crime and opposition to gun control. As an aside, it would also explain why your criminal sentences are so severe and prison conditions so poor.

        This. It points in the direction where an answer – if there is one – will be found, it seems to me.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        For example, it could be the case that US culture strongly favours violent retribution.

        You mean Americans fantasize about, say, having super powers and using them to extract vengeance? Geez, you’d think there should be some concrete sign of that.Report

      • veronica dire in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I knives were exactly as lethal as guns then gun owners would not complain about being restricted to knives for self defense. Right? That makes sense?

        Gun advocates know darn well that guns are more lethal.Report

      • veronica dire in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        And if I developed super powers, I would mostly use them to perfect my mad dancing skills and get all the women and men to go home with me.

        Yay superpowers!Report

      • Glyph in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @mike-schilling – You mean Americans fantasize about, say, having super powers and using them to extract vengeance? Geez, you’d think there should be some concrete sign of that.

        Well, to be fair, that sort of thing is pretty deeply embedded in our Judeo-Christian cultural DNA.Report

    • Simon in reply to Burt Likko says:

      This is utterly untenable. You’re asserting that without a gun, the casualty rate would be several times higher, with the killer knifing “dozens of people at such a gathering before being stopped through use of force.” This is unsupportable on any level. In any situation where Rodger inflicts a mass casualty stabbing, it would be a higher casualty shooting. The body counts are CONSISTENTLY higher when the killer has a gun.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Simon says:

        Its not only unsupportable on every level, its patently untrue. People Rodgers have used knives or other melee weapons in countries where guns were not easily accessible and the fatality rate is usually much lower. Its often zero because the mad man is not only stopped sooner but a knife would tends to kill slower. This might mean more pain for the victim in the short term but it gives medical providers time to get to the scene and prevent death.Report

      • Patrick in reply to Simon says:

        Its not only unsupportable on every level, its patently untrue.

        It isn’t either of those things, not based on actual data.

        The actual data is really terribly inconclusive, and it’s very difficult to say anything with certainty except that the easiest way to kill a lot of people is to use an airplane.

        Everything else is conjecture.

        That doesn’t make it wrong, it just makes it conjecture.Report

      • Kim in reply to Simon says:

        please provide evidence that bullet per slash, guns kill more than knives.Report

    • And if not knives then something else.

      A historical note that’s almost on topic. For 250 years or so, the urban self-defense weapon of choice in Europe was some variation on the smallsword. Highly lethal in the hands of someone who knows what they’re about, even with today’s level of medical care. Over much of that period, the authorities made considerable efforts to control who could own them and to restrict usage. IIRC, one of the French Louis’s attempted to suppress dueling because too many of the aristocracy were being killed off. Militarily useless, the smallsword was the small handgun of its day.Report

  7. Road Scholar says:

    I find the gun control debate to be frustrating and annoying all around.

    1. It tends to arise most often in the wake of spectacular incidents like this, which happen to be the one category of gun violence that is least amenable to the types of gun control measures most frequently proposed.

    2. No, Mr. LaPierre, more good guys with guns isn’t the answer, but it makes your corporate sponsors happy so I get why you say that.

    3. Both the popular imagination and more recent SCOTUS interpretation is seriously at odds with the historical understanding of the 2nd amendment. The militia was an actual thing, an idea that didn’t pan out in the end, but still the actual aim of the 2nd. IOW, that prefatory clause isn’t meaningless.

    Also, the wild west wasn’t actually that wild when it came to guns. Places like Dodge City had laws requiring cowboys to check their weapons into the sheriff when they rode into town.

    4. The failure of local and state level gun regulation to meaningfully address gun violence is itself meaningless in a country with open borders between states. Correlary: In a country with no internal checkpoints local gun control ordinances are doomed to be ineffectual. This point is aimed at both sides of the debate.

    5. Similarly, a patchwork approach to background checks, with exemptions for private sales of various types, and a system seemingly designed to be as cumbersome for the law enforcement as possible, is the next best thing to no background checks at all.

    In the wake of the Newtown massacre of twenty children, fully 90% of the public supported closing background check loopholes. It couldn’t get through Congress. I don’t think this is exactly indicative of a “tyranny of the majority.”

    6. Rational gun owners really need to step up and support meaningful reforms while you still have the opportunity. Pendulums swing and, quite frankly, you’re in the minority. I’m not your enemy but you also haven’t given me a lot of reason to give a shit. Even draconian gun control isn’t going to much affect me and I have a limited amount of political give-a-shit to spread around. Demonstrate that you take my concerns seriously and I’m much more likely to return the favor.Report

    • LWA in reply to Road Scholar says:

      I second this, on all points.

      Also, to expand on #1, we fixate on mass shootings the way we fixate on plane crashes, because they are spectacular, while we ignore common shootings the way we ignore car crashes.

      I add:
      A. We need to address our cultural attitudes towards guns. We- collectively, even those of us who aren’t gun nuts- have a fetish about gun violence, as evidenced by our movies and games.
      The Big Man With a Big Gun is the archetypal hero of our imaginations. I don’t think its debatable is it, why angry frustrated people turn to this as their preferred method of working out thier fury?

      B. We need to consider our attitude towards the individual and community- the lone actor heroically taking on injustice and setting things right, without the input or mediation or influence of others is also a trait of the Big Man With a Big Gun type.Report

      • Road Scholar in reply to LWA says:

        Thanks, @lwa . I basically agree with your addendum in principle. The problem I see there is the same difficulty I see in a lot of libertarian “solutions” to societal problems. “If everyone would just… X.” isn’t a real solution because in no real world that we’re likely to inhabit anytime soon are everyone simply going to do X. In the long run it’s the real answer but it’s going to be a slog getting there.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to LWA says:

        Re: B.

        I get where you’re going with that, but I think your statement is too broad. If a pedophile grabs a child off the street, should individuals not intervene, but wait for the police? When a terrorist tries to blow up a plane, should no individual act, but hope duly authorized law enforcement agents arrive in time?

        There’s no real doubt that one of the things that allowed 9/11 to happen was that as a population we’d been trained to sit quietly during hijackings, and wait for the authorities.

        But of course the authorities can’t always be there. The right of self-defense, for example, is not considered as an absolute right, but only a right you can exercise until law enforcement arrives. That is, the right to self-defense, as understood in our law, is a recognition that government won’t always be available quickly enough, so sometimes we have to act. The same, I believe, is the case with citizens’ arrest laws.

        Likewise, after the earthquake in San Francisco in ’89, a couple of people sued the police for not being at point X to protect them. They lost, because it was recognized that it was logistically impossible for the police to be everywhere they were needed at that point in time.

        Further, the Supreme Court has ruled that the police do not have a duty to protect individuals specifically, just a duty to the public in general.

        I’m not advocating for people to run into situations drawing their guns and shooting wildly as they imagine themselves a Hollywood hero. I’ve no brief for the George Zimmermans of the world. But there’s little evidence that that is happening on a large scale, and unless and until we want to make police ubiquitous in our society, the initial responsibility, and possibility, for defense against violence, rests with individuals.Report

  8. Mike Dwyer says:


    I have to join MRS here in scratching my head about the connection you are making to concealed-carry in this post. California is a may-issue state and legal concealed carry is almost unheard of along the coast, so it really has absolutely nothing to do with this event.

    If you are talking more broadly about concealed-carry as a general premise, I still don’t see this as a problem. To my knowledge there hasn’t been a single event in the last 20 years where someone used their legally-concealed firearm to try to stop a mass shooting and accidentally shot someone else. On the flip side, people have used their concealed carry guns to stop plenty of other crimes in the U.S. since CDW became common. There is also reason to believe that some mass shootings have been brought to an end by someone with a CDW.

  9. Stella B. says:

    When my mom was 14, a neighbor, practicing Tom Mix style quick-draws, accidentally shot her little brother in the head and killed him. My grandparents did not mourn their child less because he was killed by a moron rather than a nut job. My grandfather, an avid hunter, gave all of his guns away and never shot another one.

    No one is claiming that gun control will stop crazy people from using guns in mass shootings. It won’t. If it stops angry ex-spouses and depressed adolescents from accessing guns easily, then it will have done it’s job. The number of people killed by crazies is dwarfed by the number of people killed in domestic violence and by suicide. Gun suicide rates by state as an example, reflect gun ownership rates in the state. A waiting period (cooling off period) like we have in California did not work for the UCSB shooter, but it helps to reduce the far more common causes of gun death. Add to that a requirement for as much education as we require from car drivers, closing of the gun show loophole, and maybe even monitoring for people who stockpile weapons and ammunition, and you would see a reduction in our insanely high rate of gun deaths. An elimination of gun deaths will never be possible and those of us who are not gun-worshipers are asking only for some common sense reform. We don’t want to take guns away from collectors or the tiny, tiny number of hunters. We just want them to be “well-regulated”, to quote a famous document.

    A fat, paranoid vigilante is not going to stop “government tyranny” with a stockpile of AK-47s and out of date ammunition. The other side has M1 tanks. That’s a fantasy. An aging gun owner with his gun in a holster is not going to stop an active shooter while well trained police officers fail. There were cops present at UCSB and Columbine. They even traded shots with the Columbine shooters. A less well trained civilian is not going to save the day. That’s a fantasy. The Gabby Giffords shooting was over and the shooter had been stopped before any of the other guns present were unholstered. The fantasy failed that day. Eventually Cliven Bundy will pay for what he has stolen from the public and it is likely that not a shot will be fired. Yet another fantasy will collapse.

    Gun worship is a false idol. The risks that a gun poses to a family that owns one far exceed the potential for real benefit (vs. fantasy benefit). Would I be willing to put a sign on my house that says “No Gun Here”? You bet. My security system is licensed and I carry liability insurance for any accidental misfire. It reduces my risk of suicide and has about as much chance against the government as Cliven Bundy’s gang of doofuses. At the same time it lets me know when the dastardly mail carrier has put her nasty, foul mail in my mailbox (my security systems are only a tiny bit smarter than a gun, sometimes.)Report

    • dand in reply to Stella B. says:

      Suicide should not me considered when discussing gun control freedom includes the freedom to harm oneself . Notice that most people who think suicide should be accounted for when discussing gun control support death with dignity laws; why does their position on suicide change when it comes to guns?Report

      • greginak in reply to dand says:

        Because most people who commit suicide are suffering from some level of mental illness and aren’t in their right minds so they use a permanent solution to a short term problem. A completed suicide is much more likely with a gun then other methods. I used to do suicide screenings and work with mentally ill people. If there was a concern about suicide get the guns and any other likely methods of suicide away from the person was common sense and job 1.Report

      • LWA in reply to dand says:

        As one who supports gun control and death with dignity, allow me to reply-
        Death with dignity does NOT equal the right to simply kill oneself at any time, under any circumstances.

        Dying with dignity can only be done when there are adequate regulations, oversight, safeguards and community concern so as to ensure that its dignity we are enabling, not misery.Report

      • Stella B. in reply to dand says:

        And studies that have looked at failed suicides have found that only a very small percentage go on to repeat attempts. Suicide attempts are rarely rational decisions. Heck, most people with terminal disease who acquire the means to suicide through death with dignity laws do not go on to use it.Report

      • Kim in reply to dand says:

        that doesn’t fit my experience. The people I know who have attempted suicide have done it again (possibly years later, but still…)Report

  10. LWA says:

    The most popular weapon in the arsenal of gun nuts is the constant drumbeat of fear and paranoia- that we must, absolutely must, arm ourselves from any manner of threats, from government tyranny, to street thugs, even to other gun nuts on a rampage.

    Its this fearfulness that is the most toxic, and ironically, the most welcoming to actual tyranny. Almost all tyrannies were ushed in on a flood of fear from which only the elimination of liberty can deliver us.

    For the record- I live in a large urban area and never, ever lock the door to my house. I leave my car unlocked, with the keys in the center console.
    I would happily post a sign in my yard advertising this fact.

    The truth is, random attacks by strangers are so seldom and rare as to be freakish. As Stella notes most violence is from family or aquaintances, and arming ourselves to the teeth is the sign of a sickness, not a strength.Report

    • Murali in reply to LWA says:

      leaving your keys in the console seems to be just asking to have your house robbed.Report

    • j r in reply to LWA says:

      The most popular weapon in the arsenal of gun nuts is the constant drumbeat of fear and paranoia…

      Please reread that sentence until you see the irony in it. It shouldn’t take too many times.Report

      • Road Scholar in reply to j r says:

        @j-r , did you happen to catch Wayne LaPierre’s address to CPAC? He was all about how we all needed to arm ourselves against the onslaught from criminals running rampant in the streets. Father stabbers! Mother rapers! Father rapers!!! Right there next to you on the group W bench!Report

      • Patrick in reply to j r says:

        Wayne LaPierre is a gigantic idiot.Report

  11. dhex says:


    “Or are we just going to continue bashing horns forever while dreaming fantasies of total defeat for our ideological opponents?”

    the real fantasy is one of safety.

    safety from them.

    safety from those who would harm you. the reckless. the careless. the criminal. the depraved. the willfully cruel. the selfish.

    those who would take what is yours.

    those who are so unreasonable, so meanspirited, so self-centered, that they’ll stop at nothing to prevent safety and security. they are terrible, sick, people who enable ciphers to kill.

    shorter version: bsdi 4 eva; sports bar ist kreig; boom. skrillex.Report

  12. Road Scholar says:

    Above, @mad-rocket-scientist asks, what compromise are you willing to offer? The following is my proposal.

    First, this proposal is based on a number of presuppositions:
    1. The second amendment exists and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Scotus has affirmed the second as conferring an individual right to keep and bear arms. This also is unlikely to change anytime soon.

    2. Scotus has also affirmed that governments have considerable latitude in regulating firearms wrt time and place, types of weapons, and encumbrance of particular individuals for cause.

    3. Notwithstanding point #2, the current mish-mash of federal, state, and local regulations constitutes a genuine threat to the peaceful exercise of second amendment liberties by law abiding citizens. It’s unconscionable that your status can shift from “perfectly legal” to “felon” merely by crossing a state, county, or municipal boundary, often on the basis of a technicality.

    4. While citizens enjoy a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, this right, like all rights, can be legitimately rescinded for just cause and pursuant to due process. Consequently, while the government has no legitimate purpose in knowing how many and which weapons an unencumbered citizen owns, it does have a legitimate interest in the provenance of weapons flowing to the legitimately encumbered.

    5. Reality check: A firearm is a machine specifically designed for the sole purpose of killing and doing so efficiently. The reason you want one so badly for self-defense is the same reason the criminal wants one for nefarious purposes and why it’s the soldier’s best friend. Yes, you can kill with a knife or a car or a rock. But there’s a reason you’re not content to wield one of those for self-defense so let’s not be disingenuous.

    Given the above, I propose the following:

    A. A federal concealed firearm permit that would supercede local and state restrictions. It would be available on a must-issue basis, pursuant to a basic safety and competency course, and take the form of an endorsement on your driver’s license or state-issued ID. The safety course would be a high school thing like driver’s ed, and parents could opt their children out if desired. The endorsement would be presumptively available to all citizens over the age of 18, with restricted “learners permit” version available for younger folks. It could only be withheld, rescinded, or suspended by court order for a well-defined list of reasons. Since you are essentially “pre-cleared” the endorsement would allow you to purchase whatever firearms you like, in whatever venue and by whatever means, upon presentment of valid ID with endorsement. No background checks or waiting periods.

    B. Congress should charter a charitable, non-profit trust–I would suggest calling it F.O.R.T., Firearm Owners Registry Trust. The purpose would be to create a secure, privately-administered registry for firearms, accessible to law enforcement pursuant to court order, for the purpose of investigating the provenance of firearms that make their way into the hands of legally encumbered individuals.

    Background: A trust is a private legal entity, similar to a corporation, but instead of shareholders it has beneficiaries. And instead of a fiduciary duty to maximize profit it has a specific set of duties as outlined in the charter. The beneficiaries have legal standing to sue the trust administrators for specific performance of those duties.

    In this case the beneficiaries would be the firearm owners who are required to register their guns with FORT. The chartered duties would consist of zealously defending the second amendment rights of the beneficiaries, securely guarding the information contained in the registry, providing convenient means for timely updating registry information to reflect sales, disposal, theft and other transfers of ownership, and to provide these services at minimal cost. FORT also must provide such information as legally requested by law enforcement pursuant to court order but also to vigorously challenge such orders when appropriate (fishing expeditions).

    After an appropriate compliance period it would be a felony to possess an unregistered firearm or to fail to register transfers of ownership. The registration status of a firearm could only be challenged upon probable cause with the presumption that firearms in the possession of endorsed individuals are legally registered.

    C. State laws that prohibit the owners of private properties such as churches, schools, and businesses from prohibiting firearms on their property are insulting to property rights and should be overridden at the federal level.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Road Scholar says:

      Nicely done, @road-scholar .

      I think we need to do a better job of tracking guns. And by this I mean that guns should be connected to their owners. Any transfer of a weapon should be registered. If a gun is used in a crime, the legal owner bears legal responsibility. If a gun is stolen, the owner bears responsibility for reporting the conditions under which it was stolen. Doing so absolves him of responsibility. However, if he is found to be negligent in his storage, use, and/or handling of the weapon contributing to its theft, he loses the right to acquire another gun (perhaps just temporarily). As you outline, the registry would only be accessible via court order after a crime has been committed.

      The goal here wouldn’t be to curtail any individual gun owner’s rights, but to limit the damage done by guns. If you want to own and use a gun in a legal manner, no problem. Hell, if you want to acquire a gun in an illegal manner and use it in a legal manner, you’re still not going to have an issue. If you use a gun in an illegal manner, we’ll find you and prosecute you for that. If you contribute to guns getting into the hands of people they shouldn’t get into, we’ll find you and prosecute you and/or limit your ability to do so in the future. If you’re a gun seller and you routinely have a box of guns disappear off the back of your truck, tough nuts for you: you’re responsible for whatever happens with those guns and no more selling guns for you.

      Thoughts? Given the emphasis that the gun lobby puts on safe, responsible, and legal use, I would think they’d be on board with this: let those who use guns properly use guns properly and stop those who don’t use guns improperly from using guns improperly.Report

      • Road Scholar in reply to Kazzy says:

        Exactly, @kazzy , we need to prioritize our efforts where they are most likely to have an effect. I don’t particularly fear people like @mad-rocket-scientist and @mike-dwyer because, you know, they’re sane, decent people. And I understand their frustrations, even though I don’t personally experience them.

        I would really like to hear their thoughts on this because basically I’m inviting them to put their money where their mouths are. If 10k+ deaths by gunshot annually really aren’t about the sheer number of guns in our society, but, as they (gun-rights advocates in general) assert, about bad guys vs. good guys wielding them, then they should welcome reforms tailored to that paradigm.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

        Kazzy – this is a bit too far:

        “If a gun is used in a crime, the legal owner bears legal responsibility.”

        That’s like saying that if your car is stolen then you are responsible if someone kills someone with it or uses it in the commission of another crime. Gun rights advocates routinely use cars as a good analogy for gun rights because they kill a lot more people every year despite the standards for licensing being so much higher. (11K gun deaths vs. 34K auto deaths).

        Securing guns from a home robbery is pretty hard unless you have a couple of thousand dollars for a heavy-duty safe. As a corollary, what about prescription medications? Those are often stolen from homes in rural areas.

        My point is not that gun owners have no responsibilities, however if we get as aggressive as you are proposing with private owners then you’re creating a framework to discourage gun ownership. If that is your end goal, so be it, but if not then you have to think it all the way through.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:


        I support aggressive pursuit of gun trafficking. I am also on record as saying that we need to tie ammunition (not guns) to point-of-sale. I like the idea of putting serial numbers on bullets. I am open to the idea of eliminating private sales but there has to be a way to grandfather in the millions of guns that cannot be traced to purchase presently. I am also in favor of doing a better job of enforcing current laws regarding felons and firearms. Too many people violate that law and never serve any time.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        Did you read the rest of my proposal? I address just that concern: if the gun is reported stolen before any crime is committed, than the legal owner is deemed not responsible. If an investigation into the theft demonstrates the owner was being negligent in securing the weapon, he might have his future gun ownership rights curtailed (on account of not being a responsible owner). I’d be more than happy to let the gun owners themselves draw up the criteria for responsibly securing the weapon.

        Basically, the goal here is to prevent people from funneling guns to those who shouldn’t have them by repeatedly having them “stolen”. If you have 10 guns a month stolen off your front porch, where you left them unsecured while you napped inside… sorry, you’re not a responsible gun owner and you don’t get any more guns. If you took the requisite steps and still had a gun stolen, we chalk that up to bad luck and recognize you as a victim who should bear no further responsibility for having been victimized.

        It won’t stop every improper use of a gun. But it will at least stop the flow of guns into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them and wouldn’t be able to acquire them legally.

        It would also encourage people to be more responsible with their weapons. If you have a 20-something son living in your house with a mental disorder, you will bear responsibility if he gains access to your guns and goes on a rampage. Take the steps to prevent that from happening.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        Seeing your comment to @road-scholar , I’d venture to guess you and I are actually much more aligned in our thinking.

        I have zero interest in curtailing the rights of people who use guns safely and responsibly. What I want to do is go after people who use guns unsafely and/or irresponsibly AND those who facilitate them in doing so. If anyone takes an active and intentional part in acquiring or transporting guns and ammunition for use in criminal activity (or what could reasonably assumed to be criminal activity — including the unlicensed/permitted/whathaveyou possession of a gun), I want them prosecuted and I want steps taken to stop them from doing so.

        If you are a gun store owner and you don’t take the requisite steps to ensure the identity of your buyers? At minimum, you lose your license to sell guns.
        If you are a gun owner and you pass off guns to people without license to have them? At minimum, you lose your right to carry a gun.

        If you are a responsible gun owner, I’m not concerned with you. And if you are a responsible gun owner whose weapon is stolen and you report it as such (which I would consider part of being labeled “responsible”), I see you as a crime victim and will treat you as such.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:


        The problem I have with your proposal is that it focuses too much on the individual gun owner. Trafficking is usually done by directly working with certain unscrupulous gun stores. Most crime guns can be traced to a very small number of stores that allow straw purchases. The problem is that the fed has never done a good job of pursuing traffickers and/or doesn’t care. So rather than create some new set of laws that makes everyone lock their guns behind a steel door and prescribes punishments if they make a misstep in controlling their personal firearms, how about we enforce gthe existing laws and go after the small number of individuals that funnel thousands of guns into urban areas?Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        That would be a necessary part of my plan. When I say “gun owner”, I mean the last person to have legal possession of the gun. So this includes gun store owners who “own” their inventory. If we find out a gun that was once on their shelf is used in a drive by and they have no legitimate record of having sold it, they’re done. They’re done selling guns and they may be held criminally or civilly liable for the deaths.

        My plan would focus primarily on these people. It would only really target individual owners if they seemed to be engaged in their own funneling OR were otherwise being grossly negligent with their guns.

        Again, I would let those on the “gun owning” side of the spectrum define what qualifies as response securing of a gun. If you (you, Mike Dwyer) tell me that a pistol kept unloaded in a bedside table drawer is reasonably responsible, I’d accept that.

        But the guy who gets a gun stolen every week from his unlocked truck parked in the same spot during each theft? Yea… that’s not acceptable. Maybe he doesn’t go to jail, but he doesn’t get to buy any more guns.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:


        Most guns that are used in crimes were legally sold. The problem is that the next owner (or the one after that) is the one that trafficks the guns. The way the system works now i could pay you $50 to go buy a gun legally. Then you sell it to some stranger I bring to you and no names or paperwork are exchanged. That guy then goes to an inner city and sells the gun to a gang member. So the problem is not really stolen guns, it’s the private sell loophole.

        What frustrates me is that most serious gun collectors have several guns in their collection that were purchased through a background check and are documented, but they still don’t want the government knowing about every purchase they make. I’m warming to a universal registry but there have to be some serious protections put in place.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        In that scenario, as the last legal owner of the gun, I would bear responsibility for it. If I could be brought up on accessory to murder charges if that gun is used to kill someone, I might think twice about doing it.

        There could still be workarounds. I could secure my gun properly and let you “steal” it. Though if you left any fringerprints (all gun thefts would be thoroughly investigated), you’d be up shit’s creek. But it’d probably discourage the amateurs, at least.

        I do believe that gun control is truly a balance between the rights of legitimate gun owners and the rights of the broader citizenry to be safe. I put a big emphasis on the “responsible” and “safe” parts of the argument because I think doing so can incentivize the right behavior and make it easier to identify those whose rights should be curtailed (as opposed to sweeping rights curtailment).

        As always, I appreciate your thoughtful, nuanced, and reasonable thoughts on a topic that I know is of great importance to you but also a highly charged one. Thanks.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Road Scholar says:

      I don’t know what I think of your proposal, because it requires some thought, but I want to say kudos for giving one of the more thoughtful and creative answers I’ve seen.Report

      • Road Scholar in reply to James Hanley says:

        Thanks, @james-hanley , that means a lot coming from you. I guess it’s my underutilized engineering training coming out to play. I’m so tired of the political yadda-yadda blah-blah back-and-forth that never goes anywhere. Here’s the problem. Here’s the constraints. Let’s craft a solution. Not that I expect anyone to listen but sometimes I just have to put it out there.Report

      • Kim in reply to James Hanley says:

        I’m also appreciative.Report

      • Same here. There might need to be some negotiation for what the governments can and cannot retrieve from FORT with a warrant, but this definitely seems to me to be on the right track in the opposite way that a lot of proposals start off on the wrong track.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to James Hanley says:

        “And why the NRA went along with it.”

        This is true: I was just typing about how it’s their job before I caught myself.

        I totally forget that the NRA is not a trade association for gun manufacturers. They really do operate exactly like one far more than they do a consumer advocacy group — even a *gun* consumer advocacy group.Report

    • Saul DeGraw in reply to Road Scholar says:

      I am largely against concealed carry and absolutely against open carry. As you noted in a previous comment, most communities in the so-called Wild West required people to check guns when they came into town like you would check a coat at a restaurant or some stores require checking bags.

      I simply don’t see any need for concealed or open carry in 21st century America.

      That being said if we need it I would rather have a federal concealed carry license than a patchwork of state and local versions. I do not support shall issue or the idea of a learner’s permit for people under 18. I’d rather concealed carry not be available until someone is 21.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        “I simply don’t see any need for concealed or open carry in 21st century America.”

        I simply don’t see any need for theatrical arts in 21st century America.

        I trust you’ll see what I’m getting at.Report

      • “I am largely against concealed carry and absolutely against open carry.”

        So how can one get the gun from the shop to their house, or from their house to the hunting field or shooting range?Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Saul DeGraw says:


        Your comment reminds me of one of the issues with the gun free school zones act, which prohibited carrying a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. My kids’ schools are situated in neighborhoods, with numerous houses within 1,000 feet. Were those homeowners prohibited from carrying their hunting rifles out to their cars?

        That part of the act was struck down as being beyond Congress’s authority (not interstate commerce), so it’s moot now.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        So how can one get the gun from the shop to their house, or from their house to the hunting field or shooting range?

        Unloaded, inside a locked box.

        Not that I’m saying it would be a good law, but it’s doable.Report

      • @saul-degraw

        I simply don’t see any need for concealed or open carry in 21st century America.

        That should be unpacked a little.

        First, and I don’t think you deny this, other people do see the need, and you have to decide how to live in the same country as they.

        Second, I don’t personally see the need either. I don’t hunt. And if I tried to use a weapon in self-defense, the most likely outcome would be that the criminal would take the gun from me. And I’m also prone to dark moods. I’m not sure if it counts as according to Hoyle clinical depression, and if I had a gun, I’d like to think I wouldn’t use it in such a mood. But I prefer not to tempt fate.

        However, if someone lives in a crime-ridden neighborhood, and the police, for whatever reason, are slow to respond to incidents in that neighborhood, I cannot particularly fault another person for coming to a different conclusion from mine, even if I deep down think that conclusion to be probably unwise.

        Third, some people like to collect guns. My father did (although he also hunted and kept them for what he believed was self-defense). I don’t see the appeal, and the biggest thing I’ve learned from all the gun shows I’d been to with him (and I’ve been to plenty) is that after the first 5 minutes, they’re pretty boring. But other people have different tastes.

        I’m not really as much a fan of “West Wing” as I used to be, but I think Ainsley Hayes, one of the “conservative” characters, got it partially right when she said “it’s not about public safety, it’s that you don’t like the people who own guns.” (I paraphrase.) Now, I see this as only partially right, because I do think most gun control proponents are animated by a sincere regard for what they feel is public safety. But I can’t help shake that simply not liking people who own guns is to some extent involved with the issue. Sometimes people come to different calculations of self-interest and self-protection, or value certain things (like guns-as-collector-items) differently from the way you and I do. And that doesn’t make them evil. And even if they’re wrong, they’re not completely wrong.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        “But I can’t help shake that simply not liking people who own guns is to some extent involved with the issue.”

        I wonder how much of this is the result of not knowing people who own guns. A powerful experience that allowed me to take a more nuanced position on gun owners and gun ownership was spending a weekend in a hunting cabin with a friend and his friends/family as they cleaned their guns. Getting to know these men and seeing how they interacted with their guns helped dispel a number of stereotypes I had believed about gun owners.Report

      • greginak in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        There is some definite truth that some pro-gun control people just don’t like guns and have plenty fo misperceptions about people who own guns. Most of those misperceptions are unfair and wrong being mostly based on shallow biases. Then along come many loud NRA members and others like the very vocal pro-open carry types to verify and amplify all those mostly wrong headed beliefs.Report

      • Saul DeGraw in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        @gabriel-conroy @kazzy

        I would say that @greginak has it the most correct. The gun debate is a cultural issue with a lot of misunderstanding, communication breakdowns, and animosity, distrust, and hostility between sides.

        The stuff that really gets me is open carry demonstrations in liberal areas or taking assault rifles to protests. Unlike MRA I do think this is making a purposeful threat or at least saying stuff like “try me fuckers.”Report

      • So how can one get the gun from the shop to their house, or from their house to the hunting field or shooting range?

        Same way they did in the rural states where I was a kid 50 years ago. Unloaded. In a closed (ie, zippered, snapped) case or holster. Taken directly to the car, and put in the trunk of the car, not the passenger compartment, for transport. Concealed- and open-carry are about walking or driving around with loaded, immediately-accessible guns. My uncle, the Green Beret colonel from rural Iowa, made a comment one day that has stuck with me all those years: “Drive around with a loaded gun in the passenger compartment? Are you f*cking insane?!?”Report

      • Road Scholar in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        @saul-degraw , the purpose of the endorsement scheme is primarily to simplify the whole good-guy, yes, bad-guy, no business around gun sales and transfers. I agree with you that open-carry is sort of obnoxious and seems to mostly be about being deliberately in-your-face about it. But I’m not sure how or why it would actually be more dangerous than concealed carry. Is it the optics you object to?

        As to concealed carry, the need is more political than anything else. This is an exercise in public reason liberalism. The intent is to craft a regime that all reasonable parties have sufficient reason to endorse. That starts with taking the concerns of your opponents seriously. Compromise isn’t really about half-measures; you just end up with ineffectual, pain-in-the-ass crap that satisfies no one. Rather, hold firm on your most important items while yielding on the secondary concerns. Of course I wouldn’t go into a negotiation starting like this but I would be satisfied with this sort of outcome.Report

      • @michael-cain @mike-schilling

        I stand corrected. I had assumed concealed carry applied to unloaded guns in their cases.

        The stuff that really gets me is open carry demonstrations in liberal areas or taking assault rifles to protests. Unlike MRA I do think this is making a purposeful threat or at least saying stuff like “try me fuckers.”

        I agree with all that you say there (and I assume by “MRA” you meant “NRA,” although MRA might in some cases fit, too).Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Saul DeGraw says:


        But if you know you’re being unduly influenced by a subset of provocateurs (and there is no shame in having a strong response to a provocateur with a gun), why not work to overwhelm that response when advocating policy solutions?Report

      • Saul DeGraw in reply to Saul DeGraw says:


        Nope. If people like MRS are going to come up with defenses and scenarios about why open carry with assault rifles is not an aggressive or offensive stance, I am going to keep my ground.

        I am tired of it always being liberals who need to make concession after concession until we basically get nothing.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Saul DeGraw says:


        Can you point towards where @mad-rocket-scientist discuss open carry of “assault rifles”? You are the only one using that term here, for what it’s worth.

        Further, I’m not asking you to make a concession. If you know that the majority of gun owners aren’t crazies, it is disingenuous of you to insist on thinking that they are because of the very vocal, public, and problematic actions of a minority. That is stereotyping, full stop. Asking you to not do that isn’t asking you to make a concession; it’s asking you to be sincere, intellectually honest, and a decent person.Report

      • @kazzy

        I wonder how much of this is the result of not knowing people who own guns.

        That’s probably right.

        I should say that my small sample size of gun owners I know does in some ways support may persons’ stereotypes. Someone else on this thread claimed that “most” gun owners are paranoid, anti-government nuts, and although I disagree with the “most” claim, I have to state that that population seemed to have a strong representation at the gun shows I attended when a child. They were still not a majority, and there are countervailing tendencies, sometimes in the same person. There may have been exceptions, but it seemed they all were very concerned about gun safety and I think they would look dimly on the aggressive open carry displays that @saul-degraw discusses.

        My father, too, had some paranoid, anti-government tendencies. On some level, he really believed the Waco fiasco was a personal affront (although he wasn’t a branch davidian) and an FBI/BATF/Reno/Clinton conspiracy to take his guns. I also remember him claiming, perhaps half in jest and half seriously, that Clinton had Vince Foster and Ron Brown murdered.

        So I can’t deny the caricature has some truth to it. But I resist the stereoytyping and broad generalizations you call out here. (And thanks for calling them out.) I also think most movement and groups, including New Deal liberals, have their own wackadoodles. (America first-ism, for example, had some high-profile Democratic supporters, and some of FDR’s programs were designed to appeal to a constituency that might have endorsed the more authoritarian solutions to the Depression advanced by Long and Coughlin.)Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Saul DeGraw says:


        I won’t deny that there exist individuals who fit the caricature/stereotype to a T. But that is true of every group (which is not the same as saying “All stereotypes are based in truth”, mind you). However, you can find paranoid, anti-government nuts in the gun-control crowd, too. Maybe with less frequency, though not necessarily (the intense paranoia thing is one of those areas where I think the spectrum circles back upon itself at the extremes). And you are certainly going to see people of a more extreme ilk whenever you get into those participating in a “movement”. That’s just reality. If you care enough about something to attend a rally, you are already probably more to the extreme than most people.

        Like I said, my opinion of gun owners dramatically changed when I spent time with real live gun owners. I’m honestly a bit surprised that I’m getting push back here (not from you, mind you). If someone demonstrated real ignorance of a racial or religious group, indulging in stereotypes and whatnot, one thing we’d implore them to do was to actually educate themselves on the group in question by interacting with its members and recognize the vast diversity within the group.

        I recognize that gun ownership/advocacy is not completely analogous to race or religion, but the general idea of resisting stereotypes and ignorance through education and interaction is a weird thing to be controversial… especially among liberals.Report

      • Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Never been on a walk and seen a bear?
        How about a moose?
        How about a rattlesnake?

        (I’ll note that all of these are easier to kill than a prepared human being).Report

      • zic in reply to Saul DeGraw says:


        I walk the woods nearly every day. I’ve had many close encounters with bear and moose (though we do not have grizzlies here).

        I’ve never once wished I had a gun.

        I’ve also spent a good deal of time in the Sonoran desert, since I’ve family there. Frequently walked about; and again, never needed or wished for a gun to protect myself, particularly from rattlers. Knowing how to interact with your environment and the denizens in it mostly eliminates that need.

        There’s the whole myth of competency; it’s corollary might be the myth of danger in the wild and the usefulness of a gun to protect you from that danger. In the lower 48, the only exception to that rule might be grizzlies; but even here, knowledge is probably better protection then arms.Report

      • Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        A gun weighs too much for me to have one most times i’ve been hiking.
        But I’ve had a bear just stare at me from fifteen paces and keep eating.
        That level of … unfamiliarity with humans … he might have attacked (or bluff-charged).
        Not that a gun would be likely to do much more than enrage him, if I actually hit the beast.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        @zic et. al.

        I’ve never felt the need/desire to marry another man. This is insufficient reason to restrict the right.

        I’ve never felt the need to live in a house with more than 2500 sq ft. But I’m happy to let others.

        I think many Evangelical Christians are borderline insane & I strive very hard to avoid them, but I certainly don’t want to legislate against them.

        I find medically unnecessary abortion to be greatly disturbing to me in many cases, but I most certainly DO NOT want that right restricted, because trying to second guess a woman as to whether or not she wants the baby is something I have no right to do, or request that someone else do.

        As a matter of fact, there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of things other people do that I personally have never wanted/needed to do, which are probably quite dangerous to self &/or others, but which I have absolutely no problem letting them do as long as they don’t cause me or anyone else any real harm*.

        We live in a land with 300+ million people, your experiences are not like my experiences, are not like a very large percentage of the populations experiences, & are a very poor baseline from which to begin deciding what should not be allowed.

        *The fact that guns make you anxious is not a harm. At least, not any more than the fact that someone wanted to build a Mosque near the WTC was a “harm” to nutjob conservatives.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        I think, when it comes to guns, we might note that “rural” and “urban” have differing needs, cultures, and issues with guns.

        There is, I believe, a firm difference between the man carrying a shotgun hunting (or whilst traipsing through fairly wild woods, or even poking around at night 30 minutes away from the nearest cop) and the man toting an AR-15 into Chipotle, and indeed they have very different relationships with their guns.

        Guns are a tool, nothing less and nothing more. It’s just a tool many Americans own without a conceivable need for one, in fact it’s literally nothing more than a useless hunk of steel and plastic. Half the gun-owners I know don’t even target shoot with theirs, which makes me wonder why they HAVE them. (And why it seems the guys who have the most guns seem to use them the least).

        I don’t know what to say about that culturally, or legally. It’s just worrisome, because people who have a hammer and nothing to hammer tend to go looking for things. Hunters and sports shooters know exactly what their gun is for, and use it for it’s intended purposes.

        And frankly, if all gun owners were like that, we’d have a lot fewer problems with guns. Those guys are fine.

        It’s the guys — like a friend of mine — on his fourth handgun purchase (plus a shotgun, for ‘home defense’) that fires them once a year, if that. They just sit, waiting, loaded and ready around his house. Except the one on his hip, or in a shoulder rig, or wherever he’s keeping it these days.

        Waiting for what, carrying for what? I have no idea. He’s never been the victim of a crime, statistically he’s unlikely to ever be one. The only fights he’s been in he’s started.

        He’s got these expensive tools — multiples. What for?Report

      • zic in reply to Saul DeGraw says:


        I am not trying to take away your right to responsibly own a gun.

        But we’ve had a lot of talk about my brother’s right to marry; and we know his marriage (to his partner of 25 years) is not a threat to anyone else. And we definitely know that evangelical Christian’s religious rights are directly protected by the 1st.

        But the 2nd allows for ‘well regulated,’ it was written with national defense in mind as an alternative to a standing army, and that got completely lost. And huge numbers of people die every day because of guns. Even worse, is this growing social pathology that you need a gun to be safe. This is nuts. Owning a gun increases the risks that you’ll be victim of gun violence; it does not make you safer.

        And the borderline paranoia that ensues whenever gun fans encounter resistance to gun culture is alarming.

        But before you try to convince me of anything, know this beyond all doubt: Guns do not make you safer. Statistically, this has been shown to be the case over and over and over; despite the fact that Republicans banned research into guns violence.Report

      • I walk the woods nearly every day. I’ve had many close encounters with bear and moose (though we do not have grizzlies here). I’ve never once wished I had a gun.

        I don’t have statistics, but based on my recollection of local headlines (quite possibly faulty), a woman hiking in the mountains west of Denver needs a gun more for protection from human males than for protection from the wildlife. Which is seriously disturbing.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw says:


        Again with this “need”. Who cares why he needs it or just wants it. Some people enjoy target shooting, some enjoy collecting, some hunting, some want it for self defense for whatever reason. “Need” has nothing to do with it. I know people who own massive, 8 cylinder trucks that don’t haul anything.

        I know lots of people who don’t “need” to exercise their first amendment rights, but yet they still do.

        And why it seems the guys who have the most guns seem to use them the least
        people who have a hammer and nothing to hammer tend to go looking for things

        The first line seems to counter out the second.


        The Militia bit was settled, by the SCOTUS. The right is one to the individual. Continuing to argue in blog posts that it should be otherwise is a waste of effort.

        As to safer, that is a metter of degree (yes gun owners are more likely to be shot, but in much the same way that pool owners are likely to drown; it is a risk I accept & work to mitigate to the best of my ability). But also see here my desire to have a better tool available.Report

      • veronica dire in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Gun owners shouldn’t have to justify their “need” to anyone.

        Which is to say, I approve of certain types of gun control and have no love for the NRA and its politics. But I’m not going down the “prove you need this” path.

        That’s a dead end of presumption.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Again with this “need”. Who cares why he needs it or just wants it. Some people enjoy target shooting, some enjoy collecting, some hunting, some want it for self defense for whatever reason. “Need” has nothing to do with it. I know people who own massive, 8 cylinder trucks that don’t haul anything.

        Again, a gun is a tool. It’s like a hammer, or a car. It has a specific function, does it not?

        Now, some people might — in fits of excessive consumerism — purchase things they don’t need and don’t use, and clutter up the house. But rarely do they do so when they cost hundreds of dollars a piece, and rarely do they keep doing so.

        Perhaps instead of “need”, perhaps the word “purpose” or “function” or even “reason”.

        I know why a hunter wants a gun. I know why a sports shooter wants a gun. I know why a fellow that just likes plinking cans wants a gun. I know what purpose that gun serves, what reason that gun was bought. It has a known and definable function. a use.

        But why does a suburb dweller buy four handguns, two ‘tactical-esque’ rifles, and several shotguns — when he never hunts, never plinks cans, never goes down to the range anymore.

        Why would he carry one around the safe streets of his own, drag an AR-15 into a burrito store?

        Is he showing off? Sexual signaling? Collecting, perhaps, like one might collect Coke memorabilia?

        A gun is a tool. Few people have hammer collections, unless they do things that require multiple types of hammers. Some collect memorabilia or dolls, but few seem to specialize in mass production items. (Yay! I have six copies of the most common firearm in America! is not a collector’s cry). Some collect things like cars (again, generally with an emphasis on rarity or other unique factors), but gun collectors (ie, those who amass but rarely if ever use them) seem disproportionate in numbers and style compared to other collectors.

        So back to the point: Why? Why do they do it? What does having a gun do for them? What need does it fufill? Nobody plops down hundreds of dollars, over and over, without having a reason.

        So why does my friend keep multiple loaded handguns around his house, stashed in multiple rooms? Why does he carry concealed? What need is this fulfilling? (Seriously, that’s a giant investment of money for him). Why did those two guys carry rifles into a Chipotle?

        Call it need, call it reason, call it purpose, call it whatever. It’s not like they’re impulse buys.

        I get hunters. I get sports shooters. I get the guy that likes to plink cans. I see the chain of desire and interest and need or whatever that links “owning guns” to a “reason”.

        It’s the other guys I’m confused by.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        But why does a suburb dweller buy four handguns, two ‘tactical-esque’ rifles, and several shotguns — when he never hunts, never plinks cans, never goes down to the range anymore.

        Why would he carry one around the safe streets of his own, drag an AR-15 into a burrito store?

        It’s a simple mathematical truth that the more specifications you add, the more likely it is you’re talking about a very small subset of the population.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        The word ‘need’ sent people down the wrong path. I don’t mean it in ‘justify why you own one’. I mean ‘What’s it do for you’? ‘What’s the point of you owning it’.

        Not because “You shouldn’t have it if you don’t have a reason” but because “Why do you have it?” is a worthwhile question.

        I know why I own a hammer. I know why my father-in-law has several rifles and shotguns. I don’t know why my friend has a small armory he keeps loaded around his house, nor why he carries concealed.

        I don’t know why two guys decided it was a good idea to wander into a Chipotle with rifles (nor why others have wandered down public streets, nor why they are confused when people find this upsetting).

        I know what a gun is for — it’s for shooting things. Targets, people, animals, cans, whatever. Generally, when people spend several hundred dollars on a tool, they expect to use that tool. Whether to shoot people, animals, cans, targets or whatever.

        I’m just drawing a blank at any other expense purchase that so many people buy (multiple times, even) without intending to use it. Which means they’re either intending to use it, and I don’t understand how (again — my personal, anecdotal experience is that many of these guns go unfired for years, even at a range. Which is just weird) — or a sizable number of people are buying expensive tools without planning to ever use them.

        So, like art. Or collecting action figures and never taking them from the box.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        It’s a simple mathematical truth that the more specifications you add, the more likely it is you’re talking about a very small subset of the population
        I dunno, the NRA is pretty fond of their “let’s tote around our guns in public” thing, but I’ll cut them slack for protests being a different animal entirely.

        However the “I own lots of guns, rarely if ever shoot them, but carry them around” crowd is like…half the gun owners I know.

        It’s a weird “Buy a gun, take it to the range a few times, then carry concealed if I have a permit or leave it somewhere real accessible and probably loaded for a year or so, while already planning to get another gun” thing that’s strangely common.

        I’ve asked, and I get variations on ‘self-defense’ but I question (1) How many guns you can hold at once and (2) None of them have ever been the victim of a crime so I can’t help but think that’s not the actual reason unless they’re truly paranoid, which seems a pretty wide-spread paranoia.

        And also (3) you’d probably want more practice with the thing.

        *shrug*. I learned gun safety and how to shoot from a hunter, so….not a big hunter myself (I fish, that’s about it, and even then rarely) so I just see guys carrying around tools designed for shooting things with nothing they can point to that they plan to shoot.

        Which, you know, YMMV, but I find that odd. I don’t trot around with a hammer unless I’ve got something in mind to whack with it.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw says:




        (It’s a rather expensive manner of signaling, but then so is owning a giant truck with the off-road kit when the furthest off-road you’ve ever gone is down a gravel driveway, and the only thing you haul is groceries).

        (Come to think of it, in the US, a lot of signaling is kind of expensive).Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        I think there is some degree of signaling.

        I read a while back (racking my brains to remember where) that conceal and carry permits have become something of a trend amongst certain types of conservative populists. I’d stop well short of using the term “fashion statement,” but it’s the closest wording I can come up with at the moment.

        I do know that on the local and regional radio talk shows here in the PNW, they’re pushed a lot, they encourage people to call with stories of getting C&Cs — they even have live events where listeners can come and sign up for C&Cs.

        So I suspect for a certain segment of the population, it isn’t even a self-defense thing, let along paranoia. It’s closer a Portland liberal getting a sleeve than it is a crime victim buying a gun for the night table.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Ah, I see Mad Rock’ beat me to it.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Signaling what? Alpha male? Sex appeal? Wealth? Or belonging to a particular group?

        If it’s the latter — what group? What culture? What binds them together?

        I mean, I could be cynical and speculate — but just saying “Oh, white suburban gun culture” is a bit pointless, and it’s not like Americans aren’t happy to go digging into one culture or another. 🙂

        Plus, I was raised with guns-as-lethal-tools. Waving them around as some sort of in-group signaling seems kind of insane, especially for middle-aged folks. Teenagers do dumb stuff like that all the time (I wonder how many idiot kids hurt themselves on butterfly knives? ‘Look how cool this is’ followed by ‘Oh god!’)Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Signaling, I think, that you’re a real conservative.

        I thought of this just after I hit the button on my last comment, but just this morning on the Jim Villanucci Show (a local Portland conservative talk show) the way they dealt with the Santa Barbara story was to have nice, polite, conservative women call in and give testimony of how they got their own C&Cs and how awesome they are.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        I don’t remember who it was who said it, but during the last Republican presidential primary, somebody wrote that with the candidates tripping all over themselves to show off their guns and tell gun stories, the primaries were starting to look like gangster rap videos. It’s all signaling of one sort or another.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        That’s just effing’ stupid then. A gun is not a toy. I wonder when gun-ownership switched from a safety focus (generally aimed at hunters, but some sports shooters) to this idiocy? And why the NRA went along with it.

        I guess part and parcel of why ‘Kid gets ahold of gun, shoots himself/other person’ is generally ‘accident’ instead of ‘criminally negligent gun owner’.

        I fired my first gun at 8. The only gun I own (a rifle I use for occasionally going target shooting with my father-in-law, which he gave me) is kept in his locked gun safe, unloaded. You know, like I freakin’ learned in Gun Safety 101 “A gun is not a toy” back in the Boy Scouts.

        Heck, the ammo is stored in the safe in a separate box with a different combination.Report

      • Sigh… the more things change… There was a (rather lengthy) period of European history when the well-dressed gentleman simply had to wear a smallsword. Whether he had ever used it or not. Whether he actually knew how to use it or not. 30 inches of relatively lethal steel, used as a signal that you belonged to a certain class…Report

      • Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Keeping loaded guns around your house is asking for trouble. What if a criminal finds them before you do?

        Everyone I know buys house insurance, very few people expect to actually use it. It may not actually deter problems, but in the 1 in a 1000 case, you’re glad you have it.

        Own guns for emergencies — but, for god’s sake, don’t keep it around the house! How often can you NOT spare an hour to dig it up? (Or, guys, if you suddenly find yourself needing 100 guns, you also need 100 friends, and enough space to see trouble coming. Buy a cabin, keep the guns there).

        Some gun owners have mental issues. I’d rather we ban mental issues than guns, though, as guns are rather useful tools.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Road Scholar says:


      Also @michael-drew @kazzy

      Thank you for taking the time to write out a lot of what I would suggest, it was a busy weekend. I have effectively zero trouble with any of this & I think it would be quite effective.

      For everyone suggesting new laws, etc. A lot of you are not aware of the laws already on the books, especially with regard to how complicated & labyrinthine they can get at the state or local level (see CA, NY, NJ, MA, CT, etc.). There is also a lot of confusing regulation at the federal level, although that is mostly to do with manufacture, rather than ownership & use. Still, it could all use a good cleaning & streamlining.*

      Additional suggestions: Significantly Reform or abolish the BATFE. Ideally, I’d do away with the agency & roll the responsibilities & budget into the FBI.

      I don’t actually have much trouble with certain states enacting their own laws, but I would require that no technical violation of a firearm law can ever be a felony or high misdemeanor absent an associated felony indictment/conviction. People should not be facing any jail time or excessive fines because they did not store or transport a firearm in accordance with a laundry list of requirements, nor should FFLs face such because a background check form was improperly filled out (a clear pattern of discrepancies, along with other evidence of straw sales or trafficking, is a different story). Such laws should also serve a clear governmental interest. A lot of them were sold to the gun owning public under the idea that they would be used to fight drug dealers & such, but criminals rarely are convicted under them, since they generally plead out against stiffer charges, or make a deal for the next guy up the food chain. Your average gun owner has nothing to deal with, and a plea still destroys his life unless he gets lucky & can plea to a misdemeanor.

      Let’s see… A better set of federal laws with regard to firearm confiscation by law enforcement. Police have a nasty habit of seizing guns & then either selling or destroying them before a conviction is secured, or refusing to return them to people cleared of any wrong doing & then refusing to compensate the owner. Either police need to return any weapon that is not evidence in a criminal investigation, or police need to allow an owner to place their weapons in escrow with a third party (perhaps your FORT organization, which I REALLY like the idea of). This would help relief a lot of concerns over police doing precautionary seizures, especially for mental health interventions, or domestic violence.**

      I have no trouble with Universal Background checks, and I like your system. I’m always a bit confused why I, a person with a carry permit, has to keep doing a background check. What an FFL should be able to do is plug my permit number into a state website, and if it comes back clean, I’m good. Which seems to be what your federal carry permit would do. Absent such a system, the NICS should be open to the public. I should not need to find a gun store & have them run a check for me (with whatever fee they decide to charge, I’ve seen some who charge $100+ to have you fill out a form & make a phone call for you). I call in, or use the website, put in my info, the buyers info, and see if it comes back clean. If it doesn’t, then I have no defense if I choose to go through with the sale. There also needs to be a clear way to appeal NCIS refusals. The system has a lot of false positives. Another requirement I’d have (& this relates to a much larger issue) is that it would be a violation of civil rights*** to be put on any kind of government watchlist absent due process, or without a clear way to find out if you are on one & then a clear way to appeal being there.

      Finally, I would dial back the categories of people who loose their rights. We have a disturbingly large number of laws that brand a person a felon, without there being any significant harm to another person or private entity. Either we can dial back what actually constitutes a felony (strict liability should never be a felony****, and we should have a legal philosophy of never attributing malice to what can be explained by ignorance/stupidity). But absent that, the lifetime loss of rights should be reserved for those who commit violence. People who commit non-violent crimes (fraud, theft, burglary, etc.) should lose their rights for the duration of their penalty, but once all time is served, probation is complete, & fines are paid, rights are automatically restored. I would even give violent offenders an opportunity to demonstrate to a judge that they’ve changed, and righted their personal ship, and deserve to have their rights restored.

      Essentially, if we can’t trust someone with a gun, should we be trusting them in society?

      Also note, as I have said before, while I firmly believe the public should never be questioned with regard to the ownership of long guns (rifles & shotguns of any stripe), I am less committed to the cause of handguns. If we could make a hand portable device that could stop an attacker as reliably as a firearm, but be 90% non-lethal (so lethality would require a combination of factors happening all together), I would happily relegate handguns to the domain of established collectors & museums. I would love a “gun” that used air pressure to fire a cartridge that would release rapidly expanding sticky something (like the black stuff that brought down Mr. Incredible in The Incredibles), or some kind of tangle web, or what have you. Sure, such devices would be used by criminals as well, but the death rate would most likely fall off, while still preserving the right to self defense that a handgun enables. Tasers don’t fill this need because thick clothing can foil them, and they can be extremely lethal to the young, the old, and those with heart troubles. Plus they are single shot, so if you miss…

      *Exercising a right should be clear & easy for the unencumbered. Laws that limit rights & exist to make life easier for prosecutors are not, IMHO, legitimate. A firearm law should have a clear public safety interest that applies to everyone, or it isn’t legitimate.

      **@zic actually changed my mind a bit on the domestic violence front, by presenting me with a study that showed that in a DV situation, the removing of weapons from the abuser significantly increases the survivability of the abused in the time immediately after the accusation. I am not completely sold on the idea, but only because I can’t see the study for myself & examine the methodology. But I am willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

      ***I’d make any violation of a person’s 2nd amendment rights a civil rights violation. So police refusing to return firearms to people, or legal harassment of gun owners, etc. If driving while black is a civil rights violation, then so is calling the cops for “A man with a gun” when the gun is holstered, or being physically restrained, or even having police draw on a gun owner when the gun owner has no visible weapon in their hand (yes, there are examples of this from around the country).

      ****Exception – drunk/impaired driving is strict liability, even though the perpetrator is incapable of mens rea when caught driving. Still, the decision to drink while having access to a car is where it starts, so the mens rea attaches there. Exception to the exception, finding a drunk behind the wheel of a parked car should not be a crime unless the police can prove the car was moving recently enough that the driver had to have been behind the wheel.

      Finally, As I explained to Tod earlier, I am about 6 weeks behind in my current set of projects at work, & I need to catch up. This is my last comment on this, or any, issue for a while. If you specifically want me to comment on something, send me an email to:

      madrocketsci at the at sign at gmail dot com.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        Thanks, that’s a lot to consider. Don’t take time while you don’t have time for it, but if you’d ever want to give a sense of the higher and lower priorities on that list, I’d be interested to get a sense of that. Thanks again.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

      With all due respect to Mr. Martinez, this is one of the more absurd things written (note: It was not written by Mr. Martinez, but was written by the author of the piece in response to his words):

      “Christopher died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the N.R.A. That’s true. That the killer in question was in the grip of a mad, woman-hating ideology, or that he was also capable of stabbing someone to death with a knife, are peripheral issues to the central one of a gun culture that has struck the Martinez family and ruined their lives. ”

      Christopher died because a killer in the grip of a mad, women-hating ideology was willing to use whatever means necessary to inflict harm on others.Report

      • Jonathan McLeod in reply to Kazzy says:

        It’s also factually incorrect. He states that other countries have enacted gun laws and then seen the mass shootings go away, and he name-checks Canada. We had Polytechnique, enacted some gun laws, and later had such instances as Mayerthorpe and the OC Transpo shooting (and those are just off the top of my head).

        I’m all pro-gun control, and kinda think the U.S. is generally insane about guns, but that doesn’t change facts.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        I wondered about the source of that claim too. Australia is claimed as the primary/best example of new gun laws eliminating gun rampage killings, but it’s my understanding that as these sorts of rampage killings tend to be rare-yet-clustering events, it’s possible that Australia may just be in a statistical valley again right now (and their new laws did almost nothing w/r/t suicide and homicide rates in general).Report

      • dhex in reply to Kazzy says:

        there’s no money or fame in pro or anti knife agendas.Report

      • Stella B. in reply to Kazzy says:

        Most gun deaths do not occur in a mass shooting performed by a crazy person. Most gun deaths occur as suicides, domestic violence, accidental shootings, and non-domestic criminal acts. To say that there is no point in gun law reform unless the reforms will eliminate all rare behaviors is disingenuous at best and more likely as cynical as the people who insist that immigration reform can only be discussed when illegal migration has fallen to zero.

        Americans are more likely to attend a ballet in any given year than go hunting. IIRC something like 4% of Americans hunt at least once per year. The number of gun owning households continues to fall. The problem is that the Americans who do own guns are mostly (not entirely, MOSTLY) members of the paranoid, government hating population who will not accept any form of registration, laws governing gun education, or requirements for liability insurance. The NRA plays to those fears and allows the paranoid rump of gun owners to control the conversation. While the number of gun owning households is falling, the number of guns per gun-owning household is rising.

        If my dog bites you, I’m on the hook for liability. If I accidentally fire my gun and injure you, in all likelihood it’s “just an accident” and I go free. When the man who shot my uncle (a blue eyed, blond child) was judged to have no criminal liability, my grandfather attempted unsuccessfully to sue him in civil court. It’s cultural. And yes, I understand that there are probably a dozen or more dog-bite deaths a year — I’m just using it as an example, since no one “accidentally” kills with a knife, rock or baseball bat, while gun deaths are often “tragic accidents” and dog deaths are always “negligence”.

        When my then-Republican father inherited guns from his father, he put them in the trunk of his car, drove to the nearest police station and surrendered them for destruction. He had been married to my mother for too long to want a gun in the house.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Kazzy says:

        the Americans who do own guns are mostly (not entirely, MOSTLY) members of the paranoid, government hating population who will not accept any form of registration, laws governing gun education, or requirements for liability insurance.

        Cite, please.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        no one “accidentally” kills with a knife, rock or baseball bat

        Having been the (random) victim of a rock thrown into a building, my guess is that some people DO accidentally kill with a rock (in my state, throwing a rock/missile into an occupied structure or vehicle is a felony, presumably due to just that risk of accidental death or severe injury).Report

      • Stella B. in reply to Kazzy says:

        I’m not denying that there are rational gun owners who enjoy shooting sports and would have no objection to closing the gun show loophole, registering guns, requiring waiting periods and licensing. However, those people are not represented by the NRA and are not the people who drive the gun laws in this country. The number of gun owners is dropping, the stockpiles of guns are rising. You don’t need a study that shows that statistically the NRA is more likely to spout off about “tyranny” than safety education.

        I can’t point to studies from the CDC about gun injuries in this country because the CDC is not allowed to keep those statistics. All of the studies come from privately funded sources. The NRA fearing congress sees to that.

        I do not like guns. I will never own a gun. I’m as liberal as they come and I. Do. Not. Want. To. Take. Your. Gun. Away. Nor, do either of my state’s senators, Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein. I don’t care if you want to shoot at targets or defenseless animals (I will, in fact, happily hook you up with my friends in German Shorthaired Pointer rescue). I do care if you want to leave your gun lying around for a child to use or a criminal to steal. I do care if you want to go waving your gun around in public to intimidate people. I do care if you own a gun and have a history of violent behavior. I do think that if your gun is used by anyone to injure someone intentionally or accidentally, then you should go to jail just like a drunk driver.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Kazzy says:

        the Americans who do own guns are mostly (not entirely, MOSTLY) members of the paranoid, government hating population

        So….no cite?Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Kazzy says:

        I don’t care if you want to shoot at .., defenseless animals (I will, in fact, happily hook you up with my friends in German Shorthaired Pointer rescue).

        Wait, what?Report

      • Stella B. in reply to Kazzy says:

        And I was bitten by a stranger’s dog once. The reason that we both survived is that rocks and dalmatians are extremely inefficient means to kill while a gun has no other purpose,Report

      • Road Scholar in reply to Kazzy says:

        @james-hanley , a German Short-haired Pointer is a hunting dog. Good tempered, good with kids, but gobs of energy. They need to be worked in the field frequently to burn it off. I’m pretty sure Stella is indicating that she’s not agin hunters.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Kazzy says:

        Oh, that’s a much more sensible interpretation, so it’s surely right. Not as exciting, though.Report

      • aaron david in reply to Kazzy says:

        @stella-b: “…Nor, do either of my state’s senators, Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein.”
        As Feinstein is also my senator, I call BS on that:

        “If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them . . . ‘Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in,’ I would have done it.” Diane Feinstein
        And here is the cite:

      • Stella B. in reply to Kazzy says:

        Yes, I am definitely not advocating the shooting of German shorthairs. I’m rather fond of them. My husband, on the other hand, has had a little trouble in the past tolerating the energy level and if he were in favor of shooting anything, it might be GSPs.

        Thanks for the out of context, 20 year old Diane Feinstein quote, complete with ellipses. That really convinces me that you are right and I am wrong. Not. If she was talking about the large magazines that true sportsmen need to take down those rabid bucks, then I’m with her and rampaging deer be damned.

        I don’t like religion, football, or guns (I’m so un-American that my ancestors arrived on the Mayflower), but as long as you don’t force me to live by your religion’s beliefs, force me to pay for a billionaire’s stadium, or force me to risk my life should I inadvertently cut someone off in the Starbuck’s parking lot, It’s none of my business what you favor. I don’t even care what you do in your bedroom (as long as it doesn’t include children or German shorthairs).

        Here’s an article that talks about the increasing concentration of guns in a smaller number of households and the difficulty of collecting these statistics:

      • Patrick in reply to Kazzy says:

        I don’t particularly give a crap about guns, but…

        Thanks for the out of context, 20 year old Diane Feinstein quote, complete with ellipses. That really convinces me that you are right and I am wrong.

        Diane Feinstein has a pretty solid track record of pandering to the anti-gun section of the left, particularly in California, and she has pretty much no record of ever walking back any of her anti-gun quotes.

        If you can find one, I’ll retract that previous statement. But as a lifelong Californian, I think it’s okay to tar Ms. Feinstein with the “doesn’t like guns” brush.Report

      • Stella B. in reply to Kazzy says:

        There isn’t really an “anti-gun segment of the left”. The stereotype that the left wants to take away guns is just as stupid as the stereotypes about hunters that someone deplores somewhere earlier in this thread. If you keep your stupid guns unloaded and locked up safely, “the left” doesn’t really care how many of the damn things you own. If you go waving them around at federal agents, political rallies, Starbuck’s or your ex-girlfriends, then “the left” as well as any decent person of any political persuasion should care. If you “accidentally” shoot your granddaughter in the head or pick off an 11 year-old in his Boy Scout uniform, then “the left” and any other decent persons should care.

        Performing background checks, requiring licensing, requiring insurance and registering guns does not “infringe” on the ownership of guns within or without the context of “a well-regulated militia”.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy says:

        If I had been the one who found George Moscone and Harvey Milk that day, I wouldn’t like guns much either. I think describing her anti-gun stance as “pandering” is overly cynical.

        And Cruz’s comparing bans on certain types of weapons to bans on certain types of books is disingenuous nonsense, unless he’s going to defend carry rights for hand grenades and flamethrowers.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        That’s not necessarily true. There definitely are people on the left who would like to see all guns gone forever, who’d prefer that we do what Britain does. It is unfair for gun rights advocates to paint the entirely of the left as a gestapo who wants to kick in doors and confiscate all guns. But there certainly does exist a strongly anti-gun left.Report

      • Saul DeGraw in reply to Kazzy says:


        Re: Mayflower argument

        At the risk of derailing my own thread, I think this is a bit of a wrong argument to make because there is an implication that Americanism is proved by how long your ancestors were in this country before you and I think this is wrongheaded.Report

      • Patrick in reply to Kazzy says:


        There isn’t really an “anti-gun segment of the left”. The stereotype that the left wants to take away guns is just as stupid as the stereotypes about hunters that someone deplores somewhere earlier in this thread. If you keep your stupid guns unloaded and locked up safely, “the left” doesn’t really care how many of the damn things you own.

        If you’d like, I can take a couple of snapshots of my Facebook feed to let you know that yes, there is an actual anti-gun segment on the left, and there’s a good subcomponent of those folks that would prefer an outright repeal of the second.

        I’d guess that they’re not a particularly powerful chunk of the left, in terms of absolute numbers, but the number of Democratic legislators who will make public statements in support of them isn’t trivial, largely because there is basically zero pro-gun support on the left with the exception of a couple of purple states, so there’s no loss in being tough on guns even if you don’t really care about guns at all. Even the NRA got into this the last election cycle, pouring money into pro-gun GOP candidates against the three or four pro-gun Democrats. The NRA is tightly coupled to the GOP now.

        Yes, I keep pointing out to the gun-toting folks that there hasn’t been a major piece of gun regulation that has made it out of committee since the AWB in 1994, and that was twenty years ago. This obviously isn’t a political driver for the establishment Democrat party leaders. The idea that the Dems, as a political party, are “coming for your guns” is completely unwarranted.

        But there is most definitely an anti-gun section of the left, generally.


        If I had been the one who found George Moscone and Harvey Milk that day, I wouldn’t like guns much either.

        Maybe I’m being uncharitable.

        I think describing her anti-gun stance as “pandering” is overly cynical.

        I confess, in the entire swath of political critters, I find Ms. Feinstein to be one of the ones who brings out the most cynical of cynics in me. Unlike Boxer, who appears to have actual principles, Dianne Feinstein seems to me to be utterly a creature of the political system, with all that entails. If you asked me to compile a list of people I thought we should get out of politics, she’d be the first one on the list, just from familiarity.

        And Cruz’s comparing bans on certain types of weapons to bans on certain types of books is disingenuous nonsense, unless he’s going to defend carry rights for hand grenades and flamethrowers.

        Oh, he’s bonkers, granted.Report

      • Stella B. in reply to Kazzy says:

        I’m sure that you can nut-pick and find someone that you can label “left” who wants to kick down doors and confiscate guns, but it’s far from a mainstream belief. In December 2008 a man with NRA stickers all over his bumper walked up to me and delivered a vile racist tirade about my Obama/Biden sticker. Should I assume that all NRA members have similar views? Last week a friend of mine was in the children’s play area in a park in a moderately fancy San Diego suburb when a man started strutting around the playground with his holstered gun on display. Should I assume that the NRA supports this kind of behavior?

        Sorry about the Mayflower thing. It was meant as a joke. Since I live in the 6th most populous city in the country and the most populous state, Sarah Palin says I’m not a “real American”. I know that she is a lone voice for that view.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        You said: “There isn’t really an “anti-gun segment of the left”.”

        But there is. Extrapolating that subset of the left to the left as a whole is wrong. But so is pretending they don’t exist.Report

      • Patrick in reply to Kazzy says:

        I’m sure that you can nut-pick and find someone that you can label “left” who wants to kick down doors and confiscate guns, but it’s far from a mainstream belief.

        Pew seems to disagree with you. Nearly 70% of Democrats surveyed in 2013 supported bans on “assault style” weapons. Since 2006, 25-30% of responders to Gallup’s poll about guns have indicated that they would ban handguns.

        Now, there’s no direct indication of party affiliation in the Gallup numbers, but another Pew survey shows about 60% of Democrats believe that state/local governments should be able to ban handguns.

        So, uh, yeah. I’d call ~20-30% of a party to be a significant chunk, myself. You want to argue with Gallup and Pew, go ahead, give me better numbers.

        In December 2008 a man with NRA stickers all over his bumper walked up to me and delivered a vile racist tirade about my Obama/Biden sticker. Should I assume that all NRA members have similar views?

        Something something price of tea in China? I thought we were talking about whether or not there was a significant chunk of the Left who wants to ban guns, not how crazy the NRA is.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kazzy says:

        @patrick 30% of 35% of the population (which is the percentage of the population that are registered Democrat’s if I remember correctly) is about 10% of the population. More people believe that aliens have landed on Earth than banning handguns.Report

      • Patrick in reply to Kazzy says:

        Jesse, if 30%-70% of Democrats believe something, it’s not unfair to say that this belief is significant among Democrats. Indeed, given that the numbers for Democrats vary depending upon how you ask the question, but the absolute trend is that Democrats that *don’t* want to ban guns also don’t generally particularly care about guns either way and thus there’s not much pro-gun sentiment on the Left… I mean, come on.

        I can’t believe I seriously have to argue the point that the anti-gun section of the left actually exists.Report

    • dand in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

      If I had been the one who found George Moscone and Harvey Milk that day, I wouldn’t like guns much either.

      What gun control policy would prevent cops from owning guns?Report

  13. Stella B. says:

    According to the CDC in 2010 there were 12,000 firearms homicides, 19,000 firearms suicides, 606 accidental firearms deaths, and 252 firearms deaths of undetermined intent. In 2001 we had a collective national freak out over 3000 deaths, but a number of deaths that is ten times as high every year is just a few broken eggs on the way to the omelet of freedom.Report

    • Don Zeko in reply to Stella B. says:

      I don’t think it’s right to suggest that our political system is unresponsive to deaths from violent crime and suicide. Rather, it is responsive in ways that you (and I) don’t like. Say what you will about mass incarceration, the death penalty, stop & frisk, etc., but I think our national response to violent crime is in the same ballpark as our national response to 9/11, in terms of scale. What’s more, I don’t think it’s irrational or unreasonable to not treat all deaths the same for purposes of public policy. Deaths from foreign attack or violent crime should have a different political valence than deaths from disease or accident.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Don Zeko says:

        …but I think our national response to violent crime is in the same ballpark as our national response to 9/11, in terms of scale.

        The number of people each day who have to remove their shoes and go through metal detection as a consequence of 9/11 dwarfs the number who undergo that indignity as a response to other violent crime. As the longer-term responses to 9/11 have unfolded, the electricity industry has been asked to spend billions to change their large transformer configuration (which DHS regards as too “fragile”); has that ever been done as a reaction to other violent crimes? It’s easy to find other examples.Report

      • Trumwill in reply to Don Zeko says:

        Michael, not firearms in particular, and maybe or maybe not violent crimes (I’d argue “yes”), but for crime in general, I’d strongly argue that there has been. Fear of crime drives an cumbersome security apparatus that inconveniences us every day. This lesson was driven home to me when I have moved from places where security is a concern to places where security isn’t a concern. There is also a huge generational thing. A lot of people still living with the fear of the 70’s.Report

    • Stella B. in reply to Stella B. says:

      The political response has been that white shooters commit tragic accidents or act in the heat of passion and black shooters deserve life sentences at minimum.

      Note that firearms suicides far outstripped firearms homicides. The NRA has worked successfully to promote laws that prohibit psychiatrists and pediatricians from asking about guns in the home. There were more than 600 accidental shootings resulting in death in one year. When a dealer offered a smart gun for sale, he and his staff became the object of death threats and the NRA expressed its opposition to a slightly safer gun. OTOH, Cindy Sheehan or someone like her may think that guns should be confiscated which is pretty much the equivalent. (sarcasm again)Report

    • Stella B. in reply to Stella B. says:

      And while we are at it, lets tie the problem back to “men’s rights”. Who gets killed by firearms? Men. In the 18-24 and 25-34 age group men die in approximately equal percentages from transportation accidents and firearms, far dwarfing any other cause of death. If you don’t know someone who was killed by a gun, I bet you know someone who was killed in a car accident. That’s how common firearm deaths are.Report

  14. Damon says:

    TL/DR all the comments, but, I have a prediction as well.

    Saul, you’re right on how the convo will go. That’s the sad part. Little will be said about the shooter. He posted a 100+ page manifesto and all we’ll here is about the killings. This kid was screwed up. What we should be asking is why a privilidged kid was so screwed up, how he got screwed up, and why he thought this was the way to “fix” things.Report

  15. Citizen says:

    What we really need is a War on Guns.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to Damon says:

      That was a pretty funny piece. It definitely shows the silliness of some of our gun regulations. But it also did a pretty good job of convincing me that our precious right to guns is not in any serious danger. It’s just encumbered by annoying and often pointless hoops to jump through.Report

    • Stella B. in reply to Damon says:

      We need to regulate guns the way we regulate cars. I worked for the US Army in my youth. I’m quit certain that motorized vehicles are every bit as critical as guns to the maintenance of a well-regulated militia despite the founders failure to predict their existence. Register them, license their users, require liability insurance, hold owners liable for injuries when others are using them, confiscate them from drunks holding them, throw people who injure others into jail. There are states that restore gun rights to felons, but not voting rights.Report

  16. Citizen says:

    They can’t take my black powder rifle, will have to pry it out of my cold stored spam. the statist bassdads

    “A mans got to know his limitations”
    Harold Francis C.Report

  17. zic says:

    @saul-degraw (and others),

    I highly recommend this The Atlantic piece by Noah Berlatsky, Elliot Rodger and Poisonous Ideals of Masculinity. Thus far, it’s the best piece I’ve read on how masculinity is so often defined by sexual conquest.

    In her book Between Men, Eve Sedgwick dissects this kind of thinking: Men typically route their feelings toward and competition with one another through women, she says. Women become tools through which men show their power and worth to other men. Success with women is also an important part of men’s self-image—that’s a big part of what it means to “be a man.” This seems to be the kind of thinking at work when Rodger says he feels like women are “treat[ing] me like scum” when they have boyfriends who aren’t him. To him, women aren’t people; they’re markers of who is and who is not a man. If a woman chooses someone else, the thinking goes, that means Rodger and others like him are not men.

    This equation of manhood with desirability and sexual prowess is just about everywhere in our society, from the priapic James Bond to the nebbishy, always rejected Clark Kent and his alter-ego, the ever-desired Superman. This rings true in my own experience, too. For me, being a virgin wasn’t painful because of the lack of sex or the lack of companionship. It was frustrating because of the sense that I was doing it wrong; that if I didn’t have a girlfriend, I was, like that old Marvel character, Man-Thing, a misshapen mockery of a man.

    This kind of thinking creates a version of male identity that is bifurcated, or split in two. There is the man you should be, and then there is the failed, non-man thing you are. You can see this in ugly detail in Rodger’s videos, where he veers back and forth between outlandish claims of his own magnificence and despairing statements of his own inconsequentiality. At one moment he’s the “ultimate gentlemen,” the next he’s “so invisible as I walk through my college, because none of the girls pay attention to me.” He is super human and then he’s nothing; there’s no space between the two. For Rodger, this could only be resolved with the ultimate expression of “manliness”: violence. “If I can’t have you girls, I will destroy you,” he says. And he destroyed himself, too: that pitiful failed thing who was not a man.

    I think this is critical for us to grapple with if we want to move equality forward; for misogyny isn’t just how men sometimes treat women; it’s about how men define themselves in relation to their success/control/access to women. It’s something our culture has long foisted upon men; the sexist weight of history is a coin with two sides.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to zic says:


      I think this is critical for us to grapple with if we want to move equality forward; for misogyny isn’t just how men sometimes treat women; it’s about how men define themselves in relation to their success/control/access to women. It’s something our culture has long foisted upon men; the sexist weight of history is a coin with two sides.

      This is beautifully put. It’s something we don’t talk about enough. I look back at the peer pressure points in my youth, and it’s one of the things that stands out. I wasn’t going around and raping people, nor was I particularly promiscuous in the overall, but I think I internalized a lot of this stuff and it did lead me to make some sexual mistakes.

      Absent certain pressures and perceptions, I think I would have lived a more moral life (at least according to my own moral intuitions) than I did.Report

      • zic in reply to Will Truman says:

        @will-truman thank you. Coming from you, this is high praise, indeed.

        It’s been something I’ve been trying to put words too for a while (how often I’ve said men need to take responsibility for rape, and the resulting questions of how, for instance). Women, culturally, have done some hard work to redefine themselves as individuals instead of as reflections of men. But we haven’t recognized the need for men to go through this process — men haven’t recognized the need; and when they have done it intuitively, it’s often been subjected to ridicule (spineless wormboys, for instance).Report

    • Saul DeGraw in reply to zic says:

      I saw that essay before work this morning. I was discussing on the OT e-mail list about whether to write an article about how men keep themselves to very rigid and traditional gender norms but at least four bloggers/writers have it covered it so far including some former OTers like De BoerReport

    • Glyph in reply to zic says:

      if I didn’t have a girlfriend, I was, like that old Marvel character, Man-Thing, a misshapen mockery of a man.

      In talking about the (anatomically-pneumatic, gravitationally-and-evolutionarily-impossible) messed-up representations of female characters in comic books, I pointed out a piece that no one talks much about – the fact that (Batman and Superman and some other examples aside), MALE comic heroes are often portrayed as freaks. Trolls. Beasts. Misshapen, scarred, governed by violent forces and emotions they can’t control. The only thing they have is power. Not looks, and not the comfort of companionship, sexual OR fraternal.

      For all the freakery of the female characters, they are *supposed* to be attractive; but the male ‘heroes’ are often society’s outcasts; Church Hunchbacks and Opera Phantoms.Report

      • Saul DeGraw in reply to Glyph says:

        Examples beyond Man-Thing? Now a lot of superheroes are outcasts and this was probably meant as solace for a lonely (and potentially largely) male readership but I always saw their outcast nature in more human terms. X-Men were an allegory for the civil rights movement and other outsider groups. Peter Parker was a rather typical outsider: nerdy, poorer, more sarcastic than his more popular classmates. Superman is the last(ish) of his kind, etc.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Glyph says:

        Examples beyond Man-Thing?

        Jim Lee. Image Comics. The 90’s in general.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Beast. Hulk. Thing (Grimm or Swamp).

        I’m not saying it’s a totally bad thing – these characters often have to find a way to control their natures and contribute to society, and in that they strike me as positive role models – but the undercurrent of ‘I’m hideous, no one will ever love me’ goes right back to the beginnings.Report

      • Patrick in reply to Glyph says:

        The Hunchback of Notre Dame wasn’t the first, but that’s more or less the archetype you’re talking about here.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to zic says:

      I’ve discussed this off and on with regards to young children and gender roles. When I look at things derided as being “for girls”, I see the harm done to both our girls and boys: our girls because they have their interests, passions, and characteristics devalued to the point of being seen as undesirable and our boys because those who might share such interests, passions, and characteristics are being told that they are wrong, less than and that they must be something else.

      When Mayo was about 6 months old, our child care provider sent us a picture of him sitting amongst the girls playing with the toy food and cooking tools (he’s in a mixed-age home care setting). When we showed the picture around, we got some unsavory responses, mostly in either the “A real ladies man!” camp or “Why is he doing girl stuff?” camp. Besides the fact he was 6 months old and was still mostly just seeing color blobs, I always thought the most reasonable interpretation of the picture was, “He’s doing what he sees papa do everyday.” I regularly sit him in the high chair to watch as I cook dinner (and I cook dinner 95% of the time, if not more). But instead of seeing this for what it was, it was made into something unfortunate. I hope such comments never befall his ears and, if they do, Zazzy and I empower him to ignore and overcome them.Report

      • ScarletNumbers in reply to Kazzy says:

        unsavory responses…I hope such comments never befall his ears and, if they do, Zazzy and I empower him to ignore and overcome them.

        It’s almost like you are a parody of yourself.

        You should watch this clip of a 5 year old with girl problems. Instead of engaging him in conversation, his mother should have denounced patriarchy and told him to check his privilege.Report

  18. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    @morat20 @tod-kelly

    Varies from person to person. Tod is correct for some people, others it’s a signal of preparedness, & for others is a display of bad-assery specifically because guns are dangerous. Again, parallels with people who get aggressive dog breeds & then barely train them while outfitting them with nasty spiked collars, or kids who buy crap swords from BudK and act as if they are all Ninja/Samurai (some people never grow up… sigh). It all really depends on who they are signaling to (obviously not you, or me for that matter). I think we can thank Hollywood for some of that.

    For the vast majority of such signallers, it’s a fad that will pass harmlessly, or they will get serious and wise up. For a few, well, they’ll make the news.Report

  19. Mike Dwyer says:

    Long comment here so apologies in advance…

    What frustrates me to no end is that whenever these spree killings happen we immediately have a gun conversation. I am all for conversations about gun crime, but not in this context. A few weeks ago I put up a post about gun violence in Chicago which saw a little commentary but not from most of the people who are so vocal in this comment section about guns being the problem. Maybe people didn’t see the post or maybe they didn’t want to comment for some other reason but what strikes me over and over is how gun-control advocates seem to only have this conversation when there is a spree killing, not on an average weekend of violence in Chicago or another big city. It feels like opportunism.

    Maybe I am a bit sensitive about this topic right now because I have a couple of teenagers in my extended family going through some serious mental health issues right now, but we have a mental health epidemic in this country. Our young people are more medicated than ever before and this has a profound impact on how they form their identities. There was a very interesting review published recently about a book called Coming of Age on Zoloft, by Katherine Sharpe.

    A key quote:

    “In permeating everyday life so profoundly, antidepressants also embedded themselves in youth, with an ever-growing number of teenagers taking psychopharmaceuticals to abate depression, ADHD, and other mental health issues. And while relief from the debilitating and often deadly effects of adolescent depression is undoubtedly preferable over the alternative, it comes with a dark side: Antidepressants confuse our ability to tell our “true self” from the symptoms of the disease, and from the effects of the medication, at a time when the search for selfhood and the construction of personal identity are at their most critical and formative stages.”

    I don’t know if the Santa Barbara shooter was on meds but obviously he suffered from some type of mental illness and when young, white men have this problem sometimes we see these types of events. Young women have their own way of creating violence. The number of teenage girls committing suicide due to bullying seems to be growing. What’s interesting though is that this seems to be less of a problem in minority communities. Blacks and Hispanics commit suicide at a rate that is roughly half of what it is for whites. I have speculated in the past, and I believe there is some truth to this, that those communities do a better job of coping with setbacks in life.

    Guns are a tool. A means to an end. I am completely convinced that in the absence of guns we would still have these types of spree killings on an increasing basis because there is something broken in our culture which convinces certain individuals that this is the best way to deal with their problems. I believe there is a warped sense of celebrity and in a country with a 24/7 news cycle and a disturbing amount of internet sites that give encouragement to these individuals, it is nearly impossible to put the genie back in the bottle.

    So if we’re going to have a gun conversation, let’s do that. But not in the context of spree killings. They are too complicated, too tainted by the mental illness. If we want to talk about why these types of killings happen, that is valid. But let’s have some perspective on the role guns play when they happen and the root cause of these tragedies is not guns, but our mental health crisis.Report

    • Kim in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      More medicated? Maybe more prescribed medications. But I’m pretty sure a good deal of my school was high on something, most of the time.Report

    • Patrick in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


      Mostly I agree with this, but one note:

      Spree killings aren’t on the rise. They’re holding more or less steady as a percentage of the population, and not just in the U.S., at least according to the sparse numbers I’m looking at.

      While I agree that there’s a warped sense of celebrity that might feed into the phenomenon, there’s no real indication that it’s increasing the frequency, so if it contributes in a meaningful way to some of these guys going off, it’s also contributing in a meaningful way to some of the guys who might go off instead ranting on YouTube and getting a few “likes” and having that pressure release give them their aggro fix.

      I’m also not entirely convinced that we have a mental health crisis in a new sense. We may have more people diagnosed nowadays, but I think that’s due to the advancement in the way we look at mental health. I’m guessing that generally speaking, people had all of these disorders probably in about the same numbers back in 1840, they just took more laudanum or drank more or died earlier or some combination thereof.

      The idea that mental competency is the default and mental disorder is the aberration seems kinda backwards, to me. I think it’s probably the other way around.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick says:


        Respectfully, I disagree that they have leveled off.

        I still think they are anomalies but at the end of the day they are a symptom of a bigger problem i.e. kids that are increasingly disconnected for one reason or another.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Patrick says:

        a symptom of a bigger problem i.e. kids that are increasingly disconnected for one reason or another

        Assuming that they are increasing, and assuming that media coverage plays a role (one high-profile incident seemingly begets another) then maybe kids are TOO connected.Report

      • Kim in reply to Patrick says:

        actually, i think the connectedness of today’s youth is reducing violence. But, what do I know?Report

      • Glyph in reply to Patrick says:

        @kim – my gut says you are probably right (there’s been speculation before that computer games and social media and porn keep some people home who would otherwise be out getting into trouble.)

        I am just taking two assumptions at face value. IF they are rising in frequency, and IF copycat inspiration seems to have some effect, then…

        Basically, is there a way to look at these in an epidemiological sense, and any good way to ‘break vectors’, so as to contain outbreaks?

        (No good ways that I can think of, but…)Report

      • Glyph, I can see how the two facts could be connected. The kids could be disconnected from each other–not having the true connection with any real-world community, while also being more plugged-in to the wider (virtual) world, so getting more information.

        I’m not saying if this is happening; I have no idea. I just think it is possible to square this circle.Report

  20. Jesse Ewiak says:,36131/

    “ISLA VISTA, CA—In the days following a violent rampage in southern California in which a lone attacker killed seven individuals, including himself, and seriously injured over a dozen others, citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Tuesday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place. “This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said North Carolina resident Samuel Wipper, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations. “It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep this guy from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what he really wanted.” At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past five years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.””Report

    • Citizen in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      Random mass killings are typically a individual war against a faction of society. What is it that spurs people in this society to seek war against so many different factions with such devices?

      Will a war on guns fix individuals, or will it just mask the symptoms that there is problems with the glue?Report

    • Patrick in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      “citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs”

      Yeah, that’s.. not correct. At all. Well, unless you define it tautologically, anyway.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Patrick says:

        I keep linking to wikipedia lists of rampage killings worldwide, showing similar rampages in many nations, first world and beyond.

        For some reason, no one seems to care.

        I’m sure an Onion satire piece has more solid sources, though.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Patrick says:

        I’ve been enlightened by the links.

        But you’re talking to Jesse, the poster boy for don’t-bother-me-with-facts-I’ve-got-an-ideology (liberal version). He can’t be enlightened by links because he’s already enlightened by belief.Report

  21. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    An analysis of CA laws and the failure of police to use them with regard to this case.Report