Why Americans love guns and don’t care about the blood

Summary: As we mourn the latest crop of mass shooting deaths, let’s push to understand the key reason for American’s love of guns and indifference to the deaths they cause.

River of blood

Another day, another mass shooting in America. Like most of our problems, it results from our inability to see the world clearly, our indifference to what works for our peer nations, and our credulous acceptance of propaganda (exactly like our debate about health care and the War on Terror). A majority of Americans are indifferent to the tide of blood from guns, refuse to see the staggeringly large difference between our rate of gun deaths and those of our peer nations, and belief in the mostly bogus propaganda from the NRA. Here is a quick review of the basic points in the gun control debate.

But before we start, review the numbers to see the obvious: more guns, more gun violence. I strongly recommend reading these two articles from the New York Times: “How to Reduce Shootings” by Nicholas Kristof, and “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer” by Max Fisher and Josh Keller.

Many Swiss citizens have guns. Few have ammo. See here and here.

Guns in Switzerland

Guns do not make us safer. Why is this not obvious?  Do guns make us more safe, or less? Let’s look at the research.

Another fake gun quote. Source here.

Independence: Another fake gun quote.

Cut thru the lies and myths to understand guns in America. – Especially those about the Wild West.

Fake quotes about guns are gun nuts most powerful argument.

Fake quotes about guns

Jefferson’s third draft to the Virginia constitution included this: “No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands or tenements]” — brackets in the original. This was not included in the Constitution. Source here.

A very powerful quote. It is very fake. Source here.

Fake Gun Quote by Washington

 

This theory was the basis for fun stories by Robert Heinlein; it’s crazy that people believe it: Debunking the myth: “An armed society is a polite society.”

We honor Washington by believing bogus quotes attributed to him. Source here.

Fake Gun Quote by Washington -2

Survival is learning. Failure to learn is the fast path to disaster. The number of children killed by guns in America makes us exceptional, not better.  Don’t just mourn. Remember what we know about guns.

Make America strong by gullible belief in fake quotes from the Founders. Source here.

Fake gun quote by Jefferson

Conclusions

“In a time of universal deceit — telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
— Attributed to George Orwell.

Good governance begins with a clear view of the world. Without that, we are just easily manipulated pawns of the 1% — and their staff, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic.

Clear vision begins with belief that truth is powerful, so that we confirm before we believe. That truth is more valuable than ideology, so that we choose facts when they conflict with ideology. These are the first steps to the next American revolution, when we retake the reins of America. For more ideas see Reforming America: steps to new politics. I recommend starting with this, explaining our indifference to truth: Important: A picture of America, showing a path to political reform.

Also — the Orwell quote is fake.

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about about gun violence and regulation, and especially these…

  1. AmericaA nation lit only by propaganda.
  2. The secret, simple tool that persuades Americans. That molds our opinions.
  3. We cannot agree on simple facts and so cannot reform America.
  4. American politics is a fun parade of lies, for which we pay dearly.
  5. Our minds are addled, the result of skillful and expensive propaganda.
  6. Important advice: Learning skepticism, an essential skill for citizenship in 21st century America.
  7. We live in an age of ignorance, but can decide to fix this – today.
  8. Swear allegiance to the truth as a step to reforming America.
  9. Ways to deal with those guilty of causing the fake news epidemic.
  10. The secret source of fake news. Its discovery will change America.

Books rich with insights about this uniquely American problem.

"Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America" by Adam Winkler
Available at Amazon.
"Living with Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment" by Craig Whitney.
Available at Amazon.

52 thoughts on “Why Americans love guns and don’t care about the blood

  1. What is it about Robert Heinlein that seems to make people want to live according to things he put in his books? They don’t do that for Asimov. The closest thing I can think of is those John Norman Gor people, and at least that’s mostly about sex.

    The gun worship is so strange to me. Acting like being able to 3D print a gun part makes them some kind of advanced political being, especially compared to the lesser lights who don’t know all the fine operational details of hobbyist machinery with military applications. You don’t have to know the fine details of an industrial chemical process to understand you don’t want poison in your water.

  2. Until the lobbying power of the NRA is curtailed, I cannot see much changing in the Republican attitude on this issue. Obama tried to change the gun control laws but failed owing to GOP opposition. Another sad day for the American people.

  3. Germany devolved from a democracy to a fascist dictatorship only a few decades ago. If you were about to be loaded onto a boxcar I bet you’d be wishing for a gun.

    I find it interesting how many on the left are bellowing that Trump is a fascist yet they still want people disarmed. They must not believe their rhetoric, or they’d be arming up.

    You want to take away peoples’ guns, repeal the second amendment.

    1. Country,

      “If you were about to be loaded onto a boxcar I bet you’d be wishing for a gun.”

      If I were given a wish in that circumstance, there are a thousand more useful things to wish for.

      “You want to take away peoples’ guns, repeal the second amendment.”

      Thank you for your irrational statement, so nicely illustrating so many of the points I raise in my post. So many errors in so few words.

  4. The Texas guy was dishonorable discharge and was in the brig for a year for domestic violence. Illegal for him to buy a rifle.

    1. Indeed, the big question at this point is how he passed NICS. He obviously lied in his responses to questions 11.g and 11.i on the 4473. Folks ought to be asking some extremely pointed questions of how the Air Force or FBI or both screwed up so royally here — instead of this piece of human waste serving 5 years in a Federal pen, 26 people are dead. It’s a case of malfeasance and dereliction of duty on a truly mind-boggling scale, and those found responsible ought to be locked up for a very, very long time.

      It certainly bolsters the argument that what we need is not more gun laws but better enforcement of the ones we do have. Of course, doing that kind of thing isn’t as fun or glamorous for politicians as the chance to do some cheap grandstanding on the nightly news, so I wouldn’t hold my breath . . .

    2. phageghost,

      “Folks ought to be asking some extremely pointed questions of how the Air Force or FBI or both screwed up so royally here”

      You have an absurdly exaggerated belief in the efficacy of such screening mechanisms. They could be improved, but that would add a penny to everyone’s tax bill. Can’t have that.

      The securities industry has moderately elaborate screening mechanisms. All key people are fingerprinted and have background & criminal checks done. Many years ago I was running a Branch office of a major firm in Carmel, CA. My cashier was a young woman. Diligent. Intelligent. Beautiful. One day she told me she had to skip town fast because her pimp had tracked her down. Yes, she had a long criminal record.

      Much of the “screening” is just “security theater.” Also, those shows like “NCIS” and “CIS” are fantasies, portraying modern policing as accurate as “Game of Thrones” does history.

    3. Larry,

      Oh I agree. But I’m using this to argue that better enforcement is the most effective place to focus efforts on “Gun Safety Reform Violence Prevention” or whatever the latest stealth euphemism for gun control is, not adding more laws around the edges. What’s the point of “universal background checks” if the existing background checks are a joke, other than to further inconvenience a hated sector of the population?

      Regarding this specific incident, though: there are well-known problems with integrating data from municipal, county and state-level justice systems because of the enormous diversity of record keeping systems. I get that, and fixing it would take a fair amount of effort and money to solve. That’s understandable. But we’re talking about one federal agency (the U.S. Air Force) sending data to another federal agency. Now, jokes about government bureaucracy aside, this is, in fact, a solvable problem. I could hire an ambitious high school student to do it. 1. Whenever the relevant fields in a personnel record are updated to reflect a condition that would trigger ineligibility, send an update to the NICS database. 2. When the NICS database receives an update request from the military personnel database, perform the update.

      If the folks in charge of these things can’t handle something as basic and fundamentally important as this, then they have no business running a goddamned lemonade stand, let alone branches of federal agencies. Serve them their walking papers, post-haste, then keep promoting their underlings until you find someone with an IQ above room temperature and award that person a big shiny medal for “meeting minimum job performance standards.” Given the lower seniority of the new directors you’d actually save some taxpayer money on salary. Problem solved. You’re welcome, America.

    4. phageghost,

      “But I’m using this to argue that better enforcement is the most effective place to focus efforts on “Gun Safety Reform Violence Prevention” or whatever the latest stealth euphemism for gun control is, not adding more laws around the edges.

      While that would help, these is considerable evidence that the current Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment — which overturned the previous two century-long consensus — makes adequate gun policy impossible. The new frontier is open carry — something unknown in America’s cities going back a long long way. Western cities, in the “wild west”, often prohibited this.

    5. Larry,

      I’ve noticed that open carry really rubs you (and a lot of other people) the wrong way. I realize it’s a more than a bit ridiculous prima facia for people to be walking around with a heater strapped to their leg just to go down to the local Gas’N’Go (unless its a 3-day weekend in South Chicago in which case give me some body armor as well), but I personally don’t get agitated by the idea, as long as they keep the damn thing in its holster. Other than its inherent ridiculousness and a subjective distaste for such displays, I’m genuinely interested in what motivates your opposition to it.

      Is there any evidence more recent than the 1870s that open carry does anything besides freak people out? That is, does it have a detectable effect on crime rates, positive or negative? Certainly people who are premeditating crime are unlikely to open carry, for obvious reasons, so the question is whether it makes illegal gun use more likely “in the heat of the moment” versus a deterrent or preventative effect.

      Since its a gun question, the answer is almost certainly “insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness”, as it is for every single other question (like the climate sciences, such research is poorly funded for political reasons relative to the the policy implications), but I’m just curious why you’ve singled out this particular aspect for repeated opprobrium. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s more because you consider it a highly visible indicator of a breakdown in the our social fabric than any quantifiable effect on crime rates.

      Thanks.

  5. Americans do care! We are a Nation of approx. 319 million people. We cannot compare our Nation to other countries with negative attitudes that they are better we are not. We can of course learn from them. Sadly, America, based on the trusted data, is the world’s largest importer of drugs and world’s largest exporter of guns. Question, why is there 6,000 or more gun shops along the Mexican border on the US side? My Lord says Love, are we teaching it at home? We have been at war with each other since the first thinking cave man threw the first rock at his neighbor. Love conquers all, guns postpones the enable. In the end, Mother-Nature wins out and we are extinct. REB

    1. REB.

      I can’t make heads nor tails of your comment. Can you restate it more clearly?

      “Americans do care!”

      Beliefs are shown by actions. We don’t care, since we’ve done nothing.

      “We cannot compare our Nation to other countries with negative attitudes”

      Of course we can compare the US to our peer nations. That’s the first step to learning.

      “We can of course learn from them.”

      Of course we “can” learn from them. But we don’t.

  6. Are you guilty of propaganda here? I understand your points about firearms. They relate to accidental shootings, domestic violence, suicides, and armed crime but your article seems to me to be predicated on events committed by mentally-ill people. You do not address a right to self defense when faced with an over-match situation (weak individual about to be attacked by stronger individual or individuals). You do seem to imply that gun violence is not a subset of violence in general and focus on the tools used in violence. Then, using a straw man of meme propaganda points, attempt to knock down the entire right to self-defense, both individual and collective, and to associate such with Heinlein or a self-seeking NRA.

    There is an emerging body of academic literature on the mass murder phenomenon such as this: https://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201710/inside-the-mind-mass-shooter. Where are the calls for special courts to rapidly grant detention warrants and dedicated police forces for identifying and detaining these individuals? This is a public health issue and needs to be treated as such.

    Here in Canada, where gun ownership is more restricted but still possible, an indication of mental instability is cause for the police to seize weapons. For example, if a spouse feels threatened by an increase in tension in a household, he or she can call the police and they will come and remove any firearms legally present in the home (they will arrest anyone in possession of illegal firearms and also remove them). I would argue that in addition to such seizures, the person should be seized since restricting the person’s ability to rent a truck (the recent NY attack, similar attacks in Europe), make a bomb (conduct an internet search on bombs), or use of other weapons ranging from blunt objects to edged objects (mass stabbings in Israel) is seemingly not possible. A crazy person bent on attention-getting self-destruction that takes as many people with him (they are almost all male aren’t they) is likely to succeed unless the individual is personally restrained from doing so.

    Canada has no “gun show loophole.” Restricted firearms owners wishing to buy or sell a restricted firearm to another must contact their provincial firearms officer and obtain a code. The receiver than contacts the CFO and reports receipt of the firearm using the same code. It’s not much of a burden. Restricted firearms owners are required to undergo two days of pretty good training and then background checks. The application for a “possession and acquisition license” includes the spouse acceding to the application and getting recommendations from others (who are interviewed). None of this, coincidentally, applies to possessing and owning military style semi-automatic long guns as these are not restricted here unless they have folding stocks or barrels that reduce total firearm length to less than 66 cm.

    Most states, perhaps all of them, provide for a militia which is often all able-bodied males between 18 and 45. This is in addition to the federal force (under control of a governor — Title 32 service — until called into federal service under Title 10 or 50) known as the National Guard. It’s not hard to envision various requirements for militia use such as needing to reestablish local authority following a natural or man-made disaster. Other, more common uses are in Sheriff’s posses and other local situations.

    In Canada, we have no right to self-defense in an over-match situation. Faced with such, we must accept the consequences of the rape, beating, or murder and rely on the criminal justice system to clean up the mess. Militia here only exists at the federal level and is tightly controlled, a product of our history in which the threat of rebellions of break away movements wanting to join the United States was our greatest threat to domestic tranquility.

    1. I forgot to mention that criminals here regularly use weapons that exceed what their victims are likely to have available. That includes handguns.

    2. USDA,

      That’s quite a collection of propaganda. There’s no point to mining thru it all, so I’ll touch on two points.

      “You do not address a right to self defense when faced with an over-match situation (weak individual about to be attacked by stronger individual or individuals).”

      Because it is virtually irrelevant, in terms of the frequency of such situation. One of my best friends was a brilliant doctor, one of the top in California, and a gun nut. Of course, quite wealthy. He had one of the rarest of crimes, a daylight armed invasion of his home by robbers. These people just want to get in and out quietly, with minimum fuss (to avoid getting on the most wanted list). He was upstairs when they broke in. He grabbed his gun (he was an expert marksman and experienced hunter) and ran downstairs. In the shoot-out, he killed one, was killed, and his wife was seriously injured. The winner: his insurance company.

      “In Canada, we have no right to self-defense in an over-match situation.”

      First, that’s the usual mad rebuttal using the “false dilemma” logical fallacy. It works – with children.

      Second, since your crime rate is a fraction of ours — perhaps you are missing the lesson Canada has to offer the US in this area.

    3. Replying to Larry’s drivel below.

      Which rhetorical devices did you employ below? That’s sad, you aren’t as bright as you think you are.

      What propaganda did I employ that you chose not to address? Most of what I wrote was simply facts.

      Your generalization from one known point about your dead “friend” was nonsense. Was this the norm in self-defense cases?

      About overmatch, what was the false choice? Our choices are to fight back even though overmatched (that is irrational) or accept the abuse. Of course, that is with the assumption that getting away wasn’t possible which should always be the first choice in any confrontation situation as it has the least risk — standing your ground is macho BS and something you guys seem to treasure.

      Why is Canada’s crime rate a fraction of America’s? Do you attribute the sole difference to firearms? Violent crime (a subset of all crime) regardless of weapon is also lower in Canada. I think it might be because we have fewer irrational people like you. But seriously, it’s more likely because we have a better social safety network than you do; your economic extremes, the crushing poverty in your cities is the source of most of your violent crime.

      Why do more Americans commit suicide than Canadians? Who knows. You should look into that. Why do a few do so in mass killing sprees? Again, you really should look into that.

    4. usdaoven,

      “Why is Canada’s crime rate a fraction of America’s?”

      Your statements implied that Canada’s people were at risk because they didn’t allow widespread ownership of guns, as in the US. Since they are in fact safer than we are by almost every measure, that’s a pretty weird argument.

      “About overmatch, what was the false choice?”

      The facts are clear, despite the propaganda. Owning a gun does not make you safer. There are certain rare circumstances where having a gun will help, but the data shows that the net effect is negative.

    5. usada,

      Thanks for your contribution. Future comments are moderated. Those with facts will be posted — citing sources of information, not just rants.

    6. Thank you for your second reply.

      I was quite put off by the condescending tone of your first response as nothing I wrote was deserving of such treatment. I would have appreciated a professional response of the points. To that end, here are mine to your latest.

      Yes, Canada’s crime rate overall, violent and nonviolent, armed with a gun or other weapon if violent, is lower than America’s. But, when a violent criminal in Canada attacks his fellow Canadian, he is pretty assured his victim won’t be armed. And, the victim, if he or she cannot get away, will have little choice but to yield to the assault. It’s our normal pattern in the news. In the few cases where a victim uses a weapon, and especially a firearm for self defense, the Crown prosecutes the intended victim even if all the facts indicate the intended victim otherwise would have died in the assault.

      My main point, however, was this. It seems to me that you are using a situation involving a suicide by mass attack as an opportunity to press for more firearms control. I think that is based on dubious logic.

      At no point have I indicated that I’m against increased gun control in America. In fact, it’s not my issue, is it? I included a discussion of Canadian measures with a view to educating an American audience on how such measures can work. Example: There is no “gun show” loophole in Canada. Instead, private parties make two phone calls. Pretty simple. If the buyer isn’t approved, the transfer is not authorized. I’d think you’d like that.

      On firearms in the home, I included a discussion of how a spouse who has ANY anxiety about a firearm in the home can have it removed. The police will come and take it away. And, spouses must approve the acquisition of a license by his/her partner. A firearm isn’t something one partner can unilaterally bring into a household. I’d think you’d like that.

      I also included, just for clarity and educational purposes, a discussion of the two different militia traditions between the two countries. Everything one writes or says here doesn’t have to be combative though I think you tend to read things that way.

      I think I’ve stuck to the facts. Our firearms rules can be found here: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/online_en-ligne/firearms-licence-permis-armes-a-feu-eng.htm

      In my opinion, these types of rules wouldn’t violate your second amendment since it addresses keeping and bearing arms while not addressing the right to self-defense explicitly.

      Canada does have another body of law about self defense that I think would offend most Americans.

  7. Hello….the guy who committed the massacre was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force and was not legally allowed to possess firearms anyway. How’s that firearms law working for ya there? About as well as the firearms laws that are enforced in Chicago, murder capital of the world for black on black homicide, I would guess.

    I grew up in a hunting family with military members and veterans. The first time I ever shot I was 6 or 7. I spent hours with my BB gun and learned all about trajectories, wind, velocity, and much more. I learned more about physics from shooting than I did in school and I have a Master’s degree.

    I am NOT indifferent to blood nor wrongful death. Nor is anyone else I know who comes from the same background. What a load of utter insulting and consescending crap. Nice use of memes, to make people who take their Second Amendment right seriously, look stupid and ignorant though.

    I would point out that a guy WITH a gun chased this guy out of the church and killed him. It might have been much, much worse had he not also been armed.

    1. ETA the first time I ever shot a rifle or shotgun I was 6 or 7. I already had a BB gun before that.

    2. Tin Foil,

      “How’s that firearms law working for ya there?”

      I’m always touched by the childish faith many Americans have in laws. “Pass a law” they cry out at each new problem, then grab a drink or toke or line and turn to the tube.

      This just in: laws are paper, only as effective as the enforcement mechanisms that make them real. US gun laws are as porous as sieves — made deliberate so by conservatives. Like you.

    3. Actually I’m not really conservative. I’m pretty squarely classically liberal. So thank you for playing, please try again another time.

      The laws are unenforceable except on law abiding citizens. If I wanted to buy a gun today that would be unregistered I could get in touch with two or three people and I would have one by the end of today, or maybe tomorrow. So could you, if you were of a mind to do so.

      I could get drugs the same way. If there’s a will there’s a way, it’s always been that way. My family on both my mother’s and my father’s sides were bootleggers and rum runners during Prohibition. They made a good living for themselves by violating stupid laws that were unenforceable anyway.

      I don’t cry out for passing laws. No one I know does either. I would prefer that all this stuff be legalized and taxed. I am not in the business of regulating adult consumption of whatever they choose. And no one else should be either. If people want to be self destructive they are going to be, whether it’s food, drugs, or firearms.

    4. TinFoil.

      “The laws are unenforceable except on law abiding citizens.”

      wow. I guess paying all those police are a waste of time. Good to know.

      Returning to to real world, police reduce the incidence of crime. Anti-drug and anti-crime laws work quite well in nations willing to devote the resources to enforce them, where there is sufficient public support for those enforcement measures.

      Re: conservatives

      Political positions are determined not by self-identification (how you dress your identify), but by beliefs. Your comments about guns are those of hard-core conservatives. Q.E.D.

    5. Do you really think that murders by knife or other means are better than by gun? And what about robbery, rape, assault? Those are not lower in countries without guns. In fact they are equal to or higher than ours. The only European nation I can point to with a lower overall murder rate, sexual and other assault rate, and robbery rate is Switzerland. Which requires all adults to own and train with a firearm. And where my ancestors are from.

    6. TinFoil.

      “Do you really think that murders by knife or other means are better than by gun?”

      What are you attempting to say? That makes no sense.

      “Those are not lower in countries without guns.”

      Do you believe that reducing America’s fantastic rate of murders is insufficient reason to restore our past gun regs? That we shouldn’t do so unless that also solves a wide range of other problems? Wow.

      “Which requires all adults to own and train with a firearm. ”

      Another myth. The Swiss tightly regulate purchase and ownership of ammo. Swiss closets have military rifles but do not have ammo. That is kept at government armories and issued when needed. Again, see the links provided.

    7. Tinfoil,

      “Actually I’m not really conservative. ”

      That’s a decisive rebuttal. Surveys show that many Americans have a mixture of beliefs from all along the left-right spectrum. I should have said that “in this respect, your positions are conservative — and those that have prevented adequate enforcement of US gun laws.”

    8. Larry Kummer,”…Do you believe that reducing America’s fantastic rate of murders is insufficient reason to restore our past gun regs?…”

      The single largest factor that makes our society so violent is the vast and horrendous amount of crime and deaths perpetrated by minorities. Would you demand that they be deported? If the problem is so bad and so dire then surely this would be what you would want. If not then you are just full of hot air and have no intentions other than disarming White people so they can be at the mercy of whatever evil schemes you are cooking up.

      All your post about ammunition being highly regulated in Switzerland is nothing but a HUGE LIE. You only cover the regulated ammunition for the army and the militia clubs. It has to be shot at the clubs because it’s subsidized. There’s NO restrictions on private ammunition purchase. You can have all you want.

      “…The ammo restrictions only apply to ammo bought at the range because this ammo is subsidized by the Swiss government. Anyone can go to a gun store and buy all the ammo he wants with a background check and store it at home…”

      https://www.reddit.com/r/guns/comments/2cl0uk/swiss_gun_ownership_and_gun_laws_condensed_into_a/

      That I can so simply find this information means you’re purposely lying to people. You have a rabid hatred for Whites owning guns to protect themselves.

    9. Sam,

      (1) “the single largest factor that makes our society so violent is the vast and horrendous amount of crime and deaths perpetrated by minorities.”

      NYT: “Gun Deaths Are Mostly Suicides.

      Pew Research: “Suicides account for most gun deaths.

      Center for Disease Control: Half of suicides are by guns.

      (2) “All your post about ammunition being highly regulated in Switzerland is nothing but a HUGE LIE.” Support: reddit.

      Let’s replay the tape and see who is lying. See the previous comment and my reply.

      Comment by Tinfoil: “Which requires all adults to own and train with a firearm. ”

      My answer: “Another myth. The Swiss tightly regulate purchase and ownership of ammo. Swiss closets have military rifles but do not have ammo. That is kept at government armories and issued when needed. Again, see the links provided.”

      The comment and my reply were clearly referring to the military arms and ammo issued to the militia.

      Also, most shooting by citizens with military-issued weapons is at ranges, where ammo can be purchased but must be expended there. Private purchases elsewhere are legal with a permit — but only for a gun for which the purchases has a permit (justification must be given for gun ownership). Ammo purchases are tracked. All this is unlike in the US with its easily evaded regs on gun and ammo purchases.

      Also about the Swiss – comparison with 25 developed nations:

      • Switzerland’s gun homicide rate was the fourth highest.
      • Switzerland has the seventh highest suicide rate. and the third highest rate of gun-related suicide.
    10. TinFoil,

      “Thank you sir. Well said.”

      That’s the American gun nuts’ manta: factually wrong, but applauded anyway. Their love of fake quotes and bogus facts is the extreme expression of this. That’s why they’re called “gun nuts.”

  8. We as Americans will do are damndest to do it bigger, better and badder than anyone else – that includes our government. If anyone for a sec thinks the far left in this country wouldn’t use the government to force and enforce its views on the rest you’re nuts. I guess someone could also make the argument about the far right, but social winds are not blowing in that direction.

    1. Gute,

      “If anyone for a sec thinks the far left in this country wouldn’t use the government to force and enforce its views on the rest you’re nuts.”

      Could you state that in a fashion relevant to this discussion? That makes no sense whatsoever in terms of this debate.

  9. So the Swiss are just wanting in the ammo otherwise they’d be the world capitol of mass shootings?
    And Americans a century ago, presumably, didn’t have enough ammo either?
    And if guns were less readily accessible, hate filled lunatics wouldn’t reach for the next most ready to hand methods of mass carnage (trucks, bombs, poison–we should be thankful they aren’t already using the latter)
    And the culture of glorified violence, divorce, and pharma soaked young men isn’t the real problem to address?
    And the availability of guns for many or most of the past shooters even if they’d lived in Europe (case in point, Paddock would be poster boy for someone who would be able to get a gun anywhere–easy for a reasonably competent person to modify a semi auto rifle into auto, hell, with a tool shop and the internet, if motivated, can manufacture an automatic weapon. This is not nuclear technology)
    And that most gun violence comes from illegally owned guns obtained by gangs, which would continue no matter what the national gun laws were, because the drug business is permitted to flourish in the USA. Do you really think new national gun laws will change the government’s permission of the drug business, with all its interested parties, to continue. Well if they can smuggle drugs, they can smuggle guns.)
    This piece is confused on so many levels. FM should be addressing the real root problems ignored by others, not coughing up the same repackaged arguments that no intelligent people believe.
    The gun control advocates at the highest levels couldn’t care less about gun violence in urban America. They do fear a well armed citizenry in the event of social breakdown, which social breakdown they’re heedlessly increasing by their own actions. As the bonds that hold the country together loosen and civic unrest appears, do you really think people on either side will be unable to import guns the same way factions all around the world do?
    A gun is a simple tool like a car or bus or chemistry set. If millions of people are mentally sick to the point of wanting to commit mass killings, they will find ways to do so regardless of how many guns are out there. Before guns were available, you had more carnage in the world with bladed weapons and bows and arrows, tribal warfare, etc. Rwanda was a machette genocide in modern times. Guns aren’t the cause of mass shootings, and if you don’t deal with the root cause, you’re engaged in virtue signalling not problem solving.

    1. “virtue signalling”

      Considering that phrase is thrown around by people quite similar to those who always write lengthy screeds sponsored by ZARDOZ, I have to wonder who’s doing the virtue signalling here.

    2. western,

      “So the Swiss are just wanting in the ammo otherwise they’d be the world capitol of mass shootings?”

      Too dumb a statement to reply. It’s childish, even as strawman arguments go.

  10. Is the US # 104 in homicide rates? The UN Office on Drugs and Crime appears to say so. (http://www.gunfacts.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/GUNS-IN-OTHER-COUNTRIES-Homicide-Rates-for-Top-Ten-Countries-Plus-United-States.png)

    What do the statistics really tell us about where most gun violence takes place and about who perpetrates these crimes? That would be instructive. Americans are far more likely to die of Parkinson’s Disease.

    Emotional displays over violent deaths reveal one’s humanity and compassion, but then when emotions settle reason should step forward and dissect the animal to discover the reality inside.

    1. Gary,

      “Is the US # 104 in homicide rates? The UN Office on Drugs and Crime appears to say so”

      This post — and all sensible discussions — compare the US to other developed nations. That you take pride in the US doing better than third world nations is … odd. We have the 94th highest rate per using data from the UN’s surveys. Our nearest peer nation on the list is Belgium at 149. Exceptional America!

      https://www.unodc.org/documents/gsh/pdfs/2014_GLOBAL_HOMICIDE_BOOK_web.pdf

      It’s easier to see the table version here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate#By_country

    2. We often hear about how the U.S. has such a vastly higher gun homicide rate than “developed” nations as well as the least restrictive gun laws. Therefore, obviously, our lax gun control is the cause of our higher gun homicides.

      What is very rarely reported, however, is that the U.S. also has far greater rates of baseball bat homicide, ball-peen hammer homicide, knife homicide, bashing heads in with a brick homicide, etc. If the blue fairy waved her magic wand tomorrow and turned every gun in the U.S. into an ice cream sandwich, and assuming that there was no substitution (murderers who would have used a gun choosing to use something else), we’d still have many times higher homicide rates than all these other countries. We’d still be “Exceptional America” and we’d be scratching our heads trying to figure out how to regulate baseball bats (perhaps they could be stored under lock and key in a central guarded facility, with some provision for law enforcement to release them to local little league teams for temporary use in the presence of a SWAT team.)

      Perhaps what we have in the U.S. is not a “gun violence” problem, but a “violence” problem? Given the above you’d have a hard time arguing that the former is not secondary to the latter.

    3. phagehost,

      “Therefore, obviously, our lax gun control is the cause of our higher gun homicides.”

      “The cause” is a bit grand. But it is a logical inference as “a cause”. Esp since gun control has reduced homicide — and mass killings — elsewhere.

    4. phageghost,

      Follow-up — you make it sound like researchers talking about gun control are children making chalk drawings on sidewalks.

      Most of the comments here in favor of our current gun regulations are just rants. I have seen none who shows any sign of having read the research cited in my posts — let alone making a rational rebuttal to them.

      This is typical behavior of both far-Left and far-Right in policy debates. Knowledge and logic are to them like Holy Water to vampires. Fake quotes, fake stats, big bold statements.

    5. “Follow-up — you make it sound like researchers talking about gun control are children making chalk drawings on sidewalks.”

      That was certainly not my intention. The professional academic literature is pretty high quality, using sophisticated statistical techniques to address bias and noise, etc. I was intentionally speaking on the level of argument usually present in the lay press and public consciousness.

      Many aspects of gun policy are understudied and when one is studying very rare events (gun use) through surveys, you either need a lot of money to pay for a very large study or accept a small sample size and low power. Drawing inferences from other data has its own problems. And of course the topic is heavily politicized in both directions. Hence my call for more funding — real data would be more productive than congressional grandstanding.

      “Most of the comments here in favor of our current gun regulations are just rants. I have seen none who shows any sign of having read the research cited in my posts — let alone making a rational rebuttal to them.”

      Unfortunately true. But believe it or not there are articulate, rational individuals on the other side of the debate.Maybe a few will stop by.

      As for the research linked to in your previous posts — that’s a long list but the fact that Kellerman 1993 is on there indicates to me that you haven’t searched very far for an opposing viewpoint. But I’ll make a contribution toward it. For example, Australia engaged in its famous gun confiscation program in the late 1990s, far beyond anything any major U.S. poliitican has proposed. Here are the homicide rates for the time period bracketing that, including proportion of firearm homicide, courtesy of the Australian government: http://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/homicide.html

      I’ll give a gold star to the first person in class that can show me the inflection point where we can see the effect of this massive reduction in available firearms. Anyone? Bueller? Anyone? Just kidding, there is no inflection point. Australia had low and declining homicide (with and without guns) before the confiscation, and low and declining homicide (with and without guns) after the confiscation.

      Despite the propaganda, firearms accidents in the U.S. are vanishingly rare and have been declining steadily over time even as the number of guns in private hands has soared https://www.nraila.org/articles/20111222/firearm-accident-fatalities-at-an-all-time-low, thanks in no small part to the efforts of the NRA and their excellent firearm safety programs including those for children. I’m sure the Bloomberg / Feinstein gun safety program is equally effective. Oh wait, there isn’t one.

      “Won’t somebody pleeeease think of the children!!” A common trope of gun controllers is to cite the horrific numbers of “children” who die by firearms. Well, the trick there is to include 16-19 year old “children” who are pulling drive-bys over crack turf. A lot of these “children” would just as soon curb stomp you for an iPhone as look at you. It’s a good trick, I gotta admit. A lot like shutting the windows of the Senate building when you’re trying to gin up support for global warming.

      One of the better sources of unbiased information on gun violence and control is the CDC, recently partially released from their ban on gun research. Before the hiatus, they evaluated the effectiveness of a long list of gun control measures enacted or proposed: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5214a2.htm. Pay close attention to the “Task Force Findings” column of the Table.

      In 2013 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released report. Among their findings: “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010). On the other hand, some scholars point to a radically lower estimate of only 108,000 annual defensive uses based on the National Crime Victimization Survey (Cook et al., 1997). The variation in these numbers remains a controversy in the field. The estimate of 3 million defensive uses per year is based on an extrapolation from a small number of responses taken from more than 19 national surveys. The former estimate of 108,000 is difficult to interpret because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use.
      A different issue is whether defensive uses of guns, however numerous or rare they may be, are effective in preventing injury to the gun-wielding crime victim. Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was “used” by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies (Kleck, 1988; Kleck and DeLone, 1993; Southwick, 2000; Tark and Kleck, 2004).”

      As for your wealthy gun-owning friend, I’m very sorry to hear about what happened to him and his wife. And it’s easy to monday morning QB these things but I’m afraid that’s a case where tactical brilliance could not overcome poor strategy. Best practice in case of a home invasion is to barricade yourself and loved ones in a defensible position like a bedroom and call 911. Let the crooks take your stuff — it’s not worth it — and only if they break down the door would you be forced to engage them, in which case you’ve got them at a choke point. But in the heat of the moment I can see where it would be hard to resist the temptation to go on “bump patrol.”

      I don’t know very many gun owners and even fewer concealed carriers, but among my personal acquaintances I know of two defensive gun uses — one where a bystander (my acquaintance) drew his pistol to stop an abusive ex-boyfriend from attacking a waitress at a restaurant. He held him there until the police arrived. If he hadn’t been there she might have turned up as a torso along the highway somewhere. The second was to defend a family dog from a pitbull attack. I don’t know of any incidents where acquaintances have been victimized by guns, but they might be out there. So if we’re looking purely at anecdotes my own tiny sample size might have given me a different perspective than your tiny sample size. But we both know the plural of anecdote is not data.

  11. Like the institutions of our unraveling Duopoly, you appear to be coming unglued. Maybe you need to take a long vacation to get over the sense of panic that oozes out of this specimen of rhetorical overkill.

    1. Perhaps I should be more specific. I’m referring to the original post, not the responses to it, though some of them too are quite over-the-top.

    2. Desi,

      In an active thread like this, confusion about your comment is certain if you don’t tell us to what you are referring.

    3. Desi,

      That kind of nonsense is chaff in the discussion. If you have a rational rebuttal, let’s hear it.

  12. You might find this useful. For one, it shows that public opinion generally does favor stronger regulation, and is not satisfied with our current laws.

    How to Reduce Shootings” by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times, 6 November 2017.

    1. Oji,

      Great article! Thanks for posting. Note, however, that polls results depend heavily on how the question is phrased.

  13. Wait…you find it strange that a country born from an armed revolt against its colonial English masters would have an affinity for firearms and distrust of government?

    This is just a way to villify the 99.99% of gun owners who are law abiding, trustworthy, and good citizens. Concealed carry holders have among the lowest crime rates as a group, even lower than that of uniformed law enforcement. Are you going to take away guns from police?

    Gun homicides in this country include preposterous forms of statisical counts. If a cop shoots 5 dangerous criminals, then those 5 are included in the count. People committing suicide are included in the count. And frankly the vast majority of homicides occur in a handful of cities and they are rampant among 1 particular demographic which I even a cursory glance of FBI crime stats reveals. This is the absurdity of such gun control arguments.

    All of these demands for gun control are simply myopic and demands to do “something”. It’s always interesting how political factions work. The moment anyone with a middle eastern surname commits a crime in america, the right starts with the all muslims are terrorists while the left denies this logic. A mass shooting occurs and the two sides trade places, now the left demonizes all gun owners as violent psychos who are too dangerous to be trusted, while the right counters. The left has made no secret of its desire to completely disarm the population…you only need listen to our friend Diane Feinstein to know this.

    It’s also an exercise in denying causes or examining the how and why and just having tunnel vision for symptoms. In addition it also denies the reality of culture and why individuals do what they do. I’ve lived in europe and spent time in switzerland and would never confuse it for america. The demographics are different, the prevailing myths and beliefs of the population are different, the history of the country is also different. Other countries such as Austria have similarly metrics regarding firearms in terms of homicides but again, this is not the same package of facts, figures, situations, and influences as america.

    1. Anastasia,

      “Gun homicides in this country include preposterous forms of statisical counts.”

      You appear unclear about the meaning of “gun homicide”, and its role in international comparisons. The rest of your comment is the usual fact-free rant. Try reading some of the studies cited in these posts — learn something — and then give a rebuttal.

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