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02/18/2008

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neilehat

Will, do you realize that more people died along the Oregon and Santa Fe trails from accidental or self inflicted gun shot wounds than were ever killed by Indians. Stranger than fiction eh? Your statement, "I am fearful of the well armed frightened citizen." That's probably the underlying sentiment-rational of the Continental Congress when they added the Second Amendment.

Strange how things seem to stay the same the more they change.

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good efforts

Brett Bellmore

You seem to have a curious blind spot, in that you recognize a cultural aspect to the desire of other people to own guns, but somehow imagine your own desire to deprive them of guns is just the result of objective logic. Nope, it's as much cultural as the other side, and frankly, it's rather arrogant of you to presume that you're somehow entitled to over-ride other people's choices.

I am not a beast, to be driven to your will, and would appreciate it if you'd stop gaming out ways to force me to comply, and consider for a moment just leaving me the heck alone.

The problem of lunatics with guns is a problem of lunatics, not a problem of guns. Try thinking up some solution that attacks the people responsible, rather than depriving 10,000 people of their liberty for every bad guy it merely inconveniences.

DanC

The mentally ill do not commit a lot of crime. I am not sure what mental illness the NIU shooter suffered from beyond some run of the mill OCD. Not every violent person is mentally ill, sometimes they are just nasty people.

President Reagan did not release the mentally ill. New drugs and advocates for the mentally ill worked to release the mentally ill from institutions.

neilehat

Dan, Oh Contraire. The reason the prisons and jails are now so full is because these people have been picked for various offenses and are now in the criminal system(ask the Judge). As for Reagan, it occured on his administration's watch and they pushed it as method of reducing Government expenditures. They should have known better.

Willliam Metcalfe

The releasing of inmates in the US followed a successful program in one of the Scandinavian countries. As in many cases, the social differences between the original country and the US was not considered. The population in the Scandinavian countries are not heterogeneous. If you look at a photo of a crowded city street, the similarity of the people is eerie, compared to one of our cities. One feels that cloning has already occurred. The urban areas are smaller. A feeling of membership within a community is stronger there than in our cities.

William Metcalfe

One should not argue for gun control by considering the outliers. The shooting at the Universities seems to show that the mentally ill should not be permitted to own firearms, but the shooters in the recent cases present a unique personality. Undoubtedly, there are many others who, for a variety of reasons, have not undertaken the necessary steps to fulfill their fantasies. And there are many more who are content to indulge their dreams of destruction in their living rooms.
Many more people die of self-inflicted gun wounds, but they die as individuals. One at a time, or occasionally a pair of lovers. We respond more emotionally to larger disasters: a mass shooting, an air plane crash, a train wreck, a highway pile up.
I have been wonder lately if there are approximate statistics for the number of murders that are occasioned by the suicidal driver who purposely crosses the line to crash into another car. In my area, there may be 4 or 5 of these accidents every month. Only a very few are the result of a driver's wish to die. Lack of sleep or alcohol or inattention are the usual causes.

Greg

I enjoy how many people (William Metcalfe, neilehat, Bob) just throw out statistics without any citation or proof at all. How can you know how many people died on the Oregon trail because of accidental gun shot wounds, neilehat?

Ross, I don't think you quite understand the problem here. The problem isn't that the guns people used were too hard to see in low light. The problem isn't that the guns don't match their clothes, it's that the people use guns to kill other people. Making guns pink wouldn't solve their lethality, prevalence, or masculine appeal. (Pink been not manly for probably 100 years, while killing people has been manly for about 4000; which social norm do you think is going to change faster?)

But Wes, what are you thinking? A mandatory one year for self-defense? Do you understand the concept of justice? How in the world would putting a man who defended himself in prison with rapists be justice? Unless we are in the Soviet Union, I must be going crazy. The point of a judge is to JUDGE the circumstances around a situation and then JUDGE if prison is the best option. A blanket, pre-planned sentence to be spit out like a vending machine is absolutely ridiculous and against everything America stands for.

Jack

Getting rid of guns could well be one solution for the lowering of our horrendous levels of gun slaughter as we see in other nations with 20% or less of our homicide rates or even in NYC where that large and diverse city has less gun crime than 192 other cities of over 200,000 population.

But as many posters and the gun activists are quick to point out the rate of gun abuse is very low, ie most gun owners, are not abusing their "right" or "privilege". (depending on what the SC makes of the DC ban)

Much is made of the high RATE of gun and other crime in the "black community", however, we should note that HALF of our prison inmates are "white". Now what is the common denominator that crosses the color line of our prison population? Illiteracy. Rates of literacy in prison are quoted as 30% or lower in a nation, claiming, lit rates of 95% or higher.

Thus, it would seem wise for those who'd rather not feed "gun banners" the fodder of US gun homicide being many times higher than in the "civilized?" nations to use as political leverage it would seem there best shot would be that of improving education and economic opportunity in the "left behind" areas where crime and kill rates are higher than in all but nations engaged in outright civil war.

But ha!! can anyone imagine the NRA set spending their resources and political might in favor of equitable funding for "those" schools? or economic empowerment zones in our areas that are most economically depressed and rife with crime?

corwon

Let me separate this into two parts
1)Can a strongly desired product be suppressed if illegal? Let's think of prohibitiob and cocaine.
2)Can a strongly desired product be suppressed if legal? Let's think of cigarettes.My summationis,it can't be desired,but it can be down sized.But as ther economists among us know there is a "law of diminshing returns".I don't think it can be decreased enough to keep guns from the real nuts.

neilehat

Greg, Take the time to really study American History, read the accounts and diaries of actual participants, such as Henry Garrison's account of his trip in 1846, instead of the "canned crap" that passes for history in today's textbooks. Or better yet, travel the Trail and become a witness to the monotonous line of graves leading from St. Louis to the Pacific or from Kansas City to Santa Fe. It will really open your eyes to the value of statistics.

DanC

Nellehat
I have no idea where you get your information from. Deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill was championed by mental health activists. It was believed that with the advent of new modern drugs, the mentally ill did not have to spend their lives inside institutions. In addition, civil liberties advocates have fought to make it much harder to involuntarily hospitalize someone.

So please don't ignore reality so that you can put a political spin on the topic.

virgil xenophon

No less a far lefty such as Lawrence Tribe is on the public record as saying that logic and history is on the side of the view that the second amend- ment provides an unqualified right for INDIVIDUALS to own firearms. Without that view, he has stated, "you don't get Lexington or Concord." By this, he explains that the farmers and shopkeepers who rallied to the cause did not go down to the local militia's Armory to check out their weapons--rather they grabbed their own privately purchased and owned weapons from the fireplace mantel, their closets, armoirs etc., and headed out to do battle.

neilehat

As you yourself have said, ".. was believed", so why the problem? As for the "civil liberties" angle, institutionlize one nut case/potential nut case or bury x number of innocents on a regular basis, tough choice huh? Remember, all Liberties end at my natural right to defend my person and property. And as they say, "the rest is history". Spin? No spin intended, just the facts.

William Metcalfe

The 2nd amendment specifies "arms". If you were to look into Dr. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary published before our Revolution you will see that the definition of arms included any thing that can be used as a weapon. The common term for guns was firearms. Guns are a subset of the term "arms'. A farmer's arms might be an axe, a knife or a rifle. Firearms were near the top of weaponry then. Today, they are perhaps further down the list. I had a friend who, after a night of drinking, would allows put an empty bottle in each front pocket of his pants. If there were trouble, he would break a bottle and brandish it. He never had to use the bottles, but under the 2nd amendment these would be legitimate weapons. As would be a bottle of acid which was frequently used in urban areas in the 19th century. The acid was more often used aggressively rather than defensively. A husband betrayed, etc. Presently, you could argue that a citizen should have the right to arm himself with any weapon that is in use in the military.

corwin

Mr metcalfe;
One can argue anything.But,for many of us,an argument is an opportunity to present materiel and/or information to advance our point of view.I can't believe anyone would accept your point given immediately above.Please find me a supporter of your view

WILLIAM Metcalfe

I have seen no one who supports my positions, but this isn't a pole. It is an effort by those who post on here to argue for or against the case for gun control. My only point is that many argue that a strict interpretation of the 2nd amendment establishes the right for citizens of the state to carry firearms. I am pointing out that the argument is fallacious because the certain term, "arm", of the Amendment is broader than our current usage. The meaning of words can change over time. The word "cop" seems to alternate between a slang term for a policeman and a very meaning to take, to steal. I think my point is valid.
As a teenager in the 50's, I lived in a large city. This was the period prior to the musical WEST SIDE STORY. There were a number of gangs of young men who seemed to exist to fight each other. I don't recall drugs or stealing as a part of their activities. Kids made their own guns, zip guns. Almost everyone of them carried a switchblade. Kids wore belts with large buckles that were filed to sharp edges. During fights the belts came off and were wrapped around hands and swung at kids in the other gang. Most jurisdictions passed laws outlawing switchblades and formulate broad prohibitions to remove their other weapons.
In a broad interpretation of the 2nd amendment these weapons would be permitted. I am not saying I would like to see that again. Gun usage among young people in gangs today is tragic.
My take on the 2nd Amendment is that that the citizens have the right to protect themselves, but that right is protected by the state which can organize militias in defense of those rights.

Dave

The recent well publicized mass murders are a combination of the fact that we are a large country that has an irreducible number of homicidal nut cases combined with over developed sensationalistic national news coverage.


Note how these cases occur in clusters. This is the copycat effect, which feeds back positively engendering even more hysteria emanating from the news media, the pundits, and organizations with a gun control agenda.


The most successful way to reduce this would be to quit glorifying the perpetrators by restraining coverage of these events. Instead each of these events features days of top headline coverage of the event including massive publicity of the perpetrators life story and method of operation.

If anyone suggested muzzling the news media there would be outrage because it would be a violation of the constitutional rights of Americans. Efforts to control the problem by restricting the constitutional rights of innocent, lawful gun owners who use firearms properly seem misdirected.

Dave

The recent well publicized mass murders are a combination of the fact that we are a large country that has an irreducible number of homicidal nut cases combined with over developed sensationalistic national news coverage.


Note how these cases occur in clusters. This is the copycat effect, which feeds back positively engendering even more hysteria emanating from the news media, the pundits, and organizations with a gun control agenda.


The most successful way to reduce this would be to quit glorifying the perpetrators by restraining coverage of these events. Instead each of these events features days of top headline coverage of the event including massive publicity of the perpetrators life story and method of operation.

If anyone suggested muzzling the news media there would be outrage because it would be a violation of the constitutional rights of Americans. Efforts to control the problem by restricting the constitutional rights of innocent, lawful gun owners who use firearms properly seem misdirected.

Heretic

Neither Becker nor Posner make the case for why artificially inflating the cost of legal guns would prevent the deranged from obtaining guns. Their incentives are not economic, so they are unlikely to response to economic incentives. For the same reasons, increasing the cost of illegal guns is unlikely to stop the deranged. Even bringing economics back in, it is worth noting that drug law enforcement has failed to decrease the supply of illegal drugs in any meaningful way.

On the other hand, those law-abiding individuals in a position to stop the deranged from continuing a killing spree probably would respond to economic incentives.

It may be worth noting that most of these killing sprees are happening in places where it is illegal to carry guns. This may come as a big surprise, but criminals (by definition) do not obey such laws, while those in a position to stop them generally do. The deranged will look at a gun-free zone as an opportunity, and an unarmed populace as a collection of easy targets.

Consider this- would you feel your child is more safe or less safe if you knew that some of the staff at his or her school were trained in the usage of firearms, and were "deputized" as part of the emergency response plan?

The plan at my child's school involves locking the classroom door, closing the shades, and having the kids cower together in the corner. They actually practice this regularly now, like a fire drill.

MEL1776

The cultural element to American gun ownership is evident in the feeling that those who depend on the government as their primary means of defense are "serfs," while citizens are able to defend themselves while submitting to a government analysis on if such defense was justified.

I think sucidial deranged gunmen can have their incentives lowered by decreasing their time of having power over the victims they hate, and by not making them famous after their deaths.

William Metcalfe

Heretic at February 27 wrote: "On the other hand, those law-abiding individuals in a position to stop the deranged from continuing a killing spree probably would respond to economic incentives."
I wish someone would do a probability study on the chances of a mass killer and a citizen, with a gun and the skills to use one, being in the same place at the same time. Obviously, if someone like Dirty Harry, or the cowboy sharpshooters of my youth, had been present on any of the recent rampages, the murder would have been killed and maybe the number of deaths could have been lower. It would happen, but how often? How many gun carrying citizens would it have taken to insure that one would be in position to kill the murder in Illinois before he could begin to fire?

Anonymous

Metcalfe asks:
How many gun carrying citizens would it have taken to insure that one would be in position to kill the murder in Illinois before he could begin to fire?

We will never know. This was a gun-free zone.
Also, one did not only need deterrence before he "began to fire". More shots were to come. Sometimes it's a matter of how far they can get. Look at the elapsed time at Virginia Tech (gun-free zone). Let me ask you this- how far do you think a shooter on a shopping mall rampage would get in, let's say, Texas?

Wiliam Metcalfe

Anonymous at February 27, 2008 said: Let me ask you this- how far do you think a shooter on a shopping mall rampage would get in, let's say, Texas?
If I remember right one of the first mass shooters shooters was a guy on a clock tower somewhere in Texas. On a campus? I don't recall his name or the number of fatalities he caused. It was 20 or 30 years ago.
Even, if a shooter in a Texas mall only shoot 2 or 3 people that would be too many. Doesn't he have to fire first before some one else can react? What if someone else shot your marksman, thinking that he was the mad shooter? It's all hypothetical? Talk to an urban cop about knowing when to fire at a suspect.
I remember once reading about how many bullets were fired during the fight at the OK Corral. These were all men who lived by the gun, but a lot of bullets went astray that day.

Anonymous

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