Friday, January 11, 2013

Preventing Violence

New Years Princess by paynehollow
New Years Princess, a photo by paynehollow on Flickr.

President Obama is looking at trying to find ways to prevent/mitigate acts of mass violence following this latest school shooting. It is a lofty goal to try to figure out ways to prevent such tragedies when they happen (and even better to try to find ways to prevent them BEFORE they happen).

Having said that, what I've heard mostly coming from him thus far appears to be focusing primarily on gun-restriction-themed solutions. I am no gun advocate, and don't have a problem with dealing with the firearms angle of this problem, but I hope he doesn't end his efforts there.

What I've heard thus far mentioned is something about limiting the number of bullets that can be stored in a clip. That might help reduce the damage done, but beyond that, it wouldn't serve to stop the assaults in any significant way.

I'm wondering what else can be done - what ideas are being floated (or are not being floated but ought to be) to deal with our murder rate and acts of violence in our nation.

I would think it is important to keep in mind that there are multiple aspects/types of violence and each might have different approaches to reduce the harm - mass violent acts done by disturbed individuals like in Connecticut are one type and they tend to get the most coverage at any one time, but there are other types of violence (local crime-directed violence, local drug-crime violence, spousal/familial violence, etc) and they are the ones with the overall greater impact on society.

Some suggestions/approaches I think we should be looking at would include...

* increasing support for/awareness of mental health concerns;

* increase educational/awareness/preventative efforts at combating spouse/familial abuse; increase support for families in general;

* end the war on drugs;

* improve efforts at rehabilitating former convicts... having job opportunities so that they don't return to a life of crime is a big deal;

* encourage stronger communities, more "porch-time," more people walking/less driving (violence that occurs in urban settings are often crimes of opportunity - if more people were walking and otherwise outside and there were fewer times of isolation, there'd be less opportunities for random violent acts) - these actions can be done at the individual level, but support at the community level - gov't and private - would improve the approach;

* review how weapons of mass destruction/firearms wind up in the hands of the mentally disturbed and find ways to decrease those opportunities;

* this is a rather complex issue involving multiple concerns of liberty - for one thing, a person may acquire firearms while they're not exhibiting signs of mental disturbance... how can we respect patient privacy and yet find ways of raising red flags when a person is experiencing a lack of control and move to remove weaponry from their reach? I don't know that anything is currently in place to deal with this and would be open to ideas;

...for starters. Does anyone else have sound ideas of places to start and solutions to implement?

153 comments:

John Farrier said...

I don't think that there are substantial policy changes that we could implement to prevent future Sandy Hook scenarios without imperiling liberty. If governments restrict guns, they endanger the ability of citizens to defend themselves against criminals and governments. If governments institutionalize people at the slightest sign of mental illness, then they will restrict the liberties of a lot of normal, reasonably healthy people.

John Green, the father of Christina Green, the little girl murdered when Rep. Giffords was shot, demonstrated astonishing moral clarity when he said:

This shouldn't happen in this country, or anywhere else, but in a free society, we're going to be subject to people like this. I prefer this to the alternative.

Occasionally crazy people will do monstrous things at the expense of the innocent. But is the alternative worse? Yes. I know that's no consolation to the parents of the children murdered at Sandy Hook. But it's true.

We could increase the number of police officers in schools. That worked very well just this week in Tennessee. We could also permit trained teachers to carry handguns. These approaches might help some.

I like the way you've handled this post, Dan. As a gun owner and advocate for the right to keep and bear arms, I've felt under constant rhetorical attack for the past few weeks. It's been hard to have calm conversations about Sandy Hook.

Dan Trabue said...

You're welcome. I suspect we might disagree on the "restrict guns" option, but I certainly am not thinking that the evidence supports suggesting that gun restrictions would in any way stop these "rampage attacks," as some call them.

Almost as an aside: I know you lean libertarian, but could you agree with me that there are SOME items (firearms, explosives, motor vehicles, toxins, poisons, drugs, for instance) that we can reasonably restrict and regulate access to?

I certainly don't think that draconian restrictions or bans of all guns is reasonable or helpful, but I do think some limitations are reasonable on SOME items that have some inherently dangerous traits, including firearms amongst that list.

That I believe in restrictions does not mean I believe in bans, just that I think we can reasonably restrict/regulate these items. For instance, we require passing a test and a license to drive a vehicle. Given the vast potential for great harm in their misuse, this is reasonable, EVEN THOUGH it could be viewed as a limitation on liberty (I'd counter that NOT having these restrictions/regulations in place would be a greater limitation on liberty).

Can you agree that some limitations are reasonable?

John Farrier said...

Almost as an aside: I know you lean libertarian, but could you agree with me that there are SOME items (firearms, explosives, motor vehicles, toxins, poisons, drugs, for instance) that we can reasonably restrict and regulate access to?

I would really like to restrict private ownership of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

But restrictions of any kind would require a Constitutional amendment because the Second Amendment affirms the right to keep and bear military-grade weapons. As it was understood and practiced at the time, private citizens could own the same weapons as the federal army, including muskets, rifles and cannons. Private citizens even owned small warships (remember privateering?).

I would like to see some reforms, though. For example, let's reduce if not eliminate gun-free zones, which, by disarming law-abiding citizens, have done nothing but exacerbate shootings. Virginia Tech, the theater in Aurora, Sandy Hook--all of these shootings occurred in gun-free zones. That's not a coincidence. Lunatics who want to go on shooting sprees show enough mental coherence to consistently choose places where their victims have been disarmed.

We should also expand concealed carry and open carry laws. Too many city and state governments attack civil liberties with impunity and thereby imperil the lives and property of citizens. Not coincidentally, many of these polities, such as Chicago and Washington, D.C., suffer terribly high crime and especially gun crime rates.

That I believe in restrictions does not mean I believe in bans, just that I think we can reasonably restrict/regulate these items. For instance, we require passing a test and a license to drive a vehicle.

Yes. Let's reduce the regulations on guns to those in place on cars.
1. I can own and carry a gun anywhere openly just by passing a test that even a 16-year old can pass.
2. A gun license in one state is valid in every other state.
3. So as long as I use them on my property, I can modify my guns anyway I want. I could even make them automatic, or purchase an automatic gun.

Dan, can you agree to these progressive reforms?

Marshall Art said...

John,

I recall a father of a girl shot to death at Columbine making similar remarks as did John Green. It leaves one to wonder why those with no personal connection to such tragedies are incapable of rational thought in reaction to them, if these men who lost so much are.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

You ask:

"Does anyone else have sound ideas of places to start and solutions to implement?"

I'm not sure any of yours can be labeled "sound"? I'm also not sure that there needs to be any such efforts whatsoever since the violent crime rate has been decreasing and events like Sandy Hook are uncommon. There is simply no way, even in a heavily controlled society, to prevent nastiness from occurring.

What's more, availability of weapons, the types of weapons available, the capacity of magazines, etc, etc, etc is far less responsible for such events as the personal morality of the perpetrator. You can talk about reducing the number of victims all you want, but that does little to comfort the survivors of whatever victims there will be.

My solutions revolve around respect for liberty first and foremost and the public encouragement of faith in God. God fearing people, as the founders understood, were capable of living with near unlimited liberty. In this case, the ability to arm one's self a manner deemed reasonable to the one so arming.

You like to mention nukes as the extreme. Assuming nukes could be carried on one's person safely, why would I fear a God-fearing (or whatever secular equal there could possibly be)?

But for a truly practical and possible solution suggestion, I would support a national data-base that would include names, SS numbers, finger prints and photos of convicted felons and certified mental patients. Those who submit applications for purchase of firearms could be so screened and rejected by dealers, who would also be held responsible (jail time and loss of right to sell weapons) for failure to comply. The dealer would send applications to some governmental department for scrutiny. If the applicant is not on file as a criminal or mental patient, the applicant is allowed the purchase (of any number and type of weapon w/ammo) and his application with personal information returned to him. No law abiding citizen should be on file by any governmental body as a gun owner. This would eliminate the need for permits or FOID cards. The point here is restricting those who have proven themselves unworthy of having their right to arms respected by law, while not infringing upon the liberties of those who are law-abiding.

In addition, anyone who sells a weapon to a criminal or mental patient already on file with said governmental department, and that weapon is found in possession of such people, whether used in commission of a crime or not, will at minimum, have the liberty to deal in weapons be terminated. If the weapon is used in commission of a crime, the seller would be considered guilty of being an accomplice.

We now have available to the general public web-sites that inform us of sex-offenders in our neighborhoods. If such sites are available, then there is no way we couldn't have the same information available to prevent the private sale of a weapon to a known criminal or mental patient. If I wish to purchase my neighbor's Uzi, he could look me up on-line to see if I am listed as either a criminal or mental patient. As he wouldn't find such information currently, he could sell me the Uzi without fear.

Marshall Art said...

Two more things:

First, pardon the grammatical errors. I was rushing.

Secondly, one's placement in the database would occur upon conviction of a crime or the certification of one whose mental capacities are deemed worthy of such restriction.

The result of these suggestions would be secured liberty for people of character and reduced liberty for those who have proven their character is unworthy. At the same time, communities will be safer with the knowledge that it will be harder for the criminal or nut-job to take up arms, but easy for the law-abiding to protect themselves in the manner of their own choosing based upon their own notions of what it takes to do so.

Yet despite these logical solutions, there can be no way in a fallen world to completely eliminate evil and its ability to force its will. But these solutions allow us a manner by which WE might reduce or eliminate it in our own circles of influence. Organizations, businesses, etc. will still have the right to declare themselves gun-free zones and take their chances. The rest of us can do business with those who aren't so stupid.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

Here are a few obvious problems with your approach as listed in your suggestions (assume each point listed as 1-7):

1-The only support necessary is the for the ability to commit dangerous people. This used to be common until bleeding hearts got involved. I suppose there existed the possibility of someone unfairly committed. If so, this merely suggests that the ability to commit must be more stringently overseen to avoid abuses. But many of the homeless, for example, should be in institutions.

I know that I would not want a family member committed, but as you speak of "reasonable", one must be reasonable if professionals find it the best option for the safety of all concerned.

2-How would this, as well as #1, manifest itself?

3-While allowing citizens to acquire, possess and use drugs of their choice might reduce the organized crime involvement in drugs, this is only a speculation. Should drug use increase as a result of decriminalizing or legalizing drugs, it could increase due to more people addicted to them.

4-I'm far more concerned with law-abiding people finding jobs than I am finding them for convicted felons. There either exists employers willing to take a chance on a felon or there aren't. How can you convince those who aren't to risk their business on something like this? Perhaps you will take on the task of expanding your own wealth through creating a business you can staff with felons.

5-Huh? How does this help? For some, dealing with people is all it takes to drive them nuts. What could be safer than isolating one's self from the general public? It's far easier to pretend all people are nice guys when you don't have to go out and find out if it's true. For my part, I already treat people as if they are nice until they prove me wrong. You don't, as you feel the need to restrict and regulate law-abiding people. You assume they are all incapable of being responsible. I assume they are innocent until proven guilty.


6-This one's easy--through carelessness and stupidity mostly. Like Sandy Hook, the perp got them by stealing them from a legal gun owner. How can we force anyone to comply with the responsibility of being responsible? How can we even know that a gun owner is not responsible until he has proven himself so?

7-This one is the perfect example of reality as it is not possible to formulate solutions for the unexpected. Anyone who is legally entitled to ANYTHING might someday go nuts and abuse that liberty. That's called "life" and the harmful effects of life are mitigated by people of character acting responsibly when such things happen. At another blog, you made noise regarding my comments about fearing one's neighbor. This point #7, as much as any of the other points, suggests your own fears are great, that you believe it possible to cover every base, or that it is reasonable to try.



Alan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan said...

Eliminating guns that can shoot more than, say, 5 shots ... because if you need more than that to hit a deer, you just suck.

I'd be fine with repealing the second amendment. We don't need a well-armed militia anymore, we have a standing army.

I like the idea of publishing the names of gun owners on the internet. We do it for other people who may be dangers to our society. It is too bad we can't get the government to completely demonize people who own guns in the way they attempted (and mostly succeeded) to scare the crap out of the public by demonizing Muslims, immediately after 9/11. I would love the letters "NRA" to engender the same knee-jerk revulsion and anger that "Ground Zero Mosque" did a few years ago.

Unfortunately, none of those would ever be passed, because there is too much money at stake. After all, Dan, follow the money. Who makes money off these tragedies? Gun manufacturers. Gun sales have been through the roof since Newton. They make money off these tragedies, it isn't like they're going work to minimize them, not when they're already doing what they can to encourage them.

Marshall Art said...

"Eliminating guns that can shoot more than, say, 5 shots ... because if you need more than that to hit a deer, you just suck."

The 2nd was never implemented to preserve our right to hunt.

"I'd be fine with repealing the second amendment. We don't need a well-armed militia anymore, we have a standing army."

The 2nd honors our right to defend ourselves against our government, which controls the military.

"I like the idea of publishing the names of gun owners on the internet. We do it for other people who may be dangers to our society."

Gun owners are not dangers to our society as a result of their possessing guns. This is nonsense.

"It is too bad we can't get the government to completely demonize people who own guns in the way they attempted (and mostly succeeded) to scare the crap out of the public by demonizing Muslims, immediately after 9/11."

Thanks to ignorant people, this is already being attempted. Considering so many people were stupid enough to allow Obama not one, but two terms as president, I wouldn't wager against a majority coming to believe owning weapons is evil. They would probably be led by the same people who characterize those with legitimate concerns about islamists as knuckle-dragging haters of all muslims.

Those who opposed the Ground Zero Mosque did not react in anything akin to a "knee-jerk" reaction. Imagine a branch of the Westboro Baptist Church opening at the site of the Stonewall Inn. But frankly, the letters "NRA" already provoke knee-jerk reactions from anti-gun jerks.

It is reprehensible that anyone would suggest that tragedies like Sandy Hook are in any way regarded as money making opportunities by gun manufacturers. It is typical for particular people, even unsurprising, but reprehensible nonetheless. It's a great way to deflect responsibility that lies at the feet of idiots who propose and enact "gun free zones" that attract the insane people who commit these acts. Note how in most every case the perpetrators kill themselves as soon as someone with a gun shows up to confront them.

Alan said...

"The 2nd honors our right to defend ourselves against our government,"

LOL. Good luck with that.

John Farrier said...

Marshall Art wrote:

The 2nd was never implemented to preserve our right to hunt.

Yes. The primary purpose of the Second Amendment is to ensure that the citizenry has a fighting chance to resist tyranny. This is a completely legitimate purpose for owning firearms.

Alan said...

Indeed, John, it may be "legitimate." But a trebuchet is safer, more stylish, and ultimately just as effective.

I have friends who are members of the Society for Creative Anachronism. The difference between them and you is 1) they don't inflict it on others, and 2) they don't believe they actually live in the 17th century.

Totally serious about the trebuchet, though. That would be sweet.

Personally, I will continue to rely on my imaginary mutant superpowers to resist tyranny. When the government attacks (and/or equally likely zombie apocalypse) happens, my superpowers will ultimately be just as effective as your guns against a drone launched hellfire missile. LOL

Dan Trabue said...

Not much time, still, but a little score keeping:

1. Score one for Alan on the trebuchet... how sweet would that be?!

2. Score two for Alan on the superpowers. IF a full-size gov't decides to go to war against its people, all of them being armed with pistols and rifles won't get you nearly so far as other, more practical and productive means of protest/opposition.

3. Deduct ten points from Marshall: Seriously? You don't see a problem with average citizens (even "good guys") walking around with nukes in their pockets? That's delusional, my friend. One word: Accidents.

4. Deduct 1 from Alan for wanting to revoke the second amendment. I have no problem with average folk having hunting rifles, target pistols, bowie knives, bows and arrows and other normal tools - even tools that are inherently more dangerous than hammers and shovels. I presume you're not speaking of removing those sorts of firearms, but still, people saying "revoke the second amendment" is not a winning argument, seems to me.

5. Deduct one from John for thinking that we'd need an amendment to limit nukes and bio-weaponry. That's not an accepted reading of the Constitution. This question has been decided already and it didn't need a constitutional amendment.

6. Deduct a few more points from Marshall, for most of his arguments that I don't have time to deconstruct right now.

Out of time...

John Farrier said...

5. Deduct one from John for thinking that we'd need an amendment to limit nukes and bio-weaponry. That's not an accepted reading of the Constitution. This question has been decided already and it didn't need a constitutional amendment.

Please elaborate.

Alan said...

4. You presume wrong. I say revoke it. Though I have no problem with people hunting (some of my best friends, etc., etc., etc.) it just isn't worth the trouble anymore. When we were basically all farmer/hunters and living on the frontier, it was necessary. These days, I'd wager few people actually need to hunt in order to eat, and if they do, they can learn to trap.

I didn't say it was practical -- in fact, I said it wasn't. But if the pro-gun crowd herein can entertain their hilariously bizarre Red Dawn snuff-fantasies about taking on the entire US Armed Forces with hunting rifle and a canteen full of rye, can't I entertain fantasies about simply repealing an amendment to the Constitution through the legal means envisioned by the founding fathers?

I mean, both are equally likely to be successful, so I'd say I should get my points back and call it even. ;)

Alan said...

BTW, I am decidedly pro-trebuchet. Anytime the NRA wants to dissolve and form itself into the NTA, I'm in.

I have a double onager in my office that I fire at students. Not a trebuchet, but it was designed by Da Vinci, so it's cool nonetheless.

Alan said...

You know Dan, I take it back.

I've decided that repealing the 2nd Amendment is actually more likely that defending oneself from government "tyranny" (real or imagined) backed up by very real F-18As. After all, one failed shoe bomb and the cattle are all too happy line up to go through the government's new porno scanners and the rest of our silly security theater.

Seriously, given how paranoid people have become, demonizing gun owners enough to reach a tipping point on repeal wouldn't even take too much effort.

You'd think our airline security theater would be a useful cautionary tale that might convince the NRA from overreaching -- or just convince them not to be idiots -- but the iPhone target practice app that came out today (Ages 4+) that allows a 5 year old to play around with an AK-47 (used in Newton) would prove me wrong, I guess. I guess they just forgot to include a theater, shopping mall, or school in their game. I have no doubt they're working on it for the 2.0 version.

Of course, the NRA wouldn't be nearly as fun to pick on if they weren't so hilariously tone deaf.

Marshall Art said...

1. Deduct 100 points from Alan for the trebuchet, though he is perfectly free to possess one for self-protection. Don't forget the the special quick-release shoulder holster to carry it concealed inside your jacket or fanny pack.

1(b). Deduct 1000 points from Dan for actually awarding points to Alan for the suggestion.

2. Deduct 200 for Alan's superpowers. While I have no doubt he is a mutant, his imaginary powers would be useless even if NOT imaginary. Quilting at super speed has no effect on military hardware.

2(b). Deduct 2000 points for both Dan AND Alan for the suggestion that an armed population would have no effect in frustrating a tyrannical government. The deduction should be greater, however, since the struggles of the populace would be a direct result of people like Dan and Alan demanding restrictions on the right to bear arms.

3. Deduct 50,000 from Dan, for penalizing me for commenting on YOUR hypothetical. Seriously, Dan? You can't read? Here was my comment, and please note the first emboldened section:

"You like to mention nukes as the extreme. Assuming nukes could be carried on one's person safely, why would I fear a God-fearing (or whatever secular equal there could possibly be)?"

The point being made, which was in response to YOUR typical extreme scenario, was simply that there IS nothing to fear from the average law-abiding citizen. Why do you and Alan live in such fear of your fellow man? Where people like John and myself look to defend ourselves against the real evil that exists in the world, you guys apparently believe everyone is evil enough to be burdened with restrictions. I don't want people carrying nukes (and just how would they do that exactly?), BECAUSE of the potential for accidents. But "nukes" wasn't the point, anyway. It was your poor regard for your fellow man.

4. Deduct 100,000 from Alan. He doesn't possess the sense to understand just how stupid his proposal is. He likes to believe we live in Wonderland and bad things never happen. Give me a moment and I might be able to come up with some examples to refute this notion. Until then, just how coked up must one be to ever allow a hint of "that'll never happen" to seep out one's pores? How many Alans must have shown up for work at the World Trade Center on 9/11/01?

5. Deduct 10 from Dan for thinking that "accepted" reading of the Constitution by modern progressive buffoons is in any way comparable to the intent of the people who wrote and passed the 2nd Amendment.

6. Deduct 20 from Dan for thinking he actually can deconstruct my arguments. But I await your attempt to do so.

Marshall Art said...

"Seriously, given how paranoid people have become, demonizing gun owners enough to reach a tipping point on repeal wouldn't even take too much effort."

Once again, the real paranoia does not emanate from the gun owners. They see the world objectively, know that evil exists in the world in many forms and understand that they are not so special that they cannot be victimized if they do not take steps to prevent it. This is merely sanity manifested.

But it takes a special kind of paranoia to think that one is less safe simply because a neighbor possesses a gun. What kind of false Christian (or non-Christian equivalent) regards his fellow man so poorly?

Of course, for some, there is also the strong possibility that being a jerk might be more dangerous because the jerk's victim might be armed. Thus, to disarm the general public allows the jerk more freedom to be a jerk. There's less pressure to repent. It's a known fact that the wise-ass won't flap his gums if there's a real threat he'll get his butt kicked.

Alan said...

The NRA needs more friends like MA. Many, many more. Make that happen, will you please?

John Farrier said...

Dan,

1. Do you think that the purpose of the Second Amendment was to give the people the means to, if necessary, violently resist the state?

2. Do you believe this is a legitimate purpose for private gun ownership?

3. Will you support the progressive gun reforms that I have described in my second comment?

Dan Trabue said...

John...

1. Do you think that the purpose of the Second Amendment was to give the people the means to, if necessary, violently resist the state?

I'm no legal expert, but I don't think that's the specific purpose of the 2nd Amendment.

Deferring to the legal experts...

Since United States v. Miller (1939), most federal court decisions considering the Second Amendment have interpreted it as preserving the authority of the states to maintain militias.

John...

2. Do you believe this is a legitimate purpose for private gun ownership?

I don't think it's a practically rational purpose for private gun ownership in today's world. I think those who cling to their guns in fear of a US gov't takeover do so irrationally.

For one thing, any modern nation trying to do violence to its citizens is not going to be significantly deterred by normal firearms. It seems to me to be an old cowboy sort of mentality that doesn't make much rational sense in the modern world.

For another thing, I think there are more effective methods of standing up to a rogue gov't.

I don't care if a person wants to own a handgun and rifle and think they'll use them to stave off a non-existent overthrow by the US gov't, but I just don't find it to be credibly related to the second amendment or the real world.

John...

3. Will you support the progressive gun reforms that I have described in my second comment?

Those comments were in response to my comparison/analogy to cars and I would respond by saying I don't think the analogy is an exact comparison - it wasn't intended to be. I was just using the analogy to establish that we can reasonably place limits and regulations on items with great potential danger associated with them - cars, explosives, firearms, toxins, etc.

The specifics would differ depending on the specific item.

Looking at your specifics...

1. I can own and carry a gun anywhere openly just by passing a test that even a 16-year old can pass.

I think a test demonstrating that the user knows how to responsibly handle firearms is reasonable. Once one passes the test, one could be licensed to own reasonable guns.

2. A gun license in one state is valid in every other state.

Off the top of my head, this seems reasonable to me.

3. So as long as I use them on my property, I can modify my guns anyway I want. I could even make them automatic, or purchase an automatic gun.

I'd likely disagree with this. It may be legal to own fireworks in your state, but it doesn't follow that it should be legal for a person to modify their legal fireworks (for instance, creating a bomb-sized "firework" using the materials from the legal fireworks). I'd be opposed to this.

My point in all this is I think there are reasonable restrictions we can and should place on some items such as those mentioned. What those regulations/limitations are, I think can be open to debate.

Alan said...

Dan, the cars analogy doesn't work because there are many, many things you can do with a car that don't involve killing people. Guns, not so much.

Maybe tobacco would be a better analogy, since the purpose of smoking is to kill people. Not every dies, some luck out, but on average...

I heard a story yesterday on NPR about a new law in LA that requires porn stars to wear condoms in movies. The porn stars interviewed argued that it was their first amendment right to not use condoms. They argued that responsible porn stars were not putting anyone else in danger by not using condoms. They argued that porn actually reduces the potential for disease because people who stay home alone and watch porn won't get an STI from that activity.

What I found remarkable was the exact 1-to-1 correlation between these porn stars' arguments and the arguments of the pro-gun lobby.

And yet, I would wager that the majority of people who are pro-gun would likely argue that the best way to protect porn stars from STIs is to ban porn, or at the very least require condoms.

Anyway, just one of those inconsistencies I find amusing (and probably a better analogy than the car analogy.)

Fireworks is a bad analogy because they are already far more restricted in most states than guns are (which is funny because the difference between a 3" titanium salute and a gun is exactly zero, but oddly enough the NRA isn't fighting for the rights of pyrotechnicians.

Why does the NRA hate the second amendment?!?! LOL

John Farrier said...

I'm no legal expert, but I don't think that's the specific purpose of the 2nd Amendment.

Deferring to the legal experts...

Since United States v. Miller (1939), most federal court decisions considering the Second Amendment have interpreted it as preserving the authority of the states to maintain militias.


If you're going to operate on the dubious principle that the US Supreme Court determines what is the correct interpretation of part of the Constitution, you'll have to rely on a more current case. Such as DC v. Heller, which was handed down in 2008:

1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.

(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.

(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved. Pp. 22–28.

(c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment . Pp. 28–30.

(d) The Second Amendment ’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30–32.

(e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.

(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542 , nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252 , refutes the individual-rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 , does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47–54.


Of course, that's if you accept the notion that the Supreme Court determines truth. I don't. This is same institution that determined that Black people can't be citizens and interning Japanese-Americans is perfectly constitutional.

John Farrier said...

I don't think it's a practically rational purpose for private gun ownership in today's world. I think those who cling to their guns in fear of a US gov't takeover do so irrationally.

For one thing, any modern nation trying to do violence to its citizens is not going to be significantly deterred by normal firearms. It seems to me to be an old cowboy sort of mentality that doesn't make much rational sense in the modern world.

For another thing, I think there are more effective methods of standing up to a rogue gov't.


The Jews disagree.

I don't care if a person wants to own a handgun and rifle and think they'll use them to stave off a non-existent overthrow by the US gov't, but I just don't find it to be credibly related to the second amendment or the real world.

Then I have good news for you: all that you must do is repeal the Second Amendment. There's a process for this and it's been done no fewer than an incredible twenty-seven times.

The Constitution is a flexible document. It can be readily amended in order to keep up with modern times.

Do you agree that amending the Constitution would be necessary in order to restrict private ownership of semi-automatic firearms? If not, why not?

John Farrier said...

My point in all this is I think there are reasonable restrictions we can and should place on some items such as those mentioned. What those regulations/limitations are, I think can be open to debate.

Really? Because I thought that your point was that gun ownership is less regulated than car driving--a notion that is preposterously untrue.

By the way: would the firearms restrictions that you would like to see in place--magazine limits, semi-automatic fire, whatever--would they apply to the police as well? Will government be exempted from gun control laws?

John Farrier said...

Hypothetical question:

Dan, let's say that the state and federal governments pass laws restricting the number of Bibles that you can own, your right to carry a Bible in your pocket and the types of Bibles that you're allowed to own. And then they pass laws requiring you to register your blog and get a license for it--subject to revocation. And then limit how many times a day you could post on it.

Would such laws violate the First Amendment to the Constitution?

Marshall Art said...

There seems to be a most dishonest attempt to characterize pro 2nd Amendment people as believing despotic
oppression by a tyrannical gov't is imminent. I don't know of anyone who has voiced anything like this. All we've done is explain the point of the 2nd and that that point is legitimate regardless of how unlikely such a scenario might be. Indeed, even considering our current president's lack of respect for the US Constitution he swore he would defend, there aren't too many people who believe he is willing to put in the effort to be a total card-carrying despot. He's in it for the perks, not the work.

The fact is that with an armed populace, few would even have to think about the possibility of tyranny due to the fact that with an armed populace, indeed, because of an armed populace, such a scenario is even less likely in reality than it appears to be now.

Defense against the gov't was the primary reason for the 2nd. Not hunting or sport shooting.

Dan Trabue said...

John...

let's say that the state and federal governments pass laws restricting the number of Bibles that you can own, your right to carry a Bible in your pocket and the types of Bibles that you're allowed to own. And then they pass laws requiring you to register your blog and get a license for it--subject to revocation. And then limit how many times a day you could post on it.

Would such laws violate the First Amendment to the Constitution?


Yes.

The difference (and it's planetary in size) between the right to read whatever and the "right" to guns, motor vehicles, explosives or toxins is that there is nothing inherently dangerous about reading holy writ (although Jesus might disagree!) while rational adults can agree that SOME items - toxins, explosives, cars, firearms - are inherently dangerous enough that we can rationally decide that limitations and regulations should be in place as to their use.

Do you disagree?

Dan Trabue said...

John...

Really? Because I thought that your point was that gun ownership is less regulated than car driving--a notion that is preposterously untrue.

? No. I didn't say that and hold no great opinion about it. However, after a moment's reflection, it would be my guess that gun ownership is vastly less regulated that car ownership. Cars have to meet certain standards (a great many of them, I'm pretty sure), you have to have a license, you have to have insurance, you have to carry that license and insurance with you, you have to follow car-related signs that are ALL over the place, etc, etc.

So, no, that was not my point. Not at all. I agree with the suggestion (at a guess, not having all the facts), but it was not my point in the least.

John, this is not a post about gun limitations. It's a post asking the question, "What can we reasonably do to help decrease our violence problem in the US?" I am fine with the notion of limiting/regulating gun usage - just as we limit/regulate other demonstrably hazardous items - if it helps, while I'm opposed to outright bans, but all of that would just be one possible direction to take.

Thus, the purpose of this post is to consider: What can we do to help decrease deadly/harmful violence. I thought that was clear.

John...

By the way: would the firearms restrictions that you would like to see in place--magazine limits, semi-automatic fire, whatever--would they apply to the police as well? Will government be exempted from gun control laws?

I have no set notion of restrictions that ought to be in place. As proposals arise, I'm glad to consider them based on their merits. For instance, regulations that would limit (although probably not out-and-out ban) the number of rounds in a magazine? I could see that having some merit.

I would imagine that the limitations that might be proposed would likely apply to police, but probably not the military (although that idea might have merits, as well). My main idea about reasonable firearm regulations is that there is a place and time for everything. Generally speaking, most of us don't need and probably shouldn't have access to large explosives, but that doesn't mean I want to ban them altogether - I'm sure they have their place.

Do you disagree, when we're speaking of major explosives?

Bubba said...

Those people who drafted and ratified the Second Amendment probably had no idea that firearms are dangerous. They surely affirmed the right to keep and bear arms on the assumption that firearms are perfectly safe, and they certainly wouldn't have affirmed the right to something that they KNEW to be "inherently dangerous."

"Guns are dangerous" is a pretty solid argument against the rationale behind the Second Amendment. It's not as if its proponents ever thought that the deadly potential of the gun is a reason why the citizen has a right to the weapon -- and why that right shouldn't be infringed upon.

Dan Trabue said...

In case anyone is missing it: The point of this post isn't to discuss or debate gun control. It is already established that we can reasonably and constitutionally limit and regulate some items (including poisons, explosives, automobiles and firearms).

The DO we regulate these items (including firearms) is not being discussed, that is a foregone conclusion.

The question (as pertaining to firearms) is, What reasonable limitations, regulations, restrictions can/should we have on them and to what end?

The question (as pertaining to the point of this post) is, what reasonable policies - personal and public - can/should we put in place to decrease senseless violence?

Alan said...

Well, I'm pretty sure I answered your question: Repeal the 2nd Amendment.

And I'd say everyone else answered as well: basically some form of free guns for everyone, because what could possibly go wrong?

You questioned whether repeal was "reasonable" and I responded that it was at least as reasonable as other ideas suggested elsewhere, if not more. (Not that that is such a high hurdle. In this thread any suggestion that isn't a barely coherent rage-filled spittle-flecked insult-laden rant that ends with barely veiled threat is reasonable by comparison.)

Frankly, if banning guns is good enough for the US House of Representatives, it ought to be good enough for our houses.

Bubba said...

The cops guarding the House of Representatives are unarmed?

Marshall Art said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marshall Art said...

"It's a post asking the question, "What can we reasonably do to help decrease our violence problem in the US?""

Some people here don't seem to understand a proven point regarding how current gun laws have helped to increase, not decrease, violence in America. Indeed, it has proven itself on a global scale (and still does to a great extent) considering major powers do not engage directly due to weapons possessed by each of them and an expectation that they will be used.

We can also see this dynamic on a one-to-one level dealing only with the weapons God gave each of us. For example, Alan feels free to unleash a barely coherent rage-filled spittle-flecked insult-laden rant behind the safety of his keyboard. But face to face, he would act in a far more peaceful manner...at least after the first time. The threat of attack decreases when faced with an opponent willing and able to defend against the attack. Bullies, brutes and despots do not care to risk their own safety and will seek out only those possibilities that allow them to be bullies, brutes and despots easily.

These are the types of people that must be persuaded away from violent behavior and unfortunately, the best strategy includes superior force and/or firepower.

Actually, of course those represent only one of the two prime groups behind the violence. The insane people perpetrating mass killings need to be committed against their will. This was the plan years ago that was discarded and it has left society at risk.

Both groups represent something not everyone is willing to recognize: the existence of evil in the world. None of your (Dan's) suggestions gave any hint of recognizing its existence and the role it plays in violent episodes.

Far better, because it is easier and quicker to implement, is to prepare for its eventual manifestation. I have no problem with anyone who wants to try to talk some thug out of his thuggery. In the meantime, however, the fact is that someone nearby with greater strength or force (and usually this means being armed) is essential. It is not possible to discover who the next perpetrator will be. It is possible to stave off his intentions with a show of force. Just as police presence reduces the possibility a thug will strike, an armed populace will also have the same effect.

Marshall Art said...

What a coincidence! After posting my last comment here, I continued to another blog and found this Walter Williams piece highlighted. In it, he points to the same reasons for violence as did I.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall...

Some people here don't seem to understand a proven point regarding how current gun laws have helped to increase, not decrease, violence in America.

And the research that demonstrated this "proven point..."?

Marshall...

Bullies, brutes and despots do not care to risk their own safety and will seek out only those possibilities that allow them to be bullies, brutes and despots easily.

I would agree that brutes are generally cowards, which is why something as simple as people being around decreases the likelihood that violence will occur, which was one of my suggestions - the simple act of being present in our neighborhoods, so that people aren't out walking alone and prone to attack by cowardly thugs.

But one does not need to have a gun in order to reduce the risk of such attacks, just one's presence - and better yet, the presence of many - helps reduce the threat.

The conspicuous presence of people outdoors contributes further to safety by increasing surveillance, which discourages criminals. More people outdoors means that threatening behavior is more likely to be observed. At the same time, potential criminals are deterred by the sense that they are being noticed and watched.

source

I've seen this effect mentioned in scholarly studies, but it's also just common sense: crime and violence decrease in the presence of others, guns are not needed for that affect.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall...

These are the types of people that must be persuaded away from violent behavior and unfortunately, the best strategy includes superior force and/or firepower.

And the research to support this hunch is... what?

That does not seem to be a credible hunch, to me, Marshall. At least the guess that "the best strategy" including more and bigger guns. I'd be glad to look at any scholarly research you might want to point to, though.

The best strategies would include near the top, it seems to me, teaching our children well. And not just "our" specific children, but ALL children.

The best strategies would include trying to make sure that those with mental health needs have those needs met.

The best strategies, it seems to me, would include stronger community ties.

The best strategies, it seems to me, would include ideas like restorative justice (wherein offenders are shown how damaging their acts were) rather than simple prison time.

The best strategies, it seems to me, would include rehab and education for prisoners, rather than simple prison time.

For instance.

I'm not saying there is no place for firearms, just that I don't know that research or common sense would support your hunch about it being "the best" approach.

Alan said...

Dan,

Regarding all this talk about mental health and guns.

Here's what I don't understand about this talk about insuring people with mental health problems don't get access to weapons:

How do people propose to insure that unstable people do not get guns? Do they really want to make a list of people with mental health problems? How is THAT a better idea than publishing a list of gun owners? And now we're just going to repeal HIPAA and violate innocent people's rights to medical privacy because some people who don't need guns think they need guns?

Yes, more mental health resources in this country would be a good thing, but that doesn't really solve the problem of people with mental health issues getting guns, does it?

Dan Trabue said...

It's a good question, Alan. There are obviously competing concerns there.

For one thing, folk with mental illnesses are not necessarily any more likely to harm others than those without diagnosed mental illnesses. So, it would not be rational or just to try to remove rights based solely on some mental ailment. I would oppose that.

I certainly don't favor the notion of pre-emptive "locking up" of people based on mental illness alone.

On the other hand, if a therapist/mental health worker or even a teacher, friend or loved one of a mentally ill person suspects that their problems are getting beyond control and may lead to violence, can we have something in place that would raise red flags and quickly begin the path to getting more help for that person?

I would think something like that is possible.

The problem of course is that "predicting" pending violent actions is not a science, for those receiving mental health assistance or among those not receiving mental health help.

We would/do have a fine line to balance between individual liberty and group protection.

At this point, I favor continued research on the point and would support research-driven solutions.

Now, here is another question I have for the more conservative types here:

Suppose you had your way and we encouraged gun ownership, conceal and carry, etc.

Suppose that the only requirement for all of that is a test "that a 16 year old could pass" demonstrating some basic knowledge of firearms and firearm safety.

Suppose you had another situation like the theater shooting - a dark room with 90% of the people in there holding guns in their holsters, someone walks in and starts shooting from the back of the theater... What is going to prevent that scenario from becoming a bloodbath of mistaken shootings? Your buddy gets shot, you pull him down and pull your weapon and, in that time, 100 other people have pulled their firearms and everyone's swinging their pistols around looking for the "bad guy." One guy sees the shooter in the back and fires at him. You don't see the original shooter, but you see this guy shooting into the back of the room, and you take a shot at him, someone else sees you shooting and so on and so on.

What would prevent that from becoming a bloodbath of mistaken identity and false security?

It's one thing to be licensed to own and use a firearm, it's another skillset altogether to be properly trained to use a firearm as defense in a shootout, isn't it?

I mean, wouldn't the comparison be to licensing a 16 year old to drive a car and expecting him to be able to drive a NASCAR vehicle or do car-flipping, fishtailing type stunts like a stunt person, right?

I don't think I want my "safety" protected by a bunch of strangers I don't know who have had no training in urban shootouts, do you really think that would be safe or reasonable?

Think about that some before giving a kneejerk response, please.

Bubba said...

If only there were recorded instances of attempted mass shootings in areas with concealed carry, then we could know whether these situations tend to devolve into "a bloodbath of mistaken shootings" or whether they are resolved quickly and with a minimum of shots being fired.

But that never happens, so we'll just have to imagine how much less safe we would be if our neighbors had the capability of returning fire against a potential mass murderer.

It's far safer to be completely defenseless.

Dan Trabue said...

So, if something "worked" once before, are you suggesting we can "know" that this is the best solution? That would not be a rational conclusion. You could conclude, "Once before, when this happened and there were two people in the room with concealed weapons, they were able to safely stop the person and it worked out okay in that scenario," THAT would be a safe conclusion. But to extrapolate from that to, "Therefore, in any similar situation with a shooter on hand, if EVERYONE was armed, it will always resolve itself well" is not a reasonable extrapolation and we certainly couldn't say we "know" that this would resolve thusly.

Where am I mistaken?

As to "it's safer to be completely defenseless," I don't know about you, but I am never defenseless. I have my wits, my community, my wisdom, my training and although I am never armed, I am also never defenseless. None of us are.

You all seem to want to elevate gun-ownership to a place of complete safety and a lack of a gun to a crippling defenseless-ness.

I would remind you of the ancient truths, whose wisdom remains valid:

A soft answer turneth away wrath.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
If your enemy is hungry, give them something to eat... in doing so, you will be burning hot coals on their head...

Wise people throughout history (Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, Romero, Sojourner Truth, etc) have recognized the overwhelming power of a soft answer, of confronting and OVERCOMING evil with good.

YOU may feel threatened and defenseless without your gun, but I can assure you that I am not.

Bubba said...

And here we were supposed to believe that you're interested in a serious discussion devoid of aspersions and demagoguery.

Dan Trabue said...

...says the man who suggested we want to keep people "defenseless..."

My point is that the language you and Marshall are using feeds into a mindset that is violent and self-defeating when considering steps to reduce violence.

IF the problem is one of "evil" and "evil people" who must be stopped only by "greater weaponry" held by "the good guys" and IF without this weaponry, we are "defenseless," then one has constructed a worldview in which arming the "good guys" with firearms is the only rational step to take.

IF those were true and the thinking was rational in the real world.

But the fact is, we are NOT defenseless even if we're not armed.

Would you agree with this rational, common-sense statement? I'm sure you would, when put to you straightforwardly, like that.

The fact is, we don't have a problem of "good guys" versus "bad guys," that is a rather grade school way of considering the problem. Would you agree with that?

It seems to me, we have a violence problem, one in which people have come to BELIEVE the myth that it's a battle between "good guys" (which always translates to "me and my friends") and "bad guys" (ie, those who aren't me and my friends); people have come to believe they myth that says unless we fight back with more firepower, we are defenseless and the "bad guys" will win. We need to break out of that moldy mold and find better, more responsible ways of dealing with conflict resolution.

Having lived in urban situations and worked with many urban kids over the last few decades, one reality I've discovered is the more one feels vulnerable and prone to attack, the more one feels "defenseless," the more likely one is to engage in violence. I've heard martial arts and psychology types alike speak of the problem of this feeling of "defenseless-ness," and how if we can instill in kids a sense of inate wherewithal - a sense of "I CAN handle this situation, I DO have power..." - then we can give kids the power NOT to fight or employ violence.

What is true for our kids is true for all of us, it seems to me.

Would you agree?

Dan Trabue said...

If the only tool you have is a hammer, all your problems become nails.

If the only tool you have is firearms and without them you are "defenseless" against the "bad guys," then the only solutions are dead bad guys.

Alan said...

"On the other hand, if a therapist/mental health worker or even a teacher, friend or loved one of a mentally ill person suspects that their problems are getting beyond control and may lead to violence, can we have something in place that would raise red flags and quickly begin the path to getting more help for that person?"

But we already have that. If a person threatens to harm themselves or others, or commit a crime, there are people who are required to report it. Teachers, clergy, counselors, etc.

There are many, many, many people out there who are bipolar, or depressed, or schizophrenic who do not harm anyone and don't have any intention to.

I'm almost positive that there is a greater correlation between gun violence with people who own guns that with people with some sort of mental illness. I'd lay money on that one.

So why not go after the trait that is actually a better predictor: owning a gun?

Alan said...

Remember also Dan, The pro-gun folks want us to believe that 1) guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people. But 2) people cannot prevent gun violence, only guns can do that.

More illogic and contradiction from people who think their right to own guns trumps a 6 year old kid's right to live.

Bubba said...

Since firearms are apparently superfluous to keeping the peace, I take it that you believe that police officers and the Secret Service should likewise be disarmed, right?

Let's let our government's top officials be protected only by their wits and their wisdom -- and by bags of ham sandwiches, since we're commanded to feed our enemies.

Alan said...

Um, you realize that they are in many parts of the world, right? I happen to know a strangely large number of police officers and corrections officers, given that I am not, myself, in law enforcement, and not a single one of them has ever fired a weapon, and all of them are very, very, very glad of it.

So, if you knew anything about anything that you didn't learn from watching Wyatt Earp as a boy, you'd know that your snarky reply would be funny if it also hit home because it was true.

But it didn't because it isn't, because it wasn't.

Next time, try thinking more about being correct than being snotty and you might contribute something useful to what is otherwise a mostly reasonable conversation for once, Bubba. Otherwise we'll just do what we always do and write you off as another MA sockpuppet.

Alan said...

Out of curiosity, How many guns do you own, Bubba? MA? Dan? John?

Just curious.

Marshall Art said...

First off, Alan needs to look in the mirror (if he can stand the sight) before accusing ANYONE of being snotty.

Secondly, I've never owned a firearm in my life.

Next...

Marshall Art said...

"And the research that demonstrated this "proven point..."?"

The best known is that done by John Lott. But as I live in a state with both some of the strictest gun laws and the highest murder rate, all one need do is open their eyes look.

"the simple act of being present in our neighborhoods, so that people aren't out walking alone and prone to attack by cowardly thugs."

This is inane. The common thug merely waits for the opportunity, and frankly, I don't know that one can guarantee a crowd around for every trip to the strip mall. "Hey! We're out of milk. Round up the neighbors!" Right.

What's more, there was a crowd in that Aurora theater, wasn't there? A crowd where Giffords was shot? There's usually crowds on subway trains, busses, on city streets and thugs find a way to mug. You might recall the "wilding" incidents? HOw about that recent union dust-up where they went after Steve Crowder? How about the numerous crimes committed at the various OWS sites? There have been plenty of examples of crime in the midst of crowds and they weren't all perpetrated by complete nut-jobs. Crowds have limited affect and one can't be assured of never having to go out alone on occasion.

Crime and violence might be reduced in the presence of others, but it is hardly eliminated.

"That does not seem to be a credible hunch, to me, Marshall. At least the guess that "the best strategy" including more and bigger guns. I'd be glad to look at any scholarly research you might want to point to, though."

I don't deal in hunches, Dan. That's YOUR area. What I do is look at the world in which we live and acknowledge reality.

The troop surge in Iraq is a great example of this dynamic. With additional troops (and the force that brings), allied forces were able to drive out the AlQueda thugs and by having enough troops to leave behind, keep them out. Superior force and firepower provided peace and security.

Inner city neighborhoods, such as in Chicago, are rife with crime (and where are there more crowds of people than in the cities?) due to the fact that the law-abiding are unarmed and there isn't enough force and firepower (the cops) to go around. Inferior force and firepower cannot provide peace and security.

Bullies push around the little kids because the little kids can't fight back effectively. Inferior force provides no peace and security.

But let's assume, just to cut you some slack, that all of your suggestions are absolutely fool proof. What about the here and now? None of those strategies could possibly have any effect immediately. Just allowing concealed carry would have an immediate impact as the thugs would now be at risk.

But that ain't all...

Marshall Art said...

"If only there were recorded instances of attempted mass shootings in areas with concealed carry, then we could know whether these situations tend to devolve into "a bloodbath of mistaken shootings" or whether they are resolved quickly and with a minimum of shots being fired."

I'm glad you asked!

December 2012. Mayan Palace Theater, San Antonio, Texas. Jesus Manuel Garcia shoots at a movie theater, a police car and bystanders from the nearby China Garden restaurant. As he enters the theater, guns blazing, an armed off-duty cop shoots Garcia four times, stopping the attack. Total dead: Zero

Winnemucca, Nevada, 2008. Ernesto Villagomez opens fire in a crowded restaurant. Concealed carry permit holder shoots him dead. Total dead: 2 (perpetrators' deaths not included in these totals)

Appalachian School of Law, 2002. Crazed immigrant shoots the dean and a professor, then begins shooting students. As he goes for more ammo, two armed students point their guns at him, allowing a third to tackle him. Total dead: 3

Santee, California, 2001. Student begins shooting his classmates-as well as the "trained campus supervisor". An off-duty cop bringing his daughter to school that day points his gun at the shooter, holding him until more cops arrive. Total dead: 2

Pearl High School, Mississippi, 1997. After shooting several people at his high school, student heads for the junior high school. Assistant principle Joel Myrick retrieves a .45 pistol from his car and points it at the gunman's head, ending the murder spree. Total dead: 2

Edinboro, PA, 1998. A student shoots up a junior high school dance being held at a restaurant. The owner of the place pulls out his shotgun and stops the gunman. Total dead: 1

Contrast these examples with those in gun-free zones:
-Sikh Temple, Oak Creek, Wis--6 dead
-Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA--32 dead
-Colombine High School, Colombine, Colorado--12 dead
-Amish School, Lancaster County, PA--5 dead
-Public school, Craighead County, Ark.--5 dead

Good people with guns makes a positive difference.

As to fears about Old West type gun-fight erupting, there are no examples of such having taken place in states with concealed carry.

What's more, when Giffords was shot, there were people with guns in the crowd, but because it was a crowd surrounding the shooter, they didn't take the chance of hitting a bystander and they didn't return fire. In a case in a Portland, Oregon shopping mall, a nut started shooting up the place, but a concealed-carry holder named Nick Meli didn't realize he was in a "gun-free zone" and pointed his gun at the shooter. The madman then killed himself and the total he killed was only two. Meli never fired his weapon due to bystanders behind the perpetrator. Seems that guns in the hands of law-abiding people are no threat to the general public.

Marshall Art said...

"I'm almost positive that there is a greater correlation between gun violence with people who own guns that with people with some sort of mental illness. I'd lay money on that one."

I'll take that bet any day of the week. But you'd have to actually be honest and consider whether the gun owners in question are criminals who own them illegally. You'd also have to be honest and separate out those people who fired their weapons in self-defense or to protect others. Yeah, I'll take that bet.

Alan is reduced to the knee-jerk emotional ploy with this gem:

"More illogic and contradiction from people who think their right to own guns trumps a 6 year old kid's right to live."

The gall of anyone making such a suggestion in order to play on the emotions is really low, but typical. My offerings above dispute the notion well enough, but reality and facts aren't important to some. Worse is the crap opinion he shows he has for his fellow man to try to draw a correlation between the rights of law-abiding people of character and the actions of some asshole that resulted in the death of twenty kids, the numbers of which would surely have been reduced had any adult in the building been packing heat. Note that the guy killed himself when guys with guns (police) showed up.

In a discussion with other similarly irrational people at my blog, I offered a number of quotes from founders and others on the subject of guns and the 2nd Amendment. One of them is most appropriate now:

"False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes."
-- Cesare Beccaria, as quoted by Thomas Jefferson's Commonplace book

Of course, before anyone gets an irrational notion, this is not to portray the death of any innocent victim, especially a child as a "trifling inconvenience". But that we are inconvenienced with what is really extremely rare occurrences, especially considering just how many people in this country own weapons, restricting the rights of the law-abiding with attitudes that condemn them as guilty without any crime having been committed by them is wholly unjustified.

Bubba said...

Alan, a person who makes clear his desire to demonize and ostracize gun owners is the last person to whom I would provide any information about the firearms I do or do not own.

And a person who argues that our own homes ought to be gun-free because the U.S. Capitol is gun-free is in no position to encourage ANYONE to be less snarky and more rational, since the guards at the Capitol are hardly unarmed.

Are cops generally glad not to have to use their firearms in the line of duty? Yes, understandably so, but it doesn't follow that they therefore believe that they shouldn't have the weapons on-hand in the first place.

One dirty little secret about most gun laws is that there are exemptions for even retired police officers because they would otherwise effectively lobby against such laws, and because they know very well the security that comes with private gun ownership.

But if y'all think that guns are entirely superfluous to keeping the peace, you shouldn't just note that cops are glad when they don't use their firearms: you should argue that they be disarmed so that they don't have a choice in the matter.

John Farrier said...

In response to my question, "Would such laws violate the First Amendment to the Constitution?", Dan wrote:

Yes.

The difference (and it's planetary in size) between the right to read whatever and the "right" to guns, motor vehicles, explosives or toxins is that there is nothing inherently dangerous about reading holy writ (although Jesus might disagree!) while rational adults can agree that SOME items - toxins, explosives, cars, firearms - are inherently dangerous enough that we can rationally decide that limitations and regulations should be in place as to their use.

Do you disagree?


You have not made a Constitutional argument. You've made it clear that you don't like the Second Amendment, but you haven't argued that the Second Amendment permits gun control while the First Amendment doesn't permit speech and religion control.

If you want to make a Constitutional argument, then argue from the text of the document.

So: you've chosen to rely upon the Supreme Court as the ultimate interpreter of the meaning of the Constitution. I've pointed toward the most recent case on the subject.

Dan, please explain to me (1) the meaning and (2) the purpose of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

John Farrier said...

Dan wrote:

John, this is not a post about gun limitations. It's a post asking the question, "What can we reasonably do to help decrease our violence problem in the US?" I am fine with the notion of limiting/regulating gun usage - just as we limit/regulate other demonstrably hazardous items - if it helps, while I'm opposed to outright bans, but all of that would just be one possible direction to take.

Thus, the purpose of this post is to consider: What can we do to help decrease deadly/harmful violence. I thought that was clear.


Thank you for clarifying. In order to reduce deadly/harmful violence, let us abolish gun-free zones and legalize concealed and open carry in those places where unconstitutional government actions have restricted them.

John Farrier said...

Generally speaking, most of us don't need and probably shouldn't have access to large explosives, but that doesn't mean I want to ban them altogether - I'm sure they have their place.

Do you disagree, when we're speaking of major explosives?


As a compromise, I'm willing to consider amending the Constitution to permit the federal government to restrict private ownership of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, as well as large quantities of high explosives.

In return for this compromise, I want the abolition of gun-free zones and the legalization of concealed and open carry, as well as the repeal of the Firearms Act of 1934.

John Farrier said...

Dan wrote:

In case anyone is missing it: The point of this post isn't to discuss or debate gun control. It is already established that we can reasonably and In case anyone is missing it: The point of this post isn't to discuss or debate gun control. It is already established that we can reasonably and constitutionally limit and regulate some items (including poisons, explosives, automobiles and firearms) constitutionally limit and regulate some items (including poisons, explosives, automobiles and firearms).

Emphasis added. No, you haven't. Please explain how such limitations and restrictions can be Constitutional.

The Constitution isn't a vague sense of right and wrong or good and bad public policy. It's not intuition or feeling. It's a body of text. If you want to make a Constitutional argument, you'll have to argue from that body of text.

John Farrier said...

Dan wrote:

If the only tool you have is firearms and without them you are "defenseless" against the "bad guys," then the only solutions are dead bad guys.

I'm completely comfortable with a whole bunch of dead bad guys.

I recommend Marko Kloos's excellent essay "Why the Gun Is Civilization." The gun is pro-gay, pro-elderly, pro-woman, pro-black and pro-every other vulnerable person:

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

Alan said...

Apparently gun ownership makes people feel so safe that even anonymous commenters on a blog won't reveal if they own them. LOL

John Farrier said...

Dan wrote in response to Bubba:

My point is that the language you and Marshall are using feeds into a mindset that is violent and self-defeating when considering steps to reduce violence.

To reduce violence, I suggest selecting a caliber that begins with the number 4. A .38 may not be enough to do the job reliably.

John Farrier said...

Dan wrote:

Now, here is another question I have for the more conservative types here:

Do you want my input, as well? I'm not a conservative, but I'm willing to answer.

Alan said...

Pointing out gun violence kills children: irrational.
Arguing that owning a gun is going to stop the US Airforce: rational.

Noted.

Frankly, how anyone could see the deaths of those kids (and all the others) as anything but emotional seems bordering on the sociopathic. But not surprising coming from this bunch.

Marshall Art said...

Nice try, Alan. No one on the pro-gun side of the debate is cool with the prospect of dead kids. That's, as I've said before, just an incredibly cheap tactic, but also incredibly predictable.

Yet, as also has been said, a true desire to protect our children would not result in leaving them vulnerable to the monsters that have so little regard for them. The continued push for failed anti-gun policies indicates an ideological fixation rather than a desire to suppress or mitigate the violent tendencies of a portion of our fellow man. Eliminate one tool and another will be chosen.

Thus, it is not "gun violence" that kills children. It is the violent behavior of twisted minds and criminal elements.

In the same way, pretending that anyone is arguing that owning a gun will down a plane is another example of the lengths those of your kind will go to denigrate those with the superior position. No one has made that argument. All anyone has done is to relate the intention of the 2nd and how it is best applied today. That argument is logical and rational regardless of how real the threat is at any particular moment in time.

"Apparently gun ownership makes people feel so safe that even anonymous commenters on a blog won't reveal if they own them."

Apparently not everyone feels you are worthy of a response. Laugh that off.

Alan said...

First the deaths of children is derisively called "emotional". Then it's a "tactic". What's next, claiming you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs?

This isn't an argument where tactics are being used, MA, at least not from my side. Dan asked a question and I answered it. I have no interest in trying to convince you or anyone about anything. My concern is only for the Newtown's worth of people killed every day by gun violence, including the several people killed just yesterday, at gun shows, on Gun Appreciation Day.

If I did want to convince you of anything it would only be this: keep speaking. Please, keep making snide comments about people's concern for the dead and the living "emotional.". Please keep referring to the deaths of innocents as a tactic.

See, Dan? We don't need to demonize gun proponents. Their own words will do the job for us. As long as there is at least a two to one ratio of MAs and Bubbas to every one John, our work is easy.

Years ago it would have been unimaginable to many people that the government would require seatbelt use. Heck, I knew people who cut them out of their cars back in the 70's, and disabled the seatbelt buzzer. Now, with a little clever marketing, seatbelt laws are in place nearly everywhere, and thankfully saving lives. Or imagine telling people thirty years ago, "If you light a cigarette in a bar, you'll be kicked out.". People would have laughed. Today, smoking bans are in place across the country and keep getting stricter -- the entire town I live in is smoke free except for private property -- and smoking rates keep going down.

Getting rid of guns is an easier argument to make than either of those or than the TSA porno scanners we were all subjected to which are now being removed, for one reason only: the utter cluelessness and tone-deafness of the other side.

So, before you dismiss repeal of the second amendment as a pipe dream, consider the history.

Marshall Art said...

Alan,

Thank you for visiting my blog. Don't be shy next time and go ahead and post a comment. That you would use the exact same examples of legislation to make your lame point as did feodor does not speak well for your own conviction in your position. Frankly, since self-defense is the larger point and purpose of the 2nd (a right that connects to the right to life), it would make far more sense for someone to have you imagine removing seat belts from one's car or forcing one to smoke. Both would threaten lives, as does prohibiting the carrying of weapons.

What's more, in your deceitful manner, you insist on accusing those like myself of ignoring the threats to children. Yet, it is your proposals that most put them at risk. Only the shooter possessed weapons at Sandy Hook and as a result, 20 kids died. Thanks for your concern.

Sure, getting rid of guns is an easier argument to use, only because there exists so many who won't expend the effort to do the right thing. You support cluelessness and tone-deafness by hoping to disarm law-abiding people who have proven invaluable in cases were Lanza-wanna-be's were denied their desire to kill multiple victims.

When you begin to focus on the real issue, the hearts of the evil among us and the minds of the demented, rather than on inanimate objects, then you will prove you really care about anybody above your own prejudices. Until then, you are complicit in the deaths of the innocent by supporting legislation that has left them vulnerable to the actions of the evil and demented.

Marshall Art said...

And BTW, it isn't that I dismiss the emotion provoked by such tragedies as Sandy Hook. It's that low-lifes on the left insist on exploiting them. If they would do so to promote real solutions, rather than superficial and worthless ideas that conflict with Constitutional protections, you'd have allies from the right.

Alan said...

By 2015, gun deaths will outnumber deaths in traffic accidents. That's not a lame point, it's the truth.

Anti-smoking laws are in place mostly to protect people from second-hand smoke, just as banning guns will protect people who don't want to get killed by guns.

And pointing out that people die by gun deaths isn't "exploiting" anything, it is the exact reason that guns need to be banned.

LOL. Apparently working against gun violence makes one complicit in deaths by gun violence? Right. And up is down and cold is hot. Repealing constitutional amendments via the method afforded to us IN THE CONSTITUTION is in conflict with the Constitution. Welcome to MAs Bizarro World. LOL

Well, this has been swell and all, but the swelling's gone down. I'll let MA have the final word, since if I keep posting, we know he can't help himself. So jump, MA, do your little dance! Jump! lol

Marshall Art said...

I can't tell you how much I love that ploy of yours, Alan. Post some inane comment and then act as if you're controlling me in some way. That's really funny. You're a cut-up. The fact is that if you post intelligent comments, you'll only get agreement from me.

Alas.

Here's more stats for ya:

According to the CDC, gun violence is tied to unemployment rates. Thanks Barry Obama!

According to PsychologyToday.com, the rate of gun ownership is higher among whites than among blacks, but the murder rate is higher among blacks.

Try paying attention. I said that you are exploiting the emotion provoked by tragedy to push for gun-control. I prefer emotion-free thinking as intelligence falls when emotion rises.

Yes, you are complicit when your actions, such as denying guns to the law-abiding and "gun-free zones" result in more deaths than in similar situations where a citizen is armed and willing to confront the criminal or insane. Thus, it is you who has things backwards. In YOUR Bizarro World, bad guys respond to law and gun-control sentiment as if they aren't looking for something to exploit to their advantage.


Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

I'm waiting until this hits the "100 Comment" mark before I contribute anything substantive, although this well circulated law review article on the history of the arguments around the first ten amendments to the Constitution demonstrate how ridiculous the whole "it was put there to protect us from tyranny!!" arguments are. I know because I've read Art say he doesn't believe it, even though he admits he hasn't read it, but still . . . Since the text of the amendment concerns "a well-regulated militia", and since even Justice Scalia said there was broad latitude for regulation on all sorts of matters regarding firearms, even as he created an individual right where none had existed before, it seems to me the discussion needs to sideline those who (a) insist their inalienable right to own a semi-automatic knock-off of a military weapon trumps the lives of their neighbors and communities; and (b) the possession of said weapons is all that stands between us and the New World Order of Agenda 21. Since both those are over-represented in the comment thread in proportion to the population, I think we would all do better simply to have a discussion without reference to insanity.

Alan said...

"insist their inalienable right to own a semi-automatic knock-off of a military weapon trumps the lives of their neighbors and communities"

Ah, but Geoffrey, clearly being concerned about lives is just a "tactic" of "emotional" people. And we should listen instead to the sociopathic misogynists.

Because, you know, they're the party of life. They're pro-life. Life, life, life. (Except for anyone who isn't a fetus, then it's open season.)

Because ... guns, that's why.

Alan said...

Oh, and Geoffrey, remember a gun has never ever harmed a single soul ever, but gay marriage is going to destroy the entire universe.

Because ... guns!!! F*ck yeah!

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

With today's shooting at Lone Star College, I'm quite sure the body count in the days since Newtown has topped one thousand gun deaths.

Making this about one type of weapon, or a single incident makes it that much easier to pretend we're doing something, or not doing something. The right-wing nuttosphere is replete with examples of armchair fantasists who picture themselves the lone protector of innocent life, or (conversely) a real patriot prepared to do whatever it takes to defend real freedom from the hordes of communists who just want to impose tyranny.

The sooner we just ignore this nonsense and have an actual discussion the better off we'll all be. Such people are certainly allowed to believe these eliminationist wet-dreams; most such folks wouldn't know what to do in an actual emergency, and their talk is mostly bluster (in this as in so many other things). So John Farrier, for example, continues to believe that the Second Amendment was put in the Constitution to protect us from the government; let him! It doesn't harm anyone, and marginalizing those who've already done so all by themselves actually speeds the process of having a real discussion.

The one thing we cannot do is pretend we can live in freedom and security in a land in which some people believe they have an inalienable right to threaten the rest of us just because. We cannot pretend such people have anything meaningful to contribute to a discussion about how best to organize a peaceful society in which the security and freedom of all people is respected.

Owning a gun is not a right; it is a hobby. We should treat it as such.

Marshall Art said...

Who's threatening you, Geoff and Alan? Did John or myself or Bubba or anyone here? Has any of the NRA officers? Howabout those Texans? How are you threatened by my owning a Mach 10. Where the hell do either of you intellectuals get off assuming that the 99% of gun owners that have never committed a crime are a threat to anyone? You, who wet yourselves and turn blue over those of us to insist particular behaviors are sinful, dare accuse millions of law-abiding citizens of evil and evil intent for merely possessing weapons. The word "hypocrisy" doesn't really tell it.

"Ah, but Geoffrey, clearly being concerned about lives is just a "tactic" of "emotional" people."

You deceitfulness is clear, Alan. No need to reiterate. This is not the sentiment I have expressed, though you seem to need to believe it. I am greatly concerned about the lives of people, particularly the people you leave defenseless in an impotent attempt to keep evil from harming them. Good move. Next time just save time and kill them all yourself.

By the way, Geoffrey. That "well circulated" article isn't the only source of that position. I've read in in another context, but haven't finished reading that particular article as yet. Try paying attention, hating less and deal with reality.

"The one thing we cannot do is pretend we can live in freedom and security in a land in which some people believe they have an inalienable right to threaten the rest of us just because."

The above does not constitute a reasonable discussion, a mature discussion or an honest discussion as no one has expressed a right to threaten anyone. Honesty is really important in sorting out differences. You prove again that honesty is not in you, just as Alan proves it as well. You say you want meaningful. 20 dead kids because there were no armed protectors nearby is pretty damned meaningful to me. You don't know the meaning of the word "meaningful" if you insist on ignoring this fact.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Art's comment reflects the prevailing narcissism of so much of the American Right - if it doesn't happen to me directly, it just isn't an issue for me.

The day of the Newtown shootings, while I knew my children were perfectly safe, I wanted to rush out of work, go directly to their schools, and take them both home. Why? Not because it happened to me, or had even threatened to happen to me. I spent the next week in a deep funk; imagine, the excitement and fun of the run up to Christmas with a small child, then having to spend the days before burying that same child, the Christmas tree lit at home, the presents never to be unwrapped, there to be no squeals of delight as the gifts are opened.

Because I am a part of the human race art, because I am a part of a community, a threat to one is a threat to all, including me. It would be irresponsible of me NOT to do something to protect my family and myself from harm. Since the dangers posed by owning a gun - statistics vary; one study I read said it was twelve times more likely that owning a gun would result in tragedy than an act of protection, others put it much higher - far outweigh any benefits, please don't tell me to buy a gun.

The day after five more people have died in yet another mass shooting, it is long past time doing anything with voice such as Art's than making clear the many ways they are wrong and begin to deal with the problem we all face. As with climate change and evolution, we cannot pretend there aren't actual things in the world that make clear how ridiculous the words of such people are. We cannot afford the luxury of indulging their childlike fantasies and barely-controlled bloodlust. It is incumbent upon us to act, and act decisively.

Alan said...

Geoffrey, all it takes to keep people safe is armed protectors, just ask John Hinckley Jr.

Or the 49 sworn armed officers at Virginia tech including those on their Emergency Response Team.

Or the armed guard at Columbine.

See, they had guns and therefore, no one was hurt! Having someone armed nearby is always a recipe for eliminating the violence.

"Owning a gun is not a right; it is a hobby. "

Let's get together and talk about guns. Let's talk about our favorite guns and how many we have. Let's get together and buy clothes that we wear that advertise our guns with gun jokes and gun pictures. Let's argue about which gun is better. Let's walk around a room filled with guns so we can touch the guns, stoking their mighty barrels repeatedly. Let's go shoot off a few rounds, over and over.

Then let's get together next weekend and do the same thing.

That isn't a hobby, it's a fetish.

Alan said...

Yes, MA, you're totally right. We who want to see an end to gun violence are absolutely more guilty than say....the people who actually pulled the trigger.

Marshall Art said...

"Art's comment reflects the prevailing narcissism of so much of the American Right - if it doesn't happen to me directly, it just isn't an issue for me."

How so, Geoffrey? I'm responding to this bit of nonsense:

"some people believe they have an inalienable right to threaten the rest of us just because"

I'm concerned about preventing something bad happening to me, my family, my friends and the law-abiding population in general and their children.

"We cannot afford the luxury of indulging their childlike fantasies and barely-controlled bloodlust."

What an incredibly asinine comment, typical of someone who does not deal in reality, to suggest that one's desire to own what one might regard as appropriate self-defense tools is a sign of "blood lust", of all things. This is unconscionable despite how typical.

Like all fantasy-land residents, you ignore the many ways people kill, die and murder, but focus on the tool used to do it. Let's get rid of fire because arsonists exist. The superficial nature of your solutions threaten the safety of all who are forced to comply with your inane solutions. These people have died by being forced to remain defenseless. You CANNOT get rid of all guns, because you have not the authority to dictate to the world and as long as guns exist somewhere, bad guys and lunatics will get their hands on them. It happens with blatant frequency that only progressive pseudo-intellectuals are unable to perceive.

Marshall Art said...

"Geoffrey, all it takes to keep people safe is armed protectors, just ask John Hinckley Jr."

Do you understand the term "sucker punch", Alan? That's what Hinckley did, except he used a gun. The point here is that he was close enough to plunge a pencil in Reagan's eye. But the unreal notion here is that the unexpected can be foreseen and thwarted. Sure, Alan. Whatever you say. If you would like to deal honestly, visit my blog or Neil's and you'll find a list of examples where lives were saved by a citizen with a gun. They are few, but make the point. The problem is that such stories don't get the press as do the stories of victims of gun-free zones.

"Or the 49 sworn armed officers at Virginia tech including those on their Emergency Response Team."

Who were all in the same room as the shooter? Is that what you're saying? If any of the students were packing, the death toll could have been as low as in the stories to which I referred above. The greater point here is that there could have been one million armed officers, and if they aren't where the shooter is, they do no good. Nice try.

"Or the armed guard at Columbine."

Not initially where the shooters were. Nice try.

"That isn't a hobby, it's a fetish."

One would think you'd be better at recognizing a fetish. But to say owning guns is a hobby is not a problem for me. Some people have hobbies that are also their means of support. A hobby can satisfy two purposes. This one also happens to provide security for the hobbyist. Rather practical if you ask me. Very much like martial arts. A martial artist can beat you to a bloody pulp without expending much time or effort. Some martial artists never get into fights. Some would say most don't. Geoffrey would say they all have the blood lust because they train in combat arts. But like the gun "enthusiast", they train for self-defense.

You boys are free to live as you please, leaving yourselves and your family either at risk or confined. That's your business and may God forgive you. But your views on this issue are twisted and poorly focused on the real causes of violence.

John Farrier said...

Dan, would you like to answer the questions that I've asked?

Dan Trabue said...

John, the only question I'm seeing is this...

The Constitution isn't a vague sense of right and wrong or good and bad public policy. It's not intuition or feeling. It's a body of text. If you want to make a Constitutional argument, you'll have to argue from that body of text.

No, I don't have to. I'm not a Constitutional scholar. Our Supreme Court is. They have concluded that it is exactly Constitutional. They have concluded that for years, as far as I can tell. If it's not Constitutional, all you and the NRA types have to do is get all that BIG NRA money, hire a lawyer and demonstrate that the Supreme Court is mistaken.

It's a settled matter, John - and rightly so. If nothing else, PLAIN COMMON SENSE tells us a ruling that allows for some firearm ownership is NOT a ruling that ought to allow for ALL firearms/explosives ownership.

You'll have to take it up with someone higher up than me. And we have the means to do it. Take it to court.

But you'll lose. The matter is settled.

Is that the question you were asking about?

Dan Trabue said...

As for the rest of this discussion, you all clearly have more time and energy than I currently do.

I stand by the rational conclusion that we can and should have some limits in how much/what sort of firepower we can freely have.

These mass killing type events are extremely rare events and arming the populace - or school guards, or teachers, or children - in an attempt to "be ready" for these one in ten million events seems a foolish suggestion to me, one built more out of fear, rather than rational thought.

Investing in mental health programs/assistance seems the more rational approach to me. For many reasons.

Alan said...

"and arming the populace - or school guards, or teachers, or children - in an attempt to "be ready" for these one in ten million events seems a foolish suggestion to me"

And let's face it, it's a suggestion that would never be followed anyway.

Remember, the people who think that teacher should be armed with lethal weapons are the very same people who believe that teachers cannot be trusted to provide actual factual scientific information or realistic information on the human reproductive system. But they totally trust teachers to turn schools into Tombstone.

School systems would never, ever, ever allow it to happen due to liability. So why anyone even mention such impossible silliness as a real possibility demonstrates just how howl-at-the-moon crazy their position is.

John Farrier said...

No, I don't have to. I'm not a Constitutional scholar. Our Supreme Court is. They have concluded that it is exactly Constitutional. They have concluded that for years, as far as I can tell. If it's not Constitutional, all you and the NRA types have to do is get all that BIG NRA money, hire a lawyer and demonstrate that the Supreme Court is mistaken.

Really? You're surrendering to the Supreme Court the meaning of the Constitution?

Okay, then. So when you stated that restrictions on your ownership of Bibles would violate the First Amendment, were you reading the text of that Amendment and providing your own interpretation or were you referring to some specific Supreme Court case that you had read prior to making that statement?

And if the Supreme Court determines Constitutional truth, then do you think that Korematsu v. the United States and Scott vs. Sandford were decided correctly?

Is that the question you were asking about?

Actually, I was focusing on this one:

Dan, please explain to me (1) the meaning and (2) the purpose of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

John Farrier said...

These mass killing type events are extremely rare events and arming the populace - or school guards, or teachers, or children - in an attempt to "be ready" for these one in ten million events seems a foolish suggestion to me, one built more out of fear, rather than rational thought.

Facts are stubborn things.

Fortunately, you have a choice. You can decide not to be armed. I don't want to force anyone to be armed who doesn't want to be.

Just don't try to make that decision for me or anyone else. That's liberty.

John Farrier said...

Another thought: I find it interesting that you regard the Constitution, a document mostly written two hundred years ago in English, to be indecipherable to the common man, but the Bible, a collection of books written thousands of years ago in Greek in Hebrew, is accessible enough for you to understand, interpret and even teach upon.

Marshall Art said...

"And let's face it, it's a suggestion that would never be followed anyway." and "School systems would never, ever, ever allow it to happen due to liability."

Really. Take a look here, here, here, here, here, here and here. If you take the trouble to read them, you'll find several states, a few law enforcement people and one school already having implemented arming teachers. Before certain people here get too wacky, I'll note here and now that one article's author objects to a proposal "especially since it won't work" and links to a Mother Jones article that has been ripped for its dishonesty. In most every instance, each state or politician where such proposals have been submitted allow for the choice (get that lefties?) to arm or not.

I wonder what the liabilities are for Sandy Hook? Would they have been reduced if the body count had been by an armed teacher? We can't know. What we do know is that the protests against such proposals are (not)surprisingly similar to those against concealed carry laws, and likely the results of enacting those proposals would have the same results. That is, fewer deaths with little or none of the negative incidents the naysayers are certain will occur. Indeed, we have just read a similarly fear-mongering warning in this intelligent statement:

"Remember, the people who think that teacher should be armed with lethal weapons are the very same people who believe that teachers cannot be trusted to provide actual factual scientific information or realistic information on the human reproductive system. But they totally trust teachers to turn schools into Tombstone."

We haven't seen "Tombstone" with the implementation of concealed carry laws and we won't by arming teachers. It's astonishing (not really) to hear Alan, Dan and Geoffrey stand in judgement of their fellow man before their fellow man has had any chance to sin or without their fellow man having given any indication that he will.

As to the rest, that's comparing apples to oranges. While it is true that we are concerned with what some leftist teachers wish to ram down the throats of impressionable children, we haven't any indication that they wish them to be mowed down by psychopaths, and thanks for another indication of your true self.

John Farrier said...

Marshall Art wrote:

We haven't seen "Tombstone" with the implementation of concealed carry laws and we won't by arming teachers.

And the Tombstone, Arizona of the famous gunfight at the OK Corral had strict gun control laws. Only law enforcement officers were allowed to carry arms in public. Consequently, it was a very violent town.

Tombstone, Chicago, Washington, D.C.--these are examples of gun control at work.

John Farrier said...

I wrote:

Dan, please explain to me (1) the meaning and (2) the purpose of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Dan won't answer.

He knows that the Second Amendment affirms the right of individuals to own military grade weapons. He knows that it was added to the Constitution to give the people the ability to violently resist government tyranny. He knows that the Constitution has a built-in amendment process to permit its alteration. But, most importantly, he knows that the Left lacks the popular support necessary to amend the Constitution and eliminate or alter the Second Amendment.

He knows these things, which is why he's dodging my Constitutional queries.

Dan Trabue said...

I didn't answer, John, because I am busy taking care of ailing parents and have limited time.

I didn't answer because it isn't dealing with the topic. I'm asking what ideas do you have for preventing violence.

I get that your hunch is that arming more and more people will help prevent violence. I don't find that reasonable. We disagree.

I walk through life, through urban settings, through places that many would feel unsafe in and I do so every day and I have never in my life had a need for a gun. Not once.

Arming more people is not a solution that fits the need. On the other hand, mental health assistance, that could make a difference. Efforts to help families and end abuse by friends, that could make a difference.

But you disagree. Fine. Thanks for your opinion.

As to your question, I do not know at all that the Constitution suggests we should allow people to have military grade weaponry with no limits. I can't imagine that to be anywhere near a sane way to interpret the Constitution. Reasonably, we can presume that some limits ARE constitutional. In the real world, the Supreme Court has upheld that rational conclusion.

I don't see a need to chase that rabbit, it's off topic and the question is already answered.

Parklife said...

I just dont see how I'm told criminals will always have access to guns and on the other we need the 2nd amendment to overthrow the govt.

Alan said...

How does your owning a gun contribute to a well-ordered militia, John.

It doesn't. It isn't about overthrowing the government it is about PROTECTING it. "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..."

The security of the state, John, not the individual.

How you could get something so back-asswards is beyond me, but there you go.

Have you, um, ever actually bothered to READ the damned thing. ROFL. Wow. It's such an important amendment, one we could not possibly live with out, and you demonstrate its crucial importance by never actually having read it.

Or if you have, you apparently don't understand it.

And if you do actually understand it, you ignore the clear meaning.

And yet we're the ones who disrespect the Constitution.

John blathered: "But, most importantly, he knows that the Left lacks the popular support necessary to amend the Constitution and eliminate or alter the Second Amendment. He knows these things, which is why he's dodging my Constitutional queries."

BTW, John, I know these discussions must be terribly, terribly taxing for you, but Dan wasn't the one who suggested repealing the second amendment. In fact, DAN wrote, "Deduct 1 from Alan for wanting to revoke the second amendment."

And he wrote, "but still, people saying 'revoke the second amendment' is not a winning argument, seems to me."

If you can't even read those two simple sentences of Dan's, how could you possibly pretend to understand the US Constitution.

Sometimes you people are just so remarkably stupid I am shocked you can remember to draw breath.

Bubba said...

"The security of the state, John, not the individual."

You missed a very important adjective: you quoted it and then immediately omitted it.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The security of a "FREE" State.

The men who drafted and ratified the Constitution just overthrew a tyrannical government and created a system of checks and balances to ensure against another tyranny taking its place: they were quite concerned with the threat of tyranny.

Did they believe that an armed populace was necessary for the security of any state? Maybe, maybe not, but they clearly believed that an armed populace was necessary for a FREE state.

(They weren't the only ones to draw that conclusion. Historically, disarming the populace is pretty high on the to-do lists of most groups with totalitarian agendas.)

Perhaps you shouldn't be quite so quick to lecture others about their ignorance of the Constitution or their willingness to ignore its clear meaning.

Marshall Art said...

Stolen from another blog:

"The Second Amendment is naturally divided into two parts: its prefatory clause and its operative clause. The former does not limit the latter grammatically, but rather announces a purpose. The Amendment could be rephrased, “Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” See J. Tiffany, A Treatise on Government and Constitutional Law §585, p. 394 (1867); Brief for Professors of Linguistics and English as Amici Curiae3 (hereinafter Linguists’ Brief)."

Alan said...

Bubba, as ever completely misses the point. John is the one defending an interpretation of the second amendment. I'm the one who wants to repeal it.

I know that MA isn't clever enough to see that, Bubba, but I did expect slightly more from you.

It's like arguing the interpretation of Prohibition. What does it matter if it's been repealed?

Marshall Art said...

Bubba is more than on point with who is saying what. He was clearly addressing YOUR statement regarding what is being secured. As regards to that, you, Alan, clearly aren't clever enough to understand what the 2nd actually says, or, more likely, aren't honest enough to use the exact words as doing so makes your position weaker.

However, I am greatly interested, mostly because I love to laugh, to hear just why you think repealing the 2nd is a good idea. I can't wait.

Bubba said...

"Bubba, as ever completely misses the point. John is the one defending an interpretation of the second amendment. I'm the one who wants to repeal it."

Well, then, you could have simply written something like this: I disagree with your interpretation, John, but REGARDLESS OF ITS MEANING, I support the amendment's repeal to make absolutely clear that there is no individual right to bear arms.

But you didn't do anything like that.

Instead, you insulted John, at length, for his particular interpretation.

"How you could get something so back-asswards is beyond me, but there you go.

"Have you, um, ever actually bothered to READ the damned thing. ROFL. Wow. It's such an important amendment, one we could not possibly live with out, and you demonstrate its crucial importance by never actually having read it.

"Or if you have, you apparently don't understand it.

"And if you do actually understand it, you ignore the clear meaning.
"

If you didn't want to go down the supposedly digressive topic of the meaning of the Second Amendment, you should have deleted those paragraphs before you posted the comment.

Alan said...

Won't use the exact words?

I just QUOTED IT you idiot. Wow.

And I've stated several times why I think repeal is a good idea. Does your browser not have scroll bars or are you just too stupid to use them?

Alan said...

Sorry, Bubba, I forgot to ask you permission about what I can and cannot post. I see you're a great fan of the second amendment, but not so much the first, eh?

Bubba said...

That's it, exactly. I expect you to ask for my permission before commenting on a particular topic: it's not that I was merely pointing out that you were commenting on PRECISELY the subject that you immediately dismissed as beside the point, I'm objecting to your addressing any subject at all unless you have my written permission in triplicate.

Seriously, Alan, you are such an asshole.

Alan said...

ROFL. Of course I'll give your opinion all the consideration it deserves.

Love you too, kitten. LOL

Marshall Art said...

Not sure exactly what your reasons for repeal are, Alan, unless it's the simple-minded notion that people with guns kill other people. That does seem to be the crux of your position after having scrolled up to re-read your drivel.

While doing that little search, I saw a couple of other simple-minded comments, such as

"The pro-gun folks want us to believe that 1) guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people. But 2) people cannot prevent gun violence, only guns can do that."

We don't say the latter statement. First of all, the term "gun violence" is intentionally used to isolate one tool used to perpetrate violence so as to drum up emotion against that tool. We who say that guns don't kill oppose violence perpetrated by criminals and the mentally ill. This is to be distinct from the violence that law enforcement, for example, might mete out upon the criminal in his apprehension.

Secondly, just as guns don't kill, we wouldn't say that only guns can prevent violence. We say, and have been consistent with this logical and truthful fact, that good people with guns can prevent criminal activity, or stop that which is in progress.

Your fears of the law-abiding owning the self-defense weapon of their choice is refuted by your own words

"I happen to know a strangely large number of police officers and corrections officers,----and not a single one of them has ever fired a weapon, and all of them are very, very, very glad of it."

Yet somehow your neighbor would not be able to control himself and would just start shooting up the place. What makes you think of all the gun-owners in the country as incapable of the same feelings about carrying that your "large number" of cops and guards have?

"Arguing that owning a gun is going to stop the US Airforce: rational."

I seem to recall the Afghans holding off Russian military might with just rifles and AKs until we sent them rocket launchers. How was that possible do you think?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

This is such a gem: "Not sure exactly what your reasons for repeal are, Alan, unless it's the simple-minded notion that people with guns kill other people." The italics are mine.

No one here is arguing that people with guns kill people, Art. That would be ridiculous.

Marshall Art said...

No kidding, Geoff? Then what rational reasons exist for repeal?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

OMG, Art, you have being obtuse down to a fine art (no pun intended).

Ahem: You wrote the statement in quotes, including the portion italicized by me. I highlighted it and wrote what I did . . . to be sarcastic.

How on Earth, or any other planet, could you possibly write what you did? I mean, seriously, Art - who else is using the guns? Chipmunks? Rogue elephants?

Obviously, people with guns kill people. Good God, Art.

Incidentally, while I approve whole-heartedly of repeal of the Second Amendment, even if it were to come to pass, I can't imagine a scenario in which Americans were either forced or benevolently coerced in to surrendering firearms they already owned. Nor can I imagine a situation in which strictures put in place in, say, Australia when they banned assault rifles, happening here.

The issue isn't JUST "guns" as some generic category. The issue is the far-too-easy availability of a variety of firearm whose sole purpose is killing other human beings; restricting access to these weapons is something other industrialized countries have done to great effect.

The issue is most definitely NOT protection from tyranny, as that was neither imagined by the authors of the Amendment, nor in any subsequent serious discussion of the Amendment.

The issue is most definitely NOT mental health, except insofar as Wayne LaPierre demonstrates his own need for a check-up each time he opens him mouth in public.

As Dan has made clear - common-sense measures to limit access to deadly weapons is something civilized societies do. Hyperventilating about tyranny and having Red Dawn Fantasies like John Farrier are meaningless distractions.

People with guns kill people, Art. That is the subtext behind the topic, which is preventing violence. How you could write the sentence you did and still insist you have anything meaningful to contribute to the discussion is quite beyond me.

Marshall Art said...

So much is beyond you, Geoff. That's why you wet yourself before responding to my comments. I admit, I still don't understand how your weak attempt at sarcasm mocks my wonder at the notion of using "people with guns kill people" as a legitimate argument to ban them, restrict access to them or for Alan's argument, repeal the 2nd. I know you like to believe I'm "obtuse", but you make no real case for that being true. As usual, saying so don't make it so.

What you can't imagine is a result of your unwillingness to imagine and your dishonesty or ignorance of what has actually happened in this country, and the state in which you now preside. I'm wagering on dishonesty, but either is likely. Chicago just recently had their ban overturned, and other Illinois communities, such as Morton Grove, Evanston, Wilmette, and Oak Park also had bans on handguns. While some laws grandfathered in existing weapons, they were rendered worthless and useless by the bans as their use would bring about greater legal scrutiny due to the bans.

There was already a useless and impotent assault rifle ban in this country, and I cannot believe you were ever unaware of it. That it might not have been a clone of Australia's situation is irrelevant. That it might not someday be worse is not beyond the realm of possibility, especially with certain pinheads calling for the abolition of the 2nd Amendment.

"The issue is the far-too-easy availability of a variety of firearm whose sole purpose is killing other human beings..."

It is statements like this that belie your claim to greater intellectual ability. Which guns are meant for anything else? Squirt guns? Cap guns? Starter pistols? The point of firearms has always been to kill. When they are used for it is what is important. When used to kill attackers, they are used as intended. When used to kill the innocent, they are not.

To pretend that some guns are intended for something other than killing people is to create a false impression. Firearms are created to kill. That they have been utilized to hunt (where killing is required) or target shoot (as practice for hitting the person or animal one wants or needs to hit) is besides the point and a dishonest argument regarding the purpose of firearms. All prohibitions do is limit the effectiveness of the people who desire self-defense weapons to those with the lesser ability to accomplish the purpose.

Other nations that have restricted access to those weapons fools believe are only intended to kill other people, have not experienced a reduction in crime and in some, if not many cases, have seen an increase.

"The issue is most definitely NOT protection from tyranny, as that was neither imagined by the authors of the Amendment, nor in any subsequent serious discussion of the Amendment."

I've presented a variety of quotes that show the above is complete and utter nonsense from someone better off discussing arc welding. Pretending it was about protecting slavery is both idiotic and, ironically, shows that a particular segment of the population were oppressed by being denied the right to bear arms themselves.

Mental health is indeed an issue of more importance than law-abiding citizens possessing firearms of any kind. They are among the very people responsible for the mass killings you think denying the law-abiding of weapons would reduce or eliminate.

The only people hyperventilating about tyranny or Red Dawn fantasies is people like you as you wet yourself trying to dispute the intent of the 2nd. You foolishly think the level of likelihood is a logical or reasonable argument to repeal the 2nd. It only shows how you struggle with recognizing what is logical or reasonable. Truly civilized societies have no crime or psycho rampages there is a need to eliminate, reduce or from which the people must protect themselves.

Marshall Art said...

"People with guns kill people" is obvious to those on my side of the issue. The statement is used by your side to argue against the 2nd and its intention, of which you have proven no understanding. But stating that fact does absolutely nothing in preventing violence. It doesn't recognize the types of people who kill, the reasons why people kill, or whether the lack of that particular tool would make much difference in the desire of evil or disturbed people to achieve their purpose.

You have certainly proven you have absolutely nothing meaningful to contribute to the discussion of how to prevent violence. I don't see that you even know what that might look like.

It's clear you don't like guns and don't want anyone to own one. That you think it would improve things has not been explained by you or anyone else.

What's even more clear is your irrational hateful attitude toward me. That's an issue for which I hope you can one day work out, but in the meantime, if you can't address the points I make, if you can't understand them, if you can't see them (another issue for which you should seek help), then keep your nasty comments to yourself. They are the least meaningful comments posted in these discussions.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

You state, Art, that I neither like nor own guns, and want no one to own them. Actually, I do like firearms. I grew up in a house with them, was quite young when I learned how to care for and use them safely and properly, and enjoy target shooting. We don't have any guns in my home because (a) I have no time to use them; and (b) my children are only now entering their tween and teen years, and having firearms, even safely stored firearms, is far too much of a hazard with children in a home.

None of this precludes me purchasing one in the future, since I have absolutely nothing against firearms per se. What I do have a problem with are people who start carrying on about tyranny and gun-grabbing, gun-hating liberals before 20 children's bodies are in the ground. Dan's rather modest list of proposals, which differ little in substance from those offered by the President or Sen. Feinstein, are only a problem for folks such as you who sincerely believe you know things that you demonstrate time and again you do not know. Whether it's the provenance and intent of a Constitutional amendment, or whether or not a crazy lefty such as myself must "hate" guns and not want anyone to own them - based upon absolutely nothing I've ever written, let alone thought - you really are a ridiculous fellow.

It isn't guns, Art, not really. It's the refusal to see that not changing the way we manage dangerous weapons is a guarantee that the dead bodies will continue to pile up. As someone somewhere wrote just after LaPierre's news conference, these are Moloch-worshipers in the original sense of sacrificing children for the sake of the health of the community. That you seem to think that's OK, well, that's your prerogative.

Alan said...

" unless it's the simple-minded notion that people with guns kill other people."

Um.

Wow.

Just. Wow.

Well, geez, you definitely got me there, MA. How could I have been so foolish as to believe something crazy like that?

ROFL.

Bubba, if you're still around, you'll be disappointed to know that, with that comment, MA retains "Stupidest Commenter of the Decade Award."

Wow.

Bubba said...

Alan.

You insulted John, at length, for a perfectly reasonable interpretation of the Constitution.

I criticized you for this, and you then acted as if you hadn't written a thing about the meaning of the Constitution.

I then point out this inconsistency, and you act as if I object to the First Amendment's protection of free speech.

I would probably word things a little differently than he would, but a fair-minded criticism of Marshall's comment wouldn't deride it as the dumbest comment even in this thread.

Thanks to your logorrhea, it wouldn't even make the top three.

Marshall Art said...

Geoffrey,

Thanks for providing a little more background regarding your personal history with guns. I would inform you that there have been millions of people who have grown up with guns in their home with never any incidents. Children have grown up around them since they were invented. If you feel your kids aren't capable of acting responsibly with guns in your home, good on you for keeping them out. That would make you a responsible gun person from whom you would restrict regardless of whether or not you had kids.

You keep deceitfully insisting that there are people who start carrying on about tyranny and gun-grabbing, gun-hating liberals before 20 children's bodies are in the ground. Considering there have been lefties who immediately pounced on this tragedy to suggest bans, restrictions and retreads of policies already proven worthless, I would ask how long is appropriate for those who understand the 2nd to stand up for it? Is there some reason why the lefties should be allowed to begin pushing for stupid laws before those 20 kids are buried?

"It's the refusal to see that not changing the way we manage dangerous weapons is a guarantee that the dead bodies will continue to pile up."

This is proven bullshit. You continue to foolishly believe it's the weapons. My side of the issue knows it's the people. A small percentage abuse their freedoms, misuse firearms and you think we need to manage inanimate objects. Then you dare suggest I'm the ridiculous one.

Marshall Art said...

Alan and Bubba,

First of all, Bubba. I'm sorry for addressing you at the same time as Alan. It seems an insult to you.

But the quote Alan mocks in his usual gracious manner wants for nothing. I will restate it again in the context whence it came. I've looked and not found a reason why Alan would wish to see the 2nd repealed " unless it's the simple-minded notion that people with guns kill other people."

I agree the statement is stupid. That was my point. If there is a better reason stated, I haven't been able to find it, and I'm not about to re-read all the comments yet again. I'd much prefer Alan cut the crap and the snark and just answer the question. What good, logical, backed by evidence reason exists for repealing the 2nd Amendment?

Marshall Art said...

One more thing for Geoffrey. Someday, would you please demonstrate that I don't know what I'm talking about? You know... provide evidence more substantial than just saying it or reprinting a comment of mine as if it proves your point. Hint: it never does if that's all you've ever done.

Dan Trabue said...

Guys, let it go. No one is contributing anything new at this point.

In summation:

1. Some people think having more people carrying weapons will help prevent acts of violence.

2. Other people disagree and think that is a recipe to contributing to more violence.

(The thinking being, among other things, that many/most acts of violence are spontaneous, spur of the moment "losing it" sorts of acts and we'd rather have someone who's losing it NOT have access to more powerful killing tools; also, statistically, folk are more likely to be harmed by a gun owned by them or their family/friends as opposed to the random "bad guy" scenario.)

3. Some people here think that the 2nd amendment guarantees unlimited, unrestricted access to guns/weaponry for the "good guys."

4. This point is already decided: We DON'T have (or want) unlimited/unrestricted access to weaponry, that would be a crazy view to hold to and no one wants it. This is legally decided and most of us agree it is rational to have limits.

5. Thus, the question is not "Should we have limits to our weaponry access?" but, "What restrictions are reasonable?"

6. We probably all agree that limiting access to guns will not end violence, it will continue. The question there is just, "Can we decrease the level and magnitude of violence by increased limits?"

7. Most here don't want to ban all guns for all people (perhaps Alan being the exception), just as a point of clarification.

8. Some here support increased support for mental health efforts.

I don't know that anyone is answering any further ideas to decrease violence. Thanks for participating, but you can take your second amendment debates elsewhere. That's not the point of this post.

Bubba said...

Dan:

Regarding your parenthetical paragraph, you write, "many/most acts of violence are spontaneous, spur of the moment 'losing it' sorts of acts and we'd rather have someone who's losing it NOT have access to more powerful killing tools."

For the sake of argument, let's agree: "we'd rather not" that they have access to guns, the operable question is, is such a goal even REMOTELY attainable in a free society?

If, short of creating a police state, it's not really possible to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of lunatics, then perhaps everyone else should remain free to carry such weapons to defend themselves in the case of such "spontaneous" acts of violence.

You also invoke the trope that gun owners are more of a danger to themselves than others. I'd love to see statistics that account for training, but I for one will not take this sort of argument seriously until it's invoked to argue for disarming cops and the Secret Service.

After all, cop killings and political assassinations are awful, awful things. If it's true that "folk are more likely to be harmed by a gun owned by them or their family/friends as opposed to the random 'bad guy' scenario," regardless of training, then we MUST disarm cops and security details IMMEDIATELY.

You later write (point #7) that Alan here is the only one who wants to ban all firearms, but why do are you okay with ANY firearms being around, if the goal is making them totally inaccessible to those who might have a complete mental breakdown, and if guns are so dangerous even to their owners?

The vague endorsement of some amount of gun rights doesn't plausibly fit with your arguments against guns. Either you haven't thought through your position, or you have but you know just how politically fatal it would be for your side to admit the end game this early on.

--

About the Second Amendment, I think your responses to John have been wholly inadequate, and so it's disappointing (but not surprising) to see you claim that your position is the more persuasive without making a serious effort to actually defend it.

John made two points that I think are especially worth reiterating.

One, when the Bill of Rights was ratified, private individuals were free to own muskets AND cannons and EVEN warships: I've read that there were something like 500 privateer vessels in the War of 1812, so it was no abberration. There were LITERALLY NO weapons of war that were prohibited from private use, and since then not one amendment has been ratified that would change that status quo.

Two, it is interesting that you defer to the courts on the interpretation of a document written in English 200 years ago, created with the voting public in mind, but you still consider yourself qualified to comment on documents written 2,000 years ago (and more) in Greek and Hebrew.

--

Finally, you write (point #6), "The question there is just, 'Can we decrease the level and magnitude of violence by increased limits?'"

That's a lop-sided view of the question. As Thomas Sowell has written, there are no solutions, only tradeoffs, and it's foolish to evaluate a policy just by its benefits without any consideration of its costs.

It's better to ask, "what are the costs of these policies, and are those costs worth the benefits?"

In this thread, you've seemed willing to consider the costs to our freedoms when it comes to incarcerating the mentally ill, but not when it comes to gun control. I think we should be concerned in both cases, because the individual does have the right both to due process AND to self-defense.

Beyond that, I'm not sure there are real benefits to gun control, as there appears to be a strong correlation between gun regulations and INCREASES in violence -- but that's another point that John made, that you seem unwilling to address.

Dan Trabue said...

Bubba, this is not a debate about whether or not we can legally and reasonably limit weapons in the general population. That legal question has been decided at the Supreme Court which is the legal body responsible for making these calls in our society. It is also a reasonable conclusion, which is why there is not a huge clamour amongst the citizenry to clarify that our founders wanted - or that WE want - to have unlimited access to any and all weaponry.

The question has been decided and rightly so.

Bubba...

For the sake of argument, let's agree: "we'd rather not" that they have access to guns, the operable question is, is such a goal even REMOTELY attainable in a free society?

By instituting reasonable limitations and regulations. Will it work perfectly? No. Should we abandon the idea of reasonable limits because they won't work perfectly and just say, "Ah, forgetaboutit! Get whatever weapons you want..."? No, I don't think so.

Bubba...

but why do are you okay with ANY firearms being around

? For the same reason I'm okay with ANY explosives or ANY motor vehicles being around. They are dangerous tools and should be regulated and used with caution, but that isn't to say that I want to institute an all-out ban on any of them.

Nuance.

Now, unless you have something new to add to the ideas of how to prevent/decrease violence, let it go, Bubba.

Bubba said...

John has already brought up a couple of reasons to be skeptical at your deference to the Supreme Court, but never mind: you evidently believe that ipse dixit becomes an ever more powerful argument through sheer repetition.

I personally think that John's list of suggestions is the most reasonable for reducing violence: reduce/eliminate gun-free zones, expand open carry, and reduce gun regulations to the level of reg's for automobiles.

To that list, I would add cultural goals that cannot be passed by laws -- goals that politicians could help advance ONLY through rhetoric and ad campaigns.

Just as there's been great success stigmatizing drunk drivers and encouraging designated drivers, we could AND SHOULD stigmatize reckless gun ownership and encourage responsible gun ownership -- by which I mean, training and the proper storage of firearms and ammunition.

We shouldn't stigmatize gun owners across the board, as Alan suggests: we should hail responsible gun owners as another failsafe for a free society.

Properly trained, a private citizen with a firearm can be a true first responder: when seconds count, the cops are often minutes away.

--

You defend gun control in this way:

"Will it work perfectly? No. Should we abandon the idea of reasonable limits because they won't work perfectly and just say, 'Ah, forgetaboutit! Get whatever weapons you want...'? No, I don't think so."

My objection isn't that your supposedly "reasonable" regulations might be less than perfect.

My objection is that they may be ACTUALLY COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE.

It's a simplification, but in any free society, you have basically two groups of private citizens who have access to firearms.

1) The small but very dangerous population who would use those weapons for murder and mayhem.

2) The large, fairly safe population who would only use them to defend themselves and other innocent people around them.

Most supposedly reasonable regulations result in the second group becoming disarmed much more thoroughly than the first group, and the net effect is more violence because the first group can attack softer targets.

I believe the only instance of a mass shooting in an open-carry area is the Giffords shooting, where a specific person was being targeted. Mass shootings tend to occur in gun-free zones, because those oh-so-reasonable limits on carrying firearms disarms people in group #2 while doing VERY LITTLE to prevent those in group #1 from acting on their worst impulses.

Laws should ALWAYS be judged by their consequences, including unintended consequences, and not just the good intentions of those who support those laws.

John Farrier said...

Dan wrote:

Bubba, this is not a debate about whether or not we can legally and reasonably limit weapons in the general population. That legal question has been decided at the Supreme Court which is the legal body responsible for making these calls in our society. It is also a reasonable conclusion, which is why there is not a huge clamour amongst the citizenry to clarify that our founders wanted - or that WE want - to have unlimited access to any and all weaponry.

The question has been decided and rightly so.


You keep saying this, Dan. And I keep pointing out terrible implications for your view. Which you then ignore and repeat yourself. Then I point out terrible implications for your view. Which you then ignore and repeat yourself.

I don't see a need to chase that rabbit, it's off topic and the question is already answered.

Nancy Pelosi was once asked to explain where in Constitution Congress was authorized to institute Obamacare. She incredulously replied, "Are you serious?" She considered the Constitution an utterly ridiculous consideration. It's a common view on the Left. The Constitution is, in your words, "off topic."

In the game of politics--the contest of the marketplace of ideas and policies--the Constitution is our rule book. You have decided that you won't play by those rules anymore.

And that's why we need a heavily armed citizenry. That's why we need guns.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

OK, John, your latest comment is almost ridiculously stupid. To say that Rep. Pelosi considers the Constitution "ridiculous" on any fair reading of her statement is not just absurd; it is either stupid, or disingenuous.

You want to be taken seriously?

Try being either more intelligent or less dishonest in your comments.

Marshall Art said...

I notice you failed to include "a fair reading" when insulting the quality of John's comment.

What's more, in response to Dan's comment regarding who is most at risk with guns in the home, the fact is that most shootings are committed by the very people one would wish to be restricted, the criminal, the mental and the careless. The latter cannot be determined by any test, but do not represent a major portion of the gun owning total.

Bubba said...

Geoffrey, I think a case can be made that Nancy Pelosi isn't strongly concerned with the limits on government that are imposed by the Constitution, and that argument is far stronger than the argument that those who oppose stricter gun control are Moloch worshippers.

Funny how all of sudden you're so very interested in honest and intelligent commentary.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Bubba - you make the mistake of thinking I care what you type. Years back I gave up reading your comments, because for all their verbiage, they add up to . . . nothing.

Not a single thing worth reading. Your premises are false, your reasoning flawed, and your conclusions absurd. Being wordy doesn't make you right; it makes you boring.

And I was not, nor have I ever, "making an argument". I was making an observation that all these folks who shake their heads and say there is nothing we can do to prevent the deaths of thousands each year, including small children, because the freedom to own a gun is more important; all these folks resemble Moloch-worshipers, who saw human sacrifice, including that of children, as necessary for sustaining the health of the community.

It was an observation, not an argument. I have no interest in argument, Bubba. You don't like the observation? OK. That's fine. I couldn't care less. Just don't make the error of believing that I concern myself with what you type.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan said...

John goes from just being, well, John, to being downright threatening:

"You have decided that you won't play by those rules anymore. And that's why we need a heavily armed citizenry. That's why we need guns."

Play by John's rules, Dan, or he's coming after you with his guns.

Yes, obviously they're totally not crazy.

Parklife said...

"Are you serious?"

John.. you might want to ask yourself that question.

Marshall Art said...

I didn't see anyplace where John demanded anyone play by "his" rules. Can someone point that out for me?

"I was making an observation that all these folks who shake their heads and say there is nothing we can do to prevent the deaths of thousands each year, including small children, because the freedom to own a gun is more important..."

Who are "all these folks"? I don't recall anyone saying anything remotely similar to this. Can you link to any such people? Maybe just one "folk"?

Indeed, what is being said in the real world is that infringing upon the freedoms of law-abiding people will do nothing to prevent anything but the right of law-abiding people to enjoy those freedoms that were infringed upon.

"Not a single thing worth reading. Your premises are false, your reasoning flawed, and your conclusions absurd."

These kinds of attacks are apparently OK here. But don't feel badly, Bubba. That's what Geoffrey always says. He'll never explain how any of that might be true, because, you know, he couldn't care less, and he'll say it many, many times, which kind of contradicts it, but that's Geoffrey.

Bubba said...

Geoffrey, I notice your comment to me is longer than what I wrote to you. Heh.

Your observation is misguided, because people aren't arguing, "there is nothing we can do to prevent the deaths of thousands each year, including small children, because the freedom to own a gun is more important." We're arguing that gun rights actually do make us safer, the comparison being between communities with open carry and communities with tight gun control: there are no communities where absolutely no violence ever occurs anywhere.

Bubba said...

Marshall, I'm guessing Alan is perplexed or even outraged by the fact that every president and member of Congress must take an oath to protect and defend John's rules.

Alan said...

Nope, Bubba, not at all.

Glad I could clear that up for you, kitten.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

"We're arguing" is your first mistake, Bubba.

Because it is demonstrably false. Don't ask me. Ask the 1200 corpses produced by gun violence since Newtown.

Ask the Australians who have not had a single mass shooting since enacting gun control. Ask the British. The Japanese. The Canadians.

You cannot argue a point that is demonstrably false. Somehow, they didn't teach you that in "long blog commenting 101".

Alan said...

Come on Geoffrey, you're not including, say, Mexico, which is soooo much safer because guns are so easy to obtain there.

Oh wait.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

Well, there you go again, Geoffrey, utilizing reality to make a point. You really should know better. lol

Bubba said...

We should ask the Norweigans, too, shouldn't we -- lest we be accused of cherry-picking from among those nations with tight gun laws?

You know where else you won't find a high incidence of mass shootings? Areas in the United States with concealed carry and open carry laws -- I believe the only mass shooting in such an area is the Giffords shooting, where a specific individual was targeted.

There have been attempt at other mass shootings where people are permitted to carry firearms, but -- funny enough -- those attempts are halted quickly.

If gun laws are so damned important, why aren't D.C. and Detroit safer than Houston?

Marshall Art said...

Well, there you go again, Bubba. Utilizing reality to make a point. I mean, REALLY using reality.

The Giffords case is unique in that it took place in an area where concealed carry had been in place. But from what I've read, there were indeed citizens who were armed. They chose not to fire because of the bystanders. Oh, how they must have wanted to use their metal dildos, but strangely, against all fantasy fact and imagined truth, they failed to display their blood lust.

In the meantime, all other mass shootings took place in gun-free zones. Because that made them safe.

Dan Trabue said...

Guys, seriously, let it go.

Are there places where there are fewer guns that have lower murder rates? Yes.

Are there places with more guns where there are lower murder rates? Yes.

Neither side can say, "Hey, look... lower murder rates where there are fewer/more guns. Therefore, there is a correlation..."

It's not as simple as that and there's no point in pingponging back and forth as if suddenly someone will point to a place where the other will say, "Oh, there are lower murder rates where there are gun bans/more guns... I must have been mistaken."

Let it go.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

OK, Dan, no. Stricter rules on gun ownership correlate with lower rates of gun violence. Across the board. There is no equivalence.

A single, horrific incident in Norway isn't a counter-example, fellas. There are still shootings in Japan, too; that doesn't mean gun bans don't work.

I'd take Norway's rate of murder by firearm any day of the week.

Dan, it isn't enough to say "let it go" after claiming without justification that there is evidence that both sides err. If you look through these comments, one side is offering reasonable measures, first steps toward reducing gun violence. The other side, absent either evidence or fellow-feeling, insist there is nothing we can do, therefore nothing we should do, learning to live with a body count that averages around 30 per day.

Marshall Art said...

And there Geoffrey continues to lie outright in the face of several comments that contradict his fantasy.

"The other side, absent either evidence or fellow-feeling, insist there is nothing we can do, therefore nothing we should do, learning to live with a body count that averages around 30 per day."

This isn't the least bit accurate account of those Geoffrey opposes. It is a lie, plainly and simply. No one on the other side claims there is nothing that can be done to stem "VIOLENCE", (including "gun" violence). We simply are pointing out the falsehoods behind the notion that restricting the law-abiding from their choice of weapons has the desired effect.

What's certain is the reducing violence, or any other bad behavior, won't easily be accomplished when people like Geoffrey continue to lie about those who oppose his failed ideas.

Bubba said...

"Stricter rules on gun ownership correlate with lower rates of gun violence. Across the board."

That's simply not true, Geoffrey, at least not in this country, where some of the most dangerous communities have the most strict gun laws in place.

It's also not true that we "insist there is nothing we can do" to decrease violence. John has proposed fewer gun-free zones and more open/concealed carry, and to that proposal I've added the suggestion that we stigmatize irresponsible gun ownership and hail those who are truly responsible with their firearms.

You can denounce our proposals as counter-productive, as we do yours, but you should be as honest as we are in acknowledging that both sides believe that we can reduce the incidence of violence.

Doing so would force you to drop the smear about Moloch worshipping, but such is the heavy burden of arguing in good faith -- something about which you evidently have zero interest, but then we already knew that.

Parklife said...

Heh...

http://factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/

Alan said...

Dan, The correlation is clear. That there are a few outliers doesn't mean the correlation is false.

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".

Marshall Art said...

Parklife's link is very informative. Despite the source, it nicely lends credence to the anti-anti-gun position in that it shows very little that conclusively refutes our claims. It also lacks info that is relevant, particularly in discussing who is responsible for the violence to begin with. I maintain that the weapon of choice is irrelevant unless someone wants to make any claims or proposals based upon "gun" violence, as opposed to violent behavior in general, upon which this blog post supposedly is focused.

At one point it mentions a comparison between Sandy Hook and the situation in China where the perpetrator used a knife and no one died. It would be foolish to pretend there is no difference in the efficiency of the gun to kill people. It would also be foolish to insist that an armed school staff member couldn't have reduced, or at least had a very good chance of reducing, either killings or injuries by confronting the perpetrator with weapon drawn.

If the issue is reducing violence, then the focus has to be on the violent, and not the peaceful and law-abiding. Gun control laws have far more affect on the law-abiding and put them at risk, than they do on the criminal or insane.

Parklife said...

haha.. and that actually proves marshall only reads what he wants to.

Marshall Art said...

Why not try explaining why the link you offered proves anything that supports your side of the issue, or refutes mine? I know why you won't, but I'm just encouraging you, as I always do, to provide something of substance for a change.

Parklife said...

yawn.. marshall... "arguing" with you is pointless... As noted you only see what you want.

Marshall Art said...

"Arguing" is what YOU and another who posts here likes to call what is in reality your own inability to support your position or refute the position of another. If YOU'VE read your own link, it should be easy enough for you to pull out from it what you think is the deal breaker or compelling point. I doubt you read it at all.

Alan said...

""Arguing" is what YOU and another who posts here likes to call what is in reality your own inability to support your position or refute the position of another."

MAs judo matches with the English language are always fun to watch.

I'd like to buy a comma, Pat.

Parklife said...

""Arguing" is what YOU and another who posts here likes to call what is in reality your own inability to support your position or refute the position of another."

jeshh.. marshall.. Im not arguing with somebody like you. Give it a rest.

Marshall Art said...

You never "argue", debate or discuss, Parklife. Who are you kidding?

Alan,

Why don't you buy an apostrophe?

Parklife said...

"You never "argue", debate or discuss"

heh.. pot... kettle..

Marshall Art said...

I wonder what a substantive comment from Parklife would even look like.

Parklife,

You ought to slap yourself silly for even presuming a comparison between my comments and yours. A pot/kettle situation? Whatever you say, dude.

Parklife said...

Slap myself? Whatever indeed.