Guns, deaths, guns, deaths, guns, deaths…

Guns, deaths, guns, deaths, guns, deaths… October 10, 2015

If only we had guns to protect us. Dan Yowell said this on facebook in answer to a university altercation which left one dead and three injured:

“Kid who has a gun for protection protects 3 kids into the hospital and protects a fourth kid to death. Glad he was protected. Bad stuff might have happened.”

And then there was the eight-year-old girl the other day who, after not letting an elven-year-old neighbour see her new puppy, received a fatal gun shot. Yes, the girl died when the boy went back next door to get an easily accessible gun and shot her. Arguments + guns = death. if only the puppy had a gun to defend her.

And then this week also had the accidental death of a brother at the hands of another eleven-year-old boy whilst shooting targets. Arguments or accidents, these people shouldn’t have access to guns.

The US has homicide rates about 4 times higher than the UK’s:

And yet the rate for gun deaths compared to the UK, and homicide-by-gun deaths is:

The UK doesn’t even feature. Here is a wikipedia stat for firearm death rates:

Screen Shot 10-10-15 at 01.17 PM

The key figures for homicide death rates are 0.05 vs 3.55. That is a WHOPPING 71 times bigger!!! Which is to say that whilst homicides are 4 times greater in proportional number, gun homicides are 71 times greater in the US than the UK.

If this is not the statistic needed to convince you that guns and gun availability is not in some way connected to gun homicide deaths, then there is no help for you. I find these stats staggering.

The Washington Post penned this opinion piece, one amongst any that can be seen online:

Another day, another tragic school shooting.

HOURS AFTER a student at an Arizona university was fatally shot and three others were wounded, the college president sought to reassure the community. “An isolated and unprecedented incident,” Northern Arizona University President Rita Cheng said of the early Friday morning shooting. If only her words were true. Sadly, U.S. school shootings are anything but isolated and unprecedented. They occur on average more than once a week.

This week, it was Ms. Cheng’s sad duty to hold the news conference that has become one of the rituals of school shootings. “A terrible tragedy. . . . Our hearts are heavy,” she said at the Flagstaff campus where freshman Colin Brough was killed. Last week, it was officials at Umpqua Community Collegein rural Oregon who had to confront the heartbreak after a shooting spree left 10 dead, including the gunman, and nine injured.

The circumstances of the two shootings differ. The Arizona incident reportedly followed a confrontation between two student groups, while the Oregon shooter went on an unprovoked rampage. But both could happen only in an environment where it is all too easy to get a gun. No sooner had Ms. Cheng finished speaking Friday than another school, this time Texas Southern University in Houston, went on lockdown after two people were shot, one fatally, at a student housing facility near the campus.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, there have been at least 149 school shootings since 2013, 52 this year alone. The mass shootings, such as at Umpqua last week or Sandy Hook in 2012 or Virginia Tech in 2007, get the most attention. But many of the incidents occur, as apparently happened in Flagstaff, when an altercation escalates and — instead of walking away or, at worst, throwing a punch — someone reaches for the all-too-accessible gun.

On Oct. 3, 2014, it was at Langston Hughes High School in Georgia, where an18-year-old student allegedly traded insults with a 17-year-old from a different school and shot and killed him. On April 16, 2013, it was at Stillman College in Alabama, where an argument about a bet over a video game resulted in one student being shot twice and the other charged with attempted murder. On Jan. 16, 2013, it was the turn of Chicago State University in Illinois, where a fight broke out at a basketball game, spilled into the parking lot and ended with a 17-year-old fatally shot.

This week we wrote about an 8-year-old girl shot dead allegedly by her 11-year-old neighbor after she wouldn’t let him see her puppy. We observed how in other countries without as many guns, fights between children don’t end in such tragedies. The same applies to students who argue over bets or basketball games or school rivalries or whatever silly thing sparked Friday’s early morning confrontation in Flagstaff. We’re all for better mental-health treatment, peer counseling and programs to discourage the misuse of alcohol. But the most obvious way to reduce gun violence is not to have so many guns so readily available when people fight, drink and get angry.

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    • Xmystic

      Higher than what? The UK? Maybe because there are more firearms, A tool for suicide is just a tool. Whatever is handy. And guess what? Accidental pool drownings are much higher in homes with a pool than those without.

      • You don’t give razor blades to a baby. I would suggest reading up on the links of suicide to guns.

        • Xmystic

          Now there’s a false analogy. Razor blades and babies would fall under safety from accidents. Suicides do not. Like I said above. Suicide is a totally different case from gun violence. A gun is a tool. I suppose a gun is a highly efficient way to accomplish either, but we need to look at the intent and state of mind rather than the tool for more comprehensive solutions to either. Violence and despair. That would make the tool a moot point.

          • First of all, it perfectly analogises with accidental deaths, which is part of the overall problem.

            But that was not my point. The point is this: you do not give easy access to vulnerable people things that will easily cause them harm.

            We also know that most people recover from failed suicide attempts.

            Apart from those who do it by gun. See this source:

            Firearms are one of the more reliable methods of suicide. As a result, this method is not suitable for a suicidal gesture. Only those 100% certain they want to commit suicide should use this method. Note that the success rate of this method when used to the head is much higher than to other parts of the body.

            Despite this, research by Frierson and SB Lippman1 on survivors of attempted firearm suicides in the US suggested that 80% of attempts were not pre-meditated (meaning they were generally done on impulse, rather than having been thought through and planned in advance). A reliable method coupled with not much thought is a scary combination, and one wonders if perhaps many of those using this method might not have gone through with it had they thought about what they were doing for a little longer.

            As mentioned in the section Most lethal methods of suicide, studies have shown firearms to be between 73% and 92% effective to achieve a lethal outcome in suicide. However, Stone2 notes from studies on unsuccessful firearm attempts that the chances of a successful outcome are as low as 50% if the firearm is aimed into the abdomen (tummy). Shots to the brain have a much higher fatality rate likely to be nearer 90%, or even higher if a shotgun is used.

            Sources

            RL Frierson and SB Lippman, “Psychiatric Consultation for Patients with self -inflicted Gunshot Wounds” Pschosomatics 31 (winter 1990).

            Geo Stone, Suicide and Attempted Suicide, 1999.

            http://lostallhope.com/suicide-methods/firearms/reliability

            Your suicide by guns death rate is 39.4 times higher than ours.

            39.4. Times. Higher.

            Your suicide rate in general is twice as high. This would suggest that a large component of this might be impulsive firearm suicide. This is born out by WHO analyses:

            “Readily available poisons and firearms facilitate unplanned suicide acts,22,23 which are typical of impulsive suicide. Consequently, they increase the suicide frequency.”

            http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/86/9/07-043489/en/

  • Sergio Paulo Sider

    I would be interesting if we had statistics by gender. Like 4 out of 3 killings were perpetrated by men ;-). Testosterone, sexual frustration and plain stupidity. And I still can’t get this ‘love for guns’ americans (in general) have.

    • Men are 882% more likely to commit violent crime.

    • D Rieder

      “this ‘love for guns'”

      It is indeed an odd phenomenen. I actually DO understand it…having somewhat of a like for guns myself…powerful guns…guns that shoot rapidly. I see the problems, don’t own guns, and would favor very stringent gun laws…but I DO see the underlying desire all too clearly.

  • Geoff Benson

    More Americans have died from gun deaths since 1968 than have died in all military conflicts

    http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/aug/27/nicholas-kristof/more-americans-killed-guns-1968-all-wars-says-colu/

    • Xmystic

      17 conflicts in 200 years compared to 50 years of statistics of firearm related deaths? Kristof is a mouthpiece for the liberals.

      Let’s compare firearm related deaths (whatever that includes) to death of the people killed by dictators that took the firearms from the people just before their government killed anyone in opposition.

      Or vehicle accidents in the last 50 years?

      Malpractice deaths?

      Falling injuries?

      Get the idea how Kristof manipulates the fact when he takes his lips from the liberals arses long enough to type something?

      • False analogies.

        How many such travesties have happened in mature democracies, you know, not the ones the US has clandestinely overthrown because they can’t handle governments being voted in that they don’t agree with…

        • Xmystic

          What does mature democracies have to do with comparing death rates? False analogies? Actually this may be off topic here since I was replying to Geoff’s citation article.

      • Geoff Benson

        Diversionary tactics. Try talking about things other than the matter in hand. We are discussing gun deaths, not dictators, or deaths by accident, each of which are deserving of individual discussion.

        As for being a liberal issue? Well it beats the Bill Whittle silliness.

  • D Rieder

    The opposition to serious gun control in the US depend on on or more of the following.

    -That it is somehow a “God-given” right to own virtually any kind of personal weapon imaginable. I know the point to the constitution, but behind it all the rights spoken of in the constitution is some sort of inalienable right granted us by God. To them “rights” only exist because of God.

    -Obfuscation that highlights difficult to define terms and concepts. It is obvious that weapons that can be fired repeatedly are the weapon of choice in mass tragedies. They also seem to be the weapon of choice in gang warfare. Yet, some folks just entangle any legislation aimed at reducing the availability of those kinds of firearms in terms and questions like…”what is an assault weapon?” But they never seem to actually try to help solve the problem. And when the NRA leader makes statements like, “the best defense against a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun,” we can see they have no interest in actually solving anything. Because obviously “good men” with guns are why there are so many “guns” out there accessible to be stolen or “borrowed” for yet one more tragic murder.

    Their claim that the lives of a few would be so severely deprived if they didn’t get to shoot that particular nice semi-automatic pistol or rifle at the firing range, or wouldn’t get to bag quite so many birds with a single shot or double barreled shot gun as with a semi automatic shot gun.

    And, if there is any legislation that MIGHT reduce the availability of weapons that easily fire multiple rounds in a short time and if it doesn’t…in the next 10 days (figuratively speaking) reduce the number of criminal, accidental or suicidal deaths…then obviously such legislation is useless and we’re better just arming as many people as possible in the hopes that this “good man” with a gun just happens to be present in the midst of a gang war or there when the child or mentally unbalanced person manages to get their hands on a weapon and shoots up a theater. For some reason…these “good men” with guns are never around when you need them…but they are there putting stumbling blocks in the way of anyone who is trying to help.

    IOW, the gun lobby throws obstacles…any kind of obstacle in the way of any attempts to solve problems…interestingly enough in ways that have been shown to be effective in other countries.

    The other inconsistency besides their “claim” they wish for real solutions but don’t want any solutions that would actually deprive them of any personal pleasure is that they want access to the kinds of firearms THEY think should be available, but are happy to deprive others of the kind of arms they don’t think these others should have the right to own….RPG, anti tank weapons, mass destruction weapons. And this, even though their feigned (I think) interest is having the public armed to fend off outside invaders and even their own government, who, BTW WOULD HAVE tanks, organized and massed military units the defense against which would require…anti tank weapons, RPGs and weapons of mass destruction. IOW, IF we are to be attacked by someone with an organized military…their “pop guns” would be useless and their very likely disorganized way of using those “pop guns” would make them the targets and create more problems than if they didn’t have them. I can’t see them as being much of a deterrent since the opposition (if it’s their own government) would already know who has these weapons so could target them.

    • Excellent. Quote of the Day.

    • Xmystic

      It’s referred to as a God given right in our Bill of rights which most law is based on. You want to take guns, follow the law and have the 2nd amended.

      Assault weapons are actually fully automatics like used in war zones? They are basically already illegal. Gun rights are always trying to solve the problem but Liberals do not want to listen or compromise. Since it is a right, the constitutionalists shouldn’t really have to compromise. Anyway both sides have solutions but neither is listening. Conservatives because Libs almost always want to infringe and Libs don’t want to listen because they want the scary guns gone. And why? That won’t fix the problem.

      No the gun lobby throws obstacles in the way of infringements on a basic right in this country. I disagree that it has worked in other countries, but let’s for argument sake it has. That does not mean it would automatically work here. Different culture, latent results. “Bobbies” used to only need to carry a night stick/baton. Now they are getting as militerized as LE here. Why, if gun control is working there so well?

      The gun lobby has compromised too much for any of that to be true. Citizens can get none of those weapons you mention, nor autonatic weapons. As far as the military being totally unbeatable, I don’t think it would go as well as you think it might. Those pop guns might surprise you when you consider all the other factors that might take place. As far as knowing where the weapons are, government is not supposed to legally have a registration at this time. The NICS checks are not kept on file. By law they must be discarded after the background check. Based on your words, you are implying that you would and think most should simply quietly give up and go to the FEMA camps or wherever instead of fighting for your freedom?

  • Geoff_Roberts

    “But the most obvious way to reduce gun violence is not to have so many guns so readily available when people fight, drink and get angry.”

    Jonathan, considering that America has the 2nd amendment, what is the specific new law you would advocate passing to reduce gun violence in any meaningful way?

    • D Rieder

      I think it would involve an amendment that said folks DO NOT have a “right” to bear arms. Period. THEN the nation could proceed with legislation of what kind of fire arms we can have the privilege of carrying and who and how they should have the privilege to “bear arms.” All people would have the right to apply to bear arms, but not the basic right to just “bear” arms.

      It’s a bit like when you want to drive a car. The common mentality is that we should all have the right to drive cars. But the only right we actually have is the right to apply to drive cars. After that, there are laws and restrictions as to the kinds of vehicles we consider suitable for street driving, who can drive and how they can drive and how those suitable vehicles CAN be driven and how to keep those who do have the privilege somewhat capable. For vehicles, massive traffic law enforcement seems to be the system of choice. But for guns, whose usage seems to be less necessary than owning vehicles for everyday life, the best choice (I think) is regular or periodic inspection/checking for the security of weapons and testing of the individual owner/user

      IOW, I propose putting the emphasis on a different syllable, so to speak. Make it a privilege who gets to own and use firearms. Make it difficult to own and use firearms and make sure those who do are regularly tested to see that they still are capable of “owning” and using those firearms suitably.

      Of course there are always problems with such laws, but putting it “the other way around” would be a good start.

      • Geoff_Roberts

        On a practical basis alone, repealing the 2nd amendment simply would never pass. People may disagree on whether we should have the 2nd amendment but the majority of Americans believe in in the freedom to protect themselves with a firearm.

        • D Rieder

          I understand all that…but it is the solution.

          I am a 65 year old US citizen who was born in PA and lived around guns pretty much all my life. I’ve hunted and shot for target practice. I’m not a gun hater or even particularly afraid of guns. BUT if the US wants to solve its gun problem that is the way to go.

          IOW, I agree with you. I actually don’t see any real solution as long as the majority of US citizens believe owning guns actually affords them and the rest of the people some protection against guns. It’s a bit like the obstinant and afraid of flying car driver refusing to see that flying is actually safer so they drive across country JUST to avoid flying. Folks under the impression that a gun in their house makes them safer from gun violence will never favor giving up owning guns ad libitum.

          It’s a bit like the abortion issue. It will never be resolved to the satisfaction of those opposed to abortion as long as the fetus is not a “person” under the constitution. It would take an amendment or a court ruling that the fetus/embryo IS a person and therefore has a right to life. That way the woman would NOT have the right…ever..to just ask to “have it removed” for her own personal reasons. Abortions would become almost impossible to arrange as doctors stopped wanting to always be vulnerable to charges of murder if their “decision” about the safety of the mother was second guessed and found wanting. I think NO ONE really wants that because even the staunchest right-to-lifers (Rick Santorum) want to have their wives allowed to abort fetuses that seem to endanger that mother’s life and don’t want the state looking over their shoulder second guessing the decision based on some bureaucrats personal convictions (Kim Davis). IOW, some bureaucrat…regardless of the “many abortions she’s had,” could all of a sudden “get religion” and decide someone’s abortion wasn’t really necessary and initiate criminal investigation…on the woman already bereaved at believing her abortion was necessary to protect her life and the doctor thinking he or she had done the right thing to protect the woman’s life.

          • Geoff_Roberts

            The drug gangs in the inner cities is where the majority of gun violence take place. That’s where we should start to deal with this massive issue. Generations of young men are growing up in drug invested, fatherless, lawless “homes” with no hope for the future or a better life.

            We need leaders to address this head-on and not be afraid to confront the Al Sharpton’s of the world. Even if gun confiscation could happen it would not greatly lessen the violence that is rampant in these urban communities.

          • I absolutely agree that that poverty and lack of equality of opportunity scenario needs addressing.

            In the UK we call these low aspiration communities (I teach in one). Luckily, in these low aspiration communities we don’t add to the woes by arming most of these low aspiration/education/income people with guns.

          • Xmystic

            You also do not have a Bill of Rights that guarantees the right to bear arms. Anyway what right would you have to deny those low aspiration communities to be able to protect themselves from the probably higher crime going on in aid community. Sounds a little discriminating and bigoted to me. What hoops do you have to jump through to get a gun in the UK anyway. Is it expensive? Does it take upper contacts? Is it fair to all socio-economic classes? Egads, I sound like a Democrat now.

          • Here si a basic explanation of how to buy a gun in the uk, and what you are restricted to (no gun under 600mm for example, so basically shotguns and rifles for either clay pigeon shooting or pest control).

            The Bill of Rights is just that, an agreed upon list of rights. But what are rights? What are they made of? Who gets to decide them? Rights are merely abstract ideas in individuals heads who happen to agree with them and live in a place where they happen to be legally binding. So they are only really manifest as legal rights, simple rules enforced by a given authority. Nothing more, nothing less. Your Bill of Rights, for example, means nothing to me, and yet I am a human being like you. I just happened to be born somewhere else.

            It is stuff like this that frustrates me because Americans often don’t do any philosophy because they think things like the Bill of Rights are somehow divine decrees which carry more weight than they really do or are more real than they really are.

          • Xmystic

            Those issues are definitely what is skewing our gun crime statistics. We have some cities with little or no gun control that have much lower gun crime than in the UK. The very high murder rates seem to be in cities with the issues you mentioned and gun control also. And they are almost always Democratic controlled. The problem here is most people want quick bandaids to a problem that is a serious underlying disease. Addressing the violence is a tough long drawn out process. It will take comprehensive solution that are as difficult to trace and met with resistance by those that will be impacted.And the science is mostly soft science that has camps of supporters. Gun control is usually quick “knee jerk” emotional responses that gives us “feel good” laws that will not do anything to prevent gun crimes.

          • “We have some cities with little or no gun control that have much lower gun crime than in the UK. ”

            Prove it. Show me the stats.

            Because here is a list of people shot by police since 1920:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_killings_by_law_enforcement_officers_in_the_United_Kingdom

            It totals 47. 47 in 100 years. You guys kill that many in half a month. Half a month.

            In 6 months of this year, US police had killed 500.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/07/10/there-have-been-500-people-shot-and-killed-by-police-in-the-u-s-so-far-in-2015/

            In other words, your assertion is mere fanciful wishful thinking with no basis in reality.

          • Xmystic

            “Prove it. Show me the stats.”

            I posted a video somewhere on here I think but here it is again. Watch the stats on the lowest gun violence like in Plano, TX.

            https://youtu.be/pELwCqz2JfE

          • Well, I cannot find the gun crime stat for Plano, but remind you that you are saying it is lower than the whole of the UK gun crime stat. Even if this is the case, then all I have to do is find a city like Exeter and show you the gun crime is 0 or close to.

            Stats are averages, so don’t go and cherry pick your very best stat and compare it to our national average which includes our very worst.

          • Geoff Benson

            I find myself virtually unable to watch the obnoxious Bill Whittle. His ability to manipulate straightforward figures into a form that completely distorts the truth knows no bounds.

          • Xmystic

            Ahh you must have quit watching until the end. lol

            Oh, I realize that it is fair in no way to compare one city to your whole country. I wasn’t referring to it on that point. It just shows how much our stats are skewed. It also shows the coincidence of the worst crime cities also being Democratically controlled cities that have much stricter gun laws. It supports the argument that it’s not the gun, it’s the people using the gun as the tool for violent actions. There are so many factors to work at instead of banning a tool. Pragmatic or lazy? There are many more vehicle deaths than gun deaths. What is you suddenly had to have universal background checks to own a vehicle. Limitations such as, when and where you were permitted to drive, Another background check whenever you bought gas or petrol. Mandatory waiting periods to buy a vehicle (not really a biggie, but could be annoying) or when you were able to buy more fuel (like rationing). What if you faced criminal or civil charges if your vehicle was stolen or if it was misused by the person(s) that stole your vehicle? What if you had to make a background check on anyone you wanted to sell or give your vehicle to even if it was a gift to your spouse or child? What if certain vehicles were not available to you, but were to others such as law enforcement, rich people, civil servants, criminals?

            There are so many options to try. Some expensive some cheap and easy. The Liberal/Democrats want to be pragmatic? at the cost of millions of peoples civil rights. They will not compromise or even consider the gun rights point of view. Why not do away with gun free zones. Most mass shootings have been done in gun free zones. I think all but one. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, But that expands rights. They don’t want anything to do with more freedom. They want control

            How about investing more in Mental Heath services? They pushed Obamacare (physical health) down our throats, but didn’t do anything for Mental Health. They want healthy slaves even if they are bat shit crazy? I guess huge pharma has a better lobbying group than mental health. Most shooters were having mental issues AND taking various drugs that had bad side effects. So what would be better? Therapy, therapy and drugs, or just drugs? Seems the AMA has a strangle hold on that even if the data shows that therapy only with drugs success rate is much lower than therapy and drugs with the long term goal of no drugs if it can be accomplished. Our society invests in technology and sports, not people.

            How about teaching the value of life? Where did we lose that along the way? Religion? Desensitization from video games, movies, TV. News coverage, or a latent effect of some other social trend? People care more about pets and wild animals more today than humans.

            How about education? There are movements that try to teach kids to not play with a firearm or avoid someone that is mishandling a firearm. They are all based on fear. What about exposure to firearms to teach respect and safety. In the 50’s kids actually brought rifles from home to school for sports shooting classes. Now we have metal detectors at school entrances and could not even have an instructor bring a gun for teaching purposes. What changed over the years?

            So much fear of guns. It’s simply a tool. Now we are even getting afraid of guns carried by LE or military. Yes a gun is more efficient in destruction. But so is a nail gun compared to a hammer. But you can go buy a nail gun at any store that sells tools without background checks, permits, or fear from the public. Because it’s a tool. Some idiot runs through a school shooting people with a nail gun we blame the person, not the nail gun. Someone beheads a person, we don’t blame the machete.

            We don’t have a gun problem. We have a people who use the most efficient tool handy problem. Even if guns disappeared from the face of the earth today, another tool would become a favorite of those with bad intent.

            Maybe we should start investing in people more than technology and recreation.

            So many areas to explore.
            No, they just want to go after guns…

          • Though I do agree that it is a very complex issue which will require a lot of thought to solve. Gun control is only one of the threads. A big hurdle for control is the pragmatics of it (not least the massive amounts of money set against it by the gun lobby groups and manufacturers).

    • Good question. And in fact there are two questions: 1) what would I do idealistically, irrespective of pragmatics; 2) What would I do considering pragmatics and logistics.

      The second question is hard to answer because it is hard to second guess reactions and whatnot. Let’s park that.

      To answer 1), it would be something very much like “Give the US laws like the UK”. Because there is nothing about the Second Amendment that would remotely change my life for the better, and would actually worsen my life, if the US is anything to go by. To think that Americans actually think this right is worth more than all of those deaths and injuries and ruined lives…

      As @drieder:disqus said, I get the enjoyment of shooting guns, I get that. You only have to play video games and to shoot guns oneself to get that. However, I have also enjoyed recreational drugs and would probably enjoy heroin if I took. That’s its pull. This does not mean everyone should have a right to do, take or use something they enjoy. Especially if it is dangerous to others.

      I think the Second Amendment militia thing is a massive smokescreen which acts as a huge post hoc rationalisation.

      As for 2), I don’t know, but certainly restricting some of the things im_skeptical said on the other thread here on ATP regarding design of ammunition and guns. Availability of semi-style guns, background checks being very stringent, design of cosmetic guns to attract young kids (I saw a news piece on the UK news with an 8-year-old girl handling some pink, barbie doll style gun): all these just for starters. I would strip away lobbying rights and powers of people like the NRA (I would do this irrespective of guns because I think lobbying in the States is criminal. I would change the political system such that politicians must far more openly declare pecuniary interests and lobbying, and I would ban many forms of lobbying – money should not dictate policy).

      It just needs to be way stricter.

      The point for me is this: when people are angry or depressed, having access to guns is fucking dangerous and not a little stupid. That’s not an easy thing to change, but to say we shouldn’t is weak.

      • Geoff_Roberts

        While you make some decent points regarding gun control you aren’t addressing many the underlying causes of gun violence. Also, 99% plus of legal gun owners never use their gun irresponsibly or in the commission of a crime. Having access to firearms provides many people with the means to protect themselves when the police would arrive too late to prevent a criminal tragedy. You seem to think there is nothing redeeming about gun ownership which I would disagree with.

        Much of the ongoing gun violence in the states is in the inner cities where we’ve had a complete breakdown of civil society. The liberal bastion of Chicago is a war zone despite some of the strictest gun laws around. Single mothers are raising kids on their own (often from several different fathers) and are completely overwhelmed. Couple that with a violent drug culture, failing schools, and an atmosphere of hopelessness and you have a recipe for young men who find refuge in the gang lifestyle.

        No one wants to address these real-life problems as it is politically incorrect to do so. It is much more politically expedient to blame legal gun owners (and the NRA) than to confront the actual problems in the inner cities. Are you going to deny the little-old lady types who are forced to live in these violent areas the means to protect themselves? What about those who live in rural areas where the police are far away and want the availability of firearms for hunting and self-protection?

        Do you also notice most of these mass shootings occur in gun-free zones? Of course, these gun-free zones are chosen on purpose by those who have murderous intentions and know no one will be able to defend themselves.

        The gun violence issue in the states is a complicated, multi-factorial problem with no easy solutions. We need to have the politically incorrect discussions to address the underlying issues behind gun violence instead of demonizing legal gun ownership.

        • 1% of a massive number is a massive problem.

          Also, it almost doesn’t matter what the underlying core problems are, it is the easy access to dangerous things. For eg, if I allow a baby access to a razor blade and she cuts herself, we can look for causality such as investigating new stimuli etc, but if that razor blade wasn’t there, she wouldn’t have done it.

          So whilst we can look at mental illness, search for fame and infamy etc, the problem is allowing these people easy access to guns in order to fulfil a deadly concoction.

          The stats on protective use of firearms is far surpassed by accidental injury and death, suicide, and intentional injury and suicide.

          AS with Britain, you wouldn’t need so many defensive firearms anyway if you didn’t have so many criminals with them.

          As for Chicago, let’s be a little skeptical now:

          Right now, the city is getting national as well as local attention for outbreaks of bloodshed, which reinforce its reputation as the murder capital of America. In terms of total homicides, it may be. But that figure fails to account for population.

          In the overall rate of violent crime, Chicago ranks 19th—slightly worse than Minneapolis and better than Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Nashville. It has half as much violent crime, per capita, as Detroit or Oakland, California.

          Even when it comes to homicide, Chicago is enjoying, relatively speaking, a golden age. In 1992, it had 943 murders—2.6 per day. Last year, it had 415—1.1 per day. Two decades ago, such progress was the stuff of dreams.

          In 2013, the murder rate (homicides per 100,000 residents) was the lowest it had been since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. So far, the homicide total for 2014 is 206, a bit below last year’s pace.

          Taken as a whole, the city has not gotten more dangerous. It has gotten less dangerous—much less. Nor does it stand out among its peers. “Chicago’s overall violent crime rate is not exceptional when compared to other large cities,” writes Yale University sociologist Andrew Papachristos in a recent study.

          None of this is any comfort to recent victims of crime or to the families of young people who are gunned down in the street. But it’s crucial to understanding the nature and size of the problem. High levels of criminal violence are a terrible reality in some neighborhoods, but not in most.

          Even in the most dangerous areas, things may be improving. Papachristos contends that “even in the highest crime communities, crime is going down. … Nearly all communities in Chicago experienced a decline in murder and overall crime over the past several decades.”

          and

          What accounts for it? One is the strength and reach of street gangs. In 2012, the Chicago Crime Commission reported that Chicago has more gang members than any city in America. Some 80 percent of murders involve gang members, either as the killer or the killed.

          Gangs are as much a symptom of the city’s problems as a cause. Chicago has a lot of areas that are almost entirely black—the result of decades of deliberate policies of racial segregation—and largely poor. Jobs are scarce, vacant buildings abound, schools are often inferior, good role models are hard to come by—and crime is a brutal fact of daily life.

          Ta-Nehisi Coates, in a recent article in The Atlantic, wrote: “Chicago’s impoverished black neighborhoods—characterized by high unemployment and households headed by single parents—are not simply poor; they are ‘ecologically distinct.'”

          Kids trapped in these areas face innumerable hurdles to success, omnipresent dangers to life and limb, and constant pressures to become part of the criminal class. So the tangle of pathology, as it has been called, tends to be self-perpetuating.

          No one has come up with a way to untangle it that is practically plausible and politically salable. More police would help. So would ending the drug war. Better schools hold some promise. Economic development is indispensable. Neglect will only make things worse.

          Judged as a whole, Chicago is doing a lot of things right. Judged by the plight of its least fortunate, that’s not nearly enough.

          https://reason.com/archives/2014/07/21/the-truth-about-violence-in-chicago#.ss08sz:qYYq

          • Geoff_Roberts

            The stats don’t back up your assertions, Jonathan. There is no statistic that can explain the entire complicated situation but more gun laws don’t necessarily result in less gun crime. See my link below.

            Also, it’s not 1 percent of legal gun owners who commit crimes but a tiny fraction of 1 percent. While that fact shouldn’t be ignored why not focus on the much greater problem of criminals obtaining guns illegally and committing crimes?

            Let’s not get sidetracked by Chicago. There is a horrible gun violence (by criminals) problem in many of our major cities. Obsessing and moral grandstanding over legal gun ownership does very little to address the real problems in our inner cities.

            http://www.factcheck.org/2015/10/gun-laws-deaths-and-crimes/

          • That article is very good and clearly shows how complex it is. I think it broadly shows that it is advantageous to have stricter gun laws. But other factors must also be considered. There is also the problem that in states where there is high crime and strict laws, they just cross state borders and grab guns from elsewhere. This is commonly known to be an issue.

          • Geoff_Roberts

            As is usually the case I enjoy debating with you despite being at opposite ends of the political spectrum. I would just like to add that we agree the gun violence problem in the US is a complex one. However, the often knee-jerk reaction from the left after a gun tragedy is predictable and politically expedient but does little to nothing to actually prevent gun violence problems.

            The closing sentence from the article I cited states, “There’s no discernible pattern among those cities, nor clear or convincing evidence in these statistics that shows more gun laws lead to more or less gun crime.”

          • Thanks, me too. What makes things more confusing is that there is a whole gamut of gun laws differing over those states, so there is no effective control group, especially when one considers that the states themselves differ in socio-economic demographic makeup.

            I think it still needs answering that your homicide rate is four times higher than ours and your gun death rate is 71 times higher.

        • You are also presenting false dichotomies, as if we only concentrate on firearms and nothing else. It is complicated and one must deal with all the variables.

          The problem for strong free marketeers like yourself is that social and economic inequality is one of the largest forces, and this is not only sustained, but exacerbated by free market capitalism.

  • im-skeptical

    The single biggest obstacle we have to enacting sensible measures to reduce gun violence is the NRA. These guys put on a public face of protecting the rights of Americans. But their real agenda is revealed by their actions. They are adamantly opposed to laws that would help law enforcement without restricting legitimate gun ownership in any way. Any laws that would aid in tracing the source of weapons or ammunition used in criminal activity. Gun manufacturers cater specifically to criminals, for example, by making weapons that won’t carry fingerprints and that are designed for urban warfare. The NRA is opposed to any restrictions whatsoever on the design of such weapons, even though those restrictions would not impede the rights of non-criminals at all. And, of course, they exercise tremendous power in the selection of those who serve in our legislative bodies.

    • “. They are adamantly opposed to laws that would help law enforcement without restricting legitimate gun ownership in any way. Any laws that would aid in tracing the source of weapons or ammunition used in criminal activity. Gun manufacturers cater specifically to criminals, for example, by making weapons that won’t carry fingerprints and that are designed for urban warfare. The NRA is opposed to any restrictions whatsoever on the design of such weapons, even though those restrictions would not impede the rights of non-criminals at all.”

      Holy shit – have you got a link to this sort of info. It gets even more ridiculous the more I find out.

      • im-skeptical
        • Xmystic

          4 of those links are to flaming Liberal pages that distort facts. I didn’t look at the nraila pages, but I’m sure there were good arguments to block those laws/legislation. What usually happens is terrible gun control is hidden beneath the surface of some nice sounding legislation.

          Your accusations against the NRA are absurd. The NRA was in favor of NICS background checks. They represent millions of firearm owners that legally enjoy the use of firearms for hunting, competition, self defense, and collecting. Their lobbying power is nothing compared to someone like a Bloomberg or Brady campaign. Something like safe gun technology is so cost prohibitive and infantile in it’s R&D that it would be discriminatory and dangerous to legislate mandatory use of the technology.

          • “wners that legally enjoy the use of firearms for hunting, competition, self defense, and collecting. ”

            The problem is, most of these reasons for owning guns are not worth the cost of deaths; not even close. You could apply them to drugs.

            In the UK (most) guns are illegal and (most) drugs are illegal. You could enjoy using, collecting and competing in drug taking (I have been to Nimbin where they hold weed olympics, joint rolling contests and the MArdiGrass), but this does not mean that drugs should be made illegal on account of people enjoying them, because there is a greater cost to society.

            The same is clearly the case for guns. Otherwise legalise everything. See how that works!

          • Xmystic

            It is a right to own a firearm, not a privilege. The bulk of the reported gun violence is from Democratic hell holes with heavy gun control that have devastated the cities causing gang violence and rampant crime against those that have no way of protecting themselves. Kinda like a criminal haven, How many of those rifle related deaths do you think are from gang drive-bys or turf wars?

            No you cannot compare guns to drugs. Guns are constitutionally protected for sport, hunting, protection and prevention of Tyranny. Drugs harm those that consume and devastate the friends and families of those that use them. Yes there is a cost to society in both. That’s why we need to find answers that don’t break the law as in infringing on a constitutional right. Get the guns from criminals, not law abiding citizens. We have thousands of laws on the books to prevent violence. They are not even being enforced. Our own Joe Biden says, “We need more gun laws because we don’t have the man power to enforce the laws already on the books.” You see the fallacy in that? Instead of working on the tougher problems of violence and intervening before violence results in the person from using a gun or any other tool, lets just ignore that pesky constitutional right and take all the guns away. The criminals will turn in all their guns and we will all be safer. The gangs will go back to the 50’s and 60’s and use knives, baseball bats, fists, and chains. Right. The gangs will get guns no matter what the laws are, Not only is it unlawful to take guns away, it will do little or nothing to curb the violence in our country.

          • I don’t think you understand that a right, in this case, is merely something agreed by a bunch of people at a particular time; just like slavery was accepted in many cultures, just like rape was legal in marriage up until 30 years ago. Things change as society progresses and evolves. In order to establish your position as you are trying, you need to establish the objectivity of the rights you claim. However, I don’t have that right, and I am happy about it.

            What is a right made of? Where does it exist? If all humans died, would those rights still exist? Or are they merely concepts which exist abstractly in our heads, some agreed upon, some not? You could, for example, have an Amendment, ratified by your government, which established the right of all citizens to kill Jews, in principle. This would not mean anything more than your government agreeing, at a particular point in history, that something was a right. It does not mean that that right was either good or existent in any meaningful way outside of that context.

            This is where defenders of the 2nd Amendment and the Constitution would do well to do some philosophy.

          • Xmystic

            Blasphemy! lol Seriously though. The second amendment is our history and what makes the US different. It is a law of the land. All laws have to pass constitutional muster to become law. Theoretically anyway and seemingly becoming less followed. That was how slavery and Jim Crow laws were struck down. They were constitutionally unsound. Maybe based on progress and evolution? I suppose arguments could be made to support that or not.

            If all humans died, there would be no need for man made laws or rights.

            Of course they are concepts. But if you live in a land, you are expected to follow the laws of that land for better or worse. Most people can move to a place where they think they will do better and/or flourish. We can do that here state to state since our constitution leaves many decisions to be left to the states. Those laws have to abide by the constitution and Bill of Rights to be upheld or struck down. Our government was originally supposed to be there to make sure that those laws were constitutionally met and to protect us from invasion. They have vastly overstepped their authority. The only federal law should essentially be the constitution along with their oath to uphold it. Anyway that’s another debate. lol

            If you like our laws, you can move here or wherever you think is most congruent with your ideals. If someone here likes the UK or Australian laws specifically on firearm policy, they can move there and be your neighbor :)

            As far as 2nd amendment followers needing philosophy, I thought the concept of right to bear arms was a particular philosophy. But I don’t think Philosophy for it’s own sake would help much. In fact I think it would be more harmful since there aren’t many rules in philosophy. Logic maybe. I mean you’d have issues like, “Is the gun really there?’ or ” there are really no gun deaths since you are a brain in a vat that is only being stimulated to think there was a gun death or harm to someones physical body when they really have no body.” Egads.

            No, philosophy, ethics, morals, concepts of good and evil, etc, etc are best left to debates or discussions, but in the meantime we need those laws to function in the here and now in a society.

          • Hi

            I’ll try and get back to your other comment tonight, but quickly now:

            No, philosophy, ethics, morals, concepts of good and evil, etc, etc are best left to debates or discussions, but in the meantime we need those laws to function in the here and now in a society.

            But this is totally key to your claim. Your claim, and many many others like it from pro-gun advocates, appears to claim that the Constitution and 2nd A is something more than mere law; that it is an inalienable right, without showing how such a thing exists, or how it is so. Because, for all intents and purposes, the aforementioned are guidance for law or law themselves. Adn as we know, laws can be changed and are changed to adapt to an evolving society. It is now illegal to keep slaves and rape in marriage, for example.

            But if you live in a land, you are expected to follow the laws of that land for better or worse.

            This is very topical since in Briatain everyone is getting shirty, and rightly so, about Saudi Arabia, human rights, and laws. According to your implied claim here, if it is law in a land, then so be it. But laws should be challenged if they are deemed ineffective or poor. We should challenge Sharia Law and the laws of SA if they fall short of ethical and moral norms. And THAT’S philosophy. Laws are enactments of moral philosophy, so if you con’t do the latter, you ain’t got the former.

            By philosophy, I mean the use and application of rigorous logic and reason, use of concepts and arguments, and the study of pretty much everything in defence of this. We all do philosophy all of the time. Some people are afraid of or hate the term, but it is everything.

            So to establish the use and rightness of the 2ndA and the Const, you need to do some philosophy, like it or not!

            If you like our laws, you can move here or wherever you think is most congruent with your ideals. If someone here likes the UK or Australian laws specifically on firearm policy, they can move there and be your neighbor :)

            Again, this is dangerously close to moral relativism, which is not what I think you espouse (or perhaps you do?). This could also be applied to the US pre-abolition. Don’t like it, move to another country. Despite that being an agreed moral abomination (I would hope).

            Now, you are right in implying that it comes down to voting and democracy. But voting depends on knowledge and rationality. This is what underpins, say, Friedman et al and free market economics. In economics, it is the idea of homo economicus. This is the belief that people are at base rational, and make rational decisions whilst having access to full knowlegde. They aren’t and they don’t. As such, the basis of free market economics (despite what noe-liberals will say) is fundamentally flawed.

            In the same way, voters are biased, irrational and lack requisite knowledge. You add to this the massive financial backing of the NRA and gun companies vs well, what? How much money do gun control advocates have to throw around? Where does it come from?

            And so the voting is skewed by bias and money.

            Whether you like it or not, this happens with climate change denial. Who has the money? ~Little green organisations and scientists? Or, more realistically, big corporations, energy companies, the Heartland Institute, Koch Bros and so on. But when we make votes on these things in public, are we doing it based on fact and rationality or bias and influence from people who have tonnes of… influence?

          • “Something like safe gun technology is so cost prohibitive and infantile in it’s R&D that it would be discriminatory and dangerous to legislate mandatory use of the technology.”

            Capitalism shows that where there is a need, there is a way. This has happened with many other technologies required by legislation. If they are required, the RandD follows and they become very effective and cheap.

            Of course they are cost prohibitive now, because there is no perceived need for them and pressure to develop them.

          • im-skeptical

            > 4 of those links are to flaming Liberal pages that distort facts.
            So you are claiming that the NRA’s opposition to all these common-sense measures are a lie?

            > They represent millions of firearm owners that legally enjoy the use of
            firearms for hunting, competition, self defense, and collecting.

            There are many gun owners who disagree with the policies of the NRA. If their policies were representative of the majority of legitimate gun owners, they wouldn’t oppose reasonable measures to reduce gun violence and crime. The fact is that the NRA is a lobby for the gun industry, who only wants to sell as many weapons as they can.

          • Xmystic

            “So you are claiming that the NRA’s opposition to all these common-sense measures are a lie?”
            Yes I am. The NRA supports measures for gun safety. The problem is that Liberals have very different ideas of what is “common sense” safety measures.

            “There are many gun owners who disagree with the policies of the NRA.”

            You’re blowing smoke now. The last gun control battle brought millions to join the NRA. People that wanted their right protected, not gun manufacturers. You equate the latent effect of gun manufacturers benefiting from that as a direct cause by the NRA. Another false analogy by you and many gun control supporters.
            Like saying that people want safety laws for vehicles are simply looking for a way for government to make more money from licensing, inspections, lobby money from insurance companies, registrations, etc…

          • im-skeptical

            > You’re blowing smoke now. The last gun control battle brought millions to join the NRA.

            And your evidence is this? http://www.gadsdentimes.com/article/20151011/wire/151019968

            Or this, https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/06/29/i-love-my-guns-but-i-hate-the-nra/

            Or how about the fact that a majority of NRA members favor control measures that the NRA is opposed to? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8060908

      • im-skeptical

        weapon designed for criminal activity: http://www.cpmlegal.com/news-publications-Assault_Weapons_The_Case_Against_The_TEC_9.html

        federal ban on assault weapons passed in 1994, expired after 10 years, and efforts to revive it have been defeated. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Assault_Weapons_Ban

        • Xmystic

          The Tec-9 is a poor example of blaming gun rights people. It was mostly banned over the years for it’s other features that make it such a good criminal tool. And what did the NRA have to do with the article?

          The Assault weapons ban was fought against because it didn’t accomplish anything. Rifles, of all kinds, cause less that 350 deaths a year. I know a death is a death is a death, but statistically speaking it’s insignificant.

          • 350 IS significant. In 2011 we had 58 gun murders in the year (scaled equivalent of 290). So that rifles alone cause that many deaths is staggering. It is still higher than our entire gun homicides per year, in proportional terms.

          • im-skeptical

            > The Tec-9 is a poor example of blaming gun rights people.
            This is an example of the kind of weapon that is designed and manufactured specifically for the criminal market. You spoke of “firearm owners that legally enjoy the use of firearms for hunting, competition, self defense, and collecting.” Those are not the ones for whom these weapons are made. Yet the NRA has steadfastly supported the manufacturers ability to market these weapons to criminals, because they don’t give a crap about the rights of people to live in a peaceful society. They want to see the streets full of criminals with assault weapons, so they can make the case that the rest of should be afraid, and need more guns to protect ourselves.

          • im-skeptical

            > Rifles, of all kinds, cause less that 350 deaths a year
            The TEC-9 is considered to be a pistol.

          • Xmystic

            I know that. They were two different point in relation to your citation articles.

  • Otto Greif

    The US homicide rate is inflated by blacks.

  • In America, you will commonly hear people complaining that there aren’t enough guns because if everyone had one on them, no one would shoot each other. My friend just told me that last night.

  • Xmystic

    Screw your propaganda. Why not list violent crimes, home invasions, burgluries, etc. Now that the criminals have guns and the police have guns in the UK, the crime rates have soared in the UK.

  • Xmystic

    I love the trickery in this article. 3.8 per 100,000 which is skewed by the liberal/Democrat hellholes that have between 28 – 54 gun murders per 100,000. Then below you list some of the lowest places in the world. Places that rate the bottom 20 out of over 200 places with stats. It s also based on 1 million which lowers the per 100,000 to actually 2.9.

    https://youtu.be/pELwCqz2JfE

    • So, let’s compare the UK to US…

      • Geoff Benson

        Well one comparison is that those talking about the UK haven’t once mentioned politics.

        Xmystic must have referred to ‘Democrats’ or ‘liberals’ in a dismissive way four or five times at least.

        If the Republican candidates presently strutting the stages are anything to go by, then it’s the left that holds the high ground.

      • Geoff_Roberts

        A fallacy in your argument is taking guns away from legal gun owners will result in less violence. The government will never be able to remove all or even most guns from the hands of criminals. Gang members won’t be participating in gun buy-back programs. So removing guns from law-abiding citizens will only make them easier targets for the criminals who refuse to give them up.

        The US has much different cultural challenges than the UK. Unfortunately, we have a breakdown of civil society in so many of our inner cities. So, it’s hard to make meaningful comparisons between these two countries. It would be great if there weren’t tens of millions of guns in the hands of gang members and criminals in the US. However, since that is the reality, there are no easy solutions to solving Gun violence until we solve some of the complex issues actually causing the violence.

        • And that is very much the problem I have stated many times. There are two issues; one is the ideological position which I have been advocating. The second is the, “What the hell do we do with so many guns in circulation?” issue which appears to have no easy answers. The problem is that when you lower the thresholds for allowing guns and gun carry laws etc, and you increase the circulation year on year (lobbied for because the NRA and the manufacturers are making bucket tones of money), then you can’t reverse it with any easy method. This is like prohibition when half the country is alcoholic.

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  • epicurus

    It’s scary to me that a generation is now growing up seeing all this and perhaps thinking it’s the norm to shoot people when things don’t go your way. I grew up on a farm in Northwestern Canada, and my dad had about 5 different rifles hanging on the wall. And so did many neighbours. But if I had a disagreement over something like not being allowed to see a puppy or whatever, it never would have occurred to me to get one of my dad’s rifles and shoot someone. Pouting, stomping, complaining, maybe a worst case scenario of a fist fight. But shooting them? It wasn’t even in my mental framework.

    • This is a great point and I think goes to the heart of the matter concerning modern psyche. There is something about people now, what we see in the media (films, TV, society etc) that primes us to think about guns as an acceptable course of action. Perhaps this is the mere exposure effect mixed with the truth as illusion effect in psychology manifesting itself.

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