MY HERO!

One of the big problems with guns in the U.S. is the inability to come up with an accurate way to identify who shouldn't have them. It would be great if we could look at people and reliably conclude "Future school shooter" or "obviously gets shitty drunk on Pearl Beer and leaves loaded guns out in a house full of kids." Since this is impossible, we have to rely on proxy variables that our friends at the NRA are all too eager to remind us are imperfect. Plenty of people planning to commit crimes with guns have none of the red flags (felonies, psychiatric diagnoses) that our flimsy system of background checks is designed to catch.

My suggestion for reducing gun violence is to wait until concealed carry becomes legal in a given jurisdiction and then automatically reject the first 100-1000 applications. Because you know who society doesn't need running around armed? The guy who has been waiting his entire life to pack heat. He's so excited that he sprints down to the police station the first day concealed carry is allowed, not unlike a starry-eyed tween ecstatically racing to get One Direction tickets, to get his permit. The guy who simply cannot wait to be carrying a gun is precisely who we should be worried about.

Of course that is a half-kidding suggestion and no such system would be legal or workable. But there's a different group of people we really, really need to worry about being armed: people who want George Zimmerman's autograph. You know they're all gun owners. Most of them probably do concealed carry if they can qualify for the permit. They have guns and they're excited to have a chance to meet a guy who is famous because he shot a black teenager. Maybe shake his hand and congratulate him. Some of them brought their kids.

The folks over at Sociological Images, providers of the link, try to break down the psychology of someone who would actually put George Zimmerman on a pedestal (tl;dr – essentially a bad case of Just World Phenomenon in which everyone deserves whatever happens to them). It would be great, though, if we could take Zimmerman around the country and somehow mark the people who go out of their way to meet him, shake his hand, and ask for an autograph. Perhaps an invisible dye would do the trick, but I'm agnostic about the method. Assuming we can't pass any laws precluding them from owning guns, it would nonetheless be fascinating to see how much Ground-Standing and "self defense" shooting they end up involved with as a cohort.

It's not about what Zimmerman did – it's about the fantasy of one day doing the same. And that's terrifying.

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63 Responses to “MY HERO!”

  1. wetcasements Says:

    If I buy beer for some kids and they die in a fiery car crash, I am legally on the hook.

    That said, if a gun you own is used in a crime (whether you sold it or lost it due to negligence) you are culpable for said crime/toddler mass murder/ etc.

    IANAL, but my understanding is that this is how it works in Europe. Your gun, your responsibility forever.

    But I will never forget the time I was lectured (online) by a Glibertarian Gun-nut as to "responsible gun ownership." Turns out she and her boyfriend kept about a dozen guns in a spare closet along with old computer shit.

    12 guns, but couldn't be bothered to buy a goddamn gun safe.

    "Responsible" gun owners like these shouldn't just be kept from guns, they shouldn't be allowed to have children.

  2. J. Dryden Says:

    Just administer a multiple choice question at the point of purchase/registration:

    Black people are:

    A. Awesome! (Reject: He's obviously overcompensating to hide the truth.)
    B. Just people, no more or less likely to be assholes than everyone else. (Approved.)
    C. Kinda scary. (Conditional approval: At least he's not lying, and we have to err on the side of Constitutional liberties. But just to be safe, we're gonna secretly replace his bullets with blanks for a few years.)
    D. Asking for it. (Reject: Fingerprinted, DNA-taken, Tracking Chip implanted, surgically de-thumbed.)

  3. Laie Says:

    @wetcasement:
    "if a gun you own is used […] you are culpable […] this is how it works in Europe"

    Yes and no. In the one case from Germany that became widely publicized (a school killing spree) the killer's father was convicted for something like umpteenth-degree murder by criminal neglegt (or whatever it's called in US terms).

    Such indictments are common under our legal system: someone must have messed up, after all, and the nominal gun owner is the obvious suspect. By the same logic, any traffic accident that requires someone to see a doctor will lead to a battery(?) charge.

    Most of these charges go nowhere. But with reagrds to gun ownership, merely being charged with neglect may cast enough doubt on the person's reliabilty for the license to be revoked. Usually that's all that happens. The conviction of that father was exceptional, but so was the whole case.

  4. Major Kong Says:

    I think you're on to something.

    When they started the FFDO program (armed airline pilots) one of my coworkers stated:

    "They should automatically reject the first 500 applications because those people are probably fanatics"

  5. RosiesDad Says:

    As long as the 2nd Amendment remains on the books, we will continue to deal with a continual parade of gun violence. Gun ownership needs to be redefined as a privilege, not as a right, and unless and until that happens, nothing changes.

  6. c u n d gulag Says:

    Less hassle:
    Just measure the sizes of the peckers and pick-ups.

    The smaller the first, and the larger the second, the more likely the man is to be a gun-loon.

    As for women, I don't know.
    Measure her by her man?
    Is that sexist?

    Is there an objective way, like the one that works for most men?

    I'm curious to hear from women, if they can tell us what "tell" women gun-loons have?

  7. jeffteaches Says:

    The article was interesting. The comments start as reasoned discussion and then slide into wing-nuttery. I have to believe the NRA have staff who either respond to articles with sock puppet accounts or simply forward the links to the loon brigade ASAP. I want to believe in a rational future for our country, but when I read crap like the comments, I fear I won't see an "age of reason" in my lifetime.

  8. Xynzee Says:

    I'll go with wetcasements on this one with a small amendment.
    That after purchase the only way a person can relinquish their duty of care to that firearm is take it to their local police station and turn it in. No buy back, just here you go, fill in the paperwork, just never lose the receipt. If the firearm resurfaces in a crime—because cops are people and "make mistakes" too—you can prove you disposed of it properly. Then it's the officer who took receipt of the weapon who's arse is in the sling. This helps reduce the number of firearms in circulation, and enables people to dispose of unwanted firearms.

    On a related note, someone I know went into a sporting goods store while in the States. Some guy came in with his girl friend to buy bullets. He was completely agro, swearing his head off about wanting to kill somebody. Wanted to know what would be the best ones for the job. The whole time, talking about how he was going to kill this other guy.

    My friend was shocked when the sales guy recommended and then sold him a box of hollow points. He doesn't know if they called the police or not, but you'd think they'd tell him no deal as long as he was in that condition. Obviously, staff and management would be concerned that he would go ballistic there and then. Which one would hope would make them pause to think about what kind of products they're selling.

  9. Major Kong Says:

    @jeffteaches

    If you value your sanity, never read the comments. That way lies madness.

  10. sluggo Says:

    @ cu

    Female hair size correlates directly to the size of her husband's pick-up truck.

  11. John Danley Says:

    Donald Henry Gaskins, Jr. burgers for the first 100 folks in line.

  12. Misterben Says:

    This is one of the best G&T columns in a long time. Funny, pithy, light on its feet. Thanks!

  13. Sarah Says:

    It's not about what Zimmerman did – it's about the fantasy of one day doing the same. And that's terrifying.

    There actually are people who join the police force because they have this idea that they'll get to shoot somebody someday, although I don't doubt that some of them get off on being able to stop-and-frisk people of color for specious reasons.

    The US military and various federal agencies do psychological profiles to try and keep out as many of these people as possible. I don't know why we can't seem to get our heads around the idea that it's not good to have them armed to the teeth and running around the civilian world, ready to explode at any moment.

  14. quixote Says:

    @c u n d: Do we need to worry about female gun loons? How many mass murders have they committed? (Participated in Beslan? But even there, the main burden was definitely on the men.)

    Given the evidence, one could make the case that responsible gun ownership means issuing permits only to women. I'm sure the NRA would support that in a heartbeat.

  15. c u n d gulag Says:

    sluggo,
    By golly, you're right!!!

  16. c u n d gulag Says:

    Quixote,
    A sound observation.

    I've said for a long time that instead of banning guns, we should make any guy who wants to buy one wait for a month, and in the meantime, give him a free p*nis-extender and some "quicker-pecker-uppers."

    And maybe at the same time, offer every guy 15% off of a hybrid SUV, to tame them – and in the meantime, increase the price by 30% every gas-guzzling, monster-engined, big-bedded, pickup truck.

  17. Barry Says:

    "(tl;dr – essentially a bad case of Just World Phenomenon in which everyone deserves whatever happens to them)"

    I disagree; in any case where a right-winger is killed, injured, etc., I'll bet that they don't accept that outcome as just. If and when Zimmerman is gunned down by police after he goes too far even for Florida, I'll bet that none of his supporter will support that outcome. They might shake their heads, but they won't be saying anything which comes down to 'f*ck, yeah!'.

  18. redneck bolshevik Says:

    Careful with the truck and dick generalizations. We have an older Dodge 3-4T with a zillion miles on it and a .22 plinker I haven't fired in over 25 years. Of course, the truck has union stickers on it and hauls around a small camper so I don't have to put these 60 year old bones on the ground when we go camping. I'm disabled, so a tent's out of the question. The little carbine just keeps appreciating in value so I'm not giving it away. The rifle's locked up, by the way. We don't keep ammo around because our grandkids like to explore. Not every truck and gun owner sucks Jefferson Davis's dead cock.

    You'll notice I didn't provide any dick stats. I got HIPAA rights, ya know.

  19. charluckles Says:

    And the solution that we continually hear from the NRA and it's acolytes is better mental health screening to prevent those likely to misuse a weapon from ever attaining one. How exactly do you design such a mental health screening that doesn't start and end with the NRA membership list?

    It is something they will never admit to themselves or to each other, or to the rest of the public. Everyone of these "good guys" with a gun is just one step away from a meltdown.

  20. Alan C Says:

    I'd also suspend the processing of gun permit applications for one week after the election of a Democrat as President. Two weeks if he's black.

  21. Sarah Says:

    @quixote: There was that woman in (I think) Alabama who was denied tenure at a university. Also Aileen Wuornos.

    @Barry: I disagree; in any case where a right-winger is killed, injured, etc., I'll bet that they don't accept that outcome as just.

    Well, yeah. See the recent shitstorm over Brendan Eich. How many of those people ranting and raving over freedom of speech supported at-will employment and "right to work" laws that assured anybody could be fired at any time, and for any reason?

  22. charluckles Says:

    How to fix the second amendment:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-five-extra-words-that-can-fix-the-second-amendment/2014/04/11/f8a19578-b8fa-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html

    "…Burger himself remarked that the Second Amendment “has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”"

    Go to the comments to enjoy the sane law abiding critical thinkers who make up the NRA membership.

  23. Jerry Critter Says:

    The only people who should own guns are the ones who don't want to own guns.

  24. Leslee Says:

    As a woman, I would like to point out that here in the US, it is about 100 times easier for me to purchase a gun than to obtain the acne drug Accutane.

    How to get Accutane (if you're female – even if it's not physically possible for you to conceive):

    1. Go to dermatologist and submit urine pregnancy test
    2. Wait 30 days
    3. Submit to blood pregnancy test, visit dermatologist again
    4. Inform dermatologist of the EXACT TWO forms of birth control you will be using that month
    5. Register on FDA-run website that will require age, birth date, and Social Security number.
    6. Correctly answer FDA-run website's questionnaire about sexual behavior and information about your personal birth control methods
    7. Pick up prescription from pharmacy no more than one week after pregnancy blood test
    8. Repeat entire process each month while taking Accutane

    How to get a gun:
    1. Drive down to local WalMart
    2. Buy gun

    One of these is the ONLY drug known to CURE acne, but causes fatal birth defects if taken while pregnant.

    The other just kills people.

  25. Ty Quando Says:

    I thought the Obama administration had
    bought up all the bullets. Or something.

  26. Nick Says:

    I can accept an argument from some that Zimmerman was unfairly portrayed in the media pre-trial, although I disagree. But even as a gun nut the guys who think he's a hero freak me the fuck out. They are a tiny portion of overall gun owners, but a probably not insignificant portion of the NRA's membership, which shows just how far into batshit wingnuttery that organization has gone. Which is unfortunate, as they do have some excellent training/safety program. The "deny a gun to anyone who has Zimmerman's autograph" concept is probably the first "sensible gun control" I've seen proposed on here with which I agree.

  27. c u n d gulag Says:

    Leslee,
    You can buy a gun anywhere – with a minimum of paperwork, or hassle.

    But, if you want to buy something like cold or sinus remedies, they're behind the counter, and they track how often you buy them because they suspect frequent buyers of making meth.

    Guns = good.
    Cold and sinus remedies = BAD!!!

    OY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. unclemike Says:

    @cund
    Well, duh, you show me in the CONSTITUTION where it says COLD MEDICINE!! Guns are a RIGHT!!

    /snark

    It hurt my head to write like a moron, but there it is ;-)

  29. mothra Says:

    Not to mention, unclemike, that when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, there WERE no cold medications you could buy in the pharmacy. Well, at least none that you could make meth from. So obviously there can be no right to cold medicine.

    Man. You're right. Writing and arguing like a moron hurts.

  30. Sarah Says:

    Inform dermatologist of the EXACT TWO forms of birth control you will be using that month

    Just out of curiosity, does celibacy count?

  31. democommie Says:

    I like gunz. I talk to other guys who like gunz. They are strident in their defense of the RIGHT to own and carry (well, maybe not so much) and for everybody (oh, wait, that guy who lives two doors down, the lunatic with the upside down CSA battle flag–yeah, I know, I have a hard time telling the difference, too–well, maybe NOT everybody.

    When I go to blogs frequented by gunzloonz I get a feeling that their parties are not places where you are going to hear anything talked about EXCEPT gunz. Shallow thinkers and, in many cases, people with self-esteem problems. Not the folks I think of when I'm thinking "responsible gun owner".

  32. Leslee Says:

    Sarah – Celibacy, homosexuality, menopause, and even a tubal ligation do NOT count.

    I've been through menopause, had a tubal ligation and part of my uterus removed. I was STILL required to get the pregnancy tests before I could obtain Accutane.

    Imagine if we required that kind of bureaucratic hoop-jumping before purchasing a gun?

    Which do YOU think is more dangerous: the acne medication or the gun?

  33. Xynzee Says:

    @Leslie: "Which do YOU think is more dangerous: the acne medication or the gun?"

    Ah! And therein lies the rub.
    Define "dangerous" and to whom.

    Dangerous to society at large? F### 'm!

    Dangerous to corporate profits because of class action suits. Makes more sense.

    My guess is, if we were to make gun manufacturers and gun sellers liable for selling a deadly product to unsuitable persons we'd see a sharp change in policy.

  34. Ben Says:

    The main issue is that we have a saturated solution of guns in the population; what inevitably crystallizes out is dead people. As Ed points out, there is never any good, accurate way to predict who's going to snap – could be any of us, on a bad day (one of the reasons I am not a gun owner). The only way to reduce gun violence is to reduce the number of guns in circulation and repeal the 2nd. I realize this is as likely to happen as … a very unlikely thing, but it's still the only definitive solution to the problem of gun violence.

  35. Arslan Says:

    Nick, I'm not so sure those people are a tiny minority of the gun owning crowd. The fact that these people pop up everywhere in discussions about gun control suggests otherwise. I'm just basing this on anecdotal evidence, but then again so are you. One thing which is a fact though, is that whenever you have a spree killing you'll see a ton of people screaming about how this could have been prevented if only we had more guns.

    @Leslee, I would STRONGLY recommend against using Accutane. It can be just as dangerous as a gun.

  36. jeffteaches Says:

    1. Someone invent a time machine.
    2. Go back in time and grab the founding fathers as they write the Constitution.
    3. Bring them here and let them watch the endless hours of youtube videos of yahoos firing submachine guns, semi-autos, assault rifles, and more.
    4. Show them coverage of Newtown and other recent tragedies.
    5. Take them back to the late 1700's.
    6. Sharpen the quills, freshen the ink jar, and watch the magic happen.

  37. Arslan Says:

    I don't know Jeff, I think they might be more upset about things like freedom for black Americans and the mainstream acceptance of "Papists."

  38. Jimcat Says:

    It's not the Founding Fathers' fault. They did include the part about the "well-regulated militia", which every modern gun nut forgets, ignores, or finds some excuse to explain away.

  39. Leslee Says:

    Arslan – I think you may be indulging in a bit of hyperbole.

    I've been using Accutane on and off since 1999. I'm not dead yet.

  40. Nick Says:

    Arslan, I'd wager that judging a group by the people who pop up in online comments sections is probably about the worst way that you can do things. Unless of course I'm vastly underestimating the number of liberals who are crazy anti-vaxxer hippie types. I also don't think you can equate the "arm teachers" crowd to the Zimmerman celebrity cult; while the former are misguided IMO, it's pretty decent sized leap from "I want someone who can shoot back if some crazy nutjob is trying to shoot my kids" to "I want the autograph of the guy who's famous for shooting a black kid in questionable circumstances."

    Jimcat, you're right, that Justice Kennedy is such an irresponsible gun nut with no idea of what the Constitution actually means.

  41. Arslan Says:

    Nick, it's not just in comments section. These voices get mainstream media coverage.

  42. RosiesDad Says:

    @charluckles: Thanks for that link. That's a great op-ed.

  43. Nick Says:

    Arslan, mainstream media coverage is the comments section of television. Who are they going to put on TV–the guy who says "well, I think it's unfortunate that Zimmerman was convicted in the media before the trial, but that doesn't excuse any wrongdoing of which he may be found guilty," or the guy who says "BLACK PEOPLE ARE SCARY, CHECK OUT MY I HEART ZIMMERMAN SHIRT!"

  44. dugsdale Says:

    Although I'm a gun owner, I'm not terribly representative of the mixed bag making public statements these days. I subscribe to a couple of gun-oriented chats, and am frequently surprised at the humanity displayed by some of the posters, some of the time. They all seem, however, to share this hyper-enlarged sense of entitlement about guns, that makes even the more reflective and intelligent ones sound like utter loons, at least to me.

    I think one yardstick (perhaps) that might advance the idea of slowing down the proliferation of guns is if we kept better statistics about guns involved in "incidents"–either criminal or civil. Nobody is tracking firearms use in that way, except anecdotally ("there was another home invasion last week so I gotta be strapped at all times!!").

    Mainly I'm interested in statistics as a way of testing whether pro-gun advocates' claims are true or not. DOES concealed-carry thwart crime? MIGHT concealed-carry states have increases in confrontations and shoot-outs? When a gun is claimed to have thwarted a crime, what were the circumstances? Was it a penny-ante property crime, in which case why was a gun pulled at all? Was it a crime that could have been thwarted by brandishing a baseball bat instead of a shotgun? What are the statistical chances of a home invasion in my neighborhood, and is it worth it spending all that time and emotional horsepower arming myself for something that almost certainly won't happen?

    There are powerful commercial and political forces pushing the message "You MUST be armed in case of x,y, and z", and us humans being suggestible, it's easy to do go down the rabbit-hole of "well, I better get a Glock for the car, and a pump shotgun for defending the home, and …. and …." and off you go.

    But I like Gene Weingarten's characterization of pro-gun arguments: boil away the overheated rhetoric and it comes down to: "We like guns. They are fun. We like to shoot them at targets. We like to shoot them at animals. They give us a feeling of safety against criminals. We’ll need ‘em to repel the tyrannical government when they come for us, as they are bound to do because this country is falling to the socialists."

    Stack that against all the accidental shootings, mass shootings like Newtown, organized intimidation squads (like the dickless wonders that carry firearms to a gun-control protest, 'because they can'), and all the pain and loss attendant to same, and it doesn't sound like much of a compelling argument.

    I think a bulletproof (pun intended) database of firearms "incidents" would show the truth, one way or the other. It'd be a start, at least.

  45. Ibod Catooga Says:

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  46. cromartie Says:

    This isn't difficult. Give people all the guns they want. Restrict sales of bullets to people who can pass some sort of IQ test.

    Chris Rock figured this out years ago.

  47. dugsdale Says:

    As a matter of fact, pro-gun people like to point out that Switzerland REQUIRES every adult male to keep a gun, and yet their firearm homicide rate is very low. However, the gunnies always fail to point out that the Swiss government forbids possession of ammunition for the guns.

  48. Robert Says:

    Ibid – was that Rot13, or are you summoning Cthulhu?

    Nick – a while back, my sixteen year old son was going out to visit a friend. I stopped him at the door and asked him to put his hood back (he was wearing a hoodie). It tore at me that I'd have to do that, but all I could think was 'if he walks up behind some nutjob with a gun, my sweet as sugarcane teenage son could get killed '. I wish I didn't have to think like that, but he lives in bear country, and you never know which bear is armed. Young black males in this country do not get many chances to make mistakes.

  49. Xynzee Says:

    @dugsdale:
    "I think one yardstick (perhaps) that might advance the idea of slowing down the proliferation of guns is if we kept better statistics about guns involved in "incidents"–either criminal or civil. Nobody is tracking firearms use in that way, except anecdotally ("there was another home invasion last week so I gotta be strapped at all times!!")."

    Unfortunately the nice civic minded people at the nra had legislation enacted that prohibits the government from collecting, compiling and analysing gun related data in a structured and methodical way. Making it difficult to collect and cross reference crime data for analysis, and far easier for opponents to discredit the findings.

  50. Arslan Says:

    Part of the problem is that the media has people work up about crime, even though it's been going down for over two decades. Add that to the fact that these people want to think they can control whether or not they become a crime victim. In reality, if a person is determined to attack or kill them, they will have a massive advantage over the person who is just walking home from work.

    If there is a maniac determined to kill you with a knife, it is literally possible that he will stab you multiple times before you realize what is happening. You will not get to pull your gun and implement the "21 foot rule" while he brandishes the knife.

    Same goes for the spree shooter. He comes to the mall with his plan already determined. You're there to pick up some slacks, and you think you might get one of those big lemonades from Hot Dog on a Stick. When lead starts flying, you're not in the proper mindset to react properly.

  51. Major Kong Says:

    @Arslan

    Exactly.

    I can think of few scenarios so dire that I need a concealed weapon yet not so dire that I'm still capable of using it by the time I figure out what's going on.

  52. democommie Says:

    "Jimcat, you're right, that Justice Kennedy is such an irresponsible gun nut with no idea of what the Constitution actually means.'

    Justice Kennedy, for reasons that are manifestly unknown to any but him, manages to come down on the wrong side of some number of issues while coming down on the right side of others. Justices of the SCotUS (and most folks, for that matter) are like that.

    It is VERY clear that ONLY the 2nd Amendment of the 10 in the BoR has a superfluous primary clause in its 1st sentence. Well, it's very clear to the gunzloonz; to people who don't think with their dicks, not so much.

    "Who are they going to put on TV–"

    Why not both of them? Let the namby pamby, limp wristed (but jackbooted thug) liebralhome gunzhater say his peace and then have the "I Heart Zimmerman" guy, blow away the sissy's points one by one like he's shootin' skeet or black-o-perps over to the liquor store.

    Ratings gold.

  53. Xynzee Says:

    @Arslan:
    Point taken. If you feel you really! Really! **REALLY!** need to protect your physical well being, you're far better off training in a close combat martial art like BJJ. Your "weapon" is always at hand so to speak.

    Unless you are in a combat situation (hands up if you're in a combat zone) or a "drive by" shooting (hands up if you're involved in illegal activity), the person who intends you harm will be up close and personal. Your ability to respond and then either disarm or pin your assailant will be more beneficial to yourself than fumbling for a gun that's in your jacket or purse.

    My open and empty hand presented as an act of "obeisance to someone who's shoved a gun in my face, is far more lethal to them than a gun that is impotent in its holster.

  54. Xynzee Says:

    The other thing that gun-nutz cannot seem to grasp is quite frankly the public at large and the government really do not care what weapons they feel will improve their small-dicked image of the themselves.

    What counts is: "we do *not* know about it."

    You own 100+ acres and you want to waste a $50k TOW missile on ground squirrel, go right ahead!

    However, as soon as you start talking about: robbing banks, threatening people, wanting to over throw the government, carrying a weapon down the street, preventing government sanctioned actors from doing their jobs by showing up armed, etc.
    Now you've created a problem for yourself.

    Most gun-nutz cannot seem to grasp that by their ass-hattery they make themselves the squeaky wheel.

  55. dugsdale Says:

    Nothing illustrates the thin line between fantasy and self-delusion on the one hand, and hard reality on the other, like reading even the more well informed and self-aware posts on some of the gun threads I read. Virtually all of them assume that threat scenarios unfold symmetrically, with all the "known knowns" in place like obedient wooden soldiers, and all one has to do is point and shoot calmly and carefully, because one is somehow "prepared," even though you'll read nary a syllable about the need to intensify one's training, particularly adrenalized training. Instead, it's all about gear acquisition (and believe me, as a woodwind player I understand "gear acquisition syndrome" very, very well). But training is expensive and time-consuming; it's always easier to fantasize, buy a new gun, and then call THAT "preparation."

    Of course the NRA doesn't want statistical collection of data on firearm use in crime situations (unless it's by their pet statisticians, and there are a few of them). I would hope, though, that if you can't get a law passed limiting firearms proliferation, public pressure from logic-minded people COULD get law passed to simply collect statistics, and perhaps make a public issue out of the NRA fighting such data collection.

  56. Nick Says:

    Arslan: It's interesting that you bring up the massive decrease in crime (including gun crime) over the last couple decades. During that same period, gun restrictions have gotten looser nearly everywhere. I'm not going to claim causation–there are far too many variables to tie such a huge decrease to one law change–but I think it's interesting that the anti-gun side will bring it up as a (valid) example of the NRA's fear-mongering, but ignore it when it serves their own fear-mongering (e.g. "If we allow concealed carry on campus, kids will shoot each other over classroom disagreements and frat parties will become bloodbaths").

    As regards the potential uselessness of having a weapon, you're correct that in many scenarios it wouldn't make a difference. However, in some it likely would, and if faced with such a scenario, I don't think hiding and/or waiting to die is preferable to being able to fight back, whether or not it makes a difference in the end.

    Democommie, or it could be that one of the leading legal scholars in the country thought that the idea that the Second Amendment is a "collective right" that doesn't actually apply to the people, because "the right of the people" means something different in the 2A than it does in the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights, is a hell of a lot more absurd than the idea that a prefatory clause might be a thing. Either or.

    Xynzee, so your theory is that gun owners should just stop talking about guns, and there would never be any restrictions on what we could own? Don't get me wrong, the wingnuts are ridiculous (though I would argue that the constant oversimplification of pro-2A arguments as "gun nutz something something penises" is of no greater value to any sort of policy discussion than is "OBUMMER'S TEKIN MAH GUNS"), but the central concept of gun control proposals is providing a scapegoat. One does not become a less effective scapegoat by failure to respond.

  57. Arslan Says:

    Nick, as you admit- there is no causal relationship between the decline of crime and gun restrictions. Actually that decline started in the 90's, when they had the Brady Bill, background checks, and the assault weapons ban, so I wouldn't go that route if I were you.

  58. Nick Says:

    Arslan, yes, that's exactly what I said–there is no causal relationship between gun laws and crime rates. Which is sorta the point of the anti-gun control side, really. Though I'd point out that the Brady Bill/background checks still exist; the only thing that's changed there is the AWB.

    You seem to have missed my main point, though, which is that, while the NRA is absolutely guilty of fearmongering ("If you don't have a gun at all times, YOUR CHILDREN WILL DIE") the Brady Campaign is just as guilty ("If anyone has a legally owned pistol grip rifle at any time, YOUR CHILDREN WILL DIE"). In reality, gun crime, like all crime, is caused by things that aren't related to gun laws.

  59. Eau Says:

    @nick: crime down, spree shootings up. Children will die, do die, have died. This is fact, not scare-mongering.

  60. Ursula Says:

    I was at a party in Houston, TX, where I live now, and talking to a guy – latino, like Zimmerman – who is a UPS driver. He was telling a story about how some boys – african american teenagers – were acting a little weird and somehow, through a miscommunication, thought they could get into his work truck. He told them to get out, but one of the kids got a bit agitated, and it was a bit of a scary situation. They teenagers all left the truck and went away, and the UPS guy called the cops on them. It turned out that those guys had actually just performed a robbery and tried to use the UPS truck as a get-away vehicle.

    In the middle of the story, he said something like "I was worried that this could turn out to be some kind of Trayvon Martin situation". I didn't delve really deep into that statement, but I think he was concerned that he was going to be put in a position to defend himself against people who were clearly acting suspiciously. I realized that I was talking to someone who completely bought Zimmerman's line about self defense and the threatening nature of a black kid in a hoodie with iced tea and candy. I had no desire to start arguing, but I did tell him that he did the right thing by letting the police handle the situation. Still, these people are out there, and they're not necessarily the people you expect.

  61. democommie Says:

    "Democommie, or it could be that one of the leading legal scholars in the country thought that the idea that the Second Amendment is a "collective right" that doesn't actually apply to the people, because "the right of the people" means something different in the 2A than it does in the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights, is a hell of a lot more absurd than the idea that a prefatory clause might be a thing. Either or."

    Right. One amendment, and only one amendment, has a superfluous primary clause in its first sentence.

    I'm reasonably certain that if Kennedy had gone the other way we would have been hearing about a "2nd Amendment solution" to deal with activist justices.

    You do know that non gunzloonz rarely, if ever, employ language about extra-judicial killing being a viable alternative to accepting a court's ruling, don't you?

    When you want to peddle bullshit, you need to peddle it to people who've not seen it before.

  62. Nick Says:

    So, you've decided that anyone who thinks a "collective right" is a bullshit explanation, advocates extra-judicial killing rather than accepting a court's ruling?

    It must be nice when you can decide what everyone who disagrees with you automatically thinks. Makes feeling like you're correct way easier.

  63. democommie Says:

    "Makes feeling like you're correct way easier."

    I felt correct about it before the current SCotUS made a decision that I don't like but will abide. I look forward to the day when a different decision is made and all of the LAGO's suddenly decide that they don't have to obey THAT law.

    As a matter of fact, I didn't need anything to make it easier to feel correct. I read and write English and have a pretty hard time understanding the convoluted reasoning that is used by gunzloonz re: the first sentence of the 2nd Amendment. They don't have a hard time understanding the paradox that's involved in thinking that the authors were geniuses in giving THEM a right that trumps everyone elses right to enjoy life with a bunch of moronz with gunz LARPin it up in bars with loaded guns in their cars or on their persons. And, yes, a lot of people who talk about the "collective right" are assholes who believe that having gunz somehow gives them the right to decide about who is a danger to them and who isn't. I talk to them on a regular basis and they are pretty fucking smug–and awfully stupid.

    But since you're all butthurt about it that means that you can just ignore the rest of the comment. How very typical of people who only concern themselves with ONE of the ten amendments in the U.S. Bill of Rights.

    Bet you just love guys like this moron:

    http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/man-gun-causes-scare-during-childrens-baseball-gam/nfhJS/

    He's quite a man.