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Note: It's extremely important not to "politicize" the reality that the guns-for-everyone lobby has won, period. Let's not talk about that, okay?
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Marvin Cox's profile photoRob Seger's profile photoAndy Channelle's profile photoDan Gillmor's profile photo
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I'm on the fence about the idea but I can't see how anyone could argue that "winning" a political battle in a democracy means the other side should shut up about it. There's always the possibility, however remote, that any victory can be reversed - that's the whole reason democracies are worth keeping around!
 
Louie Gohmert (Moron-TX) has blamed the "ongoing attacks on Jude-Christian beliefs".

I'm blaming schizophrenia.
 
Yeah, lets just ban guns.  It's working so well in Mexico, Chicago, D.C.......
 
so the crazy guy who shot 50 people would have followed the law not to buy a gun?
 
There are 31,224 firearm-related deaths in the United States every year. 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States every year.

In the UK there are 50 gun related deaths per year (murders and accidental).

How so should the gun-for-everybody lobby have won in the USA? The politics of guns in the USA is completely moronic.
 
What in the heck? Well said Nicolas Charbonnier, I just read those stats someone posted for those opposed to gun control.
 
there is something like 30,000 auto related deaths every year, lets ban cars.
 
+Alen Teplitsky for the cars, let's require Google's self-driving car technology on all cars as soon as possible. The rate of deaths in car accidents is also insane. 10.8 million car accidents in the USA each year, that is insane.
 
like i'm going to trust driving my kids around to such new tech. 

 most accidents are minor anyway. few years back someone dented my bumper, cops came out and took a report. $100 in damage tops, but it was an accident. my current car was hit a week after i bought it, made sure the cops didn't come out for that one. 

i know people who own guns. i have family 2 hours from the shooting who carry guns in their car all the time. i've fired weapons when i was in the army. 
 
The car comparison has always been utter bullsh*t, while car crashes are a side effect of the cars purpose, getting from A to B, guns only have one purpose: kill and/or wound stuff.  
 
The fact that you, or someone you know, is capable of using a firearm safely and rationally is not justification for allowing that use. I could safely and rationally use mustard gas but the risks of allowing it do not justify any illusion that I might be safer for carrying it.
 
a lot of people enjoy rape too..?
 
Guns for everybody?

I have a little quiz for all of you:

Over 30,000 persons get shot in the US by people with guns. per year. See +Nicolas Charbonnier's message above.

Now just guess: How many people get shot in the US by people without guns?
 
To late ABC incorrectly identified the shooter as a member of the tea party.
 
No justification for what he did, can't use hunting, people like to do many things but when those things involved harm or death to other people is a HUGE problem.
 
Out of respect to those who were victimized, lets leave politics out of this, its non sense to relate to politics, people were killed & injured while watching a move. Tasteless to add politics or religion.
 
Rehash: "Guns don't kill people; stupid motherf*c*kers with guns kill people."
 
USA is a free country, if i want to buy a gun/rifle to go shoot at the range i should be able to
 
USA is a free country, if I want to buy a nuke to go detonate in arizona, I should be able to?

Also, +Shelly White, I understand the underlying emotion but this is the perfect time to be having a political debate. It's the politics which will dictate any long-lasting reaction to this atrocity. Well, there likely won't be one but it would be the politics which have at least some chance of doing so.
 
+Alen Teplitsky no you shouldn't. Go play a video-game or something. Or make a system where guns can only be used at the shooting range and people can't bring their own guns but have to borrow them at the shooting range, with very secure systems so the guns are rendered unusable when taken outside the shooting range area. So crazy people can only shoot other people at the shooting range area.
 
Yes but not today Rob Seger. It's sad but why did people have to die to get the attention of Politicians? There is a history of gun violence in our country. Well perhaps tomorrow let the debates begin but I am sure the families would not want to hear about the death of their loved ones in a political debate is all I am saying. I agree Rob, just not today....
 
The sad reality is that guns are already out on the streets... What is a law abiding, SANE person to do to for protection of self and family? Not everyone is privileged to live in low crime places or in the "frontier" where a gun can be used for hunting. 
 
+Alen Teplitsky, freedom begins when children can play, go to cinema etc.

It ends when parents have to be afraid that their children get killed. 

America is no free country. Not with those many guns around.
 
BTW, that tea party comment.. ABC walked that back.  Different Jim Holmes.   I bet they wanted this guy to be in the tea party , though.
 
Anyone who doesn't live in America should really mind their own business when it comes to the gun debate.  You have absolutely no standing in the argument.  America isn't the UK.  A fact that I thought we made abundantly clear in the late 1700s.  
As for the Americans that think we should ban guns... I hope for your sake, there is an armed citizen around if you are ever attacked by a criminal with a gun.  Criminals will ALWAYS get guns.  Gun laws only remove the rights of law abiding citizens to protect themselves and others.  Case in point, in this instance the shooter acquired his guns illegally and in Aurora, it is illegal for citizens to carry concealed weapons.  How exactly would another gun law have prevented this?  Hint: it wouldn't.
 
Worth noting, too.. this guy threw tear gas in a dark theatre.  Unless you had a gas mask, a CCW and gun wouldn't have helped you.
 
+Stuart Ferreira, Anders Behring Breivik. the Norwegian killer of children took American gun owners as his role model.

The influence of the "Guns for all -killers-" people does not end at the borders of the US.
 
An arms race is not the solution, +Marvin Cox. It's tempting, and instinctual, but it's the wrong way to peace and safety.
 
Arms race? Not at all. However, law abiding citizens need to have an avenue of protection for their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness...
Crime is non-national, non-cultural, non-racial, non-economic status... It has the propensity to hit anyone and everyone regardless of person... But, why should a person who has economic means have that "luxury" of self protection? To be able to protect your person and your loved ones should not be a luxury afforded to those who have the deepest pockets.

And, if my life or the lives of my loved ones are not being threatened, I have no need whatsoever to use my gun. 
 
+Rob Seger That is certainly the case.  However, as long as there are batshit crazy motherfuckers out there with guns, i would like the opportunity and right to protect myself and my family from them.  So until the liberals can alter reality and make all of the guns in the world turn into lollipops, i'll hold onto mine.
 
+Stuart Ferreira You've internalized the NRA's strategy: Get so many guns into so many people's hands that everyone will be so terrified that they go out and buy a gun for self-protection. That's why I said at the top that the guns-for-everyone strategy has worked.
 
Sometimes stupid is a choice, not a behavior.

If this person had drank himself sloppy drunk and drove his vehicle into the line of people waiting for the movie, we'd be discussing whether or not the breweries and distilleries would be at fault... Or if it was the bartender's responsibility... Or if it was the auto maker's responsibility, etc.
 
+Dan Gillmor As I said before.  The shooter's gun wasn't legally purchased.  As far as I know, the NRA does not endorse purchasing guns illegally.  Try again.  Also, I'm not saying that everyone should have a gun (although, it seems to work pretty well in Switzerland).  If you don't feel comfortable owning or using a firearm then, by all means, please don't buy or handle one. Just don't take away my right to.
 
Lots of people have guns in Switzerland. Very few people have ammunition in their homes. That's why it works.
 
+Stuart Ferreira, +Dan Gillmor, the NRA doesn't promote illegal purchase of guns, but the more guns are around, the easier it gets buying one illegally. So, in the end, the NRA plays into the hands of mass murderers.

But +Dan Gillmor, you may be right, and it may actually e too late. The NRA has sacrificed the freedom of all Americans and many people of the rest of the world to the business interests of the American Mafia and the American guns industry who have joined forces in a profitable business and do not care if children get killed.

+Stuart Ferreira, when you mention Switzerland, may I assume that you have no idea what you are talking about? They do not put a gun into the hand of every man, but have a strictly regulated regime for Army reservists. Far off from the nonsense that you consider "true".
 
 Is every adult male in Switzerland required to keep a rifle in his house?  If not all, how many?  What percentage? +Oliver F. Lehmann 
 
The reality is that gun ownership is so widely distributed in the USA that gun control cannot work.
 
It astonishes me that no one has mentioned the film Bowling for Columbine yet in this thread. I think it must be because only about 1 person in 200 could approach it with an open mind. Commentators on both sides of the RKBA issue largely either condemned or lauded it as an "anti-gun" movie.

If you actually watch the damn thing instead of just internalizing what your favorite talking heads said about it, you notice that it is not in fact an "anti-gun" movie. Michael Moore talks about growing up in a family that took firearm safety seriously and the fact that he's been a lifetime NRA member since he was in his teens. He also examines the difference between the U.S. and Canada, which has a higher per-capita rate of firearm ownership than the U.S. but a vastly lower rate of gun violence. The message I took away from BfC was not that the U.S. has a "gun problem," but that we have a "fear problem".

The last third or so of the film examines how commercial television news organizations live and die by sensationalism because their bottom line is directly tied to viewership, which brings in the advertising dollars that support them. In the years since the film was made, the continued dominance of the internet (and Rupert Murdoch) has made the quest for "more eyeballs!" the driver of most former print news outlets as well.

And violence is the most reliably sensationalistic topic there is. The motto in the industry that used to be journalism is "If it bleeds, it leads." A violent tragedy like the Aurora shooting dominates the national conversation for days, continues to be analyzed in feature articles for weeks, and stays in the vocabulary as a synecdoche (as "Columbine" has) indefinitely. As a result, Americans have a vastly exaggerated sense of how dangerous and violent the country is.  Violent crime rates are the lowest they've been in 40 years, but the perception that America is a dangerously violent place is seriously out of proportion to the facts, to the point where children aren't even allowed to play outside unsupervised any more, even in safe and wealthy suburbs.

America has a collective case of post-traumatic stress disorder. In pre-industrial times, a violent murder only affected those present and their loved ones. Now we all get to hear every detail about at least one such murder a week, including the reactions of shocked witnesses and victims' loved ones and perhaps live footage of the act itself (increasingly available in the age of smartphones and YouTube.)

If we define "terrorism" as the creation of a mass emotional response through an act of violence, who are the more successful terrorists? The shooters in these tragedies (whether motivated by politics or just madness) can terrorize only those they kill, those who witness it, and the families of the victims. But to terrorize an entire nation, it takes an industry of tens of thousands of hard-working professional "journalists".

Admittedly, it is the public's compulsion to gawk at gore that is the market force driving this dynamic; as we see playing out right now, news organizations that don't pander to viewers' thirst for blood fail to survive, or at least fail to have significant public influence. In a country less enthralled by the sacred power of the market, it might be possible to counter this regrettable experiment in mass psychology through some kind of governmental oversight. It would of course be necessary to also safeguard our justly revered freedom of the press -- Britain's overreaching libel laws, by abetting the covering-up of criminal wrong-doing, provide one example of the dangers of limiting that freedom. But there are already well-established precedents for curbing some of our constitutional freedoms in the name of public safety. The best-known example, I believe, has something to do with shouting in a crowded theater.
 
+Russell Nelson You're correct, and that's the ultimate victory of the NRA. We're so armed to the teeth as a society that we couldn't do anything about this even if we wanted to (and we don't).
 
Which is why the rational response should be: given that guns are widely available in the USA, how do we ensure that we are safe anyway?
 
If guns have only one purpose, mine must be defective.
 
+Anton Sherwood , do you understand the difference between purpose and effect? It is actually very much a common sense understanding.
 
+Stuart Ferreira In Switzerland, they have long arms. My objection isn't to gun ownership, or even gun carrying--it's to concealed carry. 

Anyway, I'd much rather live in a world where the odds of encountering an armed attacker were slimmer, and there was little-to-no need to defend myself. I see no evidence that increasing the armament of citizens decreases crime in the long run--it seems to me that it, much like increasing the armament of cops, leads to better-armed criminals, more likely to take the first shot rather than wait to find out if they've chosen armed targets. I've seen studies over a couple years, but nothing over a few decades--and there are so many other changes over that timespan, I'm not sure it would ever be possible to prove me right or wrong. 

Now, whether we could ever sufficiently disarm the USA to get to that point, at this point, I'm not sure. But if the mere act of having a concealable firearm (as opposed to a long arm) were outright illegal, something that the cops could act on automatically without having to check anything else, it might be possible. 
 
+Dave Krieger Excellent points. When it comes right down to it, the odds of you ever needing to defend yourself are really slim. Personally, I'm willing to take that chance, in return for not having to carry a weapon, be trained in its use, and take responsibility for the consequences of its use. Plus, then there's no risk of me escalating a situation, or providing an assailant a better weapon than they already had.
 
+Oliver F. Lehmann Well, my guns haven't had the effect of killing anything, either.

Nearly always the purpose of pointing a gun is not to kill but to influence someone's behavior.  (Even in war, most of the shots fired are only intended to encourage the other guy to concentrate on keeping his head down.)  But that purpose is futile without the ability to harm.
 
+Hindu Bodhcong Pala Please don't repeat it.
+Anton Sherwood "Even in war, most of the shots fired are only intended to encourage the other guy to concentrate on keeping his head down." You keep telling yourself that, I'm sure it makes the concept of war far more palatable.
 
+Anton Sherwood, I have no idea what point you want to make.

People get shot by people with guns. No one gets shot by people without guns.

The amount of intelligence needed to understand this basic cause/effect relation is not very high.


 
+Hindu Bodhcong Pala I'm deleting your incoherent and pointlessly vulgar comments, and if you do it again I'll block you outright.
 
Andy, I have a blog (bendwavy.org/wp/), a long trail in DejaNews Google Groups from back when Usenet was fun, and probably thousands of comments on blogs and whatnot; so it shouldn't be hard to find something I've said in favor of war, if it exists.  The outrage of war is not reduced by the neutral fact that the killings (at least by gunfire) are outnumbered, thousands to one, by shots fired.

My point, Oliver, is that the assertion "guns' only purpose or effect is to kill" falls apart with moderate prodding.  The amount of intelligence needed to follow a causal chain beyond its first link is, it seems, rare.  Or rather, people may be smart enough to do so but rarely make the effort.

People are killed every day by people without guns.  Most of the biggest mass murders in US history (not counting those by govt) did not involve guns.  If Julio González had used a gun on March 25, 1990, likely most of his 87 victims would have been unaffected.
 
+Anton Sherwood The purpose of a gun is to kill or wound. If it has some other hitherto undiscovered purpose, I'd be interested in hearing it.
 
Andy, I don't usually like to repeat myself so soon, but this is important.

Suppose you hear someone yell "Stop or I'll shoot!".  Presumably that person has a purpose in raising a gun and shouting.

Q. What do you think is the most likely purpose?  (As you imply that you've never heard of such an incident, please take your time thinking about this, and don't feel bad if you don't get it right on the first try.) 

Q. If the purpose is to kill or wound, why yell rather than simply shoot? 

Q. If the purpose is not to kill or wound, would the same purpose be served equally well without a weapon?
 
You're coming from a place where the arms race is already been lost, and that's a problem. But it's not a problem that will be solved by arming more people.
 
"lost"? We have a 230 year old government. What other nation can you say that about? Yes, we have paid and will pay a price for that. Freedom is never free.
 
+Russell Nelson Not sure your comment makes sense. I said the arms race was lost; that is enough powerful people assume that the best defence against people with guns is more guns, not attempting to control the guns already out there. 230-year-old government is a meaningless figure. Many other countries have longer standing democracies including Iceland, Switzerland (the Swiss were terrible on giving votes to women, so I'm not sure that counts), Britain, other Scandanavian countries. And finally, 'Freedom is never free' is a huge pile of BS often uttered by those who think they're in imminent danger of being invaded or oppressed, when they're far more likely to be the invader, the oppressor.
 
How would you "control guns" without using guns?
 
Jesus. Really? How about making them harder to obtain. How about restricting the kinds of weapons that could be sold. How about redefining patriotism so it doesn't rely on the right to guns. How about deciding to actually have a grown up conversation as a nation? These things only seem difficult. They're not.
 
Andy, if you're talking about legislation, how is legislation enforced?

Russ, how do you know shallow thinkers aren't a majority of those we need to persuade?
 
How are you going to convince them when they don't THINK about things? You can lead someone to thoughts, but you can't make them think.
 
How was my answer shallow?

One of the reasons why your country will never begin to have a real conversation about this is because of that attitude. It's "Oh shit, someone thinks something different, they must be retards. Let's just ignore them, they have nothing to contribute."

It does't do you any favours and reinforces the stereotype of Americans being thick as a brick.
 
Except that you say stupid things like "make guns harder to obtain". Shows that you have NO IDEA how many people already have guns, or a dozen guns like my non-gun-nut neighbor.
 
Just because lots of people have lots of guns now, doesn't mean you should not attempt to stop the spread of them further. Or require proper licensing, with proper checks.
 
You're obviously not willing - or able - to have a proper argument, so I'll mute this thread and get on with having a decent life in Switzerland where there are thousands of guns, but hardly any gun crime. You can live the rest of your life in fear and loathing. Good luck.
 
Andy -- The real issue is not so much that Americans are stupid (most of us are, but that's not the issue... most people anywhere are stupid, but as a species we blunder along anyway) but that we're so damned pig-ignorant. Most assume that it's only those assholes on the Other political Side that are ignorant, but in fact only a tiny minority of the U.S. population has a clue, period. The root causes are controversial and go back at least 2 or 3 generations at this point, but everybody on all sides of the various chasms that divide American politics seems to agree that education (and child-rearing in general) in this country is generally awful and getting worse, and that the only people who reach adulthood as fully well-informed and rational beings are primarily auto-didacts who had exceptional parents.

In its youth the Internet mitigated ignorance by making it easy to interact with strangers far away whose points of view might possibly differ, but is now mature enough that it's possible for anyone to barricade their minds against conflicting opinions by only visiting web sites, reading blogs, watching commentators, etc., that they already agree with. (That was the default condition back in pre-telecommunications days, where you either toed the local party line to survive among your neighbors or you hightailed it for somewhere else where the dominant prejudices were closer to your own.) Most politically-motivated people, if they seek out conflicting points of view at all, do so to stir up their blood at the hateful smears, outrageous falsehoods, faulty logic, and outright stupidity exhibited by Those Guys Over There. (That's why I read sites like LifeSiteNews and OneNewsNow.)

In such an environment, when you then touch on an issue that's highly emotionally charged, both sides get defensive, start spouting the same dog-whistle slogans they use in their own enclaves to demonstrate how much they agree with their fellows, and wonder why those assholes on the other side just don't fucking get it. Because we're out of the habit of actually communicating with someone with a differing point of view, we rattle off a shorthand response that makes perfect sense to anyone on our side who's already drunk the Kool-Aid (they actually used Flavor-Aid at Jonestown, but let that pass) but to outsiders just sounds like thought-stoppage (which it largely is). Insistence is substituted for argument.

What Anton has alluded to but not unpacked for you is that, as the saying goes, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." (I'll leave it to you to look up which right-wing red-blooded true-blue American gun-crazed Red-baiting John Bircher originated that phrase.) Laws are backed up by the threat of physical force (that's why we call it law en-force-ment), which, at root, means guns. Even laws against the spread of guns are enforced, ultimately, by men with guns. If the government eschews guns, eventually someone with guns becomes the government. because murderers tend to outlive their victims. If, on the other hand, the government does remain armed, then some of those firearms will be diverted to people who are not legally allowed to have them. This is the tautology behind that other shorthand phrase so often cited but so rarely explained, "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." (You never hear it stated as "only outlaws and the government will have guns". The government having guns is just assumed... again, by both sides.)

As Canada and a few other civilized countries demonstrate, widespread gun ownership and a low rate of gun homicide are not mutually exclusive. The discriminating factor is culture; Canadians, as a nation, are less likely than Americans to use their guns to blow holes in other people. Maybe they interact with people whose opinions differ by trying to communicate and not just by lobbing slogans at each other.
 
Exactly what I say. The problem isn't guns, it's our culture. Thus, banning guns is both futile AND pointless.
 
+Russell Nelson Our culture may be the most important cause, but the availability of these kinds of weapons guarantees that the nutcases have an easy way to act out their murderous impulses.
 
Sure, there's definitely a bandgap between incompetent loony and competent loony where the incompetent ones won't be able to get enough firepower. But how much is "enough"? You can do a lot of damage with a handgun, particularly if you don't care who you're shooting at. 

Banning guns isn't free. Doing so will consume resources (one of which is public outrage) needed for a real fix.
 
+Russell Nelson I'm not in favor of banning guns, even if was remotely possible at this point (it isn't). But this is all academic -- the NRA has guaranteed that this country will be awash in high-powered weaponry designed for wars, not hunting or basic self-defense.
 
Exactly, so let's get on with a real fix and figure out why some people feel a need to kill random people around them. Or else not, and instead use those resources to solve some other problem, like the 40K people PER YEAR killed by automobiles. If self-driving cars can manage to kill only 20K people, then BRING 'EM ON, I say!

Just sayin' that worrying about a few hundred people killed by loonies may not be worth the resources we put into stopping them.
 
+Russell Nelson I'd have no problem with banning assault-type weapons and high-capacity magazines.
 
Dan, would you prefer that nutcases act on their murderous impulses with arson?  Well, maybe gasoline will go extinct.

Dave: Thanks.
 
+Russell Nelson A case could be made for blaming these muckers (a term from John Brunner's "Stand on Zanzibar", IIRC) on Reagan, for cutting off federal funding to the state mental hospitals back in the '80's.

+Anton Sherwood That reminds me of an exchange from an "All In The Family" episode, where Gloria complains about the number of people killed with firearms each year, and Archie replies "Would it make you feel better, little goil, if they was pushed outta windows?"
 
Yeah, I keep thinking of that one.  But arson (as I mentioned, very obliquely, before) kills more bystanders than window-pushing, knives, clubs or garottes.
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