Libertarianism And Gun Law

Stick 'em up

This post will be briefer than I had originally intended, and for a couple of reasons.

First, I haven’t put up any threads for a while, and I feel as though I need a break from work today, so here you are. Second, and more importantly, my own position isn’t a “pure” Libertarian one, whatever that might mean. I had originally intended to do a “he-said-I-said” debate thread, with someone who does have the traditional position; unfortunately, he’s dropped off the radar recently. I also thought of Memoryvault who, while not blogging around these parts any longer, was a key player in the Australian gun law liberalization movement in the 1990s. Perhaps he’ll turn up to tell me why I’m wrong.

Most debate around this issue is framed in terms of the way it is conducted in America. I think this is wrong, due to the unique status over there of the right to bear arms. But I’ll start this thread across the Pacific anyway, just to keep things familiar.

The United States – A Special Case

For Libertarians living in the United States, the argument begins and ends with the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which states simply,

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

You can well understand the intentions of the framers of the Constitution, chafing as they were under the yolk of British colonial oppression; a foreign power backed up by lethal force, which back then consisted of mounted cavalry and foot infantry, muskets, bayonets, pistols and the odd cannon. The sort of force, in other words, that a determined, armed and well-organized civilian militia might overcome.

Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775

What if the Constitution were being drafted today? In a democratic republic, is a civilian militia necessary? Plenty of Libertarians would have you believe that their opposition to gun regulation is tied to their fear of governments imposing their will on an increasingly disarmed citizenry, and only the right to bear arms stands in the way of totalitarianism sweeping away all our liberties.

An American Libertarian would no doubt respond, but the Constitution isn’t being written today, Ozboy; and should the population at some future date wish to amend the Constitution, there is an established procedure to do so. Quite right, I would reply, and God bless America. But really, if your government ever did decide to come after you with force, you would be bunkering down in your living room armed with your dozen rifles, while they have Blackhawk helicopters, main battle tanks, aircraft carriers, laser-guided smart bombs, cruise missiles, bloody ICBMs and who the hell knows what else. You simply can’t meet state armed force with armed force of your own: it isn’t 1776 anymore. Nor is America Nazi Germany, or the American public cowering in Jewish-style ghettoes (the other common comparison). In that case, a well-armed population might well have given the regime pause for thought in its murderous plans. For a while. Maybe.

Show of force: Bugs Bunny vs Uncle Sam (click to view)

Nor is that the route to power today’s Western totalitarians have chosen anyway; nor would it ever work—soldiers in Western democracies are voters too. Nor would our modern show-pony politicians have the guts to try. No, it’s the slow erosion of rights, the creeping of state tentacles into every area of private life, and the enslavement to a system of money built on a Ponzi scheme: those are the things all of us interested in Liberty realistically need to be concerned about.

And that’s another thing: the Second Amendment doesn’t define arms. Clearly, we’re not just talking about the long and short arms of 1776: pistols, shotguns and rifles. The National Rifle Association specifically asserts the right of American citizens to own weapons never imagined by the framers of the Constitution: machine guns, automatic and other rapid-fire, military assault rifles. Employing their own logic, I fail to see how the Second Amendment cannot be interpreted to extend to any other type of armament or weaponry: field artillery, grenades, armour-piercing ordnance, rocket launchers, bombs and so on. In fact, if the intent of the Founders was to perpetuate a well-regulated militia, which they regarded as being necessary to the security of a free State, how in 2013 could it be interpreted otherwise? The well-regulated bit may provide a clue.

None of the above should be interpreted as an apologia for greater control by the state of civilian firearm ownership. Americans are, in fact, quite right to regard their Constitution as sacrosanct. But in 2013, is arming the citizenry against the putative use of force by the state the most compelling argument, for non-Americans at least? I’d say an appeal to the Liberty of the individual, and against state regulation, is a far more persuasive rationale.

Does the Prevalence of Firearm Ownership Result in More Gun Crime?

No. Some anti-gun advocates compare the rate of gun homicides in Western countries with highly restrictive gun laws (Australia in 2008, for example had 0.3 deaths per 100,000 population) with the United States (3.6 per 100,000, or 12 times higher). Those using this argument are always careful to avoid mentioning countries like Switzerland or Israel, where citizens undergo universal military national service and may keep their weapons at home, yet have extremely low homicide rates; nor yet South Africa, which has highly restrictive firearms legislation yet in 2007 saw 17 gun homicides per 100,000 – nearly five times the American rate; nor Columbia or Honduras, where restrictive ownership laws also exist, yet the homicide rates soar over 50.

Gun Deaths Central America

Self-evidently, a correlation exists between a gun homicide rates and factors such as cultural acceptance of gun ownership, drug or alcohol prohibition, lawlessness generally; not to mention the inevitable consequences of the modern Welfare State degrading its citizens by stripping them, not only of their rights, but of those responsibilities attendant upon them, as I’ve said here many times. After all, those who ignore the law to commit crimes with guns, will hardly think twice about obtaining those same guns illegally in the first place. How many times do the moralists need to have it shown to them, that if people want something badly enough, no law will stop them getting their hands on it? All prohibition does is to keep guns (or drugs, or alcohol, or whatever) out of the hands of the assiduously law-abiding, criminalize those who are otherwise not minded to break the law, foster contempt for the law generally, push distribution into the hands of professional criminals, skyrocket the market price, and corrupt governments, the courts and the police. Plus ça change…

Guns For Self-Defense

This is quite a contentious topic, and while it relates to some extent to the preceding section and the U.S. Second Amendment, it is applicable worldwide. The extreme Libertarian position was made most eloquently in a 1993 essay entitled A Nation of Cowards by Washington attorney Jeffrey R. Snyder who, as you will read, elevates carrying a weapon in public from a mere right to something approaching a moral imperative.

Crime is not only a complete disavowal of the social contract, but also a commandeering of the victim’s person and liberty. If the individual’s dignity lies in the fact that he is a moral agent engaging in actions of his own will, in free exchange with others, then crime always violates the victim’s dignity. It is, in fact, an act of enslavement. Your wallet, your purse, or your car may not be worth your life, but your dignity is; and if it is not worth fighting for, it can hardly be said to exist.

Snyder clearly believes that escalating a street robbery into a life-or-death moment is not too high a price to pay for resisting the injustice to your person and your property, and the momentary deprivation of your Liberty that represents. In fact, he goes so far as to assert that to fail to resist, and with lethal force, is morally equivalent to suicide.

The most cogent response to this essay I could find was this Newsweek article by Washington Post journalist George F. Will. Whether you regard it as addressing the substantive points in Snyder’s essay, or mere hand-wringing at the level of lawlessness in society, I leave you to judge.

Libertarianism on this point is clear and unequivocal: you have the right to defend yourself, by any necessary means—no ifs, no buts. The advisability of carrying a concealed handgun is another issue entirely, and I’d like to talk about that for a moment. Many people see the issue in simplistic, fictional terms, quite at odds with the situation they are likely to find in reality.

Or how about this classic:

I have a sneaking suspicion that many of those loudly calling for unrestricted, legal, concealed handguns regularly fantasize about themselves doing what William Shatner and Clint Eastwood did in the clips above. In fact, many’s the bloke I’ve heard in bars say it out loud. With the standard racial epithets regularly thrown in for good measure.

Now, I’m no expert in urban armed combat (I’ve fired a handgun precisely twice in my life; my nephew, a sworn police officer who lurks here, knows far more), but let me tell you something I do know about human nature, and it’s this: unless you have been rigorously trained, then until you have actually had a gun pointed in your face (I have), you have no way of knowing how you are going to react. The reality is, plenty of the toughest-talking bar-proppers suddenly confronted with the muzzle of a gun freeze like rabbits caught in a headlight. Some fall to their knees and beg for mercy; some wet their pants; some scream and wail. And some find the courage to retaliate.

But—if you are carrying a handgun yourself at the time, then you had better be damned sure you can, and will use it, and instantly. No small talk: DRAW-SAFETY-AIM-BANG-DEAD. All in one movement (while the guy with his gun already aimed at you and his finger on the trigger just stands there and looks on dumbly, like the criminals in the clips above were generous enough to do). And a centre-body shot, too—not some smart-arsed comedy routine like the two above, followed by targeting impossibly hard-to-hit, moving and non-vital body parts like feet. That’s just Hollywood bullshit. You draw out that pistol in a hesitant, shaking hand, and the guy who simply wanted your wallet will pull his trigger, and you’ve just paid the ultimate price for standing on ceremony. Worth it?

Even if you are highly-trained, the consequences don’t stop with the actual confrontation. Newspapers rarely report on the incidence of police officers, forced to kill an armed assailant in the line of duty, suffering anything from recurring nightmares and loss of appetite, all the way to full-blown post-traumatic stress syndrome or nervous breakdown, leading to alcoholism, gambling or drug abuse, loss of career, family breakdown and/or suicide. But it’s so prevalent the papers would rather play it down. No amount of training can prepare you for the psychological trauma associated with killing another human being. Yet the two heroes in the clips above are portrayed as some kind of emotional supermen, and I’m fairly sure many pro-gun advocates fondly imagine themselves to be the same. I’m all for their freedom of choice to defend themselves—but would question the wisdom of doing so with lethal force.

Make My Day

How do you think you would react to this?

That’s why I personally think that for 99.7% of people—myself included—it’s ridiculous to walk around town carrying concealed weapons, even if it is legal to do so. The mugger with a gun doesn’t want to kill you—the pathetic little bastard just wants your wallet, for God’s sake. Give it to him, then watch him run! If he sets his own life and freedom at the price of your wallet, then I say take him at his own valuation.

You carrying a weapon just raises the stakes, from a few bucks to someone’s life: yours, or his. If you really do live in a neighbourhood so degraded that it’s filled with gun-toting nutters who actually do want to kill you, then I suggest you consider moving.

What about women? Plenty of females making the same argument for handguns, say that it is to protect themselves against sexual assault, not just murder. To which I’d make pretty much the same reply: sure, you are the owner of yourself, which begins with ownership of your own body. And yes, a handgun can be a mighty equalizer against a bigger and stronger foe. Just make sure you are ready, willing and able to use it. How to know beforehand whether you’re capable of employing lethal force? As I said above, you can’t possibly know, until it actually happens. Oh, and don’t let the gang who surrounds you (as opposed to the single assailant you were clearly expecting) find that gun on your person. Even if you manage to pop one or two of them, you are then highly likely to wind up someplace worse than dead. Absolutely, you have the right to defend yourself by any means, up to and including lethal force. Just as you have every right to walk alone down dark inner-city alleyways at night, if you really want to. All I’m saying is, think it through beforehand, and consider your options realistically.

One area where it’s clear the law is wrong is in the area of weaponry specifically designed for defense, not attack. In many jurisdictions, items such as body armour and handcuffs are outlawed or highly restricted, on the basis that criminals use them in armed conflicts, either with other criminals or the police. Such pretexts are patently hollow, and the law should not concern itself with any purely defensive weapon. My own favourite is this anti-carjacking device from South Africa, which turns aggressor into flaming torch instantly. Pour encourager les autres:

Can Common Sense Prevail?

My own position on the whole issue of firearms legislation, was defined originally by my abiding belief that government control over the citizenry, beyond upholding the law of the land, is an affront and an act of oppression. But it was also shaped by an event that occurred seventeen years ago last month, just a few miles from my home. A young man, carrying several legally obtained firearms, went on a shooting spree, killing thirty-five innocent people—men, women and children—and wounding over twenty others. When captured by police and examined by psychiatrists, this 28-year-old was found to have a mental age of eleven. The waves of trauma he caused that day (his name is rarely mentioned down here, and I ask that you refrain from doing so in your comments) continue to ripple outwards, and will go on doing so long after he is dead and buried.

The way I see it, guns are like cars. Both are deadly when placed in the hands of the inexperienced, the intoxicated, criminals or the insane. Now, even in an ideal Libertarian society, we wouldn’t let just anyone hop into a car and drive off down a public road. To be allowed to do so, you must first demonstrate in standard tests that you can operate a car safely and know the rules of the road. Certain classes of license exist for different types of vehicles. All vehicles must be registered and be in roadworthy condition to drive in public. Most jurisdictions will confiscate your drivers’ license if you are guilty of persistent traffic infringements or are found guilty of driving while intoxicated. But beyond that, with a drivers’ license you can own and drive as many cars as you like.

Surely, the same logic should apply to guns? Before being allowed to own one, you should be able to demonstrate your ability to handle firearms safely and know the laws relating to guns in your jurisdiction. We don’t want to issue them to those who have a record of committing crimes with them (but they will obtain them illegally anyway, so it’s largely an empty gesture). And we certainly don’t want them in the hands of lunatics.

On that subject, I do admit the issue of the lunatic mass-murderer is often a bit of a red herring. In the case I just referred to, the individual in question was able to obtain a driving license, and by the same logic would still have been able to obtain firearms legally, even if treated the same way. The same would have applied to the Norwegian mass killer Breivik, who was technically sane but driven by an extremist political philosophy.

Some people, referring to such mass murders, use the argument that if everyone around him was also armed, he never could have done it. One or two victims, maybe, before someone standing nearby took him out. I suppose that’s literally true. Just as if all the children in that American kindergarten recently were also packing side-arms, the would-be assailant in that case would have died in a hail of bullets. No doubt about it. But I wouldn’t want to be the teacher assigned to yard duty at lunchtime, unless I’d been issued with an armoured personnel carrier. Is that the society we want to live in? Is that really the price of Liberty?

Here in Australia, unlike in America, we have no cultural history of handgun ownership, and there is no widespread community sentiment to change the law, which restricts handgun ownership to licensed security guards and registered sporting shooters, who must keep their weapons onsite at pistol clubs in approved gun safes. Following Port Arthur, the Howard government (given bipartisan support by Labor Opposition Leader Kim Beazley) moved to restrict semi-automatic weapons, and harmonize gun ownership laws across the states. While I believe the ban on semi-automatics was an over-reaction, prompted by the fact that they had been used at Port Arthur and other multiple shootings down here (I still laugh at Memoryvault’s reaction to the buy-back and subsequent moratorium offered by the government), I have to say I think the gun laws in Australia today are otherwise pretty much where they should be. I can still obtain a Class-C weapon (that is, a semi-auto of up to 5 rounds or a pump-action shotgun) if I really want one, though it would entail more police checks than I’m currently subjected to. Though recreational users would doubtless disagree.

There’s any number of other aspects of this issue I could raise (home-made and 3D-printed firearms being but one recent example) but it’s getting late and my candlestick’s burning low, so I’ll leave those to you. Tomorrow it’s back to the grind, but I’ll look in regularly on the discussion—Cheers.

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71 Responses to Libertarianism And Gun Law

  1. meltemian says:

    Oz, How right you are when you say no-one knows how they will react until it actually happens.
    I once (untypically) gave a railway carriage full of out-of-control football yobs a heavy-duty piece of my mind and then went back to my seat and turned to a blob of jelly!! It must have been pure adrenalin, I was just so furious that they would treat me and the other passengers like that.
    Later I couldn’t believe I’d really done it – it worked though! However another time I might not have been so lucky.
    Going away to think about the gun problem a bit, not sure where I stand. I’ll try to get past the “The answer to a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun” scenario like your clips.

  2. Luton Ian says:

    Libertarian Anarchist here to put the “extreme” position 😉

    First, a few thoughts on the second ammendment to the united state’s constitution.
    Of the several interpretations of the united state constitution, I tend to favour the Jeffersonian insurrectionary interpretation rather than the Hamiltonian and Lincolnian “nationalist” interpretation. Regardless of the veiled ambitions of the federalists prior to and during the constitutional convention, I fail to see that the colonists who fought for independence (at best 3% of them at any one time, with 10% offering active support), did so to have a high taxing mercantilist leviathan “of their own (I don’t subscribe to the meme; governments R us)” adopt the same policies as the one they’d just fought off. the “liberty tree” had just been watered.

    I don’t know what time interval for watering Jefferson envisaged with the wisely vague phrasing of “form time to time”. Some suggest as short as every generation – about 25 years – I really don’t know.

    Jefferson isn’t around to ask, and though he was very good at channelling the spirit of John Locke into words on paper, in practice, describing TJ’s actual actions rather than his words, as being flippy floppy and pragmatist is probably being generous to his memory.

    Given the history leading to it, and the strong influences of John Locke on those involved, I think it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the second ammendment was to provide a counter to the leviathan they were creating, a counter which would satisfy and reassure the anti federalists, and perhaps also as a veil to the usurpation of the constitutional congress’ remit which had taken place, and the travesty of a majority vote being binding on any sovereign colonies which dissented.

    Now to the heavily contested wording:
    “Well Regulated”
    my own reading of that is to take the 18th century import of the word “regulated” to mean “organised”, rather than having limits posited upon it by bureautwats or politicians. Taken in the context of the ammendments either side of it, it would be difficult to view the first ammendment as allowing state control of freedom of speech.

    Prior to the 1860s, both Britain and America had successfully resisted the imposition of state sector police forces, and the US constitution is highly suspicious of any hint of standing armies or a “select militia”

    “Militia” appears to have been a community enterprise – which makes sense, as the English mutual protection and insurance groups who insured one another against calls for restitution for torts, were based upon geographical area (tithings, hundreds etc).

    again, it would be an anomoly to the context of the rest of the document, to suggest that a list of negative rights expressed as “government shall not”s would contain a “.gov will…”

    a quite readable academic exploration of this, and the very diverse present day US militia movements is Robert H Churchill’s “to shake their guns in the tyrant’s face”

  3. Luton Ian says:

    you have (as usual) presented many thought provoking insights.
    The essential preliminary must come back to the question of what sort of libertarians we describe our individual selves as – how do we personally define “liberty”?

    although I do occasionally give utilitarian arguments, I usually try to avoid them, as they’re frought with the danger of dirty pragmatism – who defines “the good”? does the greater number trump the rights of the lesser number? etc all nasty and confused places to end up.

    I find the Non aggression principal / Propertarian / private property order definition much more robust, that we each have a right to do with our selves and our justly acquired property, what we please – so long as we do not infringe upon the right of others to do likewise.

    That position is, of course, an explicitly anarchist position, state is not and can never be a protector of private property rights – it is the institution of legalized infringement of private property rights, both in self and in rightfully acquired possessions.

    Anarchy (the condition of being without ruler), does not (in the anarcho-capitalist (de Molinari, Rothbard, Hoppe, Knock, Spooner etc) sense anyway) imply being without laws.

    (Bakhuninist kropotkinist etc so called “left anarchists” may seek a nihilistic existence at the expense of others – but achieving that with a machine pistol or bombs is hardly libertarian)

    Nor does it assume that all humans are somehow “good” – a frequent, and tedious straw man erected by statist trolls.

    Bad people and bad actions will still be with us – likely for as long as humans exist and certainly for as long as some resources (including our physical bodies) are scarce.

    Scarcity of resources implies the need for systems to avoid conflict – respect for private property being the most important of these systems.

    Human efforts are naturally more productive when we cooperate.

    Cooperation in an effort / enterprise can be either volountary (in which we each subjectively gain more than we give up)

    or coerced – in which some subjectively gain more than they give up and those coerced, are subjectively giving up more than they gain – hence why they had to be coerced into taking part, if they were subjectively gaining, they’d have taken part volountarily.

    Clearly for protection against those who’d thieve or misuse our possessions or abuse our physical bodies, we’d cooperate.

    With the efficiencies in the competitive division of labour – in a modern anarchist society, such services would most likely be provided by competitive, for profit companies although that does not preclude the more traditional kinship, cooperative, area based, church based, mutual society etc efforts at cooperation.

    Clearly, to take part in such an enterprise volountarily, implies that we each subjectively gain more than we part with

    If our property is taken, we are not going to be satisfied in knowing that some miscreant has been fried or caged – at our expense (as is the current coercive system).

    We are going to want to be recompensed

    We are also going to want to be sure that those whom we deal with, have the means to compensate us if things go wrong – that they are in some way insured to cover their liabilities.

    Free market protection agencies are therefore likely to be insurers.

    Immediately it becomes apparent that while an free market insurer / private protection agency will see benefits in its customers being able to protect themselves and their homes in an emergency -and until the insurer’s professional people can get there, they are also going to be imposing some conditions, in terms of keeping guns, cars etc out of the hands of those who through age, incapacity, or previous behaviour – are not safe to be trusted with them.

    more later

  4. Amanda says:

    I am firmly pro-gun-possession, and I’m someone that’s scared by them when I actually see one. But I live in the real world, not the fantasy one I’d prefer to live in, and I believe that the right to gun ownership makes citizens safer. The evidence for that is overwhelming and goes back centuries.

    I just posted this now on another website:

    ‘The fact that British police officers remain unarmed in the 21st century is itself an outrage: it endangers them, and it renders the unarmed populace even more defenceless. It is an outrage that the best-armed people in Britain are the murderous lunatics and the professional criminals. When will the British people wake up to this injustice and rectify it?’

  5. Kitler says:

    I know of one case and i know the man involved a close family friend for whatever reason he was confronted by another man with a shotgun who threatened to kill him, well this close family friend is your average sociopath and general hard case, calmly apparently informed the gentleman “if you are going to use that you had better use it or you will regret it”, said gentleman ended up in hospital for a long time.

  6. Kitler says:

    Ozboy while the state may possess overwhelming force in arms in today’s modern age when are our leaders are clinically insane and incapable of logical thought you don’t need guns to attack them. The interwbz connects lots of things that could bring many a mighty city low in a week if tampered with remotely, this will never change while they are in charge, as for electronic printing to overwhelm an economy with more counterfeit than what they are doing now legalish is another way. Guns are for wimps.

  7. izen says:

    I am less interested in the ideological arguments about gun ownership and self and property rights than the actual results of gun ownership. Obviously it depends on context, as Ozboy indicated gun ownership in switzerland is a very different thing to gun ownership in Mexico.

    But there is a common result, with exceptions.
    In most cases the degree of gun ownership correlates closely with gun suicide. For all but a few violent and especially lawless societies the homicide rate from gun ownership is equaled or exceeded by the suicide rate. Whatever advantages gun ownership may confer on an individual faced with a threat, and Ozboy has covered the difficulty with the reality of actually using a gun for protection, it also results in a significantly greater rate of suicide by gun. Of a magnitude comparable to all other deaths by firearms. Look at the suicide rates from gun use compared to gun ownership in the table below.

    G’day Izen,

    You got me – once again. I deliberately avoided the issue of gun suicide (which you zeroed in on), because it segues into the larger issue of Libertarianism and suicide ethics. Let’s avoid that one today.

    As a matter of fact, I’m glad you popped in. Unlike Amanda, I actually like the fact that British bobbies don’t carry sidearms; it makes them less of a target, or so they say themselves. But they do wear a communicator on their shoulder, through which with one word they can summon Armageddon itself down upon themselves and their assailant within seconds. As you say, it’s very much a cultural thing, and might not be so popular in America – Oz

  8. izen says:

    The British police routinely not wearing guns also reduces the social distance between the generalub
    Ic also without guns and their police force. The present arrangement with specialist armed response units available if required seems to work well. With the recent Woolwich attack the armed police team were there in 14mins. Some have commented that was a long time, but as anyone who lives in London is aware getting to an abitary street, even with sirens and a fast car, that is an impressive response time.

    Even in this instance I dont think there is any good arguement that armed police in the area would have been able to respond any faster, or more effectively.

    The arguement that most crime and events in a gun regulated society are NOT a matter of life and death, but just property crime and interpersonal physical violence also favours an unarmed police in that it avoids escalation of the inevitable level of petty crime and domestic conflict into a situation with a significant risk of mortality.
    But if your society already treats all interpersonal conflict as involving the threat of lethal force then it is very difficult to roll that back.

  9. Luton Ian says:

    Hi Izen,
    There is indeed a strong correlation internationally and over time between availability of firearms and the proportions of both homicides and suicides using firearms.

    There is however no correllation at all with the absolute rates of homicide and suicide and firearms availability – they are societal.

    The choice of means to use is very different to the choice to engage in an action.

    Those who choose to use a firearm in suicide, are generally those who are choosing to succeed in the action, for example, a gun wouldn’t be the obvious choice of a teenage girl who wants some attention lavished upon her, she’s much more likely to go for the pills in the bathroom cabinet – she doesn’t actually intend to go through with it.

    The wisdom of the choice to use a gun for suicide is pretty dubious. I know (to say hello to – it’s his mother whom I know to speak to) one guy who tried using a gun and failed – fortunately without too much permanent damage – I think his mother suffered far more pain. I do know of some others who’ve inflicted very painful injuries and disabilities on themselves and have lived.

    yes, I’m going to use the term “selfish little bastard” for some suicides – an Irish government minister landed in shit for using that expression a few years back – Ireland has pretty low gun availability and a pretty high suicide rate amongst young males, I’m not sure if that rate has eased since a prominent GAA (Gaelic Athletics Association) star came out about being gay a couple of years back.

    part of suicide, is the choice of where to do it and who is likely to find the result. There is an element of self absorbed vindictive little bastard, in leaving the gorey mess for someone else to find, and for particularly selfish little bastards, a gun can leave a particularly unpleasant mess to be inflicted on another individual – as can some other quick and relatively sure means to achieve the same end.


  10. Luton Ian says:

    Self absorbed little bastard and suicide leads us to the likely scenario for multiple public shootings.

    John R Lott has some very well thought through and succinct presentations on this in various tv and radio interview up on youtube.

    It seems likely that many mass public shootings are individuals who intend to suicide, but who seek notoriety in the process of doing it.

    Lott gives the proportion for those who indulge in such acts of mass shooting, then don’t have the bottle to shoot themselves as about 25%

    Factors which Lott identifies as probably encouraging such activity, include the publicity surrounding such acts – seems the selfish little bastards want to be “famous” and want people talking about them after the event.

    Oz, you are right not to write the names of any of the perps of such acts.

    A much more easily identified factor (Lott is a great empiricist – he’s very good at apriori reasoning too) in the historical examples – is the choice of locations where the intended victims are likely to be defenseless: schools, government buildings, private gun free zones and tourist attractions for example.

    One of the recent examples which Lott cites is the Aurora cinema shooting.

    The cinema chosen was not the nearest to the perp’s home, nor was it the biggest, of the (IIRC it was into the high teens of) cinemas showing batman that night, within the same distance of the perp’s home – it was the only one with “gun free zone” signs up.

    Lott, has the empirical/historical data sets at county ;level accross the united state, and can demonstrate the decrease in multiple public shootings as concealed carry has extended across that country

    however, where such shootings do occur in areas allowing legal concealed (or open!) carry, they are invariably occurring in “gun free” / disarmed victim zones.

    There are several examples of multiple public shootings which have been ended when legally armed individuals have intervened. These have been very notably ignored (covered up even) by the MSM.

    In both Pearl Mississippi and Appalachian Law School, the perp surrendered alive when confronted by armed individuals.

    lest anyone doubt the degree to which the lame stream ignores such details, here are John Lott’s findings:

    “Since the first news search was done, additional news stories have been added to Nexis:
    There are thus now 218 unique stories, and a total of 294 stories counting duplicates (the stories in yellow were duplicates.) Here is the Excel file for general overview and also specific stories. Explicit mentions of defensive gun use increase from 2 to 3 now.”
    Bold is added

  11. Luton Ian says:

    oops, forgot to close one of the bolds

  12. Luton Ian says:

    first bold was supposed to close after “invariably” – thanks Oz

    Sorted – Oz

  13. Ozboy says:

    The cat’s out of the bag now with the 3D printed gun – check out this story about a printable pistol, designed by a US law student, and plans for which are easily downloadable. What’s scaring authorities is that anyone out there can now produce their own firearm in a few minutes. The thermoplastic material does not show up on metal detectors, so it’s only a matter of time before one is used in an aircraft hijacking. I understand that the barrel disintegrates after 100 or so rounds (with potentially lethal results to the operator) but no doubt materials science will improve the printing medium in the next few years. Obtaining ammo, however, is still an issue.

    Can’t see myself ever trying this 😮

  14. Luton Ian says:

    Thanks for fixing that Oz. would it be possible for me to edit if I was signed in with a wordpress profile?

    Not really – WordPress only give that to users with author privileges. I don’t mind fixing little things like that – Oz

    All polymer guns are actually quite old, this one was written up on page 215 of the 1987 gun digest, its details shared with the whole world, courtesy of Uncle Sam’s offer of private property rights in ideas – if you pay Uncle Sam for that privilege…

    US patent 4,703,826

    that one is semi auto and is styled to look like a Mauser mod 1914 pistol.

    David Byron (who’s plastic pistol patent that is (or was)) also held patents for plastic and ceramic cartridge case heads (the difficult bit that gets to take the most pressure).

    I haven’t read the patents through yet to see what plastics were used.

    Artillery and naval gun practice in the latter part of the 19th century included wrapping a steel bore liner with tensioned steel wire, to pre stress the structure. Hoop stresses in a barrel are pi times the longitudinal stresses, so barrels want to fail by splitting like banana skins rather than snapping off like pencils.

    The same technique was used with glass fibre in the 20th century for the casings of solid fuel rockets, which not only had to contain the pressure of burning propellant, but also resist being turned apple shape by the aerodynamic load on the nose end and the inertial loading…

  15. Luton Ian says:

    I just read the article you linked to

    those cops are frightened and doing their best to try to dissuade the dissuadable from printing their own. Even if it’s likely a dozen or so times cheaper to buy a proper steel gun from the friendly local community recreational pharmacist.

    as one commenter wrote somewhere else

    “Once the shite is out of the cat, there’s no putting it back where it came from”

  16. Amanda says:

    Oz: The reports I’ve seen are that it took 20 minutes — count ’em — for the London police to arrest (shoot) the savages in Woolwich. What might have happened in those twenty minutes if the savages had decided that one victim wasn’t enough? If they had machine guns/rifles and had decided to go on a Washington-sniper or Bombay-type killing ‘spree’? What then?

    I find the argument of ‘less a target’ to be a non-argument, and evasive on its face. American police are not ‘targeted’ by criminals, and they are not pursued in some sort of anti-police vendetta ‘because’ they carry weapons: police here are some of the safest people around. That suggestion — that to be capable of self-defence — is just a non-starter.

    To be capable of self-defence, which most Americans in most states are, is the reason why we have so few burglaries at night, as I’ve observed before. Burglars won’t risk their own hides when they know that the homeowner is home, since the chances are that the homeowner is armed.

    Surveys by the Police Federation of England and Wales have continued to show police officers’ considerable resistance to routine arming. In the Federation’s most recent (2006) Officer/Arming survey, 82% of respondents were against the routine arming of police, although 43% supported an increase in the number of officers trained and authorised to use firearms.

    …When asked if a decision was made to train and arm all police officers whilst on duty, 70% of officers would be prepared to do so. However, out of the 6,516 (13.8%) respondents who stated that they would never carry a firearm on duty, a staggering 56% claimed they would resign from the force rather than accept an order to carry a firearm.”

    Given the survey population was exclusively working police officers, that’s an awful lot of evasion – Oz

  17. farmerbraun says:

    Izen:- ” all interpersonal conflict as involving the threat of lethal force” . .


  18. Amanda says:

    Never mind the fact that an American citizen on the scene would have taken these bastards down long before 20 minutes were up! The idea that, in America, innocent people would be at risk in this way from monsters that still had the freedom of the streets for nearly half an hour is inconceivable.

  19. Amanda says:

    I’ll also add, that in addition to the strength of our police — which decent Americans respect and admire, by the way — every single policeman and policewoman I’ve ever spoken to over here has been sympathetic, quick, professional, efficient, friendly, and someone you want to have on your side.

    And I have needed to call on the police several times because I’ve needed their protection from others’ bad behaviour.

    If you’re going to say that police shouldn’t have firearms, you might as well say that soldiers should fight without ammunition, too. It makes as much sense.

    The primary goal of law enforcement is not to protect the lives of the officers, important as those lives are. The primary goal is to protect the public. Can the British police protect the public?

    Britain is a flabby, weak-kneed country.

  20. Amanda says:

    Oh, another thing: Just because you have a gun doesn’t mean you have to use it!

    Law and order in the West among the outlaws: you think the sheriffs would have won the day for justice by sweet reason alone?

  21. Amanda says:

    Oz: They’re fools.

  22. Kitler says:

    This one will get me in trouble I’m sure but I did research my facts……

    You’re right: I ain’t touching that one – Oz

  23. Kitler says:

    amanda the American police as noted by the US Supreme court are not there to serve and protect you. They are there to make sure you do as you are told and act as tax collectors for local municipalities. There are too may examples of police corruption and crime to say they are there for us.

  24. Ozboy says:

    A few years ago I did a mandatory training course to obtain my Tasmanian Firearms License. The instructor was a softly-spoken elderly fellow, a gentle giant who had once captained the Australian Olympic and Commonwealth Games shooting teams. On the issue of firearms safety, he told us an interesting story. On the evening of 29 July 2007, the Iraqi national soccer team won the final of the AFC Asian Cup in Jakarta, for the first and only time. Lots of people back in Baghdad were watching it via satellite TV on large screens in public areas. When the final whistle blew, hundreds of triumphant locals took out their Kalashnikov machine guns en masse and started firing them into the air in celebration, as they are wont to do. It is a little-reported fact that eleven people in Baghdad lost their lives that night, struck by falling bullets.

  25. meltemian says:

    While trying to clarify in my mind the relative instances of gun related crime I came across this:-
    It seems to suggest that the UK is an awful lot safer than the US, although I realise it’s not as simple as that.
    Don’t much fancy moving to Honduras!

    Funny you mentioned that one Mel.

    I’ve been intrigued by a point Amanda made earlier (and which I also discussed in the article), that arming the citizenry has the effect of preventing mass murder (“Never mind the fact that an American citizen on the scene would have taken these bastards down long before 20 minutes were up”). So I went to the Wiki source on rampage killings (which they defined on the number of killed and wounded), to try and see just how many of the killers were actually shot by armed civilian bystanders. The data usefully has a notes column that describes the eventual fate of each killer.

    It wasn’t a simple task – the figures are spread across multiple tables, and categories (general rampage, school shootings, workplace shootings, familicides, and so on); plus the stuff doesn’t cut and paste neatly into a spreadsheet. I included only those entries where firearms were a principal means of killing used. When a range of estimated killed or wounded is included, I have selected the lower figure. I have included only the U.S. and U.K. for comparison. Took me an hour or more. But the result is this searchable Excel spreadsheet, which I’ve sorted from most recent, to killings which occurred before the U.S. Civil War.

    Nor, I think, does anyone take seriously the argument that “well many killings that involved only one or two deaths and aren’t on this list could have been mass murders if not for the actions of bystanders”. There is no hard evidence for this, plus statistically you would expect in at least a proportion of mass killing cases that the heroic bystander showed up somewhere halfway through the incident, and wasn’t already there at the start. The wiki data indicates that just doesn’t happen. Furthermore, even if it did, I wouldn’t want to be the cop walking in on a shopping centre massacre, with one deranged killer and two heroic bystanders, all shooting away, and try to make a split-second decision as to who was who before I pulled a trigger – would you?

    As you’ll see from the spreadsheet, the last time an actual rampage killing was terminated by an armed bystander was in Florida in 1982. Before that you pretty much have to go back to the 19th century to find an example. Here’s another blogger who has looked at the same issue in detail.

    So, while the idea of armed civilians taking out a deranged killer may furnish an emotionally satisfying mental picture, the historical record indicates it rarely, if ever, happens, and thus appears a rather poor argument for urging the public to carry handguns. Not an argument that they shouldn’t, by the way, but not one that they should, either – Oz

  26. Luton Ian says:

    Oz, Forgotten Weapons blog has a vintage photo up today (saturday) of a Vickers heavy MG being used intentionally for what the Bagdadies were achieving unintentionally – indirect fire.

  27. Luton Ian says:

    Mel – such figures only apply for people who have a morbid phobia of homicide by shooting compared to say death by bludgeoning, death by stabbing, slashing, asphyxiation etc.

    I’ve seen what purported to be praise from united state based hoplophobes for the lower rate of “gun death” per hundred thousand population in Brazil, compared to the united state, and in a gross example of a post hoc fallacy, attributing that outcome to Brazilian gun laws.

    If the international figures are taken at face value, then the crude homicide rate for Brazil is around twenty per 100,000 population per year, the united state is about four and a half per 100,000 pop per year. so about one quarter of the Brazilian homicide rate.

    If the figures can be relied upon (in many cases I don’t think they can be compared internationally) and the comment was genuinely by anti gunners (rather than pro gunners trolling rather cleaverly) you’d need to wonder what the roughly 15 per 100,000 per year who get whacked in Brazil compared to america – thought the benefit in a lower rate of death by shooting was.

    Now to why I don’t think the figures can be compared.

    The figures for the united state, are pretty good. If it looks like it was a homicide, that’s what it gets booked down as and those figures go out as the official homicide rate.

    I haven’t checked the details of this yet – so if Izen would like to do the foot work and cite the references – I’d actually be rather pleased to know the true story – even if Izen calls me on this one

    My understanding of Britain, is that the figure put out is the “murder rate” this requires someone to be actually caught, to be convicted at trial and to have exhausted the appeals process. supposedly if they don’t appeal for whatever reason -then it doesn’t get counted.

    If true, what proportion of homicides meet all of those requirements? my guess is that 10% of the total would be on the high side.

    My guess is that the actual homicide rate in Britain (given its culturally enriched status and largely urban population, compared to the much more rural and small town united state population) is going to be at least equal to the United State, and if we take into account the level of violent crime such as rapes, muggings and assaults, which are more than twice as high on airstrip one as in the united state – then I think the true homicide rate could even be twice as high as the united state.

  28. meltemian says:

    Hi Ian, This table, although rather out of date, shows the murder rate UK = 2.1 and US = 5.6 but I don’t know whether the figures were compiled the same way for each country’

    This time it’s Colombia I’m not visiting!

    I’ve updated your link (wasn’t working). Plus, see above – Oz

  29. Amanda says:

    Well, Oz has demonstrated to his satisfaction that armed people can’t actually stop killers in their tracks. I haven’t seen Oz’s spreadsheet (it’s a quarter to 1 and I have had an exceedingly tedious day), but I wonder about the circs: you have to take into account the fact that attention-seeking mass-murderers target anti-gun states. Naturally enough, you will not have vigilante action in such places where concealed-carry is outlawed.

    And Oz’s chart in any case does not disprove my very well-known and well-documented point, that burlgaries are rare at night where homeowners are armed. I ask you: as a decent person that wants to protect his home and his life at night, asleep when most vulnerable — would you rather live in a country that forbids you self-defence, or one that permits you self-defence? Would you rather that the creeps and sickos willing to prey on you know you are capable of self-defence, or know that you are like Olivia and George Harrison, armed only with screams and a lampshade?

    Come on, guys. Face reality.

    I haven’t demonstrated they can’t: just that they don’t.

    Keeping guns in the home for self-defence is another, entirely different issue. And as you might expect, I uphold the right of all citizens to do so.

    I would, however, question whether it leads to a reduced incidence of burglaries. Quite possibly, the reverse is true. The definitive (and exhaustive) study of the issue, which you can read here, was conducted in 2003 by the Brookings Institute. It concludes:

    This chapter is motivated by the plausible although untested claim that widespread gun ownership deters burglars and diverts them from occupied homes. Previous evidence on this point is indirect, anecdotal, or based on flawed data, and in any case provides no clear conclusion.The new results reported here suggest that if there is such a deterrent effect, it may well be swamped by other factors associated with gun prevalence—most likely, it seems to us, that guns are particularly attractive loot.Cross-section analysis of the NCVS and panel-data analysis of the UCR yield similar findings: a 10 percent increase in our measure of gun ownership increases burglary rates by 3 to 7 percent.

    Again, I believe it’s your call to defend yourself in any way you see fit. But if you have a gun, be damned sure you can and will use it when the time comes, which I pray it never does – Oz

  30. Kitler says:

    If you take away the ethnically enriched US and UK cities from the data the US and UK are equal in murder rates, this is why the government here in the USA stopped keeping statistics by race and lumped in Hispanic with white people to bump up their score. It still wasn’t enough. Currently the murder rate has dropped thanks to better emergency medical care having lots of practice with gunshot wounds this will change and go back up as Obamacare destroys that system of critical care.

  31. Amanda says:

    If Meltemian thinks that the average person is safer in Britain than in the U. S., she is cherry-picking. The United States is a huge, highly varied country, with some very dangerous spots dominated by a very dangerous underclass. They skew all averages. The fact is, I feel much safer living in America than I did living in Britain. I feel much more comfortable with open ground-floor windows at night in America than I did in a posh broker-belt village in England. You can argue. That is the truth.

  32. Amanda says:

    Oh, and for the doubters/barrack-room lawyers: I live — as I’ve done for most of my American sojourn — in high-density highly urban environs. It was: Manhattan to Gulf Coast of Florida back to Manhattan then to Chicago and on to near London then to New York/New Jersey again then to Richmond, Virginia (during a life-taking flood and landslide, natch) then back to Florida then to Houston, Texas (during two hurricanes, natch), then to a big city in Florida again. I am hardly a hothouse flower.

  33. Amanda says:

    Sorry Oz: despite your decency, I feel you’re hoping against hope that guns don’t do the job that I’m saying they do. You think they don’t stop criminals: I have lived nearly two decades in America, off and on, and my experience is that armed citizens have stopped many criminals before they could do worse, and before the cops got there. I can’t give you charts: that is my memory and my experience.

    As for self-defence and burglary: again: you will not find anyone in Texas of sound mind to disagree with me. I don’t know what they would say in Massachussetts. Democrats are terribly confused about justice: that’s why they’re Dems!

    My husband was attacked at gunpoint and I could have lost him in a heartbeat. Do you think for a moment I would say any of this unless I believed it, on the evidence, to be true? I have every reason to hate guns — I was raised to find them suspicious and unsavoury — but I don’t. Because ultimately, they are the citizen’s last resort.

    You’re right about one thing, Amanda: no Texan I know (and that’s plenty) would disagree with you. Every one of them owns enough guns to stage a civil war in many small third-world dictatorships.

    Many’s the late night I’ve had with them debating the point. I could also relate some gun stories they’ve told me that would make your hair stand on end. One, in fact, swears he’s been to this (though Snopes claims it’s a hoax) – Oz

  34. Ozboy says:

    The best way to deal with an armed assailant: fight the battle on your own ground. Turn it into a battle of minds…

  35. Kitler says:

    Well guns can also lead to people killing other people over parking spaces as they did here locally an unarmed man was shot because the gun owners feelings were upset sorry was feeling threatened. He got away with it probably because he was better connected than the man killed. Over a parking space. Both were white. Justice is very unfair here in the South. The man should have gone to jail for manslaughter at the very least, the precedent set is it’s okay to shoot people if they upset you for not getting your way.

    I’m glad you’ve made that point, mate. Now I don’t have to. It isn’t the law that needs to change – it’s the culture. And that’s where the rights-responsibilities nexus comes in – Oz

  36. Luton Ian says:

    re your claim that armed citizens don’t stop mass shooters.

    did you read the extent of under reporting / to downright obfuscation when it does occur?

    From my earlier post, refering to media reports of the Appalachian Law School shootings in 2002 John R Lott’s analysis of media coverage.
    “Since the first news search was done, additional news stories have been added to Nexis:
    There are thus now 218 unique stories, and a total of 294 stories counting duplicates (the stories in yellow were duplicates.) Here is the Excel file for general overview and also specific stories. Explicit mentions of defensive gun use increase from 2 to 3 now.

    Lott went on to publish his studies of media under reporting and bias in book as well as academic paper form

    just to update your excel table a little further, one from late 2007
    Jeanne Assam (she’s blonde…) took down a mass shooter who’d already killed in the parking lot of the New Life Church, in Colorado Springs.

    Media coverage at the time tried to demonise Mz Assam. She is an ex cop – the media trawled through why she left the cops, the media also tried to obfuscate the point that she had ended the rampage as the perp suicided when he was taken down, so, according to their line of twisted thinking -she didn’t actually end the rampage.

    re; using mother jones as a reliable source of info on mass shootings; see John R Lott (one of the top academic researchers in the field)’s take on mother jones coverage of him:

    The Appalachian Law school shooting is pretty much the exception that proves the rule. That poor goose Odighizuwa walks in there and starts shooting away, not realizing the “citizen” students Bridges, Gross and Besen who came after him were actually all trained police officers! Besen, the guy who tackled him and knocked him to the ground, was also a former U.S. Marine – perhaps Mr Lott didn’t read that bit. 🙄

    Remember I said at the top that I think 99.7% of us are better off not carrying weapons around town? Well, those guys are the 0.3%. The exception that proves the rule.

    Once again – for the last time, I hope – I’m not claiming that armed citizens can’t stop mass killings, and indeed break-ins and other crime. Just that the hard evidence suggests pretty conclusively they don’t (please don’t continue to confuse the two). Almost never. I uphold the right of citizens to bear arms, as strongly as you do. But I recognize this is a faulty justification for it, and to continue to raise it simply hands gun-control statists a free gift, and another excuse to brand us as nutters – Oz

    UPDATE: having never read Lott’s book myself (or in fact heard of him at all), and as you’ve posted a graphic ad for it on my blog, I thought I would do a bit of reading up on him – just to be fair. Lott, it would seem, does have his detractors, including some academics who have pretty thoroughly deconstructed his earlier, largely statistical work “More Guns, Less Crime”. Others have noted with raised eyebrows, the principal benefactor of Lott’s fellowship at the University of Chicago. Steven Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) was actually sued by Lott when he pointed out that Lott’s work was based on his own surveys which had not been published and/or could not be replicated (and the original data for which was, he claimed, lost in a hard disk crash; Lott couldn’t even recall the name of one student who helped with the survey and could thus verify it ever actually occurred!?!? The lawsuit was later, understandably, dismissed by the court. Perhaps Lott could find a new career at the UEA?).

    He does have strong support in the online community, though. In fact, his most vocal supporter appears to be a former graduate student of his, Mary Rosh, who seems to have made it her career to traverse the entire internet from end to end in lavish praise of Lott. Seeing her name appear in a seemingly endless list of user fora, I was moved to wonder: Is she a groupie, or a troll? A little more digging uncovered the truth: she’s neither.


  37. Luton Ian says:

    ok, last comment went over the top on number of links

    appalachian law school 2002 – mass shooting ended by armed by standers

    Colarado Springs Church shooting 2007, perp dropped by female member of congregation working as volounteer security guard

    Another trained police officer – not a civilian. I’m afraid you’re proving my point, Ian.

    Look, as I understand it you can get trained up in armed combat in America without joining the police or the military – any number of private organisations offer such training. And that’s exactly what I would recommend to anyone seriously thinking of arming themselves for the purposes of self-defence.

    Just don’t be too eager – Oz

  38. Luton Ian says:

    almost forgot to remind everyone that cops are “The Only Ones ———- enough to”

    talk about opening your mouth and shooting yourself in the foot

  39. Luton Ian says:

    Using the US as an area where (in increasing numbers of states) there is signifficant gun availability

    If the prospect of being confronted by armed civillians doesn’t deter mass shootings, then as a null hypothesis we would expect (on the basis of equal visitor numbers) locations which guns are allowed and gun free/ defenceless victim zones to be equally targetted by mass shooters.

    they aren’t

    I was rather hoping to find the video version of this interview – I’ve seen it, but can’t find it now:

  40. Amanda says:

    Kitler: you besmirch the South. Justice does NOT favour killing people in car parks becasue they want your space: that is NOT justice in the South or anywhere in America. I can’t believe you would try to reduce the self-defence of a free people to such a scenario.

    I have a car-park story of my own, which I have reason to think is far more common and far more realistic. In Florida, we have a lot of out-of-staters, and Canadian ‘snowbirds’, for at least half the year. There are almost more out-of-state licence plates than Florida ones. Anyway, my h. was about to leave a supermarket car park when he saw an argument between two men. The apparent Canadian (Ontario licence plate) was incensed because, while he was preciously trying to back in to a spot, of which there were few, someone else had pipped him to the post. (Moral: never try preciously parking when people have little time and even fewer parking spots. I lost half and hour of my life when someone I was meeting couldn’t park in a multi-story car park and I could.)

    Anyway, the Canadian began to push and shove and yell at the other guy, who had done nothing wrong, but just been more sensible in the circs. (My h. explained that there were no bad guys, just the Canadian having a snitfit.) Hubby walked up to the two — the Canadian had actually laid both hands on the others’ arms — and said: ‘Look, if it would help, I’m just leaving, so one of you can have my spot’.

    This softened the tension. Canadian got in his car. As hubby pulled out, Canadian continued to be precious about the manner of parking. Someone else took the spot.

    Oz: I’m right about ONE thing?! I’m right!!!!!!!!!

  41. Amanda says:

    Oz thinks he has ‘hard evidence’ that armed citizens can’t prevent break-ins. With respect, I have to ask what funny gas he’s breathing. Britain, for instance, is a nation of sitting ducks; and so are any counties/states where the right to bear arms is abridged: why do you think the Boston bombers picked Massachusetts? Why do you think the Washington snipers were snipers, hiding out of sight? Yeah, because if there were in many other states in plain sight they would have been shot, soon as possible. You cannot prove the crimes that weren’t committed. And again: it is a fact: far fewer break-ins happen at night when homeowners are home in America than in Britain. That is why I sleep better here on the ground floor with open windows than I did there on the second floor with open windows!

    Deny, deny, deny. It’s the usual method. We’re all redneck hicks that love the smell of napalm in the morning. Except I’m not. And my husband was actually shot at. In fact, he told me tonight when I discussed this that the fact he tripped while running as the shot ran out might have saved his life. The bastard that fired the gun probably thought he was dying already.

  42. Amanda says:

    What I meant was: I can’t show you the number of crimes that weren’t committed because residents were armed.

  43. Amanda says:

    And: a bit garbled: if the Washington snipers in Washington had been in plain sight, they would have been popped — by somebody. Washington is the heart of American politics. They can’t afford to mess about.

  44. Amanda says:

    And another detail, that’s telling: my husband was attacked by refugees from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. There was a crime wave in Houston after we took them in. Draw your own conclusions.

  45. Amanda says:

    And a last comment before I leave this subject, on this thread.

    Trying to shoehorn the right of a free people to self-defence into the question of ‘whether they can stop mass-murderers in the midst of a bullet spray’ is the sort of tactic I’d expect Democrats to resort to.

    I do not support the American Bill of Rights because I want personally to stop a mass murderer in the midst of his murdering.

    I support the American Bill of Rights, item number two in this case, because I want to defend myself and those I care about.

    That’s it.

    Attack that, if you can. If you dare.

  46. Kitler says:

    amanda…”I have a car-park story of my own, which I have reason to think is far more common and far more realistic.”
    My story was from the local news and very real speaking of justice…..

  47. Kitler says:

    amanda while your wish to defend yourself is okay with me the reason for arming bears is that the need to over throw a tyrannical government will always be with us, best to have the tools to do it.

  48. Mark says:

    The 2nd Amendment is about guns?

    I always thought it was about short-sleeved shirts.

    LOL – Oz 😆

  49. Mrs Oz says:

    Happy 50th birthday Oz. Wishing you have another happy 50 more.

    Who could ask for more – happy wife, amazing kids and a life filled with love and butterfly kisses.

    Lots of Love, Mrs Oz, Oz Jr. and Ozgirl.

    Thanks darling

    I’m off for the day everyone. Normal service will be resumed in 24 hours – Oz

  50. Kitler says:

    Well happy birthday as well. Hope you had a great day.

  51. meltemian says:

    Happy Birthday from me too…….and many more of them.
    Have a terrific day however you spend it.
    (Thanks for the tip-off Mrs. Oz’)

  52. Ozboy says:

    Thanks M and K.

    Check out this story about airport security in the U.S.:

    Airport security staff in the US uncovered a record 65 firearms on passengers boarding planes last week, surpassing the previous record of 50 firearms.

    The Transportation Security Administration reported 54 of the weapons found at airport security checkpoints around the country were loaded and 19 of those had rounds chambered.

    I don’t know how many of those were just people who habitually carry firearms and simply forgot about them when they got to the airport? Or how many of them had bad intentions? Surely, those figures would indicate statistically that a) plenty of firearms are still slipping through the net and making their way onto commercial passenger aircraft, and b) it’s only a matter of time until a terrorist gets one on board; particularly if they can be constructed of printable plastic. I don’t know enough about materials science to know whether it’s possible to make a non-metallic bullet, but someone’s going to do it eventually. And no, the solution is most definitely NOT to arm everyone else on board, whatever others may think!

    Even if you discount the possibility of terrorism, those figures point to something wider that is missing from the gun debate. Nineteen of the sixty-five weapons found, or 29%, had rounds chambered! In my article at the top, I tried to initiate at least some discussion of the responsibilities associated with firearm ownership: licensing requirements, safe handling and storage of firearms, and so on. But all we ever hear about is rights, rights, rights. People wandering round casually carrying guns with rounds chambered (or forgetting they are even carrying a weapon at all!) tells me that there is indisputably a great deal of irresponsible firearms ownership going around. I wonder, for example, how many of those people, without looking it up, know the eight basic rules of safe firearms handling? As police are all too aware, virtually all accidental firearms deaths occur at the hands of the gun everyone knew was unloaded.

  53. Kitler says:

    To be honest most people should never be allowed to carry firearms as there are a serious number of people who are not carrying a full hod of bricks or one sandwich short of a picnic. Look at the police here full of control freaks and sociopaths with some serious issues. However it’s not an ideal world and the only reason people here are allowed to bear arms is purely to overthrow a “Gubmn’t” if it becomes tyrannical (which is the last 150 years of the republic) so why bother to be honest. Any government that follows that path eventually collapses through it’s own internal contradictions and corruption.

    Well, I’ve stated I support the right to bear arms. Just that I don’t advise exercising that right in most cases. But as you’ve seen, even that caveat offends some people. That’s why at the top I made a point of mentioning cultural context. Forget guns – some people shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

    A long time ago, I knew these two guys who were both security professionals. Giant men, both highly trained and licensed to carry handguns. I’ll call them B1 and B2 (Aussies will get the joke). B1 was a black belt in I can’t remember what Asian martial art, and B2 had been a professional boxer. Both did security gigs with and without guns. I had the same conversation with both of them at various times, and both of them recoiled in horror at the thought of being on the door of an Aussie pub at closing hour with everyone inside packing a six-shooter: Aussie beer isn’t American beer, you know. In fact, both of them told me that if handguns ever became universally legal in Australia, they would quit the industry.

    Some years later, B1 foiled an armed robbery at the venue he was guarding – chased the crooks out into the street and had an old fashioned, movie-style shootout. Killed one and wounded the other. Was all over the newspapers and he was hailed a hero. B2, about a year afterwards, got himself into a spot of bother outside a nightclub, after a patron died in controversial circumstances. He was never charged, but was subsequently quietly forced out of the industry.

    I would have loved to invite either B1 or B2 onto the blog to relate their views first-hand but, you see, neither of them is with us any longer. Newspapers are such wimps when it comes to reporting the S-word, preferring instead such circumlocutions as “a man was found dead”, “self-inflicted gunshot wound”, “a police spokesman confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances”, and “if you are distressed, call Lifeline on this toll-free number”. But that’s another piper that has to be paid – one way or the other. I’m glad I no longer work in a job that requires me to use force, because I have no way of knowing how I’d cope with causing the loss of another human being’s life, either – Oz

  54. Ozboy says:

    Here’s another story from my neck of the woods:

    Police have issued an unprecedented warning for gun owners to keep quiet about their firearms because of fears their homes are being targeted by thieves.

    The warning comes as concern continues to mount about gun crime in Tasmania.

    Detective-Inspector Scott Flude said: “People who own guns don’t need to be openly talking about it because that information does get back to the criminal element”

  55. Amanda says:

    Belated happy birthday to Ozboy. 50, eh? Gosh, makes me feel quite juvenile ;^)

    Thanks Amanda; I’m getting used to the idea – Oz

    In fact, I’m reminded of Ginger Spice’s maxim: “you’re only as old as the girl you feel”. Which makes me – ahem – considerably younger 😉

  56. meltemian says:

    ………………….makes me feel old!!

    Naaah… you’re just a spring chicken, Mel – Oz 🙂

  57. Amanda says:

    Oz: Well, aside from the fact that ’50 is the new 40′, or whatever — but seriously, if we were Tudor people (for instance) we’d both be feeling a lot worse by now, and probably always — you are not exactly emaciated and muscle-shrivelled, are you? (He’s a bit shy, folks. Ex-bouncer among other things, but doesn’t like to blow his own horn etc.) Put it this way: you have about 150 years to go before you start looking like Woody Allen. And I’m not even talking about the ‘bald spot’:

    Age creeps up on you gradually.

    For example, I spent today moving the tree I showed you being felled the other week:

    Tree trunk moving

    These trunk sections weigh upwards of 200 kg (440 lbs) each, and getting them up onto the back of the ute by hand is a rather interesting exercise! Yet I seemed to be able to manage it as well as I did twenty years ago.

    The difference comes afterwards: it’s now after 5pm down here, and every muscle in my body aches! I think I need to soak in a hot bath. I hope I can get out after – Oz 😮

  58. Amanda says:

    Blimey. Love the song, but wrong link.


    Hmmm – third time lucky? Oz

  59. Amanda says:

    Further thought about aging. The young don’t think it will really happen to them. They get older in the good sense: bigger boobs, more voluptuous (eventually, maybe), taller (not in my case!), able to vote (yes, thank god), drive, drink (double dittos), and get married (wonderful, except when it isn’t). Aging is a kind of perfecting when you’re very young. Every new birthday is a further rung UP the ladder.

    And then you arrive.

    Now you are aware that you’re at the top, and the ladder, to the extent that there IS one, is going down….

    But one thing I’ve learned about aging (and I can still remember my much older beloved — older than my parents — saying to me ‘you’re worried about aging at 30?!’) is that 1) if you want to stay alive, it’s GOING to happen to you. All these smug 20-year-olds: I’ll see ya in 20 more years and see how smug you feel then. And 2) Life is much more a game of swings and roundabouts than of sheer upward mobility or sheer decline.

    There are some ways in which I would never, ever, ever want to be 20 again. My god, was I naive… and was that innocence exploited! (An innocence, I must say, that was made all the surer because in those days we had no Internet.) It was probably just as well that I had no idea what jungle of life and emotion I was about to embark on, the hair-raising nature of it all. I think I would have died of heart failure.

    In my late thirties, I rather liked the idea of being an old crone. Someone that had not only seen it, done it, and bought the t-shirt, but had flown above Niagara Falls in a bi-plane being desperate the whole time for a loo. I mean: how many people can say THAT? (Extremely embarrassing: but I did cause an emergency landing on an unbooked airfield at the pilot’s expense, and had to wee like a racehorse behind the first bush!).

    I’ve had a tremendously romantic life. I long: the longed thing runs away or turns out to be a dalek with acne. When you’re 18, you’re still a princess waiting to be discovered. I’m glad I’ve got the recovery stage over with and am now on to more rewarding things….

    You mentioned Woody Allen earlier; I think it was he who remarked, “growing old isn’t so bad, when you consider the alternative” – Oz

  60. Kitler says:

    Well had the silent ambulance and firetruck outside the apartment tonight which means someone died and we don’t have anyone really old here, so make the most of what life gives you and hug the ones you love. So eat drink and be merry and “if you feel the sun on your face and in green fields do not be troubled for you are in Elysium and are already dead”.

  61. farmerbraun says:

    It’s not that I’m so cheerful, though I’ll always raise a smile
    And if at times my nonsense rhymes then I’ll stand trial
    My friends are all around me but they only breathe through fear
    Were I to cry, I’m sure that still they’d never see a tear

    In darkness through my being here, away from you
    The bright light of your star confronts me shining through

    Dull and sullen, much subdued, my skull a stony glaze
    Whirlpools rage on constantly, I’m not so well these days
    There must be something somewhere near who sees what’s being done
    The harbour lights are burning bright, my wax is almost run

    Come lollard, raise your lute and sing, and to my ears her beauty bring
    Like Maddox in the days of old we’ll feast and drink until we fold
    And folding still we’ll spare a thought for what’s been lost and what’s been caught
    And maybe then begin again for love is life, not poison

    Thanks FB – I’m aching that little bit less now – Oz

  62. Amanda says:

    Kitler: If I feel the sun on my face it’ll mean eight new freckles by the morning. I have learned to HIDE from the tropical sun as if it were the lergie. Or lurgie. I never knew how it’s spelled. (It was probably never meant to be spelled.)

    Oz: True.

  63. Amanda says:

    Oz: The Woody Allen clip, which plays fine for me but not for you, is the man-in-front-of-camera chat that opens Annie Hall.

    Here’s the transcript of the first part:

    FADE IN:

    Abrupt medium close-up of Alvy Singer doing a comedy monologue. He
    wearing a crumbled sports jacket and tieless shirt; the background is stark.

    There’s an old joke. Uh, two elderly
    women are at a Catskills mountain
    resort, and one of ’em says: “Boy, the
    food at this place is really terrible.”
    The other one says, “Yeah, I know, and
    such … small portions.” Well, that’s
    essentially how I feel about life. Full
    of loneliness and misery and suffering
    and unhappiness, and it’s all over much
    too quickly. The-the other important
    joke for me is one that’s, uh, usually
    attributed to Groucho Marx, but I think
    it appears originally in Freud’s wit and
    its relation to the unconscious. And it
    goes like this-I’m paraphrasing: Uh …
    “I would never wanna belong to any club
    that would have someone like me for a
    member.” That’s the key joke of my adult
    life in terms of my relationships with
    women. Tsch, you know, lately the
    strangest things have been going
    through my mind, ’cause I turned forty,
    tsch, and I guess I’m going through a
    life crisis or something, I don’t know.
    I, uh … and I’m not worried about aging.
    I’m not one o’ those characters, you know.
    Although I’m balding slightly on top, that’s
    about the worst you can say about me. I,
    uh, I think I’m gonna get better as I get
    older, you know? I think I’m gonna be the-
    the balding virile type, you know, as
    opposed to say the, uh, distinguished
    gray, for instance, you know? ‘Less I’m
    neither o’ those two. Unless I’m one o’
    those guys with saliva dribbling out of
    his mouth who wanders into a cafeteria
    with a shopping bag screaming about

  64. Amanda says:

    The ‘tsch’ is a bit odd. So are the o’s without a consonant. I didn’t make the transcript.

  65. Amanda says:

    Oz: YOU lifted THAT?!!!!! And you’re still alive?!!!!!

  66. Amanda says:

    Okay, now that I’ve recovered from contemplating Oz’s Houdini-like feat, message for Farmer Brown/Braun/Broughn. See the juke box, if you like.

  67. benfrommo says:

    Oh boy, my comment was deleted by spy ware again. (I keep getting new goodies from WUWT of all places.)

    I was going to go into detail on the philosophy and on my views, but to shorten it just in case it happens again, I prefer Benjamin Franklin’s views where you never give an inch of freedom for temporary gain. What is the point of gaining temporary safety when the criminals will just find a new way to cause mischeif? A competent and well-regulated militia made up of every citizen is the ultimate crime stoppers. If everyone is armed well and is trained in dealing with situations, what is the harm in people owning even larger arms? If the Government regulates such things properly the costs of higher end weapons ensures that its a small problem. Perhaps nukes should be regulated very well (if allowing citizens to have them at all) but that is a seperate issue from say normal arms. After all, most of the cannons used in the revolutionary war were privately owned and there was never an outcry by wimps that such cannons were “assault cannons”. They were celebrated for what they helped achieve.

    And this is the entire point of gun control. But if you ask me, gun control is one of those things that is going to go the way of the dodo eventually. 3D printing is going to make this entire conversation obsolete at some point and there is no way the Government can ever hope to control technology. Just like in the revolutionary war era when every small town had a person who was a gunsmith and who could make his own guns, this is what 3d printing is going to achieve. Its a new society basically coming up. I give it 10 years before it really gets cracking, but this technology will destroy any attempt to control arms minus nukes and full-sized jet fighters of course. But what about making your own personal drone? This is fairly easy, and you could even set it up with a small gun plus smart-phone so that anyone could print off a working drone that takes video, pictures and can be controlled from the ground. It can also fire guns. This of course is going to cause problems unless the citizenry is well informed and knows how to deal with this themselves. You can not have the Government protect you from every conceivable issue with technology.

    The only solution for Government is to regulate this well. Control is impossible, but you can regulate the citizens by educating them and forcing them to shoot actual guns at targets and teaching them personal responsibility. For years, father imported this knowledge onto son, but after years of living in a nanny state, lots of this knowledge has been lost and the Government had BETTER be able to educate every child on proper ettiquete and proper law-abiding techniques for firearms or we will have serious issues. But than again, most politicians would never try to solve an actual problem and instead I bet they try to “ban technology” once again because it might “be used wrongly”.

    G’day Ben,

    This sounds very much like the discussions I’ve had with my Texan friends. On some points I’m completely with you: you’ll never keep guns away from criminals, and laws only keep them away from the law-abiding; 3D printing of guns, particularly when the technology improves, will make any laws obsolete anyway; if the Second Amendment enshrines your right to a handgun, then it also enshrines your right to a bazooka. And above all, if all that Liberty leads to a citizenry armed to the teeth (and it has), then the inculcation of personal responsibility, right from childhood, is the only solution.

    On others, I tend to think it’s a matter of horses for courses. As I’ve said above, I understand and respect the American position, in light of its history and culture. But for us down here in Australia, I happen to agree with this article written by former Prime Minister John Howard, who as I wrote above was instrumental in implementing a re-writing of our state firearms laws after 1996 – Oz

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