Sunday, May 27, 2012

License to kill

Have you ever seen someone drive too fast through your neighborhood? Of course you have. We all have.

So what did you do? Did you track them down and kill them? You didn't even consider doing that, I'll bet - not seriously, at least.

Have you ever seen someone driving erratically? Did you follow them home and shoot them? Did you even think about it? Too bad you didn't have your gun handy, isn't it?

Have you ever been in a fist fight? Who died? Oh, no one died?

I once worked with a man who sucker-punched another man outside a bar. My co-worker got his ass kicked. (It couldn't have happened to anyone who deserved it more.) He did get his nose broken, and needed medical attention. But no one died. No one was even threatened with death.

I've seen other fights - dumb, drunken things, usually. (I haven't been in a fight myself since I was 13, I think.) No one died. And the vast majority of people were smart enough to avoid them. It is, after all, a remarkably dumb thing to do.

But not as dumb as taking your gun and looking for trouble, no matter how brave your gun makes you feel.

Obviously, not every person with a concealed carry permit is going to do this, and certainly not every gun owner. But having a gun at hand makes it very easy to be stupid. And it seems to me that you're not going to be carrying a gun at all unless you're easily frightened. Or maybe you've just been watching too much television.

The question to ask is what kind of society we want. I prefer civilization, myself. Criminals with guns don't scare me nearly as much as morons with guns. (And the more guns, the more likely criminals will be armed, too.)

Of course, I'm not likely to take the law into my own hands. And I don't want some random idiot on the street to be doing that, either.

You can already defend yourself, with or without a gun. We don't need these "shoot first" laws. If you really want to shoot people, join the army.


Tango Juliet said...

Maybe you need to watch more TV?

CBS News

Tango Juliet said...

An expert explains Stand Your Ground laws:

Massad Ayoob

Able said...

Seriously? I'd have to question your assumptions.

"And the more guns, the more likely criminals will be armed, too." No! the fewer guns the more likely it is that an armed criminal (as they will always have access) will be targeting an unarmed victim!

I'm a nurse and live in the UK (no legal firearms, no legal knives even, and with the self-defence laws as applied by the police and courts no right to that either). How does that work out then? The result is that we have a significant number of shootings, but regularly (as in every shift in a relatively small cities A&E dept. and having worked in a no. of London A&E depts. I can attest to their considerably worse experiences) we have people (usually old, frail or women) robbed, beaten, raped, and yes occasionally killed (amazing that even without firearms they can be stabbed, beaten or simply punched/kicked to death). I don't know a single elderly person who would even consider walking out at night on their own, is this acceptable? (have a look at the crime statistics for rape, assault, robbery of a person, in the UK - and just how many firearms crimes in a country with zero legal weapons?).

What is the current population of the US? What percentage have access to a firearm? Then consider how many actual abuses of this access occur (not even considering the numbers who protect themselves from crime). To equate the actions of a tiny minority of criminals as a reason to remove everybody's right to defend themselves is simply foolish.

I (as a 6' 5" male) haven't been attacked (well except for at work) either (mainly by avoiding areas and situations) but statistically I'm in the tiniest minority even here. If attacked I have some small chance of defending myself too. Does this mean that a frail elderly lady should be barred from having the, only realistic, means to defend herself, a firearm?

A surprising number of people here look at your self-defence laws with unabashed envy. Yes, they can be abused, but idiots and criminals exist everywhere and the laws patently do not allow, and punish, stupidity, vigilantism and thuggish behaviour.

Maybe you've been lucky in your own experiences, you could at least consider that maybe others have reason to be concerned about their own safety, and the simple self-respect and responsibility to do something about it, the overwhelming majority doing so in a legal, responsible and entirely unreported manner.

Just Sayin'

WCG said...

Able, be careful what you wish for. A quick look at comparative statistics shows that gun violence in America is far and away higher than what you experience in your own country.

Furthermore, my own mother is a "frail elderly lady," and if you think she could defend herself by carrying a gun in her purse, you're living in a fantasy world. Honestly, that's just laughable.

If the elderly are afraid to walk alone at night, that's a shame, and it really needs to be addressed. But handing them a gun isn't going to change that.

Note that you say you haven't been attacked yourself, "mainly by avoiding areas and situations" - which is exactly what intelligent people do. So, what? Hand you a gun and you'll start acting like a macho idiot? Thanks. You just made my point.

I can't speak for the UK, but there's no question here about outlawing guns or anything like that. In fact, even sensible gun control laws are politically out of the question these days. But as I say, I'd look at America and be very careful what you wish for!

45er said...

As long as blunt force trauma continues to show up as a cause of death on death certificates, your assumption that someone getting sucker punched or getting their "ass kicked" isn't under threat of death is laughable. Seeing a few fights that only resulted in hospitalization doesn't mean that everyone wants to just hope that when someone jumps them they might make it out alive. Talk to the Florida A&M Band member's family about how getting beat up isn't potentially deadly. I also enjoy your idea of giving over a good portion of society to criminals because they are considered "bad areas" where nice, clean, sociable people shouldn't dare to tread. You may not really realize what an offensive statement that is to a good portion of people. There are people that have to live and work in areas like that, so what is their option? Hope that their next beat-down is a basket full of kittens as you seem to think it is? Your statement that you'd rather have criminals with guns than "morons" definitely says to me everything that is needed to know. Good job on that. Your preference is the person you know would use deadly force to harm a law-abiding citizen than someone that may make a poor decision. Bravo. In addition your premise that it makes someone a moron to use deadly force to defend oneself against a physical assault based on a few personal experiences is irresponsible and flat wrong. Just like breaking into someone's house, jumping and physically assaulting a law-abiding citizen may carry consequences you don't want to deal with. Therefore, I recommend criminals and thugs get out of their line of business.

Tango Juliet said...

And Switzerland, which has all kinds of guns, including full auto "assault rifles" in most homes, has one of the lowest murder rates in the world.

How do you explain that?

Now, because your mother is a "frail, elderly lady" doesn't mean we should deny all "frail, elderly ladies" an effective means of self-defense. A gun levels the playing field and all responsible, mature adults should have that choice. It's their choice to make, not yours.

And how do you know that "handing them a gun" isn't going to change that? What makes you an expert on this subject? Your opinion of the NRA?

And then, naturally, you go on to assume that handing "Able' a gun will make him "act like a macho idiot." Again, you assume much and know so very little about permit holders.

What makes you such an expert? You really need to get out more.


WCG said...

You can be killed by a pillow, 45er. Does that mean we should arm our soldiers with pillows instead of guns? That would be a lot cheaper, wouldn't it?

Or maybe we should just let them use their fists. After all, what's the difference? A fist to the head or a bullet to the head is all the same, right? Guns don't kill people, people kill people. :D

Re. "giving over a good portion of society to criminals," do you really think that's our only other option? I can't even begin to explain how wrong that is (frankly, I just don't have the time to address something so obvious).

And did you even watch the video? I'm reminded of a friend who told me that he never got his car stuck until he bought a four-wheel drive. Apparently, that caused him to turn his brain off, getting him in more problems than he ever had previously.

I'm not against guns - gun-owners aren't always gun nuts - but I do think they turn all too many people into morons. And I'm certainly against these idiotic "stand your ground" laws, since we already have the right to self-defense.

WCG said...

Still riding that hobbyhorse, Tango Juliet? Do you have anything new to say, or are you just trolling?

Mike W. said...

I recall a case around here where some guy sucker punched another guy. Guy #2 got hit, fell, and his head hit a concrete block, killing him instantly.

Head injuries are serious. Mounting someone and beating on them, bashing their head on the pavement is reason enough to shoot in self-defense.

WCG - A gun is an inanimate object. A piece of steel, aluminum and plastic. It has no intent nor can it do anything without both intent and conscious manipulation by a human being. Morons will be morons. Guns do not turn them into such any more than blogger turned you into a moron.

Tango Juliet said...

Nothing else you post interests me.

But in case you're interested, I think you're wrong about most everything else too.

WCG said...

Mike, a hydrogen bomb is an inanimate object. It has no intent, nor can it do anything without the conscious intent of a human being. So what? Does that mean we should have no restrictions on nukes?

And most people aren't morons (speaking colloquially, of course) all the time. I've know people whose cars seemed to turn them into morons. I've known people whose girlfriends seemed to turn them into morons.

Now, maybe the people in this video were morons before they got a gun, I don't know. But that's supposed to make me feel better?

WCG said...

Heh, heh. Thanks, Tango Juliet. Somehow, that encourages me. :)

And you might understand, then, why this constant harping on one subject bores me so. I know it's your hobbyhorse, but it's not mine.

I welcome comments, but after awhile, it turns into trolling. I find most things interesting, and these things are in the news right now (I post video clips as I find them). But I really don't share your obsession with this subject, so it quickly gets boring.

I appreciate your comments, but I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

Tango Juliet said...

Regardless of my "obsessions" or my "hobbyhorses" that doesn't change the fact that the Swiss, despite being a pretty heavily armed society, continue to enjoy one of the lowest murder rates in the world. It doesn't change the fact that "cowardly, insecure, swaggering, macho, moron" permit holders, as a group, are the most law abiding citizens in the US.

You seem, at times, able to grasp the concept that it takes a human to transform an inanimate object into a weapon, (and regardless, the true weapon lies between the ears) yet you continue to rail against inanimate objects (or the carrying thereof.) The experience of Swiss model and the US CCW permit holder crime stats CLEARLY indicate that it's not accessibility to firearms that drives murder/crime rates.

That realization beats the living daylights out of the old "guns equal crime" theory, doesn't it? It should make one think that there are other, much more significant, factors at work, shouldn't it?

Believe it or not, I believe I have an open mind about this entire CCW/SYG thing. I'm entirely open to a reasonable, factually based argument against CCW. I'm still waiting for one of you anile handwringers to produce solid evidence that CCW/SYG laws have had an overall negative effect on society. Put aside your feelings and emotions for once and produce some evidence. Do permit holders commit 30% of the murders in TN? Do permit holders commit 14% of assaults in LA? Do permit holders commit 25% of rape in TX? Are 42% of all permits issued in MI revoked after one year? Two years? Did crime rates spike in MN after CCW was enacted? I'd like to know.

That kind of stuff could convert me, but your contempt, nah, not so much.

"Though defensive violence will always be 'a sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men."- St. Augustine

Able said...

I am careful, very careful, what I wish for!

"gun violence in America is far and away higher than what you experience in your own country"

A fallacy, examine the availability of firearms in comparison (literally NO citisen here legally owns a handgun, how many used each year?). And if no firearm is available? The criminals will use anything else at hand. Look at the relative rates of assault and say you have it worse.

"if you think she could defend herself by carrying a gun in her purse, you're living in a fantasy world"

No, amazing as it may seem this is exactly what happens in many countries around the world regularly. Old frail elderly, women, disabled, etc. defend themselves from predatory (usually young, fit, strong) criminals. Saying it isn't so doesn't make it true.

"mainly by avoiding areas and situations" - what this means in reality is that I (as youngish fit male) must not go out on an evening, period. And you want this situation?

"you'll start acting like a macho idiot?"

This is where you've illustrated your real opinion. I am a law-abiding citisen, why do you assume that simply by being in possession of a tool I would suddenly turn into a rampant psychopath? Do you feel you would do so? No, then why will everyone else?

Perhaps if the normal law-abiding people had the means to defend themselves if attacked then they would be more likely to continue on with their lives, and as a consequence the streets would no longer be the sole preserve of the criminals (and no before you jump onto some vigilante, mass-murder scenario, it means simply returning to normality where the bad-behaviour is the minority and prevented by good people).

"even sensible gun control laws"

What is that then? At risk of sounding facetious, but only the law-abiding obey laws! You can make as many laws as you like and the criminals WILL have guns (see here in the UK where even knives are illegal). The issue is, are you deliberately advocating disarming the law-abiding to leave them vulnerable? As I've said, it has happened already here, the consequence? Is it crime free? Is it safer? No, the criminals still have a (restricted) access to guns, they are still big, young thugs whilst the rest of us are simply at their mercy.

At least think it through!

WCG said...

You're mistaking me, Tango Juliet. I'm just saying that your obsession with your hobbyhorse here is boring me to death.

But you just can't give it a rest, can you? That's obsession! That's where the phrase "gun nut" came from. You've said all of these things over and over again, in several posts. You're becoming a troll, rather than a commenter. I answered politely at first, but I can't be bothered to repeat myself.

If I have any contempt for you, it's for this reason, no other. You're entitled to your own opinions. But are you entitled to bore me to death by repeating them over and over again?

WCG said...

A nuclear bomb is just a tool, Able. Just by possession of that tool, would you turn into a raging psychopath? Probably not. So should there be no restrictions on nuclear bombs then?

After all, hydrogen bombs don't kill people. People kill people. And if you outlaw nukes, only outlaws will have nukes. Think it through.

Re. that "macho idiot" stuff, did you even watch the video? Somehow, I doubt it. Otherwise, you might understand my point.

I'm sorry that Britain is such a post-apocalyptic hellhole, where good people are actually the minority, but I can't speak to the reasons for that. I've never even been there. (Oddly enough, the British people I correspond with have never mentioned being so terrified.) But you'll have to argue with your own citizens, not me, if you expect to change that.

Here, there's no question of "disarming the law-abiding." Heck, there's hardly even any question about sensible gun control laws, not these days. But inevitably, as soon as you bring up even the slightest regulations - re. automatic weapons, registration, weapon and ammo ID, etc. - the gun nuts generally leap to "they're coming to get my guns!"

Well, as I say, they've won. It's not even worth my time to address this, because there's not the slightest chance that we Americans will get sensible about it. (And no, by that I don't mean making all guns illegal!)

Oddly enough, winning hasn't made them any less hysterical, though. Well, I have to think that irrational fear is ingrained in some people. In America, at least, nothing works better in politics than pushing fear (usually racially-tinged fear).

But that's another subject. Clearly, we'll have to agree to disagree about this. As I say, though, I can't speak for your country. You'll have to talk to your own people about that. So I guess you'll have to do without my advice. :)

Tango Juliet said...

You were offering insult and derision long before I overstayed my welcome here. Now you're offering poor excuses.

I seek the truth. I like to challenge those who believe differently than I to provide me with data derived from actual experience, not conjecture, not opinions, to help me understand the other side.

That's my obsession.

Your answers did not satisfy me. I gave you a chance. Honest data does not support your opinions, yet you continue to ridicule those who disagree with you.

I'll stop now as it's become painfully obvious I'll find nothing new here.

All the best to you and yours!

WCG said...

Right. Well, your answers didn't satisfy me, either, Tango Juliet. Sometimes, we have to agree to disagree. Indeed, most of the time that's how these discussions end up. How can that surprise you?

Anyway, thanks for the comments,... and for stopping, eventually. :)

Anonymous said...

It's pretty clear you've never had a knife or gun shoved in your (or a loved ones) face, demading money or you'd get your head blown off. And even should you cooperate, you still might get your head blown off. Or raped, tortured and then get your head blown off.

Be a victim or know one really well just once, and you'll change your mind. I know I did. I carry every day. So do family members. You might call us alot of things for doing so, but "victim" isn't one of them.

Anonymous said...

You've been sucked right into the media conviction of Zimmerman. Just look at happy littel Trayvon. Doesn't he look... innocent?

Why don't you publish the one of little Trayvon flipping off the camera instead? You know, the recent picture. Or maybe the You Tube Video of little Trayvon partcipating in a parking lot fight club. Oh, didn't see that? You had to be quick. You Tube censored that one not too long after it was posted...

You might not beleive in guns. Unfortunatly, the bad guys do.

And yes, it was disgusting and wildly inappropriate of our president to state "if I had a son he'd look like Trayvon". I guess he'd already decided on Zimmermans guilt too. How crass of a sitting presiden to say that.

WCG said...

You might be right, Anonymous. Traumatic events are traumatic, I'm sure. I can understand being afraid after something like that. It must be hard to feel safe afterwards.

Of course, if you did have a gun shoved in your face, having a gun of your own would do you no good at all. Even if you did have one, you'd be less likely to get shot if you cooperated. But feelings are feelings, and fear is not usually something you can reason away.

As I say, if something really traumatic happened to me, I might indeed be changed by that. But right now, I recognize how unlikely such a thing would be. I wouldn't plan my life around winning the lottery, and I wouldn't plan it around getting tortured and murdered, either - for pretty much the same reason.

But I'm very sorry you had to suffer through something like that. It must be very frightening.

WCG said...

Yes, Trayvon was black, so clearly he must have been guilty of... something, huh? "Walking while black"? Is that enough for a death sentence?

Trayvon flipping off the camera? Well, that's enough reason to shoot him dead right there, isn't it? Why even bother waiting?

He got into fights? Well, then, why worry that he wasn't doing anything wrong? He clearly needed shooting, because he was bound to do something bad sooner or later, right?

And yeah, it's really crass, isn't it, to say of a 17-year-old unarmed shooting victim (who happened to be walking down a sidewalk, peacefully minding his own business) that you feel for his parents? How dare Obama say something like that! Didn't he know that Trayvon was BLACK, and therefore not deserving of life?

45er said...

I think this makes it quite obvious who has racial motivations. WCG, your response to Anon has almost no bearing on anything he stated. It is always astounding to see the giant leaps people will take to believe someone is racist.

WCG said...

Giant leaps? Heh, heh. Hardly. In fact, if you actually believe that, 45er, I'd say you're willfully blind, not willing to acknowledge the obvious.

Can you imagine any other president - any white president - being criticized for expressing such sympathy for the parents of an unarmed 17-year-old white shooting victim?

Trayvon Martin was targeted because he was black. That's not even in dispute, I think. Whether or not George Zimmerman is guilty of a crime is a matter for the courts to decide. But Martin was simply walking down the sidewalk, minding his own business. And now he's dead.

You may not care about that, but don't you feel any sympathy for his parents? Do you actually think that the president expressing such sympathy is inappropriate? No other president would have been criticized for something like that, not one.