Let’s arm the firemen now!

This just happened within the last few hours: according to The New York Times, four volunteer firefighters, responding to a blazing house and car in Rochester, New York, were fired upon. The unknown gunman or gunmen killed two of the firefighters and seriously wounded the other two:

“One or more shooters” fired at the firefighters after they arrived shortly after 5:30 a.m. at the blaze near the Lake Ontario shore, just east of Rochester, Town of Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said.

The West Webster Fire District received a report of a car and house on fire on Lake Road, on a narrow peninsula where Irondequoit Bay meets Lake Ontario, Flynn said.

“When they got there, they stated to take on rounds and the initial responders were struck,” the sheriff said.

The two wounded firefighters were in critical condition at a Rochester hospital, Flynn said.

You know what’s next: calls to either arm the firefighters or put an armed guard (preferably with semiautomatic weapons) atop each fire truck.

My solution: ban all guns except for police, security guards, hunters (who have to keep them in a locked facility and check them in and out), and sports shooters, who must to keep their guns in locked safes at the sports facility.  Hikers in bear country can be an exception, but those guns also have to be kept in public safes.

177 Comments

  1. Posted December 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    But…but…but…if we don’t sell guns like candy, then the Kenyan atheist Muslim UN troops in black helicopters will make us worship Stalin! Won’t somebody please think of the gun manufacturer’s P&L statements?

    Oh — and, Jerry, I’m sure you’d add the military to your list…though, personally, I’d love to live in a world where soldiers fought with Nerf objects rather than bullets and bombs….

    b&

  2. Marta
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Why the exemption for hunters?

    It’s civilized in 21st century America to hunt down and kill an animal for the pleasure of it? And hunters’ needs/rights/desires to have their guns trumps mine–a woman who lives alone, and is a trained shooter?

    • freegrazer
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Maybe not for sport, but some people do actually eat and depend on food they can hunt, maybe not many, but some do. We could always get better with the bow and arrow, I suppose, but we might starve before we can hit anything, but I would like to have that skill, truth be told, I can’t hit anything with a gun either, but my husband is an excellent shot and skilled hunter.

      • Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        Presumably, you have no need for automatic weapons or high capacity magazines when you go hunting, though? Guns are legal for hunting here in the UK too, although there’s much less of it. I think it’s pretty much all single shot rifles and double-barrel shotguns, though.

        • freegrazer
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          Right, we don’t have any of those, but Jerry said to ban all guns.

          • Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

            True. I think there has to be a sensible middle ground. As an outsider, given the utterly horrifying gun murder/suicide rates in the US, any additional restriction would seem to be an improvement and save thousands of lives.

          • Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

            Does your husband really go hunting with something that shoots more than a half-dozen rounds before needing to be reloaded?

            If so, he’d probably be better served by trading it in for a tool designed for the job. Might even make a bit of a profit off the transaction.

            b&

          • truthspeaker
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

            Actually he didn’t. He did say hunters should have to keep theirs in a locked facility where they check them in and out, which I don’t agree with, but he didn’t say to ban all guns.

            • freegrazer
              Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

              If you go back and read, his solution actually does say ban all guns, it’s the very first line.

              • Marella
                Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

                That is quote mining, he said “all guns except for police, security guards, hunters (who have to keep them in a locked facility and check them in and out), and sports shooters, who must to keep their guns in locked safes at the sports facility. Hikers in bear country can be an exception, but those guns also have to be kept in public safes.”
                Your reply is disingenuous or you need to learn to read for comprehension. In fact this is pretty much the gun laws we have in Australia. They work fine.

              • freegrazer
                Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

                I didn’t actually realize it was quote mining to state the foundation of one’s solution and basic point, but soorrry for the quote mining and disingenuiousness. Reading for comprehension is not the problem, I was just not wanting to go into all the problems with the rest of the proposed exceptions that clearly make no sense. I will just deal with the one on hunting though the others have equal problems. A public safe where guns can be checked in and out, will there be time limits, will these be manned, how many will you have for a specific area, they would have to be located within each area. This clearly will not work for the people who live in wooded areas and hunt in their daily lives and not just for sport. The cost and logistics of such a program is not manageable. What you all may not understand is that big money is raised for the states through hunting permits and tags, huge money, the state governments depend on that money. Many of the hunters donate their deer meat to area food banks and literally tons of meat is given to hungry families with children, so there is a lot going on that you don’t consider.

        • gravelinspector
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          Guns are legal for hunting here in the UK too, although there’s much less of it.

          Much, much less of it. Largely because any beast that you see anywhere which isn’t a cat, has an owner, in law, and if you hunt it, then you’re committing theft (unless you’ve paid the owner or otherwise acquired permission before the event).
          Needless to say, it is economically infeasible to give such permission without renting the services of a “gamekeeper” for the day. So if you’re looking for a day of hunting that costs less than £1000 (~1400USD?), stroll on. Oh, don’t forget that you’ll be getting a weekend, minimum. And don’t forget to add on the hospitality charges (camping in wild country? Don’t make me laugh!).
          Bolt-action rifles though … definitely. And it’s a body-shot not a head-shot (no missing and breaking the jaw, to leave the beast to starve to death ; you’ll be paying the game-keeper’s hill fees to hunt the beast down over the rest of the week if you can’t shoot straight).

          • Posted December 25, 2012 at 12:51 am | Permalink

            Actually in some parts of the land there are quite a few well-established communities of wild boar. They’re quite big and nasty, and “belong” to nobody.

            • gravelinspector
              Posted December 25, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

              They’re quite big and nasty, and “belong” to nobody.

              Oh yes, I occasionally see mention of them from the country “dahn saarf”. I’m not aware of thme having come up to this side of the border yet.
              I’m surprised that no-one has started to sell trips to shoot them on particular people’s lands. I bet that someone does so soon though.
              Regardless – the landowners that they are on are liable for damage that they cause, so they’re going to have to do something to control them. The pigs are on their property, so they’re the landowner’s problem, and similarly the landowner will have the right to impose control measures to their desire.
              I don’t recall hearing of the hunting-shooting-fishing brigade trying to get an exemption to the hunting-with-dogs act in either England-Wales or Scotland, but that was a few years ago now, so it may well have been less of a problem then.
              How much of a problem is it? Googling, I see some reports from Turkey (where pigs were first domesticated, so I’d assume these are the original piggies?), a scattering of reports from Germany, and one report of a dog being killed. In the southern extremity of Britain. So … not much of a problem.
              Well, when they become common enough to attract lawsuits for the damage they cause, then someone will start selling hunting trips for them. As it is … definitely (OK, IANAL ; IMHO) the landowner’s liability, but therefore also their property. It’d be interesting to see a case come to court, but I’m pretty sure that would be how it would wash up.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      “It’s civilized in 21st century America to hunt down and kill an animal for the pleasure of it?”

      Yes.

      First of all, whitetail deer have few natural predators. If they’re not hunted, they starve to death.

      Second, we still eat animals for food. Most of us go to the supermarket and get it already butchered and wrapped in plastic packaging. It’s important to be able to do the real thing.

      Third, the kind of rifles and shotguns used for hunting are rarely used for mass murders. Those guns can kill people but because they only hold about five bullets they aren’t as efficient as high-powered rifles and handguns with high-capacity magazines.

      • Jeff Kline
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        Yes, but requiring public storage of hunting firearms would be cost prohibitive for a good percentage of hunters. So what would happen to the Deer population if 1/2 the hunters stopped hunting? It might be fewer or more hunters who stop because of the hassle, but a large percentage would.

      • Marta
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        Yeah, the “natural predators” argument. I’m tired of it. Unless you’re (I mean the plural you, not you, personally) are a deputized game warden, you’re a shooter who rationalizes your killing with the population control argument.

        Some of us eat animals for food. I have no issues with people who do–a person’s food politics and ethics are personal, but the argument that hunters are just rounding up dinner is bullshit, unless we’re talking about people who are so far off the grid they don’t or can’t buy their hamburger at the supermarket. Besides, when you’re talking about hunters in America, you are almost never talking about people who kill animals out of an economic imperative.

        No. It is not civilized to kill an animal because it is pleasing to you to kill it. It’s unethical. It’s uncivilized. Evolve, already.

        rant/off

      • gluonspring
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        “First of all, whitetail deer have few natural predators. If they’re not hunted, they starve to death.”

        This reminds me of a conversation I had with my young daughter. After we treated our cat for fleas, she asked me why we don’t treat the deer that live all around us. After all, they are creatures and they probably don’t like ticks and fleas either. I talked to her about cost and other issues, but part of me was wondering if maybe, in some future world, we’ll factor in the suffering of all the animals, even those in the “wild” and not just consider whatever happens to them as “natural” and therefore somehow ok. It was a radical vision, of course, to imagine us wading in the world and trying to reduce the total suffering of all animals, but unlike creationists or Gaia worshipers and so on, those of us who believe in evolution have no reason to consider the current state of affairs, to consider “nature”, as a priori “good” so, practical problems aside, the idea itself is not inherently incoherent.

        • Harbo
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          Who speaks for the fleas?

          • gravelinspector
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            “First they came for the fleas, but I did not protest, for I was not a flea.”

            With (slight) apologies to IIRC Pastor Niemoller.

      • gravelinspector
        Posted December 25, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        First of all, whitetail deer have few natural predators. If they’re not hunted, they starve to death.

        One of my friends from university – now a lobbyist over public land access policy issues – has for years been a supporter of the idea of re-introducing the wolf to Scotland (and therefore Britain as a whole) specifically because we need an apex predator now that the hunting economy can’t control the deer population, let alone the feral goats and sheep.
        With two successful re-introductions of beavers in the country in the last few years (officially, around 20 in Knapdale, and unofficially around 150 in Tayside), that has got to come onto the formal table for discussion in the near future.
        Increasing the number of hunters … I don’t see it happening even without the absolutely inevitable protests. Certainly the ownership of guns will only go in a downwards direction. So, return of an apex predator is the only credible way to go.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Why the exemption for hunters? It’s civilized in 21st century America to hunt down and kill an animal for the pleasure of it?

      We’ve got way too many deer in these parts, and they need killing. I personally do not care if the shooters get pleasure out of it or not.

      • Marta
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        “I personally do not care if the shooters get pleasure out of it or not.”

        Well, there you go. You don’t care, you don’t care.

      • notsont
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        “We’ve got way too many deer in these parts, and they need killing.”

        Funny, I’ve heard that argument about certain types of people before too…

      • Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        What did the deer ever do to you to warrant such hostility”

  3. Wildhog
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    When i hike in bear country, Im always armed with my Canon T2i. Guns are for cowards.

  4. Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    In contrast, this is what happens when firefighters get attacked in a country with decent gun control: http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1592070_firefighters-make-citizens-arrest-of-yob-after-gang-attacks-them-with-bricks

    • suwise3
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Brick throwing kids who are taken home to be scolded by mum and dad are a bit different than most or our shootings…

      • gravelinspector
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        In Manchester, recently, 10-year-old kids get shot in drug wars.

        • suwise3
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          Ditto Chicago.

  5. Peter White
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Right. Lock up all the guns. That’s cool, Jerry. But I do have one question. When a relatively small person, say a 5’4″ woman weighing 115 lbs is assaulted by a relatively large person, say a 6’2″ 200 lb man, what would you advise her to do? There’s no reason I know of why a 115 lb person armed with a 9mm semi-auto pistol shouldn’t be on a roughly equal footing with a 200 lb person armed with a 9mm semi-auto pistol. But when neither of them are armed, what should the 115 lb person do? Smile sweetly and enjoy the “encounter”?

    • Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      In a society without guns, the woman is going to…well, it obviously won’t be pretty.

      In a society with guns, her assailant is also going to be packing heat. And her assailant is going to draw first, of course. And so the small woman is still screwed, if you’ll excuse me, and her assailant now has two guns instead of one, and she’s probably dead because it’s that much easier to kill her and not leave a witness.

      Further, in a society with guns, nutjobs just have to pull their sidearm whenever they feel like killing firemen or babies. That doesn’t — can’t — happen in societies without guns.

      The real answer, of course, is to address the root cause: big burly men attacking small women. Most civilized societies have that one fairly well solved, though of course there’s always room for improvement.

      b&

      • Peter White
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Have you ever been to Vermont? They have virtually no restrictions on gun ownership use, or means of carry. Anyone can walk or drive about with a concealed weapon. And crime of all types is very low. I wonder why?

        • steve oberski
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

          I don’t know Peter.

          Why don’t you try to rationalize a specific instance and then try to generalize it to cover all possible scenarios.

        • Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

          According to this website – http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state – in 2011, Vermont still had a gun murder rate 0.75 per 100k (50% of all murders)… compared to 0.07 per 100k in the UK. I think your perspective is just skewed by the sheer scale of the problem. It is true that a 10-fold difference is not as bad as the national 40-fold difference but let’s just say that it doesn’t convince me that the UK did something wrong when it phased in various levels of gun control over the past 150 years or so.

          • Peter White
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

            So how do the good folks in UK murder each other?

            • Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

              I’m not entirely sure. Knives, I guess. Overall, the murder rate here is about 1.2 per 100k, as opposed to 4.2 per 100k in the US (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate#By_country) so however we do it, we seem to do it less.

              • Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

                As well as knives (top for teenagers), things which are classified in police code as “blunt instruments” feature heavily: lengths of pipe, wooden bats for sport, and so on – and in a few high-profile cases from the last few years, by stamping on the victim’s head. More than one time recently it has been performed merely by the knuckles of one’s fist. There are all sorts of ways you can kill someone creatively without having to resort to something as unimaginatively crass as a silly *gun*.

            • Reginald Selkirk
              Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

              While you can kill someone with a knife, it’s hard to mow down 26 people in 10 minutes in that fashion.

        • truthspeaker
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

          Low population.

          • Don
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

            Yes, Vermont is one of just two states (the other is Alaska) with next to no firearms regulations. I’ve lived high in the wooded hills of the Green Mountain State for more than 35 years. Everyone I know here owns at least one firearm (it’s regarded as a tool, generally, like a chainsaw), but no one I know carries a weapon when he isn’t hunting. The low crime rate here is in large part a mater of culture. Vermont is the most rural state in the country and also one of the most racially homogeneous; these qualities accounts for some of the disparity.

        • Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

          Peter: your anecdote is irrelevant due to n=1. The actual science generally supports the relation between gun ownership and related crimes.

          (click my name for a summary)

        • notsont
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

          Probably has nothing to do with the fact that Vermont has one of the best social safety nets in the world, that probably has nothing to do with it at all, nope nothing. nothing at all, nada zip.

        • gravelinspector
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          And crime of all types is very low. I wonder why?

          At a guess, low population density? (Not that you’re actually looking to do anything other than masturbate your prejudices, as I’m doing.)

      • threeflangedjavis
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        I’m curious. How have civilized nations managed to solve the problem of assault? Police response in the microseconds?

        • Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          Is that a serious question?

          In case you really are that clueless, removing the motivation for assault works far better than making weapons readily available for would-be assailants. Duh!

          Remove the profit motive by effective policing that puts assailants behind bars, and remove the demand in the first place by reducing income inequality and ensuring easy access to full employment and health care. Done, done, and done.

          Will it be a perfect solution? Of course not. But would you really prefer violent anarchy to modern civilization? What the fuck for?

          b&

          • threeflangedjavis
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

            Yep, I am that clueless and I would contest that the problem is not solved at all. To do that would require ordering the personality disordered to be cured.

            • Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

              Apparently, your passionate defense of the right to arm baby killers is impeding your reading comprehension skills, for I quite clearly endorsed easy access to full health care.

              With free health care for all, including mental health care, the number of those with mental health disorders who are also prone to violence who would go without treatment would be vanishingly small, and the vanishingly small numbers of them who would also be capable of getting their hands on illegal weapons in a society with proper gun regulation would be so close to zero as to be negligible.

              b&

              • threeflangedjavis
                Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

                If you are replying to me, then your emotions must be clouding your eyes because I said nothing in defence of gun ownership.

                Where are these utopian societies you speak of?

      • suwise3
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        “…her assailant is going to draw first, of course. …her assailant now has two guns instead of one…”

        The kind of women I know who have handguns shoot/train regularly, they know how to use cover and not expose themselves AND, since they have them for self-defense, they are already prepared to shoot to kill.

    • steve oberski
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Peter,

      You would handle it exactly the same way you would handle a 6’2″ 200 lb man attacking a 5’4″ 155 lb black man/hispanic homosexual/east asian muslim/etc.

      You would consistently apply existing laws that all civilized societies have against any form of assault and you would make no distinctions based on the gender/race/religion of the victim.

      Your children would grow up in a society where misogyny, homophobia and other forms of sectarianism were seen as the mental illnesses that they really are and the citizens of such a society would marginalize those who supported such behaviour and would ensure that those that engaged in such behaviours could not continue to offend.

      Call me crazy, but this is exactly the type of society that a world view based on maximizing the well being of all citizens would achieve and this is exactly the type of society that a world view based on bronze age tribal morality will never achieve.

      • Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        +1

      • threeflangedjavis
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        It’s a stretch to call such things mental illnesses. Personally, I wouldn’t want to live in a society that ostracises people on the basis of subjective labeling. Whose definition of misogyny or homophobia do you use? The hair trigger word and thought police? In any event, there is nothing inevitable about prejudice translating into violence. Orwellian.

        • gravelinspector
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          Orwell’s society (in ‘1984’) was a low crime society. Unlike yours.

          • threeflangedjavis
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            Yes, Big Brother.

            • gravelinspector
              Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

              And?
              Oh, you’re a “better dead than red”-neck?

          • Posted December 25, 2012 at 12:48 am | Permalink

            But 1984 was fiction. Making political suggestions based on works of fiction is what theists do. Wake up at the back.

    • Rebecca Harbison
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Well, for one, if a would-be rapist is armed and knows his target is also armed, he’s far more likely to choose an approach that minimizes the victim’s advantage, and to take advantage of the fact he now has a weapon and can threaten murder. After all, the rapist doesn’t know that his victim isn’t carrying mace or a knife or is a black belt martial artist, even if he can be pretty confident she lacks a firearm.

      For another, believe it or not, most rapes aren’t of the ‘physically overpowering a stranger’ type. It’s just that ‘stranger + physical force + surprise attack’ are the easiest to press charges, prosecute, and convict a rapist because they’re less likely to get bogged down in the narrative of victim blaming.

      • Peter White
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Rebecca,

        Sounds like you think it’s best just not to defend yourself at all. Let the attack happen. Don’t resist. Your defense may not be successful, so, why bother? Let the creep have his fun, whatever that turns out to be. After the attack, if you’re still able, then call the police and tell them all about it?

        Now, don’t get me wrong. If you choose to let thugs have their way with you, that’s your business. I wouldn’t think of standing in your way by forcing you to defend yourself.

        • RedSonja
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

          Nice. So if a woman chooses not to carry a gun (that can VERY easily be taken from her and used against her!) and is assaulted, it’s her fault for not “protecting herself”??? Disgusting. I hope nobody in your family has had to listen to you shame them for not fighting off their attacker.

          Also, Rebecca is perfectly right when she notes that the majority of assaults against women are committed by someone they know. So am I supposed to be carrying a gun at office parties? When I perform with my school’s choir?

          Because I am a woman, I have spent my entire life living with people telling me what I should do, how I should dress, and where I where I should go to avoid being assaulted. This has had 2 major effects: I’m used to the idea that the world isn’t made of hugs and puppies, and have made my peace with that, because living in fear gets old. And I am sick to DEATH of people telling me how to not get hurt, instead of making it harder for people to hurt me.

          I wonder if men spent their entire lives being told they should be careful and afraid, they would find other means of coping besides guns. Because fear aggression doesn’t help *anyone*.

          • RedSonja
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

            Gah. Sub.

          • threeflangedjavis
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

            Missing the point. Nobody is excusing the attacker, and nobody is saying that you should have to carry a weapon. The person you are responding to was objecting to people coming up with reasons why someone should not have the option of arming themselves in defence.

            It really gets my goat when people turn advice on how to keep safe into ‘victim blaming’. Nobody has a magic wand which enables them to eradicate crime and they can’t ensure your safety. If you ignore sound advice and are attacked, then you are foolish,and saying that in no way exonerates the attacker.

            • RedSonja
              Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

              I would argue that someone who thinks the two options are carry a gun or “let the thugs have their way with you” isn’t giving “sensible” advice.

              As far as victim blaming and sensible precautions go… Most of the “precautions” are conflicting and unreasonable. And who is the arbiter of “sensible”? We have judges telling women that they shouldn’t have gone into a bar because that invites being sexually assaulted by an off-duty cop. Presumably that is considered” sensible” by some, even many. But it’s a giant steaming pile of victim blaming.

              • threeflangedjavis
                Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

                “We have judges telling women that they shouldn’t have gone into a bar because that invites being sexually assaulted by an off-duty cop”

                The existence of stupid judges is not relevant. Anyway, that’s not advice, that’s judgement after the fact.

                If I knew you, and cared about you, how exactly would I make it harder for people to hurt you? You appear to be attributing an awful lot of power to men that they just don’t possess. The fact that the world isn’t the way you want it to be is no more my fault than it is yours. My only practical option would be to encourage you to minimise risks just as every other man and women has to.

        • Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

          Peter,

          Your concerns are akin to worrying what to do if you’re flying in a plane over the mountains in winter at night and an engine goes out.

          The answer is, if that happens, you’re going to have a very bad day. You may well die.

          The answer is not to just give up, of course. You still radio for help, do your best to aim for a clearing in a valley, salvage what you can from the wreckage, practice first aid, and all the rest. But, no matter what you do, you’re still going to have a very bad day, and you may well die.

          But also, of course, the real answer is to follow proper preventative maintenance practices to ensure that the engines won’t fail. And you might want to think about planning your trip to avoid nighttime winter flights over the mountains, even if you’re confident in your equipment.

          That’s what we’re suggesting with regards to personal defense. If it ever comes down to somebody small versus somebody big in a back alley, the small person is going to have a bad day, and maybe die. A gun won’t change that — indeed, all it does is escalate things, raise the ante, and make things worse. What will change the outcome is ensuring that small people don’t have reason to fear random attacks (which is generally accomplished with good police practices, reducing income disparity, ensuring adequate employment and access to health care, and so on), and perhaps the small vulnerable people should avoid the types of dark alleys where big people are likely to prey upon them.

          Cheers,

          b&

          • papalinton
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

            Right on.
            Living without guns is an attitude, an attitude of mind.

          • gravelinspector
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            Your concerns are akin to worrying what to do if you’re flying in a plane over the mountains in winter at night and an engine goes out.
            The answer is, if that happens, you’re going to have a very bad day. You may well die.

            You missed the correct option, which is of course to count the engines before you get into the plane and if the sum is less than two, to tell the pilot to go fly his plane solo, because you aren’t getting into that bucket of bolts.
            No, this is not theoretical : the North Sea has lost around half of it’s bum-on-seat-kilometres for the last several months because the most popular model of helicopter (in terms of passengers per flight, flying speed and turn-around time, hence bum-on-seat-kilometres) has demonstrated a distressing habit of shearing off the main gearbox oil pump drive shaft – which is a single point of failure ; bye bye gearbox oil ; bye bye gearbox ; bye bye rotors. 18 people have died ; two other helicopters full of passengers have been parked into the sea under marginal control, and the whole model of gearbox has been rejected. Eurocopter and Aerospatiale may be bankrupted.
            Not theoretical : I’m due to fly out on Sunday. If there is a helicopter available. Nominal work shift is 14 days, but I’m resigned to up to 40 days, depending on airframe availability.
            (An engineering fix may be available in February ; or may not. No-one knows, including the manufacturers.)

        • Thin Ice
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          Thats right Rebecca,reality speaks once again.

        • Grania Spingies
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          You are so over the boundary of good taste right now, that your answer borders on the repulsive.

          Seeing as you appear to have reading comprehension issues, let me explain what Rebecca said for you.

          She did not say women shouldn’t try to defend themselves.
          She said that even if a woman owned a gun there is always a chance that she might not be able to use it.

          It fascinates me that a large percentage of gun-apologists feel the need to spice up their motivations with ugly little threats: if you don’t do as I do then I hope you die or get raped. You are full of fear and you want everyone else to share your fear.

          • Marta
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

            Nicely put.

    • Thin Ice
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Good point. But in a utopian society all is possible right? People have lost their ability to weigh reality as it stands.Taking personal responsibility for you own safety – thats just barbaric! Thats what the police are for they cry. The police draw more chalk lines than a birthday party full of three year olds.They do great work everyday helping to keep society safe,but they can’t be everywhere at all times to protect us. Thats our responsibility – yes?

      • Rebecca Harbison
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        But one has to prioritize. I don’t carry a high power rifle (or tranquilizer gun) because the leopards could break out of the zoo and try to eat me, because that’s a lot of money and time (to learn how to use a gun well enough such that, under pressure, I can do so) for something that has little chance of happening.

        So ‘weighing reality’ is an opportunity cost. Carrying a gun means spending the money on one, and the time to practice*, and the risk of an accident involving a loaded weapon ready to fire, for something that rarely happens.

        One might better put the effort into social activism — for example, trying to lower the crime rates by lowering poverty rates and raising education, or fighting rape culture so that more sexual assaults lead to arrests and trials. It’s less likely to have a direct ‘I chased off a mugger’ effect, but is as much about protecting oneself and others as carrying a gun.

        * Any weapon you can’t actually use might as well be your opponent’s weapon.

    • MNb
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      “When a relatively small person … is assaulted by a relatively large person”
      That small person with martial art skills has a much better chance when the attacker is not armed. Whether that small person wants to learn those skills is his/her own choice; whether the attacker is armed is not. That’s why there are self-defense groups for women in The Netherlands.
      I dislike martial arts btw.

  6. freegrazer
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Your solution might sound effective but how does it really help anything to propose unrealistic solutions that are impossible. How do you suggest to retrieve the 270 million guns that are out there now.

    • Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      We’ve been though this before. Control sales, especially of new weapons. Control ammunition sales. Couple the two with a buyback program.

      If you’ve got a hunk of metal that’s useless because you can’t get bullets for it, you’re either going to hang it over your mantlepiece or get cash from a buyer happy to take it off your hands with no questions asked. Either way, problem solved.

      b&

      • freegrazer
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        People are serious about their guns, if things start to go that way, one of the first things they will do is make their own ammo. People don’t want to sell their guns back, they bought the guns and they want to keep them. Did you notice that Obama had to make an official response to the gun control petition because it got enough signatures. Did you see what his response was, one of the things he said was that like many Americans, he believes the second amendment gives individuals the right to keep and bear arms. He then mentioned a few of the things he would like to see implemented and it sounded very much like what the NRA said, better mental health care and better background checks, even at gun shows because we have the technology this day and age to do that. Sounds like more enforcement of the laws.we have instead any new drastic measures some are calling for. The truth is you are way out numbered, even among those in government, it’s not going to happen.

        • gbjames
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          I’ll ask you the question that has gone unanswered elsewhere…

          “Which unenforced laws would have prevented the Sandy Hook slaughter?”

          • freegrazer
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

            I’m not saying that it would have, I’m just telling you what the President said in his official response and what the NRA guy said. I’m afraid the answer is it can’t be prevented because you can’t predict where and when a murderer is going to show up and do something like this. The President also said in his address to the victims families in Conn., that no law or plan will ever rid this country or any country from all violent acts. He also said that is not a reason not to try, I agree with both statements, and the reality is that people kill other people, with all
            kinds of weapons,.with their bare hands
            sometimes. The other reality is that guns are prevalent in American society and there’s no
            going back, the technology is out there to
            both make your own weapons and ammo. You say make laws that every shot is investigated and arrested, that is never going to happen, they can’t even agree to outlaw assault weapons and large quantity magazines, they might do that, but they won’t do what you’re suggesting, so why argue hiw effective it could be when they won’t even try because the government doesn’t want it and the people don’t want it.

            • gbjames
              Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

              If you think that gun violence like that at Sandy Hook Elementary can not be prevented then I’m afraid you are lacking both imagination and common sense. As far as I’m concerned you have taken yourself out of the conversation because you have nothing to offer but the bogus idea that things must always be as they are. It isn’t worth taking seriously.

              • freegrazer
                Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

                Not exactly, it’s just the idea that your ideas are going to lose, it’s not that things must always be as they are, but that they are going to be because it’s what the majority of the people want. The people who want the change you are talking about are seriously outnumbered and therefore, you lose, I’m sorry, but that’s the truth, if you would use your common sense you could see what’s right in front of you.

              • Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

                freegrazer, I’m afraid you are seriously misinformed. Significant majorities of Americans favor bans on assault weapons and similar firearms regulations; see any of the recent polls conducted by the major news outlets.

                I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s the truth, confirmed by objective observation. Those who wish to keep arming those who kill babies and firemen are a rapidly dwindling minority about to get their legislative clocks cleaned.

                If you would use your common sense you could see all this and understand why it’s happening.

                b&

              • freegrazer
                Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

                Ban on assault rifles, magazine size restrictions, that is possible, I’m talking about disarming or buyback programs that will not happen. You keep switching back and forth between ban all guns or attempt a significant reduction in guns and just banning the assault rifles and magazine sizes. They did that before and may do it again, but Columbine occurred during that ban so many have questioned it’s effectiveness. So that arguement is settled, they can and may again ban those. What I am now arguing about is ammo restrictions and other gun restrictions or reductions that you are suggesting. The manufacturers will not have to worry about pissing off Uncle Sam because they are on the side of the gun owners, the majority of them believe in the right to arms so now you are
                fighting against all the armed public and the
                government, just check the statements, which politicians are calling to disarm, not even close.

              • Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

                Again, freegrazer, you are sorely mistraken.

                By a 3:2 margin, Americans favor more strict gun regulation.

                I understand that you value your guns more than the lives of babies and firemen. But you’re in a rapidly-dwindling minority in America.

                b&

              • freegrazer
                Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

                First of all, I never said that, I don’t value guns much at all, we have some sort of gun, I don’t even know what it’s called that my husband only uses for hunting, we don’t carry it out with us into public, it stays on our wooded property, and I don’t really think about it that much. For you to acuse me of such an evil thing just because I don’t agree that your ideas are going to fix the world, is very wrong. What exactly are the stricter gun regulations, they are not what you’re asking for. If it’s true that most Americans want it and the government can’t wait to pass it into law, then why isn’t it happening. We can argue all day, in the end we will see who was right by what is or isn’t done in regards to gun law changes, all I’m saying is I predict they will be minor changes.

              • Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

                freegrazer, I think the applicable truism is, “Lead, follow, or get the Hell out of the way.”

                If you want to live in a country with better gun regulation, carping about how you don’t think there’s much chance to implement better gun regulation doesn’t do you much good.

                As to why it hasn’t happened yet? The floor is barely dry after mopping up all the blood at Sandy Hook, and Congress is trying to avoid a budget meltdown. All things considered, these changes are already moving ahead at breakneck speed.

                b&

            • Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

              the technology is out there to
              both make your own weapons and ammo.

              Eh, not exactly.

              The key is the casing, and that’s not something you can make without some serious equipment.

              The enthusiast isn’t going to be able to do much better than a flintlock without access to industrial equipment or the products of industrial equipment, and I don’t think there’s anybody who is interested in banning flintlocks.

              b&

              • threeflangedjavis
                Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

                The casing would only be a problem for high volume users. Casings can be re-used a few times, enough for owners to maintain a limited stock by periodically discarding and reloading propellant.

              • freegrazer
                Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

                ight now they are called enthusists because it’s all good and legal, in your scenario, there are going to be at least two sides, those for and those against, which side do you think the people with the industrial equipment are going to be on?

              • Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

                threeflangedjavis, that casings can be reused a few times just means that current supplies will last, for some people, a couple times longer than a simple count of rounds. In the long run, that’s truly of no consequence whatsoever. People already have significant stockpiles of ammunition, enough to last for a while. The question isn’t how long before it’ll run out; the question is whether or not they’ll be able to resupply when they do run out. It’s like the tree that you should have planted twenty years ago, but which you’d be a fool not to plant today merely because you didn’t plant it twenty years ago.

                freegrazer, the biggest and best customer of the arms manufacturers, by unimaginable leaps and bounds, is the US government. Given a choice between pissing off Uncle Sam and having all those guns they’ve manufactured pointed right back at them versus scaling back arms manufacture and moving into more profitable manufacturing sectors, I’m guessing they’ll go with the latter. Whether they like it or not.

                b&

            • freegrazer
              Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

              Breakneck speed, ok, we shall see then. Though it is my standard to stay out of the way, I’m not breaking with that by commenting on this website because contrary to what you seem to believe, no changes, legislation or decisions of any kind come from any comments made here, so by arguing with you, I’m not in the way of nor helping any progress.

      • Marta
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        I agree with you completely, except for this: I’ve made my own ammunition for a decade. People who do a lot of shooting typically do. It is a thing of ridiculous ease to acquire the components for making bullets.

        When you make it impossible or very difficult to legally acquire ammunition, predict next a thriving black market to get them.

        • Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          What about the brass and the gunpowder?

          I’m guessing that when you “make your own ammunition” you’re just assembling the pieces. I rather doubt you’re stating with metal ingots and jars of saltpeter and sulphur and some charcoal.

          The black market wouldn’t worry me too much. First, black market ammunition is going to be very expensive, especially for ammunition up to today’s sporting goods store’s quality standards. Second, everybody arrested for discharging a firearm is going to rat out the dealers. If necessary, the laws for possession of unregistered ammunition could be overinflated and prosecutors given lots of room to talk down sentences. Would you really go to prison for a(n extra) decade to protect your ammo dealer?

          b&

          • Marta
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

            Most people who load their own aren’t making crap, Ben–and there’s a lot more to it than just “assembling the pieces”. Regardless, it’s by no means rocket science.

            • Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

              You miss my point.

              Again, where do you get your casings and gunpowder? If you couldn’t (legally) source either (without even more stringent regulatory oversight than for buying whole ammunition), would you (personally) even be able to make ammunition? What would it do to your rate of production and to the quality of the results?

              It actually technically really is rocket science, and I seriously doubt your ability to turn brass and lead ingots and jars of saltpeter, sulphur, and charcoal of questionable purity and particle size into quality ammunition.

              b&

              • Marta
                Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

                I hope I didn’t miss your point. I mighta. Wasn’t on purpose.

                I don’t have to buy brass. I have thousands of empty casings. I don’t know how much brass other re-loaders keep on hand. It’s reusable, you see. Primers I can either buy on line or at specialty reload retailers. Gunpowder is trickier, but at least for now, it isn’t expensive or hard to buy. I don’t make the bullets themselves, although I can. It’s a simple matter to pour lead into molds, although most ranges no longer permit the use of unjacketed bullets. (The lead spray.) I typically make 500 or a thousand rounds at a time–takes a couple hours or so.

                Regulating hand-loaders, as a practical matter, is not going to happen anywhere near a future you can imagine.

              • Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

                Marta, I think my point might be starting to set in.

                Now imagine that the exact same regulations are put in place to purchase casings, primers, and gunpowder as for fully-assembled bullets. And what makes you think they wouldn’t be?

                Yes, you have a supply of all of them. And lots of people have ammunition stockpiled. And, yes, you can reuse the brass — but only so many times.

                How long would your supplies on hand last?

                And, the big question…once your supplies ran out, would you be able to replace them using raw materials?

                Indeed, the regulation need not be of ammunition, but merely of casings. Without casings, the only ammunition you can make without heavy and expensive precision machinery is for flintlocks, and I personally have no problem with flintlocks. I imagine a rifled flintlock made to modern precision standards should be a superlative hunting weapon, and a flintlock pistol will be just fine at keeping the wild bears at bay.

                For that matter, it’d even work for home defense; if you’re not going to solve your home invasion problem with one or two shots, you’re not going to solve it with a gun, period. Same deal for little old ladies in dark alleys at night.

                Cheers,

                b&

      • Thin Ice
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Or buy your ammo on the newly created black market.The world does not stay static while a new demand presents itself. Outlawing ammo would create an underground economy with more choices in ammo than one has present day.

        • Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

          How many of today’s gun owners could afford black market prices for ammunition, and how many of those who could afford it would be willing to take the risks involved? And how many would-be entrepreneurs would be willing to go into the business when every gunshot is going to result in a police investigation and everybody found with ammunition is going to be pressured, possibly with many years of jail time, into revealing the seller?

          Would die-hard gun nuts and organized crime put up with the costs and risks? Of course. But we’re still talking about a huge reduction in the number of shots fired, to the point where hooligans will start throwing bricks at firefighters (as they do in Britain) rather than shooting at them (as they do here).

          And that’s the whole point.

          We don’t have to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. An 80% solution is much, much better than no solution.

          b&

          • Thin Ice
            Posted December 25, 2012 at 6:25 am | Permalink

            Thank you Ben. Great post on ammo. I don’t agree, but if we go down the road of restricting ammo we will find out just how close we come to 80% solution.

      • MNb
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Actually this has been done in Dutch cities a few times regarding nasty and forbidden knives like switchblades and fan knives. It’s remarkable how many of them were handed in.

    • Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      How about an gun buy-back scheme followed by one or more gun amnesties? They’ve worked in the UK.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-180650/Gun-amnesty-nets-40-000-weapons.html

      • gbjames
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        Good ideas but without something to throttle back on the manufacture and sale of replacement, not enough.

        • Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          True. This was a “what to do with the guns already out there” addition to new gun controls that would presumably have affect sales.

  7. Waypoint5
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Criminals will not respond to this idea. Neither will people that have figured out one needs to take personal responsibility for their own safety. The police will tell you there is a five minute average until they arrive on the scene , people are sitting ducks in the meantime. Think things threw, you may begin to understand the reality of being totally helpless during this time. It’s not a pretty reality! Arm yourselves and get trained in the responsible use of firearms. That’s dealing with reality.

    • RickK
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Guns don’t make you safer.

      A gun is much more likely to be used in a crime, in a domestic dispute, in an accident, in a gang or in a suicide than to be used in defense.

      That is reality.

    • gluonspring
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17922-carrying-a-gun-increases-risk-of-getting-shot-and-killed.html

      You are 4.2 times as likely to get killed with a gun if you carry one, and 4.5 times as likely to get shot.

      Having a gun to make yourself safer because you can imagine a scenario in your mind where it would help you is like keeping your seatbelt unbuckled to make you safer because you you can imagine in your mind a scenario (the car is on fire an I can’t get it unbuckled!) where being buckled in would be bad. It has an emotional appeal, but it is a fallacy.

      My mom an dad talk like you also. They are absolutely certain that they need to have a gun in their car at all times, and several more in the house, for their protection. This is odd to me because they are in their 70’s now and have never had any occasion to actually pull the gun out in defense. That’s a lot of firepower to have on hand for something that hasn’t happened once in 70 years. If the purchase cost of the weapons were to be considered insurance, it was overpriced. Having a gun didn’t keep their house from getting robbed, when they were away either

      I say they have never had an occasion to pull a gun out in defense unless you count when they have pulled them out because they were scared but nothing was there, which was quite frequent growing up. I think I mentioned before one of these times was when I came home from college late and my dad stumbled out on the balcony half asleep in his underwear and pointed his handgun at me. That is the only time in my own 47 years of life I’ve felt threatened by someone else’s gun, and it was my own dad’s.

  8. marksolock
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

  9. Stuart A. Milc
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I’ve been a gun owner in the past and could see myself being on in the future. I do a fair bit of back country fly fishing in bear country and have been mulling over packing a little more than just bear spray. I could definitely live under those rules…

  10. Thin Ice
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Criminals dont play by the rules.Take away peoples ability to defend themselves with your rules and laws,you empower the criminals you are trying to stop.The police have stated their response time averages about five minutes and many people can be harmed in that amount of time. They are suggesting citizens be armed to stop the violence (start your search – Chicago).I for one would not want to be the fish in the barrel waiting for the police to arrive.Think things threw and you may come to realize you and I are responsible for our own safety.If this seems unreasonable to you, put yourself in one of the latest massacres and ask, what would I have done?.(with or without a gun?)Do the thinking, then come up with some reasonable ideas.

    • gbjames
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      “Criminals dont play by the rules”

      The ever-present logic for eliminating all laws.

      • Thin Ice
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        “Criminals dont play by the rules”

        The ever-present logic for eliminating all laws.
        Thats all you gathered from that post? Some can not be reached,no matter.

        • gbjames
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

          Not all, no. But sufficient. I do not wish to live in your dystopia.

    • threeflangedjavis
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      So you’d recommend packing a .45 in your precious’s lunchbox before sending him off to school. A school armoury maybe, with emergency rifle drill for the hall monitors? Music teachers packing heat. All fine, if you can train the kiddies and teachers how to avoid reflexively blowing away the first thing holding what looks like a gun.

  11. Matt G
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Insane in addition to being tragic. I’m visiting my brother in Penfield, just a couple kilometers from where this took place.

  12. Another Matt
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Dammit. We already have a huge gun homicide rate here in Rochester, but this is just horrible.

  13. Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    “My solution: ban all guns except for police, security guards, hunters (who have to keep them in a locked facility and check them in and out), and sports shooters, who must to keep their guns in locked safes at the sports facility. Hikers in bear country can be an exception, but those guns also have to be kept in public safes.”

    While this might work if starting from scratch, even if you can ban sales and control smuggling, what do you do about all the guns in existence already? Ask people to turn them in? Of course, those who want to use them for criminal purposes will not turn them in. In this sense (and not talking about a country where there are far fewer guns and little if any gun-related crime), how do you counter the “if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” argument? I don’t think that, in practice, the good guy with the gun is the solution to the bad guy with the gun, I’m just wondering how you envisage such a scheme being practically carried out.

    • Scott near Berkeley
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Guns are not “outlawed”, that is the wrong conclusion to draw from Jerry’s solution.

      If they were “outlawed” even the police could not carry them.

      People are so uncreative, or so lack for original thinking, it’s ….typical (I was going to say “unbelievable” but it is all too believable).

      Once possession for anyone but the police is restricted, then you can (1) expand local police, especially with part-time, concealed weapons people who are perpetually evaluated as to their mental health (police officers commit suicide at a high rate, btw) (2) offer bounties for weapons turned in.(3) If a person wants a gun collection, why not have it at a secure club, with a shooting range, etc. Who better to show off, and fire(!!) your weapon in front of, than other gun enthusiasts. It’s just like the model rocket clubs. They cannot fire their rockets from home or the local park. They have to travel to sanctioned sites. Rockets are very dangerous…could explode and kill you. That’s why you cannot light one off at home.
      (4) if it is illegal to be on the street, with a weapon, and possession is a six-month incarceration, and there is a bounty for turning in someone possessing, you’ll soon see the “no honor among thieves” and neighbors, teenagers, housewives, reaping the bounty of quietly reporting illegal weapons. Gangs have plenty of “hangers on” who could not be fingered or kept quiet.

      Just like the UK, NZ, Oz, things won’t flip over, overnight. Heck, it used to be, no speed limits, no driver’s license, no vehicle license. Things take a while, but there is no reason to say, “There will be clever lawbreakers, so let’s not make laws.”

  14. mordacious1
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    One company, Browning I think, just sold 3.5 years worth (normal sales rate) of 100 round magazines in 3 days. Now they’re back-ordered for some time, this is going to get worse before it gets better.

    • Scott near Berkeley
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Just like the run on Twinkies. Unless it costs over $1000, people make impulse purchases when it appears something will become scarce. If you’d shell out $400 total for an NFL game/parking/tickets/tailgating, what’s $200 for magazines???

      Get a couple!!

    • mordacious1
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      I can see someone opening up their gift tomorrow and saying, “Oh boy, a hundred round magazine, now I can finally bag that deer I’ve been trying to kill for the last 10 years”. Or, “I’ve been afraid of 75 burglars breaking in all at one time, not any more…thanks hon”.

      Other than combat or shooting up a mall, I can’t see what 100 round magazines are good for.

      • Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Well, a hundred rounds only gets you about ten seconds worth of full-trigger fire from an Uzi, but I don’t think you can get more than a 50-round clip for an Uzi.

        So, if that deer won’t stand still for a full 5 seconds while you spray bullets at it from your submachine gun, you might be wishing for a bigger clip.

        Then again, you might be in need of something other than more bullets….

        b&

  15. mordacious1
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    The head of the NRA says the solution is to have armed security personnel in every burning house.

  16. TJR
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Why make the exception for police and security guards?

    The main reason I’m in favour of the gun control we have here (UK) is that it means we can have unarmed (usually) police.

    Individually, random nutters with guns are more scary than police with guns to be sure. But there are far more police than random nutters.

    • papalinton
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • threeflangedjavis
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      If you have seen 5 thugs in a mini smashing down the sidewalk in Brixton, nearly killing people on the way, with 10 cops chasing them on foot, you begin to realise how powerless the Met are to stop violent crime in progress. Not so great if you are the victim.

      • Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        Okay, but with surveillance the way it is now, it’s usually not long before those thugs are caught up with. It may not be as immediate as cowboying the entire neighbourhood with flying lead, but it’s effective enough.

        • threeflangedjavis
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          If someone was attempting to kill me I’d wouldn’t be impressed by the notion that my assailant might be apprehended later. I’d rather the cops carried the threat to make him stop immediately.

          I know there are other things to be considered, like the consequences of an arms race between cops and criminals, but is gun crime not escalating in the UK anyway? Cops go looking for trouble and that must be nerve-wracking when you know that if the suspect you are approaching is armed you are essentially a sitting duck. I’d give a lot of weight to the wishes of the police.

          • kevinj
            Posted December 25, 2012 at 5:36 am | Permalink

            The police have been asked and the reply is “no thanks”.
            The chances of a criminal carrying a gun is slim and if its suspected it will be a couple of ARV units who will be the ones having a chat armed somewhat heavier than the average US cop.

            When you are in London look for yellow circles in the windows of the cars (one of the symbols used to identify a ARV) or red cars (diplomatic protection who are armed as standard) or the motorcyclists (a fair few will be armed).

            To take your mini scenario, personally though i would prefer a traffic unit with stingers rather than cops trying with guns. I can dodge a car easier than bullets.

  17. Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Maybe top-down solutions won’t work in the US, where public opinion seems so polarized. Many gun-owners seem to have guns as a defense against the government coming to take their guns away. But what are the possibilities for bottom-up change? Many Americans have already decided not to defend themselves with guns, not to let fear dominate their lives. What if gun-free households and businesses declared themselves gun-free, with prominent signs at their doors? (“Thank you for not carrying a gun.”) Could a grass-roots movement spread to whole communities?

    • Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes, things just don’t work like one would like them to. I think it is fair to say that armed robbers would make a note of where such signs are and target (pun intended) such premises.

      • Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I think it’s hard for me in largely gun-free New Zealand to understand the problem in the US. On the other hand, I’d rather give my cash-in-hand to an armed robber than be in a gunfight, even one that I won.

      • Scott near Berkeley
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        I do not advocate for draconian laws, but I feel it is worth noting, the penalty for “armed robbery” in Singapore (a law that originated during British rule in Singapore) is…
        …death..the death penalty.

        The number per year of “armed robberies” in Singapore can be counted on one hand. When a penalty is easy to remember and obvious in its consequences, the result is compliance.

      • Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        All you need to do is put up cameras and dispensers of the orange paint and, while you may be robbed, you’ll have a damn good chance of making sure the perps are caught.

    • Thin Ice
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Many Americans have already decided not to defend themselves with guns, not to let fear dominate their lives. What if gun-free households and businesses declared themselves gun-free, with prominent signs at their doors? (“Thank you for not carrying a gun.”) Could a grass-roots movement spread to whole communities?

      Yes I have a perfect sign for you! ATTENTION ALL CRIMINALS THIS ESTABLISHMENT HAS BEEN DECLARED A “GUN FREE ZONE” FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE

      • Scott near Berkeley
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Well, most criminals would not trust the sign. They’d think the owner was trying to sandbag them into over-anxiously pulling out their weapon prematurely.

        People give criminals too much credit. I guess they haven’t taken note of really, really dumb people out there.

        One of my favorite gun stories involves a guy who attempted to rob a convenience store. He pointed his gun at the guy behind the counter, who ducked down, pulled out his own pistol, and started firing at the crook.

        Dodging around the displays, and trying to fire back, crook eventually stumbled out of the store, losing hold of his pistol in the process, and fled the store, bullets from the clerk hastening his retreat.

        The next day, and get this, the next day…
        ..the crook shows up at the same store, asking for his gun back!! …asking to please have his gun back… as in, “Gee, you didn’t lose any money, so no harm, no foul.”

        Right!! I cannot remember accurately the details, but it might have also involved a policeman at the store, taking more details of the incident, when the guy came back for his gun.

      • Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        Well, you can be in an arms race (they usually end in tears) or find a way not to play that game. My point was really that some sort of grass-roots action might work where trying to out-lobby the NRA might not.

      • Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        You talk as though armed robbery is a legitimate pursuit, a business as honest as your own, and that it is perfectly within the natural order of things for people who do not directly protect themselves with armed guards are legally allowed to be robbed by those who are smart enough to have learned how to shoot. From what I can tell of the US, this may well of course be the case.

  18. Rhetoric
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    There are so many sensible things that could be done, yet liberals insist on an all-out ban. I anxiously await whatever reactionary legislation you insist gets passed immediately.

    Naturally, however, the government gets to keep all their guns.

    • Marta
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Get you a bucket for that broad-brush you’re using?

      It’s just so relaxing (and efficient!), isn’t it? You just lump everyone here into the same box, and then you can get on your merry way, without any of that unwanted stress of having to think.

      With your personality, I know you must be in high demand at other parties. Do let me help you with your coat.

    • gbjames
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      yet liberals insist on an all-out ban

      No. This liberal prefers an all out ban. I (and many “we”) do not insist on it.

      What we insist on is that the problem that lands thousands of innocent victims in cemeteries every year be solved.

      We welcome your list of sensible things that can be done. I’m assuming that you are rational and don’t think that arming teachers is one of them.

      • Mel
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        There was a story yesterday about a Texas public school that was a half hour away from police services, teachers were concerned and a full time guard was too expensive, so the teachers were allowed guns. Ten sates are now considering allowing teachers to have guns. Even at best, any gun in a school or anywhere is a potential failure point, but, disgusting or not, what’s rational often depends on context. Although I’d much rather see armed guards (if needed) and instant physical lock-down as well as building design changes, I’m for letting the states and school districts work it out, which is exactly what’s going on. In any case, deputized services are not the problem. Even a general gun ban should be outside the issue of internal school security. Security is local; districts are going to be concerned about protecting their own kids and not concerned with aggregate national totals.

        • threeflangedjavis
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          Important to keep in mind that the more guns you have knocking around, the greater the danger of the wrong gun-bearer being shot.

          A single armed guard is just going to be the 1st casualty, though, unless in the habit of drawing on every approaching kid.

    • Scott near Berkeley
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      When anyone uses the term “liberal”, I invariably think of a Rush Limbaugh parrot. R. Limbaugh has made multiple millions, turning a fictitious class of Americans (“liberals”) into a “We, smart, perceptive, …versus the stumbling, mono-dimensional stupid weaklings” cartoon world. Very very few, IF ANY PEOPLE I know, have known in California, have =ever= characterized themselves as “liberal” (<=which is a political party in Great Britain). No one is so easily defined. Yet it seems to be basic to the current vast mythological chant to use that cartoon image to bolster the listeners of hate radio.

    • RickK
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      “There are so many sensible things that could be done, yet liberals insist on an all-out ban.”

      Average annual gun deaths in the U.S.: 10,200
      Average annual gun deaths in the U.K.: 250

      I guess the problem with liberals is that they actually believe the evidence. What a bunch of jerks.

      “Naturally, however, the government gets to keep all their guns.”

      Would you PLEASE join the 21st Century!?! A digital camera and youtube are better deterrents to excessive governmental force than all the guns in Texas.

      And if somehow in your absurd paranoid scenario our government convinces our sons and daughters serving in the military to turn on us, your GUNS won’t matter one iota. Two weeks after the government cuts off the electricity and the flow of gasoline, you’ll trade your gun for a cheeseburger and a hot shower.

  19. gluonspring
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    The more I listen to people argue about this the more I realize that I’m not that bothered by the guns themselves. It’s irksome that the risk of gun death is up there with car deaths, which is one of the biggest hazards a normal person faces outside disease, but like cars the risk is still low enough that I don’t go around being actively afraid.

    What does consistently bother me, though, is the profound worship of guns that I see on display everywhere. I have come to realize that my emotional reaction in this debate, and I confess to having one, is not to the risk of guns or gun deaths, but to the scary insight this debate has yielded into the minds of my fellow Americans. Friends who, even in the wake of this horrible tragedy, defiantly announce on Facebook that they are going to pick up their AR15 this weekend, and so on. It’s grotesque, and it is that kind of “my guns are so important I can’t even pretend to self-reflect” attitude that I find repulsive.

    • Scott near Berkeley
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      I agree. My nephew posted some false argument with a picture of a fast car, equating it to guns, along with the tired “Outlawed, outlaws have guns, no one else” crap.

      Say anything, if IT MAKES MONEY!!!

    • Mel
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      WTF do people do with an AR15? I don’t get it.

  20. gluonspring
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    A policeman was shot this morning in Houston, along with two others, near where I used to live. This is confusing because I thought good guys with guns stopped gun killings.

    • gbjames
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      An on-duty police officer was shot and killed this morning in Wauwatosa, a suburb of Milwaukee. I’m similarly confused since the magic of gun possession seems to have failed here, too.

  21. Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    The logical end of this is the USA looking like a “Where’s Wally” jigsaw puzzle, with Wally being the American who isn’t an armed guard – and he’s dodging the crossfire from the ones who are.

    • MNb
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      I guess Wally will emigrate.

  22. RickK
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Kennesaw, Georgia, 1982 – Passed a town ordinance mandating a gun in every household.

    Kennesaw, Georgia, 2012 – Just buried a police officer killed while responding to a domestic dispute in a properly-armed household.

    Ban the manufacture, import, sale and ownership of all handguns.

    Ban the manufacture, import, sale and ownership of all rifles with removable magazines or magazine capacity greater than 5 rounds.

    Establish a taxpayer-funded buyback-and-destroy program for any weapons in the banned class.

    Register all others.

    “Guns” are machines designed to efficiently kill other human beings. They are the most effective means we have of destroying a person’s liberty. When killed by one of these machines, all liberty is lost – a loss much more fundamental than the 2nd Amendment.

    Protect the liberty of our citizens – remove the citizen-killing machines from circulation.

  23. Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    When you take all guns of legal law bideing citizens away am I to believe a police officer is going to be around for those who will have full rain of my property? Next we take any product that can make a bomb, chemical-biological home made weapons etc. The problem seems not to be weapons but as always people. Our society see’s these people & yet does nothing to keep them from becomeing a hazard. Our idea of elimination of guns & eventually any weapon is at best a lazzy fix all. This problem has been addressed about how to identifie problems & handle them in schools & other agencies. As always people ignorre or fail to be involed for various illodical reasons. Good luck takeing every weapon ever made out of our hands to stop those who do not follow the law. Plus we may want fuel for our vehicles oor take it from us so the bad guy does not use it.

    • Posted December 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      First, would you rather have to chase armed invaders off your property or unarmed ones? I bet your chances are much better if nobody has a gun and you’ve got a few dogs than with bullets flying everywhere in a reenactment of the O.K. Corral.

      Second, nobody thinks any solution will be perfect. But, tell me: why the fuck is it that all those who support keeping weapons of mass murder in the hands of baby killers demand that the perfect be the perfect enemy of the good?

      b&

      • threeflangedjavis
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        If you take their guns away they’ll just invade your home packing fertiliser bombs.

  24. Jim Bradley
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    The title of the blog may be better idea than the author realizes. First responders sometimes arrive before the police and are at high risk (especially if there is gang warfare). I know of first responders that are armed.

    In regards to this crime, many details are still to come out, but note that NY is a gun control state, so the issues may be more nuanced. This person was also, if reports by CNN are to be believed (http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/24/us/new-york-firefighters-shooting/index.html) was convicted of killing his grandmother in a 1st degree manslaughter charge previously.

    Finally, a recent blog article claimed that the 2nd amendment right to bear arms is a recent creation (from Scalia) when in fact it originated from common law in England, a distinct part of our system of law here and also used as a correct reference in interpreting what the 2nd amendment means. Citizens have 2 rights – an individual right to arms and the right to join an armed volunteer response force (a militia) in response to invasion or to government tyranny.

    • Mel
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see deputized services as the problem. Let each jurisdiction work out what they need to do based on the risk they have.

      • Jim Bradley
        Posted December 25, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        Mel, That’s like saying every district can have the “speech control” that they need, negating the 1st amendment. I’m not sure the general thrust is a good idea.

    • gluonspring
      Posted December 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      I always wonder when my friends are going to rise up off their couches, Bushmaster in hand, and resist government tyranny. I mean, what is going to be the trigger for that? Warrantless wiretaps? Indefinite detention of American citizens? Government engaging in torture? Huge expansions of government police agencies turning us into a police state? Really, what is the precipitating event where you stop feeling like you’re Defenders of Liberty merely because you have a gun in the closet and you, you know, actually defend liberty? It’s all BS, obviously, since these same people (usually) can’t even be bothered to rise up off their couch and vote out of office people who support the kind of overt encroachments on liberty named above. They are much more concerned about Gay Marriage or thumping their chests (in cowering fear) of terrorists or some such. Bizarrely, these same people support every expansion of government power imaginable, no military can ever be too big, no number of police officers too many, no amount of power for law enforcement too great. That’s the GOP platform, more or less, and that is the party of guns.

      Fundamentally, I think a lot of gun ownership is merely kind of cosplay.

      • Richard William Posner
        Posted December 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Well said.

  25. Dan
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I live in Webster about 4 miles from the crime scene. It gives me the creeps to think that I’ve ridden my bike past that house dozens of times.

    If you look at the map, the house is on a very narrow slip of land between a large bay and Lake Ontario, This turned out to be a good thing, as it was easy for police to block off the scene from the two sides. Also, only a few houses were close enough to get caught in the conflagration. Could have been a lot worse in a denser neighborhood.

    My heart goes out to the families of the victims in my community. I was in favor of drastic restrictions on gun possession even before this close-to-home incident. The apparent gunman was a convicted felon, and could not have obtained a gun legally. But no problem getting one in our gun-saturated society. Madness!

  26. Mel
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    As a possible solution that I’ve not at all settled on, I’ve also thought up something very similar to Jerry’s. But I suspect there would be situations where a person should be able to check out a hand gun for purely personal security reasons. One possible situation might be that of a wife whose husband has an abusive record and is under a restraining order. Then too, what of the situation where someone has made a threat but you can’t prove it. I’d go for them being able to check out a gun so long as the incident had been reported to the police; ie, there is a complaint filed against someone and you’re on record as being afraid. In both these cases, the gun user is taking responsibility of becoming a suspect if the alleged offender gets shot.

    • Mel
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      In principle, I don’t have a problem with the firemen having a gun on the engine that’s owned and controlled by the fire dept or maybe owned by the police dept and with police oversight. Of course, this would require training on how to handle the gun which is also an added expense. We already deputize air crews. Really, I’d leave the matter up to the cities or states. Deputized services are not the problem.

  27. Donald
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Lets not do what you ask. Then only the criminals would have guns. See, the criminals hope for more gun laws because then they know for sure that no one else will have guns when they go out to rape, rob, kill, etc. There are many public service departments in cities around the country that hold both positions while on shift. They cruise around as police until there is a call for a fire or rescue and then they respond to that call as firefighters. It saves each municipality money in the long run and has proven to work. In high crime municipalities it would be beneficial. The switch to it and the training would be time consuming but possible. As a 20 year career firefighter it won’t effect me, but I would support it.

    • threeflangedjavis
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      In South Africa we have a problem in that burglaries are often accompanied by gratuitous murder and torture. Is that the case in the US? If not, then surely it is the better option to take the risk of losing your property to avoid lethal confrontation?

  28. Richard William Posner
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    There is not now, nor has there ever been, a human civilisation.

    Sadly, the only real solution may be the extinction of homo sapiens.

    Just my opinion.

    Consummatum est

    • threeflangedjavis
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      I agree, the solution to the problem of tragic deaths is to kill everybody. Job done.

      • Richard William Posner
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t say anyone needs to “kill everybody”.

        We’re doing a bang-up job of killing ourselves.

        At the present rate, I’d give us less than a century. Maybe only half that.

        Just my opinion.

  29. Jenny
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Why, we have to arm everyone. Just the teachers? Why not a gun on every little child – then maybe they could have fought back with a big old gun battle in the school’s halls! Sure, that’s the ticket . . .
    I worry about my big old Tom Cat Ben on the mean streets at night – maybe I could figure a way to arm him more effectively. Yea, little laser shooters on either side of his head and then he’ll cream those poor homeless kitties out there who threaten him. Ok, maybe getting carried away a bit. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

  30. Posted December 25, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    No guns for the criminals or good citizens. People who are violent do not need guns to murder. Check history & you will see as effective ways to kill as a gun. Bad people use guns now but if they were gone it would be just as easy to get the same results. Having police & other government agencies be the responders with guns sounds good until you realize we do live in the 21st century & so do those who plot & murder. Evolution has not in all this time stopped war, hate, needless destruction, or out right killers. Takeing guns will not stop these evils as there is a marrid of ways to kill on a mass level. Ask any special forces or government agencie that protects us. Just look at the terrorist in countries with out guns how easy it is. These latest killers killed & then took there own lives. Just as the terrorist do only with out religion as a factor. There mental state was known & ignored. So in conclusion it seems guns are only a small problem & for some reason America is not working on why these people here( who have killed) are not being monitored better & controlled.

  31. Posted December 25, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    and then a three day waiting period for the hikers in bear country… “yeah, those two, I remember them..they were pissed at each other..but they had a lot of hiking to do..”

  32. Posted December 26, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I think that this should also apply to Paramedics and Emt’s. They are sent into some pretty dangerous situations too.


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