In the U.S., it’s easier to get a gun than a kitten

Here’s a poignant CBS television interview with the Barden family, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was murdered in the Newtown shooting. What struck me, besides the inconsolable pain that could be multiplied eleven thousand times per year in the U.S., was what Mrs. Barden, whose family is adopting a kitten, says starting at 1:28.  “I don’t know a lot about guns, but I think it’s a little easier to get a gun than a kitten.”  That’s pretty much true, and it’s what’s wrong with our gun-ridden society.

But what’s just as sick as our lax gun regulations is the description of the video written by its poster, which he—I’m sure it’s a male—titled “Grieving Newtown parents want your guns.”

Still not a single tear from this Stepford family. This Barden woman is complaining that its “easier to buy a gun than it is to adopt a kitten.” Pretty funny actually.

The Bardens don’t want your guns, they just don’t want you to have guns. And neither do I, you sick s.o.b.!

h/t: Chris

92 Comments

  1. Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    We missed out on a cute pair of orange tabby kittens because the local shelter insisted that they not only meet my spouse and kids, but also me—and I was unavailable that day. By the time I made it to the shelter, they were gone!

    • Matt Bowman
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Yep, and when Nancy Lanza bought her guns do you think they asked to wait to meet her son, Adam? Not that it would of matter, but…anyway you get my point.

      • Matt Bowman
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        “would of matter?” Don’t type and talk to your d** at the same time — it make you type stupid. I should look to adopt a kitten to balance it out.

  2. Alice Wonder
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I’ve found dozens of kittens over the years, only found one gun.

    • gravelinspector
      Posted January 19, 2013 at 4:03 am | Permalink

      You FOUND a gun?
      That in itself speaks volumes about the American (I’m assuming you’re American, or in America) lackadaisical attitude to lethal weapons.

      • Gary W
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Guns are more dangerous than knives, but knives are “lethal weapons” too. You don’t seem to be concerned about lackadaisical attitudes to knives. Much of the hostility to guns by European critics of the U.S is highly irrational, vastly disproportionate to the actual risks guns pose.

        • Maxamillion
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          To kill someone with a knife would be a personal act, shooting someone, no so much.

          To test this, go out and hunt a bear with a knife, let us know how it goes.

          BTW, think about the three people that were injured at gun shows this week-end.

          http://news.yahoo.com/three-hurt-firearm-accident-north-carolina-gun-show-234451916.html

          Why would anyone need a loaded gun at a gun show anyway?

          • gravelinspector
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

            Why would anyone need a loaded gun at a gun show anyway?

            Why, to protect themselves from the large numbers of armed people to be found at such locations.
            In the voice of one Homer Simpson, “Doh!” ?

        • gravelinspector
          Posted January 20, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          Carrying a knife in a public place without good excuse is likely to get you at least cautioned or admonished (depending on if you were in England+Wales or Scotland (I’m not sure what the term is in Northern Ireland). That is something that goes on your personal criminal record, though you’re not required to disclose it for most job applications (it will come up in a formal check). Oh, and the knife will be confiscated and destroyed. If you’re actively “brandishing”, “displaying” or “producing” the weapon, then you’re likely going down in a hail of CS gas and riot shields and are going to be extraordinarily lucky to avoid jail time. (That’s scotland I don’t spend enough time in England to worry about it.
          That said, I’ve carried edged tools – forestry equipment, hiking belt knives and ice axes about in public without the slightest expression of worry from anyone other than “mind that doesn’t damage my upholstery!” But in the context, they’re obviously tools not weapons.
          Lethal weapons are treated very seriously ; though it is recognised that some tools are not weapons until used as such.
          I remember a case of about 10-12 years ago where a man got shot 4 or 5 times by specialist anti-terrorist firearms officers on the suspicion that he was carrying a shot gun. After his death, it was established that the contents of his carrier bag was a freshly-turned chair leg that he’d been repairing for a friend. But he had an Irish accent, so that was all right, wasn’t it?

  3. Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    I don’t know, I live in Massachusetts and it strikes me that kittens are easier to get than a gun. But that’s one of the reasons why the state’s motto should be: Massachusetts, the Western Europe of America.

  4. Jolo5309
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Let me be the first to say it…

    Getting a firearm is a constitutional right, getting a kitten is not.

    I think it is a bad argument, but it is the one you will see from the pro gun faction.

    Just out of curiousity, since I am a Canadian and don’t know, how regulated are swords & crossbows in the US? These are arms as well.

    • Gary W
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      I think it is a bad argument

      Sounds like a pretty good argument to me. But I don’t think the claim is actually true. You don’t need to pass a background check to get a kitten.

      • Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        But you don’t need to pass a background check to get a gun, either. Just find somebody whose primary business is something other than gun sales — and you can, quite conveniently, find huge collections of such people peddling their wares at swap meets commonly billed as “gun shows.”

        The thought that, with today’s law, you have to pass a background check before buying a gun is laughable. Only a complete and total idiot would think that you can’t legally and easily buy a gun without a background check.

        b&

        • Gary W
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

          Only a complete and total idiot would think that you can’t legally and easily buy a gun without a background check.

          You need to pass a background check to buy a gun from a licensed dealer. You don’t need to pass a background check at all to get a kitten. Only a complete and total idiot would think that you do.

          • Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

            Gary, enough of the bullshit.

            You don’t need a license to sell a gun unless you sell enough of them (or certain other restrictions are met). And the gun shows are little more than huge gatherings of unlicensed gun sellers cheerfully and legally selling guns to people, without any sort of a waiting period or background check, just cash on the barrelhead, no questions asked.

            And you, as an avid gun nut, should know damned well that the NRA has fought long and hard to see to it that that should be the case. That you’re now trying to spread lies that it’s even an inconvenience to buy a gun without a background check is particularly odious.

            b&

            • Gary W
              Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

              Ad hominem, false claim of fact, strawman. That is, a standard Ben Goren comment.

              • Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

                What false claim of fact?

                Are you seriously suggesting that background checks are required for gun purchases from private individuals? Or are you claiming that said individuals do not congregate for the purpose of selling guns at gun shows?

                b&

    • coozoe
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Having a gun is only a constitutional right if you are a member of a militia fighting an oppressive government, such as the War of Independence. The 2nd amendment, like the bible, is interpreted du jour in the US.

      • Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        It’s also worth noting that the National Guard perfectly fits both the letter and spirit of a militia as commonly understood at the tail end of the 18th century. And that their regulation is exemplary, even including that unfortunate incident in Ohio in 1970.

        b&

    • Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Getting a firearm is a constitutional right, getting a kitten is not.

      Hmmm…not so sure about that.

      We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

      If kittens aren’t one of the blessings of liberty, and if they don’t contribute to domestic tranquility, then I don’t know what is and does.

      …and that’s even before we get to the Declaration of Independence’s justification on the grounds of the purfuit of Happiness….

      b&

      • Philip.Elliott
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        I’ve got that Schoolhouse Rock song in my head now…
        youtube.com/embed/FLP_HGKq-jg

    • eric
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Both swords and xbows are legal to own in the US. Many states have laws about what you can and can’t hunt with an xbow. I don’t know about state laws regarding carrying either in public; there may be some.

      But if you’re just talking about purchasing, there are no laws that I know of. A citizen can just go on the internet and order them.

      • suwise3
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Keep things in perspective, folks: The 18 yr old kid in my Jujitsu class, who is adored by the children in the kid’s class and is respectful to all women, had to register when he became a black belt. But in Portland Oregon you can strut around town sporting an assault rifle and claim you are “educating people.”

        • gravelinspector
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 4:07 am | Permalink

          had to register when he became a black belt.

          “Had to register” as what?

  5. Lynn A.
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I find it disheartening that here in Canada I have registered our pets, our bikes and our cars, but to do so for deadly weapons was regarded as intrusive and scrapped. Neil MacDonald has a disturbing take on the US gun situation – I hope we don’t go down the same road to what he calls NRA encouraged “gun lunacy.”
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/01/12/f-rfa-macdonald-gun-control.html

    • eric
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      And now its becoming common to RFID tag animals. An idea which I’m sure would blow the heads off some of the more paranoid 2nd amendment types.

      • Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        RFID tags for animals are a true lifesaver, and the only reliable way to reunite lost animals with their distraught caretakers.

        Except in circumstances so extraordinary as to never happen in the West, a living human in distress in the care of emergency services can always (and generally pretty easily) be identified, even when the person is unresponsive.

        Not so with animals.

        Without some form of ID on the animal…well, luck is the biggest factor at that point. And animals that don’t get reunited in a timely fashion are generally destroyed.

        Collars either come off easily or are a choking hazard.

        Chips are for a lifetime — and basically every shelter and every vet is scanning every animal every time. Yes, even the well-known ones in for routine checkup; they’re still scanning them to make sure the chip is still readable, plus it’s exactly the type of habit necessary for them to be effective in their primary function.

        b&

        • John Scanlon, FCD
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          Except in circumstances so extraordinary as to never happen in the West, a living human in distress in the care of emergency services can always (and generally pretty easily) be identified, even when the person is unresponsive.

          Oh, you mean like this? It can happen to people in the West too, if their unresponsiveness is misinterpreted in the light of official paranoia.

          • Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

            Erm…I specified a person in distress in the care of emergency services, not somebody fully competent refusing to cooperate.

            Microchips in animals are there to identify those who are unable to identify themselves. It’s very, very rarely the case that a person who wishes (or would wish) to be identified cannot be identified.

            b&

  6. Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Maybe the animal shelters could sponsor gun buy-back drives and offer free (neutered) kittens and puppies (and a year or three of free medical care and a discount on pet health insurance afterwards) to responsible people in lieu of cash.

    Probably best done in the form of a certificate redeemable for any of a number of options (including cash), rather than an on-site trade….

    b&

  7. Roo
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    In this area a home visit is also required (by some shelters, at least,) as well as contracts binding your future behavior (you agree not to have them declawed and such.) For puppies, they may even put restrictions on your work schedule – they want one “stay at home parent” for a young puppy.

  8. docbill1351
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Kink is adopted. We had to fill out a form that asked a lot of questions about our experience with cats and how we would react to having a cat potentially destroy our house. On top of that we had to wait two to three days and pay $80. We were approved and the rest is hysterical, as they say.

    Next week I could go to the Houston Gun Show and drive home with one of more guns. No paperwork. No questions. No background check.

    • Gary W
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Animal shelters can impose their own conditions on potential adopters, but as far as I’m aware there is no legal requirement to pass a background check to acquire a kitten from a shelter, a pet store or any other source. In any case, as coozoe already pointed out, Americans have a constitutional right to private possession of firearms, so it isn’t surprising that guns are relatively easy to acquire.

      • Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        A gun’s sole purpose and design is to kill and should not be “relatively easy to acquire”.

        • Gary W
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          A gun’s sole purpose and design is to kill and should not be “relatively easy to acquire”.

          That obviously is not the sole purpose and design of guns, since many people buy guns for sports shooting or other non-lethal purposes. But this argument makes no sense, anyway. As Sam Harris says, “The fact that guns are ‘designed to kill people,’ … is beside the point. Such word games can be played both ways: A gun is designed to save your life when no other tool will do the job.”

          • Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            A gun is designed to save your life when no other tool will do the job.

            Then, considering how much more likely gun owners are to die from guns than those who don’t own guns, guns are spectacularly poorly designed.

            b&

            • Gary W
              Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

              … considering how much more likely gun owners are to die from guns than those who don’t own guns, …

              [citation needed]

              • Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

                Seriously?

                <sigh />

                http://archive.sph.harvard.edu/press-releases/2007-releases/press01112007.html

                Next time somebody tells you that water is wet, don’t expect them to do your homework for you.

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

                As usual, your citation does not support your factual assertion. It reports only that states with higher rates of gun ownership have higher rates of homicide. It says nothing about the proportion of homicide victims that are themselves gun owners.

                But your argument doesn’t make sense anyway. Your conclusion doesn’t follow from your premise. Even if it’s true that gun owners are more likely to die from guns than those who don’t own guns, that wouldn’t tell us anything about how well designed guns are for saving lives.

              • Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

                Gary, you were the one bullshitting that guns save lives.

                But never mind that. You’ve now agreed that more guns mean more homicides, but you don’t think that gun owners are killing each other or being killed with their own guns.

                The only possible conclusion is that it’s the gun owners using their own guns to murder those without guns.

                I can’t think of a less morally defensible position than to argue for providing weapons to people to murder the unarmed.

                But at least you’re not pretending any more. I suppose that’s a start.

                b&

              • Jeremy Pereira
                Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

                http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/160/10/929.full

              • Gary W
                Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

                You’ve now agreed that more guns mean more homicides

                No, I didn’t agree with that claim. You seem incapable of responding to anything I write without falsely attributing to me beliefs I did not express.

                The only possible conclusion is that it’s the gun owners using their own guns to murder those without guns.

                Both perpetrators and victims of homicide may either own guns or not own guns. Guns used in homicides may be owned, stolen or borrowed by their users. Homicides may be either criminal (e.g. murder and manslaughter) or lawful (e.g., justifiable homicide by police officers or private citizens in self defense). Your citation reports only that higher ownership rates are correlated with higher homicide rates. It tells us absolutely nothing about the proportion of homicide victims that are gun owners. I’m still waiting for your evidence that gun owners are more likely to die from guns than those who don’t own guns.

                Not that it matters to the point, since as I already explained your argument doesn’t make sense anyway.

              • Gary W
                Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

                Jeremy Periera,

                Your citation doesn’t support Ben Goren’s claim either. You know, you have to produce something that actually supports the disputed claim, not something that’s just sorta-kinda vaguely related to the claim.

              • Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

                Gary, you started this whole tangent by insisting that guns save lives — see the direct quote a few posts up. You’ve now just given us your very own litany of examples of how guns are used to kill people and the correlation between more guns and more death, and you’ve not even pretended to provide even one whit of evidence of your own of guns saving lives.

                And you’re the one blathering about a lack of evidence to support a nonsensical point?

                Damn. There goes another ironing meter. You’d think I’d just stop buying replacements….

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

                Gary, you started this whole tangent by insisting that guns save lives

                No I didn’t. I pointed out that the fact that guns are “designed to kill” is irrelevant. The features that make guns particularly effective for taking lives also make them particularly effective for saving lives.

                Still waiting for your evidence that gun owners are more likely to die from guns than those who don’t own guns.

              • Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

                So, you didn’t insist that guns save lives, but you instead “pointed out” that guns are “particularly effective for saving lives?”

                Congratulations, Gary. I have no clue how you’ve managed it, but I think this is actually the most blatant lie and / or incoherent mess I’ve ever seen from you.

                I’ll leave you to your cups.

                b&

      • Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        The Second does not grant individuals the right to private possession of firearms. It grants the people the right to a well-regulated armed militia, which is an entirely different thing.

        The people have the right to bear arms; no such right is granted to an individual.

        Compare “the people” in the Second, with the Third, which specifies the owner of the property in question; the Fourth, which specifies persons; the Fifth, which specifies persons; the Sixth, which specifies the individual accused; and so on. Further, compare with the First, which guarantees the right of assembly not to individuals, but to the people.

        Just as a person cannot be an assemblage, a person cannot be a militia. Only the people can assemble, and only the people can form the militia.

        You have no Constitutional right to private ownership of military arms; that right is the province of the militia — and, sure enough, surprise surprise, nobody is even hinting at disarming the National Guard.

        b&

        • Gary W
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

          You’re continuing to fight a battle that you’ve already lost. The Supreme Court has ruled that there is a constitutional right to private possession of firearms. It is unlikely that this ruling will be overturned, especially since it is so strongly supported by both conservative and liberal constitutional scholars.

          • Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

            The Supreme Court reverses itself all the time.

            You obviously haven’t noticed, but there’s a huge push right now to radically overhaul the nation’s gun laws. New York just passed into law sweeping new regulations, the strictest in the country. Many other states are looking to New York as a model, and Obama has just proposed to Congress the most comprehensive gun regulation overhaul in a generation.

            And, yes. This is all happening with overwhelming Republican support. For example, about 90% of Americans favor closing the background check loopholes whose existence you’ve been lying about — and those figures include about 85% of Republicans and even 80% of NRA members.

            That battle might have been lost the last time it was fought, but the war is still being waged — and not only are you the one on the losing side, you’re also pretty clearly one of the baddies.

            b&

            • Gary W
              Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

              The Supreme Court reverses itself all the time.

              No, the Supreme Court rarely reverses itself, especially on major constitutional decisions.

              Obama has just proposed to Congress the most comprehensive gun regulation overhaul in a generation.

              There is intense opposition to Obama’s proposals in congress, and their fate is very uncertain. Even if they’re passed, they’ll probably have little if any effect on gun violence. Also, the most significant gun regulation overhaul of the past generation is probably the dramatic expansion of the right to concealed carry of firearms in public.

              • Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

                Plessey v Furguson / Brown v Board of Education. Lochner v New York / Bunting v Oregon. Betts v Brady / Gideon v Wainwright. And more….

                And, yes. Those are major Constitutional decisions, some of the most famous and significant in court history.

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

                Yes, 3 reversals in over 1000 rulings across two centuries sure is “reverses itself all the time.”

        • Jeremy Pereira
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

          So why do Americans treat the US constitution with the kind of reverence usually reserved by religionists for their holy screeds? It’s a legal document written by fallible human beings. Has it not occurred to anybody that bits of it might be wrong?

          “Because the second amendment says so” is an argument from authority and is thus fallacious.

          Also, it’s clearly bad law because nobody really knows what it means. I’ve heard people say it’s to give Americans the right to defend themselves but statistics show it’s more dangerous to own a firearm than not. I’ve heard people say it’s to allow Americans to defend themselves from their government except the arsenal that the government possesses makes that a futile gesture. I’ve heard people say that it was intended that there would be no standing army and the militia was supposed to be to defend the USA (especially from us Brits), but the USA has a standing army now.

          The second amendment is obsolete and causes more harm than good. Get rid of it.

          • eric
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

            Has it not occurred to anybody that bits of it might be wrong?

            Sure. Wikipedia tells me there are about 200 proposed amendments given in every session of Congress. That’s a lot of ‘occurring to people that it might be wrong.’

            So far, everyone has agreed that it’s wrong (or at least incomplete) 27 times. and, in fact, the 2nd amendment itself is the result of everyone agreeing the constitution was incomplete.

            Look, foreigners, stop believing the propaganda of the far right.* We propose changes to it about 100 times per year. The policy you’re complaining about was actually one of those changes. Does that sound like ‘treating it like holy screed?’

            *And hey, the far left too, but for this instance, its the far right that’s at fault.

            • Gary W
              Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

              +1

  9. Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Oh that poor family. I was cringing when the interviewer was basically coaxing them for graphic details of their little child’s death. What was expected of them to say to that line of questioning? Whatever details have “seeped through” it is not for anyone else to dredge it from their broken hearts. There are enough details available from sources other than parents who are still expecting their baby to step off the school bus. This culture of News Pr0n is disgusting and disheartening. And yes, in my experience, it IS much easier to get a kitten than a gun. Years ago a boyfriend easily purchased a handgun, that same month we wanted to adopt a kitten. After several phone interviews and two home visits we were denied the adoption (she felt our current cat was “too spoiled”).

    • Matt Bowman
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      I cringe when reporters ask stupid questions too. When the mother says she doesn’t want to think about that day, the reporter asks, why? What an ass. He did get her to well up at that point–mission accomplished.

      • Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, the human, un-assholy followup would be to ask her what she’d rather think about — thereby giving her the perfect segue to either remember the good bits of her child’s life or discuss her plans for the future.

        b&

  10. WiseApe
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    As an outsider looking in may I ask: What are so many Americans so afraid of – why all the guns?

    • Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      America doesn’t do too well on the Gini coefficient. In particular, access to healthcare is mostly only through employers, meaning that bosses often literally hold the power of life and death over their employees and their families. “Better do as I say, or I’ll fire your sorry ass and you won’t be able to pay for little Susie’s kidney transplant.” Combine that with rampant unemployment and underemployment, and there’s plenty of non-specific fear to go around.

      America relatively recently had an extended colonial period, too, in which guns were a necessary element of survival in what was then large tracts of wilderness. Not long after that period, law enforcement was slow to catch up to modern standards in what is known as the “Wild West.” Similar problems continue to exist in some inner cities today.

      More recently, the National Rifle Association is a powerful lobbying arm of the gun manufacturers, and there’s lots of profit to be made in selling guns.

      Put that all together with the legal glue of the Second Amendment of the Constitution (which the NRA has been successful in modern history at getting courts to interpret as an individual right to gun ownership as opposed to, as it’s clearly written, a right of the people to a well-regulated armed militia)…and you get the mess that we currently find ourselves in.

      b&

      • WiseApe
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 3:55 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the considered response. Interesting historical perspective.

    • Gary W
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      What are so many Americans so afraid of – why all the guns?

      I don’t think Americans are “so afraid” of anything. They know they’re at risk of being the victim of crime. To reduce that risk, many Americans own guns. Americans also own guns for sports shooting, hunting and collecting.

      • WiseApe
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 4:04 am | Permalink

        Everybody knows they’re at risk of crime, we don’t all feel the need to buy guns. America has a higher percentage of gun ownership than most countries – are you saying Americans are – or feel – more at risk of crime than most other people. Why?

        I would be interested to know the percentage of gun owners who actually engage in hunting or sports shooting. Anyone aware of any studies?

        • Gary W
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

          Everybody knows they’re at risk of crime, we don’t all feel the need to buy guns. America has a higher percentage of gun ownership than most countries – are you saying Americans are – or feel – more at risk of crime than most other people. Why?

          Americans are generally at higher risk of homicide than people in other developed countries. That’s one reason why self-defense is more important for Americans. As to the reasons for the higher risk, I think that’s probably a very complex question having to do with America’s particular historical, cultural, social and economic circumstances. The high rate of gun ownership may be a factor, but it can’t be the whole explanation, and it may not even be a big factor.

  11. Steve
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Baloney! BTW, I increased my contribution to the NRA this year due to all the hogwash spouted by some of you so-called reasonable people. Most of your posts are just silly. There’s no sense in attempting to articulate why they’re silly, because you’re not listening. One of my favorite quotes applies here, “You can’t argue with unreason, you can only describe it” (Satayana). Once again I will repeat this tried and true legal maxim, “Hard cases make bad law.”

    • Jolo5309
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Ad hominems are not a useful tool when arguing.

    • Taz
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      The NRA has opposed any and all efforts at ensuring that gun ownership is “well-regulated”. I know a quite a few people who are rethinking their membership as long as the current leadership is in place.

      • Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        President Bush, Sr., very publicly and famously resigned his lifetime membership in response to NRA antics nowhere near as odious as their responses to the Sandy Hook massacre.

        Polling of NRA members shows overwhelming margins (in the 80% range) of them to have the opposite position of the organization on all sorts of gun issues, including things like requiring background checks for firearm purchases. And the NRA’s campaign funding — allegedly invincible — bet worng on 99% of races in the past election. That is, if the NRA targeted you or your issue, you had a 99% chance of winning your election in spite — or perhaps because? — of being so targeted.

        In all honesty, nobody is quite sure how it is that anybody thinks they’re still relevant, except for some unexplained form of inertia and possibly extensive financial support from gun manufacturers.

        b&

      • Gary W
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        I find the NRA to be as dishonest and manipulative in its rhetoric and presentation of evidence as the gun control lobby, but the idea that the NRA is no longer relevant is laughable. Far from losing members, the NRA is in the midst of a membership boom. For more, see this: How the NRA is winning.

  12. Steve
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Oh, yeah. Jerry, I’m reading “The Faith of a Heretic” by Kaufmann. On page 70. Great book! I just ordered his “Critique of Religion and Philosophy.” There are some things we do agree on. Probably most things.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Steve, you will no longer be allowed to comment here until you apologize to the readers for what you said above: that they spouted “hogwash,” that their posts are silly, and that they are “so-called reasonable people.” The rule here is that we don’t insult other people.

      You just did that, and gratuitiously. You are welcome to make arguments, but not level insults. So apologize to everyone, or you’re gone for good.

  13. Hempenstein
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I have little doubt that there are some Iranians who could be trusted to keep a nuclear weapon that only they could launch, and never launch it. Yet I haven’t heard of any movement, even in red states, against keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of the Iranian crackpot regime. But it’s entirely another thing to try to do something more to keep assault weapons out of the hands of US individual crackpots by just banning their sale, period.

  14. Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    The Troll engaged with me but lost miserably. We have a great put down over in the UK for acid brain people like that ‘TIT’. Try it. I reckon you’ll agree that it is quite a satisfying retort.

  15. Taz
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I suggest everyone watch these Daily Show clips from yesterday. There’s some eye-openers.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/jon-stewart-nra-atf-gun-control-obama-2013-1

  16. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Who has ever been prevented from buying a gun? Anybody?

    *crickets…crickets*

    Okay, who knows somebody who has been prevented from buying a gun?

    *crickets…crickets*

    Who knows somebody who SHOULD be prevented from owning a gun?

    *Thousands of hands raised*

  17. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m just flabbergasted at the way gun-advocates (and conspiracy-theorists) are violating the grief of parents at Newtown- it’s almost as bad as what Fred Phelps and the Westboro folk do!!

    I’m not an expert in psychology, but I’m inclined think that guys who grew up in a culture of sexual suppression are limited to expressing their manhood in militaristic ways. They then project all the anxieties of a culture that over-regulates sex onto calls for reasonable restrictions on weapons, since for these folks essentially the machine-gun has become a substitute sex organ, and their ultimate unconscious fear is that this will be subject to all the anxiety-producing censoriousness that has already happened to their sex life.

    • abrotherhoodofman
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Well, since you started down this road…

      Every single gun “nut” I know is not a physically imposing person.

      Correlation is not causation, but…

  18. Jim Bradley
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Going to the implied extreme, the assumption is that without guns in the hands of the population in general, society – in the long run – would be better. Translating that statement into practical operation means the people that *will* have the guns are those in power, the elite (either themselves or through hired bodyguards), certain members of the government, and possibly criminals (some redundancy there these days with the elite in government), but not the average citizen … in other words, security for the first list of people, but not for anyone else … and that this new state of affairs would be better because it would avoid 11,000 deaths per year.

    I am not sure that claim is defendable and it definitely is not if we were to take the attitude our framing fathers had toward the federal government, who I am confident (reading their writings) would be appalled at the overreach. Washington is certainly not a “gun free zone” and enjoys some of the highest security and best protection your money can buy.

    For perspective, cardiovascular deaths (excluding those over age 85, because those people are bound to die of something) are about 468,000 and 400,000 deaths occur from tobacco-related causes. So if anything, perhaps we should ban tobacco?

    I suggest we spend equal time (perhaps much more time) on “president control” as Clinton and GW Bush were likely responsible for upwards of 1,000,000 Iraqi deaths (embargo plus invasion) many of them children, Obama is expanding the drone war and spreading the range of death all over the world, plus the sickening practice of “extraordinary rendition” (i.e. kidnapping ‘suspects’ and transporting them to nation states where torture is legal), and the dissolving of protections for privacy for American citizens (court-free wiretapping, universal eavesdropping on electronic communications), a free pass to some of the most egregious criminals (high finance and banking, drug money laundering by HSBC, etc), I think we should be very wary of any government efforts to limit the ability of the population to defend themselves, as the government seems less interested in protecting the citizen than in expanding their own influence domestically and internationally.

    I just don’t see the perspective necessary to even start the dialogue.

    • Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      in other words, security for the first list of people, but not for anyone else

      Most of the rest of the world, including all of the rest of the developed world, has far stricter gun ownership regulation and far fewer guns per capita than the US, and yet they have not devolved into the dystopian tyranny you fear.

      Do you really think so little of Americans that you believe we are only capable civilization at the barrel of a gun, while everybody else has managed it peacefully?

      b&

  19. John K.
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Some evidence that a kitten is better than a gun. Kind of shallow, I know, but this kind of post depresses me in its poignancy.

  20. marksolock
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

  21. gravelinspector
    Posted January 19, 2013 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    I was reading the paper (Independent, of the UK) yesterday and saw a slightly surprising statistic : since the Newtown massacre, there had been 929 fatal shootings in the US.
    The article cited a Twitter account (@GunDeaths) where statistics are being collated. So, by the time I’d finished reading the article and followed the account, the total was over a thousand.
    Sanity! Perfect sanity!

    • jesse
      Posted January 20, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      The statistics on gun killings in the U.S. are staggering. Many of us who don’t want to own guns constantly have feelings of dread and fear to one degree or another.

      There was a rural school killing near me a few years ago. In another incident, an ex-neighbor of mine caused a lockdown in a school when he threatened to shoot his wife, who worked there.

      I have been in a couple of situations where I wonder if the person who got in my face would have used a gun if he’d had it in his pocket. One time while driving, I didn’t want to make a turn on a red light in front of oncoming traffic (making a turn on a red light is a privilege not an obligation). When the young man behind me honked and then immediately got out of his car and stormed up to my window to yell at me (my light was still red), I panicked and lied and said my car was acting up. He was so angry it was unbelievable. Combine high emotion with accessibility to guns and it can be dangerous.

      In my state, the legislators recently passed a law that allows people to carry a concealed gun. Several states have this law now.

      It’s not fun living in a country where, if someone gets mad at you, they can pull out a gun and use it when their emotions are riled up. My friends who are teachers just have to try to put it out of their heads, and to try to not anger a kid or a kid’s parents in any way. And can you believe someone has even suggested that the answer is to have teachers carry guns?

      • gravelinspector
        Posted January 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        And can you believe someone has even suggested that the answer is to have teachers carry guns?

        I thought the proposition was to make it compulsory. but don’t worry, I believed it.
        In other news … there are three Brits coming back from work in Algeria in body bags … and the day rate that I’d command for going out there has gone up by several hundred pounds a day. I expect the phone to be busy.

        • jesse
          Posted January 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

          “There are three Brits coming back from work in Algeria in body bags …”

          I was very sorry to hear this.

          • gravelinspector
            Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

            Yeah ; no-one I knew.
            We dodged a multiple-hundred casualty event a couple of weeks back. I won’t say that you get inured to it, but you know the deal.

      • Gary W
        Posted January 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Many of us who don’t want to own guns constantly have feelings of dread and fear to one degree or another.

        Those feelings are probably irrational. Unless your circumstances are very unusual, your chance of being the victim of gun violence is extremely low.

        In my state, the legislators recently passed a law that allows people to carry a concealed gun. Several states have this law now.

        All states except, I believe, Illinois, now have very unrestrictive concealed carry laws. This nationwide relaxation of concealed carry laws has probably been the biggest change in gun laws over the past 25 years. Over the same period, violence has declined dramatically. When a potential murderer, rapist or assaulter knows that his intended victim, or a bystander, is likely to be carrying a concealed firearm, he has a strong incentive not to commit the crime.

        And can you believe someone has even suggested that the answer is to have teachers carry guns?

        An armed and well-trained teacher might well have been able to save many of the victims in the Newtown tragedy by shooting the gunman before the police arrived.

        • jesse
          Posted January 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

          About all I have to say to this is something that is very emotional and not factual. For this reason you will not like it and will have lots of answers I am sure. I am not interested in changing your mind, but maybe the mind of someone else who reads this later. If you want to call my feelings on this topic irrational, oh, well, sobeit.

          I have had men in my face on several occasions and I do not like it one bit. Maybe you as a man are used to it, but I am not, and it scares the s t out of me when it happens. It would have been worse if they had had guns in their possession, because their anger was quite great. And having a gun in my possession or having someone near me with a gun is not the answer. I am slow, and I am a large target, so I would be the first to get hit, believe me.

          A college teaching friend just tonite told me of how a janitor at her friend’s school raped a coworker’s wife on the school grounds, and all he got was a transfer to a new school. Now they want to give janitors guns, so this guy may get a gun? The rape was either not proveable or something happened where it got “settled”…I am not sure of the details, so I am sure you will find fault with this anecdote.

          I could go on with two accounts of men getting in the faces of a woman when the lone woman had the courage to try to congenially solve a problem by knocking on a door to discuss it, out in broad daylight. One of the times, it was me trying to discuss something with a neighbor who lived ten feet from my abode.

          I just don’t think you get it: most people do not want an escalation of warfare in the U.S. Most people want to work things out without getting hurt, and NOT having a gun there is probably a good way to maybe not get shot.

          An acquaintance of mine killed her husband and then herself with guns that were in the house. I am not sure of the details; I was told by her employees that no one knows for sure what happened. I do know she once told me she could not understand why people could kill things when hunting. This tells me it was probably a very emotional moment; if the guns had not been in the house, the damage might not have been as severe, who knows for sure.

          And you know that country school shooting that I mentioned that was near me? It didn’t make bigtime news but for less than a day because that Amish school shooting (I think that was was in PA) came right after it. Yeah, one school shooting trumped another for top billing. Nice country we live in.

          Yes, this which I wrote was all anecdotal and all emotional. So you will discount it I am sure. When a person lives in fear of nasty neighbors who may be on drugs, are alcoholics and out of work, and do anonymous, scary nightime pranks on a person in pain who’s recovering from surgery, emotions such as helplessness and fear do tend to predominate. My having a gun isn’t going to help me. I don’t want to live in the Wild West anyway.

          My grandfather was in WWI and was a Chicago cop during the 30s and 40s. My dad was in WWII. Neither of them believed in private handgun ownership. That was different times, you say? Yeah. I don’t have an argument for that. I’m just telling you they didn’t need guns as civilians from the 1930s through the year 2000.

          Your bit about how an assault would be mitigated if the victim had a gun on their person… that is bunk. Are you going to arm old ladies with pistols or something?

          If any of this is labeled irrational, or if it is deemed to be not a well-enough-written, perfectly-executed response, oh well, that says more about the reader who is judging. I’m just sayin’ that the only way I see to make this country more peaceful and to let normal people be at peace–and be productive–is to get rid of the guns that are easily available for use in moments of high emotion, *especially* the ones that shoot lots of bullets in a few seconds. It’s not rocket science.

          And the arguments that we need all these guns to protect us from government is baloney. Our government is us, not some dictator or military leader or colonial ruler.

          P.S. regarding your bit about a well-trained teacher … well, look for the Diane Sawyer segment, I think from 60 Minutes, that is on Youtube… it shows how volunteers went thru gun training and then failed miserably even getting their handguns out of their holsters in a surprise attack in a schoolroom. Look for that… it ran about ten min.; can’t remember where I found it.

          I’m done discussing this now.

          • jesse
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

            for anyone who wants to watch the Diane Sawyer ABC News segment that I refer to above, find it at
            youtube.com/watch?v=8QjZY3WiO9s

            • suwise3
              Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

              Yes, this is an excellent video.

              Expecting people with minimal or no training being able to “take down a shooter” with their handgun is unrealistic. Expecting us to now do this against army weapons with 30-100 round magazines is insane. (“Swarm the shooter.” “Count the bullets and do this while he reloads.”)

              I too, do not want to live in a Wild West mentality, preferring my tax dollars to pay for a *well-trained* police force.


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