Observations on the New York Times Front Page Editorial Advocating Gun Confiscation

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The New York Times, in a dramatic action that it has not engaged in since the 1920s, has published an editorial on page one. At such a moment, a newspaper subjects itself to a very high standard, since it is temporarily turning a news source into an organ of advocacy.  Though the Times’ editorial is motivated by good intentions, passion and (I hope) serious and careful thought, it fails that high standard.

Observations:

1. Early on, the Times says, “It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.”

Well, from that position, the Times cannot be doubted or criticized. It believes that citizens (the casual switch to civilians assumes that only police and military have a right to deadly force. The Constitution, thankfully, disagrees), apparently, should only be able to avail themselves of weapons that kill slowly and undependably. I don’t agree with that, and I think to agree with that premise undercuts the entire theory of constitutionally guaranteed individual rights.

2. Using the San Bernardino shooting as the launching point for such as editorial is emotional manipulation and unethical. This was almost certainly a terrorist killing. It is doubtful that any legal measures short of confiscating and banning all firearms would have prevented it. As has been the case with other shootings, why is this incident used to justify advocating laws and regulations that couldn’t stop a similar shooting? It’s simple: because people are upset, fearful, and not thinking straight; all the better to mislead them. By the very act of publishing its editorial now, the Times is making the implicit statement that its policy recommendations are germane to this episode. They are not, however. That’s unethical.

3. Reason has headlined its story about the editorial, “New York Times Calls for Immense Expense and Political Civil War To Maybe Possibly Hopefully Reduce Gun Violence by a Tiny Amount.” That is absolutely fair and accurate, and the Times had an obligation, even in an editorial, to reveal what it is really asking for. I know this was ideological advocacy, but even while acting as activists, the Times still has a duty to inform and be transparent.

4. The Times advocates banning and the confiscation of the weapons used in San Bernardino, even though doing this would not have prevented that massacre. Moreover, Slate estimated in 2013 that about 3.5 million such rifles or substantially similar ones are in in the U.S., so what the Times is demanding would require the government buying, confiscating, and searching residences to find all of those.  Notes Reason, with complete accuracy,

What the Times is calling for is, beyond its countable costs in money and effort and the likely further erosion of civil liberties, also (as they surely know) calling for a massive political civil war the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time. The “assault weapon” ban of 1994-2004, though pointless, just barred the future making and selling of such weapons, and didn’t try to confiscate existing ones.

Is this really a responsible policy recommendation, or just an emotional one? The latter, certainly. As such, it takes the editorial out of the category of public service and places it in the range of partisan warfare.

5. Notes Reason: “According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2014, rifles—the entire category of rifles, of which the ones the Times wants to ban at such great cost are but a subset—were used to commit 248 murders. That’s in a country of around 319 million people. That’s around 2 percent of the total number of homicides that year.” Reason adds “It is likely that there is literally no other political crusade on which the Times could call for so much expense and turmoil for such a small benefit..”

Correct….unless the Times is really proposing something else.

6. It is. The Times is advocating minimal gun confiscation to begin public acceptance of widespread gun banning and confiscation. The measure it is calling for so passionately won’t accomplish, can’t accomplish, the goal the Times claims to be seeking. Maybe the next escalation of gun confiscation will, after it is sought following another tragedy such a policy couldn’t stop.

Or the next…

7. Quoth Reason:

The move the Times proposes with such ceremony and passion is so purely symbolic, so driven by a superstitious desire to placate fate by acting as if it is doing something to stop grotesque acts of terror like in San Bernardino, and so motivated by a desire to sock it to a huge proportion of their fellow citizens over a contentious and heated political and constitutional issue, and is being offered with such emphasis (first front page editorial in nearly a century) that one could imagine the Times is only proposing such a move as a stalking horse for seeing if the government can get away with successfully banning and confiscating a class of weapon, by starting with one with such a tenuous connection with public safety on a national level. 

Exactly.

 

52 thoughts on “Observations on the New York Times Front Page Editorial Advocating Gun Confiscation

  1. I wondered what you might have to say about this…

    While your position was quite predictable, I want to congratulate you on a coherent, thoughtful and articulate statement of that position. I’m a long way from agreeing with you, but I am finding it useful – very useful – to read people I disagree with, and it really helps when the arguments are laid out so cleanly as you have done here. I do think it contributes to better understanding, and that cannot but be a good thing.

    So, thanks.

  2. Excellent exposition on this issue, although I believe the predictions of a possible “political civil war” drastically underestimate the likely backlash at any gun confiscation efforts. You know, we bitter small-town people clinging to our guns and religion and all.

    • Agreed on that. If it ever got to the point of people going door to door collecting guns, I’m pretty certain that it would go far beyond political. That’s why the grabbers and their dupes will do it piecemeal, just grinding away at the 2nd amendment, brainwashing generations until it’s gone. At least that’s their plan, anyway. Then, they can finally usher in their utopia.

      • Disheartening to look at the comments box of the article. Makes me wonder if liberalism is more of a communicable brain-eating bacterial disease than mere mental illness. Hopefully it’s only indicative of the mentality of the sheeple that still read it.

  3. The New York Times has become a sinister and disgusting ideological rag. They certainly know that there is no way that the couple who carried out the attack in San Bernardino could have done it without outside help considering the expense of ammo and the knowledge to make pipe bombs which were found at their residence. Let’s face it: With our lax immigration and visa policies, more of these attacks are going to happen. And the prohibition of a certain type of rifle will not prevent this.

  4. The knee-jerk call for more gun control by the President, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid and others and now some advocates in the media, is not a surprise. Your assessment is correct and consistent with what I know to be true: The only true gun control measure that might have possibly a small but measurable impact on the reduction of gun violence in America is massive confiscation of civilian owned guns in America… roughly three hundred million of them.

    But to do this, somewhere in the range of 100 million otherwise peaceful and law abiding citizens will have to give up some of their civil liberties. Is this really what Americans want? I doubt it.

    Handguns are still, by far, more responsible for gun violence than any so called “assault weapon” and those handguns account for over 100 million of the total guns in American civilian ownership. Once the government confiscates all the AR-15s and such, what do they plan to do with the true “weapons of choice” of criminals… the 100 million handguns… most of which are owned and peacefully used by law abiding citizens.

    One has only to look at the strict nation-wide gun laws in Mexico to see the absurdity of the idea that disarming over a hundred million law abiding Americans will eliminate or even significantly reduce the risk of American criminal gun violence or terrorist attacks against the homeland. The bad guys will always get the tools that they need to do their horrible deeds… whether they be guns, bombs, toxins, civil airplanes, motor vehicle, etc.

    • Re: the last paragraph above: Amen. See, eg., all the French attacks. Those guys had no trouble getting assault rifles in idyllic, gun controlled Europe. I can’t think of any incidents other than terrorist attacks that better support the argument that it’s not the gun it’s the shooter. The people in San Bernardino were terrorists. They would have used pressure cookers if they’d had to. The gun thing is a red herring. Weird.

      • “the argument that it’s not the gun it’s the shooter.”

        Against that particular argument (and that argument alone), I’d suggest the case of Australia, where the massive assault on guns has had the result of 75% or so reduction in homicide and suicide by guns. (Note I’m not arguing rights here, just the claim about causality).

        I would also counter-argue on the basis of gross numbers. The US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world – AND is tops among rates of homicide by guns among developed countries.

        For example, you are 23 times more likely to be killed by a gun in the US than in Australia. (In fairness, the US ranks only 26th in the world in homicide by guns – but that’s behind Honduras, El Salvador, Jamaica, Venezuela, Guatemala, Paraguay – you get the picture). We even have higher death-by-gun rates than Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Uganda!

        These massive large-scale data suggest precisely the opposite claim: that it IS the gun, NOT the shooter. I see no credible claim that the US has 22 times more crazy people, or mentally ill people, than Australia, or Denmark, or Germany. What we DO see is massively higher levels of availability of guns. A simple suggestion: people tend to kill with what they can easily get their hands on. That explanation fits the data better than any other, seems to me.

        Note to flamers: I’m NOT trying to argue the constitutional right issue here. I’m not trying to argue anything in this little post other than the FACTUAL argument that there is a distinctive, statistical correlation between guns per capita and death-by-guns per capita. The claim that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is only trivially true, and substantively disingenuous.

        • Countering your logic, about two thirds of the gun deaths (in rough numbers) are suicides and not criminal homicides. Gun control advocates typically like to lump suicides as “gun violence.”

          But, in relative terms, the U.S. suicide rate is not particularly high… about in the same range of Canada and Iceland. But when you look at where the really spectacularly high suicide rates are, they are found nearly always in countries with the most restrictive policies for civilian gun ownership… Lithuania, South Korea, Japan, and the People’s Republic of China, for examples. Since people in these countries rarely have access to firearms, how do they commit suicide. The point being: guns do not cause suicide. While suicide is always a tragedy, it should not be lumped in as “gun violence” just to make a stronger case for more gun control. It is different.

          If you take suicide out of the gun violence debate and focus on genuine criminal gun violence, you will get a much clearer picture of the problem. You will see that the gun problem is not uniformly distributed, is not an national epidemic in America. While gun violence can occur just about anywhere, the problem is largely concentrated in dysfunctional communities plagued with poor economic opportunity, gang violence, drug use and other sorts of wide spread criminal enterprise (see certain neighborhoods in Chicago as one good example).

          Mental illness is another distraction from the central debate. About 30 years ago, America embarked on a policy of de-institutionalizing people with mental illness largely motivated by the high cost of mental hospital care but at least partially motivated by the notion that it would be more humane and civilized to return the mentally ill to their homes and communities where they might enjoy a higher quality of life. Sometimes that worked. But there were and are adverse consequences of this policy. The home care was not always there for the mentally ill.

          Mental illness is not a crime but individuals with mental illnesses sometimes commit crimes of violence if not properly supervised and medicated. It is important that we focus on the problem of mental illness for what it is and not blur the issue into some kind of ill-advised blanket advocacy for more gun control in America. Obviously, guns should be kept out of the hands of individuals who are mentally ill with violent tendencies.

              • San Bernardino was not gun violence, it was a military style attack as part of a religious war. To discuss gun violence in response to San Bernardino is foolishly, or cynically, delusional.

            • Charles, I’m only on your second post, and I’m already struggling with profanity. You don’t get to say “Against that particular argument (and that argument alone), I’d suggest the case of Australia, where the massive assault on guns has had the result of 75% or so reduction in homicide and suicide by guns.” and follow it up by saying you didn’t make a point about suicide. If your “point”wasn’t about suicide, don’t bring it up. I’m going to go further than normal and just call this one what it was: A lie.

        • “In fairness, the US ranks only 26th in the world in homicide by guns – but that’s behind Honduras, El Salvador, Jamaica, Venezuela, Guatemala, Paraguay – you get the picture” You forgot to mention a bunch of other countries, who also severely restrict or ban the private ownership of weapons.

          • Not sure what point you’re intending to make…

            In addition to those I mentioned, the other 25 ahead of us in homicide-by-gun rates include Trinidad, Columbia, Belize, Brazil, Panama, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, Guyana, Philippines, etc.

            Are you saying some of those restrict or ban private ownership? That may be the case, I don’t know, and if so, I get your point – presumably that gun bans don’t help.

            However, if you look at that list, it strikes me that a much more reasonable assumption would be those are countries (Paraguay, Zimbabwe) where the rule of law is extremely weak – and not just in terms of gun laws.

            • I think it still effectively uncouples the gun legality>causality link. It should also be noted that many of those higher rate/gun ban countries have very heavy-handed central authorities, so what constitutes the rule of law? The final outcome still seems to depend very heavily on how inclined a nation’s people are to abstain from violence.

        • “Against that particular argument (and that argument alone), I’d suggest the case of Australia, where the massive assault on guns has had the result of 75% or so reduction in homicide and suicide by guns.”

          Charles, where did you come up with that figure? It must certainly be one of those 87.6% of statistics that is made up on the spot.

          Here is a link to a page which shows a nice simple graph which clearly contradicts your statement. You will notice it is from the Australian Institute of Criminology – a federal government body: http://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/homicide.html

          Here is a link to another scholarly article: http://ssaa.org.au/assets/news-resources/research/2008-08_the-australian-firearms-buyback-and-its-effect-on-gun-deaths.pdf

          And here is a quote about the report:
          “The report finds that there is little evidence to suggest that the buyback had any significant effects on firearm-related homicides and suicides in Australia. Furthermore, there also does not appear to be any substitution effects – that reduced access to firearms may have led those bent on committing homicide or suicide to use alternative methods. The report concludes: “Although gun buybacks appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears, the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths.”

          Just for the record, an anti-gun campaigner in Australia was recently taking part in a panel discussion and within the same program rejoiced in how many lives were saved by the gun buyback getting firearms off the streets and bemoaned the fact that there are now more guns in Australia than before said buyback – the later statement being both correct and a large understatement. There are a LOT more guns in Oz now than there were before the gun buyback – and our firearms fatality figures still continue their slow but steady decline – as they do in the US.

        • Hmmm, I just posted a reply that appears to have hit a black hole. If you end up with a double up I apologise.

          “Against that particular argument (and that argument alone), I’d suggest the case of Australia, where the massive assault on guns has had the result of 75% or so reduction in homicide and suicide by guns.”

          Charles, where did you get these figures? I can only imagine that they are amongst the 86.7% of statistics that are made up on the spot!

          Here is a link to an article, from the Australian Institute of Criminology – a federal government body, that contains a nice simple graph which proves your statement to be incorrect: http://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/homicide.html

          Here is a link to another paper that looked into the Australian gun buy back: http://ssaa.org.au/assets/news-resources/research/2008-08_the-australian-firearms-buyback-and-its-effect-on-gun-deaths.pdf

          And here is a quote:

          “The report finds that there is little evidence to suggest that the buyback had any significant effects on firearm-related homicides and suicides in Australia. Furthermore, there also does not appear to be any substitution effects – that reduced access to firearms may have led those bent on committing homicide or suicide to use alternative methods. The report concludes: “Although gun buybacks appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears, the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths.”

          An anti-gun campaigner taking part in a panel discussion recently – within the same panel – rejoiced that the gun buy back had saved many lives (myth) and bemoaned the fact that there were now more guns in Australia than before the buy back (true – but he should have said MANY more to be accurate).

          • Paul, you ask “where did you get those figures?” and speculate I must have made them up on the spot.

            They are from “Do Gun Buybacks Save Lives? Evidence from Panel Data,” American Law and Economics Review, 2010, with updated figures provided by a co-author, Christine Neill, and later revisions by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, printed yesterday in http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/05/world/australia/australia-gun-ban-shooting.html

            In particular, they are taken from the graphic with the title
            “The rate of gun-related suicides and homicides per 100,000 residents in Australia has fallen sharply since gun ownership restrictions were tightened in 1996.”

            My figure of 75% was rudely taken from the graphic showing a starting number of 4 declining to 1.

            Now, I’m no expert on this, so I then looked at YOUR data. The first citation you give, from the Australian Institute of Criminology, would on the face of it appear to support MY statement, not yours. Just look at the graph titled “Homicides involving firearms as a percentage of total homicides, 1915-2003.” See the sharply declining line from 1996 to 2003? That’s the same sharply declining line in the article I cited. I mean, you don’t have to believe me – just look at the graph!

            On the other hand, the other paper you cite does indeed say exactly what you note, that there is “little evidence to support…”

            That would appear to directly contradict the other articles. And it does indeed look very thorough and scholarly, I grant you that.

            So, in the face of that contradictory data, what’s one to believe? I’ll toss in one more quotation however, which is John Howard, the Prime Minister of Australia from 1997 to 2007, under whose reign that act was passed. A disinterested party? By no means. But also by no means a flakey leftist. Here’s what he had to say:

            “”There are many American traits which we Australians could well emulate to our great benefit,” he concluded. “But when it comes to guns, we have been right to take a radically different path.”

            The article in which he is quoted goes on to say,

            “So what have the Australian laws actually done for homicide and suicide rates? Howard cites a study (pdf) by Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University finding that the firearm homicide rate fell by 59 percent, and the firearm suicide rate fell by 65 percent, in the decade after the law was introduced, without a parallel increase in non-firearm homicides and suicides. That provides strong circumstantial evidence for the law’s effectiveness.

            “The paper also estimated that buying back 3,500 guns per 100,000 people results in a 35 to 50 percent decline in the homicide rate, but because of the low number of homicides in Australia normally, this finding isn’t statistically significant.

            “What is significant is the decline the laws caused in the firearm suicide rate, which Leigh and Neill estimate at a 74 percent reduction for a buyback of that size.”
            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2012/08/02/did-gun-control-work-in-australia/

            —-
            Net net sounds to me like a tough call to make. But I’ll tell you what, I sure as hell didn’t make up the data on the spot.

            • Another entry in the dialogue – Ross Douthat’s column of today – “Liberalism’s Gun Problem.” Douthat is the NYTimes’ token conservative, where sometimes (like this) he plays an articulate role in translating one side to the other. Worth a read, IMHO.

            • Charles,
              The graph presented in the article you reference, and please note it is a newspaper article not a government report or scholarly paper, clearly shows an, effectively, linear decline starting somewhere about 1985, ten years before the gun buy back, and continuing through to 2005, almost ten years after the buyback. There is NO increased rate of decline in the nine years after the buyback. If the buyback worked there would have to be a noticeable downward trend in figures over that period; there isn’t.

              As for the vertical scale, which has no legend and I can only assume is presented to deceive you into thinking that it represents firearms homicides; if you believe that gun killings fell from four people to one person I must sadly inform you that is not the case.

              You can easily research the raw data for Australia and you will see that there has not been anything like a 75% reduction in firearms homicides in Australia as a result of the gun buy back.

              Others have rightly pointed out that there are HUGE differences in the Australian and US situations. One of the problems for Australian shooters is that the situation in the US is constantly used to attempt to put even more onerous restrictions on honest shooters here. Meanwhile, at least once a week we get a report of drive by shootings and murders here in our inner city suburbs, frequently referencing that the victim was ‘ known to police’.

              Furthermore please don’t anyone tell me that Australia is an Island/continent, take your pick, and that therefore importation of illegal firearms is not a problem. It is well recognised here that it IS a problem, along with drug imports.

              As for John Howard, I see no reason to comment on his assessment of his own, highly controversial, legislation!

        • “Against that particular argument (and that argument alone), I’d suggest the case of Australia, where the massive assault on guns has had the result of 75% or so reduction in homicide and suicide by guns. (Note I’m not arguing rights here, just the claim about causality).”

          And I would counter that, once again leaving aside the issue of constitutional rights, Australia is an island. If we assume that people engaged in killing other people aren’t particularly concerned with the law, it becomes a matter of availability of now illegal guns. Smuggling guns onto an island only accessible by air or ship is going to be more difficult than across a land boarder, so results in Australia are going to be anomalous as compared to most countries which have land boarders or car/train access.

          • Not to mention, the facts and figures about the change in gun violence there post-ban are still hotly disputed, and the ones put forth by gun-grabbing organizations are notoriously unreliable. Also, home invasions there and in the UK went up. Lastly, it’s estimated that most privately owned weapons are still in the hands of their owners.

          • Australia is of course a continent, not an island.

            But I take your point: there are no contiguous boundaries like we have with Canada and Mexico, and it makes sense that would constrain comparisons.

        • So what is the current population of Australia? FYI, it’s about 24 million people which is considerably lower than the State I live in. In addition, Australia has historically had strict immigration quotas and aside from the aboriginals, the population is largely middle class. Also, you omit the statistics on the number of home invasions and burglaries prevented by home defense weapons.

          • Wayne, I agree with you that the case of Australia is not airtight.

            Much more persuasive to me is the worldwide data-based argument that puts the US in 26th place (out of all the countries in the world) in homicide by gun per capita, behind some of the most lawless countries in the world – and in undisputed first place for guns per capita. And ahead of all other western countries by multiples hundreds of percent.

            Is there a counter-argument to that one, which to me pretty clearly suggests an obvious correlation between ubiquity of guns and commonality of death by guns?

            Again, I will note none of this is dispositive against arguments based on constitutional rights – but it seems important we get the causality of death argument correct if for no other reason to know what the tradeoff is.

          • Wayne,
            ” In addition, Australia has historically had strict immigration quotas and aside from the aboriginals, the population is largely middle class. ”

            Yeah, um, really? We do, like the US have a large middle class but no, your assertion, sadly, is wildly misrepresenting the situation here. Come on over for a visit and I will take you for a drive.

            Allow plenty of time, it’s a big country.

            I won’t comment on the Aboriginal part of your statement as figures on mining royalties going to Aboriginal communities and tribal groups are unknown to me.

        • Key phrase: homicides and suicides by gun. Of course there are fewer firearm-related homicides and suicides — after the confiscation, there are far fewer guns to do these things with.

          The real question is whether the total rate of homicides and suicides went down. If guns truly do enable increased violence and crime, you’d see a significant and lasting decrease with fewer guns in circulation. And all the sources I’ve seen say that just didn’t happen. Australia’s murder rate and overall rate of violent crime (I dunno about suicides) took a brief dip after the draconian laws took effect, and since then have gone up to there they’re now higher than they were before.

          In the U.S., we have definitive proof that guns do NOT cause murder and violent crime. Here’s a decent look at the issue: http://www.factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/. It’s a bit shallow and could have been better researched, but their numbers are useful. Since the 1990s, the number of guns has increased dramatically. Meanwhile, the murder rate and overall rate of violent crime have gone down by more than 40%.

          If civilian gun ownership caused (or even contributed to) violence and murder, these rates would have gone up, not down. Did increased gun ownership and expansion of concealed carry cause crime to go down? No way to tell.

          So leave aside the “gun death” rates and murder rates in other developed countries. They’re irrelevant. The facts tell us that in the U.S., the idea that more guns=more crime is flat-out false. We’ve been amassing more guns and at the same time experiencing LESS crime for decades now.

          That alone says that making it harder for law-abiding people to own guns is a stupid, backward, and ultimately futile gesture if reducing violent crime is your goal. (On the other hand, if exerting more central control via federal law, or maybe just a fuzzy-safe feeling is what you’re after, then it’s grand.)

        • “Against that particular argument (and that argument alone), I’d suggest the case of Australia, where the massive assault on guns has had the result of 75% or so reduction in homicide and suicide by guns. (Note I’m not arguing rights here, just the claim about causality).”

          This is such a fatuous argument. Of course it will, especially in a Nation without any neighbors, with an already lower than average carry rate and low crime numbers as a whole. But you know what it won’t do? Actually change the number of murders and suicides. America, Canada and Australia all have suicide rates slightly higher than 10 per 100,000, for example, and in all three nations that number is on the rise, even as the rate of gun ownership in all three Nations is decreasing naturally. So your argument seems to be that somehow it is preferable for people to kill themselves or others with more interesting methods? I know it isn’t really. But you have a history of thoughtlessness on this topic, and you still haven’t supplied an answer from our last run in. Think. Charles. For Christ’s sake think before you type.

          “Note to flamers”

          Was that a slur?

          “FACTUAL argument that there is a distinctive, statistical correlation between guns per capita and death-by-guns per capita.”

          Right. While conveniently ignoring that while the rate of gun homicide decreases, homicide by blade and blunt object rises at an almost 1:1 ratio, the difference easily explained by the natural decrease in crime rates. You look at the UK, bastion of gun control that American progressives could be proud of…. With a stabbing rate four times higher.

          The only legitimate point that can be made here is that it’s genuinely more difficult to have a mass shooting on a scales of more than two or three victims. (It doesn’t completely remove the ability to do that… See the terrorist attack on Canada’s Parliament Hill a couple years back, the jihadis attacked with long guns… Of all the stupid things. But I’d at least grant you the premise). And at that point we’re talking about a MUCH…. MUCH smaller pool of murders from which we base policy. Maybe 500 a year on the heavy side. In a population of 350,000,000.

          I don’t care.

          Seriously.

          By the logic that we MUST do something about guns to prevent 500 deaths a year, we must also ban beds, balloons, ladders, television sets, lawn mowers, vending machines, swing sets, staircases, bathtubs, cellphones, and bicycles. In fact, any of those individually would actually save more lives, statistically.

          We CAN’T legislate like that. We absolutely MUST not micromanage to that point, it is insane.

        • Well, Charles, there is a way we can reach the same murder rate (because it is MURDERS you care about, not the guns, right?) as European countries. We can just become more like them. We can do this by getting rid of our minority population. Blacks and hispanics are responsible for 60% of the murders in this country annually based on the FBI statistics. If we became more like European countries with populations that are overwhelmingly European in background, we could cut our murder rate in half. That would put us right in the middle of those ‘developed countries’ you talked about. If we are going to accept that fact that we can brutally violate people’s civil rights for the dubious benefit of reducing the murder rate, why not do so in such a way that will have real results? If we are going to give away rights for security, where does it end? Look at Singapore’s number!

          What is missed in this panic and plethora of misleading statistics is that murder rates are complicated. Lots of gun control advocates only care about murders committed with guns, people’s lives apparently mean nothing to them. Please note one of the misleading statistics in Charles’ post, Australia has a murder rate ~1/3 of the US’s (although only 1:23 the gun murder rate). Also note if you look at the numbers how widely they vary for no apparent reason. Norway has about 3x the murder rate of Sweden, but they are culturally very similar and similar in gun laws. Also note that a lot of the difference has to do with which countries keep accurate murder statistics. Remember, one year Ontario had more murders than all of Canada combined! The US murder rate has been declining for decades despite an increasing number of civilian gun purchases. Effective policing seems to be much of that factor. Perhaps we should study how we have made our country safer and work on that, rather than emotional drivel.

          Let’s look at some facts.

          Current Murder Rates (intentional homicide/100,000 inhabitants) from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime 2013.
          Mexico: 21
          US: 3.8
          Canada: 1.4
          Norway: 2.2
          Sweden: 0.8
          Denmark:0.8
          Finland: 1.6
          United Kingdom: 1.0
          Belgium: 1.6
          Syria: 2.2
          Israel: 1.8
          Singapore: 0.2
          Australia: 1.1
          Note: Only murder convictions count in the UK and many other European Countries. By that standard, the number of people murdered in the San Bernadino attack was 0.

          As for Mass Shootings, let’s look at the trend.
          Mass Shootings/year
          Obama: 4.1
          George W. Bush: 1.6
          Clinton: 2.1
          George H.W. Bush: 2.0
          Note: It looks like Obama is the problem

          US Murder rate (per 100,000 people)
          1990: 9.1
          2000: 5.5
          2010: 4.8
          2013: 3.8
          Note: Why is this a ‘problem’?

    • Thats a propaganda video. The guns he brought out of the handbag were not made by him in that shop with those materials. Trust me on that. I was a machinist and gun-maker. Still, some crude weapons can be made cheaply and easily, and a talented machinist with good machines, tools and materials can make pretty nice guns. In the event of a ban, the void would be more than filled.

  5. The irony of the the NY Times’ foolish position is that it was this Left Wing idiocy which allowed these murderers to succeed. They neighbors were so intimidated by fear of being labelled racists and bigots who engaged in ethnic profiling that they did not call the police.

    While I believe that the NRA and its ilk have serious mental problems, their craziness does not justify Left Wing foolishness. There is a significant difference between treating people as individuals, i.e. according to the content of their character and not the color of their skin, and placing people into a special category for special treatment. We have heard from the neighbor’s own mouth that he did not contact the police because Muslims get special privileges and were accorded silence when a Jewish person would have been reported, so too a secular person who have been reported, and so too a Christian person.

    And now everyone is pretending that the mother who lived in the apartment with them knew NOTHING !?! We have to pretend that the sister and her husbands knew nothing?

    We have to listen to known lies, “He only owned a hand gun,” but it is politically incorrect to point out that they had two assault rifles.

    They claim he only worked on cars in his garage. Really? The only role a “car” played was as a detonating device.

    The sister claims that they are a “good couple” after we know they murdered 14 people

    I heard one Muslim spokesperson say that we do not know if Farook and his wife were the shooters. The implication was that there is something wrong with us for accusing Farook and his wife.

    No one in the mainstream media has the common sense to challenge such absurdities. That leaves the field open to dangerous demagogues like Trump.

  6. 1. Early on, the Times says, “It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.”

    You know, I’m in favor of more gun control, specifically expanded background checks. I’ve also long argued against conservatives who say that leftists want to “ban guns,” because that’s not my position or the position of most liberals I know.

    But that sentence from the Times makes no sense unless they are saying that civilians shouldn’t be able to legally buy guns at all.

    And if that’s what they’re saying–or even, if they didn’t mean to say it but that’s what came out–they’re idiots.

    • I agree. The NY Times discredits the idea of gun control and it appears calculated to push the PC agenda that we not mention that they are Muslims

      It does not matter if we control all guns or control no guns. either way, people will get guns. The problem in this specific instance is Political Correctness run wild. These murders occurred because the PC media would have branded the neighbor a racist and the PC media has not relented. They are ignoring the fact that Muslims (like right wing Christian Fundies) have a statistically higher than average propensity to murder. That does not mean we should brand all Muslims or all Christians as terrorists, but it does mean that we should use indications of fundamental religiosity as one factor in evaluating people.

      Based on the government’s PC quotient, it looks as if the screening of Syrian refugees will exclude any evaluation of their religious inclinations. On the other hand, anyone who points out that religiosity is a factor which should be used in evaluating other people is labeled a racist.

  7. Here’s some food for thought.

    There is only one form of “gun” control that will ever work properly to stop firearm violence: Remove 100% the firearms from the earth and 100% of the knowledge associated with firearms from the minds of 100% of the people. If anyone can come up with a viable way of accomplishing that over-night, I’m totally on-board. An interesting thing is that it even an extreme measure such as that won’t stop violence, it won’t stop murder, it won’t stop mass murder, it won’t stop war, it won’t stop deaths, etc…

    Chew on that for a while.

  8. Maybe the Times has since learned (from the overall reaction) just why they hadn’t posted a front page editorial for going on a century. It comes across as arrogant, elitist indoctrination. It would have even if there had been honest and valid points to be made. They can’t even claim that.

      • Among hard leftist circles, I’m aware that it’s positively glowing! Among those who can still think critically, the opposite is true. The Times is caught in a trap of appealing to a shrinking base of readers and in manners that any self-respecting reader would find either distasteful or downright insulting.

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