Comment of the Day: “Can Anyone Analyze The Orlando Mass Shooting Objectively?”

gun control nation

I was thinking about re-posting an essay here from 2012, when Humble Talent, one of Ethics Alarms’ most prolific and thoughtful participants, filed this comment on today’s observations about the post-Orlando shooting. Not to be a spoiler, but this quote at the end is simply a fact:

“What I’ve settled on, and this might be defeatist, but what I’ve settled on is that this is the price we pay for freedom. 3000 gun deaths a year In a population of 350,000,000 is the cost of freedom, and objectively, it’s probably even a good trade, even if subjectively it tastes like ash.”

In 2012, I reached the same conclusion:

“The right to be free creates the opportunity to be irresponsible, and ethics is the collective cultural effort to teach ourselves, our children and our neighbors not to be irresponsible without having to be forced to be responsible at gunpoint, with the government holding the gun. I know it seems harsh and callous to say so, but I am not willing to give up on ethics—the belief that enough of us can do the right things even when we have the freedom to do the wrong things—to prevent the occasional school massacre or murder-suicide.”

We’re both right. The right to arm ourselves is at the beating heart of American democracy, and those who would eliminate it understand neither the right, nor the United States.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Can Anyone Analyze The Orlando Mass Shooting Objectively?”

I’m so… tired. I called it… I called it all: Terrorist attack on American soil, big, guns, Trump’s gamble paid, Islam, ISIS, Allahu Akbar, gay people targeted for being gay. I’ve never been so depressed at being so right.

Now cue the idiots on the left: GUN GUN GUN RAWGRRGHGHGH NRA RGRGRG Not MUSLIMS. Now cue the idiots on the right: BAN ALL MUSLIMS. Cue the pundits standing on the backs of the dead. Cue the outrage, and the memes, the old tired discussions. The impotent calls for gun control, the equally impotent calls for protection. Let stand for…. Want to call it three weeks? Before we just go back to the normal flow? Maybe Trump will make a vagina joke, or call someone a dicknose.

And the world keeps on a-turning…

I was thinking about this problem… The people who are calling for a ban on guns, they’re right… A ban on guns, if it could actually be enforced, would probably decrease the rate of these crimes. The “Ban all Muslims” crowd is right too… If you could somehow accurately identify the group. But both of those ‘solutions’ are so far out to lunch and authoritarian that your average American just wouldn’t stand for it. And then once you recognize that the extremes are untenable, and you move to more moderated measures, you immediately lower the efficacy of those measures. Gun control? Sure. Maybe the terrorists will go home if you annoy them with bureaucracy. Moratorium on visitors from the Middle East? What do you do about the extremists in your back yard?

What I’ve settled on, and this might be defeatist, but what I’ve settled on is that this is the price we pay for freedom. 3000 gun deaths a year In a population of 350,000,000 is the cost of freedom, and objectively, it’s probably even a good trade, even if subjectively it tastes like ash.

_____________________

Graphic: Deerfield Scroll

126 thoughts on “Comment of the Day: “Can Anyone Analyze The Orlando Mass Shooting Objectively?”

  1. I don’t think many folks on the right are in favor of banning all Muslims except Trump and a few other idiots. Perhaps we should not allow any Syrian refugees to enter this country since it is impossible to effectively screen them and determine which ones have terrorist connections. I would add states like Iran that sponsor terrorism as far as tourist visas or new student visas. The sane ones are already here practicing medicine or going to USC.

  2. How many gun related injuries?

    I completely understand the reasoning, but let me ask a question: Is there ever a number that will be too many? Will the price ever get too high? If so, what is that number? And are we really paying the price for Freedom and Liberty, or for Fear and Insecurity and dressing them up to look nice and patriotic? Is it not a vicious circle? The more guns in the society, the more we feel the need to have guns to protect ourselves from others with guns.

      • True. But mass shootings are going up. And that is terrifying. I’m less likely to be shot in my neighborhood, during a carjacking, or at a bank hold-up because overall crime is down in the US. But this is not crime. It is terror — whether it is from someone who is an actual terrorist or is mentally ill. And there is no way of preventing it, but it can be minimized with tighter controls on certain types of weapons. But the far right won’t compromise because “Slippery Slope!”

        I hate that I have to fear dropping my kids at school, or going to a theater or other public venue. This is no way to live. And me becoming a crack shot with a concealed weapon is going to do nothing if someone wants to walk into an assembly at my kids’ school and spray the crowd with gunfire.

        • The opposition to the anti-gun rhetoric is not restricted to the far right. It includes anyone who actually reads and hears what is being said. A group that shows absolutely no interest in facts, fair statistics or reality and engages in scare-mongering, false assertions and statements like Lisa’s “When a right causes more harm in society than good, it may need to be modified, even eliminated” cannot and should not be trusted…that’s not a slippery slope argument, that’s a “we know you’re lying, so why should be believe what you say” argument, and an excellent one. President Obama says repeatedly that a measure regulating guns is valid if “it saves just one life.” Shootings that no current or proposed regulations would have stopped are used as justifications for more regulations. It’s not the “far right” that correctly diagnoses this as sinister. It’s anyone who respects and understands the core principle protected by the Second Amendment…like me…who isn’t gullible,emotional, or an idiot.

          • Yet, you avoided my point. Which is — and cannot be disputed — that mass shootings would diminish if there are controls on certain types of weapons. An individual can maintain his right to own a firearm — whether for home defense or belief that it keeps the government in check — without needing to own something that can kills dozens of people in seconds. Even Ronald Reagan believed that. I believe that. There can be reasonable gun control without the dreaded slippery slope to an all out ban. It can and should happen.

            • “There can be reasonable gun control without the dreaded slippery slope to an all out ban.”

              Is that the first unacceptable stop on your slippery slope? I asked Charles a question like this once: “Can you imagine a form of gun control you wouldn’t be in favour of” And he came up with a control for water pistols. THAT is the kind of mentality that has led to the point we’re at. I don’t believe gun control proponents when they say “common sense” gun control because I’m not very reassured by their version of “common sense” and I just don’t trust them not to lie on the issue.

              And this is me, Beth… I’m an asshole, but I’m not some uneducated, knuckle dragging rube. The left has a huge legitimacy issue that it absolutely refuses to address. Hell, it pedastalizes it: Hillary. Clinton.

              • I’m not out to ban guns Humble. I come from a gun family. I was still finding guns a decade after my dad died. My brother owns a lot of guns for sporting and home protection. So does my sister. I don’t own one because I know — from previous experience — that I am awful with a gun. That, combined with my inability to locate my car keys and sunglasses on a daily basis, informs me that I am not responsible enough to own a gun. Do I care if my neighbors own pistols, shot guns, or rifles? Not really — although I have asked one of my neighbors to confirm that they were locked up before a play date. Do I care if they decide to purchase weapons like the one used in Orlando? Yes, I do care.

                I’m in the middle on this one.

            • Of course it can be disputed. I’ll dispute it. Criminals who want to use illegal weapons find ways to get them. It is naive to assume that people who don’t mind slaughtering human beings will be discouraged by the threat of a a gun law prosecution.

                • Ugh. But if the regulations won’t stop them from getting their hands on such weapons, you can’t argue that regulating the weapons will stop THEM. It will just stop me from buying similar weapons to defend myself against them. Jeesh 2.

                  • If we stop selling them, then there will be fever in circulation. Eventually, criminals will have to go back to good old-fashioned pistols.

                    • I can build an AR-15 that has no serial number and no tracking. Why? Because a gun is just metal and in America, we’re all entrepreneurs and makers. You can ban bombs, but you can’t ban pressure cookers. You can ban guns, but you can’t ban foundries. Heck, Ghost Gunner is a perfect example of this. You can 3D print a gun in your home now. Want to limit the storage capacity of a magazine? fine, I’ll buy two and reconstruct them together with a few welds.

                      So, go ahead and “ban” a firearm that is functionally the same as a lot of other firearms and then start going to all the metal workers and inspecting everyone’s small business to see if they’re capable of designing and building “banned firearms” and if they are, put them under 24-hr monitoring for the rest of their lives and if you mistakenly think they’ve crossed a line, go ahead and put these makers and inventors behind bars and throw away the keys.

                    • To be fair, my premise explicitly agreed to that: “The people who are calling for a ban on guns, they’re right… A ban on guns, if it could actually be enforced, would probably decrease the rate of these crimes.”

                      My point was that these kind of blanket bans aren’t realistic, and even if they were, you have to balance the liberties enshrined in your constitution against 10,000 homicides a year, or 300 assault rifle homicides a year, depending on your level of control. I think that’s a bad deal.

            • An individual can maintain his right to own a firearm — whether for home defense or belief that it keeps the government in check — without needing to own something that can kills dozens of people in seconds.

              Mob violence must be a myth, then.

          • President Obama says repeatedly that a measure regulating guns is valid if “it saves just one life.”

            I quote my longtime Usenet ally, Christopher C. Morton.

            https://groups.google.com/forum/#!original/alt.conspiracy/E_dHz7OVeOQ/6IPhpZvepEEJ

            I have not the slightest doubt that putting young Black men in barbed wire
            enclosed hostels and requiring them to carry internal passports would prevent
            ONE murder during the course of a year.

            The question would be “Would it be right?”.

            Does the end REALLY justify ANY means?

            Is it any surprise that Christopher C. Morton greatly influenced my own views?

        • True. But mass shootings are going up. And that is terrifying. I’m less likely to be shot in my neighborhood, during a carjacking, or at a bank hold-up because overall crime is down in the US. But this is not crime. It is terror — whether it is from someone who is an actual terrorist or is mentally ill. And there is no way of preventing it, but it can be minimized with tighter controls on certain types of weapons. But the far right won’t compromise because “Slippery Slope!”

          Please explain why mass shootings should be considered a problem distinct from murder in general, any more than interracial rape should be considered a distinct problem from rape in general.

          I mean, are you less dead if someone kills you outside the context of a mass shooting? Could you be brought back if we find all seven dragon balls and summon ShenRon?

          • I make decisions every day that have an effect on my personal safety. I drive the speed limit, wear seat belts, don’t go into bad areas of town, do not live with a domestic abuser, don’t park in dimly lit parking lots. The list is endless really. What I cannot control is a madman walking into my office, or my kids’ school, or our local movie theater. So no, I would not be any “less dead,” but I *personally* have a greater chance of being shot in a mass shooting than any other type of shooting. Different problems have different solutions. And there is no better solution to lessening the violence associated with terrorism or mental illness except rational gun control.

            • But is that a rational fear, and is your response to it proportional and/or rational? What is the likelihood of an armed madman (using an “automatic” weapon, not a handgun, shotgun, bomb, etc) walking into your movie theater while you’re there?

              Would it be fair to compare mass public shootings to lightning strikes? Should we install giant lightning rods every 50 feet to prevent lightning deaths? What if it saved even one life?

              • I am also unlikely to get struck by lightning. But, do you think more Americans die by lightning or gun violence each year?

                For the record, I do agree that it is irrational in the sense that, yes, I am more likely to get killed in a car crash than by the local madman. And while I can’t control someone else’s driving, I can certainly drive a safe car with airbags, have my kids’ car seats properly installed, not drive drunk, wear a seatbelt, etc., so that my family’s chances of dying or being seriously injured are minimized in the event of a crash.

                However, the only way for me to minimize the chances of dying in a mass shooting are: 1) become a home-bound hermit who home schools my children and does data entry in order to pay my mortgage; or 2) acknowledge that AR-15s should not be something that can be purchased. I choose Option 2.

                • But you aren’t talking about gun violence, you’re specifically addressing assault-type weapons, and more specifically, deaths from random mass public shootings involving these weapons. After all, what good would your proposed legislation do to prevent shotgun-wielding maniacs?

                  Frankly, I have no idea how many people are killed by AR15s each year, but upwards of 50 people die in the US from lightning strikes every year. I would imagine that number is pretty comparable to the number of deaths due to assault-type weapon wielding mass public shooters.

                • “yes, I am more likely to get killed in a car crash than by the local madman. And while I can’t control someone else’s driving, I can certainly drive a safe car with airbags, have my kids’ car seats properly installed, not drive drunk, wear a seatbelt, etc., so that my family’s chances of dying or being seriously injured are minimized in the event of a crash.”

                  I just wanted to parse this for a second. The gun deaths and car deaths are about the same number (at 30,000). But if you’re going to do things like wear seatbelts to lower your chances of an accident… Well, we can lower chances of being shot too.

                  First off: Don’t commit suicide and you’ve immediately reduced your likelihood of killed by a gun by more than 60%.

                  Second: Don’t commit crime, 75% of homicide victims have criminal records.

                  Third: Don’t own a gun. Accidental discharge accounts for about 500 deaths a year.

                  So… 30,000 deaths…. 20,000 suicides, 10,000 homicides, 75% are ex cons… less 500… Rough and dirty math: Don’t shoot yourself and don’t break the law and you are about ten times less likely than your already microscopically low chance of being shot.

                  30,000/350,000,000 = 0.0086%
                  10,000/350,000,000 = 0.0029%
                  2,500/350,000,000 = 0.0007%
                  2,000/350,000,000 = 0.0005%

                  Five ten thousandths of a percentage point. How cheap your liberty is.

                  • That’s the problem. Because, honestly? I guess my liberty is pretty cheap. Because I think there is a greater threat of me dying in a mass shoot out than there is of me needing a gun to overthrow a tyrannical government.

                    And when I keep saying “rational gun control,” and opponents come back with “you realize that there is no such thing because any gun can be modified,” then I need to believe you. And if I believe you, I guess I need to abandon my centrist position and move over to the crazies on the left on this issue.

                    • Then you are adopting a completely hopeless position that can never prevail, ever. And one that shouldn’t. What sense does that make?
                      This is just the “DO SOMETHING!” chorus, as always, irresponsible and based on emotion, not reality.

                    • You have a 0.00000013% chance of being killed in a mass shooting. Boy, you are awfully willing to give up your freedom and rights—and mine—to prevent a risk far less than driving to work or even being hit by lightning.

                      The word for this is irrational, and it is the kind of calculation intentionally fostered by anti-gun hysterics…or anti-gun charlatans, like so many Democrats.

                    • He’s doing his bad Socrates shtick again, but I see what he’s getting at: Why NOT lock up all men? Because absolutely that would absolutely reduce crime rates.

                      And once you come to the obvious answer, you just have to work your way back from there.

                  • Think about it. We stock up on sperm and then women decide to selectively procreate (via gender selection) only girls going forward. In about 80 years, all the men are gone. Sure, the straight girls come out losers in the sex department and there won’t be anyone around to open pickle jars anymore (sorry Vlasic you’re out of business!), but crime rates will drop tremendously.

                • AR15s aren’t the problem, however… a number of ways to modify a semi-automatic to near or fully automatic fire rates exist, and they can be applied to any number of different firearms. So, once we ban AR15s, someone will do it with a different model. And then you’ll say “Oh, we should ban that model as well, to make me feel safe”.

                  And if that continues? Where does it stop? When do you finally feel safe? When people can only own a bolt action rifle? but regulations called for a pre-ww1 infantryman to be able to load and fire 15 rounds from a bolt action rifle in under a minute. Historical records and modern marksmen participating in the “mad minute” showcase that delivering 30 or more rounds, on target, in that time frame, is possible. So will we need to eliminate bolt action rifles as well, to make you feel safe?

                  That’s what a gun rights advocate can’t predict… how great your fear will be in the future. And that’s why we have a hard time trusting gun control arguments that call for bans because “________ should not be something that can be purchased.”

    • This is one aspect that I have been curious about: have the number of deaths been going down because trauma medicine has made such improvements? I ask because Alan Dershowitz said years ago that the Palestinian government refused to let wounded people be evacuated to Israeli hospitals, precisely to deny them modern trauma care and keep the death rate up.

      • The main reason is that violent crime in general has been going down. Every social scientist has a pet theory on why, but I don’t think anyone actually knows. It seems to go in cycles. In a graph over the past century, it almost looks like a sine wave. That said, trauma medicine improvements doesn’t hurt.

    • Lisa Weber said, “The more guns in the society, the more we feel the need to have guns to protect ourselves from others with guns.”

      In my humble opinion that’s a fallacy.

      I have absolutely no feeling that I have to protect myself from any of my neighbors that have firearms; however, I do “feel” the need to have a firearm to protect myself and my family from those that might choose to be a criminal and enter my home to commit a crime and put my family at risk of injury. Do you know the percentage of firearms in the United States that are actually used in criminal activity?

      I read a study somewhere years ago that there will always be a sector of society (some relative percentage) that are criminals and as the population goes up the number of criminals goes up with it; however, the relative percentage doesn’t fluctuate too much from year to year. If I remember right; that same study said that the frequency of crimes increases as the population goes up because of the change in the number of criminals not the relatively stable percentages. The thing I’m noticing in recent years is that the percentage of violent crimes as a percentage of crime in general, appears to have gone up; there appear to be a higher percentage of modern day criminals that are willing to be violent than in the past. The problem is the criminals and the mentally ill that choose to be violent and sometimes that violence is committed with firearms and sometimes the violence is committed with other tools; it’s not the tools or the rational gun owning public that’s the problem.

      Do you know that the police cannot protect you from immediate threats of criminal activity, especially imminent violence, unless they are actually physically present; it’s your responsibility to protect yourself and your family from criminal activity. In case after case after case, the Police end up having to pick up the pieces after the fact; it’s not their fault that they cannot be our personal and family body guards, it’s just how things work. Life can be terribly unfair; but more importantly, life can sometimes be violent and we as human being need to be reasonably prepared to protect our own family. Do we choose to cower as we are being beaten, raped, or shot to death by criminals, terrorists, or the like or do we choose to fight back? Remember the mother fighting off a criminal trying to kidnap her daughter; you never give up when you’re protecting yourself or your family – NEVER GIVE UP!

  3. How about just banning assault rifles? Is there ANY plausible reason for an ordinary citizen to own one (or more)? Even my son, who advocates gun rights, doesn’t see any reason for assault rifle ownership.

    • Before I answer that question, define ‘assault rifle’. The last assault weapon ban defined it more or less as ‘scary looking’. Fully automatic weapons are already effectively banned.

      • I don’t have enough knowledge to answer this correctly. I do recall, however, that the AR-15 is semi-automatic and known as the civilian equivalent of a military version that is fully automatic. Reports from survivors, though, say that the gunfire was continuous. So, I guess you can pull the AR-15 trigger pretty fast.

        As I understand the argument — people want to, and are constitutionally able to, own guns for self protection. (Please let’s not get into the well armed militia thing.) OK. Why would a civilian need such an (pardon the pun) overkill weapon? Plenty of great handguns out there.

        • They need it if they think they need it. Nobody, especially the government, has any business telling me what I need. That’s my decision. Do I need a house with 12 rooms? Do I need three suits? Do I need a dog? This goes to the core of what freedom is.

          • OK. I think I need plutonium. Oh, no, I can’t buy that. Or maybe I think I need to populate my backyard with 8-foot alligators. Oh, wait, here’s the best one — I think I need marijuana. Yeah, that’s it.

            • See the Rationalization called the Reverse Slippery Slope. Objectively irrational expressions of need are not relevant. When we have seen riots like in Baltimore and Ferguson, a citizen wanting to be armed well enough to stop many attackers as quickly as possible is not irrational.

              • Wait just a minute. The last one I mention is serious. There are many people who would benefit from medical marijuana who are deprived of it because the government says so. How can that be, if the government has no right to tell them what they need?

                • Medicine is regulated, and necessarily so. Recreational drugs are regulated because they do tangible harm and negligible good. Is there an unenumerated right to make yourself stupid and useless to society? I don’t think so…haven’t seen any holding to that effect.

                  • “Recreational drugs are regulated because they do tangible harm and negligible good.”

                    Many would say the same of AR-15s, so you’re not really engaging with her argument.

                    Even Scalia held that the second amendment is not the right to any kind of weapon one wants. Where is the line drawn between what kind of guns can be banned and what kind of guns can’t be? (That’s a real question, not a rhetorical one. I would never support a ban on handguns. But I feel like banning AR-15s is OK. I am open to being shown that feeling is irrational, but I’d like to know why.)

                    • I have never said that it would necessarily be wrong or unconstitutional to ban AR-15s (though Scalia’s sensible statement doesn’t necessarily say that that gun can be banned.) The argument is, as was stated here in a comment already, that if the standard is that citizens have the right to be reasonably as well armed as a government that might try to take over and end their rights, a semi-automatic weapon isn’t unreasonable. The other argument is that the people wanting to ban this gun can be counted on to move on down the line in an effort to ban all guns. And they can, based on their rhetoric.

                    • Moreover, banning individual gun patterns is pointless. A Ruger Mini-14 looks like a traditional sporting rifle and functions completely differently from an AR, but none the less has similar if not identical magazine capacities, semi-automatic rates of fire, and muzzle velocities.

                      Further restricting automatics is just as pointless since the NFA regs that already exist for them make them expensive and burdensome to get and any two bit bubba with a hacksaw and a metal file can turn most semi-automatic guns into full auto in his garage in an afternoon. Automatic weapons are mechanically simpler than semi-auto ones – that’s why we were able to build reliable machine guns loooong before reliable semi-auto rifles. All you’d be doing is making it more difficult law abiding citizens to enjoy things like the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot. The terrorists and bad guys wouldn’t bat an eyelash at your ban.

                      Is there a way to prevent bad guys from getting serious firepower short of a wholesale firearms ban? No. Would a wholesale ban violate fundamental American rights? Yep. The best you can do is make sure the law abiding citizens are armed too by getting rid of ridiculous gun free zones (schools, churches, places of public accommodation, etc.) and accepting that a certain amount of danger comes with freedom.

                    • Breaking news; the rifle used by the shooter was not an AR pattern rifle, but a Sig MCX. A multi-caliber modern rifle with little to no parts interchangeability with the AR.

        • “(Please let’s not get into the well armed militia thing.)”

          – Leftwinger who wants to immediately disallow a key component of the American system because it’s symbolic and potentially very real value defeats approximately 99% of their arguments.

          Nice.

          Nice.

          Slow clap.

        • Arguably, if you want to allow the government to ban any class of gun used for crimes, the best target is handguns rather than rifles. Rifles are LESS likely to be used illegally.

    • Maybe? But when you start to zone in on the minutiae you become more ridiculous. Of the 10,000 or so odd homicides, the vast majority are by handguns… we’re talking about an 8000/2000 split, And then when you factor out things like shotguns and long rifles, you’re left with a couple hundred automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons. We might disagree, but I think that watering down the protections of the constitution is too high a price to pay for maybe 300 lives a year in a country of 350,000,000.

      Regardless, and to my point: This is a conversation that America seems fundamentally unable to have. I think there was a point where it could have been had, perhaps before Obama put the fear into gun owners that he was going to take their guns away, maybe back while the NRA still supported background checks. And maybe there will be a point in the future where the conversation can be had again, maybe with a president who respects the role of guns in society*, but not right now. So we live with what he have.

      *By the way: Hillary Clinton isn’t that president, she just refused to admit that the right to bear arms was protected in the constitution. It’s this kind of retardation that makes these conversations harder. Of COURSE it is. And strangely enough, the question was asked by George Snuffleufagus, I wonder if he got his marching orders mixed up?

      • I’m sure George was reading from a script HRC’s people had given him. She couldn’t read the talking point they’d poll tested if he hadn’t read the question to her. Hah.

    • Here is an old video that explains what a assault rifle is in comparison to a hunting rifle. Maybe this will help you have a better understanding that there is no difference except in appearance.

  4. I’m loathe to entertain this line of reasoning, because it assumes that mortality rates matter, and that’s starting with a bad premise: There is no amount of violence that should remove the ability of a law-abiding citizen to defend themselves.

    But… It IS possible that medicine is lowering mortality rates. That said, raw injury rates are also on the decrease (And the number is about 55,000 incidents, which includes the 30,000 deaths, which includes the 20,000 suicides.), so to recap: violence in general is down (Perhaps this year will be an outlier because of all the violence in centers like Baltimore, but a strong 20 year trend isn’t derailed by a bad year), deaths are down more.

    • If someone wants to talk numbers, I generally ask them to start tracking them broken out by category. There’s a certain amount of gun violence that is “justified” / “done by law enforcement” that gets lumped into the overall numbers as “proof” that we need to “ban guns”. Let’s profile every shooter and every weapon before we start an incomplete discussion.

          • Ah yes. Let’s slime the police. Was I the only person struck by the fact that at two in the morning the City of Orlando had the capability to muster hundreds of squad cars and presumably multiple SWAT teams on short notice to try to protect a group of citizens (regardless of their sexual orientation or identification or whatever the term du jour is)? Cops are awful unless you want them there at the drop of a hat. The police are over-militarized unless you want them to rescue a bunch of people by ramming a concrete block wall and confronting a peaceful Muslim gentleman.

            • I was thinking the same thing. Ive been against the militarization of the police but this incident showed that some of them have to be.

              • Or… some of the individuals in the club could have recognized that the police at their best are still too slow and carried weapons. Maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference, but so far I’m not aware of any of the individuals in the club having a weapon to defend themselves with.

                • Phlinn, the club was a gun-free zone, under Florida law – anyplace there where alcoholic beverages are served is a gun-free zone. (until the lone wolf mass murderer shows up to do his evil)

  5. http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2016/06/robert-farago/hillary-clinton-take-gun-rights-away-americans-fbi-investigation/

    “If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorists links you shouldn’t be able to go buy a gun with no questions asked,” the former First Lady opined. Hang on. What if the FBI is watching you for suspected mishandling of classified documents? What Constitutional rights should such a person surrender at that point?

    Maybe the right to vote.

  6. I wonder what this conversation would look like if a deranged Muslim ripped apart a gay bar with a chainsaw? Or converted a pressure cooker into an IED to take out a woman’s yoga class. (Because Yoga is haram). It’s like this whole gun debate is a convenient smokescreen to actively avoid an issue.

    • Great point. Probably too short to be a COTD, but it should be. Brevity has its virtues. This guy was evidently suspected of having an explosive device.

  7. We might have those conversations if it became an issue, but as it stands, it’s a heck of a lot easier to outrun a nut with a chainsaw (knife, sword, flamethrower, pressure cooker, nunchucks), than a nut with an AR-15. And it’s even easier for 100 people to do so. I don’t believe in fixing something that aint broke, but I also don’t believe in stubbornly burying your head in the sand and denying something needs fixed when it is obviously not operating as it was intended. You and Jack maintain there is no price too high to take away a right. I maintain there is and there should be in a reasonable and moral society. Change is inevitable, change is necessary. Without it there is only decay. When a right causes more harm in society than good, it may need to be modified, even eliminated. Otherwise we become slaves to our own Constitution.

    • “I maintain there is and there should be in a reasonable and moral society”
      You mean in an authoritarian, non-democratic society. The right to self-defense is part of the right to life, as articulated by Thomas Jefferson. It is hilarious that the cast of Hamilton would ban guns from the portrayal of a Revolutionary War battle, in which armed citizenry threw of the yoke of a despot. Contradiction within hypocrisy, especially by a cast and production crew dedicated to the advance of non-white Americans..whose freedom was also achieved with guns.

      “When a right causes more harm in society than good, it may need to be modified, even eliminated” is the ancient mantra of dictators, and you are endorsing its facile and invalid logic.

      • I’ll be visiting Yorktown within 7-9 days as we visit family around the Colonial Williamsburg area. Been almost 12 years since I’ve been there. Too long.

      • “You mean in an authoritarian, non-democratic society. The right to self-defense is part of the right to life, as articulated by Thomas Jefferson.” and ““When a right causes more harm in society than good, it may need to be modified, even eliminated” is the ancient mantra of dictators, and you are endorsing its facile and invalid logic.”
        No, I don’t. There are plenty of pretty nice 1st World, NATO countries that do not give their citizenry the right to own guns. The people therein are not being murdered at a rate higher than ours and they do not perceive they are more in danger of crime. This study, while certainly not the final word on the subject, is pretty interesting: http://economicsandpeace.org/ There does not seem to ever be a correlation between gun ownership and peace, safety or happiness.

        • “There are plenty of pretty nice 1st World, NATO countries that do not give their citizenry the right to own guns.”

          I believe that only four NATO countries – the US, the UK, Iceland, and Canada – have maintained legitimate elections back through living memory. Either through conquest, internal collapse, or both, all of the others have seen their governments become killing machines. If you don’t confine yourself to individual murders but instead look at violent death rates over an extended period of time, there’s no doubt that the US is a more peaceful place than Europe.

        • And back to the irrelevant and invalid cross-cultural comparisons, the automatic default in these discussions. There is the strongest possible correlation in this country, which owes its existence, the Westward expansion,the end of slavery, and its security that a well-meaning (or not) government will decide to strip away its rights, to guns. Talk about convenient amnesia…

      • That is one good example out of, say, maybe a million. This is how fascism takes hold: logic like “When a right causes more harm in society than good, it may need to be modified, even eliminated” promoted because it sounds good in complete disregard of history, human nature, and the reason rights exist.

        • If society collapsed so horribly that everyone was using their rights to ruin everyone else’s day on an active and regular basis, we’ll have more to worry about that wondering if the government ought to curtail rights (which, if society collapsed that horribly, I’d doubt government would even function anyway).

    • “I don’t believe in fixing something that aint broke, but I also don’t believe in stubbornly burying your head in the sand and denying something needs fixed when it is obviously not operating as it was intended.”

      You do realize this assertion becomes more laughable daily as gun violence and violence in general is decreasing even as the population is increasing.

      What’s broken exactly?

  8. And you know Jack (as HRC is wont to say, repeatedly — doesn’t she have a speech coach? My mother forbid my brother and me from saying “you know.”) to answer the rhetorical question you asked in the original headline for this post, I know of few other places in the media that have raised the points you raise in your initial post on this. So the answer is, “Not many other than JM.”

    Again, reminds me of Harray Caray broadcasting an inept Cubs performance back around 1980 and moaning, “Can’t anybody on this team get a HIT?”

    • No kidding. Triple figures. So much for your concern about declining readership and comments. All you needed was a good train wreck.

  9. I’ve tried to keep up with this thread but I might have missed some posts. I know that someone mentioned this, but has anyone actually come up with any reasonable excuses for the disparity between the annual rate of gun deaths in the U.S. compared to other “advanced” countries?

    The New York Times gave an update yesterday to an article they published last year. The updated article (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/14/upshot/compare-these-gun-death-rates-the-us-is-in-a-different-world.html?_r=0) states: “International comparisons help highlight how exceptional the United States is: In a nation where the right to bear arms is cherished by much of the population, gun homicides are a significant public health concern.”

    The article posts a chart of gun homicides in various countries, adjusting the statistics so that the numbers are not skewed by differences in total population.

    So, can someone please explain why this is?

    • Sure Patrice. Let’s take a look at the last paragraph of the august NYT article you linked to (did you not get that far?):

      “The rate of gun violence in the United States is not the highest in the world. In parts of Central America, Africa and the Middle East, the gun death rates are even higher — close to those from heart attacks and lung cancer in the United States. In neighboring Mexico, where a drug war rages, 122 people per million die in a gun homicide, a rate slightly higher than Americans’ death rate from pancreatic cancer. But the countries with those levels of gun violence are not like the United States in many other ways, including G.D.P., life expectancy and education. Among developed democracies, the United States is an outlier.”

      The paragraph tries to gingerly gloss over are two things: Gang violence and black on black murder. I would suggest the United States is simply NOT that different from less developed countries insofar as we have a huge amount of Mexican and Central American gangs here dealing in drugs and bringing the third world with them. We also have a large, bereft, dis-functional, intractable, black underclass that is well armed and systematically killing itself. Look at the age of the people who are dying as a result of gun homicides. They’re in their teens and twenties, prime age for criminal activity. If they survive, they grow up.

      America IS an outlier among develop countries. Most developed countries make efforts to control their borders. And most developed countries kept their enslaved people on their colonial plantations far away from the homeland. The U.S. is a big, messy country. It’s not Denmark. Maybe the NYT editorial board should suggest deporting Mexican and Central American gang members and shipping young black guys in ghettos to Liberia so the U.S. can conform to the regal board’s desires.

      • In neighboring Mexico, where a drug war rages, 122 people per million die in a gun homicide, a rate slightly higher than Americans’ death rate from pancreatic cancer.

        There is also a drug war raging in the U.S. Maybe that is why it is an “an outlier among develop countries”.

    • “So, can someone please explain why this is?”

      Culture. America has ten times the amount of gun violence Canada does despite the fact that Canada only has a third the firearms America does. Even if you took out all the stats from guns it would be illegal to own in Canada, the disparity is stark. So adjusting for relative population sizes and controls, America still punches above it’s weight class in shootings. It also punches above it’s weight class in litigiousness, obesity, and billionaires. What does all of that mean?

      I have no fucking clue, pardon my french. I think it means you’re different. I don’t think that useful comparisons can be drawn except by partisans trying to prove their point. I think that trying to compare different cultures is an exercise in spurious correlations.

      http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations

  10. Ugh! Ugh Ugh Ugh.

    How many times do I have to explain this, Oh Lord? One may not want to regard the US as “exceptional,” but it is unique, historically and culturally. It is not like other developed countries, and in many ways is as different from them as it is from undeveloped countries. So I point out yet again:

    ONE: the United States was created, built and saved itself though the use of guns. It settled the West with guns. It is a creature of guns.

    All that is good about this nation was made possible with guns. ARE WE CLEAR ON THIS? Watch a movie. Read a book. This is not a tough conclusion to reach. Denying it approached wilful ignorance.

    TWO: As I have also explained, the United States embraces individual responsibility, self-reliance and self- preservation to go with its insistence on autonomy and individual freedom. More freedom, more opportunity for bad and violent people, or crazy and frustrated people, to avail themselves of the nation’s most proven tool in support of individual action: the gun.

    Why are US gun deaths always higher than other developed nations? That’s why. And as Ht said, “this is the price we pay for freedom.” Or as I said before and above…

    “The right to be free creates the opportunity to be irresponsible, and ethics is the collective cultural effort to teach ourselves, our children and our neighbors not to be irresponsible without having to be forced to be responsible at gunpoint, with the government holding the gun. I know it seems harsh and callous to say so, but I am not willing to give up on ethics—the belief that enough of us can do the right things even when we have the freedom to do the wrong things—to prevent the occasional school massacre or murder-suicide.”

    If you want to sell out your liberty because it is fatally abused by a few, good luck. You won’t get any support from me. And eventually, your allies may be confronted with people like me…armed.

    • “All that is good about this nation was made possible with guns.”

      (Please, before reacting to the next paragraph, read the remainder of my comment.)

      Fine. Our history. But can’t we as a species progress beyond that? Human progress and evolution has seen the evolution of virtually all aspects of our lives. There was a time when our ancestors settled everything with clubs. Then spears. Swords and knives. Then the various forms of the gun. We’ve even moved beyond that with the various forms of horrible death, from biological and chemical warfare to nuclear arms and beyond. Occasionally throughout all of this we have allowed the evolution of the human mind/psyche to experiment with negotiations. Naturally, when negotiation fails, there have been and may be times when force is necessary.

      I’m NOT (read my earlier post) advocating a ban on guns. But holding out the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution as an immutable concept is a deterrent to the evolution of the human species. Human beings wrote the Constitution, and a damn fine job they did. But does that mean that these concepts can’t evolve? No, because we have amendment after amendment to the Constitution as proof. We have Supreme Court rulings as proof. We even have laws that, depending upon your interpretation, might be seen as going against the Constitution. The Constitution MUST be a living document, or it is merely history.

      • “Fine. Our history. But can’t we as a species progress beyond that?”

        We like to pretend that as a species we are evolving into something better. I listened to some irritable do-gooder on the CBC trying to make this point a couple weeks back; “Are we becoming more moral as a species”? She thought yes, but the answer is obviously no. Not that we’re getting worse, necessarily, but this idea that we’re getting better…. Are we more or less charitable? More or less selfish? More or less violent? More or less patient? No. We’re getting better at promoting systems of control, or holding people accountable for their actions, we’re getting better at proving what happened, we have abilities we didn’t have before, knowledge we didn’t have before, incentives and disincentives that we didn’t have before.

        Guns are an integral part of that system of control, because a gunless society removes the stick from the equation that keeps people from doing a lot of behaviours we deem unacceptable.

        • I also wanted to touch on two other points:

          First, you made my argument for me, with a little bit of thought:

          “There was a time when our ancestors settled everything with clubs. Then spears. Swords and knives. Then the various forms of the gun. We’ve even moved beyond that with the various forms of horrible death, from biological and chemical warfare to nuclear arms and beyond.”

          A sticks and stones contest is biased against the people who are stronger, faster and better… A gun is a great equaliser, it gives the puniest of people almost equal footing to the most massive of human behemoths. Think further: During the sticks and stones period, no one thought twice about going to war because of the possibility or mutually assured destruction. The system has flaws, and a glaring weakness in that if there was ever a suicide cult in play that wanted mutual destruction, there’s a tool for that now, but we’ve accepted that possibility, because the alternatives are worse, and in accepting that, we’ve developed a system of control that keeps the vast majority of ordinance from use.

          Second, “The Constitution MUST be a living document, or it is merely history.”

          Is undoubtedly true. Indisputably. Ending slavery? Good amendment. Prohibition? Not so much. Ending prohibition? Good amendment. The thing is: There are people who don’t see the second amendment as a deterrent from progress but as an essential protection to an essential right. The fact that the constitution MUST be able to evolve with the times doesn’t mean it has to evolve the way you want it to.

          And for the record, I think gun control advocates know that. The obvious “solution” to this would be to amend or repeal the second amendment. But never in the history of ever has a real run been made in that direction. Why do you think that is?

      • PAW: I have no problem with any of your comment. I just see no way to abridge the 2nd Amendment without gutting it, and I regard the autonomy of US citizens in this respect essential. It’s fine to say the species should evolve beyond violence, but that’s pacifist delusion…nice, but dangerous.

        US culture embraces guns as the last resort for a citizen in peril. No, it should not be the first resort. But you can’t preclude one without precluding the other.

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