David Thompson
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November 11, 2009

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Anna

"Gun control: The theory that a woman found dead in an alley, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound."

I've got to get one. (I mean a T-shirt.)

David

Anna,

Here you go.

http://www.cafepress.com/+gun_control_womens_light_tshirt,383969981

Anna

Thanks! :D

Jason Bontrager

I have to wonder why schools with lots of disruptive students don't simply put all those troublemakers in the *same class*. Write them off, but don't expel them or otherwise discipline them. Give their teacher a Pope-mobile safety cage and let the students act out all they want. Then the students who can actually benefit from an education can get one, and those who can't are kept out of the way, off the streets, and don't show up in disciplinary statistics.

carbon based lifeform

There's another version of the gun control t-shirt:

"Gun control: The theory that people who are willing to ignore laws against rape, torture, kidnapping, theft and murder will obey a law which prohibits them from owning a firearm."

David

Jason,

I get the impression the “equity team” isn’t particularly interested in solutions of any kind - beyond double standards. That’s the problem of being fixated with Designated Victim Groups. It’s grossly unfair. You end up demanding special favours for people who are dysfunctional, malevolent or practically sociopathic - all at the expense of people who are actually making an effort (whatever their pigmentation or economic background). Given this is done in the name of “social justice,” you can imagine the resentment.

As Heather Mac Donald says,

“The administrators want local principals to examine disparate suspension rates ‘in detail for root causes.’ I can save them some time: the root cause of disparate rates of suspension is disparate rates of bad behaviour. As for the root cause of that bad behaviour, the biggest one is single parenting. If the Tucson school board wants to publicize the essential role of fathers in raising law-abiding children, it might start solving the problem of disciplinary imbalance. But until then, it should let schools resolve their discipline problems in a colour-blind fashion, without worrying about a visit from an ‘Equity Team’.”

Somehow I can’t see her suggestion being entirely welcome.

Karen M

"I get the impression the "equity team" isn't particularly interested in solutions of any kind - beyond double standards."

If they were interested in real solutions they wouldn't be interested in quotas and they wouldn't need telling about parenting. How long will it take for the disruptive kids to figure out they can get away with bad behaviour? Keep this up long enough and they'll be running the schools.

georges

The posts here predict that the more heavily armed the citizenry the lower the incidence of rape and murder. Does anyone have any figures to back up the assertion? I googled rape figures. There are good reasons to be wary of them. But many put the USA close to the top among rich countries. With all appropriate cautions, the figures suggest an armed society will more likely have a higher rape level than a disarmed one. I am open to correction on this.

I would be prepared to support abolition of gun control in the UK if someone could give me clear statistical evidence such a move would cut the murder and rape rates. So far I haven't found any such evidence.

Should the "right to bear arms" has some upper limit? Or should every citizen have the right to their own independent nuclear deterrent?

ECM

Keep this up long enough and they'll be running the schools.

Based on policies like this, I think they already are.

Retardo

Georges, a century ago, the UK and the US had essentially no gun control. At the time, the US rate of violent crime committed with guns was enormously higher than the UK. Us yankees have always been rough characters here. However, as the UK has gradually established much more restrictive gun laws than the US, the UK's rate of gun crime has climbed. Meanwhile, the US rate has dropped.

The US rate of gun crime has been dropping for twenty years or so. During that time, the US established (1994) and then discarded (2004) a ban on certain types of rifles which cosmetically resemble military rifles. That ban might have been renewed if anybody had been able convince Congress that it had had any measurable effect on crime. Nobody did, the law is gone, and its departure also has has not been correlated in any significant way with any changes in violent crime. Violent crime kept on dropping, the whole time, pre-ban, during ban, and post-ban. Another thing that's been going on in the last 20 years in the US has been "concealed carry" laws. They've swept the nation; virtually all of our states now permit qualified, demonstrably law-abiding citizens to get a permit to carry a concealed firearm. Most states REQUIRE that permit to be issued to any law-abiding citizen who meets minimal standards and can afford a small fee. Vermont and Alaska allow unlicensed concealed carry by any non-felon. There are more firearms being carried in more places in the US than ever before. Millions of new firearms are sold to civilians every year, and the old guns last for decades. Billions of rounds of ammunition are sold to civilians. Nevertheless, crime keeps right on dropping, every year so far.

Are guns reducing crime? I have no idea; correlation is not causality. But they certainly aren't increasing it, so there is no legitimate reason to eliminate fundamental rights and waste money and police time enforcing repressive laws which do nothing to make people safer.

No law will turn the US into the UK, or Norway into Japan, or Mongolia into Chad. Nations differ in too many ways. The one thing you can meaningfully compare is a given culture with gun control to the same culture without. There's a mountain of data about that, from all around the world. I've given you two examples above. Chart rape rates against gun control laws and you'll probably see the same pattern.

Criminals like disarmed victims. Wouldn't you? And no rapist needs a gun. Men are bigger and stronger and more aggressive than women already. It's the woman who needs a gun to have a fighting chance. Ban guns and you guarantee that rape is a safe hobby for violent men.

Show me a case where gun control laws were passed, and violent crime was reduced. Or show me a case where gun control laws were liberalized, and violent crime increased. I can show you dozens of counterexamples. Can you give me one single case that backs up your position? Don't compare Denmark to Venezuela. Compare Denmark to Denmark, the UK to the UK, Argentina to Argentina.

Even if you can find a halfway-plausible counterexample somewhere, it would have no implications for the US. We have found, again and again and again, that gun control does absolutely nothing to reduce crime in our country. We want our police to devote their time to catching real criminals.

JuliaM

"...and will be expected to remedy those disparities by reducing their minority discipline rates."

How long before someone realises they could reduce the disparity by simply suspending or expelling more non-minority pupils?

David

Georges,

To summarise the Cramer article as “predict[ing] that the more heavily armed the citizenry the lower the incidence of rape and murder” is rather tendentious and misses the actual point. The article’s about the careless causal assumptions made in a particular gun control study:

“It does not appear that the study checked to see if the victims had tried to defend themselves. This study was based on 677 individual victims; how hard would it have been to find out if the victims had tried to use their guns in self-defence? [...] A lot of the victims of violent crime in big cities are gang members shooting other gang members. It may well be that gang members buy guns with the expectation that members of a rival gang are going to try and shoot them — and they would be completely correct about that. Wouldn’t it have been so much more interesting and useful if this study had checked the criminal histories of the 677 victims and compared them to the criminal histories of the control group? In Milwaukee, for example, not only did 86% of those arrested for homicide have previous arrests, but so had 75% of the *victims*. Of course, that might have exposed the real risk factor: being a gang member dramatically increases your risk of being shot.”

The argument *actually* being advanced isn’t so easily dismissed.

“Should the ‘right to bear arms’ [have] some upper limit? Or should every citizen have the right to their own independent nuclear deterrent?”

I’m assuming this is a joke, though I don’t see why the right to bear arms requires ironic quotation marks. And it may help to bear in mind the T-shirt quoted above, and the clip below, filmed on Paris public transport.

http://www.gamaniak.com/video-3642-agression-par-racailles-bus-a-paris.html

rxc

I thought that the "zero tolerance" policies that schools use were driven by the fact that they were having the most problems with "diverse" students, so this was a defense to prevent them from being accused of discrimination. So, now that we have draconian zero tolerance, and it results in a disproportionate effort on diversity, that defense is no longer valid.

The real problem seems to be quite obvious to me, but I am hesitant to utter it explicitly, for fear of being called racist... What is the state of our society when this condition becomes the norm...

Simen Thoresen

Georges, Retardo, David,

I guess the right to bear arms is can be based on a valuation of loss - is a dead criminal better than a dead murder-victim? Is a dead criminal better than a raped woman? Is a dead criminal better than a store-owner who has suffered shop-lifting?

In my view, guns level the playing-field. While 'no rapist needs a gun', the presence of a gun, or the credible threat of the presence of a gun, would deter quite a lot of crime. Many criminals would reconsider their actions, if their actions could lead to their death.

...and of course, banning guns never prevented criminals from getting them. You lock doors to keep honest people out, and you ban guns if you don't want citizens to protect themselves from threats.

In my view, the US 'right to bear arms' idea is founded on the principle that the citizens should be able to defend themselves against the state. Thus, if the thugs of the state show up with bullet-proof armor, the citizens will need armor-piercing ammunition. If the thugs of the state show up with vehicles, the citizens will need RPGs. If they do not, they are no-longer a credible threat to the state.

From this point of view, I can understand your question about nukes. Let's hope that the government refrains from escalating the situation so much that the citizens will need nukes.

-S

David

rxc,

This seems relevant, again by Heather Mac Donald:

“Matthew Zingraff, a criminologist at North Carolina State University, explains why: ‘Everybody was terrified. Good statisticians were throwing up their hands and saying, ‘This is one battle you’ll never win. I don’t want to be called a racist.’’ Even to suggest studying the driving behaviour of different racial groups was to demonstrate one’s bigotry, as Zingraff himself discovered when he proposed such research in North Carolina and promptly came under attack. Such investigations violate the reigning fiction in anti–racial profiling rhetoric: that all groups commit crime and other infractions at equal rates. It follows from this central fiction that any differences in the rate at which the police interact with certain citizens result only from police bias, not from differences in citizen behaviour.”

http://www.city-journal.org/html/12_2_the_racial_profiling.html

On parenting trends among various US ethnic groups:

http://www.city-journal.org/html/16_4_hispanic_family_values.html

On criminality stats among various US ethnic groups:

http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_2_sndgs01.html

Anna

"is a dead criminal better than a dead murder-victim? Is a dead criminal better than a raped woman? Is a dead criminal better than a store-owner who has suffered shop-lifting?"

Yes, yes and yes.

Richard

In both the UK and the USA gun crime is mainly a black thing. I would say it is at least 75 percent in the US with Hispanics making up another 15 percent. In the UK I would say blacks are responsible for a good 80 per cent of gun crime.

Anyone agree?

georges

David

I can't imagine that generalised arming of the UK citizenry would lower the incidence of gun-related deaths & injuries. It'd almost certainly increase it. I'd expect more gun suicides, more drunken brawls escalating into shootings, more columbine-style emo teenage killing sprees. There'd be an arms race between criminals & their would-be prey. Most domestic burglars, for instance, are not yet fully weaponised. But that would change. The US is a different story. The general population is too well-armed already for gun control to be effective.

I put the right to bear arms in quotation marks because it is a constitutional right for US citizens - though some authorities insist the right is solely to belong to a citizen's militia. The reference to nuclear weapons is merely to point out that even the most hardened opponents of gun control would have to accept that it can't be an absolute and unbounded right.

David

Georges,

“I can’t imagine that generalised arming of the UK citizenry would lower the incidence of gun-related deaths & injuries.”

I don’t recall anyone advocating a “generalised arming of the UK citizenry,” or suggesting that such a move would necessarily lower the incidence of gun-related deaths. (Though what matters most is who’s doing the bleeding and dying, not necessarily how many. If would-be rapists were the ones in hospital or the morgue, I wouldn’t be terribly upset.) And, as you say, the US context is very different from our own. So far as I can see, Cramer’s article isn’t arguing the broader issue, let alone extending it to other countries. He’s merely pointing out a number of fundamental errors that crop up in gun control arguments.

Though one might argue that the US situation wouldn’t be improved by disarming law-abiding citizens. If I were a US citizen, I’d probably invest in firearms training and a suitable weapon.

SG

"Though what matters most is who's doing the bleeding and dying, not necessarily how many. If would-be rapists were the ones in hospital or the morgue, I wouldn't be terribly upset."

If ten rapists getting shot saves ten women from being raped that's good math.

georges

When one psycho goes on a killing spree, as in Virginia Tech, events usually end with the psycho's death. But the math is still incredibly gruesome - 32 innocents dead for one psycho.

Any serious assessment of the pros and cons of widespread availability of arms must consider such events, as well as suicide rates, and the increased likelihood that drunken bar-room brawls can escalate into shootings.

KRW

georges,
But there's the rub, is it not? If just one innocent had a gun, would 32 innocents be dead? Would more guns possibly result in more shootings but fewer deaths? Or would there possibly be fewer one-on-one shootings if perps could be less secure in their calculation of the probability of being the only one present with a gun? Of course these arguments can go on and on, there can be no definitive answer. But one thing we can possibly agree on is that when evil is done it is not the result of the actions of an inanimate object, but the responsibility of the person pulling the trigger. Perhaps if this more proper attribution of responsibility was more commonly realized, there would be fewer innocents killed than would be presuming the prevailing of either of the former two arguments. This latter point is something we all have a far greater degree of control over.

David

Georges,

“Any serious assessment of the pros and cons of widespread availability of arms must consider such events...”

I think broader, sustained debates generally do, don’t they? The arguments I’ve seen revolve around how a person’s right to defend themselves weighs against other factors, like accidents, possible escalation and the well-being of third parties who happen to be passing by. Though such probabilities aren’t exactly easy to calculate. And a person being robbed or assaulted for the third time might arrive at a very different calculation of the risks involved.

I don’t have a strong view on the issue; probably because I don’t often hang out in the seedier parts of town and, for me, it doesn’t seem necessary. If it did, I might feel more strongly. And faced with a choice of being mugged or shooting the mugger, the answer should be obvious.

Wm T Sherman

Your chances of getting killed by lightning are much higher than your chances of getting killed by a random shooting.

Andrea Harris

Georges,

The Virginia Tech shooting took place on a campus that had previously proudly and ostentatiously boasted that it was "gun free," and like most college campuses in the US these days, guns were banned on the premises. But lo and behold, this situation presented no barrier at all to a psycho determined to kill a bunch of people.

Gun control laws are not magical. They cannot make guns vanish into poofs of metallic dust or turn violent people into gentle, bunny-stroking hobbits. Gun control laws control only those guns owned by law-abiding people. Criminals will ignore gun control laws as they ignore all other laws; that's why they are criminals. As for suicides and drunken brawling folks, I'm not sure how making guns available would make their activities _easier_; guns are a lot harder to operate than razors, knives, bottles of Valium washed down with vodka, or fists.

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