another angry anti-government white guy with a gun

Another angry anti-government white guy with a gun. We’ve been through it all before, and we’ll undoubtedly have to go through it again and again because this is what the United States has become. It’s sad, pathetic, and completely fucking stupid — but there it is.

Another angry anti-government white guy with a gun. And yeah, race is a factor. Sure there are angry minorities, and anti-government minorities, and minorities with guns, and even angry anti-govenrment women with guns. And yeah, some of them go to a mall or a school or a fast food restaurant and open fire — but not very often, and when that happens people express shock.

Paul Anthony Ciancia

Paul Anthony Ciancia

Was anybody terribly shocked that Paul Anthony Ciancia — another angry anti-government white guy with a gun — went to LAX and opened fire? No, not really. I suspect most folks just thought ‘Here we go again.’ I suspect most folks could even make a reasonable guess as to how Ciancia was dressed and armed. Let’s see…angry anti-government white guy with a gun…I’m gonna go with black clothes or camo, a bulletproof vest, some variation on an AR-15, and a buttload of ammunition.  And they’d be right. 

We all know how this sad, stupid story will play out. There’ll be talk of tightening airport security, conservatives will blame a flawed mental system (while voting to cut funds for mental health systems), some folks might even suggest this is a ‘learning moment’ (but if we learned anything at all from the Sandy Hook massacre, it’s that we never really learn anything at all), and the lunatics at the NRA will raise funds by claiming the president will use this shooting as an excuse to ‘grab our guns’ and violate the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Smith & Wesson .223-caliber M&P-15

Smith & Wesson .223-caliber M&P-15

They’ll ignore the fact that Paul Anthony Ciancia was a law-abiding gun owner until he carried his Smith & Wesson .223-caliber M&P-15 into LAX and started shooting TSA workers. Almost all mass murderers are law-abiding gun owners until they start killing people. By the way, I’ve got a shiny new quarter that says gun dealers are going to be selling a LOT more Smith & Wesson .223-caliber M&P-15s over the next couple of weeks.

The LAX shooting will disappear from the news in a couple of days. Most of us will go on with our lives and not give it another serious thought. But you know who will give it thought? Angry anti-government white guys with guns. We see this as a tragedy — no, not even that, really. We see it as just another in a seemingly interminable cascade of mass shootings. But angry anti-government white guys with guns see it as evidence of a conspiracy directed at angry anti-government white guys with guns — and they’ll get angrier and buy more guns.

APTOPIX_LAX_Shooting-074d6

Think I’m being pessimistic? Read this story on one of the most popular conservative ‘news’ sources, WND.com: Did TSA Know LAX Attack Coming? It’s conspiracy theory nonsense, but compared to the conspiracy theories posited in the comments, it sounds almost rational. If you have the stomach, read the comments. If you read the comments, the odds are you’ll feel a sense of despair. You’ll feel a sense of despair and you’ll turn away and probably try not to think about it.

And that’s one of the reasons we continue to suffer through these mass shootings. We’ve allowed a handful of angry anti-government white guys with guns to determine our future. They get angry and act, we despair and turn away. Until we get angry and stay angry and act on that anger, they’re always going to win.

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32 thoughts on “another angry anti-government white guy with a gun

    • My point? That the US has allowed a small number of fearful paranoid nutcases to determine our policies on firearms, and as a result a lot of people die from gunfire. Pretty simple point, really.

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      • “…a small number of fearful paranoid nutcases…”

        I don’t know – you sound pretty paranoid to me, seeing a conspiracy to “determine our policies on firearms…” by a “a small number” of people you believe are paranoid.

        Actually politicians are pretty simple to predict. They want to get re-elected and they do their best to do things that will get people to vote for them. So if it were “a small number of …” then the politicians wouldn’t care. But since a lot of politicians, especially since around 1994, have been reluctant to pass a lot of gun control that tells you that there must be a lot of people out there that are pleased with that outcome.

        It makes sense don’t you think that politicians try to please that largest majority that can get them (re)elected? The current “talking point” among folks like you seeing a small minority imposing its will against a democratic majority just doesn’t pass the sell test for me.

        And don’t tell me it is because the personal firearms industry is so rich and powerful and the NRA has so much money. The pharmaceutical industry in this country is at least 100X as large in terms of profit and have already probably bought the politicians (the pharmas might have a lot to lose if people connected the dots with some of their psychoactive drugs and people going on these shooting rages).

        “as a result a lot of people die from gunfire. ”

        Compared to what? More people die from mistakes in hospitals (see “preventable causes of death” on Wikipedia). Also a lot of people are saved with guns. According to some of the latest and most sophisticated research on the defensive use of firearms by Kleck and Gertz guns are probably used upwards of 2.5 million times a year in self defense and defense of property and as many as 400,000 lives are saved, every year.

        Approximately two thirds of all those people who die from gun shots every year are suicides and people who commit suicide with a gun really mean it. It is not a cry for help. If they don’t have a gun then they will find another way. That is clearly shown if you compare suicide rates between the U.S. and the U.K. Brits kill themselves at nearly the same rate (12.0 per 100K in the U.S. vs. 11.8 in the U.K. – Wikipedia).

        If guns were the cause then the Brits ought to have a significantly lower suicide rate because guns are so much harder to get there (although gun crime in the U.K. has roughly doubled since they started banning a lot of guns).

        So no, I don’t know that all things considered you really have much of a point.

        regards,

        lwk

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      • I wrote:

        “doesn’t pass the sell test for me.”

        Meant to say “doesn’t pass the SMELL test for me.” No typo is apparent until too late to edit. :)

        lwk

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      • I say it’s a small number of paranoid nutcases who determine our firearms policies because that’s the case. Nonpartisan polling has consistently shown support for some basic, common sense restrictions on firearms. Even a poll of NRA members conducted by Frank Lutz, (who is the leading Republican pollster) showed a majority supported universal background checks. If the public wants that, why hasn’t it become law? The confluence of lobbying money and gerrymandered Congressional districts.

        You call the Kleck and Gertz research the latest and most sophisticated research on the defensive use of firearms, which is wildly inaccurate. First off, the Kleck study that claims 2.5 million defensive uses of guns was done in the early 1990s. Second, his methodology was sloppy at best (when I was taking advanced quantitative research methods for my Sociology: Justice Ph.D. they used Kleck’s study as an example of flawed methodology). For example, the study relies heavily on anecdotal evidence; if a respondent tells the interviewer “The bad guy saw my gun and ran away” that’s considered a DGU. In order to reach the 2.5 million/400,000 total Kleck and Gertz assert, you have to accept that 90-85% of those DGUs are never reported to the police (and so aren’t included in the National Crime Victim Survey data — which, by the way, only recorded around 65,000 DGUs in the same period as Kleck’s study). That’s improbable, especially when Kleck’s own study reports that 64% of his respondents claimed to have notified the police.

        Kleck does, though, bring in a LOT of research funding for Florida State.

        Also, citing suicide rates is pretty meaningless when we’re talking about murder rates.

        Part of the problem is that a LOT of folks always assume that if you argue in favor of stricter gun laws, that 1) you must not like guns and 2) you probably don’t know anything about guns. I’m a liberal (I used to be a radical, but I’ve grown more conservative as I got older) and I personally like guns. They’re fun to shoot, and they’re incredibly effective forms of technology. I just think there should be some sensible restrictions on their purchase and use.

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      • “I say it’s a small number of paranoid nutcases who determine our firearms policies because that’s the case. … why hasn’t it become law? The confluence of lobbying money and gerrymandered Congressional districts.”

        That is what I would call a Liberal paranoid conspiracy theory. :)

        It is a no-brainer that Congress-Critters are most interested in getting re-elected and that means knowing what the majority of their supporters want.

        “the [Kleck] study relies heavily on anecdotal evidence;…”

        Yes, and your point is what? Exactly how do you do sociological research on unreported incidents? How do you discover what is not reported? When you come up with a method to do that without interveiewing people and trying to determine their credibility let us know.

        Kleck and Gertz go into a fair amount of detail on how they attempted to weed out non-credible interviews.

        Like I said, when you come up with a more valid way to come up with an estimate of something that people don’t often report then let us know.

        “[Kleck’s] methodology was sloppy at best (when I was taking advanced quantitative research methods for my Sociology: Justice Ph.D. they used Kleck’s study as an example of flawed methodology).”

        That is just hearsay. Show how the mathematics or inference was “sloppy.” Facts, not opinion.

        On the other hand there is this quote below which supports the methodology:

        -begin quote-

        Criminologist Marvin Wolfgang, who described himself “as strong a gun-control advocate as can be found among the criminologists in this country” and whose opinion of guns was “I would eliminate all guns from the civilian population and maybe even from the police. I hate guns–ugly, nasty instruments designed to kill people” defended Kleck’s methodology, saying “What troubles me is the article by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. The reason I am troubled is that they have provided an almost clear-cut case of methodologically sound research in support of something I have theoretically opposed for years, namely, the use of a gun in defense against a criminal perpetrator”. He went on to say that the NCVS survey did not contradict the Kleck study and that “I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology. They have tried earnestly to meet all objections in advance and have done exceedingly well.” [21][22]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Kleck

        -end quote-

        “Kleck’s own study reports that 64% of his respondents claimed to have notified the police.”

        That is not entirely accurate. Here is precisely what the study says:

        “Were Police Informed of Incident or Otherwise Find Out? 64.2”

        http://www.saf.org/lawreviews/kleckandgertz1.htm

        Note, or police “Otherwise find out.” Perhaps some respondents thought the police found out. I don’t know. One thing I can clearly see – he reports his data and methodology unlike Kellerman or Hemenway (well Kellerman eventually did and Kleck ripped his conclusions).

        regards,

        lwk

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      • Congress-Critters are most interested in getting re-elected and that means knowing what the majority of their supporters want

        I wish that was true. I agree they’re most interested in getting re-elected, but sadly that means pleasing their donors. More money allows candidates to shape public perception, and public perception influences voting more than the candidate’s actual policy positions.

        Criminologist Marvin Wolfgang

        Yes, Wolfgang is a gun-banning extremist…and yes, regarding the Kleck study he said he couldn’t “fault their methodology” (although nobody ever seems to mention he later included caution “problems of small numbers and extrapolating from relatively small samples to the universe.”). Gun rights folks are fond of quoting Wolfgang. But ask yourself WHY they quote him and only him. It’s because almost every other criminologist finds serious flaws in the Kleck study.

        I really don’t want to get involved in a debate over social research methods, but think about this for a moment. Kleck and Gertz surveyed just under 5000 people over the telephone (and I have no problem with their fundamental process for sample selection). At that point, their methodology begins to crumble. They didn’t interview any adult who answered the phone; they asked for the ‘head of the household.’ That’s usually a man. Men are more likely to have a weapon and to use a weapon than a woman, so the sample becomes skewed. Of those heads of household, approximately 1.3% stated they’d used a firearm to defend themselves. Just over one percent. That’s 50 men out of his 5000 population sample. Kleck extrapolated that proportion to the entire population of the U.S., which is where the 2.5 million number comes from.

        There are other more technical methodological flaws in that study, but they’re too tedious to go into.

        how do you do sociological research on unreported incidents?

        That’s a problem. It’s the same problem faced by the National Crime Victimization Survey. But at least the NCVS is conducted twice a year, with a sample population of between 50,000 and 75,000. As you know, the NCVS also asks about defensive gun use…and their results have been radically different from Kleck’s.

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  1. Those comments on the WND site did make me despair, unfortunately. It feels like it’s too late for anybody with half a brain to try and make sense. These folks are so entrenched in their fear and ignorance (and proud of it) that there is no talking them down. Angry? Yes, I’m angry. But how in hell do we effect any real changes without involving an already corrupted political system with no chances of nominating anyone sane in any of these districts? I just come back to despair.

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    • There’s little point in trying to change the beliefs and attitudes of the folks who read WND and leave comments. But there IS value in finding out who your legislators are (at both the state and federal level), learning how they’ve voted on firearm legislation, and calling them to express your opinion. And yeah, calling is a LOT more effective than an email.

      The thing is, it’s the nutcases who tend to make most of the calls. That’s ONE of the reasons they control the discussion.

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  2. I’m with Jody on this – I think the biggest problem is that we haven’t found a viable path forward past the “angry anti-government white guy with a gun”. Anything that is suggested just winds them up tighter. Maybe the solution is to just give them all the guns & ammo they want and then separate them from the rest of us…. (yea, I know, that won’t work either.)

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    • ” I think the biggest problem is that we haven’t found a viable path forward past the “angry anti-government white guy with a gun”.”

      Just out of curiosity, you don’t see a lot in our government that ought to make people angry?

      lwk

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    • I disagree. There IS a path forward. It’s just not an easy path. Those angry folks control the discussion because they’re angry…and they make a lot of noise with their anger…and politicians listen to that noise. I respect their anger and passion, though I think it’s wildly misguided. I just wish folks who believe in sensible gun legislation would be as passionate.

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      • I have written a proposal on a practical way to do universal background checks that gun owners might support:

        Universal Background Checks
        http://free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/universal-background-checks/

        Bascially do a NICS background check on _everybody_ when the get, or renew a driver’s license. Encode the NICS approval on the back of the drivers license. If you have approval on your license you can buy legally otherwise not. Sting operations could convince a large percentage of private sales to go along too.

        But a lot of anti-gun-nuts probably wouldn’t like it because it doesn’t facilitate the government creating a big database of gun owners.

        regards,

        lwk

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  3. I am a gun owner and have been for so long I don’t remember. It’s a family thing. I learned how to clean, break down and re-assemble them in the Air Force. I agree with Greg, that if we “harass” our local representative we will wear them down eventually.

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    • Whether we wear them down or not, it seems silly — and maybe even irresponsible — for folks who believe in reasonable gun safety legislation to allow the discussion to be shaped and dominated by folks who think ANY restriction isn’t to be tolerated.

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      • “allow the discussion to be shaped and dominated by folks who think ANY restriction isn’t to be tolerated.”

        All discussions are shaped by those who are most interested and involved.

        You wrote earlier:

        “I just think there should be some sensible restrictions on their purchase and use.”

        What exactly do you consider sensible restrictions?

        regards,

        lwk

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    • What exactly do you consider sensible restrictions?

      At a minimum, 1) universal background checks, 2) limiting magazine size, 3) a waiting period.

      Personally, I have no problem with the Canadian model. Before you can legally buy a gun in Canada you have to 1) pass a simple day-long safety course (failure rate is about a half a percent), 2) provide three character references (also, if you’re married or living with somebody, your spouse has to agree to your buying a weapon), 3) a thorough background check.

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      • “At a minimum, 1) universal background checks, …”

        I have written a proposal to that:

        Universal Background Checks
        http://free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/universal-background-checks/

        “2) limiting magazine size, …”

        And have written on that – link below. I own 20 and 30 round magazines for several semi-automatic rifles I own. I have a right to own them.

        Who Needs An Assault Rifle?
        http://free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/who-needs-an-assault-rifle/

        “3) a waiting period.”

        A “wait to get killed period.” They have never been shown to be particularly useful. Yes, may keep one impulsive individual from getting a gun and keeping others who truly needs it (and just realized it) from having the means to defend herself.

        regards,

        lwk

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      • I think your proposal for drivers license/background check has merit, but what about people who don’t have a license? I lived in NYC for several years and many of the people I knew there didn’t own a driver’s license (because a car in a large urban area is a massive pain in the ass). That could be worked around, of course. But the idea is intriguing.

        I disagree with your claim that an AR is the ‘perfect’ weapon for home defense. I’d argue a reliable shotgun is superior for that situation. Nor am I convinced that the inconvenience of having to reload a 10 round magazine or the stress on the spring outweighs the ease with which mass murderers can increase their body count by not having to reload. As far as needing 20 rounds for home protection, if you’ve shot the first three or four people trying to assault you in your home and there are more outside waiting in line…well, I’m inclined to think you’ve made some really bad enemies and you’re probably fucked anyway.

        I’ve heard the ‘waiting to be killed’ argument before, and it has merit…but if there are legitimate circumstances that indicate the need to buy a weapon immediately, I’d have no objection to the local Sheriff being given the power to waive the waiting period. If you have enough notice about that danger that you can go shopping for a gun, you have enough notice to notify law enforcement about the danger and get a waiver.

        I also want to say that although we’re probably going to disagree on just about everything, I really appreciate your willingness to have these discussions in a civil manner. I have a cousin who owns more than a dozen long firearms (everything from black powder rifles to shotguns to three or four AR-types) and easily half a dozen handguns. We often have these same discussions. We also go to the range together.

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      • “I think your proposal for drivers license/background check has merit, but what about people who don’t have a license?”

        A person can get a state issued photo ID card that can be used as an alternative to a driver’s license. I guess if a person doesn’t want to drive or get a state ID then they probably shouldn’t be buying guns or voting.

        “I disagree with your claim that an AR is the ‘perfect’ weapon for home defense.”

        I outlined my reasoning in the article if you read it.

        “I convinced that the inconvenience of having to reload a 10 round magazine or the stress on the spring outweighs the ease with which mass murderers can increase their body count by not having to reload.”

        I am not convinced that such a limitation would do anything to prevent higher body counts. If one were familiar with it, a Marlin 30-30 could have done as much damage as an AR-15 at Newtown. For one thing you probably wouldn’t need to shoot a person more than once with a 30-30 at point blank range and continually reloading from loose rounds in a shoulder bag or something like that.

        In any case, the _possibility_ that you or others think it might help is not sufficient justification to deny ownership of these to law abiding people. If the police can own and use them for self-defense, and they do, then I think a law abiding citizen should be able to.

        Actually that is what I think is a reaonable standard: whatevert the police can own and use ought to be legal for everyone who is not otherwise disqualified by criminal record, etc.

        “As far as needing 20 rounds for home protection, if you’ve shot the first three or four people trying to assault you in your home and there are more outside waiting in line…well, I’m inclined to think you’ve made some really bad enemies and you’re probably fucked anyway.”

        Again, your imagination or what you think one might need in an “average scenario” is not sufficient justification. Besides the increasing possibility of home invasion by armed gangs, there is the very real possibility of large scale disasters where police protection is simply not available. A number of people with AR-15s and large capacity magazines could defend a neighborhood from looters and violent criminals and gangs when police protection is not there. Think of Katrina and New Orleans (where in my view the police acted criminally to disarm citizens, at least the police that didn’t run away to Texas, and there were quite a few of those actually).

        “I’ve heard the ‘waiting to be killed’ argument before, and it has merit…but if there are legitimate circumstances that indicate the need to buy a weapon immediately, I’d have no objection to the local Sheriff being given the power to waive the waiting period.”

        Are you aware of the history of the “shall issue” concealed carry movement? Basically the idea, if you are not familiar with it, is that a state passes a law that stipulates objective criterion that a person must meet to be issued a license and the state agency that issues the license is _compelled_ by law to issue it if the person meets those requirments. That is what “shall issue” means – no discretion of local or police chiefs because in the past in different localities they have arbitrarily abused that power.

        For example, in L.A. they had concealed carry, but it was nearly impossible for your average citizen to get a permit. You had to be rich, powerful, connected, or a movie star to get one.

        So no, I do not agree with your idea of giving police, or police chiefs any discretion whatsoever in the matter. Waiting periods have never been shown to be effective or useful, and people have died because they couldn’t get means to protect themself.

        Waiting periods and bans on high capacity magazines are just “feel good” measures that people think they have a right to impose on others. People and politicians in the wake of these tragedies often just want to “DO SOMETHING” and the appearance more often than not of doing something is more important than an objective assessment if it will actually work.

        Those “feel good” and got to “do something” ideas are generally ways to _avoid_ looking at the real causes and problems. So Liberals since the 1960s have been doing “feel good” things for the black community in our inner cities and have as a consequence destroyed the black family in our inner cities and now they are battlegrounds for a “Drug War”. Good job Liberals! I have to ask them, have they ever heard the the term “unintended consequences” and do they ever consider them, or just does the feeling good after passing another useless their sole motivation?

        The mindset of Liberals seems to be to a) do something, and b) when that doesn’t work then do more of the same thing but only more so. That is how politicians seem to function. Pass laws, see the disaster they cause, and then double down on a new law that does it even bigger or harder (like Obamacare leading to single payer after the insurance industry is destroyed).

        That is the definition of insanity by the way, doing the same think over and over again and expecting a different result. :)

        Sorry, I get a little bitter when I think of things like the above.

        “I also want to say that although we’re probably going to disagree on just about everything, I really appreciate your willingness to have these discussions in a civil manner.”

        I try to be civil. I have yet to convince anyone of anything by yelling at them. :)

        regards,

        lwk

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      • I outlined my reasoning in the article if you read it.

        I read it; I just disagree.

        I am not convinced that such a limitation would do anything to prevent higher body counts. If one were familiar with it, a Marlin 30-30 could have done as much damage as an AR-15 at Newtown.

        There have been several instances during mass shootings in which people were able to either escape or subdue the shooter while he was reloading — including the Newtown shooting. The Newtown shooter used 30 round magazines and fired more than 150 rounds, meaning he had to reload five times. If he’d had to stop and reload more often, more victims might have escaped. We know that at least six children managed to climb out a window at Newtown while Lanza was reloading. Reloading also introduces the potential for jamming, which is what happened at the Gabriel Giffords shooting; the shooter’s handgun jammed while being reloaded, giving people the chance to tackle him. It’s just common sense that smaller magazines increases the odds for more survivors.

        the increasing possibility of home invasion by armed gangs

        In reality, “home invasions by armed gangs” almost never happen. One reason for the rise in home invasion statistics is because of a shift in definitions. A lot of so-called security experts have begun using ‘home invasion’ to describe what would normally be called Breaking and Entering or Burglary (both of which, by definition, involves ‘invading’ a home or place of business). This is largely a sales technique intended to frighten people into buying home security services. “Armed thugs may break into your home and murder you and your family!”

        If you look at the actual statistics, in 2011 (the most recent year for which we have complete stats) there were about 100 burglaries that resulted in murder. Statistically, your odds of being murdered in a mass shooting are slightly greater than your odds of being a victim of a home invasion murder.

        There ARE, of course, instances exactly like you describe — armed gangs breaking into homes and killing the inhabitants. However, the victims are almost always people who are considered enemies of those gangs — rival gang members, people who’ve ripped off gang members, gang members who’ve betrayed the gang.

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      • “….It’s just common sense that smaller magazines increases the odds for more survivors.”

        It is also common sense that no guns at all would increase the odds for more survivors of gun attacks (and increase the odds of death by other means). But what is not apparently common sense is that some very large number of people -depending on who you believe – use guns successfully for self defense every year. So _every_ proposal has two sides, not just one.

        Here is what is totally disgusting about this proposal. You are taking a slight marginal possibility of saving lives by banning magazines as “common sense” while at the same time – at least most liberals do – of objecting to a much more likely scenario of preventing mass murders – armed citizens.

        Arming teachers would save a lot more lives than banning large capacity magazines. Encouraging law abiding people to get training and a concealed carry license and allowing them to carry most everywhere would save a lot more lives.

        Incident from Israel a number of years ago. Couple terrorists think they will walk into a restaurant with AK-47s and kill a lot of Jews. What they apparently didn’t understand was a lot of those Jews were carrying concealed handguns and although the terrorists managed to kill a couple (forget the exact number) of Jews, a number of the rest pulled handguns and shot the terrorists down on the spot.

        Another instance terrorists broke into an Israeli school with intent to kill kids. Several counselors in the school pulled concealed handguns and shot them down.

        So again, you are asking for solution of very marginal utility – banning magazines – while not advocating actual strategies that are proven to work to save lives against crazies or terrorists with guns, fully or semi-automatic, and with high capacity magazines. This is the mindset that the gun or the magazine is the problem and not the criminal who uses it.

        But it is typical of many such proposals from Liberals where they invariably find a reason to ban something for the law abiding while refusing those things that would actually protect the innocent. I don’t know how many high capacity magazines for AR-15s and AK type rifles exist in the U.S. in private hands, but it has to be many, many millions manufactured since the early 1960s. You can ban them for the law abiding but there are enough to supply criminals for a century probably already out there.

        So no, I am no remotely convinced by this argument. High capacity magazines are useful for the law abiding. The answer is not to punish them, but to actively defend against the crazies and criminals.

        regards,

        lwk

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      • Here is what is totally disgusting about this proposal. You are taking a slight marginal possibility of saving lives by banning magazines as “common sense” while at the same time – at least most liberals do – of objecting to a much more likely scenario of preventing mass murders – armed citizens.

        Disgusting? Okay. But you’re right — I don’t think more guns in the hands of more citizens is an effective strategy for preventing mass murders. As we see every day in the news, there are a LOT of armed citizens who don’t know how to safely handle their weapons. How many people, every single week, accidentally shoot themselves or others while cleaning or playing around with weapons they thought were unloaded? If they can’t handle a weapon in the quiet of their own home, I don’t want to see them shooting in a crisis situation.

        Incident from Israel a number of years ago. Couple terrorists think they will walk into a restaurant with AK-47s and kill a lot of Jews. What they apparently didn’t understand was a lot of those Jews were carrying concealed handguns and although the terrorists managed to kill a couple (forget the exact number) of Jews, a number of the rest pulled handguns and shot the terrorists down on the spot.

        Yeah, this has happened a few times in Israel. But those people who shot the terrorists? They were soldiers. Israel has mandatory military service for citizens 18 years of age — three years for men, two for women. Obviously that includes weapon training, and it’s not uncommon for members of the Israeli Defense Force to walk around armed.

        However, the fact is, Israel has pretty strict gun laws. Only about 5-7% of Israeli private citizens own weapons. A citizen can apply for a gun permit at age 21 IF they’ve served in the IDF (otherwise the age limit is 27). To get a permit, they have to pass a comprehensive background check AND show a good reason for owning a weapon. Around half of all applications are denied. If they’re granted a permit, they’re allowed to own ONE firearm (which must be kept unloaded in the home) and a limited amount of ammunition. They’re required to get re-certified every three years.

        If the U.S. were to pass similar restrictions, I’d agree with your position.

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      • “If the U.S. were to pass similar restrictions, I’d agree with your position.”

        I do agree with one idea here. You were saying that Israel has mandatory military service. That is largely true except for many/most devout Jews because basically dealing with their religious requirements is a pain. Druze Muslims also participate (and are highly regarded by Jews in Israel, but I don’t believe it is mandatory for them). Young kids in the IDF carrying M16s and other fully automatic weapons are pretty common in Israel. Remember seeing hundreds touring the Old City in Jerusalem on my last visit.

        I would like to see the U.S. do the same thing. Require universal military service for both men and women. You would probably have to allow an exemption for those who are conscientious objectors (and I don’t have a problem with that). But then I would make completion of that service a requirement to vote. Don’t want to do that service, then don’t expect to vote.

        At the same time you would need to make it very difficult for the President and Congress to send these kids overseas to fight a war without an official declaration of war. That was our problem with Vietnam. Too many of my friends were drafted and didn’t understand why we were there. I volunteered.

        So yes, that could be a good idea, maybe even modeled after the Swiss militia system (my company used to have an office there some of the Swiss employees had M-57 select fire assault rifles at home with ammunition, just in case).

        Wrote some ideas on it here:

        The Well Regulated Militia
        http://free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/the-well-regulated-militia/

        I also support the idea of firearms training with a very heavy emphasis in high school (and basic safety training to very young kids – “If you see a gun laying about go find and adult and tell them!” which the NRA Eddie Eagle program teaches).

        Both ideas would solve a lot of problems. Both with guns, and voting. :)

        regards,

        lwk

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      • Require universal military service for both men and women.

        I’ve advocated two years of mandatory service for years, much to the chagrin of my liberal friends. Not necessarily in the military, but some form of national or community service — whether it’s building roads, or assisting in national parks, or teaching in poor schools, I don’t care. I just think it’s good for people to serve their country and community. It’s the least we can do. But I wouldn’t tie it to voting rights.

        The Well Regulated Militia

        I’ve read that post. You won’t be surprised that I disagree with chunks of it. In particular, part of this:

        The Founders saw the militia as having a threefold purpose: first as a force that would supplement the small army to defend the nation from external threats such as invasion, secondly against internal rebellions, and lastly as a defense against the central government itself should it become a threat to the rights and prerogatives of the individual states.

        I agree with your first and second assertions, but not so much the third. I know you’re familiar with Federalist Paper 46, but a lot of folks seem to overlook or ignore the almost mocking tone of a critical section of that paper. Yes, it addresses the possibility of an oppressive government of traitors betraying the citizenry, but it does so in a rather scornful, derisive way. It calls the idea a ‘visionary supposition’ and suggests the idea is ‘like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal.’ It also goes on to suggest it’s insulting to assume the American people would ‘by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce’ a circumstance under which they’d find it necessary to take arms against the elected government.

        At least that’s my reading of it.

        Like

      • “… a lot of folks seem to overlook or ignore the almost mocking tone of a critical section of that paper. Yes, it addresses the possibility of an oppressive government of traitors betraying the citizenry, but it does so in a rather scornful, derisive way.”

        I agree that Madison ridicules the idea that Americans would set back and let that oppressive government be assembled before their very eyes and wait until the very last moment to act, and then only by the most desperate means. That is apparent in Federalist 46.

        What it illustrates is that Madison could not truly forsee America’s course over the next couple centuries. In his generation that scenario was nearly impossible. But when the assault is spread over centuries and when Americans have long forgotten what true oppression felt like, then it indeed becomes very possible.

        It is precisely what we see today – a government on the brink of extinguishing the last vestages of individual freedom, conscience, and privacy. Nothing of course is inevitable, but I think it will take a great struggle – hopefully on the political plane – to reverse it. Only those who have not personally seen the detritus of violence would choose Madison’s last option in Federalist 46.

        regards,

        lwk

        Like

      • Madison could not truly forsee America’s course over the next couple centuries. In his generation that scenario was nearly impossible.

        But by that same token, Madison and the other Founders couldn’t foresee shifts in technology that would allow a single individual with a common weapon to murder a large number fellow citizens in a very short time — or, for that matter, foresee a culture in which such shootings take place approximately every other week.

        what we see today – a government on the brink of extinguishing the last vestages of individual freedom, conscience, and privacy

        What freedoms have been extinguished? How has conscience been extinguished?

        As for the loss of privacy, that’s as much an issue of technology than government policy. If the NSA is gathering more data during the six years of the Obama administration, it’s not because this administration is nosier than previous administrations — it’s that ‘improvements’ in technology have made it easier to gather more information.

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      • “Madison and the other Founders couldn’t foresee shifts in technology …”

        That is true.

        “…that would allow a single individual with a common weapon to murder a large number fellow citizens in a very short time — or, for that matter, foresee a culture in which such shootings take place approximately every other week.”

        Or that has allowed – as was amply demonstrated during the 20th century – that governments can and will murder millions of unarmed people. The 20th century was undoubtedly a century of government genocides and mass murder – from the Armenian genocides to the gulags of the Soviet Union to the death camps of the Nazis to the killing fields of Cambodia to the Cultural Revolution in China, just to name a few.

        “What freedoms have been extinguished?”

        How about freedom to privacy and to not have your every communication recorded for government analysis? How about the freedom to choose your doctor and your health plan?

        “How has conscience been extinguished?”

        You mean when a private company owned by Christians is forced by Obamacare to fund insurance for abortions and birth control?

        “As for the loss of privacy, that’s as much an issue of technology than government policy. If the NSA is gathering more data during the six years of the Obama administration, it’s not because this administration is nosier than previous administrations — it’s that ‘improvements’ in technology have made it easier to gather more information.”

        Certainly George Bush did his part and previou administrations contributed. I am not trying to say this is all Obama. I know better than that. Mostly I see Obama as a reasonably decent, if somewhat highly conceited, individual who is mostly a tool of others. At least that is my impression.

        regards,

        lwk

        Like

      • I REALLY agree with these ideas! the 1,2, and 3 are very good. In all of the states I’ve lived in, if you don’t need a car or don’t drive, as Greg pointed out, it is unGodly expensive in NYC to drive, local law requires you to have a valid picture ID. (also to vote too)

        Like

      • You mean when a private company owned by Christians is forced by Obamacare to fund insurance for abortions and birth control?

        At the risk of sounding rude, this is a phony controversy. It began with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who were outraged at the provision in the Affordable Care Act that required insurers to provide “preventive health services” for “all women employees and their dependents” at no cost to the insured. That included birth control (not abortions — there hasn’t been any Federal or State funding for abortions in decades). The Bishops argued that being required to provide contraception to women employees was a violation of their religious freedom. So the president included an exemption for any religious institution (like, say, a Catholic hospital) who objected to the provision. That was done nearly two years ago.

        The really stupid thing is that almost all of those Catholic agencies that objected (after the Conference of Bishops made a fuss) had insurance policies that already provided for contraception for women employees.

        At any rate, Obamacare does NOT force religious institutions to provide funding for contraceptives or abortions. Private companies are different. Private companies have to obey the law, whether they agree with it or not. A furniture company run by Amish, for example, can’t refuse to pay their taxes because the money goes to pay for wars and they’re pacifists. An apartment complex run by Muslims can’t refuse to rent an apartment to people who drink alcohol simply because in Islam alcohol is haram. And a grocery store run by a Catholic can’t refuse to pay for health care services for their women employees simply because the Pope says contraception is a sin.

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  4. Read the Warren v. District of Columbia court decision. Police are not obligated to protect individuals and cannot be held liable for failing to act upon a call for service (911 emergency call, etc). Why should people be forced to totally rely on an entity that cannot be held accountable?

    Like

    • Why should people be forced to totally rely on an entity that cannot be held accountable?

      Nobody has suggested that they should. A background check won’t prevent a law-abiding citizen from obtaining a firearm. A reasonable waiting period may delay the possession of a firearm, but it doesn’t prevent anybody from obtaining one. If there are exigent circumstances, a waiting period can be waived. Limits on the size of magazines doesn’t deny anybody the right to protect themselves. There’s nothing in anything I’ve suggested that would require an honest citizen to ‘totally rely on an entity that cannot be held accountable.’

      Like

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