In which I am very cruel about gun rights in the US

Ritchie asks us this question:

Richard Murphy ?@RichardJMurphy

@cjsnowdon @worstall Why do you take such pleasure in the knowledge that weapons used to kill innocent children will still be available?

A tad over the top: for all I did was point out that changing the US Constitution is a difficult thing to do.

However, there is an answer. Because that availability would also mean that the weapons to prevent or overthrow a Courageous State would also be available.

Which is perhaps a rather cruel trade off: but don\’t forget, it\’s not me that has to, or even can, make this trade off. It\’s the Americans that get to do that.

And let us not forget the defining moment of America. The founding story of the place: the Revolutionary War.

They went and got their guns and slaughtered their rulers until they gave up and left. And I\’m afraid that if you\’ve not lived there you\’ll not really understand quite how hard wired that is into the national psyche. It really isn\’t just the weirdos hiding out from the Feds in Montana who think this way: although those that are doing so are an extreme manifestation of it.

Whether they\’re right or wrong about it, whether it\’s an appropriate trade off to be making or not, they themselves, or at least a sufficiently large portion of the population (polling numbers for leaving gun laws as they are, or making them weaker, have been above 50% for some years now) that that is the trade off they\’re making.

Lone nutters slaughtering children? A collateral price to be paid for that freedom to be armed and ready to slaughter the gubmint if it should ever get above itself.

I\’m not sure I agree with that trade off: but as I point out above, it\’s not me that gets to make it. They do: and also as I say, more than 50% (the numbers were in the Washington Post yesterday, sorry, lost the link) think gun laws should stay as they are or get looser.

I guess that\’s democracy for you, eh?

78 comments on “In which I am very cruel about gun rights in the US

  1. “A tad over the top: for all I did was point out that changing the US Constitution is a difficult thing to do.”

    Richard Murphy in not being able to differentiate between distinct concepts shocker.

  2. “A tad over the top: for all I did was point out that changing the US Constitution is a difficult thing to do.”

    I think he would see that as defeatism and obvious support in itself. The correct thing to do is to proclaim from the rooftops what the rule should be (based of course of the latest populist trend and ignoring any possible unintended consequences) and ignore tiny obstacles like constitutions. Hell, they can always be torn up right?

    So from his point of view it’s quite consistent.

  3. Why do you take such pleasure in the knowledge that if your proposals on taxes were implemented, less investment would happen in poor countries, a policy that will kill innocent children?

  4. “The correct thing to do is to proclaim from the rooftops what the rule should be (based of course of the latest populist trend and ignoring any possible unintended consequences) and ignore tiny obstacles like constitutions. Hell, they can always be torn up right?”

    This is for the most part what has happened to the constitution as a whole. The 2nd amendment is perhaps the only part still defended with vigour by a large part of the population.

    It’s also the reason there can be no movement on gun laws without ending up where the UK is. That forces even gun owners who would like to see better licencing and restrictions into the NRA camp. Once the 2nd amendment is diluted enough to start fed. regulation, there will be no stop to it.

  5. How come they already have the government they have then? Haven’t taken up arms against its overbearing size and massive debts already?

    The frog is already boiled. Guns don’t help any more.

  6. Lone nutters slaughtering children? A collateral price to be paid for that freedom to be armed and ready to slaughter the gubmint if it should ever get above itself.

    Actually this sort of gun violence probably has nothing to do with guns at all, but with the deinstitutionalisation of the mentally ill. See this for instance:

    http://www.fed-soc.org/publications/detail/madness-deinstitutionalization-murder

    That was a policy supported by the Right Thinking of both the Left and the Right.

    Of course it is the same argument – we could lock people up much sooner and on less evidence. But we have taken a more libertarian line that until the mentally ill actually start gunning people down, they are free to do what they like. It is a trade off.

  7. Keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill nutters seems a good trade off, unfortunately most of the school slaughterers were not identified as mentally ill nutters before they went on their sprees. Even the latest case was only a borderline weirdo.

  8. If its all about the guns, why of the 62 mass shootings there have been in US history, have 25 of them occurred since 2006?

    The weapons used by the killers since 2006 (semi-auto pistols and rifles) have been freely available in the US for decades prior to that date.

    At thoughts?

    My money is on the reinforcing nature of hysterical media coverage of such shootings guaranteeing fame to the scumbags and inadequates who do them.

  9. “Keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill nutters seems a good trade off, unfortunately most of the school slaughterers were not identified as mentally ill nutters before they went on their sprees.”

    ‘Not identified’ = ‘recognised as such by the authorities’. Plenty of neighbours, friends etc had concerns. It’s just that nothing was done because… Well, see SMFS’s comment.

  10. I’m surprised SMFS is so cavalier about locking up the mentally ill – people in glass houses and all that.

    Julia: They weren’t his guns, they were his mother’s. Even if he was diagnosed and prevented from owning a gun, it wouldn’t have made a difference.

  11. It’s not like these massacres are confined to the US, something the European lefties like to overlook. There have been 2 in the UK in my lifetime, one in Norway, one in Australia, and IIRC one in Finland. And perhaps one in Germany too. The fact is, anyone wanting to go on a shooting spree can get hold of the hardware to do so, and making it slightly more difficult is unlikely to be a deterrent.

  12. Stuck Record – you have a point. Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” asks exactly that same question. While I am not ordinarily a fan of Moore’s work, a bit too hysterical, on this one he poses the question that perhaps it is not about Guns but more about a population kept permanently in fear by its media and government.

    If everyone is frightened of everyone else and has access to automatic weapons what do you think it is going to happen.

    Plenty of firearms in the UK, Australia, Canada etc, but comparatively few mass killings.

    It’s probably not the guns but some other factor, although the amount of automatic weapons is probably unjustified.

  13. @Tim Newman,

    Sure these things happen in Europe but they are rather rarer. Which suggests that generally making it harder to get guns does have an impact on spree shootings.

    There seem to be two distinct patterns emerging from these killings.

    Some wannabe mass killers (like the Norwegian bloke) will plan and prepare meticulously. The Columbine shooters, and the Washington sniper seem to be from the same mould – there was malice aforethought, preparation, planning and so on.

    Others seem to be disturbed individuals who get “triggered” one day and go and murder people. Far less if any preparation. Dunblane, Virginia Tech (to a certain extent), the German schoolboy, and as far as we can see the latest incident in the USA as well.

    With the first group, there’s probably no gun restrictions that will stop them. Good police work might catch them before they go postal, gun laws won’t stop them carrying it out. Gun laws have a better chance of stopping the second group because these are more opportunist crimes. These are sickos throwing a wobbler and if there are guns around to be used they might get used. The former group know what they are doing.

  14. You don’t have to change the US constitution to restrict gun rights, you just have to interpret it sensibly. I wrote something about its interpretation at the time of the Aurora shootings.

    The fact is, anyone wanting to go on a shooting spree can get hold of the hardware to do so, and making it slightly more difficult is unlikely to be a deterrent.

    The fact is that it’s much much harder for a nutter to get hold of guns in the UK than in the USA, and that there are many many fewer shootings here.

    However, to keep a particular type of weapon out of the hands of nutters, you have to stop the general population having it. Personally I think this is a trade off well worth making, but it may be that the majority of Americans take more pleasure in thinking of their compatriots enjoying themselves killing wild animals with highly lethal hardware than they feel pain in thinking of their fellow citizens being shot. That’s democracy for you.

  15. I’m afraid gun ownership simply doesn’t explain the problem as there are control groups in existence; countries with lots of guns floating around and very low gun homicide rates: France, Germany, Canada, Israel, Switzerland.

    Then there are others with relatively low gun ownership that have homicide rates that dwarf the US: Brazil (30,000 a year!!), Mexico, and the socialist paradise of Venezuala.

    Also anti-gun activists regularly count in US gun inflicted suicides (approx 50% of gun deaths) into their statistics to make them look higher.

  16. “That’s democracy for you.”

    No, PaulB, that is smug leftist bullshit for you.

    When the political/bureaucratic scum order their costumed thugs to give up all their guns then come back with talk about gun control. Yeah, they could run a tyranny with knives and swords–the Romans did- but guns make it much easier (for that matter several Chinese nutters have killed 10/20 people using knives/axes in the past few years). Without firearms the scummy–sorry, Courageous–state would not have been able to kill the 150-200 million people–including millions of children–that it has done in the last 100 years.
    Americas concealed carry laws and the huge drops inn violent crime they have brought have already saved many more lives than have been lost in massacres.

  17. @Stuck-Record,

    even if the gun murder thing in the USA is a cultural thing (as evidenced by countries awash with guns but far fewer murders) you can still reduce it by reducing the availability of guns. Which is rather easier than changing the culture.

  18. PaulB

    It isn’t wild animals that Americans want to kill. They want guns to repel boarders – of the human variety. There are a small minority of people in the UK who want to keep guns so they can shoot burglars, though our laws don’t allow them either to keep the guns or shoot the burglars. However, a much larger proportion of people in America feel they have the right to shoot the buggers, and keep guns for exactly that purpose. Tim is right about the hard-wiring.

  19. Guns are rigorously controlled in Chicago and New York. There are possibly fewer mass shootings- which are very rare anyway- but far more murders. In fact more people have been killed by illegally held guns in Chicago this year so far than have been killed in all US mass shootings since Columbine (1999). All the mass shootings have taken place in “gun free areas” hence the shooters knew they weren’t going to be shot, and their spree would not be prematurely ended by someone firing back (including Fort Hood, where a passing policewoman came in to stop things).
    This doesn’t happen in Israel, not because the various Palestinian and Islamist groups are disarmed, far from it, but because Israeli teachers are armed.
    It would of course help if the press didn’t go pedal to the metal with coverage effectively giving the mentally unstable the idea that this might be their path to glory, but as long as we have a free press and people choose to watch dramatic reports that won’t happen.
    Personally I would rather have the benefits of a free press and put up with the consequences of their excesses than the reverse, and I feel similarly about the idea of politicians deciding who may and may not defend themselves.
    By the way, gun control has been relaxed in many states over the last twenty years, a trend which has been accompanied by an overall reduction in crime.

  20. James, that may be true (and I am on the fence* regarding gun control) but it’s not our call to make.

    Gun deaths are a cost (as are road, swimming pool, alcohol and pharmaceutical deaths). Large % of US citizens believe there are benefits to gun ownership (opposition to State tyranny being just one) that outweigh this cost.

    It is they who must be convinced, not the chattering classes of Europe and Berkeley, who just sound patronising when they lecture the US.

    * Just reading Pinker’s ‘Better Angels…’ Which is shattering a lot of my preconceptions re law, policing, violence, state control and retribution.

  21. @James V who states “you can still reduce [the gun murder thing] by reducing the availability of guns.

    Well that’s rather the question isn’t it?

  22. brilliant. so in addition to occasionally being on hand for the slaughter of children, guns have the offsetting benefit of being there for any halfwit that decides Obamacare is the tyranny of the State.

    I mean honestly, this “it’s not for me to decide” schtick implies the benefit is real, but the relative weight placed upon it is subjective. You think the US state is somehow disciplined by the existence of gun owning citizens (many of whom also possess demented right wing persecution complexes)? Can you point to any sign of the US state being less intrusive or brutal than those European states who are presumably able to trample over their non-gun owning citizens? Where would you rather be arrested, for instance? Copenhagen or Houston?

  23. Guns are rigorously controlled in Chicago and New York. There are possibly fewer mass shootings- which are very rare anyway- but far more murders.

    Here‘s a map of gun killings by state. The states with the most liberal gun control laws have the most fatal shootings.

    I’m afraid gun ownership simply doesn’t explain the problem as there are control groups in existence; countries with lots of guns floating around and very low gun homicide rates: France, Germany, Canada, Israel, Switzerland.

    Gun killings require both guns and killers. Some countries have a high level of violent crime, and impose strict gun control. Some countries have a low level of violent crime, and relaxed gun control. Only the US in the developed world has high violent crime and free access to guns.

    Lone nutters slaughtering children? A collateral price to be paid for that freedom to be armed and ready to slaughter the gubmint if it should ever get above itself.

    How’s that going to work? Who decides the government has got above itself? Why should their view outweigh the democratic vote that elected the government? And does this rebel militia have any chance of success against the government’s massive firepower?

    However, a much larger proportion of people in America feel they have the right to shoot the buggers, and keep guns for exactly that purpose.

    OK, but that’s an argument for the right to keep a revolver in one’s bedside cabinet, not for carrying assault weapons.

    The NRA does talk a lot about “defending your freedom to hunt”.

  24. “Here‘s a map of gun killings by state. The states with the most liberal gun control laws have the most fatal shootings.”

    Is it intentional to obscure the difference between gun deaths and murders by firearms?

  25. Luis, “…but the relative weight placed upon it is subjective.”

    PaulB, “…Who decides the government has got above itself?”

    Quite. But ‘subjective’ and ‘who decides’ are the point here. They don’t agree with your arguments for disarming them, and they’re armed, so what are you going to do?

    Kind of proves their point.

  26. “OK, but that’s an argument for the right to keep a revolver in one’s bedside cabinet, not for carrying assault weapons.”

    That’s how the progressives work. Bit by bit. Drip, drip, drip.

    “We’ll let you keep your little guns, peasants, but ‘assault weapons’ have to go! Promise we won’t come back for the litle guns later *crosses fingers behind back*”

    Oh, and would you like to define the term ‘assault weapon’?

  27. JamesV said: “even if the gun murder thing in the USA is a cultural thing (as evidenced by countries awash with guns but far fewer murders) you can still reduce it by reducing the availability of guns. Which is rather easier than changing the culture.”

    How many murders were prevented through gun owners defending themselves?

    Cut legal gun ownership and gun murder rates could rise through the use of illegal guns against unarmed victims.

  28. Can we attempt to stick to reality here? Gun prohibition in the UK is about as successful as drug prohibition. It’s not the easy availability of weapons alone which matters – and yet, given the vastly larger number of knife attacks on schools, it’s clearly a factor in the choice of weapon.

    There have been far too many examples like this one:

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

  29. Frances,

    “a much larger proportion of people in America feel they have the right to shoot the buggers, and keep guns for exactly that purpose. Tim is right about the hard-wiring.”

    I think there’s a couple of other factors going on. Firstly, given the physical size of the US and the relatively low population density in parts, it’s probably not unreasonable to assume that timely Police response might not always be possible, and that, in the absence of that, the US citizen needs to take more assertive self-defensive measures than a UK citizen. Secondly, given that situation, if one was to restrict firearm ownership, it would probably only affect the law-abiding; “outlaw guns, and only outlaws will own guns”.

    So whilst I’m grateful that we have relatively few firearms in public hands in the UK, and, I believe, no real need for that to change, I suspect that the situation in (many parts of) the US is significantly different and requires a different approach.

  30. Who can one believe anyway?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223193/Culture-violence-Gun-crime-goes-89-decade.html

    “The latest Government figures show that the total number of firearm offences in England and Wales has increased from 5,209 in 1998/99 to 9,865 last year – a rise of 89 per cent. ”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1440764.stm

    “A new study suggests the use of handguns in crime rose by 40% in the two years after the weapons were banned. The research, commissioned by the Countryside Alliance’s Campaign for Shooting, has concluded that existing laws are targeting legitimate users of firearms rather than criminals. “

  31. It’s not our call but that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss it. Indeed I see an intelligent blog post with an open comments section as an invitation to do so.

    Sure if you want a gun in the UK you can get one if you know the right guy in the right pub who knows another right guy. But the fact that if caught you will spend a long time in prison puts even a lot of criminals off. And since the penalties are rigorously enforced, and the cops not as much in the habit of turning a blind eye to illegal firearms as they are to drugs, gun control is quite effective at reducing murders. Certainly seems to have reduced the spree killings which were committed with legally-held weapons, though I’ll admit its still rather early to tell, in a small country.

    It’s important to note that the type of murder by lunatic we are talking about is generally committed by those who weren’t criminals until they went into a school and started shooting.

    It does occur that if you want to stop nutters getting guns, find out how the army (often the first port of call, at least in countries without lax gun laws, for people who want to play with guns). They seem pretty good at not taking on the losers and lunatics but only those who might handle firearms with the responsibility required. Of the US spree shootings I think only one was carried out by a serving member of the armed forces. Presumably they have some rather effective screening for potentially dangerous people and we could ask them how they do it.

  32. “How’s that going to work? Who decides the government has got above itself? Why should their view outweigh the democratic vote that elected the government? And does this rebel militia have any chance of success against the government’s massive firepower?”

    Who decides–we do.

    Don’t give a rat’s arse about democracy. I want freedom–so long as it remains “the voters” can keep choosing which ever stream of sewage floats their boat. When it is obvious that tyranny is at hand then the time to say no is at hand regardless of the fact that 95% of the population will swallow anything.

    Can such a miltia win?–maybe not. But a least you get to take some of your tormenters with you. Remember Solzhenitsyn–how he and the others in the camps burned with the wish that they had known what was to be done to them and had fought back when the goons came to arrest them?.Stabbed with a kitchen knife, bashed with a pan, thrown boiling water, anything to hurt those who destroyed their families and their lives. Anyone who will submit to evil because a lot of morons voted for it is less than a dog–dogs at least have some courage and spirit.

  33. JamesV

    “Sure these things happen in Europe but they are rather rarer. ”

    Well, I’m not so sure when you take population into account. Both Norway and Finland have seen gun massacres recently, which have combined populations of less than a large Amercian city.

  34. PauB

    “The fact is that it’s much much harder for a nutter to get hold of guns in the UK than in the USA, and that there are many many fewer shootings here.”

    Yes, but it is far from certain that the latter is a result of the former. Even comparing the UK and USA directly in such a way is daft, as it ignores every other variable, e.g. Population.

  35. James V

    “It does occur that if you want to stop nutters getting guns, find out how the army (often the first port of call, at least in countries without lax gun laws, for people who want to play with guns)They seem pretty good at not taking on the losers and lunatics but only those who might handle firearms with the responsibility required. .”

    Tell that shite to all the dead Iraq/Afghan civillians shot and bombed to bits by the “non-nutter” military.
    You get right to the crux of the matter. Why the fuck should it be acceptable for a group of costumed thugs on the states dirty work to hold a lovely killing spree and be esteemed as heroes when flakes who do it for their own twisted reasons are the very essence of evil. You can say the soldiers didn’t mean to kill innocents (and in a lot of cases its even true)–again, tell to the dead

    In your world you want a society in which the states goons could come down your street and do the same(and don’t say it can’t happen–it already has to 150-200 million human beings in the last 100 years) is ok but it is much to terrible for ordinary people, who aren’t cut from the same saintly material as the state and its henchmen, to have the means to defend themselves.

  36. Mr Ecks

    you appear to have just said that once you’ve decided tyranny is upon us, then regardless of whether 95% of the population disagree with you, you advocate taking up arms and “taking down” some of your tormentors.

    Tim W even LibCon’s finest mouth foamers can hardly beat that. This is Anders Breivik territory.

    somewhere in the heart of big brother’s internet surveillance operation, a lunatic siren may have just been triggered.

  37. Luis E:

    95% won’t do anything regardless of conditions–not because they “disagree” about what is tyranny. They know very well what is tyranny but they still won’t do anything. Hell, you could send out official letters ordering the population to report to a govt centre to be beaten-up once a week (and bring their-own towel to wipe up the blood )and most of them would report as ordered. If you are waiting for some bullshit concensus (“Hey, this is tyranny–we’ve got to fight-back Dude”) you will be a long time dead or if you are un/lucky you’ll finish out your 25 years hard labour in the Gulag long before that happens. In the end we are all of us on our own when it hits the fan.

    And you can stuff your Anders Brevik crap. Never mind Anders fucking Brevik, you put yourself in the place of a Jew in 30′s Germany. You have had plenty of notice that Adolf doesn’t like you (just as anti-statists/socialists today have had plenty of notice from the Left as to their animosity). At what point are you going to fight back? When they tell you to wear the star?. When they pick you for a stay in one of the model “resettlement”communites created to give foreign press a false immpression of how Jews were treated. At what point would you decide to fight back Luis? Never?–going to go along with whats “best for society” , what 95% of people are ok with are you? Even if they are not OK with it, they aren’t going to lift a finger to help you.

    In fact the best strategy for German Jew was to leave. In the present world also their are still places to go. But in all Western nations the state and its goons are becoming increasingly arrogant and aggressive. I believe this is because they see their power is actually slipping away and they are making a desperate grab to keep their “authority” and the benefits of thieving and lording it over people that go with “power”.

    I don’t know if you are in the UK or the US but if you are an American, imagine this : There is some terrorist campaign going on -either real or false flag. So the state tells you that civillians like you and your family are going to be “temporarily” relocated to the FEMA camps “to keep you safe”. Heavily armed police/National Guard/ Army(who aren’t allowed to operate on US domestic soil but will be doing so and are training for it) will be coming around to take all your guns and transport you to your new “temporary” home–are you going to go Luis?–the states men won’t give you option of politely saying “No thanks”–are you going to go?. Once you are behind the wire they can do what they like to you and yours–so what will you do?

    OK, we are not there yet and we may not get there. But don’t kid yourself–about 150-200 million of our fellow human beings have had such choices forced on them in the past 100n years. Most went meekly to their deaths. If they had fought and had the means to fight this world would be a different place.

  38. whoop whoop!

    citizen in Western liberal democracy 2012 != Jew in 1930s Germany

    is there a mathmatical symbol I can use for not even fucking close you boilingly insane delusional paranoiac?

  39. No need to bother about symbols–just answer the argument–at what point at all would you decide that what is happening is not acceptable?

    As for your “whoop, whoop ” shite–the FEMA camps exist, as do the plastic coffins for mass burials. US troops are practising for deployment on US soil, even though the US Law forbids that.There is a lot more but whatever, I’m not going to waste any more time. Let’s hope for everybody’s sake that you don’t have to make such a choice .

  40. “How about a Pigou tax on bullets? You can still bear arms…”

    Same way all those laws have kept drugs off our streets. Good for black marketeers tho’

    Luis E: OT but since you started it:

    Your mates at “Rational” Wiki seem to be, like yourself, followers of the “Whoop, Whoop, you’re a nutter” school of argument. Their masthead says “explorations of authoritarianism” although their Google entry states “right-wing authoritarianism” which is much more correct. It is a leftist site peddling leftist biases. It doesn’t have much evidence about FEMA but is mostly ad hominem stuff–only right-wing nutters believe this/if they were a govt conspiracy they couldn’t keep it secret or they wouldn’t let you video the place.

    Sorry but even they acknowledge the WW2 unconstitutional internment of Japanese-Americans and refer to FEMA holding Katrina survivors against their will in a trailer park and stopping them talking to the press (1st amendment-remember that?). The trailer park incident is ok tho’ cause the press found out about it. Glen Beck is their star witness having “recanted” his belief in the FEMA camps. I read the transcript of his show but it does not convince.

    The Nazis had show camps all thro’ the 1930s in which they allowed the Red Cross and others to see the good conditions under which Jews were being held. The FEMA “residential centers”(with the inward facing barbed-wire”) exist. The US govt has a very long history of wiping its backside on the Constitution virtually from the start. Their crimes, so far, are far less than those of socialist scum around the world but all governments are criminals. 150-200 million people have been murdered by political scum in 100 years. You may be dumb enough to trust them.

  41. “Same way all those laws have kept drugs off our streets. Good for black marketeers tho’”

    Not sure where you live, Mr Ecks, though I rather hope it’s not near me (at least if you own a firearm), but I am personally unaware of taxes on cocaine, heroin, grass etc, at least round here.

  42. Obviously everybody, including criminals is going to allow themselves to be taxed to death so the state can cut off their supply of ammo. Nobody would ever obtain any extra-legal supplies or anything like that.

    Where ever I live I am no threat to anyone who isn’t attacking me first.I want a life of peace and have not had a violent or difficult situation in 35 years but I won’t crawl. On the other hand, where ever you live some govt prick is already robbing and lording it over you–geography only determines the degree of misfortune not that you have said misfortune.It is the nature of those with power to grow ever greedier and more oppressive. If you want to be concerned about something be concerned about that.

  43. It is, of course, true that the people of the United States must make their own decisions about matters of the ownership of firearms. I am more concerned with our situation here in the UK.

    A couple of years ago, in my county, a a psycho name of Raoul Moat was released from prison. Despite the fact that the authorities knew he was still hell bent on violent retribution against society.
    Within a couple of days of his release, he had procured a gun, murdered a young man, and maimed a young woman and an unarmed police patrolman. Then he went to earth, re-appearing only briefly to take part in an armed robbery. And while he remained at large, I realised that this was the situation we were in:

    Helpless, hopeless, and clueless. Of course we were very concerned where this devil might show up next, but the truth is he knew he could pick any target he wanted. All the kids were still in school, all the businesses were still open, and the only security any of these establishments have is a lady at the reception desk. He could have walked into the local school, or a police station, shot the occupants, and walked away scot free. Knowing the public are unarmed, the police are unarmed, and it takes roughly two hours to muster and deploy an armed response squad. Who would have no idea where to look for him because all the witnesses have been shot dead.

    We have managed to assemble the worst of all possible worlds.The primary strategy here, is hoping that it won’t actually happen. And the fall back strategy is wishing it hadn’t happened.

  44. PaulB

    If burglars turn up with assault weapons, a hand gun is not going to be remotely adequate.

    James

    Please tell me where in the US the only police response is by helicopter or boat from the mainland – as is the case in various bits of the UK?

  45. Even comparing the UK and USA directly in such a way is daft, as it ignores every other variable, e.g. Population.

    The firearm homicide rate (excluding suicides and accidents) in the USA is 3 per hundred thousand population. In the UK it’s 0.04 per hundred thousand.

    Mr Ecks explains that if guns were freely available, he and like-minded others would use them to start a civil war against a government he disliked sufficiently, however democratically popular it might be. That in itself persuades me that we should have the strictest possible gun controls.

  46. Frances, having had no weapons training, I am hazy on this, but I suspect that if burglars turn up with assault weapons, you are a bit fucked. Similarly if they turn up with a tank. Maybe we should be trying to reduce the firepower a little, if only on economic grounds?

  47. Hitler was a graduate of Democracy High PaulB–you would have supported him because of his popular mandate and ratted out the Wily Brandts and others who were in the Underground against him?.

    Well, Adolf was a socialist so you might have.

    Lots of evil arseholes had “popular” support. You don’t judge what is moral by how many silly sons of bitches think its cool.

  48. Well, I have to admit that the FEMA camp conspiracy wasn’t on the list of things I expected to see in this thread. Nice one Mr Ecks, you make Arnald look sane and competent.

    Hang on, is that a black helicopter? It must have been sent by ZOG!

  49. Mr Ecks: Willy Brandt was a socialist, Hitler was not, and Godwin’s law applies.

    Democracy is certainly not perfect, but as a method of choosing a government you and your guns would be infinitely worse.

  50. Luke:In the US lots of thugs arrive on peoples doorsteps with automatic weapons. They call themselves SWAT teams and they seem to have a bad habit of arriving at the wrong house by mistake, shooting dead the family dog regardless of size/ferocity(at least one poodle has been shot), generally terrorising the householders and then making weak to non-existant apologies. Thank goodness they are agents of the state eh?
    Luis E: So you accept that the US/UK are now police states?. Well you may be overstating the case-although leftist gun controlers may have succeeded in the UK for now they are still nowhere in the US and every time the violent crime figures drop because of wider gun ownership their chances get less. The democramob are fickle, their media-whipped emotions fade quickly.

  51. JamesV – “even if the gun murder thing in the USA is a cultural thing (as evidenced by countries awash with guns but far fewer murders) you can still reduce it by reducing the availability of guns. Which is rather easier than changing the culture.”

    Sorry but that is in dispute. John Lott says that no country has ever reduced the murder rate by gun laws. Every single case – the US, the UK, Ireland, Australia, Jamaica – has seen a rise in gun murders following gun laws. I see no reason to doubt that. Do you?

    20 Frances Coppola – “There are a small minority of people in the UK who want to keep guns so they can shoot burglars, though our laws don’t allow them either to keep the guns or shoot the burglars.”

    Actually I expect the numbers are about the same. As can be seen by the public reaction when someone does shoot a burglar. But our ruling class is not on our side. They don’t give a flying f**k what we want or how secure we are. They are only concerned about the ease by which we can be ruled.

  52. Hitler most certainly was a socialist.He believed in the supremacy of the state over the individual. Large numbers of leftists have spent every decade since the 30′s trying to create the false idea that Fascism is somehow nothing to do with the general poison of socialism despite it being founded by long-time Marxist arsehole Mussolini after WW1.

    Wily Brandt may have called himself a socialist –well that’s some good news for you–not all of you are totally evil. You can be a political fool and still be a good man.

    Most human life is determined at the level of voluntary exchange. It is only human evil that brings forth “goverment” ie coercion of any sort. I will coerce for only one reason–to stop others coercing me and mine. As the great Doug Casey observes “Democracy is mob-rule in a coat and tie”.

  53. PaulB

    “The firearm homicide rate (excluding suicides and accidents) in the USA is 3 per hundred thousand population. In the UK it’s 0.04 per hundred thousand.”

    We’re not talking about homicide rates, we’re talking about massacres. Or at least I am.

  54. Mr Ecks, I think you are arguing against something I said. Fair enough, but to argue that the shooting of poodles is the greatest problem western democracy now faces is perhaps not the best argument for whatever position you are trying to push.

    Can you just confirm (a) that you don’t live in north London (b) that you don’t own a firearm? (I can probably arrange sanity checks if you do live anywhere near me.)

  55. PaulB – “Here‘s a map of gun killings by state. The states with the most liberal gun control laws have the most fatal shootings.”

    Well that is dishonest because it is not looking at murders. It includes suicides. But even so, notice the one factor that they do not test for – race. States with the most Blacks have the most fatal shootings – or if you want to include the odd outlier of Alaska, states with the most non-White, non-Asian populations.

    “Gun killings require both guns and killers. Some countries have a high level of violent crime, and impose strict gun control. Some countries have a low level of violent crime, and relaxed gun control. Only the US in the developed world has high violent crime and free access to guns.”

    The only one in the developed world that has a high rate of gun murder and free-ish access to guns. Apart from places like Switzerland and Norway that give people assault rifles to keep at home. But then it is the only developed country in the world with a large dysfunctional minority as well. Two of them actually.

    However where you are wrong is the violent crime rate. America has a high murder rate. It does not have a high violent crime rate. Countries with a higher violent crime rate include the UK (2034 per 100,000 population), Austria (1,677), South Africa (1,607), Sweden (1,123), Belgium (1,006), Canada (935), Finland (738), the Netherlands (676), Luxembourg (565) and France (504).

    The US is not even in the Top Ten. It’s rate is 470.

    PaulB – “The firearm homicide rate (excluding suicides and accidents) in the USA is 3 per hundred thousand population. In the UK it’s 0.04 per hundred thousand.”

    But, again, you need to compare like with like. The US has a high firearm homicide rate – and again notice the conflating of all deaths from guns, including suicides and guns used in self defence, with murder – but does it have a high gun murder rate among similar populations? Swedish Americans have a similar murder rate to Swedes. In fact the White population of the North and the mid-West as a whole has a similar rate to those of Europe. African-Americans have a similar but lower rate to those of Jamaica. And interestingly enough Japanese-Americans have a lower rate than the Japanese.

    “That in itself persuades me that we should have the strictest possible gun controls.”

    I guess that depends on where you are coming from. If you think the government is like God, and we will never face a threat, I can see why you would reach that point. But while not agreeing that we should overthrow any one government just yet, the fact that they can probably puts a limit on what the American government is willing to do. Given that State power has been the biggest murderer this past century that is not unwise.

    PaulB – “Willy Brandt was a socialist, Hitler was not, and Godwin’s law applies.”

    Of course Hitler was a socialist. Although I agree that Godwin’s law applies.

    “Democracy is certainly not perfect, but as a method of choosing a government you and your guns would be infinitely worse.”

    I don’t think it is an either or situation.

  56. Mr TN, so you don’t mind being murdered, as long as you’re not massacred? I applaud your fine distinction, but for myself, I’d just rather stay alive.

  57. Luke,

    Massacres are quite different from run of the mill murders. The fact that the victims of each are just as dead as one another does not mean we should equate the two when debating policy.

  58. Mr Ecks, I’ll take the risks of north London, having survived them for close to 50 years. Am I living close to an armed nutcase, with conspiracy delusions? That’s what I want to know. Please tell me you’re somewhere in Iberia with all the other UKIPPERS.

  59. TN: Here‘s a list of 62 mass shootings in the USA in the last 30 years. In the UK, there have been three such incidents – in Hungerford, Dunblane, and Cumbria. The population of the USA is about five times the population of the UK.

  60. PaulB,

    Right, but if we compare massacres in Norway over the past 3 years vs the US and adjust for population…we learn nothing. Which is why such comparisons are silly.

  61. divide the low estimate of 150 million murderePaulB:

    By my count 987 dead (one/or two did not give a number killed).

    So lets count that as one days total and d by the state in the last 100 years by the 987 murdered by nutters in 30 years.

    150,000,000 divided by 987=151975.6 days or 416.3 years.

    So to equal the soaring total of the wonderful, courageous state, all the massacres done by private nutters during the last 30 years would have to happen every single day from now until AD 2428.

    So you wanna tell me again who is the bigger danger?. You want to tell me again why the political scum and their costumed thugs whose track record reads like the casuality lists from an alien invasion should be trusted to be the only people with guns. Cause they are so saintly?. Cause when they murder you it will be all official and above-board like?. Cause Obama is the teleprompter King?.

  62. Tim N, if we compare Newtown Connecticut over the past week with the rest of the world, and adjust for population size, we’ll decide it’s a very dangerous place.

    Comparing one small (by population) country over a short period gets odd results. You fail to mention the lack of mass murders in, say, Spain, over the last three years (or indeed Nemwhat Thrubwell).

    Do at least make a token effort to be objective.

  63. The computer had a brainstorm during the first bit

    I count 987 dead from the list (one/or two did not give a number killed).

    So lets count that as one days total and divide it into the 150 million which is the low estimate of the number murdered by the state in the last 100 years.

    150,000,000 divided by 987=151975.6 days or 416.3 years.

    So to equal the soaring total of the wonderful, courageous state, all the massacres done by private nutters during the last 30 years would have to happen every single day from now until AD 2428.

    So you wanna tell me again who is the bigger danger?. You want to tell me again why the political scum and their costumed thugs whose track record reads like the casuality lists from an alien invasion should be trusted to be the only people with guns. Cause they are so saintly?. Cause when they murder you it will be all official and above-board like?. Cause Obama is the teleprompter King?.

  64. TN: are you familiar with the Texas sharpshooter fallacy?

    Mr Ecks: do you want to tell me why I should trust your judgment about when it’s right to start shooting any more than I should have trusted Anders Breivik’s?

  65. PaulB: If you don’t understand or don’t care about the stats at 69 above why the hell should anybody care about whatever nonsense you have to say. If you are trying to say that 1000 people downed by nutcases are more important than 150 million killed by your buddies in the courageous state you are the callous Anders Brevik clone not I.

    Interesting how the leftists on here don’t engage the arguments but look for a distracting gimmick “Woo Woo Black Helicopters, you’re a nutter– another Anders Brevik–am I in danger in my North London shithouse?” that they can peddle instead.

  66. Stuck-Record – “My money is on the reinforcing nature of hysterical media coverage of such shootings guaranteeing fame to the scumbags and inadequates who do them.”

    I am sure that has a lot to do with it. Also with the deinstitutionalisation problem I mentioned before. But also we see so much more violence than we used to. TV and computer games show us precisely this sort of thing – an idiot dressed in the inevitably black coat goes on a shooting spree. It is the basis of any number of games and films. Again we could ban those, but what good would it do?

  67. Matthew L – “I’m surprised SMFS is so cavalier about locking up the mentally ill – people in glass houses and all that.”

    I don’t see where I am cavalier. And, by the way, the fact that my argument makes you uncomfortable and you’re unable to produce a coherent reply, doesn’t make me wrong.

    13Tim Newman – “And perhaps one in Germany too.”

    At least two in Germany.

    The fact is, anyone wanting to go on a shooting spree can get hold of the hardware to do so, and making it slightly more difficult is unlikely to be a deterrent.

    14Offshore Observer – “If everyone is frightened of everyone else and has access to automatic weapons what do you think it is going to happen.”

    No one in America has had much access to automatic weapons since 1934.

    16PaulB – “You don’t have to change the US constitution to restrict gun rights, you just have to interpret it sensibly.”

    Leftist logic at its most perfect.

    “The fact is that it’s much much harder for a nutter to get hold of guns in the UK than in the USA, and that there are many many fewer shootings here.”

    And it is easier in Norway but they have fewer shootings still. Cultures vary.

    “However, to keep a particular type of weapon out of the hands of nutters, you have to stop the general population having it.”

    I am not sure that is true. It is more likely that keeping a particular type of weapon out of the hands of the general population merely keeps it out of the hands of the general population. If a British person wants a fully automatic weapon they can, and have, got them.

    24Luis Enrique – “so in addition to occasionally being on hand for the slaughter of children, guns have the offsetting benefit of being there for any halfwit that decides Obamacare is the tyranny of the State.”

    The question is what is the alternative. Presumably you think that doing nothing in the fact of government oppression is superior?

    33JamesV – “Sure if you want a gun in the UK you can get one if you know the right guy in the right pub who knows another right guy.”

    And somehow I am always told it is easier for young people to buy heroin than alcohol. Why do I feel that the same percentage of people know the same guy who knows the same guy?

    “But the fact that if caught you will spend a long time in prison puts even a lot of criminals off.”

    Sorry but when was the last time any criminal faced a long time in prison merely for having a gun? Remember the Left wants to end stop and search so it is safe for criminals to carry guns.

    “And since the penalties are rigorously enforced, and the cops not as much in the habit of turning a blind eye to illegal firearms as they are to drugs, gun control is quite effective at reducing murders.”

    Britain’s murder rate has climbed each and every time new gun laws were brought in. We are nowhere near the murder rate of the 1950s much less the 1900s. Gon control has worked nowhere to reduce the murder rate.

    What is more the police do not punish anyone for anything if they can avoid it. You need to be a serious repeat offender and even then you are likely to get away with it. I don’t see any evidence of a tough approach to guns.

    “It does occur that if you want to stop nutters getting guns, find out how the army … They seem pretty good at not taking on the losers and lunatics but only those who might handle firearms with the responsibility required.”

    Or maybe they teach people to be responsible? Build character and all that.

  68. Britain’s murder rate has climbed each and every time new gun laws were brought in.

    Britain’s murder rate now is lower than it was before Dunblane.

    Mr Ecks: You say that governments have sometimes committed mass murder – true – and that therefore we should all have free access to guns. You cite as an example of the evils of contemporary government the tendency of SWAT teams in the USA to shoot dogs. But that’s happening in a country where there is free access to guns, not in any of the countries where there isn’t – your solution doesn’t address the problem.

    On the other hand, we do have an example in Anders Breivik of what happens when a well-armed right-winger decides it’s time to act to save his country.

  69. Again you pick irrelevant tripe to focus on.

    Of those unfortunate householders who have received a visit from nitwit SWAT goons who can’t even find the right house, many will not own guns–you don’t have to if you don’t want. Even if they do have home defense weapons, they are mostly solid citizens who never expected black-clad thugs to come calling and commit doggie-cide in front of their kids.(a vicious act in my opinion, done so that the Official thugs can show they are in charge and can do whatever they like). Going for your guns when your tormenters have already got the drop on you is only suicide. Your point is irrelevant–guns give ordinary people a chance to fight back–they don’t make you invincible or invulnerable.

    “On the other hand, we do have an example in Anders Breivik of what happens when a well-armed right-winger decides it’s time to act to save his country.”

    And see 69 above for 150 million examples of what happens when exclusively armed statists/leftists decide to increase/consolidate their power-liquidate their class enemies or whatever shite was going thro’ their evil minds at the time.

    You can’t get around it mate. You want the most evil and vile of the Earth to be armed and everybody else disarmed. That is so stupid that even if stupidity is the only reason for such a belief it is still wicked.

  70. I suggest you learn some history. This is the sort of thing that happens when extremists with guns decide they don’t like the government.

    Just because something is bad doesn’t mean that any proposed solution must be good. That applies especially if the proposal does absolutely nothing about the potential problem, and has the side effect of killing children.

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