The Thursday Blog: You Shouldn’t Have Shot That Lady Edition

Jared Lee Loughner is a very bad boy. On January 8, he shot his state Representative in the face, then shot eighteen others, killing six of them.

Jared Lee Loughner is also a kinda weird kid.

Jared seemed to believe that the government was attempting to control the thoughts of the populace by controlling the grammar that people use to formulate those thoughts. While the concept isn’t exactly new, it also isn’t exactly sound science. Grammar in general defies all attempts at control, which is why we have new and ever changing grammar books and dictionaries every year. It isn’t the government that determines the changes, it’s popular usage.

Another concern of Jared’s was the nation’s currency. The U.S. left the gold standard for the first time in 1785, and has been on and off of it (as have most other nations) throughout history. As of 1971 (Nixon) the U.S. has seemingly put the gold standard “permanently” behind itself. Jared believed that any currency not pegged to gold or silver was “false” currency, which apparently made him upset. Again, there is some philosophical basis for this… a “dollar” in and of itself is sort of meaningless. The paper bill, is only a representation of value, and holds none in and of itself. If there is no hard value being represented, (gold or silver) then in a very actual sense the currency is valueless. However, in a practical sense, people still want and spend and work for those dollars, and that is really all that makes any difference. If Jared’s point had actually been valid Gabrielle Giffords would never have been shot, because the kid wouldn’t have been able to trade his fake money for a Glock 19 at Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Pima Community College kicked Jared out because he acted crazy and threatening. The Army kicked Jared out because he admitted to heavy drug usage, and he had been picked up by the cops on drug charges and vandalism. In the United States it is illegal for the mentally unfit to own a firearm, and in Arizona it is also illegal for a person deemed a danger to themselves or others. Jared’s background check came up completely clear, and he purchased his handgun, shotgun, two extended 31 bullet clips, and a hunting knife, all completely legally and within sight of the law. Thus far, the discussions on legal remedies to safeguard against future self-appointed grammar police have been limited to the possibility of reinstituting an expired ban on the oversized ammunition clips… but it probably won’t happen. (I’m guessing the logic here is that we want to make it less convenient to shoot crowds of people without actually buying more guns, presumably a windfall to gun manufacturers from the crazy murderer segment of their clientele.) One poor guy who came running towards the sound of shots because he also was carrying a gun, nearly shot the man who had wrestled Jared’s Glock away and was standing there with it. If others had not noticed what was about to happen and started screaming, there would have been yet another injured to add to the list of the day, if not another fatality.

I personally don’t like guns, but I think I would be against removing them from the public altogether. Guns seem fine to me for hunting, which to my mind is the only semi-legitimate use for them. If you enjoy shooting at the shooting range that seems like it ought to be okay, in which case owning a handgun is akin to owning your own bowling ball.

Keeping a gun for personal defense seems kind of stupid, since your odds of getting shot climb dramatically simply by having one around. You are much, much more likely to be accidentally shot by your own gun than you are to be shot on purpose by the gun of a criminal.

The NRA makes it seem like it’s some kind of attack on America to ask that people carrying weapons for which the sole purpose is killing others be shown to be trustworthy. Financially that’s a very successful stance for them to have. It remains to be seen how well that’s going to work out for Jared and the grammar of the country.

137 Responses to The Thursday Blog: You Shouldn’t Have Shot That Lady Edition

  1. One poor guy who came running towards the sound of shots because he also was carrying a gun, nearly shot the man who had wrestled Jared’s Glock away and was standing there with it

    O_o I didn’t knew this. Awesome. The guy probably thought he’d be lauded as a hero for killing Jared.

    You forgot the primary use of firearms, though. They are here so that every american can defend his country should england try to take over again.

      • Or should the government become the enemy of the free people. Like Sauron, but with US troops instead of anything interesting like orcs. Conspiracy theorists then go on to say that everything’s being run by aliens, so maybe the guns are to bounce pathetically off the hulls of flying saucers? I dunno.

          • I’m still designing my Flying Saucer…The tricky part is countering Time Dilation at high velocities. I’m thinking of a kind of anti-time machine that gives the ship a backwards push in time equal and opposite to the dilation effect, making it so that the universe THINKS the ship is moving faster than light when it really isn’t…basically, the ship will stay time-sychronized with it’s departure point instead of having a different time rate for the duration of the trip.

            I think once I get my hands on a pair of Quantum-Entangled masses by collecting enough QE-ed particle pairs to make a pair of objects out of them, I can use those to synchchronize the Temporal Compensator.

              • Actually, by pushing the ship backwards in time just enough to effectively “hold it in place”, it’s essentially keeping the universe from moving forwards, which isn’t exactly the same thing, but close…

                • keep in mind, when screwing around with time you’ll have to exit “time travel” in the exact same spot you entered it, in other words since the earth, galaxy, and universe are constantly moving even if you were to travel only a few minutes you would likely asphyxiate outside of Pluto’s orbit.

                  as for interstellar travel I heard a interesting “slingshot” theory in American science magazine some time ago. The idea is to make a black hole (theoretically plausible with current or near current technology) and have a ship orbit the black hole parallel with its event horizon, then deactivate the black holes gravity well to slingshot the ship in the desired direction. the speed the ship will travel will likely be the fastest achievable speed possible for matter to move. now we just have to figure out how to STOP the ship when it gets to its destination XD

                  • You misunderstand…the idea is that the ship doesn’t TRAVEL in time, it merely has “Time brakes” of a sort that hold it “in the present” relative to it’s departure location…so that a trip that would take 10 minutes “ship time” but normally take 100 years “Back home time” will in fact take 10 minutes Ship Time and 10 minutes Back Home Time.

            • TVTropes fails physics with that article. Given two individual observers experiencing uniform motion (constant speed and fixed direction) with respect to each other, each will observe time to be slowed for the other. The system is called “relativity” because its core postulate is that there is no preference between reference frames with uniform motion; thus the contradictory observations are equally valid.

            • Well, I would say the best way to get a saucer is from somebody who already has one. To my knowledge the law doesn’t prevent u from buying one but they aren’t interested in our phony paper currency only hard sex:)
              Personally I find it tragic that shootings like this happen, but I believe in Japan gun ownership carries the death penalty and the Yakuza still all carry glock 9mm. And yes there is a low recorded crime rate there it’s what happens when the mafia control the police.

    • Eh I take individual events with a grain of salt and prefer to look at the big picture. I mean police *actually* shoot and kill people holding things that kind of look like guns… like garden hose sprayers. While that’s highly disturbing and needs fixing it doesn’t mean I don’t want armed police.

    • The guy probably thought he’d be lauded as a hero for killing Jared.

      And what about the people who came to help who *didn’t* happen to have a gun on them? The people who wrestled Jared to the ground unarmed. Were they acting under the assumption that they were going to be lauded as heroes, too?

      Or were all involved simply trying to stop a crazy gunman with whatever means they had available to them in an effort to preserve lives? No, clearly that can’t be it. They were all just macho wanna-bes looking for their 15 minutes. *eyeroll*

      • There were two guys who jumped him. Loughner emptied his first clip, exchanged it with a second… and jammed. Tow of the people in the small crowd surrounding Giffords — one of whom had already been shot — seized the opportunity to wrestle Jared to the ground and take away all of his weapons.

        While anything is possible, I’d suggest self-preservation over machismo as a primary motivator.

        • To elaborate, I was commenting on the assumption that the guy who was carrying his own weapon was motivated by machismo, and not a desire to save lives.

          • “Self preservation” would have been achieved by running away from the sound of shooting.

            Since shots were no longer occurring, calling out rather than shooting would have been an act to save the luives of others.

            “Ego” seems more apot for the described action.

            • He didn’t know if the shooter was reloading or not.

              He didn’t know how many shooters there were.

              He was risking his life by going into the situation in an attempt to stop further shooting.

              He saw a potential target, but was aware enough of his surroundings to stand down when other people told him not to shoot.

              I don’t see a problem here, or understand why we need to assume that this was some kind of power trip?

              If he happened to be an undercover or off-duty police officer, would we still be questioning his motives? I doubt it.

            • Next time you see someone getting assaulted/mugged/raped in the street be sure to point out that it was your modesty and not wanting to get praise and credit that made you sit back with a bag of popcorn and enjoy the show, or alternatively, calling the cops to come well after the act was over.

    • I doubt very much that the indivudual in question had “being a hero” in mind, but rather “Stop the freakazoid from killing anyone else” – And note that, as a RESPONSIBLE gun owner, he made sure of his target and refrained from blowing the disarming individual away.

      • According to what the guy himself said, he ran over because he had a gun and thought he could help. He never mentioned any desire to be a hero, and although I doubt he would have even if he was thinking that way, I see no reason to throw that on him.

        What he DID say is that he was aimed and entirely prepared to pull the trigger on the wrong guy. He did not stop because he had appropriately assessed the situation, but because the other people there had noticed HIM, and were shouting at him not to shoot. If they hadn’t seen him, or simply hadn’t noticed his gun, there WOULD have been another victim.

    • “You are much, much more likely to be accidentally shot by your own gun than you are to be shot on purpose by the gun of a criminal.”

      As an amateur researcher and ex-pizza delivery driver, I can state the following:
      Statements such as the above need Empirical Data to support them. Represent an opinion as fact is not conductive to rational discussion.
      Having a pistol (with appropriate State Authority Papers for Carrying a Concealed Pistol) close at hand has stopped me from being robbed at knife-point twice. Most strung-out wastes of breath that want easy cash know that the pizza guy probably isn’t carrying a lot, but that most pizza places will fire you for carrying while delivering.

      I haven’t reported the incidents as I would have lost my job. Granted this was over a 5-year period, but estimating 15 deliveries a day, 4 days a week, for 5 years means I was threatened with Robbery accompanied by fear of injury or loss of life 2 of 3000+ times, or less than .00064% of my Delivery career.

      I didn’t need to do more than say “That’s not a good idea, man. I have a pistol” & open my coat, & the attempted muggers were dissuaded. If I had been “naked”, I would at the very least have lost the cash I was carrying & probably the pizzas as well, If not my car, and the time necessary for the police to arrive, take statements, etc.

      Protection of yourself is not just a right, it is the duty of anyone who considers themselves a sentient being.

      Check out the Wikipedia page on Gun violence in the US. .
      The Self Protection section within the page states that during 1987 – 1990, “guns” were used to defend against crime 64,615 times, whereas there were 46,319 gun homicides.

      It also shows “A study of gun use in the 1990s, by David Hemenway at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, found that criminal use of guns is far more common than self-defense use of guns”

      And pointing back to the first statement, this is how you state things. Reference the source.

      • Then again, if you only up the cases of defense with guns by getting attacked/threatened in the first place, then the victim needs to 1)get attacked/threatened while 2)carrying a firearm, and 3)actually report the incident, even if it only involved showing/pulling out their gun so the attacker backs away, which I’m guessing not many people do when faced with some anonymous robber unless they have a lot of spare time and think the cops will mobilize the entire police force to go hunt some unknown would-be robber. That is, even if they weren’t afraid to get fired from their job, like you.
        To up the criminal usage one only needs to count the number of non self-inflicted/non accidental/non defensive bullet-riddled bodies and injured. And still it’s almost a 3/2 ratio between “defense” and “offense”.

        P.S. Watched you just a week ago or so when I d/led The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. You were quite funny, but I never really cared too much for the Moon scenes.

      • Hey Rey, I’m glad that you’re passionate about the subject, but none of the evidence you provide contradicts anything I’ve said. (Which I have variously attributed later in the comments.) Your story is compelling, but statistically insignificant and completely irrelevant to the number of accidental shootings. I agree that self protection is the duty of each of us, which is why I do not own a gun. However, I respect your right to think differently, no matter how wrong you may be. 😆

  2. Da guy was a genuine Loonie-toon, obsessed with the Conspiracy-Theory-Fest film “Zeitgiest” – which, among other things, is one of those nutjob propoganda pieces that claims Bush blew up the Trade Center towers. He was clearly way past the Rosie-O-Donnel benchmark of “Stupid-nuts” on the scale.

    The only reason he was able to buy a gun in the first place was the PC BS of the local law enforcement, who didn’t want to flag him as a loonie or arrest him or make him get a checkup from the neck up for his illegal threats and general psychotic behavior, any one of which would have put him on the “No guns for this dude” list.

    Notice how the local sheriff is doing everything he can to deflect blame to anyone but himself? It’s because he knows he dropped the ball on this guy bigtime.

    • Of course Bush did 9/11. Even TV Tropes says so.

      As a side note, don’t you think we’re linking to that site a bit too much lately? Truly, TV Tropes will ruin your life.*

      *I decided not to tempt the anti-spam program by linking yet again to the appropriate page as I have doubts even my two links here will pass.

  3. Gold has no value beyond what people coveting it give it, so it’s kinda the same as paper-money. Sure, gold has real uses in many industries(not even counting jewelry, which again, is just as useless if it wasn’t for the people wanting it), but you get my drift.

    As for gun owners being more prone to actually getting accidentally shot by their own guns, I see no problem in that. If you’re stupid enough to do that on accident(suicide is a legitimate usage for guns, IMO) then all the better for everyone else, and good riddance. And if you’re not that incompetent then there’s no reason to worry. You might as well ban cars because I’m sure you’re far more likely to die in a car crash(either by your own fault or another driver’s) than to blow your brains out while cleaning your gun.
    Guns are also not “weapons for which the sole purpose is killing others”, but rather weapons for the purpose is deterring, incapacitating or ultimately killing others. It’s just that there’s a fine line between the 2nd and 3rd purposes, and for most domestic gun owners the 3rd option is only a mistake(but then, fuck robbers, thieves etc, they get what they deserve). A gun is a tool with a high potential for deadliness, it is not usually bought with the purpose of killing others because you think they’re using bad grammar in mind. Though sometimes I think it should be…

    And now a short story to show that I’m not a clueless internet gun-nut who’s never actually touched one before yet proclaims to be an expert on Youtube videos(those guys are legitimate targets for shooting, FYI):
    I almost had a discharge of my M-16 rifle while practicing reloading etc while getting terribly bored stuck guarding some lonely post(what the army folks would call “playing with firearms” and slap you silly for it) when, after finishing my practice I made sure to double-check the gun was empty, and a bullet sprang out of the chamber. I then realized that I was essentially holding a loaded gun for the past minute or so(though I wasn’t playing with the trigger and the safety was probably on anyway, this is still a bad thing as any gun user would tell you) and never tried that again.
    Now suppose I’ve had shot myself while acting like an idiot, I would’ve 1. totally deserved it, and 2. helped drive the the point home for others considering such a pastime.

    • Always check the chamber dude…that’s the lesson here…heh.

      A good rule is never, EVER chamber a round until you’re ready to start shooting. I believe it’s SOP for many law enforcement agencies using revolvers to ensure that the next chamber (the one that would fire if the trigger were somehow pulled accidentally) is empty (Thus giving them 5 shots without reloading at the start of any situation, but making the gun a BIT safer.)

      • I think the magazine was empty at time, or “almost” empty, as it turned out, heh. But like I said, I know that if I had somehow looked down the barrel and pulled the trigger for some obscure reason and it fired, it would’ve been entirely my fault and good riddance to me.

  4. “You are much, much more likely to be accidentally shot by your own gun than you are to be shot on purpose by the gun of a criminal.”

    This seems to be a misremembered, and incorrect, piece of propaganda from the gun control lobby. The number killed in gun accidents is officially well below 1000, and has been getting more so for decades despite constantly increasing numbers of guns. The act of suicide was deemed sinful in the past and so those filling out the death certificate often felt it was an act of mercy to label a suicide an accident. So as the negative response to suicide has lessened, the number of incorrectly labeled suicides has declined. However, we still have only about 500 accidental deaths a year, of which many are friends, strangers, relatives, innocent bystanders, etc, etc. The number of owners killed by their own weapons by accident is likely a mere 50 a year.
    By contrast, the number of firearm homicides is around 8000 a year. And thousands of these are done by criminals. Of course a lot of these are criminals shooting other criminals, such in drug disputes, but we are still talking much larger numbers of people killed deliberately with firearms by criminals that gun owners killed by accident by their own weapon.

    • I’ve never heard that theory before, but I do find it interesting. Do you remember where you got that information from?

      • Oh, I forgot to comment that at least here it’s not too uncommon to hear about a deceased’s family claiming it had to be an accident etc, and not only when guns are involved, like when teens jump from a roof and the likes.
        Just look at all the celebrities who “accidentally” took an overdose(lots of those as well while we’re at it), or so their family and friends claim…

        • The British government “rewarded” Alan Turing’s war time service by forcing him into a pharmacological (ie chemical) regimen that started inducing a sex-change. Turing’s response to this was to eat an apple he had laced with cyanide. His mother insisted this was a an unfortunate accident.

          • Wasn’t he also gay at a time where this was still illegal in British law?

            I’d have used a good, juicy steak myself, not overly fond of apples.

            • Yes, he was gay. In practice homosexuality was a rather gray area in British law at that time (“Don’t ask; don’t tell!) The procedure was claimed to be a “cure”.

      • The National Safety Council Injury Facts report is where the actual data comes from. I think I saw it on a newspaper site. The math isn’t hard to grasp though. The average American has an infinitesimal chance of being shot by a criminal. The average American gun owner, who has guns around in his house, stands a better chance of having one go off by accident while he or a family member is handling one. It’s still a pretty small chance generally speaking, but it’s hundreds of times more likely than the criminal situation.

        I am not bringing this up in some sideways effort to say that guns are bad. I have very little opinion on other peoples’ ownership of firearms. (Who aren’t psychos.) It is certainly a consideration in MY decision on whether or not to possess a gun.

        • Specifically, I’m asking about the “misreported suicide” theory, not the actual number of suicides/accidents on the books.

          • Hm. I don’t know anything about suicides. I do know that in 1999 there were 3,385 kids 0-19 who were shot (killed and injured) from both accidents and purposeful shootings, and in 2010 there were over 5,000 0-19 shooting accidents from just guns in the home alone.

            Here in Florida there is a State Senator trying to pass a bill that will make it illegal (5 million dollar fine and 20 years in jail) for a pediatrician to ask if a patient’s parents own a gun in order for him to advise them on home safety for their child. The Senator says the bill is to prevent pediatricians from dropping patients who refuse to answer the question of whether or not they own firearms, but that is not the way the bill reads.

            • And how many people in comparable age ranges and population died by being knifed, for example? And if you’re going to combine purposeful (Gang related is in there) and accidental shootings together, add the number of accidental drownings to the knifing deaths. I’d bet a dollar to a donut that you get more than 5000 for the whole country.

              • I happened to catch the 5,000 number yesterday on the radio in a discussion about home gun safety. I tried to look it up myself but in order to get the most up to date statistics I would have had to pay $285 to the NSC, and I decided I’d rather just take NPR at their word. I don’t really feel like this is an important enough conversation for me to spend the day fact checking everything anyone tells me. However… if you are especially motivated, you can always call the library. They will run down ANY fact you throw at ’em and call you back with the answer.

                • “I happened to catch the 5,000 number yesterday on the radio in a discussion about home gun safety.”

                  Which makes it a number you could have easily missed a very important qualification about, not to mention a lot of gun control claims are little more than shouted hot air.

                  “The average American has an infinitesimal chance of being shot by a criminal. The average American gun owner, who has guns around in his house, stands a better chance of having one go off by accident while he or a family member is handling one. It’s still a pretty small chance generally speaking, but it’s hundreds of times more likely than the criminal situation.”

                  Now you are just not doing the math. Even taking your figure of 5000 as correct, that says a mere 50 are shot by criminals. But we have 8000 or so gun homicides, and one estimate is that 90% of the killers have criminal records. No matter how we play fast and loose with the definitions, this idea is completely wrong.

                  And then there is the flaw in definition. This is not a battle between citizen and criminal where one or the other dies. The citizens wins if he is not hurt, whether or not the criminal is hurt. If waving a gun at the criminal causes him to flee, the citizen wins, just as effectively as if the crook is dead. And a great majority of gun confrontations end with no shots fired, not to mention a great many that end with all shots being misses. So the comparison of the number of bodies greatly underestimates the number of times the gun is useful in defense.

      • The misreported suicide theory is largely a case of “what else?” Population has doubled. Gun ownership has gone up by 400%. Yet accidents are only a third of what they were? That makes no sense unless we assume that accidents were way over-reported in the past. Guns are at least as deadly as ever. Training is no more common, and largely useless as well. So what else could have cause this amazing reduction except that those making out death certificates are more willing to record suicide as suicide?

  5. orald January 19, 2011 at 8:35 am
    0 0
    I’m not saying it’s not rape, it can be rape/sexual assault just like a girl trying to kick you is an assault and I had every right to catch the stupid bitch’s leg(such a slow kick too) and kick her ass to show her after all these months that she was wrong to assume I was weak&meek and that only getting punished stopped me from breaking a few of her bones…Damn idiots always interrupting, even when I didn’t have any firearm on me… *Grumble grumble*
    And that was another glimpse at one of Orald’s fun stories.
    What I’m saying is that most men would consider it, within certain parameters, quite a nice situation to have a bunch of women insisting to mate with them, especially since that means they’ll get to father lots of children whereas a woman in the same situation will only get pregnant once, carry the unborn abominationchild for 9 months and then get herself ripped open when demon-spawn decides to get out. So yeah, men might view such a situation a bit differently.
    Of course the original subject was Pulsa’s, uh, elaborate fantasy scenario involving his character.

    Orald, seriously? You are seriously painting broad strokes across the sexual priorities of an ENTIRE GENDER? … YOU are painting these broad strokes? Really now?

    This is completely anecdotal, but out of all the men I know, I’d say less than 5 would fit into that category. Only one for-sure and a couple of maybes. And I HATE that for-sure dude, anyway. He’s such a douche. And when I say “for-sure” I don’t even know that “100%” but am merely assuming this based on his past discussion.

    Men put a lot more value on emotional closeness than the pop culture wants you to believe. I find it suspiciously unlike your character that YOU made such assertations.

    • “Within certain parameters” is the keyword here. You could turn it into a concentration camp/sinister lab where men are used and abused like cattle and coldly “milked” for their sperm in an impersonal, scientific, supposedly-pragmatic way by forcing them to have sex all day long(these days you could probably achieve better results through artificial insemination, given the vast amounts of viable sperm per ejaculation you could use each emission to impregnate a multitude of women, all without the messy business of actually having to perform intercourse with any of them, hooray for science!), a form of which actually occurred in an early episode of Sliders, IIRC(episode where most males are dead).
      But humans are only semi-monogamous in nature(or there wouldn’t be so gods damn MANY adulteries, would there?), and if real life proves anything is that males mostly do relish the thought of having a harem at their disposal. Said harem set up as a dystopian sex-camp is not what most would imagine.

      In regards to “emotional closeness”, I know perfectly what you’re talking about. While I can appreciate a sexual fantasy about a one-night stand etc, I can’t, in practice, have “casual sex” without feeling bad about it afterward.
      *Possibly too-much-information warning*

      I once had a one-night stand with my ex, long after we broke up(he still remains a good friend) but after testing this I found out that I just didn’t like the whole thing in retrospect(it still puzzles the ex about the “retrospect” part). So I don’t think every man is a cold-blooded sex-machine looking to mark another notch in his score-book, but males do have a disposition towards spreading their seed far and wide, it’s genetic and it’s part of us. Women may enjoy sex just as much as men, but from their point of view it’s probably better to have one male who’ll help support and protect the children(i.e stability) because she can only get impregnated by one guy at a time and can’t just walk away, passing her genes wherever she goes like a man can. Of course a man usually still feels the need for such stability because it raises his chances to pass on his genes successfully(i.e raising kids the relatively few kids he can make and ensuring a high percentage of them survives to reproduce and so on).
      That’s the underlying animal behavior. Humans are smart enough(or just damaged enough) to overcome it, but that’s still part of who people are.

  6. Sane people, and many crazies I’m sure, don’t shoot others with registered guns because they are traceable. They go and buy illegal ones. Countries with gun bans still have plenty of shootings, often more because many of these countries are in less developed, warring, etc. areas. It would still be nice if the government did actually keep tract of a background so it means something when it gets checked. At the very least to keep the crazy roommates away.

    The whole fiat money thing does have a valid side in that it can make inflation very easy, and the overprinting of money leading to worthless money is a continuing problem in less developed regions. But gold and silver have the downside in that it’s hard to get more when you do need it, causing deflation and hording instead of purchases and investments. Properly controlled printing is the ideal, though it’s always tempting to churn out a few more bills.

    The proper use of guns, while interesting, is way too big of a topic to get into here.

  7. man we need DNA locks on guns! like the ones in Chronicles of Riddick.

    “OOHHH! a gun!” random passerby attempts to pick up a abandoned gun ZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP! one fried criminal anyone?

    • Or Judge Dredd for that matter…But then again you’d still need to worry about your evil twin.
      And even if you don’t have one then a clone or yourself from another dimension could still get you in trouble.

  8. I guess this is just an example of how different people can look at the same situation and draw different conclusions based on their own experiences and opinions.

    Where Kevin stresses the possibility of there having been one more shooting victim when the armed citizen arrived on the scene, I see a guy who *didn’t* blaze away blindly at the first viable “target” he saw – thereby exercising discipline in target selection that many police officers and military personnel are lacking in.

    Surveys of prison inmates serving sentences for violent crimes tend to show that criminals fear an armed victim more than they fear the police. In fact, apparently, some even flat out stated that they passed over opportunities to commit a crime because they suspected their potential victim *might* be armed.

    The “statistic” that you’re more likely to be shot with your own gun than by a criminal is one more example of manipulating the numbers to fit an agenda. You’re more likely to be killed in an automobile accident, more likely to die by slipping in your bathtub, etc.

      • Exactly. You can’t die of food poisoning if you don’t eat!

        Or to put it another way, let’s replace “gun” with “swimming pool.”

        Having a (swimming pool) for (personal fitness and recreation) seems kind of stupid, since your odds of (drowning) climb dramatically simply by having one around.

        • Sure, and I’m more likely to cut myself with a kitchen knife than I am to blow myself up with plastic explosives, because I have kitchen knives. Again, I am not passing any sort of judgement or promoting any agenda. To me, the risks of gun ownership are not worth it. To you they are. So what?

          In the case of the armed individual who arrived late to the scene, I mentioned only what he told reporters. He said that if onlookers hadn’t spotted him coming and started screaming, he would have shot an innocent man. It seemed relevant to the overall story so I included it.

          Owning a gun is a risk. Firing a gun at another person is a risk. Gun owners feel that it is worth it to them to take those risks, similarly to the way I feel about keeping knives in my kitchen. Now personally I feel like gun ownership is a bit silly and a little irresponsible, but this is a country where I am proud to say that we all have the right and privilege of being silly and irresponsible (most) any time we want to.

  9. I agree with Chris Rock’s position on guns: We should all have them, but bullets should cost $5000 each!
    It’s the bullets that are the problem after all- they kill people. Even if they were $500 or $50 apiece, a kid like Jared couldn’t have been able to afford to fill a single clip. Anyone saavy enough to make and load thier own bullets is obviously a serious gun owner and probably won’t be a problem the way that guy was. Gun saftey classes should be something that everyone goes through (whether or not they ever own or fire one), and would help identify problem cases and irresponsible owners. We have to remember, a criminal can obtain whatever firearm he wants by criminal means- and no laws are going to prevent them from doing it. Every time you tell an American he CAN’T have something, a black market industry will spring up to provide it.

    • “We should all have them, but bullets should cost $5000 each!”

      “We have to remember, a criminal can obtain whatever firearm he wants by criminal means- and no laws are going to prevent them from doing it.”

      These two statements are at odds. The criminals will obtain their ammunition illegally. Even serious, responsible firearms owners on the other hand would be prevented from buying ammunition. Well, except for the very wealthy, and are you really suggesting a scenario where only criminals and the very wealthy have access to ammunition, and by extension, operational firearms? Think about that one.

      • Well, coming from a wealthy celebrity like Chris Rock…

        Speaking of criminals obtaining whatever firearms they want, while Israel doesn’t have nearly as many shootings and open gang warfare(unless you count them, where a week doesn’t go by when at least 1-2 of them is shot in one of their villages and cities(all this in a population of just about 1.5 million), not to mention their “freedom-fighting” pastime), there have been a few cases of criminals using LAW rockets to try and kill their competitors(I mean other criminals, not the police 😛 ), not to mention booby-trapped cars and lots of hand-grenades(again a favorite of them, but by no means restricted to them).

        And then we have the lovely knife, a true favorite of murderers either in hot or cold blood worldwide. No “crime of passion” is complete without one, and even the Joker prefers them to guns(and that guy knows what he’s doing!), so there.

    • “Gun saftey classes should be something that everyone goes through”

      I would, on the other hand, be in favor of gun safety classes being a mandatory part of our education. The most common gun accidents happen when firearms are handled improperly.

  10. Kids these days have shot grammar to hell. Shoot, I have a bullet list here somewhere showing some of the really stupid things they say these days. I guess I’m gunning for changing things back to the past and that will make me a target for criticism. Don’t worry, I go off half-cocked all the time ‘cuz I have so many opinions I feel like I am going to explode if I don’t say something. Dang, that was more of a bomb pun, not a gun. I guess I’ll stop there…

  11. In Switzerland, every able-bodied man must give away a minimum of one year of his life to military service. At the end, you keep your equipement, including your sig-550 assault rifle and a magazine worth of ammunition (in case of communist paratroopers).

    (Note: for the last 250 years, the only soldiers the swiss army killed was their own)

    Usually swiss national news aren’t filled with murders and gang wars but when a guy found his wife in bed with his best friend / worst enemy or had his life crumbling irremediably around him.. well… that assault rifle sleeping in the closet often looked like his only ally.

    The number of crimes carried out with the army-issued weapons was enough that the military ordered us all to give back our ammunition (number one threat now is aliens and we all know they are immune to bullets)… and since now the assault rifle is just an exotic blunt weapon, spontaneous crimes and suicides did drop.

    To be more precise, Switzerland had a gun-related suicide rate three times superior to the European average (3400+ per year for 6 million inhabitants), assault rifles and other army-issued weapons were used in 44% of the cases.

    In the last years, thank to heightened prevention and the removal of ammunition gun-related suicide rate dropped by 48.6%

    Ban weapons, seriously, nothing good come of them ; )

    • And the percentage of TOTAL murders (as opposed to Gun-related Murders) compared to the TOTAL murders in a fascist “no guns for the people” state is…?

      I mean yeah, if a murderer wants to be efficient, he can use a gun…but if a gun isn’t readily to hand, I’m sure murderers find OTHER tools adequate to snuffing out the lifeforce of their victims. They are, after all, murderers. How is said enraged husband shooting his unfaithful wife and her lover worse than, say, hacking them to death with an axe?

    • The key statement here, I think, is that the “gun-related suicide rate dropped by 48.6%.” Emphasis mine.

      Do you happen to have any numbers for how the suicide rate overall has been affected? I mean, removing the guns does not remove a person’s desire to off himself, it only removes one method to do so.

      • Yeah, I’m sure the suicide rate by jumping off a mountain is somewhat higher in Switzerland than it is in, say, Kansas. That doesn’t mean the overall suicide rate per capita is any different.

      • Here you can see a a compendium of various studies on the subject :

        The document is in french but on the 5th page (tableau 2) you will see a list of studies, spanning the last 20 years, on the effect of restrictive laws on gun possession on the number of both gun related suicide and overall suicide. Result : 90% of the studies observed a diminution on gun-related suicide and 50% observed a diminition on overall suicide.

        On the, a swiss suicide prevention website, there are many articles and statistics you can spot a noticeable drop in overall suicides in the last couple years : from 17 / 100 000 to 14 / 100 000 in 2008. the year the ammunition were taken back.

        There is also more links to studies explaining how suicide rate in young and older men is related to the availability of lethal weapons, guns in particular. Since in Switzerland, around 70% of people commiting suicide are men, it has a beneficial impact.

        • Did those studies take into account that it’s easier to CLAIM a gun death is suicide after the fact than it is other methods of expiration?

          I mean no one is likely to buy this one:

          Halfling: Yeah, it was awful…that Elf committed suicide by Leaping out the window and falling on his own sword and dagger 52 times after first tying himself to a chair and taking poison…

          • the easier it is to commit suicide the more likely a individual will do so, a gunshot to the head is also believed to be painless, if that’s true or not isn’t the issue, and it probably is not, since a head shot isn’t as sure a kill as popularly believed, TV troupes has an article explaining why.

            • Heck, the Congresswoman was shot in the back of the head from point blank range, and she seems to be recovering…so the “painless and instant” bit is pretty much debunked by this exact incident…

              • There’s a head shot and then there’s a head shot. Lots of nice photos on Google when you look for shotgun+suicide and such, but you still need to know where, how and with what gun to shoot for the desired effect.
                I’m guessing she got really lucky and he didn’t hit her where it usually “counts”. I don’t know where exactly in the head she was shot, what trajectory the bullet had etc, but a proper application of a 9 mm pistol to the head should result in what is essentially instant death. While not using a 9 mm pistol, the following clip shows the correct way to use a pistol on oneself(warning, extremely funnygraphic scene ahead):

                Interestingly, the clip also goes to show that TV Tropes was wrong in claiming the policeman shot in the head in Fargo had excessive amounts of blood spurting out, as he bled very much like shown in said link.

        • “it has a beneficial impact.” -Now that’s something I can’t agree with. If someone wants to commit suicide they have all the right to do so, and a gun usually means a quick, painless death with relatively little complications(unless you’re a total idiot) as opposed to other methods.

          If I commit suicide I want to do it with a gun that I’m sure will kill me in one shot.
          I don’t want to dangle from a rope for a few moments, reflexively twitching and having my last moments mired by panicking and my oxygen-starved brain regretting it all.
          I don’t want to have to hurl myself at a passing train and hoping I I die instantly instead of getting my guts all over the place until I bleed to death.
          I don’t want to swallow pills only to wake up in my bed/a hospital feeling awful physically as well as mentally.
          I don’t want to slice open my veins and wait in growing horror as my blood sips slowly until I pass out.
          I don’t want to drown. Period.
          I don’t want to jump from a cliff and shit myself in terror before I get splattered at the bottom.
          I don’t want to stick a knife in my torso a few times trying to find a deadly spot and suffering all the while.

          When it comes I want a quick, painless death, and I don’t want anyone to stop me because they think they know better. My life is my own and it’s my right to end it, and so it is with others. No one has any right to stop anyone from ending their own existence.

          • I don’t see any situation that could bring me to commit suicide, even lots o pain. The known consequence of killing yourself is worse than the unknown consequence of possibly being cured ofgetting over whatever it is that makes you think about killing yourself.

            • I’m just saying, as someone who tends to think such things though(still don’t have a bulletteeth-proof zombie plan though), I’d rather it went quickly and with the least pain possible.
              Not that I’ve ever seriously considered or almost attempted suicide or something. Nope, perfectly happy here. 🙄

    • I absolutely think that having deadly weapons easily at hand makes it more likely that a person will resort to deadly force. Like I said, guns are dangerous, and I believe their possession is kinda irresponsible. However, I think that people should have the right to be irresponsible if they want. I guess I’m saying that I know people with guns will be more likely to kill themselves and each other with those guns, but I’m just glad to have the parking space.

      • I can’t help but feel you’re just afraid of guns, Kevin. Like they have a will of their own and they just start shooting even if you lock them away in a drawer. Guns are tools, rather safe and very simple tools if you’re not an idiot and are following the rules right.
        You know what I’m afraid of? Cars. I don’t really like cars. They always crash. Even if it’s not your own fault it can be a blown tire, very bad road conditions or just other cars around you.
        And you know what makes cars much more scary in my eyes? They’re everywhere. Everyone uses them, including complete idiots who are on drugs(like alcohol), who like to drive really fast, who don’t obey the rules and try to take shortcuts, who are distracted by talking on the phone or with their passengers, or just can’t drive for shit.
        Cars are also very complex tools with many parts that could break or malfunction, and they require a great amount of attention to operate reliably.
        And yet people completely ignore those facts and that just gets them into even more accidents.
        Owning a car is wholly irresponsible and you’re much, much more likely to get hurt or even die in a car accident than from a gun.

  12. Correct me if I’m wrong but… wouldn’t a lot of people have been alive if everyone present had had a gun?

    Jared would likely be dead by now then, but also likely a few lives would have been spared.

    Unless you equal the life of a violent criminal to the life of one or several innocent honest bystanders.

    I believe people are responsible for their actions, therefore i believe that a criminal gunning down an innocent is much worse than the innocent returning fire and gunning down the criminal.

    But maybe that’s just me.

    • assassins have an upper hand, even if everyone in the room had a gun he still would have killed his target and then some before anyone would have time to react.

      I take it you never played assassins creed?

      oh and if you have ever seen Trigun you would know that a room full of guns ALWAYS ends baddly, there will always be bad shots and always be friendly fire so MORE people would have likely been killed. Well assuming Vash the Stampede isnt around to save your ass…

        • Yeah, real life is totally a video game.

          And no one said he wouldn’t have gotten to shoot anyone, just that he would have been taken out much sooner with less loss of life.

          But lets ignore that bit and talk about a video game instead.

              • I’m merely showing by example that “there just video games its not real” is not a good argument

                sure there’s alot of things that are likely to never happen. but there’s also a lot of things that have or are likely to happen

                hold on let me fix somthing

                assassins have an upper hand, even if everyone in the room had a gun he still would have killed his target and then some before anyone would have time to react.

                I take it you never heard of Abraham Lincoln being shot in the back of the head while watching a play

                there, no more video game reference
                (fine fine if you REALLY want it Ill try and hunt down a reference of a assassin succeeding in killing a target in a room full of guns, or swords. maybe a king or the pope?)

                • oops. I think you know what I ment though, lets not get into those silly video games cause violence debates

                • *A* target. If you’re fully prepared to get blasted back to hell along with your intended target then yes, suddenly drawing a gun(or other weapon) and killing someone would get you what you wish because people would generally be too slow to react to that first shot. But we weren’t talking about him shooting just what’s-her-name. We were talking about him getting less time to shoot at his leisure at others in the room because someone would have likely shot back at him, and consequently ending up with less victims.

                  And just for the sake of argument, “I’m merely showing by example that “there just video games its not real” is not a good argument” is not a good argument in itself. There are various things shown in video games and movies that are opposed to real life, and from there you slide from “highly unlikely” to “perfectly plausible” because there are just so very many things shown on films or games.

                  • keep in mind I originally started this particular argument that if everyone in that room had a gun, more people likely would have been killed then what actually occurred.

        • I know there are exceptions, but most people don’t shoot when they know they will be shot back. Applies to life in general really. That’s why signs say “tow away” first and “no parking” second. Whether with compliance or anger, 99.9% of people are incredibly responsive when threatened. Try it some time :P.

          The real issue seems to lean towards questioning the responsibility of the gun owners vs. the benefit in competent hands.

          • Getting shot doesn’t really hurt you, it just drops your health-bar a bit until you find a first-aid box or some food. Also, body armor block 100% of all incoming projectiles and make them go away without you feeling a thing.
            Seriously, you need to play more Unreal Tournament etc, maybe then you’ll understand how real guns work.

          • once a shot is fired, all bets are off especially in a room full of guns, didn’t some wars start this way?

            • I… what? I really think people need to rethink what gun owners do with the guns. Randomly shooting others is not one of those things.

  13. I like the thing about owning a gun for recreational target shooting being like owning a bowling ball. I own a bowling ball. I also own several guns. That stay locked up in individual boxes with the ammo in separate individual boxes on the top shelf of the closet where the kids can’t reach. I use said guns for target shooting only, cause I like to go shooting. It takes skill to hit things at range and I like the loud bang, the smell of cordite and the way the stuff I shoot breaks or shatters or explodes (depending on what we’re shooting at). I have no desire to use a gun against another person, though I would if I felt my life or the life of someone else was in danger. But the guns we have are hard to get to and even a guy with a knife would have the upper hand if I tried to get into the closet, get a gun down, get the bullets out and load it. And so I keep a sword by the bed. Three feet of sharp steel is a pretty good deterrent, and even a guy with a gun is likey to hesitate if you come rushing at him with that. Not that I would. I don’t want to get shot. I think a shotgun would be the best deterrent for getting someone out of your house. Even if it was empty that sound it makes when you rack the pump action on that thing is very distinct, and if you think you’re going to be on the receiving end of that you will (if sane at all) leave. As far as stats and whatnot go about people killing themselves, or each other, I’m not really interested. I know how to use guns safely and properly. I will teach my kids the same. My wife is also aware of safety issues, and also likes to go shooting. For us they are simply tools, to be used at appropriate times for recreational purposes. Or, if absolutely necessary, to keep someone from hurting us or our kids.

    • I have read stories about a army soldier cocking a shotgun in conversations with stubborn Afghans and suddenly they become very very cooperative.

      • Shotguns are scary. I watched History of the Gun once on the History Channel, all about shotguns. They said during WWI the germans tried to get shotguns banned from the war because in the trenches they were used to devastating effect. The allies told them that as long as they were using gas to kill their men en masse they could go screw themselves and plan to get shotgunned to death.

    • No, it’s not. Some religious debates have garnered more comments, but we’re getting close, so don’t lose hope.
      And say something controversial, so there will be lots of comments.

      ETA: 100th! I rule! Or something…

  14. If that “self-defense” angle was really the reason for the whole gun fetish you Americans have, then you’d have to carry a loaded handgun around with you at all times… in public, at home… and so would everyone else, including your underage kids. On the other hand, I bet the NRA would object to the idea of people carrying around machetes in public. 🙄

    Sorry, but as a German, the quasi-religious delusion that “guns equal personal freedom” has always gotten on my nerves. That’s why the dark part of my mind always rejoices at stories in American news about gun-nuts in Montana or somewhere who decided to hold a B-B-Q out in the woods, with beer and steaks, and bring their semi-automatic guns to shoot at some targets put up for fun… and also brought along their four-year-old kid, dressed in camouflage clothes (because that’s so cute) and let him run around unsupervised… which ended with a head-shot as he wandered around in the greenery and passed behind a target.
    The less misanthropic parts of my mind cry for that dead kid. But not for the stupid parents. Unfortunately they didn’t get sentenced to have their reproductive organs cut off to stop them from breeding.

    • Yeah, it is fun when people shoot themselves or their kids(or their kids shooting themselves) by mistake. A nice variation of this is(again) with cars(which are the devil’s horseless-carriages!), with people driving in reverse out of where they parked and run over their stupid kids. Truly hilarious, and happens on a regular basis within Arab settlements here. I think they are just trying to save money on paving a road and line it with kids instead. 😆

      I’m quite sure there are many Germans who like guns for nothing more than the “fun” aspect of it, but the tighter governmental control over guns in Germany probably represses that hobby quite a bit. Personally, I haven’t really got the hang of why fireworks are fun, so shooting an even noisier guns is not such a great activity for me, not to mention oiling guns and cleaning them is messy(might be because I had to clean dozens of rifles on a weekly basis in the armory and few times a year inspect almost a thousand more in storage).
      I don’t dislike guns, nor do I adore them. They’re tools. I like what they can do, but unless I got really bored and had tons of money to burn on ammo you wouldn’t catch me in a practice range more than it was necessary for a good, thorough practice. I’m not really sure how easy it is to get a gun here but maybe I’ll try in a few years, after some, uh, things will get old and forgotten.

    • “If that “self-defense” angle was really the reason for the whole gun fetish you Americans have, then you’d have to carry a loaded handgun around with you at all times… in public, at home… and so would everyone else, including your underage kids.”

      Except self-defense isn’t the only reason to own a firearm. Different people own firearms for different reasons. Some own them for self-defense, some for target shooting, some own them for hunting. Some own them for various combinations of the above.

      I own 1 handgun for self-defense. I also own 1 rifle that I use exclusively for target shooting. I own another two rifles and a handgun that are essentially curios that I inherited from my grandfather that are never fired (mostly because I deem them mechanically un-fit for safe use).

      And kudos to you for feeling joy over the tragedy of an innocent child’s injury or death at the hands of their irresponsible parents. Do you feel this same joy when unattended children drown in swimming pools, too?

      • I apologize. That last paragraph of mine was completely uncalled for, and unfair.

        Responsible firearms ownership is something that I take very seriously, and I am very passionate about the topic. However, that does not excuse my behavior.

        • Maybe that’s a fault in my logic, but I don’t see much difference between enjoying different ways in which kids die because of parental negligence, so in my eyes parents who shoots their kid by dumb mistake(including kids accidentally shooting themselves playing with their parents’ unsecured guns), let them drown or run them over when getting out of the parking lot are all the same. And yes, I laugh at them all. There’s at least one case of an elderly woman running over her only son(among other stupid things IIRC) in the Darwin Awards site, and people obviously laugh at that, so I can’t be too far off the course.
          So, anyway, she should, if she’s truly consistent about parental negligence, enjoy hearing about kids drowning because of their parents.

  15. I think maybe this all comes down to how we value human lives.

    Killers don’t need guns to murder people, there will always be knives, baseball bats and whatever BUT! If someone tries to murder someone else and the intended victim is carrying, then there is a good chance that the killer will die and the victim would live.

    And here is where the value of human life comes in. Do we think both lives are eqally worth or does it matter who kills who.

    IMHO if someone gets murdered, I get sad, but if the intended killer would die instead, I would (depending on who the attacker was and the circumstance) feel either uninterest or joy, depending on who the intended killer was and the circumstances.

    But then again, i also feel happy when a killer gets caught through DNA 24 years later. 🙂

    • The only thing Gun laws do, unfortunately, is eliminate, or at least drastically reduce, the possibilty of the “Killer dies, victim lives” Scenario. Since Killers are, by definition, Criminals, they can get their hands on firearms, gun laws or no, while a law-abiding victim will be stuck with bringing a knife to a gun fight (if that)

      There are some interesting advertisments for a Gun Store here in California where a Criminal is bragging how every new gun law makes his job safer. And what’s the word from a country with really strong gun control?

      • IIRC, the law here also demands that the knife’s blade isn’t over 5 cm long. If you’re asking me, that’s actually a good law. I get the feeling that guns, being thought of as more “serious business” by just about everyone are thus better regulated and guarded than knives.
        I can go to the nearest supermarket and buy a whole bunch of razor-sharp, long-bladed knives with cross-sections ideal for thrusting(which is odd, as they’re supposed to be used for cutting food, not stabbing it), just like I did a couple of months ago(well, one knife and one heavy, razor sharp cleaver, since I don’t really need more than that for stabbing victims and butchering their bodies for disposalcutting chickens in my kitchen.
        I am, however, quite sure I wouldn’t be permitted to get a gun license.
        Knives are also used a lot by small-time “gangs” of youths in their stupid squabbles, which is the point of said blade-length restriction.

    • One of the stupidest, yet oddly truest, lines in the new Battlestar Galactica is uttered by the long-deceased Elosha(or what I suppose is an angle appearing as her, rather than her actual ghost) to president Roslin in one of her “mid-FTL-jump” visions in The Hub(se04ep09), important bit in bold:
      “Elosha: I’m not saying Baltar’s done more good than harm in the universe; he hasn’t. The thing is, the harder it is to recognize someone’s right to draw a breath, the more crucial it is. If humanity is going to prove itself worthy of surviving, it can’t do it on a case by case basis. A bad man feels his death just as keenly as a good man.

      My rebuttal for that last part is thus: Frak.
      As I understand it though, the point isn’t that killing in self defense is bad(too many example of how this is justified throughout the series, without it everyone would be dead anyway), just that letting a bad person die(letting Baltar bleed to death, in this instance) as a form of after-the-fact justice is a bad thing, for some reason. Didn’t prevent them from executing Tom Zarek and Gaeta after their failed coup though, I guess only Baltar gets preferential treatment, and it wouldn’t be the first time either(well, he IS some kind of “chosen one” after all, so we have to let him go).

      • Isaac Azimov had one of his characters point out that (in his universe, with the three laws of robotics) It would be very difficult to tell the difference between a truly decent human being and a Ridiculously Human Robot

        Your Baltar example (Since I never saw more than the pilot of the travesty they’re calling BSG these days, I’m assuming it’s the “Duped Software Mogul” Baltar in the new series, and not the “Deliberately betrayed humanity for a promise of power” Baltar from the original series) would invoke the second clause of the first law of robotics (and decent humans):

        1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

        A robot would have to save the human in question due to programming, while a decent human being would do what he or she could to save a life or prevent unnecessary injury.

          • Hey, SOMEONE has to be the antagonist around here! (Goes back to reviewing the evil overlord lists…)

            Oh, I finally caught up on OOTS to the point where your Avatar shows up…man thats a long webcomic…but when I find a new one (started OOTS about 3 months ago) I always read the whole thing through from the beginning…

            • Now start with Gunnerkrigg Court, I started about a week and a half ago and finished in almost a week.
              I was contemplating changing my Gravatar to cute shot of Reynardine wearing a flower.