Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"John Wick didn't kill all those people because they broke his toaster." -MickAK

"Everything is easy if somebody else is the one doing it." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Sunday, December 23, 2012

On Guns

I am not an expert on firearms. I've done some basic teaching and a long time ago, I was a rangemaster/instructor, as certified by the Navy. I've not taken oodles of courses. I have competed in a few matches within the last year. I've never made a penny from firearms.

So now, I'm not an expert. I have used a gun to defend myself, but again, that doesn't make me an expert.

I wrote this in an e-mail a little bit ago:
These clowns have a few things in common: They are all serious losers. They would never amount to anything. But with a gun, everyone knows who they are/were. Even in death, they are famous. They become stars.

Deny them that. Make them non-persons. How about making it a felony (10+ years) to publically disclose or publish the name of a spree killer? Hell, make it mandatory that they be cremated and their ashes disposed of in a septic tank or a sewage treatment plant.
I think that needs to be discussed. The Jackhole of Newtown would have been just another nameless near-crazy person. Maybe he would have wigged out in a coffee bar when the barista got his latte order wrong and he'd be in jail for assault. Now he's famous. Every politician in DC knows who he was. Every anchorman, every editorial writer, every school administrator, they know his name. He has been the focus of the national discussion for a week.

Probably just what the little assclown wanted.

So let's take a page from the Soviet Union's handbook and let's erase these clowns from history. Make them die as they lived: Lonely, forgotten cranks.

That's one thing.

Second, the point has been made by others that it is not a guarantee that having any armed teachers or school personnel would stop a spree killer. They might freeze or they might lose a gunfight. So what? Only fools ask for such things to be guaranteed. In the shooting at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs five years ago, there were two members of the congregation who were acting as security guards. One froze, the other didn't, and she ended the shooter.

Third, and I've made this point before ad nauseum: Look at where these spree killers go to commit their crimes. They aren't going into shooting ranges or gun shows. They are going into places where it is forbidden to carry firearms. They are hunting people. They are going for places where resistance is unlikely. The Asswipe of Ft. Hood knew that soldiers on post were not allowed to carry firearms and so he had a bit of happy slaughtering before the cops arrived.

Gun-free zones both keep law-abiding people from carrying weapons and they tell the possible killers that they are guaranteed several minutes of sanguinary shooting before the cops roll in.

Fourth, any consideration of the fatality rate of children will show this: Over 6,000 children die each year in motor vehicle accidents. Which means, on average, the same number of kids died in car accidents on the same day as the Newtown Asshat shot up that school. Of that 6,000, it's probably a reasonable supposition that a thousand or so died being driven to or from school. So in the first half of the school year, 20 kids died in school shootings, 500 died commuting to school.

The difference is in numbers at once versus drips and drabs. Less than 3,000 people died on September 11, 2001, which was less than the number who died in car crashes that month. But we accept the carnage on the roads as a cost of modern life. 3,000 people don't die in four crashes on the roads.

I bring up 9-11 for a reason: The reaction to it. As a result of those attacks, we are far less free as a nation. The government is basically watching everything everyone does. Oh, maybe they don't have eyeballs on you, right now, but every credit card transaction, every swipe of a debit card, every e-mail you send, every fax, every text message, every airline ticket and likely even every phone call you make is recorded and stored for later analysis. The cops can go rifling through your financials without a warrant, they can track your every move if your cell phone is turned on. They can even do "sneak and peek" searches and go back for a real warrant later.

Pilots know this stuff all too well. Even though the 9-11 attacks were carried out using fully-fueled airliners as cruise missiles, anyone who flies so much as a J-3 Cub within 60 miles of D.C. has to have special training. Anyone who wants to fly that same J-3 into the "DC-3" airports has to be fingerprinted, undergo background checks, criminal history checks and file flight plans, and they probably can't fly that J-3, unless they have a transponder and radio. Despite the fact that nobody has attempted to carry out a terrorist attack with a Piper Cub (or a Cessna 150), the restrictions are in place. Similar restrictions exist in a 60 nautical mile diameter circle around wherever the President happens to be.

If you fly on a commercial airliner, then you are all too familiar with the vast amount of money that the Feds have spent to supposedly make air travel safer, including meaningless bag searches.

And so now there is a tragic shooting and, as a result, restrictions will be levied against those who obey the law. You can bet that there will be a provision which erases the privacy of mental health records, so seeing a psychologist or doctor for any mental health issue will soon land you in another Federal database. Which of course means that many people who need help won't go get it, for fear of landing in that new database. People who have problems will choose instead to self-medicate. That's what happens and it has happened before.

So there will be restrictions, probably to ten round magazines and stupid rules about meaningless cosmetic shit such as pistol grips and "flash hiders". If I owned a gun factory, I would have the CAD/CAM boys busily reverse-engineering SKS carbines which, when made without the issue bayonet or grenade launcher, will easily pass the same sort of restrictions that existed in the first "assault weapons" ban. Oh, it probably goes without saying that the 7.62mm cartridge for the SKS is far more effective than the 5.56mm of the AR-15. Unintended consequences, you know.

The ten-round magazine limit of the first ban sounded a temporary death knell for the "wonder nines", full-size large capacity 9mm handguns. Full-sized handguns shifted towards those cartridges whose magazine sizes justified them- .45s and .40s, sparking a renewed popularity, especially of the venerable (and arguably more effective) .45 ACP. That was a consequence of the first ban. A second one will have similar unintended consequences.

One thing the politicians in this country are good at is overreaction. And you can also bet heavily that the lawful gun owners will chafe about this and they will remember. This has all happened before and it is happening again.

Signs of overreach: The New York Times today published one of its editorials screeching about concealed carry. Doesn't matter that concealed carry has had little, if anything, to do with mass shootings, they still don't like it.


BadTux said...

New Life Church is a bad example. The security guard who didn't freeze was a trained police officer who performed as she'd been trained to perform, though she was not at the time working as a police officer (she'd taken off time to raise her kid). I have been looking for examples where untrained citizens stopped a spree shooting and they're pretty rare on the ground and you have to really grasp for straws in some cases because the shooting was over and the armed citizen stopped the shooter as he was leaving the scene (in one case with the citizen putting himself into real legal jeopardy because he shot the spree shooter in the back as he ran away, though luckily a jury could not be found willing to convict him of the crime of shooting a murderer in the back). Examples where off duty or retired police officers intervened and stopped a spree shooting, on the other hand, are much easier to find.

Regarding the "more guns is safer" thing, if there were any statistics supporting such a notion I'd grant it some credence. Unfortunately the states where it's been tried have had declines in gun crime, but no more so than in states like New York or Massachusetts that basically outlaw carrying a weapon unless you're a police officer -- and they were more violent to begin with, so they're *still* more violent than the gun ban states. In short, there's no evidence that flooding a state with concealed-carry permits makes any difference at all in the amount of violent crime, either pro or con. Which makes sense since most gun deaths are in the context of either gang wars or are in the home where one member of a family shoots another member of the family, both cases where CCW permit polices are utterly irrelevant.

Comrade Misfit said...

Spree shootings are also pretty rare. A lot of the "school shootings" on the Wiipedia list are where a student took a gun to school and either killed himself or killed the person who was bothering him. Otherwise, the death toll is around that from lightning strikes.

Eck! said...

Yep, can't have double stacks with lots of .380 or 9mm the a pocket .40 or .45 will do instead.

Can't have an assault rifle, well the old 3030 saddle gun or one in 32special
will do. Or something in 30-06.

Larry Corriea nailed it:

What is important is the anti-gunners are faith based and facts mean not one damn thing to them because they hold that it is all made up lies that can't possible be true. Half the encounters on line with them suggest the antigunners are cognitively handicapped the rest should not have guns as they often respond
with threats/violence. Their mantra is guns wrong, guns bad, and anything that contradicts that is lies.

What is important is to keep them blabbing and pointing out the lies, errors, and propaganda so those that are undecided can make a clear decision.


CenterPuke88 said...

Just a note to remind people that Columbine High School HAD an armed guard at the time of the assault and he did exchange fire with the two attackers. The presence of an armed guard did not stop that attack (try again, NRA) but might have reduced the toll (how's that, gun grabbers). I'm getting tired of the this or that approach to the issue. Mental health must be at the top of the list (that's gonna chafe Republicans, it implies explanded Obamacare), certainly some more restrictions on owning high capacity firearms are likely and no one is dealing with the issue of gun owners securing their weapons yet, that's gotta happen.

Comrade Misfit said...

Correia is is a far better writer than I.

BadTux said...

The situation is more complex than you posit. While a ban on high-capacity magazines and weapons capable of accepting them would not make much difference in the total amount of gun violence in America (see my latest blog posting for why I believe that), it would have certainly made a difference in this particular case, since it was only the high capacity magazine that allowed the shooter to kill all three administrators that were rushing him. If he had been armed with a .357 revolver or a 12 gauge shotgun (both of which are a far more effective self defense weapon than a .223 carbine I might add), he likely would have been forced to stop and reload before being able to shoot all three.

Of course as EBM points out, spree shootings are very rare compared to the usual cases of gun violence, which are mostly related to the drug war or domestic violence. Still, they are a rarity that could at the very least be made somewhat less deadly.

Comrade Misfit said...

Connecticut has some pretty tough laws already about storage of firearms, including, if I remember correctly, criminal liability of owners if a minor gets his feelthy paws on them.

Comrade Misfit said...

I don't know, BadTux. I can't see it taking more than three rounds from a 12-gauge to take out three charging unarmed women.

BadTux said...

But the three women were responding to shots already fired. So it is likely that he would have been in the process of reloading at the time the three women charged him.

Eck! said...


You make a point but like many we can go to speculation. You can bet there were
few if any charging him and then only in desperation.

I'd point out I've done a bit of shotgun work in the past and a standard pump gun and most semiautos you can fire and pop in another shell with ease with only a tiny bit of practice. Most hold 5 shots a few 7 for some hunting seasons you have to plug them to a max of three. Then again I use to shoot skeet doubles with a friends Mossberg single shot, it only takes practice to let the ejectors work and drop in another. The alternate weapon could be a handgun, or in his case two that he carried. Not much different for a bolt action rifle.

Saying fewer shots in a magazine is meaningless as change times are small and its easy to carry a bunch. If it happens we can guess at the side effect, can't carry a lot of bullets, make them bigger, more powerful. Only revolvers, moon clips and speed loaders are used. Or just two revolvers. It's the unintended effects.

This pushes us back to what really happened, the whole story not the headlines and inaccurate reports. Without that we engage the same speculation of what if an
person armed to defend were there. its only that and they weren't. We cannot
wind the clock back and make it unhappen.

In the end it was horrific. They were in a gun free zone and no one had a much of a chance because they never were given one. They were complacent behind locked doors and disarmed. That is a known. Likely there was no training on how to handle such an attack. That means unprepared. They didn't know a fire extinguisher can be useful as a blinding agent or club. In the light of a raging attacker there is no
reasoning and in that situation no hiding. Tell me what is the evil with that in mind.

I used to study airplane accidents. The goal was to learn about how they happen.
Often it was some single event that triggered a chin of things. and how that event
and everything after it were handled made a big difference in the outcome. Some cases it was a catastrophic thing more often it was something that in itself was
manageable if everyone had been trained [prepared] for the possibility.

So rather than just react, some rational and in depth study might lead us to a better way to deal with this than we need another law that addresses nothing
and punishes those that comply with the laws.


BadTux said...

Note that it would have been a gun free zone even if there was no gun free school law. Elementary school teachers and administrators generally do not possess or know how to use firearms and do not in general have any desire to do so. Maybe that's a fact you don't know, since you've never taught in an elementary school. I have.

As you say, we are talking speculative now. But we do have data points from outside the United States, though they are at times contradictory. For example, both Japan and Mexico have strict gun control laws. They are 99.9999% effective in Japan -- even the Japanese equivalent of the Mafia does not in general use guns because of the draconian penalties for possessing and using guns (and swords I might add -- swords are similarly illegal in Japan) -- and violent crime is very low in Japan though there are cases of knife violence (they have had their own equivalent of Sandy Hook where eight elementary school children died of stab wounds inflicted by a large butcher knife before teachers and administrators were able to subdue the attacker). On the other hand, gun control laws in Mexico have been utterly ineffective in preventing gun violence, Mexico is currently the murder capital of the world. In the event of a Constitutional amendment outlawing private ownership of most firearms, would the USA be more like Japan where even the criminals gave up their guns due to the draconian penalties for gun possession, or like Mexico, where the criminals sneer at the gun laws? Neither of us have any way of knowing that, all we can do is speculate.

CenterPuke88 said...

Sorry, Comrade, I should have been clearer that I was NOT thinking of Connecticut in this case (at least, yet). We don't know what happened there. I was thinking more of the endless series of stories of a fifth-grader (substitute any other grade too) taking Grandma's gun to school to show people, the revolver she got from her Dad and keeps under the pillow. Also, the huge number of guns stolen in break-ins because their owners don't ptoperly secure them.

On that note...eax evasion was what got Al Capone, using such jujitsu on the current criminal or lunatic with guns issue, what is a better solution? Just thinking out loud...not answering myself yet, not sure of that's good or bad.

Eck! said...

Tux, chicken or egg.

It's a Gun free zone so even if your interested as a law abiding type you can't follow though (carry in the school) so you drop it. Also some people don't/didn't consider it that likely an event as in rare and can't happen to us.

Not saying its a good idea or not. Only it was already off the table and maybe
it should not be.

Now a defensive [non gun] course on what to do if a spree killer or terrorist
tries again somewhere might be of value. Even gun people will acknowledge that if your awareness is low and mindset is that it can't happen here your initially unprepared and will enter situations better avoided and unable to catch up with
the action.

What japan does is not a factor here. We invaded them and disarmed them completely as part of our surrender. Their culture is not ours and their history differs greatly. If anything their culture has adopted a large amount of
our culture. Some of that cultural cohesion was clearly called out as bad in the Fukashima Daiichi accident report by Japanese experts that wrote it as it allowed
conditions to be overlooked rather than risk embarrassment of superiors.

Mexico is a outlaw/gang controlled state, the only thing I think we can learn there is that if we let gangs get far enough out of control they become the default government to small areas and it's been seen in this country during prohibition and more recently. Gangs only exist when there is fear. I'd add that gun control in Mexico is about as complete as any. However the police are corrupt, the military is suspect and the people are mostly disarmed and vulnerable.

In the end both are only of passing relevance to the horror in CT. I see that as our culture is what it is and even if there is a huge effort to change it like the race, sex, and other discriminatory behaviors of the past that are still ongoing for decades. The criminals opt out of that and revert.

In the end if there is only clear thing I can say a 3 or more time loser should
ever get a gun as he/she should be in prison.

My feeling is still we can do more and but banning guns (or specific guns) is
only a knee jerk. To that I add they train the kids and teachers for fire with drills why not go further? Or is that we should keep them innocent of crime or evil and unprepared to take affirmative action. The Boy Scouts motto "be prepared" is based on the idea that when uncontrolled events happen there are some skills for dealing with it. Same for CERT training which I feel is the modern thinking for
the function of the 18th century militia, community based people trained to help.


The New York Crank said...

I realize that I'm getting to this late, but I take furious umbrage at something you wrote in this piece. Not that I don't also disagree with much of the post, but one paragraph really, really gets my goat. You wrote:

"So let's take a page from the Soviet Union's handbook and let's erase these clowns from history. Make them die as they lived: Lonely, forgotten cranks."

Find something else to call them.

Very crankily yours,
The New York Crank

Comrade Misfit said...

I apologize for using the work "crank".

The New York Crank said...

Apology accepted.
Mutter mutter.

Crankily yours,