Intro

Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bang...Bang

(from http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/sons-of-guns/photos/maxim-machine-gun-pictures.htm)

With recent events, much discussion has been made about guns and gun control.  Bob Costas and his comments on Sunday night has stirred the old controversy once again.  First off let me say a few things...

I support the second amendment but that does not mean blindly.

I am not a part of the tin foil hat crowd who, when I hear the words gun control, think that the evil government is secretly plotting to take my guns.

I do not believe that an armed public is a good idea.

I think most of the arguments used by gun control activists for and against are pretty much ridiculous and often far too simple for this serious problem.


A comparison to a rock and a gun....Really a rock?  Here, stand on this fifty yard line.  Now I'm going to the end zone with my .38.  When I say go, you have my permission to kill me with your rock while I shoot at you.  A rock comparison...honestly.  I just as well give you the .38 and then go 10 miles to my Howitzer and give you the first shot.  Silly comparisons do not solve the problems.  These kind of arguments only divide the people and make one side or the other on the issue look silly and uninformed. The one above is clearly designed to create that division.  We all know that as weapons advanced so did the scope of the number of people who died.  No guns are not bad but when someone dies from one that also does not mean it was only done by "bad people." A bit simplistic, don't you think?

This is a serious problem and is not a we vs. them problem.  It is one for serious people who want to keep our rights while making sure we protect people and keep deadly weapons out of those who use them badly.  It is not a Republican and Democrat or Liberal and Conservative problem.  People are dying.  Guns in the home are a moral choice and having one for hunting or sport like target shooting is not evil.  Owning a gun in for protection, while making one feel secure  is also a statistical risk.

Following the shooting in Aurora, someone or several someone's made the statement that if members of the audience had been carrying, then the wacko shooter, who obtained all his guns and ammo legally by the way, could have been shot and killed before he'd killed so many.  In actuality, most police and people who actually understand these events say the shooter may have been wounded or even killed but the carnage would have also gone up with all those Dirty Harries wounding and killing more, if not each other, in the crossfire. Shooting amid the innocent is not like in the movies and very few have the imaginary skills of a Hollywood John Wayne.

Let's look at one of the arguments against gun control...guns don't kill people; people kill people.
This relatively simple statement is true.  But it also begs the question of if a gun isn't unavailable, what is the likelihood of death.  A drive-by knifing is pretty rare.  Even rarer is death by being shot by a semi-automatic spear.  Okay, okay, I am being fatuous, and I was just making fun of that meme, but you get the point there is a need for some modicum of control. Handguns are 43 times more likely to kill a member of your own family than an intruder. You see  meme with a girl pointing a gun saying to an intruder the door was locked for his protection and not the owners...factually speaking, a gun in the house is more likely to be taken from her and used against her than it is likely for her to use it.

In another study, if you carry a gun you are 4.5 times more likely to be shot if involved in a violent crime and 4.2 times more likely to die.  If you have one in your home and violence erupts, the odds of you or  family member's death increases by a factor of 12.  Gun violence is more deadly than any other type of violence. According to studies while having a gun in the home increases the chance of being murdered by 41%, for women who have a gun in their home the odds triples.  This doesn't include the rising odds of accidental shootings.

Maybe guns don't kill people but their availability seems to indicate that owning one does.  Face facts, most murders are of the angry, unplanned type and having a gun greatly increases those odds of it becoming fatal.  I also admit that a majority of those murders, another study points out, that, while unplanned, are committed by a person with a record.  This means perhaps that these folks are predisposed to violence.  On the other hand, half of all violent attacks in the home, it is believed, go unreported, so there may be other issues at play.  If one is truly hell-bent on killing the other person, lack of a gun may not be an obstacle,  It would slow the process and perhaps give someone a chance to escape or gain some self-control.  See what I mean.  It is a complex issue and memes and simplified arguments are not solving or even coming close to solving the problem.

So what do we do? We have more guns per person than any other industrialized nation.  Nations with fewer guns have much lower murder rates, but we are not going to get rid of guns.  I've lived with guns most of my life.  My grandfathers owned them, my father owned them, my brother owns them, my nephews owns them, I've owned them.  I grew up in a gun culture.  Our entire country is a gun culture. I even know more than one person who has lost someone because of a shooting accident.  The control of guns is no easy solution and no simple argument is going to make the issue go away.

First it is important to realize that one impediment to gun use is to keep the gun safe and locked up.  Most police officers do this; locking up their gun every night. They get that little kids, no matter how well they've been taught, and guns don't mix.  Remember kids are not small adults. Their decision making skills are a long ways from complete, even as a teenager. Having your gun locked up would also complicate keeping a gun for protection which has been demonstrated as pretty much a non reason.

There are simply some guns that are not needed to be owned by the public, and we certainly don't need the over-sized clips. An armed public is not needed, but, if we are going to allow some one to carry, a gun should always be visible. How a concealed weapon is a deterrent has always confused me.  How having something a criminal cannot see deters him is not clear.  We know for example that one of the biggest deterrents to home break in is not an alarm system, but the sign you put in your yard or window that says you have one.  It seems to me that if you want to protect yourself you would want folks to know that you are packing.

Time to strap that baby to your hip just as if you were in the old west.  Of course this means you give up that James Bond sort of feel of having a hidden weapon so you can just roll across that dark alley you foolishly wandered into and shoot the bad guy.  You are not James Bond or Wyatt Earp.  You are a guy with a permit who is likely to roll and shoot yourself in the foot or leave your gun smack dab in the middle of that alley where it fell out of its holster.

 I know the reason for concealment is actually so you don't scare people.  Doesn't the fact that a visible weapon scares people tell us something about how such things are truly viewed?  Doesn't it  say something about the personality of the person who carries the gun?

 I still see no reason for ownership of assault rifles.  This is a gun developed for war and is primarily an offensive weapon.  You cannot hunt with one and as far as a sports shooting weapon, it is poor at best for target practice besides the fact that such weapons, designed for speed firing, will tend to waste more than a little bit of ammo.  As someone who has  enjoyed target practicing with everything from arrows and black powder to high powered and skeet, such weapons have no place in society.  The invasion from Canada is not imminent. If you have a valid article or logical reason for the ownership of assault weapons let me know.  I am interested in it.

Gun ban? Not going to happen.  Gun control is probably something of a lost battle on the national stage.  Most cities do allow application to carry a gun.  Some have strong restrictions and for the most part, a licensed gun is largely controlled not at national or even state level but at the municipal level.  I believe that those who have a clear disposition to violence or use  gun in the commission of any crime should plan on much stricter controls.  In some countries, for example, the use of a gun in  any crime will result in an automatic doubling or a minimum sentence.

Like I said I support our right to bear arms. I just think before you put one in your pocket or in your home, you need to know what you are doing and the increased risk.  Some little cute argument doesn't settle the problem and the one thing that we probably never solve is stupidity and guns.