Thursday, May 3, 2007

Talk of the Town: "Gun control proponents turning us into cowards"

Bob Shimizu, whom I know as a fellow jazz musician, runs down the standard talking points at length and with gusto, offering nothing you haven't read before on the Courier editorial page. His big idea: to address the big problem of mass killings by psychopaths, an event less likely to kill you than a lightning strike on a clear day, we should allow permit holders to carry their guns on campus. Presumably no permit holder would ever use it to hurt anyone.

More gunfights! That's what we need.

15 comments:

courierfriend said...

Just curious -- do you know of any studies regarding the number or percentage of permit-holders who have used their guns in crimes?

courierfriend said...

From Wikipedia (online Encyclopedia):

The effect of various concealed carry laws are the subject of past and present research. In his book, More Guns, Less Crime, controversial pro-gun scholar John Lott's analysis of crime report data has shown some statistically significant effects of concealed carry laws. One major conclusion was that locations which enacted more permissive concealed carry laws had a decrease in violent crime, but an increase in property crime.

Don Kates summarizes the consensus reached by criminological research into gun control thus: "Unfortunately, an almost perfect inverse correlation exists between those who are affected by gun laws, particularly bans, and those whom enforcement should affect. Those easiest to disarm are the responsible and law abiding citizens whose guns represent no meaningful social problem. Irresponsible and criminal owners, whose gun possession creates or exacerbates so many social ills, are the ones most difficult to disarm."[7]

leftturnclyde said...

" an event less likely to kill you than a lightning strike on a clear day "
Steven using this logic I could argue against Oh...First aid kits ,Locks on House doors in rural areas,most of the possible disasters that home owners carry insurance against, the list goes on .

Im pretty sure that Bob is not for more gunfights (I hope anyway, he is a Jazz guitar player surounded by horn guys )or for unlimited distribution of AK 47's to any who demand them .
what he does seem to be for is an expectation that Adult Human beings should be capable of ,and expected to, be able to defend themselves.
I see no problem with this
PS :Good Point courierfriend!

Steven Ayres said...

=> do you know of any studies regarding the number or percentage of permit-holders who have used their guns in crimes?

I have no doubt there are multiple studies on that question. But to be pertinent to what Bob and I are talking about, a study would have to compare the number of times permit-holders have used their guns to commit crimes with the number of times guns have been used in mass killings by civilians. I'll bet the ratio is very high, since the number of mass killings is statistically infinitesimal.

The bottom line is that this lightning-strike story -- a non-problem in terms of its actual danger to society and our ability to do anything about it -- is being used again here to push forward a political agenda. Which is exactly what Bob seems to be complaining about even as he does it.

leftturnclyde said...

Steven Both sides of this issue bitch about the other side's politizing ( god ,I so need spell check) of it.
Its kind of become like the abortion Issue or flag burning .. you know "How can you be a Liberal, conservitive , republican,democrat ,lobster breeder" or whatever, if you support/ dont support our party line whatever it happens to be on this paticular subject and each side accusing the other of insanity ,stupidity ,or just being evil...
anyway
Bottom line is you still have not refuted the basic argument that Bob makes which is: responsible adult human beings should be expected to ,and capable of, defending themselves.

Do you disagree with this ?.

Also you make no direct comment on this bit that courierfriend dug up out of the Wikipedia

"Those easiest to disarm are the responsible and law abiding citizens "

Do you disagree with this ?

Steven Ayres said...

You've inadvertently made a point for me, Lefty. Indeed, responsible, law-abiding citizens are the easiest to disarm -- both by law and by the lawless.

For the vast majority of law-abiders, relying on a gun to save oneself or someone else from harm is counterproductive. A broad consensus of statistical studies holds that the person most likely to wind up on the wrong side of that gun is the owner or a loved one.

It's an American article of faith that more gun reduces crime. It may even be sort of true in the special case that our country represents. But other civilized societies manage somehow to keep crime low without them.

I'll agree with you that our problem here isn't guns per se -- leaving aside the extreme psychosis that afflicted Cho, I think it's the generalized sense of insecurity and powerlessless that attracts people to guns and other symbols of power.

leftturnclyde said...

"You've inadvertently made a point for me, Lefty".
Indeed ?
it seems to me that we both agree that the easiest people to disarm are the people that are trying to follow the rules..but they are also the folks who have the most to lose by being disarmed. the last century is full of examples of this.
anyway try to forget the whole 2nd amendment gun thing and just gimme a yes or no answer on this one

adult human beings should be expected to ,and capable of, defending themselves.

Steven Ayres said...

=> yes or no ... adult human beings should be expected to ,and capable of, defending themselves.

Well, you've got an awfully broad sorta-question there. To answer it, I'll have to restate it along the lines that I expect you intend:

Should every adult American be capable of defending him- or herself from gun-armed criminals, and should we as a society expect them to take primary responsibility for their personal defense from such criminals?

Of course not. The primary purpose of civilization is collective defense. Is it a good thing for individuals to have such capabilities? Sure. But 'should,' no, that's asking way too much of the vast majority of adults who are older or otherwise not as physically capable as your average young male criminal.

But also notice that you're thinking about defense in the context of a conversation about guns. I don't see a gun as a defensive device -- at best, it's a balanced offensive capability.

This is important because while you may intend to use it defensively, what it actually gives you is decisive offensive capability. Scattering this capability among my neighbors does nothing to make me feel secure, and I think it can be demonstrated pretty clearly that it makes us collectively less secure.

leftturnclyde said...

oh Steven...(sigh)
here is the statement I requested you agree or disagree with

adult human beings should be expected to ,and capable of, defending themselves.

I also prefaced my statement above with this
"anyway try to forget the whole 2nd amendment gun thing and just gimme a yes or no answer on this one"
I did this to remove the firearms question from the table so the statement could stand on its own


here is you putting words in my mouth

Should every adult American be capable of defending him- or herself from gun-armed criminals, and should we as a society expect them to take primary responsibility for their personal defense from such criminals?

Kinda different huh?

so could you please simply give me a simple thumbs up or down on the statement as I originaly put it forth?

Steven Ayres said...

Your formulation requires a more emphatic 'no.' It includes all adults, across the spectrum of physical, mental and economic capacity, against all manner of threat, from an ant bite to a legal indictment to nuclear war. The 'should' and 'expected' remain unqualified. The idea, such as it is, is preposterous.

leftturnclyde said...

Thank you Steven !
Now I admit that the ramifications of that statement, that you whole heartedly disagree with, are far reaching and complex but it really is the crux of Bobs essay , and in order to properly refute what he( and other less rational people )is /are sayin it has to be taken head on.Hence my backing you in to a corner on this one.Forgive me.
so..lets see, we need to define which people are capable of defending themselves and which cant ,what defense means and what it does not.what are defensive weapons ?, are there any ?what/who are we defending against?
what kind of personal acountability ( if any) do we as private citizens have for our own personal defense against the variety of threats that you mentioned (ant bites ?) should we be expected to ?
Im ok with opening that can of worms and the sooner the better.,since IIMHO this is the kind of thing that could tear the country in 2 or three diffrerent parts.

Steven Ayres said...

Odd, I didn't feel cornered.

leftturnclyde said...

Snarky snarky
all I gotta say is it took three tries to get that statement ,as written, opined on.

courierfriend said...

Geez, Lefty, you worked hard for that answer! Kudos.
Steve, think Miss America 1944, who recently held a robber at gunpoint until police arrived to arrest him. No gunfights there. I think you might be thinking of gun-carriers as those guys who dress up like cowboys and go for shooting contests. I don't think we can discount the benefits firearms CAN provide (and we can't discount the danger, either, but households exist where people have guns and don't have problems. Education is key, I think, in gun ownership).

courierfriend said...

Oh, yeah, a couple more things. I don't think Miss America would have been so effective with a hairdryer -- and who knows if she would have lived until police showed up -- that collective defense you were talking about, Steve. I don't think a gun is always a symbol of power. Sometimes it's an actual means of self-defense.