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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Had to happen, didn't it. (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Had to happen, didn't it.
mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I don't think the obvious cost of not just permitting but actively encouraging teenagers to carry firearms to school is worth preventing individual rare but horrific events.
I can understand that, but your earlier post made it seem that you were rejecting RunningBear's notion that things would have turned out better in this situation if some of the other students had been armed.
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Tresopax
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quote:
You're not answering his question, Tresopax (although your point is a good one): why would guns be any different from illegal drugs?
My answer is that the two ARE similar - in that you can't make it impossible to get drugs or guns by illegalizing them, but you do make it considerably more difficult, and therefore less likely that he'd get a gun. That is why I think drug bans are useful, and why further gun restrictions would also be useful.

However, there is also another significant difference: Drugs have a use that makes them appealing to many college aged people. As a result, people dealing in drugs make themselves accessible to that demographic. Guns are far less useful to the average student. Only a tiny fraction of students would need or want one, so it is doubtful that an illegal gun dealer would be easy for a college student to find. The bulk of the profit for illegal gun dealers would not be coming from the suburban college student demographic.

quote:
The idea that encouraging young people to carry concealed, loaded firearms into classrooms will somehow increase public safety is one that perplexes and baffles me.
I'd second that.
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The White Whale
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At my college, students are allowed to have guns and other weapons as long as they register them and have them stored in a college-regulated area. So anyone can bring a rifle or bow or sword with them, they just cannot keep them in their rooms.

Now it being a small school and all, I am not sure how this is enforced. I've seen paintball guns and BB guns everywhere, yet they confiscated a bowstaff from one student.

Are other schools like this? Do they allow ownership of weapons on campus, but under lock-and-key controlled by the campus?

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Dagonee
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quote:
As a result, people dealing in drugs make themselves accessible to that demographic. Guns are far less useful to the average student. Only a tiny fraction of students would need or want one, so it is doubtful that an illegal gun dealer would be easy for a college student to find.
If you know someone who sells drugs, there's only 1 degree of separation at most between you and someone who would sell you a gun.
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Tresopax
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I doubt that.
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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by Fractal Fraggle:
In the US (even if we took all the guns away from all civilians), there is no way we could control inflow of guns from Mexico or Canada once the word got out how much you could charge for a handgun on the black market.

Here in Canada we manage to control the inflow of guns from the U.S. You're much bigger than us and have more guns, and our regulations are tighter. So it's possible, though I do agree that it would be really hard to do in the U.S. (like I said, that cat's already out of the bag).

quote:
Originally posted by mr_porterio_head:
In this specific situation, I imagine that lives would have been saved had a significant portion of the population on that campus (I'm thinking 5%-10%) were armed.

On what basis? My own thinking in this regard is that if that many of the students were carrying guns, and more than three or four of them drew their weapons and tried to go after the shooter, they would have been equally likely to mistake one another for the shooter, causing additional unnecessary deaths even if all of the armed students were excellent shots.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Twink -- I wouldn't be surprised at all if there were accidental deaths from the students in this hypothetical situation, but I seriously doubt that the amount of accidental deaths would even approach the lives saved by stopping his rampage early.
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vonk
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quote:
My own thinking in this regard is that if that many of the students were carrying guns, and more than three or four of them drew their weapons and tried to go after the shooter, they would have been equally likely to mistake one another for the shooter, causing additional unnecessary deaths even if all of the armed students were excellent shots.
That was my thinking as well. If the police didn't know who the shooter was, how would the vigilantes?
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Tresopax
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Also, remember that the rumors pointed to the boyfriend of the girl who was first shot. If you had vigilante college students running about, they'd probably be going after that innocent student.
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Rakeesh
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Doubt it all you want Tres, but the dealer has to buy from someone.
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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
Twink -- I wouldn't be surprised at all if there were accidental deaths from the students in this hypothetical situation, but I seriously doubt that the amount of accidental deaths would even approach the lives saved by stopping his rampage early.

You're still assuming that the rampage would have been stopped, though.
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Tresopax
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quote:
Doubt it all you want Tres, but the dealer has to buy from someone.
Yes, another dealer. But what makes you think that person is going to be in the business of selling guns to suspiciously angry suburban college students? I'd bet there is a pretty decent chance that the next guy up the chain will own a gun, but owning a gun is very different from selling guns. Somewhere up the chain there's somebody selling guns, but I suspect it is usually far more than one degree away, and I suspect they are smart enough to be more careful about who they are selling to.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
I doubt that.

quote:
Yes, another dealer. But what makes you think that person is going to be in the business of selling guns to suspiciously angry suburban college students? I'd bet there is a pretty decent chance that the next guy up the chain will own a gun, but owning a gun is very different from selling guns. Somewhere up the chain there's somebody selling guns, but I suspect it is usually far more than one degree away, and I suspect they are smart enough to be more careful about who they are selling to.
I have spoken to numerous narcotics detectives, each of whom would attest to a link between drugs and guns.

Even though most drug dealers are not regular sellers of firearms, they do, as a general rule, know someone who would sell a person a gun. Most wholesalers have guns that were obtained illegally, know where to get more, and are perfectly happy to do a one-off sale to make an extra buck. I know of at least two handguns purchased just that way - through a college dealer who got it from his supplier based on a special request.

I've also seen numerous convictions of drug dealers who do not have a regular gun-selling business selling guns based on special requests.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
You're still assuming that the rampage would have been stopped, though.
Yup. If 5-10% of the campus population were armed, I reckon that there's an extremely high probability that it would have been.
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Bella Bee
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A little background:
I'm not anti-gun. I was taught to shoot old .22 rifles (at my Primary school gun club, no less) at the age of seven years old, and I love it. I've used handguns in target ranges in France, and my uncle and grandfather were both very into shooting and gun collecting. But I was also taught about the responsibility that comes with being armed, that it's not something to be taken lightly.

I'm torn on the issue of gun control, because I live in a country where eleven years ago the ban on handguns came into effect after the Dunblane massacre resulted in six very young children and a teacher being shot dead at their Primary school by a crazed ex-Scout leader, a licensed gun owner.

At the time, shocking as it was, I was very much against the ban - if they had to do anything, I'd much rather have had stricter gun controls than an outright ban which penalises responsible owners. But now, looking at it - gun crime has risen in the UK over the past few years. If you want to, you can still get a gun illegally.

But there hasn't been another massacre like that one, since.

Has the ban saved lives? It's impossible to know.

Would I rather that the government had decided to arm all Primary school teachers (or, hey, even the children, after all, I was an armed seven year old and I never shot anyone...)

Um,no.

As far as I can see, I think the main point is - could an attack like this have resulted in as many deaths if the attacker had been armed with a knife, or other non-projectile weapon?

And do you really want to live in a society where everyone is constantly armed 'just in case', even in restaurants, schools, the gym, and everyone, drunks, kids, those in need of anger management, has the ability to shoot whoever they please, whenever they feel like it?

Yeah, the bad guys will always have guns. Do we want everyone else, (people who are human and get upset and make mistakes) to also be carrying? Where every disagreement would then become a situation where you have to shoot first, in case the other guy is about to?

Yeah, okay, maybe I'm overstating it, but this sounds like a recipe for chaos and I don't see that the pro-gun lobby is doing themselves any favours by suggesting it.

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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
You're still assuming that the rampage would have been stopped, though.
Yup. If 5-10% of the campus population were armed, I reckon that there's an extremely high probability that it would have been.
Hm. I don't agree. I definitely wouldn't take that as a given.
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Tresopax
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quote:
Even though most drug dealers are not regular sellers of firearms, they do, as a general rule, know someone who would sell a person a gun. Most wholesalers have guns that were obtained illegally, know where to get more, and are perfectly happy to do a one-off sale to make an extra buck. I know of at least two handguns purchased just that way - through a college dealer who got it from his supplier based on a special request.

I've also seen numerous convictions of drug dealers who do not have a regular gun-selling business selling guns based on special requests.

Eh, what can I say? That sounds foolish to me - risking their income for a one time deal that I'm guessing is much more likely to get them caught (particularly if that gun is later used in a mass killing.) But they are criminals, so I guess they don't mind the risk.

Still, I think all of that is considerably more difficult than going to a store to buy a gun legally. Enough so that I think it would greatly discourage gun usage, even among people like the VA Tech shooter. They haven't said anything about him using drugs, so we have no reason to believe he'd know who to go to get a gun. And without that knowledge, I suspect it is unlikely that a school shooting would still be the outlet for his rage. At a minimum, it would require many more steps on his part, and many more instances along the way where he could be caught.

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Dagonee
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quote:
That sounds foolish to me - risking their income for a one time deal that I'm guessing is much more likely to get them caught (particularly if that gun is later used in a mass killing.)
Not really. A person using a gun in a mass killing is unlikely to get a deal for informing on his source.

Just having a gun with illegal drugs makes one eligible for all sorts of nasty mandatory minimum sentences. The additional risk is negligible.

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Qaz
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quote:
Originally posted by Snail:
quote:
From this I conclude that no-gun areas do not prevent mass shootings. If they did, most of the shootings would occur in other areas.
Couldn't you just as easily conclude that lax overall gun control laws do absolutely nothing to prevent them either seeing as more than half of the cases you listed occurred in the United States?
No -- that does not follow. I'll say it now so I won't be misunderstood: I am not saying that the data here proves that US gun law *does* prevent any disaster, either. I am saying the data here cannot address that issue. Here is why.

The population of the US is 300M (http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/information/population/). Considering the pop of other countries listed, I will just use English-speaking countries because almost all non-US countries listed are English-speaking, also because we should expect them to be a little more similar culturally, we have UK+Oz+NZ+Canada=60M+20M+4M+30M approx= 115M. So if Wikipedia's list is accurate, we would expect the US to have about 3 times as many such events if everything but population were equal. Instead it is about the same. If we use these numbers then, and assume that gun control is the only relevant factor, then non-US tight gun control makes mass shooting about 3 times as likley to happen! If we add in Nepal, Germany, Switzerland, and South Korea, the US still shows an advantage: fewer mass shootings per capita.

But the idea that the legality of guns in the US *is* the reason for the US advantage also does not follow from the data. It is only a correlation, not a cause. There could be something else that is different about the US that makes the US show up less often in the list than we would expect it to.

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Olivet
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I know an arms dealer. A guy I went to college with has the highest license you can get to own and sell all sorts of weapons. I don't particualrly like him, and I believe he has, in the past, been clinically depressed.

It scares the bejebus out of me when I think about the fact that he has so many guns (everything you can think of between "collectable" Nazi issue weapons ("Specially engineered for killing Jews!" --HIS words, not mine) to things capable of damaging armored vehicles).

Still, getting the guns out of America would be roughly equivalent to getting pee out of a pool.

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orlox
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Except in this case, we know exactly who is peeing in the pool.
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Tresopax
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quote:
Not really. A person using a gun in a mass killing is unlikely to get a deal for informing on his source.
Wouldn't police and other authorities be under much more pressure to find the source of a weapon used to kill a bunch of people than they would be to find, for instance, the source of some drugs a group of college students were caught using?
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Dagonee
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Not as much pressure as they'd be under to get the mass killer the death penalty, at least in Virginia.
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vonk
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quote:
Originally posted by orlox:
Except in this case, we know exactly who is peeing in the pool.

Who? Everyone?
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by RunningBear:
no, I think guns in the classroom is not necessary, but perhaps the instructors, at least a few, ought to be trained and prepared for such an instance.

So because this sort of incident has happened exactly once on a US University campus in the past half century, University professors should carry guns and be trained to gun down attackers. That is insane.

Every time such an event happens, gun rights advocates jump on their soap boxes and preach about how they wouldn't happen if more people carried hand guns. These people make just as little, may be less, sense than the gun control advocates who jump on their soap boxes at such times.

A few weeks ago when a similar incident happened at Trolley Square in Salt Lake, not a single private citizen came to the rescue even though Utah has some of the most liberal laws for concealed weapons permits. It was an off duty policy officer who stepped up not a private citizen. Even though the news and hand gun advocates were quick to point to this officers actions as clear evidence of the effectiveness of concealed weapons, all such connections were denied by the police. Police statements indicated that the off duty police officer did not shoot the gunman and that although his efforts were heroic it was the active duty police that stopped the shooting spree.

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Snail
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quote:
The population of the US is 300M (http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/information/population/). Considering the pop of other countries listed, I will just use English-speaking countries because almost all non-US countries listed are English-speaking, also because we should expect them to be a little more similar culturally, we have UK+Oz+NZ+Canada=60M+20M+4M+30M approx= 115M. So if Wikipedia's list is accurate, we would expect the US to have about 3 times as many such events if everything but population were equal. Instead it is about the same. If we use these numbers then, and assume that gun control is the only relevant factor, then non-US tight gun control makes mass shooting about 3 times as likley to happen! If we add in Nepal, Germany, Switzerland, and South Korea, the US still shows an advantage: fewer mass shootings per capita.
Population of the EU is around 490K and there were only three massacres in that list that had occurred in EU countries.

This is of course assuming all massacres would have made the list. There's at least one Finnish case which isn't reported. (In it a woman shot three men and wounded one at a gun shooting club. In that case all the people on the club were armed but no one still managed to stop her and instead she was arrested by the police later from her home.) Still, the only major instance of gun violence within EU that I can remember since 2000 is the German school massacre which is listed there.

I agree with you though that you can't really say anything about the effect of such laws based on that list. I just don't think you can say anything about the locations where these things happen either.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by vonk:
quote:
Originally posted by orlox:
Except in this case, we know exactly who is peeing in the pool.

Who? Everyone?
There's .. what, three or four guns in America for each person living here?

There's a lot of pee in this pool.

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Olivet
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It would be more like trying to get the Star Wars Kid video off the internet.

*sorry for the excretory analogy, hope this is better*

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Bokonon
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
Twink -- I wouldn't be surprised at all if there were accidental deaths from the students in this hypothetical situation, but I seriously doubt that the amount of accidental deaths would even approach the lives saved by stopping his rampage early.

But what about other situations (like a burglary in a dorm) where innocent people could be injured/killed trying to hit the burglar. I'm guessing burglary is much more common than mass murder, well, just about anywhere.

I'm not implying that students are less mature/capable where gun ownership is concerned, just that in those sorts of situations, I could see a rise in incidental injury/fatality due to the charged nature of the situation.

-Bok

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
But what about other situations (like a burglary in a dorm) where innocent people could be injured/killed trying to hit the burglar. I'm guessing burglary is much more common than mass murder, well, just about anywhere.
I brought that up myself in the first post where I discussed the idea:

quote:
In this specific situation, I imagine that lives would have been saved had a significant portion of the population on that campus (I'm thinking 5%-10%) were armed.

I also imagine that if a significant portion of the campus population were similarly armed, other heated situations would become much more dangerous.


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Lyrhawn
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quote:
quote:
Originally posted by twinky:
quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
You're still assuming that the rampage would have been stopped, though.

Yup. If 5-10% of the campus population were armed, I reckon that there's an extremely high probability that it would have been.
Hm. I don't agree. I definitely wouldn't take that as a given.
Seconded.

I think when police arrive on the scene with the knowledge that a shooter is on the loose, and no one really knows who he is, then ANYONE walking around with a gun in hand is going to set off alarm bells and create a situation ripe for accidental shootings. And cops are trained to deail with such situations.

Vigilante students however have no training required of them. They don't have to be trained to fire a gun, they don't have any training in recognizing or dealing with a threat. They might see someone with a gun and just let loose with bullets hitting whoever might be around.

Frankly if I knew that everyone around me had a gun it would scare the bejeezes out of me.

If we're going to talk about rules regarding guns, I think a lot of weapons should be restricted. There's no way we can take all the guns out of America, but we can start trying to reform the process. We don't need to sell assault rifles and machine guns here. And I think a background check and firearms training should be MANDATORY before you can purchase a weapon.

We don't let people drive without a license, and the license requires training. Guns, which have one purpose, are inherently more dangerous than a car, so I really don't know why we require training for cars and not guns as a prerequisite to own and operate one.

And to cut off the probable stream of people saying “but cars kill tens of thousands of people every year, more than guns do,” I would say yes, but there are still tens of thousands of gun related deaths every year, and MILLIONS of cars are used every day, not millions of guns. Can you imagine how much worse car deaths would be every year if there wasn’t any training required to drive one? I just don’t think we should be making it easy for mistakes and accidents to happen.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
We don't let people drive without a license, and the license requires training.
Of course, one big flaw in this analogy is that the constitution doesn't guarantee us the right to drive a car.
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Bokonon
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Ah, missed that. So ultimately do you think it's worth it in the general case? I'm thinking it'll be a wash.

-Bok

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Rakeesh
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I agree with much you have to say, but definitely not that guns are inherently more dangerous than a car. Used stupidly--and cars and guns both are often used stupidly--cars can be just as lethal as guns can.
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rivka
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I'm with twinky and Lyr.

And Olivet, although she won't be swimming in any pool I own. [Wink]

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Ah, missed that. So ultimately do you think it's worth it in the general case? I'm thinking it'll be a wash.
That is a very good question, and I don't have a good answer for you. I haven't come to a conclusion myself.

What I do know is that I don't want people flying off half-cocked and trying to make important policy decisions which are based more on emotion than on weighing the positives and negatives.

In other words, I think there are positives and negatives for any "solution", and I don't think it does us any good to deny that fact.

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Olivet
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Mph-- Kennesaw (a town not far from where I live) passed a law requiring all homeowners to have a gun on their premises. At the time, home invasions were common in the area. (Home invasions are more common in wealthy areas where homes have security systems-- so the thieves break in while people are home and bully them into shutting them off. These are generally more violent types of crimes than simple theft or burglary.)

The law was controversial and highly publicized. It did have the desired effect, though-- home invasion rates dropped like a stone. The home-invaders didn't care for the odds.

I don't want to live in the Wild West Revisited. I'm not saying I like the way guns have saturated my country, but a 100% armed populace would probably bring a greater element of risk into play, from the perspective of the criminal.

ETA: I never said I would pee in a pool. My brother once had a friend come visit who spent a lot of time with his scuba gear in our pool. I don't know if he was sick or what, but the filter couldn't keep up with him. Even the shock chlorine treatment didn't help. We had to drain the thing. It was the nastiest thing ever. At least in my sheltered childhood.

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Qaz
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The reason it makes sense to me to say something about the locations is that if no-gun locations are overrepresented, there would have to be a reason. I can easily understand why English-speaking countries are overrepresented in the sample: it's the English version of Wikipedia. Internet using countries would also be overrepresented. Big killings would also be overrepresented, since they're bigger and more newsworthy. But a killing of more than 10 people, say, is newsworth whether it happens at a private home, an auto mall, or a college campus. The no-gun aspect wouldn't make it more likely to show up on the list. (I never heard anyone make that categorization before this week, anyway.)
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I'm not saying I like the way guns have saturated my country, but a 100% armed populace would probably bring a greater element of risk into play, from the perspective of the criminal.
From that perspective, you are right, and that's a good thing.

But a 100% armed populace would also make many common situations much more potentially deadly. That's a bad thing.

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vonk
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It might make everyone more polite if they thought they'd get shot.
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mr_porteiro_head
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It might also cause some people to commit homicides who otherwise wouldn't if they always had a loaded firearm within arm's reach.
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
It might also cause some people to commit homicides who otherwise wouldn't if they always had a loaded firearm within arm's reach.

For more information, see this thread.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
What I do know is that I don't want people flying off half-cocked and trying to make important policy decisions which are based more on emotion than on weighing the positives and negatives.

I completely agree.

quote:
Originally posted by Olivet:
I never said I would pee in a pool.

Good point. Ok, should I ever actually OWN a pool, you're back on the list. [Big Grin]
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I completely agree.
I don't think you're allowed to say that to me in a gun control thread.

One of us is losing their edge. [Wink]

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Snail
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quote:
The reason it makes sense to me to say something about the locations is that if no-gun locations are overrepresented, there would have to be a reason.
So where exactly are you allowed to carry a gun in the States? In Finland that would be to your own home and to the forest if you go hunting. As somebody pointed out earlier in this thread, if someone wants to kill a lot of random people then wouldn't they be more likely to go to a public place rather than to a desolate one? And aren't public places more likely to be officially gun-free? So I still don't think it plausible to make the connection you're making.
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Olivet
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:


But a 100% armed populace would also make many common situations much more potentially deadly. That's a bad thing.

I agree with this without reservation. I think you'd have a lot more impulse killings. Fewer classrooms or restaurants becoming impromptu shooting galleries, maybe, but lots more "How many times do I have to tell you to put the seat down!" type of shootings. *shifty eyes* Not that I've ever contemplated such a thing.
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TomDavidson
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Note to self: make sure Olivet isn't carrying when you kick her out of the pool.
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Belle
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I'd love to see how you'd conceal a gun while wearing a swimsuit.
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scholar
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On the availability of guns, I am white, middle class, non-drug using mother in grad school and I am pretty confident I could get a gun illegally almost as easily as getting one legally.
I am for requiring proof of sanity and responsibility before allowing people to carry weapons. I don't like the idea of everyone having one because I think that there would be way too many unplanned deaths.

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FlyingCow
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Simply "arming" someone is dangerous and irresponsible. A gun, like all other pieces of dangerous machinery, should not be handled by someone who is not trained in proper safety and handling procedures.

Not everyone gets to drive a car, or a train, or a bus, or a boat, or a plane, etc. There are things that are too dangerous to do without some sort of formal training and licensing - and we keep track of those licensed people to make sure they are not in violation of established safety and usage protocols.

Guns shouldn't be any different than that.

Apparently, though, in Virginia, a car is considered far more dangerous than a gun - at least based on how hard it is to get one. You can't buy a car, for instance, without proving you have a license and insurance - but Cho apparently bought the gun with nothing more than a Green Card and a clean criminal record.

I'm all for increased gun training for licensed users, mandatory safety courses, proficiency assessments, etc. If you're going to own a weapon, you should be held accountable for its safe and proper use.

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