Re: Gary Farber's In A Bad Way

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thanks for the link; i'll send him some dough.
i've sent him some in previous years; must have been the kind that doesn't keep very well.
the guy's a resource. a fixture of the blogosphere.
worth supporting.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:01 PM
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I couldn't possibly read that entire post; it would take hours. Could someone provide a synopsis?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:06 PM
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My post pretty much sums it up. Health problems, no money, applying for SSI and in the process of appealing a refusal, doesn't have next month's rent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:08 PM
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I was just sitting here thinking about somebody loaning AWB money. The fact that she didnt ask was a large part of what made it appealing to me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:10 PM
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Wait, are Gary Farber and AWB the same person?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:12 PM
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You hadn't known?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:13 PM
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Dilemma. I already feed a minimal subscription to Gary, I could increase it. OTOH I too was wondering about lending the bear a few bob, but I've no idea how to get it to her.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:15 PM
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I was suspicious, but hadn't really known, no.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:15 PM
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8: This thread didn't tip you off?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:20 PM
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Gary, if you're reading, I kind of doubt that you're going to get SSI disability. IANAL, but I've heard from a number of people that you really need to show that you've been hospitalized more than once and at least once within the last year to qualify for SSI.

But really serious depression is a disability, and even if you don't qualify for SSI you may count as disabled for other purposes. I'm specifically thinking of the various state rehabilitation agencies. These get their funding from the Federal government with some top-up funding from the state. They can help you get work in an environment that you can handle.

Are you under the care of a psychiatrist with a good background in community psychiatry? If you get any care through a community health clinic, you probably are. S/he can refer you to the CRC. I apologize if I'm just repeating stuff that you already know.

For mixed depression and anxiety mindfulness can be really helpful and any of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) varianst which deal with emotion regulation. John Kabat-Zinn at U Mass wrote a book called "Full Catastrophe Living," which is supposed to be good. I haven't read it, but I know one person who participated in the Mind Body Stress Reduction Clinic at U Mass and found it helpful. My prison minsitry team gave it to the college student we mentor, because he struggles with these issues, and the resources in prison aren't great.

Also a quick plug for some kind of group treatment! I'm sorry that I can't help you financially.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:29 PM
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LB--I think that Gary is definitely ineligible for SSDI, because he hasn't contributed enough to Social Security, but he's in the middle of applying for SSI, the need-based supplement.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:32 PM
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I was just sitting here thinking about somebody loaning AWB money. The fact that she didnt ask was a large part of what made it appealing to me.

The more desperate you get, the more unlikely it seems that someone will help you without being asked. Gary's been desperate for years.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:33 PM
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10:

Mental illness really sucks on so many levels.

It might end up being the most far reaching negative consequence of the Iraq debacle.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:34 PM
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ned:

I wasn't suggesting that my thought made me a good person.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:35 PM
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13: I want to type "other than the hundreds of thousands of dead and disabled Iraqi civilians, maybe", but I'm not sure I know exactly what you mean by "far-reaching".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:36 PM
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Dead people are just dead and don't cause any more problems. Mentally disabled people live for decades and can't be ignored.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:37 PM
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10: I don't know if the hospitalization is required, but of the handful of people I know who had obtained SSI, it was due to a recent & severe hospitalization (like, potential recurring brain cancer sort of serious.) I've also heard, anecdotally, that they usually deny applicants the first time, expecting that the serious ones will appeal.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:38 PM
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16 gets my thought correctly.

But, I really dont want to argue about which is worse: the dead people or the mental illness.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:40 PM
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Mentally disabled people live for decades and can't be ignored.

Not familiar with the homeless, eh?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:40 PM
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[Mental Illness] might end up being the most far reaching negative consequence of the Iraq debacle.

This is true, and it's going to be hugely expensive. One of the things that makes me sickest is the way that teh Department of Defense is trying retroactively to determine that people soldiers suffer from pre-exisitng personality disorders. I'm not sure whether it affects how you're discharged, but the upshot is that a veteran who's been labelled as having a personality disorder can't get his or her PTSD treated at a VA hospital.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:40 PM
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Dead people are just dead and don't cause any more problems. Mentally disabled people live for decades and can't be ignored.

On (1), I'd argue that they might very well have friends and family that remember who killed them and who might "cause more problems". On (2), that's why I also mentioned the disabled, who live on.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:41 PM
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I've also heard, anecdotally, that they usually deny applicants the first time, expecting that the serious ones will appeal.

That's certainly the case with the Brit equivalent, Disability Living Allowance, so I imagine it's true.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:42 PM
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Another upshot is that my gf's job at the VA Hospital is probably really secure.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:42 PM
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TJ in 19: Not familiar with the homeless, eh?

Don't joke. Iraq and Afghan veterans are the fastest growing population among the homeless.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:43 PM
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To clarify, I think Will meant "negative consequence of the Iraq debacle" for people living here in the United States, in which case he may be right but that's sort of a shitty way to look at things. Was all I was trying to say.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:43 PM
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Will, do you get the sense that they're going to get adequate funding at the VA?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:44 PM
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"I've also heard, anecdotally, that they usually deny applicants the first time, expecting that the serious ones will appeal."

Precisely.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:45 PM
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Not for PTSD. Not even close. But, they certainly are going to be getting more people to work there, not fewer people.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:45 PM
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22: From family background and a social worker friend, I actually do know that you're pretty much always turned down the first time you apply for SSI, unless you've got a terminal condition (in which case, it's relatively speedy.)

This is actually pretty awful, because quite a lot of people don't grasp this and don't reapply and because the initial applications aren't taken very seriously, which is a huge waste of everyone's effort. Also--at least in Illinois, where a family member is dealing with this--the level of corruption and sort of willful incompetence in the SSI bureaucracy is very high. (As in, "what are you talking about, we never received an application from you...oh, wait, you got letters from us about your application? Well, that's crazy, we still have no record that you sent us anything. You'll have to start all over again.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:49 PM
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24: What's the joke in that. The vast majority of people are perfectly happy to ignore the homeless.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:51 PM
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As far as I know, the only reason that the homeless are a potent political issue is that they're too hard to ignore. (See: San Francisco)


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 12:53 PM
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30: I suppose that "Don't joke" was the wrong phrase. Maybe "you're not even kidding" would have worked better.

I'm sure that we'll find a way to ignore them until someone somewhere does something violent, and then there will be a huge commission. The commission will publish a report talking about how important it is to screen people once they're discharged, but nobody will get any more treatment.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 1:00 PM
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32 is optimistic. We already have a screening system, which tucks the scarier mentally ill folks safely away in prison where the rest of us don't have to worry about them.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 1:03 PM
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BG and NPH make great points.

"Ignore or inprison!" is the true model of treatment for the mentally ill.

Just take a look at the Va Tech Shooting report. Bunch of garbage.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 1:16 PM
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I think 10 is incorrect. SSI is not my primary area of expertise, but I am handling quite a few of those cases at the moment. What you have to do to get SSI is not be hospitalized, but show that you have medical problems that render you unable to work, supported by medical records.

As I recall, Gary has not only severe depression (and anxiety?), but a good deal of trouble getting around and a number of other physical health problems. All these things added together would likely add up to eligibility, I think. I've seen people get approved with less.

Also, age is a factor. Gary, I can't remember how old you are, but if you are over 55 or at least close, that has an effect on whether you are considered disabled (see "the grid" here.

And yeah, unless you very clearly meet an unambiguous listing (e.g. if you have an arm and a leg amputated, you automatically qualify), you pretty much get denied the first time. And the second.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 1:19 PM
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34: The hell of it is that, while we could and should do much better than we do, I seriously doubt that either the resources or the psychological expertise exist for anything close to a complete solution.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 1:30 PM
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36:

Mental illness isnt getting "cured" any time soon. But a slight improvement can cause a tremendous difference.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 1:32 PM
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BG, I'm not joking.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 1:33 PM
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37: Absolutely, and there are a lot of cases out there that are pretty close to fixable. But there are also cases where, e.g., the treatment resources and family support are all there and things still go very badly, and there doesn't seem to be much way of predicting which cases those are going to be. If that's true, it seems to me that you're pretty much guaranteed a steady stream of bad outcomes and a fair bit of political pressure for locking up mentally ill people who have done bad things or look like they might.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 1:42 PM
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39: Also in there somewhere should be the idea that ample resources and family support aren't there for most mentally ill people, and it's unlikely that mental illness would turn out to be the one area in American life where public policy is capable of producing outcomes that don't get progressively worse as you move down the socioeconomic ladder.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 1:44 PM
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39:

I view this issue like I view the tax v. bond issue.

Taxes are always hard to pass. Bonds are frequently easier to pass, despite mostly being a tax on a future time.

For every dollar spent on mental health early in the process, your return is tremendous. Much more economic sense than incarcerating later. Rather, if you avoid three incarcerations, you have paid for your program.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 1:45 PM
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41: Some time I'd like to go digging for studies on that question, because there's so much anecdata floating around from people who've maybe dealt with one situation or one sort of situation enough to feel like they know something but still don't have much sense of what the whole picture looks like (I'm very much in that category). I believe (assume?) that there's a non-trivial class of people out there who need institutional care, and I assume that prison is the cheapest way of delivering that, but I have no idea how big that class is in relation to the class of people who could function on their own with a reasonable level of outpatient care.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 1:56 PM
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I assume that prison is the cheapest way of delivering that

This seems unlikely.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:01 PM
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It doesn't relate to mental illness, but here is an old Mark Kleiman post, with citation, about the benefits of visting nurse programs.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:05 PM
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I assume that prison is the cheapest way of delivering that,

I'm pretty sure no. Security is expensive, and the degree of security necessary for a prison is way more than is necessary for a mental hospital.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:06 PM
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43, 45: Maybe, but mental hospitals also require security, plus psychiatrists, nurses, pharmacists, etc., and it's hard to get away with quite the same level of "warehouse and forget" as, say, a minimum security prison.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:12 PM
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Also, the main way a prison would seem potentially cheaper would be: not actually providing treatment. Which would be less "delivering institutional care" than "warebousing".

And of course, how long you need to be institutionalized depends. A good rehab facility might cost more per day than jail--I don't know one way or the other--but ideally you'd spend less time there than you would in jail for a Rockefeller-mandatory-minimum sentence. The # of people who need to be institutionalized permanently is a lot smaller than the # of people who ever needs to be hospitalized for a shorter period.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:13 PM
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Often forgotten, these are people, not animals to be warehoused.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:13 PM
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42: While I doubt that the prison system is the most efficient way of dealing with mental illness (just because early treatment is usually more cost effective), that's not even half the worry with returning veterans who develop mental illness. One can wreak a lot of damage without being committable: alcohol abuse, spousal abuse, general inability to keep steady work.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:14 PM
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One can wreak a lot of damage without being committable: alcohol abuse, spousal abuse, general inability to keep steady work.

Cala is correct.

In addition, the way to get attention to these problems isnt to focus on them having a miserable life, or hitting women or drinking too much.

The true way to make everyone focus on this issue as a pressing issue is to talk about the drain on the economy! These guys should be working hard and helping our economy.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:16 PM
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47: Right, and untreated mentally ill prisoners tend to spend a very long time in prison, because they have trouble following prison rules. Whatever means of getting out early for good behavior apply in the given state tend not to be things they can manage.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:17 PM
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48: that was my point.

I've had relatives in inpatient mental health treatment. Not fun, but thank god for being upper middle class...."Not cost effective" is not actually my primary complaint about stories like this.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:21 PM
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Texas prisons are famously cheap and claim to run at about $50 per prisoner-day, max. Of course a lot could be said about penny wise, pound foolish here, but in terms of warehousing large amounts of people against their will, they've shown how it can be done within the boundaries of constitutional rights. (more or less.)


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:21 PM
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47, 48: Umm, yeah, I'm not suggesting that warehousing the mentally ill is a good thing, just that it's a thing that we currently do. Apologies if that wasn't clear.

But it's also true that some cases of mental illness are just genuinely extremely hard to deal with. I don't know what the percentage is, so I don't know where those cases ought to fit in thinking about policy, but part of the reason that things are as bad as they are is that mental illness can be really, really hard to work with.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:22 PM
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Katherine:

yes, you beat me to it.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:23 PM
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35 makes an important point. I forgot about the gout and other physical ailments. It's really hard to get disability for an emotional issue alone without having had a recent hospitalization, but with other "medical" conditions it shouldn't be too bad.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:25 PM
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54: I didn't assume you thought it was okay, it was just sort of generalized euphemism patrol.

As with a lot of things: I think there are hard cases that any human system is bound to screw up, but I think our current system isn't only making understandable screw-ups on hard cases.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:35 PM
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Will, the solutions proferred during the coverage of the VA Tech shootings really bothered me. More gun control! Better screening of people who seem dangerous! (I've got serious civil-liberties based concerns about the second one. Statistically speaking that sort of thing is rare.

What really makes em nervous is when policy makers (including some well-meaning liberals) talk about how important it is to share information between authorities. People won't voluntarily seek mental health treatment if they don't think that --barring some specifically expressed intent to harm another--their information will remain confidential.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:40 PM
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57: Yeah, our current system is pretty horrible. There's no shortage of low-hanging fruit. I'm thinking more about where you are after you pick the low-hanging fruit, just because that's where some of my personal experience lies, but the existence of hard stuff is no excuse for not doing the easy stuff.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:44 PM
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What really makes em nervous is when policy makers (including some well-meaning liberals) talk about how important it is to share information between authorities. People won't voluntarily seek mental health treatment if they don't think that --barring some specifically expressed intent to harm another--their information will remain confidential.

It's really, really hard to explain why professional standards required you to ignore all the warning signs and let a bunch of people get killed, to put the argument in the terms that it will get put when something bad happens. It would be nice to leave in a world where weird outliers like VA Tech and Columbine didn't drive policy thinking, but we don't.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:49 PM
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60: The question is whether you believe someone tipping off Teh Authorities about Cho seeking counseling would actually have prevented VA Tech, and whether you think it would lead to lots of otherwise just dandy people avoiding treatment for being in the system, or otherwise just dandy people being harassed or finding themselves on no-fly lists.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:53 PM
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53: if `warehousing within constitutional limits' is the best we are willing or able to do for mentally ill people, might as well scrap the country and start again; It isn't going anywhere worth being.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:56 PM
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I don't think anyone's disagreeing with you here, soup.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:58 PM
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61: But Teh Authorities were aware of Cho. I'm inclined to think both that they could and should have better systems in place to follow up on treatment recommendations and that in his particular case that might not have done any good. Which means that for me VA Tech is tentatively filed under "Horrible Shit that Happens Sometimes."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 2:59 PM
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61, et al.: I am not a shrink, nor did I follow the VA Tech stories closely enough to know the details of Cho's psychological history. But aren't the standards of confidentiality such that, if his therapist credibly believe he was likley to cause grave harm to another, the therapist would have at least a right if not a duty to break confidentiality -- have him involuntarily committed or something. It seems like the general stigma of mental health treatment deters far more people than a fear that confidentiality will be breached. (Except in certain hip sectors where anyone who's anyone has a therapist... )


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:03 PM
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(answered mostly by 64)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:04 PM
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65: Details vary from state to state, but I think that's generally accurate, and certainly the advice that, say, a university counseling center is going to get is that you'd rather defend a breach of confidentiality claim than a wrongful death claim.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:07 PM
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BG, and others:

The part that really impacted the gun control and mental health question is the veterans. The worry of the gun toters is that every veteran treated for depression or seen by a therapist is going to lose the right to carry a gun.

Gun toters are VERY concerned that anything and everything is going to be used to take away their guns.

Go to marriage counseling = lose your right to a gun!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:18 PM
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68: This is one of those things that makes me suspect that the country would be an objectively better place if every single member of the gun lobby was walked out to a field and shot (in a humane way, of course, none of this staking out in the hot sun stuff).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:22 PM
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That makes sense, Will, and I'm totally sympathetic to their point. I think that existing confidentiality rules are adequate. The Chos of this world are pretty rare. Preventing everyone who's ever seen a mental health professional from ever owning a gun seems a lot worse, because it keeps people from much-needed treatment. That's why I oppose the liberal argument which I heard advanced by Jack Beatty on NPR.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:24 PM
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"Also, age is a factor. Gary, I can't remember how old you are,"

Turned 49 on November 5th.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:34 PM
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Oh. Too young. Now, if you were 55 or over, you'd be a shoo-in. But that's not to say you can't still win.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:36 PM
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Go to marriage counseling = lose your right to a gun!

That would be so unfair!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:41 PM
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Yeah, the counseling might not work.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:43 PM
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This is where I surrender my liberal card. I have often thought I would like to take up target shooting. Not hunting, because fluffy animals and Bambi etc. But I'd love to learn how to aim at a bullseye.

But I suppose the marriage counseling disqualifies me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:47 PM
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Probably not. At worst you might have to move to Alabama or something.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:51 PM
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75: In Alabama the marriage counselor gave us the "I have to notify..." speech. Us gun-nuts know slippery slopes when we're sliding down them.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:53 PM
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Not hunting, because fluffy animals and Bambi etc.

Easy solution: hunt only ugly, unsympathetic animals. Fleur went hunting snapping turtles with me once and we had a hell of time.

Also: them's good eatin'.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:55 PM
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Liberal are allowed to own gun, to hunt, and to target shoot. They can even oppose gun control.

Second Amendment types are often the very people who shouldn't have guns. Second Amendment arguments bring out the loonies.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:55 PM
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Liberal are allowed to own gun, to hunt, and to target shoot.

I doff my hat to you, sir. It's not everyone who can bait Stras and Ben simultaneously.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 3:59 PM
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78: Aw, Knecht! I love turtles. You big brute.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:00 PM
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Di, come take my gun class!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:09 PM
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Preventing everyone who's ever seen a mental health professional from ever owning a gun seems a lot worse, because it keeps people from much-needed treatment.

I agree, BG

The point should be to encourage treatment.

10 years ago, my ex refused to see a therapist for depression bc it would be admitting that she was crazy. Fortunately, depression and other mental illness isnt thought of so poorly now.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:11 PM
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One other thing, with my daughter, it is relatively easy to explain to people that her brain works differently from other people's brains.


Once it starts perseverating on something, it cannot stop. Just like a mouse on a wheel. People can get their brains around that concept.

Unfortunately, it is more difficult for people to grasp more nuanced mental illness.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:13 PM
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Fortunately, depression and other mental illness isnt thought of so poorly now.

You think so? I see some positive signs, maybe, of acceptance of depression (surely unconnected to pharmaceutical marketing) and not much for anything else, but I'm not at all sure of my own impressions.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:14 PM
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78: Aw, I *like* snapping turtles. When I was a kid we would catch them and then carry them around in a bucket for a while, until we got bored and let them go back in the pond.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:17 PM
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them's good eatin'.

Tastier than cooters, certainly.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:21 PM
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87: Pardon?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:22 PM
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Doubt that those were snappers. Snappers are a couple feet long.

I saw a soft-shell turtle around here for the first time last summer. They're a very strange looking creature.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:23 PM
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Cooters. They are not recommended for eating.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:24 PM
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Not Prince Hamlet:

I just meant that it is much more accepted to be depressed or to be taking zoloft, paxil, prozac, etc.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:25 PM
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89: Exceptionally weird soft-shelled turtles.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:26 PM
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I believe "Wry Cooter" is still available as a pseudonym.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:26 PM
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85: I'd add the various flavors of autism and seizure disorders but not for the psychotics of the walking around babbling kind. Some of those are indeed scary and they all seem fairly unpredictable.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:26 PM
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91: Comity.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:27 PM
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89: The secret of longevity that it offers is to sit in one place, preferably under a layer of sand, and do nothing. "It's a very boring lifestyle, really," Mr. Emmett said.

Habitat, schmabitat. That turtle needs a blog.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:34 PM
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92: Those are super freaky. Mud flap turtles

Are cooters (ahem) the same as painters? Turtle taxonomy in suburban NJ consisted of boxer, painter, and snapper. Boxers were orange and black and cruised around on land. Painters were bigger and darker and hung out in the water. Snappers were much bigger -- and yeah we really would carry their giant selves around in buckets. They didn't fit and were pissed.

I entered a turtle in a race once and named him Secre-turtle-it: a name I must have heard somewhere because it was too clever for my 8 year old self, I am sure.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:34 PM
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The worry of the gun toters is that every veteran treated for depression or seen by a therapist is going to lose the right to carry a gun.

Gun toters are VERY concerned that anything and everything is going to be used to take away their guns.

Go to marriage counseling = lose your right to a gun!

Hm. Anecdotally, at least, you can lose your security clearance for that sort of thing. It seems reasonable that if The Nation Can't Afford to Take That Risk, then, well, the nation can't afford to take that risk.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:51 PM
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98: This latter would make a lot more sense to me if I hadn't met a number of people with disturbingly high clearance. Not reassuring, in some cases....


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 4:59 PM
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Well, again, anecdotally, one of the problems is that people who need it don't get help because they're afraid of losing their clearances. But I have no idea if that's a real threat, or if it's just popularly believed to be a threat.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 5:01 PM
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with clearances, my understanding was if you checked yes on the "have you ever been treated for a mental illness" box of the form, you'd need letters from doctors stating that their confidence that you had received/were receiving whatever treatment was necessary, were stable & able to fulfill the position & not risk national security, etc. etc. Also, stuff like bereavement counseling didn't count. I don't remember where I'm getting this from though, & I might be confusing the security clearance forms with the bar character & fitness forms.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 5:07 PM
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you can lose a security clearance for a lot of things; i can't tell if 98 is suggesting that using these things to determine eligibility to own firearms (or anything else, for that matter) is reasonable or not.

i hope not.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 5:07 PM
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102: Why not? Keep in mind that I think the second amendment should be repealed, but if the gubmint thinks you're a security risk to them if you've X, Y, or Z, then why the hell don't they think you're a security risk to we the people? At the very least it's inconsistent as hell.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 5:11 PM
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to expand, the concern with the security clearance is "does this activity make you more likely to spill secrets". the most common reason people spill secrets is for money, next is blackmail. the first is why owing a lot of money or having a gambling problem is bad for a clearance, the second is why being closeted and gay is much worse than being openly gay, and probably why they frown on people who have a history of treatment for mental illness.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 5:12 PM
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103: I don't think having smoked pot too often or too recently ought to disqualify you from gun ownership. Then again, I was a little skeptical about having to do the security clearance paperwork for every damn unpaid intern who works for the immigration courts. I had to make several phone calls to Starbucks last year asking about their former baristas' loyalty to the United States government.

Seriously, though, annoying hoops aside, the threshhold for a security clearance is higher than "not a danger to yourself or others".


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 5:17 PM
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it's not inconsistent, it's just different. now if you want to say seeking treatment for mental illness should mean that you should be kicked off the police force or forbidden from having a commercial driver's license, that'd be consistent with not being allowed to own a gun.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 5:17 PM
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and really, the concern that seeking treatment for mental health issues will be used against you in other aspects of your life is surely recognized as a valid concern and a serious problem in other areas such as custody battles or employment law issues. is the chance to piss off gun control opponents and maybe get a tiny reduction in violent crime really worth causing a bunch of people to not get the help that they need out of fear of losing something they consider important just because you don't think it's important?

feh.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 5:30 PM
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is the chance to piss off gun control opponents and maybe get a tiny reduction in violent crime really worth causing a bunch of people to not get the help that they need out of fear of losing something they consider important just because you don't think it's important?

If by "just because you don't think it's important" you mean "just because you don't think mentally ill people should be trusted with guns", then I guess it's a questions of which risks are the most significant.

But I agree with you.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 5:36 PM
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probably why they frown on people who have a history of treatment for mental illness.

Mental health is a health issue; yes, I know that the issue is "zomgyoucouldbeblackmailed!" but that's ridiculous; the only reason mental health issues make you blackmailable is that mental health issues are considered a security risk. Surely--and I say this as a crazy person myself, mind you--mental health problems *do* make you a bad risk for owning a gun, however.

is the chance to piss off gun control opponents and maybe get a tiny reduction in violent crime really worth causing a bunch of people to not get the help that they need out of fear of losing something they consider important just because you don't think it's important?

What about the chance to prevent suicides? Or murdering one's partner? I realize that in practice, just like with security clearances, you'll have people who avoid treatment in order to keep their privileges; but you know, if that's good enough for the government...

the threshhold for a security clearance is higher than "not a danger to yourself or others".

Sure, and the threshold for a gun ought to be at least "not a danger to yourself or others" but right now it isn't.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 5:43 PM
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"Keep in mind that I think the second amendment should be repealed"

maybe because you've been misled about what it means?
i mean, i'm all for having a variety of federal and state regulations regarding gun-ownership. treating it roughly as we treat car ownership. but none of that is barred by the second amendment.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 6:12 PM
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110: Mainly because I'm sick of arguments about what it does or doesn't allow, and because I just don't think that individual gun ownership ought to be a constitutional right in the 21st century US.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 6:23 PM
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agreed. any amendment that causes arguments should be repealed.
in fact, we should pass an amendment to that effect.
the just shut the fuck up amendment.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 6:25 PM
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Yes, that's exactly where I was going with that comment.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 6:28 PM
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Mental health is a health issue; yes, I know that the issue is "zomgyoucouldbeblackmailed!" but that's ridiculous; the only reason mental health issues make you blackmailable is that mental health issues are considered a security risk. Surely--and I say this as a crazy person myself, mind you--mental health problems *do* make you a bad risk for owning a gun, however.

wasn't there a lot of commentary just a bit upscreen about how while there's a bit more acceptance about some forms of depression, people with mental illnesses are still looked down upon by society at large? seems like it's not entirely implausible that this could be blackmailable.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 6:35 PM
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Playing devil's advocate for a moment - why should my mental illness make me a worse candidate for gun ownership than anyone else?


Posted by: King-Walters | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 6:55 PM
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115: This is a gross generalization, but poor judgment is characteristic of at least some kinds of mental illness. Gun ownership raises the stakes for possible judgment errors, and it makes a certain amount of sense to restrict gun ownership to people whose judgment there is no reason to believe is materially impaired. Now, obviously 'mental illness' isn't one thing, but there seem to be types of mental illness where allowing gun ownership would raise the risk that the owner would make a mistake about when self-defense is appropriate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:01 PM
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this is also why there are already sensible mental-health restrictions in place on who is allowed to play devil's advocate.
some people just shouldn't be allowed.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:02 PM
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116: similarly car ownership, the ability to buy lighters, matches or alcohol, the ability to be around children, the ability to decide whether and what medication to take, access to common kitchen equipment, acess to lumber, access to over-the-counter medication, access to chemicals of any kind. Might as well lock those loons up and throw away the key.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:03 PM
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Oh, come on, Tweety. I'm not talking about everyone with anything that could be described as a mental illness, but, say, for someone with delusions that people are planning to attack or injure him? Gun ownership seems to add an unnecessary risk to the situation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:05 PM
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Yeah, I have to agree with 118. Just because gun owners and gun hysterics alike fetishize guns as the only way a person can truly be deadly is no reason to actually treat them that way.

Of course, this depends on what one means by "guns". But basically, I think that any gun or other weapon that a mentally ill person should be forbidden from having is a gun that everyone else should be forbidden from having too.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:05 PM
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lumber. yes.
underappreciated source of existential dangers.
remember: the unabomber's first bomb was disguised *as a 2x4*!
now do you see the pattern?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:06 PM
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It's not even poor judgement; I've been suicidally depressed. My judgment, as such, was fine, but my mood wasn't. As a friend of mine with chronic depression says, he doesn't keep codeine in the house for the same reason he doesn't keep a gun. That's good judgment, but it's demonstrative of how one of the most common mental illnesses is often life-threatening, and having guns around makes it a lot more so.

118: No; none of those things are clearly linked, I don't think, to suicide. And all of them have practical applications that handguns don't.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:07 PM
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119, is the law that nuanced?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:08 PM
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Just because gun owners and gun hysterics alike fetishize guns as the only way a person can truly be deadly is no reason to actually treat them that way.

How about the fact that guns *are* far more deadly than kitchen implements or lighter fluid or 2x4s?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:09 PM
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Some guns are.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:11 PM
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Huh. You know, I wasn't even worrying about suicide.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:11 PM
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i'm all for having a variety of federal and state regulations regarding gun-ownership. treating it roughly as we treat car ownership. but none of that is barred by the second amendment.

I think this is a genuinely sketchy area to get into. Imagine applying car ownership type restrictions to the 1st amendment. Licensing and fees to be a journalist, or write a blog, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:12 PM
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125: What are you thinking of as 'non-deadly' guns?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:12 PM
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118--
but, look; there *are* mental health restrictions on drivers licenses. you can get it pulled for being a wacko (plus some paperwork etc.)


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:12 PM
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125: Check the stats on gun deaths for all types of gun vs., oh, say, deaths by lighter fluid or 2X4, then get back to me.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:12 PM
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Did you know you're not allowed to hire an English professor until a full seven days after you interview them at MLA? There's a longer cooling-off period for Romanticists than gun purchases.

Wotta contry!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:14 PM
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127: Again, blogging and journalism? Not a major cause of death.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:14 PM
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The pen is apparently more tightly regulated than the sword.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:15 PM
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What are you thinking of as 'non-deadly' guns?

I think of these.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:17 PM
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Again, blogging and journalism? Not a major cause of death.

And how many journalists actively helped push the case for Iraq? How many of them have we jailed? Banned from being journalists?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:17 PM
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131: That's priceless.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:18 PM
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131--
that must be especially galling for those romanticists.
i mean, the augustinians are all about stately deliberation and moderation.
but the byron scholars having to wait a week? i bet they sneak off and sign employment contracts under the bushes.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:19 PM
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Also, a href="http://www.apostropher.com/blog/archives/002478.html">this guy's gun.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:19 PM
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135: Sophistical, much? Fine. Deaths of Americans.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:19 PM
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82: Will, where's your gun class?

130: I'll concede lighter fluid and 2x4s. How about cars?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:19 PM
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Also, this guy's gun.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:20 PM
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135--
"how many journalists actively helped push the case for Iraq? How many of them have we jailed? Banned from being journalists?"
i dunno, swift--you're making it sound awfully attractive.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:20 PM
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140: Ownership of cars is not a constitutional right.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:20 PM
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128: "If you shoot me with .25 ACP, and I find out about it, I'm gonna kick your ass."


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:21 PM
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Ownership of cars is not a constitutional right.

Unless you shop here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:23 PM
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135: Sophistical, much?

Quit pretending there's not genuine civil liberties concerns with letting local authorities make their own interpretations of the Bill of Rights.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:24 PM
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146: There's a real problem with a literal interpretation of the Second Amendment as barring the regulation of the ownership of 'arms', in that it's not restricted to guns. If you can't regulate 'arms', you can't regulate shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, and that's not going to happen. So we can regulate 'arms' to some regard, we're just arguing about how much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:27 PM
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143: Clearly we need an amendment establishing the right to own lighter fluid and 2x4s!

Don't get me wrong, I'm for registering guns and requiring a license to buy and use them. It's insane that guns aren't regulated as closely as cars.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:27 PM
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146: But what I'm saying is that I think the 2nd amendment oughta be repealed; then it won't *be* in the bill of rights.

Basically I see no meaningful benefit from the 2nd amendment, and a great deal of damage. All the other things in the bill of rights it seems to me are clearly beneficial.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:28 PM
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How depressed are we talking here? Do you really want it to be standard practice for the FBI to have access to your confidential medical files on the off chance you decide to buy a gun (or fly on a plane, or whatever) to off yourself? This is a pretty big automatic privacy invasion to be tossing around for someone not inclined to think that the person isn't a danger to others.

What if the person already owns a gun? I mean, we'd need to know the number of people who expressed suicidal ideation, then went to the store, bought a gun, and killed themselves to know whether we're even chasing the right target.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:28 PM
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I've been thinking about it, and I'm reasonably certain I could kill a shut-in with a caulk gun. So I may need 134 redacted.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:28 PM
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150: Practically speaking of course it's not workable. But again, there's a meaningful difference between the number of gun suicides/crazy people murders and the number of suicide-by-flying-a-plane.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:29 PM
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There's a real problem with a literal interpretation of the Second Amendment as barring the regulation of the ownership of 'arms', in that it's not restricted to guns. If you can't regulate 'arms', you can't regulate shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles

That's a fringe position even among a lot of gun nuts. Generally the idea is that arms refers to the kind of standard issue stuff a regular member of the infantry would have. That is, a rifle and a handgun.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:30 PM
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150: Practically speaking of course it's not workable. But again, there's a meaningful difference between the number of gun suicides/crazy people murders and the number of suicide-by-flying-a-plane.

if practically speaking it's not workable, yet is being suggested, and is causing real problems in getting people mental health care, then i'd say that's a big problem, and not a problem with gun nuts.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:32 PM
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147: I do believe that citizens ought to have the right to have enough guns to overthrow the government should it become necessary, so I have some reservations about even the 1934 Firearms Act.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:33 PM
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153--
what's this rifle stuff? original intent demands smooth-bore black powder.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:33 PM
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Huh? It isn't being suggested, and it's not causing problems getting people mental health care. All I said was that I, personally, think the 2nd amendment should be repealed (though I acknowledge that's never going to happen), and then we got a bunch of nonsense responses about banning 2x4s and licensing bloggers.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:34 PM
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I do believe that citizens ought to have the right to have enough guns to overthrow the government should it become necessary.

A meaningless statement. Fantasy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:34 PM
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Generally the idea is that arms refers to the kind of standard issue stuff a regular member of the infantry would have. That is, a rifle and a handgun.

That distinction is nowhere in the text of the amendment. What about a machine gun? It's an infantry weapon. You're reading the amendment in a way that seems to you to avoid absurd results, but as a method of constitutional interpretation, that one comes down to 'whose concept of absurd is a better one?' (I'm not saying that's a bad method of constitutional interpretation. I'm just saying that if that's the method you're using, I like my concept of what's an absurd result, which allows regulation of the sale of guns to mentally ill people.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:35 PM
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158 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:35 PM
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I want the right to bear mustard gas!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:37 PM
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157: from 68: The part that really impacted the gun control and mental health question is the veterans. The worry of the gun toters is that every veteran treated for depression or seen by a therapist is going to lose the right to carry a gun.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:37 PM
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152: You're missing the point. Once the data's out there, people can use it however they want. That's why it really shouldn't be the FBI's business.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:37 PM
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156: smooth-bore black powder.

This is actually a serious point. If your argument is going to be "The Second Amendment is meant to allow the sort of weapons the drafters of the Constitution thought an infantryman would be carrying", then we're talking about something much less accurate, and with a lower rate of fire, than a modern gun. Unregulated ownership of unrifled black-powder muskets isn't something I'd worry about much.

(Conversely, if we're about 'weapons that would allow a meaningful resistance to government tyrrany', we're back to machine guns and MANPADs.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:38 PM
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Huh? It isn't being suggested, and it's not causing problems getting people mental health care.

I can guarantee you if you tell the average, non-crazy gun owner that he could get treated for his depression, but it would mean the FBI could confiscate his guns and that he wouldn't be able to hunt any more, most wouldn't seek treatment.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:39 PM
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158, 160. Oh, right, I forgot. America is exceptional, and will never be ruled by tyrants, and her people will never grow so frustrated as to be driven to violent revolution.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:40 PM
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(Conversely, if we're about 'weapons that would allow a meaningful resistance to government tyrrany', we're back to machine guns and MANPADs.)

The Iraqi resistance or whatever you want to call them seem to be doing fine with assault rifles and IEDs.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:40 PM
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165: Of course; I've already conceded that.
163: Which data are we talking about here? People's mental health issues, or their gun ownership? The former of course should be private; the latter, I don't think so.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:41 PM
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166: My argument would be that my ownership of a handgun isn't gonna make a damn bit of difference against a modern army.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:42 PM
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The "people" can't perpetrate a violent revolution, Ham-Love. Our standing military can. In colonial days the people were the military, as there was no standing military.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:43 PM
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America is exceptional, and will never be ruled by tyrants

No, more like no citizen militia on God's green earth could possibly outgun the United States military, even if we gave them a 500 year start.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:43 PM
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I don't want a gun, but I totally want an RPG launcher.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:43 PM
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164: (Conversely, if we're about 'weapons that would allow a meaningful resistance to government tyrrany', we're back to machine guns and MANPADs.)

Not necessarily. With some portion of the US armed forces unwilling to turn weapons on the citizenry, either joining the revolution or abstaining, it's possible for citizens armed with semi-automatic* rifles to make a difference.

* If you don't know how many shots come out of a semi-automatic rifle when you hold down the trigger, please don't reply to this comment.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:43 PM
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Also what 167 said.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:44 PM
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167: They're doing most of the damage with IEDs, which are, again, not the sort of thing that anything but the fringiest of the fringe think should be unregulated. If you want to argue that the Second Amendment requires the removal of regulations on automatic weapons and explosive devices, go crazy, but you're not going to have a lot of company out there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:44 PM
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With some portion of the US armed forces unwilling to turn weapons on the citizenry, either joining the revolution or abstaining, it's possible for citizens armed with semi-automatic* rifles to make a difference.

Okay, you agree that the participation of the armed forces would be necessary for a revolution to make a difference.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:44 PM
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No, more like no citizen militia on God's green earth could possibly outgun the United States military, even if we gave them a 500 year start.

again, see Iraq. the US military doesn't seem to be getting a whole hell of a lot done there, and that's even with being willing to machinegun people more or less at random. i think things would have to deteriorate pretty far in the US for the US army to do that to Americans.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:45 PM
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* If you don't know how many shots come out of a semi-automatic rifle when you hold down the trigger, please don't reply to this comment.

Aren't we snide.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:46 PM
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You're reading the amendment in a way that seems to you to avoid absurd results, but as a method of constitutional interpretation, that one comes down to 'whose concept of absurd is a better one?'

I'm genuinely looking at what would constitute a typical issue to your rank and file infantry. Again, that's a rifle and a handgun. Your average infantry gets firearms, not an anti aircraft missile, or mustard gas, or a nuclear tipped ICBM.

And of course, the amendment is vague, and there's some room for interpretation. As things now stand, actual machine guns illegal is many states, and the federal procedure to own one is pretty intensive. Also, background checks are federal law, and if you gun into the shop to buy a firearm, they call the FBI on the spot and check you out before you can complete the purchase.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:46 PM
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Also what 167 said.

Yeah, but it was the United States military that deposed the Hussein government, not the guys with guns and IEDs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:46 PM
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The "defense against government tyranny!" argument drives me batshit insane. I wish that the pro-gun folks would just *admit* that it's really about people's desire to hunt and/or target shoot, and then we could have an actual intelligent conversation about balancing those concerns with the public safety issues. As is, you bring up public safety and suddenly people start arguing that, well, you could *theoretically* kill yourself or someone else by giving them paper cuts! And plus black helicopters!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:46 PM
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. i think things would have to deteriorate pretty far in the US for the US army to do that to Americans.

Americans who were shooting at them? I think things would have to get very bad for the US military to attack US civilians at all. But if they were, such that civilian ownership of guns were useful in defense against the military, I can't imagine why the military would be fighting halfheartedly enough to make a bunch of civilians with handguns a threat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:48 PM
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They're doing most of the damage with IEDs, which are, again, not the sort of thing that anything but the fringiest of the fringe think should be unregulated. If you want to argue that the Second Amendment requires the removal of regulations on automatic weapons and explosive devices, go crazy, but you're not going to have a lot of company out there.

hmm? there's an awful lot of shooting collaborators going on, and i'd say that the inability of the US military to provide protection against that is doing much more damage to the cause than occasionally having a soldier being blown up.

it's also hard to prevent the construction of IEDs in an advanced society; mining and farming both provide pretty much everything you need.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:48 PM
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168: The latter won't be private if suicidal ideation is a reason to release one's mental health records to the FBI to prevent the sale of a fire arm to that person.

And that's a lot of people, like, most college students.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:48 PM
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What, like Kent State? It doesn't have to deteriorate that far.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:50 PM
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I'm just sayin'.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:50 PM
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184: Sure it would. You don't apply for a firearm license; the only reason to look into your mental health record is if you do. Just like now with security clearances.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:50 PM
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179: I'm genuinely looking at what would constitute a typical issue to your rank and file infantry.

But that's not in the amendment. The weapons you want to be unregulated are wildly different from the weapons an eighteenth century infantryman would have carried; you think that some should be unregulated, and some other infantry weapons shouldn't. You don't have a legal argument for the distinctions you're making, it's a 'what seems reasonable' argument.

At which point we're not arguing about Constitutional principles, we're arguing about what's reasonable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:51 PM
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187: And you wouldn't have to open up your whole medical records, just flag your name.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:52 PM
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The "defense against government tyranny!" argument drives me batshit insane. I wish that the pro-gun folks would just *admit* that it's really about people's desire to hunt and/or target shoot

Or maybe people see how cops went door to door confiscating guns in New Orleans during Katrina, and then shot people who tried to ignore their barricade of the bridges. That's the kind of thing that makes people leery of "only cops should have guns".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:52 PM
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185: wasn't kent state like four people in a large demonstration, which are generally known for being touchy situations (the demonstrations)? i think that many iraqis get shot for doing things that might be considered dangerous like "driving toward a checkpoint without stopping when some guy shines a spotlight in their face" every day. i think there's a qualitative difference.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:52 PM
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190: Right, and people would have been *much* better off if they'd returned police fire.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:53 PM
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The "defense against government tyranny!" argument drives me batshit insane. I wish that the pro-gun folks would just *admit* that it's really about people's desire to hunt and/or target shoot, and then we could have an actual intelligent conversation about balancing those concerns with the public safety issues.

You have no fucking idea how badly I want to stab this statement through the heart with two completely antithetical abortion-debate analogies.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:54 PM
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187: Forgive me for being paranoid, but there's a limit to the amount of personal information I want to give out because someone thinks I'm a harm to myself and not others.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:54 PM
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190: The confiscation of guns was stupid and pointless, but do you think the guns would have done anyone in NO any practical good? Are you picturing people successfully shooting their way out past the barricades?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:54 PM
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The "defense against government tyranny!" argument drives me batshit insane. I wish that the pro-gun folks would just *admit* that it's really about people's desire to hunt and/or target shoot, and then we could have an actual intelligent conversation about balancing those concerns with the public safety issues.

Well, the pro-gun folks don't admit that because that would mean that they agree with you that the Second Amendment is ludicrously outdated, and they don't particularly want their favorite law to no longer be part of our beloved Constitution.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:54 PM
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193: Feel free; I'm pretty sure I could take your analogies apart pretty easily. After all, at this point, you're reduced to citing Clash lyrics to support your argument.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:55 PM
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178: Just tired of fellow lefties shooting themselves in the foot* in debates with gun nuts.

* I slay me.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:56 PM
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192 and 195 are silly. The issue is that the police post-Katrina were not enforcing the rule of law, thus producing a situation of anarchy. In a situation of anarchy, unlike the situation in most of the US, guns are in fact useful for self-defense, meaning that the police should not have been taking away people's guns.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:57 PM
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196: I think they don't admit that because, and this really is going to piss people off, they're being intellectually dishonest. I see no practical or realistic argument that personal gun ownership in the modern U.S. is a protection against the government, and I honestly believe that people bring that up as a way of shouting down the public safety concerns associated with private gun ownership.

I get that it is a *fact* that the 2nd amendment exists, and that as such how it's interpreted is a question of interpretation. I don't think that it is at all realistic that getting rid of it would be damaging to The People or the nation, and I have yet to see what I consider a serious argument to the contrary.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:58 PM
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199: Except that nothing [to a first approximation] bad that happened to refugees in Katrina happened because they didn't have guns to protect themselves with. People died from not having clean water, from drowning. People didn't have food, or shelter. But no one was being victimized by roving gangs that guns would have been useful for protecting themselves from.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 7:59 PM
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Anyway, in the fantasy world where the 2nd amendment was repealed and you could actually get most guns out of people's hands, the cops wouldn't need 'em most of the time.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:00 PM
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191: The claim was that American soldiers were unlikely to fire on Americans unless things deteoriated far. It doesn't take much deteoriration. I can't spell.

192: I don't think it's as much about being 'better off' as it is 'not wanting the chance that I'm better off to depend on whether someone else who is armed to be nice.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:00 PM
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203.2: I'm too lazy to look it up, but I'm pretty sure that you are, in fact, much better off not owning a gun than owning one for protection.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:02 PM
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Even in situations like Katrina or Kent State: again, what would have happened if the students or New Orleansians had returned fire?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:03 PM
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204: During Katrina? Even be/lle was wondering why they weren't looting shotguns.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:03 PM
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Anyway, in the fantasy world where the 2nd amendment was repealed and you could actually get most guns out of people's hands, the cops wouldn't need 'em most of the time.

but acting as if that fantasy world can be achieved has very real negative consequences in the real world. haven't we established that bloomberg would probably make a pretty good president, and could probably be elected except that he's really in favor of banning guns and there are a bunch of people who don't want their guns taken away?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:03 PM
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I'm too lazy to look it up, but I'm pretty sure that you are, in fact, much better off not owning a gun than owning one for protection.

At some point, the idea of "quality of life" has to include a person's feeling of security and peace of mind, even if that feeling is illusory.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:04 PM
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206: But Katrina's happened. We know how it turned out. Is there a single story you've heard from Katrina of someone who would have been better off if they'd only had a gun? Because if not, it's not a good example for why the Second Amendment is justified.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:05 PM
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I'm pretty sure that you are, in fact, much better off not owning a gun than owning one for protection.

Depends on what you mean by better off. But I've linked to the NAS study and Gary Kleck's work before on this blog. Not surprisingly, a gun is actually a pretty effective way to defend yourself.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:05 PM
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197: You know what? No. My point is that both gun debate and abortion debate all too often wind up with people on both sides taking what actually *is* a multifaceted issue and reducing it to demonization of the opponent.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:05 PM
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166: First of all, we are ruled by tyrants already, and the majority of the 2nd amendment morons support the tyrants.

Second, Iraq was heavily armed under Saddam. He encouraged the Iraqis to have guns. The liberating effect was nil.

Third, the small-arms resistance movements in recent years have been clowns. Randy Weaver, David Koresh, the Montana militia, et al were all sitting ducks. The first two were hiding behind children, and all of them were hiding behind by public opinion, media PR, and the rule of law. Their so-called weapons were useless. They could just as well have armed themselves with tuning forks and eggbeaters. Once a GPS had spotted them, one guy in an airplane or with a rocket launcher could easily have wiped out.

You're talking about some kind of imaginary tyrant that's willing to sit still for us while we replay the Battle of Bunker Hill or some other video game of that type.

Whatever hope there is comes from splitting the military, but I don't see that either.

I disagree with Bob on this one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:06 PM
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I wasn't arguing that Kent State war protestors should have been armed. But it's a weird idea of 'better off' that begins with 'you're already going to be horribly victimized, do you also want to be dead?'

If we're talking fantasy world with not just a repealed 2nd amendment, let's just whistle for the unicorns to rescue the Katrina victims. Personally, though, if there's anarchy all around, I would like a way to protect myself. The rest of the time, I'll call the cops.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:07 PM
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207: Have we? I haven't seen Bloomberg's name come up in this thread before your comment. And I've conceded repeatedly that in the real world effectively repealing the 2nd amendment is impossible; I'm just saying that I think we should, as a matter of theory, and that I don't think any of the arguments that it's wrong *on principle* are at all convincing.

208: This makes no sense whatsoever. If I "feel" safer wearing a tin foil hat, that doesn't mean that my quality of life is in fact improved by doing so.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:07 PM
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I'm too lazy to look it up, but I'm pretty sure that you are, in fact, much better off not owning a gun than owning one for protection.

usually argued via a trifecta of intellectually dishonest techniques including a) assigning blame for all handgun suicides to the gun, rather than looking at how much having a gun increases the risk of successful suicide, b) assuming that you need to shoot a gun for it to be effective in home defense, and c) assuming that the only crime worth defending against is murder.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:08 PM
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208: This makes no sense whatsoever. If I "feel" safer wearing a tin foil hat, that doesn't mean that my quality of life is in fact improved by doing so.

Yes it does.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:08 PM
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200. And bing, there you are. I'm being intellectually dishonest despite the fact that I'm for licensing and registration of guns, and in fact don't own a gun.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:10 PM
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Okay, before going any further with this, I will state that we probably have different definitions of "quality of life".

If you feel more worried than you used to, even if the thing you're worried about is not important, then all else being equal, your life is worse than it used to be.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:10 PM
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Have we? I haven't seen Bloomberg's name come up in this thread before your comment. And I've conceded repeatedly that in the real world effectively repealing the 2nd amendment is impossible; I'm just saying that I think we should, as a matter of theory, and that I don't think any of the arguments that it's wrong *on principle* are at all convincing.

not on this thread. i'm sure i read it on a thread here during the last 12 months. this thread got to guns by someone claiming that people were resistant to getting mental health care because they thought would lose their right to carry a gun, and that this was the fault of gun nuts, even though they probably will lose said right, and if they won't they certainly should.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:10 PM
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209: A number of reports of people keeping their houses and property intact due to sitting outside with a shotgun, mostly. I think it's likely that some people get across the bridge to Gretna.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:11 PM
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210: Yeah, I remember that. But it's a more effective way to commit suicide or cause an accidental death.'

213: I'm confused, because I think what you're saying is unreasonable, and you usually aren't. I'm not saying that one is already going to be horribly victimized; I'm saying that in the specific instances people have raised of domestic anarchy, owning/using private guns would have made people less, not more safe.

The unicorns thing is a complete non-starter. Are you talking about a hypothetical state of anarchy in which you're protecting yourself from other citizens, or against the military? If the former, if no one (or very few people) had guns (admittedly hypothetical, but this is what I'm arguing), you wouldn't need to protect yourself against people with guns. If the latter, your owning a rifle isn't going to help you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:12 PM
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220: A firefight with the Gretna police? How would that play?

"Animalistic hooligans attack suburban police while looting."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:12 PM
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209: A number of reports of people keeping their houses and property intact due to sitting outside with a shotgun, mostly.

There were stories about people whose houses and property were undamaged by the storm, but destroyed by looting? I hadn't heard them.

I think it's likely that some people get across the bridge to Gretna.

After a gun battle which the Gretna cops lose? This doesn't sound likely to be a net-wellbeing benefit for the refugees.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:13 PM
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I think Cala's dead-on here. Guns are a symptom, not a cause. Sure, I'd love a gun-free America, but we can't have one because of social and racial divisions and fear, xenophobia, ruralism vs. urbanism, commercialism vs. rugged living, and a past that can't decide if it loves Abraham Lincoln or John Brown more. Plus, our health is shitty, our jobs are overseas, the government is spending billions on war that not even they believed in (so it's not like we have a say). It's basically a fake democracy in which your vote functions as an opiate to keep you docile the rest of the time, and no one really feels like they know what's going on next door, next town over, in the capitol, in the media, etc. An entire culture built on lies, suspicion, and fear will fucking arm itself to the teeth. Do I like it? No, but not anymore than I like the fear that inspires armament.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:13 PM
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Ned, Jesus. Couldn't we just talk these people into painting themselves blue to feel safer? This shouldn't be about pacifiers and security blankets.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:13 PM
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Er, 223 to 213.2


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:14 PM
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220: People's perceptions /= reality, necessarily.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:14 PM
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hmm... looking through the archives shows not a huge amount of consensus on bloomberg being a good candidate for president due to certain illiberal values, but much agreement that his opposition to gun control makes him unelectable. i bet most would agree he'd still be a much better president than any republican, but that may be lowering the bar too much.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:14 PM
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Actually, now that I think about it, the way the US is going, descent into anarchy is way more probable, and way more gun-defendable, than open revolutionary warfare.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:15 PM
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217: I didn't say you, personally, were being intellectually dishonest. But I do think that, say, citing the Clash as an actual argument about probable scenarios is heading in that direction, yes.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:16 PM
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Which country in the world has attained freedom from tyranny and the safety of all citizens by the second amendment method of arming everyone? I can name lots of high-crime heavily-armed countries, and lots of heavily-armed countries descending into civil war, and at least two heavily-armed dictatorships, but where is the second amendment utopia?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:16 PM
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Ned, Jesus. Couldn't we just talk these people into painting themselves blue to feel safer? This shouldn't be about pacifiers and security blankets.

Yes, that would be better.

It's annoying, but when a company uses advertising to create a nonexistent problem and then sell you the cure, the people who buy the cure are better off than the people who are convinced that they have the disease and yet can't buy the cure.

I'm convinced that peace of mind helps us avert or delay a lot of illnesses. People who are chronically exposed to noise live shorter lives.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:17 PM
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if no one (or very few people) had guns (admittedly hypothetical, but this is what I'm arguing), you wouldn't need to protect yourself against people with guns

This is pretty absurd. If no one owned guns, yes, you wouldn't need to protect yourself against people with guns. But what about people who are stronger than you? People who have armed themselves in other ways?

You're never going to achieve a complete leveling of force, and you're especially not going to achieve that in a state of anarchy. But it's quite reasonable to want something (i.e., handguns) that equalize force to a degree in that case.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:17 PM
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Which country in the world has attained freedom from tyranny and the safety of all citizens by the second amendment method of arming everyone? I can name lots of high-crime heavily-armed countries, and lots of heavily-armed countries descending into civil war, and at least two heavily-armed dictatorships, but where is the second amendment utopia?

But an armed society is a polite society!


Posted by: ARMED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:18 PM
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If the former, if no one (or very few people) had guns (admittedly hypothetical, but this is what I'm arguing),

next time we start talking about abortion, someone should start arguing about what would be acceptable if we had artificial uteri that could take a child through whatever remained of the gestational period. no relevance to the real world, but think of how awesome it would be if we had those!


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:18 PM
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After a gun battle which the Gretna cops lose?

I think perhaps under those circumstances the gun battle doesn't necessarily happen. The goal of the people was to cross the bridge, not shoot cops. From the perspective of the police, shooting at those people doesn't look like as feasible an idea when it's 10-1 and both sides have shotguns.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:18 PM
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Ned, seriously, are you trying to be funny?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:18 PM
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and gah, you fuckers are going to make me go out and buy a shotgun while i still can so i can defend my house when the big one hits.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:19 PM
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235, there are in fact places where there is such a low risk of being victimized by gun violence that it would be counterproductive to own one yourself.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:19 PM
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Oh, I just read the beginning of this thread. Give your money to Farber, not me. I am wily, healthy, and largely unsuffering from depression. I got a little psycho earlier today when I was told I could only borrow $250 from school, and I have to pay it back by Dec. 22nd, but, just when I was about to lose my mind at the total unhelpfulness of the world, a very nice financial aid counselor helped me schedule another loan plan that should come in on time. It's not hard for me to find help for myself, though I love knowing you guys are so sweet to think of me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:20 PM
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236: Ever heard of a SWAT team? Some of them have helicopters, a lot of them have armored cars. Police love that shit. I'm not saying that there's no possible case in which the NOLA people could have forced the bridge, but it doesn't seem likely to me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:20 PM
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230. Tell you what - I'm going to take my enormous fucking headache over to a friend's and put together a couch from Ikea. You stay here and pretend that I'm escalating this into a massive guns-and-abortion flamewar. Use the pseud "Shamilton-Lovecraft" for my side of the argument.

It'll be fun.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:21 PM
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221: I'm saying that assumption -- that it would have made you less safe -- isn't warranted any more than "and you would have shot him like Jack Bauer" would be. In some cases, it would. In others it wouldn't. Assuming that if you had a gun, you'd be worse off just isn't a good assumption.

And we don't need to imagine widespread anarchy or Iraq. I'm talking about any situation where you can't trust the police to be on your side and you might need to defend yourself or your family before they can or will help you. Shopowners during the L.A. riots. Southern Blacks during the Civil Rights era and the ensuing violence (men patrolled neighborhoods in neighborhood watches.) Katrina. Out in the country against man or beast. (In a city, I'd call the cops as a first option. In the country, it's going to be a longer response time.)

Now, you might end up worse off. Maybe the looter takes your gun and shoots you. Or maybe you keep the Klan off your lawn. This isn't as far-fetched as Tom Clancyish scenarios where the government is falling along with the sky.

And, I should point out, I'm for licensing and training; this isn't an argument for owning RPGs. But the idea that there is no reason a modern American would ever need to defend herself seems only plausible if you live in an area with great police coverage and the police like your type.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:21 PM
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230: But is it "Guns of Brixton"? That's a really good Clash song. I like the Nouvelle Vague version, too. It's sort of purred.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:22 PM
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231. Not that they attained their civil stability via citizen arms, but Switzerland is as close as we get to second amendment utopia.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:23 PM
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it's quite reasonable to want something (i.e., handguns) that equalize force to a degree in that case.

It's not reasonable if that's not actually what happens.

235: Ironically, in both that argument and this one I'd be talking about what is, actually, happening in the real world as we speak, rather than positing hypotheticals about armed revolution.

From the perspective of the police, shooting at those people doesn't look like as feasible an idea when it's 10-1 and both sides have shotguns.

Seriously, GSwift: do you think this is at all a likely scenario? Or do you think that what would happen is just further escalation--we had rumors of citizens shooting at helicopters, so the cops started shooting at citizens. If we had citizens forming armed militias in reality, we'd have the Army rolling in with tanks. I honestly think that is a far likelier scenario than the cops showing restraint when faced with groups of desperate people toting shotguns.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:23 PM
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228: You know, there are three completely separate arguments getting confused here.

1) What does the Second Amendment require, legally? And here there's a pretty broad consensus that it allows some reasonable regulation, so we're just talking about what's reasonable, and where to draw the line of reasonability isn't in the amendment.

2) Are the policy goals behind the Second Amendment (allowing resistance against tyranny?) sensible and well-served by allowing the only lightly regulated ownership of handguns and rifles? And here I've got to say no. If it comes to you shooting it out with the gummint, you've got a handgun and they've got the airforce. The handgun isn't going to help you.

3) Is restricting gun ownership more than it is now (or loosening controls on gun ownership) politically a good idea for the Democrats? And here I'm pretty much with all you gun nuts; crime's low enough that while loosening gun control isn't (IMO) required by the constitution or sensible policy from a civil liberties point of view, it's harmless and popular enough that I don't see much point in fighting over it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:23 PM
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Me and the other white boys are seriously reconsidering guaranteeing the freedom of the vocal free riders here.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:23 PM
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Everything Cala says here makes sense.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:23 PM
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OK, make a list of the safe, peaceful, free countries in the world, and then go through them and pick out the ones which got that way by arming the citizens. Either way: make a list of heavily armed countries and see how peaceful they are, or else make a list of peaceful, free countries and see how many of them are heavily armed.

Switzerland really doesn't count. Militia guns are controlled.

I really feel that I'm responding to road warrior fantasies.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:24 PM
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243: I grew up with RPGs. Sierra put out some really good ones in the early 90's.

(I know this isn't the environment for this joke, but I want to make it every time someone brings this up. I don't ask for your money, people--just your indulgence this week.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:24 PM
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246. I must really be cruising for a banning:

"From the perspective of the rapist, victimizing a lone woman doesn't look like as feasible an idea when she might have a pistol in her purse."

Seriously, Shamilton: do you think this is at all a likely scenario? Or do you think that what would happen is just further escalation?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:27 PM
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I'm not saying that there's no possible case in which the NOLA people could have forced the bridge, but it doesn't seem likely to me.

When you have a natural disaster like that, the police are a small percentage of the population. If they're going to try and cordon off large sections of city, it's going to take all of them, and there's not idle people sitting around to come back them up.

Hard to tell though. Of course it might have gone horribly wrong, but it pretty much played out shitty anyways.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:27 PM
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247: I'd go further. I think we're all largely in agreement on 1) and 3), strawmen aside, and that any amendment as badly written as the second one is going to require some interpretation. I don't see gswift as being originalist or anything here: what's reasonable for a militia? what might that have meant?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:27 PM
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It's not reasonable if that's not actually what happens.

Are you really going to argue that handgun ownership doesn't equalize force to a degree? (That's an entirely separate question from whether, on the whole and considering all cases, the benefits of such movement towards parity are outweighed by the saved accidentally deaths, etc.)

See 243.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:27 PM
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Swizerland was founded as a militia Utopia, but that was centuries ago. It got through WWI by running errands for the Nazis. Everyone there has their militia gun, but these are controlled government guns that are registered and have to be accounted for. They are able to buy hunting rifles, but they can't form private anti-government militias, which is what people are talking about in the States, and people don't have shotguns next to their doors to ward of bad guys.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:28 PM
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250: Come on, it's part of no one's argument here that an armed society is a polite society.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:29 PM
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Assuming that if you had a gun, you'd be worse off just isn't a good assumption. Well, at this point we need to go out and get statistics and real-world anecdotes rather than merely speculating, but I'm honestly pretty sure that the facts are on my side even if *in theory* it's a tossup. The one exception I'd grant you is the Klan scenario, but I don't know that other than that there is *any* evidence that owning a gun in a neighborhood with bad police coverage where the police don't like your type makes you *safer*, and a lot of evidence that it makes you a lot less safe.

245: Yeah, and isn't it the case there that everyone who owns a gun has been trained in its use by the government, and that said ownership is, in fact, thoroughly regulated? Are there a lot of guns being sold by private gun dealers in Switzerland?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:29 PM
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Road warrior fantasies are the essence of America. Seriously, a lot of this is just psychological: having a gun makes people feel like the government doesn't have total control over them, quite apart from the facts of the matter. I'm not sure that's a bad thing. (It might be a bad thing: it might mean that people are willing to be controlled as long as they keep their guns, for example.) Also, when the big one hits, it would be pretty cool to shoot anyone who tried to take my water bottle.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:29 PM
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GSwift, what are the things heavily armed, ad hoc groups do during a breakdown of social order? If they're all nice people, they do nice things, but I think that our premise is that people aren't all nice.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:31 PM
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I am basically a liberal except that I am also opposed to any policy that seems to imply the perfectibility of man. It seems to me that banning abortions, drugs, gambling, and handguns all fall within that category. It also seems to me that failing to protect people from unrestrained capitalism, and relying on the "market" to solve problems that result in obvious externalities, also fall within that category. Am I a recognized category of libertarian?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:32 PM
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252: Silly. If she has a gun in her purse, that's not going to do her a damn bit of good unless Mr. Imaginary Street Rapist is polite enough to wait for her to fish it out. If, as is much more often the case, she has a gun in her home, the likely scenario is that her domestic abuser boyfriend will shoot her with it.

255: Yeah, I really am. Because I'm pretty sure there's a difference between the hypothetical High Noon scenario and what happens in reality, viz. the paragraph immediately above this one.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:33 PM
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Road warrior fantasies are the essence of America. Seriously, a lot of this is just psychological: having a gun makes people feel like the government doesn't have total control over them, quite apart from the facts of the matter.

It's an American sacred cow, and that's what I feel I'm arguing about. Because cows are nice, and have big brown eyes, and milk is good for you, and leather is very useful, and manure can cure cancer, and Krishna ascended to Heavan on the back of a cow, and cows are reincarnated saints, and beefhearts are filled with Love.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:33 PM
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Is restricting gun ownership more than it is now (or loosening controls on gun ownership) politically a good idea for the Democrats?

Yes. We'd take states in the West and Midwest.

Generally, I think

1. People should have the right to own guns.
2. There's a reasonable middle ground for regulation, and we're largely already there. Full auto and such is basically banned, and purchases require a federal background check.
3. Pursuing pointless regulations like what features a rifle can have, should people be able to mail order ammunition, etc. don't actually yield any social benefits, and actively hinder us achieving the kind of numbers in Congress that would enable passage of UHC, reduced military spending, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:36 PM
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Wait, what happened in the paragraph immediately about that one wasn't the hypothetical High Noon scenario? Because that's exactly what it looks like.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:36 PM
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having a gun makes people feel like the government doesn't have total control over them, quite apart from the facts of the matter. I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

I'm sure it's a bad thing whenn guns actually get used not to defend against the government, but to shoot other citizens. (This is aside from properly stored hunting rifles and target pistols, which aren't about self-defense.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:36 PM
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As I may have mentioned here before, my First Rule of Revolution is: Don't disarm the proletariat. The First Corollary of the First Rule of Revolution is: The NRA does not represent an armed proletariat.

Is there anyone here who seriously thinks that if, for instance, my freedom (or Emerson's, or mcmanus' or Frowner's) were under threat, there's more than one NRA member in ten-thousand who'd risk life, liberty and the pursuit of more guns to come to our aid against the jack-booted thugs?

If you're really serious about resisting tyranny and obeying God, pace Jefferson, then ORGANIZE! All the guns in the world wouldn't have done the bourgeois revolutionaries of British America any good without "Common Sense".

As we see in the case of the Vietnamese people's heroic struggle against Japanese, French and American imperialism, if you're doing what you love, the guns will follow.



Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:36 PM
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GSwift, what are the things heavily armed, ad hoc groups do during a breakdown of social order?

I'm just talking short term disasters here. Obviously heavily armed societies with chronic lack of rule of law and such look like Mogadishu.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:37 PM
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258: That just seems like saying 'if you capitulate to the more powerful they won't bother you.'

260: Some run around and kill and rape people; that's why, I not wanting to be a killer and rapist, would like to be armed.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:37 PM
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"(It might be a bad thing: it might mean that people are willing to be controlled as long as they keep their guns, for example.) "

i would have said this is a very live danger.
after all, there really have been severe degradations of our freedoms in the last seven years. indeed, it seems to me like the closest thing to a government coup that this country has ever faced.
and yet the gun nuts have done nothing to protect our freedoms. no one has used their s&w to take out addington or yoo.
instead, as long as ashcroft didn't touch the 2A, the gun nuts sat back and let him gut everything else via the patriot act.

so the parenthetical worry is far from theoretical.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:38 PM
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I agree with 264 except that I don't think people should have the right to own guns. Given that they *do* however, have that right, 264.2 and 3 are pretty much right, I think.

265: In the paragraph immediately above I summarized what I believe to be the relevant *facts* about rape. Women are far more likely to be raped by someone they know than by a stranger, and when there's a gun in the house it's more likely to be used against you than vice versa.

I'm less certain about the second point than I am about the first, which I know is the case.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:40 PM
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sorry--forgot to tag my 270 to 259, whence the initial quote.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:40 PM
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If she has a gun in her purse, that's not going to do her a damn bit of good unless Mr. Imaginary Street Rapist is polite enough to wait for her to fish it out. If, as is much more often the case, she has a gun in her home, the likely scenario is that her domestic abuser boyfriend will shoot her with it.

Gah, I've pointed you towards the NAS study before. One of the relevant tables.


http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10881&page=115


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:40 PM
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Revising 265, I missed the second part of the first paragraph.

Getting less snarky: I really don't understand how you can believe that possessing a gun does not give you a better chance of protecting yourself. Does it make your survival certain? Of course not. And that means, sure, you can imagine irrelevant hypotheticals in which it will fail.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:41 PM
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What if they have guns too, Cala?

There's tons of documentation of places without a state power where everyone is armed and the only safety people has is arming themselves. What happens in those cases is that the biggest and toughest clan or gang bullies the others. The epics and movies don't tell it that way, but normally an individual super warrior will either form a gang around himself, be recruited into an existing gang, or be isolated and killed by inferior but more numerous warriors.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:42 PM
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271: It's also the case that there are thousands of people who frighten off burglars. It's just not an easy answer, and I think what motivates a lot of gun owners, besides liking hunting and target shooting, is that they don't want that answer to be pre-decided for them. Statistics aren't going to have a lot of emotional pull (if they're accurate) if the option seems to be between definitely being raped and maybe being shot.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:43 PM
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269.1: Really? Because I'm certain that that isn't what I'm saying. What I'm saying is the same as LB: that my owning a gun doesn't protect me against the cops, the National Guard, or the military, all of which are going to be better-armed and better-organized. It's not capitulation to refuse to buy into the logic of the arms race. I don't have any idea how to say this more clearly, though, if it still seems like I'm just saying "give in and hope The Authorities will be nice to you."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:44 PM
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268 to 275


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:44 PM
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we're dealing with a generalization problem here (fallacy of composition). It's easy to find cases when an individual is safer with a gun. But it's hard to puff that up into an argument that arming everyone makes them safer. In general, if having a gun makes you safer, your still not very safe.

But you know, cows are beautiful creatures with big brown eyes.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:44 PM
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And to go on, the second amendment argument isn't about person A with a criminal breaking down his or her door. It's a policy argument.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:45 PM
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275: Then I think I'm better off armed than not. I'd like the ability to form my own gang (we can call it a neighborhood watch) than hope the other gang likes me. I'm not arguing that this is some sort of ideal peaceful society, mind you, but that if everyone's running around in gangs with guns, I'm not really doing myself any favors if I decide to stick to knives.

(This does not mean that arming the other side would make things more peaceful. Just that I might be able to defend myself. Armed society is a polite society is bumper sticker bullshit.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:47 PM
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i wonder whether gary f. would be pleased or appalled that the thread in his aid has descended into a stale rehashing of 2a arguments.
probably he'd be fine with it either way, provided that people go over to his blog and click the pay-pal button.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:48 PM
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274: It's obvious I believe it; I don't own a gun. I think that having a gun in my house would make me, and my family *less* safe than we are now. And that that would be the case *even if* some armed person broke in with the intent to do us harm. If I didn't own a gun, I'd call the cops and/or get the fuck out of the house and/or cooperate with the thief/rapist; if I did, I might try to resist, which I'm pretty sure would be more, not less likely to lead to bullets flying around the house.

This is, of course, assuming that the hypothetical threatening person isn't a serial killer or some such, but the chances of that are pretty unlikely. A lot less likely than PK finding the fucking gun, for instance. And no, if we're talking about a lethal weapon, I'm not comfortable locking it and keeping the ammo in a separate place (which anyway, if I stored it properly, it would be jack shit worth of use in a break in).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:48 PM
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but i'm not going to put a gun to your head.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:48 PM
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Wait, are we raising money to buy Gary a gun? Because I don't think I'm in favor of that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:49 PM
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281: Okay, so do you actually own a gun, Cala? I'm curious.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:49 PM
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277: You're assuming that every situation where the person does not have a gun would have been made worse if the person had had a gun. This doesn't seem to be true in all cases. In the cases I'm citing, it isn't about protecting oneself against the cops; it's about protecting oneself when the cops can't or won't do their job. (Can't: Katrina, L.A. riots) (Won't: Civil Rights era.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:50 PM
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285: But he'll need to defend himself come the revolution!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:50 PM
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"2a arguments"?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:51 PM
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look, apo:
if you give somebody money, you feed them for a day.
if you give somebody a gun, then they can knock over 7-11s for a long time before getting caught.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:51 PM
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second amendment.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:51 PM
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Oh, I thought it was some kind of law school jargon.

Wait, I guess it is.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:52 PM
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289--
arguments about the second amendment?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:52 PM
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286: Nope. But I have lived in a house with guns, and I would if I didn't live in an urban or heavily populated suburban area.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:52 PM
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I was a firm supporter of an expansive reading of the 2nd Amendment all through the '90s and into the '00s, and gave it up for a purely pragmatic reason. The people who kept telling me and everyone else about how they'd be the bulwark of freedom in the face of encroaching tyranny: we got all the stuff they used to write about, the suspension of habeus corpus, indefinite detentions, warrantless surveillance, search, and arrest, the whole deal. Their justifying nightmare came true. And all the most vocal champions of liberty rolled over for it, many enthusiastically supporting the tyranny and others simply watching.

There was no widespread resistance to arrest, no liberation of prisoners, not even the burning of tax and property rolls in colonial revolutionary style. As nearly as I can tell, the entire RTKBA movement has been less useful than Human Rights Watch all by itself. I still think the theory is basically sound, that a properly motivated and armed population could be a bulwark against tyranny. But the actually existing American population of that sort is useless or worse.

Meanwhile, Gary, sorry I have nothing to tip in the jar at the moment.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:53 PM
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287: No, I'm not. I'm assuming that the situations in which owning a gun is likely to make the situation worse are *more common and more frequent* than the opposite situations.

And that *if* gun ownership weren't a right, that the only relevant situation in which one would need a gun--some kind of armed revolution--is one where you'd be outgunned by the military anyway.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:54 PM
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295, see my 270.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:55 PM
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283: See what I said parenthetically in 255. You're arguing that owning a gun on the whole makes you less safe; that's not the same as arguing that owning a gun makes you less safe in individual, crisis situations, which is what you seemed to be saying before.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:55 PM
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283: I'm not arguing that in *every* individual situation a gun makes you less safe. Obviously. But there are a lot of individual crisis situations in which owning a gun makes you less safe, and I think those are more common for almost everyone than the latter. Moreover, if *no one* in an individual crisis situation had a gun, then yeah, I think we'd all be safer.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:57 PM
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294: Huh. Why in a rural area and not an urban one?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:58 PM
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You're assuming that every situation where the person does not have a gun would have been made worse if the person had had a gun. This doesn't seem to be true in all cases.

Right, but you have to balance the benefit you would get only in a fairly rare situation (since most of us will never be in the thick of a riot, or a catastrophic natural disaster) with the increased danger you expose yourself to by having a gun in the house. Sure, it's probably worth it if you have reason to use a firearm for protection, but that's begging the question.

So it's an actuarial question. Not sure how the relative risks would work out, and they would undoubtedly be different for different people (rural/urban, small children in the house/single, etc.)


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:58 PM
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300--
time it takes for the cops to get there.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:59 PM
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296: According to gswift's stats, that's just not the case. It may very well be in the limited case of 'woman against abusive boyfriend.'

If gun ownership weren't a right, there would still be relevant situations in which one would need a gun. We wouldn't have to deal with people thinking they'd outgun the military. Which would be nice.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:59 PM
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Can we have a swimming post, please?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 8:59 PM
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there are a lot of individual crisis situations in which owning a gun makes you less safe, and I think those are more common for almost everyone than the latter.

This is correct, but why is this a strong enough argument to ban guns?

Moreover, if *no one* in an individual crisis situation had a gun, then yeah, I think we'd all be safer.

Besides being implausible, this is simply untrue. I, a very weak young man, would rather have a gun battle at High Noon than a fistfight.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:01 PM
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300: I live near a university that has call boxes every 50 feet. Response time is guaranteed to be in under a minute. Out in the country, anything that goes wrong is likely something I'd have to handle on my own. Hence, why when driving around here, I do not stop if someone is pulled over on the side of the road with a broken car, and why in rural Alberta I would.

301, see 303.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:01 PM
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295: That's pretty much where I am. The people who think they could resist the US government if the shit hit the fan are delusional. Most large municipal police forces could wipe out entire neighborhoods in a night if they had to, and that's just the practice squad. But changing the gun laws isn't likely to work any better than it has with drugs, so I mostly just shrug and tell people just to let me know what they've decided once they've settled it, since it won't affect my behavior one way or the other.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:02 PM
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303--
"If gun ownership weren't a right, there would still be relevant situations in which one would need a gun."

this is a bit of a red herring.

if gun ownership weren't a right, there would still be lots of guns in america, for the same reason that there are lots of cars, lots of toasters, lots of cuisinarts, etc.

and there are no constitutional rights to possess toasters, cuisinarts, or even cars.

gun ownership is here to stay, amendment or not. if the 2a were repealed tomorrow, the patterns of gun ownership would change very little, if at all, for centuries.

on the other hand, if it were repealed tomorrow, then perhaps we could have sensible conversations about how best to fit guns into our society in ways that balanced a variety of competing demands.

which, alas, it is hard to do when people can appeal to a misinterpretation of an item in the bill of rights.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:03 PM
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So it's an actuarial question.

Well, but for a lot of 2A types (not me), I think it's also a question of autonomy in self-defense, and the actuarial calculations don't capture that. I don't personally find that terribly compelling, but I sometimes think I should (since I find it fairly compelling in other rights contexts, like speech, religion, and privacy).


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:03 PM
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281: I don't really know what you'ree trying to say, Cala. As I said, the second amendment argument isn't about whather there are any situations in which a given person is better off with a gun. Perhaps B is arguing that there aren't, in which case I'll grant you your point. But the Second Amendment argument is about something else, and I'm not sure that you see that.

Tactically, I'll just give the 2nd Amendment people their point. In substance, it isn't an enormous issue. But 2nd Amendment people are such morons that I easily backslide into arguing with them.

And I really hate the security blanket / sacred cow aspect of this.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:03 PM
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297, 295 and 270, see my 267.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:05 PM
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I think that for a lot of 2A types, their gun worship is a fantasy kind of way of regaining autonomy they've lost.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:06 PM
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312--
"their gun worship is a fantasy kind of way of regaining autonomy they've lost."

"autonomy" is one of the politer words you could use here.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:07 PM
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312: Yeah. The other side of that is that when people are in the grips of a paranoid fantasy it's not necessarily a good idea to put much effort into trying to make their fantasy come true.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:08 PM
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but, yeah, it's a fantasy about regaining something they wish they had.

that they are terrified of having taken away from them. by a powerful father figure, or perhaps a castrating mother figure.

oops, did i say 'castration'?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:08 PM
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I, a very weak young man, would rather have a gun battle at High Noon than a fistfight.

Then you're insane. A fist fight is a *lot* less likely to kill you.

306: I wonder what the stats are on accidental gun deaths in the country vs. actual uses of guns for self-defense in dangerous situations.

309: Freedom of speech, religion, and privacy isn't highly likely to end up leading to someone's death.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:09 PM
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I live near a university that has call boxes every 50 feet.

I lived during college in a residential college that lay right between frat row and the first year dorms, so drunken first years passing through was a common phenomenon. One night, this well-sauced fellow mistakenly thought he'd made it home and tried to swipe into our building, as we watched on from the quad. Frustrated, he eventually tried using the call box to call his roommate to let him in. Alas, he hit the big red panic button. Yep: called the cops on himself. So hilarious.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:11 PM
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I can imagine that if I lived out in the middle of nowhere, and didn't have a kid, I'd feel safer with a gun. But I suspect that that's mostly a version of being scared of the dark, rather than a rational assessment.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:12 PM
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317--
and then he got into a lot of trouble, right?
whereas, if he had been properly armed, the evening could have ended much better for him.
he could have shot his way into the wrong building, for instance.
or, when the cops came, he could have shot it out with them.
just shows you why we need more liberal concealed-carry laws.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:13 PM
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310: I haven't been arguing about the Second Amendment, really, just the more narrow point that guns-being-used-for-self-defense is only a paranoid fantasy, specifically, the claim whether they were ever used in defense against tyranny (yes, minor, societally speaking) and whether there were uses other than hunting and target shooting. I think the Second Amendment is so badly written that it needs a do-over, and that fantasies of overthrowing the government are pretty crazy, and that regulation is smart. But I don't see a need to pretend that there's no conceivable reason why someone might want to be armed and not be delusional in order to make that point.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:15 PM
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A fist fight is a *lot* less likely to kill you.

If someone stronger wanted to kill me, really, I would stand a better chance if I were armed than if I weren't. (Regardless, that wasn't the substance of my response, and you know that.)


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:15 PM
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I have to go have sex now, but this has been fun.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:17 PM
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I can imagine that if I lived out in the middle of nowhere, and didn't have a kid, I'd feel safer with a gun. But I suspect that that's mostly a version of being scared of the dark, rather than a rational assessment.

I spend some time alone in the middle of nowhere (perhaps 5 people within a mile in any direction). A couple of years ago there were reports of rabid coyote(s) in the area. Given a choice between rabies, wrestling an animal stronger than myself, or possibly shooting myself in the foot, the gun seemed like the better bet.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:19 PM
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that wasn't the substance of my response, and you know that

In all honesty, I thought the jist of your dialogue with me was over the question of whether guns were equalizers and thus made weaker people safer, and I think that the fistfight scenario is an excellent hypothetical of why I say no, they're not.

320: I don't think anyone, not even me, was claiming that guns for self-defense was only a paranoid fantasy in all cases.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:19 PM
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You said no reason beyond hunting or target shooting (which isn't contained in the Amendment.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:20 PM
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323: So you carried the gun with you every time you went outside?

I figure the chances that I'd shoot myself in the foot are probably a lot higher than the chances that I'm gonna get attacked by a rabid coyote. And even if I did get attacked by a rabid coyote, there are always rabies shots. Why risk getting shot in the foot just to avoid a rabies shot?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:21 PM
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325 to 322.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:22 PM
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325: I still think that's a pretty valid generalization, despite the fact that there are, of course, exceptions.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:22 PM
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At the risk of sounding ridiculous, let me say that a true gun crime is motivated by great feelings of anger.

Seriously though, I live in a rough neighborhood, but compared to a lot of rural/suburban areas, gun ownership in general is relatively lower, from my anecdotal observations. And yet we have more than enough shootings. Mightn't it be that, in the social matrix that many of the young fellers around here inhabit, there's a symbiotic relationship between oppression, violence, poverty and despair? So if you're going to need a gun (or perceive that you need one) you're going to get one, and if you've got one, you'll find yourself with a reason to use it before too long.

Here's some interesting quotes from people involved in firearm assaults on law enforcement officers, from an abstract of this abstract of a cop-shooting study:

"If you hesitate," one told the study's researchers, "you're dead. You have the instinct or you don't. If you don't, you're in trouble on the street...."

One reported that he was 14 when he was first shot on the street, "about 18 before a cop shot me." Another said getting shot was a pivotal experience "because I made up my mind no one was gonna shoot me again."

"[...]the street combat veterans survived by developing a shoot-first mentality."

Reading stuff like that, I have to conclude that having guns/not having guns isn't really the crucial factor in violent crime.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:23 PM
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It was, but having understood your point more generally, this was my primary response:

This is correct, [that guns more often cause more harm than good] but why is this a strong enough argument to ban guns?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:24 PM
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330: Huh? Public health?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:25 PM
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Why risk getting shot in the foot just to avoid a rabies shot?

because rabies shots hurt like hell, and the odds of accidentally shooting yourself in the foot if you aren't an idiot are pretty low?

or more generally, guns in the hands of people who don't buy illegal guns or have criminal records are only a nominal risk to people other than their owner, and a lot of people really resent being told that they can't do something fun because they might hurt themselves.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:26 PM
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Re: 329, Sorry, too many abstracts, not enough absinthe.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:26 PM
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But what about the cases where (and it seems like you are conceding the existence of at least a few of these) owning a gun really is safer than not owning one?

Isn't a better response to discourage gun ownership where it's unnecessary, but allow it for the people who need it?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:27 PM
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I faced a burglar/addict/intruder one morning who kicked in the door of the house I lived in at the time. I chased him off by shouting and waving a fireplace poker around, but I don't think I'd have been safer or more successful with a gun. Later, I had a sudden intuition that if I'd had a gun one of us would've been dead. I still think that. Still, I grew up around guns and hunting. 295 and 307 pretty much speak for me on the subject.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:30 PM
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334: I'd step back to the larger point of "if no one had guns, those cases would be very few and far between, and the balance in terms of public safety would be worth making it very difficult indeed to get a gun rather than presuming that most people have good reasons to own one." In the practical real world where there are plenty of guns about, I think most gun owners vastly overestimate the safety/risk balance--because of course everyone thinks that *they* are safe/rational/etc. I think the better response would be a lot like driving: you have to prove that you know safety regulations, that you can handle a gun, you have to carry insurance, you have to have a safe way of storing it. I, personally, would err towards the side of "you need a hunter's license before you can buy a hunting gun; you need to demonstrate X level of prowess on a shooting range before you can buy your own gun for target shooting." Back to the argument that started it all, I'm really wary of letting people who are mentally ill own guns (I'm sure there are kinds of mental illness where gun ownership's no more dangerous than for the population as a whole, but as a generalization). People with a criminal history? Nope. People with kids? Not without a safety certificate, and no handguns without a damn good reason. There's a demonstrated threat against you (abusive ex, whatever)? You need to take an emergency gun safety training course and you can lease a gun and proper storage equipment from the police department.

Something along those lines.

because rabies shots hurt like hell, and the odds of accidentally shooting yourself in the foot if you aren't an idiot are pretty low?

You're assuming that the rabies shot is a given; the odds of getting bitten by a rabid coyote are also pretty low. Even if there are rabid coyotes around.

a lot of people really resent being told that they can't do something fun because they might hurt themselves

I started off by saying I wished people would admit that the (primary) reason for owning guns is fun, rather than self defense or resisting tyranny. Of course people resent it. My argument would be that it's less about you, personally, hurting yourself than about the larger public health issues of lots of people getting hurt by guns.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:40 PM
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but I don't think I'd have been safer or more successful with a gun.

Running off is running off. It's when someone actually attacks you that the advantage of the gun over a poker becomes apparent.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:40 PM
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So you carried the gun with you every time you went outside?

Pretty much, although at the time there was no 'inside'. I was camping, so I just kept it near. Remember I was alone in the middle of nowhere. No kids. No other people. I also very much hoped I'd hear danger coming.

If I'd been attacked by a rabid coyote I'd have been in very serious trouble. I'd expect to be bleeding badly, at least. If I didn't blow a tire on the way out (something that happens about one time in twenty on that road) it was still about a 45 minute drive to the nearest town.

I guess I don't understand why guns are special. They're tools. For most people most of the time the probability of needing one is very low. But for some purposes they're very handy. They're dangerous, but most tools are dangerous.

Like chain saws. Most people in cities really don't need chain saws. One the other hand, if one has land in the mountains and needs to remove some trees or branches, they're very useful. Sure, they're dangerous. Mny tools are dangerous. But I have a chainsaw (okay, five chainsaws) too. Okay, I'll admit it: I like having lots and lots of tools.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:45 PM
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Come on everybody, go out and handle one of these and feel like a real American.

http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=2085943270&context=set-72157594502981632&size=l


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:47 PM
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advantage of the gun over a poker

But with a common paperclip and the lost art of power throwing, "you'll suddenly have the SAME advantage of a .357 - without the legal hassles and without the risk of having your weapon fall into the hands of your attacker."

So there's that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:48 PM
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336: That all sounds decent to me. I'm wary of the mental illness restriction, though, for a few reasons: I'm afraid it will lead some people to avoid getting help, I'm afraid it will lead to an increased demonization of the mentally ill, and I'm afraid the restrictions will be ensare alot of perfectly healthy people.

Of course, that's the one restriction out of all you propose that's actually taking off.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:49 PM
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okay, five chainsaws

Schneider is Leatherface.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:49 PM
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I kind of want to let this argument go (and it seems to have died). But 337 brings up a new thought:

Is the "gun vs. poker" argument assuming that it's "knows how to handle a gun vs. random dipshit wielding a poker"? Is it really true that your average untrained gun-wielding dipshit (say, me, who has never held a gun in my life) would be better off with a gun than with a poker? Wouldn't I be in great danger of having the gun taken away from me by a determined attacker?

OTOH, if I know something about basic fighting skills, aren't I actually pretty okay with the poker? Unless my attacker has a gun and is determined enough to be willing to use it immediately, in which case basically the advantage of the gun is that I can shoot the guy immediately, knowing that I'll have to deal with the emotional reaction to seriously injuring or killing someone, or I can take a chance on scaring him off. Right?

This isn't a rhetorical argument; I'm genuinely curious what someone who knows something about guns has to say about this.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:50 PM
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Man, all these comments, and no one's offered to buy me a gun. How disappointing.

72: "Oh. Too young. Now, if you were 55 or over, you'd be a shoo-in. But that's not to say you can't still win."

I probably shouldn't tie my above statement to a comment about how if it'll take a hospitalization to get me help, well, that'll be all too easy if I still don't get approved in another year.

But with luck it won't come to that.

If anyone's interested, I've had about 15 donations so far, mostly in the $5-$25 range, with about five larger ones, which is a fair start, but leaves a long way to go. Thanks to all who have donated!


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:52 PM
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average untrained gun-wielding dipshit [...] if I know something about basic fighting skills

My guess is that basic gun training is more common among gun owners than poker combat methods are among fireplace owners.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:53 PM
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Schneider is Leatherface.

I think my shaving skills have been impugned.

I have the paring chainsaw, the bread chainsaw, the steak chainsaw, and the chainsaw for slicing roast beef. I'm thinking of getting a cheese chainsaw.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:53 PM
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338: Sure, if we're talking on the individual level about who know what the hell they're doing, it makes a lot of sense. But generalized across the country as a whole, again: chain saws demonstrably not as dangerous as guns.

341: Yeah, before I'd write that into law, obviously the thing to do would be to research the relevant stats about mental illness and gun use. I would be seriously wary of giving guns to people who have serious problems with depression or bipolarity, though.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:54 PM
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a cheese chainsaw

Pull-start?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:54 PM
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322: Poor Cala misses out on the good stuff here a lot.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:57 PM
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345: Obviously I don't mean poker fighting specifically. But it doesn't seem like a fair comparison to imagine "person with a gun and gun training" vs "dipshit without a gun" rather than equalizing the dipshit/knowing what the hell you're doing thing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 9:57 PM
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344: Gary, I just made a rather large donation to the Broke Little Sister Fund, but I'll try to get you some scratch from my next paycheck. Unless you're aiming for a rusty Marlin .22 or something along those lines, however, it may not be quite enough to purchase a firearm. Glad to hear that some pledges are rolling in though. Good luck.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:01 PM
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B, out of curiosity, what is it about guns that makes you look at them differently than you seem to look at most other stupid/dangerous/counterproductive stuff that people do?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:02 PM
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350: As God is my witness, I'm only here to try to derail the conversation, B. But if I were an intruder, I'd prefer my chances of taking a poker away from you than a gun.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:04 PM
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I started off by saying I wished people would admit that the (primary) reason for owning guns is fun, rather than self defense or resisting tyranny. Of course people resent it. My argument would be that it's less about you, personally, hurting yourself than about the larger public health issues of lots of people getting hurt by guns.

i don't think it's really about the larger public health issues, because if it were there'd be real, sound research into the public health aspects of guns, and not cherry-picked "a gun is twice as likely to kill someone who lives in the house as it is an intruder" bs, or "I'm too lazy to look up the statistics but I'm pretty sure this is the case, and if not it really doesn't matter anyway."

i think that having a somewhat armed populace does make it much harder to impose military government. up until recently i would have written this off as macho posturing along the lines of "the US army would completely outgun a bunch of guys with guns", but the iraq occupation has convinced me otherwise.

now if i bought a gun it would probably be for target shooting or because i thought it was cool, but that's because at least for now i can freeload on the difficult-to-pacify nature of others. when it looked like san francisco was going to ban the sale of handguns to residents i started researching gun purchases a lot more seriously.

i really think it comes down to "this is dangerous or at least scary to me and i don't understand why people think it's important so they shouldn't be allowed to do it". i have serious problems with that viewpoint.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:06 PM
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Is it really true that your average untrained gun-wielding dipshit (say, me, who has never held a gun in my life) would be better off with a gun than with a poker?

I guess it's conceivable you could do something really lame like close your eyes and wildly squeeze off a few rounds and not hit anything. But getting attacked in your home means the guy is pretty close. It's not real hard to put a couple rounds in a man sized target that's only 10 or 15 feet away.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:07 PM
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But if I were an intruder, I'd prefer my chances of taking a poker away from you than a gun.

Don't be a pussy. Just run real fast right at her. She'll probably only wing you.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:09 PM
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the iraq occupation has convinced me otherwise.

In a domestic situation, the military would know the area, speak the language, have a tiny fraction of the logistical overhead of maintaining 150K people halfway around the world, and could count on the support of at the very least 40% of the population.

A widely despised Saddam kept power for several decades facing this same universally armed population.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:10 PM
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356: Being a pussy has worked for me so far. Only the one orbital socket fracture from a fireplace poker.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:13 PM
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Speaking of guns being awesome, I think I'm a little bit in love with the Beretta White Onyx (first one on the left in the "Over-unders" column). I'm slowly working my way towards justifying spending two grand on a shotgun, because really, it's just beautiful.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:13 PM
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A widely despised Saddam kept power for several decades facing this same universally armed population.

Yeah, numbers are everything. Dictators generally keep power because people go along with the plan. An armed populace might make a difference in scenarios that generally never happen.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:14 PM
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Guns for show, pokers for a pro!

And now, off to bed.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:15 PM
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When Cala leads the hordes of armed Canadians across the border it'll be the brave (but well regulated) armed folks from Elgin who will proect us.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:17 PM
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A widely despised Saddam kept power for several decades facing this same universally armed population.

but the widely despised saddam ran a much more vicious police state than the US has been willing to impose on iraqis, much less americans. i also thought that the vast shiite majority was kept more or less disarmed under saddam, and it was only the collapse of civil order after the invasion that lead to universal armament.

in any case i'm not claiming that it'd be impossible to impose a military dictatorship on an america armed the way it is now, just that our current level of population armament makes it much more difficult than one would assume based on looking at how effective handguns are against tanks.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:18 PM
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i really think it comes down to "this is dangerous or at least scary to me and i don't understand why people think it's important so they shouldn't be allowed to do it". i have serious problems with that viewpoint.

As opposed to oh, say, "I personally like guns so neener neener"? Or do we want to take people seriously?

352: I can't think of another issue where people do stupid stuff that's (1) so destructive to others and themselves; and (2) so easily solved (in theory). Even illegal drug use, it's clear that prohibition, rather than the drugs themselves, does most of the damage. With guns? Nope, it's the guns themselves that do the damage. I honestly think that non-sporting guns are more dangerous than otherwise, and that the vast majority of people who make the "self protection" argument are almost never likely to find themselves needing a gun for self protection.

And I really think that the 2nd amendment is completely outdated, and that the right to own a lethal weapon is just a stupid fucking right. I'm willing to *let* people own lethal weapons if they want to--hey, go to town--but I want to be damn sure that their doing so doesn't pose a massive risk to the population as a whole. And I really do think it's a fact (though again, not gonna go dig it up, and if I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but I'm not gonna believe I'm wrong without evidence) that popular gun ownership is more dangerous than its opposite.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:22 PM
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An armed populace might make a difference in scenarios that generally never happen.

Wait, I thought that was *my* anti-gun argument!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:23 PM
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I don't understand people talking about the distant possibility of imposing a dictatorship on the U.S. We're pretty well along on the evolution toward dictatorship already, and there's no resistance at all from the well-armed populace. Do people insist on some specific scenario, like a guy with a little brush mustache?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:23 PM
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so easily solved (in theory)

s/b "where the cause is so clearly identifiable."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:25 PM
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With all this speculation about home-grown dictatorships, you'd think that nobody had watched Red Dawn.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:26 PM
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Do people insist on some specific scenario, like a guy with a little brush mustache?

In the movies, there's rubble and the members of the resistance are Resistance are running through it wearing fetching caps.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:27 PM
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247

"2) Are the policy goals behind the Second Amendment (allowing resistance against tyranny?) sensible and well-served by allowing the only lightly regulated ownership of handguns and rifles? And here I've got to say no. If it comes to you shooting it out with the gummint, you've got a handgun and they've got the airforce. The handgun isn't going to help you."

Handguns (and rifles) make assassinations easier which is at least arguably a defense against tyranny. Of course shooting it out with the army on equal terms is a bad idea which is why guerilla forces generally try to avoid doing that.

Owning a handgun also makes it easier to kill yourself which is a benefit if you believe in a right to die.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:27 PM
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I had thought that against a tank one would want a backhoe or front end loader, to dig a deadfall trap. I do very much want a bobcat

I'd bet that structured investment vehicles, collateralized debt obligations, and bad mortgages have caused more harm than guns in the US recently. But I have absolutely no evidence to support this belief. Some will rob you with a six gun, some wih a fountain pen.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:30 PM
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Owning a handgun also makes it easier to kill yourself which is a benefit if you believe in a right to die.

It makes it easier to impulsively kill yourself, which is not at all what people who support a right to die are talking about.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:30 PM
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I'd bet that structured investment vehicles, collateralized debt obligations, and bad mortgages have caused more harm than guns in the US recently. But I have absolutely no evidence to support this belief. Some will rob you with a six gun, some wih a fountain pen.

I'd go along with this as a very broad generalization, but none of those things tend to directly kill people.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:31 PM
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True. And, oddly enough, I favor more stringent government regulation of financial instruments. But backhoes must be free!. And, of course, my pointing to something more dangerous than guns is no argument against restricting gun ownership.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:34 PM
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352: I can't think of another issue where people do stupid stuff that's (1) so destructive to others and themselves; and (2) so easily solved (in theory). Even illegal drug use, it's clear that prohibition, rather than the drugs themselves, does most of the damage. With guns? Nope, it's the guns themselves that do the damage.

first of all (and i think most importantly), if something works in theory but not in the real world, the theory is fatally flawed, at least in policy terms. secondly, in the case of guns, it seems to be the prohibition of drugs that is doing most of the damage. if you don't sell illegal drugs, run with a gang that sells illegal drugs, or to a lesser extent live in a neighborhood controlled by gangs that sell illegal drugs, you're pretty much not going to get shot.

I honestly think that non-sporting guns are more dangerous than otherwise, and that the vast majority of people who make the "self protection" argument are almost never likely to find themselves needing a gun for self protection.

i think that people who make political arguments on the internet of every sort are almost never likely to need a gun for self protection. the most plausible scenario that i could see for needing one is if there was a massive earthquake in san francisco leading to a prolonged societal breakdown and looting, and that's not very likely. on the other hand, i'm not likely to kill myself or anyone else on purpose, and my motorcycle is probably ten times more likely to accidentally kill me than a gun is, so i still consider buying one.

And I really do think it's a fact (though again, not gonna go dig it up, and if I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but I'm not gonna believe I'm wrong without evidence) that popular gun ownership is more dangerous than its opposite.

than what opposite? unpopular gun ownership? no gun ownership? i don't see how no gun ownership in america is any more plausible than unicorns, so refuse to engage it.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:42 PM
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282: "i wonder whether gary f. would be pleased or appalled that the thread in his aid has descended into a stale rehashing of 2a arguments."

"Unsurprised" is the best word.

"probably he'd be fine with it either way, provided that people go over to his blog and click the pay-pal button."

Well, if more people did. Though, seriously, I'm not the folks who can't afford it shouldn't worry about it. And, as I say, it's not as if I can put forth any great reasons why anyone who can afford it should help, beyond that I'd appreciate it.

285: "Wait, are we raising money to buy Gary a gun? Because I don't think I'm in favor of that."

For the record, I actually hadn't read most of the comments when I made my previous. I just skimmed enough to see it was gnu control again (what, abortion and windows vs. max. vs. linux was filled today?), until I made this pass.

Now, if someone wants to donate a gun to me, I could try using it in fundraising, but I've heard there can be complications. Still, there's always Al Capone's advice.

But I'm afraid I'd probably still be too depressed to go to work much of the time.

"I'm willing to *let* people own lethal weapons if they want to--hey, go to town--"

Be hard to ban all knives and rocks and sticks one can shove in an eye, and fingers, and....

Yeah, it's an argument about respective ease of use, but when you phrase it that way, I don't think there's another available option than to let people own lethal weapons, like a plastic bag, or a piece of string, or a baseball bat, or... you probably take my point.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:44 PM
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It makes it easier to impulsively kill yourself, which is not at all what people who support a right to die are talking about.

Do gun nuts believe in a right to die/euthanasia? I'm guessing the more libertarian ones might, but in general? Honestly curious.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:44 PM
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372

"It makes it easier to impulsively kill yourself, which is not at all what people who support a right to die are talking about."

It also makes it easier to kill yourself after careful deliberation in right to die situations.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:47 PM
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Various issues are on the table here, as always in the intertubes, but the prohibition of all gun ownership really isn't. That's pretty much a red herring. What's really in question with the Second Amendment is really the degree to which the Constitution forbids government restrictions on gun ownership. Second Amendment militants reject almost all forms of regulation and registration and often go amazingly far in terms of the weaponry the ownership of which they think cannot be restricted in any way. I'm sure that there are people out there who believe that citizens have the right to own fully-armed tanks.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:48 PM
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what, abortion and windows vs. max. vs. linux was filled today?
Only because the Mac-loving abortofascists want to take away my guns.


Posted by: Lambent Cactus | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:56 PM
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if you don't sell illegal drugs, run with a gang that sells illegal drugs, or to a lesser extent live in a neighborhood controlled by gangs that sell illegal drugs, you're pretty much not going to get shot.

* In 1999, 3,385 kids ages 0-19 years were killed with a gun. This includes homicides, suicides, and unintentional injuries. * This is equivalent to about 9 deaths per day, a figure commonly used by journalists. * The 3,385 firearms-related deaths for age group 0-19 years breaks down to: o 214 unintentional o 1,078 suicides o 1,990 homicides o 83 for which the intent could not be determined o 20 due to legal intervention * Of the total firearms-related deaths: o 73 were of children under five years old o 416 were children 5-14 years old o 2,896 were 15-19 years old The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 1997, 2,514 children aged 0-14 were non-fatally injured by guns. In the same year, 30,225 young people aged 15-24 sustained nonfatal firearm injuries. These statistics include suicide attempts and both intentional and accidental shootings [2].

According to the CDC, the rate of firearm deaths among children under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. American children are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun, 11 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun, and nine times more likely to die in a firearm accident than children in these other countries [3].

Source. See also.

Those don't seem like insignificant facts to me.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:57 PM
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I'm sure that there are people out there who believe that citizens have the right to own fully-armed tanks.
Well, in theory... yes. A militia, however well-regulated, doesn't do you much good without combined arms.

Do gun nuts believe in a right to die/euthanasia? I'm guessing the more libertarian ones might, but in general? Honestly curious.
Coincidentally, but yes again.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 10:57 PM
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Re pokers: recent and newsworthy evidence has indicated that you're better off either cowering in the shed or coming out blasting. Half measures involving threatening tools might end poorly.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 11:04 PM
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Those don't seem like insignificant facts to me.

i actually came across that same web page. two-thirds homicides and more than 90% being 14-19 years old says "war on drugs" to me, you may feel differently. 214 unintentional deaths is more than i'd like to see and i am firmly in support of measures that will reduce that (require guns or at least ammunition to be stored in a childproof container provided free of charge by the gun dealer upon request if you have children under some age in the house? sure.), but i don't see it as worth making huge societal changes over.

if i have kids, i plan to let them ride little dirtbikes and swim in the neighbor's pool, even though both of those are much more dangerous than my owning a gun would be. of course, i don't have children (or a wife) now, so plans may change...


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 11:07 PM
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The poker worked to shut Popper up, that's for sure. Wittgenstein put the fear of God into that mealymouthed bastard.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 11:11 PM
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Look around the world. How well is widespread gun ownership correlated with real liberty? Pretty fucking poorly. Actually, very fucking poorly: negatively correlated with other civil liberties. Every family owning an automatic weapon seems to have done very little good against military forces that were far, far, far less formidable than the U.S.'s.

I get that people want guns for hunting. I don't think the government should ban recreational activities absent good evidence that they're harming people, so I'm not especially out to ban all guns. I get that people want guns for self-defense. I sure don't, & in a lot of cases I think it probably is a bad idea, but if you know what you're doing, who knows. I can also see it making more sense if you live in a rural area. So, fine, the burden is on gun control to supporters that it's needed to prevent violent crimes, & I'm not sure they've met it. I can also buy that even if further regulation is a good idea, it's not worth the political cost to the Democratic party. I can also buy wanting the Second Amendment construed broadly because you want all of the Bill of Rights construed broadly--I think it's a relic, but it's there now, so.

I can also buy that overly high restrictions on people w/ mental health issues buying firearms will lead to less treatment more than anything else. I think the arguments about cars are pretty assisine, & it might be justified for people with a record of hospitalization/involuntary hospitalization/violence, but I sure don't want the gov't keeping files on everyone who's ever been prescribed an SSRI.

But please don't try to sell me the "protection against tyranny" line.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 11:13 PM
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Bitch's citations remind me of the other factor led to my giving up on expansive reading of the 2nd Amendment. There's a substantial body of scholarship about the consequences of gun ownership and use in various circumstances...and time after time after time, the research showing beneficial outcomes turns out to be poorly done, fraudulent, or both. The pro-RKBA movement will not ostracize frauds, nor take contrary results as anything but stuff to simply deny. There are, of course, anti-gun fanatics, but there are also a lot of scholars in law, history, public health, and so on, looking at the evidence and paying attention to it. Pro-gun scholarship is much more interested in pro-gun outcomes than valid ones.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 11:13 PM
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Oh, I'm not selling any "protection against tyranny" at all. If we could have nukes or something I might, but we can't, thanks to the stupid nanny state. I'm less of a gun nut than I am a proceduralism nut. I think the second amendment is stupid, but until such a time as it is repealed I feel obligated to follow it.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 11:19 PM
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"As nearly as I can tell, the entire RTKBA movement has been less useful than Human Rights Watch all by itself"

Less useful than about a half dozen people at HRW--the U.S. counterterrorism staff isn't big. Actually, less useful than ONE of them.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 3-07 11:19 PM
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hey, I broke the blog.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 12:26 AM
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According to the CDC, the rate of firearm deaths among children under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. American children are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun, 11 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun, and nine times more likely to die in a firearm accident than children in these other countries [3].

Well, look at your own sources. "In 2003, the homicide rate for black male teens was 58.9 per 100,000, 16 times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic white males (3.6 per 100,000)."

This country has s poverty problem, not a gun problem.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 12:37 AM
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Also, on the suicide front, trying to make it difficult for people to off themselves seems like a rather bizarre way to make policy.

In any case, it appears our suicide rate is on par or lower than quite a few westernized countries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 12:55 AM
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Man, watching Americans arguing about gun control is amusing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 1:15 AM
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The gun-control issue in general seems so far removed from any sensible policy discussion at this point. I do wish we could have an honest and charitable discussion about what the second amendment really might mean nowadays, where specifically to draw the line between BB guns and tanks, and who exactly can have a gun. But I'm sensing that's not possible.

It's not surprising that the presidential candidates stay away from it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 1:16 AM
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Oh, and my understanding is that hunting and gun ownership are on the decline, so all you oldies should just hang back.

Generation Awesome has the Wii. Guns, shmuns. We're set.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 1:23 AM
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There is one argument for greater gun control and that is that gun control makes Glen Reynolds cry.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 2:35 AM
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364 I can't think of another issue where people do stupid stuff that's (1) so destructive to others and themselves; and (2) so easily solved (in theory).

Actually, there's a glaringly obvious one: All-terrain vehicle use. It's environmentally destructive, socially detrimental and just plain obnoxious. And it's not just a few bad apples. The majority of ATV-drivers are exceedingly disrespectful, and willfully cause damage to forests, wetlands, dunes and streams in a few hours that will take years to undo. I'm not suggesting a complete ban on ATVs (although I think the negative impacts to liberty of such a measure would be minimal), but perhaps the kind of purchase restrictions that are in place for commercial explosives in most states would seem to be warranted. Upping restrictions on snowmobile use would also not be a terrible idea. Do you know we often have upwards of 100 deaths per winter in MN from snowmobile use? And the majority of them seem to be either from drunkards careening around after bar-close or kids racing them across thin ice. Yet and still, they're not quite as bad as four-wheelers.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 5:58 AM
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Thinking about this a bit more, in light of 394, it seems an ill-motivated argument against a right to argue that the circumstances that one might need to exercise that right aren't likely and that people might misuse it. It certainly doesn't work with any other right: I like the fourth and fifth amendments even if I'm statistically unlikely to be arrested for a crime, and it's no argument against freedom of speech to say that most people won't ever run a press and will instead use it to make YouTube videos and cock jokes on the Internet, or against poll taxes on the grounds that there's a large contingent of people who think Obama is the anti-christ.

To say otherwise agrees with the people who are okay with suspending habeas on the grounds that they're not Muslim and won't ever be arrested. What's the matter with you, caring about that so much, are you expecting to be some kind of criminal? It's not like you're ever going to need that right.

So if you want to have an argument about whether the right is actually there, that's one thing. Goodness knows there's been a lot of ink spilled over whether it's an individual or state-based right. And that's a conversation we can have. But there isn't a test for a right that says 'it doesn't exist unless you are likely to use it.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 6:52 AM
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re: 398

How is this any different from the converse? People above were arguing for the right on the precisely the same grounds -- that people were entitled to such and such a right because there were possible/likely circumstances in which the exercising of that right might lead to some good outcome or other.

In this sense what's going on is not a counter-argument against the existence of the right itself, but rather an undercutting of the original evidence adduced in favour of the existence of the right.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:02 AM
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Actually, there's a glaringly obvious one:

Voting Republican.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:08 AM
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399: I was arguing that there were circumstances were a little more reasonable than 'omg Iraq War fall of the government' where someone would reasonably want a gun for self-defense. That presumes the right, and you're right that it would be bad to start off trying to invent rights according to need. But that's not where the right, such as it is, is coming from; it's coming from that blasted amendment.

I now have a right to coffee.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:15 AM
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But that's not where the right, such as it is, is coming from; it's coming from that blasted amendment.

This statement makes no sense. The right doesn't come from the amendment, surely, except in some legalistic sense. Presumably advocates of the second amendment believe it to be a genuine right in some deeper sense.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:18 AM
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There should be a question marks at the end of those last sentence. It was a question, not a declaration.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:19 AM
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393 - it's just bizarre, isn't it?

I can't believe the "well, I need it to protect myself in case I get raped" argument, because, erm, if the rapist is any good at it, won't HE have a gun??? And he's the fucking psycho, so he's far more likely to shoot me, surely?

In any confrontation, knowing that there's a reasonable probability that your antagonist is carrying a gun, must just make the situation escalate immediately. I wouldn't want to live in such a high tension way all the time - christ, I don't like being at Heathrow and seeing the gun-carrying police there!

I'd quite like to have a go at target-shooting though.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:27 AM
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Isn't the legalistic sense the relevant one here? B's surely right that absent the amendment, gun control legislation is easier to push through. The rest of the amendments restrict the government and secure liberties in certain ways. When it comes to making laws about guns, it's the interpretation of that amendment that's going to be important.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:28 AM
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There are lots of totally inept evildoers, and many of them assume lack of resistance on the part of their victims. Point to Cala.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:35 AM
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re: 405

Well, coming from outside the US, I'm not mad-concerned with the appropriate legalistic interpretation of the US consitution, and rather more with the question, 'do we have the right to keep and bear arms simpliciter?'.

I've always assumed that's a primary objection that gun control advocates have, i.e. that the constitution is wrong and it's a right that we don't have.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:37 AM
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If you just accept the Constitution as given, then people strongly in favour of very strong gun-control are basically buggered, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:40 AM
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408. No. It's perfectly possible to interpret the 2a as, "You have the right to join the National Guard and your QSM will keep your rifle in a secure armoury when you're not using it."


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:43 AM
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Yeah, I think the legalistic argument against any particular gun regulation is weak, for the reasonableness reasons I alluded to above: we've conceded that the government can regulate or ban the ownership of infantry weapons like fully automatic rifles, RPGs, and so on -- if that's okay to regulate, than drawing a line as to what sort of other regulation is reasonable isn't in the text of the amendment in any legalistic sense. Opposing such regulations has to come from an argument that the right to own a personal firearm is an important civil liberty whatever the Constitution says about it, in the same way that we'd argue that free speech is important whether or not there was a First Amendment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:45 AM
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It goes like this:

1. Specific American historical circumstances (American Revolution, Indian Wars, the Scotch Irish tradition, slavery, etc.) --> 2nd Amendment.

2. 2nd Amendment (and also the other factors) --> the clustering of various sorts of psychological states and hobbies around gun ownership, in the same way that the Vedas lead to clustering of psychological states around cows.

It's an America-specific cultural quirk pretty widely and surprisingly dispersed in the population. Contrast Australia, which is very much like the US in many respects.

I'd be happy to live somewhere without this cultural complex, but it isn't an enormously big deal (compared to, e.g., monopolar global preponderance and the unitary presidency -- though there's some linkage with these.)

I'm often surprised to see how many people have engaged themselves in gun thinking though, for example the belief that "banning all guns" is a proposal that's seriously on the table (and not just something some soccer moms said a few times.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:45 AM
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Even in the UK which has extremely strict gun control laws -- for various historical reasons including, but not limited to, the Dunblane and Hungerford massacres and no doubt, say, the Irish troubles -- people can still own guns. Shotguns and rifles can be had.

That's why the 'all guns will be banned' thing seems such a ludicrous straw-man.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:52 AM
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408, 409: I think the Second Amendment is a real problem of obsolete drafting: I'd say that there's a very reasonable argument that its wording does bar the restriction of the right to own any weapon whatsoever (like, nukes), and an only slightly weaker argument that it bars the restriction of the right to own any weapon that an infantryman would use (machine guns, RPGs). But that strong position isn't going to fly politically anywhere, and once we're arguing something weaker, we're not talking about "This is what the Constitution says, if you want to change it, amend the Constitution," we're talking about what sort of a right to own a firearm makes sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 7:56 AM
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I can't believe the "well, I need it to protect myself in case I get raped" argument, because, erm, if the rapist is any good at it, won't HE have a gun??? And he's the fucking psycho, so he's far more likely to shoot me, surely?

For god's sakes, look at the demographics of who commits crimes. Odds are you're going to get assaulted by someone bigger, stronger, and tougher. The idea that a gun is poor for defense is absurd.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:12 AM
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410.413: There is 'well-regulated' in there. Surely it's allowed to do something like allow for regulation; admitting that regulation is possible is consistent with thinking that it's 'in' the Amendment. Meaning that you can't take a concession on those grounds as reason to think that we're no longer talking about the amendment.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:16 AM
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Sure, but then you can't oppose things like background checks, criminal record/mental health bars on gun ownership, or really any of the gun control measures actually advocated on Constitutional grounds. The amendment isn't drafted to settle arguments over any actually contentious issues.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:22 AM
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413,415: Somehow the Swiss manage to avoid shooting each other to bits however.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:22 AM
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Since I got such a good solid thump on the hornet's nest yesterday I'll go on record as saying I think the government's system for regulating explosives is pretty damn pointless, although I will concede that (e.g.) Semtex should be hard to get ahold of.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:23 AM
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416: I don't see how that follows. Is the thinking that once we allow any single regulation, we're saying any conceivable regulation must be constitutional?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:26 AM
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I'll go on record as saying I think the government's system for regulating explosives is pretty damn pointless

Hear hear. Hands off the amateur pyrotechnics all you finger waggers.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:27 AM
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The Siss have lots of guns, but they're registered and regulated. The Swiss also have a much smaller wacko demographic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:28 AM
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"Swiss".

Am I a sexist? There's a poster at Firedoglake who goes by "egregious", and I always thought they were a guy. But they're a girl. "Egregious" just seems like a guy name to me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:30 AM
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Is the thinking that once we allow any single regulation, we're saying any conceivable regulation must be constitutional?

The thinking is that if the only textual guidance we have is 'well-regulated militia', that doesn't usefully distinguish between the kind of militia I think is well-regulated (one where, say, non-sporting weapons are kept in your locker down at militia headquarters, to be practiced with when you show up for training), and the sort of militia that someone more gung-ho about gun ownership might think was well regulated.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:30 AM
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Also, what I meant yesterday was that restricting the rights of the mentally ill based on diagnosis/treatment, rather than actual record of violent felonies, seemed like a pretty dicey abridgement of fundamental constitutional principles, not "2x4s kill more people than cars", but I was, and remain, busy at work, so oh well.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:31 AM
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I think that the 2nd Amendment was just one of many parts of the constitution which were deliberately written vaguely in the expectation that the details would have to be worked out later.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:32 AM
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There is 'well-regulated' in there.

Not just 'well-regulated' but 'well-regulated militia'. There is a reasonable argument that the right to keep and bear arms refers to the right of the citizenry to muster a militia when and if needed to protect themselves against the tyrannical impulses of a standing army. Which is quite different from a right of each individual to possess a personal arsenal of weapons to be used for whatever purposes he or she sees fit. But this (historically contextual) interpretation of the amendment is not politically feasible, because of the history of a much more individualist interpretation.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:34 AM
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425: I have a theory that, while it convinces me, isn't any real legal use because it doesn't correspond well to the actual wording of the amendment: that while the wording of the amendment doesn't refer to the states, the underlying thinking was that the right being protected was the right of a state to have a citizen militia with which it could protect itself. The point was that Delaware wouldn't be unable to protect itself against aggression from the federal government, or from New Jersey. (Note: This is not meant to be a legal argument. This is my best guess as to what they were thinking when they wrote the darn thing.)

Really, I think we needed a new Constitutional Convention after the Civil War, one that would have restructured the states as administrative regions, and abandoned the fiction of 'sovereignity' we're still pretending they have. And then we could have reevaluated what kind of individual right to gun ownership we wanted to write into that constitution.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:38 AM
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423: Right, I'd agree with that for the last claim in 416, but what I'm not getting is the inference that gets you to the first part. Why isn't is possible to think that background checks are reasonable, but that (say) mandatory reporting of SSRI-prescriptions to the FBI isn't?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:40 AM
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423: It's possible to think whatever you like about what's reasonable. But the process of deciding what's reasonable is the same process you'd go through deciding 'Should we pass the law?' whether or not the Constitution said anything about it. If I think "(say) mandatory reporting of SSRI-prescriptions to the FBI" is a good idea, than I think it's part of well-regulating a militia, and therefore constitutional; if you think it's a poor idea, than you think it's not part of well-regulating a militia, so it's unconstitutional. The policy argument is still wide open, but the Second Amendment doesn't cut one way or the owther.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:45 AM
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429 to 428 rather than 423, and on re-reading I understand what you're asking about my position in 416 better. The sane, reasonable reading of the Second Amendment that I understand you to be favoring is that reasonable regulation is allowable, at which point we're just arguing policy, not rights. On the other hand, a rights based argument that regulations that make it burdensome or impossible for some people to own guns, or that demand that people register their guns, are unconstitutional, doesn't, I think, stand up unless you go all the way to machine guns and MANPADS.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:49 AM
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426: It would depend on how you think the militia gets mustered. Do we read the right as to the people, who have the right to bear arms for whatever lawful purpose because then the state has a citizenry that is ready to go with minimal training? That pushes us towards thinking it's an individual right. Or is the militia essentially a volunteer standing army maintained by the state, with the only right (not necessarily the only gun) you have is to the issued weapons in the Smallville locker a la 427? Then it's not an individual right at all.

I think that the writers probably envisioned something like 427, or indeed, the Civil War, but that they also intended the right to be a right of the private individual.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:51 AM
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re: 414

Isn't the problem with that claim the fact that it's by no means certain that guns really do provide the requisite protection here? I've read highly contentious claims made on both sides of that debate and there isn't some nice clear set of statistics out there that supports either side of the claim.

Other than the more general one that societies with low levels of gun ownership tend, on the whole, to be ones with lower homicide rates. However, whenever anyone makes that point, the next step is always that someone points out that they aren't comparing like with like*, so we are back where we started.

* in ways that I generally think are fucking bullshit, but let's leave that aside for the moment.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:54 AM
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The well-regulated part is interesting too. It means something different today than in 1790. Does this force of irregulars comply, in theory, with international law? I could easily see Country X, after invading the US, conducting numerous murder trials of Americans who had taken up arms improperly.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:56 AM
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Based on my (superficial) understanding of the law involved, that wouldn't be a problem if we could roll back the state of the law to before we started doing bizarre things in the Global War on Things That Aren't Nice. A force of irregulars openly carrying weapons is (or was) entitled to the protection of the Geneva Conventions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:00 AM
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one that would have restructured the states as administrative regions, and abandoned the fiction of 'sovereignity' we're still pretending they have.

Would this mean I wouldn't have to take multiple bar exams to practice law in several states? If so, then I'm totalyl for it. If not then I think I'm opposed.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:05 AM
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re: 433

Yeah, what 434 says. There's no legal problem with a force of armed irregulars. There still isn't outside bizarro-world.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:05 AM
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435: Yep.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:09 AM
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430: I'm not trying to be obtuse, but one can challenge policies on Constitutional grounds. We can say the fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure, and then debate about whether a given police department's policy violates it. (It's a curious feature of oh, the American psychosis that this is the only Amendment where everyone is drawn to defend an originalist meaning where it's either all militia or all individual and must be settled by what was there at the time. We don't do this with freedom of the press.)

Similarly, I could have a view tries to make sense of that horridly written Amendment by saying that some regulation is permissible, but that has to be balanced with whatever the hell 'infringement' is doing there. And maybe that a good place to draw the line is felons vs. mentally ill patients.

I completely agree that the Second Amendment isn't meant to offer specific details on what should be policy. But I can't see that agreeing that some regulation is permissible is tantamount to rejecting the Amendment entirely.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:10 AM
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429 et al.-but even if the 2nd Amdt recognizes/establishes a 'right' to gun ownership, that doesn't mean it can't be regulated (even aside from whatever 'well-regulated militia' would by you). None of the rights enumerated in the constitution go unregulated, it's just a question of what kind of scrutiny the judiciary will give attempts to regulate them (and, in theory, a question for the legislature how much they should attempt). I mean, "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech" sounds pretty absolute, but (almost) nobody really thinks Congress can't make a law abridging freedom of speech, they do so all the time. They just can't (for some value of "can't") do it w/o constraint from constitutional principles.

427.2 is exactly right. We sort of got one in the reconstruction amendments, which recognized that the original relationship between the fed govt and the states had been turned on its head to a large extent, but not enough so that everyone bought into it.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:11 AM
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The carrying arms openly oughtn't to be a problem (though it would be giving up a big advantage in asymmetrical warfare). I was thinking of the distinctive sign and responsible commanders. When you buy a gun you don't get an armband and a phone number. So, sophisticly, is this a well-regulated militia?


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:16 AM
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We can say the fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure, and then debate about whether a given police department's policy violates it.

Sure. We're arguing about what's a 'reasonable' search or seizure, based on centuries of caselaw saying that 'reasonable' means either that you convinced a judge you had a reason, or that you had a good reason and couldn't practically get a judge to clear it.

For the Second Amendment, though, there's no legal history of what sort of regulations count as serving the goal of making a militia 'well-regulated' and which don't -- AFAIK, no regulation's ever been overturned on Second Amendment grounds. So if you want to start overturning regulations on Second Amendment grounds, there's no place to go but the text of the amendment, which doesn't provide any useful guidance unless you read it maximally, or what seems reasonable, at which point we're back in 'arguing about policy' world.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:16 AM
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429

"... The policy argument is still wide open, but the Second Amendment doesn't cut one way or the owther."

The Supreme Court might think otherwise and it is their opinion that counts.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:21 AM
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Isn't the problem with that claim the fact that it's by no means certain that guns really do provide the requisite protection here? I've read highly contentious claims made on both sides of that debate and there isn't some nice clear set of statistics out there that supports either side of the claim.

Depends on what claims we're talking about. I think it's pretty clear that John Lott style claims of concealed carry driving down crime have not been substantiated. But in the event that someone is attacked, the numbers from Kleck at Florida State indicate that you have a better chance of defending yourself with a firearm. And like I said earlier, this seems pretty intuitive. Violent crime is largely committed by young males who are going to be stronger and better in a fight than the average citizen. A devastating projectile weapon levels the field a bit.

Other than the more general one that societies with low levels of gun ownership tend, on the whole, to be ones with lower homicide rates. However, whenever anyone makes that point, the next step is always that someone points out that they aren't comparing like with like*

I think there's something to that though. There's reasons why the murder rate in Salt Lake is wildly different from the murder rate in Baltimore, and the variable is not guns. Similarly, I don't think it's a coincidence that the low murder rate countries like Japan and in western Europe have low poverty, good social safety net, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:24 AM
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A devastating projectile weapon levels the field a bit.

I think on this particular claim you're in the territory of Emerson's fallacy of composition here [see above]. As has been repeatedly pointed out, there's a fairly obvious vicious circle possible here.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:29 AM
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there's a fairly obvious vicious circle possible here.

Sure. But I linked to some of Kleck's numbers in 273. I'm not pulling this stuff out of thin air.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:35 AM
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restricting the rights of the mentally ill based on diagnosis/treatment, rather than actual record of violent felonies, seemed like a pretty dicey abridgement of fundamental constitutional principles

Agreed. I'm not saying that my argument is fully worked out here, and that it might not be wrong in the end. But I do think that we should take the danger of guns in the hands of people who don't *yet* have a record of murder/suicide/domestic violence but who have a heightened risk for those problems seriously, and I think we tend to shrug off that risk by invoking the 2nd amendment. IMHO, the idea that the 2nd amendment protects individual freedom to own guns is dangerous; I also happen to think it's a poor interpretation, but I'm quite willing to concede that I think that because I think it's dangerous. Which is what leads me to the question ttaM's articulated for me, which is *should* the right to individual ownership of guns be a constitutionally protected right? And I say, no.

I find the arguments that the war on drugs and/or poverty are the *real* problem evasive. Absent easily available guns, neither the war on drugs nor poverty would be *in and of themselves* lethal; guns are. And again, I simply do not think that the counterargument one makes in favor of fundamental rights--that the risks entailed are outweighed by the benefits--is at all convincing.

And finally, again, I'm not talking about hunting rifles (which are adequate to protect you against the KKK or the estranged stalker ex or the malicious armed intruder in the middle of the night far from any help); I'm talking about handguns. Broadly speaking, of course, since definitions of gun "types" isn't something I know a whole lot about.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:42 AM
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I don't exactly believe it's primarily a state-held right. I think it's an individual right to bear arms in the militia, an institution that has no modern analog. (The national guard isn't analagous: too formalized & professional & too much under the control of the national gov't. But neither is stockpiling weapons for your own private purposes.) The purpose, if you look at the historical materials, comes through pretty clearly: yeoman citizens' militia, not a standing army; standing armies are the tools of tyrannies.

Well, that ship has sailed: we have a standing army that puts colonial England's to shame, with the capacity to kill all of us many, many, many times over. And we have no modern analog to the militia & a relic of an amendment that no longer meaningfully protects liberty. But we also have a gun culture which the amendment greatly strengthened.

As far as I'm concerned, trying to make life difficult for Blackwater & pals is more in line with the original purposes of the Second Amendment than anything the NRA does.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:59 AM
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427--
this is a good theory, which has the advantage of being true.
read neal cogan's collection of documents relevant to the drafting of the bill of rights. most of the state-level antecedents of the 2a involved the regulation of militias, including e.g. whether quakers were completely exempt, or whether they should be required to pay a fee for the exemption (i.e. in order to support their substitute).

also, nearly every bill from which the 2a took its origins (i.e. the state level bills it was based on) began with a preamble warning against the dangers of standing armies. so the line of thought is: since standing armies are a short route to tyranny, we need citizen militias.

this worry was intensified by the creation of the new federal juggernaut, a.k.a. the constitution. then the concern was that the states would be ground underfoot by a federal army. so the 2a was created in order to give the states something with which to fight against a federal over-reach. this is what hamilton says explicitly in the federalist papers.

also--ttam is right in 402 that none of the rights are *created* by the bill of rights. that is why 9a and 10a are crucial to understanding the origin of the rights. the first 8 are merely *enumerations* of rights and powers, whose basis lies elsewhere.
again, the early debates are very clear about this: the constitution cannot possibly *give* citizens rights. it can recognize them, list them in various incomplete ways, and relate them to each other. most importantly it can place explicit limitations on federal powers. but the rights already exist, and have their basis independent of the constitution.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 10:01 AM
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447: This is the main problem I have with rabid 2nd amendment types. Either you want to modernize thinking about this entirely, or you want to stick *exactly* to the original intent. Which means no standing army, ever. Going about it piecemeal is bullshit.

Truthfully, I have to respect the few that actually do argue for decommissioning the armed forces etc. I think they are both out to lunch and impractical, but there position is at least internally consistent. Unlike the vast majority of the gun lobby.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 10:04 AM
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446: in which case I'm not sure you're arguing with me. I'm generally somewhat agnostic on gun laws, with the approximate sense that dense urban areas should have fairly broad latitude to restrict availability. I mostly was reacting to the idea that a diagnosis of mental illness should in and of itself be sufficient to restrict an individual's rights relative to the general population, a debate the more current participants in this thread are letting lie fallow, so.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 10:16 AM
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450--
would it help if any such mental-health restrictions just stated explicitly that people with handles like 'sifu tweety' are ipso facto batshit insane?
i mean--it might resolve some ambiguity for you.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 10:20 AM
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451: luckily for everyone I'm not a gun owner.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 10:22 AM
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a diagnosis of mental illness should

Yeah, there are privacy issues, of course, and 'mental illness' is a terribly broad term. I'm still thinking that there are particular mental illnesses where, assuming a regulation could be crafted that wouldn't do more harm than good, restricting gun ownership is a reasonable reaction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 10:25 AM
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453--
again, in the case of car ownership, i believe there is broad discretion given to medical professionals.

just for kicks i looked at the regulations in ny state--looks like a doctor can basically turn in to the dmv anyone they believe is disqualified for mental or physical reasons from driving a car.

you, the driver, have the right to appeal, but no right to find out the name of the md who ratted on you. nice!


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 10:27 AM
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453: I'm saying that anybody that ill should probably have their freedoms restricted in lots of other ways; we should be talking about involuntary commital, not gun ownership.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 10:35 AM
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455--
but if gun-owners are committed, only committees will have guns.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 10:36 AM
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455: I'd want to be much more knowledgable before making this argument with any force, but I pretty sure I disagree -- that there are categories of mental illness where someone can, with proper medical treatment and support, function well enough that they don't need to be institutionalized, but where there's still a substantial risk of someone having the sort of psychotic break that would make their having a gun easily accessible a bad idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 10:45 AM
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457: but if that's true, should that person have access to a car, or a carving knife, or gasoline?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 11:37 AM
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The thing is, they can hurt themselves or someone else a lot easier and more efficiently with a gun, and the rest of their lives will be less impacted by it. This is hard to talk about because I don't want to invent examples that demonstrate ignorance of mental illness, but for a real life example (which turned out badly anyway, but just to illustrate my thinking) think of Gideon Busch, who got killed by NYC police for behaving violently with a hammer. Now, he got killed anyway, but at least he didn't hurt anyone, and the same sort of story would probably have played out if he'd had a knife. With a gun, on the other hand, it seems likely to me that he would have killed someone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 11:43 AM
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458: Yes, because again--cars, carving knives, and gasoline are *primarily* useful for things other than suicide/murder; the ability to use them for those purposes is at most a minor incidental threat. Guns, the balance goes the other way round.

Also, can I be Katherine when I grow up? Thanks.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 11:46 AM
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Could everybody just go ahead and start shooting, so we can settle this and move on to cannibalizing presidential candidates?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 11:49 AM
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460: but that seems like an argument for restricting guns generally, not just for the mentally ill.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 12:01 PM
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459: and what if he'd stolen a car, or set a building on fire?

If somebody presents an imminent risk to others and should be locked up, argue that. If guns shouldn't be available in the way they are now, argue that. Confusing the two seems, to me, like it is arbitrarily discriminatory towards a certain class of person (somebody who, by virtue of illness, is dangerous iff they have a gun? I'm sure there's somebody like that, but every single schizophrenic? Really?) who already face broad misunderstanding of their condition.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 12:12 PM
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Who said 'every single schizophrenic'? Look, guns are designed to make it easy and efficient to kill animals and people. They're not much use otherwise, except as toys -- if you don't plan to injure or kill someone, or threaten to do so, you don't need a gun.

It is my belief that there are diagnosable mental illnesses that substantially increase the likelihood that someone will, at some point, have and attempt to carry out violent impulses (like, say, you're schizophrenic and you've had them and tried to carry them out before). I may be wrong as a matter of psychiatry -- perhaps there is no reasonable way of diagnosing such an enhanced likelihood. But if there is, doesn't it seem reasonable that the risk to those around such a person might be low enough not to deprive them of all liberty, as you'd have to in order to keep them away from sharp objects, but high enough that you wouldn't want to allow them to equip themselves with tools useful only for killing?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 12:21 PM
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That was me -- don't know what happened to my name.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 12:21 PM
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462: It is. But what LB's saying: if you are depressive, or bipolar, your risk of using a gun--which is *for* killing, as gasoline and knives are not--is much (even) higher than it is for your average non-crazy person.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 12:27 PM
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466: maybe yes, maybe no, depending on the person. On the other hand, the risk of violent or self-destructive behavior if you don't seek treatment because of the stigma attached is much greater, which is why the move to integrate the mentally ill back into society happened in the first place. So the question is, are there a non-trivial number of severaly depressed or bipolar or schizophrenic people who avoid treatment because of the stigma of, e.g., not being able to own guns, and are we better off having those people untreated? It seems to me that a mentally ill person who sees having guns as a big deal is exactly the kind you would want to make comfortable about treatment.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 12:37 PM
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461: Tempting, but not just yet.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 12:41 PM
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466: Is it really? This is potentially a pretty invasive law -- lots of people who are depressed, bipolar, and have no violent record and probably won't ever become violent -- for what seems to me very little gain, since I suspect that of the suicides-by-gun in this country, most of them are not suicides where the person purchased the gun after becoming depressed, but who had access to the gun already. So we're making it mandatory for therapists to report depressed people for security reasons when that's probably unlikely to help more than a handful of cases.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 12:48 PM
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I think I'm with Tweety and Cala on this. I think LB's 464.2 is partly right, but that predicting who might turn out to be violent is so hard that you're very likely to end up either way under-inclusive or way over-inclusive. If that's the case, then I think you conclude that establishing a different set of rules on gun ownership for the mentally ill is more intrusion than can be justified by whatever increased safety it generates, particularly when you take into account the availability of non-legal means (family, professional advice) for getting guns away from people who oughtn't have them.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 1:01 PM
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So we're making it mandatory for therapists to report depressed people for security reasons when that's probably unlikely to help more than a handful of cases.

Not everyone is arguing the same thing, here, but if the disagreement is that it would be overinclusive to say that anyone who's ever been treated for depression shouldn't be allowed to own a gun, I can completely agree with you. My thinking is only that if it's possible to, in a medically reasonable manner, identify people at an increased risk of acting out violently, that it might (if a regulation could be devised that wouldn't do more harm than good) be reasonable to bar such people from gun ownership until medically cleared.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 1:03 PM
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467: Those are the relevant questions, yes. I'm sure I've said many times that I'd need to know the answers to those questions before I could say that yes, for certain this kind of legislation would be a good idea. Right now, I'm only arguing that it isn't *self-evidently* a bad idea, inasmuch as mental illness is *in and of itself* a high risk factor for suicide or violence, regardless of previously-existing behavior.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 1:27 PM
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Just read the Washington Post article that Katherine linked somewhere upthread. That's horrifying.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 1:39 PM
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472: I suppose a case could be made, in certain very specific cirumstances. I am generally against tying the punitive power of the law to medical diagnoses, though, because it attaches all sorts of strange incentives to things that should be driven purely by medical considerations.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 1:41 PM
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FWIW, I have some personal experience of a case in which it was extremely important to figure out whether someone was dangerous to self/others. The crapshoot element was frighteningly large, even with lots of professional help.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 1:50 PM
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474: Agreed. I wish that we didn't think of "not owning a gun" as a "punishment," though.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 1:56 PM
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inasmuch as mental illness is *in and of itself* a high risk factor for suicide or violence, regardless of previously-existing behavior.

That's the crux of the issue. Suicide is certainly a serious risk, but I don't believe that there are data showing that people with mental illness--even a major mental illness like schizophrenia--are more likely to be violent towards others.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 1:58 PM
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NPH, I've been scrolling to find the Washington Post article to which you referred. In which comment did Katherine provide the link?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 2:00 PM
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477: I think that might be right; I admit I'm thinking largely of the seriously depressed nut jobs who kill their exes and/or kids after a split. But I think in most of those cases that they had prior warnings of violence (though often no actual criminal record).

Suicide's still a damn good reason not to keep a gun around if you're depressed, though.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 2:03 PM
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Yeah, I don't think it's true that mentally ill people are more likely to be violent. It may be that one attempt is a clear risk factor for additional attempts, but I'm not even sure about that.

Another FWIW: as a teenager the availability of guns if I wanted to off myself was part of how I got really clear that that wasn't something that I would ever do. But obviously anecdata is meaningless when it comes to assessing suicide risk.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 2:05 PM
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478: In the other thread, the one about the army.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 2:05 PM
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414: For god's sakes, look at the demographics of who commits crimes. Odds are you're going to get assaulted by someone bigger, stronger, and tougher. The idea that a gun is poor for defense is absurd.

If that were true, then wouldn't women be getting raped a lot more in Britain than in the States? The rape rates per capita don't exactly bear that out (the US's is about twice that of the UK's). Although Canada and Australia are both much higher, and I have no idea about their gun situations, so it's clearly not as straightforward as perhaps either of us would like to imagine.

But my basic point is that if I were in America, the odds are that I'd be attacked by someone bigger, stronger, and toucher, AND HOLDING A GUN. I'm not sure how good a defense my own gun would be if he can shoot me before I get it out. And if I did, then I've shot someone, which I really don't feel comfortable with. I'd much rather get a knee to the balls, or gouge at his eyes without wondering if I'm going to be shot.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 2:06 PM
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478: Actually, I couldn't find it either. Maybe I'm misremembering who posted it. In any case, the article is here.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 2:06 PM
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475: The crapshoot element was frighteningly large

The parole system would indicate that, no? When it comes to predicting the specific behavior of specific individuals psychiatry and psychology might as well flip coins unless they're discussing folk at the distant tails of the veldt curve.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 2:07 PM
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Yeah, I don't think it's true that mentally ill people are more likely to be violent.

I don't think it's true over the full spectrum of everyone who can be described as 'mentally ill', but that's a different claim from saying 'there is no diagnosis that can predict a higher risk of violence.' The latter claim may also be true, and if it is then obviously gun ownership shouldn't be tied to any diagnosis, but that's something I'd want to hear from someone with some relevant expertise.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 2:07 PM
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But my basic point is that if I were in America, the odds are that I'd be attacked by someone bigger, stronger, and toucher, AND HOLDING A GUN.

I don't think that's true (although I agree with the general point that carrying a gun for self-defense isn't a good idea, or at least that the amount of training required to make regular carry anything but a bad idea is way higher than can be justified by the amount of risk most of us face).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 2:10 PM
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485: I think it's a question of how much additional risk you're looking for. It wouldn't surprise me at all if people who have had psychotic episodes are measurably more likely to be violent toward others than the general population, but I think you'd still be looking at low single-digit rates of actual violence.

At the end of the day I'm not all that convinced that psychiatric diagnoses are a whole lot more useful than plain old demonic possession, although the tools of exorcism have improved quite a bit. Maybe that's just my particular set of anecdata, but it's informed by a lot of conversations with professionals about what they could and couldn't do.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 2:20 PM
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Maybe that's just my particular set of anecdata, but it's informed by a lot of conversations with professionals about what they could and couldn't do.

And I don't have any better anecdata. If you're right that psychiatric diagnosis is useless for predicting impulsive violence, then tying it to gun licensing is a bad idea. All I've been arguing is that it's not a self-evidently oppressive idea -- the argument against it should be that it's useless, not that it would be wrong even if it worked.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 2:26 PM
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Yeah, I don't think I'm arguing with you, just kicking thoughts around.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 2:27 PM
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Sometimes psych diagnoses are specifically an alternative to prosecution. This complicates things.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:01 PM
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491: Except that the criminal standard is sort of a weird thing of its own that doesn't correspond particularly well with psychiatric diagnoses, if I understand correctly.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:06 PM
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I'm a little dizzy, trying to follow the discussion, but I have to thank everyone for keeping their focus on the ball of my probably being evicted in a couple of months, absent help. Woo-hoo for that attention, and thanks muchly.

Eye on the ball as always around here.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:48 PM
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If you have the gun by then it'll be that much easier to keep the landlord at bay, Gary.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:49 PM
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I don't know, a ball seems like a sort of insecure place to keep your eye, but I don't want to judge you.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:50 PM
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Eye on the ball as always around here.

We really can't help it. It's those tight pants Ogged wears. Your eyes are just drawn.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:55 PM
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Doubtless all true, but, hey, Sifu, any chance you might, um, er, like, link to my post?

It could actually help. And I'd thank you, and all.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:55 PM
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Aside from my blog being down right now I could. I'm not really sure if anybody reads it anymore, either.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:57 PM
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I wouldn't want to stutter about my eyes, after all. I'm not that ballsy.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:58 PM
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I'm not really sure if anybody reads it anymore, either.

I read it. Post more you fuckers.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 8:59 PM
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"I'm not really sure if anybody reads it anymore, either."

The technical response that's due is, I believe, "blow me."


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:00 PM
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Dude the blog is down. I can't post on it, and even if I could, nobody could read it. If it would be somehow helpful to you for me to, like, write a post and then look at it myself for a while I guess I could do that, but it's not like I have much of a mouthpiece at the moment.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:03 PM
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The other way around is probably more effective fundraising.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:03 PM
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Sifu, your "logic" is so like that of the Democrats, that I have no forgiveness. It's almost as if you expect me to respect "reality," as you and your friends call it. Why you expect me to pay attention to your petty details, such as being connected to the "internet," as you call it, or not, I simply do not know. You should simply priviledge all my requests and desires at all costs beyond yours, and work your hardest to fulfill them.

I would think this was perfectly clear, but apparently something is wrong with your programming. We will correct this at your next session.

Meanwhile, please try to fulfill your programming.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 12- 4-07 9:13 PM
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