Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gun control and the Colorado massacre

As one might predict, the loony left has erupted with demands for more gun control in the wake of the theater massacre in Colorado.

The fact that gun control is everywhere a failure in the prevention of gun crimes seems not to bother these folks in the least. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms, and it's obvious that madmen who have no concern for human life will have no respect for gun laws.

Charles Cooke says it well:

[The outcry for gun control is] predictable, but deeply misguided. As usual, this is not an issue of gun control.

As Cesare Beccaria wrote in 1764 in Crimes and Punishments:

The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? And does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons. 
As Beccaria implies, this crime was ultimately about people. It was about the shooter, the victims, and their families — and very little else besides — and we would do well to avoid breathlessly proposing radical changes to our constitutional order because a man abused his liberty. Those with evil in their hearts are prone to do evil things, and those willing to violate strict prohibitions against murder do not care much about regulation of firearms or much else. As such, unless the shooter was part of a bigger conspiracy or was systematically failed by an institution, our attentions might be better focused on Aurora, Colo., and not on any particular group, or — even worse — the whole citizenry of the United States.
Liberals are fools, as their policies-- from coddling criminals to destroying families with welfare to bankrupting our nation with trillions in debt and an idiotic decades-long program to encourage people to take mortgages for houses they could not afford-- have caused incalculable damage. The idiotic liberal 'catch-and-release' policies on crime in the 1960's caused several hundred thousand excess deaths in the United States.

Cooke notes:
Those who are willing to break the laws against murder do not care about the regulation of firearms, and will get hold of weapons whether doing so is legal or not. As the old trope goes, to expect a mass-murderer to be concerned that his firearm is obtained outside the law is akin to expecting a truck bomber to fret that his vehicle is occupying two parking spaces.
Do you really think that gun control suppresses gun crime? Keep in mind that the municipalities with the most strict gun control in the U.S.-- Newark and Oakland and St. Louis and Baltimore and Philadelphia and Chicago and Washington, D.C.-- are free-fire zones and bastions of liberal Democrat governance.

Consider this uncomfortable but undeniable observation: if you classify neighborhoods and municipalities according to local voting patterns, virtually all violent crime in the United States is committed by liberal Democrats against liberal Democrats in municipalities governed by liberal Democrats. Gun crime correlates much less with the availability of guns than with the availability of liberal Democrats.

It is not clear that anything could have been done to prevent the shootings in Colorado. It is obvious, however, that stricter laws to disarm law-abiding citizens-- law-abiding targets, actually-- make it easier for mass murders to kill without fear of being stopped.

Gun control is a spree-killer's best friend.

37 comments:

  1. Shorter Egnor: it's the niggers' fault.

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    1. Troy,

      That was completely uncalled for and worthy of deletion.

      -L

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    2. Agreed.

      I'm not surprised Troy is a racist.

      You do know that James Holmes is white, right? He's a white agnostic with middle of the road political beliefs. So he isn't a right wing Christian, if that's what you were hoping.

      Joey

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    3. Joey,

      Do you think that the commenters on this site would be making hay out of Holmes's political and religious beliefs if he were a conservative Christian?

      I'm shocked! They wouldn't sink that low.

      Here's his match.com profile:

      http://www.tmz.com/2012/07/22/james-holmes-colorado-shooting-match-profile/

      For the record, I'm not doing to non-believers what some of them do to us. I'm not blaming them. The guy responsible is the guy who did it: James Holmes. I'm just trying to imagine what would have happened if they could have stuck this one on the people they hate.

      And what's with the N bombs, Troy?

      TRISH

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  2. Mike,
    I could not agree more.
    Here in Canada we have all sorts of regional restrictions on guns and rifles, as well as strict federal licensing laws on even hunting rifles and shotguns. You can get almost anything, but the paperwork and red tape certainly discourages most people from even trying.
    Many of these rules, such as the 'long gun registry' have been or are in the process of being reversed or scrapped, as they are seen as useless or worse.
    Just as in your post, we see the VAST majority of 'gun crimes' committed in areas that have the strictest controls.
    Further the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with the use of illegal weapons, not licensed or registered ones.

    For example side arms are a hard thing to come by LEGALLY in Canada. You need a special permit to carry a pistol, and another to be allowed to conceal it. But, despite that fact the majority of such slayings are done with those weapons, by people who have neither. Apparently black marketeers do not require permits to sell.
    A prime example is a shooting (one of four like it this year) in a borough of Toronto. At a 'street party' BBQ style event several people were shot and two killed, including a young girl, by a pistol wielding thug who opened up on a crowd.
    It is thought this activity was 'gang related' and now the gun control folks are demanding MORE controls and an outright BAN on civilian pistol ownership - even though there IS effectively a ban on such weapons in civilian hands in Toronto. Even as a military officer, I have to have a special, special permit to carry my side arm to barracks or duty of any kind in that city. Police are must 'locker' their weapons off duty, in Toronto.
    So, even after the gun is banned - they blame the gun and not the shooter, gangs, culture of violence, or the general lack of morality involved in such activity. Only the gun is blamed - an inanimate object.
    For the other elements there is only excuses made.
    Alternately in regions of the Provinces that are less strict on the control of weapons - such a rural areas, small cities and towns, and areas near military facilities and bases - there is next to NO gun crime.
    The voters also tend to be more conservative and have a more traditional view of morality. Areas the urban folks would describe as 'backwards' and 'cottage country' populated by 'rednecks' and 'hicks' tend to be the least violent, even though fire arms are common place.
    The concentration of the population is also generally much lower. That is not to say killings never happen in non urban areas, or that legal guns are never used...but the occurrence rate is exponentially lower.
    Perhaps these moral and social factors are mere coincidence, but I think not.
    I know the same people who refer to us folks as 'rednecks' will no doubt cry 'racism!', but this kind of thing has nothing to do with race, in my opinion.
    It has to do with how people live and what values are held high.
    It certainly is not the fault of inanimate objects.

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    1. @crusadeRex
      You can get almost anything, but the paperwork and red tape certainly discourages most people from even trying.

      You forgot the fee$!

      In Québec, the cardiologist Turcotte killed his 2 children with a knife. Should we have knife control? What about baseball bat control? The problem is not the gun, it's the one pulling the trigger, stabbing with the knife or smashing the skull with the bat.

      I agree 110% with you and Dr. Egnor.

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  3. Egnor: Do you really think that gun control suppresses gun crime? Keep in mind that the municipalities with the most strict gun control in the U.S.-- Newark and Oakland and St. Louis and Baltimore and Philadelphia and Chicago and Washington, D.C.-- are free-fire zones and bastions of liberal Democrat governance.

    And keep in mind that all these cities are within a short car ride of areas without strict gun control. You can buy guns easily in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, and of course Colorado. Controlling guns in a city surrounded by areas with easy availability of guns is a fool's errand.

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    1. True, but there are nations with very high gun crime rates (Brazil, Russia) that have the strictest national gun control laws in the world.

      Bad guys get guns. Gun control simply doesn't work. Get over it.

      There may be no simple way to stop spree killers. The evidence in the US over the past 50 years is that the most effective way to reduce violent crime is to reject liberal policies on crime.

      The crime wave of 1965-1995 was a liberal crime wave, caused by idiotic liberal policies. I have little interest in what liberals have to say about crime today.

      Delete
    2. Egnor: True, but there are nations with very high gun crime rates (Brazil, Russia) that have the strictest national gun control laws in the world.

      Having lived half of my life in Russia, I can't help but chuckle at this. Russia used to have strict gun controls. In the Soviet times. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the military lost almost all of the funding. Soldiers literally went begging for food. Officers had salaries on which they could not afford to live. Not surprisingly, lots of military equipment ended up sold on the black market. The country was flooded with guns. There are gun-control laws but there is no efficient gun control. It is beyond naive to suggest otherwise.

      I don't know much about the situation in Brazil, so I won't comment on that.

      The crime wave of 1965-1995 was a liberal crime wave, caused by idiotic liberal policies. I have little interest in what liberals have to say about crime today.

      Are you saying that the country was under the control of the Democrats during those 30 years? That makes no sense.

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    3. "There are gun-control laws but there is no efficient gun control."

      In other words, there are gun control laws but they don't work. Thank you for conceding the point.

      "And keep in mind that all these cities are within a short car ride of areas without strict gun control."

      True. The criminals find ways to get the guns. But the law-abiding citizens don't travel to other locales to get their guns and bring them back because that would be breaking the law and law-abiding citizens don't do that by definition.

      TRISH

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    4. In other words, there are gun control laws but they don't work.

      Golly, laws without enforcement don't work. How very insightful of you to notice. How about laws with enforcement? Might that be a different story?

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    5. TRISH: In other words, there are gun control laws but they don't work. Thank you for conceding the point.

      How is that a concession? Having gun-control laws is only part of the package. Effective enforcement of the laws is the other half. That's what failed in Russia.

      I am not agreeing with you. Don't put words in my mouth.

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    6. The laws don't keep guns away from bad guys who want them. That's the point. They haven't been enforced because they can't be.

      They are however, enforced against law abiding citizens. Look at Chicago or Washington, DC.

      Russia isn't a very good example of the power of gun laws to end violence.

      Gun control advocates never tire of citing Japan as an example. Japan is less violent because of cultural differences. Its laws reflect its culture, sure, but you can't tell me that the USA would have a similar rate of violent crime if we simply adopted Japanese laws. It's not that easy.

      But if you want to make examples out of other countries, let's do it. Switzerland, for example, REQUIRES gun ownership. No mass shootings. France, Germany, and Norway have strict gun laws, which didn't stop the Anders Brevik, the Toulouse shooter, or the two guys who pulled off spree killings in Erfurt Germany in 2002 and Winnenden in 2009.

      I'm not putting words in your mouth. You conceded the point. You've confirmed with your own words that gun control laws in Russia didn't solve the problem. It's time to throw in the towel on this one and admit that you're wrong.

      Hey Oleg, did you ever wonder why Russia had strict gun control in the Soviet times? Do you think it might have something to do with being a totalitarian state?

      "Ideas are far more powerful than guns. We don't allow our enemies to have guns, why should we allow them to have ideas?" Josef Stalin.

      TRISH

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    7. @TRISH

      It's almost like Oleg wants to bring Stalinism here to America. We know he's not a friend of religious freedom. He doesn't care for gun rights either.

      What part of our freedom do you like, Mr. Oleg? We'd like to keep ours if you don't mind. If you can't handle it, kindly excuse yourself back to Russia, or better yet, North Korea. You'll fit right in.

      The Torch

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    8. Bad people always want to take away peoples' guns so they can do bad things.

      Venezuela banned private gun ownership last month. Hugo is going to make sure that every gun in the country belongs to him.

      Joey

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    9. TRISH: I'm not putting words in your mouth. You conceded the point. You've confirmed with your own words that gun control laws in Russia didn't solve the problem. It's time to throw in the towel on this one and admit that you're wrong.

      I did not concede the point. I never agreed with you anywhere. Don't make it up.

      I say that having gun-control laws and not enforcing them is set to fail, as it did in Russia. You say that gun-control laws cannot be enforced in principle. And that's where we disagree. To get from my point to yours requires making an assumption. I do not agree with that assumption, so a reasonable observer will not conclude that I have conceded.

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    10. Torch,

      I love you, too.

      Delete
    11. TRISH: But if you want to make examples out of other countries, let's do it. Switzerland, for example, REQUIRES gun ownership. No mass shootings.

      Riiight.

      Delete
    12. Okay, Oleg. One mass killing. Wouldn't you expect more than one mass killing from a country that's armed to the teeth?

      TRISH

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    13. You said there were none.

      And now let's correct for the country size. Switzerland has a population of 8 million. The US, 300 million. You do the math.

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    14. But if you want to make examples out of other countries, let's do it. Switzerland, for example, REQUIRES gun ownership.

      Guns that are issued only to people who are part of the national reserves, which are strictly accounted for, down to the last round of ammunition, and which are subject to recall by the government at any time, for any reason.

      Yeah, Switzerland doesn't have strict gun laws. Pardon me while I roll my eyes at you.

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    15. Wouldn't you expect more than one mass killing from a country that's armed to the teeth?

      Switzerland has about half as many privately owned guns per capita as the United States (89 guns per 100 residents in the U.S. vs. 45 guns per 100 residents in Switzerland).

      The rate of private gun ownership in Switzerland is closer to that of Norway, France, and Germany which you cited as having "strict gun laws" (each have about 30 guns per 100 residents) than to the rate in the U.S. The evidence supporting your assertion that Switzerland is "armed to the teeth" seems pretty flimsy.

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  4. crus: So, even after the gun is banned - they blame the gun and not the shooter, gangs, culture of violence, or the general lack of morality involved in such activity. Only the gun is blamed - an inanimate object.

    What nonsense. "They" don't jail the gun, right? RIGHT?

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    1. Right. They just try to take everyone else's.

      Blaming the gun is, however, a favorite tactic of anti-2nd Amendment types. They like to say things like, "Do you know how many people were killed by guns last year?" As if the gun did it, rather than the person. The verbiage they use says a lot about their thought process. Guns kill people so let's get rid of guns.

      TRISH

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    2. Jailing the gun. You're brilliant, Oleg.

      Joey

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  5. “Liberals are fools, as their policies….bankrupting our nation with trillions in debt.”

    Republicans cut taxes and spend like drunken sailors when they’re in power then whine about the debt then blame it on the Dems when they’re not. Starting with Regan’s tripling of our national debt, to Bush’s tax cuts and two unfunded wars, this has been the Republicans M.O.

    Fucking liars destroying our country to line the pockets of the rich.

    -KW

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  6. It is obvious, however, that stricter laws to disarm law-abiding citizens-- law-abiding targets, actually-- make it easier for mass murders to kill without fear of being stopped.

    Having guns at the theater would have likely done very little to stop Holmes. In a crowded theater filled with people, civilians untrained in trying to fight in such conditions would have likely been more of a danger to their fellow attendees than they would have been to Holmes, at least if you believe the results of urban warfare training conducted by the U.S. military.

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    1. Anon,
      The factor you miss is deterrent. While agree that hordes of people firing into a crowd is a dangerous situation indeed, I do not think most fire arms enthusiasts are the untrained mob you describe.
      The US urban warfare white papers are considering actions in large urban settlements in regions abroad. The weapons they are considering are usually of the assault or sub machine gun variety.
      If, on the other hand, the US military is engaging in studies about urban assaults on cities within the USA and the disposition of citizens in the homeland using fire arms against them...I would suggest you have MUCH more to worry about than the guns.
      Anyway, to the deterrent:
      People who commit acts like this horror in Colorado are cowards. They take great care to protect themselves and pick soft targets.
      If they felt there was a real chance of fire being returned they would either not attack that target, or take greater precautions and be more specific in their acquisition of targets.
      This may be a moot point in a cinema airing a (extremely violent) film version of a children's super hero/comic book... but such acts are not restricted to cinemas and children's venues.

      That said, if one man in the front row had been in possession of a high powered pistol and had the training to use it, the outcome could have been VERY different. He may not have been successful in downing the target, but he could have distracted him long enough to save lives and even frightened him off with returned fire.

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    2. While agree that hordes of people firing into a crowd is a dangerous situation indeed, I do not think most fire arms enthusiasts are the untrained mob you describe.

      Even people who are skilled in the use of firearms are often not particularly well-trained for fighting in a crowded theater. When U.S. Marines go through urban combat training they are attempting to differentiate friend from foe and avoid accidentally shooting civilians. Most are quite proficient with their weapons, and are trained for combat. But they are generally still lousy at urban combat until they have had training in it. Even people who are trained can have problems - the SWAT team members who showed up on the scene at one point briefly mistook Holmes for one of their number.

      A "deterrent" is no deterrent under those circumstances. And probably not much of a deterrent for most of the perpetrators of these types of shooting sprees who are often intent on committing suicide by police officer. I'm not advocating gun control or anything similar. I'm noting that even if there had been a half dozen guys with guns sitting in that theater (and for all Holmes knew, there were, since there was nothing in particular stopping them), then the situation probably would not have been much different.

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    3. [Having guns at the theater would have likely done very little to stop Holmes. In a crowded theater filled with people, civilians untrained in trying to fight in such conditions would have likely been more of a danger to their fellow attendees than they would have been to Holmes, at least if you believe the results of urban warfare training conducted by the U.S. military.]

      Holmes was actually an easy target. It turns out that his "body armor" wasn't bullet-proof at all, and he was standing in front of the audience and was an easy target. There is good reason to think that armed citizens could have taken him out, or at least caused him to go on defense rather than offense.

      There are quite a few shooting sprees that have been stopped or mitigated by private citizens (or off-duty law enforcement officers) with guns.

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    4. Holmes was actually an easy target. It turns out that his "body armor" wasn't bullet-proof at all, and he was standing in front of the audience and was an easy target.

      No one is saying that any of those things are not true. And none of those factors have much to do with whether having a couple people in the theater with guns would have helped or hurt the situation.

      There is good reason to think that armed citizens could have taken him out, or at least caused him to go on defense rather than offense.

      Based upon actual exercises conducted by the military and police forces, not so much.

      There are quite a few shooting sprees that have been stopped or mitigated by private citizens (or off-duty law enforcement officers) with guns.

      If off-duty law enforcement officers had been there, there was nothing stopping them from having a gun. Civilians? Well, the data is decidedly mixed with respect to their efficacy in stopping such crimes. In any event, Colorado has a concealed carry law, so any number of people could have been armed in that theater, and somehow that didn't dissuade Holmes at all - so much for the "deterrence" of concealed carry in this situation.

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    5. Anon,
      "When U.S. Marines go through urban combat training [...] until they have had training in it."
      Sure. And those are only drills. NOTHING like the real deal. They will always be lousy at it until they have actually experienced it, actually. Even then, urban skirmish is NOT an easy engagement.
      Again, I wonder why they would practice such drills on American style targets. Mock Middle Eastern and African locations that simulate theatres they are engaged in...sure.
      But California and Carolina? American homes and neighbourhoods being searched? Disturbing.
      What type of contingency is at work in such a drill? Civil war? Revolution?


      "A "deterrent" is no deterrent under those circumstances. "
      I beg to differ.
      Retuned fire is always deterrent. The reaction it creates is known as 'suppression'. It forces the target to cover and to discover it's source.
      Valuable seconds in a fire fight.
      Further, a hard target is always less preferential to a soft target, especially considering the nature of the attacker: A coward. It may not deter a suicidal assassin with a specific target, but a coward who wants to kill as many innocents as possible would be forced to reassess.

      "And probably not much of a deterrent for most of the perpetrators of these types of shooting sprees who are often intent on committing suicide by police officer."
      First off that an armed civilian is not in uniform and does not factor into the 'suicide by cop' equation. He comes out of the blue. He has the element of surprise, an officer does not.
      Secondly I can't help but feel the police should have obliged any such attempt. In this case, I believe he surrendered without any sort of resistance.

      "I'm noting that even if there had been a half dozen guys with guns sitting in that theater [...], then the situation probably would not have been much different."
      Again, I beg to differ. Half a dozen guys returning fires at an easy target would have cut him to bits and could very well have saved innocent lives. It comes down to reaction / timing. But half a dozen was not required. One or two decent shots from a decent calibre pistol could have done the job nicely. Would have saved the taxpayer a few million too.

      "(and for all Holmes knew, there were, since there was nothing in particular stopping them)"
      I think a cinema showing a kids super hero movie is a safe bet for a soft target. He did not choose to attack a police convention, gun show, barracks, or officers club.
      He chose Batman for more than one reason. He would have been taking more of a risk hitting our local Walmart.

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    6. Retuned fire is always deterrent. The reaction it creates is known as 'suppression'. It forces the target to cover and to discover it's source.

      For a rational person sure. I seriously doubt if Holmes was (or is) a rational person.

      Half a dozen guys returning fires at an easy target would have cut him to bits and could very well have saved innocent lives.

      And, if urban warfare training is anything to go by, they likely would have hit a number of bystanders in the process.

      I think a cinema showing a kids super hero movie is a safe bet for a soft target.

      Colorado, like most U.S. states, has a concealed carry law. Not only that, a law enforcement officer in Colorado does not need a permit to carry a concealed weapon while off-duty. Pretending that the possibility that some of the audience members might have been armed could have deterred Holmes is silly, since there was no reason for him not to expect that some of the audience members would be armed.

      Delete
  7. Oleg,
    They impound the weapon. It will not apply for parole, and needs no form of redemptive or correctional counselling. It will not be provided with a lawyer, either.
    As it is inanimate, several guns may be guarded in a single lock up by a single officer, without worrying about escape!

    So you are correct in assuming they do not put the weapon in a prison with human inmates. But they do lock it up, and often destroy it once the case has been closed and the killer(s) tried.

    Oleg, I think you have your implied 'they' mixed up.
    Perhaps this is why you cry 'nonsense'.
    When I state 'only the gun is blamed', I am implying that blame is laid by the soft headed gun control people. Not the courts, and not by the police (who are generally gun owners themselves.) These latter groups are neutral agencies of enforcement that apply the law as it is written.
    They will charge the killer with the killing and possession of an illegal side / fire arm.
    The 'they' of which my original comment implied (the gun control lobby, remember?) will make excuses about poverty, a poor childhood, culture (racist?), and in some cases even sillier things like boredom and lack of 'youth activities' for the killer(s).

    But, the gun? No excuses are given for the weapon. It's potential as a sports equipment, a means of self defence, or law enforcement tool are forgotten.
    The gun 'has only one potential' in their view: To kill and maim innocents. This inanimate object is held up as a corrupting device that turned a bored, poor, and disadvantaged young man into a cold blooded murderer.
    This is, of course, an absurd position.
    The truth is the gun gave the coward an artificial advantage over an unarmed citizenry. An advantage CREATED by the ban.

    But it is the position of a gun control lobby in a city where there is already and effective ban on the objects they obsess over; and all the while the crimes keep on being committed at an escalating rate.
    Only a few decades past these total bans were unheard of, and the 'gun crime' rates much lower.

    The bans have done nothing except dissuade legal gun ownership, which in turn seems to have empowered the cowards who use illegal weapons to terrorize an unarmed citizenry.

    My point is quite simple really, if you think about it.
    The root problems are not the guns, but the very excuses they use for the killers. If the money and effort that goes into promoting an impotent ban that already exists (in Toronto, for example) was diverted into social programs that combat real problems like gang affiliations, urban stagnation, ghetto/slum welfare traps, immorality, and racial self/economic segregation the guns would not be any more an issue than motor vehicles, knives, rocks, or pointed sticks.
    Killings would be less frequent, in general.
    People would still kill and hurt people... and sometimes with guns. But the simple truth is that if the focus was on the root issues, the demand for ALL offensive weapons would be much, much lower.
    Instead, the local anti-gun lobbies tilt at windmills.

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  8. Exactly. It's like the tides. A natural event. There's nothing that could be done about it. People need M16s with 100rd drum magazines, legally, to protect themselves from other people with M16s with 100rd drum magazines, legally. Colorado isn't failure, it's Freedom.
    And anyway it's the liberals' fault, for not locking people up and throwing away the key, and for driving up the debt and forcing mortgage companies to give loans to minorities.

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    1. Modusoperandi,

      You've nailed it completely. Although the Freedom Laws (trademark pending) don't go far enough. Decent law-abiding citizens need RPGs to defend themselves against lowlife scum armed with RPGs.

      Delete
  9. Some thoughts:

    I'm not for taking away the right to own a weapon. What I don't understand is why citizens need semi-automatic weapons. Oh I'm sure it's real cool and fun to fire your own personal AK-47, but why keep pumping new ones into the system year after year?

    I also dont understand why 9 times out of 10, its the conservative christians who are anti-gun control. Just seems out of character..

    And, I know this sounds too simplified but, if there were no ammunition, or a major lack of, then these weapons would be useless, right? A possible solution perhaps?

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