Saturday, December 15, 2012

Here's what's "f*cking insane"

Commentor Hoo:

Details begn to emerge. The killer's mom was one of those responsible gun enthusiasts, otherwise known as gun nuts. See this New York Post article: link. She had a substantial collection of guns and took her son to practice at gun ranges.
This country is fucking insane.

There are tens of millions of gun enthusiasts in the U.S. Most are sportsmen and women, law-abiding citizens who enjoy hunting and target shooting. I grew up in a family of gun enthusiasts in upstate New York. All my friends had guns. I had several rifles and shotguns when I was 12. I loved shooting and hunting (although I never actually liked the killing part). It's no longer my thing, but it was a lot of fun.

Some gun enthusiasts are law enforcement and military people. They offer their own lives to protect you and me. They use their shooting skills to keep strangers safe. God bless them.

An infinitesimal fraction of gun enthusiasts-- one in fifty million perhaps--  use guns to hurt innocent people. That may have happened in Newtown.

I point out the rather obvious point (if you think about it) that the vast majority of gun killers are not gun enthusiasts. Yet there is among the non-gun enthusiasts a substantial clique of gun-killers. The gang-bangers in Chicago and D.C. and L.A. don't give a sh*t about gun sports. They don't collect old rifles, or reload their own ammo, or go to shooting ranges. They don't belong to the NRA. But they kill people with their guns. In fact, nearly all people in the U.S. who are killed with guns are killed by people who are not gun enthusiasts.

There is no doubt that, statistically, non-gun enthusiasts are much more likely to kill people then gun enthusiasts are. You're a lot safer at an NRA convention than you are on Chicago's South Side, with nary a gun enthusiast in sight.

But heck, there are a few 'one-in fifty-million' crazies who are gun enthusiasts who use guns to go on shooting sprees and kill innocents. It is exceedingly rare, but it happens.

So let's get back to Hoo's comment:

This country is fucking insane.

That's not quite right, Hoo. Here's what's f*cking insane:

Providing a mass-shooter with a gun-free zone in a school is f*cking insane.


  1. Providing a mass-shooter with a gun-free zone in a school is f*cking insane.

    Right - it's much more sane to turn elementary schools into armed camps surrounded by barbed wire. I mean, what kid could possibly feel unsafe there? Especially with all those previously-unemployed security guards Egnor wants to hire.

    Egnor is insane.

    1. Tell the parents of the kids in Newtown how ridiculous their security was.

  2. "I grew up in a family of gun enthusiasts in upstate New York."

    Of course. And like the good conservative you are, however you were raised is how everyone else should be raised.

    We too had guns. But then I realized that taking joy from killing animals, and owning people-killing tools was incompatible with a peaceful and socially-positive family.

    America outgrew slavery. I think America can outgrow the gun obsession that lingers from our country's wild west youth.

    If we want fewer gun deaths, then we must have fewer guns. It's physics.

    Oh, and nobody who advocates ownership of efficient people-killing machines is a Christian. Those are two completely incompatible stances. There is no interpretation of the teachings of Jesus that would support the NRA.

    1. Not true. Matthew 10:34:

      I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

      And 10:36 is prophetic:

      And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.

      I know it's a considerable stretch to make these verses support the NRA, but I have no doubt that Sophisticated (TM) Christians will be able to do it.

    2. Actually, Jesus was quite fond of soldiers, and never condemned war.

      He certainly loved peace, but he was no pacifist. Pacifism has never been Catholic teaching.

    3. "If we want fewer gun deaths, then we must have fewer guns. It's physics."

      Physics, eh? And you took Intro Physics at Okkupy Kolledge? Or Boogaloo University?

      You must be one of Dennett's "Brights".

    4. Dr Boggs, you seem to be cocky about other people's credentials. What are yours, exactly?


    5. @bachfiend: Try Luke 22:36. Neither gun control nor gun advocacy are incompatible with Christianity. There are good arguments for both, even for Christians.

    6. That's a rich question coming from you, DR ANONYMOUS HOO, Man of Mystery.

      But more to the point, do you Hoo, think "If we want fewer gun deaths, then we must have fewer guns. It's physics"?

      Give me your scientific opinion.

    7. Oh, I agree with that statement, Dr. Boggs. And if you want my credentials in physics, I assure you that they are far better than yours.


    8. Hoo:

      [Dr. Boggs. And if you want my credentials in physics, I assure you that they are far better than yours.]

      No one who says something like that has or deserves any respect. How sad and shabby.

    9. You seemed totally cool with it when Boggs used the same tactics. You are a hypocrite, Dr. Egnor.


  3. The M4 carbine used by the killer is not exactly a hunting weapon. It is also not very good for self-defense. Why did this lady need this weapon exactly? For what reason do millions of Americans stock up on such things? The country is flooded with cheap and powerful weapons. It is hardly surprising that the murder rate in the US greatly exceeds that in other countries of the first world.


    1. The US is exceptional in a lot of ways. But even in the First World, murder rates are not correlated with thyristor gun control laws. See Finland, Israel, Germany, South Africa and Luxemburg for examples.

      In any case, the point of the 2nd amendment is to make it easy to militarize the civilian public (militia.)

    2. *restrictive, not thyristor. Stupid predictive text. :P

    3. Yes, the US is exceptional in many ways and not all of those distinctions are something we should be proud of. Exceptionally high murder and incarceraction rates are among them.


    4. Agreed about the incarceration rate. The murder rate is probably the best we can hope for, all things considered. I don't think gun control legislation would help matters (private gun ownership does deter a lot of crime.) Gun control and gun rights advocates both tend to cherry pick evidence and arguments, but I do think the filtering are both true:

      1. Banning private ownership of firearms would reduce make it harder to obtain firearms, even for criminals.
      2. Banning private firearm ownership would also mean an increase in attempted violent crime.

      How much either would impact the overall murder rate is impossible to predict. Data from other countries is all over the map. Russia and Mexico make it very difficult to legally own firearms, and have very high murder rates anyway. But the US isn't Russia or Mexico. On the other hand, Japan and Sweden have restrictive gun laws and low murder rates. But the US isn't Japan or Sweden either.

      This is a topic on which intelligent people can disagree. Or over which they can get angry and call each other names.

  4. The mass murder of 20 children and seven adults (is that the current count?) in Newtown is remarkable in large part because the US is exceptional--exceptional in a very good way. It is rather unremarkable in many countries for entire neighborhoods, entire villages, entire regions, even entire people-groups to be wiped out by thugs. (It matters not whether the thugs are criminals simpliciter, the criminally insane, or criminals operating under color of statist law.) Victims of such horror and genocide are numbered not merely in the dozens, but in the hundreds, the thousands, even the millions.

    I view any effort to limit gun ownership by law-abiding citizens as a fundamental threat to liberty, and to the citizen's right to be safe and secure in his person and his possessions. The threat to gun ownership therefore becomes a direct threat to the safety and security of children. Ironically, those who advocate most strongly for gun control favor removing one of the most effective tools for the protection of children, guns, from the very people who are the children's first line of defense, namely parents.

    I'm often reminded of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's belated wish that when the Soviet Union's secret police had come a-calling in the night to take away innocent men, women, and children, that people collectively would have fought back with whatever they had at hand: clubs, pitchforks, or whatever. When thugs come knocking at my door, or at my neighbor's door, I don't want to have to respond to the threat with just a pitchfork in hand.

    This is not to say that gun ownership does not come without significant responsibility. Like any potentially dangerous tool, firearms must be properly safeguarded, and used responsibly.

    The knee-jerk reaction to tragedies such as Newtown must be to promote responsible liberty, rather than to curtail the freedom to defend that which is most precious to us--our children. I see Michael's proposed "60-second rule" as consistent both with freedom and with a community's right, collectively, to protect its children. His plan's implementation requires no restrictions on gun ownership, and is therefore consistent with individual rights as well.

    (I write this as a father who stood outside of a the Westroads Mall in Omaha on a bitter cold day in December 2007, for a while not knowing whether his 21-year-old daughter had survived a madman's shooting spree on the third floor of the Von Maur department store. My daughter survived; many of her coworkers did not. My heart goes out to the families in Newtown. I pray that God would comfort those families, and that community.)

    1. "I view any effort to limit gun ownership by law-abiding citizens as a fundamental threat to liberty, and to the citizen's right to be safe and secure in his person and his possessions."

      Your family members are 4 times more likely to be shot if you own guns than if you don't.

      Guns are discharged in suicides, in homicides and in accidents vastly more frequently than they are discharged in defense.

      What about the liberty of the 20 children in Newtown? They were stripped of life and liberty because someone had access to a very efficient life-stealing tool.

      It is morally repugnant that anyone should want to own a tool designed to rapidly kill other humans.

      American society has accomplished many great, morally mature things that people were SURE were impossible: abolishing slavery, giving women equal rights, electing a black man to the presidency. We can also get rid of the guns if we can just grow up.

    2. You're talking about a constitutional amendment. Good luck with that.

      I'm trying to actually save lives, not just to morally preen.

  5. Wow. This guy us a serious gun enthusiast.

    A man in Indiana who had 47 guns hidden in his home was arrested for threatening to “kill as many people as he could” at an elementary school, the police said.

    According to The Associated Press Von. I. Meyer, 60, of Cedar Lake, about 45 miles southeast of Chicago, was arrested Saturday after prosecutors filed formal charges of felony intimidation, domestic battery and resisting law enforcement against him. He was being held Sunday without bond at the Lake County Jail, pending an initial hearing on the charges, the police said in a statement.

    The police were called to Mr. Meyer’s home on Friday after he was said to have threatened to set his wife on fire after she fell asleep, the statement said.

    He also threatened to enter a school less than 1,000 feet from his home and “kill as many people as he could before police could stop him,” the statement said.

    Officers searched the home, finding 47 guns and ammunition worth more than $100,000 hidden throughout the home. Many of the weapons were collector’s guns.


    1. Fortunately, the officers who arrested Meyer were themselves unarmed, which made the situation safer.

    2. The police are welcome to their guns so long as people like you also own them, Michael. When you give yours up, they can give theirs up. There's a good precedent - it's called England.

      Kids in England have many things to worry about. But teachers do not have to regularly drill their students on how to behave when a young man with a machine gun shoots his way into the building.

      Continuous escalation of weaponry is a natural human response. But it is not the best human response.

      And it is certainly not the response of someone who professes to follow a religion of peace. It does fit some elements of Islam, however.

      The response of a mature, sane, forward-looking society is to say: we are past the Wild West days - it is time to give up the right to own high-powered tools designed for efficient killing of school children, neighbors and family members. As much as you may fantasize about defending your house from an armed attack by liberal atheists, it's not reason enough to put your children at four times the risk of getting shot than my children have.

    3. @Anon:

      "New data out from the UK, where guns are banned, shows gun crime has soared by 35 percent. The Government’s latest crime figures were condemned as “truly terrible” by the Tories today as it emerged that gun crime in England and Wales soared by 35% last year. Criminals used handguns in 46% more offences, Home Office statistics revealed. Firearms were used in 9,974 recorded crimes in the 12 months to last April, up from 7,362. It was the fourth consecutive year to see a rise and there were more than 2,200 more gun crimes last year than the previous peak in 1993.

      Gun crime is rising at a very fast rate in "gun-free" England.

      Gun crime continues to drop in the US.

    4. "Britain has had few firearms rampage incidents in modern times. During the latter half of the 20th century there were only two incidents in which people holding licensed firearms went on shooting sprees and killed on a large scale, the Hungerford massacre of 1987 and the Dunblane school massacre of 1996."

      "In 2006, writing in the British Journal of Criminology, Dr Jeanine Baker and Dr Samara McPhedran found no measurable effect detectable from the 1997 firearms legislation with ARIMA statistical analysis [13] but in subsequent years firearm homicides declined. In 2012 the Home Office reported that, "in 2010/11, firearms were involved in 11,227 recorded offences in England and Wales, the seventh consecutive annual fall"."

      United Kingdom firearm related homicides per 100,000 people: 0.04
      United States firearm related homicides per 100,000 people: 2.98

      74 TIMES as many gun homicides in US.

      As a self-proclaimed Christian and as a human being you are on the wrong side of this. You cannot talk your way out of the physics of this. Fewer guns means fewer flying bullets means fewer 6-year-old children shattered by flying lead.

      Give up your beautifully oiled and maintained human killing machines and maybe you can call yourself a moral person.

    5. Dr. Egnor,

      You should admit that you got these talking points from some right-wing website. Then you won't have to explain why you called that set of data "new."

      'Cause it ain't new. That data was new in 2003.

      The new data (2011) indicates that the number of crimes committed with firearms in the UK has been falling for 7 consecutive years.

      Liar, liar, pants on fire! (Sorry, couldn't resist.)


    6. That's exactly how Egnor, the self-proclaimed "good teacher", operates.

      Step 1: Post some ignorant bullshit.
      Step 2: Use google to find a website, any website, with some pseudofacts to back up his claims. Pay no attention to the source and don't verify it.
      Step 3: Resolutely ignore any correction and refuse to admit being wrong.

      That's exactly how a good teacher should behave, right?

    7. "You cannot talk your way out of the physics of this. Fewer guns means fewer flying bullets means fewer 6-year-old children shattered by flying lead."

      Connecticut is the "England" of the US. It has one of the strictest gun-control laws in the US. The guns the shooter obtained were purchased in compliance with gun control laws. Did the laws prevent the shooting?

      The school had no guns. Did that help or hurt?

    8. Anon:

      Why don't you ever quote the gun crime statistics in Mexico or Russia, which have more stringent gun-control laws than England?

      Cherry-picking world gun-control data to select countries with culturally-low gun death rates won't protect kids.

      Let's talk gun control in Mexico and Russia, which have the strictest gun control in the world, and compare gun crime to that of Switzerland and Israel, where all adult males have assault weapons in the home.

    9. Egnor: Let's talk gun control in Mexico and Russia, which have the strictest gun control in the world

      You have no idea what you are talking about. Russia may have strict laws on the books, but (a) it badly fails to enforce them, what with the underpaid militia and (b) it was flooded with cheap guns during the collapse of the Soviet Union, a time when the military personel were essentially left to support themselves by selling whatever equipment they could.

      Egnor: compare gun crime to that of Switzerland and Israel, where all adult males have assault weapons in the home.

      Oh, let's do that. In both of those countries every male citizen (and in the case of Israel, every citizen, period) is a soldier. They all receive military training and know how to handle guns.

      In contrast, few Americans serve. Those who get their hands on the arms are less trained and less disciplined. Case in point: Nancy Lanza, who not only failed to properly lock up her multiple guns, she also trained her mentally unstable son to shoot.

      And on top of these differences, Israel has less than one-tenth of weapons per capita compared to the US. Switzerland, half. The number of guns available in this country is merely absurd. It benefits no one, and Egnor's solution is, bizarrely, more guns!


    10. But before we change the subject away from the UK, you might as well admit that you were wrong.


    11. Asshole.

      Your point was that by comparing US gun control and gun crime rates to another country, we could say something meaningful. I am just not permitting you to cherry-pick, and I'm insisting that you look at many countries in the world with differing gun crime and gun control, so any conclusions drawn can actually be meaningful.

      Why did you pick Britain, and not Mexico or Russia or Switzerland?

    12. It was you who picked up the UK, not me. And you cherry-picked the UK data by not looking at years after 2003. (No, not really. You just stupidly parroted the lies of the Gateway Pundit. I guess that makes you a dork.)

      On Russia, I told you what your error is. Care to offer some, uh, thoughts? I don't think so.


    13. [On Russia, I told you what your error is.]

      I must have been dozing in class. Do repeat.

    14. Good ol' "good teacher" Egnor, behaving exactly as I predicted.

      Can you imagine this guy teaching? He would make up facts, bluster like crazy when proven wrong, and insult his students.

    15. @Hoo:

      I just saw your comment further above.

      Your arguments on Russia and Switzerland-- which utterly refute your claim that strict gun control reduces the availability of guns and that private gun ownership in and of itself predisposes to gun crime-- are really conservative arguments. You argue that better ordered societies with better-trained gun owners are safer. I agree.

      If you want better law enforcement and better military training, vote Republican.