Search This Blog

Friday, September 20, 2013

An Immodest Proposal

It should be clear by now that unilateral disarmament doesn't work, and pacifism is fatally flawed. Unfortunately, whenever a mass shooting happens, the Left immediately jumps to its default position: calls for more gun regulation, with hopes for confiscation.

That the former is useless, and the latter impossible seems not to register; in reality, that place where nothing is free and unicorns only appear in kids books, the Left would find greater odds of success in making the crazy sane, and the evil good.

By far the most delusional concept has to be "gun free zones", which serve only to clearly identify where utterly defenseless people are gathered in confined spaces so the murderously insane can go on their killing binges with impunity.

It is long past time to break that delusional cycle, and the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program provides the way out. FFDOs have to undergo training and regular qualification in order to carry a gun on the airplane. Their authority extends only as far as the flight deck door.

We need to extend that model by creating a Federal Violence Prevention Officer (FVPO) program. It would look something like this:
  • FVPOs are authorized only to stop actions with murderous intent.
  • Local police departments screen applicants. Approval for the program requires a completely clean background check, except for minor traffic violations.
  • Minimum age: 25 years old
  • Approved applicants must, at their expense, purchase an HK USP40 pistol, then successfully complete NRA approved gun safety and tactical shooting programs.
  • Semi-annual qualification shooting.
  • FVPOs may carry anywhere at any time.
  • FVPOs may not carry when drinking alcoholic beverages.
The point should be obvious, and no, it isn't to give Leftists the vapours.

Rather, the FVPO program will stop the fundamental insanity of telling the murderously insane exactly where they can go to kill at will for the 5-15 minutes it will take before the police can arrive. Additionally, it greatly increases the odds that someone will be in the vicinity of a suicide killer when he starts his spree.

In the realm of quotidian murders, the kind that go practically unnoticed by their hundreds in urban neighborhoods, incentives matter. Criminals and gang members are going to put a great deal more thought into popping off caps if they know there are hawks among the pigeons, and there's no telling which is which.

To be perfectly fair, this proposal requires addressing its downsides. Which are ... ummm ... There aren't any. No cost to the government, except for program administration costs. There are already law abiding and trained people carrying guns everywhere they go. They are called police officers. What possible objection could there be to adding to their numbers people who are just as law abiding, and at least as well trained?

Okay, there is one. Self defense is anathema to the Left. Insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing, hoping for a different approach each time. It is long past time to think different.

98 comments:

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper:

Why necessarily a HK USP40 pistol? Is H&K paying you for the lobby?

Hey Skipper said...

That happens to be the weapon that is approved for the FFDO program. It would make more sense to have an approved list of manufacturers of 9mm/.40 cal pistols.

I probably should have left that detail out.

Bret said...

To put it in perspective (in round numbers), in a given year: 30,000 die in automobile accidents; 10,000 are murdered with firearms; 100 are murdered in mass killings by "the murderously insane."

A person's odds of dying in a mass killing in a given year is around 1 in 3,000,000. It's hard for me to get particularly wound up about the topic given the exceptionally low odds of dying in that manner.

I think that private entities (for example, restaurants) have every right to state that they prohibit guns on their properties (though obviously criminals will ignore the prohibition). Citizens have the right to not frequent such places, if they're concerned for their safety.

It's a little trickier when the government mandates both a gun free area and requires attendance. Schools are an example. If the frequency of these murderous incidents on these dual mandate properties was substantially higher, I'd probably be concerned.

Hey Skipper said...

Bret:

I didn't mention it, but there is a subtext: individual gun ownership as part of a well regulated militia.

But there is also a larger point. People respond to incentives, even the crazy ones. After all, they aren't going to police stations to commit their atrocities.

As for those 10,000 murders that are criminal, as opposed to insane, the perpetrators are convinced that they won't find any serious opposition.

So my immodest proposal injects uncertainty: an armed and well trained citizen could be anywhere (Okay, probably not on the beach in a bikini, but still.) and there is no telling which one.

If private entities must allow gun carrying police on the property, why wouldn't they be required to also allow an equally well trained and designated person whose remit differed from the police only in being more narrow?

I think it shameful that educators continue the preposterous sham of "gun free zones". If I was a principal, I'd widely proclaim that several members of the faculty had gone through intensive weapons training, and were carrying concealed weapons.

Whether it was true, or not.

Peter said...

Skipper, if your plan was implemented, wouldn't that make the argument for gun control for everyone else stronger?

Clovis:

I really hope you will weigh in here and share your thoughts on gun control. I've pretty much concluded that anyone from Canada or Europe is simply so far removed from the American perspective on the underlying philosphical priorities in play that debate and discussion can only go so far before unbridgeable divides surface, even between respective "pro-gun" advocates.

I have enjoyed some debates here and elsewhere, though, and have done some research on the issue. The empirical situation between the U.S. and the rest of the West respecting guns, crime, gun-deaths, public attitudes, etc. is completely different. However, I am given to believe that Brazil makes an interesting comparison. The U.S. has relaxed gun control, an obscene number of legal guns and a high rate of gun-deaths. Brazil seems to have very strict gun control, an obscene number of illegal guns and an even higher rate of gun deaths. Any thoughts?

Clovis e Adri said...

Peter:

Now you gave me a tall order, and I may be not up to it. I've been already to both sides of the spectrum, going from anti-gun to pro-gun. But only when the lack of public security of a country asks for it, I still believe countries advanced enough can, and should, implement more strict gun control.

Our criminality rates are huge and this is the single most serious problem we have IMO. The high rate of gun deaths is just a trivial consequence. It would be hard to explain here why our criminality is so high, so I will just set to explain how gun control works here.

It is safe to say that most people agree with the laws we have, this is not usually a polemical topic. A few years ago the govt. made a referendum to propose even more strict control, and they've lost. As of now, it is a little bit harder to get a legal gun than it is to get a driver's license: you need to go through a process of training and certification, after which you can get a permit to buy one legally. Compared to the US, where you can buy one at local stores without questions, it is sure very restrictive. But it is no more restrictive than many European countries - up to this point.

The catch is: that permit only allows you to have the gun at home. Never carrying it outside. You need to either prove you are under severe risks (in Kafkanian bureaucratic and judicial processes), or be an agent of the law, or something alike, to carry one.

So, in what concerns the private good citizen, the restricitions to carry guns usually work, the penalties for being caught carrying a gun in streets are severe (including prison), so people do not risk it.

As you can guess, it means that criminals can always be safe to terrorize almost everyone with no fear of retaliation.

The country is too big, with borders too long, for any effective vigilance against smuggling of arms
to work. So the chain is something like this: powerful drug cartels bring guns from abroad, these guns then trickle down in the gang hierarchy until it ends up in the hands of little burglars, thiefs, and every other kind of low criminal around.

Even though the above situation has been going on like this for decades, it did not induce any great trend of arming by the law abiding citizens. I can hardly explain why, it is probably much related to our culture - the general mood is that it would only make the problem worse.

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper:

---
But there is also a larger point. People respond to incentives, even the crazy ones. After all, they aren't going to police stations to commit their atrocities.
---
Here is the point I think your idea will be most ineffective: against the crazy ones. No, they do not respond to incentives in the rational ways you and me usually do. That's why we call them crazy.

Just look to this last one: the guy was in a Navy building.

A few years ago there was that US major with Muslim roots, who played his carnage in a military fort, of all places!

So, "they aren't going to police stations to commit their atrocities", they are going to even more heavily armed places.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

No. It turns out that US military bases are de facto gun free zones. I have no idea why anyone thought that was a good idea, but you can count on military base personnel being unarmed. You examples, then, support Skipper's view.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

the penalties for being caught carrying a gun in streets are severe (including prison), so people do not risk it.

Clearly not true, or you wouldn't have written this - criminals can always be safe to terrorize almost everyone with no fear of retaliation. They're clearly quite willing to risk it.

Peter said...

Clovis:

Thank you very much. What you say confirms my belief that deep cultural differences govern this issue and that international comparisons can't take us as far as we try to take them with statistics. The fact that strict gun control in Brazil enjoys widespread popular support in the face of such high crime rates says it all.

Bret/Skipper/AOG

Following from the above, I would like to try out a pet theory of mine on you, hopefully with your understanding I am simply observing, not judging. Americans are famously a fiercely proud and patriotic people who will rise as one in the face of any threat from the outside, and who will bear great personal sacrifices to help one another when needed. Yet underlying this seems to be a counterpoint: the level of trust between and among Americans is in some ways comparatively low. If you consider your history, both factual and mythically heroic, there is an awful lot of friction and suspicion and personal violence. The frontier, the Old West, the Civil War, civil rights and race relations, core urban life, etc.--all speak of danger from within in real time. I like to relax with spy thrillers and there is no shortage of airport bestsellers based on conspiracies by renegades within the U.S. government or by shadowy oil magnates from Texas to undermine the constitution and undo Lincoln's and Jefferson's work. Such plots would be ridiculous in most other countries.

I've even experienced this personally. During the oughts, Bush wasn't very popular in Canada and one heard lots of low-grade grumblings about cowboys, recklessness, etc. But when we went on our annual vacation to New England, I was blown away by the sheer bitterness of the venom spewed his way and the wild accusations of illegalities and dark anti-constitutional plans from ostensibly ordinary, sane people.

It seems to me one's attitude to gun control will be determined by how one answers the question "Am I more in danger because he might have a gun or because I don't?". Are the differences on gun control explained by the fact many wary Americans think instinctively about the second while much of the rest of the world worries more about the first?

Peter said...

Sorry, the question at the end of the above should read "Am I more in danger because he might have an illegal gun or because I don't have a legal one?".

erp said...

Can you say deinstitutionalization?

Deranged people killing strangers for no apparent reason is not a gun ownership issue. It's an issue of public safety.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG:

---
Clearly not true, or you wouldn't have written this - criminals can always be safe to terrorize almost everyone with no fear of retaliation. They're clearly quite willing to risk it.
---
Please notice I have qualified my affirmation, with a prior "So, in what concerns the private good citizen [...]". So I was stating that normal citizens usually do not carry guns - out of fear of heavy penalties and prison - while the criminals, being criminals, of course don't care.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG:

---
It turns out that US military bases are de facto gun free zones.
---
Sorry, but this looks so unsound that I need to ask you for references here.

Bret said...

Peter asks: "Am I more in danger because he might have an illegal gun or because I don't have a legal one?".

I don't look at it that way.

I've never owned a gun and don't plan to. I live in a safe neighborhood and work in a safe enough place, so for me personally and my family it makes no sense for me to wield one for safety, and because I don't like hunting or target shooting, it makes no sense for me to own one either.

On the other hand, if I lived and/or worked in a high-crime, high-violence area, I would absolutely want to carry firearms. As a result, I would not want to prohibit others living and/or working in high-crime, high-violence areas from doing so.

I note that if "he" has "an illegal gun" (or a legal one for that matter) AND I "have a legal one" puts me in the most danger by far - for that particular encounter, for that particular moment. Harry is fond of continually pointing that out on his blog, and it's true, but, in my opinion, it's missing the point.

The point is that an armed citizenry puts the criminal in far more danger in every encounter. For any given law-abiding citizen, the odds remain fairly low that he or she experiences a violent encounter. For the criminal, the odds are strongly stacked against him - every encounter becomes one where he faces armed opponents. The criminal will end up dying far more quickly than otherwise and/or have a very strong incentive to find a new line of work and/or alter his behavior.

In the longer term, this is a good thing.

That's why I am pro-gun ownership and pro-carry even though I have no interest in owning or carrying myself.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Have you read any articles at all about those shootings? Every one I have read specifically mentions that military personnel are not allowed to be armed on base. I'll drop one reference here, let me know how many more you want. This is not a deep secret - it's widely discussed.

With regard to gun control in Brazil, I take your correction. But then, what good effect does the general populace think gun control accomplishes, if it is known that it deters only good citizens and not criminals?

Peter;

Let me segue from my last question to yours - I would argue that opposition to gun control is a mark of deep trust, not distrust, because it rests on the view that one's fellow citizens can be trusted to be armed. That view starts with exactly what Clovis writes, that gun control has little to no preventive effect on the criminals, so it only really prevents average fellow citizens from being armed. Therefore the question is, do you trust your fellow citizens to be armed? Supporting gun control means "no, I do not trust them with weapons". Read any opinion piece in favor of gun control and you'll find it's concerned about the bad behavior of fellow citizens, not criminals specifically. The whole "blood bath in the streets" from concealed carry is a classic of the genre. In contrast, to support the right to bear arms is to put great trust in one's fellow citizens. Look at Bret's answer for an example.

It's not coincidence that the political factions that support gun banning (let's be honest) are the same that want to ban other liberties and choices made by their fellow citizens, because they believe those citizens cannot be trusted.

Hey Skipper said...

[Peter:] Skipper, if your plan was implemented, wouldn't that make the argument for gun control for everyone else stronger?

That occurred to me after I hit "Publish".

But, considering that the notion is to expand the notion of who may be engaged in a form of law enforcement, I don't think so. No "gun free" zones exclude police officers, so why should they exclude any citizen who would pass the same background check as a police officer, get the same or better weapons training, and be confined solely to interrupting violent crimes?

Those who don't get the training still don't get to take guns into "gun free" zones. Unless they have criminal intent; for them, there is no such thing as a "gun free" zone.

Note the scare quotes around "gun free" zones. With very few exceptions, the they are mythical. In almost all cases, including military bases, there is no screening at all. In most of the rest, there is screening, but insufficient force to defeat a determined attacker exploiting the element of surprise.

The only environment that I can think of as a true "gun free" zone is an airliner.

Yet, ironically, that is the one place where we have people carrying concealed weapons: federal air marshals. (Pilots carrying weapons don't count, since their remit doesn't extend past the flight deck door, and they aren't coming out, no matter what's going on in back.)

[Clovis, in response to my assertion that even the insane respond to incentives:] Just look to this last one: the guy was in a Navy building.

A few years ago there was that US major with Muslim roots, who played his carnage in a military fort, of all places!


AOG is correct, both of them are gun free zones. As are schools (Columbine, Sandy Hook, etc) and some movie theaters (Aurora, CO). I think it is completely insane that people who intend to take as many people as possible with them en route to suicide know precisely where to go. Extending the FFDO concept to those places means the murderously suicidal have absolutely no idea who, or how many, might be around to bring their murder spree to a very quick end.

Hey Skipper said...

Peter:

Perhaps because of where I live, I disagree with your assertion that the level of trust among Americans is relatively low.

For reasons inherent to progressivism (IMHO), the Left is uniquely prone to demonization — Harry on gun owners is prototypical, but it extends to anyone who doesn't share their worldview on any subject — so the Left has a very low level of trust towards other Americans.

But I don't think that goes both ways. Indeed, since the early 1990s, when crime of all types was rampant, outside urban areas, trust is very high and crime of all types is very low.

It seems to me one's attitude to gun control will be determined by how one answers the question "Am I more in danger because he might have a gun or because I don't?". Are the differences on gun control explained by the fact many wary Americans think instinctively about the second while much of the rest of the world worries more about the first?

(Full disclosure: I have a .44 revolver. I carry it openly — including through the school parking lot that is between my house and hiking trails — when I walk the dog. Why? Self defense against bears.)

Most of my attitude towards gun control comes from the belief that meaningful self defense is a natural right. To me, that means the government may not restrict (with criminality/sanity caveats) bearing weapons for that purpose. Where I live, everyone owns at least one gun, and the discussion here is not about concealed carry, which is allowed everywhere except in bars, but rather about allowing open carry.

SFAIK, no one even thinks about it. This is a pretty civil place, with very low crime. I don't know if that is because of the presumed presence of guns, or it would be like that anyway. But I certainly don't feel less safe because of them.

And certainly by now the confiscationists must have taken on board that asserting widespread gun ownership would result in widespread murder and mayhem is no longer convincing to those who observe reality.

I can't fathom why other societies are so willing to cede self defense to the government. I suspect it is down to two things: we have the 2A, they don't; and that the political systems in most other countries are less responsive to voters. I suspect that hooliganism in, say, Britain, has gotten to the point that if voters had a choice, they would have guns.

The other factor affecting my attitude is that there are hundreds of millions of guns in the US. That is a brute fact. Those who aren't prone to magical thinking know that the only impact confiscation could have on that is to shift the balance of power decidedly in favor of predators.

(Perhaps I should answer your question more directly: where I live, I don't feel in any danger because I don't have a legal gun, unless I was to be hiking and come across a large, fresh, pile of bear scat. I never carry a weapon in public places, and don't feel any less safe for it.)

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Deranged people killing strangers for no apparent reason is not a gun ownership issue. It's an issue of public safety.

It is amazing that confiscationists demand the guns of millions of completely law abiding gun owners because of the predations of a half dozen crazies. In other words, we have decided not to institutionalize the insane, and therefore give us your guns.

What else is amazing is citing how many criminal gun deaths the US has, without noting where the majority of those deaths occur. Exclude African Americans and first or second generation Hispanics from the stats, and suddenly the US murder rate starts looking a whole lot like Europe's.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG & H. Skipper:

I am not convinced of your calls of military bases as "gun free zones". According to AOG's own link:

"A former member of the Air Force, with experience in base security, thus, told the Washington Post that he would guess there were “no more than a couple of dozen weapons on the Navy Yard.”"

Sorry guys, my mathematical formation obliges me to identify "gun free zone" as "Number of guns = 0", which is demonstrably different than "a couple of dozen weapons = 24".

So I stand by my comments on the inefectiveness of H. Skipper's Immodest Proposal against crazies.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG:

---
But then, what good effect does the general populace think gun control accomplishes, if it is known that it deters only good citizens and not criminals?
---
Maybe you've answered it in better terms than I ever would, when you said "Supporting gun control means "no, I do not trust them with weapons"".

Again, it has much to do with culture, and I can hardly explain Brazilian culture in a few lines, so I will just add a few bits.

First, there is the Latin blood. Different from the Anglo-Saxon culture, the Latin culture (which loosely means Italians, Spanish, Portuguese and much of Latin America) has a common characteristic: hot heads. For example, even with our present restrictions, it is easy to find cases of road rage that were greatly worsened by possession of guns.

Second, there is the pacifist culture. It may look a paradox, since we have quite a violent society, but usually - when people are with their heads cool - Brazilians tend to take positions that minimize conflicts, even if it means unrealistic, illogical or even counter-productive positions.

Third, there is the lack of enforcement of laws. Brazil has many cultures whitin it, and the ones associated to big cities are still markedly different from the rural ones. So, in rural settings, where rarely there is any effective police or checks about pretty much anything (including guns), it is common for people to have shotguns (to both hunt and self-defense purposes) with no worries about legality - so they are not caring much if the laws are restrictive or not (this is changing, but slowly).

Fourth, and this is an example that may interest your Libertarian side: even among "good citizens", I would say there is some rate of illegality. Not so much about carrying guns, but about buying them. As you could foresee, the excessive regulations make it much more expensive to buy a gun legally, not only because of the training and certification process, but the prices of the legal ones are easily 3 or 4 times the prices you pay in the US for the same guns. So, I can say that some "not-criminal" people - even taking risks on doing it - negotiate guns in the illegal market (I know it make them criminals strictly speaking, I use the quotation marks to differentiate them, for they are mostly "normal citizens" trying to operate outside restrictive laws, and not necessarily people who would use the gun to actually make crimes). One of the standard ways people do so is to buy a gun from someone who illegally brought it from Paraguay, the "paradise" of illegal markets for Brazilians on anything you can think of. Or the person may even go there by himself to buy it. It is risky but, by the stories I hear, it happens not infrequently.

So, in resume, people generally support the restrictions for lack of trust on his fellow citizens - and the people who would not very much agree with the restrictions go for illegality, which is relatively easy, instead of fighting the political fight.

All in all, it is a sad picture.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

If you don't want to believe, I can't make you.

One might note that your quote refers to military police, which makes it exactly equivalent to a civilian gun free zone because those don't ban guns for police officers either. Not to mention the guy you quote is guessing, he doesn't actually know.

There's this about weapons but no ammo. Or reports about the Capitol Police SWAT team - what's the point of that if you've got armed military personnel on base? You could net search on "military gun free zone" and find hundreds of articles about it.

If that's not enough, then believe what you want to believe.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG:

I believe you, in the sense of what you understand about gun free zones.

I am just pointing to yout that, strictily speaking, there were people with guns in the area - not many, but no so few too.

And this is what weakens H. Skipper argument on crazies. They are operating on areas that are *not* risk free - sure they are less riskier than if every military personnel were carrying one, but the deterrent is there in some ways and it did not mkae the crazies to give up.


Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "...there were people with guns in the area - not many, but no so few too. "

Yes and no.

In the U.S., about 1 in 4,000 people is a police officer. About 1 in 40 people has a concealed carry permit.

In a group of 100 people (a nice number for a mass murderer), the odds that a policeman is there is very low. The odds that someone with a concealed carry permit is pretty high - except in "gun free areas".

Peter said...

Bret/AOG/Skipper (and Clovis)

Thanks very much for your thoughtful replies. You've at least convinced me I have to go back to the drawing board on my trust theory. I still think there is something there, but perhaps not trust in the personal sense of the word--perhaps more of a cultural artifact.

I can't fathom why other societies are so willing to cede self defense to the government. I suspect it is down to two things: we have the 2A, they don't; and that the political systems in most other countries are less responsive to voters. I suspect that hooliganism in, say, Britain, has gotten to the point that if voters had a choice, they would have guns.

I think that comment by Skipper says a lot about why we are having such trouble connecting the dots across borders. In the first place, I don't think anybody up here sees themselves as ceding anything to government. Cede isn't the right verb to describe something nobody ever had or particularly wanted. I'm not ceding anything to government in the statist sense, I am relying on the police and, to some extent, a common handgunless culture. Sure, the police are public authorities it the sense that firemen and garbage collecters are, but they aren't what I think of when I worry about expanding government. To me that doesn't resonate anymore than the suggestion I have "ceded" fire protection to government.

You are right about the Second Amendment, which gives your debate a timeless "first principle" quality absent elsewhere and means empirical argument can only go so far. For example, the case for gun ownership strikes me as much stronger in rural areas for several reasons, but that's not going to take me very far with someone who sees gun ownership as the fundamental right of all citizens.

As to Britain, don't hold your breath. Clovis has made it very clear that there is no necessary causal link between increasing crime rates and public support for gun ownership (by which I mean handguns and assault weapons--lots of countries, including Canada, have comparatively high rates of rifle ownership with owners who will scream bloody murder if anyone tries to take them away). Britain has far fewer guns than either Germany or France, but a slightly higher gun-death rate, yet I am unaware of any push for handgun ownership--in fact quite the opposite. After all, we are talking about a country that only got around to arming its police officers comparatively recently. It has nothing to do with responsiveness to voters. Quite the opposite, actually.

This isn't like that other issue that separates the States from the Western pack--capital punishment. There is no push to bring it back, but polls show a majority of Canadians and Brits would favour so doing. But I would be very surprised if polls showed substantial support for handgun ownership, even in the face of increased crime rates. Tougher laws, more police resources, neighbourhood watches, mace and pepper spray, dog ownership, etc., but not private handgun ownership.

And I can understand it. I've been blessed by a safe life in a safe country, but I and my kids have had some scary moments. Looking back on them and all the discussions about what should have happened and what should be done to protect against repeats, I can't ever remember the issue of guns even being on the radar. Skipper's vignette about everybody packing heat as they go about their daily business is not only very foreign to me, it is viscerally menacing in a way it obviously isn't to him.

So, perhaps we are simply going to have to bite the bullet and accept we are dealing with two solitudes here and that we are condemned to continue discussions that will forever be reduced to:

"Guns are bad"

"No, they're not"

"Yes, they are!"

"No, they're not!"

(Both sides steadily increasing volume.)

Given that, why do any of us particularly care what the other thinks and does?

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

I believe you, in the sense of what you understand about gun free zones.

Your point is that the common usage of "gun free zone" is not mathematically perfect. OK...

That certainly doesn't undermine Skippers' point about even the crazies responding to incentives by trying to minimize risk / maximize time on target.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG:


You did read the profile of this last shooter, right?

Delusions of being followed, etc. I think he went absolutely nuts and carried his assault nearby the place he i) worked and ii) most likely believed that the responsibles for his "imaginary persecution" were located.

I do not think he calculated much about risks and all the other things rational people would take in account in his place. For rational people would not even start making this calculation at all!

I believe that you and H. Skipper may be very misguided about the nature of the mentally ill.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Yes I did. I noted that he did some planning for the attack, which means he did not go "absolutely nuts". It was not just a spur of the moment.

However, an alternative theory to Skippers is that these incentives don't work on the crazy, that the apparent attraction of gun free zones is a selection effect, created by Old Media bias of two types

1) That attacks on gun free zones are much more successful and longer lasting, therefore make better fodder for the news.

2) Old Media does not like to report on things that break The Narrative and so minimize coverage of incidents where armed private citizens stop a rampage like this.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG:

I did not imply that, when you go "absolutely nuts", it means you are acting in a spur of the moment.

If you think he, or other crazies, choose their target because they are "few guns zone" (I prefer this term), you should ask yourself why he did not choose even easier places. There is a reason, in his mad world, for him to choose the palce he did, and I guess it has little to do with risk.


On your point 2, do you have a list of places the media may be ignoring on purpose?

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Sorry guys, my mathematical formation obliges me to identify "gun free zone" as "Number of guns = 0", which is demonstrably different than "a couple of dozen weapons = 24".

So I stand by my comments on the ineffectiveness of H. Skipper's Immodest Proposal against crazies.


Unfortunately, reality contradicts you. According to a former AF member with security experience, there would have been no more than a couple dozen. Fine, but there are two problems with that assertion.

The proper mathematical formulation for "no more than a couple dozen" is not n = 24, but rather 0 <= n <= 24, where n is the number of guns.

Also, the Navy Yard is a big place; the people with guns were manning access points, so the crazy knew precisely where the guns were, so he could take advantage of surprise. Then when he went on his shooting spree, he knew precisely where the guns weren't. By the time people with guns could respond, it was too late.

So I think my original assertion still stands: crazies studiously avoid places with guns, and it doesn't go well for them when they guess wrong.

Presuming my immodest proposal, how many guns do you think would have been in the Navy Yard cafeteria? I don't know, and the crazy wouldn't have either, and he wouldn't know who was armed. Since the pattern of mass murdering suicides choosing places where they know unarmed people congregate, it is foolish to continue insisting on creating them.

Moreover, eliminating them greatly increases the chances that someone will be in a position to bring things to a rapid end.

Hey Skipper said...

[Peter:] Cede isn't the right verb to describe something nobody ever had or particularly wanted. I'm not ceding anything to government in the statist sense, I am relying on the police and, to some extent, a common handgunless culture.

Perhaps cede isn't the proper verb, but I don't know what is.

By agreeing to unilateral disarmament, you no longer have any means of self defense. The police can clean up the mess, and they undoubtedly provide some deterrent effect. But if someone is bent on violence, the police provide no defense whatsoever.

The problem with a gun free culture is precisely the same as the contradiction that faces pacificism: what about defectors? Of course, in Canada for all manner of reasons that are beside the point here, there aren't very many defectors, which is good for you, but which also has nothing to do with guns, either.

On second thought, here is a perfect example of how illusory is the whole concept of gun control:

The number of homicides in Canada rose to 598 in 2011, 44 more than the previous year, marking the first increase in three years, according to data released today.

Statistics Canada reported Tuesday that the homicide rate has stayed "relatively stable over the past decade." Prior to that, it had been declining since the mid-1970s.

However, deaths related to firearms aren't nearly as common, the federal agency said.

"The rate of firearm homicides per 100,000 population has generally been declining since the mid-1970s and, in 2011, reached its lowest point in almost 50 years."

The Canadian murder weapon of choice is now the blade.

"An increase in stabbings accounted for virtually the entire increase in homicides in 2011," the federal data agency said.

It said there were 39 more stabbings in 2011 compared to 2010. Overall, stabbings accounted for 35 per cent of homicides, firearms for 27 per cent, beatings for 22 per cent and strangulation for seven per cent.

Overall, the homicide rate was 1.73 per 100,000 population in 2011, seven per cent higher than in 2010, Statistics Canada said.


This is precisely the same trend as has been seen elsewhere. Eliminating guns in the hands of otherwise law abiding citizens has only changed the means of murder, not the rate. Worse, it appears that in those countries that have eliminated guns, the rate of the decrease in violent crime has slowed, in stark contrast to the US, where the murder rate is continuing the sharply decreasing trend that started in the early 1990s.

Hey Skipper said...

More fun with numbers. The US murder rate stands at about 4.7/100,000. Blacks account for about 52% of all murders, so excluding blacks (which is, for all manner of reasons necessary for a valid comparison with countries like Canada, Australia, England, etc …) the comparable murder rate is about 2.4/100,000, which is so close to peaceful Canada's that I am left wondering why the US is perceived as so violent. To make the perplexing even more inscrutable, it turns out that the way murder is defined isn't so straightforward, at least in England. If the UK murder numbers were collected the same way as in the US — dead body, not by natural causes, as opposed to the UK's dead by determination of a trial (hey anyone see the problems there?) — then the UK's comparable murder rate is 2.05/100,000, which is nearly bang on with the US's.

So it appears that Canadians, and the English, have relinquished the most effective means available for self defense, and in return gained nothing, at best. And it seems clear that what people, and especially Piers Morgan, think they know on this subject is wrong.

To me, the oddest thing about the confiscators is that they must believe that people don't respond to incentives, despite reality's endless contradictions. In every regard, the confiscators' predictions about the consequences of unbridled personal gun ownership have been wrong. Perhaps they need to take on board that perhaps, just perhaps, herding defenseless people into enclosures labeled "gun free zone" is an exercise in magical thinking.

Keep in mind I'm not advocating everybody "packing heat", but rather anyone who is properly trained and qualified may carry a gun anyplace a police officer would be able to. That is going to be far from everyone. The goal is to introduce uncertainty, to that the criminally inclined won't know what they are facing. I think it is a heck of a claim that criminals won't respond to that incentive.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

For point (2), check out Skipper's links. Overall it's hard to think of subject that is as poorly reported or shoddier than Old Media on guns. In all seriousness, they are like car magazine reporters who don't understand the difference between manual and automatic transmissions. No small part of my antipathy toward gun control advocates is how actively ignorant they are on the subject. Not only do they know very little, and "know" much that is flat out wrong, but they (as far as I can tell) enthusiastically embrace this ignorance and misinformation. I don't want to boost your ego too much, but you're just about the first person I've met or read who is on the other side who seems to have any clue at all.

Annoying Old Guy said...

The Clackamas mall shooting is an archetypical example.

Peter said...

Skipper:

Relinguish isn't the right verb either. Don't you get it? We never had it and don't particularly want it. No stormtroopers yet.

I'd be careful with your creative statistical black subtraction. In the first place, Canada is not a land of sober Celtic palefaces anymore. Urban Canada has become as multi-ethnic as New York City.

In the second, two can play that game. If you are going to subtract your black population, I'm going to subtract our aboriginal population (our most heavily-armed population--guns & knives), who commit violent offences way out of proportion to their numbers (4%--but 25-30% of violent crime--more in the West). That would bring our numbers down considerably and prove our whiteys are still more peaceful than your whiteys. It's cultural, Skipper. Me, I put it down to our Queen, who keeps a watchful eye on us and is quick to let us know she is definitely not amused by the rough stuff. We all think she is very wise and always looks lovely.

Are you under the impression you are arguing with an anti-American Euro-radical who gets all his info from Moore and Chomsky? I visit the States at least twice a year and am very aware almost all of it is very safe. In fact, although you have half the world's guns, your violent crime rates are much lower than almost everywhere in the world except the rest of the West. So, Canada has no handguns and is very safe. The U.S. has more handguns than it can count and is also very safe, except where it's not. Go figure.

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper:

---
Moreover, eliminating them greatly increases the chances that someone will be in a position to bring things to a rapid end.
---
I don't know, it all can depend on very specific details of each situation. I can imagine some chaotic setting where the presence of a few people with guns at hand could generate much confusion - e.g. one of your FVPO officers shooting the other for thinking he is the crazy who initiated it.

Sure it is still better than a lot of unarmed people running from a lone armed crazie. It is just that your idea may need a lot of coordination and other kind of risks, only to doubtfully be useful in a very rare event involving mass killings, as Bret's numbers show.

Actually, the more I think about your "gun free zones", less it makes sense. I think a much easier solution than your FVPO program would be just to cancel this "gun free zone" concept. You would get all the advantages of your Immodest Proposal, without any of the bureaucracy.

BTW, how do you know where you can carry a gun or not? I do not remember of ever reading a signal, when entering a shopping or cinema in US, saying "please plce your gun here before entering". I would surely take a picture had I seen one.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG:

I do not think my ego will get much inflated because you believe I can differentiate an automatic transmission from a manual one :-)

BTW, I am under the impression you rarely find manual transmissions in USA these days. Which amounts to say, IMO, that few Americans actually know how to drive (jab intended).

But going back to guns, AOG, maybe you've lost the part up above where I declared I am pro-gun, so I am not "on the other side" in this issue. Well, not at least in what concerns Brazil.

Maybe I do not know enough of the USA, but I would say that it surprises me that it did not make the transition to gun restrictions in a more European (or Canada?) style. The correlation between the wealthy of a country and the possession of guns is clearly negative. So this is my turn to ask what, in your view, explains this aspect of American culture. As Peter above, I've felt safe most of the time while visiting US and I would probably, like Bret, hardly feel the need to get a gun in such environment.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I think a much easier solution than your FVPO program would be just to cancel this "gun free zone" concept. You would get all the advantages of your Immodest Proposal, without any of the bureaucracy."

Yeah, that's my feeling too.

Hey Skipper said...

Bingo!

Actually, there is another point besides pointing out the preening fatuousness of "gun-free" zones.

Should there be a federal imprimatur, then the incentives change, because the criminally inclined might very well decide that the odds of being confronted by someone trained and armed just got a little too high.

BTW, what bureaucracy? The training and qualification would be paid for by the individual, and local police departments would be responsible for verification.

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper:


The existence of the whole program would induce bureaucracy by itself, but not only that: I am not much of a law expert, but I can bet the program would also create potential for huge liabilities.

These "gun free zones" you have look like a botched half solution that try to conciliate the general lack of restriction on guns with some illusion of containment.

Peter said...

Have you read the tort bar into your plan,Skipper? Who is going to insure them and who would pay for it?

Harry Eagar said...

I have been unable to read the comments because clicking on 'comments' kept taking me to Andertoons. Just found a work-around.

To the original post, my reply is: Christopher Deedy.

I am not a confiscationist. I recognize, along with Skipper, that there are a lot of guns out there. (How many are still functional is another question.)

I am, however, a realist. I have no particular objection to people who demand guns for hunting or target shooting.

The ones who worry me are the delusionists who imagine that by packing heat they are going to 1) step in and shoot down a deranged mass murderer; or 2) prevent insurrectionists from overthrowing the republic: In other words, pay dues to the NRA.

I jeer at their childish delusions because 1) they are childish delusions and 2) it is not a cost-free delusion; millions of people who are neither deranged mass shooters or insurrectionists get killed or maimed.

People who have bumper stickers reading THE ONLY WAY THEY'LL TAKE MY GUN IS FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS really need to have their guns taken away.

Should gun-olatry become the socially ridiculous position it deserves to be, then in fairly short order only people who have some practical, not mystical, reason to go armed will take the trouble to keep guns.

Among the reality-based segment of the population, this trend is already evident.

Harry Eagar said...

The Navy Yard was not a gun-free zone:

'The three agents for the Naval Criminal Intelligence Service worked in Building 197 and were assigned to investigate procurement fraud and offer counter-intelligence support. Officials said they engaged in two firefights with the gunman in two separate sections of the sprawling building.'

Hey Skipper said...

[Peter:] I'd be careful with your creative statistical black subtraction. In the first place, Canada is not a land of sober Celtic palefaces anymore. Urban Canada has become as multi-ethnic as New York City.

In the second, two can play that game. If you are going to subtract your black population, I'm going to subtract our aboriginal population (our most heavily-armed population--guns & knives), who commit violent offences way out of proportion to their numbers (4%--but 25-30% of violent crime--more in the West).


The reason I "creatively" exclude blacks from this discussion is because their unique experience in the US is not replicated anywhere else in the West, including especially urban Canada or urban Europe. Lumping black violence into US statistics, then calling for gun control because the difference is due to legal gun ownership is an insult to the very notion of cause and effect.

I am sure the aboriginal population in Canada is similar to Alaska, and to the extent that their violence skews Canada's statistics, then you would also be justified excluding them, because the problem isn't guns and knives, but a whole slew of different things. However, at less than a third of the total Canadian population, the reduction in your overall stats will be correspondingly smaller.

(BTW, when comparing the US against the rest of the developed world in almost any area, comparing like against like greatly reduces, or even eliminates, all the alleged differences.)

Have you read the tort bar into your plan,Skipper? Who is going to insure them and who would pay for it?

Who insures police officers? Remember, the FVPO program requires the same training and qualification as for regular police officers, but with a very much narrower scope: stop violent crimes in progress.

The question you are not asking is why someone who gets paid for this service — should they be lucky enough to be on scene — deserves special privileges over someone who is not.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] I have been unable to read the comments because clicking on 'comments' kept taking me to Andertoons. Just found a work-around.

Same here.

The ones who worry me are the delusionists who imagine that by packing heat they are going to 1) step in and shoot down a deranged mass murderer ...

Why is it you consider delusional that which has happened, and that only reason it hasn't happened more often is staring you right in the face. Above linked to two cases; there are more. Mass murderers pick places they know aren't going to have any armed citizens. The rarity of such instances is testimony to unilateral disarmament, not the inability of someone armed to slow down, distract, or stop a mass murdering suicide.


So reality very much contradicts your snotty, baseless, assertion. And, moreover shows that you are, like essentially everyone else on the left, a confiscationist in waiting.

The other part of reality that you really should, but never do, take on board is that confiscationists are like warmenists. Every prediction they make turns out wrong.

(Oh, and please stop using that "millions get killed or maimed" line. It is statistical shenanigans at so many levels it would take an hour to explain them all.)

Your snide language, as it always does, portrays you as an axe-grinder.

The Navy Yard was not a gun-free zone:

'The three agents for the Naval Criminal Intelligence Service worked in Building 197 and were assigned to investigate procurement fraud and offer counter-intelligence support. Officials said they engaged in two firefights with the gunman in two separate sections of the sprawling building.'


Yes, it was, in the same sense that schools, movie theaters, etc, portray themselves as "gun free" zones. LEOs, both on and off duty, are exempted.

But since it is delusional that someone armed could have any impact on a suicidal mass murderer, obviously it would have been far better if those LEOs had not been around.

Right?

Harry Eagar said...

They were around and engaged in gun battles with Alexis, to no evident effect except to give him another weapon.

You didn't look up Christopher Deedy, did you? You should.

I fail to see why those millions -- going up another million every 12 years or so -- shouldn't be counted. Aren't they dead and wounded?

Would most of them be OK if there were not so many guns? Yes, unquestionably.

In exchange for that carnage, we have gained what? Number of mass shootings interfered with by armed bystanders -- maybe half a dozen, maybe fewer? Number of armed insurrections put down? 0. Number of violent assaults prevented/repulsed by armed citizens? Hard to say. Not 0 but once you subtract the mistaken ones (see Ionia, Mich.), pretty close to 0

Annoying Old Guy said...

You didn't look up Christopher Deedy, did you?

I remember a time when writers wrote to explain things, to make points, to show connections. Now, apparently, it's "look it up yourself and figure it out, I can't be bothered". Well, if you can't, neither can I. It's not my job to figure out your references.

Harry Eagar said...

Well, I mentioned him earlier: Racist Secret Service agent goes pubcrawling and looking for trouble, shoots brown guy dead with service firearm, claims it was in the line of duty.

Peter said...

Skipper, I know American exceptionalism informs your politics, but I didn't know it could be applied to Statistics. :-)

Annoying Old Guy said...

Mr. Eagar;

So the point is that public employees shouldn't be trusted with guns? How very anarchic of you.

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper:


---
Yes, it was, in the same sense that schools, movie theaters, etc, portray themselves as "gun free" zones.
---

So, explain it to me - these gun free zones are registered and regulated by law, or you are just saying some area is a gun free zone if it has some number of guns/area smaller than some value you like?

Because your argument here is "Hey, look these examples where a good guy with a gun stopped the crazie!", but right in front of you there is another example where a lot of guys with guns did not stop the crazie too son. It there an objective way to differentiate those cases?


Annoying Old Guy said...

"Gun free zone" - no one except specifically authorized law enforcement personnel may possess a working firearm.

But tell me, where was this "where a lot of guys with guns did not stop the crazy too soon" event? Not the Navy Yard, where there were a very few if any guys with guns.

Harry Eagar said...

'So the point is that public employees shouldn't be trusted with guns?'

I don't trust anybody with a gun.

Personal experience has something to do with this, since a college friend of mine who has since trained some hundreds, if not thousands of Boy Scouts in firearms safety missed shooting my best friend to death only because the primer in his Sharps buffalo rifle cartridge failed to ignite.

At RtO, Bret tried to gotcha me by asking if I thought the police should be disarmed, and of course most of them should be.

'Not the Navy Yard, where there were a very few if any guys with guns.'

The fact is that Alexis encountered armed men at least 3 times before his final shootout. and twice they attempted unsuccessfully to shoot him. All that was accomplished was that he picked up another firearm.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG:

---
"Gun free zone" - no one except specifically authorized law enforcement personnel may possess a working firearm.
---

I think I undersand the definition by now. What I am asking is, to what extent the gun free zones are regulated by law? And who checks so?

For example, suppose cinemas are gun free zones (are they?) - if I go to a cinema with a gun, who will check it? And if they see I have one, what are the penalties? Who is responsible for taking me (or my gun) out of the cinema?

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

It varies enormously. For a cinema, it's up the cinema to enforce it and basically they can only throw you out. For someplace like the Navy Yard, it would be an infraction of military discipline and all that that entails. For school based ones, that's a federal law which means you can be convicted of a felony and end up in jail (although the original law was rule un-Constitutional and was amended to apply only to a firearm "that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce").

Harry Eagar said...

Contrary to gun nut myth, gun free zones have always been common in the US and were not sponsored by 'leftists' who hardly existed at the time.

The XIT Ranch, for example, the world's largest, forbade its cowboys to go armed. Or even to bring firearms onto the ranch.

That was in the 1880s. The owners were Chicago financiers, about as rightwing as could be.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] For example, suppose cinemas are gun free zones (are they?) - if I go to a cinema with a gun, who will check it? And if they see I have one, what are the penalties? Who is responsible for taking me (or my gun) out of the cinema?

Depends. As a property rights matter (see recent Starbucks kerfuffle), owners may prohibit guns from their property. IIRC, in some states, that prohibition does not extend to parking lots. I am not a lawyer, but SFAIK violating a property owner's policy is not a legal matter.

IIRC, and keeping mind I am not a lawyer, many states prohibit weapons in schools and colleges, except for LEOs. And the government prohibits guns on most federal installations (the ban against guns in national parks was overturned a couple years ago, followed almost immediately by the bloodbath that confiscationists predicted. Oh, wait, that didn't happen.)

What I don't like, because it is the most magical of thinking, is that declaring someplace a "gun free zone" actually makes someplace gun free. It does not. Rather, it proves what gun owners have always said. Prohibiting guns disarms only the law abiding. Unilateral disarmament suffers from the same analytical deficit as does pacificsm.

I live in Alaska, where the majority of people own guns, there are 1.53 guns per household. There are no gun-free zones here, and no permit is required to carry a concealed weapon. Here in Anchorage, a town of 270,000 people there have been four murders in the last year. None involved guns. The Alaska wide firearm murder rate was 2.6/100,000 people (That includes the indigenous population, Peter.)


Because your argument here is "Hey, look these examples where a good guy with a gun stopped the crazy!", but right in front of you there is another example where a lot of guys with guns did not stop the crazy too son. It there an objective way to differentiate those cases?


Keep in mind that, except for security officers, everyone at the Navy Yard was disarmed. There is also something else very important to keep in mind. Not only did the shooter know that almost everyone was disarmed, he also knew exactly who would be armed.

In contrast to Harry's summary of events, which lives up to journalism's standards for accuracy, here is a far more reliable timeline; my summary: The shooter with complete impunity fired for four minutes before the first security officer arrived, who, being in uniform, was an obvious target. The first outside LEOs arrived seven minutes after getting the 911 call. One police officer was hit in the leg. The shooter was finally killed by police after a 30 minute gunfight.

(Contrast reality with Harry's opinion of police officers, which verges on vile, btw: [Kenya's police and military performed rather better than I can imagine our Maui flatfoots doing, even with their armored car. The Nairobi coppers went inside, putting themselves in harm's way, which is more than our American cops like to do. )

For those other than Harry, who, like all good progressives, prefers citizens and most police officers defenseless, there is at least the possibility that had someone been armed and not in uniform, that the response to the shooter would not only have come much more quickly, but would also have disrupted the shooter, even if he wasn't hit. Also, most of these suicide murders end with the shooter committing suicide, and that typically happens as soon as the shooter becomes a target.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] I fail to see why those millions -- going up another million every 12 years or so -- shouldn't be counted. Aren't they dead and wounded?

Before you said "dead and maimed", now you say "dead an wounded". Which is it?

Would most of them be OK if there were not so many guns? Yes, unquestionably.

The moment you say "unquestionably", that is a very reliable sign exactly the opposite is the case. Something like half of gun deaths are suicides, and, as has been demonstrated multiple times, suicide rates do not change after confiscating guns. So, yes, unquestionably is very questionable.

And murder rates haven't changed in countries that have confiscated guns. It is worth noting that the UK's gun crime rate has gone up since guns have been confiscated.

In exchange for that carnage, we have gained what? Number of mass shootings interfered with by armed bystanders -- maybe half a dozen, maybe fewer? Number of armed insurrections put down? 0. Number of violent assaults prevented/repulsed by armed citizens? Hard to say. Not 0 but once you subtract the mistaken ones (see Ionia, Mich.), pretty close to 0

Hard to say doesn't begin to say it. You have absolutely no idea how many criminally inclined declined to commit a crime because of the possibility of confronting an armed victim. Household invasion robberies are very, very rare here. Why do you suppose that might be? (here is an example of reality hinting at the answer: last year in Anchorage a homeowner shot a robber)

Also, you have, as is your wont, ignored inconvenient reality. Crime of all kinds in the US has declined sharply since the early 90s, which also corresponds with the vast expanse of shall issue states. The crime rate continues to decline in the US. In comparable countries that have confiscated weapons, that either has not been the case, or the decline is much slower than ours.

But the biggest reality check you miss is that outside the world progressives inhabit, where stuff is free, and pastel unicorns shed fairy dust, guns exist in ineradicable quantities. It doesn't matter whether you, or I, or anyone else, likes it or not. For those of us in the reality based community, feel-good policies aren't good because they make you feel good.

Clovis e Adri said...

My last question on gun free zones:

What about all those movies where a guy enters a military base and every one is so heavily armed? I mean, it is a completely wrong portrait and no one ever says a thing? Oh, Hollywood.


H. Skipper:

Alaska? Wow.

I do not want to minimize in any way all the good guns you have up there, but I guess your low crime rate is much better understood in terms of the sparse population and, of course, the extremes of cold and geography.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG:

---
(although the original law was rule un-Constitutional and was amended to apply only to a firearm "that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce").
---
Now I start to understand why people say the interstate clausule has been abused as of late.

So, if you enter a school with a gun made in that same state, it is OK. Otherwise, you go to jail. I guess there are only two kinds of people who can think this is logical: i) people making laws, and ii) the local state gun company.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

if you enter a school with a gun made in that same state, it is OK.

Nobody knows, it hasn't been tested in court. See this for the source of the uncertainty and abuse of the Commerce Clause. In essence it says that any activity, even if done entirely on one's own private property, that could be commercial, can be considered to "affect interstate commerce". Maybe carrying a gun does too.

I think it was one of the most ill-decided cases every by SCOTUS, driven primarily by FDR's "court packing" subversion of our government and Constitution.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

I should also note that the school gun free zone law applied to guns without 1000 feet of a school. That includes quite a number of private residences, technically made the homeowners felons if they owned a gun. I wonder what the legal situation would be if they stopped a home invasion by firing their own gun in their own house to defend their family.

For this reason there's a very complex set of "exceptions" in the law, which seem bizarre until you realize it goes back to this, the federal government imposing gun free zone laws on private property.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG:

This Wickard v. Filburn case is bizarre. Really.

How can you have a case like this running in a country so proud of their freedoms is beyond my comprehension.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Mine as well. It's why I despise FDR as a President. He prolonged an economic crisis, then used his own failure as an excuse to destroy our Constitutional order. He broke plenty of eggs but never made an omelet.

You asked once why an American would feel less free than previous generations. Almost all of the examples we gave can be traced back to this case.

Bret said...

AOG,

I'll 2nd that. Wickard v. Filburn was the beginning of the end for the government having the consent of the governed as far as many citizens were and are concerned.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] I do not want to minimize in any way all the good guns you have up there, but I guess your low crime rate is much better understood in terms of the sparse population and, of course, the extremes of cold and geography.

Actually, the crime rate in Alaska isn't low, it is the second highest in the US, as of 2011. The total murder rate is 4/100,000, of which 2.4 are due to guns. (Overall crime in Anchorage (2012) is at its lowest since 1981).

Native Alaskans commit 3-4 times more crimes than non-native Alaskans.

What should be the reality lesson here is that a place saturated in guns is not saturated in gun violence. Confiscationists have no explanation for that.

Harry Eagar said...

Home invasions are rare everywhere, including in unarmed Hawaii.

Alexis probably did not know about the armed NCIS men he encountered, so that part of your narrative is likely incorrect.

Harry Eagar said...

So much for the notion that open-carry provides some sort of dererrent to an evilly-disposed person attempting to get close to his target:

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S3172245.shtml?cat=0

I swear the most intense gun-grabber couldn't have made that up.

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,


Are you referring to the uneasiness demonstrated by pro-gun lawmakers in the above story?


Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper:

In terms of murder rates, alaska has no special position compared to the otehr states, eve more taking many years of comparison like here:

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/murder-rates-nationally-and-state#MRalpha

The list of safest and most dangerous states of your own link above also gives Alaska the 33th position:

http://www.infoplease.com/us/states/most-dangerous-states.html


Yet, I confess I would expect lower rates from your state. All that rapes have the natives to blame too?

I have no way to judge why the Native Alaskans display such statistics. I ask myself if the effect is analogous to what happens to indigenous populations in Brazil: they have not mane ways to cope with modernity, and easily fall prey to alcohol, drugs and external exploitation - their populations living nearby "modern culture" all have been declining to absolute chaos.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Yeah, I have to ask who was the "evilly-disposed person" in Mr. Eagar's cite. I have no idea how his comment relates to that story.

Harry Eagar said...

It was a hypothetical evilly-disposed person. The armed guy was just a childish jerk. Dangerous for sure but not necessarily evil-minded.

But if someone had a mad on against the New Mexican legislators, and did not expect or want to survive the taking of his revenge, open carry would take him to the gallery, where he could have loosed a clip or two into the solons before being gunned down. Wouldn't have had to sneak in with a shotgun hidden in a duffle bag.

It remains to be seen whether hr gun nuts in the New Mexican legislature have the courage of their convictions.

On the other topic, reviewing all the home invasions I can recall in my county, every one was a drug dispute and in every one the invadee had firearms in the home.

If the prospect of encountering an armed person really deterred crime, the South Side of Chicago would be the safest place on earth.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] In terms of murder rates, Alaska has no special position compared to the other states, even more taking many years of comparison like here:

You are right, with regard to murder rates, Alaska is mid-pack. There are a couple things that should stand out. First, plotting murder rate by county would probably produce a graphic much like these.

Also noteworthy is that the trend is sharply downward. All states in 2011 have lower murder rates than in 1996, typically 30-60% lower.

Now look at what else happened over that same span. In the late 1980s, 41 states had either either "no-issue" or "may issue" concealed carry permit laws. In practice, "may issue" essentially amounted to "no issue". In 2013, there are no "no issue" states, and only 8 "may issue". In other words, over the same period the murder rate in the US has plummeted, the ability to carry concealed weapons has gone from being rare to nearly universal.

I'm not going to claim there is a cause-effect relationship here, although if there was similar correlation in some phenomena beloved of the Left, you can bet they would do so. However, although correlation doesn't prove causation, without correlation causation is impossible, so there is at least the possibility that more widely available guns has led to fewer murders.

What is certain, though, is that all the confiscationist bleating that went along with the expansion of gun rights has been proven completely wrong.

The list of safest and most dangerous states of your own link above also gives Alaska the 33th position.

It always pays to read the fine print. Here are the criteria for the rankings:

The second annual edition of the United States Peace Index, produced by Institute for Economics and Peace, measures peacefulness according to five indicators: the number of homicides, number of violent crimes, the incarceration rate, number of police employees and the availability of small arms.

This is transparently foolish. The title is "Safest and Most Dangerous States", but the collectivist axe grinders have actually concocted something that measures "peacefulness" by somehow agglomerating things that not only don't belong together (high incarceration might lead to fewer homicides and violent crimes; easy availability of small arms is positively correlated with decreasing violent crime; why not include number of baseball bats and knives?)

In other words, that ranking is completely worthless to anyone except axe grinders.

Yet, I confess I would expect lower rates from your state. All that rapes have the natives to blame too?

Here is a more useful ranking. In it, Alaska is the 6th most violent state in the US. The majority of the violent crime is within the native population. The native population is 15% of the total. The crime rates for Native Americans are 2-3 times higher than the rest of the population.

The collision between industrial and neolithic societies has not gone well for the latter, for all manner of reasons.


Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] But if someone had a mad on against the New Mexican legislators, and did not expect or want to survive the taking of his revenge, open carry would take him to the gallery, where he could have loosed a clip or two into the solons before being gunned down. Wouldn't have had to sneak in with a shotgun hidden in a duffle bag.

As it happens, I agree. But the point of this thread is the fallacy of "gun free" zones, and how allowing concealed carry, subject to the same sort of requirements as for the FFDO program — which allows non-LEOs to carry — would greatly complicate matters for the homicidally inclined.

If the prospect of encountering an armed person really deterred crime, the South Side of Chicago would be the safest place on earth.

Perhaps you have heard that the only result of making gun possession illegal is to ensure only the criminals have guns?

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper,


---
[On guns possibly reducing crime] I'm not going to claim there is a cause-effect relationship here, although if there was similar correlation in some phenomena beloved of the Left, you can bet they would do so.
---

I am happy you are being careful enough here, for this is a point where there is not shortage of polemics.

You may be aware, for example, of the argument that greater liberties for abortion would be responsible for the drop of the crime rates - another argument that has been going on for a while with many thorny issues around it.

I do believe, H. Skipper, that guns may be necessary and helpful in many situations for people who live in really unsafe regions - and I regret my countrymen does not realize so. But it is also ineffective in a whole lot of other situations (many connected with the surprise advantage the criminals enjoy). And there are situations where it only makes thing worse: it is common here in Brazil to hear of someone who tried to react in a car assault, only to be shot right then (it is usually a bad idea to try to go for your gun when there is one already pointed to you).

All of this to say, possession of guns is no guarantee of general improvement of security conditions. I think only decent policing does that. You probably should thanks more your police dept. and justice system for that crime rates falling, than the action of good armed citizens.

Harry Eagar said...

'Perhaps you have heard that the only result of making gun possession illegal is to ensure only the criminals have guns?'

Yes, I've heard that, and it's remarkably silly. For example, another result is a sharp reduction in the shootings of children by other children. So it wouldn'be an 'only' result.

On the South Side, however, a high proportion of shootings are between gangs, in which cases there can hardly be any expectation that the shootees will be unarmed. The Hatfields were not afraid of the armed McCoys and vice versa.

I would say that on the South Side, the expectation in many cases is not that the victim is unarmed but that a quick assassination will allow the shooter to run away unscathed.

Hey Skipper said...

Yes, I've heard that, and it's remarkably silly. For example, another result is a sharp reduction in the shootings of children by other children. So it wouldn'be an 'only' result.

Ok, I'll grant that. In turn, though, you must grant that banning swimming pools should be your first priority, since more children drown than die by guns.

But since we hear of no jeremiad against swimming pools to Save the Children, then it is clear that this is all about your, and the Left's, animosity towards guns because you don't like guns. And yes, it is that circular.

On the South Side, however, a high proportion of shootings are between gangs, in which cases there can hardly be any expectation that the shootees will be unarmed.

A high proportion of the victims are bystanders. It just might change the gang bangers incentives if they had no idea who among their unintended targets might be shooting back. Because right now they do know, and the answer is none.

Legal concealed carry greatly complicates the tactical problem for the murderously inclined.

Something you might consider when pondering why confiscationists have been so wrong for so long.

[Clovis:] I think only decent policing does that. You probably should thanks more your police dept. and justice system for that crime rates falling, than the action of good armed citizens.

Yet the fact remains that, as I alluded to Harry above, that the nearly universal availability of guns has not caused anything remotely like what confiscationists predicted -- indeed, except for areas still under their sway, what has happened is exactly the opposite of what they confidently insisted would happen.

As for your invocation of the US's police and justice system, I agree that both are largely competent and uncorrupted. But that has long been true, so I don't think what hasn't changed should be a prime candidate to explain something that has.

Hey Skipper said...

Oh, one other thing. It appears that the first people to respond to the atrocity in Kenya were members of a local gun club.

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper:

---
But that has long been true, so I don't think what hasn't changed should be a prime candidate to explain something that has.
---

I have been trying to find, with not much success, comparative graphs of investiments on police, justice system and prisons, with a tentative correlation of lower crima rates.

Basically, your prison population has grown much faster than your general population growth.

It must reflect police, or justice system, or both, operating more intensely. Which also should have more investments behind. Too far a shot by my part to think so?

Hey Skipper said...

Basically, your prison population has grown much faster than your general population growth.

It must reflect police, or justice system, or both, operating more intensely. Which also should have more investments behind. Too far a shot by my part to think so?


No, not at all. Rather, you are right on a mark I neglected to consider.

While the overall characteristics of our police and judicial systems have been largely constant, others have not. There are far more places with mandatory sentencing laws and "3-strikes and you are out" laws (i.e., a third felony conviction results in a life prison sentence).

So those two factors, plus our (futile, IMHO) war on drugs have put a much higher proportion of people in prison.

Also, more police departments are following statistically targeted patrolling, and the "broken windows" paradigm. Both those proved very successful in NY, and both constitute a change in police practice that I also hadn't thought of.

You made a good point, which led to a couple other reasons why I'm glad I didn't credit widespread gun availability with our reduction in crime and violence over the same period.

But I think it is safe to say that even if it turned out to be irrelevant, gun availability absolutely did not have the predicted consequences.

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper:

---
But I think it is safe to say that even if it turned out to be irrelevant, gun availability absolutely did not have the predicted consequences.
---

Which takes to another aspect of US I did not get yet. By all I hear, and see (mainly in Old West movies :-) you always had huge amounts of guns everywhere!

So, even though you've linked that evolution graph about laws of permits, I do not know how it works in terms of real availability of guns. In fact, this is what I would think "hasn't changed".

Hey Skipper said...

There are roughly 300 million guns in the US, which is an increase of about 100 million since 1994.

So the real availability has changed. Far more importantly, though, is that the evolution of gun laws took the country from a point where essentially all criminals could take it for granted that both their intended victims and any bystanders would be disarmed -- a pacifist dystopia, if you will.

Now, throughout nearly the entire country, criminals can no longer make that assumption. IMHO, not enough people carry concealed weapons, but where at one point criminals could take it for granted there would be no meaningful opposition, now the odds are down to, oh, I dunno, 1 in 50, 1 in 100? Anyway, that is a much different proposition than none in a million.

Harry Eagar said...

If you are right, then crime could not have gone down in areas where concealed carry does not prevail.

But that isn't what happened, so you are not right.

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper:

Sorry, but you have just dismantled your own theory. Please look at graphs 4 and 5 of your last link. Percent of households with a gun mostly declined.

Since the number of guns has been growing a little bit faster then the population in the same period, I can only conclude that, generally, the permit laws only made people who already had guns to buy even more. In general, your population is as well armed as before, since I do not see a person being more safe because he has 10 guns now, instead of the 5 guns he had 10 years ago.

I stand by the demographic changes + police/justice system work theory.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Sorry, but you have just dismantled your own theory. Please look at graphs 4 and 5 of your last link. Percent of households with a gun mostly declined.

But percentage of households owning a gun isn't what is important about the evolution in US gun laws. To reiterate, most of the US has gone from "may issue" concealed carry permitting, which in most cases meant "won't issue" to "shall issue" subject to a background check. Previously, if people who wanted to carry a weapon had to prove they had a need. Now, whoever is responsible for CC permits must show that the applicant may not.

That is a huge difference that is wholly independent of the percent of households reporting owning a gun.

I'm sure that demographic changes have had some impact, but the changes haven't been enough to explain all the change. And I'm sure that better policing and more imprisonment have also made a difference.

But in order for you to stop there, you must believe that criminals -- who also know, particularly in some parts of the country, that they are more likely to run into armed opposition -- do not respond to incentives.

I think that is an extraordinary claim.

[Harry:] If you are right, then crime could not have gone down in areas where concealed carry does not prevail.

I suppose for those fond of single factor explanations, your reasoning is bullet proof.

Also, up thread, I cited evidence that crime in countries that have banned hand guns has not gone down as fast (or has even stopped decreasing) as it has in the US.

And, in the UK, gun crime has increased since guns were effectively confiscated.

But if you are right about confiscating guns, then there are no guns where they have been confiscated.

So you must be right.

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper,

---
But percentage of households owning a gun isn't what is important about the evolution in US gun laws. [...]
That is a huge difference that is wholly independent of the percent of households reporting owning a gun.
---

Sorry, but your reasoning here makes no sense. Unless you believe people who carry those guns do not need to live in some place they call home.

In other words, yoour explanation would need an equal growth in homess people carrying guns. That would be kind of scaring, and hardly unoticed.

Hey Skipper said...

Let me explain my point with a couple hypotheticals.

1. The percentage of households owning guns goes from 50% to 10% -- in rough numbers, from 100 million to 10 million.

2. That the US went from 100% "may issue" -- which, practically speaking, meant "won't issue" -- to 100% "shall issue".

3. And, as a consequence, the number of law abiding gun owners carrying concealed weapons went from 0% to 2%.

4. So, despite a 90% decrease in the number of gun owning households, the number of citizens carrying guns would increase from zero to 200,000. That is a little less than 30% of the police officers in the US. And all of those 200,000 would be in plain clothes.

And that is after granting your assumption, and then some.

But the assumption itself is problematic, for several reasons. First, the survey responses had huge swings, both up and down, over very short periods. Second, I have no idea how the surveys count hangups, or whether hangups are evenly distributed between gun owners and non-owners.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, in my previous post I highlighted the word "reported". Presuming gun owners are, as Harry so objectively puts it, racist, frothing at the mouth, delusional, anti-government nuts with masculinity issues, then do you really think that gun owners are always going to tell somebody on the other end of a phone that they are conducting an anonymous survey? A survey that knows their phone number?

I'll bet more surveys on gun ownership are conducted in 2014. Following the NSA revelations, do you have any theories about how many hangups there will be, and the distribution of hangups, and the number of false negatives?

It may well be that the trend in gun ownership is downward, because surveys conducted with the same flaws over time might still detect a trend, even if they have no idea about the error in magnitude.

I don't know what the error in magnitude is either, but I think it is a very safe bet that what ever the actual number is, it is more, not less, than 44%.

Which means that if 1% of gun owners carry concealed, the number of guns criminals have to worry about went from 0 to roughly 1 million over the period that US gun laws have changed.

Or nearly twice the number of law enforcement officers of all types in the US.

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper,


I register your argument, although it is taking more and more contortions to defend the idea that gun permits played some role in your falling crime rates.

Criminals for sure react to incentives. Their first action is to try to bypass the uncertainties associated with the targets being armed. Which means more study before attacking, with more use of the surprise advantage.

I do not deny the permits make a difference. Only that it looks to be rather secondary, or terciary, by looking your statistics.

Hey Skipper said...

Clovis:

What statistical contortions? Really, name just one.

I think you are making an assumption too far about criminals studying before attacking. Looking for uniformed police officers is one thing, but just how do the criminally inclined know if someone is carrying a concealed weapon?

Only that it looks to be rather secondary, or terciary, by looking your statistics.

Interesting. Policing and courts change, so it must be due to policing and courts. Demographics change, so it must be due to demographics. Legal concealed carry dramatically changes, so is must not be due to dramatically changed concealed carry.

I don't think anybody really knows why crime rates have dropped as much as they have; certainly no one 20 years ago predicted it. And the experts predicted a resurgence in crime would happen as a consequence of the recession. That didn't happen either.

So we are left with a lot of post-hoc reasoning, which is fine, and often inevitable. After all, there is no finding causes until after discovering effects. But it is unreasonable post hoc reasoning to discard, or diminish the effect of one particular cause on account of because.

After all, the predictions of every "expert" on guns predicted exactly the opposite of what actually happened.

The scare quotes are there to indicate that some experts, which aren't experts because they are gun nuts because they own guns, like the NRA were ignored, and right.

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper,

---
I think you are making an assumption too far about criminals studying before attacking. Looking for uniformed police officers is one thing, but just how do the criminally inclined know if someone is carrying a concealed weapon?
---

Look now who is saying criminals do not respond to incentives, uh?

Put yourself in place of one: how do you operate when you do not know if your target is armed? You make sure you take him by surprise. The great majority of people, who are running around looking for their own business, do not check at each second if someone is following you, of if that dark spot over there has a criminal hiding, etc.

There is all sort of talk down here about procedures you should take to make you safer. Most of them asks for a level of awareness that you can hardly mantain for much time: not because it is impossible, but because over time you feel no peace of mind anymore, it can make you crazy. Armed or not.

We have statistics showing less people have guns nowadays - even though their number is greater - and that rates of people going to jail were higher than of people borning. You would need to show statistics showing that a far greater number of criminals have been dying in action since the permits changed. Can you?

Hey Skipper said...

Put yourself in place of one: how do you operate when you do not know if your target is armed? You make sure you take him by surprise.

Congratulations, you have just holed your argument below the water line.

OK, I put myself in the role of a criminal in a new, more threatening, environment. And being a smart criminal, I respond to that by reducing the number of targets I am willing to take on.

Before, when there was no threat from either my target, or anyone else, I could act with near impunity.

Now, I have to make sure my target is isolated, and hope that I'm not going to get a shot or two as I leave.

So the number of suitable targets is smaller, and I'm going to be more conservative about the remainder.

Which is kind of what I've been saying all this time.

We have statistics showing less people have guns nowadays - even though their number is greater ...

You do not have statistics, you have studies. They are not the same.

Even if I completely grant the trend -- that the rate of gun ownership is trending downwards -- that says not a bloody thing about magnitude, except for this alone: 44% is the lower bound.

Given the extremely non-linear responses over time, it is also possible to reach some more conclusions: there must be significant error component; it must be at least 10%, and all of it must be above the reported rate.

I picked an anti-gun organization for my data source, I then amplified the anti-gun trend argument by an order of magnitude, then made some conservative for my side of the argument assumptions, and shown how the threat increase to predators ranged from 30% to over 100%.

I don't need to show that more criminals are dying since gun laws have become far less restrictive, I only have to assume that criminals aren't so stupid they can't observe the readily apparent in time to avoid ending up on a slab.

Harry Eagar said...

I am not too concerned about gun owners who are not racist, frothing at the mouth, delusional cranks, although I am somewhat concerned, because even those have a strong tendency to leave loaded guns around.

But what about the ones who are? The ones, for example, fingered at RtO the other day who are setting up sniper schools?

Bret said...

I have to admit the sniper's school, especially given the alleged popularity of that, is worrisome to me.

But if the "solution" is taking guns away from everybody, then I'd want to see that these snipers are an actual and substantial problem before I'd support the implementation of that "solution."

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper,

---
OK, I put myself in the role of a criminal in a new, more threatening, environment. And being a smart criminal, I respond to that by reducing the number of targets I am willing to take on.
---

It may happen in what I described before too, for when I said the criminal will need to study more his targets, it obviously imply a possible reduction in their number. Although it depends on the productivity of each individual criminal, overall you may have a reduction in crime, but only a limited one (the rate of crimes will fall somehow, but will stop falling after some level within this picture). Now, if the criminals are dying more or going more to prison (hence taken out of the market), the rates may continue falling. The last one is evident in the statistics, the first one is not and you look to believe it does not matter - why to look for facts to justify one's beliefs, right?


Hey Skipper said...

Now, if the criminals are dying more or going more to prison (hence taken out of the market), the rates may continue falling. The last one is evident in the statistics, the first one is not and you look to believe it does not matter - why to look for facts to justify one's beliefs, right?

You have assumed as true that which you haven't demonstrated; i.e., that there is some fixed number of people who are criminals, and that the reason for the reduction in all kinds of crimes is somehow reducing that number.

To some extent, that is obviously true. Longer prison sentences have reduced the supply of criminals.

But for your thesis to make add up, the number of criminals removed from the population by whatever means, over time, multiplied by the number of crimes per criminal, would have to be equal in magnitude and trend to the reduction in crime since the early 1990s.

No, I haven't done the math, so I'm only guessing. But my guess is that the magnitude of that drop is far greater than can be explained by active removal of criminals from the population.

So, presuming my guess is reasonable, suggests there must be another reason: people do respond to incentives. There are people who are "marginal" criminals, that is, people who in the past would have considered committing a crime, but find the environment presents too many risks, for all the reasons listed above.

Consequently, not only are criminals committing fewer crimes, but fewer are becoming criminals in the first place.

I don't wish to put too much certainty on the thesis that the huge increase in legal concealed carry has significantly contributed to the decrease in crime. But the correlation is very strong. I'll bet it is at least as strong as that between legalized abortion and the drop in crime, or the change in policing, or increase in imprisonment.


The ones, for example, fingered at RtO the other day who are setting up sniper schools?

Would you provide the link, please? I couldn't find what you are referring to.


Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper,

---
There are people who are "marginal" criminals, that is, people who in the past would have considered committing a crime, but find the environment presents too many risks, for all the reasons listed above.
---

Living in a country where crime is rampant, I will indulge myself in believing I understand criminals and criminality better than you - after all, I see it around so much more than you.

So I tell you, your idea that criminals are so afraid of people with guns does not sound right to me. I strongly favor that guns should be more acessible to good citizens down here, but not because I believe criminals will fear, but because *we the people* need to live in fear in the present condition. It is about to level the playing field (I've learned this expression listening to your president :-). They will not fear that people are armed or not, but at least those armed will have a chance in a few situations to fight for their rights.

And your idea that "marginal criminals" even count in this discussion is just nonsense. Most people who accept the idea of extracting something from other human being at gunpoint is way beyond "marginal" levels of criminal intent.

Hey Skipper said...

And your idea that "marginal criminals" even count in this discussion is just nonsense.

I am using the term "marginal" in its economic sense. For most goods, there are marginal consumers. That is, in all sufficiently large groups of people who buy butter, there will be some that if the price of butter increases by one penny, will stop buying butter and start buying margarine.

And that is true of activities, too. If the price of baseball tickets goes up, some number of fans will do something else.

It should be obvious to the point of being axiomatic that there are risks and rewards associated with criminal activity. If someone unwittingly drops a $100 bill, and no one else is around to see it, there are many people who will pick it up and leave.

But as the risk of detection goes up, and the penalties if detected increase, or the chances of retaliation, fewer people are going to grab that $100. The decrement with each increase defines the marginal finders-keepers-losers-weepers.

Or if that takes too long to read, insert the term "pick pocket".

And there are lots of crimes that don't involve guns, but that would be deterred by guns.

You may have heard about the group of motorcyclists who terrorized that family in New York.

I guarandamntee you that would never happen where I live, because the odds of having armed citizens who could do something about it are way too high.

The riots that happened London a couple years ago would never happen here, either.

And we can go all the way down the scale -- the threat that someone could retaliate for a purse snatching, or a bystander could meaningfully intervene, is a disincentive which at least arguably have the consequence of dissuading the marginal criminal.

So I tell you, your idea that criminals are so afraid of people with guns does not sound right to me.

Then either you don't believe people respond to incentives, or believe that the disincentive isn't pervasive enough to count.

Fine.

But the larger point you seem to be missing is that depriving people of the right to meaningfully arm themselves is tantamount to telling them they do not have the right to defend themselves.

Because otherwise self-defense is a completely empty concept.

Harry Eagar said...

'There are already law abiding and trained people carrying guns everywhere they go.'

Yes, there are, yes there are. And they scare the bejeezus out of the gun nuts in real life:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/termination-hearing-hot-headed-pa-halted-dropped-loaded-pistol-article-1.1482973