Ladies, the NRA Is Not Your Friend

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firearms

I found this on Facebook this morning. I commented on the size of the magazine, that nobody has that many crazy ex-husbands. The people (all men, it appears) liking the image didn’t get the joke.

Conservatives are stomping around calling the Violence Against Women Act a waste of money, and then in the next breath they argue that women have to be armed with AR-15s because they never know when four or five hardened criminals are going to break into her house and attack her simultaneously. Seriously

Women’s Forum’s Gayle Trotter said in her prepared testimony. An assault weapons ban, she said, would “harm women the most” because “guns are the great equalizer in a confrontation.” And that doesn’t just mean handguns. That means military-style rifles. When questioned, Trotter specifically singled out the AR-15 as an important weapon for women, essentially because it looks cool. Women like the AR-15 because “they’re light, they’re easy to hold, and most importantly, their appearance,” Trotter said. The rifle is intimidating, she said, and then appeared to riff on a hypothetical home invasion in which one would be necessary. “Three, four, five violent intruders in her home — with her children screaming in the background — the peace of mind that comes with a scary looking gun…gives her more courage when she’s fighting hardened, violent criminals.” Trotter said. “I speak on behalf of millions of american women who urge you to defend our Second Amendment right to choose to defend ourselves.”

I infer from this that conservatives really hate it when multiple strangers break into women’s homes to assault them, but if your husband or boyfriend, current or ex, roughs you up from time to time, that’s his right. It’s probably your fault, anyway.

And note that the above-mentioned Ms. Trotter is opposed to allowing women to serve in combat.

Anyway — the scenario in which multiple criminal strangers burst into a woman’s home must be rare, as I could find no examples of such a thing happening. Women are far more likely to be attacked by men they know. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Satistics, in 2007 only 10 percent of female homicide victims in the U.S. were killed by strangers. Historically, women have had most to fear from current and former husbands or lovers. However, in recent years rates of “intimate” violence have gone down quite a bit, possibly because of the Violence Against Women Act that righties think is a waste of time.

See also

Writing in the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Wiebe reported on a case-controlled study in which household were matched on a number of demographic factors, and then incidences of gun violence were compared. They found that people who keep a gun in their home are almost twice as likely to die in a gun-related homicide, and that the risk was especially greater for women: women living in a home where there is a gun are almost three times more likely to die in a gun-related homicide than men similarly situated. The risk of killing oneself using a gun was almost 17 times greater for persons who live in a home where there is a gun, compared to those in homes without guns. (Wiebe D. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 2003; 41:771-82).

How often does a woman successfully defend herself with a gun? We get a hint here

In 2009, justifiable homicides involving women killing men with a firearm occurred in: Louisiana (1); Michigan (2); Mississippi (1); Oklahoma (2); Oregon (2); South Carolina (1); Tennessee (1); Texas (2); and, Virginia (1). Of these, handguns were used in: Louisiana (1); Michigan (2); Mississippi (1); Oklahoma (1); Oregon (2); South Carolina (1); Texas (1); and, Virginia (1).

I don’t have data for the number of women murdered by men in the U.S. in 2009, justified or otherwise, but I’m betting it’s a lot more than 23. Note that women get killed in gun-friendly Louisiana at higher rates than anywhere else in the U.S.

Now, I don’t blame a woman who has a crazy, angry ex out there somewhere for keeping a gun in her home. I might do the same thing, as well as installing alarms and adopting a very large dog. But what the data tell us clearly is that encouraging women to be armed is no replacement for the Violence Against Women Act, which really does seem to have made a difference.

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50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Tom_B  •  Feb 7, 2013 @1:51 pm

    “Conservatives are stomping around calling the Violence Against Women Act a waste of money, and then in the next breath they argue that women have to be armed with AR-15s because they never know when four or five hardened criminals are going to break into her house”

    We don’t live in a civilization; we live in a “you’re on your own” Randian utopia.

  2. joanr16  •  Feb 7, 2013 @1:57 pm

    Reactionary, right-wing women are kind of hilarious, when you think about it. It’s like they’re sending us Western Union cables from 1959. Too bad the young women of 2013 don’t receive those on their smartphones.

  3. Stephen Stralka  •  Feb 7, 2013 @2:01 pm

    Statistics! Peer review! What amazing concepts! It’s almost as if women (or men, for that matter) who are trying to decide how badly they need an AR-15 have the option of making a rational decision!

    Although I have to admit that “the peace of mind that comes with a scary looking gun” is one of the greatest phrases that have ever been uttered.

  4. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 7, 2013 @2:15 pm

    Well, to give them at least a little bit of credit, the non-existant reasons for women needing to have AR-15′s with large clips to fend off gangs of thugs invading their homes, or at least one, to warrant a justifiable homocide, happens slightly more often than Voter Fraud.

    Conservatives:
    We provide solutions to problems you’re never likely to have.
    As for any real problems you have, or might have, well, you’re on your own – that’s women, AND men. We are now an “Equal Opportunity” political philosophy, in that we don’t give a sh*t for any of you – unless you’ve got some REAL money. And then, we care deeply.

  5. justme277  •  Feb 7, 2013 @2:22 pm

    “The peace of mind that comes with a scary “looking ” gun”. Ok I have a real problem with this and I have heard it else where in this conversation also. There seems to be this notion that if you have a problem, pull a scary looking gun and it will frighten off would be attackers.You don’t even have to shoot, just show it and your problems are over- the great equalizer.

    I don’t like guns, and I don’t find a single use for them personally. That said my ex was fond of shooting. He took me out decades ago and taught me how to shoot, clean and store firearms. I enjoy learning things I don’t know so I embraced the experience, despite my feeling about guns. The very first thing he taught me was that you NEVER pull a weapon of any kind until the moment you are GOING to use it. You DO NOT wave your weapon around to intimidate or feel powerful. When someone see’s your gun it is too late for them because the moment you pull it you should also be firing. No one should ever see your gun at any other time.

    There were MANY reasons given to me why this is the case, but the main one that applied to me was my size. When a 100 lb woman starts swinging around with a gun, pointing it at people to “scare” them – say with the four or five attackers mentioned above one of them- or all of them are going to remove that weapon and use it against the victim. A responsible gun owner NEVER shows a weapon as a defense mechanism to scare off a would be attacker.

    Another thing I learned that brings a problem to the “scary looking gun notion” is that you NEVER NEVER NEVER point a gun at anyone unless and until the moment you shoot them. There is no “bad guys running off” at that point.If the gun is out and pointed , making the bad guys flee is not an option, once the gun is out and pointed at a would be attacker you must fire it or you never should have pulled it(or owned it).

    The folks who testified are doing a grave dis- service to women and to anyone dumb enough to buy into their crap. They are going to get women killed if anyone is fool enough to think a big scary gun never even needs to be fired, just the sight of it will be enough to ward off would be “bad guys”.

    And one more thing. They insult us all (women) by inserting the notion that we are helpless little waifs who could not possiblysurvive without a big mean gun to protect little ole us. I am a small lady, but I drag around a 800 lb Harley like it was my bitch. I started out living on the streets at 12 yrs old because it was safer than the foster homes I lived in. I had no fear then and I have none now. I spent at least a decade of summers traveling the country ALONE on my bike without a gun or the need for one. I watched my male friends of 200- 400 lbs , too afraid to make the same trips as me, packing their guns. THEY were the ones afraid to go without their metal security blankets.

    A smart woman doesn’t need a gun. And the idea you need one in the house with CHILDREN for protection is NUTS. Most single women who would have a gun for “protection” might leave it near their beds for protection at night when they sleep. They don’t take the gun with them when they are at work or out shopping, exactly the time a would be bad guy might break into her home. Would be bad guy can , thanks to her, just wait with his new found weapon for her to return home, just in time for her to be shot with the gun she bought to protect herself. DON’T ever make the mistake of listening to those who say women need guns be smart and confident and learn to take care of yourself. Depending on a gun (which may jam the moment you need it) to be safe is not a substitute for depending on yourself.

  6. joanr16  •  Feb 7, 2013 @2:38 pm

    Own a gun; it’s easier than thinking.

    I’ve said it before, I’m sure: people turn to guns because they cannot use their words. Or their brains.

  7. Swami  •  Feb 7, 2013 @2:51 pm

    I am a small lady, but I drag around a 800 lb Harley like it was my bitch.

    :) LOL!

  8. Cabal315  •  Feb 7, 2013 @2:52 pm

    To be fair, looking at justifiable homicides is not an accurate way of assessing how often firearms are used in self defense by women (or anyone else), since nobody needs to be killed in order for self defense to be successful. I’ve successfully defended myself with pepper spray, after all. Nobody died, and I didn’t report it so it’s not even in any crime statistics. Most defensive gun uses don’t result in the death of the aggressor either. For example:

    Suspect Held At Gunpoint By Homeowner In Burglary

    Family Uses Firearm To Stop Attempted Home Invasion

    In regards to the scenario you could find no examples of:

    Police said five people were trying to burglarize a home at the 1500 block of SE 45 when the female homeowner shot one of them with her gun.

    This young mother was putting her 6-year-old son to bed when three masked men with a gun and duct tape broke in. She shot one of them and they fled.

    Nobody was killed in either of those cases either, but I’m sure you wouldn’t argue that they were not successful examples of self defense with a firearm. I suspect this happens much more than we realize, because these stories don’t really merit national attention.

  9. Swami  •  Feb 7, 2013 @3:30 pm

    “When choosing our tool for home defense, we want the best — in accuracy, handling, and aesthetics. The best choice by all three criteria is — hands down — the AR-15.”

    Accuracy is not a characteristic of a gun…It’s a characteristic of the shooter…When you’re trying to repel a squad of home invaders I can see the need for increased firepower to compensate for the loss of time in sighting your target.

  10. joanr16  •  Feb 7, 2013 @3:48 pm

    “accuracy, handling, and aesthetics”

    That’s from a car ad… except they said “Acura.” When applied to firearms, really none of it makes any sense.

    And I have to wonder about the fantasy life of someone who constantly expects “three, four, five violent intruders” to break into her home. Are they dressed like pirates? Do they all look like Jon Hamm? Otherwise, wtf?

    I think we can boil this all down to the simple fact that most of what Righties think about the world is shaped by vague, irrational fear.

  11. maha  •  Feb 7, 2013 @4:37 pm

    Cabal315 — as I said, the death statistic only provided a hint. The fact remains that a gun-owning homeowner is more likely to be injured or killed by a gun than to ever defend himself with a gun. There is copious data showing this. You can provide anecdotal evidence until you turn purple; the facts are what they are. It’s also a plain fact, backed up by years of BJS data, that the scenario in which multiple strangers barge into a woman’s home to do her harm is exceedingly rare compared to the scenarios in which she is assaulted by a man she knows (and who knows where she keeps her gun).

    Keeping a gun for protection, especially a loaded one, in one’s home is something of a sucker bet. It sounds good, and sometimes you win, but mostly you don’t.

  12. Swami  •  Feb 7, 2013 @5:10 pm

    I’ve successfully defended myself with pepper spray, after all. Nobody died, and I didn’t report it so it’s not even in any crime statistics.

    Huh? Somebody in that little scenerio is a menace/ threat to society. And to not report it is a danger to us all.. Ho- hum..no big deal..just some minor assault or sundry crime that I causually dispensed with. No need to report an insignificant crime..Ho-hum.

  13. joanr16  •  Feb 7, 2013 @5:22 pm

    Swami – good catch.
    Here’s what I’m noticing as consistent in the pro-gun trollery: a complete tone-deafness to the content and meaning of their own words (and, if their descriptions are truthful, their own actions).

  14. joanr16  •  Feb 7, 2013 @5:26 pm

    I was thinking this wondrous announcement of the continuing dissolution of the Westboro Baptist Church would be OT, but maybe not.

    https://medium.com/reporters-notebook/d63ecca43e35

    After all, it’s a sign that even the most brainwashed person can wake up one day.

  15. Swami  •  Feb 7, 2013 @6:05 pm

    joanr16..You might have guessed that my head was( is?) screwed up by prolonged exposure to the infallible word of G-d. For years I tried to fit a square peg into a round hole..Fortunately I had an epiphany thanks to Karen Armstrong.I’m almost free at last,thank God almighty,I’m almost free at last.

    Here’s an expression of my joy.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVr0M7WCBu4

  16. joanr16  •  Feb 7, 2013 @6:23 pm

    You might have guessed that my head was( is?) screwed up by prolonged exposure to the infallible word of G-d.

    I did notice you can talk the talk in a way that can’t be faked. Which makes for interesting insights!

    Am I weird for wanting to walk up and hug Megan P-R and welcome her to freedom? And tell her she can still love God and her fellow humans, it’s not mutually exclusive despite what her grandpa and mom say?

  17. Cabal315  •  Feb 7, 2013 @6:23 pm

    Maha, I agree completely—a woman being assaulted by a man she knows is a far more common scenario than multiple strangers bursting into her home. That doesn’t mean the latter scenario doesn’t happen much more than it should. It’s not anecdotal when it happens to you.

    A gun-owning homeowner might be more likely to be injured or killed by a gun than to defend themselves with a gun, but we have 60 million+ gun owners in the US with over 200 million guns, the overwhelming bulk of whom will never do either. Wouldn’t that make a gun in the home more benign than anything else?

  18. Cabal315  •  Feb 7, 2013 @6:26 pm

    Yes Swami, great catch. In 1994 two kids my age who I didn’t know attacked me in a Taco Bell parking lot for reasons I cannot discern (Bored? Drunk?). I defended myself with pepper spray, they fled, and I went home. You got me! I made a bad decision* when I was 20, but that’s not really the point.

    My point was just that regardless of weapon (or no weapon) used, a successful case of self defense is simply one where you stop or repel the attack, not where you kill (or even injure) someone. The vast majority of self defense does not involve anyone dying, so looking at justifiable homicide statistics is not particularly useful in gauging how often people successfully defend themselves with firearms.

    *Not that I think I should take moral advice from someone who maintains that the homeowner who walked in on a burglar is not a responsible gun owner because he didn’t shoot the burglar, and instead just held him at gunpoint until police arrived. I agree that you should never point a gun at anyone you’re not willing to shoot, but the claim that once you point it you must shoot them is absolutely bizarre. Even the most deranged gun nuts don’t say that.

  19. erinyes  •  Feb 7, 2013 @6:53 pm

    I don’t always shoot people, but when I do, I use my phazer set on stun; then I drink a Dos Equis……………

  20. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 7, 2013 @7:15 pm

    erinyes,
    The NEW, “Most Intersting Man in the World.”

    Goats eat his grass, to save him the trouble of hiring some potential illegal aliens to help to help him mow.
    His personal trainers works up a sweat for him, and sprinkle their sweat on him, because they know he’ll never break a sweat, no matter the situation, but still wants to look like he worked out.
    Meteorologists sometimes credit fast moving weather patterns, to clouds trying to get away from his beer farts faster.

    Erinyes – The New, “Most Interesting Man in the World!”(Cue massive Dos Equis beer, chili with cheese and jalepeno, fart!).

  21. J.T.  •  Feb 7, 2013 @7:19 pm

    Can’t say I’m surprised that Ms. Trotter doesn’t think women should serve in combat. Her argument boils down to “women are weak so we need big guns.” If I thought all women were weak, I wouldn’t want them in combat roles either.

  22. justme277  •  Feb 7, 2013 @7:59 pm

    Holding him at gunpoint until police arrive? And what if the person tried to walk away? Shoot em? Guns… they are not just for killing anymore folks, they are about a constitutional right to impose your will on another by threat of death. I said I want that sweater bitch, got it?(enter gun waving here). You scare me, so I am going to point a gun at you and make you stay here till police arrive.You don’t use a gun as a threat. You use a gun as defense.I was taught if it is that bad you need to pull a gun someone is gonna die.If you are not planning on using the gun for it’s intended purpose of defense, leave it put away.

  23. maha  •  Feb 7, 2013 @9:50 pm

    Wouldn’t that make a gun in the home more benign than anything else?

    There is a clear and undeniable correlation between rates of gun ownership and rates of gun-related death. In simple language, the more guns, the more corpses.

    More guns not only correlates to more gun homicides; it also leads to more unintentional firearm deaths, including the deaths of children; more suicides (and that’s more total suicides, not just more suicides with guns); and more murders of women. So no, those guns are not benign. The data show clearly that that the more guns are owned in a particular city, state, or region, the more dangerous those places become.

    There is no data showing that the greater possession of guns reduces other kinds of crime. The Harvard School of Public Health also makes these points:

    1. Most purported self-defense gun uses are gun uses in escalating arguments and are both socially undesirable and illegal
    2. Firearms are used far more often to intimidate than in self-defense. This is intimidation by a bully or abuser, not a victim.
    3. Guns in the home are used more often to intimidate intimates than to thwart crime.
    4. Few criminals are shot by decent law abiding citizens. This has been checked through hospital records.

    If you are really worried about being the victim of a violent crime, I suggest you move to good ol’ gun-controlled New York City. Our rates of forcible rape are way below most other U.S. cities, and homicide rates are much lower than in most pro-gun states.

    Your problem is that you are dividing the world up into criminals versus law-abiding citizens. It isn’t that simple. Human behavior isn’t that simple. Whether the presence of guns somehow escalates violence, or whether populations prone to violence are more likely to believe guns are the answer I do not know, but the fact is that an armed society is not more polite; just less safe.

  24. goatherd  •  Feb 7, 2013 @9:57 pm

    Okay, it will be obvious, I haven’t read the links, and this is tangential at best. I do have a meatworld life after all.

    Many years ago in Tampa, I was having dinner with a female Japanese friend of mine. Like a lot of Florida houses, her little rental was up on stilts. I saw a samurai sword leaning against the wall by the back door and I said something about it. She said, “Yes, someone tried to break in last night.” There was a screen door with a large hole in the screen. According to her story, someone decided to stick his head through the hole in the screen to have a look at the inside of her house, case the joint, whatever. As he glanced upward he couldn’t help but notice that there was a woman of Japanese extraction with a rather large, rather sharp, curved sword raised high and about to begin the downstroke. Showing excellent judgment and keen assessment of the situation, he decided to withdraw as quickly as possible.

    I have often thought that the prospect of being decapitated might have been even more distasteful than a quick trip to the ER to have some heavy metal removed.

  25. paradoctor  •  Feb 8, 2013 @12:53 am

    Regarding escalating arguments:

    It’s always the other guy’s fault.

  26. Swami  •  Feb 8, 2013 @1:05 am

    Showing excellent judgment and keen assessment of the situation, he decided to withdraw as quickly as possible.

    :) goatherd.. That sentence fits an experience I had years ago when I was afflicted with the extreme Home Defense Syndrome( HDS)..One night my daughter came to me while I was sitting in my living room reading the inspired word of God. She said that someone was in our back yard outside her bedroom window.
    I immediately sprang into action and ran to my gun room. I quickly surveyed my weapons and decided that my 12 gage Savage x69 pump shotgun( riot gun) would be the appropriate weapon given the circumstances of going out into the darkness of night. I loaded 3 shells into the magazine and then charged it to chamber one round.
    I then went out a side exit with the shotgun leveled at waist height and fully prepared to confront whatever danger lay before me. I was in a full combat mode and fearless.
    I did a stealthily sweep of my side property then headed around to the rear toward the area my daughters bedroom was located.I cleared the back yard up to a point where the house jutted out and I had another corner to turn to complete securing the back yard. When I stepped around that last corner I found myself looking at two Clearwater Policemen in search of a prowler reported at my neighbors house.I had gotten the drop on them because they were checking the windows and not looking in my direction, but I was less then 30 feet away in a direct line of sight. I went from mighty defender of my castle to… Holy shit, I never expected this. And anybody who’s got a brain knows that one of the last things you want to be doing in Florida is having any kind of exchange with a policeman while you have a gun in your hands. So,… Showing excellent judgment and keen assessment of the situation, I decided to withdraw as quickly as possible.

  27. Cabal315  •  Feb 8, 2013 @1:16 am

    Maha, I was born in Brooklyn. Grew up mostly all over NY state but spent a lot of time in the city, and just relocated upstate after living in Manhattan, Queens and Jersey City for 14 years. I know how safe it is now—it’s fantastic—but NYC has had strict gun control since 1911, that’s not why it’s suddenly safe. I’m not sure when you moved to New York, but I remember what it was like in the 70′s and 80′s—a man get shot to death almost in front of me in Prospect Park when I was 3. Chicago and DC also have similarly strict (or stricter) gun control, but for a while there DC was the murder capitol of the country, and Chicago’s homicide rate is almost 4 times the rate of NYC. There’s clearly a lot more at play here than simply guns and gun control.

    I’m well aware that the world is not black and white, good vs. bad, and I’m in no way trying to present it as such—there are lots of grey areas. But I’m not merely “worried” about being a victim of violent crime, I have been a victim of violent crime—I’ve had to physically defend myself several times in my life; I’ve had a friend beaten to death in broad daylight on a busy street in the very progressive, safe upstate town I went to high school in (Ithaca). Thankfully, nothing like this has happened to me for a long time and hopefully it stays that way, but self defense is not a hypothetical discussion for me.

    You say you don’t know if gun ownership drives crime rates or if crime rates drive gun ownership, but that’s a pretty important difference, I’d say.

  28. justme277  •  Feb 8, 2013 @1:45 am

    As far as shooting a burglar, I don’t believe the law gives anyone the right to defend property only life. I admit I am not a judge. I don’t believe I suggested killing a burglar. If you read what I said instead of being reactionary your comment would have been less straw man. The bad guy I was talking about in my comment was not a burglar, it was someone who lay in wait on a un suspecting homeowner to cause harm, not some douche stealing a toaster.So I will thank you NOT to make my comment into something it was not to suit your view.

    So no, I don’t believe you shoot a guy trying to steal a part off the car sitting in your yard on blocks- nor do I believe you even pull a gun on someone that is not intending harm upon YOU or another PERSON. All these claims of how guns never had to be fired to be effective is a load of crap that is going to get stupid people who read something like that and go out and buy a gun thinking they never have to use it, just wave it around, killed.

    NEVER POINT A GUN AT ANYONE UNLESS YOU PLAN TO FIRE IT BEFORE YOU PULL IT.And don’t expect me to take moral advice from someone who simply claims “oops, my bad I let a criminal go without ever reporting so they were free to victimize others” and dismisses their own actions with no guilt. Especially since you make the point for the sane side when you tell us how you survived it without having a gun to wave around. So no, don’t take moral advice from anyone with better judgement than you, why stop now? Seems your on a roll of poor choices! Proceed, please!

    One more thing that is bothering me is this idea you can ward off non life threatening attacks by threatening someone elses life. If I can get a bad guy who is dead set on killing me to be scared off by pointing a gun it seems to me the threat was not really that great. No gun pointed at someone who wants to kill you is going to make them go ” Oh, well, since you put it that way, it turns out I really don’t want to murder you and rape you after all, never mind”… But we are not talking about that in the articles caleb sited,, those were “burglars” who were intent on stealing property.Where does this end?

  29. justme277  •  Feb 8, 2013 @2:20 am

    In 1995 as I lay on my living room floor watching a movie at about 5 am I heard a knock at my door. I knew it had to be bad cause no one comes by at 5 am for a visit. I walked down a long hall towards the door and just as I went to look out the peep hole someone kicked in my front door. I thought right away we were being robbed. I pushed the door closed from the back hoping for a few seconds to make an escape and a plan. It pushed back open with a shot gun and within seconds my house was stormed by no less than 15 men in full riot gear including masks.. I still thought we were being robbed. I was held down to the floor by a combat boot in my back and a shot gun pressing my head to the floor while troops of armed men ran thru my home.

    .It was police I would find out 15 minutes after the door was kicked in. I lived in a duplex and they were looking for my neighbor. I often think what if…
    what if I had had my ex’s love of guns? Would a police officer be gone as a result? Would I be alive to tell this story? What if I would have had a gun when someone kicked in my door in the middle of the night and I ”defended myself”? Would some poor kid be growing up without their father? As angry as I was to be violated , to have my home and property violated , even destroyed I would have never been able to live with myself had I been responsible for harming someone who was just doing their jobs..They had a valid warrant. They couldn’t have know about the address- it was confusing. I still think about them everyday I feel so blessed they and I are still alive, despite the fact they were total dicks.

    They were small town cops. I knew some of them. Went to school with one of em. I didn’t like what they were doing, but it was their job.They were good people who loved their kids and wanted the same things as everyone else..when I think of people “defending ” their homes with bushmasters with 15 rounds or whatever I think of those cops and what our fate would have been if I had had the attitude of the gunnies and a bushmater in my hand. Thank goodness I don’t.

  30. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 8, 2013 @7:38 am

    justme,
    Maybe if we had less military assault weapons out there, we’d have less need for para-military police SWAT teams?
    Too often, they raid places for the flimsiest of reasons.
    And too often, you read where they attacked at the wrong address.
    And too often, you read about some poor schmuck at that wrong address, who has access to a gun, and when their home is suddenly invaded, and he/she responds by pulling out their gun and going to check or confront the “attackers,” and either kills a police officer, or, more often, gets killed by the hyper-alert SWAT members (or both), who are, if not itching for a fight, certainly prepared and ready for one – that is their job.
    So too, of course, should being 100% sure that they’re SWAT-ting at the right address. And that, even when SWAT-ting at that correct address, they make sure that any person who is not the direct target of the arrest, be as safe as humanly possible.
    Too often, local police forces, thanks to money handed out after 9/11 to states, cities, counties, and towns, was used to purchase arms and equipment from the military – with, I might add, the full approval of the government.
    So, here we sit, with specially trained SWAT teams, armed like an infantry group, with assault weapons, and sometimes assault vehicles, just waiting for their chance at the “bad guys.” And you can’t blame the SWAT teams, and the towns, if they’re eager, after all of that training, and the purchase of all of that equipment, to see what they can do, and are just sitting, waiting, looking for some reason to use all of that practice and the tools.
    It must get pretty boring in some places, waiting for something worthy of a full-on SWAT assault.

    Unfortunately, with all of those military assault weapons in civilian hands, it’ll be a long, long, time before anyone can make the case that, because there are less of those weapons, we can now spend less money on SWAT teams.
    And also, as long as we stay with the same stupid “War on Drugs” policies, making drugs highly profitable, drug dealers will always want to protect themselves, their profits, and the drugs that lead to those profits – usually with military assault weapons.
    Wecome to our self-fulfilled SWAT prophesy:
    As long as assault weapons are available, and ordinary citizens, crooks, and drug dealers have access to them, we’ll need SWAT teams.

  31. erinyes  •  Feb 8, 2013 @7:41 am

    I have a friend who has mutated into a full blown prepper. At the first stage of the economic melt-down, before his prepper syndrome fully metastasized, he told me I needed a gun for home defense. He recommended I visit my local gun shoip and inquire about a 410 shotgun;apparently they have enough “knock down power” without the associoated “kick” that would scare my wife and daughter,should they need to use it to defend the castle.I’m typically out of town two nights per week.

    So it was off to ye olde gun shoppe. There were 4 “interesting””gentlemen” sitting around talking who were VERY excited to advise me on a choice. I was advised that a 410 was not the best choice because even though it would be easier for my daughter to use, the “knock-down” power was not that great, and the person who was shot had a better chance of surviving, which would mean he would return to take revenge some day.

    We live in such a strange time. When I was a child in the 60′s and 70′s, we worried (kinda) about a nuclear attack from the Russians. Three of our leaders were gunned down.Several major cities damned near burned to the ground as we were on the threshold of a race war.People were fed up with the war in ‘Nam and the associated draft.It appeared the entire political structure was corrupt. It was like river rafting on class 10 rapids.
    By comparison, we live in relative calm with the exception of financial uncertainty and lots of fear driven B.S. After considering all of the above, I decided to not waste my hard earned money on a gun.

  32. erinyes  •  Feb 8, 2013 @7:52 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3Gxqe0YQqk

    Here’s what the chicks need fore home defense….

  33. maha  •  Feb 8, 2013 @9:15 am

    I know how safe it is now—it’s fantastic—but NYC has had strict gun control since 1911, that’s not why it’s suddenly safe.

    I didn’t say it was “suddenly” safe. You must be a newbie among the gun rights crowd. Most of them believe New Yorkers are killed, assaulted and raped on a daily basis because we don’t have guns to protect ourselves. It’s an article of faith among the gun rights absolutists in other parts of the country (especially the South and Midwest) that New York is a cesspool of violent crime. When I show them actual crime data, which usually reveals rates of murder and rape and whatever are higher where they live than in New York, they refuse to believe it.

    Most people pushing the idea that more guns equals less crime point to data from the 1990s, when crime stats were dropping as gun ownership in many parts of the country was rising. The hole in the theory is that crime stats were dropping all over, not just in places that were loosening gun control laws to allow for more guns buys, concealed carry, etc. Crime dropped in New York City even more than in most other places. (There is credible evidence that the single biggest cause of the crime increases of the ate 20th century was leaded gas, and naturally crime dropped as amounts of lead in the atmosphere went down.)

    I grew up in the rural Midwest, and my dad had some hunting rifles — everybody had hunting rifles — and some kind of revolver. So I’m not twitchy about guns. But the only times I’ve personally felt threatened by a gun were not from criminals with guns, but from angry law-abiding citizens in vigilante mode looking for “criminals.” (Explained elsewhere, if you want to know details.) There are all kinds of people who don’t have the sense God gave turnips, and the realization that in many states those people are allowed to carry concealed weapons just about everywhere gives me the willies. We’re already seeing a 7 to 9 percent increase in homicides in places with “stand your ground” laws.

    And for what? Why are so many people suddenly so adamant they must “defend themselves” from criminals? Right now we’ve got the lowest rates of violent crimes in many decades. Which brings me to –

    You say you don’t know if gun ownership drives crime rates or if crime rates drive gun ownership, but that’s a pretty important difference, I’d say.

    I didn’t say “crime rates,” but deaths. There’s a big difference. A lot of those deaths are not criminal. In some states, if a three-year-old finds Daddy’s loaded handgun, plays with it, and kills himself — which happens once or twice a week in the U.S., it seems — it’s called an “accident” and no charges are filed. Once again, stop thinking of criminals versus law abiding citizens. The law abiding citizen can kill you just as fast as a criminal, in some circumstances. If you’re dead, it may not matter to you whether the person who shot you was a criminal or a law abiding citizen who mistook you for a criminal, or who was showing off his gun and didn’t know it was loaded (that happens a lot, too), or a psychotic who found a loaded gun in his dad’s closet and hears voices in his head telling him to shoot everybody wearing green. This issue is not about crime, but injuries and fatalities involving guns, criminal and non-criminal.

    So take the word “crime” out of this. The interesting issue, to me, is why so many Americans have developed a fetish for guns. As I said, I grew up in the rural Midwest, and while people were attached to their firearms, I don’t remember anyone making the Second Amendment into a religion the way people are now. The John Birchers were telling people to oppose firearm registration, because when the Communists took over they’d find the registrations and take your guns away, but that was about it. Oh, and there was some talk of stockpiling weapons when John Kennedy was elected (yeah, I’m old enough to remember that) because folks were afraid of a Catholic president, but that died down pretty quickly once he took office.

    My own theory is that the gun fetish is a symptom of a deeper socio-cultural pathology, and I wrote out my theory a couple of days ago if you want to read it. The answer is not to continue to loosen guns laws to let people indulge in their urges to stockpile guns because of their own neurotic fears. That’s like trying to cure obesity by handing out doughnuts.

    Once again, I’m not opposed to gun ownership per se; I just want people to get over the idea that guns are the answer to their problems. They aren’t.

  34. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 8, 2013 @9:44 am

    “That’s like trying to cure obesity by handing out doughnuts.”
    Funny, AND true!

    And imo, the socio-econo-cultural divide in this country, is a result of several things:
    -The country getting browner and yellower. And younger soon, as the Boomers like me start to die off.
    -The poor and middle class white people are feeling disenfranchised as the decent-paying jobs that white people without educations were able to have, are disappearing, or have already disappeared.
    -And the continued growth and expansion of urban areas.
    I’ve commented before on how this nations major problems stem from race, and the fact that rural areas depended on cheap slave labor, whereas urban areas had immigrants to fill the low (or no) paying menial jobs.
    And that Rural v. Urban dynamic is still in evidence today. Look at how rural people villify cities – especially NY City. And Chicago, and LA, and SF – and even the growing cities in once rural states, like Atlanta in GA, and Nashville in TN.

    All of this means that what Obama said, while inflammatory, was true – that certain people in certain areas, who should have a lot in common economically, cling to their God and guns.
    And the NRA is there to help gun manufacturers make profits off of this divisiveness.

    And so, to avoid the threat of a Class War, the rich and powerful appeal to racial fears: That the “Blah” and Hispanic hordes are at the gates, and that the “Blah” President with the African-Muslim name, will seize their guns – the only thing, they think, that can protect them and theirs.

    And so, instead of looking at class as the dividing point, people are lead to look at race.
    And what do they see, but an America that is, demonstrably, as the last election showed them, blacker, and browner? And the wimmin-folk are making demands, too! And what are poor, and/or poorly educated, white people (expecially men) to do, but cleave onto their God and their guns?

    We are in a “Cold Civil War.”
    And I don’t know how we get out of it. And we won’t, until the vast majority of people don’t look at things with ‘race-goggles,’ but with ‘class goggles.’

    The rich don’t mind the poor of all races being armed and afraid, and so, as long as people turn their fear and guns on one another, instead of on them, they will continue to fuel the racial fires, since ‘there’s profits in them thar fears!’
    But you can bet, the moment those fears turn on the rich, it will be the rich, and not Obama, who will try to make sure that those arms are taken away.
    But at that point, it may be too late.

  35. joanr16  •  Feb 8, 2013 @9:54 am

    I’m sorry, but someone who doesn’t understand that the reason anecdotes are anecdotes is because they are exceptional, and that the big picture of a society is only accurately depicted statistically, is just wasting our time.

    I don’t care where they grew up, or whether they are or aren’t smart enough to understand that “successfully defended myself with pepper spray” does not support the need for a gun. If they don’t understand the basic elements of factual knowledge: waste of time.

    It’s beginning to appear pretty clear that that’s the modus operandi of the pro-gun crowd: just dither the opposition into giving up.

  36. Bill Bush  •  Feb 8, 2013 @11:53 am

    Gulag, +1. Remember the movie THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY? The guns today are the magical item, in a way. Everybody fights about them when the real problem is, as you have pointed out, inside themselves. Not that the guns are not much more immediately dangerous in and of themselves. But the gun as a totemic protector against “the other” has a built-in self-destruct that applies both inwardly and outwardly. Too early for me to be clearer.

  37. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 8, 2013 @12:19 pm

    BB,
    Oh, I get it.
    And yeah, that was a GREAT movie!!!

  38. Swami  •  Feb 8, 2013 @1:22 pm

    Well, fortunately taxpayers were spared the expense of billing medicare for a stress test

    http://www2.tbo.com/news/pasco-news/2013/feb/08/elderly-pasco-couple-says-swat-team-mistakenly-sto-ar-629056/

  39. Cabal315  •  Feb 8, 2013 @2:13 pm

    justme277, I did read what you wrote* : “When someone see’s your gun it is too late for them because the moment you pull it you should also be firing” and I absolutely did not mischaracterize your statement at all because you just repeated it again, and you’re still wrong.

    You should never pull a gun out unless you’re willing to use it, but most sane people would disagree with you that once it’s out you must immediately start shooting. That’s NOT the responsible way to act with a firearm. Do you notice that Police don’t do that? If the SWAT team in 1995 had operated according to your ex’s sage advice, you’d be dead right now. Just because your ex taught you that doesn’t make it true, or wise.

    “nor do I believe you even pull a gun on someone that is not intending harm upon YOU or another PERSON.”

    Unfortunately, when you enter your home to find someone in your house already, or when you’re awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of an intruder, you have absolutely no way of knowing what their intentions are. Some people break in to steal *things,* some people break in to rape or kill. It would be nice if burglars wore neon signs honestly announcing their intentions, but they don’t.

    “One more thing that is bothering me is this idea you can ward off non life threatening attacks by threatening someone else’s life.”

    Please explain to me how you can possibly know what an aggressors intention are. Furthermore, the guys who beat my friend to death weren’t even trying to kill him—in their eyes, it was a non-life threatening attack—but his head hit the concrete the wrong way and that was that. If someone were in my house, I’d assume the worst until they proved otherwise. Why should someone who has just demonstrated a lack of respect for other people and proven they have no problem with breaking the law get the benefit of the doubt from me?

    “If I can get a bad guy who is dead set on killing me to be scared off by pointing a gun it seems to me the threat was not really that great.”

    Sorry, but that is completely divorced from reality. You’re acting as if criminals don’t believe in self preservation. Ridiculous.

    *Apologies to Swami, in my initial reply I misattributed your comment to Swami unintentionally.

  40. Cabal315  •  Feb 8, 2013 @2:14 pm

    Maha, It’s an article of faith among people in other parts of the country, almost all my overseas friends, and pretty much anyone who doesn’t live in NYC that it’s a cesspool of violent crime because it was. NYC has always been notorious for it’s crime in the news and our popular entertainment, and it’s relatively new safety is going to take time to sink in to the national psyche.

    “Most people pushing the idea that more guns equals less crime point to data from the 1990s, when crime stats were dropping as gun ownership in many parts of the country was rising. The hole in the theory is that crime stats were dropping all over, not just in places that were loosening gun control laws to allow for more guns buys, concealed carry, etc.”

    I agree. I don’t believe the nationwide crime drop was caused by almost every state in the country allowing some form of concealed carry, but if it were as simple as “more guns equal more crime,” then I’d think we’d have seen the crime surge predicted at the time by the opponents the laws. There’s clearly a lot more at play here than simply “guns.”

    “There are all kinds of people who don’t have the sense God gave turnips, and the realization that in many states those people are allowed to carry concealed weapons just about everywhere gives me the willies. We’re already seeing a 7 to 9 percent increase in homicides in places with “stand your ground” laws.

    Turnips? It used to be mushrooms—is that an upgrade? :) It doesn’t surprise me that Stand Your Ground laws have increased homicides, but they’re not the same thing as concealed carry laws, which don’t seem to have increased homicides.

    Crime dropped in New York City even more than in most other places, but it did not drop as precipitously in other cities with equally strict gun control—NYC seems to be an anomaly in that regard, and I think the change in policing and tactics has a lot to do with that. I did read the Mother Jones article on the lead = crime hypothesis and it makes a lot sense to me as well.

    “The only times I’ve personally felt threatened by a gun were not from criminals with guns, but from angry law-abiding citizens in vigilante mode looking for “criminals.”

    I’m sure that our very different personal experiences have led us to our current perspectives on the topic. But your examples, as you reminded me earlier in this discussion, are anecdotal. Statistically speaking, the majority of homicides are committed by people with existing criminal records, often felonies (and thus legally shouldn’t even have guns). And most domestic homicides—for example, women killed by their spouses—are preceded by a long history of violence and spousal abuse. I don’t consider wife beaters “law abiding citizens.”

    “Why are so many people suddenly so adamant they must “defend themselves” from criminals? Right now we’ve got the lowest rates of violent crimes in many decades.”

    Yes, but crime was pretty high when these laws started being passed. Like we noted earlier, the fact that crime has gone down down as escaped many people. Society as a whole is more scared of unlikely things than we were in times when they were more likely. I’m as guilty of that as anyone else—I can’t imagine letting my son run around on his own the way we did in the 70′s and 80′s, even though the chance of him being abducted is far, far less. Is it too easy to blame the media for this fear of everything?

    “If you’re dead, it may not matter to you whether the person who shot you was a criminal or a law abiding citizen who mistook you for a criminal … This issue is not about crime, but injuries and fatalities involving guns.”

    Not for me. If I’m dead, it doesn’t matter to me if I was shot, stabbed, or beaten to death. This isn’t about *firearms* to me: I don’t want to lower the firearm homicide rate, I want to lower the homicide rate. To me, concentrating on the method of homicide or suicide is missing the point entirely. If gun control lowered the firearm homicide rate, but other methods of homicide increased, could that be considered a success? For example, Canada instituted sweeping gun control in 1991, and the rates of youth suicide by firearms dropped from 60% to 22%. If you’re just looking at firearms, it was a resounding success. But it’s not the whole picture, because suicide due to hanging/suffocation increased from 20% to 60% in this age group over this period of time—the overall rates of suicide did not change. That’s why I speak in terms of total crime rates, not just firearm crime rates. It’s like trying to reduce the rate of rapes perpetrated in parking lots instead of the overall rate of rapes—who cares where it happened?

    “My own theory is that the gun fetish is a symptom of a deeper socio-cultural pathology, and I wrote out my theory a couple of days ago if you want to read it.”

    I read it when you posted it, I don’t disagree with it.

  41. Cabal315  •  Feb 8, 2013 @2:16 pm

    joanr16, I didn’t cite the pepper spray incident to “support need for a gun,” I just cited it to demonstrate that looking only at justifiable *homicide* numbers to gauge successful self defense is useless—defending yourself successfully rarely requires the actual death of your attacker.

  42. Cabal315  •  Feb 8, 2013 @2:29 pm

    c u n d gulag, I agree that we’re in a cold civil war, and I don’t see how it can be resolved at this point. After the election one of my red state friends posted some screed about dividing the country along ideological lines, and the first thing I could think of was “Yes, please get the F out already.” Of course, his vision of the results is blue cities full of The Blacks on welfare and all the “real Americans” living in mansions in TX, and my vision is that “Real America” will end up looking like Appalachia and Blue America will look like a social democratic European country.

  43. Swami  •  Feb 8, 2013 @2:47 pm

    Cabal315…Put a number to” successful self defense” so we have some way to make a statistical evaluation of what you are gauging. You’re comparing a concrete to an abstract…It’s the same argument the NRA is making when they toss mental illness and criminals into the equation. There is no definative answer in the world of possiblities or probabilites, only feelings have value.

  44. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 8, 2013 @4:37 pm

    Cabal,
    Yeah, if there ever was a split, the “Red” country would look a mix of “Idiocracy” and “The Road” – but with plenty of Jesusy goodness.
    Basically, North Korea, with a gentler climate and a lot of churches.

    And we in the Blue States would need a DMZ, or even a border wall, to keep starving and desperate Crackers and their families out.
    Maybe we’ll allow some temporary Green Cards for them, and see if they can take the place of all of the naturalized Latino’s in the work/food chain, who will be full and welcome members of Blue America – if, that is, the immigrant Crackers can work hard enough.

  45. maha  •  Feb 8, 2013 @5:03 pm

    That’s why I speak in terms of total crime rates, not just firearm crime rates.

    I warned you about trying to frame the gun problem as purely criminal. You still don’t get it. Good bye.

  46. maha  •  Feb 8, 2013 @5:04 pm

    Try to talk to some people, and you might as well talk to a tree stump. Sometimes I do give up.

  47. joanr16  •  Feb 8, 2013 @5:46 pm

    defending yourself successfully rarely requires the actual death of your attacker

    Then it rarely requires a gun. Jeez, you absolutely cannot hear yourself at all.

  48. Steve M.  •  Feb 8, 2013 @6:23 pm

    “The people (all men, it appears) liking the image ”

    With one hand, presumably.

  49. erinyes  •  Feb 8, 2013 @7:04 pm

    While we were all discussing the gun issue, Karl Rove has been ressurected, and is on the war path to “purify” his party of Orcs. He will purge the rustics and the crazies, then who will be left?
    Revenge is a dish best served cold.
    Here’s hoping all my friends in the North East have another log to throw on the fire tonight;stay warm, my friends.

  50. Swami  •  Feb 8, 2013 @7:33 pm

    He will purge the rustics and the crazies, then who will be left?

    Middle of the road Tea bagger Marco Rubio will be. He’s fast becoming Marco Wallenda of the GOP circus.



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