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Sunday, January 06, 2013

Gun Control

With awe and fear, I have been reading the yammer on DU on gun control (confiscation). A heated and uncivilized debate has developed, with a strong faction supporting the right of most people to have guns for self-defense and a seemingly more numerous faction against.

My own opinions on gun control were fundamentally formed in elementary school as I learned about the massacres leading up to and during WWII in Germany and then in wider Europe. In particular, my father told me to read about the Warsaw ghetto in response to a question of mine about gun control as a result of something that came up in school - I believe I was in fifth grade. The Warsaw ghetto revolt made a deep impression upon me. This was reinforced in high school when I learned about the very racist origins of gun control in the US and read about the Sweet trials.

I don't trust governments, because they can turn lethal. I don't trust groups of people, because they have proven over and over again to turn into mobs. I think all human beings have the right of self-defense, and in many cases, the duty to defend themselves with lethal force. I think that that right and duty reaches its highest peak when a human being is defending others in his/her own home or vehicle or place of work. I believe the right to defend yourself includes shooting errant cops, although only in the most extreme circumstances.

I am appalled by the militarization of the today's police force. There are some really nasty characters out there, and they are wearing uniforms.

I do accept the need for some control of weapons - people who have clear mental problems or criminal histories shouldn't have the legal right to own them, in my opinion.

Reading DU has driven home to me the concept that many persons advocating gun control/confiscation really don't believe that individuals have the right to defend themselves. I'm wondering if this is an exceedingly minority opinion or more widely held? My feeling is that an individual facing an aggressive intruder at home or work or in another public place has the right to do anything that a police officer could do in the pursuit of his duties.

So I would ask what do you think on the self-defense questions?

And if you think individuals should not have the right to shoot say, a home intruder, what about these two incidents that just happened in GA?

Incident 1, South Fulton:
A south Fulton County woman was shot late Thursday night by intruders who broke into her home near Fairburn, police said. Fulton County police said the home invasion and shooting happened just before midnight Thursday in the 4900 block of Estonian Drive. 

 The victim, who was home alone, heard the intruders breaking in, called 911 and hid somewhere in the house, but the burglars found her and shot her, police said. The woman, identified as Milissa Burke, 54, was taken to Atlanta Medical Center in stable condition.
Incident 2, Logansville
To summarize this, a woman working at home in an attic home office and watching her 9 year-old twins heard someone first ringing the doorbell, and then start breaking in. She called her husband at work, he called 911. She hid the kids in an attic space apparently accessed by a closet next to or near the home office and I guess stood in front of them in the closet. The guy rummaged his way through the house and eventually opened the closet to find her, with her trusty 38. She shot him multiple times in the head and neck. He collapsed, she pulled the kids out of the closet and told him to stay down or she'd shoot him again, and she took the kids and fled to the neighbor's. The guy made it out of the house and started driving away before he collapsed again.

Note that the burglar was released from prison in August on probation on a simple battery charge and had six other priors, so he might have had a strong incentive to silence a witness. There are comments on this less-detailed article, and not all of them are supportive.

I'm an easy sell. I own a .45 handgun. I bought it in 2004 on the chance the unemployment rate spiked high enough that there would be some social disorder.

I had a .22 rifle growing up so it wasn't a big leap for me.

There's a gun club up the street. I hear them shooting as I type this. No big deal.

My gun remains locked up currently. I couldn't get to it in a home invasion. That said, we use a door jammer on the front door. We also have a 50 pound dog that likes to bark if there's a reason.

I figure our house probably isn't the best target.

There was a burglary across the street a few years ago. I asked how they got in. She said through the patio door in the back. I asked how they got past the fence. She said nobody locks their gates. Do they? I sure do! I think I'm the only one. Go figure.
Geez, get me started on this; the arguments of the anti-gun crowd are all emotion and no logic.
1) It's obvious what the 2nd Amendment means; it takes huge bias and tortuous logic to interpret otherwise.
2) The most vocal critics of the 2nd don't see their blatant hypocrisy vis-a-vis the 1st.
3) Facts simply don't support any restrictions whatsoever on law-abiding citizens.

I could go on ad infinitum, but I know I'm mostly preaching to the choir.

p.s.: MoM, how do you like that Platinum Coin idea? ;-)
FYI... there's growing rumblings that Lanza may not have used an "assault weapon". Doesn't matter to me either way, but should that be true it'll gut the current movement.
MoM, I completely agree with you. An excellent personal account of the LA riots was written by Seraphic Secret: http://www.seraphicpress.com/jew-without-a-gun/
Highly recommended reading.
Thanks for that link, TC.

Hunting & self-defense aren't the raison d'etre for the 2nd, but are valid points nonetheless.

I've always argued -- especially to women -- that guns are great equalizers when it comes down to "might makes right".
The Diplomad (ex U.S. Foreign Service) posted an interesting personal anecdote that buttresses MoM's points:
This very nice German diplomat came to the Embassy for a visa to go to Miami on vacation. I was in a cranky Republican mood and this kindly gentleman stumbled into my crosshairs. He said he feared going to Miami because of press reports on carjackings in pre-concealed carry Florida. There had been a couple of foreign tourists killed. He said "This would never happen in Germany. There are no guns there."

I rose to the bait, "There are also no Jews there precisely because of that. If every old Rabbi accosted by the SA, the SS, the Gestapo, or other party thugs had met his tormentor with a locked and loaded Luger or Walther, instead of with the resigned wisdom of three thousand years of philosophy, I wonder how long that Nazi party would have gone on?"


Due in no small part to the racist nature of the original gun control laws in the U.S., we have a long history of criminals ignoring gun laws. So, strict gun control in the U.S. would initiate a bloodbath as well-armed criminals learned that home invasions are much easier when there's somebody inside to answer the door.

Anyone advocating strict gun control must admit to this violence they're willing to visit on the citizenry.

Likewise, anyone who says that "high-capacity" magazines have no purpose must answer why every beat cop needs three or four with them. After all, their duty weapons (which these days usually include an "assault weapon") are only for defense of the officer or another innocent person.

Third Coast - that is extremely well-written and quite terrifying. I have read some of his other essays, but never this one.

However it is causing my underlying worry to bubble to the surface, because what I think I'm detecting in the NYT crowd and on DU is the precursor to a mob. This is the sort of thing my father was teaching us to watch for - and hence to avoid in our own thinking.

Most specifically, when individuals who are relatively privileged are willing to deny to others the basic rights they want for themselves, the societal conditions are set up.

I tried to blame this on post-flu anxiety, but the two times I have asked the Chief what he thought on this subject he seemed even more anxious and worried than I have been. It's the inability of a culture to clinch with reality that sets a culture up for disintegration.
Mark - didn't you say you grew up on a farm? There seems to be a cultural divide here between urban and rural backgrounds.


I think that divide is because the gun control movement is in large part a desire on the part of the bien-pensant to eradicate those portions of America they find distasteful.

Not surprising that the distasteful would not be so happy about being eradicated.


Did you see that L.A. held one of those "gun buybacks" the other day? The mayor was there to state that "weapons of war" have no place on the streets... yet every local, state & Federal agency has them.


Just so happens I grew up on a farm, too.
p.s.: Neil, the bloodbath would happen the moment they started attempting confiscations.


I'm ignoring that secondary bloodbath for the moment. Some days, I wonder if that might not be an objective of, rather than an obstacle to gun control.

I don’t want to be a Cambodian without a gun. Pol Pot killed 21 % of the population. Then the bien-pensant thought the urban people needed eradicating and they did just that. Just the opposite of the city brats today.

You have a right to do everything a policeman does in defending yourself and others. And you have the right to armament that every policeman has.

The police get fantastic training paid for by the federal government, that is, the tax payer. It is time to start training programs for civilians.

Neil - do you remember our authoritarian-libertarian's plan to enslave all the old folks/those collecting public assistance, and then drop them on Mexico when they turned out to be too expensive to feed? Talk about self-parody!

What I detect is the growing concern of the relatively well-off that the peasantry is not only disgusting, but might, as Dave Barry once opined, win the next civil war due to actually knowing how to shoot.

The only problem is that the well-off are the only ones who want the civil war. The guilty subconscious is projecting itself onto the general public.

They don't have the votes to get this sort of bill through Congress, but that I suppose is why we see calls to get rid of the Constitution.

Don't forget our very well-armed Social Security Administration.
TJ - it's obvious that the bill for a national registry doesn't have the votes, and that's because anyone who thinks about it realizes that the only function it could serve (other than to generate a lot of public jobs and waste public money) is to forward confiscation. Canada has finally decided to get rid of theirs.

So I wouldn't worry about confiscation. I'd worry about the Constitution. As long as we have that we don't need to worry.

TJ - farm life inculcates the gutlevel realization that all of life generates a lot of excrement, and that you can't have one without the other. Like nursing, it ingrains a certain unhappy realism in the world outlook.

As for platinum coins - I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.

I do not think the SC would allow such a strategem, because to do so would remove from Congress the Constitutional power to control money. There is a qualitative difference between commemorative/collector's coinage and generating a trillion dollars by Executive fiat, and the SC has historically been very cohesive on maintaining the separation of powers as set forth in the Constitution.
Back when I had my concealed carry permit, I got it because of two incidents I had while commuting through a fairly rural area. I had one guy stop in front of me on the highway, get out of his car and come back screaming at me that he thought I was driving too close. The second was a guy that I started to pass in a passing lane that refused to let me get around him or drop behind him. He wanted to leave me stuck in the passing lane, with oncoming traffic, until he saw the sheriff's car. Then he let me drop behind him. Of course, the sheriff stopped me. When he heard how shaken I was, he let me off with a warning.

I don't have much in the way of weapons right now. But I think it is time for me to rearm before my "betters" decide that it is best that I be defenseless. If we are to have this fight, let us have it before this tyranny gets any further entrenched.


I do remember the authoritarian Objectivist. He did a great service by giving us a 30-year preview of what happens when libertarians eventually go bad the way progressives already have. Forewarned is forearmed, and I've got plenty of time to inoculate the kids against that strain.

I don't quite understand the origin of the urge to wage civil war, but it's real. I've heard too many violent things from "the right sort of people" the last decade to think otherwise. As I've said for the last four years, I'm not sure if this is being expressed because they sense they have little left to lose or because they feel they finally have the power to do something about it.

It's not necessarily the well-off, either. There's a much more fundamental cultural divide going on than just financial.


If you decide to arm up, get in touch. I know some good firearms trainers in your area who don't charge much.


Mark - didn't you say you grew up on a farm? There seems to be a cultural divide here between urban and rural backgrounds.

I grew up in a small farming community but my dad was a bank manager. I still clearly have a rural background though.

As a side note, I lean Democrat but could not stand to have Mayor Bloomberg "dictate" how big my big gulp should be. That is just frickin' scary. WTF! I say this as a concerned citizen in Washington State.
I'm just fascinated by citizens so unfamiliar with civic duty in a Democratic Republic and the freedoms granted the constitution that they "reasonably" agree to forfeit those rights in order for government to provide "for your own good".

At the base though, what's most troubling is that the "for your own good" crowd's most vocal supporters would argue Darwinism in a philosophic/religious debate. The same crowd that bleats it's a crime that the "poor" go hungry, the disabled aren't accommodated, that there's racism and sexism everywhere. etc. in direct contrast to the Darwinist argument.

It appears to me that there's an unending dilution of our constitutional rights coupled with a deliberate educational ignorance of the meaning and responsibilities of the true blessings of our original freedoms. We now have a "right" to health care", education", "food, shelter, cell phones, etc in the "for your own good" vein with the associated loss of freedoms.

Sliding scale socialism, with a 2-class system is emerging fast.

BUT... Can someone help me with an argument that's never brought up or articulated anywhere? In the historical perspective, the "keep and bear arms" right assumed that men could possess rifles for home protection and be available to serve as a militia. That stated, the rifle represented the second most technologically advanced weapon available at the time, the cannon representing the most advanced.

So to overlay that on 21st century technology with nuclear weapons at the top, weren't the founders proposing that the citizens had the right to the second tier of weaponry? So we should be able to possess equivalent of an F-18 with armaments or MLRS or tank?

Once whittled down though, I guess you can't go back.
Neil, that would be a great help. You can reach me at teri.pittman at gmail.com. I haven't shot my late husbands shotgun and I definitely need to learn how to clean a gun. My .22 revolver has a bent firing pin but I do have a friend with gunsmith contacts. He's also offered to help me get a better revolver. I guess I've put this off as long as I can.
Neil, that would be a great help. You can reach me at teri.pittman at gmail.com. I haven't shot my late husbands shotgun and I definitely need to learn how to clean a gun. My .22 revolver has a bent firing pin but I do have a friend with gunsmith contacts. He's also offered to help me get a better revolver. I guess I've put this off as long as I can.


The "cannon" tier of armaments were in private hands in the 18th (and much of the 19th) century, but in the context of organized militia companies. Long arms and sidearms were privately owned for private purposes, but were expected to be used in militia service as well.

The closest analog we have now to such organizations (with those kind of logistics) are the volunteer fire and rescue companies which are often found in rural areas. In my opinion, that's the sort of organization that would need to be revived in order to put anything more than personal arms into a cultural context that would not be destabilizing.

Bulldog (and Neil),

IMO the 2nd targets equivalent firearms as carried by the "common" foot soldier. Not explosives, not artillery, and nothing "driven".

Back then it was muskets; these days it would be M16's or equivalent (and yes, with both single & fully-auto fire selectivity).

What a right-wing echo chamber. All guns, guns, guns.

There is no need for military weapons in the hands of the public, we have the military and the police, TSA and the secret service for protection. With modern cell phones and communications you can call for help if you need it. Maxed-out-Mama if you are really concerned you can also get a whistle, use that if assaulted and you will most likely scare away any attacker without escalating the arms race more. If the NRA types did not have guns the criminals would then not feel the need to arm to protect themselves.

Mr. Sensitive - Diane Feinstein is coming for YOU!
CryingBulldog - I've noticed that about the social Darwinism too.

It dovetails with authoritarian libertarian who made his appearance here.

I guess in the long run any philosophy veers off to the terrifying and ridiculous once you lose respect for the individual life. Once that life is subordinated to another purpose by the state, you can go anywhere.
Well then I will have her over fro tea and ask when my support checks are coming and how much of a raise I will get this year.
Mark - I too thought the BigGulpSavior was a dire step.

Yes, it is on the funny side, but is it really a mark of a failed state that we begin to pretend to improve your life by meaningless regulation to obscure the reality that you are getting ever poorer?

If government can offer less of what people really want (which I believe), then must we compensate by imposing endless rounds of petty tyranny?
Dear Mr. Sensitive,

You are a fool. That area that I mentioned the problems with drivers? Out of cell range. The Gorge has a number of areas where you are out of cell range and looking for a 30-45 minute response time by the sheriffs.

As for relying on the cops? You mean those guys that can't even manage to send the SWAT team to the right address?

Criminals will ALWAYS, ALWAYS arm themselves. They are not stupid. In every state where guns are restricted to law abiding citizens, the crime rate goes up. It works about as well as putting up signs for gun free zones. I do not want to rely on any of your suggestions, especially something as stupid as a whistle for protection. (All I can say is you must live in a very urban place. It takes the cops 20 min to get to my place on the river and that is in the city limits.)

If you don't want to be armed that's your choice. Don't make choices for me or anyone else.
"What a right-wing echo chamber. All guns, guns, guns.

There is no need for military weapons in the hands of the public, we have the military and the police, TSA and the secret service for protection. With modern cell phones and communications you can call for help if you need it. Maxed-out-Mama if you are really concerned you can also get a whistle, use that if assaulted and you will most likely scare away any attacker without escalating the arms race more. If the NRA types did not have guns the criminals would then not feel the need to arm to protect themselves."

# posted by Mr. Sensitive : 1:14 PM


That's pretty good satire, you've definitely got the talent for it. Now do the one about "having to pass the bill to find out what's in it."
Well I tried........

With these long bills that are the people's business, we need to pass them quickly so they can be read and then new regulations brought up to-date. After all with a bill of 2,000 pages, it s awfully difficult for a legislator to figure out, much less a citizen. That is why the republicans who delay so much of the time are impeding the peoples business.
Bravo, Sensitive. Looks like you caught Teri. ;-)
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