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abby4ever On January - 2 - 2010

One of the most common, if not the most common, arguments used against those who want to ban guns for the purpose of saving  human lives, is that it isn’t just guns that can be used to maim or kill people.  You will often hear, when this argument is put forward, the slogan: Guns Don’t Kill; People Kill.  This slogan seems to irritate many people , they think it’s smarmy, and it irritates me (and not just because it is smarmy but because it’s one of those  philosophically difficult assertions that are false in one sense but true in another, always a mess…).

Common or not, it is in my view the strongest argument there is against gun-banning (or against simply very stringent gun-control).   In my view, no other counter-argument is needed.  There are hundreds, thousands, possibly millions of different kinds of inanimate objects in the world that can be used to maim or kill someone.   We all know that.   And if we were to ban guns on no other grounds than that they can be used to do that, we would have to ban all these other objects too or else be branded, and rightly, as those who ‘cook’, or ‘skew’, arguments.  As those who keep the argument right where we want it, on some personal, pet peeve issue of ours, and refuse to allow the wider application of it.  Simply because doing so would lead to trouble…for our own position.

(For those here who might want to remind me that this argument is one of the favorites of gun-toting, trigger-happy right-wingers, I will have something to say about that at the end of this article.)

We had a knife amnesty here in the UK about a year ago.  Hundreds of teenagers, many belonging to gangs, hurled knives into a big pile in London and elsewhere, as a gesture of good will toward the gov’t that had asked if they would do so.  I laughed and so did my husband  and some friends of ours, when we  all saw the news clips on TV of what we called The Great Knife Amnesty; for we thought that for every knife Georgie the GangMember hurled into the pile, he had five more under the seat of his car or in a box under his bed at home.

Knife crime here in the UK has not, that I am aware of, gone down statistically since this amnesty, and it won’t.  The gov’t seems to think otherwise, and  I am waiting, as the title of this piece suggests, for The Great Hammer Amnesty followed by The Great Brick Amnesty.

You either have to give the argument in favor of gun-banning, the toss, or  keep it and try to climb out of the pickle jar you have climbed into by not being able to explain how banning guns but not hammers, knives, bricks, your grandmother’s big stone cookie jar and hatpins too,  is going to save human lives.  If fewer people are maimed or die because guns have been removed, only to  be maimed or die from running into a guy in an alley wielding a chef’s knife, you have lost any and all grounds you had for banning guns, and will have to come up with other ones.

Sure, guns, certain kinds, can kill more people from a  greater distance, than a hatpin or brick or knife, etc.   And it is this, it is argued, that singles them out for banning , over objects like knives, stones, hammers, scissors, bricks, etc.   But to that I say this:  if a gun can kill more people , from a greater distance, than a hammer, so also can rat poison kill more people, from a greater distance, than a gun.  How?  Hypothetically, by some nutcase who works at Azda managing to poison 100 cartons of milk before they hit the shelf.   (What the gov’t over here calls food terrorism…which is the intentional poisoning of staples in heavily-frequented supermarkets,  this for the purpose of taking as many human lives as possible… has been a concern over here for a couple of years now, so this imaginary example I am using is not far-fetched.)   The guy with the gun and shooting from a rooftop across the street from the post office where people are milling around, kills 28 people.  The nutcase with the rat poison, who never gets any closer to his victims than a bus he jumps on outside Azda after stocking the shelf, kills 90 kids and ten adults.

What do you ban here ?   Not the poison, he can get more.  Milk cartons?  Milk?  Funny-looking men who apply to Azda for part-time work for the graveyard shift?

There is more.  Any serious application of gun-banning for any length of time, is very likely to get you  a parade of innovative assault crimes.  Robbed of guns, people who are bent on killing and cannot be dissuaded, will turn to anything they can find.  In the end, and hypothetically, more could die from a  development like that,  and in ways even more horrific than being shot, than if you had left the gun thing alone.  The principle behind the argument for gun-banning is so wide-ranging, in its application, that you’d have to ban most of the objects lying about in the world that could even conceivably either harm or take a human life, were you to embrace it.

Banning is preventative or it is nothing at all.  You want to prevent loss of life.  The real trouble here is that there are far too many  objects…again, thousands and even hundreds of thousands of them… that, under banning, will need to be confiscated. And that last is impossible.   Across the entire country whole homes, yards, garages, etc., would  have to be stripped of their contents all because  the objects in them can do the job either as well as a gun or, in some cases, even better.  (The chainsaw.)

Yes, gun-toting right-wingers love the argument against gun-banning ,  the very one I’ve been talking about here; and to that I have to say, “And …?”  There are arguments, there are those who make them, and there are different motivations for making them.  I can’t help if it right-wingers  have dark and greedy motives in this matter, i.e. want to keep gun manufacturers happy and are using this argument to do so.  Motivation, good or bad, does nothing to weaken the argument itself.

One last thing.  My main thrust  here is that of practical, not philosophical, application.  It’s about the difficulty of applying to guns what could not  be applied to the thousands of other inanimate objects, many of them natural objects,  that are potentially just as deadly.  It isn’t about logical inconsistencies; it is about saving lives, and that’s a practical issue.


*This article was edited and revised (seventh, eighth, and final paragraph) on 1-3 ’09;  the original publication date was 1-2-09 .  My thanks to what’sthatsound, KQuark , and Hopeington: it was some comments of theirs in the comment section below that prompted me to make the much-needed changes.

Categories: PlanetPOV

Written by abby4ever

To all my friends at Planet: I care passionately about 'all creatures great and small' throughout the world. In honor of them, I'd like to cite these two quotations: "The abuse of a harmless thing is the essence of sin." (A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) and "The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But: can they suffer?" (Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) abby January 6, 2010

171 Responses so far.

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  1. Tiger99 says:

    One of the things I love about the Planet is how each topic/responses peaks my curiosity… I came across this site earlier and found some interesting stats that I was unaware of…
    The USA murder rate has been on a steady decline since the early 90’s and the 2008 rate is lower that the 1966 rate… It made me wonder if the MSM’s obsession with sensationalist fear mongering and entertainments obsession with violence and murder creates in our minds a vision of a society that is more violent and unsafe than the reality of the statistics…

    Murder Rates Per 100,000 Inhabitants

    1960 -- 5.1
    1966 -- 5.6
    1991 -- 9.8
    2008 -- 5.4


    At the bottom of the page you can click on your individual State…

    • Khirad says:

      Exactly. One thing that seems to be constant, -- I was reading some family memoirs written around the turn of the last century -- talking about these kids, the country’s moral fiber is coming undone, everything is going to hell, etc. Could have been written today, apart from the slightly archaic language out of a Ken Burns Civil War voiceover. It’s as much human nature, though the sensationalist ratings game exacerbates and exploits this tendency, rather than giving us the broader historical perspective. We seem to, from age to age, have some sort of fantasy of things as they “once were” in some “golden age” (the World’s religions and myths are full of this theme) -- only they never really were. Maybe simpler, but, less violent?

      If anything, viewing the span over the centuries and millenia, we’ve made vast improvements.

  2. nellie says:

    I think the arguments against gun control are all about money. Bows and arrows are banned in this country. In parks, on city streets, in many jurisdictions in back yards. So I see no reason to treat guns as if they are exempt from common sense regulation.

    • abby4ever says:

      Your post, part of it, seems a little ambiguous. Are you saying that every argument every person who is for gun control, has, is about money? That every person embracing those arguments is motivated by money? Hard to know but if you are saying anything like that, I can’t agree. Usually you don’t generalize like that… or at all.

      Just want to be sure I understand what you’re saying.

      • nellie says:

        I believe I said that arguments against gun control are about money, for the most part.

        • abby4ever says:

          You certainly did. It was the ones against gun control. My bad. Now that that is corrected, you can answer the question. Because the question is the same.

          • nellie says:

            What question?

            • abby4ever says:

              The one just above, Nellie.

              This one (I will change the ‘for’ to ‘against’): Are you saying that every argument every person has against gun control, is about money? That every person embracing the argument against gun control is motivated to embrace that argument, by money?

            • nellie says:

              I believe the movement in this country against gun control is driven mostly by the NRA — whose prime goal is to protect the profits of the gun industry. They reframe their argument to be about individual freedom — which is specious, since gun control does not bar people from owning guns. But “freedom” becomes the frame, when the real issue is money.

  3. Scheherazade says:


    It was a good article certainly makes some good points. :)

    • boomer1949 says:


      Without going into a lot of detail, may I suggest you read all of the comments on this thread. Self-explanatory, but important reading non-the-less.

      btw, I wasn’t blowing you off, however your email never came through (Inbox or Spam) so I was unable to reply. :-(

      • Scheherazade says:

        Okies. I’ll read them over. I was just offering my two cents in regards to the article itself. Perhaps I misread it in some way. 😐 If so I apologize.

  4. Khirad says:

    This made me think of some of the crazy state laws on switchblades, enacted after a scare from 50’s greaser movies or something, I think. Also, a few laws exist on nunchucks, which sorry, I thought was pretty absurd.

    Also, in that little amnesty bit, I’d love to see ’em above the border start collecting sgian dubhs! You get that close to my hose and I’d assume you’re trying to peek up my kilt.

    I am for knives over guns though. It takes more balls to get into a knife-fight. Not to say shooting someone won’t haunt you, assuming you’re not a psychopath, but toughs wielding a blade are less likely to be lethal.

  5. KQuark says:

    Just looking at the big picture of the great articles posted this weekend I thought I would just throw out this straw man question.

    What is a more dangerous combination than infants and guns?

    • boomer1949 says:

      In what respect Charlie, ooops KQuark?

      Both topics generated mucho discourse — which in the end is good — especially if thought and reflection is provoked.

      Although I didn’t contribute much on the threads, I did enjoy reading everything. As I wrote to abby early this morning, I could hear the sizzle of the keyboards before most of us saW the sunrise. Excellent weekend all y’yall and I’m not even from the South.

      Must I really go to work tomorrow? Yuck!

      • KQuark says:

        A full life is about balance. I think we had some good spirited debates but we also had some fun this weekend because like you said “yuck” tomorrow we go back into the grinder.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        As Eliza’s dad says in My Fair Lady, “Work? DON’T say that word in my presence!”

        • boomer1949 says:

          OMG -- I’ve been off since Christmas Eve — how scary is that? I could soooo not work, on the other hand, I’m not sure how I would support myself, but then again, one simply just doesn’t want to do it anymore.

          btw -- morning whats — I think I may have figured out the damn time zones — heh!

          • whatsthatsound says:

            Then I’ll keep the MFL thing going and riff on Henry Higgins,

            “By George, I think she’s got it!”
            Indeed, it is morning here.

    • Khirad says:

      Does remind me of that story about co-sleeping, actually.

  6. Emerald1943 says:

    Boomer asked me to put this reply into a comment so it would appear at the top of the thread. Just a little information on the condition of my friend’s mother…
    Hi boomer! I happened to see your comment. We are still hopeful that she will survive, but the doctors told my friend that she may be permanently brain damaged from her injuries. I am still in shock about all of this.

    My friend thinks that her mother might have been trying to get rid of this guy. Perhaps she was afraid of him

    • choicelady says:

      Oh, Em! How dreadful! So much for crime being “down” when it happens to someone you know! We will send our thoughts, energies, and prayers her way. I am so, so sorry this has happened to her and your friend.

    • boomer1949 says:

      Thanks Em,

      Collectively, may our prayers be answered for your friend’s mother.


      • Emerald1943 says:

        Hey boomer! I just called my friend and her mom is still hanging in there. Her intra-cranial pressure is holding steady! That is great news and would indicate that the brain swelling is not worsening. The doctors asked for and received permission to put a tracheostomy in tomorrow morning. This will facilitate her care. She has been on a ventilator but the trach will make it easier.

        As I said above, the fact that she has survived this long is a miracle…maybe all you beautiful PlanetPeople have pulled off another one! I can’t thank you all enough! And my friend is blown away over the responses from you all. She sends her most profound thanks to everyone!

        Edit: I almost forgot to tell you that the police have called in the State Bureau of Investigation on the case. They believe there may have been a second person involved or that this second person was paid for the “hit”. The motive definitely was NOT robbery.

        • boomer1949 says:

          How appalling that she was set up…but for God’s sake why? Why would anyone want to play Mafia in North Carolina? Because they wouldn’t stand a chance in Jersey or New York? Puhleeze…

          As for your friend, her family, and you…keep talking to Mom, keep talking. kesmarn must be working, but I would hope a tracheotomy is better than a ventilator. But, what do I know, I’m only a “nurse wannabe” way past prime time.

  7. boomer1949 says:

    Who among us has read “In Cold Blood” or seen the movie? I’ve read Capote’s book three times and watched the movie at least twice. This true story was over forty years ago…

    What makes this any different than the person who brutally attacked the 85 year old Mother of Emerald’s friend? And no, the docs don’t expect her to make it.

    • escribacat says:

      Boomer, I remember watching the movie, In Cold Blood, at a fairly young age (early teens maybe) and it had a very powerful impact on me. I clearly remember thinking, There is no God. That was a brilliant performance by Robert Blake.

      • boomer1949 says:

        There is a more recent version (remake) of the movie, and this is the one I have seen. I apologize, the title of the most recent is “Infamous” and not “In Cold Blood”…Toby Jones as Truman Capote and Sandra Bullock as Lee.


        “Capote” was similar, but not as well written or acted.

        • Khirad says:

          I don’t know if you could accuse Seymour Hoffman of not putting in a good performance, except in comparison to his other roles. An unfair standard he’s set up for himself.

          • boomer1949 says:

            hi khirad,

            I’ve actually seen both movies…”Capote” and “Infamous”. I thought about the two actors (and I’ve been around long enough to remember the real TC) and, I must go with Toby Jones. Seymour Hoffman did an excellent job, but Toby Jones’ performance, IMHO, was extraordinary. He nailed Truman Capote, had him down pat.

            • Khirad says:

              I think it’s one of those things where Seymour Hoffman is always Seymour Hoffman.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      I read the book and enjoyed it. The way that family was murdered really was “cold-blooded. That expression fits, doesn’t it? If “hot blooded” connotes passion and a lot of emotion, cold means robotic and passionless-- even worse! Inhuman and inhumane. It is what I imagine to be evil.The person who did that to Emerald’s friend’s mom was inhuman.

      • Khirad says:

        I think this beats it on the cold-blooded scale:


      • boomer1949 says:

        Got that right. Did you know they think they caught him? She rented a room in her home to him, so if this is correct, it wasn’t random. The victim knew her attacker, and he…well who knows why he did what he did. 85? There’s absolutely no excuse. Period.

        • Emerald1943 says:

          Hi boomer! I happened to see your comment. We are still hopeful that she will survive, but the doctors told my friend that she may be permanently brain damaged from her injuries. I am still in shock about all of this.

          My friend thinks that her mother might have been trying to get rid of this guy. Perhaps she was afraid of him…I don’t know, but they may have had an argument or something. Still, there is NO excuse for this! There was a large amount of cash in the house that was undisturbed. The guy told the police that it must have been a robbery, but yet the cash was still there…this doesn’t pass the smell test.

  8. choicelady says:

    Does anyone remember the “All in the Family” segment when Mike and Gloria are arguing with Archie, and he says to his daughter, “Would it make you feel better, little girl, if they threw all those people out of windows?”

    Guns don’t require the intimacy, indeed. They seriously change the game.

    However, I find as I grow older, I don’t so much want to ban guns as the people who use them. I do see the impersonality of it, and my own training -- a REAL overstatement -- with them, shows me that I’m as bad with them as with a camera. Huh? Well, I have the personality type that somehow believes that the camera should photograph what I want even if someone is in the way, and a gun’s bullet… So I will never take more than snapshots, but snapshots with bullets just are too dangerous. I’ve been trained, I make great target points, I’m really good -- and should never be left alone with a gun and a bad mood.

    I get the gun ban issue because of this, but fundamentally the core of American personality problems is THE problem. Americans believe in American exceptionalism, in the myth of rugged individualism, in the now-unspoken manifest destiny and white supremacy that make guns a logical part of our “culture”. Hyper individualism makes having a gun and using it essential. I don’t doubt the potential in crime (though it’s actually down everywhere -- can’t explain it) and need for self defense, but part of that problem arises from our segregation from others, not just racially but emotionally.

    Our neighborhood, not to stop crime but to be whole, had a Christmas dinner for homeless neighbors on Christmas morning. Without a doubt, it has changed the neighborhood for the better. We all know one another now, including the homeless people, much better. Crime, as an issue of intrusion upon one another, has simply STOPPED. We are one people. Will it last? As long as we continue to talk to one another and say “Hi how ARE you?” and continue our common humanity, yes.

    Every other culture but ours has a sense of the common good. You see it destroyed in war (Congo, etc.) but we destroy it in peace. The fundamentals of hyper individualism make us distrustful, make that distrust come TRUE, and bring us back full circle to needing to protect ourselves against the very people we have treated badly who distrust us.

    You can make a gang banger smile simply by smiling at him. I’m not stupid -- I’ve walked the mean streets and know when simply to be careful, and I’m not so Pollyanna as to think I, white middle aged privileged woman, can charm absolutely anyone. But we have these stupid rules (never look groups of Black men in the eye) and prejudices against teens (especially of color), homeless, etc. that can be a justification for distance, and that distance itself breeds hostility and fear.

    The nation has an opportunity for a liquor-free “attitude adjustment” with Obama. It’s amazing how we’ve come together so well to elect him, and I’d like for that to persist in saving the nation. In the process, I’d hope we could drop the hostilities that breed fear that in turn breeds the need for guns.

    That’s my hope for the new year.

    Guns don’t kill people. Angry, fearful people kill people. Let’s ban the anger and fear first. Might do a world of good?

    • whatsthatsound says:

      ” I don

      • choicelady says:

        OK -- opening a bit of a door on my own history. I do agree that having abortion legal and safe probably has made a huge difference. I used to walk women into clinics because my heart went out to them. No one should do this under duress from protesters outside who will NOT leave them alone. They needed friendly faces, support, a kind word, so I did it. And they talked with me -- and they were doing their best NOT to bring a child into the world whom they could not adequately support and who would be subject to neglect, no matter how inadvertant, and open to gangs and other hard influences.

        People who think abortion is selfish have rarely met the women who elect it. For them it’s the death of dreams -- you know, the loving family, white picket fence (even girls in the inner city want this sort of happy ever after.) Many girls and women and even mothers of girls cried with me thinking they, buy the lights of what their religion said to them, were going to hell because of it. Think of that -- they were willing to lay down what they considered their immortal souls TO PREVENT FURTHER HARM TO AN INNOCENT CHILD. That’s powerful sacrifice!

        Since I’m not very well grounded in theology and cannot conceive of a God so mean, all I could say was that I truly believed God and Jesus would be the first to understand their pain and anguish and decision. It’s lousy theology, but I’m not sorry I did it.

        But yes -- I do think that choice, that sacrifice, has prevented millions of potential children being born and then themselves being sacrificed by a society that reveres them only before birth and throws them and their families to the wolves afterwards. We don’t like women and children as a society. Until we do, and make room for them, abortion is the only option that prevents the harm of creating unwanted children we turn into criminals. I think we could do a LOT better, don’t you?

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Obviously, we could do a lot better, in this and so many other ways. Levitt, in a dispassionate, -just-the-statistics- way, made a good case, I felt. Being in Japan, I wasn’t all that aware of the firestorm that erupted when the book came out, from church groups. But of course I would have been surprised if a firestorm HADN’T erupted.
          But, as you point out, even if Levitt is 100% accurate, his findings point less toward the efficacy of abortion in reducing crime than they do that our society lacks compassion for far too many of its members.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Good comment, c-lady! I wrote about just that subject earlier today on this thread. What is it in our culture that causes the horrible violence, gun or otherwise? I question if it is the result of violence in the media that our kids are exposed to on a daily basis, or is it a lack of morals/ethics/values education? Is it greed or jealousy? Or does the entire country need to take “anger management” courses? Is there something hard-wired into the American brain that makes us susceptible to taking violent actions?

      If there is any doubt about the anger, just check out the instances of “road rage” that are everywhere! We have no patience anymore, and our humanity is suffering for it.

      • boomer1949 says:


        I think those who need “anger management” classes are the least likely to seek them. Why? Because they think their anger is right, justified, and everyone else is wrong. These attitudes also reflect the influence the faux MSM (primarily because the faux MSM targets them) has on these people. It never ceases to amaze me that these folks actually fall for and believe the nonsense, hatred, bigotry, and general dissent promoted (however subtle) by the likes of Limpbow, Heeny, O’Really, Scarburow, et.al.

        I will admit, however, that most of the “converts’ were walking a fine line to begin with, all they needed was a push from the money-making, muck-raking, self-making Yahoos pretending to be journalists at their finest. The leeches are only attracted to the weakest and the followers — not those who think for themselves.

    • boomer1949 says:


      I also had this thought…we must first get the Faux News folks, Rush folks, Hannity folks, and last but not least the Beck folks, to stop preaching anger and fear. What they do, and the fact they earn a living from it, is not only irresponsible, but also completely insane.

      • Emerald1943 says:

        Hey boomer…good luck with getting them to stop. They have been pretty much raked over the coals for hate-mongering, but has it stopped them? They just continue every night, sometimes subtle and sometimes in your face. I would be the first person to jump up in defense of First Amendment rights, but I cannot stomach the lies they tell. Even though Fox got a court ruling saying it was OK to lie on their “news” programs, I think there should be some kind of moderation…maybe bringing back the “Fairness Doctrine”?

    • KQuark says:

      Bravo one of the most comprehensive comments I’ve ever seen on the gun issue in America.

      The worst part is it’s all image now isn’t it?

      Americans use to be a rugged can do people but now we are a bunch of babies. So what do people do when they are babies inside we overcompensate by talking tough, owning guns and most of all by refusing to recognize reality. As much as I hated Bush as president he could not have represented the whiny and crippled soul of this country more closely. That’s one reason I get so mad at progressives that want a mirror image to Bush in charge instead of people that don’t fear compromise and are comfortable in their own skins. Honestly I’ll take secure leaders that don’t try to act like dictators like Obama, Biden, Pelosi and Reid over the leaders with a tough veneer like Bush, Cheney, DeLay and Hassert. It’s just sad that Americans are so attracted to stubborn bullies compared to complex grown ups.

    • AdLib says:

      Excellent comment!

      I would suggest though that it is not an “either/or” situation.

      The psyche of American society as you artfully describe combined with the easy access to push button murder are a fatal cocktail. People kill people and guns kill people, no need to let either off the hook.

      Yes, the people who use guns are a problem but so are the temptation and instant gratification that guns provide.

      As others have said below, taking away that simple button and replacing killing with brutality and the intimacy of physically murdering someone or killing oneself provides a barrier of time and repulsion that would surely prevent some killings.

      We can’t outlaw anger (or HuffPo would be out of business along with the GOP and Glenn Beck). So there is no way to prevent domestic conflicts from occurring. And BTW, most people who commit most murders throuugh domestic violence have never committed a serious crime before in their lives.

      Practically speaking, the only way to reduce murders is to make it harder. And reducing the availability of guns would do just that.

      • choicelady says:

        You of course make an outstanding argument, AdLib. I do wonder though, whether outlawing anger -- acts of anger -- might not be the solution? By this I mean anyone -- ANYONE -- with a record of a legal complaint by someone else for anger, be it domestic violence, road rage, being fired for being out of control -- being banned forever from owning a firearm. First strike. No exceptions.

        If we yammer on about “personal responsibility” then let us live by that. If you don’t take responsibility for your acts in small things, danged if we should let you loose with lethal ones.

        How could the NRA quibble since they’re the “guns don’t kill people, people do” folks?

        We shall know you not by the company you keep necessarily, but by what you DO. And that means you’re banned forever for being a hothead, indifferent to others, mean, violent, angry.

        Would that work? It would be a lot of record keeping, but so is the aftermath of violence, and this would shed a lot less blood along the way.

        Just a thought.

        • AdLib says:

          Outlaw an emotion? That gets to be Phillip K. Dick territory.

          The potential for abuse by disgruntled ex-spouses, employees, etc. would be mind boggling. Whole groups could embark on strategies to anger those belonging to other groups (i.e. Repubs vs. Dems) to be disarmed for good while they stocked up on weapons.

          One good thing, no one at HuffPo would be able to get a gun!

          • KQuark says:

            Conditioning against extreme emotional behavior through negative stimulus.

            “A Clockwork Orange” comes to mind.

          • choicelady says:

            Oh indeed -- I am not suggesting outlawing the EMOTION (serves me well, from time to time) but the irresponsible ACTS one takes because of it should red-flag a warning and maybe prohibition against GUN ownership. You can get hopping mad all you want, just so you don’t hit. Or worse. That’s what is the trigger, not the anger. Sorry -- I can see why someone might get a wee bit creeped out by my comment!!!!

        • Chernynkaya says:

          As long as the 4th amendment is misinterpreted to mean that it is our constitutional right to keep and bear arms, the topic is actually moot.And while I tend to agree with you about banning ownership to anyone who was legally deemed to have acted in anger-- isn’t it already illegal for a convicted felon to own a gun?

      • boomer1949 says:


        Did you read Emerald’s post in Speaker’s Corner about her friend’s 85 year old mother? Heartbreaking, truly heartbreaking — and the guy didn’t even use a gun — he used a brick, baseball bat, or one of those other “blunt force trauma” causing weapons. 85 — who would do such a thing?

        • AdLib says:

          Yes, it’s horrendous, truly horrible. I’m sending all my best thoughts to her.

          From what Emerald says, it was a man she had rented a room to.

    • boomer1949 says:

      Way to go choicelady! :-)

      I’ve been wondering about you and where you’ve been. Glad you popped in on this one.

      • choicelady says:

        Hi Boomer! Tried, in vain, to take a vacation but mostly worked anyway. Glad to be back with my beloved Planet friends! Happy New Year all!

        • boomer1949 says:

          Woo, Hoo!!!

          • choicelady says:

            Anyone heard from FeloniousMonk lately? Haven’t read anything from him in a long time. If you’re reading, not posting, Felonious, Happy New Year. Miss you!

            • boomer1949 says:

              I’ve been thinking about FeloniousMonk as well. Wish he’d pop in — it’s been several weeks now.

              Has anyone heard from HITO? She is the one who brought me here, and she hasn’t been around for weeks…and yes I’m concerned.

  9. Chernynkaya says:

    Abby, this is a great blog. I want to tell you about my evolution in my thoughts about gun ownership.

    Used to be, I was opposed to owning guns. It may have been slightly nuanced, but not very much. Basically, I didn’t think much about it for myself-- I was just generally opposed, and every Columbine-type incident confirmed that belief. Then came Hurricane Katrina. I don’t live in New Orleans, but saw the aftermath on TV. And then I wanted a gun.

    Living in Los Angeles, I am aware of natural disasters-- like earthquakes--although we have been pretty lucky here in that there was no breakdown of society that a huge disaster can produce. When I saw how people in N.O. were on their own, with no police protection, and fending for themselves, I saw the wisdom of owning a gun.

    We have been told repeatedly that “The Big One” (earthquake)is coming. I have prepared supplies and done what I can to be ready. And then I realized it wouldn’t matter how much food and water I had squirreled away if some assholes can come and take it from me. I got a gun. I learned how to use it. I hope I never need it, but to me, it makes as much sense as putting aside any other supplies for an emergency.

    • abby4ever says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Chernyn. Especially considering that I left out two or three things that would really have helped prevent confusion around here. I put them in comments (in replies to replies) later on but by then it was too late.

      I don’t have a gun but my husband does; and I know how to shoot because my Dad taught me. I hate guns, I hate the way they feel in my hand, hard and cold and heavy… I mean pistols. A 22 rifle I don’t mind.

      I don’t have kids yet but plan to, and when I do I want something in the house I can protect them with if anyone ever bursts in and threatens them with harm. Of course, given my article, I could always use a brick I guess…

    • AdLib says:

      I am fine with people having guns as self protection, as you describe though I don’t own a gun and never expect to.

      As you say, after the Earthquake here in L.A., people came together. Yes N.O. was madness but I also know of many amazing stories of compassion and coming together there. In fact, in other parts of Louisiana, such as Baton Rouge, you would have been hard pressed to find someone who was not sharing their home with someone from New Orleans who was homeless.

      Yes, after a major disaster it could be Thunderdome or it could be a post-9/11 coming together of people.

      Just to explore the duality of your scenario though, having a gun in your home could protect one from harm or provide an unarmed intruder with a way to harm one.

      There’s no knowing and I certainly think we all have to decide what’s best for us.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        I am often worried about the fact that I have a gun which could not only be stolen and then used to perpetrate another crime, but used against me. The second scenario-- knowing myself--is unlikely, (and that’s what they all say!) but the first is cause for great concern. That’s why the gun is in a place not casual burglar would find.

        As for people coming together-- that’s true, but those are not the ones to worry about, right? There will always be those others or even regular people who react badly to stress.Those are the one’s I fear. When society breaks down-- as it might in a catastrophic earthquake-- who knows? Hey, what makes me think I would even survive the earthquake? reminds me of another Movie Quote, from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Swim?! The fall will probably kill ya!

        • AdLib says:

          I will bet on the inherent goodness of people to pull together in a crisis.

          Yes, there will always be the selfish, greedy, sociopaths but there’s strength in numbers. Also, I’ve repeatedly seen how people become more kind, not more heartless in the aftermath of disaster.

    • PepeLepew says:

      I can relate, Cher. I hate and despise guns and I can’t stand people who are obsessed with guns.

      That being said, I keep a shotgun by the back door, with shells in an adjacent cabinet. We live in bear, wolf and mountain lion country and I want that protection in case a lion comes prowling around (I honestly think wolves are fairly harmless, but not mountain lions.).

      • escribacat says:

        I also own a small .22 caliber revolver. I bought it years ago when a boyfriend pushed me to do so. I had just moved into a house on a street where a woman had been attacked in a home invasion. As a female living alone, I agreed I might need it to protect myself. I still have the gun and haven’t done any target practice in years. I’m sure it needs cleaning.

        I once asked a law enforcement officer what he thought about my owning a gun and the answer was pretty thought-provoking — he said that if bad guys came into my house, there would be a good chance that they’d just get the gun away from me. Of course, he didn’t know how mean and tough I can be!

  10. boomer1949 says:

    My dear AdLib,

    You have mail :-)


  11. kesmarn says:

    This is one of those situations in which I thought I knew exactly where I stood until life interrupted and took me back to square one.
    We live in one of the towns that has been hardest hit by the economic crash. So the unemployment and crime rates are rising, and, of course, gun ownership goes up right along with them.

    Now here comes the factor that we haven’t talked about yet: how much confidence do we have in law enforcement to keep us safe?

    Here, in the last six months, six law enforcement people have been caught being drunk ON DUTY. The county sheriff is under Federal indictment for the alleged cover up of a beating death in the county jail. YET--he still has his job AND carries a gun!
    Two other officers have been suspended for sexually harassing women they dealt with in their work (not co-workers).
    To make a long story short: about a year ago my son (legally) bought a Glock pistol and taught himself how to use it at a local firing range. It’s kept locked, in a case, in his room.
    After having been a life-long pacifist, what was my reaction when he did this?
    To my total astonishment, it was RELIEF. My lizard brain (or something) said to the idealist part of me: “The drug dealers are armed. The teabag people are armed. The crooked sheriff is armed. Why shouldn’t my son be armed?”

    I’m still struggling with this one. My guilty secret is: I’m totally okay with having that gun in the house.

  12. Questinia says:

    There is something to be said about the difference of killing with a gun versus a knife or hat pin beyond the practical and philosophical.

    Killing with a gun allows for emotionally cool killing. One can be detached and murder without a skip of the heart or a bead of sweat.

    Killing with a knife or similar object means you need to become physically intimate with the victim; you will certainly encounter resistance, possibly be even hurt or killed yourself. You’d need to become or be significantly more emotionally involved in the killing. It requires much more energy on all levels.

    • KQuark says:

      Nicely said that’s the way I look at it as well.

      And you not only need to “physically intimate” which is a great way to put it with the other weapons the killer has to put physical force behind the act as well. Pulling a trigger is just too easy and even the fact that you can accidentally kill someone or yourself with a gun compared to the other weapons is another reason guns are more dangerous.

      • Questinia says:

        Who knows? If it’s occurring between a husband and wife, that physical intimacy could develop into highly charged and kinky make up sex.

        Unless the husband prematurely ejaculates and the wife mocks him. Then we’re back to Plan “A”.

      • Questinia says:

        That casual, no-fuss no-muss, type killing is often portrayed in films. The victim is offed, sometimes with comic effect, by the killer engaging in something no more physically strenuous than flipping a switch.

        • KQuark says:


          I also remember a case when a student killed a gun with a teacher. Later when he told his story to police he did not even remember pulling the trigger. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people that committed gun violence say they “don’t remember pulling the trigger” or they “just heard a big bang”. Killing is just too easy with a loaded gun.

        • escribacat says:

          Good points, both of you.

  13. abby4ever says:

    Quick off-topic: Ad Lib, you have mail.

  14. AdLib says:

    Below is a chart on murder rates in different countries. In exploring a corollary between the proliferation of guns and murders, it is interesting to see that the U.S., which has among the most “liberal” policy towards gun ownership and possession, also finds itself among third world countries in per capita murders.

    As Michael Moore has proposed, why does Canada, just across an imaginary line on the same continent, have so many fewer murders proportionately? It is true that Canada does have gun control and the U.S. doesn’t, could that be a contributing factor?

    # 1 Colombia: 0.617847 per 1,000 people
    # 2 South Africa: 0.496008 per 1,000 people
    # 3 Jamaica: 0.324196 per 1,000 people
    # 4 Venezuela: 0.316138 per 1,000 people
    # 5 Russia: 0.201534 per 1,000 people
    # 6 Mexico: 0.130213 per 1,000 people
    # 7 Estonia: 0.107277 per 1,000 people
    # 8 Latvia: 0.10393 per 1,000 people
    # 9 Lithuania: 0.102863 per 1,000 people
    # 10 Belarus: 0.0983495 per 1,000 people
    # 11 Ukraine: 0.094006 per 1,000 people
    # 12 PapuaNew Guinea:0.0838593 per 1,000 people
    # 13 Kyrgyzstan: 0.0802565 per 1,000 people
    # 14 Thailand: 0.0800798 per 1,000 people
    # 15 Moldova: 0.0781145 per 1,000 people
    # 16 Zimbabwe: 0.0749938 per 1,000 people
    # 17 Seychelles: 0.0739025 per 1,000 people
    # 18 Zambia: 0.070769 per 1,000 people
    # 19 Costa Rica: 0.061006 per 1,000 people
    # 20 Poland: 0.0562789 per 1,000 people
    # 21 Georgia: 0.0511011 per 1,000 people
    # 22 Uruguay: 0.045082 per 1,000 people
    # 23 Bulgaria: 0.0445638 per 1,000 people
    # 24 United States: 0.042802 per 1,000 people
    # 25 Armenia: 0.0425746 per 1,000 people
    # 26 India: 0.0344083 per 1,000 people
    # 27 Yemen: 0.0336276 per 1,000 people
    # 28 Dominica: 0.0289733 per 1,000 people
    # 29 Azerbaijan: 0.0285642 per 1,000 people
    # 30 Finland: 0.0283362 per 1,000 people
    # 31 Slovakia: 0.0263303 per 1,000 people
    # 32 Romania: 0.0250784 per 1,000 people
    # 33 Portugal: 0.0233769 per 1,000 people
    # 34 Malaysia: 0.0230034 per 1,000 people
    # 35 Macedonia: 0.0229829 per 1,000 people
    # 36 Mauritius: 0.021121 per 1,000 people
    # 37 Hungary: 0.0204857 per 1,000 people
    # 38 Korea, South: 0.0196336 per 1,000 people
    # 39 Slovenia: 0.0179015 per 1,000 people
    # 40 France: 0.0173272 per 1,000 people
    # 41 Czech Republic: 0.0169905 per 1,000 people
    # 42 Iceland: 0.0168499 per 1,000 people
    # 43 Australia: 0.0150324 per 1,000 people
    # 44 Canada: 0.0149063 per 1,000 people
    # 45 Chile: 0.014705 per 1,000 people
    # 46 United Kingdom: 0.0140633 per 1,000 people
    # 47 Italy: 0.0128393 per 1,000 people
    # 48 Spain: 0.0122456 per 1,000 people
    # 49 Germany: 0.0116461 per 1,000 people
    # 50 Tunisia: 0.0112159 per 1,000 people
    # 51 Netherlands: 0.0111538 per 1,000 people
    # 52 New Zealand: 0.0111524 per 1,000 people
    # 53 Denmark: 0.0106775 per 1,000 people
    # 54 Norway: 0.0106684 per 1,000 people
    # 55 Ireland: 0.00946215 per 1,000 people
    # 56 Switzerland: 0.00921351 per 1,000 people
    # 57 Indonesia: 0.00910842 per 1,000 people
    # 58 Greece: 0.0075928 per 1,000 people
    # 59 Hong Kong: 0.00550804 per 1,000 people
    # 60 Japan: 0.00499933 per 1,000 people
    # 61 Saudi Arabia: 0.00397456 per 1,000 people
    # 62 Qatar: 0.00115868 per 1,000 people

    SOURCE: Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, covering the period 1998 -- 2000 (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Centre for International Crime Prevention)

    • KQuark says:

      I’ve seen this list before and the real point to take from it is that the US is the most violent nation of the industrialized nations with a high standard of living.

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