Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Guns don’t kill people.

Posted by Charles II on December 14, 2012

Gun manufacturers do.

It’s difficult to know exactly what the role of the manufacturers is in the current witches brew around the right to bear arms. There are so many paranoid people who fund organizations like Gun Owners of America and the NRA that the manufacturers probably find the work of stirring fear to be easy. But there is no doubt that they made their thirty pieces of silver off the sale of the weapons that killed 20 kids in Connecticut.. and that every time there is a mass murder, someone spreads fear that Obama is going to take your guns away–and the manufacturers make more money than ever.

I support the right of mentally-stable, non-violent people to own guns. I do not support the right of corporations to whip up mass fear or to buy legislation and elections. This country has a problem with young men who think that the way to resolve issues is through violence. We need to deal with it.
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Update2: Ezra Klein has an article worth reading.

Update: We have a worst person nominee:

On Friday some pro-gun groups took to Twitter urging people to buy guns: Conservative pundit Ann Coulter tweeted “more guns, less mass shootings” in the wake of the event.

and Stormcrow adds a second:

Bryan_Fischer_AFA_Shooting

And another:

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee attributed the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in part to restrictions on school prayer and religious materials in the classroom.

“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee said on Fox News, discussing the murder spree that took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown, CT that morning. “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

and of course there’s famed author Travis McGee at Free Republic:

My guess is that the next phase is going to come and shockingly fast. Today already we have Obama weeping and choking up, and all flags at half-mast.

Next week will be 20 tiny tot coffins with precious teddy bears on top, and photos and home videos galore. It will be the most heart-wrenching show ever produced by the White House-Hollywood-MSM alliance.

A bill will be proposed. If it’s not this one, it may be worse. But this at least. A total ban on magazines capable of holding more than ten cartridges. (Or, ten may be one over the limit, with ten-rounders banned.)

No buyback, no compensation, no grandfather, no sunset. Instant felon if you’re found with an eleven-round “massacre magazine.” This is how Hollywood/MSM will produce this episode over the next two weeks.

Christmas Eve, with all of the tiny tot funerals. The tears will pour like Niagara.

Only a few weak-kneed RINOs in the House need to roll over, and they will. This bill will pass like lightning, we may be shocked how fast.

I thought it would pass in the year after Gabby Giffords, but I was wrong. Let’s see what happens now.

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12 Responses to “Guns don’t kill people.”

  1. Stormcrow said

    This country has a problem with young men who think that the way to resolve issues is through violence. We need to deal with it.

    This country has a whole god-damned ECOLOGY of problems supporting the sort of slaughter we’re hearing about today.

    Gun manufacturers. The NRA. The media ghouls who are mainlining this horror across every television network in the country. “Culture warrior” psychotics like Bryan Fischer. The Congress and the state legislatures, who are nothing but meat puppets dancing to their masters’ lunatic whimsies, at the decreasingly frequent intervals when something might otherwise be accomplished. I could go on. At length.

    Grab the first painfully obvious string you see, and then try to unravel the mess? You’re not going to get anywhere. That’s already been tried.

    It’s like malaria eradication in the 1960s. Simply trying to exterminate the vectors didn’t get the job done. And it wouldn’t have worked, even if you could eat DDT like candy. See Spillover for the ugly details.

    • Charles II said

      Well, at least the AFA is earning its reputation as a hate group. Wouldn’t want it to free ride.

      Yes, you’re correct that there’s an ecology of problems. As I said to Mark in the comment below, violence tends to rise at times when there’s a sense that the future holds little promise.

      But the ecology of violence in the United States is pretty well-understood from a historical standpoint: use superior weapons to conquer and ethnically cleanse/exterminate other peoples, thereby gaining control over their resources and experience a higher standard of living.

      Yes, that has been modified in the last 150 years. Now we can use Goldman Sachs as a weapon of conquest. But the gun is still the prototype, and we still use it to a surprising extent. How many Americans know that we are involved in dozens of conflicts or that over the last century we averaged a decent-sized war/coup every two years? The violence of empire is ultimately visited on its citizens.

      The firearms manufacturers are where the money is in this approach to conflict resolution. Make an activity unprofitable, and you make it unpopular.

      But the human problem needs to be dealt with too. People need to understand that violence does not really solve problems.

  2. I strongly suspect that young men with decent jobs don’t shoot up many elementary schools.

    Economic justice would do more to end gun violence than restrictions on guns, but just for the hell of it let’s try both strategies.

    • Charles II said

      I agree with you, Mark. Violence rises at times of high unemployment/low expectations for the future.

      My point is that the gun manufacturers have a vested economic interest in creating fear. In itself, that is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

    • Stormcrow said

      THAT’S what I meant when I used the term “ecology”.

      If you want to really get anywhere, instead of simply feeling like you’re “doing the right thing”, you’ld better measure twice before you cut.

      In other words, assume there’s more of the problem than you can see ab-initio, and then work it out in detail.

      Treat it like it’s pandemic ecology. I already gave you a reference for that one. I have a few others if you’re interested. :)

      There won’t be a second chance if you botch the first one.

      • Charles II said

        Harm reduction reduces harm, Stormcrow. I agree it’s a complex problem, but taking the profit motive out of fear-stirring and reducing the lethality of weapons would go a long way to saving lives. Reform is never a comprehensive process. It’s a patchwork.

        For perspective on gun deaths, tobacco kills 443,000 Americans annually. Gun deaths from all causes are a small fraction of that.

  3. richmx2 said

    “Violence rises at times of high unemployment/low expectations for the future. ” Certainly true, but perhaps not relevant to the latest U.S. tragedy. I live in Mexico, where we have seen a tremendous spike in the murder rate over the last six year… partially due to the neo-liberal policies of the previous administration (likely to be continued, or even exacerbated, under the incoming Peña Nieto administration)… but only partially. One can date the steady rise in the murder rate not to the start of NAFTA, nor the expiration of tariffs on food imports, nor on “Plan Merida” (the U.S. sponsored proxy-war on drug exporters) in 2006, but to the expiration of the U.S. Federal Assault Weapons Ban in September 2004.

    • Stormcrow said

      *Gotcha*.

      When I went digging, after the very short period it took me to orient on the authoritative source, I went directly to Mexico’s INEGI (National Institute of Statistics and Geography).

      Here are the homicide totals, per year, from 1990 through 2011:

      1990 14,493
      1991 15,128
      1992 16,594
      1993 16,040
      1994 15,839
      1995 15,612
      1996 14,505
      1997 13,552
      1998 13,656
      1999 12,249
      2000 10,737
      2001 10,285
      2002 10,088
      2003 10,087
      2004 9,329
      2005 9,921
      2006 10,452
      2007 8,867
      2008 14,006
      2009 19,803
      2010 25,757
      2011 27,213

      INEGI’s web interface is very nice. It’ll format the results of your interactive query as an Excel spreadsheet, and hand them to you on a plate. That’s where this table came from.

      If these figures aren’t bogus, the murder rate for Mexico as a whole actually troughed in 2004. And it fell below 2004 levels in 2007, remaining comparatively flat through 2007. It then began climbing in 2008, and reached a peak in 2011.

      See Mortalidad Consulta interactiva de datos. For the Spanish-impaired, (like me), I suggest you use Google Chrome.

      Not wise to pull assertions relying on numerical data out of the air, when you’re talking to someone who’s sufficiently motivated, and capable of actually running those figures to ground.

      • richmx2 said

        You should have looked at GUN homicides, like Diego Valle Jones did. http://blog.diegovalle.net/2010/09/how-expiration-of-assault-weapon-ban.html

      • Charles II said

        I always learn so much from our posters. Thanks, Stormcrow and Rich.

        I think we all agree that this is a multifactorial problem. The lapse of the assault weapons ban was a factor leading (in the longer-term) to a rise both in total homicides and in gun-related deaths. In effect, the trough that Stormcrow observes is the result of a combination of falling non-gun homicides plus a rise in gun-related homicides.

        But I would back this thing up about five decades. In Mexico in the early 1960s, gun violence was extremely rare. I don’t have any statistics for that assertion, but that was my impression. Then came the massacre at Tlatelolco, the Dirty War, and a long-term decline in growth of Mexican living standards beginning in roughly the 1980s.

        This is the backdrop for the current violence. The footsoldiers in the drug trade are people who do not perceive the future as having any promise for law-abiding citizens. Add to this the electoral frustration of the Mexican people, who have had reformers repeatedly denied a chance to change the path the country is on. They see the massive corruption in, for example, the maladministration of Pemex and the abuse of maquilas.

        Bill Clinton used to quote scripture to the effect that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” There is great wisdom in this. Nations are much more than their GDP, their Gini coefficient, and so on. They are held together by a sense of common purpose and of what is right/wrong. Mexico has lost the glue that bound it.

  4. Dickeylee said

    3500 murders in Juarez last year…just saying. have read many many posts and articles the last 20 hours, the best was to outlaw the assault type rifles, but grandfather the current ones in peoples hands. Then put a federal bounty of $10k on them, no questions asked…let the capitalistic system take care of the problem!

  5. MarkH said

    Travis McGee may be right about the emotions and imagery, but Law needs to be based on more than ideology and knee-jerk reactions.

    Like many other problems which occur during recessions the stabilizers attempt to negate them. What are the stabilizers for these people who become terribly upset and shoot guns? Is there an increase in spending on mental health? Is there an increase in the number of support groups? What do we do to dampen their feelings of hopelessnes?

    Beyond that, what is the baseline of shootings and gun deaths when the economy is good or great? What form do those shootings take? Are they essentially the same as Newtown or are they more often related to drugs, money and gangs? What do we do about those problems?

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