Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gun-Free does not equal Violence-Free

Another tired meme of the anti-gun folks is that no-one really needs a gun because we have peace officers.

The theory is that since we have this enthusiastic group of folks who dedicate a career to looking for, and dealing with, criminals that we should hand over all responsibility for our individual protection to these folks. In other words: "Only Police and Military Need Guns".

Pfagh.

Anyone who sits down and actually thinks about this for a moment can easily see the multiple flaws in this argument, but the primary and biggest flaw is that nobody has their own cop. If you are lucky, there may be one officer for every thousand citizens. If you are Citizen #198 having a Dynamic Interpersonal Episode with Citizen #745, and the cops are busy dealing with Citizen #394 ... well, you're on your own.

Much as I hate Bumper Sticker arguments, the old saw that goes something like: "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away" really does come into play here.

I see that some of my newer Gentle Readers haven't got their minds wrapped around this concept, so let us indulge -- for the sake of argument -- in a mental exercise.

Let us say that you are in a building literally crawling with peace officers of every stripe; even so far as to posit that there are particular officers who are assigned to the very part of the building you are in. Let us state that this building is the Ultimate Liberal Safe Area: absolutely NO-ONE except for peace officers can have a gun in this building, and there are peace officers around just about every corner.

As part of this hypothesis, you are a woman with an abusive ex-boyfriend. This ex of yours has abused you to the point that you have gone to this building and applied for an Emergency Protective Order.

Long time Gentle Readers of this blog know how I feel about Paper Armour, but I digress.

Anyway, you have put your faith in Society, in the Justice System and the police, and are Doing The Right Thing, the Civilized Thing, in a courtroom, in a Courthouse just brim-full of cops.

Watch this video. Be sure to enlarge it to full-screen, because I wouldn't want you to miss a punch.

Not only were the police minutes away, they were seconds away. Just outside the courtroom door, if I don't miss my guess.

What's the count, Gentle Readers? One grandmother hammered into a wall and five? Six? Eight good punches on the ex-girlfriend?

And that's in the middle of a courthouse full of cops.

Can you imagine this scene just down the street? How many punches before the police arrive -- if they arrive?

Can you imagine this scene after he kicks in the door to her house at two in the morning?

That woman is not as strong as her attacker. Blatant physical fact. She is not as fast, either. In the matter of physical violence she is not his equal ... except when Colonel Colt is with her.

God made men. Colonel Colt made them equal. That goes for women, too.

And when it comes down to brass tacks, the individual is the only person ultimately responsible for his -- or her -- own safety. Part of that responsibility involves being able to defend your own self, with appropriate tools.

Gun control is denying you those tools in exchange for the nebulous assurance that the police will "do their best".

"Doing their best" oft involves putting a toe-tag on your corpse and finding the guy that killed you so that he can plea bargain his way out of an extended sentence, but that's gun control for you.

LawDog

47 comments:

Nelson Butterworth said...

Added to the "When seconds count..." axiom is another one: "I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy."

Jess said...

In a few short paragraphs, you've summarized one of the reasons for the Second Amendment.

Personally, I think it should be required reading before anyone is allowed to go to high school.

Aesop said...

Dial 9-1-1 and die, dial .357 and live.

I know, let's ask Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman how they feel about not being able to carry a gun in a low-crime bastion like Brentwood.

Dave H said...

I have to dispute one thing, sir. You said "...nobody has their own cop." Members of our ruling class do have their own cops, or at least reasonable facsimiles for defensive purposes.

Of course, this is the same ruling class that is telling us we don't need the tools to defend ourselves. I'm sure that works for them, but the rest of us don't have that luxury.

I very much appreciate the professionals who put on a uniform to keep chaos at bay, but I figure as a citizen it's my job to keep chaos busy until they get there.

Anonymous said...

When only criminals and government have guns there is nothing to prevent one from becoming the other.

Anonymous said...

From when he jumped up to when he was tased was 17seconds. The actual beating was "only" seven of those 17 seconds.

I would invite those opposed to people assuming personal responsibility for their own protection to experience seven similar seconds themselves and then reevaluate their thoughts on gun control, and whether it (or the new nefarious term being rolled out, "gun safety") is really such a good idea after all.

Twitchh said...

From when he jumps up to when he's tased is 17 seconds. He beats her for "only" seven of those 17 seconds.

I wonder how many of those who oppose people taking personal responsibility for their own safety would be willing to wait for even those seven seconds for help to arrive.

C. S. P. Schofield said...

Even before I am willing to discuss the possible merits and flaws of any Gun Control proposal, I want to know:

Are those who favor gun control prepared to amend the Constitution? If not, they are the kind of fool who trusts a government unchained by any limitations, and I have no time for them. Worse, they may be the kind of scoundrel that hopes to create such a government and thinks that when they do so they will run it. Such vermin are why the Second Amendment was explicitly (read the debates) passed to assure common access to military grade firearms.

Snackeater said...

And imagine this: after this incident, the woman moves to another town to get away from her abusive ex-boyfriend. And buys a handgun for protection. Her boyfriend is unable to find her--until her local newspaper publishes her name along with hundreds of other gunowners. And suddenly the ex-boyfriend's back, and he knows she's armed.

"Journalists" who pull that crap belong behind bars. Or at least sued into the poorhouse.

Wombat said...

Very well put. Thank you for eloquently making the issues clear.
As a petite female, I've known my entire life that I can be neutralized by someone big and heavy enough to literally sit on me and there is precious little I can do about it, unless, of course, I have a weapon. I like guns because 1) they are fun to shoot in competition or practice, 2) they look nice, 3) in a fight, they make me equal or superior to a 6 foot plus violent offender who is hopped up on meth, crack, PCP and/or whatever else is the drug du jour 4) they are a tangible connection to family tradition (from the Committee of Public Safety musket to the double barreled 12 gauge shotgun that my great grandparents passed down to the SKS my brother hooked me up with), and 5)they are excellent hunting and varmint control tools. With a gun, I do not have to wait until my attacker is on top of me, which means that, unlike a knife, it is less likely that it will be turned on me. Personally, I feel that anyone trying to limit my access to firearms is compromising my safety and I have zero sense of humor when it comes to my safety.

Anonymous said...

City police mostly give traffic tickets and investigate crimes. Best defend yourself unless you want the incident looked into later.
Ben

Old NFO said...

Well done Lawdog... WELL DONE!

Jedi Master Ivyan said...

Yep. The night I saw a prowler outside my house, watching me, made me a gun owner for life.

Emily said...

May I link to your original blog? I have friends who need to read this.

Crotalus said...

Not sure I'd want my own cop to follow me around, even if it were possible. We cannot live our lives without breaking several obscure laws daily, and the cop would probably wind up arresting me.

Dregan said...

Kinda ashamed and disgusted - this happened in my city. I've even sat in that exact room.

LawDog said...

Ms Emily,

Of course you may.

LawDog

skidmark said...

@Jess @ 12:26 -

Sorry, but the Second Amendment has northing to do with protecting anybody from anything but a government gone tyrannical.

In five (5) separate cases SCOTUS has affirmed that The Police have no duty or obligation to protect any individual, even if that individual has a court order saying the police are to enforce it against the person currently violating it to the detriment of a specific individual. The job of The Police is to investigate the crime and see if they can figure out who raped/maimed/killed you and turn that name over to the state's prosecutor to decide if a trial should be held to prove they did it and set a punsishment for doing it.

Baby, it's cruel out there - and the only protection is what you provide for yourself. I'm not worried about the 99%+ of folks who obey the law, even if they are bigger or stronger than I am. I'm worried about the <1% who refuse to agree with the rules the rest of us have set up.

stay safe.

Scott_S said...

Every restraining order should come with a gun. But because they don't everyone seeking one should also buy a gun.

Paper armor stops exactly nothing.



Mattexian said...

Hell, Lawdog, sometimes the LEOs *are* the perps. There was a case many years ago, where a woman got a protective order against her husband, a Jefferson County sheriffs deputy, and he met her outside the courthouse and shot her dead, using his service sidearm. This case is what I point to and say that We The People shouldn't be disarmed just because we deign to submit ourselves before our "public servants," if we are otherwise law-abiding and have been certified to carry a concealed weapon in Texas. I highly resent the Checkpoint Charlie that I have to pass thru (and turn out my pockets, along with divesting myself of prohibited items before leaving the car) to enter the county courthouse just to pay for my auto tags or vote early.

Ted said...

Great post as always, LawDog, but it raises a few questions:

1) What are the odds that the victim would be able to retain her weapon in an altercation like this? As I understand it, taking a handgun away from a weaker person is not particularly hard, once you're in hand-to-hand distance.
2) If the Bad Guy is willing to commit such interpersonal violence in this venue, what would he have done had he been armed? How many shots do you think he could have gotten off? How many times would he have missed in that tiny room? The victim walked away from her beating. Would she have walked away from a shooting?
3) How likely is it that any firearm will be used successfully in self defense, compared to the chance of accidentally shooting oneself or a loved one?

I'm not trying to troll your blog, I'm trying to understand the effects of our country's firearm policy. Most of my info on the subject comes from anti-gun types.

Motor-T said...

The island from The Lord of the Flies was a gun free zone too.

Rob said...

"1) What are the odds that the victim would be able to retain her weapon in an altercation like this? As I understand it, taking a handgun away from a weaker person is not particularly hard, once you're in hand-to-hand distance."

The odds of the victim keeping the gun is fairly high, even without training. Retention training and being willing to use the weapon would make it very unlikely. Grabbing for a gun being held by someone else is simply a good way to get shot.

"2) If the Bad Guy is willing to commit such interpersonal violence in this venue, what would he have done had he been armed? How many shots do you think he could have gotten off? How many times would he have missed in that tiny room? The victim walked away from her beating. Would she have walked away from a shooting?"

I believe LawDog's point was that violence can happen anywhere, even in "perfect" conditions where everyone is disarmed and police are nearby, such as a courtroom. Whether a firearm will help or not is fairly situationally dependent.

"3) How likely is it that any firearm will be used successfully in self defense, compared to the chance of accidentally shooting oneself or a loved one?"

Various studies have put the number of defensive gun uses ("DGUs") at somewhere between 800,000 and 2,000,000 a year. On the other hand, there are fewer than 800 accidental gun deaths a year. Even using conservative estimates, that's an 800:1 ratio.

Rob said...

Sorry, that should be 8000:1 ratio.

Joshua Tolley said...

I'd hesitate to say the Colt makes them equal, the old maxim notwithstanding. It gives the victim a chance, but nothing more. That chance, of course, is probably better than the "exactly zero chance" she had previously.

Cameron said...

Ted, I have a response for one of your questions.

"1) What are the odds that the victim would be able to retain her weapon in an altercation like this? As I understand it, taking a handgun away from a weaker person is not particularly hard, once you're in hand-to-hand distance."

There are two problems I have always had with that statement:

1. It assumes that all criminals have magical ninja powers and that all they have to do is wave their hands and your gun is now in their possession.

2. It assumes that all non-criminals are helpless squalling victims that can't possibly protect themselves.

Needless to say, both views are wrong and rather repugnant. To make things worse, the people who make that statement have yet to provide any documented case of someone drawing their gun and having it taken away. Generally speaking, criminals aren't going to risk getting into hand to hand range if the person has drawn their gun.

Evyl Robot Michael said...

Very, very nicely done, LawDog! You have written some excellent posts, but this is one of those that you knocked out of the park.

Windy Wilson said...

"the nebulous assurance that the police will 'do their best'.

"Losers always whine about 'their best'."

Kelly(Mom of 6) said...

Thank God you are still here, still fighting for the cause. And I don't mean your police work. I mean your belief in the right to bear arms.

A question, though. Which is more better, open carry, or concealed carry?

In all seriousness, one could argue that both have their time and place, but I'd like your opinion on this matter.

Daniel in Brookline said...

What are the odds that the victim would be able to retain her weapon in an altercation like this?

As with everything else, it depends in part on training. As a clever lady once said, when asked what to do if someone is trying to grab your gun away from you: "You press the special Anti-Theft button, multiple times if necessary. Every gun has one. It's located inside the trigger guard."

If the Bad Guy is willing to commit such interpersonal violence in this venue, what would he have done had he been armed?
That's not the point. It's a foregone conclusion that he would perpetrate as much violence as he's able. A better question might be: suppose he was armed, and several of the potential victims were too? In that case, he would know, before getting started, that he could likely kill a few people... and that he'd be committing suicide by doing so.

Daniel in Brookline said...

What are the odds that the victim would be able to retain her weapon in an altercation like this?

As with everything else, it depends in part on training. As a clever lady once said, when asked what to do if someone is trying to grab your gun away from you: "You press the special Anti-Theft button, multiple times if necessary. Every gun has one. It's located inside the trigger guard."

If the Bad Guy is willing to commit such interpersonal violence in this venue, what would he have done had he been armed?
That's not the point. It's a foregone conclusion that he would perpetrate as much violence as he's able. A better question might be: suppose he was armed, and several of the potential victims were too? In that case, he would know, before getting started, that he could likely kill a few people... and that he'd be committing suicide by doing so.

Ted said...

Rob, Cameron, and Daniel: My question about hand-to-gun combat comes from a couple of places. One, the Tueller drill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tueller_Drill), which indicates that a handgun is less effective in close quarters than Hollywood depicts. Two, martial arts gun-disarming techniques (for example: http://www.lotusmartialarts.com/articles_gunandknifedisarming.htm). I've tried some of these moves (using a capgun) an can usually a) move a drawn and targeted gun off-target prior to the trigger being pulled and then b) take the gun from the shooter (assuming I'm in hand-to-hand distance at the beginning of the maneuver). This leads me to think that a handgun may not be as great for self defense as some seem to think.

Ted said...

Rob,

The "DGU" studies you refer to are exactly the sort of data that I'm looking for. Can you post a hyperlink or reference citation?

Thanks!

Ted said...

Daniel,

You said: "'If the Bad Guy is willing to commit such interpersonal violence in this venue, what would he have done had he been armed?'*
That's not the point. It's a foregone conclusion that he would perpetrate as much violence as he's able.

I disagree. The severity of the victim's injury is EXACTLY what I would most want to limit.

*original question inserted for clarity

Cameron said...

Ted, you are assuming that the thug is going to have that training and the knowledge of how to use it. There is also the assumption that the intended victim is unable to counter it and cannot bring the weapon to bear in time.

Again: It's the belief that no one should have a gun because criminals have magical ninja powers.

In all fairness, there is a chance that someone can take the gun. There is a chance that the defender could be rendered helpless. But generally speaking, criminals are looking for easy prey. A gun does not guarantee that you are 100% safe, but it increases the odds in your favor.

Ted said...

Cameron,

There's a big difference between "magical ninja powers" and a hand-to-hand technique that can be learned in 30 minutes.

My point is that, even had the victim in this video had a handgun, she would not be assured of safety.

Had handguns been permitted in the venue, the perp would be as likely or more likely than the victim to have one.

Had the perp brought or obtained a handgun, the victim would not have walked away from the altercation.

This video may actually be evidence of a gun-free zone working properly.

Wombat said...

Ted, before I became disabled, I worked with criminals.I am...not tall. As I pointed out earlier, I could be neutralized by someone sitting one me. However, to that, you have to get close enough. I don't know you, but I do know me. Firearms have saved my life on at least three occasions (no shots fired). I am not willing to have my rights signed away for maybes. I also speak as one who was in the unfortunate position of having a knife to go up against a gun. I never want to do that again. All ended well that time, but sooner or later luck runs out (in the last case luck took the form of my brother with a shotgun). If you aren't comfortable with guns, don't get them, but don't deny me my chances to survive, please.

Cameron said...

Ted, if the accounts are correct in this case, Trayvon Martin tackled George Zimmerman and was hitting him with his fists. In other words, he was close enough to take the gun away. Yet Zimmerman still managed to get enough shots to stop him.

As Wombat said, I'm not willing to give up my rights because of the risk someone might get my weapon. Gun free zones do not work because criminals do not obey the law.

Ted said...

Cameron:

Do gun-free zones, in fact, not work? I'd say that an equal or greater number of gun violence cases in gun-free zones than in the surrounding area would be a good indicator. Is this the case?

Cameron said...

Gun free zones do not work. There is no set of laws that will physically prevent a criminal from bringing a gun to an area they are not allowed to.

Ted said...

Cameron,

I understand your position. I'm just wondering if you have some data to back it up.

Cameron said...

Sure.

Columbine High School: Gun free zone. Two shooters come in and start killing. 15 dead, 21 injured.

Virgina Tech: Gun free zone. One shooter with multiple guns. 33 dead, 23 injured.

Sandy Hook Elementary School: One shooter, multiple weapons. 27 dead, 2 injured.

If that's not enough data for you, then there is nothing that will change your mind. You have asked several questions on this page. I have answered one of them as best I could. You countered with some obscure website demonstrating gun removal tactics and saying that training like this invalidates the ability to use a gun for defense.

To be honest, you seem to be of the mindset that no one should own guns because there is no 100% guarantee that they will not be taken away and used against the person protecting themselves. And you seem convinced that creating "gun free zones" will prevent gun violence from happening. If I am mistaken on either of those, I apologize but the online world is a bit limited in conveying messages.

It's obvious that neither I nor anyone here can answer your questions to your satisfaction so I am simply moving on.

Cameron said...

Almost forgot. This website has a list of various myths on gun control. They link to the studies done that counter a lot of arguments.

http://gunfacts.info/

Ted said...

Cameron,

I think you misunderstood my question. I wonder how those school shooting statistics compare to gun crimes in the gun-legal areas nearby.

Thanks for the Gun Facts website.

Slew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Slew said...

I would like to first say that I agree with your assertion of “gun free does not equal violence free”. Take a look at Russia and England, both of whom have undergone gun regulation and bans, both of whom are among the countries with the highest violent crime rates Kates & Mauser, 2007). Russia has a violent crime rate that is almost four times as high as The United States (Kates & Mauser, 2007).
I also agree that we should not completely rely on police to be “right there” when they are needed. The video proved a point on response times, the cops were right outside (although we should ask why they were alone to begin with in a circumstance concerning a restraining order) and the question of how long would a response be in the middle of the night at the woman’s home. A person should be able to protect themselves, their family, and their home. Taking away all rights would ensure that we would not be able to do that, criminals don’t follow the law and have too many means to get guns even in the event of a ban (Casteen, 2004).
I do however, disagree on a gun being used as an equalizer. That is part of the problem that makes guns the stigma they are. Home protection; fine, hunting and sports; fine, making an ordinary Joe into a deadly force; not so much. The problem is too many people may resort straight to the gun to resolve a problem, or perhaps will let their mouths write a check they couldn’t cash without the gun as backup. There are many ways to equal the playing field without having to resort to deadly force (Boylan, 2012). In using example of a couple blocks down and size ratio you mentioned, pepper spray, a taser, or even a collapsible baton would be just as efficient, without the need or threat of deadly force.
I included citations in case you wanted to see where I got my sources.
References
Boylan M. The Weapons Continuum. The New York Times. December 18, 2012. Retrieved
from http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/the-weapons-continuum/?_r=0
on October 7, 2014

Casteen, J. (2004). Ditching the rubric on gun control: Notes from an American moderate. Virginia Quarterly Review, 210-221.
Kates, D. B., & Mauser, G. (2007). Would banning firearms reduce murder and suicide? A review of international and some domestic evidence. Harvard Journal of Law and Public Safety, 30(2), 650-685.

Red Raider said...

^Reply to Slew above^I agree with much of the argument you have shared with us and for many reasons. I think illustrating the gun regulations and crime rate for Russia and England proved your point a lot as well. You’re right police response times can’t always be there right away, actually, I found that the police response time is 11 minutes (Bialik 2013). Sometimes, having the equalizer can allow you another day on earth.
Regarding guns and gun laws, I will always respect the laws regarding guns in hunting, home defense, etc. I also think it’s important to take safety courses for any recreational users to fully understand all there is to know about guns. With all of that being said, I disagree in your argument regarding guns outside of the home and being used as an equalizer.
Actually, I think guns should be more prevalent in our society. An equalizer can be the difference in life or death situations. I know most people would be shocked to hear someone say that, but please hear me through.
December 14, 2012: 20 children were shot at an elementary school in Connecticut. From the time of the shooting (roughly 9:35am) police received the call and were at the scene within 10 minutes ((9:40am) Sendensky 2012). Want to know how to reduce deaths or force no deaths? Issue a Ruger .22 caliber handgun to teachers who complete an in-depth safety course. Throw them some bonus money every month for their effort they put forth. If you have a handful of teachers across America packing firearms, criminals will be detoured.
Think I’m crazy? Let’s take a look at a country who practices this method.
Jerusalem in past years had teachers who carried weapons, as a result they saw a decrease in school shootings. In fact they believe that U.S should have more trained security guards in public places. “Almost all of them (public school shootings in the US) conclude with the shooter taking his own life the moment he is challenged by the first officer on the scene, why not challenge him earlier?” (Zwerling 2012).
I know there are flaws with this plan, but every plan has its exceptions.
Here are the sites that helped me build my argument:
Sedensky, S. J. (2013, November 25). State’s Attorney’s Report on Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/11/26/nyregion/26newtown-report.html

Bialik, C. (2013, August 2). Giving No Time to Misleading Police Stats. Retrieved October 27, 2014, from 3. http://blogs.wsj.com/numbers/response-times-detroit-giving-no-time-to-misleading-police-stats-1264/
Tepper, G. (2012, December 30). Armed teachers, guards bolster school security in Israel. Retrieved October 27, 2014, from 2. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/12/30/armed-teachers-guards-key-to-school-security-in-israel/