Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Weapons and morons

There are several countries with different access to weapons to common citizens. One of the most liberal is the USA, where practically everyone can own a gun.

The pro-gun movements have several, logically correct reasons to support this:
  • Criminals are less likely to attack people if they can defend themselves with a gun. Attacking an armed man always holds the risk of a gunfight ending in being dead or wanted for murder (instead of just robbing).
  • Criminals will get guns anyway, so we can only decide to arm or not the lawful citizens.
  • If someone wants to kill, he can use other objects than guns too. "guns don't kill people, people do"
  • Armed citizens are much harder to be subdued by a wannabe tyrant.
These reasons are all true. In Europe, where gun access is much harder, criminals still have guns and often rob banks and stores. However it's also true that they barely ever kill anyone, exactly because they don't expect or get any resistance. (except in funny stories where they bump into cops or armed security guards).

However we can't ignore that gun violence is a serious problem, and about 10000 US citizens are killed with guns every year. This is much higher than in Europe, and there are no significantly more murders by knives or poisons in Europe. There are simply less murders in Europe.

The solution to this "mystery" is quite weird. If we define "criminal" as someone who brakes the law for his own interest, the pro-gun movements are 100% right. Giving guns to citizens is the best way to fight crime.

However the guy who shoots random people after losing his job gains nothing from it. Neither the guy who finds out that his wife has a lover, kill them both then gives his gun a blowjob. The kids massacring their schoolmates and teachers also gain nothing from their killing spree. The youth from terrible neighborhoods want personal gains from their crimes, but they are so clumsy that they never had a chance. Soon after their bloody crime they get captured or killed by cops.

The problem is that most of the violent acts are not performed by cold-blooded criminals. They are performed by morons, who act irrationally, under the effect of emotions, alcohol or drugs. They often kill themselves or surrender to the police shortly after the act. They don't plan their act, they don't have serious preparations.

While a criminal would have guns or equally dangerous objects anyway, a having guns or not have critical differences in the outcome of the moron's act. In Europe their rampage usually ends with broken chairs and broken bones, but usually without fatalities. The same idiot in the US kills half dozen people before the cops take him down.

The big problem is that simply we have more idiots than criminals (in all societies). While guns in the hands of the lawful citizens does decrease planned crimes, they drastically increase the number of fatalities in brawls and domestic disputes.

Next time when you vote for or against a gun regulation, remember for the last time when someone gave a huge drama over some purple pixels and ask yourself: "do I really want to let this guy to own a lethal weapon?"

Of course there is a solution for that: allow guns for successful people only. Success demands logical skills and ability to override emotions. Such person is much less likely to do crazy things like killing random people on the street. Of course such distinction between people is unconstitutional both in the US and Europe. But even a goblin can dream. I'd like to emphasize that I'm not against smart people owning guns. I'm against M&S owning guns. If I'd have to make up a gun control law, it would be a $5000/year "gun tax". Those who are able to pay it are able to decide when to use and when not.

Another idea: to own a gun, one must join a gun-group or militia. Any 10 lawful citizen can form one. However if any member commit crime with gun, the others are also sueable by the (family of) the victims and their group is disbanded. This way people would think twice who to invite to their group. If someone is unstable, known to make threats or having emotional outbursts would find no groups. The trick is that this case citizens and not the government would decide who is good enough for gun ownership.

PS about tyrants and civil defense: the guns in the hand of morons are under the control of any demagogue and extremist. While people with brains would use their guns to defend their freedom, morons gladly sign up for any movements that offers them any kind of "justice and retribution" for the "oppression" that caused their lack of success. Such morons would gladly believe that they are poor because of "jewish-black conspiracy", "leftist movements", "the unconstitutional rule of Washington" or "evil and heartless capitalists" or whatever that is not the truth: him being stupid and/or lazy.


Azzur said...

I agree with you on the guns issue. Unfortunately, the pro-gun faction in the US have tremendous political clout because of their financial power.

A guy from germany said...

True, oh so true. *bow*

Even in Germany we nowadays have a hot discussion about gun regulation, cause you are allowed to possess small arms, when you are a member of a shooting club or a hunter. If you take your weapon home, you have to store it in a locked and secure place but some people don´t seem to care about that much. A few months ago (March 11th, Winnenden) a 17 year old kid shot 15 people at his former school and nearby and then himself: he just took his fathers pistol.

My feelings goe to the people who lost their loved ones or had been injured during that shooting near Pittsburgh.

Education is needed...

Anonymous said...

totally agree with everything except the allowing guns for succesful people. When you seperate based on social factors you get unrest, inequality, and hatred.

Tanelor said...

Good points! A couple of other things:

Regarding professional criminals in Europe (or the UK at least), most are not big-scale bank robbers, but burglars who spend a lot of time calculating the odds. If they break into your house armed, the penalties are very very severe - almost none of them carry weapons (only stupid ones) because if they get caught, it's not such a big deal as long as they weren't armed.

Of course, if each home owner had a gun in the house, the risk profile is different - you are more concerned about the owner than the law, so as a burglar you must carry a weapon to protect yourself.

One other thing - the morons can be very successful in real life. When the stockmarket is going well, lots of morons make lots of money following the crowd and making risky gambling investments. When it turns down again and their gambles fail, they are just as dumb as the next guy and just as likely to lose it and kill themselves/their wife and kids/whoever. If you're choosing who to give guns to, surely aggressive, coke-fiend day traders (who may be successful) wouldn't be your first pick?

Zanathos said...

That has to be the most compelling argument for gun control I've encountered.

Dan said...

Education is necessary for any firearm owner. Knowing laws exist in most places that if you commit a crime with a firearm, you lose the right to ever own a firearm again. However, there are laws being passed where law abiding gun owners are becoming criminals by simply owning a firearm.

The problem is two fold. I own firearms myself. I take my 2nd amendment right seriously and believe it should be amended to include the right to own safe, functional ammunition for your firearms. Legislatures where gun control means more laws are restricting ammunition purchases and components to manufacture (reload) ammunition. Most of these states are Democratic, the exact same types of people running the USA right now.
There will be a breaking point where something will be done. I hope it does not mean disarmament and I also hope it does not mean violence. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. proved that non-violent protests work with his life, unfortunately. John Lennon spoke of peace and paid for it with his life. I hope whoever stops the nonsense that is "gun control" does not pay for it with his or her life.

B_Dragon said...

Both Anonymous and Tanelor have solid point, I think. Giving guns to successful people may just end up creating more violence and opportunities for usage of arms (think jealousy in WoW). And on the other hand, successful people IRL doesn't always is a non-M&S.

Bottom line: Gun must always be given to someone who actually knows how, when, where and why to use it. Not just any empty-headed M&S with some cash and no common sense.

Anonymous said...

Just making sure I am hearing the argument correctly. It seems that you are inferring that more people have died in the USA from gun based violence then in Europe.
One point I think most Europeans forget is that we have only had one maybe two significant wars fought on our soil since the founding of our country. Can Europe say the same? When factored in I would say that Europe has more of a problem with gun violence then the United States. Some may call it "apples and oranges" but I feel it is actually something that needs to be brought up. As you stated, one of the reasons for having a weapon is for protection, and no other nation really wants to try to invade a country full of gun toting rednecks. We may have our share of random violence, but we have not seen as much of the slaughter that the "civilized" countries of Europe seem to inflict on each other every couple of generations.
Bullets kill, there is no doubt about that, but personally I hate when anyone points a finger without looking at themselves first. The world loves to get mad at the United States when ever they feel like we are trying to tell another country what to do. But don't those same people love to tell Americans that the way they do things is backward and stupid.
Sorry, being an American, I am probably typing with a little too much emotion. I am more then a little sick of the "American bashing" that has been going on the last couple of years.(--*This next line is supposed to read with sarcasm*--) I have an idea you try not to worry about my ability to own a gun, and I won't worry about Europe's lack of dental care or the ability to shave.

I have not, nor will I ever own a firearm of any kind, but I do respect the fact that in country I could.

CthulhuDreams said...

Timely, given there has just been another gun powered spree killing in the US.

Larísa said...

Oh, the weapon argument. You certainly wanted to stir up some discussion there! I know the US people go pretty emo whenever this is brought up.

Well, not so surprisingly I'm very European in my view on weapons. Even though there are some madman deeds in Europe, people randomly killing at schools and such, they're definitely more scarce than in US. That's a fact.

However I must disagree vehemently on your ideas about allowing "succesful" people to carry weapons. Come on Gevlon, wake up! There's no guarantee that a sucessful person won't get insane, get nuts over the lover of the wife or whatever. You can be extremely succesful in terms of money, power and career and yet be a complete failure, a wreck, when it comes to your mental health and your emotions or the way you treat your family, friends and closest surroundings. It's rather naïve to think anything else. I don't want to company leaders walking around armed any more than I want to see drug dealers carrying weapons.

MomentEye said...

I say we use science.

All we need are two continents willing to follow the two different strategies and see who is more successful.

Hmmm... but defining success is hard.
Forget it. Everybody go back to what you were doing.

Hirvox said...

After our recent school shootings in Finland, there's been two suggestions to weed out the "lone gunmen": First, passing a psychological evaluation is a requirement for getting a gun permit. Secondly, having been trained in the proper use of guns by being a member in good standing with the local gun club. The rationale is that those suggestions would keep guns away from the unstable and the inept.

Our army does it's own psychological evaluation and training before giving the draftees guns, so I do agree with the first and the rationale for the second. However, I'm worried about the unintended consequences of the second, because it provides an opportunity for corruption: What if the managers of the gun club deny people based on criteria other than competence? While it may not be a problem in big cities where there are several gun clubs, it can be a problem in more rural areas, where the local gun club can have a de-facto monopoly.

Jeff said...

@ anonymous:
"One point I think most Europeans forget is that we have only had one maybe two significant wars fought on our soil since the founding of our country. Can Europe say the same?"

What exactly IS your point here? The discussion is about citizens with firearms, not soldiers.

Nick said...

@Hirvox: Do you really think a psych exam could stop a person from acquiring a weapon? If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.

God said...

I love my firearms, and coming from America I have the right to own all sorts of them. I use them primarily for target shooting.

Europeans like to be the annoying kid on the playground that always tells the others that what they're doing is a bad idea. It's a government loving ideology. How many people have governments killed with guns? It's probably thousands of times the number killed by citizens. Why you would trust your governments with automatic weapons and not the people is strange to me. The government is less stable then a poor redneck who just lost his girlfriend and his truck.

It can almost be looked at as one entity that goes on a killing spree every few years.

The only weapons I think should be banned are explosive weapons. They have no value unless you're trying to kill someone. I'm not going to be shooting targets with stinger missiles. And I don't think I'll be fighting off any enemy aircraft anytime soon.

Dahkeus said...

Great post up until the end. You can't judge someone as smart by how successful or rich they are. How many celebrities out there would you actually want to own a gun? Do you think Tom Green got rich by being smarter than everyone else? How about the people in the show Jackass?

Keeping guns in the hands of intelligent people would be great, but there's no simple way to determine that. There are plenty of rich madmen and morons. People can often have great abilities in one area, while lacking completely in others (such as savants). You can be the most intelligent person in the world and still be a moronic fool.

Yaggle said...

The problem is that here in the U.S., people generally believe that their rights are more important than "what is best overall for society". And the U.S. constitution does give the people the "right to bear arms". Gun control is considered a losing issue for politicians to pursue because even most people like myself who do not like guns and do not own them, do believe that our constitution should not be breached. Is our constitution wrong? In general principle, no. However, it is very old and I do not think it serves us as well as it should any more. At the very least, I believe that a person should have to earn the right to bear arms by having to take a course in gun safety and responsibility. Probably one in anger management, as well.

Chris said...

"One point I think most Europeans forget is that we have only had one maybe two significant wars fought on our soil since the founding of our country. Can Europe say the same?"

1) The founding of your country was a comparatively recent event.

2) The number of wars that you have fought on foreign soil during this time balances out the numbers.

In any case, this has nothing to do with the OP, which is all about denying M&S guns, something I am all in favour of.

Anything that provides idiots with unwarranted power should be strongly opposed.

Inquisitor said...

You'd get groups of 10 idiots all of whom thought 'he's a mate, he's like me, he'll never do something moronic' forming gun cliques.

You said it yourself - a guild tag, by itself, proves *nothing*.

Anonymous said...

Very good article Gevlon, until you start spouting bullshit about successful people having more "right" to protect themselves than does the average citizen. Because working as a mechanic/chef/plumber etc means you're stupid, am I right?

I am appalled by everyone here who thinks they're better and smarter than everyone else on the planet. What does success matter when you blindly despise the middle class? Some people do not measure happiness in success, though of course there are stupid people getting nowhere as well.

I will personally never own a gun. Guns are for killing people and is not a defensive weapon, no matter what people say. And I don't kill or harm people. I admit it can be a repelling force by just showing it, but I trust my fellow citizens that they don't attack or rob me. There are always bad people, but in a healthy society they are few and the chance that one targets you is minimal. You might think me stupid of leaving such things to chance but there are some things I value greater than my own life, my moral code and faith in humankind is two of them. (Wow, that came out as corny and lofty.)

MonKeigh said...

@ god
"Europeans like to be the annoying kid on the playground that always tells the others that what they're doing is a bad idea"

please look here:

Gevlon said...

@Larísa: someone MUST own guns, at least the cops. You can't make a gun-free society. So you must find some optimum way. I find "cops only" a too strict extreme and also the "everyone allowed". While some of the successful people are idiots (especially if they are not successful at all, just rich by luck), but the idiot % of the middle-high economic classes is much lower than of the bottom.

@Yaggle: I'm not for the "common good", I'm for my own safety. I find governmental tyranny a much less threat to my safety than a random unemployed or a sky-high kid with a gun.

@Inquisitor: quite right. However after one of the morons do something stupid, the other 9 also lose their guns and have to pay lot of money to the victims. So we got rid 9/10 idiots of their guns. No doubt that the first is still dangerous but 1/10 is better than 10/10.

@anonymous: if you work and have a salary, you can pay the tax. The line is not between the plumber and the doctor, it's between the unemployed and the plumber.

Hirvox said...

@Hirvox: Do you really think a psych exam could stop a person from acquiring a weapon?
No. As Gevlon said, criminals will always have guns.

We had a recent case where it was absolutely obvious to anyone but the cop who gave the permit that the eventual shooter was suicidally depressed. Sure, he would have offed himself anyway, but at least it would have been harder for him to drag other people down with him.

Tanelor said...

"someone MUST own guns, at least the cops." - actually, not all cops need to carry guns. In the UK, only specially trained firearms response teams are allowed to have firearms, and these are securely locked in vehicles at all times unless they are called upon to use them - no-one carries weapons openly on the street (airports and some other cases excepted).

Once in a while they talk about arming the general police force, but realise it wouldn't work as they'd have to fire half of the police who don't pass the profiling/markmanship courses required to qualify for "safe" firearms use.

And even then there are mistakes - we're still talking about the last innocent shot by police many years after the event...

Carra said...

Yes, every society from time to time have someone go on a killing spree. I wouldn't call these morons, they're not. But giving them access to guns makes it very easy to kill. A few months ago, we had someone run into a creche who knifed the children. Had he had easy access to guns, the damage would have been much higher.

You seem to argue that rich people per definition won't be murderers. That makes no sense, show me the correlation between wealth and mental healthbeing. The lawyer might still find his wed in bed with the golfer and go nuts. Rich daddy's heroin using kid might also crazy...

And I do dislike the idea of punishing others for someones crimes. A sociopath won't give a fuck about the 9 other guys so they're screwed. And there's no way to tell if someones a sociopath, there's a good chance they have a good job as sociopaths tend to have the skills needed for a good manager. It feels too much like "you killed one of our guys, we'll line up ten of yours and put a bullet in each one of them".

Anonymous said...

Hee, best argument ever for gun control.

If I understand rightly, you are saying that if guns are illegal, the only people who will get them are people who are more likely to want them for a very specific (ie. probably criminal) purpose and will therefore be less likely to wave them around randomly when they're in a bad mood.

The scary thing is that's probably true.

Shadowin said...

Bind gun owning to psychology. If one wants to own a gun, he should go to a doctor and have himself checked. If the doctor finds him unstable, he can't own a gun. Also the owner would have to do this every 1-2 years.

This would also have a fee, wich would increase the income of these doctors.

It's actually a win-win situation. Psychologists have more income, the state has less random people shooting at other random people, and J.Smith has a paper from a doctor which states, that he is not insane. Cheers.

Shadowin said...

"Europeans like to be the annoying kid on the playground that always tells the others that what they're doing is a bad idea"

Right, because giving an M16 with 600 rounds to "Joe", who has less than 70 IQ, is a WONDERFUL idea.

Rich said...

Ok - let's get rid of cars, stairs, poison, swimming pools and matches, doctors and motorbikes first, though - since they all cause so many more deaths per year...

(1) Motor vehicle (MVA) 44.3%
(2) Falls 17.8%
(3) Poison,liq/solid 13.0%
(4) Drowning 3.9%
(5) Fires, Burns,Smoke 3.4%
(6) Medical/Surgical Complication 3.1%
(7) Other land transport 1.5%
(8) Firearms 0.8%

Anonymous said...

Its always about the firearms huh? Americans can't read their own constitution - it's the right to bear arms. Who decided that arms is equal to firearms. I think it is not in your precious constitution. And what about the nukes - you want nukes to be on free sale too if they are classified as arms?

I pity all of the people that need such a stupid thing for their own protection like a firearm. You already possess the most lethal weapon ever created. It is the human brain. Every smart person with basic education in chemistry,physics and engineering could design/create weapons. Your government cannot take away from you the power of thinking. Being a republican can.

Also smart people can improvise weapons when needed - watch around you - in your home there are at least 10-15 objects that can inflict brutal wounds/death to an attacking person. You just need to be smart and determined.

Rich said...

Also to add to the above info:
Same year, same country:

Suicide < 1 %
Homicide < 1 %
Accidents 4 %

So, the %age in the above post is percentage of the 4%...these numbers include ALL homicides/suicides, even those not committed with firearms.

MonKeigh said...

@ rich


(1) Accidents 51.8% 12,752
(2) Homicide 21.3% 5,233
(3) Suicide 16.3% 4,003
(4) Cancer 6.8% 1,670
(5) Heart Disease 3.9% 961

This is the same site you got our info from.....

Anonymous said...

I'm gradually losing more and more respect for you mr. goblin. The fact that you seriously write that "rich people = smart people" makes me laugh (the part about high gun taxes).

You can't possibly be saying that unstable & stupid people = poor, and can't afford a high gun tax, while smart and balanced people = rich and can afford to own a gun? Seriously, overall you seem like a pretty bright goblin, but that suggestion made me laugh. Just look at all the "rich, smart and balanced" people who's been hit by the financial crisis and killed both theirselves and their family because they lost a house. A house.

I'm all against people owning guns in the first place, because there will always be unstable people (which might appear smart and balanced on the outside) that will go on a killing spree.

Rich said...

@Mike - So only ppl from age 15-24 matter?

I have no problem with increasing gun ownership age to 21 (from 18 in some states).

Doug said...

I was raised in a house with MANY guns. Most were loaded. I have owned a gun since the age of 8. Anyone who tried to collect your 'goblin gun tax' would be unpleasantly reminded of the second ammendment via rock salt discharge upon their trespass. While the premise for your idea is intriguing, the implementation would fail miserably. There is simply not enough manpower to collect the tax or enforce punishment for nonpayment.

If something like your suggestion was ever passed into law, there would be an outraged mob of heavily armed, uncontrollable, likely intoxicated rednecks marching on Washington numbering in the tens of thousands.

The problem is not guns, but people without the morals to prevent such wanton acts of stupidity.

If you really wanted to 'fix' the problem, you will need to find a way to eliminate the M&S.

An interesting and somewhat applicable quote: "There are only two finite solutions to every problem: Murder and Suicide. The optimal solution usually lies somewhere in between."

Anonymous said...

Knife crime is a lot worse and a lot more difficult to control.

Nobody needs guns, if a criminal didn't have a gun then the police could subdue him with a taser.

Everwrath of Silvermoon said...

An Englishman's home is no longer his castle.

People who take the law into their own hands are generally punished harder than the criminals would have been for the crime they committed.

Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer was jailed for FIVE YEARS for shooting a burglar in his home. If caught, the burglar would have likely been sentenced to 15-18 months.

Tony was refused parole/sentence reduction several times during that 5 years because he wouldn't say he regretted his actions and stated quite categorically that he would repeat his actions if he was burgled again.

Owning a gun is NOT a deterrent, as criminals know that "intelligent people would never use it".

Anonymous said...

@Doug - for me to subdue a outraged mob of heavily armed, uncontrollable, likely intoxicated rednecks marching on Washington numbering in the tens of thousands is just a matter of using 4-5 tanks with a flamethrowers. Of if I am in a good mood this day I will just throw enough tear gas at them to shoot each other to death.

Guns don't give you safety from your government - the government have more, bigger and deadlier guns then civilians. And the willingness to use them - in the case you say it will not be a mob but a civil war - so any means will be justified.

Your government can take your property away, can put you in concentration camp, can imprison you and can kill you.

US government deported 110000 of its own citizens which had all the rights provided from the constitution in 1942 to concentration camps. Can you guess what would have happened if all these American citizens were armed to the teeth? They would have been just slaughtered.

Wooly said...

Very nice article! But like most already said: until your remark that only smart people should get it. This is wrong in so many ways.

First, I dare to say that there's is no such thing as smart people! As long as there's emotions, basic instincts, there's morons in all layers of society. Everyone is a moron in some way anyway. Nobody is perfect.

Supporting question: why are serial killers usually very highly intelligent? ..just one idea crossing my mind..

Second, it goes against the remark of the ability to fight against tyrants. This will give power to smart people, which will make it easier to suppress the less intelligent. It's like only letting intelligent people vote in a democracy. Believe me, that idea crossed my mind (alot), because my god, the demented reasoning of some! ...but yet... You can't do this, because this will ultimately leads to the return of suppression of the "working man" by some elite. They have no way to defend them selves.

As of now, I don't think there's a perfect solution. I have to agree though that the European way must be better, simply because of the statistics show this.

And you said yourself: data gives the answer.

Adam said...

It shouldnt be guns that cost money, it should be the bullets. Then people would consider how many they can afford before they start shooting. The guns itselves aren't dangerous without bullets. If someone does get killed, he probably deserved it as the one that killed him spend so much.(some comedian had this joke, cant remember his name)

To be honest, just don't have weapons at home, risk is too high it gets in the hands of morons.

MonKeigh said...


the numbers you posted refer to the accidental deaths. Those that I posted are causes of death.

If you want a run down on all ages please look here. You will see that McDonalds is still killer #1 in the USA:

Fricassee said...

"The problem is that most of the violent acts are not performed by cold-blooded criminals. They are performed by morons, who act irrationally, under the effect of emotions, alcohol or drugs."

This statement isn't backed up by any numbers. It's just something you slipped in to support your argument.

And while gun deaths are down in Europe, it would also be of value to look at the rate of other violent crimes like rape and assult. You may find that they're higher due to the fact that people are less likely to be able to defend themselves.

JM said...

I love how condescending some of the people responding are towards Americans, saying we are emotional and irrational, and redefining the second amendment.

Let me be perfectly plain: The Constitution was written with the understanding that government is a monster and that people need to be able to protect themselves from tyrants. Iran, which calls itself a democracy, is the perfect example of this.

Europe is largely a collective of nanny states. You are comfortable having someone take most of your money and provide you with relative safety and mediocre services. I prefer to take care of myself, as do many Americans.

That said, I think this conversation is going in the wrong direction. We have had guns in America for a really long time, but mass murders have been, and still are, relatively rare. Is the problem that there is something happening in society that we are generating more of these people, or is it that the media is sensationalizing it more? Both?

Frankly I, and I suspect the vast majority of people, cannot imagine actually going into a public place and killing a bunch of people. It is the subject of science fiction, action movies, or momentary flashes. As much as I like WoW, I even find it to be a bit much sometimes, although the violence in WoW is usually sufficiently sanitized that it seems less gruesome than most video games.

This is a long complex issue, so I end with this: My reading of this post is that the issue boils down to the libertarian ideal that we should be completely free and this is simply a consequence of that freedom, versus having a nanny state in which the government oppresses the few capable of true freedom in order to keep the majority(M&S's presumably, in Gevlon's view) safe from their own poor judgment.

PS Why are you all here instead of finding ways to make gold from the new patch?

Christopher said...

Great post, Gevlon!

How about stricter vehicle permissions? The same could be said for cars, that every day hundreds of millions of morons get behind the wheels of two-ton killing machines and impose themselves upon otherwise innocent motorists. While a gun isn't quite as useful as a car (at least the car helps you get from point A to point B), one cannot overlook its lethality.

Anonymous said...

The morons with guns are removing themselves from the population... isn't that what you want?

Althalas said...

Guns and weapons are a guaranteed right in our constitution. for bettor or worse we are allowed to own guns in the US. We are the only nation to have a right to arms as part of our founding documents.

Most nations want to strip the arms from the people as a means of removing a threat to their power. The reason for this is that real power comes from the ability to do violence on another person or group. If remove the populaces ability to do violence you have neutralized them. the founders of our nation realized this as the reason they were able to lead their revolt (at eh head of a bunch of idiots by Gevlons estimation) was due to the people being armed with their own weapons.

Thus even an armed idiot is a good thing in a national sense as they can be lead by very smart people.

last time I checked idiots have a hard time actually getting things done.

Jim C said...

Your analysis leaves out another key difference between the USA and Europe, the effectiveness of the police. Much of the USA is still Rural, I grew up in an area when our "local" police where the state police, who were 45 minutes away. Even in more urban areas, all the police can is take a report after the crime has happened. Statics show that most criminals commit dozens of crimes before they are caught. Even when caught the justice system is slanted entirely toward the criminal. They routinely either get off entirely, or get a greatly reduce sentence.

As for the "mental" cases, most are not spur of the moment incidents. They purposefully plan their attacks in "gun free" zones such as schools and shopping centers. Few commit crimes in areas where guns might be present.

Today most Americans do have a choice. They can live in areas where guns are accepted, a shrinking but still large part of the country, or in an area where they are essentially outlawed, New York City or most urban areas of California for example where it is almost impossible to legally own a gun.

Rich said...

@MonKeigh - yes - but Accidents cause more deaths than homicides and suicides - and not all Hom/Sui are gun deaths. If you look at the percentage of deaths by guns total - you're still less than 'death by McDonalds' as you mention - supporting my theory that we should outlaw hamburgers before getting to the 'problem' caused by guns.

sam said...

This is a really complicated issue that everyone keeps trying to boil down to a simple thing. I did a paper in college about how gun control would lower suicide rates. Unfortunately the statistics don't back that up. Countries where gun rates are the lowest have comparable or higher suicide rates than countries where gun ownership is higher.

Your base premise that the "morons" are the ones killing people with the guns is correct. Unfortunately you overlook the fact if they don't have guns they'll "steal" them from the smart people, use knives cars or make homemade bombs.
Unfortunately the downside of our wonderful Internet age is any "moron" can in a few clicks find out how to kill someone quite efficiently.

Removing the guns just simply doesn't do it.

"morons" will be morons with whatever tools they have available.

sam said...

Rich is dead on.
In fact more children die from drownings in the US every year than all adults and children from guns combined.

Anonymous said...

We can't ignore the cultural and demographic factors involved in violent crime either. I would expect the USA with a full-on firearms ban would still have more murders than Japan with our current laws.

Anonymous said...

On a per capita basis. That should be obvious, but just for clarification.

Anonymous said...

This essay reminds me of Eric S. Raymond's at:

River said...

"I know the US people go pretty emo whenever this is brought up" - Larissa

Your right we do get Emo, at anyone who attacks our way of life.

Guns is part of not only our history, bearing one is our right.

We take our rights seriously in this country. Though I do not own a gun, I faced a few in my life. Do I agree with it, no. But I will defend the rights to carry one. I would pick up arms to defend my neighbor against tyranny any day the week.

I don't think their isn't a boy in America who didn't dream of being a Cowboy once in their life. What Cowboy doesn't carry a gun?

Joe Nothin' said...

The solution is much simpler:
Gun permits.

In isreal, anyone who wants to own a gun needs to get a permit. To get a permit you get a psych eveluation, and you must train with it a number of times per year, so you'd know how to use it. That keeps the m&s from getting guns most of the time.

Carl Lewis said...

Good thing the Jews didn't have guns when the Nazi's came. Right?

If you read Gevlon's argument he easily could have gone down the road highlighting the fact that it's crazy people not the guns that kill people. You can use a bomb, knives, poison what have you. I suspect this is simply a function of his European bias.

The Second ammendment states: "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." all of you morons spouting of some random shit about the second amendment listen up.

The second amendment says you can keep arms, or own them, and bear arms, which means carry them. That's why it says to keep AND bear arms.

Gun legislation is driven out of fear pure and simple, More people die in drunk driving accidents but no one is pushing to outlaw alcohol. There will always be an undesirable consequence to a benefit. But the fact people are allowed to own guns doesn't correlate to murders.

There's always a negative no matter what the policy, I would prefer to eer on the side of personal freedom. If my personal freedom scares you. That's no my problem.

Carl Lewis said...

Interestingly enough when the constitution was written, a Citizen was considered to be a landowners. Gev's thinking isn't too far off from the founding fathers.

Dan said...

@Carl Lewis
Banning alcohol in the USA was attempted. It failed miserably. Look up the 18th and 21st amendments.

Slaynn said...

@Dan: I think that was part of Carl's point.

Gun control is a tricky subject but I am a firm believer that in the end strength is something that is respected above all. I don't mean physical strength but influence. As a US soldier I very well know that violence is the most understood international language. If you have the CAPABILITY to speak that language the loudest you are the strongest. If the US is to be ran by the people and for the people, the people need the capability to speak clearly, concisely and from a position of strength.

Carl is right though, this strength does come with a price and it is one that I am willing to pay.

Mitchell said...

One of your base premises is flawed. The vast majority of people killed by firearms, over 93% in Philadelphia PA in 1996 for example, have criminal records. Specifically, if you did not commit suicide by shooting yourself and yet you died from being shot, you are almost assuredly a criminal, and in fact are quite likely involved in the illegal drug trade.

I'm not sure that the rest of your argument follows once you realize your population is composed primarily of people who couldn't get real jobs but instead wound up selling crack.

Carry on, though.

Anonymous said...

@Gevlon: "However after one of the morons do something stupid, the other 9 also lose their guns and have to pay lot of money to the victims."

It's painful to read through the mangled english and logic, but let's see if i explain using your own terms: Morons don't often have money. Good luck to victims wanting to collect a dime, as i'm sure the society you have in mind that creates these situations would also be the type that provides no remedy for the injuries it causes.

God said...

I love how all the gun haters conveniently skipped over the part of my post that said: How many people have governments killed with guns? It's probably thousands of times the number killed by citizens. Why you would trust your governments with automatic weapons and not the people is strange to me. The government is less stable then a poor redneck who just lost his girlfriend and his truck.

What do you guys have to say to that? I would love to hear an answer.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately you cant just give guns to "sucessful" people... as you have to determine how to judge success.
Base it on career progress? Total gold *caughs* money made? How 'happy' they are with thier life?

And even successful people can do stupid things, have marital breakups, fights, jelousy spats with siblings/wives/lovers/friends.

Or just bad luck where a kid gets a hold of an unsecured gun, or teenager/young adult steals said gun.

Its all moot point.
The US gun lobby is way to powerful. Thus school shootings and workers going postal will continue with depressing regularity.

Australia does have a strong anti-gun policy, and we are better for it.


Demosthenes20XX said...

Just wanted to throw a few facts into the mix here:

1) US federal firearm law already makes it unlawful for a person who has been "adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution" to purchase or possess firearms.

2) Additionally, high-risk criminals (e.g. those committing felonies under US federal and state laws) are also forbidden from owning firearms.

Demosthenes20XX said...

@anyone from the UK or the Continent who asserts that stricter gun control laws reduce violent crime:

[excerpted from a book by Bentley College law professor Joyce Malcolm publsihed via Harvard University Press]

It is a standard observation in American and English debates over gun control that England has strict gun controls and low crime rates, while America has (comparatively) liberal gun laws and higher crime rates. It is usually assumed that there is a cause and effect relationship, with the low crime stemming from the strict gun controls in England, and vice versa in the United States.

This turns out not to be the case. As observed, violent crime rates in England, very high in the 14th century, fell more or less steadily for five hundred years, even as ownership of firearms became more common. By the late 19th century, England had gun laws that were far more liberal than are found anywhere in the United States today, yet almost no gun crime, and little violent crime of other sorts. (An 1870 act, which was seldom enforced, required the payment of a small tax for the privilege of carrying, not simply owning, a gun.)

Despite a well-armed populace, "statistics record an astonishingly low rate of gun-related violence in the late nineteenth century." How low?

In the course of three years, according to hospital reports, there were only 59 fatalities from handguns in a population of nearly 30 million people. Of these, 19 were accidents, 35 were suicides, and only 3 were homicides 3 an average of one a year.

Despite these rates, which should be considered astonishingly low, the British government decided at the turn of the 20th century to begin a program of gun control that would ensure "that nobody except a soldier, sailor, or policeman, should have a pistol at all." The claimed justification was the "enormous" number of handgun injuries.

This effort was initially frustrated by popular resistance, but the first regulatory law in this campaign was passed in 1903, requiring a license for the purchase of a pistol. Such licenses were freely available, though, and citizens remained well enough armed that when (unarmed) London bobbies were chasing a group of armed robbers in 1909, they had no trouble borrowing pistols from passersby, while other armed citizens joined in the chase. Rates of gun violence remained low.

Demosthenes20XX said...

After World War I, the English government got serious. Though fear of crime was again claimed as a justification for much more intrusive gun controls despite no increases of any significance, the real motivation -- as historical records make very clear -- was the fear of armed labor unionists, and perhaps even Bolshevik revolution. Though Parliament in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries had seen an armed citizenry as a valuable check on tyranny, by the 20th century the government was determined to disarm the citizenry so as to eliminate any threats to its power.

Because the 1903 act requiring firearm licensing had not resulted in strict limits on gun ownership, the populace was not much threatened by the 1920 Firearms Act. The act met with much less resistance than the early popular resistance to the 1903 law. But the 1920 Firearms Act began the trend toward the near-complete disarmament of the formerly well-armed English citizenry. This disarmament continued by gradual sub silentio changes in administrative policy. For example, in 1938 the government made the unannounced decision that pistol licenses would no longer be issued to individuals who wanted a gun to defend their homes. Additional legislation followed.

Parliament passed a comprehensive firearms statute that eliminated the right of individuals to be armed. It was the culmination of fifty years of effort by British governments of every political stripe. The announced rationale by the ruling coalition government was, as usual, an increase in armed crime, yet statistics in London show no such increase. . . . Private Cabinet papers make clear that the government was afraid not of crime but of disorder and even revolution, the same fears that had fuelled government control measures in the past.

By 1953, the English were effectively disarmed and compounding the insult, courts began prosecuting people for previously legal (and even encouraged) acts of violence in defense of persons and property. In the future, only the police were to use violence, and even they tended to be quite lenient toward violent criminals.

In a coincidence that will surprise few readers who are familiar with the work of criminologists like John Lott and Gary Kleck, English crime rates almost immediately began a steady rise, for the first time in 500 years. The overall crime rate in England and Wales is now 60 percent higher than in the United States. And it wasn't just crime in general: Gun crimes became far more common as well.

The peacefulness England used to enjoy was not the result of strict gun laws. When it had no firearms restrictions England had little violent crime, while the present extraordinarily stringent gun controls have not stopped the increase in violence or even the increase in armed violence. By opting to deprive law-abiding citizens of the right to keep guns or to carry any article for defence, English government policy may actually be contributing to the lawlessness and violence afflicting its people.

I am cautious when discussing the connection between stricter English gun laws and higher rates of crime. But at the very least, I have tried to demonstrate that the history of English gun control does not support the commonly made claim that English crime rates were (formerly) lower in England because of stricter gun controls. The rise in English crime has coincided with the growth of governmental intrusiveness where firearms are concerned. The history is entirely consistent with the findings of Lott and Kleck: that disarming honest citizens produces more crime, not less.

What's more, the English experience provides a concrete example of American gun owners' worst fear: A patient political establishment steadily whittling firearms rights away over a period of decades through means both open and covert as circumstances permitted, in order to bring the citizenry under more complete political control. These are lessons worth bearing in mind whenever the English experience is brought up as part of the American gun-control debate.

Wooly said...


Oh alright, I'll keep it simple:

Most governments, kill almost exclusively people that are completely insignificant and mostly likely even a threat to it's citizens. If they do at all.

Our fellow citizens, like neighbors, colleagues, friends, opposing football club fans, etc. are much more likely to kill each other (and yourself) for whatever retarded reason.

But... in the unlikely event that your government suddenly decides to suppress it's citizens, it could be nice to have some guns around. If you're a good shot you might even scratch a tank, an apache, or maybe even a Flightdeck ship. Good luck.

No, I'm sorry, your remark is not conveniently skipped. It's just a bit too easy. You even use the word "probably", so you don't even know it for sure yourself. The government of my country doesn't even dare to kill anything, even if the whole country screams it's deserved. It's almost pathetic sometimes. If you want the real chart topping mass murderer of all times btw, you might take a look at religion, God. But I'm getting a but off topic with that.

So in short: governments might be dangerous, but giving all the people guns just adds to the danger.. and a whole fucking lot too.. If only because it's just gun nuts that buy 'm anyway..

Nils said...

I'm against M&S owning guns. If I'd have to make up a gun control law, it would be a $5000/year "gun tax". Those who are able to pay it are able to decide when to use and when not.

I have been deleted .. incredible, so i will repeat my question and add a little bit so you can understand it better:

"Have you ever heard about inheritance?"

I ask, because you claim that people who are able to pay $5000 the month are no morons. But most people in our world, who are rich, were born rich, because of inheritance.

Yeshua said...

@ danieliankov:

So because our government has tanks at their disposal we should just give up on ever resisting them should they breach the public's trust and start a totalitarian regime? I think not. In fact, your response to protesters is exactly why we need to be armed in the first place. Perhaps YOU should read our constitution where it reads that if our government stops representing the interests of the people it is our duty to remove it and instate another. It is a right in the United States to stand against your government should it break its social contract--it's a revolutionary idea that, thankfully, we haven't had to exercise. I been around guns my entire life and have been taught how to use one safely and in what situations; every gun owner I've ever known has had a similar upbringing. I don't understand why people think it's a Mad Max Post-Apocalyptic world down here. Gun-related violence isn't exactly commonplace and isn't really much of an issue outside of urban areas (even there it isn't like you have to constantly duck behind cover). It isn't going to change anytime soon and I'm thankful for that.

Vick said...

You say that a moron with a gun in the US kills half a dozen people before police gun him down.

This is true in liberal areas of the US or areas where guns aren't normally allowed (Universities particularly).

It is far more rare for this to occur in areas where the population is truly armed. I grew up on one of the counties that had the highest gun license and concealed carry license to person ratio, and the only type of 'mass killing' that occurred involved some guy driving his truck into a restaurant - then getting out and dispatching wounded with a firearm (this was MANY MANY years ago, nothing compared to the shootings that happen/have happened here in LA where gun and carry licenses are 'may issue').

In fact, vehicular manslaughter was the prime choice for killing where I grew up (and everybody had and knew how to shoot). Cheat on your wife? She could shoot you... but odds are she'd just run you down with her SUV.

Don't take guns away from the idiots, take their cars away.

The social dynamics are different in Europe and the US. While Britain and the US are similar, Europe as a whole has only VERY recently ended peacetime conscription. I would have been up for military conscription in nearly every European country (France was one of the first to get rid of it and I would have barely still been in). I think the social impact of this will be far greater than any can predict, and the effects won't be felt for a few generations. Here in the US, the right to capably protect your family from armed invaders (legal or otherwise) is one we take seriously. And the access to illegal arms is easier with our Mexican border than it is in, say, France. So in the US, criminals WILL be armed sociopaths and crazies alike.

Anonymous said...

I'm fine with everyone being able to own a gun.

I am very comfortable in the knowledge that anyone trying to invade the USA would have to wade through hundreds of thousands of militia. I don't even own a gun, but just knowing that makes me sleep better at night, even if there is a chance I could be killed tomorrow by some crazed ex-coworker.

Anonymous said...

Regarding: "Only successful people should get to own guns".

This... is a horrible idea. A common trend among very successful people is psychopathy and or sociopath...In fact, there are a higher % of psychopaths among the successful then the have nots.

A large part (it not all )of the reason for this is it is easier to become successful when you don't have a conscience and thus you don't care who you hurt or walk on on you way to the top.

So basically... Gevlon is saying it is better to get guns to psychopaths then it is to give guns to poor people.

Another prime example of Gevlon putting his foot in his mouth.... of course, it isnt' surprising because, based on his posts, Gevlon is very likely clinically psychopathic himself.

Note: Psychopathic doesn't mean you are a crazy man killer... it means you lack a conscience and you don't understand basic social and moral values.

Inquisitor said...

What's the point in taking retribution on the 9/10 guildies of the guy who was moronic with a gun?

The money you get from them is insignificant (it will never outweigh the cost of running the scheme, and pushing it through the courts), and the chances of getting two morons *who would actually hurt people through their actions* in the same group of 10 is still astronomically small, so you're unlikely to prevent a future death by removing them.

Revenge doesn't benefit you, so that's out as a benefit.

The only thing to hope for is the deterrant effect. Thing is, stupid people are bad at logic, and they're going to think 'Well, I'm not a moron, so I'll never do anything stupid, so I'm fine - and these guys are like me, so they're all fine, too'. Even worse, you get social pressure to join these things to make up the numbers, so maybe half your 'gun club' is only there because their husband/brother/etc wanted a gun.

People are relatively blind to the unlikely but disastrous consequences of something they want to do - so it's a poor deterrant.

The rest of what you say has some merit - but that idea? It'd never fly.

Anonymous said...

"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."
--Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824.

"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."
--Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. ME 9:341

"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the Body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind . . . Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks."
--Thomas Jefferson, Letter to his nephew Peter Carr, August 19, 1785.

"No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms (within his own lands or tenements)."
--Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution with (his note added), 1776. Papers, 1:353

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
--Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and Punishment (1764).

Thunderhorns said...

There are other factors than you state. I'll cover them briefly.

Outlawing guns would reduce gun violence, that I do not dispute. It is true and will almost always be true.

But you do the following if you outlaw guns:

1. Turn the gun into a symbol of fear useable by both criminal and the government, whereas citizens with guns are more comfortable and likely to understand that they are tool like any other tool.

2. You remove knowledge of guns from your citizenry. How to use them, how to make them, how to service them, and what their purposes are for such as hunting and self-defense. Removing knowledge and skills from your population must be done carefully.

3. You teach your citizenry that they are incapable of responsible gun ownership. You punish the masses for the actions of the few in the interest of safety and security over freedom and happiness. Some people truly do enjoy guns as a hobby and you remove that hobby from them.

I don't think any group of citizens should be punished. If we have to take more gun deaths because of it, then so be it. Let us find other methods for cutting gun deaths than total removal like Switzerland.

4. I also think having high immigration and a large minority with a violent culture affects the number of gun deaths. European nations are much more homogenous ethnically than America and have historically lower immigration.

But even they are seeing a rise in violence as they increase immigration. Nature of the beast when it comes to immigration, especially if you get large numbers of immigrants from war torn third world nations.

I don't gun control in America. It would be like taking away cars to reduce the number of car fatalities. Reponsible and free citizens should be able to own guns and have knowledge of guns. It is part of being a free nation and a free citizen.

Due to America's strong desire to continue to exercise this freedom, we will have to find other means to cut down on gun violence than a complete ban. The only people who support a complete ban are those that do not understand what a gun ban means in terms of what is removed from society. They think it is only the gun itself, rather than understanding that it removes an entire body of knowledge and skills from the general citizens that is a part of our history.

We are a nation that was built because people were able to revolt using guns they owned personally. We are also a nation that was oriented towards individualism and rugged life, we hunted on our own and used the gun as a tool for survival and defense as well as revolt.

Removing the guns from America would take away a large part of our history and disempower us as citizens. And it would all be based on the actions of a small minority of people. Punishing the mass of responsible gun owning citizens for a small group should never be how it is for any reason, gun ownership or otherwise.

So no, I don't support a gun ban. Maybe we could enact greater controls, but the gun is large part of the fabric of American history and responsible and free citizens should always be able to own them.

We are the government. We should know better than to disarm ourselves for the responsible actions a minority. I don't support gun bans and never will.

Denhouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hugues said...

I follow your blog regularly, even if I no longer play wow, for the many incredibly interesting posts on human nature that you never fail to keep posting. This is one is right at the top! You have a compelling argument for gun control, and in a similar way, for the idea of government monopoly of violence.

I will not respond to the first half of your post where you develop your argument, since I accept it completely. However I would like to go back on the first of your proposed solutions of gun control.

Giving gun to successful people increases their perceived relative social status as seen from the perspective of the M&S. To me, the smart Goblin will always try to minimize this quantity for one simple reason, which is also the reason why some "leftist" ideas are absolutely essential to the smooth running of society.

While absolute equality is an abhorrent idea to all Goblins, and most certainly to most M&S as well, the societal conditions in which the Goblin can maximize his success rely heavily on a homogeneous society.

The first reason is that a homogeneous society is more likely lessen the jealousy and the attention received by the Goblins, leaving to them the ability to do what they want without public scrutiny or interference. Giving successful people guns would do just that, and by increasing the visibility of Goblins it would cause them unnecessary problems.

The second reason is that a homogeneous society has the potential to produce more Goblins than an unequal one, and this is a good thing for Goblins (I will explain why lower down). Think about it this way: if someone with the potential to be a Goblin is born to M&S parents, and biologically as well as societally this is highly probable, in an unequal society he will face two types of challenges. The first is that he needs to become aware of his potential, and this might be a lost fight if his environment is a sordid, crime ridden suburb. The second challenge, is that the less homogeneous the society is, the higher the resistance a Goblin gets when trying to overtake the M&S of the higher classes. This is caused because M&S born of higher classes use their high initial position of power to lock away potential avenues for success away from potential Goblins.

Now the reasons why more Goblins make a better world for Goblins are many. The main one as I see it, is that a society containing many Goblins will better be able to adapt to changing environmental circumstances (from both outside and inside society), thus preserving the potential for future success of all Goblins.

Another very important reasons is the fact that two Goblins exploring the boundaries of science or knowledge will fare better in a team of through competition than a lone Goblin. It is rather simply proven: if you are alone, you are limited by your own capacities and the idea that you are already at the peak of success. If your are not, the peak is never reached thanks to competition, and the capacities at your disposal are more in quantity ( just like it would take more time for a lone processor to do a task than for two processors to share it)

Obviously, the more competition there is, the faster society can adapt to change. That is because opportunity for profit and success come by exploiting knowledge of the change and coming up with a successful way to adapt to it in order to be able to provide a valuable service to those who are slower than you, so that the more Goblins there are, the fiercer the race to uncover these avenues for success becomes.

So, to come back to gun control, giving guns to morons is obviously a bad idea, since it could very probably backfire and hurt you. But giving them to successful people is an equally bad idea because diminishes the homogeneity of society, and according to my argument, in turn diminishes the potentiality for the success of the Goblin.

marconi said...

amerifags are fags.

Je suis La Vie said...

Hello there.
Good article. Do mind my translating it into Ukrainian with its further reposting in my blogspot?