When debating guns, it seems impossible to not hear the saying, "Guns don't kill people." If you toss out a statistic about gun deaths, you will hear this retort.
I'm a gun owner. I own them simply because I come from a law enforcement family. I don't have any interest in them at all. Grew up around them. You point, they go bang. But that's not all that guns do, now is it?
Guns give people a sense of power. A command over many. They make men make rash decisions. They embolden people to do things out of arrogance and self-righteousness. If you were walking by a group of three young men whom were clearly out looking for a fight in a downtown area, you might decide to cross the street if you were unarmed. If you were armed, you might say,"Fuck it, I have a right to be here." and take on that path of resistance. A notable example of this being caught on video is the DC detective taking on a crowd for throwing snowballs. He drew his service weapon rather than walking or driving away. Link
There are other things that give people a sense of power and cause them to act as if human life doesn't matter. Cars. How many cases of road rage could we find? Cars are another thing that emboldens people to do stupid things. I had a guy attempt to run me down once while on a motorcycle. I waved him into a parking lot, got off the bike and he disappeared. As soon as I went to get back onto the road, he came at me. Being on a sport bike he had no chance and I was gone. But without a weapon, he wanted nothing to do with me. (Sremmed from him wanting me to pull out into the intersection that was blocked. Bad idea in the US, especially on a bike.) but you know what is rare... Murder in the first and second degree in cars. Killing someone in another car with the first car is difficult. We don't have enough interaction with pedestrians to get that provoked. Guns, however, allow that personal interaction along with the quick and easy solution that will give you that sense of power we have grown to love.
You can say that guns don't kill people because they are inanimate objects and be factually correct. What you ignore is that in a culture like ours where violence is regarded as being manly. Where winning a fight will get you patted on the back for years. Where people crave power over others from sports as a kid to watching movies and fantasizing yourself in the shoes of the successful violent character (Batman, Rambo, Kick Ass). Guns provide that sense of ability to easily win the fight and deliver justice when we feel wronged rather than letting the emotion settle. Gun ownership is the leading cause of homocide, 2 to 1. Nothing else compares.
We have a right to guns in the US. I don't deny that. But denying the reality that without guns we would not have nearly the same number of murders is denying reality. Without guns, people would take that extra second to think rather than simply react. There are anecdotal cases where the right gun owner wins and yeah, let's write that down. But don't forget that each year, there are 10,000 other cases where the outcome didn't have to be what it is. Guns cause people to act in ways that they wouldn't normally act. This is why I reject the claim that "Guns Don't Kill People".
I own guns, and at one time had quite a few (I collected). Used to love going to the outdoor range. Didn’t hunt though, just liked shooting. I agree though, without guns, there would be less murder. Now some might argue that people would just stab, or club each other. Not really though. Stabbing is very personal, and requires close quarters. Besides, how many drive-by stabbings have you heard of, or accidental stabbings?
Like you, I had a gun pulled on me by another motorist, or I should say by his passenger.
And yes, I also think the “Guns Don’t Kill People…….” retort is rather silly and simplistic.
Alan, maybe a bit OT, but as a gun owner myself (one who doesn't hunt), I'd be curious to know whether you still own any guns and what it was that deflated your interest in collecting and going to the range to shoot. Guns kill people, of course--that goes without saying. It's sophistry to argue otherwise.
Don, I’m 60 now, and that was over thirty years ago. At the time, I was having financial problems, and sold everything. Back then I had lived in Kentucky all my life, and had a number of friends that joined me on shooting jaunts. Now things are different, I live in another state, and just never got back into it. I still own guns, but I don’t collect them anymore.
I fully agree with your viewpoint. Coming from a country with strict gun laws and virtually no guns in the streets we simply don't have nowhere near as many fatal crimes involving guns as in the US.
What would the outcome of the Revolutionary War have been for the unarmed colonists?
So gun owners are revolutionaries?
Some fantasize about the next revolution. A little like some bloke in Oslo, but not quite that extreme.
In this group, the "A" stands for "atheist" - not "anarchist".
The genesis of this discussion came from the Terror in Oslo blog. Arcus noted that the cops don't carry side arms. There was shock at this to which he noted that only 3 officers have been killed by gunfire since 1945. I noted that 40 -60 a year die here due to gunfire. The immediate retort was, "Guns don't kill people." Rather than derailing the thread, I started this new one to fully explain why I don't agree with the statement. It's all about the statement and not about taking away anyone's rights or even advocating that.
Norway population : 5 million
United States Population: 300 million
You would think that a population of an entire country that is almost half of that of one of our Cities (New York City http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City ) would be much easier to control education , welfare , and other government policies that reform and educate even those in the worst slums of Norway.
Here is another interesting statistic. Suicide rates per 100,000 people per year. Norway is above us ...
This means that people will commit suicide whether they have guns or not. So , in my opinion , this suicide argument can safely be taken away.
What is left is police officer deaths? Children playing with firearms? Educate the children on how to deal with firearms and educate the parents on how to keep them away from the children.
Police officer deaths? Let's do a comparison between countries and the most common social illnesses like suicide rates , teen pregnancies , welfare , education levels , poverty levels , crime rates (with and without firearms) , etc