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".
It is exactly that point you made, Gaytor, that most people don't get. Having a firearm on your person changes your psyche and greatly increases the chances of conflict escalation. I quit carrying because of this. I feel safer with my guns locked away at home than I do with one in my holster.
There have been three, seperate accidental shootings in eight days here in St. Louis where two 3 year olds and a 5 year old were killed. The NRA fantasy of armed bandits invading homes in the dead of night is a poor excuse to put children at such risk.
I'm happy to say that I have never had a gun pulled on me. I hope to continue with that trend. And, no, I wouldn't automatically wish I had my own gun if I were staring down a barrel.
“But denying the reality that without guns we would not have nearly the same number of murders is denying reality.”
You speak of “reality,” but we can’t judge the reality of a modern world without guns as that is only a hypothetical. The only statistics we have to look at are all compared to guns. To support your “reality,” we’d need to assess the numbers in a world without guns. I think it would be equally as realistic to assume that in the absence of guns, people would find a new weapon of choice, one that feels equally as empowering and one they would be equally as willing to use. You actually seem support this notion with your road rage story.
So, that would bring us back to the argument that it’s not the weapon itself (as empowering as it may be), but the person using it that’s the real issue.
Enlighten me: What is the level of gun violence in Texas vs Minnesota, and are the gun laws identical? How about Scandinavia and the US?
Could it be that more people get killed by guns if more people have guns?
That may be your experience, in which case I applaud your decision not to carry. It is not my experience, nor that of many others.
Then why would you carry at all? Is it because you think it is stylish? You think it makes you look cool? Or do you say it is for self-defense? If the latter, then you do get a sense of empowerment or else you would not carry it for self defense.
But, I see you took your ball and went home crying.
Michael Z. Williamson decided to leave Think Atheist. Michael Z. Williamson included this message:
"Self-righteousness, bias, smug hypocrisy. I expected better."
Usually how one responds when exposed to cognitive dissonance..
I have no issue with guns. I do, however, have a major issue with gunowners.
My dad has always been a gunowner. Specifically a shotgun which he found when he was young. It lies in pieces in the safe in our house in case we want to shoot some feral or sick animal. I've been in the military and shot more guns and bullets than the average gunowner. Most people who have actually done so, and don't need to borrow fake courage from a weapon, have no wish to carry one. I still love firing a .5 cal Desert Eagle at a range, and the feeling of seconding an 88mm RFK is orgasmic, but it should be illegal to lug such things home.
Guns never solve any problem, it only escalates them. Death by small arms fire correlate heavily with small arms ownership rate, and most people killed by small arms are innocent. (Please don't force me to source those statements, it's a wasted 5 minutes for something you are capable of doing yourself.)
I have a concealed weapons permit and own two pistols, a shoot gun, and a 30.06 rifle. Since Nam I have never shot at anyone. I do hunt. A few years ago there was a group of crazies that invaded homes, a couple of homes were within blocks of my home.
I do not carry unless the situation calls for it, mainly on hunting trips.
I also stay out of biker and cowboy bars (hell bars in general) and I find that there is no reason to be armed 99% of the time.
I also know how to handle guns and shoot so I can hit what I aim at.
Gun ownership and a bad marriage seem to be the the leading cause of homicide based on what I read in the papers.