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".  

Tags: Guns, murder, politics, violence

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Arcus, making here what seem to you to be "logical" assertions is simply not persuasive enough.  Others may have good reason to take issue with your supposed logic--and then where are you?

You're left with the need to substantiate and support your claims with a little investigation.  If there is a causal correlation between gun ownership and rates of suicide, there are no doubt many studies that have come to such a finding.  The job of the one making a dubious (or maybe not so dubious) claim is to back it up convincingly--with evidence, not with appeals to "logic."

By the way, rates of suicide in the Nordic countries are not high at all.  In fact, suicide rates are highest in some of the Baltic states, like Lithuania, and in several of the old Asian nations that were once part of the USSR.

I'm sorry, if that logic isn't immediately obvious without sourcing. If you don't believe the facts below we are not on the same wavelength.

Let's make an hypothesis:

Fact: There is a finite number of ways of committing suicide.

Assumption: Let's say it is limited by the suicide taker's human imagination to n, where n is a number between 1 and n, and n is a finite number

Fact: If a gun is introduced into a non-gun environment, it increased the number of conceivable ways of committing suicide by one way.

Assumption: With a gun that is increased to n+1 ways of committing suicide.

Fact: There are two types of suicide - attempts which work and attempts which don't work. You can't somewhat succeed in killing yourself. 

Fact: A gun is a more effective way than most of the other common ways of doing it, the failure rate of the method is lower.  A gunshot wound through skull is usually fatal, slashed wrists or a failed hanging is survivable.

Fact: Most suicide attempts, even some intentional, are unsuccessful. The number of people who have tried suicide is higher than the number of people who have successfully tried suicide. If it were a disease, it would be like terminal cancer.

Assumption: Adding one more way, which is in addition a more effective method, would therefore increase the number of successful suicide attempts.

Unsourced leap of logic: I think I would find that there is a connection between gun ownership rate and suicide by gun rate. If you own a gun and contemplate suicide it is more likely you will shoot yourself than if you don't own a gun.

Conclusion: Some of what would have been suicide attempts had guns not been widely available will be successful suicides given wide availability of guns. In addition, gunowners are more likely to commit suicide using their own weapon.


Same argument goes for accidental shootings. The fatal accident rate of knife stabbings vs number of accidental knife stabbings must be lower than the gun equivalent. Professional crossbows doesn't make much sense either.

Same argument even goes for intentional shootings. Less burglars get stabbed to death then gets shot. Guns make murder easier because it provides a fairly clean murder at a distance. It's more difficult to kill anyone with a baton, but it serves much the same purpose. As does a knife.


Presumably a gun is to protect oneself if one hear noises downstairs at night when the kids are asleep. That's the nightmare scenario driving the angst.

However, if night comes and the burglar sees ones own gun first, would one be more or less likely to be shot than if one simply try to escape unarmed or just plead for ones life? Imagine having a gun under your own pillow, which choice would you make?

Arcus, I have a hard time understanding why you'd make such a weak and blathering effort to reiterate your unsubstantiated notions, as you have done here, and not simply research the issue and cite some hard and fast evidence.  That's how you learn, how you advance an argument, and how you persuade others--which, it seems clear, is your objective.  I suspect that in an hour's time you'd find a great deal or relevant, well researched and supported information.

I don't have an hour to spend to source obvious arguments. Apparently, you don't have an hour to find a counter source either.

Here is one quick. From a cursory assessment, if I run a regression analysis and clean the statistical background data for bias, I'm pretty sure I could find a statistically significant positive correlation between household gun ownership rate and firearm homicide/total homicide rate with an R2 probably in the region of 40-60%.

But I don't see why I absolutely need to fire up SPSS and spend several hours when it's pretty obvious from the first cursory look that there is a correlation to provide evidence for my hypothesis.

You can continue to provide the outlier analysis. :)

Arcus, you're the one trying to make the argument.  You're the one asserting the claim.   So, clearly, the burden of proof is on you to persuade others.  You haven't even begun to do that. 

You write, "I'm pretty sure I could find a statistically significant positive correlation between household gun ownership rate and firearm homicide/total homicide rate with an R2 probably in the region of 40-60%."  If you can find these results, then do it.  Listen, if you had been reading carefully you would realize that I am not disagreeing with you.  I don't feel compelled to find "a counter source."  I would instead expect you, a thoughtful person with a firm idea about guns and suicide, to show us why you're right.  Make the argument work.  It's simply lazy and disdainful to say only that you're "pretty sure" you could find a correlation between gun availability and suicide.  (Do keep in mind, by the way, that correlation is not causation.)    

But it seems that rather than actually learn something that might in fact confirm your unsupported ideas, you would prefer to spend your time here ineffectually spouting off.  That's getting you nowhere.  

My initial post was a disagreement based on logic. To be fair, I responded to your unproven statement that:

"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."

I disproved you using straight logic. Now you are pushing me for evidence towards your unproven opinion. However, the initial person to make an unfounded claim (you) is the one which is required to provide evidence.

As the kids say, show tits or gtfo. ;)

In the fact that it's based on supposition, not hard evidence.  Increasing the number of choices does not necessarily affect the outcome in any statistically significant way.


You called someone "dead wrong" and his statements "absolutely false"; was that pure rhetoric?  It's not a question of whether or not your assumptions seem reasonable; the overall outcome is untested.

Not all hypothesis' need scientific validation. It's possible to reach conclusions using Aristotlean logic and an open mind.

(You are presumably not a fan of Dubner or Taleb?)

This one does.  You have not adequately supported your position.  End of story.


Also: hypotheses

Aristotle is rolling over in his grave right now.... 

Presumably you mean Plato or Hume or Popper are rotating?

Get your philosophers right. ;)

your point stands , Kris.  It's quite simple really.  


Suicide method A. might be more effective than suicide method B.  , if we substitute A for 'gun' and B for 'overdosing' ... 


But , likewise , Suicide method A might not be an equal choice to method B ... meaning the higher effective method might not necessarily be chosen more frequently than the less effective method.  


Because suicide is many a times not something the person wishes to succeed in ... 


Arcus is using terrible psychology to prove a terrible logic and refutation of my point.  He thinks the effectiveness of a method is the only thing that matters ... but he's simply wrong.  


Religion Virus

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