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".
Let's assume the number of suicides are fixed and there is a ratio of successful to unsuccessful suicide attempts. Now add widespread availability of guns which have a near 100% effectiveness rate.
Question: Will it displace other forms of suicide with lower rate effectiveness, or would the number of successful suicide attempts remain the same? Likewise, will there be more or less successful suicides (or homicides/accidents) if gun access is restricted?
The number of successful suicide attempts would probably stay the same.
Would someone who wanted to commit suicide go out to buy a gun to blow their brains out?
Would someone with a gun choose the gun knowing the effectiveness is near 100%?
Both questions are very difficult to answer and it's not as simple as Effectiveness = Higher suicide success rate.
Instead of going on a tangent , you should realize that many people would choose not to use a gun because they KNOW it is almost idiot proof. Duh! That's the entire reason more guns won't automatically = more suicides. Suicide is many times a scream for help or the person trying to commit it isn't secure in their decision and make half attempts at it.
The probability is greater IF YOU DECIDE to use the gun. The decision to use any possible suicide method is NOT EQUAL when you consider the psychology behind suicide.
Also , if someone wishes to commit suicide and no guns are around ... you really think someone will just say 'oh fuck , there is no bullet to shoot through my brain , therefore I won't jump off a bridge or overdose'?
Wake up call , sir. Your arguments and refutations of my point is nowhere near coherent.
"That's the entire reason more guns won't automatically = more suicides."
All suicides are part screams for help and part wanting to end personal suffering. Therefore, introducing a gun will ensure that some of those who fall further into the scream for help category - a group which quite often survive with no more than wrist scars and having their stomachs pumped - will choose a gun and not survive.
Again, you logic is faulty and I would like to see evidence for your initial claim that guns are unrelated to prevalence of gun-related suicide because it doesn't make sense.
"All suicides are part screams for help and part wanting to end personal suffering."
This sweeping premise is mistaken, as even a little research into the mental states of suicide victims would prove. In order to draw justified conclusions from a given premise, that premise must first be established as firmly supported. If it isn't, then all the conclusions drawn from it are invalid.
It should be a no-brainer. Guns are designed to kill. And many of them are designed to kill people specifically. This is true regardless of where one stands on the debate over gun rights.
Guns are designed to kill, that's right. And handguns are designed and manufactured to provide the handguns' owners with the most efficient means to kill other people. Guns are for killing; handguns are for killing people.
We human beings are in many respects primitive social animals, governed in our behavior and convictions largely by superstition, fear, greed, yearning, and hatred. Our need and desire to own lethal, personal weapons to threaten or thwart other humans who would otherwise do us harm acknowledges our acceptance of our innately violent and fearful cast of mind.
I agree completely with you first paragraph. As I mentioned above, many guns are designed to kill people.
The second paragraph I'd say I somewhat agree with. What I see in the self defense fantasies of advocates of absolute gun rights is a certain hysterical fear that is calmed only by the perceived empowerment a gun gives them.
I think we agree, Reggie. But to me it seems that firearms aficionados and gun rights nuts have been smitten by a passionate admiration for the death-dealing power and efficiency of guns that runs too deep to be accounted for by fear. (There is a long history to man's supreme regard for the artistry of fletchers and swordsmiths and gun-makers.)
Although one could suppose that a single gun, or three, or five, would assuage whatever fears may underlie the gun lover's need for his guns, gun lovers--and there are many of them in this country--frequently own ten guns, or 20, or more--so many that they need to invest in expensive safes designed to store and protect their arsenals. And many of the guns they own never get shot. They mostly get fondled, as gun lovers will freely admit. They get ogled and caressed and photographed. They get oiled and polished and dressed in fancy custom stocks and holsters. The profound emotional attachment that gun lovers feel toward their guns is complex and fundamental to the human need for protection and empowerment, it's true, but there is also considerable, loving awe at work.
I think it's related to the fact that many Americans like big and loud. The guy whispering a long and though out conversation gets crowded out by those who yell simplistic opinion. The most read papers are the extremely opinionated WSJ and NYT, and to a much lesser degree the less biased WT. Two of the most watched news networks are the highly opinionated Fox News and MSNBC, though less biased CNN is also quite popular with around 50% of the market.
Nothing quite yells as loud as waiving a gun around. As an outsider, it seems to be the main reason. You are forced to listen to someone who holds a gun, and convincing someone of your correct opinion is much easier if the listener fears for his life.
"GET OFF MY LAWN!" is the US attitude to when a gun is legally acceptable to brandish. Combined with lax gun laws, no required training, and widespread religious indoctrination, it has proven itself to be a recipe for disaster.
I suspect you are on to something. There is more than fear involved. I'd bet that many simply enjoy the sense of empowerment they derive from owning/carrying firearms. Like the effects of a feel good drug.
Just visit a few of the gun owners' and collectors' Web sites, like The Firing Line and The High Road, and poke around there for ten minutes. You'll quickly see for yourself that the gun aficionados' obsessive passion for weapons runs far broader and deeper than the sense of empowerment they may gain simply from being armed.