Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Shot [update 2]

My sympathies to those whose friends and relatives died or were injured in the cinema shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

Turns out there was another shooting in Aurora back in April that we never heard about. Why? Because someone with a gun stopped it.

CBS DENVER (22 April): Police said two vehicles ended up in the church parking lot after some sort of argument between the drivers. Police said one vehicle was chasing the other. The man who was being chased got out of his vehicle and entered the church and told people to take cover. A woman came out of the church to see what was happening in the parking lot and got shot.
    Police said an off-duty officer was at a service and went outside and shot the man who shot the woman.
    “We do have two people shot,” Frank Fania with Aurora police said. “An off-duty officer was in the congregation and was involved in the shooting, but he is okay.”

How tragic the more recent shooter couldn’t have been ended the same way.

Now, you might object it’s too early to have this discussion. And yes, you’re right, it is. But the discussion has already been started by those opposed to the right to self defence. Writing at Forbes, Adam Ozimek observes:

First, as someone who is generally pro gun rights, it’s not my first instinct to write anything in the wake of tragedies involving firearms, but rather remain respectfully silent. But I also understand the motivation of those who want stricter gun laws to take this time to discuss policy. And we cannot both discuss gun laws and also insist on silence from everyone on one side of the discussion.
    One question to ask is, in the presence of stronger gun laws what would the shooter have done? The IEDs and explosives that filled his apartment suggest that strong illegality wouldn’t have stopped him, as explosives like this are obviously very illegal. This also tells us that even if all guns were
somehow kept out of his hands he would still have had extremely dangerous killing tools at his disposal. But realistically I am skeptical that laws could keep guns out of the hands of those determined to get them.

Pass as many laws as you like, but shooters are criminals—who by definition don’t respect laws.

So laws against guns don’t stop criminals. But they do disarm everyone else.

PS: Coloradans Ari Armstrong and his father Linn offer tips on how can you might safely respond  if you’re ever unlucky enough to find yourself in a mass-shooting incident—and can keep a sufficiently cool head.

[Hat tips Ezra Levant, Whale Oil and Geek Press]

UPDATE 1:  Yes, there’s a reason you rarely hear about it when a law-abiding gun owner is the hero. Not because it rarely happens, but because the mainstream media rarely if ever reports it. [Hat tip Julian P.]

Meanwhile, back in Switzerland…


UPDATE 2: Blaming tragedies like the ‘Batman’ cinema shootings on the availability of guns is plain wrong. Gun-control laws don’t stop massacres says Kevin Yuill at Spiked Online.

Whenever a senseless mass killing occurs – like the shootings in Colorado last weekend – pundits seem determined to make sense of it. A plethora of causes and hobbyhorses are wheeled out, closely following the ambulances that attended the harrowing scene. Precisely because the event is senseless, anyone can speculate on the causes. Some have branded the Colorado massacre a product of a sick society. Cultural explanations abound, too. One Congressman has pinned the blame on long-term national cultural decline. But most fingers were pointed at America’s ‘gun-crazy’ culture….British commentators, removed from the immediacy of the tragedy [were no exception]...
    But this reaction is wrongheaded. First, crime rate and the availability of weapons are not correlated in any meaningful way. It is true that firearms-related homicides are much higher in the United States compared with Britain, the country with the most onerous gun controls in Europe. The US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world – an average of 88 per 100 people. That puts it first in the world for gun ownership. But Mexico has a much higher murder rate than the US, yet rates only twenty-eighth in the world for firearms deaths. Places like St Kitts in the Caribbean have a gun-homicide rate 10 times that of the US.
    Moreover, Colorado has half the murder rate of Illinois, as adjusted for population. Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and New Hampshire, all full of guns, have far lower murder rates than gun-control states like New York, California and Illinois. The possession of guns simply does not correlate with the number of murders.
    But we must also question whether any laws could possibly prevent such massacres. Colorado governor John Hickenlooper made the point that any individual as determined as James Holmes would be able to circumvent whatever laws or checks that were implemented. There was nothing in the 24-year-old’s past that would have alerted anyone looking for a potential maniac (though, of course, tales of ‘creepy’ phone messages soon made the news). As John McCain pointed out last year, Anders Breivik managed to kill 77 people in Norway, a country with far stricter gun controls than the US.
    What almost [none of the British commentators] has mentioned – a particularly curious absence within those hectoring British commentaries so anxious to enlighten the colonies – was the deadly shootings at Whitehaven in the UK in 2010. Why have there been no comparisons between
Derrick Bird’s atrocity in 2010, which also killed 12 people, and the massacre in Aurora? Perhaps it is because the Whitehaven shootings show that Britain’s draconian laws were absolutely worthless in preventing massacres.
    And that is certainly off-message among most of the liberal elite.


  1. I could understand some insular American redneck believing this nonsense but there is no excuse for someone from NZ, a country with common sense gun regulations and a society that doesn't have to worry about gun nuts.

  2. Richard McGrath24 Jul 2012, 20:03:00

    Ross, what "nonsense" do you dispute in the article? That gun laws disarm law-abiding citizens? That people have a right to defend themselves against "gun nuts" with an appropriate level of force? Pray tell.

  3. Richard McGrath24 Jul 2012, 20:13:00

    And Ross, do you reckon "society" was worried about "gun nut" David Gray? You remember: the one who killed 13 people at Aramoana and was stopped by a man - with a gun. Oh, and the "gun nut" who killed most of David Bain's rellies? Those common sense gun regulations sure do keep people safe from gun nuts.

  4. Richard, to find your 2 examples of shootings in NZ you had to go back 22 years. Do you know how many people have been killed by guns in America in the last 22 years? Look it up it will give you a new appreciation for NZ's gun laws.

    Also in most US cities David Bain's rampage would barely make the news. Things are that fucked up over there

  5. This is one area where 'libz' dogma really comes a cropper, while it is true that criminals tend to ignore laws regarding guns, one cannot ignore the difference in statistics on deaths caused by guns in the UK vs the USA (for instance). People who have guns, tend to shoot other people more often, it's not that hard to understand, is it?


    Are you going to tell me this is a liberal plot to undermine gun freedom?

  6. The correlation is pretty weak there. If you look at the link you provided, countries like Finland and Switzerland have 2/3 the gun related deaths of the USA, and they are hardly well-known redneck hangouts. It would also be useful to plot the gun death stats against total violent death stats and observe whether the non-gun related deaths are also that much higher than comparable countries.

    A single set of un-analysed statistics can't fully support a complex argument like this.

  7. @cheesefunnel if you're going to look at statistics you should break it down by state as well as they all have different laws.
    Even then the reason for differences aren't obvious e.g. both Arizona & Vermont have unrestricted right to carry but Vermont has a homicide rate by gun well below Arizona:

    But as TWR said the use of statistics problematic e.g. does the link you refer to include suicides? If so, should this be of any relevance to the argument?

    And should the statistical argument carry more weight than the constitutional argument?

  8. Richard McGrath25 Jul 2012, 12:17:00

    Ross, I think you also have to appreciate that there are societal differences between people of different countries. But if you look at one country, for example the USA, as John Lott did county by county (all 3054 of them), one finds that with liberalisation of gun laws comes a reduction in violent crime. At first glance that would seem counter to expectations, but that's what Lott found in every case without exception.

    In jurisdictions like Kennesaw, Georgia, where it was declared mandatory for each household to have a firearm (which btw Libz would oppose), rates of violent crime fell to extremely low levels.

    I'm not sure why you believe Libz 'dogma' has 'come a cropper' - unless you believe people don't have the right to defend themselves against physical attack.

  9. Switzerland and Israel both have high rates of gun ownership but don't seem to have deranged lunatics running around killing innocent people. Just a thought cheesefunnel. Also as the popoulation of the USA is close to a 100x that of NZ you would expect these instances of mass murder would be less frequent in NZ hence the 22 years back to David Gray.

  10. Richard, N.Z learnt from the David Gray massacre by introducing new gun ownership laws – which to be fair have worked. By enlarge N.Z Gun owners are sportsmen who enjoy the outdoors. In the U.S the great majority of owners are carrying out of paranoia, threat of other owners or the intent to harm others. The U.S never learns from these all too regular mass murders. There is no need to allow someone to possess an armoury of weapons designed to kill humans and not animals. The U.S reaps what they sow.

  11. I feel this example shoots the anti-gun whingers down in flames. The fact no-one else in that theatre had a gun is deplorable.


  12. @capzapa: If we take, for instance, Switzerland, what do you think the difference is then?

    BTW, I don't support banning everything, but I don't think every situation can be reduced to an argument about freedom if one expects usable answers to emerge.

  13. Note that the 'War on Drugs' has been going on in America. Note the word 'War'.

    The murder rate almost doubled when the last 'War on a Substance' was attempted:




  14. @ cheesefunnel I have no idea what the difference is I was merely pointing out that your statement about rates of gun ownership and gun related deaths isn't in all cases true. Widespread gun ownership may stop lunatics from pulling out a gun because they know they will be turned into a sieve by thier intended "victims" before they can shoot anyone. Most random mass shooting in the USA happen where guns are supposedly banned e.g schools and universities.

  15. "Widespread gun ownership may stop lunatics from pulling out a gun because they know they will be turned into a sieve by thier intended "victims" before they can shoot anyone. Most random mass shooting in the USA happen where guns are supposedly banned e.g schools and universities."

    Yeah, whatever. You guys have this almost sexual fantasy of a world were everyone, including children, is packing heat resulting, through the magical application of sweet, sweet freedom in a decrease in shootings. This comes from your need to adjust reality for ideological reasons. Even Marxists are more logical.

  16. The Libz stance on this matter is just inspirational. Everyone gets to carry around a gun as they go about their everyday lives.

    However, if people have the freedom to own assault rifles, handguns won't offer much peace of mind. Therefore everyone will need to be carrying around an M16 as they take their kids to soccer practice, go to the cafe etc. Awesome! Can't fault a utopian society like that.

  17. I'd just pay someone else to carry an M16 around for me. I like to keep my hands free. Couple it with stand your ground laws and no one will dare look at me sideways. How sweet will that be! Thanks freedom!

  18. A bloke goes to his psychiatrists spouting on about dark thoughts of mass murder. A gun company freely sells a loner who espouses freely a desire to perpetrate mass murder a magazine that has only one prime use – that being killing humans enmasse. Said loner can accumulate an arsenal of weapons with no reasonable reason. This is not normal in my world. Americans seem to possess guns to protect themselves from other Americans who have guns.

  19. Not very funny Paul.

    Try these ones.

    A bloke goes to his psychiatrist wearing only clingfilm for shorts. The shrink says, "Well, I can clearly see you're nuts."

    A bloke goes to his psychiatrist "Doc, I keep having these alternating recurring dreams. First I'm a teepee; then I'm a wigwam; then I'm a teepee; then I'm a wigwam. It's driving me crazy. What's wrong with me? "
    The doctor replies: "It's very simple. You're two tents."

    The psychiatrist's secretary walks into his study.
    "Mr. Black is in the waiting room asking to see you again," she says. "This time he claims he's invisible."
    "Oh, really?" the psychiatrist responds, "Well, tell him I can't see him."

  20. Richard McGrath27 Jul 2012, 12:09:00

    @Larry & @Spinoza:

    You both seem to have failed to grasp some important points about the libertarian stance on self-defence.

    The emphasis is on being legally allowed to own firearms, carry concealed weapons, etc. People don't have to carry guns, they just have to be allowed to carry them, for would-be mass murderers to think twice about opening fire on innocent others.

    Reading your comments about everyone everywhere carrying firearms and a vision of "libertarian Utopia" suggests a couple of frustrated statists angrily lashing out because they know they can't refute the arguments in favour of liberal firearms laws.

    Come on guys, surely you can do better than that.

  21. Richard McGrath27 Jul 2012, 12:17:00

    @Paul Goodsort

    Nobody likes the thought of homicidal mentally unstable people having access to firearms.

    In your scenario, knowing the American penchant for litigation, do you think the psychiatrist is likely to sit on his hands having been told by your hypothetical subject of his murderous intentions?

    Your suggestions that Americans purchase firearms to protect themselves from other Americans with guns is likely true in many cases. Those "other Americans" include legally sane criminals - rapists, home invaders, muggers, and murderers.

    All in all, there is an amazingly small number of mass shootings by mentally unstable Americans, considering there is upward of 300 million firearms privately owned in the U.S.

    And we hear very little from the MSM on the attempted mass shootings that are snuffed out at birth by a potential victim being armed and acting successfully in self-defence.

  22. "Nobody likes the thought of homicidal mentally unstable people having access to firearms."

    But that's the libertopian dream. Anything else is a statist nightmare where the government comes to your house the in middle of the night to take your AK47.

    "People don't have to carry guns, they just have to be allowed to carry them, for would-be mass murderers to think twice about opening fire on innocent others."

    Mass murderers don't think. That's the problem with letting them have guns. Come on guy, surely you can do better than that.

    What you're actual argument is is that mass killers will be gunned down by Ranbo before they really get into it. That may or may not be a reasonable position, but it suggests an awful lot of people wandering around carrying weapons and the likelihood of a spectacular increase in accidental shootings. That sort of thing never bothers you guys though. Needlessly dying is just the price you - or someone else more likely - has to pay to be free.

  23. Globally NZ Crime rate is ‘up there’ but fortunately we don’t have the same ‘pit bull gene’ that exists in the U.S citizens that sees so many of them spinning-out. Plus we vet owners and only permit hunting guns. This is a societal issue in the U.S. That’s why we have humorous progammes on Sky like ‘Preppers’ on our telly to laugh at. American is the land of the paranoid. Giving paranoid people access to guns that serve no other purpose but to kill other people is ludicrous. BTW Richard the latest psycho confessed his desire to perpetrate his massacre in writing!

  24. Obviously anyone who thinks assault rifles shouldn't be made available to the general public is a 'statist' who hates freedom.

    It seems whenever reality contradicts the libz viewpoint they just ignore it and talk about some hypothetical society where more assault rifles mean less shootings.


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