Ask Popehat!

Politics & Current Events

We often get a lot of mail asking us rather… personal questions.  Rather than get do what Ken normally does with them (sign the emails up for naughty pictures), we've decided to do something more productive. Derrick, the handsomest Popehat contributor (granted, not a great accomplishment, but one takes what one can get), has volunteered to answer these questions as he feels appropriate.  And as a little bonus, he will use his awesome internet powers to procure a "guest columnist" to help him out. 

Welcome to the first edition of ASK POPEHAT!

Our special guest columnist today is Oregon Representative Dennis Richardson (R)

Dennis Richardson

 

Dear Popehat, 

The recent school shooting at Sandy Hook has shaken me deeply.  I haven't sleep or ate.  And I'm constantly in fear that something horrible will happen to the people I love.  I'm currently unmarried with no children.  My dog "Bitsy" is also clearly affected by this.  She's starting to lose all her hair and she isn't bothering to even touch her vegan meals anymore.  I want to discuss this with her but I'm not sure what's the best way to approach this.  I believe that children are our future and I want Bitsy to be a part of it, instead of letting this horrible tragedy drive her into despair.  How do I discuss such a horrible event with someone so innocent?

Tichondrius Jackson
Brooklyn, NY

PS: If you could help me with some tips in XCOM, that'd be great.  I can't seem to open any doors without my dude just charging in like an idiot. 

 

ASKPOPEHAT

TJ,

I've found that kids aren't stupid; word on the playground spreads quickly.  When we had our own discussion with our kid, "Cincinnatus", we found that she already knew the basics, "A crazy guy came into a school and shot it up."  So our discussion was more along the lines of what to do when the school is attacked by an armed assailant (hit the floor and play dead if you're on the playground, listen to the teacher otherwise, don't be a hero).

To open doors in XCOM without barging through, have your dude be by the door.  Then, select him, and keep the mouse hovering over him.  Then hit "V" on the keyboard.  Or maybe you can left-mouse click?  I'm not sure, I wasn't paying much attention during the tutorial.

D

 

Dennis Richardson

Tichondrius,

First off, I'm truly sorry for your loss.  Every day I think about those poor helpless children.  I suggest the best way to discuss things with your dear child is to be frank and let them know not to fear, because their elected representatives and senators are here to make sure this fucking bullshit will never happen again.

And I want to send a message to all the school shooters out there: You better fucking PRAY that I'm not at the school you're shooting… because I will FUCK YOUR SHIT UP.  Right through the pants, motherfucker.

I've been busy devising a more elegant solution to this problem.  Because NOTHING is more important than the safety of the children.  Not a fiscal cliff, or a crippling meth problem in my home district, NOTHING.  The NRA had an excellent idea, but I think it's not solving the immediate problem.  We don't need armed police officers in our schools, nor armed teachers.  What we need to do is to arm the targets of these sick fuckers.  We need to arm the children. 

I know the first question you guys all have: But how can we arm children when they don't know how to handle firearms properly?  Well I've been working on that too.  See with all these computers around, we might as well put them to use.  I'm trying to find a way to get kids to learn how to use firearms on the computers, or maybe on their Super Nintendos or whatever.  So if we can make some sort of computer program that help train kids on responsible gun ownership and usage, and then distribute over the internet tubes, well that oughta give any school shooters second thoughts!

The first problem is a matter of perspective.  I've done some thinkin' and I figure the best is to have this training program be from the view of the user: so we have the whole thing run from the view of the person holding the defense implement.  I think this will help the user become used to and comfortable with the point of view.   We'll put little doodads around the screen to that the kids can keep track of stuff like points scored, ammo, enemy location, and maybe even a compass too!  And since competition is what makes this country great, the system will be one where the kids try and get at each other!  It'll be great sport!

But then how do we make sure the kids just don't go THBBBBT and don't "play" with a sense of responsiblity or self-preservation?  Well I also figured this out.  We need to reward kids that score "hits" without getting "hit" themselves. For instance, if they manage to score three "hits", the program will reward them with the usage of a flying UAV drone, revealing the locations of the enemy players.  And if they get 5… then they'll get an airstrike… and if they manage to get 7 hits… then we'll give them a god damn helicopter all flyin' around shooting.  It'll be a great spectacle and a fun reward for those little tykes!  And most importantly, it'll reward them for responsible gun ownership!

I hope this helps you.  And remember School Shooters.  Me.  Fuck.  Your shit UP.  I'm not fucking around, don't fucking test me, assholes.  Don't.

Sincerely,

Dennis Richardson
Oregon House of Representatives, 4th District

P. S. What is this X dot com thing you speak of? Is that some sort of DRUGS PORN?!? Because if it is, I've got your NAME! I've got your ASS! You little SCUMBAG!

 

Next week, David and and special guest columnist Roger Ebert will discuss the artistic merits of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, at the request of reader S.

Last 5 posts by Derrick

99 Comments

99 Comments

  1. a leap at the wheel  •  Jan 7, 2013 @10:07 am

    I like how you put "by: Derrick" at the top, so we know that the rest of the post will be very, very stupid. It never fails!

  2. Patrick  •  Jan 7, 2013 @10:34 am

    I thought it was some of his best work, a most amusing jab at a grandstanding blowhard.

    But I'll tell Derrick you didn't get his joke, and perhaps he'll make his humor more accessible to the training-wheels crowd next time.

  3. Derrick  •  Jan 7, 2013 @10:35 am

    My mom hated it too, so you're in good company.

    PS, my mom also really likes Pat Buchannan.

  4. wizardpc  •  Jan 7, 2013 @10:38 am

    That's a nice strawman you got there. Build him yourself?

    No one, anywhere, has ever suggested arming children. Nor has anyone, anywhere, suggested requiring teachers be armed. This guy–like many other people–is suggesting that gun free zones only disarm the good guys and that maybe, just maybe, that's an idea that's counterproductive.

    Don't be such an ignorant bigot.

  5. Shane  •  Jan 7, 2013 @10:47 am

    The Popehat fishing boat has left port. The shining faces moving out to sea in hopes of landing the elusive big one, or a lot of small ones if they can get them. And then it happens the tug on the line the quickness of breath … they have a bite and it seems to be pulling hard. The trawler turns left and the fish dives right hoping to outrun them into safe water. Stay tuned for this scenario to play out as the Popehat Minnow, trawls the water of the Idiocy Ocean.

    :)

  6. Laura K  •  Jan 7, 2013 @11:25 am

    This is awesome. Thank you so much.

  7. Clayton  •  Jan 7, 2013 @11:36 am

    SMAC is probably my favorite entry in the series. I love the random-but-directed approach to research. Also: Dierdre, the Colonel, the Hivemind guy, and space mind worms can all go to hell.

  8. James Pollock  •  Jan 7, 2013 @11:39 am

    Rep. Richardson makes the same mistake that many other gun-ownership advocates do: Assuming that the rational response to an armed populace is to not commit violence against them. This is A rational response, but it is not the only one. Another is to make sure you shoot first.
    In other words, tactical suprise neutralizes armed response. Put another way, after the bad guy shoots you and takes YOUR weapon to add to his existing arsenal, all you've accomplished by being armed is saving the bad guy the trouble of reloading his own weapon.

  9. Lizard  •  Jan 7, 2013 @11:56 am

    Alpha Centauri is 52 kinds of awesome. I dearly wish it had received more support and new versions, instead of rehashing core Civ over and over and over….

    @Clayton: As I may have mentioned on another post, I am deeply ashamed and disturbed by how well I did playing as Yang. (Hey, a free defense grid on every colony is nothing to sneeze at!)

  10. Shane  •  Jan 7, 2013 @12:14 pm

    @Jame Pollock

    Do you own a gun? Just curious.

  11. Derrick  •  Jan 7, 2013 @12:20 pm

    The Believers can go DIAF.
    And in my game, they did. OH HOW THEY DID.

  12. LT  •  Jan 7, 2013 @1:01 pm

    At first I was hoping this was serious, so I could ask if good ol' Mitch McConnell was just as crazypants now as when I first met him 20+ years ago. (I know the answer already, I just wanted confirmation/to see the guy's head blow up for insulting such a 'honored' old fart.)

    Then I saw who wrote this article. My disappointment didn't last long. It reminded me of having the conversation over guns and school shootings with 99% of the guys I work with, except with a bit more crazy and way less gamer knowledge.

  13. Dan Weber  •  Jan 7, 2013 @1:09 pm

    Using a keyboard while playing X-COM?

    Unclean! Unclean!

  14. PeeDub  •  Jan 7, 2013 @1:54 pm

    I didn't realize that my early fondness of Ulrik Pirate was really just foreshadowing to my abiding love of seasteading.

  15. Connie  •  Jan 7, 2013 @2:48 pm

    Wait, we are talking about the 2012 X-COM or the classic 90s version? Because I'm oldschool and died plenty of times in the 90s. Haven't tried the new one.

  16. Toddsler  •  Jan 7, 2013 @3:05 pm

    Is he still a straw man if he bleeds?

  17. SassQueen  •  Jan 7, 2013 @4:57 pm

    The only things better than the article were the first 5 comments.

  18. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 7, 2013 @5:13 pm

    Why don't they just make it illegal to shoot up any public building?

  19. Jeremy  •  Jan 7, 2013 @5:41 pm

    This is hilarious. Again the video game reference kind of gives away the joke though.

  20. Joe Pullen  •  Jan 7, 2013 @5:55 pm

    sar•chasm ('sär-"ka-z&m) : The giant gulf (chasm) between what is said and the person who doesn't get it.

  21. GrumpyOldDad  •  Jan 7, 2013 @7:08 pm

    Fact: Strawman was shot with a lampoon and died.

    My question for Rep. Richardson is does your publicist charge you extra to use the pictures with your teeth in?

  22. Chris R.  •  Jan 7, 2013 @9:01 pm

    Joe, it's even better when a person who's view you are mocking thinks you are agreeing with them.

  23. James Pollock  •  Jan 7, 2013 @9:29 pm

    "Do you own a gun? Just curious."
    I neither confirm nor deny.

    True story: I was denied a sharpshooter medal at basic training for scoring 67 hits with 40 rounds.

  24. Rob  •  Jan 7, 2013 @10:31 pm

    Put another way, after the bad guy shoots you and takes YOUR weapon to add to his existing arsenal, all you've accomplished by being armed is saving the bad guy the trouble of reloading his own weapon.

    So, err….what, you think the bad guy has telepathy and can home in on the person who is armed? Or perhaps you think that a concealed carrier would have no sense of tactics and just stand up and blindly fire until the uber ninja badguy takes him out, every time? Because really, those are the only two assumptions I can think of that would justify your position.

    And those assumptions would be dead wrong.

    Don't get me wrong, a gun is not a magic talisman, and it's entirely possible that someone who attempts to defend themselves will get killed. However, none of these shooters have been well trained, and almost every single one of them tend to give up and shoot themselves or surrender when they meet any kind of opposing force, whether from a cop or from an armed civilian.

    Remember the mall shooting in Clackamas, Oregon? Something that didn't get widely reported was that the reason so few were killed was that a person with a concealed carry permit by the name of Nick Meli confronted him. Meli didn't even manage to get a shot off, because he didn't have a clear one, but the guy still backed off and ended up shooting himself.

    Having someone with a concealed weapon on the scene drastically increases the chance that the shooting will be stopped before the body count gets very high. This has been proven time and time again.

  25. G Thompson  •  Jan 7, 2013 @11:47 pm

    What we need to do is to arm the targets of these sick fuckers. We need to arm the children.

    OMG I never knew.. This means that te children of America are currently not armed..

    Myself and the rest of the planet are aghast at this obvious travesty and would like an answer to the most puzzling of questions

    How do they hold there pens?

  26. Anonymous  •  Jan 8, 2013 @1:28 am

    "So, err….what, you think the bad guy has telepathy and can home in on the person who is armed?"

    No, I think that

    "Or perhaps you think that a concealed carrier would have no sense of tactics and just stand up and blindly fire until the uber ninja badguy takes him out, every time?

    Oh, you got it. Yes, that one. I think the "good guy with a gun" would have no sense of tactics, no idea how to tell whether the OTHER good guy with a gun is actually a GGWG or the shooter and no idea how to even cooperate with that other GGWG appropriately without adequate training ahead of time. That shit is hard.

  27. Rob  •  Jan 8, 2013 @2:01 am

    Oh, you got it. Yes, that one. I think the "good guy with a gun" would have no sense of tactics, no idea how to tell whether the OTHER good guy with a gun is actually a GGWG or the shooter and no idea how to even cooperate with that other GGWG appropriately without adequate training ahead of time. That shit is hard.

    Here's the problem: There's no evidence that this is the case. To my knowledge, there's never been an incident that went down like that. Like I said, these mass shooters tend to be complete cowards that lack any sort of formal training and fold like cheap suits when confronted with armed resistance. Again, look at the mall-shooting in Oregon.

    Larry Correia, a former firearms instructor, wrote a pretty good piece a few weeks ago that (among other things) discussed this in detail. Be warned: it's close to 10,000 words, so it might take a while to get through. :)

  28. piperTom  •  Jan 8, 2013 @6:52 am

    What's that? I can get free porn just by messing with Ken?

    !!

    Hey Ken, how long is your pecker?

  29. SPQR  •  Jan 8, 2013 @8:32 am

    While I disagree with the "point", I thought Derrick did an amusing job.

    James Pollack, all except for the fact that what you describe just isn't the way these mass shooters behave. Reality – its a b*tch.

  30. James Pollock  •  Jan 8, 2013 @11:05 am

    "you think the bad guy has telepathy and can home in on the person who is armed?"
    In an elementary school? Yeah, I think the bad guy(s) can pick out the people most likely to be armed.

    "Remember the mall shooting in Clackamas, Oregon?"
    In the sense that I live nearby, used to work across the street from the mall, and know people who were actually there? Yeah, I remember.

    "the reason so few were killed was that a person with a concealed carry permit by the name of Nick Meli confronted him."
    Of course, the fact that the shooter's gun jammed probably had more to do with the low number of shootees and the decision to flee.

    "To my knowledge, there's never been an incident that went down like that."
    You've never heard of "friendly fire" before?

  31. Patrick  •  Jan 8, 2013 @12:22 pm

    James, what they're speaking of is your notion that murderers seek out armed people to increase their supply of munitions.

    THIS NEVER HAPPENS.

  32. Derrick  •  Jan 8, 2013 @1:04 pm

    I do it in Call of Duty all the time.

  33. James Pollock  •  Jan 8, 2013 @1:04 pm

    "James, what they're speaking of is your notion that murderers seek out armed people to increase their supply of munitions.

    THIS NEVER HAPPENS"

    Except when it does, as it did in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, etc. Or, most recently, in Newtown, CT, where the shooter collected weapons and ammunition from the first victim.

    In a fair fight, things like the relative skill of the participants have a considerable impact on the outcome. However, where complete tactical surprise is effective, it entirely neutralizes these attributes. Mass shootings nearly always include substantial if not complete tactical surprise. Being armed (or even armed and well-trained) is just not a defense to tactical surprise (although they certainly help in recovering from it).

    I think your opinion of what my "notion" is is based on a poor understanding of just what that "notion" actually is. In cases of robbery (rather than indiscriminate shooting), the robbers do typically target the people known to be armed first, to neutralize the threat they pose to the robbers. In battlefield situations, where EVERYBODY is assumed to be armed, soldiers shoot at any of the enemies. Get short enough on ammo, and battlefield scavenging happens. The fact that mass shooters tend to be well-armed on their way in doesn't mean that they won't take the gift of a loaded weapon pried from the cold, dead hands of its prior owner, if they have the time to stop and pick it up.

  34. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 8, 2013 @1:16 pm

    [M]urderers seek out armed people to increase their supply of munitions….THIS NEVER HAPPENS.

    Can't say never, but it's far more likely when some "well-intentioned" idiot with editorial authority publishes a map, showing thugs exactly where guns can be found.

    Hey kids, I know a fun game we can play! It's called geocaching for criminals. All you need is a prybar, a falshlight and this handy map. Now go get those guns!

    As much harm is done in this world by people who claim to be acting on behalf of society as those who deliberately act against it. This is especially true when self-appointed benefactors believe themselves to be acting from a superior moral position. It eliminates the circumspection necessary to create good policy.

  35. Rob  •  Jan 8, 2013 @3:50 pm

    Or, most recently, in Newtown, CT, where the shooter collected weapons and ammunition from the first victim.

    This is blatantly reaching. As are your examples from warfare, which aren't the same thing as an active shooting situation.

    Facts are a bitch.

  36. Rob  •  Jan 8, 2013 @3:55 pm

    Of course, the fact that the shooter's gun jammed probably had more to do with the low number of shootees and the decision to flee.

    It would have, had he not been able to clear the jam and get it working again, which he did. Otherwise he would not have been able to shoot himself.

  37. Shane  •  Jan 8, 2013 @4:25 pm

    Ok @James Pollock what is it in your past that scares you about guns? Cause you are really working the gun control arguments and I think that they are funny. But sadly these very same arguments by the very same people that will be what drives the gun control that is coming. I am lost as to respond to them or drive to the police station and get that iPad mini that they will give me. Cause knowing my luck a some guy will shoot me to get the iPad mini I just got. :(

  38. James Pollock  •  Jan 8, 2013 @4:28 pm

    "your examples from warfare, which aren't the same thing as an active shooting situation."
    Seriously? THAT'S your argument? Warfare isn't like people shooting at each other?

    "It would have, had he not been able to clear the jam and get it working again, which he did. Otherwise he would not have been able to shoot himself."
    He, um, left the clip behind after the gun jammed, which complicates your theory, and he didn't clear the jam until after he ran away. I really, really think that had more to do with him not shooting anyone else. To quote someone, "facts are a bitch".

    However, let's take a thought experiment, and imagine that the shooter's gun doesn't jam.
    What are some of the possible outcomes?
    A) Security guard achieves tactical surprise, shoots the shooter dead with a .22. Yay! The Hollywood ending! but wait…
    B) Security guard achieves tactical surprise, shoots AT the shooter, alerting him to armed opposition, gets shot dead by the shooter with the unjammed rifle.
    C) Security guard achieves tactical surprise, shoots AT the shooter, misses, hits bystander (oops). Shooter returns fire, hitting more bystanders. Note: (The security guard did not fire because it seem to him, a trained professional, that this was a likely outcome if he fired his weapon.)
    D) Security guard fails tactical surprise, gets shot without ever getting off a shot. +1 for courage, but -1 for effectiveness.
    E) Security guard fails tactical surprise, but pins down the shooter, who continues to shoot randomly, probably creating further victims, until he can be taken into custody.

    Seriously, most shootings that get interrupted get interrupted when the shooter stops to reload. See, for example, Oregon's OTHER nationally famous mass shooter, Kip Kinkel, who shot up his high school after shooting his parents… taken down by unarmed students when he stopped to reload.

  39. Patrick  •  Jan 8, 2013 @4:51 pm

    James, to pick an example from a domestic war, Nathan Bedford Forrest is considered a military genius, because he had a gift for driving around heavily armed troops to attack the unarmed (supply camps) and the weak (stragglers and units out of formation).

    John Bell Hood, who fought the same general (my avatar) is considered an ignoramus, because he followed your advice: he attacked armed people at points of heavy concentration.

    None of this has much to do with mass murderers, but speaking of your Yay! Hollywood ending! approach, how many instances can you name, outside of The Matrix or The Terminator, in which a mass murderer, without cybernetic superpowers, racked up a bigger body count by attacking armed men?

    Your Newtown example, by the way, was in such bad faith that I'm tempted to write you off as an especially poor troll.

  40. wgering  •  Jan 8, 2013 @5:13 pm

    @Patrick: That may be the best comment I've ever read.

  41. Rob  •  Jan 8, 2013 @5:25 pm

    Seriously? THAT'S your argument? Warfare isn't like people shooting at each other?

    Warfare is large numbers of well-trained, well armed, and determined people shooting at each other in a large theater of operations. An active shooting involves one cowardly nut job shooting as many unarmed people as he can get away with. Yes, they are inherently different, and any attempt to compare the two, which have vastly different scales of complexity, are disingenuous.

    A) Security guard achieves tactical surprise, shoots the shooter dead with a .22. Yay! The Hollywood ending! but wait…

    And now you reveal that you know nothing about firearms, and likely very little about actual tactics as well. This would explain why you think that bragging about how you were "denied a sharpshooter medal at basic training for scoring 67 hits with 40 rounds" (which doesn't even make any fucking sense, and tells me you were never able to actually MAKE sharpshooter) makes you hot shit.

    No security guard worth a damn would arm himself with a .22LR. It's a fucking ludicrous suggestion. Much more likely he'd arm himself with a far more standard firearm chambered in something like 9mm, .45ACP, .357 mag, etc. etc.

    C) Security guard achieves tactical surprise, shoots AT the shooter, misses, hits bystander (oops). Shooter returns fire, hitting more bystanders. Note: (The security guard did not fire because it seem to him, a trained professional, that this was a likely outcome if he fired his weapon.)

    Again, when has this actually happened? I can think of one incident, and it was committed by poorly-trained NYPD officers. Hitting bystanders is a possibility, but it happens so rarely that it's hardly worth mentioning; the likelihood of stopping the shooter is far, far higher (go back and read the link I gave you earlier, which you appear to have ignored). Also, your little note flatly contradicts the rest of your scenario, and makes me wonder if you can even keep a coherent train of thought going.

    E) Security guard fails tactical surprise, but pins down the shooter, who continues to shoot randomly, probably creating further victims, until he can be taken into custody.

    And this basically confirms that you know nothing about tactics. A pinned down gunman cannot maneuver, cannot seek out new victims. It's their mobility that allows them to kill a large number of people, moving from place to place. Pinning down the gunman gives other people a chance to escape the area and will drastically reduce the body count.

    Seriously, most shootings that get interrupted get interrupted when the shooter stops to reload. See, for example, Oregon's OTHER nationally famous mass shooter, Kip Kinkel, who shot up his high school after shooting his parents… taken down by unarmed students when he stopped to reload.

    Some do, some don't, and certainly not the vast majority of them. Resistance, armed or otherwise, will definitely help matters, but armed resistance results in fewer being killed. It is much easier to avoid being shot when you can use cover and send lead down range. Charging a gunman is a good way to get shot, and hoping that you have enough time to jump them when they reload or jam is not something I would want to rely on.

  42. Careless  •  Jan 8, 2013 @7:25 pm

    Wait, Derrick is really a person, and not an alter-ego of one of the other popehat posters, like, say, Tyrone at marginalrevolution?

  43. Joe Pullen  •  Jan 8, 2013 @7:57 pm

    @naught_for_naught

    I was wondering when someone would refer to the gaffe by The Journal News (assuming that is what you were referring to). Seems to me that publishing a map of addresses of people with gun permits in the wake of Sandy Hook accomplishes two things (1) encourage people acquiring guns to NOT obtain permits and NOT register their guns and (2) provide a helpful piece of information for any criminal seeking to acquire a gun via burglary.

    Now if we only had a map of where all the idiots lived, I’m sure whoever came up with this bright idea would be on it.

  44. James Pollock  •  Jan 8, 2013 @8:06 pm

    "John Bell Hood, who fought the same general (my avatar) is considered an ignoramus, because he followed your advice: he attacked armed people at points of heavy concentration."

    If that's what you consider "my advice", my advice is don't follow ANYONE'S advice, because your comprehension is poor, and you'll end up doing something really stupid.

  45. James Pollock  •  Jan 8, 2013 @8:38 pm

    "A) Security guard achieves tactical surprise, shoots the shooter dead with a .22. Yay! The Hollywood ending! but wait…
    And now you reveal that you know nothing about firearms, and likely very little about actual tactics as well. This would explain why you think that bragging about how you were "denied a sharpshooter medal at basic training for scoring 67 hits with 40 rounds" (which doesn't even make any fucking sense, and tells me you were never able to actually MAKE sharpshooter)"
    The guy on the firing line next to me adjusted his sights incorrectly, and shot the hell out of my target. (He passed rifle training, BTW. In the AF, you don't have to be able to hit the target, you just have to deliver 50 rounds downrange without violating any range safety rules. People who actually carry weapons, like the Air Police, have to qualify, but they don't do it until after basic training.)
    What gave away the fact that I was "never able to actually MAKE sharpshooter", the part where I said I didn't get it? Dipshit.

    "No security guard worth a damn would arm himself with a .22LR. It's a fucking ludicrous suggestion. Much more likely he'd arm himself with a far more standard firearm chambered in something like 9mm, .45ACP, .357 mag, etc. etc. "
    Yes, that's my error. I looked it up, and it was a Glock 22, a 40 caliber weapon, which makes a lot more sense (I admit it, I wasn't paying much attention to the gun the guy had, because it turned out to be useless regardless of what it was.) The situation you find so ridiculous actually happened, at least according to Nick Meli, when he was interviewed for the local paper. He had his weapon pointed at the shooter, but wasn't able to get a shot off at him because of bystanders around the shooter, and his fear of missing the shooter and hitting another victim. For this, it's likely we have his training to thank.

    "And this basically confirms that you know nothing about tactics. A pinned down gunman cannot maneuver, cannot seek out new victims."
    If he wants to live, possibly true (depending on just how effectively you've pinned him down). A suicidal shooter, however, may well keep moving, and take, well, suicidal risks. Maybe that gets him dead earlier. Maybe it gets him loose. And then there's the other factor… If he happens to be hiding behind an object in the middle of a crowded area, he can then turn around and seek new targets on the side of his cover away from whoever's shooting at him. Or he could just shoot randomly in any direction and hit people who are hiding behind things which are not bulletproof.

    "It's their mobility that allows them to kill a large number of people, moving from place to place."
    Having thousands of possible targets also makes it possible to kill a large number of people, all from one spot, without having to move from place to place. There were somewhere around 10,000 people in the mall, and he was in more or less the geographic center of it.

    "Pinning down the gunman gives other people a chance to escape the area and will drastically reduce the body count."
    Possibly. Again, it depends on the exact disposition of the shooter, the people pinning him down, and the targeted victims. And of course, if there's more than one of them, that changes all of the tactics.

    "Charging a gunman is a good way to get shot, and hoping that you have enough time to jump them when they reload or jam is not something I would want to rely on."
    Finally! Something we can agree on! It's a much better plan to be somewhere else.

  46. James Pollock  •  Jan 8, 2013 @8:58 pm

    "how many instances can you name, outside of The Matrix or The Terminator, in which a mass murderer, without cybernetic superpowers, racked up a bigger body count by attacking armed men?"

    Don't be stupid. In Hollywood, it's the GOOD GUY who does this. It's the FORMULA. The good guy starts out unarmed, but takes out one of the bad guys to get a gun, then picks off the rest of the bad guys one by one. He, of course, being the GOOD GUY, shoots ONLY armed men.
    There's ALIENS, where all the good guys (except, if I recall, Paul Reiser) were armed… pretty high body count there. Predator, as I recall, involved attacking ONLY the armed. Of course, the Predators could be invisible. First Blood, as I recall, involved Mr. Rambo picking off the armed men.
    If you allow heist movies, there's a tendency there, as in real life, to shoot the armed guards first.

    "Your Newtown example, by the way, was in such bad faith that I'm tempted to write you off as an especially poor troll."
    Why? Because it was such an obvious case of the opposite of what you claimed, and you're embarrassed that you missed it? The shooter's mother was the most heavily-armed person in the whole story, and (surprise!) surprise turned out to be more effective than being well-armed. That was my point, and I'm sticking to it.

  47. Rob  •  Jan 8, 2013 @9:01 pm

    Well, now I see where the incoherence of your posts is coming from. You seem to be swinging wildly back in forth between hypotheticals and specific events without distinguishing the two. You might want to work on that.

    If he wants to live, possibly true (depending on just how effectively you've pinned him down). A suicidal shooter, however, may well keep moving, and take, well, suicidal risks. Maybe that gets him dead earlier. Maybe it gets him loose. And then there's the other factor… If he happens to be hiding behind an object in the middle of a crowded area, he can then turn around and seek new targets on the side of his cover away from whoever's shooting at him. Or he could just shoot randomly in any direction and hit people who are hiding behind things which are not bulletproof.

    Most of these nutjobs are suicidal, but that has yet to translate into doing any of these things. Every single one simply shot themselves after meeting resistance (save for the instances where they were tackled and captured).

    Also, how is he going to reliably hit people hiding behind things that he can't see? Last time I checked, being a crazy nutjob didn't give you x-ray vision. He could spend all day shooting the place up trying to hit people hiding behind a wall and chances are he would hit very, very few people. Even buildings with lots of people in them have a great deal of empty space.

    Having thousands of possible targets also makes it possible to kill a large number of people, all from one spot, without having to move from place to place. There were somewhere around 10,000 people in the mall, and he was in more or less the geographic center of it.

    People run away from danger, and a mall doesn't give you infinite sight lines. A shooter has to be able to move in order to either find people who are hiding and to catch those who are moving away from him. Pinning a person to a single location reduces their ability to move and find new targets, and gives other people the chance to either find cover or get out of the area. This is pretty basic stuff.

    And of course, if there's more than one of them, that changes all of the tactics.

    Yes, but that's very rare as far as these events are concerned.

    You are concerning yourself with edge-cases and or presumed actions that have an extremely low-probability of happening and trying to this to ALL of these shootings. It's silly and it isn't doing your position any good.

  48. Rob  •  Jan 8, 2013 @9:02 pm

    *trying to generalize this to ALL of these shootings.*

  49. Rob  •  Jan 8, 2013 @9:05 pm

    Why? Because it was such an obvious case of the opposite of what you claimed, and you're embarrassed that you missed it? The shooter's mother was the most heavily-armed person in the whole story, and (surprise!) surprise turned out to be more effective than being well-armed. That was my point, and I'm sticking to it.

    It was STUPID because he knew his mother, knew when she wouldn't be able to defend herself, and knew she didn't consider him a threat. Translating this to a situation involving a concealed-carry permit holder who isn't known to the shooter is quite frankly astoundingly inapt.

  50. Rob  •  Jan 8, 2013 @9:05 pm

    She was also, I might add, HIS PRIMARY TARGET.

  51. James Pollock  •  Jan 8, 2013 @9:31 pm

    "Well, now I see where the incoherence of your posts is coming from. You seem to be swinging wildly back in forth between hypotheticals and specific events without distinguishing the two. You might want to work on that."
    You mean, by referring to actual events in a parenthetical note, clearly identifying it? It's not incoherence on my part, it's poor comprehension on yours.

    "Most of these nutjobs are suicidal, but that has yet to translate into doing any of these things. Every single one simply shot themselves after meeting resistance (save for the instances where they were tackled and captured)."
    None of these things is even remotely correct. Most mass shootings in this country are gang-related.

    "Also, how is he going to reliably hit people hiding behind things that he can't see?"
    This is more of that poor reading comprehension I talked about before. Who said anything about RELIABLY hitting people hiding? I believe the word I used is RANDOMLY. These words have different meanings.

    "People run away from danger, and a mall doesn't give you infinite sight lines."
    The mall in question has a very large, empty, interior space. You don't need infinite sight lines, you just need as many targets as you have bullets. In actual fact, most of the people in the mall did NOT run from the mall; they attempted to hide. Our shooter was not an experienced marksman, he fired randomly into a crowd.

    "A shooter has to be able to move in order to either find people who are hiding and to catch those who are moving away from him."
    Unless there are so many of them that there aren't enough places to hide nor enough exits to get everybody out of the mall.

    "Pinning a person to a single location reduces their ability to move and find new targets, and gives other people the chance to either find cover or get out of the area."
    It does not, however, reduce the ability to zero, which I pointed out to you before.

    "You are concerning yourself with edge-cases and or presumed actions that have an extremely low-probability of happening and trying to this to ALL of these shootings. It's silly and it isn't doing your position any good."
    Mass shootings ARE edge cases, yes, that have an extremely low probability of happening. You know what has an even lower probability of happening? An untrained armed citizen, with or without a carry permit, stopping one.
    The closest I came to making a claim about ALL shootings is that MOST mass shootings achieve tactical surprise.

    (multiple shooters)
    "Yes, but that's very rare as far as these events are concerned."
    As noted above, the majority of cases of mass shootings involve multiple shooters.

  52. James Pollock  •  Jan 8, 2013 @9:53 pm

    "It was STUPID because he knew his mother, knew when she wouldn't be able to defend herself, and knew she didn't consider him a threat. She was also, I might add, HIS PRIMARY TARGET."
    I see. Which one of these things makes her either A) not dead, or B) not surprised?

    Let's move to a different shooting. Klebold and Harris at Columbine. They knew the people they shot, knew when they wouldn't be able to defend themselves, knew that nobody considered them a threat, and among the people shot were the primary targets. Still not a good comparison?

    Or gang shootings, which are FAR more common. They know the people they shoot at, attack when they are less likely to be able to defend themselves, and shoot at (or near) their primary targets. But that's a totally bogus comparison, because gang members don't have carry permits.

  53. Rob  •  Jan 8, 2013 @10:02 pm

    You mean, by referring to actual events in a parenthetical note, clearly identifying it? It's not incoherence on my part, it's poor comprehension on yours.

    You didn't clearly identify anything until the very last sentence of your post. You started out by stating we were going to do a "thought experiment" (which generally means a hypothetical) and then from there on out started referring to a generic security guard, at no point making any reference to the fact that this was supposed to be Nick Meli. You then used very several hypothetical instances that didn't happen in the mall shooting while throwing in one that did, again without specifying what you were talking about.

    My comprehension is just fine. I just can't read your fucking mind.

    None of these things is even remotely correct. Most mass shootings in this country are gang-related.

    Categorization fail. We've been talking about a very specific phenomenon, which gang shootings usually aren't categorized as. Generally speaking, when gangs choose their targets they aren't indiscriminate; they target rival gang members or the places their rivals hang out at. We've been talking about indiscriminate mass shootings orchestrated by either lone or a small number of individuals, such as Sandy Hook, the Clackamas Mall shooting, Columbine, work place shootings, etc. They are two very different types of crime. Throwing gang shootings into this discussion is a red herring, just as trying to compare these shootings to general warfare was.

    Mass shootings ARE edge cases, yes, that have an extremely low probability of happening. You know what has an even lower probability of happening? An untrained armed citizen, with or without a carry permit, stopping one.

    Yes, you're quite right; these types of mass shootings are edge cases, and you've been busying yourself focusing on the edge cases of the edge cases, which means your ramblings have become only tangentially connected to reality.

    As for the numbers involved, there are actually slightly more incidents where civilians stopped mass shootings than when police did. Here's a pretty good roundown of the numbers: http://dailyanarchist.com/2012/07/31/auditing-shooting-rampage-statistics/

    TL;DR version: The author examined 32 incidents where a shooter had their rampage cut short by either civilians or police (17 of the former, 15 of the latter).

    The average number of people killed in mass shootings when stopped by police is 14.29

    The average number of people killed in a mass shooting when stopped by a civilian is 2.33.

    And arming civilians makes them far more capable of stopping such a shooter.

  54. Rob  •  Jan 8, 2013 @10:06 pm

    As for the numbers involved, there are actually slightly more incidents where civilians stopped mass shootings than when police did.

    Err, strike that sentence out. That was only for that specific data set, which wasn't analyzing that question. I was going to delete that sentence after reading the source further but it escaped by attention until after I hit the submit button.

  55. Rob  •  Jan 8, 2013 @10:17 pm

    A few more things:

    This is more of that poor reading comprehension I talked about before. Who said anything about RELIABLY hitting people hiding? I believe the word I used is RANDOMLY. These words have different meanings.

    And this has anything to do with what I said, how exactly? My point is, and has always been, that pinning the gunman down drastically reduces deaths. How does forcing him to try for unreliable shots at unseen people NOT reduce the death toll?

    The only one here with reading comprehension problems here is you.

    You don't need infinite sight lines, you just need as many targets as you have bullets. In actual fact, most of the people in the mall did NOT run from the mall; they attempted to hide. Our shooter was not an experienced marksman, he fired randomly into a crowd.Unless there are so many of them that there aren't enough places to hide nor enough exits to get everybody out of the mall.It does not, however, reduce the ability to zero, which I pointed out to you before.

    Two things: I was also local to the coverage of the Clackamas Town Hall shooting, and I distinctly remember footage of people both running away as well stories of them hiding. Both seemed to work fairly well (given only three people died), and this guy wasn't even pinned down.

    In our hypothetical (which for some reason you keep confusing with reality), pinning down the gunman makes these survival tactics more effective, reducing the death toll. If you don't see this, either you truly are a sub grade moron, or you just a fucking troll.

  56. James Pollock  •  Jan 8, 2013 @10:57 pm

    "You didn't clearly identify anything until the very last sentence of your post."

    Here it is again in black and white (or whatever color your electrons are): 'Note: (The security guard did not fire because it seem to him, a trained professional, that this was a likely outcome if he fired his weapon.)'

    "My comprehension is just fine. I just can't read your fucking mind."
    Edited for your convenience.
    "I just can't fucking read."
    You're welcome.

    "Categorization fail. We've been talking about a very specific phenomenon, which gang shootings usually aren't categorized as."
    Comprehension fail. Where did I subcategorize anything remotely like that? I suppose gang shootings, like warfare, are nothing at all like situations where people are shooting at each other.

    "As for the numbers involved, there are actually slightly more incidents where civilians stopped mass shootings than when police did."
    If, as you seem bent on doing, you categorize away the vast majority of mass shootings as not being mass shootings, you might be right. Back here in real world 1.0, most shootings (mass or otherwise) end because the shooter achieves his or her purpose and stops shooting.

    "My point is, and has always been, that pinning the gunman down drastically reduces deaths. How does forcing him to try for unreliable shots at unseen people NOT reduce the death toll?"
    Well, one way would be if he'd been planning to leave. In that case, pinning him down keeps him in place and agitated Another way would be if keeping him pinned down in the mall gave him time to unjam his weapon. And, as I pointed out before but you apparently failed down, a single person pinning down a gunman accounts for somewhere between 90 and 270 degrees; if there are victims in the remainder it may not help them at all.
    Do you understand the difference between "pinning him down may not actually limit the body count" and "pinning him down will not limit the body count?" Because I'm pointing out the one, and you're arguing against the other.

    "The only one here with reading comprehension problems here is you."
    Still you, buddy.

    "I was also local to the coverage of the Clackamas Town Hall shooting, and I distinctly remember footage of people both running away as well stories of them hiding. Both seemed to work fairly well (given only three people died), and this guy wasn't even pinned down."
    Duh. 10,000 people in the mall. One guy with a clip of 30 bullets. Running and hiding was going to work for at least 9,970 people. But there's still the point that most of the people got away BECAUSE THE GUN JAMMED. The shooter had one weapon. It jammed. He ran. Running and hiding are VERY EFFECTIVE tactics against an unarmed man running away, they will almost always allow you to survive.

    "In our hypothetical (which for some reason you keep confusing with reality), pinning down the gunman makes these survival tactics more effective"
    More effective than what? It certainly doesn't help anyone who was trying to hide where the shooter gets pinned down. There's a possibility (admittedly probably a very small one, but we'll never know) that the shooter had already fired all the shots he meant to, and wouldn't have taken any more (oops, there's that darn real world slipping in again).
    There's also the possibility, if you have two people shooting at each other, that someone takes a stray bullet (darn, real world AGAIN! It just keeps popping up.) This is simple math… more bullets flying means more chance that someone is hiding and/or running at the wrong place at the wrong time.

    "reducing the death toll."
    You just don't know that. It's a possibility, even a probability, but not a CERTAINTY. Running and hiding are very likely good choices, better than jumping up and down and shouting "shoot me" (in most cases… again (darn real world) the CTC shooter was not a marksman, and did his damage when people were packed so close together that shooting in any direction would have hit SOMEBODY. Getting him to shoot at a specific target might have had the effect of emptying his clip with no body count. You can get away with poor/rushed marksmanship if you have full auto and enough bullets, but the CTC shooter had neither.)

    "If you don't see this, either you truly are a sub grade moron, or you just a fucking troll."
    Tsk. Do you kiss your gun with that mouth?

  57. James Pollock  •  Jan 8, 2013 @11:00 pm

    P.S.

    "when gangs choose their targets they aren't indiscriminate"
    You REALLY don't know what you're talking about, do you?

  58. James Pollock  •  Jan 8, 2013 @11:29 pm

    Tell you what, Rob, how about if I go ahead and defend my original position:
    http://www.popehat.com/2013/01/07/ask-popehat-1/comment-page-2/#comment-965348
    Which I will summarize as "when tactical surprise can be achieved, it can completely defeat superior numbers and superior armaments. (Note that tactical surprise wears off with time, at a rate depending on circumstances, informational channels available, and the training and experience of responders and bystanders). Of course, one guy with a slingshot isn't going to stop an armored column, even with total surprise, and a guy with a rifle and 30 bullets isn't going to overcome a division. But, depending on the level of surprise he gets, he MIGHT be able to put all 30 bullets into soldiers, and a guy with 30 bullets in the clip at the mall MIGHT put all 30 bullets into shoppers before cops, armed guards, or ordinary citizens with firearms stop him (whether by successfully shooting him dead, or shooting close enough to him to make him flee, or by forgoing use of their firearms and tackling him).

    And I will attack only this one going forward:
    "Having someone with a concealed weapon on the scene drastically increases the chance that the shooting will be stopped before the body count gets very high. This has been proven time and time again."

    ONLY if you carefully limit cases to where this is true. If you actually look at ALL cases of mass shootings*, it doesn't seem to help much, if any.

    *A category that includes partisan and guerrilla warfare, gang shootouts, terrorism, incidents involving intoxicated individuals, and yes, lone nutjobs with an axe to grind.

    Final Note: While having an armed populace doesn't seem to have much of an effect on the severity and frequency of mass shootings, having a DISarmed general populace doesn't seem to make much difference, either. I am not an advocate of removing firearms from responsible adults (although it will probably not come as a surprise that limitations on large-capacity magazines don't seem unreasonable to me.)

  59. Rob  •  Jan 9, 2013 @1:36 am

    Here it is again in black and white (or whatever color your electrons are): 'Note: (The security guard did not fire because it seem to him, a trained professional, that this was a likely outcome if he fired his weapon.)

    Funny, there's a distinct lack of the words "Nick Meli" or "Clackamas Town Center" in that quote. Perhaps, in your infinite wisdom, you could point them out for me. In case you can't read your own writings (which is looking probable at this point, and to be fair, is understandable, since they come off as being written by someone who is sub-literate), you'll note that you were talking about a generic security guard in your "thought" experiment, with the vast majority of the post having to do with a hypothetical that had nothing to do with Nick Meli. So when your little note restated "security guard" instead of using the man's name, it leaves the reader thinking you are still talking about the generic guard you were talking about a sentence earlier, which makes you look like a daft fucking idiot because your generic security guard appears to do two contradictory things in your little hypothetical.

    Like I said, I can't read your twisted little mind to know that what you wrote isn't what you meant.

    The entire rest of that post is you straining like a man on a toilet who has eaten too much taco bell to try and justify you position, especially since you restate things I've already pointed out are not true (for instance, while the shooter's gun did jam, he managed to clear it and get it back into working order). Also, the shooter in that instance fired at LEAST 60 shots, which means he definately had more than 30 rounds and one magazine (not clips. He was equipped with a load-bearing best, which meant he could have had half a dozen or so mags on him.

    Tsk. Do you kiss your gun with that mouth?

    You trying to claim the high road is like slime mold claiming sentience. It's somewhat disturbing and laughably counter to reality.

    You REALLY don't know what you're talking about, do you?

    This from the guy who can't get basic facts right. When I write they aren't indiscriminate, I mean they have specific targets in mind: their rival gangs and any of their hangers on. I don't mean they don't fire indiscriminately, or that innocents aren't sometimes caught in the crossfire, only that they have specific targets with specific grudges against specific individuals. Not being those individuals who are targeted means you specifically are much less likely to be shot at by them, even if you're in the area. Their body counts also tend to be much lower on average than those of rampage killers, who will take their frustrations out on anyone in the area, and who will target someone just because they're close at hand.

    A category that includes partisan and guerrilla warfare, gang shootouts, terrorism, incidents involving intoxicated individuals, and yes, lone nutjobs with an axe to grind.

    AGAIN, in this instance we have been discussing ONLY the last individuals. You trying to throw all these other things into the conversation is nothing but creating a red herring. Guerrilla and partisan warfare, for instance, are completely absent from the United States last time I checked. Likewise, acts of terrorism are extremely rare and tend to involve bombs rather than guns, and I've never heard of a mass shooter who was doing it just because he was high or drunk. So basically, we're talking about the last group only, your divergences and attempts to set up smoke screens aside.

    ONLY if you carefully limit cases to where this is true. If you actually look at ALL cases of mass shootings*, it doesn't seem to help much, if any.

    Well, let's try this, shall we: show me an incident in the United States where a concealed carrier intervened in a mass shooting and made things WORSE, or failed to stop or slow the rampage killer (and please, limit yourself to what we are actually discussing; I'm a little sick of your red herrings). I've never heard of one. Every single one where a concealed carrier showed up in time generally ended up with the shooting ended shortly thereafter.

  60. James Pollock  •  Jan 9, 2013 @8:28 am

    "show me an incident in the United States where a concealed carrier intervened in a mass shooting and … failed to stop or slow the rampage killer"
    Duh. The Clackamas Town Center shooting. That wasn't nearly as hard as you seem to have thought it would be, even with you handwaving off the majority of mass shootings. Oops, there I go, injecting reality into your hypothetical. I'm sorry the facts don't fit the narrative you want to tell.

  61. James Pollock  •  Jan 9, 2013 @8:43 am

    "Meli earlier told a KGW reporter that he heard three gunshots, and then positioned himself behind a pillar in the mall. Meli said he saw the gunman working on his rifle, pulling a charging handle and hitting the side of the weapon.
    Meli said he then pulled out his Glock 22 pistol and aimed it at the suspect. But when he saw someone move behind Roberts, Meli decided against firing, concerned he might hit an innocent person."
    http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2012/12/security_guard_said_he_had_rob.html

  62. ZK  •  Jan 9, 2013 @8:52 am

    I'm aware of two incidents in the past four decades where the concealed carrier failed to stop a mass shooting. However, you edited out Rob's main point when you quoted him: In none of these incidents did the presence of a concealed firearm make things worse, and in both incidents the killer was forces to stop shooting at innocents and concentrate of the CCW-holder.

    Did you not understand that point, or was the edit intentional?

  63. ZK  •  Jan 9, 2013 @8:54 am

    Last sentence should read: in both incidents the killer was forced to stop shooting at innocents and concentrate on the CCW-holder.

  64. James Pollock  •  Jan 9, 2013 @12:46 pm

    "Did you not understand that point, or was the edit intentional?"

    Do you not understand what OR means? I edited out the part of the conditional that I wasn't addressing. (It is, of course, completely impossible to tell whether or not the presence of a CCW holder makes things worse, so I ignored that branch.)

    Now, for YOUR complaint:
    "I'm aware of two incidents in the past four decades where the concealed carrier failed to stop a mass shooting."
    How many incidents occurred where it didn't rise to your attention that a concealed carrier failed to stop a mass shooting, because either A) the concealed carrier got dead just like the non-carrier victim, without ever having a chance to draw, B) the concealed carrier remained concealed and left the scene, or C) the concealed carrier had absolutely no effect on events whatsoever? (for reference on C, note that gang shootings tend to involve a large number of persons who are carrying concealed, though perhaps not by permit; for reference on B, there were an estimated 10,000 people on scene at the Clackamas Town Center shooting… what are the odds than 1, and only 1, person with a carry permit was present?

    You only get statistics that go the way you want if you define away the majority of mass shootings. Why not just cut to the chase? In mass shooting cases where the shooter was shot by a carry permit holder, the carry permit holder stopped the shooter. (Then just ignore the others, of course… they don't fit the narrative you want to tell.)

    I suspect that if you dig deeper, you'll find that the majority* of mass shootings** end because the shooter has completed the task they set out to complete, at which point the shooter(s) either flee or suicide.

    *majority means either "more than half", although it is sometimes used casually to mean "plurality". I think this is true either way.
    **defined above

  65. James Pollock  •  Jan 9, 2013 @12:49 pm

    One more think, ZK.
    "in both incidents the killer was forced to stop shooting at innocents and concentrate on the CCW-holder."
    This was not the case in the Clackamas Town Center shooting described above, which was a case where the CCW-holder did not stop the shooter.

  66. Shane  •  Jan 9, 2013 @2:34 pm

    So how will gun control fix any of this? Just like drug control?

  67. James Pollock  •  Jan 9, 2013 @2:52 pm

    "Ok @James Pollock what is it in your past that scares you about guns?"
    Nothing whatsoever. There ARE some gun OWNERS who scare me a little bit, but I find that wary distance tends to solve that one.

    "Cause you are really working the gun control arguments"
    Oops. You're projecting a little bit. I haven't made ANY gun control arguments. Personal weapons have a number of uses… stopping mass shootings just doesn't happen to be one of them.

    "So how will gun control fix any of this?"
    I dunno. How does it? (I figured, since you imagined I was making gun control arguments, you might tell me what they are.)

  68. Shane  •  Jan 9, 2013 @3:48 pm

    @Jame Pollock, just how am I supposed to take this your very first statement? "Rep. Richardson makes the same mistake that many other gun-ownership advocates do …" and this on a post that is blatantly bashing a pro-gun position. Does this make you an impartial observer pointing out the idiocy of the pro-gun crowd? You have strenuously opposed a position of the pro-gun crowd. Are you secretly pro gun and playing the devil's advocate?

    If you are not for gun control then really what is your purpose in writing these posts? To humiliate other posters? To prove that you are right? Just curious.

  69. Rob  •  Jan 9, 2013 @4:23 pm

    Duh. The Clackamas Town Center shooting. That wasn't nearly as hard as you seem to have thought it would be, even with you handwaving off the majority of mass shootings. Oops, there I go, injecting reality into your hypothetical. I'm sorry the facts don't fit the narrative you want to tell.

    What a pathetic, half-assed response. Now I'm pretty sure you are a troll. Anyone whose stuck around arguing this long is either a troll, or fairly passionate. Someone who was passionate wouldn't use an example that has already been shown to completely contradict their theory (I mean, do I really need to explain, again, for the fourteenth fucking time, that the shooter at Clackamas was able to clear his jam and most likely had more ammunition, and hence the jam didn't really stop him? You act like the fact he was confronted by a guy with a gun and the fact that he killed himself very shortly thereafter is coincidental, as if the two events had nothing to do each other; this is disingenuous horseshit).

    Well, not unless that person is an idiot, but I'm trying, very hard, to be charitable.

  70. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 9, 2013 @4:34 pm

    The department of Justice has data that classifies yearly homicides by weapon type. You can find a table indexing the numbers 30 years ending in 2005. You can find it here: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicide/tables/weaponstab.cfm

    To shed some light on the issue – this is the 2005 breakdown.

    Homicides by

    Handgun: 8,478 (51%)
    Other Gun: 2,868 (17%)
    Knife: 2,147 (13%)
    Blunt Object: 671 (4%)
    Other Weapon: 2,528 (15%)

    For a total of 16,692 homicides

    Looking at it from a probability standpoint, you could say that, based on the data in 2005, that if someone were to commit murder, there is a .68 probability or 7-to-3 chance that they will use a gun.

  71. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 9, 2013 @5:02 pm

    Here is excerpt from another interesting data table. In case the formatting falls apart upon submission, here is the URL:http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicide/teens.cfm

    Homicides by Offenders Age, 1976-2005
    49: 6.8%

    Homicide Offenders/Victims (read this as X% of mass-murders are in this age group, Y% of murder victims are in this same age group)
    49: X=5.9%, Y=16.4%

  72. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 9, 2013 @5:04 pm

    Try it again:
    Homicides by Offenders Age, 1976-2005
    17-: 10.9%
    18-34: 65%
    35-49 : 17.3%
    50+: 6.8%

    Homicide Offenders/Victims (read this as X% of mass-murders are in this age group, Y% of murder victims are in this same age group)
    17-: X=9.5%, Y=18.2%
    18-34: X=66.1%, Y=46.3%
    35-49 : X=18.5%, Y=19.1%
    50+: X=5.9%, Y=16.4%

  73. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 9, 2013 @5:09 pm

    …this is disingenuous horseshit….Well, not unless that person is an idiot, but I'm trying, very hard, to be charitable.

    I know I feel better.

  74. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 9, 2013 @5:21 pm

    Here is another important bit of data, if you are looking to create an itelligent and effective gun policy. This data is for the year 2005: It compares the number of homicides commited with a gun to those commited with some other weapon by age group

    Under 14
    with Gun: 24
    With Other: 35

    14 – 17
    with Gun: 1,193
    With Other: 418

    18-24
    with Gun: 5,790
    With Other: 1,925

    25+
    with Gun: 5,665
    With Other: 4,077

  75. James Pollock  •  Jan 9, 2013 @6:06 pm

    "Someone who was passionate wouldn't use an example that has already been shown to completely contradict their theory"
    What's your excuse, then? Here's a shooting where the guy with the carry permit was on site, actually managed to draw his weapon and sight the target… and still too late to change anything. Yet for some reason you want to hold this up as an example of how citizens with concealed weapons can stop mass shootings.

    "do I really need to explain, again, for the fourteenth fucking time, that the shooter at Clackamas was able to clear his jam and most likely had more ammunition, and hence the jam didn't really stop him?"

    Try to follow this sequence of events, if you can.
    1. The shooter announces himself.
    2. The shooter opens fire.
    3. The security guard hears gunfire.
    4. The security guard draws his weapon.
    5. The security guard hides behind a pillar.
    6. The shooter's (only) gun jams.
    7. The security guard sees the shooter.
    8. The security guard takes no action (unable to get a clear shot)
    9. The shooter flees
    10. The shooter unjams his weapon
    11. The shooter takes his own pathetic life.
    See what's missing? There's no "the shooter knows that anyone else is armed" step. Did the shooter magically know there was an armed man hiding behind a pillar, or did the noise of the security guard's gun not going off tell him it was there?
    You don't have to take my word for it. The hero of the story you want to present was quoted as saying that the shooter stopped shooting because his gun jammed, BEFORE Mr. Meli could line up a shot. Obviously, he's in on my little conspiracy to make people with carry permits look bad…

    "You act like the fact he was confronted by a guy with a gun and the fact that he killed himself very shortly thereafter is coincidental"
    Except for the fact that he was never confronted by a guy with a gun, but he WAS confronted by a jammed weapon, sure. (I suppose it's totally coincidental that he stopped shooting and ran away because the gun jammed, right? Seeing as how the gun jammed, then he ran away right afterward (and didn't shoot anyone else even though, as you like to point out, he got the gun working again… after he left the part of the mall that had, you know, other people in it.)
    "unless that person is an idiot, but I'm trying, very hard, to be charitable."
    Well, does "being charitable" mean you repeatedly try to A) replace actual facts with your own, and B) keep trying to redefine the discussion so that all the cases where your argument is easily shown wrong don't apply? If so, you've been really charitable.

  76. Joe Pullen  •  Jan 9, 2013 @6:07 pm

    Ken was right – few topics outside of gun control get this kind of rabid reaction from people. Apart from the original post which was a fine piece of satire, I find myself getting impatient if not a bit irritated at some of the recent commentary.

    I wonder – why all the back and forth about the mechanics of what constitutes an "assault" weapon, the likelihood of surviving some mass shooter crazy pants, who shot who or how or under what circumstances using what technique, what % of homicides are gun related, etc. etc. etc.

    If we’re going to get rabid about the subject, why do we allow ourselves to be so sorely distracted by what are relatively speaking, unimportant aspects of this issue. To offer some perspective, I refer specifically to the dissenting opinion of the Second Amendment Case: Silveira v. Lockyer Petition for Writ of Certiorari Denied", Keep and Bear Arms, December 1, 2003. by Judge Kozinski, Ninth Circuit Court. Excerpt as follows:

    "The majority falls prey to the delusion-popular in some circles-that ordinary people are too careless and stupid to own guns, and we would be far better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals on the government payroll. But the simple truth-born of experience-is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people … All too many of the other great tragedies of history-Stalin's atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few-were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here. See Kleinfeld Dissent at 5997-99. If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars.

    "My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed … However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once … Fortunately, the Framers were wise enough to entrench the right of the people to keep and bear arms within our constitutional structure. The purpose and importance of that right was still fresh in their minds, and they spelled it out clearly so it would not be forgotten. Despite the panel's mighty struggle to erase these words, they remain, and the people themselves can read what they say plainly enough:
    'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed'." [Ibid.]

    It’s certainly not my place to dictate commentary here but if we’re going to debate the issue of guns, shouldn’t we be debating it on that level?

    It would seem to me that restrictions of the 2nd inherently precipitate violations of the 4th and potentially even the 1st. The 2nd it would seem to me, helps to ensure the 4th, the 1st and others are both protected and respected by an ever expanding and ever intrusive government.

    My apologies to our hosts and others if I’ve stepped on some toes. But seriously WTF?

  77. James Pollock  •  Jan 9, 2013 @6:24 pm

    "@Jame Pollock, just how am I supposed to take this your very first statement? "Rep. Richardson makes the same mistake that many other gun-ownership advocates do …" and this on a post that is blatantly bashing a pro-gun position."

    Apparently, you'll take it as "if you're not 100% with us, you're 100% against us."

    Here's a hint: Your average gun-control advocate doesn't say "gun-ownership advocate". He says "gun nut".

    "Does this make you an impartial observer pointing out the idiocy of the pro-gun crowd?"
    I dunno. Does it? I have a conflict of interest.

    "You have strenuously opposed a position of the pro-gun crowd."
    Because it's fantasy. Firearms are the great equalizer, allowing anyone to wield deadly force against a person who is bigger and stronger. There are many, many cases where this is a very good thing. The threat of mass shooters still isn't one of them.

    "Are you secretly pro gun and playing the devil's advocate?"
    I'm not secretive about anything (except, of course, that I still won't tell you how many guns are in my house, since I post under my real name.) I favor private gun ownership, AND preventing irresponsible people from wielding them.

    "If you are not for gun control then really what is your purpose in writing these posts?"
    For my own amusement, obviously, which is why I do anything. Debate is fun… if everyone works from the same facts.

  78. Shane  •  Jan 9, 2013 @7:10 pm

    @Joe Pullen thank you for saying what I am too clumsy and inarticulate to say or more precisely quoting someone with such power :) . It is easy to get lost in the details. If we as a country want gun control then I suppose that the matter is one of amending the constitution, but amendments are hard things to get passed, so it is much easier to erode the details a little at a time through law and fiat.

  79. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 9, 2013 @7:15 pm

    It’s certainly not my place to dictate commentary here but if we’re going to debate the issue of guns, shouldn’t we be debating it on that level?

    Hey Joe, please don't lump me in with the "rabid reaction" for posting data. It seems to me that before you can discuss an issue which gives rise to wild and hasty generalizations, you should be willing to look at the data, which as you said could provide a platform for a reasoned debate.

  80. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 9, 2013 @7:17 pm

    This was taken from Joe Pullen's quote and should have appeared in a blockquote:

    It’s certainly not my place to dictate commentary here but if we’re going to debate the issue of guns, shouldn’t we be debating it on that level?

  81. AlphaCentauri  •  Jan 9, 2013 @10:32 pm

    The problem with using the risk of tyranny as a justification for unregulated gun access is that the people who prefer more firearm regulation consider the people who are amassing their personal arsenals to be the exact people most likely to seize power and tyrannize us. Who the hell are you afraid of coming to get your guns? There aren't a lot of anti-gun people in the military.

  82. Deadly Laigrek  •  Jan 9, 2013 @11:39 pm

    @Alpha Centauri – I'm afraid of the police coming to get my guns, given their lack of regard for the Constitution and for the people they are "protecting." I think I'll keep my guns, thanks. Because if I want to look at abuse of governmental power, I look first to the TSA; second to the police.

  83. Deadly Laigrek  •  Jan 9, 2013 @11:41 pm

    Also, why is it that I always walk in on the tail ends of these kinds of debates? Is the universe just conspiring against me?

  84. James Pollock  •  Jan 10, 2013 @9:04 am

    Deadly Laigrek (may I call you Deadly?) You have a point… the TSA DOES want to take away your guns.

  85. Joe Pullen  •  Jan 11, 2013 @7:34 am

    naught_for_naught • Jan 9, 2013 @7:15 pm

    You’re right. My apologies. Was having one of “those” days – short on sleep – late flight back from Orlando – TSA at airport got in a tizzy because my 1.5oz bottle of nasal Afrin spray wasn’t in a ziplock baggie because apparently this causes planes to blow up. I should have had a double martini before sitting down and writing a post.

  86. J  •  Jan 12, 2013 @3:47 pm

    @Joe Pullen: Judge Kozinski seems to have forgotten how Stalin came to power: The Tzar was overthrown by something that could very well be called a militia. A militia you are allowing to be armed. The weapons that could be used to overthrow a corrupt government can also always be used to stage a coup d'etat against a legitimate government. Now look into present day Africa: even though we don't seem to care, they have armed militias conducting ethnic cleansing. Any attempts to stop them only result in civil war.

    While having a gun to defend yourself against an armed militia may be preferable to having no gun to defend yourself against an armed militia, the result is still not a good one: a civil war. Now what if you had no gun and wouldn't be threatened by a gun either? Of course you will not be able to stop everyone from having a gun, but the less people have guns, the higher the possibility that the police or army is able to deal with it.

    I agree that the incidents discussed would probably benefit from the presence of someone with a weapon being able to step in, but I doubt that increasing the amount of guns carried in public would reduce the blood shed through gun violence.

  87. Joe Pullen  •  Jan 12, 2013 @4:45 pm

    @J – your point is interesting but contains what I would consider two key fallacies. One, that we would see a situation similar to Africa here in the US – there is no evidence to support that likliehood. Second, that the army or the police necessarily would always have our best interest in mind. Judge Kozinski's position was based on the possibility they would not.

    The 2nd is and has always been, as best as I can determine, an individual right. http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volokh/beararms/testimon.htm

    I for one, am not interested in seeing our righs continue to be further eroded by arguments not based on fact.

  88. James Pollock  •  Jan 12, 2013 @5:14 pm

    "The 2nd is and has always been, as best as I can determine, an individual right."
    That's an opinion.

    "I for one, am not interested in seeing our righs continue to be further eroded by arguments not based on fact."
    Irony. Dig it.

    Firearms (as with any weapon) equalize the balance of power when violence is threatened; a gun doesn't have to be FIRED to be USED. The effectiveness of a gun in resolving violence or threatened violence varies wildly with the skill and capability of the wielder, as is true of any tool (including language). Thus, the availability of firearms tends to work to keep power balanced between citizens, where there is a possibility of violence. Remove guns from the equation, and you DON'T remove the possibility of violence… you just revert to the non-firearm form of the equation, where people who are bigger, stronger, etc. have an advantage where violence is a possibility.
    As nasty as American political discourse has been for the last couple of decades, it has rarely come down to violence… rendering availability of firearms a non-issue in terms of preserving order in politics. In the area of crime, however, there remain a considerable range of situations in which availability of fireams DOES or at least CAN help preserve orderly interactions between individuals.

    An entirely separate question is whether or not the side effects are severe enough to justify continuing the current path. (Yes, there is some carnage created by people having guns who shouldn't have them… but it's nowhere close to the carnage created by privately-operated vehicles, and nobody seriously floats the idea of "car control" requiring people to turn in their cars.)

    The biggest disagreements come from people who almost, but don't quite, agree (see religious disagreements, generally). In the case of "gun control", pretty close to everyone, on both sides of the debate, agrees that there are some people who just shouldn't have access to firearms. The disagreements circle around A) just who should be disqualified, and B) what measures should be taken to limit the access. It comes down to "gun control" advocates wanting more efforts to keep guns away from people who shouldn't have them, even if it means that perfectly responsible people are limited or burdened, and "gun freedom" advocates wanting perfectly responsible people to be unlimited and unburdoned, even if it means more people who shouldn't have guns are able to get them. (In the real world, of course, it leaks both ways… some responsible people are burdened, and some people who shouldn't have access to a firearm will get their hands on one.) There is no permanent solution that pleases everyone.

  89. Joe Pullen  •  Jan 12, 2013 @7:07 pm

    "The 2nd is and has always been, as best as I can determine, an individual right."
    That's an opinion.

    One could argue the interpretation of the any of the Amendments, or any law for that matter, is just that – an opinion. In this particular case, I agree with Eugene Volkh’s “opinion” and will assume going forward that I need to label certain content specifically as “opinion” since using the words “as best as I can determine” is not explicit enough. You certainly help keep me on my toes.

    "I for one, am not interested in seeing our rights continue to be further eroded by arguments not based on fact."
    Irony. Dig it.

    Irony – absolutely. After all, if I have to explain that it’s sarcasm it wouldn’t still be sarcasm right?

  90. James Pollock  •  Jan 12, 2013 @11:49 pm

    "One could argue the interpretation of the any of the Amendments, or any law for that matter, is just that – an opinion."
    I suppose you could argue that, although it doesn't match up with the way it works in the real world. People can (and do) have wildly different opinions as to the interpretation of any of the amendments, and opinion they are until the exact question reaches the court system, at which point the various opinions are sorted into the "correct" interpretations and the "incorrect" ones. The current law is that the second amendment is an individual right; that, however, is a recently-settled question. In other words, the opinion of the people who matter the most agree with you (congratulations (I guess)).
    However, the "and always has been" is not so clear-cut, for the reason described above… the question was unsetttled for the vast majority of the history of our nation.

    I'm also not a fan of arguments based on non-agreed-upon fact (you can differ about which facts are important and have a debate; if you can't agree on what the facts actually are, debate is impossible.

    The challenge, as always, is not deciding whether or not rights exist; rather, it is in determining how various rights interact with each other… in this case, the right to bear arms vs. the right not to be shot (or shot at). All of our rights are so limited.

    The cynical approach is to note that although the second amendment guarantees a right to BEAR arms, it is entirely silent regarding any right to discharge them or even to load them.

  91. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 14, 2013 @12:23 pm

    Everyday of every year, approximately 90 people die in auto accidents. Another 200 are injured — that's every day. Everyday of every year, 9 people die of an asthma attack and another 6,000 asthma suffers visit or are admitted the hospital. While it's not clear the role air pollution has in causing asthma, it's accepted that air pollution is causative in bringing on an attack. So automobiles are directly or indirectly responsible for approximately 100 deaths every day and another 8,000 people being injured or hospitalized.

    So, what's the point? I'm not saying that until we shouldn't address the issue of violence until we solve the larger problem of auto-related deaths/injuries. No.

    What I'm saying is that it's very puzzling how people don't express much or any outrage when a bus full of children rolls over an embankment, but if guns are involved, these same people will scramble over the bodies of the victims to register their outrage.

    Why is that?

  92. James Pollock  •  Jan 15, 2013 @12:05 am

    One difference is that, while it is certainly possible to use a motor vehicle intentionally as a weapon, most of the carnage caused by automobiles is by accident, or negligent operation, not intentional violence.
    Another difference is that automobiles make a positive difference in more people's lives, so it's obvious that the benefits of motor-vehicle culture outweigh the costs. Fewer people benefit directly from firearms in public hands, so it's less obvious that the benefits outweigh the costs.
    Finally, the intrusive governmental oversight of motor vehicle operation is more accepted, and thus more firmly attached to our society. Every state requires licensing of motor vehicles, licensing and insurance of operators, and has enforcement in place. You don't get perfect compliance, of course. Rules regarding registration, licensure, and insurance on firearms are much, much more variable between states.

  93. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 15, 2013 @8:53 am

    James I appreciate your candor in responding to my post. I agree with you totally when you say,

    Another difference is that automobiles make a positive difference in more people's lives, so it's obvious that the benefits of motor-vehicle culture outweigh the costs. Fewer people benefit directly from firearms in public hands, so it's less obvious that the benefits outweigh the costs.

    It is in truth a problem of perception. Virtually everyone living in the U.S. benefits from the use of a car and therefore is far more able and willing to overlook the negative impact or Negative Externalities (going back a few posts) associated with their use. On the other hand, a smaller segment of the population, one that tends to be sorted along geographic and political lines coincidentally, engages in gun-related activities and therefore sees their benefit and is able and willing to accept the negative impact of being a culture with guns.

    In fact, if you look at the Kozinski opinion cited earlier,

    "My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed … However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once …

    He is making essentially the same cost-benefit-analysis for the gun as you made for the auto.

  94. James Pollock  •  Jan 15, 2013 @2:11 pm

    "He is making essentially the same cost-benefit-analysis for the gun as you made for the auto."
    Actually, I don't think he is, because the pillar of the argument you quote is flawed. (For example, the French saw the Third Reich coming, and they armed themselves against it. Didn't help. Neither has the second amendment helped any of the people oppressed by the tyranny of the U.S. government, whether they took up arms (Whiskey rebellion, Indian wars) or not (WWII internment).

    What guns have done is enabled people who are, for various reasons, physically weak, stand up to threats against their personal safety. That has enormous positive impact. Although it is of less import now than it was in the past, the ability to hunt and feed one's self and family has enormous positive impact.

  95. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 15, 2013 @3:05 pm

    Actually, I don't think he is…
    James, I disagree in this sense. The structure of his argument is clearly a cost-benefit analysis, as when he asserts,

    The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed …

    (It's ok to read that using Peter Sellers' voice from Dr. Strangelove. The "flaws" you cite are with the validity of the benefit he asserts. It doesn't change the fact that structurally it's a cost benefit argument. This is also the basis of the argument regarding the efficacy of having an armed defender in place as a defense against a mass murder.

    My problem is with the argument itself, rather the lack of granularity or perspective that's needed to frame the issues if we're ever to get anywhere. I'm not referring just to this blog, but to the wider debate on "gun violence."

    Like most policy issues the debate is moderated by the profit motives the press. They sell advertising. Advertising requires viewers/readers/clickers in large numbers. What draws large numbers? Dramatic catch phrases, e.g., war on terror, wall street bailout, fiscal cliff, gun violence… The minute an "informed" public begins to debate an issue using using this type overly simplistic framework it assures itself of an even more simplistic answer — the precursor for really bad policy.

  96. James Pollock  •  Jan 15, 2013 @9:51 pm

    "James, I disagree in this sense. The structure of his argument is clearly a cost-benefit analysis, as when he asserts,"

    A cost/benefit analysis where either the costs or the benefits are illusory isn't really the same thing as one where the costs and benefits are grounded in reality. (This is different than objecting to costs and or benefits which are unknown, and perhaps cannot be known.) I'd put in the same broad category as strawman or slippery slope arguments, because it's easier to debate fake things than real ones, if you're the one who gets to make them up.

    At the far end of the spectrum, where the illusion becomes so real to someone that, say, they decide that the shootings in Newtown were a "false-flag goverment operation", and act on this ideation by harassing a guy who took frightened kids into his house after their teacher was shot dead for "being part of the government conspiracy".

    The notion that an armed citizenry can take up arms against the federal government is fantasy, it has NEVER worked. Even if you want to point to the success of the Continental army in the revolutionary war, that effort succeeded due to the A) the long distance from Britain to the colonies, but more importantly B) the intercession of France, another great power. So saying "we need to allow gun rights to protect the ability of the citizenry to defend themselves against tyrannical federal government" makes as much sense as "we need to allow gun rights to protect ourselves from rising floodwaters"… gun rights simply do not provide this benefit.
    Better to stick to social benefits they actually do advance.

  97. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 16, 2013 @10:31 am

    Hey James,

    Please forgive me if this sounds pedantic, but in the interest of accuracy I want to put this out there. A cost-benefit analysis is a generic structure. It has three basic parts: (1) an action being considered; (2) the costs and benefits associated with that action compared to the costs and benefits associated with not taking that action, or perhaps an alternative action; and (3) a recommendation about what course to take.

    In the case of the judge's opinion, if his beliefs do in fact have no basis in reality, if they are in fact delusional flights of fancy that still doesn't change the structure of the argument. It's still a cost-benefit analysis.

    He argues to the question, "Should we restrict 2nd amendment rights?" (That's part 1.) He concludes, absolutely not. (That's part 3.) He justifies that position by using a series historical events that he argues demonstrate the great cost of having an unarmed society, asserting that the cost would have been far less had they been armed. (That's part 2.)

    It is in error to argue,

    A cost/benefit analysis where either the costs or the benefits are illusory isn't really the same thing as one where the costs and benefits are grounded in reality.

    Because, the rest of your statement is essentially a refutation of the second part. That' to say he's full of crap when he argues that armed Jews could have stopped Hitler. Likewise, when you say,

    The notion that an armed citizenry can take up arms against the federal government is fantasy, it has NEVER worked.

    you are again attempting to kicking the legs out from under his benefit argument, thereby putting forward your own cost benefit analysis, i.e., there is no benefit to the current policy. It doesn't change the fact that whether it's done well or done poorly, the structure of the argument is still the same.

  98. James Pollock  •  Jan 16, 2013 @11:54 am

    If pedantic is the order of the day, I note that the word "benefit" does not appear in this paragraph:
    "He argues to the question, "Should we restrict 2nd amendment rights?" (That's part 1.) He concludes, absolutely not. (That's part 3.) He justifies that position by using a series historical events that he argues demonstrate the great cost of having an unarmed society, asserting that the cost would have been far less had they been armed. (That's part 2.)"

    Thus, your argument is that you can have a cost/benefit analysis with no reference to any benefit. Under that definition, I guess you're right that an argument that justifies actions by citing non-existent benefits would still be a cost/benefit analysis. Feel better?

  99. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 16, 2013 @1:04 pm

    Feel better? No, not really James…that is to say that I never felt bad. I was engaging civil discourse with no other motive than to challenge my own assumptions by questioning yours. Cheers.