But I also think you are being a bit too literal. Background checks that keep people with mental problems from getting guns would would be successful in many cases. But no, they don't keep you from taking your mom's guns.
Agreed. And I wasn't implying I disagree with the notion of background checks. I am merely stating that in this circumstance, it would not have mattered as the onus was on the mother to keep these firearms away from her mentally ill son.
Incidentally, I am speaking as someone who is for gun control and is a gun owner themselves. But I guess I am falling back on my background as being someone who works in the software industry, whereby we have a concept called 'root cause analysis'. What that essentially states is that you attempt to discover the low level underlying problem with a piece of software rather than attempting continuous patches and Band-Aid fixes.
In a similar vein, I can acknowledge that background checks are beneficial, but ultimately, I would like to see greater efforts in the fields of mental illness. We often take a very archaic notion of how to deal with folks that are mentally disturbed, probably due to our old world ways of thinking about people being 'evil' or 'possessed'. But ultimately, these people are sick. Rather than focusing on the instrument of these people's actions, I would like to focus on the cause and see better treatment options and a better support network for parents who have to deal with children with mental illness.
Guess this is my long-winded view that we need universal health care that is accessible by all. And a society that recognizes mental illness as being a legitimate medical condition as opposed to putting a stigma around it.
In the sense of preventing (further) bodily harm to yourself? It is a form of defence. Lesson 1 in any martial arts "self defence" class will tell you this.
As someone who studied various forms of martial arts, I wouldn't exactly call running away a teachable martial arts tactic. Anybody can run away. But self defense classes and martial arts focus on the techniques you leverage when running away is not an option.
Maybe I am nitpicking, but I don't recall having to demonstrate my ability to 'run away' when I was testing for my black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
So in the realm of standing ones ground verses buggering off. If one is armed with a gun, then that person may feel a bit invincible and be inclined to pop a cap in someones ass. I seem to recall a incident in Tampa Fl where a retired law enforcement gentleman did just that to someone who he confronted for texting in the theater. The one texting threw popcorn on the old coot and the old coot put some lead in his diet, which did not work out so good for anyone.
I actually live in Florida and I am quite familiar with the stand your ground cases, including the Tampa movie theater incident and a recent one with a crazy guy shooting at a bunch of teenagers in their SUV because they were playing music too loud.
Personally, I am not an advocate of the stand your ground laws. I think they often give people an incitement to want to take aggressive action when it is not warranted. It is almost Wild West thinking. Additionally, it makes things difficult for law enforcement as often times, stand your ground is used to settle scores, especially between rival drug gangs. We have had numerous cases whereby a drug dealer will shoot a rival and then claim the stand your ground defense. Often times, the other drug dealer is armed, or had a firearm at arms reach and thus, it is very difficult to prove whether or not there was actual provocation or if the guy just decided to 'pop a cap in his ass'.
I am in the Enter the Dragon Bruce Lee camp. The art of fighting without fighting. Or buggering off!
I am inclined to agree. I think the best course of action is to de-escalate the situation. Generally speaking, I am not trying to get into a rumble with anyone, especially now that I am over 40. But even in my younger days, I would always try to find a peaceful resolution. I think a lot of that came from the self discipline I was taught when I studied martial arts. You learn a lot of things and it does give you a good idea of how much damage you can do to someone. And additionally, you are fully aware how much damage someone can do to you. So invariably, whenever possible, bow out gracefully is my philosophy.
But as you stated, if someone is in my home, attempting to do me bodily harm and I have no alternative, I will bring my very persuasive friend, Sir Glock to the conversation.
I wanted to share some information on crime statistics as I think it helps provide some context regarding our discussions here on gun control and the usage of weapons to protect oneself or oneself's personal property.
The statistics are somewhat difficult to acquire, since different countries use different means to gather data and classify crimes. But I came across these two articles I wanted to pass on.
The first one is from the University of Windsor, which shows a pretty decent and comprehensive breakdown of crimes as a comparison between the USA and Canada:
What is interesting on first glance is that when you look at aggravated assault rates, the USA is actually higher from a per capita standpoint compared to the Canada. Ditto for personal robbery.
However, for breaking and entering and motor vehicle theft, Canada actually exceeds the USA in that regard. I had always heard that as a rumor, but here is the data to back it up.
Not drawing any conclusions here (yet), but just providing some context.
The second article I came across discusses the differences in crime between the USA and the UK. This article is somewhat of a 'debunk' article relating to a claim made by some libertarian in the USA that the UK had 2000 crimes recorded per 100,000 people. Of course, this came down to how the classifications of crimes occurred. So the people at politifact did a more granular analysis here:
Now they did debunk the original claim of an apples to oranges comparison between the USA and the UK. However, when they performed a more granular analysis, they actually DID confirm that when the crime statistics are matched, the UK indeed does have more instances of violent crime per 100,000 than the USA does. Approximately 775 violent crimes per 100,000 versus the 383 violent crimes per 100,000 in the USA.
(Note that the authors of the aforementioned article do acknowledge that there is no easy way to perform these comparisons)
Being that each of these countries handles its gun laws differently, I thought it would be an interesting thought experiment to look at their actual crime rates to determine any potential correlations. So just to summarize regarding actual gun policies in each country:
USA - Few restrictions on gun ownership and types of guns being owned by citizens. Also allows for concealed carry and more liberal stances on self defense.
Canada - Stricter policies on gun ownership. Long guns are generally permissable, while hand guns are heavily restricted. Strict policies on using guns for self defense.
UK - Long guns heavily restricted but legal. Hand guns completely illegal. Strict policies on using guns for self defense.
Anyway, as someone who is more in the middle of the gun debate, I just wanted to share this info.
Is the burglar armed? Is the burglar crazy? Is the burglar drunk or on drugs? Is the burglar accompanied by anyone? Is the burglar much bigger and stronger than you? Is the burglar a black belt? Is what he's stealing more valuable than your life, permanent injury or a long stay in the hospital? Is the burglar actually your niece sneaking in to her uncle's house for who knows what ungodly reason? etc... Regardless what the law permits, unless forced to do otherwise, don't try to handle the situation yourself. Call the police.
And I acknowledge that is a stance many people take. Ultimately though, my question was: should action on my part if I choose to respond with physical intervention be illegal?
Every situation is fraught with unique details, every jurisdiction will draw the line between legal and illegal in a different place, every judge, every jury will interpret that line in a different place. Your question is unanswerable, certainly by me.
It is actually not a specific question regarding the actual laws themselves. It is more of an open-ended question regarding people's stances on what should and should not be legal. In Canada for example, it is outright illegal to use physical force to stop a burglar from stealing your property. That includes all forms of legal force, not just deadly force. And note that if one does use force to stop a burglar, the individual could them be charged with a crime. So ultimately, my question goes back to those on this forum: would the USA benefit from a similar law?
Regardless of the law, responsible people will choose a course that maximizes life and safety for all involved. If you pull the gun out of the drawer and go looking for the source of that funny sound a burglar might shoot you, or you might shoot your niece. If you hide in your closet the worst that will likely happen is that you'll lose your TV set and laptop.
That is making an assumption that the individual who has entered your premises is there strictly to steal. If you choose to hide in your closet and discover later that the intruder raped your daughter, then what?
We can go back and forth regarding various scenarios, but ultimately, I am actually not looking for hyperbole. I am curious what people's stances are regarding what actions should and should not be legal from the standpoint of defending oneself or one's property. Also, based on the aforementioned articles I provided regarding specific crime types by country, what effect do these laws, if any, have on actual crime itself?
Suppose I have a convenience store on a busy street and an armed robber comes in. I pull my gun and chase him way, blazing away at him like Clint Eastwood. Discharging a firearm in the city is a danger to innocent bystanders, which is already illegal (or should be). I think the question should be: At what point does my "right to self defense" supercede somebody else's right to safety?
And this is a valid question. But if I alter your scenario as follows:
You own a convenience store and a armed robber enters and begins firing at you and patrons of your store because they are hopped up on meth, wants to steal from you and wants to leave no witnesses. You avoid the first salvo, grab your own firearm, and you.... return fire? Or simply duck, dodge the bullets, let the crazy guy off the remaining patrons, grab what's in the register and run out?
As I mentioned in another post, we can posit various scenarios and come to ultimately different conclusions just by altering parameters. So I think continuing to do so is an exercise in futility.
As I mentioned in my dialog with Percy, what I am more interested in is seeing where we draw the line in the sand. Should any and all forms of defense be abolished and people should simply take a 'no action' stance? Is some action allowed in circumstances? And when is deadly action warranted? And ultimately, how do these laws actual change the dynamics of various forms of crime?
The situation is the same. You are (should be) responsible for your own bullets. If you miss the perpetrator and your bullet goes out the door and hits a kid passing by on a bicycle, you are (should be) considered guilty of mansaughter. Maybe you survive if you shoot back, maybe you don't. If you don't shoot back, at least you don't go to jail.
But my scenario was describing a situation whereby the perpetrator was using their firearm to kill the patrons of your store. So you are essentially saying that, even though you are armed, you should not, in any circumstances use your firearm to stop this individual from continuing his/her killing spree?
As I keep harping, a gun is not a defensive weapon; it's an offensive weapon. People need to understand the offensive action of shooting an innocent passerby. "Self defense" isn't (shouldn't be) an excuse for endangering somebody else.
I would argue this is debatable, as it depends on the situation, as I described above. If the scenario I described above was ended by a patron, who happened to be a black belt, round house kicking the guy in the temple, thereby killing him, does that mean martial arts are now considered 'self-offense', as opposed to 'self-defense'?
I would ask, rather: Is it effective? Is a shopkeeper safer hiding behind the counter or playing Gunfight at the OK Corral?
Considering the scenario I described above, whereby the antagonist is using their firearm to kill innocent civilians, then yes, I would say a gun shot that ends their life is quite effective.
Personally, don't think deadly action is ever warranted. I think it's understandable if you're trying to protect your children - but it probably isn't the most effective means of protecting them either.
Fair enough. I would disagree however. If a women who is being sexually assaulted in her home by an intruder or estranged boyfriend grabs a kitchen knife and stabs the guy in his carotid artery, thereby killing him, my suspicion is most are not going to chastise her for being 'excessive'.
As I've already mentioned in this thread, if I was an armed criminal, confronting an armed populace would make me more likely to shoot first. Making it illegal for my victims to shoot at me would make me feel a little safer, which would make them safer.
But does this not embolden the criminal? Quite frankly, my nightmare scenario is a bunch of armed criminals and a completely disarmed population.
What effect do laws have on crime incidence rates? I don't know, but it does seem inevitable that the more things you make illegal the more illegal acts will be committed. Some laws even make the crime incidence rate skyrocket, such as Prohibition-caused speakeasies.
But getting back to the topic, I'm pretty sure that reducing gun deaths requires taking away people's guns.
Ok. Although I think in order to make informed decisions regarding how laws are being drafted, it is important to have all the information and an idea of the potential consequences of taking specific actions.
Circling back, is your ideal scenario a country with absolutely no firearms in the hands of civilians?
The Second Amendment was included for, among other reasons, ensuring that the people have the 'power' to exercise the 'right' to defend themselves against anything that threatened the 'security of a free State', even if that anything was the State itself.
While I acknowledge that the 2nd Amendment did have the concept of armed citizenry being able to defend themselves from a tyrannical government as part of its credo, I would argue that concept is woefully anachronistic in the modern day and age.
Our society already has copious laws preventing citizens from being able to purchase military hardware and ordinance. i.e., no matter how rich you are, you can't buy modern tanks, fighter jets or missiles for your own purposes. And quite frankly, I for one am happy about that as I wouldn't want to see what would happen if some uber rich billionaire suddenly snapped and went on a rampage with an M1A1 tank firing HESH rounds at anything he saw.
But ultimately, this to me signifies that as a society, we have already usurped the notion of armed citizenry being able to overthrow the government because our citizens can never be as armed as the government. You could have access to Charlton Heston's entire basement and it wouldn't mean a hill of beans of difference the moment the Marines show up and blow you to smithereens with their military hardware.
With all that being said, I personally don't have a problem with guns being used for personal defense. (As a LAST resort) But to me, the whole notion of having to be armed just in case you need to overthrow the government makes no sense in the modern day and age.
What we need is a cultural revolution in regards to guns. Guns are a fascination for us Americans. We simply love our guns, so much so we are willing to suffer the consequences of the gun related deaths brought about from a ignorant/stupid armed society.
This has been the message the Democrats have been trying to push forth, but frankly, they have done a dismal job of it. The main issue is the gun culture, as you are alluding to. This fixation on guns as if they are some sacrosanct totem that must be worshipped is really bizarre in my eyes. It almost reminds me of how Samurai's and warriors of old used to imbue their swords as having some mystical quality.
Incidentally, for those on this thread, there was a documentary on Frontline PBS recently called 'Gunned Down'. Really interesting and I would recommend checking it out. It takes a focus on the NRA and actually demonstrates how that organization, which actually started on a well to do gun safety mandate was completely usurped by a few unscrupulous people that transformed it into one of the most feared lobbying engines this country has ever seen.
If one owns a gun then they carry the responsibility of having a device that can cause instantaneous death. It does not matter what, where, who, or when or why. That gun can and will kill if it is employed on target either on purpose or not.
Agreed. Sadly, as we have seen in many cases, there is no idiot test in this country and the end result is guns are often not handled correctly or find their way into the hands of those that should never have one.
Perhaps that is part of the allure of gun ownership. It makes the owner instantly powerful. But one does not need a gun to kill.
Very true. I studied copious martial arts in my lifetime and I am fully aware of the types of strikes or moves I can perform that could be fatal. But one thing that I have to say that I don't approve of regarding our gun culture here is we have adopted a 'shoot first, ask questions later' methodology. Things like the stand your ground laws basically encourage people to escalate a situation as opposed to trying to calm things down. What ever happened to trying to maintain our composure and resolve a matter civilly before we decide to 'pop a cap' in someone.
We had a case in my state of Florida where a retired police officer in a movie theater used his gun to kill another person because that guy threw popcorn at him after an argument about his cellphone. And this is a former cop for crying out loud!
One other thing (and I have said this before), the one argument that drives me beyond nuts when I speak to other gun owners is this fixation they have on needing to be armed because they might need to overthrow a tyrannical government. I am sorry, but that is the most moronic statement I have ever heard. The most staunch Ayn Rand acolyte could go into Gander Mountain and buy ever gun they sell and it wouldn't mean a hill of beans the moment the government showed up with ten M1A1 tanks. The soldiers inside would be playing cards laughing their asses off as you emptied every clip you had only to watch it bounce off the tank's armor.
We as a society have already consciously acknowledged that the military is ALWAYS going to be better armed that its citizenry. So far as I know, Bill Gates can't buy a fleet of tanks, jets and missiles. And in my mind, that is a good thing. So we need to drop this anachronistic notion of being armed to the teeth to keep our government in check. I think we carry far more power in our votes than we do in our home ordinance.