Social Question

ETpro's avatar

If most of the people in the Aurora CO theater were carrying concealed weapons, what do you think would have happened in the Colorado massacre?

Asked by ETpro (34202 points ) July 24th, 2012

When James Holmes opened fire on the crowd watching The Dark Knight Rises early Friday morning, July 20th, people in the audience must have felt like sitting ducks. It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that if you’d been there and had a concealed weapon with you, you might have stopped the carnage with minimal loss of life. That thought came to my mind.

But would that really be the solution? First, let’s remember that Holmes was dressed head to foot in black body armor. In a dark theater, he would have been nearly invisible and heavily protected by the tactical gear he was wearing. To make matters worse, his first action was to toss two canisters of irritant gas, making people’s eyes tear up and filling the air with smoke.

Imagine that half the 200 person audience had been carrying. After his first shot, someone two rows behind you rises up and fires in the general direction of the front of the theater. Nobody knows whether he is a good guy or part of the plot. Immediately, a half dozen other people open fire, some in the general direction of the first shooter and others at the second person to fire. Within minutes, there is a full-fledged Gunfight at the OK Coral but with over 100 shooters involved instead of just 1.

Stray bullets would be zipping through the walls into the adjacent theaters in the metroplex. One can imagine that some in those adjacent theaters might return fire through the wall. How many would have ended up dead or wounded? What evidence can we present that having more people heavily armed in a society protects human life and inhibits violent crime? Does the actual evidence point to exactly the opposite?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

100 Answers

Ron_C's avatar

Just imagine a darkened theater with a bright screen. You would have a great shot at anyone in front of the screen but wouldn’t be able to tell it it was the shooter or another movie goer. I expect there would even be more panic, hundreds of shot fired, and possibly most of the people, including the unarmed, wounded or dead. It would have literally been a blood bath.

Granted that the even, with only one shooter was horrific, with additional shooters the death and destruction would have been unspeakable. Anyone lucky enough to escape with their life would likely have a huge case of PTSD.

ucme's avatar

Fan the flames immediately springs to mind.
Bedlam/carnage on a hellish scale.

jca's avatar

Incredible question, incredible thought.

Mariah's avatar

As he had thrown tear gas first to blind the audience, nothing good.

jerv's avatar

Most gun owners are untrained. Imagine how the roads would be if drivers licenses were not required to prove proficiency.

Israel can get away with an armed society because most serve at least two years in the military and are trained. We are not Israel.

mazingerz88's avatar

Thing is, what if the scenario is also such that Holmes knew some people there would have had guns. It’s more likely he would since the logical reason that many people would carry guns in there was if it was legal. Now, would Holmes not hesitate?

But yes, chances are it would be more of a bloodbath compared to what happened. Assuming those gun owners did not receive any professional response training at all.

josie's avatar

If a whole lot of people in the theatre had been armed, and decided to act, I am pretty sure most of them would have missed and or shot the wrong person.

On the other hand, if I had been there…

mazingerz88's avatar

@josie Just sincerely curious here, so what does a pro with a gun do when for example his or her eyes already got hit by gas, swelling with tears and he needs to pinpoint the shooter in a dark place full of people yelling and shrieking?

josie's avatar

Under the circumstances that you describe, not too much except hunker down and wait for an obvious opportunity. Or go for position. Or most likely get the fuck out and go for position outside. Nothing worse than trying to be part of the solution, only to become part of the problem.

By the way, I am not a pro. But I have had experience getting shot at and shooting back, and enough training that I know what to do. That does not mean I can breath smoke and gas and see in the dark.

flutherother's avatar

Perhaps they could have special movie theatres for people who like shooting each other in the dark but I would prefer to see the film.

marinelife's avatar

I think it’s possible even more people would have been injured or killed.

The perpetrator was wearing bullet-proof gear including headwear, throat protection, groin protection and leg protection.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The death toll would have been an order of magnitude larger with everyone “popping caps” and not having a specific target in the dark.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Several dozen more people would be dead from randomly and poorly shot firearms. It would be a massacre, largely brought on my idiots who couldn’t see where to aim in the dark.

wundayatta's avatar

Where is the Incredible Hulk when you need him?

LuckyGuy's avatar

If most of the people had guns? Chaos.
If one trained person in 20 had a gun? It would have been over quicker with fewer casualties..
Yes, he was wearing body armor. That does not mean he was immune to bullets. One shot in the helmet or armor would knock him down allowing others nearby to jump him. A shot in the face, well…. At a minimum it would have saved millions of dollars in court costs.

jrpowell's avatar

Hero 1 shoots the bad guy. Hero 2 shoots hero 1, then hero 3 shoots hero 2. And then the cop shoots hero 3.

rojo's avatar

@mazingerz88 My thought when I heard he was wearing body armor was that he must have been anticipating someone or someones shooting back in the first place.

jerv's avatar

@mazingerz88 Given his attire, I think he already allowed for the possibility of armed resistance. One tends to be a bit less hesitant when wearing ballistic protection, and handguns are limited enough in power that fear is less of an issue.

@LuckyGuy Not necessarily. Any knockdown from being shot is usually psychosomatic unless it’s a penetrating hit to the spine, hips, or legs. Ever see what happens when you shoot a PCP addict? Somebody with enough drive, willpower, drugs, and/or armor won’t get knocked down by a handgun.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Just a note on this question – the REPUBLICANS are blaming the victims for NOT being armed!

jerv's avatar

@Linda_Owl Then let the Republicans pay for either the training or the wrongful death compensation for those killed by untrained shooters, then charge then with reckless endangerment and force them to pay for their own incarceration as well if they won’t train people.

bkcunningham's avatar

Why would you two want to do that with this tragedy? Disgusting and irresponsible.

Nullo's avatar

Worth noting here that the shooter was also wearing body armor. Which is not to say that he’d have been knocked over if he weren’t careful, but still.

rooeytoo's avatar

I am in the corner with the “there would have been much more carnage.”

Just as an aside a friend (male 72 years and respectable looking) tried to buy 3 Bic lighters because he likes one by each fireplace. He had to show ID and they took his name. But the shooter was able to purchase 6000 rounds of ammo and a couple of guns on the internet with no ID, no questions asked. It just seems strange or maybe even surreal??? Do we have the NRA to thank for such irony?

augustlan's avatar

Far more innocent people would be dead, including a lot of the ‘heroes’ who were trying to shoot the bad guy.

Jussange's avatar

Say if we were like switzerland and didn’t need to conceal our guns? that could potentially be a nice deterrent in itself.

woodcutter's avatar

From what I have read so far ,that theater was a “no guns allowed facility. I’m sure the shooter read those signs in advance. If there was a guns allowed policy inside that building the guy would have not gone in there.

Really it was the perfect massacre. There was nothing anyone could have done in that situation because there is no defense against an evil mind bent on carrying out such an attack.

Cops carry off duty and have a more acute sense of their situation because they are trained to do so . If one good one had been there they could have ended it before most of the patrons realized it wasn’t a put-on.

augustlan's avatar

@woodcutter I don’t think he would have avoided the place if they didn’t have the no guns rule. He was prepared for armed resistance.

Brian1946's avatar

@augustlan

So you don’t think he was wearing the body armor and head protection to withstand popcorn, soft drink, and cell phone projectiles? ;-)

woodcutter's avatar

@augustlan But he would definitely have given it more thought. Personally I think the whole thing was inexperienced over kill with all the weapons he was lugging around. Who does that? All that crap is heavy and ungainly. It would have made more sense to have one weapon and make up the balance of his load with additional ammo. He was a stupid mall ninja acting out. And all that ammo? Why bring that much and leave it in the car? Like everyone was going to wait on him to run back outside to retrieve it? He didn’t want the cops to finish him off outside, being the cop shop was right around the corner. He lost his nerve…the pussy. And because he is such, the first incoming to hit him, body armor and all, would have folded him over like a cheap lawn chair from walmart. Then he surrenders?
Can’t wait to hear his side.

wundayatta's avatar

@woodcutter Do you think anything he says will either answer your questions or be understandable by you?

woodcutter's avatar

@wundayatta I want to hear him speak, instead of sitting there looking like a psycho ,which I think was a big deception. He’s trying to be clever. I don’t really care to understand him…I want him to die.

bkcunningham's avatar

Didn’t that eye rolling and blinking seem contrived? He’s a bad actor. His only defense is insanity.

wundayatta's avatar

@woodcutter What makes you believe that the way he is behaving is deceptive? I haven’t seen him, but it seems to me that if he doesn’t say anything, he can hardly be lying.

What do you want to hear him say? What would make you think he wasn’t lying? How could he say anything that would make you feel like you understood anything?

woodcutter's avatar

I think the insanity deal will float as long as his atty can convince a jury he didn’t know right from wrong. He was wearing special protection from the very thing he was doing to others, so to me at least, he knew exactly what he was doing and what was happening. He went through too much preparation for this.

rooeytoo's avatar

You have to be severely mentally ill to do such a thing. I don’t think anyone rational could do what he did. Therefore all arguments about his rationale in choosing and carrying out the actions he did are not necessarily rational either.

wundayatta's avatar

So because he prepared well, he couldn’t be insane?

woodcutter's avatar

@wundayatta I saw him in court yesterday, bizarre to say the least. Putting on a facade of batshit crazy to alter people’s perception of his mental state. I want an explanation thats all. Usually these types off themselves so you get nothing, or he can sit through the entire trial and say nothing. I think everyone wants to get inside his head if there’s anything understandable to be had there.

jerv's avatar

The insanity defense might fly. I mean, he called himself The Joker, yet any sane person knows that The Joker had green hair, not red.

Of course, that defense could be shot down if he is proven to be colorblind…

bkcunningham's avatar

According to the legal definition of insanity, @wundayatta, his preparation deems him legally sane.

woodcutter's avatar

@wundayatta I see your point but he allowed himself to be taken alive. That tells me at least he was being rational.

woodcutter's avatar

@jerv Maybe green hair dye was sold out that day and didn’t want to be confused for the Hulk Has it been said he was trying to look like the joker? Or was that assumed because the movie was batman?.

filmfann's avatar

If most of the people in the theater were packing, most of them would have gun oil and urine stains on their pants.

woodcutter's avatar

I don’t get the gun oil but definitely the urine….and other stuff.

jerv's avatar

@woodcutter Not everybody wipes the excess off after they clean their guns; only those who know how to handle/maintain a firearm do.

woodcutter's avatar

@jerv Then they probably don’t even oil their shit.

Jussange's avatar

@jerv According to my Dad, the old TV joker had red hair.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Just a note: “no guns allowed” signs have no legal authority in Colorado. I have an aunt and uncle who live in Colorado, both of whom have noted on Facebook that they get several flyers from the NRA reminding them of this fact each year. Since they are anti-gun people, I imagine that the pro-gun people in Colorado get at least the same number of flyers and possibly more.

Ultimately, I agree with @josie. An untrained populace with guns is just going to cause more carnage, but a trained person who knows to lay low and wait for the right opportunity could potentially end the situation quickly—or at least recognize that ending the situation quickly was not an option and look for a better position elsewhere. A gun is a weapon, not a security blanket or a lucky charm. A weapon both requires respect and understanding to be used properly.

ETpro's avatar

Wow. I normally like to answer each response personally, but there are just too many to try at this late hour. If I can finish paid work and log in earlier tomorrow, maybe then. Thanks to every one of you who responded. It’s a great debate.

Nullo's avatar

@rooeytoo Time was, you could buy rifles at your local hardware store to help with your resident vermin population. Easy gun availability is only weird to people not accustomed to it.
Given that firearms are so heavily regulated (at the federal level!), I find it unlikely at best that the guy acquired them without leaving a paper trail. See, they go after the guy to whom the serial number is registered. If he knows what’s good for him, he’ll have a proof of transfer so that his life isn’t flushed down the drain by an overzealous police force.

It’s actually a good idea to have a large amount of ammunition. It won’t expire this decade, and you’re going to use it all anyway even if you just go out to the range to mess around, and if you shop enough you can get a good bulk-rate price. A stint at the range with my .22 will see the end of about 100, 150 rounds, so I like to buy the 500rd boxes at $15–20 ea. instead of the 100rd for $10.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t have a problem with owning guns. I don’t want one, I don’t need one, but if you do, so be it. I just think it should be more difficult to acquire. Is it not true you can pick one up at a gun show with very little documentation? I also think there should be a pretty thick paper trail on ammo purchases, especially large quantities for whatever reason. That doesn’t seem to me to be infringing on anyone’s constitutional rights.

I just heard that gun sales has increased dramatically in Colorado since this happened. I don’t get that either. Are people planning on carrying a gun with them when they go to the movies? If you have one in your home, I assume you keep it locked up, so if your home is invaded, do you really have time to get the gun out before the burglar shoots you? I’ll stick with my dog barking to scare the crims away!

filmfann's avatar

@Jussange On TV, it was usually green, though it was sometimes red

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo While we generally require jumping through a lot of hoops to get a handgun, ammo is generally unrestricted (except for armor-piercing rounds) since it is reasonable to believe that one may go through many rounds pretty quickly.

Sadly, what we lack is a requirement for proof of proficiency. Many do not keep theirs locked up for reasons you mention, and take on faith that their kids won’t look in the nightstand, hence many of the tragedies that anti-gun people cite to justify banning all guns everywhere. While there are “quick safes” that allow easy, one handed access while also preventing unauthorized access, few people have the presence of mind to get one.

mattbrowne's avatar

Without special training that goes far beyond visiting normal shooting ranges the chances are minimal. This is why soldiers and policemen require months and years of practice. The psyche is also an important factor. The movements need to be driven by the unconscious mind. You need drills with lots of repetitions for all kinds of different situations.

It’s just so absurd to think, well, let’s get everybody armed and then fewer people get killed. The only one profiting from this is the gun industry.

I know. I know. A lot of Americans will now be outraged about what I wrote.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@mattbrowne A few (pro-Second Amendment) Americans have already expressed that exact same sentiment on this thread.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne Many of us who support guns feel that they are both a right and a responsibility. If you cannot handle the responsibility, you forfeit the right, just as you have the right to walk down the street and the responsibility to not kill your fellow pedestrians; kill a pedestrian, and the law will take you off the streets.

mazingerz88's avatar

@mattbrowne I find this fascinating. The are two kinds of people here. One who if he gets shot, would blame himself for not having a gun and one who if he gets shot, blames the shooter for having one. Therefore, the first guy wants everyone armed and the second wants nobody armed. I wonder which one makes more sense in terms of preventing psychopaths from owning guns and killing people?

jerv's avatar

@mazingerz88 Personally, I would like to see them restricted the same way cars are; a modest fee (not the onerous ones some suggest) and a proficiency test along with a background check. I also favor gun registration, but concede that it could be corrupted. Still, having a national database complete with ballistics info would simplify forensics and (theoretically) avoid hassling law-abiding people who happen to own the same model gun that was used in a shooting.

Of course, that is rather idealistic and also creates bureaucracy, but it’s one possible idea for a middle ground between anarchy and gun bans.

Nullo's avatar

@jerv Guns will always be an issue because they shift the balance of power. The various governments are understandably reluctant to lose (or not have) a quasi-monopoly on deadly force, so there will always be parties ready to institute everything from light regulations to full-on prohibitions. You can see that range here, and so you can pretty much bet that The Powers That Be will have the same spectrum.
Given the spectrum of opinions, and the tendency for power to corrupt, I think it important that we not attach too many strings to gun ownership – lest we find it bound completely.

I very much like the car simile, and would like to point out that having and operating a firearm in public often comes with similar requirements as operating a motor vehicle in public (and that operation on private property likewise changes things). The aspiring concealed carrier in MO must indeed pass a background check and pass a training course, for a moderate fee, and must be in possession of the resulting license when prepared to use the machine.
@rooeytoo I just think it should be more difficult to acquire.
Retail purchases already include a background check, and if you’re flagged as an ex-con, or were dishonorably discharged from the armed forces, or mentally unstable, or if there’s a warrant out there with your name on it, no sale for you. the various States may have other requirements as well. What else would you have them do?

Is it not true you can pick one up at a gun show with very little documentation?
Sure. It’s also Very Suspicious Behavior, and may or may not be illegal in your state. Also, you can get things like drugs or bootleg DVDs in similar fashion. If you’re gonna be doing things that are of questionable legality, what’s one more law?

I also think there should be a pretty thick paper trail on ammo purchases, especially large quantities for whatever reason. That doesn’t seem to me to be infringing on anyone’s constitutional rights.

Back in the day you made your own ammo, so the Constitution says nothing about it. You still can, and a lot of people do. It’s a really big hassle to log all of your bullets, and only the law-abiding person is going to bother with it, so you haven’t accomplished anything useful. It is already illegal to re-sell ammunition.
How many rounds are you calling “a large quantity?” Handgun ammunition frequently comes in boxes of 50, and that’s off the shelf at Wal-Mart.

I just heard that gun sales has increased dramatically in Colorado since this happened. I don’t get that either.
Firearms lend power, and power confidence. Those people feel vulnerable, and want to be able to defend themselves in general, and a gun can do that. In fact, overconfidence can be a problem, and why courses are invaluable.
Some of them are almost certainly planning on taking them everywhere.

if your home is invaded, do you really have time to get the gun out before the burglar shoots you?_
Well, that depends on how you prepare. I, as a hobbyist shooter, personally feel more at home with a baseball bat. Some people, though, go so far as to put a pistol under their pillow and fortify the bedroom. There are many steps between.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo The ballistics database is an ideal, but I see no real difference between the government having the serial number of a persons firearms and having the VIN of their car. Of course, since the government needs no infrastructure to allow one to use a gun the way they maintain roads to allow the use of cars, the testing and license should be slightly cheaper and the registration of a particular gun no more than a title for a car; no yearly renewals like the tabs on my car.
Laws vary, and some are far too restrictive for my tastes. It sounds like MO has it about right.

Also, one of my gun enthusiast friends prefers a sword for home defense; less risk of over-penetration.

Nullo's avatar

@jerv The fear, of course, is a mass firearm confiscation (a rational fear, since that’s more or less what has happened in the U.K. and the move does have its admirers); tying the name to the serial number then becomes a matter of privacy and personal security.

An amendment to my above post: unpapered guns bought from shows are Very Suspicious and possibly illegal. But if there’s enough of a trail that ownership may successfully be traced… it depends. The paperwork effectively protects one owner from the actions of another, so it’s a good thing to have.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@mazingerz88 I think if you read the posts that have been made on this and related questions carefully, you will see that there are more than two kinds of people here. I do not blame any of the Aurora victims for getting shot, nor do I blame the attacker for merely owning a gun. What I blame the attacker for is using his gun illegally and irresponsibly. Honestly, I find all attempts to impose a rhetorical dichotomy on this debate to be absurd—yet extremists in both the pro-gun and anti-gun camps insist on it. They do it because all-or-nothing politics is easier than nuanced thought.

You are now attempting to impose the same sort of thing on us, too, ignoring the ample evidence against it in this very thread. The laws of your fictional world dictate that I must be for arming everyone because I am not for disarming everyone. The obvious problem with that, however, is simply this: I do not own a gun. I can believe that people should not be indiscriminately disarmed without believing that they should be indiscriminately armed, and I can believe that the problem in this case is not Holmes’ ownership of a gun so much as his unchecked and untreated insanity.

woodcutter's avatar

Not everyone should own guns. Not everyone should have a credit card either.
I have been to many a gun show and not once did I see guns being sold cash and carry without paperwork and at least one phone call while I waited. It took all of about 15 minutes, not counting the haggling. I think that is a long enough waiting period if there is nothing wrong with you. Why make things harder just for the sake of making things harder?

There is no gun show loophole. Crooks don’t go to them to get their piece. Lawmakers all know this, or should . What the authors of anti gunshow bills are really trying to do is suppress regular folks selling their guns directly to their friends, or giving them as gifts making personal transfers among themselves. They want to attack these shows because they are smart enough to know that they will be addressing a bigger volume of sales that happen at organized events and it gives them their “demonizing power” of these evil gun shows. Doing it this way they believe will get more people riled up to want to stop them. If I want to sell one of my guns to someone I know, I don’t think the govt needs to have their nose in it.

jerv's avatar

@woodcutter I see one small problem there. Suppose you sell a gun to your buddy and either they snap or get it stolen, then a crime is commited and that gun is found at the scene. They will go after the registered owner first. By leaving a paper trail of the sale, you are left out of it entirely, and hopefully your buddy reported a theft.

Again, like a car, and every car I’ve sold had two bills of sale signed by both parties. I like covering my ass, and I’m not much for prosecuting (or even investigating) innocent people who haven’t done anything.

woodcutter's avatar

@jerv I’m not a registered owner of any of my weapons as far as I know. Oh you know, if I sell a gun I’m gonna have something in writing even if it’s on a piece of shit paper. That gets that one officially out of my possession. It then becomes my responsibility to not misplace that piece of paper. Either way, the govt. is left out of the loop as they should be.

rooeytoo's avatar

Since I have never tried to buy a gun at a gun show I do not know with 100% accuracy but there certainly seems to be a lot of conflicting evidence about the degree of difficulty involved and how much id, if any is required.

mazingerz88's avatar

@SavoirFaire When I said “here” in my response to @mattbrowne I did not mean this board alone. Notice that I didn’t say there are “only” two kinds. Also, my emphasis was with people who actually experienced getting shot at. Like that young woman who got shot in the neck in Colorado and survived because her friend didn’t abandon her and applied pressure to the wound.

I took a guess. That people like her have either of the two extreme positions I put forth. Maybe not. Maybe she has a third or a fourth kind of position. But I was not interested with the real and the nuanced and the gray areas. I put the spotlight on those two extreme views and inquired which one would keep psychopaths from killing people using guns, specifically.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@mazingerz88 Fair enough, and thank you for the clarification. But I am going to suggest that focusing only on the extremes isn’t going to get you a real situation. Neither is likely to solve the problem.

rooeytoo's avatar

Concealed apparently is legal in Wisconsin, didn’t help much. It was the cops that got him. It is becoming ho hum another massacre, some things never change. Sad commentary.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo How many of those people were trained though? My guess is none. That doesn’t change my stance on CCW, and reaffirms my belief that gun owners should have to prove at least some proficiency. A gun is useless if you don’t know how to use it.

bkcunningham's avatar

@jerv, how many of what people? I’m confused by @rooeytoo‘s response and since you responded, perhaps you can explain it to me. I think it is a general statement that Wisconsin allows concealed carry. I really don’t know what she meant.

Mariah's avatar

@bkcunningham, she is referring to the shooting that happened at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin a couple of days ago.

bkcunningham's avatar

Thank you, @Mariah. I realize that she is referring to the shooting. But she made it sound, to me at least, like people at the temple had concealed carry permits and were armed but didn’t shoot. I hadn’t read or heard that information and I don’t know if it is true or I misunderstood what @rooeytoo said.

Mariah's avatar

Oh, gotcha. Thanks for explaining. Yeah, I don’t know if anyone there was actually carrying a concealed weapon, just that it would have been legal for them to do so.

jerv's avatar

Actually, there have been enough shootings in the last few weeks, one in my apartment complex, that I sometimes forget which is which. Note that even where CCW is legal, not everybody carries, contrary to what many think about us Americans, and anybody who is the type of person to shoot into crowds of people likely has too little respect for the law to care about permits or registration anyways.

rooeytoo's avatar

@bkcunningham – it has been intimated above and in other questions on the same subject that if more citizens were allowed to carry concealed weapons this would be the answer to the problem of these random massacres. I was pointing out that it is legal to carry concealed in Wisconsin and it didn’t help one little bit. So what is the next solution offered by the gun enthusiasts? Because they usually contend that whatever solution is offered by non gun enthusiasts wouldn’t help anyhow.

And it does seem as if the populace is becoming desensitized to these mass shootings. This one didn’t get nearly the coverage (at least here) as the preceding ones have.

I am not saying I have a viable solution except make it a hell of a lot harder to get a gun and yes criminals would always be able to get them but I would think that MOST average individuals do not have the connections necessary to acquire illegal guns.

bkcunningham's avatar

My understanding of the concealed carry law in Wisconsin is that is allows private businesses and organizations, like churches and temples, to decide if guns are allowed on their property. I don’t know if the guns were allowed on the temple property.

I guess my next response to you, @rooeytoo, has to be first to try to understand what problem you are seeking a solution for in your question. Mass shootings?

I’d like to add that just this second, I responded to the first question asked on Fluther about the shooting. The poster is questioning why there are no questions about the shooting. I mentioned your statement in my response on her question. Thank you for your answer.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo There is no way to make it more difficult for criminals to illegally acquire a gun. You can make it harder for law-abiding citizens who wish to conform with state and local laws, but just as copy protection does not slow piracy, gun restrictions will not affect criminals.

You also seem to have missed my point about many people not owning guns even when we have the right to do so. Don’t take this the wrong way, but a lot of you non-Americans seem to think that we Americans are all fat cowboys, eating Big Macs and firing six-shooters willy-nilly just because we have the right to do so. Not all of us are Texans.

Having the right to carry a weapon does not mean a duty to do so, and the majority of people are unarmed. Therefore, the legality of CCW in Wisconsin is, at best, a red herring, if not an outright straw man.

rooeytoo's avatar

See @jerv you prove my point, no matter what is suggested, someone such as yourself always has a reason that it won’t work.

woodcutter's avatar

because he’s right…it doesn’t work.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo I have long since lost the delusion that we live in an ideal world. I fully recognize the difference between theory and fact, and the weight of historical evidence.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish you were correct, that your ideas would work. So far, I have yet to see gun control work though. The best gun control is societal change. Making people not want guns is far more effective than taking them away. There are societies that get by just fine without guns, but there are also some that are Hell on Earth because civilians have no way to protect themselves and others where people are killed in ways that do not involve firearms.

If you’ve ever seen the destruction that can be caused by diesel fuel and fertilizer, or what can be done simple household chemicals, you would know that when a person seeks to harm others, they can and will find a way. The only thing is that hurting larger groups of people requires a little more ingenuity…. but not as much as you would think.

bkcunningham's avatar

This well written and insightful viewpoint is a must read. The studies cited in the column are also relevant.

rooeytoo's avatar

@jerv – and again you make my point.

ETpro's avatar

@jerv I’m not advocating the US confiscating our firearms, but @rooeytoo is right that nations with a low average number of gun owners per 100 people tend to have a lower murder rate, with shooting deaths being much lower. Likewise, states in the USA with fewer guns per 100 people have lower murder rates. Suicide rates also are lower where fewer people own firearms.

Yes, you can kill someone with a knife, or a bat, or a tire iron or beer bottle. You can also kill yourself in any number of ways. But the fact is that deadly violence or every sort tends to be lower in places that have a smaller number of guns in citizen’s hands.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo Most of it really boils down to one simple fact; we are America. Ponder the implications of that.

@ETpro Cause and effect is a funny thing though. Is it possible that we have more guns because we are a violent society? That the guns do not cause the violence, but are rather a symptom of it?

Regarding suicide, again, that has societal aspects. See, we are rather high-strung. We work more hours, take less vacation, and generally freak out about things that other cultures dismiss, ignore, or just plain don’t deal with.

So tell me, do you have any evidence as to which direction the case/effect relationship there goes? And do you understand the real reason for my skepticism?

ETpro's avatar

@jerv I’m not so sympathetic to your skepticism, but I clearly understand that you can’t unring a bell. As I said in the beginning of my response to you, I do not think we should reverse course on the second amendment. I’d far prefer we make owning and operating a firearm something that requires competency testing just as a owning and operating a motor vehicle does.

jerv's avatar

@ETpro Let us start by answering the direction of the cause/effect relationship then. Are guns the cause or a symptom of violence in America?

rooeytoo's avatar

@ETpro – it seems so reasonable and such a good place to start.

But @jerv is making my point again and again, the gun people just want it their way, end of story. And suggestions to the contrary is met with the same objection. It reminds me of the definition of insanity, to do the same thing over and over again but expect a different outcome.

jerv's avatar

@ETpro If you scroll up, I believe I already said that myself, so I think we agree on that.

@rooeytoo Et tu? But if that is how you see it, if you don’t see how my position on guns differs from the true gun nuts, then there is no communicating with you; you are too fanatical. By your own words, the definition of insanity is trying to have meaningful communication with you on this issue, so I will leave you to your hypocrisy and optimistically delusional ignorance.

woodcutter's avatar

Just to be clear…as someone who has been tear gassed before by the real shit the military uses, the stuff doesn’t instantly permeate an entire space as to blind and disorient everyone right away. People close to the devise will feel it first. Hell even if George Zimmerman had been in there and didn’t get a direct hit with this devise this would have been stopped earlier than it was. Not saying it would have been pretty but that ship had sailed long before the guy opened fire. We can be thankful the nutjob was using a US made ,new, AR 15, that we now know are prone to fail. Which it did.

rooeytoo's avatar

@jerv – Once again, if you can’t win with reason, go for the insults!

jerv's avatar

@woodcutter Thankfully he wasn’t using a rental truck full of diesel fuel and fertilizer.

@rooeytoo No, reason hasn’t worked with you thus far, but I know you well enough to know that that is not because you are an unreasonable person, but rather, you feel very strongly about this issue. Since I like you, I am going to do something insane; try reasoning with you again.

First, I would like you to answer the question I posed to @ETpro; are guns a cause of violence, or a symptom of our culture being what it is? Put another way, if guns never existed, would we have the sort of violence that we do?

My contention is that if guns never existed, we are the type of culture that would invent them. And given the ingenuity of insurgents, I am fairly certain that they would first be invented by the elements of society that really should not have guns; terrorists, criminals, etcetera. What is your take?

Second, do you consider pain-killers to be a cure for painful infections?

That may seem irrelevant, but bear with me here. Guns or no guns, if people want to kill other people, they will find a way. Taking away one means will not stop people from getting killed; it will merely make killers more ingenious. Treating symptoms won’t stop any ailment either. In both cases, the only truly effective thing to do is go after the root cause. And the root cause is not that we have guns; the root cause is what makes us want to use them.

Third, any form of gun control must be enacted by the government. The government is elected. Part of the reason we even have the right to bear arms is in case the government becomes a tyranny; we have the right to have the means to depose an unjust government. Let us set aside the fact that overly strict gun control may well be shot down by the Supreme Court, and focus on this; what are the odds of a strongly anti-gun politician winning another election? Odds are that they would be defeated and out of office before the legislation they supported got out of legal limbo, assuming it even survived long enough to come to a vote.

So my question is this; is there any practical way that the US government could really enact such a thing? Before you answer, remember that we have votes, we have a Constitution, we have very wealthy special interest groups who would oppose such measures, and many other hurdles. My contention is that there is no practical way unless The People want it, which brings us back to societal change. What is your take?

Ron_C's avatar

@jerv you are correct in most of what you say but there is one thing that will rapidly outlaw gun ownership and that is if the rich and super rich become victims of gun violence. I will guarantee that within months gun ownership will be severely punished and many mostly innocent will find themselves inside for-profit prisons.

woodcutter's avatar

The rich and super rich will never be caught flat footed in a 7-Eleven at 2 am purchasing milk and diapers. The rich got to be rich in part because they are smart, careful, and some would say paranoid. They live in gated communities with armed security. They have too much to lose if they go against the NRA. The republicans also realize what happens to elections if they step on those toes. Not going to happen. Not even in a dream.

We are a diverse society. And sometimes it is a double edged sword.

ETpro's avatar

@jerv I believe @Ron_C & @woodcutter have put their finger on the real debate. The Arab Spring should be a message to all would-be oligarchs that they don’t build gates high enough to protect you when the whole society around you comes after your hide.

I will grant you that there are some gun-rich environments where violence is low, and a few with restrictions on gun ownership but high violence. But they are truly outliers. When you have enough data points, the argument about causation and correlation fades to one used only by those who refuse to face the facts.

The very fact that the same relationship between gun ownership and deaths from violent cause is seen in the US tells me that the US is not some exceptional case, made inherently violent by forces that are beyond human comprehension. If that were the case, states with low gun ownership would be filled with citizens killing on another with fists, tire irons, knives and beer bottles. That doesn’t equate with reality.

rooeytoo's avatar

What he ^ said.

And @jerv really, if the guy in the theater had a machete instead of a gun, I think he would have been overpowered before he killed the number he did.

jerv's avatar

@Ron_C True, but so long as us proles are too busy killing each other, they would rather profit from the medical treatment of the wounded and the lawyer’s cut of the estates of the dead.

@ETpro Maybe I got spoiled having spent most of my life in New England. But correlate violence (gun-related or otherwise) with poverty levels and see what you come up with. Last I checked, with the exception of Nevada, the rates of poverty and of violent crimes seemed to go hand-in-hand on a state-by-state basis. Now, I have not correlated those with how strict each is about gun laws, though I think we probably agree that Washington DC should considered a statistical anomaly.

@rooeytoo I somehow sense that somebody that bent on causing chaos would’ve just done a little chemistry and achieved similar results. Maybe I have been a munchkin gamer too long, maybe I just have too much knowledge and a fertile imagination, but I can think of things far more effective than guns, most of which are fairly simple to cob together with easily obtained materials. Given that I am likely not the smartest, most imaginative person around, I think it safe to say that there are many other people who could do the same if they so desired.
Then again, machetes seem to work well enough for Rwandans….

jerv's avatar

That was supposed to be a link

Patton's avatar

@woodcutter Most of today’s rich got to be rich because they were born to people whose grandfathers were smart, careful, and paranoid. Only sometimes did those traits continue into the present generation. And the NRA’s influence is overrated.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

There would have been no chance whatsoever that the shooter could commit his crimes again.

Much more importantly this sociopath would have been permanently removed from the gene pool.

ETpro's avatar

@SecondHandStoke That’s hardly the point. Death penalty of no, that shooter won’t be contributing to the gene pool. The point is, in the circular firing squad that would have erupted, how many innocent people would have been taken out by friendly fire?

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther