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theodiskaz's avatar

Would someone armed with a firearm, typical of the time the second amendment was passed, be able to conduct massacres of the type we experience in our country today?

Asked by theodiskaz (546 points ) January 29th, 2013

For example, did the rounds per second able to be produced by those firearms allow someone to take large numbers of lives in mere minutes, or did a slower firing rate allow victims to flee? Did a shooter bent on maximum casualties have to reload after each shot, and if so, might that not have given his intended victims the opportunity to tackle him or her, if not flee?

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28 Answers

jerv's avatar

Multiple-shot weapons existed back then.

diavolobella's avatar

The Second Amendment was passed in 1791. Obviously at that time, automatic weapons did not exist. Multiple shot weapons did exist, but they had a limited number of shots before reloading was required and did not fire each individual shot as quickly as an automatic weapon, therefore more time existed for intended victims to flee or defend themselves.

woodcutter's avatar

Well, if the cops also had these antique weapons there would be no loss of application. But they have AR-15’s. Where do you want this discussion to go? Of course it is obvious that single shot weapons are ineffective. We all know that. So are you suggesting someone responsible for safeguarding their family be hobbled with these ineffective antiques?

burntbonez's avatar

The most common weapon, I believe, was a musket, which took some time—perhaps several minutes—to reload between shots. During that time it would be easy for unarmed people to overwhelm the shooter.

wundayatta's avatar

I am perfectly capable of safeguarding my family with no guns at all, @woodcutter. What’s your problem? What kind of man needs a gun? To me, a reliance on guns is a failure of imagination. It shows an antisocial vein of thinking. It’s not even pragmatic.

But you knew that. Shall we allow ourselves to be baited into the same debate as we’ve had so many times before? Is there any common ground? I kind of doubt it. But who knows?

marinelife's avatar

Certainly not. The forefathers could not have imagined automatic weapons.

woodcutter's avatar

@wundayatta “I am perfectly capable of safeguarding my family with no guns at all”

Really? How do you know this? Have you put it to the test yet?
You wait for the police to stop someone? Or just because a hot break in has not happened to you personally, they don’t happen?

jerv's avatar

@burntbonez Closer to 20 seconds, but there was a break between shots. Why do you think people carried multiple firearms?

Of course, government/church-sanctioned slaughter was easier, and a trained archer could easily beat a gunner of the day when it came to rate of fire, so there were still plenty of ways to kill large numbers of people quickly.

theodiskaz's avatar

Please, I don’t mean to bait, or not yet anyway, but to provoke outside of the box thinking and the desire to consider a hot button topic like this from new/skewed perspectives. Call me naive, but I think sometimes problems become easier to grapple with this way, if not outright solved.

theodiskaz's avatar

Is it safe to say that the Sandy Hook shooter had all the fire power of a whole platoon of 1791 era grunts in his hot little hands? And if so, does this suggest anything?

wundayatta's avatar

@woodcutter I’ve been doing it for more than 20 years. I’d say that was a fair test. We’ve had a car stolen, and things stolen out of another car, but no harm to my family, and there are shootings and muggings and break-ins all the time in my neighborhood, as my wife is fond of pointing out to me.

Firearms are about pride and testosterone more than about protection, it seems to me. Maybe I am low on testosterone. Rather be that way and safe than to invite trouble.

woodcutter's avatar

@wundayatta Well that is just plain silly. Pretty much every single person, except they who reside in high crime areas, never expected it either when it finally did happen. No one ever expects they will be in an auto accident, ever, but they prepare for it by getting insurance and driving defensively to minimize their chances of being in a wreck. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/01/05/my-wife-is-a-hero-georgia-mother-shoots-home-intruder-five-times-after-being-cornered/

Shit happens

wundayatta's avatar

Okay @woodcutter. You called my argument silly, and I’m not reading beyond that. As we are getting ad hominem now, I’d have to say that your arguments are beneath contempt.

woodcutter's avatar

There are just as many news reports indicating the police found what is now referred to as an assault weapon in the trunk of the car Lanza used that day. Who to believe? He had two pistols and ammo for both as well as a rifle? That only works in shooter video games. It is not believable a single person could manage all that stuff. He (Lanza) was denied purchase of a rifle by a gun dealer before his crimes. So the system worked. Can’t blame the system in place, if the guy does an end run murdering his own mother to steal her weapon.

Even to the chagrin of Bill Maher, On Live TV, he a states it isn’t the kind of weapon used. Banning these evil black guns won’t stop these crimes. They will just bring many weapons that hold smaller number of rounds and still kill many.
Somehow even this low round count types of weapons used in a mass killing will not horrify any less.

woodcutter's avatar

@wundayatta Don’t act all hurt and shit. You understand this plain and simple. You are trying to turn this into something personal. Nice try. Beneath contempt? Really? You want to go there? You have been lucky, that’s all. If you are being honest about residing in such a high crime area then you know it is a matter of time before someone gets inside. Are you going to expect a logical discussion from the trespasser?

wundayatta's avatar

@woodcutter Don’t worry. I have counter-intruder mechanisms in place. Also invasion response plans. Plus there is little of value in here, even if they did get in and manage to remove things. They could steal the entire contents of the house, and except for the photos and computers and a few works of art, I really wouldn’t care. It would be hard for the average thief to hawk the works or art, anyway. They would be easily detected, and aren’t worth that much at the moment.

So I’m all set.

And yes, if you use ad hominem attacks, then I will go there. Keep “silly” out of your arguments, and we can have a fine conversation. You don’t tell me what you think of me, and I won’t tell you what I think of you, and we’ll do just fine. Deal?

DrBill's avatar

Random violence occurs now as it did then. The only real difference is the media has the ability to spread the word much faster now. Now days you hear about violence within minutes of it happening, then it might take days, weeks or months, if you ever heard about it at all.

theodiskaz's avatar

@woocutter Perhaps you would find this link interesting. It pertains to what what was found in the trunk of his car, among other things. It pretty well debunks Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists point by point. But, see for yourself. Who, indeed, to believe?

woodcutter's avatar

@wundayatta You are missing the point completely. Self defense is nothing to gamble with. All your plans will evaporate at the first minute of a break in. Not saying what you have in place is futile, far from it, but you are assuming to understand the heart of someone you have never met in your life. As if they are going to be capable of your kind of logic during a hot break in. With what kinds of substances they will be on at the time, All the adrenaline , dopamine, endorphins and all other unknowable’s at the time, it will promise to a very intense encounter and you think you will be safe because you don’t have anything of value to them. You don’t know that. The guy might just beat you to within an inch of your life just for spite, or someone else in the house. You can’t apply the same logic to someone who is breaking into a home. It’s your life. You protect it the way you see fit. but to say what works for your family should be a model for the rest of us is wrong.

Pride and testosterone? That’s what you think it’s all about? You diminish any and all arguments on the subject when you go there. You can insinuate such things to those you oppose on a subject but when someone suggests you are “silly” for that you get all unraveled. Are you are the type who use the “do as I say, not as I do” mantra?

theodiskaz's avatar

Could it be that the passers of the 2nd amendment would have considered putting all the fire power of a platoon, or more, of soldiers into the hands of one person, overkill? Do we, today, need that much firepower to protect our homes? Isn’t it true that if we intelligently scaled back the lethality of firearms available to bad and good guys that gun massacres will become harder to carry out?

jerv's avatar

@theodiskaz Good luck with that. Pandora’s Box has already been opened, so we can only scale back the weaponry on the law-abiding side. Remember Prohibition? That worked out well.

Intelligent people are realistic. Best case scenario is a booming black market.

woodcutter's avatar

Ever since firearms were first developed the quest for “more” has never ended. You could say that for pretty much anything. Early firearms sucked and everyone in the period understood this. So it is easy to believe there were countless drawing boards going to try to re invent the guns of the period. Think about it. What else in weapons development was there room for? The technology was present to make them “prettier” but “better” could only go in one direction. By looking at history and the attempts to improve and all the failures that came with it, it was only a matter of time before someone figured it out.

theodiskaz's avatar

@jerv Coping a buzz was the wrong line in the sand to draw, and still is IMHO. I just don’t know how hard enforceing a prohibition against all but hunting rifles or home defense weapons would be. I also don’t know if it is right to give up a fight against a determined “evil” because it seems unwinnable in the foreseeable future. That is a good question, I think

jerv's avatar

@theodiskaz As a machinist, I know what it takes to make a gun, or just about anything else that can be cut, 3D-printed, stamped, or cast/molded. The tools are easy to get, and quite legal. I have seen an AK 47 made out of a shovel. I know how Supply and Demand works. In my mind, if you were correct, meth could not exist; the fact that it does despite the law proves you wrong.

Eliminate meth and I might believe a gun restriction like the one you propose could work. And before you point at how it works in other nations, compare their culture to ours.

theodiskaz's avatar

@jerv The existence of meth proves that I am wrong about WHAT, in your mind? And what is it about our culture, as opposed to that in the nations where gun restrictions do work, that would stop a gun restriction from working here?

jerv's avatar

@theodiskaz That restrictions/prohibitions are effective. History proves that we Americans are not nearly as law-abiding as the sorts of places that currently have severe gun restrictions. Hell, Puerto Rico, Chicago, and DC also disprove you.

As for what it is about our culture, if I actually knew then I would have a solution. My guess is that our nation was founded by rebellion and our notions of freedom while Europe and much of Asia have centuries of dealing with hierarchical class /caste systems that make them a bit more complacent. It would take centuries of feudalism and much bloodshed to impose enough order on our society for that to work. Then again, Kim Jong I’ll managed to do it in less time….

theodiskaz's avatar

@jerv I do not believe that the existence of meth in our country, in the face of prohibition, proves that a prohibition or restriction of anything or everything else would not be effective. Moreover, if the paucity of massacre able weapons only caused a drop in massacres, or indeed gun deaths of different kinds, due to government enacted restrictions, this “partial effectiveness” would be welcome, would it not? In this country, all sorts of things and behaviors (speeding, yelling fire in a crowded theatre, assault, anti personel mines, etc) are prohibited or restricted to varying degrees with varying effectiveness. I don’t believe one needs 100 percent effectiveness in order to appreciate and benefit from these restrictions and/or prohibitions.

jerv's avatar

@theodiskaz Band-aid solutions that fail a simple cost/benefit analysis are not viable solutions. Remember how much money Florida saved by giving welfare recipients drug tests and kicking the junkies off? Only a small fraction of what it cost to enact that policy. I can think of many ways to save far more lives for far less money, so I know that you aren’t arguing from the position of wanting to save lives… unless you are willing to save them at such a high cost that many more people would kill themselves to escape the hardship.

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