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Monday, October 13, 2014

One More Time On Gun Control



His first point is this: "Australia in 1996 had the biggest massacre on Earth; still hasn't been beaten."
The Port Arthur massacre, of 28–29 April 1996, was a killing spree in which 35 people were killed and 23 wounded, mainly at the historic Port Arthur prison colony, a popular tourist site in south-eastern Tasmania, Australia. Martin Bryant, a 28-year-old from New Town, a suburb of Hobart, eventually was given 35 life sentences without possibility of parole. He has significant intellectual disabilities and is now imprisoned in the Wilfred Lopes Centre near Risdon Prison Complex.

The Port Arthur massacre remains one of the deadliest shootings worldwide committed by a single person and remains the deadliest in the English-speaking world.
Well, the Port Arthur Massacre was a bad one there's no doubt about that. But there's another massacre that has it beat hands down:
The Oklahoma City bombing was a domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. The bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a 16-block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings, causing at least an estimated $652 million worth of damage...

On April 17–18, 1995, McVeigh and Nichols removed their supplies from their storage unit in Herington, Kansas, where Nichols lived. They loaded their bomb supplies into a Ryder rental truck. The two then drove to Geary Lake State Park, where they nailed boards onto the floor of the truck to hold the 13 barrels in place and mixed the chemicals using plastic buckets and a bathroom scale. Each filled barrel weighed nearly 500 pounds (230 kg). McVeigh added more explosives to the driver's side of the cargo bay, which he could ignite (killing himself in the process) at close range with his Glock 21 pistol in case the primary fuses failed.] During McVeigh's trial, Lori Fortier (the wife of Michael Fortier) stated that McVeigh claimed to have arranged the barrels in order to form a shaped charge. This was achieved by tamping the aluminum side panel of the truck with bags of ammonium nitrate fertilizer to direct the blast laterally towards the building. Specifically, McVeigh arranged the barrels in the shape of a backwards J ...
In 1996 an Australian massacre caused lawmakers in that country to outlaw guns throughout the country. If people have guns, the argument goes, they might use them to massacre 35 people. Yet it was only a year earlier, when Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols used ammonium nitrate—fertilizer—to kill 168 people. Even though this deadly fertilizer is widely available for purchase in thousands upon thousands of stores, our congress somehow neglected to outlaw it after this horrific massacre! How did they miss this? In addition, barrels—used to hold the deadly fertilizer—also weren't outlawed, nor in fact were trucks—used to hold the deadly barrels. Not even nails were outlawed when clearly it was the nails put in the barrels which ended up killing most of the people. It's as though Congress is just begging for another Oklahoma City style massacre. You'd think they would have jumped all over these incredibly dangerous weapons just lying around at greenhouses, hardware stores and used car lots around the country, but no! Instead all Congress did was pass a law that would tighten security around Federal buildings.

Jim Jefferies' first argument is that the people cannot be trusted with the right to own guns, because one crazy person will abuse that right. You know, it occurs to me that I've heard a similar argument recently. It's called the Heckler's Veto. And this Heckler's Veto was recently used to ban the wearing of patriotic t-shirts in California. Yes, while people supposedly have the right to freedom of speech, in California public schools at least, wearing the American Flag or other symbols such as the American Bald-Eagle with talons clutching a bundle of arrows has been forbidden. No patriotism to be tolerated on Cinco De Mayo. One might even assume that in Australia if some nefarious chin-wagger could manage to slaughter 35 people simply using words, the government would promptly outlaw talking.



Jefferies' next argument is that guns are not useful to protect yourself with. He quickly brings up the assault rifle straw-man, and some statistics about suicides—which reminds me of a typical Piers Morgan Mythoid[1]. Here are some real statistics however: 70 to 80 million American adults own one or more guns. In 2011 nearly 40,000 Americans committed suicide, and half of them used a gun to do it. Guns are certainly the most popular method of suicide, but remember the other half? They used various methods: poison, prescription drugs, rope, razor blades, etc. Should we then outlaw these less popular suicide methods?

Dividing 20,000 by 80 million gives the gun-owning per capita suicide-by-gun rate of roughly 0.00025. That's less than one three-thousandth of one percent. Yet Jim Jefferies claims that you gun owners are "80% more likely to use that gun on yourself" than you are to use it to protect yourself.

It's always been a source of deep frustration to me that statistics of gun deaths are so readily accessible, yet gun saves are completely impossible to discover. How many people used a gun either to wound, kill, or just frighten away a would be rapist, murderer, burglar, etc.? That information just isn't there. When I was twenty-five years old, four young men armed with baseball bats accosted me in a parking lot. I pulled my Beretta out from under the seat and the bad guys promptly bugged out. Nobody was hurt. I called the police just because, but I doubt any of the information taken in the police report made it into statistics anywhere. If I'd lived in Australia however ... I wonder ... would I be writing this today, or would I be sipping soup through a straw with an imbecilic grin upon my face and a track of drool working its way down my chin?

His next argument is that if you have kids you can't have a gun which is readily accessible. You'd have to keep it in a gun safe and therefore couldn't get to it in an emergency. Luckily for gun owners, there are things called metal doors and deadbolts, and even biometric gun safes which only require a touch of the owners finger to open. Furthermore, being attacked is much more likely outside of your home. Thus the concealed carry permit and the quickly accessible gun in a hidden holster on your person. The point is simply this: anybody with a bare modicum of intelligence can safely and responsibly own a gun and have it quickly available when needed.

Jim Jefferies' final argument is that the original purpose of the 2nd Amendment is no longer valid. The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government that needs to be overthrown. Jefferies argument is that the government has tanks and jets and drones. He argues that opposing that kind of firepower with hand guns or even assault rifles is absurd. As he says: You're bringing a gun to a drone fight. Allow me to repeat a statistic: THERE ARE 80 MILLION ADULT GUN OWNERS! In comparison, "As of 31 December 2013, 1,369,532 people were on active duty in the armed forces, with an additional 850,880 people in the seven reserve components." So, 80 million versus two million. And the military won't be able to use its tanks and jets, because all of the noncombatants live cheek-by-jowl with the rebels. It's called asymmetric warfare, and it becomes ever so much more effective when the military sympathizes with those they fight against, as in their own neighbors, their own family and friends.

While only 80 million people own guns, there are a lot more than 80 million guns. It's more like 300 million. Even more important than that, 320 million with knives, hammers, machetes, swords, nail guns, chainsaws, cars, trucks, and the list goes on and on. If the people in their hundreds of millions rise up against a tyrannical government, that government will be overthrown. If every American were all deprived of our guns however, that revolutionary process would claim vastly more innocent lives before it was over. Guns truly are the great equalizer, and believe it or not, when it gets down to brass tacks, a quality hunting rifle is probably a much more efficient and accurate weapon than an M-16. So yes we could, if necessary, bring about 300 million guns to that hypothetical drone fight.

[1] Mythoid — (my own creation) A statistical claim that seems genuine since it's so impressively numbery, but when you actually look into its veracity, it turns out that it's just not true. It was apparently just completely made up out of whole cloth, then passed around by left-wing kooks to the point where it's believed by them, simply because it's been quoted back and forth so often.

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