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The gun stats the mainstream national media won't show

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At least 83 in December:
Defensive Gun Uses in December


Submitted by hipparchia on

as long as we're talking about crowd-sourcing gun use data... gun deaths since newtown: 520.

kind of dwarfs your 83.

as of the time of this writing, that's approximately one month, so it's a fair comparison for your one month of data, i'd say.

mostly, though, i'm not in favor of crowd-sourcing anything, so i'm taking both your source and mine with a grain of salt. or maybe with a whole pile of salt grains.

Submitted by lambert on

Either gun advocates (1) need to own the net deaths (in this case, 482 - 83, qualified as Hipparchia indicates), or (2) they need to say the externalities net deaths are worth it as the price of freedom (i.e., a hobby), or (3) they need to get serious on the well-regulated-militia as a bulwark against tyranny argument (the only argument I respect, since it has some public purpose to it). Granted, nobody serious would talk about #3 in a public form, not least because LE has a nasty habit of supplying violence advocates with weapons, but I haven't heard a ripple of anything like that anywhere.

Believe it or not, it isn't so much the carnage that drives me nuts, because there's rather a lot of it about, but the sloppiness of the arguments that gun[nuts|advocates|owners] make.

So shoot me.

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Submitted by wuming on

1) As mentioned above, it isn't clear to me that Slate is breaking out the justifiable homicides from the other shootings. Also, this is all anecdotal data.
2) I'm going to ignore the fact that you think my conception of freedom is a hobby, as opposed to a different conception of freedom than yours. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that you aren't trying to be condescending. It sure looks condescending, but I'm willing to believe that I'm just misreading you.

There's a longer argument here, but I'm not going to make it today, since it's going to be in my book.
3) I actually have talked about the return of a well regulated militia; I am pretty sure I blogged about this on the old site. If there were a change in the political order, I would advocate a return to regional, compulsory militia service (with personal weapons taken home) as a bulwark against military coups and the military-law enforcement industrial complex.

Submitted by lambert on

Well, my hobby is model railroading (more precisely, reading model railroad magazines, because I can't afford actual model railroads). I also have the freedom to pursue it. Of course, my hobby doesn't have the externalities that a gun collector's does, so the cases diverge. And as it turns out, model railroaders don't have the funding to reorganize the culture and the legal system around their consumer products of choice. So the cases diverge from that aspect as well.

Now, I've seen your post on a well-regulated militia (and they are probably still here unless they were in the 30 or so that I still have not had time to manually port).

1. I also remember your excellent post on the descent of China into warlordism. You regarded that, as I do, as not desirable. Please explain what the moral and practical differences between a "well regulated militia" and "warlordism" might be, in a situation where a "well regulated militia" has decided that the government is illegitimate and has taken whatever the appropriate action might be. It would be nice to have some sort of simple, daily life sort of litmus test that would enable me to tell one from the other.

2. I understand the argument that gun ownership is necessary to prevent tyranny. It's a perfectly plausible argument, though it seems equally plausible to me that the Framers wanted a well-regulated militia to put down slave revolts, for example. That said, it seems evident to me, as it surely must to anyone on the left -- heck, anyone sentient -- that the United States passed over into tyranny at some point in the last decade. James Madison writes:

The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. Were the federal Constitution, therefore, really chargeable with the accumulation of power, or with a mixture of powers, having a dangerous tendency to such an accumulation, no further arguments would be necessary to inspire a universal reprobation of the system.

This is basically what happened starting with Bush and now with Obama. Patriot Act, FISA, DHS, TSA, suppressing Occupy, the "kill list." Mass incarceration. The engineering of compliance in the schools. And on and and on and on. If the "against tyranny' argument proposed by gun advocates were a reason for gun ownership -- and it's the only argument from public purpose I've heard -- there would have been some action taken by now. (I don't advocate violence. A peaceful march by NRA members on Washington over the recent extension of FISA, for example, would be fine.) But nothing. So from the evidence, it looks to me like we're not looking at a reason, but a rationalization. So (1) "hobby" seems as reasonable an explanation for what's being rationalized as anything, and (2) have you considered there is something in your definition of "freedom" that is not workable, given the outcomes? If that be condescending, shoot me. You're the one holding the gun.

NOTE I spent a few days going through gun boards. There are plenty of hobbyists there and not all gun advocates or gun owners are nuts. From that reading, it's my observation that gun advocates tend to have a very hard time admitting that they are not a beleagured minority and that they won their culture war. I wish they would, so we could talk about who owns the results of their victory. Perhaps at that point we could devise a sensible regulatory regime, akin to that required to drive a ton or so of metal on the roads.

UPDATE Adding, one could make the argument that it's too late for regulatory regimes. If so, then gun advocates, through inaction, have marginalized themselves as surely as people on the loony left like me. So we could have the worst of all possible worlds: Tyranny or warlordism. Yay!

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Submitted by wuming on

I don't have a lot of time to respond to this, so a couple of points and then I'm out:
Re: the freedom/hobby discussion, I don't think we're finding any common ground here, and I don't think you see what I'm saying. I have a longer discussion of the role of personal firearms in a free society that I'm working on for the book.

1. I'm glad you liked the earlier blog entries on the Chinese Revolution. First of all, widespread militia service doesn't necessarily mean internal civil war. For example, Switzerland. People have their assault rifles; Switzerland has had decades of relative peace.

If you are going to have a country with a variety of ethnicities and religions, you can't let any single one dominate the armed services. You also have to understand that central governments can always fail. We have to assume that. It's always going to be bad. The questions are
1) how does it sort out?
2) what are the ways to minimize the bad parts?

Having compulsory militia service is a way of making the situation "less bad" since it forces all parties to understand that they cannot easily roll over a particular minority group or unpopular region. It's mutually assured destruction at the internal state level.

When a central government fails if people do not have localized self-defense capabilities, they are victims. Look at what happened in Yugoslavia. And I get that people don't like guns, and would like to eliminate them. Fine, let's say you can do that. Then we're back to Thucydides and that's plenty bloody, just look what happened to the Melians-- Athens killed all the men and took the women and children off the island.

Rwanda in the 90s showed that machetes and clubs work just fine for genocide. From data I have seen, well over 60% of killing was done with machetes and clubs. Rwanda also showed what happens when one ethnic group dominates the security services (to include the militia). In my opinion if we want to minimize the damage from central state failure, then it means that everyone should already have been armed and trained, or as close to everyone as we can get.

2. I have seen this argument on Yves Smith blog first and I think it's ridiculous. I could make the exact same argument for the first amendment and blogging-- if it's so useful to have freedom of expression, and there was so much information out in 2003 about Iraq/WMD, then why did we go to Iraq? Now that there is so much info out about torture at Gitmo, why is Gitmo still open? With all the information out there about the foreclosure crisis,and bank fraud why is it still happening?

Part of the problem with the NRA and the right in general is that they don't have the ideological lens to understand how to organize against the security state. In fact, in some ways the NRA has contributed to the problem because of continual advocacy for the drug war and long prison sentences, etc. A longer discussion of this will be in my book.

I can say this-- from what I can see, if the Congress passes a registration law for semi-automatics, a lot of people are going to refuse to register. That's a start.

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Submitted by wuming on

1) if you review the articles linked you will see that many of them feature multiple saves.
2) It isn't clear to me that the Slate map you linked includes justifiable homicides as well as criminal homicides.
3) Sure, those sources are anecdotal. To my knowledge there is no single statistical tracking justifiable homicides and self defense shootings.

Submitted by hipparchia on

To my knowledge there is no single statistical tracking justifiable homicides and self defense shootings.

the fbi is on the case! sorry, couldn't resist.

so, of the 12,996 murder victims in 2010 for which the fbi received supplemental information from local law enforcement agencies 278 were justifiable homicides by citizens and 387 were justifiable homicides by law enforcement which works out to about 5%. overall, it would appear that justifiable homicide is a rare occurence.

that was all murders in the 2010 sample, what if we restrict our [necessarily incomplete] analysis to guns? 8775 total gun homicides, 232 justifiable gun homicides by citizens, 385 justifiable gun homicides by law enforcement => or approximately 7%. we could do some subtraction too... of the 8775 total gun homicides, 385 were law enforcement, so that leaves us with 8390 people killed by citizens with guns, 232 of them justifiable, the rest not. 232 / 8390 => a little less than 3%.

an anecdote for you, just because i can:

Submitted by hipparchia on

thanks for the info.

from your first link, this is an interesting paragraph:

*In most cases victims who used firearms to defend themselves or their property were confronted by offenders who were either unarmed or armed with weapons other than firearms. On average between 1987 and 1992, about 35% (or 22,000 per year) of the violent crime victims defending themselves with a firearm faced an offender who also had a firearm. (Because the NCVS collects victimization data on police officers, its estimates of the use of firearms for self-defense are likely to include police use of firearms.