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Are school shootings THAT surprising ?

By redelm in Op-Ed
Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 08:34:27 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Why are people surprised at school shootings? How many do they expect? ZERO? Is that reasonable with 7 million teenagers? Better do some more thinking and less jerking of the knee.


To judge by the media reports, school shootings are rare and shocking. Certainly they are for those involved! But in the US with ~300 million people, should we reasonably expect them to be rare???

According to the National Safety Council who keep good statistics, there are around 20,000 murders each year in the US. Around 3,000 are teenagers. Since they spend about 1/3 their time in school, an unadjusted guess would be 1,000 murders in school. But statistics can mislead if unadjusted.

Most of the teen murders are undoubtedly drug or crime related. School has those Hallowed Halls, but are they infinitely heavenly and safer than outside? :) The crowding induces stress. I haven't found any numbers, but say that 90% of teen murders are drug/crime-related. That still leaves 100 murders/year in schools. Most of those will be single murders. But some will be multiples that attract national attention.

In recent years, there seems to be about 2 incidents/year of multiple shootings at US schools. As horrible as these are, are they that surprising? It matters because overreaction does not usually lead to working solutions.

After these incidents, there is usually a hue-and-cry for gun- or video-game controls. Canada (Red Deer?) and the UK (Hungerford) are examples of the former. The US (Columbine) is an example of the latter. I believe these are counterproductive overreactions, perhaps advanced to further personal [killjoy] agendas.

I see a link between these multiple shootings at schools and suicides. Many of the shootings end in suicide. Both are desparate acts by people who are very upset at the time. There are 30,000 suicides/year in the US, about 5,000 by teens. Most suicides are depressed, but what if a few decide to take their tormentors or others with them when they go?

To attack the root causes, teen stress should be reduced. First, it would help if adults [myself included] would recognize it: Even if kids don't have to keep a job or worry about paying bills or dealing with exes (exen, exicies?) doesn't mean they have no worries! Anybody remember their first date accurately?

Second, seeing a multiple-shooting rate that is much lower in higher education, the differences ought to be explored. Key is that college kids are better treated than high school kids. They are treated much more as self-determining adults, and their civil rights are more respected. By arbitrary decisions and draconian rules, HS teachers and administrators may be causing what they least desire. Parents too!

Third, suicidal or violent ideas in teens are often treated by shrinks and psychs as emergencies requiring aggressive intervention. That's the way to avoid ex post facto criticism [CYA]. Yet these ideas aren't that abnormal and overreaction will just lead to underreporting and overtreatment.

To conclude, just about anything can happen in the US. The Law of Large Numbers says that anything that can happen, will happen if gien enough chances. 300 million is alot of chances. Statistically speaking, even a 5 sigma (std.deviation) event will happen 100 times in 300 million.

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Are school shootings THAT surprising ? | 176 comments (170 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Sure, I'm surprised (3.14 / 7) (#2)
by tetrad on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 07:46:09 PM EST

The high-school-aged mass-murderer is a fairly new phenomenon. When I was in high school (about 10 years ago), there was plenty of violence in schools across the US, even murders. But I don't recall a single incident where a student tried to kill dozens of his classmates. Now, in the last couple years, I can't even remember all the incidents...

So yeah, I think this trend is surprising, but unfortunately becoming less surprising every year.

tetrad

One reason (3.50 / 8) (#3)
by ucblockhead on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 07:51:35 PM EST

In a word: copycats.

The more it happens, the more other disgruntled teens get the idea that it is a cool way to go out.


-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

monopoly (2.66 / 6) (#7)
by radar bunny on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 08:16:26 PM EST

second word - "monopoly"

Think about it. It happens almost exclusively in the US where capitialism and compitetion is king. I know people like to blame violent games for this, but i take it a step further to include ALL games. ITs that thrive to win --- to be the best that brings it alll together.

"Not only am i going to copy them --- im going to beat them. THey killed 5 and injured 12, Ill kill 20 and injure a hundred"

Of course the next question becomes --- why cant they just be competitve at Soccer or something. TO this I can only say, see my other post in this story on that subject.

[ Parent ]
I'm confused (3.00 / 3) (#108)
by roystgnr on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 07:49:07 PM EST

I'm trying to extract a thesis from your post, but I'm having a little trouble. Possibilities I'm considering:

1. Capitalism, which encourages competition between some adults in the same country as a student, makes students want to be violently competitive.

2. Sports (and academics) which encourage competition among students themselves, which frame that competition in terms where one student or team of students is the "winner" and everyone else "loses", and which back up that competition with encouragement from coaches, parents, and hordes of screaming fans... somehow this does not make students want to be violently competitive, but rather acts as an outlet.

3. this post has something to do with soccer.

None of these seems quite right.

[ Parent ]

the point (3.33 / 3) (#118)
by radar bunny on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 12:10:05 AM EST

the point is that the kids doing this seem to be trying to one up each other --- they killed five, ill kill 10 (i.e. it seems to have become a competive thing as much as anything). It's not just a matter of a kid going off with a gun, its also a matter of getting a high body count. The kids in columbine said as much in thier video tapes and their writtings. Other kids who have done this have also eluded to the fact that they wanted thier act to be bigger and better than anyone eleses. The question though is, why arent they just competting in other ways? Why can;t they say "im goign to score more points at some sport than anyone" or "im going to have the coolest display at the sience fair"? I mean most of us have a drive to be better than others---- why are these kids doing it this way?

[ Parent ]
heres the way i see it... (3.70 / 10) (#4)
by rebelcool on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 07:55:01 PM EST

everytime one of these things happens, it makes the national news. I believe this is party to blame, because to the shy, awkward kid just wanting to be noticed, this is definiately the way to do it.

Further, kids should be taught just to be a little *nicer* to one another. Especially in those tender teen years where an insult can *really* hurt. Now i'm not saying we need to create a sugary world of niceness, but just basic skills in how to treat one another with respect.

Far more effective and long lasting than that gestapo-like idea of "report everything you hear".

But of course, nobody listens to me. Obviously, the problem could NEVER be that we teach our kids wrong, oh no it must be something we can't control, like music and video games!

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Wow! (3.80 / 5) (#11)
by douper on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 08:46:11 PM EST

I was just about to write the exact same 1st paragraph as you.

A few months after the Columbine Shooting my friend and I were interviewed for a crime that never took place, and wouldn't have, all because of the shooting. The police said "sorry, but we have to take everything seriously ever since Columbine".

Maybe I'm just bitter but I think all the media attention has been a bad thing, since nothing proactive has really happened. Or at least that's what this shooting proves to me.

[ Parent ]

"why" / "why not" (3.66 / 9) (#6)
by radar bunny on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 08:03:12 PM EST

I was listenig to the radio this morning --- trying to find a station that wasn't talking about this and eventually gave up. Every station was taking calls with people commenting and it was funny how every station seemed to be asking people to call in and propose WHY this even happens. They kept asking the question and people kept calling. The strange thing is almost everyone who called in (and this was universal across four stations) all said the same thing, "I just don't get it." And therein lies the problem ---- we don't get it, and this is a good thing. If we got it, if we could understand this kind of random insanity then we would probably suffer from it.

The fact is crazy things like this happen and are going to always happen, whether it be a hurricane, a vulcano, an earthquake, or a random shooting at a school. So, it is ludicrous to expect that there be no random violence. I think it is just as crazy to expect there to be no incidents of random violence as it is to be the cause of a random act of violence. Of course, it is kind of hard to tell that to the mother of a child who was just shot--- she wants to know why. Unfortunately the only logical answer here is --- why not?

Understanding (4.20 / 5) (#9)
by fuzzrock on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 08:31:04 PM EST

"If we got it, if we could understand this kind of random insanity then we would probably suffer from it."

Couldn't disagree with you more. It sounds like you're saying that in order to understand someone else's emotion, we need to have experienced it firsthand. Maybe that's true, but I don't think so, and I'm not going to let it go unquestioned.

I think that the only thing that keeps any of us from doing everything awful we can to other people is the capability of understanding what it would be like to be them. I would never be able to kill other people, because I would feel too strongly what I was doing to them.

So to answer the question, at least part of "Why?" has to be that these kids were not empathizing properly. That might be because of a genetic defect, but I bet it's more likely they were that way because they were taught - by example, and by experience. When the world, including people who should know better, treat you as a thing, then you will be more inclined to treat the world in the same fashion.

[ Parent ]

Why ? - They do know ! (5.00 / 3) (#116)
by mami on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 10:36:26 PM EST

I don't buy that. I don't believe that the people just "don't get it". I really think people deep down in their heart know exactly why, but they simply can't face it. It reflects their own failure to connect humanely within their families with their kids. It's similar to a mass hysteria effect, just that it is not mass hysteria, but mass denial of a society to face their emotional, social and psychological problems with regards to relationships within the family.

The way a simple logic argument, that gun-control being at least to a certain degree helpful to prevent deadly outcomes in teen violence, accepted almost everywhere worldwide, is stubbornly, emphatically, illogically defended beyond any outsider's way to comprehend, is a clear sign that this is pathological denial of a society, who can't handle its most private social problems anymore.

What I do believe is that parents don't and can't imagine what impact their own behaviour might have on their kids in very young age. Basically, I do believe, that parents are always "stunned" when their kids act out so weirdly. They are so ashamed and feel they have failed that there is a mortal and morbid silence over what is going on in the families.

This kid in San Diego had a mother (divorced) and a father (with whom he apparently lived). Can anyone tell me WHY neither the mother, nor the father is with the kid in the court room ?

I remember another thing from an earlier schoolshooting (have forgotten where it was). The press mentioned that they had found piles of weapons in the bedroom of the kid who did the shooting (this was a well to do family, parents not divorced). The parents, asked how they could not have known that the kid had that many weapons collected and kept in his room, answered: "Out of RESPECT for the privacy of their son, they NEVER entered their son's room". NO correspondent made any comment to this, as if the answer were perfectly REASONABLE.

Well, I can't help it, if that is not an example how sick a family can get, then I don't know what is.

Anyhow, even the fact that these kids can't show what the media calls "remorse", which makes perfectly sense, because the kid actually really "wanted" to kill, is a sign, that something deep down went wrong in this child's life from very early on. Most probably the kid was "given up" by its parents early on and then forgotten.

No way, people do know what is wrong. They know, but just can't face it.

[ Parent ]
That IS reasonable... (3.50 / 2) (#139)
by Mr Tom on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 08:44:43 AM EST

> The parents, asked how they could not have
> known that the kid had that many weapons
> collected and kept in his room, answered: "Out
> of RESPECT for the privacy of their son, they
> NEVER entered their son's room". NO
> correspondent made any comment to this, as if
> the answer were perfectly REASONABLE.

That seems perfectly reasonable to me. In fact, I would argue that this is model behaviour. If the parents don't want to regularily inspect their kid's room because they /trust/ their son, good for them.

Furthermore, if they were in the habit of nosing around, all that would have happened is that he would have kept his guns somewhere else. Kids aren't stupid like that....


-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.
[ Parent ]

Trust is earned (none / 0) (#166)
by retinaburn on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 04:30:19 PM EST

Trust is not a right that everyone 'deserves'. The kid should have earned the trust from his parents by behaving correctly and treating others with respect. Then when they knew the kind of 'kid' he was he could have his privacy. Its a cop-out by the parents to say 'we trusted him'. If you trust someone that keeps a stack of weapons in their room and goes about shooting others then you have problems.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho


[ Parent ]
Trust is a common courtesy (none / 0) (#168)
by Mr Tom on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 06:41:36 PM EST

> Trust is not a right that everyone 'deserves'.

Correct. But to assume that someone is inherently untrustworthy without knowing it is rude. The world runs on trust, businesses trust each other with 28 day invoices. Restaurants trust customers not to dine and dash. I trust the denizens of kuro5hin not to send me spam. To not trust is to infer untrustworthiness. Why should these parents not trust their kid, until he is proven untrustworthy?

> If you trust someone that keeps a stack of
> weapons in their room and goes about shooting > > others then you have problems.

Well, I would be surprised if that kid ever has a room to himself again, much less one that he can keep private. He has betrayed his parents' trust, and proven himself not worthy to be trusted.

To draw an analogy - would you rather the government read all your email, listened to all your phonecalls, and opened your post for you; all in the guise of making sure that you are not a terrorist? Of course not - you would want them to have some evidence that you are somehow a shady character beforehand.

Privacy, which implies trust, /is/ a right. (Article 12, UN Declaration of Human Rights)


-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.
[ Parent ]

Explicit trust is not a right (none / 0) (#173)
by retinaburn on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 11:18:13 AM EST

Why should these parents not trust their kid, until he is proven untrustworthy?

I never had a lock on my door until I was 19. My parents 'trusted' me, but also wanted to keep an eye on me to ensure i wasn't doing anything that could cause harm to myself or others.

You don't store cans of gasoline and packs of 'easy-lite' matches in a childs room, nor do you let them if they are 'underage'.

To draw an analogy - would you rather the government read all your email, listened to all your phonecalls, and opened your post for you; all in the guise of making sure that you are not a terrorist? Of course not - you would want them to have some evidence that you are somehow a shady character beforehand.

There are degrees of trust. And comparing the government-citizen relationship to a parent-child relationship is a stretch. For a parent (or government) to give explicit trust to someone is ludicrous. The government does not allow children to fly planes or automobiles. They do not allow people to stock pile nuclear weapons if they do not have a police record.

My parents never invaded my 'privacy' but they did set rules and keep an eye on me to ensure I wasn't filling my room with black powder and timed fuses.


I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho


[ Parent ]
Wow, I don't know (none / 0) (#176)
by mami on Mon May 07, 2001 at 07:52:07 PM EST

my parents knocked at the door before they entered my room when I was a teenager, that's all there is needed to show respect for the privacy of your child, IMHO.

I don't know how I could have hidden guns in my room or material to make bombs, you know. Once in a while my mom cleaned up, when I was in school, and I don't think that she did this, because she was nosy or didn't trust me. I also don't think she would have believed that I had my screws together, if I had ordered her to not enter my room. If I didn't respect my mother you could be sure that my father would have had a word or two with me.

What has that to do with trust ? This kid was fourteen ? If he needs so much privacy that noone has the right to enter his room, may be he should pay rent to this parents then. Then I ask myself what the kid has parents for, to live under their roof as stranger like a tenant ?

I don't get it.

To me that is a sign of lack of communication, but what the heck, I guess I am outlandish.

[ Parent ]
My diary entry... (3.84 / 13) (#8)
by Paradocis on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 08:17:45 PM EST

...I did my diary entry this yesterday. Basically:

major depression+psychological abuse from peers day after day for months or years+massive amounts of hormones+easy availibility of guns+distant parents+trying to establish an identity+lack of social supports+stigma of mental illness preventing many from getting treatment... do I really need to go on?

My own experience in middle and high scool several years back wasn't too different from this. When you're suicidal and depressed all the time, there really isn't that much value in life, and if you're going out... I'm still a little bitter, but I've gotten over it. It still amazes me that people get surprised about it, especially the shooter's "peers". If you treat an already depressed and withdrawn person like shit for months and years on end, what do you really expect to happen? Not that I think the act was justified, but very understandable.

-Paradocis-

"There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.
-Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure



-=<Paradocis>=-
+++++++++++++++++++++
"El sueño de la razon produce monstruos." -Goya
+++++++++++++++++++++


begging the obvious (2.78 / 14) (#12)
by eLuddite on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 08:57:13 PM EST

I believe these are counterproductive overreactions, perhaps advanced to further personal [killjoy] agendas.

What is the combined population of western europe? Why dont your statistics apply there? Because guns are scarce there, that's why.

Husbands dont reach for their guns in an arguement with their wives anywhere except the US. Kids dont walk out with their dad's ammunition anywhere except in the US. Do you see a pattern? Yes, guns kill people. Get rid of guns.

"No, people kill people."

(1) Except that you cant get rid of people. (2) Except that it seems only US people kill people. (3) Except that its very difficult to throw a person hard and fast enough to kill someone.

---
God hates human rights.

wow (4.42 / 7) (#20)
by tetsuo on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 10:39:36 PM EST

Here, since finding facts is HARD and whatnot

The following is from the Table 19. Deaths, death rates, and age-adjusted death rates for injury deaths according to mechanism and intent of death: United States,1998 72 National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 48, No. 11, July 24, 2000(the link is to the .pdf ... you find the table on your own time)

  • All injury deaths: 146,941
    • Unintentional : 94,331
    • Suicide : 30,575
    • Homicide : 17,893
    • Undetermined : 3,746
    • Other : 396
  • Firearm Deaths (total) : 30,708
    • Unintentional : 866
    • Suicide : 17,424
    • Homicide : 11,798
    • Undetermined : 316
Over half the firearm-injury related deaths are from suicide. From age 0-14, the TOTAL # of deaths resulting from firearm injury is 612. The total # of deaths from 0-14, injury related, is 7537

Looking at the same table, more children from 0-14 die from drowning, fire and motor vehicle than firearms. And I don't mean "combined" they do. Each category outsums firearms.

It's the structure of the age bracket that causes the usefulness of these statistics goes down: people are grouped from Under 1 year, 1-4,5-14,15-24,25-34,35-44 etc

People under 21 generally don't own firearms, and therefore have a harder time abusing their right. The bracket "15-24" includes a group of people who have a legal right to purchase firearms, and it's here that you see a large increase:

  • Firearm Deaths : 7,420
  • Unintentional : 260
  • Suicide : 2,510
  • Homicide : 4,484
  • Undetermined : 91
  • Other: 71

There's tons of other stuff in the report, such as "leading causes of death" ... guess what, chester? homicide doesn't rank in the top fucking 10(it's #13 btw). Suicide is #8. Alzheimers is #12. MORE PEOPLE DIE FROM ALZHEIMERS THAN FROM GUNSHOT. LET'S OUTLAW OLD AGE! IT'LL BE LIKE LOGANS RUN EXCEPT EVEN MORE RETARDED! ... er, sorry got off on a tangent there.

Guess what else? Homicide deaths are at the same spot (more or less) that they were in the 70's. Yet all the media reports is that America is a bunch of gun crazy nuts who go around shooting up schools and stuff. Yes, I exaggerate, but sensationalism is being fed as reality by the media anyway -- I think I'll take my turn at it.

All this is in the PDF I linked to. I fully acknowledge that I may be misreading some statistics. I fully await a fact filled, emotion-drained rebuttal.
---

[ Parent ]
Re: wow (1.50 / 6) (#23)
by eLuddite on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 10:54:33 PM EST

There's tons of other stuff in the report, such as "leading causes of death" ... guess what, chester? homicide doesn't rank in the top fucking 10(it's #13 btw). Suicide is #8.

And it doesnt occur to you suicide from gun inflicted wounds is possible? It doesnt occur to you that accidental, non-homocidal deaths incurred from gun wounds are possible?

Alzheimers is #12. MORE PEOPLE DIE FROM ALZHEIMERS THAN FROM GUNSHOT. LET'S OUTLAW OLD AGE! IT'LL BE LIKE LOGANS RUN EXCEPT EVEN MORE RETARDED! ... er, sorry got off on a tangent there

It's not possible to be stupid in a tangential way. You either are or you aren't.

There's tons of other stuff in the report, such as "leading causes of death" ... guess what, chester? homicide doesn't rank in the top fucking 10(it's #13 btw).

You're proud of these stats, are you?

Guess what else? Homicide deaths are at the same spot (more or less) that they were in the 70's.

Point being what, exactly? That gun control doesnt work because your homocide rate hasnt gone down in 30 years?

That's fucking brilliant. If that doesnt demonstrate that gun control in the US doesnt work - even if there is no gun control in the US - I dont know what will.

Meanwhile, your country is effectively in a state of civil war and has been since before the 70s.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

I'll go over this slowly for you (3.80 / 5) (#28)
by tetsuo on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:18:59 PM EST

And it doesnt occur to you suicide from gun inflicted wounds is possible? It doesnt occur to you that accidental, non-homocidal deaths incurred from gun wounds are possible?

Look genius, this story isn't about suicide. It isn't about accidental deaths. It's about homicide. I was pointing out, and I guess not successfully, that of all the deaths in the US, this supposed "epidemic" of people shooting people is a myth. Please read the report and mull over the figures. I concede that I could have posted the whole thing, but I wasn't sure if it would all fit.

Guess what else? Homicide deaths are at the same spot (more or less) that they were in the 70's.

Point being what, exactly? That gun control doesnt work because your homocide rate hasnt gone down in 30 years?


Bzzt. Point being that the rate of homicide death per 100,000 US citizens hasn't changed since the 70's. And yes, I realize that that means as the population increases so do the homicide related deaths; what I was, and am still trying to, point out was that this sensationalist claim of crazy gun violence in america is way out of proportion.

That's fucking brilliant. If that doesnt demonstrate that gun control in the US doesnt work - even if there is no gun control in the US - I dont know what will.
Meanwhile, your country is effectively in a state of civil war and has been since before the 70s.

It's not possible to be "effectively" in a civil war. You either are or you aren't.

Now, whereas I provided a link to reputable statistics here, and data from it, you've done nothing but attack my writing style. How about you back up your outrageous claims with somthing tangable, ok? And try to stay on topic this time. br>---

[ Parent ]
Re: I'll go over this slowly for you (2.00 / 6) (#34)
by eLuddite on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:42:52 PM EST

I'll go over this slowly for you

Gee, thanks.

what I was, and am still trying to, point out was that this sensationalist claim of crazy gun violence in america is way out of proportion.

According to your figures, more than half of all suicides are as the result of firearms. According to your figures, 66% of all homocides are as the result of firearms. According to your statistics, one fifth as many people die in your country from guns as they do from run of the mill injuries. Yeah, that isnt gun crazy violence; that really compares favorably to the rest of the civilized world.

It's not possible to be "effectively" in a civil war. You either are or you aren't.

You are. According to your figures, 30,708 people die as a result of firearms per year. Way more than the annual death rate you incurred in Vietnam.

Now, whereas I provided a link to reputable statistics here, and data from it, you've done nothing but attack my writing style.

No, I was attacking your reasoning. Let me go over it slowly for you: _your_ statistics make _my_ point much better than I could ever hope to.

How about you back up your outrageous claims with somthing tangable, ok?

Thanks for bringing it up, chester. My original point was to rebut this sentence in the article:

I believe these [calls for gun control] are counterproductive overreactions, perhaps advanced to further personal [killjoy] agendas

But of course guns dont kill people. You've already established that.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Suicuide and Guns (4.50 / 4) (#45)
by R343L on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 01:13:49 AM EST

According to your figures, more than half of all suicides are as the result of firearms. According to your figures, 66% of all homocides are as the result of firearms. According to your statistics, one fifth as many people die in your country from guns as they do from run of the mill injuries. Yeah, that isnt gun crazy violence; that really compares favorably to the rest of the civilized world.

There have been several studies showing that suicide rates remain the same whatever weapons are available -- people just choose poison or roof-jumping if they don't have a gun. This is reasonable if you think about (if one really wants to die, one finds a way.)

As for homicides being primarily done by guns: duh! Guns are more quickly lethal than other things. But that doesn't mean murderers don't find other ways to kill their victims if they don't have a gun.

And when you say "that really compares favorably to the rest of the civilized world" you might want to back that up with some statistics. Like maybe giving per capita injury rates similar to those given by tetsuo for say Great Britain, France or Germany. And list what kind of gun laws they have (and how effective.)

Rachael Ludwick
"Like cheese spread over too much cantelope, the people I spoke with liked their shoes." Ctrl-Alt-Del
[ Parent ]

Re: Suicuide and Guns (2.75 / 4) (#48)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 01:41:19 AM EST

I live in a major metropolitain center in Canada, population 2 million plus. Its a bad year if 10 people get shot dead. Of those 10 people, 5 will be bikers shooting at each other.

I've lived in a major European city for a little over a year. I do not remember a single gun related death ever being in the news during that time.

I wont do your research for you If you dont already know that American cities are the death capitals of the civilized, peaceful world, nothing I dig up will make the least impression on your bias.

The fact is that the statistics in post # 20 speak for themselves. You have a problem. You continue to ignore that problem in the expectation that one day, somehow, everyone will become a responsible member of the NRA and your problem will cease to exist.

Whatever. Forgive me for not wasting my time trying to prove positively that Canada's gun control would save a few of your asses. Listen, they're _you're_ kids, not mine.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

guns don't kill people, you are an immortal spirit (3.25 / 4) (#75)
by deadhonkyhonky on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:06:10 PM EST

goddamnit... US culture is fucked. Period. Yes, I'm an American.
I didn't enjoy school that much, I almost caused some statistics.. Now call me cuckoo, or out of touch with the Pulse of America, but in my antisocial angst-ridden hatred of all things people-like and general urges to destroy humanity, I'm sorry, but guns did not cross my mind once.
Bombs, explosives, incendiaries, implosives, corrosives, and flammables. Those make much more sense. You kill more people (much more viciously too), garner more media attention, its easier to build a bomb that to get ahold of a gun (for me at least), and i mean come on, have you seen "$HollywoodBlockbuster"? shit blows up! thats so cool...
I didn't for one simple reason: I met some people who realized I was all fucked up and tried to HELP me instead of further alienating me.
Do I like innocent people dying?
No, far from it.
However, these deaths are merely casualties. If people want to continue to live in an isolated, dehumanized, society where their actions are free from any context and understanding, these are the results.


[ Parent ]
Anecdotal Evidence (3.66 / 3) (#111)
by R343L on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 08:47:03 PM EST

I live in a major metropolitain center in Canada, population 2 million plus. Its a bad year if 10 people get shot dead. Of those 10 people, 5 will be bikers shooting at each other.

I've lived in a major European city for a little over a year. I do not remember a single gun related death ever being in the news during that time.

This is anecdotal evidence--just because you don't hear about it doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

I wont do your research for you If you dont already know that American cities are the death capitals of the civilized, peaceful world, nothing I dig up will make the least impression on your bias.

You made the assertion that Canada and Europe compare favorably with the US in regards to crime and gun deaths. You made the assertion that the US is a bloodbath in comparison to other countries--without providing any statistics. Normally the person who asserts provides the evidence but here are some statistics:

Canada in 1997: number per thousand deaths for various causes, rounded to two significant figures:

  • "Accidents and adverse effects" 77 (raw: 8,724/111,985)
  • "Motor Vehicle Accidents" 18 (raw: 2,110/111,985)
  • "Accidental Falls" 9.6 (raw: 1,085/111,985)
  • "Suicide" 26 (raw: 2,914/111,985)
  • "Homicide" 2.5 (raw: 285/111,985)
  • "Other" 21 (raw: 2,330/111,985)

Breakdown of firearm related deaths

  • "Accidents by handgun": 0
  • "Accidents by all other and unspecified firearms": 45
  • "Suicide by handgun": 25
  • "Suicide by all other and unspecified firearms": 790
  • "Assault by handgun": 7
  • "Assault by all other and unspecified firearms": 149
  • "From injury by handgun": 1
  • "From injury by all other and unspecified firearms": 11
  • My total of firearm related deaths (couldn't find general category): 1021
  • firearm related deaths per thousand deaths: 9.1

Source: Mortality, summary list of causes - Shelf tables

Using the source tetsuo gave to get total death numbers we have the following:

  • Total of firearm related deaths: 30,708
  • Total deaths in US from all causes: 2,337,256
  • Firearm related deaths per thousand deaths: 13

Considering the US is a major battlefield for the drug war (banning guns would have no effect on this-- druglords don't follow the law anyway) this small difference could be just that. For example, 11,798 of the firearm deaths in the US are homicide (38.4% of total firearm deaths) while in Canada 156 (15.2%) are probably from homicide (the "Assault by.." categories above.) If you look at the state breakdown of deaths for homicide we see much higher rates in certain parts of the country such as California and New York. A tentative hypothesis one could make would be that greater drug activity contributes more to homicide. But overall, the differnce between 13 and 9.1 may not be statistically significant. Unfortunately pulling all the numbers out of these stupid pdf's to do the analysis would consume more time than I care to put into this.

Rachael
"Like cheese spread over too much cantelope, the people I spoke with liked their shoes." Ctrl-Alt-Del
[ Parent ]

Re: Anecdotal Evidence (4.00 / 4) (#119)
by eLuddite on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 01:35:41 AM EST

This is anecdotal evidence--just because you don't hear about it doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

I assure you that European press is at least the equal of the American press.

But overall, the differnce between 13 and 9.1 may not be statistically significant.

Very interesting. Next time be like everyone else and try deriving your per capita figures by dividing by the living instead of the dead:

.003% for canada
.01% for the US

Is an order of magnitude and a factor of 3 statistically significant for you?

A tentative hypothesis one could make would be that greater drug activity contributes more to homicide.

How astute of you. Unfortunately no one dies from eating too many brownies after binging on grass. Listen, there isnt a public toilet in Toronto that doesnt have lingering traces of cocaine - we know that people doing and selling drugs kill themselves and others. The question is what are they killing themselves _with_. The other question is whether they would be killing themselves at the same rate with and without guns.

I dont suppose it would make any difference if I told you that I was a very heavy hard drug user for years, that I hung with very disreputable people, and that none of us ever even saw a gun? Oh, i forgot, anecdotal evidence.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Re: Anecdotal Evidence (3.66 / 3) (#121)
by R343L on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 05:38:10 AM EST

I assure you that European press is at least the equal of the American press.

The US press sometimes doesn't report things that I may find important. I suspect the European press would do the same.

Very interesting. Next time be like everyone else and try deriving your per capita figures by dividing by the living instead of the dead:

I was trying to remove the possibility that the US or Canada has a lower or higher mortality rate overall by doing deaths. Incidentally, in many of the tables I found that had rates there were rates with respect to total deaths just as frequently as to total population.

.003% for canada
.01% for the US

Is an order of magnitude and a factor of 3 statistically significant for you?

It turns out that those values are significantly different (I did a chi-squared test just on gun deaths over total deaths and total population in both countries). But, I've seen values several orders of magnitude different (say as percentages or ratios) that weren't significantly different--appearance isn't everything. That's the point. You've been arguing from what you have seen--which no matter how unbiased (or biased) the media is or how much you've seen is going to be biased. That's the point of statistics: to remove bias. You've made many statistical claims with only your personal, non-statistical experience as evidence.

How astute of you. Unfortunately no one dies from eating too many brownies after binging on grass. Listen, there isnt a public toilet in Toronto that doesnt have lingering traces of cocaine - we know that people doing and selling drugs kill themselves and others. The question is what are they killing themselves _with_. The other question is whether they would be killing themselves at the same rate with and without guns.

Actually people do die from using drugs (legal or illegal). Cocaine, for example, can cause a deadly heart attack in some people even if the cocaine is "clean" (not cut with anything bad). And does it really matter what people use to kill themselves?

I dont suppose it would make any difference if I told you that I was a very heavy hard drug user for years, that I hung with very disreputable people, and that none of us ever even saw a gun? Oh, i forgot, anecdotal evidence.

It doesn't really matter to me. I use alcohol fairly frequently, which is just as hard as most hard drugs out there but is legal through historic accident. I've never seen a gun either (except on a police man or when I lived in hunting country or the one owned by my friend who was going to become an FBI agent). What does that matter? I assume you weren't hanging out with the drug lord who shoots his competitors either. If you were in the US, I'm fairly sure you'd at least be aware that he was carrying. As for "anecdotal evidence", the reason why statistics are used is to remove bias from data--to even out the extremes and get a big picture.

Rachael
"Like cheese spread over too much cantelope, the people I spoke with liked their shoes." Ctrl-Alt-Del
[ Parent ]

Actually (3.66 / 3) (#123)
by spiralx on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 07:51:52 AM EST

The US press sometimes doesn't report things that I may find important. I suspect the European press would do the same.

Given that shootings are less prevalent here in the UK, they tend to get more coverage than they would in the US. And I'd assume it's the same for Europe.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Re: Anecdotal Evidence (3.50 / 4) (#124)
by eLuddite on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 09:06:25 AM EST

it turns out that those values are significantly different

Thanks for confirming our national propaganda. I realize Americans dont get much coverage of this between films of smart bombs going off in Saddam's toilet but we do - complete with statisticians on the boob tube, etc - and we have no reason to doubt the message. The message is this: america _is_ a more violent country than other affluent nations.

I know what statistics are Rachel. Its wonderful that you did all the grunt work for yourself but it was never necessary for me to doubt similiar conclusions made by others.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

dad (none / 0) (#161)
by anonymous cowerd on Sun Mar 11, 2001 at 12:47:18 PM EST

R343L sez:
>
> eLuddite sez:
> >
> > none of us ever even saw a gun
>
> I've never seen a gun either

I was about twelve years old when I first looked down the barrel of a gun. My father was pointing it at me. He was drunk. This shit gets old quick.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

"This calm way of flying will suit Japan well," said Zeppelin's granddaughter, Elisabeth Veil.
[ Parent ]

So murderers don't need guns? (3.50 / 4) (#63)
by Drone X on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 10:52:10 AM EST

There have been several studies showing that suicide rates remain the same whatever weapons are available -- people just choose poison or roof-jumping if they don't have a gun. This is reasonable if you think about (if one really wants to die, one finds a way.)

True.

As for homicides being primarily done by guns: duh! Guns are more quickly lethal than other things. But that doesn't mean murderers don't find other ways to kill their victims if they don't have a gun.

As you say, guns are more quickly lethal than other things. It is true that murderers can find other ways but it won't be as easy as using a gun. If you'll attack me with a knife, I have a chance of overpowering you. If you point a gun at me I'll have almost no chance of surviving. It seems also fair to say that multiple murders wouldn't happen if there were no guns.

And when you say "that really compares favorably to the rest of the civilized world" you might want to back that up with some statistics. Like maybe giving per capita injury rates similar to those given by tetsuo for say Great Britain, France or Germany. And list what kind of gun laws they have (and how effective.)

I don't have any figures to show you, I guess no one bothers to make them as there are so few deaths by guns. You see, I live in Belgium (which is in between the countries you listed BTW) and we have a population of about 10 million. Now, it is a rare thing that I hear about shootings. I espect the situation to be similar in the countries you named.


Monkey sense
[ Parent ]

Re: So murderers don't need guns? (3.33 / 3) (#115)
by R343L on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 09:57:34 PM EST

As you say, guns are more quickly lethal than other things. It is true that murderers can find other ways but it won't be as easy as using a gun. If you'll attack me with a knife, I have a chance of overpowering you. If you point a gun at me I'll have almost no chance of surviving. It seems also fair to say that multiple murders wouldn't happen if there were no guns.

I agree -- one has a chance against a knife but not really a gun. I was just trying to point out that murderers are murderers. If they really want the person dead they will find a way. A gun is also a much more effective weapon for self-defense for 5'2" girls who can barely lift a liter of milk. I'm not 5'2" (6'0") but I'm not particularly strong for that height, so a man has to be substantially smaller than me before I would have a chance against him with any weapon (or none at all). I haven't gotten a handgun (the state I live in has concealed carry with a permit) because (a) I don't have the training yet and (b) I don't have the money yet.

Luckily I am almost always in the company of big strong men when I am in unsafe areas (almost any central part of the town I live in--Tucson, Arizona--at night).

I don't have any figures to show you, I guess no one bothers to make them as there are so few deaths by guns. You see, I live in Belgium (which is in between the countries you listed BTW) and we have a population of about 10 million. Now, it is a rare thing that I hear about shootings. I espect the situation to be similar in the countries you named.

See my post replying to eLuddite giving figures for Canada. I didn't do this for any other country because it is time consuming to download Mb size files on a 56k connection that is almost never 56k ... and finding and extracting the proper figures. Every country's government statistics I looked at has them in large file pdfs (or for a charge and they send you a hard copy).

I know where Belgium is. And Luxembourg (sp??) and the Netherlands (or is it called Holland--maps here usually say Netherlands) and most countries in the world except the ones that keep changing due to political instability. Four years ago I could have labeled a map of the world with country names, capitals, major economic imports/exports and common languages (I was in Academic Decathlon if any of the US posters know what that is--I don't know if it really exists outside the US.) But that seems to be fairly useless information to have at the tip of the tongue all the time anymore when I can look it up. People also give you funny looks when you know the capital and major cities of Azerbaijan or French Guyana. :) Which I don't know anymore btw.

Rachael
"Like cheese spread over too much cantelope, the people I spoke with liked their shoes." Ctrl-Alt-Del
[ Parent ]

homicides (4.00 / 1) (#153)
by Delirium on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 04:07:14 PM EST

The problem with your analysis is that homicide is a separate issue - death from old-age and injury can be tried to be reduced, but it's not close to the same thing as murder, which is what laws are intended to reduce.

Taking your numbers,
Total Homicides : 17,893 Firearm Homicides : 11,798

That shows that 66% of all homicides are caused by firearms, a fairly significant percentage.

When you also take into account that there are many more instances of assault without firearms than with firearms, you can see that firearm assault has a much higher death rate than other forms of assault, leading to the conclusion that reducing the availability of firearms is at least likely to reduce the number of homicides (since fewer assaults or attempted murders will result in murders, for the simple reason that it's harder to kill someone with a knife than it is with a gun).

[ Parent ]

Christ,Getting rid of the guns is not the answer. (4.16 / 6) (#22)
by gridwerk on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 10:47:56 PM EST

You wanna compare the US to Europe. Fine Then how come more per capita firepower exists in Switzerland than in any other place in the world, yet it is one of the safest places to be. 1993, not a single armed robbery was reported in Geneva. Also there have been no school massacres in Switzerland, where guns and kids freely mix. Shoot evem the tourist brochure Zurich News recommends Septembers Knabenschiessen (a boys shooting contest) as a must-see: "The oldest Zurich tradition consists of a shooting contest at the Albisguetli (range) for 12 to 16 year-old boys and girls and a colorful three-day fun-fair." This event has been held since 1657. Murder is is tied to a willingness to resort to violence not the presence of guns. I was one of these social Misfits.. my whole freshman year I had baseballs and foorballs thrown at me.. this was when being different wasn't cool... if you had multi-colored hair,peircing you weren't trendy because Greenday was on TV. you were trash. But not once did I ever grab a gun. My parents taught me better. People need to start being held responsible for thier actions. Stop blaming the tools. A knife in the hands of a Docter saves lives, in the hands of a thief it's a weapon.. oh and if you don't believe me check out the murder and robery in Switzerland, which is awash in guns and most, if not all the time has a lower murder and robbery rates than England, where most guns are banned.

[ Parent ]
Re: Christ,Getting rid of the guns is not the answ (1.80 / 5) (#25)
by eLuddite on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:00:09 PM EST

You're right. Guns arent the problem in the US. It's not the fault of any gun that you're a nation of homocidal morons. Getting rid of guns works everywhere except in the US because it's in your genes, or in the air you breathe, or maybe just something they put in that McDonald's Special Sauce.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Ugh (2.50 / 4) (#31)
by tetsuo on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:26:48 PM EST

Please disregard all posts from mine on this thread

*removes hook from mouth*

I'll try to avoid being trolled next time
---

[ Parent ]
Re: Ugh (2.00 / 4) (#39)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 12:07:04 AM EST

Nice try. Unfortunately, calling someone a troll does nothing to improve your position. America has a problem with gun violence. Full stop. You say it isnt the fault of guns. Ergo, it is the fault of Americans.

*removes hook from mouth*

Well, seeing as you accused me of being a troll, I guess I have nothing to lose by asking you to *remove head out from ass*.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Maybe you should check out 1996 "Crime and Ju (3.75 / 4) (#35)
by gridwerk on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:48:45 PM EST

in 1996 the U.S. Department of Justice study "Crime and Justice" concluded that in England the robbery rate was 1.4 times higher, the assault rate was 2.3 times higher, and the burglary rate was 1.7 times higher than in the. Put that in arrogent cap and smoke it. Maybe if you had a way t odefend yourself that could of been lower.

[ Parent ]
Re: Maybe you ... (1.75 / 4) (#38)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 12:04:27 AM EST

Maybe if you had a way t odefend yourself that could of been lower

Maybe if _you_ could stick to the subject gun DEATHS. Duh.

I've defended myself in exemplar fashion. I've not flamed anyone who didnt flame me in more egregious fashion. You gun freaks just cant take it when you're shown up as idiots.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

wtf? (3.40 / 5) (#74)
by deadhonkyhonky on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 01:36:19 PM EST

how can you assume that anyone who does not believe in strict gun control is a gun freak? i do not own a gun, and i will never own a gun. i do not believe in gun control in ANY shape, form, or fashion. I DO believe in ubiquitous education and a strong sense of personal and communal resposibility, and for the people who ignore and shirk these, simple, immmediate, harsh, and noncompromising punishments.

[ Parent ]
wtfwtf (2.25 / 4) (#76)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:13:22 PM EST

how can you assume that anyone who does not believe in strict gun control is a gun freak?

I dont.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

So fucking what? Half the story... (3.60 / 5) (#60)
by spiralx on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 10:18:08 AM EST

At the same time your rape rate is 3 times as high as ours and your murder rate is 6 times as high as in England.

Let me see - would I rather be robbed or murdered? Would I rather be assaulted or raped? Hmm, I wonder.

Sorry, but whilst I may be over twice as likely to be beaten up over here as in America, I feel that's much better than being murdered, which is six times as likely in the US. And seeing as we're talking about gun deaths here, your strawman isn't really very valid is it?

Try again idiot.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Fortunately both parties didn't have guns (2.75 / 4) (#65)
by Drone X on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 11:03:07 AM EST

A robbery is one thing, you lose your possesions. Move on.

But what if the ones being attacked had a gun, in panick I can imagine that they'd shoot the thief. Justice? Not in my opinion, it's murder. Yet it's probably not listed as one. Self defence, you know.

So the thief's friends get scared and also buy guns. Next time they're the first to shoot. Great, now it's no longer a robbery, it's a murder!

As for me, I'd rather be robbed once a year than face a gun once in my life.

Monkey sense
[ Parent ]

Re: Christ etc (3.80 / 5) (#26)
by eLuddite on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:07:29 PM EST

Incidentally, Switzerland has exceedingly strict gun control. All guns are registered and handgun purchases require both a permit and a background check. Furthermore, every Swiss male is issued a gun because every Swiss male is also a military reservist who has undergone training.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

And thats my point (3.25 / 4) (#32)
by gridwerk on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:40:35 PM EST

THey are trained on how to use the weapons and the responsibility that goes along with it. Unlike Here in the US where we expect the goverment to solve all our problems because we don't want to do it ourselves.

[ Parent ]
Re: And thats my point (2.75 / 4) (#36)
by eLuddite on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:54:20 PM EST

The government controls guns in switzerland. The government trains soldiers in switzerland. Are you suggesting that the end all and be all of US gun control be that gun shop owners ask buyers "Do you promise me that you'll train yourself on how to use this?" before ringing up a sale?

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Mandatory firearm training in U.S. schools (3.00 / 4) (#69)
by bgarcia on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 12:07:01 PM EST

Actually, I think a big part of the problem is that we don't have any kind of mandatory firearms training.

I think that all public schools should have mandatory classes on firearm use and safety.

[ Parent ]

Re: Mandatory firearm training in U.S. schools (2.50 / 4) (#72)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 01:01:20 PM EST

I think you should pay for private gun classes rather than subtracting from my child's time to learn to read and write. Number one. Number two, children are children by virtue of the fact that they lack intellectual and emotional maturity. They have no business handling killer weapons.

You have quite elegantly managed to summarize America's fatuous gun psyche.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Re: Mandatory firearm training in U.S. schools (3.50 / 4) (#97)
by bgarcia on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 04:35:41 PM EST

I think you should pay for private gun classes rather than subtracting from my child's time to learn to read and write.
I'll make a deal with you. I'll leave all the reading, writing, and arithmetic in the curriculum. Instead, it can replace gym class for one semester.
children are children by virtue of the fact that they lack intellectual and emotional maturity.
Many of these people in 12th grade are legally adults, not children. I have no problem with teaching firearm safety to people who are old enough (or almost old enough, in the case of 16 & 17 year-olds) to buy their own firearms.
They have no business handling killer weapons.
But you believe that all people have no business owning firearms, let alone school students.
You have quite elegantly managed to summarize America's fatuous gun psyche.
And you continue to express an irrational fear of firearm ownership by the common citizen.

[ Parent ]
Re: Mandatory firearm training in U.S. schools (3.00 / 5) (#102)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 05:03:27 PM EST

I'll make a deal with you. I'll leave all the reading, writing, and arithmetic in the curriculum. Instead, it can replace gym class for one semester.

No, you dont understand. I dont want guns to be a part of my child's rite to passage as an adult. I dont want him to feel that a gun is somehow supposed to be relevant to his existence or that it should in any way have an impact on his life. You have a gun culture that I dont want you to force upon my son. Guns are not educational.

But you believe that all people have no business owning firearms, let alone school students.

No, I dont believe that. I believe in gun control.

And you continue to express an irrational fear of firearm ownership by the common citizen.

No, I believe it is irrational for society to have such a pervasive, consuming interest in keeping a chunk of metal that hurls bullets at a thousand feet per second left, right and center of its national consciousness.

You have too many guns, too many dead people, and not nearly enough excuses to justify either.

If that is irrational, I'm irrational. But at least all my friends and family are alive and untouched by tragedy.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Re: Mandatory firearm training in U.S. schools (3.66 / 3) (#122)
by bgarcia on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 06:43:21 AM EST

You have a gun culture that I dont want you to force upon my son.
Don't worry - I don't plan on invading Canada to steal your son and subject him to my beliefs. You're safe.
No, I dont believe that. I believe in gun control.
I guess I don't completely understand your position then. In your ideal society, what would need to happen in order for me to own/purchase a firearm? What kind of firearms would be legal to own?
You have too many guns, too many dead people, and not nearly enough excuses to justify either. If that is irrational, I'm irrational. But at least all my friends and family are alive and untouched by tragedy.
All my friends and family are alive too. And we all own guns. We hunt. We shoot trap. I was on the high school rifle team. Some of us served in the military & police forces, and some of us haven't. And yes, we even own handguns for self-defense (thankfully, we've never yet had to use them).

We are not criminals, and our firearms have never, ever hurt anybody.

Have you ever been in a car accident? Have any of your friends or family been in one? Were they injured? God forbid, killed? Have you ever witnessed a car accident?

No, I believe it is irrational for society to have such a pervasive, consuming interest in keeping a chunk of metal that hurls bullets at a thousand feet per second left, right and center of its national consciousness.
So, why aren't you asking for more "car control"? Don't you believe that it's irrational for a society to have such a pervasive, consuming interest in keeping a 2-ton chunk of metal that hurls around at 100 feet per second, squashing all living things in its path?

[ Parent ]
Re: Mandatory firearm training in U.S. schools (3.75 / 4) (#125)
by eLuddite on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 09:19:17 AM EST

So, why aren't you asking for more "car control"?

Oh, good grief, not this again. Because it's used a gazillion times for every accident? Because it serves a useful purpose? Because it isnt an implement built expressly to kill?

I'm just going to go talk with my dog now, ok? You win. You US dudes can kick your wives out of bed and sleep with your guns for all I care any more.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Re: Mandatory firearm training in U.S. schools (2.50 / 2) (#138)
by bgarcia on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 07:11:54 AM EST

Goodness, was that just the electronic equivalent of covering your ears and saying "LA LA LA LA LA - I CAN'T HEAR YOU - LA LA LA LA LA!!"

You brought up the fact that you dislike guns because they kill a lot of people. I brought up a very similar situation, and you refuse to look at the similarities objectively.

Because it isnt an implement built expressly to kill?
A firearm is not an "implement built expressly to kill". Some are, some aren't. Some are built expressly for hunting. Some are built expressly for sport and recreation. Some are made expressly for self-defense.
I'm just going to go talk with my dog now, ok? You win. You US dudes can kick your wives out of bed and sleep with your guns for all I care any more.
Man, you just stereotype anyone who believes in firearm ownership by the common person. If that makes you feel superior, then so be it. I guess your mind is made-up and closed-off.

[ Parent ]
Re: Mandatory firearm training in U.S. schools (2.66 / 3) (#142)
by eLuddite on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 10:52:41 AM EST

I brought up a very similar situation, and you refuse to look at the similarities objectively.

The similiarities are specious. Your entire reasoning is fallacious. If you cannot see that, you and the word "objectively" do not belong in the same sentence.

I guess your mind is made-up and closed-off.

That's rich.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Re: Mandatory firearm training in U.S. schools (3.50 / 2) (#145)
by eLuddite on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 01:36:55 PM EST

Man, you just stereotype anyone who believes in firearm ownership by the common person.

I believe in gun control, you uncomprehending git, gun control. Got it?

You believe that cars are weapons. Or, at least, that's what you argue whether you understand your arguement or not. The reason you argue incorrectly is because you have no correct arguement. Specifically, guns are not at all like cars. You cannot make an analogy between a gun and a car because none exists. You are merely pointing out that cars kill. So do vegetable slicers.

A gun is a weapon. A car is a mode of transportation. Every country in the fucking world has cars. Some of those countries have even managed to overcome your insane lack of logic and implement gun control. Furthermore, cars are much safer than guns. If america had as many guns as cars, if america discharged as many bullets as they log miles, I wouldnt give you 5 fucking minutes to live.

Cars are one of a million useful compromises you make in life. Guns are not. If it makes you feel better, dont drive. Hitch your guns to a horse and buggy. I dont care. Its not relevant. What's relevant is that you control your cars but you dont control your weapons. Stick that in the barrel your car and fire it repeated into your skull until you understand what it is you purport to argue in the name of logic.

A firearm is not an "implement built expressly to kill".

That's what weapons do, you ninny. That's what they are meant to do. That's the way they are built. We have a name for something that does all that: gun. That's why guns are regulated in every enlightened society on earth. Because they are a weapon. Because your target pistol can kill. Because your hunting rifle can kill. Because your defensive weapon can kill. Are you begining to understand what a gun is?

Some are, some aren't. Some are built expressly for hunting. Some are built expressly for sport and recreation. Some are made expressly for self-defense

Fine. Regulate gun ownership so that the above qualifications are enforced. Show me your membership in a target shooting club. Show me your hunting license. Show me the circumstances whereby you need to defend yourself with greater force than myself. Show me a passing grade in gun safety. Show me something besides the fact that your billfold contrains 250$. I'll show you gun control by any other name.

If that makes you feel superior

Well that gets us right back to your original post: it must be because I elected to learn how to read and think in school instead of how to grease and load a gun.

I guess your mind is made-up and closed-off.

My mind is completely made up that the gun lobby in the USA consists of close minded yahoos who can barely string words together except to confuse the only issue that matters in this debate:

GUNS ARE A WEAPON THAT YOU DO NOT SEE FIT TO REGULATE.

Your reply? "What about cars?" Well, what about them? "We should regulate those!" You do. "They kill people." Ok, ditch them in a landfill, save the furry dice and reattach the "keep your hands off our guns" stickers to your slow moving, safe in traffic foreheads.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Mandatory firearms training in U.S. schools (3.25 / 4) (#73)
by mami on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 01:03:42 PM EST

Your proposed firearms education is not solving the problem to prevent a kid which is angry to shoot, no, most probably it will be even a better sharp shooter with all the firearm education they got.

In Switzerland kids don't live in comparable family structures and schools like you have them here in the U.S. Schools in Switzerland have very much the feeling of communal "family" affair. Women have not the same internal, emotional problems as women in the U.S. have, needing to "have it all". Families have much, much less stress (no tuitions to finance), very good social services and health care.

It has to do with what the kids and the parents in this country have to deal with. In Switzerland it's not that much of a deal for a woman NOT to have a "terrific career", it's still ok to give up some of your potential professional career to just be stronger for helping to keep a family together. In the U.S. it's not any more possible. First the careers are not that great to begin with for most of the people, and secondly, parents can't afford not to work both fulltime. The money is not sufficient to pull a family through on the men's salary alone. People have consistently high personal debt everywhere around here.

The problem is that EVERYONE here is stretched out to their limits just to provide some basic, secure family life for their kids That's a political problem. If parents all MUST work two jobs to just put some meat on the table and have to start thinking to save for their kids education when they are still in diapers, yes, hell, that is stressful. No parent has that burden in Europe. That's the reason people don't snap out for nothing over there and here they do.

On top of that around forty percent of the marriages don't survive and single parents have double the burden and half the security.

CNN just says there is another shooting in a Pennsylvania school, if I heard it correctly. It's just that common that if noone is killed, it almost goes unnoticed.


[ Parent ]
Wrong comparison (3.75 / 4) (#104)
by mami on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 05:40:06 PM EST

I am not so sure if you should make such a comparison, and I am not sure you should buy in this too easy of an argument, saying "A knife in the hands of a Docter saves lives, in the hands of a thief it's a weapon."

Switzerland (and Germany) has a long, century-old history of hunting dear in the woods and mountains. This is as old a "profession" (called "Jaeger" ) as being a farmer or fisherman or what have you. Certain traditions and yearly festivities are still upheld which surround this "profession". Today it's more an event to attract tourists with their old costums, music etc. It's similar to the U.S. tradition of having parades. It has nothing to do with modern, daily life. The dear you eat in first class restaurants in Switzerland and Germany is shot by today's small group of "Jaeger". There are century year old songs related to that profession and a tradition of meals.

If you really want to make an analogy to the U.S, consider this: You, in the U.S. always needed your guns primarily because you got through the trauma of fighting alone the elements, the native Americans and your next door neighbor. When you settled and explored the land, your neighbors were strangers to you. You could not trust them upfront. Your forefathers always feared for their lives from almost anything surrounding them. Self defense WAS an argument in the 17th and 18th century. Not to forget that the guns were also needed to keep the slaves from revolting during that time. These times ARE OVER, but your laws are still there. This background on which your today's love affair with handguns is flourishing, is completely different from Switzerland's situation.

In Switzerland (and Germany) you own a gun to shoot dear, since centuries. There were no human enemies to fight in self defense for survival just to homestead your land. You always knew your neighbors, your villages existed since centuries and land ownership was handed down from generation to generation. It's a completely different ball game.

Only "die Jaeger" (Hunters), who are bound by a lot of rules and regulations though their old professional associations, own guns and only for those purposes. Knowing the Swiss EVERYTHING is regulated to the tiniest detail, I could imagine even the amunition you are allowed to use. No way, that you can associate those hunters with anyone in the U.S., who uses the hunting argument just to hide his real reasons to support guns. In honest almost all want guns for matters of self-defense, manlihood status and for political reasons (like being always prepared to defend yourself from the bad government trying to restrictions of your civil and human rights - which looks like a paranoid attitude viewed through the eyes of an Eurpean) or for pure criminal purposes.



[ Parent ]
Your arguement would have been better (4.33 / 6) (#29)
by FlightTest on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:21:12 PM EST

If not for the fact, that less than a week ago, in Santa Barbara, Ca, about 1/2 way up the California coast from San Diego, a college kid intentionally ran down 4 people with his car. Then got out and did a sick victory dance. He was "subdued" by witnesses until the cops showed up.

Lesse, a quick search on the 'net:

  • Highway deaths, 1999: 41,375 (total)
  • Alcohol-related highway deaths, 1999: 15,794
  • Gun deaths nationwide, 1997: 32,436 (total includes homice, suicide, accidental)
  • Gun homicides, 1997: 13,522

Seems to me like you ought to be thinking about baning cars, not guns. I used two different years because those were the first statistics I came across. Since gun and highway deaths have both been steadily decreasing over the years, the number of gun deaths for 1999 is even lower.

Please also explain why the crime rate in Australia has soared since they confiscated all the guns. For 1998 (essentially the first year after the gun grab), homicides were up 3.2 percent. Assaults were up 8.6 percent. Armed robberies (yes, armed!) were up an incredible 44 percent. Homicides with firearms in the state of Victoria were up 300 percent. Since crime rates had been decreasing in Australia prior to the gun-grab, it's hard to attribute the rise in crime to anything else. Even Australia's politicians have offered no other explanation. Kinda proves that point that if you outlaw guns, only the outlaws will have guns.

What about the U.S. Brady Bill? Nice idea, too bad they didn't bother to follow through. It is *ILLEGAL* for a felon to *ATTEMPT* to purchase a firearm. Therefore, any felon who fills out the paperwork has committed a crime. SO, since the wonderful Brady Bill has, according to Clinton, stopped so many thousands of felons from buying guns, WHY THE HELL DIDN'T THEY PROSECUTE ANY OF THEM? Why wasn't a cop waiting at the store to arrest the felons when they came to pick up the gun? Many states, including California, have mandatory waiting periods, and not all states have instant background checks to comply with Brady, so gun buyers have to wait for the paperwork to clear.

Please also explain why the U.S. states that have passed "shall issue" CCW laws have seen their crime rates drop. Since "guns kill people" the increased number of guns should have made the crime rate explode, according to your logic. Sorry, people kill people. They do it with guns, knives, cars, baseball bats, and probably a few other items.



Why did I flip? I got tired of coming up with last minute desparate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.
[ Parent ]
Australia (3.50 / 4) (#33)
by Robert Gormley on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:41:04 PM EST

Please also explain why the crime rate in Australia has soared since they confiscated all the guns. For 1998 (essentially the first year after the gun grab), homicides were up 3.2 percent. Assaults were up 8.6 percent. Armed robberies (yes, armed!) were up an incredible 44 percent. Homicides with firearms in the state of Victoria were up 300 percent. Since crime rates had been decreasing in Australia prior to the gun-grab, it's hard to attribute the rise in crime to anything else. Even Australia's politicians have offered no other explanation. Kinda proves that point that if you outlaw guns, only the outlaws will have guns.

So why, in both the year before and after said gun grab, there were no cases of "vigilanteism" or people shot by other civilians whilst in the process of committing a crime. Clearly, if this was the deterring factor, it'd at least have to be going on beforehand - and then removed - to have an impact. Sure, you hear of people being beaten off during holdups, or burglaries. But in those years, not one case Australia-wide of someone being shot by someone defending themselves/someone/their house/property, etc.

And let's look at Australia. Despite population differences, the densities of Australian cities and most US cities (pulling, say San Diego out of a hat) are similar. Why then is the homicide rate of the US 18.6 TIMES, PER CAPITA, higher than that of Australia?

[ Parent ]

Re: Australia (3.75 / 4) (#37)
by FlightTest on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 12:03:49 AM EST

So why, in both the year before and after said gun grab, there were no cases of "vigilanteism" or people shot by other civilians whilst in the process of committing a crime. Clearly, if this was the deterring factor, it'd at least have to be going on beforehand - and then removed - to have an impact. Sure, you hear of people being beaten off during holdups, or burglaries. But in those years, not one case Australia-wide of someone being shot by someone defending themselves/someone/their house/property, etc.

I know that in the U.S., gun owners will not typically report a crime "prevented" by use of a gun for fear of getting hassled by the cops. My boss ran off a burgler after the 1994 Northridge earthquake by simply chambering his rifle. He certainly didn't call the cops. What could they possibly do?

And let's look at Australia. Despite population differences, the densities of Australian cities and most US cities (pulling, say San Diego out of a hat) are similar. Why then is the homicide rate of the US 18.6 TIMES, PER CAPITA, higher than that of Australia?

Because the per capita data includes everyone, not just those living in cities. Regardless of the fact that a few of the Australian cities have popluation densities approximately the same as some U.S. cities, the per capita data is sill skewed, because a much larger percentage of the Australian popluation lives outside of large cities.

I'm not sure I understand how your arguement is relevant anyways. All your statistics seem to prove is that Australia has a lower crime rate than the U.S. Okay, fine, I'll grant you that. Now please explain how the fact that Australia has lower crime rates than the U.S. (both pre and post ban, according to you) proves that banning guns will lower crime rates in the U.S. I simply don't see the connection. I personally think what your data really shows is that if the U.S. would spread its' population out more, we'd have less crime.



Why did I flip? I got tired of coming up with last minute desparate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.
[ Parent ]
Re: Australia (2.75 / 4) (#43)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 12:44:04 AM EST

Because the per capita data includes everyone, not just those living in cities.

Correct. Cities have nothing to do with the figures he cited either in the US or in AUS. He said two things:

(1) Australian cities are comparable in density to US cities. (2) the homicide rate of the US 18.6 TIMES, PER CAPITA, higher than that of Australia

Those were mutually exclusive assertions of fact.

Now please explain how the fact that Australia has lower crime rates than the U.S. (both pre and post ban, according to you) proves that banning guns will lower crime rates in the U.S.

The level of proof that _you_ require (which is unreasonable considering the evidence) will not be possible until gun control is given a trial run in the US. Since you evidently refuse to consider that option, the level of proof that you require will never be achieved.

That is a wonderful coincidence and you are a wonderful logician for explicitly admitting as much.

I personally think what your data really shows is that if the U.S. would spread its' population out more, we'd have less crime.

Again, he cited per capita figures independently of city densities. But even assuming that you are correct, and that you want to genuinely reduce gun deaths, how do you propose to spread out the US population?

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Re: Australia (4.50 / 4) (#47)
by FlightTest on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 01:39:19 AM EST

The level of proof that _you_ require (which is unreasonable considering the evidence) will not be possible until gun control is given a trial run in the US. Since you evidently refuse to consider that option, the level of proof that you require will never be achieved.

Wrong. A good proof would start with simply finding some non-totalitarian society where guns were at one time readily avialable, then were confiscated, and the crime rate went down. Australia is proof of the opposite. Guns were confiscated, and the crime rate went UP. As I've pointed out before, in U.S. states where "shall issue" CCW laws have been passed, crime has gone DOWN. Gun confiscation != reduced crime.

Waitaminute: Why is the level of proof I require unreasonable? Why shouldn't there be some level of certainty that a law will have the desired effect before it is enacted? Is that really too much to ask? And what do you mean by "considering the evidence"? You haven't presented a single shred of evidence. You are starting to sound like a troll, sir.

And please be honest. You aren't advocating gun control, you're advocating confiscation. We alreay have gun "control" in the U.S., an incredible level of local, state, and federal laws covering gun ownership and use. I'd like to start by enforcing the laws we have before we give up and take guns from law-abiding citizens.

Again, he cited per capita figures independently of city densities. But even assuming that you are correct, and that you want to genuinely reduce gun deaths, how do you propose to spread out the US population?

Since this is hardly relevant to the discussion, I'll give a generalize answer: Offer incentives to get people out of the cities. Maybe offer economic incentives for companies to relocate to less dense areas? I don't claim to have that answer, but if the data would suggest that population density is related to crime, then maybe people smarter than me could come up with how you do that. Treat the disease (high population density) rather than the symptom (high crime).



Why did I flip? I got tired of coming up with last minute desparate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.
[ Parent ]
Re: Australia (1.75 / 4) (#50)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:21:21 AM EST

Wrong. A good proof would start with simply finding some non-totalitarian society where guns were at one time readily avialable, then were confiscated, and the crime rate went down.

_I_ dont know of any, off hand. I dont know of any perfectly round cows with a zero coefficient of friction, either. Meanwhile, feel free to continue to shoot each other to death in unparalleled numbers pending the spontaneous creation of such a society.

Australia is proof of the opposite. Guns were confiscated, and the crime rate went UP

Even if your statistics are correct and unchallenged, (1) I'll live after a robbery; the subject is homocide. (2) Someone has already pointed out Australia's per capita rate is more than a full order of magnitude lower than the US.

Why is the level of proof I require unreasonable?

You said:

All your statistics seem to prove is that Australia has a lower crime rate than the U.S. Okay, fine, I'll grant you that.

Then you said:

please explain how the fact that Australia has lower crime rates than the U.S. (both pre and post ban, according to you) proves that banning guns will lower crime rates in the U.S. I simply don't see the connection.

It is not possible to prove, positive, without comparing data from both experiments, what effect gun control will have in the US. However, you insist on such proof before gun control is enacted. Ie, demonstrate how B is superior to A without allowing for the existence of B to begin with.

Thanks for the lattitude.

You haven't presented a single shred of evidence.

Lets understand something, here. My country doesnt have a problem with guns, yours does. The onus is upon you to present a shred of evidence that gun control doesnt work. It works just fine for me where I live. It works just fine in Europe. In Japan. In every country where the economic level of well being is comparable to the US.

No one is going to offer you mathematical proof that gun control will work for you. The evidence is extraordinarily suggestive that it will. Sociology is a normative science, not a positive one. If you insist on mathematical rigor, I will insist that you wait forever and a day. Your call.

And please be honest. You aren't advocating gun control, you're advocating confiscation.

No, dont redefine language from under me. Gun control is not confiscation. We have guns in canada. We have gun control in canada.

We alreay have gun "control" in the U.S., an incredible level of local, state, and federal laws covering gun ownership and use.

Its not nearly strong enough. Try buying a *hand*gun in Canada. Meanwhile, you have a bunch of yahoo civilians dressed in military fatigues, playing general and brandishing assault rifles during peace time. You have a gun _culture_.

I'd like to start by enforcing the laws we have before we give up and take guns from law-abiding citizens.

Every civilized country enforces laws. Some of them also control guns. Those are two separate things.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Uh, yeah (4.25 / 4) (#64)
by FlightTest on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 11:00:02 AM EST

_I_ dont know of any, off hand.

That would be because they don't exist.

Even if your statistics are correct and unchallenged, (1) I'll live after a robbery; the subject is homocide

Ignoring the evidence won't make it go away. Or have you already forgotten that I pointed out that the HOMICIDE rate in Australia went UP 3.2 percent after gun confiscation. HOMICIDES with firearms in Victoria went UP 300 percent. Pay attention, please.

It is not possible to prove, positive, without comparing data from both experiments, what effect gun control will have in the US. However, you insist on such proof before gun control is enacted. Ie, demonstrate how B is superior to A without allowing for the existence of B to begin with.

I'm not asking for proof positive. All I'm asking is for some evidence somewhere where gun control has reduced crime. You can't because there is no evidence that this is so.

The other obvious problem is, even if crime doesn't go down after confiscating all the guns, we'd never get our guns back. Australia has made no move to allow it's citizens to own guns again even though confiscation has proved an utter failure. Since doing your proposed experiment would cause irreprable harm and loss of personal property, I still think we ought to be pretty damn sure it would work before we did it.

No, dont redefine language from under me. Gun control is not confiscation. We have guns in canada. We have gun control in canada.

Its not nearly strong enough. Try buying a *hand*gun in Canada. Meanwhile, you have a bunch of yahoo civilians dressed in military fatigues, playing general and brandishing assault rifles during peace time. You have a gun _culture_.

Thank you for contradicting yourself. Gun control is not confiscation, yet you have no handguns. Um, how do you proposed to get rid of the handguns in the U.S. without confiscating them? Not to mention, of course, this was the same arguement used to trick the Aussies into giving up their handguns. Funny how confiscation of long guns followed, eh? If it looks like confiscation, and acts like confiscation, it's confiscation

I'm not sure I'd disagree that we have a gun culture here. More importantly, we have culture of violence here. Banning guns won't change that, except to make the now disarmed honest citizens easier targets for the still well-armed thugs.



Why did I flip? I got tired of coming up with last minute desparate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.
[ Parent ]
Re: Uh, yeah (1.75 / 4) (#68)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 11:51:04 AM EST

I'm not asking for proof positive. All I'm asking is for some evidence somewhere where gun control has reduced crime. You can't because there is no evidence that this is so.

Gun control has reduced violent death in every country that has it. Did you think all nations are borne with gun control laws? Think again. Guns are killing _your_ children. Your adults are responding with "lets ban violent video games." Your adults are responding with K5 stories about "reducing teen stress."

Johnny cant read, cant write, cant socialize, but can pull the trigger. Think we should get rid of the gun? What are you, crazy?! Lets empathasize with him, instead.

When it comes to guns, you suck as nation. You suck so badly that there you are, asking me for proof that gun control works. Does it work? Does. It. Work. ???!

YES, IT WORKS.

It works everywhere it exists. You should try it sometime.

Thank you for contradicting yourself.

I contradicted nothing. Handguns are perfectly legal in Canada.

Um, how do you proposed to get rid of the handguns in the U.S. without confiscating them?

You definitely need to confiscate a whole bunch of them.

The horror.

Like I give a fuck about the owners of unregistered weapons. Like I give a fuck about the owners of household armories. Like I give a fuck about the urban dwelling commando. Like I give a fuck for the yahoo who's never taken a gun course. Fuck all those morons; they are criminal by virtue of their irresponsibility. You see, unlike you, I understand what a gun is. I am able to weigh its relative usefulness with respect to society at large. That's why I can walk my city streets without fear of being shot at.

I'm not sure I'd disagree that we have a gun culture here.

You're not going to have much of a gun culture if you dont have guns every which way including loose, are you?

Your fucking kids are packing heat, you fucking morons. Teachers in the inner city teach in fear for their lives. Wake the fuck up.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Statistical Deviation (4.00 / 2) (#135)
by Robert Gormley on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 11:45:42 PM EST

Given the *very low* rate of homicide in Victoria anyway... as in circa 80 a year in a population of 4 MILLION, your argument of firearm-based homicides increasing can be attributed to nothing more than an anomaly. 3.2% is effectively 2 more homicides a year. How can you possibly correlate that to gun control legislation?

[ Parent ]
Lies, damned lies, and...well, damned lies. (4.50 / 4) (#100)
by pig bodine on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 04:50:12 PM EST

I'd like to know where you got these statistics, as they are at best misleading. There's an Australian Bureau of Statistics report at this location. Pay attention to table C8.2 and comments below it. Notice that prior to 1998, there was already a strong upward trend in crime, even with the firearms protecting us! This trend appears to have been reduced between 1998 and 1999. In fact, the number of robberies fell notably. Assaults rose by less than they had in any of the years previous.

[ Parent ]

Homicides in Victoria (4.00 / 5) (#106)
by cafeman on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 06:26:39 PM EST

I hope I haven't jumped into the thread too late, as I'm interested to know what sources you're using for your statistics. My figures are from Victoria Police and show the following numbers for total homicides in Victoria (the entire state, not just Melbourne):

1996/1997 159
1997/1998 134
1998/1999 186
1999/2000 165

Note that these are reported crime figures, not charges laid nor offenders processed. Now, there was a spike in 1998/1999, but this spike was consistent across most crime types nationally (I don't have the reference here, someone else has linked to the ABS report). However, the number of homicides fell in the 1999/2000 financial year.

My query about your stats is the fact that you said homicides caused by guns has gone up by 300%. Given the small sample, that doesn't look like it's very hard. Suppose only 5 people were killed through firearms. Suppose the following year, a drug deal went bad in Richmond, causing a gun fight where 5 people were shot and killed. All of a sudden, you've increased the number of people killed by firearms by 100%.

Given the number of reported homicides in 1998/1999 (186), and given the number in the previous year (134), that means an increase of 52. Now, if homicides increased by 300%, that means that the largest possible number of homicides caused by firearms is limited to 17.3 (52/3). And, that assumes that all other causes of homicides have remained constant, a pretty heroic assumption in my opinion.

The other thing to remember is that the category of homicide also includes suicides. So, if the stats put forward by other people about gun related fatalities in the US hold reasonably constant across to Australia, suicide will also be the leading cause of gun related fatalities. So, that 17 deaths from homicides further reduces once you take into account suicides.

Not really that bad, when one considers that in a city with a population of 3.5 million people, less than 17 were killed by other people with guns in the worst year out of the past five. (Actually, the figures are even better than that, as they deal with the entire state, but I'm not sure how many people live in Victoria so I'll hold off on making a guess)

So what was your point about limiting guns not working? I'd like to see your sources, and I'd like to see some evidence that that particular year wasn't a statistical anomaly. Trying to figure out the long-term effects from a policy change by making one observation will never work. Give it another few years, and then I'll be willing to listen to your arguments (and maybe agree with them). The only point that can really be made is that a gun culture is a bad thing.


--------------------
"No Silicon heaven? But where would all the calculators go?"


[ Parent ]
Medical Mistakes (3.33 / 6) (#40)
by FlightTest on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 12:11:54 AM EST

On November 29, 1999, an independent report from the Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, said the number of deaths from medical mistakes every year may total 98,000 -- about three times the number of deaths due to accidents, homicides and suicides with firearms. The study says medical mistakes may cost the nation as much as $29 billion a year and may be the fifth highest cause of death -- behind heart disease, cancer, stroke and lung obstructive lung diseases. That 98,000 total is over twice as many as die in auto crashes each year.

Sounds like we ought to ban medicine as well, huh? To paraphrase, "Do you see a pattern? Yes, Doctors kill people. Get rid of Doctors."



Why did I flip? I got tired of coming up with last minute desparate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.
[ Parent ]
Re: Medical Mistakes (2.75 / 4) (#41)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 12:18:50 AM EST

What does any of this have to do with guns? What are you going to tell me next? Here, let me save you the trouble:

LIFE IS THE SINGLE LARGEST CAUSE OF DEATH.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Life and Death (4.25 / 4) (#44)
by FlightTest on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 01:04:35 AM EST

Life is a terminal, sexually transmitted disease.

The reason for pointing these numbers out is, you're just as dead if a doctor fucks up and kills you, or if you're hit by a drunk, or if you're shot. All three are equally senseless. If the point of banning guns is really to prevent senseless deaths, there are other areas where there is much more room for improvement. But I suspect the point of banning guns has nothing to do with preventing death. I think it has more to do with appearing to provide a solution without having to do any real thinking about the problem.

And BTW, since you replied to me;

(1) Except that you cant get rid of people. (2) Except that it seems only US people kill people. (3) Except that its very difficult to throw a person hard and fast enough to kill someone.

(1) Yes you can. You use a gun in a crime, you go to prison. You kill someone in the commision of a crime, you go to prison for life. No parole. Enforce the laws already on the books. (2) REALLY? I'll bet the Israelies and Palestinians will be glad to hear that people only kill each other in the U.S. Although they may be pissed to find out that all those people they burried weren't really dead. (3)Since you wish to be pedantic, very few people are actually killed with a gun, either. It's a bullet that does them in almost every time.



Why did I flip? I got tired of coming up with last minute desparate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.
[ Parent ]
Re: Life and Death (2.50 / 4) (#46)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 01:24:55 AM EST

The reason for pointing these numbers out is, you're just as dead if a doctor fucks up and kills you, or if you're hit by a drunk, or if you're shot.

A gun is an instrument of death. A doctor is an instrument of life. All you've managed to say is that there exist sick people and fallible doctors. Nothing you wrote has anything to do with guns. Typically, fyi, people only change the subject when they cant defend their original positions. That is what you are doing.

(1) Yes you can. You use a gun in a crime, you go to prison.

A gun fires. Someone dies. Someone goes to jail. The other person is still dead. We should have got rid of the gun.

A person kills someone. Someone dies. Someone goes to jail. The other person is still dead. We should have gotten rid of the person before we knew he was a homocidal maniac.

You have precisely two choices here: control guns or control people. What's it going to be? Let me help you out: you cannot control people.

(2) REALLY? I'll bet the Israelies and Palestinians will be glad to hear that people only kill each other in the U.S.

Are you being purposefully obtuse or are you really that stupid. When I walk down the street, groceries in hand, I do not expect to get shot. When I send my kid to school, I do not expect him to return in a pine casket. When I'm in a war, its in the back of my mind that I may get shot.

But hey, I can be obtuse too: the US should stop selling guns to both the palestians and the israelis. Happy?

(3)Since you wish to be pedantic, very few people are actually killed with a gun, either. It's a bullet that does them in almost every time.

Fine, institute bullet control.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Whatever (3.60 / 5) (#61)
by FlightTest on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 10:32:24 AM EST

A gun fires. Someone dies. Someone goes to jail. The other person is still dead. We should have got rid of the gun.

A person kills someone. Someone dies. Someone goes to jail. The other person is still dead. We should have gotten rid of the person before we knew he was a homocidal maniac.

You have precisely two choices here: control guns or control people. What's it going to be? Let me help you out: you cannot control people.

A car crashes. Someone dies. Someone goes to jail. The other person is still dead. We should get rid of cars.

A person drives recklessly. They cause an accident. Someone dies. Someone goes to jail. The other person is still dead. We should have gotten rid of the person before we knew he would drive recklessly.

You have precisely two choices here: control cars or control people. What's is going to be? Let me help you out: you cannot control people

See, the problem is, your arguement is shallow. I could use it to ban guns, cars, airplanes, baseball bats, knives, anything that might kill someone.



Why did I flip? I got tired of coming up with last minute desparate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.
[ Parent ]
Re: Whatever (3.00 / 5) (#66)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 11:04:09 AM EST

Whatever

_This_ is why your kids die. Not because they have some kind of unique psychological problems that kids everywhere else in the world dont, but because as a society you have given up the ghost on arguing about guns in an honest intellectual manner.

Whatever == I GIVE UP

A car crashes.

It's just not going to sink in for you, is it?

See, the problem is, your arguement is shallow. I could use it to ban guns, cars, airplanes, baseball bats, knives, anything that might kill someone.

THERE ISNT A F**ING THING IN THE WORLD THAT CANNOT BE USED TO KILL SOMEONE.

You're going to have to make a choice between the everyday objects that make your life easier and a chunk of metal that is expressly built to kill, arent you?

(And btw, the US _does_ routinely ban toys, foods, tools, etc that can cause injury because of my shallow arguement. But guns? Oh, no, dont touch our guns. Pathetic.)

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Re: Whatever (3.25 / 4) (#67)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 11:10:12 AM EST

You have precisely two choices here: control cars or control people. What's is going to be? Let me help you out: you cannot control people

You know what? You should only be so lucky as to control guns to the extent that you already control cars.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Why I am no longer schockled by this. (4.38 / 13) (#13)
by LordHunter317 on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 09:02:51 PM EST

Heh, I am a high school student. I live in supposedely one of the 10 richest counties in the nation. and attend one of the top 5 school districts in the nation. (Howard County Maryland. Go Figure.) This stuff is no longer suprising.

You want to know why kids do this stuff? Several reasons. One, no one looks out for us but each other. Parents? Bah, half the time they aren't even home in most families (The majority of my HS populace comes from dual-income homes). TV? Music? Listen to that garbage. Anyone who think that helps children deserves have their brain removed. Mainstream secular television and music is appalling, disguisting & depressing. And adults wonder why children wrestle with suicide, drugs and what not.

There's no longer moral upbringing in America. Parent can't give it, they are not home. The schools don't give it anymore, they teach everyone to be their own person, and that they can do whatever they want with their life. Lord knows they don't get it at church/synagouge/religious institution of choice, most don't even attend, or wouldn't if given the option. All things considered, I mave have hated it, but I am glad my mother dragged me to church every Sunday and tought me manners. It's kept me out of trouble and more than a few fights.

Why should we be suprisied? Teenagers have it worse than anyone else in this country. We have a job, its called school. If you go to my school, its a 5 day/wk 8-12 hr job before extracricular activites. And most of us have a job, and would like to spend time with friends and whatnot outside of school. Diffcult when you get 4hrs of homework a night.

Maybe if someone,anyone would start taking care of the children of this Nation, then we might see a change. But stuff like this is just going to get more commonplace. Learn to love, and not this 'free love' humanist lies. Ask me on your own time, and I'll tell you.
Man cannot be wonderful. Man can only lift big rocks and grunt - Me to Ex-girlfriend
Mostly true (3.90 / 10) (#17)
by maarken on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 09:45:38 PM EST

While I certainly agree the idea behind the post, I just want to point out that the way you got where are it's the only road.

I'd been homeschooled my whole life, and not religous (well, ok, not any formal religon, and that's new). I (obviously) don't think church has much to do with it, it's mostly the parents. It seems that somewhere along the line parents got the idea that kids were a low-maintence project. They're not. You can't just drop em at daycare/grade school/highschool and assume they'll turn out all peachy! For as long as I can remember I've eaten 2-3 meals a day with the whole family, and watched TV together.

I make 40K/year, have a few friends, good manners, I speak properly and clearly, and, perhaps more importantly, I never felt the need to shoot up anything.

Don't assume that just because your road invloved chuch, that all correct roads must.

--Maarken

Flip the symbols in my email.
[ Parent ]
Just an example (3.75 / 4) (#92)
by LordHunter317 on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 03:51:07 PM EST

Personal opinions aside, I was just using that as an example. It worked for me. Some kids have to be sent to military school first (I know a couple :)
Man cannot be wonderful. Man can only lift big rocks and grunt - Me to Ex-girlfriend
[ Parent ]
Morality does not have to come from a church. (4.00 / 3) (#112)
by ZanThrax on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 08:50:47 PM EST

Despite the seemingly large portion of the population whose every moral comes from the teachings of their religion of choice, one does not require a religious upbringing to become a moral person. Personally, I think taking one's children to a church to learn morality ("Don't kill or steal because God says so") instead of teaching them on one's own ("Don't kill or steal because it is wrong") is just as irresponsible as leaving them in daycare rather than raising them manually.

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

Read the replys (3.66 / 3) (#126)
by LordHunter317 on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 09:29:46 AM EST

I already posted below in reply that I stated that I used that as example. Pay attention to what's been posted. Though I am curious to know how teaching someone that its doing bad is wrong because God said so is worse than telling them to do it simply because it is wrong. All things considered, if you are afraid that you are going to get punished by the Almighty, you would be less likely to do then if you are simply told its wrong without being given a reason. How would you tell them why it is wrong?
Man cannot be wonderful. Man can only lift big rocks and grunt - Me to Ex-girlfriend
[ Parent ]
I don't know that a why is neccessary (3.50 / 2) (#130)
by ZanThrax on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 04:31:23 PM EST

I personally was never raised in any sort of religious matter. I never had a parental figure sit me down and explicitly explain to me what was right and what was wrong. Parenting by example works best, in my opinion. I have been inside a church less than a dozen times in my life. And if you can't see why not doing something because you're scared of a supreme being's wrath instead of not doing it due to moratlity, I question how much good a religious upbringing did you.

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

Well.. (3.00 / 2) (#132)
by LordHunter317 on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 07:03:19 PM EST

What backs your morality? How do konw if somethign is moral? What is your standard? Your own judgement? History proves pretty well humanss ought not to trust their own judgment.

As far as it stands, I can safely say I am the least person on this forum, while appearing to be the one of the most. I was raised in the church all my life, only to end up rejecting and finding the real truth behind what I tought. Its not a relgion I practice, but a realtionship I've entered into with the only one who loves me prefectly. Not much different than the relationship I have with my parent or friends, cept God is clearly the leader. I live the way I do because He asks it of me, and I use the guidelines he lays before me as the foundation for my own life.

So I ask again? What is the basis of your morality? How do u know if somethings whole ore not if you rely soely on youself?

And as a note.. i am far more concernerd with God's wrath on everyone else rather myself ;)
Man cannot be wonderful. Man can only lift big rocks and grunt - Me to Ex-girlfriend
[ Parent ]
I suppose my own judgement (3.00 / 1) (#149)
by ZanThrax on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 02:56:29 PM EST

is my standard. I don't always trust my own judgement, but any time I do something that can be called wrong, I feel guilt. Which, for me anyhow, is a far better motivator than the belief that an old-testament vengeful deity is going to be unhappy about it. I figure properly raised kids go from not doing bad things out of fear of their parents anger, to fear of their parents disapointment and shame, to fear of their own disapointment and shame. Now, I may not have some 'guideline' to decide by, but that just requires me to use (god given?) human intelligence and think about morality and ambiguous actions. I can't say that my morality may be wrong in the end, but I have more faith in the ability of people to raise their children well than I do in God.

A question... What kind of 'friendship' has a leader?

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

Many do (none / 0) (#167)
by LordHunter317 on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 05:49:49 PM EST

Sorry for being so late.. I was away for the weekend.

I am friends with bunches of my teachers, but it is clear they are in charge, at leats inside the classroom. Outside is not alway the case. Most groups of friends typically have someone who always decides what they are going to do or where they are going to do. In my circle of friends, we all call the same person to ask what is going on. It just is.

Perhaps leadership was an improper word. Unfortunately, I cannot think of a better one ;)
Man cannot be wonderful. Man can only lift big rocks and grunt - Me to Ex-girlfriend
[ Parent ]
Really? (4.26 / 15) (#14)
by Signal 11 on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 09:17:47 PM EST

The problem with the public outcry over situations like these is that they do not understand why they happen, or the conscious choice they have made to allow it to do so. Rather than accept responsibility, they would rather blame the kid or the parents. Not that they're without fault, but really - anyone who has studied psychology can appreciate how easy it is to turn a perfectly normal person into a killer: All it takes is systematic abuse.

Many solutions have been proposed - zero tolerance, police presence in schools, locking down the building (bars on windows, doors are monitored, security cameras, see-through backpacks, dress codes, etc. None of these will work. You don't have to take my word for it though, ask the FBI who released a report on school violence in response to political pressure. Suprisingly, the FBI slams virtually every solution politicians advanced to "solve" the problem.

We made a conscious choice as a society to sacrifice some safety for personal freedom. We could live in a 1984-ish socialist world where everyone is equal and in a "transparent" society. That would certainly go a long ways towards "solving" the problem. Freedom of speech is a dangerous thing if abused - slandering people in public, spreading rumors, etc. None of these is very illegal, but the consequences are very real. Picking on people lowers their self-esteem. Lowering of self-esteem leads to depression over the long term (even short term if it is severe enough), which in turn leads to people decreasing their own value as a human being internally. Since people tend to use themselves as a barometer to identify with others, a negative outlook on life from within oneself leads one to conclude other people have similar feelings. After that, it's only a short leap to violence to correct the perceived injustices which have been perpetuated against them. I've seen it happen before, and I probably will hundreds of times more in my lifetime.

Ultimately, this is the sacrifice we make for our freedom - violence, protests, anger, jealousy, etc. We live in a capitalist world where the distribution of wealth is somewhat, ah, tilted. This is the underlying cause for crime - inequality.

Just something to think about the next time the blame storm starts....


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Re: Really? (2.60 / 5) (#55)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 04:22:33 AM EST

We made a conscious choice as a society to sacrifice some safety for personal freedom.

Let me just point out the obvious: A society of more than 1 person requires personal compromise, by definition.

However, in practice, if your society requires you to sacrifice freedom for safety, then your society is broken.

Now, it comes as a surprise to me that I have any less personal freedoms than an American. A cursory reasing of K5 suggests that the typical American lives life as the target of corporate venality on the one hand and big brotherish government on the other.

Hey, if I lived that way I would go postal with an uzi too.

But I dont. I am free, though. I'm free to buy a gun, even. I'm also likely to last longer, on average, than a typical American male living in the big city. There's nothing like a long life of personal freedom unmolested by bullets, let me tell you.

It's the height of arrogance to say "we have a problem with violence because we are more free than thou." America did not invent freedom, nor is america freedom's finest representative. Not now, not ever.

America is a nation of arrogant individuals in love with their wild west mythology. If you're white. If youre black (and many of you are, apparently), America has additional niceties of meaning.

So, in fact, you never made any conscious choice as a society to sacrifice some safety for personal freedom. You just like to think you did because you dont have the diction to appreciate the difference between "free" and "irresponsible."

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

What the US Really Is (and rebuttal) (4.37 / 8) (#77)
by Signal 11 on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:15:26 PM EST

Let me just point out the obvious: A society of more than 1 person requires personal compromise, by definition.

No, and you're using the words by definition wrong. Everyone *could* be exactly the same in a society. A society is simply an identification of a large group of people who (more or less) identify with the same set of values.

However, in practice, if your society requires you to sacrifice freedom for safety, then your society is broken.

That's a judgement call that not everybody would agree with.

A cursory reasing of K5 suggests that the typical American lives life as the target of corporate venality on the one hand and big brotherish government on the other.

It's a flaw in your logic to use a small website with, perhaps, only several hundred active readers as a basis for arriving at that conclusion. In addition, people tend not to discuss the mundane details that make up most of their life - they tend to discuss the discontinuous aspects of it, the controversial aspects of it. A discussion site like Kuro5hin is not a good place to get a baseline of what the United States is and is not.

From this point on, your post gets even less coherent -

America is a nation of arrogant individuals in love with their wild west mythology.

Yes, in the same way that the French are still in love with their Bastille day and enjoy beheading people. No, I'm sorry to say that the United States is approximately as boring as every other industrialized country on the planet - certainly there are some cultures in our society that are "in love with their wild west mythology", but by and far it is simply a element in a rich tapestry that is the tradition of the United States. It doesn't dominate it, but it does have a place in it.




--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Re: What the US Really Is (and rebuttal) (2.60 / 5) (#80)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:35:49 PM EST

A cursory reasing of K5 suggests that the typical American lives life as the target of corporate venality on the one hand and big brotherish government on the other.

It's a flaw in your logic to use a small website with, perhaps, only several hundred active readers as a basis for arriving at that conclusion.

You're confounding satire with logic. I admit it isnt good satire - that doesnt matter, you're still propagating an invalid self serving justification for the violence in your society.

The essential point I was trying to make is that (1) a society does, in fact, require a tacit agreement between its members that they do not act purely from self interest and that they weigh their actions and desires according to how those actions and desires will impact on their neighbors. Either America is a society or it isnt. (2) America is not freeer than the $country I live in.

You said that Americans choose freedom over safety, I'm calling you on that bullshit. You are neither freer, no more safe than $country.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

posted too soon (2.40 / 5) (#87)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:54:07 PM EST

(1) a society does, in fact, require a tacit agreement between its members

I was being incorrectly generous. There's nothing tacit about law or the police force that exists to back it up. No planet, country, state, province, city, town or even household exists where its constituent members have not agreed to give up a measure of self interest in pursuance of their collective greater good. That's what it means to live in a civil society, siggy. Maybe you should use your dictionary skills to look up the word disingenuous.


---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Re: Spelling, satire, and freedom (3.40 / 5) (#90)
by Signal 11 on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 03:15:23 PM EST

You're confounding satire with logic.

Bad use of the word confounding - you should use confusing instead. I only mention this because you mention my spelling as an addendum to this post of yours.

you're still propagating an invalid self serving justification for the violence in your society.

How does violence in my society benefit me? I'm unsure of what you mean by this.

a society does, in fact, require a tacit agreement between its members that they do not act purely from self interest and that they weigh their actions

Actually, under capitalism, that is the governing rule. Adam Smith's "invisible hand", as it is known to some. People can act in their own self-interest and yet manage to benefit society, and this is what capitalism seeks to do. Obviously, pure capitalism has some drawbacks, most prominent amongst those the problem of externalities. Unadulterated capitalism can lead to quite a bit of suffering and inefficiency, which is why Maynard Keynes' (who uttered the infamous lines "In the long run, we're all dead!" - a response to classical economic theory which said the markets would reach equilibrium on their own. They did, but too slowly as anyone who survived the Great Depression will tell you.) stabilization policies were implimented shortly after the Great Depression in the United States. Since then, we have experienced only minor recessions, the most recent being in 1990. But, I apologize for getting off-topic. Suffice it to say my position is that capitalism has problems, but they can be solved by intelligent economic policy and careful resource allocation.

America is not freeer than the $country I live in.

Without a criterion for judging what "freer" is, I can't agree or disagree with you. I can say that some people judge freedom in terms of how little the government dictates their actions. In such a person's world-view, the United States would (arguably) be at the top of the list because of its distribution of material wealth (we are the wealthiest country in the world) which allows people to make quite a few more choices about their lifestyle than elsewhere. When I weigh out where else I could be on this planet, the answer I continually arrive at is right where I am now - the United States. Even with all of its problems, its fractured society, its degenerate siren-song of commercialism and marketing, mass political corruption, the wholesale of our legal system, etc... I still find that to me, personally, it's still the best on the planet for me.

This doesn't prevent me from working to improve it and make a difference, nor pointing out the many flaws in our system. But when I look at the big picture, I still say here is where I want to be.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Re: Spelling, satire, and freedom (2.33 / 6) (#91)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 03:43:09 PM EST

(I never corrected your spelling, btw.)

Bad use of the word confounding - you should use confusing instead.

No, I used the word confounding to express what I meant.

How does violence in my society benefit me?

It doesnt. Who said it does?

Actually, under capitalism, that is the governing rule. Adam Smith's "invisible hand", as it is known to some.

You dont live under Adam Smith's invisible hand. No one does. Adam Smith's capitalism is the domain pure thought.

[.. irrelvant karma whoring about economics elided. Thanks for the lesson ..]

Without a criterion for judging what "freer" is, I can't agree or disagree with you.

Fine. Settle on a definition for America's freedom which you claim sacrifices safety. I'll then either attempt to refute that claim on behalf of less free $country or I will admit that your teenage sons and daughters are dying for good reason.

Right now I'm quite comfortable with the unrigorous format of a web log and will continue to assume that the audience here meets the minimum requirement of understanding what freedom, society, etc mean in the context of a discussion.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Ha, ha (1.28 / 7) (#94)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 04:27:28 PM EST

Hey, Siggy, you just got a +5 on the strength of "I cant stick to the subject so - well, shucks, I do love America. Love it or leave it."

You know the difference between slashdot morons and K5 morons? The ones in K5 are earnestly moronic.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Low blow. (3.66 / 6) (#101)
by Signal 11 on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 04:59:38 PM EST

Hey, Siggy, you just got a +5 on the strength of..

I'm sorry, but I'm not going to debate with you if you're going to be continually be twisting my words around and making personal attacks. That's unacceptable in any forum - stick to the issues or be quiet.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Re: Low blow. (2.57 / 7) (#103)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 05:33:38 PM EST

stick to the issues or be quiet.

So happy you brought it up. Lets recap.

You: We made a conscious choice as a society to sacrifice some safety for personal freedom.

Me: (1) a society does, in fact, require a tacit agreement between its members that they do not act purely from self interest and that they weigh their actions and desires according to how those actions and desires will impact on their neighbors. Either America is a society or it isnt. (2) America is not freeer than the $country I live in. You said that Americans choose freedom over safety, I'm calling you on that bullshit. You are neither freer, no more safe than $country.

You: Actually, under capitalism, that is the governing rule. Adam Smith's "invisible hand", as it is known to some.

Me: You dont live under Adam Smith's invisible hand. No one does. Adam Smith's capitalism is the domain pure thought.

[.. irrelvant karma whoring about economics elided. Thanks for the lesson ..]

Pray tell, Siggy, while sticking to the issues, can you please point out which part of American economics (Adam Smith economics, Keynesian economics, voodoo economics, whatever) - one part of American _society_ - requires a conscious choice as a society to sacrifice some safety for personal freedom ?? I just want to know why America is more dangerous than $country because America is more free than $country. I dont want to debate you all over the dictionary, atlas and encyclopedia. I'm just taking you to task for uttering nonsensical, self serving statements uttered as justification for violence in American society.

You: When I weigh out where else I could be on this planet, the answer I continually arrive at is right where I am now - the United States. Even with all of its problems, its fractured society, its degenerate siren-song of commercialism and marketing, mass political corruption, the wholesale of our legal system, etc... I still find that to me, personally, it's still the best on the planet for me.

I have to humbly disagree, Siggy. Lower Pepperonia strikes me as the best on the planet.

But this disagreement aside, how exactly does any of this further the point of this thread - that Americans made a conscious choice as a society to sacrifice some safety for personal freedom. Again, I want to know what is so special about your society, above all other societies, that can justify its violence.

Me: Settle on a definition for America's freedom which you claim sacrifices safety. I'll then either attempt to refute that claim on behalf of less free $country or I will admit that your teenage sons and daughters are dying for good reason.

You: I'm sorry, but I'm not going to debate with you if you're going to be continually be twisting my words around and making personal attacks. That's unacceptable in any forum - stick to the issues or be quiet.

Dont be sorry, Siggy, stick up for your thesis without appealing to the peanut gallery.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

freedom vs. safety (4.50 / 2) (#147)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 02:26:51 PM EST

However, in practice, if your society requires you to sacrifice freedom for safety, then your society is broken.
Nope. Certain aspects (and only certain aspects) of freedom and safety are mutually exclusive. The premeir example is that of the safety belt in an automobile. Certain freedoms (of movement and comfort) are sacrificed for the additional safety (in most but not all situations) of wearing a seat belt. Likewise wearing a life-vest on a boat requires the sacrifice of a certain amount of freedom.

Another example is locking the doors and windows of one's house. Doing such is safer in most situations. My house is much less likely to be broken into. But doing so also restricts my freedom. I need to carry with me my key. I can't simply walk in and out without unlocking and then relocking my door. If I forget my key and then one of my housemates locks the door, I'm definately lose a large bit of freedom, that to enter my abode.

Ask any system administrator why Windows NT and most Unix systems are more secure than Windows 95 or DOS. The answer is that operating systems that restrict certain freedoms are more secure and offer a higher degree of safety.

[ Parent ]

School shooting (2.60 / 10) (#18)
by strlen on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 09:49:27 PM EST

We almost had one a road accross from my school -- in a community college (De Anza). A student had prepared an arsenal, and even photographed himself with the arsenal. When he took to develop the pictures at Walgreens, the store clerk reported him. They found quite a lot of sawed of shotguns. What surprises me is that it happened in a community college. I could see the reasons someone may wish to do in a high school -- they are stuck there, and yes it sucks and not everyone is perfectly sane. But in a college, where it's up to you to actually make a choice whether to go or not? Dang, some thing is definately wrong with you Americans.



--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
Re: School shooting (3.66 / 3) (#120)
by durian on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 04:02:11 AM EST

So what happened to him? He got arrested for photographing himself with his guns? He admitted he was going to slaughter a schoolclass full of children? What?

"Guns don't protect people, people protect people."

-peter

[ Parent ]

Re: what happened (3.50 / 2) (#131)
by strlen on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 06:40:28 PM EST

They found more evidence for his alleged plot, he was arrested for illegaly making bombs (he made about 60 pipe boms for instance), possesing illegal fire arms (california has very strict gun control laws, plus some of them were sawed off), and conspiracy to commit murder afaik.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Thanks (2.50 / 2) (#136)
by durian on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 02:27:14 AM EST

Ok, thanks! I was wondering if it was just the photo's, or more than that!

-peter

[ Parent ]

Too simplistic an explanation (4.30 / 10) (#19)
by RavenDuck on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 09:50:59 PM EST

I think it's doing the topic a disservice talking about things like statistics and stress as if they adequately explain the situation. If you want a prime example of the problem with statistical explanations of violence, try explain the Port Arthur masacre. A remote Australian state with a tiny population (1 million people maybe?) and a very low homicide rate had a masacre which left 35 people dead.

It's not simply a case of "for every x people, we'd expect y massacres", it's a lot more complex than that.

Firearm availability is one issue which can't be ignored. Even gun advocates have to admit that it's a lot easier killing a lot of people with a semi-automatic weapon than with a crowbar. (When I was a secondary school student, which was before the Hoddle and Queen Street masacres here in Victoria which resulted in the tighter gun control legislation, there was *no way* I would have been able to get hold of a firearm in a reasonable amount of time, let alone in a moment of fury.) I think a lot of gun-loving folk delude themselves about this issue, but it's clearly not the only, or even the primary, contributing factor.

Criminologists (of which I am one) have lots of theories about why this sort of thing happens (which I wont bore you with here). Basically I believe it's a combination of factors, including personal factors (stress, frustration tollerance), acess to means (ready access to, and familiarity with, guns), and certain societal issues. Examples of societal issues include young people being disempowered and alienated (by school, peers, parents, other adults, policy makers, employers, etc.), and an environment where they don't have any support networks, increasing societal pressures to perform and achieve, and certainly the media. With all the media attention that these events receive, what's to stop a pissed off kid envying all the attention that these new celebrities (the killers) get in the press.

Anyway, the point of all this is that it's not a simple problem, and doesn't have a simple solution. Don't fool yourself that policy makers can enact a change that will make it go away - it requires the sort of fundamental societal change that is well beyond the influence of any government.

--
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ.
hmph. (3.77 / 9) (#30)
by plastik55 on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:22:50 PM EST

If you want a prime example of the problem with statistical explanations of violence, try explain the Port Arthur masacre. A remote Australian state with a tiny population (1 million people maybe?) and a very low homicide rate had a masacre which left 35 people dead.
One datum does not a statistical argument make.
w00t!
[ Parent ]
Re: hmph. (2.25 / 4) (#107)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 07:35:56 PM EST

Apparently the point he was making about citing statistics to explain violence eluded you.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Planning. (3.50 / 4) (#98)
by DavidTC on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 04:39:39 PM EST

If you want a prime example of the problem with statistical explanations of violence, try explain the Port Arthur masacre. A remote Australian state with a tiny population (1 million people maybe?) and a very low homicide rate had a masacre which left 35 people dead.

That bastard! He should have killed less people because the population was lower! No, wait...

Population may control the likelyhood of someone snapping, but it certainly has nothing to do with how many people they kill. That's almost completely due to their planning skills and ability to find a couple of hundred people together.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Oh really... (4.14 / 14) (#21)
by scriptkiddie on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 10:44:03 PM EST

It's true that by the numbers alone, school is one of the safest places a student can be.

But that's treating the situation too lightly. Adults and teenagers are taking risks throughout most of their lives; these risks are a choice. It's acceptable to have a few murders in society at large every once in a while. But schools should be held to a higher standard, simply because students almost always have to be there.

Requiring students to show up at grimy, 100-year-old buildings that fall far below private maintenance standards to receieve an education that far too often doesn't even approximate a rigorous curriculum, is bad enough. But then watching students be shot and killed while in this place they're required to be is an outrage.

By the way, one misconception about high-school education is that more money is needed. This is patently false. The school district I attend (Seattle) is funded at $11,300 per student - more than many private schools, and objectively enough to provide and strong education. Yet about 25% of the students at my school meet the pathetically-low state standards.

One other thing. This new phenomenon of angry white students killing dozens of people at white, suburban schools is receiving quite a bit of attention, but my guess is there would be a lot less attention paid if the people getting shot were inner-city black students. Most shootings in inner-city schools are by a single student with a handgun, aiming for a specific individual; these multiple-death incidents seem to mostly occur in affluent suburban neighborhoods. It will be interesting to see whether this situation changes as prices for expensive hunting weapons drop and more families purchase them.

guns (1.83 / 18) (#24)
by Refrag on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 10:54:59 PM EST

Guns have little to do with the problem. Yes, guns have been used in most cases of mass murders in US schools. However, if guns weren't availble in the US, the psychos would have even easier access to the ingredients for a bomb than they do a gun now.

At least we don't have a bunch of yahoos running around with biological weapons as they do in Europe and Asia.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches

Attacks (3.69 / 13) (#27)
by caine on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:09:57 PM EST

Yes, the sheer, staggering amount of attacks on my school with biological weapons and bombs are horrible. Oh, I so wish guns were legal here in Sweden, so I could get shot instead of being bombed with anthrax. Oh well...nothing to do I guess, since it's legal, existing and even common place that yahoos run around with bombs and biological warfare applicants here in Europe.

--

[ Parent ]

Collective Unconsciousness (4.35 / 17) (#42)
by Blarney on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 12:36:56 AM EST

Steven King wrote a story about this stuff happening - before it was trendy! I don't remember the name, it might have been called "Get it on" or something, maybe one of the Bachman shorts.

The kid spent the story shooting people he didn't like and talking to his combination lock "Titus, you old killing machine..."

I think that this sort of thing has been in the back of every kids mind for a long time. Now, I used to carry a knife to school every day - for splicing audio cables and things like that. I also liked to make bombs . But for some reason, it NEVER occurred to me to use the knife or the bombs on my fellow students, no matter what fucking shits who deserved death that they were. At least, maybe I didn't consciously think about it, but thought about it anyway. I mean, what normal reason is there to make bombs and carry a knife? Couldn't I have carried wire strippers instead, and not made bombs? Maybe I was thinking about shooting up the school, subconsciously, the whole time. Maybe a lot of people were.

Could it be that now that it's becoming widely reported on the news, that now it's becoming "Trendy" to shoot up the fucking school, that this suppressed urge to destroy the fuckin place and all the assholes in it is being brought out? Now, some want to keep it suppressed - like the metal detector cop-in-every-school people, like the government assholes who confiscated the video of this last shooting - but maybe somebody will look and see that this isn't just because of Doom or Quake, it isn't fucking Eminem's music, it's been slowly building to an eruption for a long time, like the pimples on some little machinegunners face.

At the very least, though, it might correct itself. It might become common knowledge that if, every day you call some kid a "fag" and smack his head against the wall, one day he'll be waiting for you.....

That King book... (3.80 / 5) (#62)
by a hollow voice on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 10:43:00 AM EST

...was called Rage, and it was indeed one of the Bachman books. The kid in it kept referring to his actions as "Getting off" (not in the traditional sense) or "Getting it off" or something like that.

Just a side note.

[ Parent ]

"Rage" (4.20 / 5) (#79)
by scorbett on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:26:18 PM EST

...was called Rage, and it was indeed one of the Bachman books. The kid in it kept referring to his actions as "Getting off" (not in the traditional sense) or "Getting it off" or something like that.

Yes, I remember reading that book several years ago. I also remember hearing of a teen in real life who used that book as a blueprint to carry out his own school shooting. He shot and injured one of his teachers, and I believe at least one or two students as well. This caused quite a controversy over Stephen King and the book in question. Sorry I can't remember the name of the student or the State where this took place.

By the way, the kid (in the book) referred to it as "getting it on" not "getting off".



[ Parent ]

King on "Rage" (4.25 / 4) (#95)
by a hollow voice on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 04:28:03 PM EST

My mistake about the off/on part. Thanks.

Anyway, this is what King had to say about his alter-ego Bachman's controversial school shooting story, courtesy of sids.com:

"One of his books, Rage, has been especially troublesome for Stephen King. It has been a factor in a number of nasty (and sometimes mortal) incidents in the real world, incidents in which disturbed teenage boys have held classmates and teachers hostage, have in some cases committed murder. How much responsibility does the author of a book bear when the book seems to form some part of the triggering mechanism for a psychotic or criminal interlude? I don't know. I've spent sleepless nights with the question, a lot of them, and I still don't know. Neither, apparently, does the FBI, who has queried me concerning the book. One psychologist associated with such a case stated that "this novel never walked into a classroom and shot anybody," and that is comforting, but one wonders - one has to wonder - if it is the whole truth. What gives me more comfort is the sure knowledge that the book was written with no bad intent, although it was written by a troubled eighteen year old boy-man who seems a stranger to me now; that boy-man was really neither King nor Bachman but a weird (an perhaps dangerous) hybrid of both."

And by the way, "Rage" was originally published as "Getting It On," so we're all thinking of the right story.

[ Parent ]

More kids die.. (3.57 / 14) (#49)
by Sheepdot on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 01:52:03 AM EST

More children die each year drowning in 5 gallon buckets in the backyard of their home (getting pretty damn specific) than die in school shootings each year.

More planes are the targets of derranged shooters than children.

87% of teens and pre-teens between ages 12 and 18 think they are part of the "outcasts" in their school.

93% of adults over 21 think that they were part of the "outcasts" in their school.

Think about it. Were you picked on in school? Hell yeah you were. At least once. So naturally you were an outcast, or so you think.

Each time a student dies at school, a news station rolls an hour of footage. School shootings sell. That's why we hear about them. It sickens me to think that the media balloons these kids deaths into something we should focus on.

Even more disgusting is the way folks concentrate on it and actually play into the media's hands.


true there (3.80 / 5) (#82)
by insaniac on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:37:10 PM EST

and what about all those children dying everyday of starvation in Africa and other third world countries? or what about all those children being sexualy abused in countries where there is less media attention and/or equipment?
this is a typical piece of perfect american media marketing. ok, there is a problem, but what did you expect when you're putting +5000 children in ONE school? schools in europe are a lot smaller than that.
another strange thing: in my entire "schoolgoing" time, two ppl were killed by gangfights at school, several were stabbed. we never saw a thing on tv ...

[ Parent ]
Secondary tragedy (4.47 / 21) (#51)
by gbd on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:24:28 AM EST

When a school shooting occurs, the obvious primary tragedy is the loss of life and injury that occurs as a result. The secondary tragedy is when people with a specific political agenda try to blame what they perceive as their "ideological enemy" for the shooting.

People on the left side of the political spectrum will blame guns. "We need strict gun control," they'll say. People on the right side of the political spectrum will blame music, video games, and the lack of public prayer in schools. "If they didn't teach that-there 'devilution' in that school this wouldn't have happened," they'll claim.

Well, bullshit to both of you.

The idea that the solution to school violence neatly aligns itself to one political extreme or the other is ludicrous. It is ludicrous. Anybody who claims to have the answer to prevent things like this from happening is trying to hand you 20 pounds of bullshit in a 10 pound Cinch Sack.

Still, we can make some general observations.

One of the differences between society today and society 20 years ago is that we are far more agressive. We are a meaner and angrier group of people. Why is that? Let's look at another recent trend that has popped up .. "road rage." I admit that I've fallen victim to this particular malady. Some dipshit in a minivan who can't be bothered to wait two seconds for you to pass will pull out right in front of you and cause you to brake sharply, at which point you honk your horn and flip the driver off and fantasize about having a bazooka that would eliminate that goddamn minivan forever wouldn't that be GREAT HAHAHAHA

Back to reality.

The question is, what does it really matter, in the grand scheme of things? Why are we, as a society, so easily enraged? One day from now (or hell, one hour from now) who is going to care about getting cut off by some fucking minivan? It's not a big deal. So why do some people become physically enraged when things like this happen?

I think it's because we live in a society where we have become accustomed to things going our way. If we want to read the news, then by God, we click on CNN.com and there it is. If we want to catch the score of the Knicks game, we flip our television sets over ESPNews and there it is. If we want to drive over to a friend's house, then away we go .. and if somebody causes us to alter our ideal driving plan, then death and destruction be unto them.

Jesus.

Our society is one of instant gratification, and if anything gets in the way of that, we react negatively. For a lot of folks, "negative" means "violently" (or, at the very least, "angrily.") We've become so goddamned spoiled that we are simply unable to deal with situations that deviate from our ideal expectations. The result of this is a society that dwells on resentment and hostility and blame. This permeates into the mindsets of our children, and it is no small wonder that some of them resort to horrific actions to resolve what they perceive to be problems.

The solution is not to ban guns, music, or violent video games. The solution is to introduce some basic fucking civility back into society. Remind people that patience is a virtue. Remind people that every other human being on the planet is not out to "get them." Remind people that things are not always going to go their way, despite what they might expect. Because as long as people think that they are entitled to the very best that life has to offer, they will be pissed off when the reality fails to deliver for them.

Parents, do your job. Teach your kids that they are not kings and queens on some sort of ivory pedestal. Teach them that life is a game of give and take, and that the Golden Rule of treating other people the way that you would like to be treated yourself is not some lofty, ideological pipe dream .. it's the way the world works, and it's the most elementary thing that people can do to make an angry world sane again.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.

not kings and queens? (2.00 / 7) (#52)
by Blarney on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:36:51 AM EST

That's right. Your kids aren't kings and queens, who are just petty human leaders, primate alpha leaders. A newborn child is God, unspoiled by our petty prejudices. Teach it that!

[ Parent ]
Minivans and road rage. (4.75 / 8) (#70)
by Mr.Surly on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 12:25:15 PM EST

Road Rage is something that I can admit occuring to me on a regular basis. But if you think about it, it's not really that unusual of a reaction.

I ride a motorcycle as my sole source of transportation. This somewhat alters my sentiments torwards minivan driving morons. Other 2-wheelers out there know what I'm talking about. However, what I'm about to say is generally true, regardless of what type of vehicle you drive.

The minivan that just cut me off because they couldn't wait 2 seconds, has just endangered my life. As a direct result of their unthinking action, I could have been killed, injured, maimed, or paralyzed.

If this had not occured on a road, I could turn to the person, and say "You dumb fuck! You almost killed me!" This is a normal peer feedback that tells the offender that they've dome something that's unnacceptable to their peers (read: society). On the road, your average minivan driver usually isn't even aware that something happened, and as such prevents them from receiving the feedback that they richly dererve, in order that they learn from their mistakes.

So, what happens? I get really angry -- which I don't find at all strange, since my life was just endangered by an unthinking idiot. Why should these people be punished only after it's become "vehicular manslaughter"? What I've done is pulled up next to them, beat on their window (really easy on a motorcycle) so that I have their attention, and proceed to tell them (at very high decibels) that they nearly killed someone. I know this is dangerous, and could get me shot, but at that point, I really don't concern myself with it much because I was almost killed anyway.

Real problem is that you have way way too many people who have licenses that probably shouldn't. I believe some (more) traffic violations should carry a mandatory license revocation. Did you nearly cause a bad accident because you're stupid? Lose your license for six months. Drive during that time, and get caught? Lose your license permanently. Drive again? Prison. Seriously. Driving is one of the few daily activities that most people do that can easly seriously injure others around them. Penalties for endangering lives should be more severe.

[ Parent ]
I too am an angry driver. (4.50 / 2) (#113)
by ZanThrax on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 09:02:37 PM EST

However, I think that my anger with the bad drivers on the road stems from their lack of consideration of others. I do my damndest not to obstruct traffic or inconvience others on the road, and it pisses me off when some moron figures he should be allowed to stop four lanes of traffic because he wants to turn left a block from where he turned onto a busy road. (tip for anyone who does this - multiple right turns a block or two further along achieves the same result, and can often do it easier, if not also faster.)

What I really wanted to type about was this whole concept of "X rage" Its ridiculous. Its not "air rage" or "road rage" or "poorly delivered newspaper rage" - its just overstressed people acting like idiots over minor things (unless they get violent, then its assault or murder or whatever the hell else they do). Giving what these people do silly psuedo-psychological names just makes their actions sound less unaceptable.

Oh, and about the liscense thing, I think that rather than take them away at the drop of the hat, we should just make everyone actually pass the tests every time they have to renew their liscense (every five years here), just like we do with old people. That and get the cops to actually enforce traffic laws. (Its not speeding on an empty road that causes the most problems, its people running yellows, making u turns, and making unsafe, unsignalled lane changes.) Of course, we'd also need to convince the cops to obey the traffic laws too...

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

It's not really suprising (3.50 / 12) (#53)
by FeersumAsura on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 03:10:38 AM EST

In the US you have a large amount of Teenagers in schools. Guns are available and bullying seems to be a problem. OK bullying is a cross country problem but most European countries don't have many guns.
What shocked me was the interview with people in his school. One quote heard on the radio was: "No one liked him much. We didn't hit him just everyone called him a dork and wouldn't talk to him."
When his only friend was questioned he said that the teachers had never done anything about it. This seems to be a common problem that teachers don't know what to do. Quite a few people I've talked to have said they'd have liked to go into their school with a gun. I know I would, in the end I had to settle for carrying a metal bar to deal with bullies.

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
A sociological phenomenon (3.80 / 5) (#86)
by weirdling on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:52:36 PM EST

Something that bothered me when I was in school and was picked on for being exceedingly different and stubbornly refusing to be normal, I was not allowed to defend myself. In US schools, there is an idea that no violence is ever allowed, and bullies are adept at not getting caught while normal children tend to do their violence very openly. So, if the child is not even allowed to reasonably defend himself, it isn't surprising that one day he so completely snaps out of the system that he walks around gunning people down.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
No. (3.66 / 12) (#54)
by steven on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 03:17:01 AM EST

School shootings (and other public-place shootings) are not terribly surprising (or interesting, for that matter). The kids that carry out these attacks are often depressed or suffering some other form of mental illness. They use guns to kill people at school because guns are easy to come by, and they can have the pleasure of aiming at people before shooting them.

Remove guns, and the problem does not go away. The same person who might want to shoot people at their school (or workplace or mall or sporting stadium) is still depressed or mentally ill, they just cannot find a gun to shoot people with. They might use a bomb or a knife or something, and kill people that way.

Removing guns does not solve the problem. Removing knives or petrol/gas or garden fertilizer or chlorine does not solve the problem.

The problem is the person in question's state of mind. More needs to be done to identify and help people suffering from depression and/or other illness. Fixing the root of the problem is the answer. Fewer depressed/mentally ill/unstable people means a lot less shootings. Fewer guns for these people to use means people still die, just not by a gunshot wound.

--steven

Guns, bombs and knives (4.62 / 8) (#56)
by GiTm on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 06:50:31 AM EST

The difference between guns and bombs is the impulse factor. Building and planting a bomb requires a reasonable amount of forward thinking and planning - usually for a depressed or temporarily insane individual the impulse will go away well before the plan is executed.

The difference between guns and knives is proximity. To hurt you with a knife I *have* to be standing next to you - even if I manage to hurt you the chances are that someone nearby will manage to disarm me before I get a chance to hurt anyone else. With a gun I can plant myself a fair distance away (say in a clock tower) and quite happily pick quite a few people off from a distance before anyone can get close enough to disarm me.

I still think reducing the availability of guns will reduce the problem - I do agree it will not make it go away entirely though.

I come from Australia, where guns are nowhere nearly as prevelant as they are in the US - and as a result we have far fewer fatal violent crimes. And the number of violent crimes where more than a single person gets seriously injured are a much lower percentage of the total as well.

Personally, I prefer it that way.
--- I have nothing funny to say here.
[ Parent ]
less deadly (4.20 / 5) (#71)
by mami on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 12:30:51 PM EST

Your arguments make sense in that the violence becomes less deadly in most of the cases.

The impulse factor is not that important, because the violence is planned. Impulsive hate is released when bullying. Group hate is planned and enforced by the power of knives or a group attack on a single victim and enforced within the group by threatening anyone who dares to be strong enough not needing to belong to the group. With that kind of loneliness among kids you won't find many who have that strength.

It seems to be that the depression is that constant, severe and so painful that the resulting anger is channelled into a master plan of how "to get even" before I die.

I can't help but thinking, it's because kids are left alone these days, completely left alone. I can't help thinking that it is related to the family's life structure or the breakdown of that structure.



[ Parent ]
My experience (4.30 / 13) (#57)
by maketo on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 08:22:58 AM EST

I went to primary and high-school in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. You all know there were wars there. I moved away during war time and I would not know how it was after but I can speak how it was when I went to school. Many people had guns on them and they all took them to school. However, there are two things I have never heard of in school back home: bullying and shooting-back. Yes, people wore guns. Yes, sometimes there were fights. But in general, we did not hate each other. We were all friends and we were all classmates. Even if someone was subject to some degree of laughter and joking by others, they were never bullied physically and abused. North Americans lead a detached life - the degree of personal freedom soought and the degree of privacy wanted is bound to interfere with social life at one point or the other. To me, it is evident in the estrangement of people from each other. Thus the flourishing of the pleasure business - TV, video, computer games etc. for example. The philosophy is "I can do it on my own". Sure you can. But there is a price to pay. Such as no control over your children. Such as peer pressure in schools. Such as loneliness and non-existant guidance on the relation parent-child. Such as non-existant relations between peers. I was friends with my high-school classmates. I still am in contact with some of them. I think America is getting a signal that the robot-pace its people live in a dog-eat-dog capitalist society is taking its tall on the human-relations. I, for one, would rather be poor and have friends than wealthy and have superificial relations with my family and peers.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
Individual and collective violence (4.00 / 5) (#89)
by solri on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 03:10:14 PM EST

I have to say I agree with most of this. The one thing that made me stand up and take notice, though, was the phrase "before the war." Oh yes, the war, when all those nice friendly people suddenly started killing each other. Perhaps there is a trade-off: individualistic societies kill people individually, more coherent societies go postal collectively.


"Nice philosophy may tolerate unlikely arguments" - John Ford
[ Parent ]

Conflicting experience. (3.00 / 2) (#137)
by Rainy on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 03:42:14 AM EST

I was growing up in USSR, and as you probably know, it wasn't like US at all - not capitalistic, no industry of entertainment (video games, tv, etc). And you know what? There were bullies, and when I moved here to a HS in brooklyn, there was *less* bullying around. OTOH i agree with you about guns - didn't Heinlein say that armed society is a polite society? Perhaps we should expressly allow concealed weapons in schools and see if that stops the shootings. Sounds crazy enough to work.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
depression - caused by what ? (3.00 / 6) (#59)
by mami on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 09:07:22 AM EST

I think what is coming to light is that severe depression (turned into agressive anger) is the red thread among all school shootings and other violent murders among teens and twens.

My question (to male teens and twens only) how often and to what extent is the divorce, break-up, neglect or abuse by family members cause of this depression and anger ?

How often is the inability to deal with gender related "wars" among the adults, who should live with and relate to the teens the cause to severe depression and anger ?

Is the anonymity, bullying among the teens in schools, more or less just another additional trigger but not the real cause ? And then why is this bullying going on ? Isn't the bullying just an outcry of something completely different being wrong originating in the family and magnified into a mass behavioural problem in schools, which are terribly impersonal and much too large to give something like a place where a student you can feel "at home" ?

Isn't then on top of all this, the availability of guns to teens simply a severe neglect of the system, which puts teens already at high emotional risk into high physical risk for self destruction or the destruction of other lives ?

Depression (3.50 / 4) (#85)
by weirdling on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:48:34 PM EST

The availability of guns has been steadily decreasing. That's why it isn't considered a factor.
However, I believe that your depression angle could be bolstered by this, which says, essentially, that there are drug and diet related issues that are being ignored at the moment. Disclaimer: I don't necessarily agree; I just think they might be right.
I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
ADDENDUM: The Counterexamples (4.33 / 9) (#78)
by redelm on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:17:18 PM EST

I appreciate the generally cogent discussion and would like to address some of the key counter-examples raised by eLuddite (Western Europe) and ucblockhead (US in the past):

Both Western Europe and the US pre-1985 [or so] provide similar populations that don't have as many mass school shootings. Any theory that pretends to explain these tragedies has to cover their absence earlier and elsewhere. There are two fundamental possibilities: different societies, and different measurement [reporting]. Both of these factors come into play.

The US pre-1985[or so] was considerably different from the US today. Divorce was just as high, but fewer teenagers were affected. There were far fewer dual income families. PCs were not ubiquitous. The Internet was an acedemic exercise. Information was less widely available. Access to firearms was the same. Distrust of government and rebellion against authority was the same. What can you conclude but the teens/environment are different? I called this "stress" because it takes stress to induce change. [Apologies for shortening the causal chain. No apologies for lack of references. Find your own.]

Western Europe has many of these same differences, although there is much more acceptance of authority and trust in government. I lived there (NL), and I was amazed at the stress Europeans live with. Population density is higher, but worst IMHO is the social rigidity. You don't want to make mistakes, get fired or "Fall Down" socially or on-the-job in Europe. It's hard to get back up. Second chances are rare. What others think of you matters much more than in the US. Kids are trained for a certain kind of conformity from a very early age. I suppose Europeans find the US bewildering with excessive choice and rude people who don't care about their reputations.

Under-reporting is a second cause for apparent differences. Local politicians and businessmen certainly don't want to publicise mass shootings because it frightens people away. Local media often agrees or is pressured by ad money. It takes a national media hungry for ratings to break through the local wall. In Europe and in the past US, media may not have been as invasive. Big mass killings [Columbine] probably couldn't be locally surpressed, but two-deaths [Calif Monday] probably could be.



Another point (3.85 / 7) (#84)
by weirdling on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:45:50 PM EST

Often, those who can't live under a European regime leave Europe, often coming to the US. Unfortunately for Europe, these are often the risk-takers, the movers and shakers, that make the American economy so vibrant. I know this sounds an awful lot like a troll to Europeans and standard VOA propaganda to everyone else, but there is truth to it. America has profited from every war Europe has had, generally through the influx of highly-capable people.
Unfortunately, it is possible that this is a contributor to the higher crime rates normal in the US. It's my own pet theory, anyway...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Gun rights and ratings. (2.46 / 13) (#81)
by zek93 on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:36:29 PM EST

I am a supporter of private ownership of firearms. Therefore, opponents of private ownership of firearms will mod this message down. It's a fact of life. I suppose some will mod this down for being off-topic and/or flamebait, but that will be a statistical anomoly.

A poll (2.75 / 4) (#83)
by weirdling on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:42:04 PM EST

I think you may have inadvertantly made your post a poll, as I'm sure that supporters of gun rights will mod it up.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
while i agree (2.66 / 3) (#127)
by goosedaemon on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 12:28:26 PM EST

while i agree that everyone should have and know how to use a gun, i have to mod your post down as being off-topic.

[ Parent ]
My favorite part (4.28 / 7) (#88)
by weirdling on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 03:03:57 PM EST

Is the number of people who are absolutely certain that simply putting up the ten commandments in school would reduce this sort of thing.
The answers that I see an awful lot have practically nothing to do with the actual problem; they are almost all politically motivated. Their really isn't any indicator; there really isn't any one thing that could be done to improve the situation. It is, perhaps, just a giant case of rot, but I think it bears an awful lot more research before people start acting. Perhaps in a few years, sociologists will be able to confirm the problem is lack of parenting; perhaps it will be shown that Ridilin is largely the problem. We don't really know yet, and acting right now is really rather idiotic.
People insist that something must be done, but the immediate solutions presented so far will have absolutely no effect on the crime, according to what studies have been done. The only solution this is not true of is the increasing parenting skills idea, although it is not clear if this solution will work, and it is certainly something that will be next to impossible to do legally and fairly.
It's a tough nut to crack. The FBI has counselled increased vigilance, and I certainly advocate better training for the psychologists charged with keeping our kids, but I do hope there will be a reasoned response and not a wholesale panic.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Re: My favorite part (2.75 / 4) (#109)
by eLuddite on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 08:05:32 PM EST

Their really isn't any indicator; there really isn't any one thing that could be done to improve the situation. It is, perhaps, just a giant case of rot, but I think it bears an awful lot more research before people start acting.

That would depend on the act. Inaction is not an act.

Perhaps in a few years, sociologists will be able to confirm the problem is lack of parenting; perhaps it will be shown that Ridilin is largely the problem. We don't really know yet, and acting right now is really rather idiotic.

Tell that to the victims' families and explain to them how inaction could have saved their loved ones.

You're simply setting the bar too high. There's reams of evidence to suggest that gun control will lower your death rate without affecting your freedom or your desire to get to the heart of your teens' disaffections.

You know, most 16 year old suicidal teens grow up to become healthy adults. Its nice that you want to understand what the problem is when they are 16; it would be nicer if you did something concrete to ensure that they make it to 21.

For a nation of impulsive risk takers, you sure are taking your sweet time on the gun issue. Stop trying so hard. The answer wasnt in your navel 20 years ago and it wont be there 20 years from now.

Gun control saves lives. It doesnt solve the problem of depression. It doesnt make good parents out of poor parents. All it does is save lives. The more lives you save, the more statistical data your sociologists will have to sort out those other issues you mention.

Saying that guns arent a contributory factor here is not dealing honestly with your problem.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Please back this up (3.00 / 3) (#129)
by weirdling on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 01:29:11 PM EST

I dare you to dig up the statistics to show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that gun control saves lives. I assume from your comments you are European. A cogent discussion of the relevant statistics can be found <a href="http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-284.html
">here</a>.<br>
Never in the history of man has a satisfactory study demonstrated that gun control in any form saves lives. Many times it has been demonstrated that an armed citizenry can act as a deterrent to crime. It has also never been shown that there is any link whatsoever between gun concentration and crime, except for this deterrent effect, which acts to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the demographics of the locale.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Re: Please back this up (3.50 / 4) (#133)
by eLuddite on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 08:46:51 PM EST

I dare you to dig up the statistics to show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that gun control saves lives.

You mean besides the fact that every western nation with gun control has a lower per capita death rate due to guns than the US? If you insist on numbers, some are reproduced elsewhere on this page.

A cogent discussion of the relevant statistics can be found here

That page, Crime, Self-Defense and Right to Carry a Handgun, contains no data comparing the US with any country that has instituted gun control. Its an analysis of gun behavior in the US. Specifically, it is about concealed weapons in a country awash with weapons.

Since you dont have gun control in the US, how is that a cogent discussion of the relevant statistics we were talking about?

You ask that I "please back this up." I am pointing you to Canada, Japan, Western Europe, god knows how many other places on earth. What exactly do you want me to back up? The existence of these countries? Do you want me to convince you that their crime stats are accurate? Is there some conspiracy to conceal violent gun death in those countries that I need to know about?

You live in a gun culture that is more violent than any other peaceful culture on earth. Deal.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Well, now (3.00 / 1) (#146)
by weirdling on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 01:38:08 PM EST

Comparing crime rates in countries is next to useless. In the EU, the crime rate varies significantly, and not necessarily in parity to gun laws. What that article did was compare crime before and after the passage of concealed carry laws, which is statistically more significant, because in ten years, the demographics won't change very much.
What I was hoping to hear from you, or, indeed, any gun-control advocate is the 'here is a situation where gun-control was enacted and crime went significantly down' type of statistics rather than specious comparisons of society, because, as I said, Switzerland has very free gun laws and lower crime than most of the world, including all of the EU. Here is a discussion of myths about gun control that has a section that directly addresses the issue of comparing countries based on gun control and crime statistics. I believe you will find it enlightening.
Now, case in point: England, who, rather recently, disarmed her citizens:
"England now has twice as many homicides with firearms as it did before adopting its repressive laws, yet its politicians counter rising crime by increasing strictures on rifles and now on most shotguns. During the past dozen years, handgun-related robbery rose 200% in Britain, five times as fast as the rise in the U.S." - NRA statistics
I'm sure if you look hard enough, you can find plenty of evidence to support that England has seen steady crime rise since enacting ever tougher gun control, while the US has seen ever lower crime rates while enacting more concealed-carry laws, which give a citizen the right to carry a weapon concealed just about anywhere. And, in every case where concealed carry has been enacted, crime has gone down.
So, let me be more specific: I want something that shows that crime has *gone down* *significantly*, and without there being a clear alterior cause in a specific society that thus demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that gun control works.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Re: Well, now (3.50 / 2) (#148)
by eLuddite on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 02:39:57 PM EST

Comparing crime rates in countries is next to useless. In the EU, the crime rate varies significantly, and not necessarily in parity to gun laws.

(Not necessarily out of "parity" with gun laws, either.) You say this as if it makes any sense whatsoever. Not only is it extraordinarily useful to compare countries with gun control against countries without, you have no choice except to do so. You cant just pick and choose the data you want to ignore because it doesnt further your agenda.

Whether you like it or not, every country in the world that has gun control is safer than your own, on a per capita basis. That is the data that you are given to work with. It means something, not nothing, something. It measures how effective gun control is.

What that article did was compare crime before and after the passage of concealed carry laws, which is statistically more significant, because in ten years, the demographics won't change very much.

I dont even understand what it is you are trying to say here. In any case, that article definitely does not comparing anything remotely like gun control with its alternatives. Compare the effect of concealed weapon laws before and after the US enacts gun control and at that point you _may_ be seen as converging upon some aspect of _this_ conversation. Like I said before, the effect of concealed weapon laws in a country awash with weapons is of little use to anyone. Why should it be awash with weapons to begin with?

What I was hoping to hear from you, or, indeed, any gun-control advocate is the 'here is a situation where gun-control was enacted and crime went significantly down' type of statistics

Every country that has gun control today did not have it at some point in their past. They elected to pass gun control laws. Those laws now work to their advantage.

I cannot compare the present day US of A with 100 year old societies before they enacted gun control. I know that is what you want, but I cannot do that and please forgive those societies for acting sooner rather than waiting while america drags it ass on the issue.

If you agree to limit yourself to something other than a useless thought experiment, look at australia. Even though the ink on Australia's gun laws is barely dry, they are already showing a positive effect. In 50 years, Australia will be as safe or safer than western europe and you will, no doubt, _still_ be demanding evidence that gun control works while you continue to pull bullets from the inert bodies of your children.

Other people have posted and refuted australian stats on this story. Reread those posts. Understand what it is that Australia has done. Understand when it is that they began doing it. Understand what they already have accomplished.

as I said, Switzerland has very free gun laws and lower crime than most of the world, including all of the EU

It doesnt matter what you said. Switzerland has very strict gun control. You should be so lucky as to have the level of gun control that Switzerland has.

[.. England is more dangerous than the US according to the NRA ..]

I'll defer to an englishman to debunk this patently false bullshit - I'm not really interested in researching counter statistics as I am in demonstrating invalid thinking.

Let me just say one thing: telling me that I will find anything the nra writes as interesting is true to the extent that I find clowns and propaganda interesting. I hope you didnt mean to suggest that I would actually find nra drivel informative or truthful. The NRA exists to repeal any and every, no matter how small, gun control initiative. They are an extremely biased source of information and they have long since lost any and all credibility in the minds of reasonable people.

Finally, constantly whining and upping the ante everytime someone presents reasonable evidence that gun control works does nothing to refute the hardcore evidence that _you_ refuse to control your _weapons_. You want irrefutable proof that controlling weapons is a good idea. Well, if the gun lobby is so damn smart, why dont they introduce irrefutable evidence that it isnt a good idea. These fickle tactics that the gun lobby employs can work both ways, you know.

So, given that every country in the civilized world that controls its weapons is safer than the US, why isnt it a good idea for the US to follow suit? Please cite "irrefutable evidence" (as per your constant whinging) that guns as consumer commodities is a good thing. Or that it isnt even not a bad thing.

_You_ are the most violent nation on earth. What do _you_ have to lose if you impose gun control for a few generations? Freedom? No. Your courts have already dismissed 2nd amndment arguements as incorrect. You are not more free than Canada. Not more free than Australia. Not more free than anyone. All you are is more dead. If you control your weapons, more of you will be alive.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Well, at least you attempted to argue (3.00 / 1) (#151)
by weirdling on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 03:57:37 PM EST

The funny thing is that I have cited statistic upon statistic, have noted several exceptions to your arguments (Switzerland has nearly 100% gun ownership per family but very low crime), noted that England has seen crime rise since it enacted its gun laws, and pleaded that you show me statistics to the contrary. You have presented a rather specious argument that people enacted the laws; therefore they are ameliorative, never mind the fact that gun control in Germany, in particular, goes back to Naziism, not enlightened government.

<-- Finally, constantly whining and upping the ante everytime someone presents reasonable evidence that gun control works does nothing to refute the hardcore evidence that _you_ refuse to control your _weapons_. You want irrefutable proof that controlling weapons is a good idea. Well, if the gun lobby is so damn smart, why dont they introduce irrefutable evidence that it isnt a good idea. These fickle tactics that the gun lobby employs can work both ways, you know. -->

This is my favorite. There's plenty of evidence that you have yet to refute that shows exactly that gun control is A Bad Thing. There isn't any reasonable evidence that gun control is A Good Thing. Apparently, Europeans are far more concerned with the fact that Americans would dare to think differently than with the actual nature of criminology.

Since your last post, I have been able to dig up some more interesting facts. According to here, one of the graphs down the page, there are several countries (Norway, Sweden) whose crime rates are far below their gun penetration rates, and Norway has close to as many guns as the US. Also, there are several countries (Belgium, Italy), whose crime rates are significantly higher than their gun penetration. Interestingly enough, this report is designed to argue that gun penetration is linked to crime, exactly as you have, and is significantly flawed in many ways, the most glaring being that their data does not support their position. Now, one of the most disingenous parts of the report is the insistence that military guns be excluded from the count in Switzerland. This is a bad idea precisely because the total concentration in Switzerland would be significantly higher than the US if included, while the crime rates significantly lower. There is the evidence debunking your statement that crime rates correlate to gun penetration. But, there is a report that more severly criticises the Home Office report here, so you don't have to take my word for it. Of particular interest are the two first graphs, which show, clearly, that in England, at least, there is absolutely no correlation between gun penetration and gun crime. It actually shows the opposite.
Now, for Australia. How do you reconcile your insistance that Australia will soon join the rest of Europe with low crime when crime in Australia has been going up? As to your statement that the US is the most violent country in the world, here are two counter-examples: Australia and South Africa. Now, while gun ownership in the US has steadily been increasing, guns are outlawed in Australia. One would infer, from your line of reasoning, that crime in the US should be increasing while crime in Australia should be decreasing. While it is true that until Australia radically outlawed guns, crime was decreasing, since then, crime has steadily increased. In the US, since the early nineties, crime has been steadily decreasing, and in states with concealed weapons permits (note, states that let their citizens carry guns *anywhere*), crime has been decreasing faster than the national average.
As to being the most violent nation on earth, it is possible that the US is the most violent nation in the West, but on earth is a stretch. However, it will become obvious to an objective observer that this is not because *law-abiding citizens own guns*, but because criminals do. As a matter of fact, it makes sense to own a gun to defend one's self in a violent society.
The real truth is that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens, are a deterrent to violent crime, but the amount of violent crime is driven by other sociological factors, not the availability of guns.
The problems in America are not a result of gun ownership but rather a result of lenient prosecution. It is a very complex situation, involving unenforced traffic laws, the drug war, and the American ethos of freedom first; freedom at all cost, which Europe long ago gave up in order to craft the oppressive societies in which Europeans *do not mind* living in, but would drive Americans *nuts*. It is driving some Europeans nuts, and there is a strong movement afoot to unban Canadian guns.
So, sir, you have used in your proof facts that are incorrect; you have made a link that even the most rabid gun-control activists here in the States dare not make (but is common in Europe); you have ignored evidence to the contrary by the same government making the claim; you have essentially boiled your argument down to the only thing that any argument of this type comes down to: you don't like guns. Well, I do, and I don't want my rights removed.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Re: Well, at least you attempted to argue (3.66 / 3) (#154)
by eLuddite on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 06:00:35 PM EST

So, sir, you have used in your proof facts that are incorrect;

I have no intention of defending myself from the absurd right and lunatic fringes of the nra, sightings, and the cato institute. You clearly are reslilient to any facts that are not (a) incidental; (b) contorted; (c) agreeable to your position (d) outright fallacious. I read your links and I laugh at the tenuous hold they have on all of reason, statistics and reality. They remind me of creationist literature.

Nothing I've said, nothing anyone else here has said will make a dent in that pious, self righteous shell you and the gun lobby have surrounded yourselves with. The evidence is so overwhelmingly one-sided for gun control that the only people who continue to pay any attention to the pro gun lobby are members of the pro gun lobby itself.

Gun control is not a matter of debate anywhere in the world except the same place where evolution remains a matter of debate. The evidence has never done anything except confirm the almost self evident notion that a society should control its weapons.

I am tired of splitting hairs with you people. I am tired of arguing the finer points of illogic. I am tired of discovering elementary mistakes in your statistics and their interpretation. This discussion is over for me. Whatever little victories you manage to score for yourselves pale in comparison to the big picture. The big picture is that

A m e r i c a   r e f u s e s   t o   c o n t r o l   i t s   w e a p o n s   o f   d e a t h.

That is the ultimate damnation. You control everything else, but you dont control your guns.

One other thing: I am tired of you guys citing Switzerland as if the Swiss think of your lack of gun control as anything other than sheer stupidity. You annoy swiss people. Swiss people do not agree with you. The Swiss think its a _good_ idea for a society to control it's weapons, not a bad idea. The swiss control their weapons, you do not.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Ok, one last time. (none / 0) (#175)
by weirdling on Wed Mar 14, 2001 at 03:21:25 PM EST

Of course you have no intention of defending yourself from what you see as the lunatic fringe. If your position was defensible, I would think, though, that you would be more interested in defending it. Whatever facts I have put up, you have failed to a) refute, b) put up controverting facts, or c) even address. I guess I am beneath you.
It is funny how proponents of gun control eventually resort to morality, in much the same way that proponents of creationism and global warming do. 'Something must be done!!!', nevermind that the problem isn't well understood and that action is likely as not going to be detrimental. 'Won't somebody please think of the children!!!'
As to people paying attention, plenty are doing so. Once again, your facts are in error; in Australia, there is a heavy anti-gun control faction, as there is in Canada. The US is hardly alone in the gun-control debate. We are merely the largest state that still extends to its citizens the right to bear arms. Russia has recently softened its gun laws by quite a bit.
I do not understand how you could be tired of arguing this situation, as you have yet to seriously argue. You have made one specious correlation, that of 'well, European countries outlaw weapons and have lower crime rates; therefore it is a good idea'. Well, England, it turns out, now that crime is being more correctly reported, has higher crime rates than the US, where crime is significantly over-reported.
I'm not asking you to split hairs; I'm asking you to produce any argument in defense of your position rather than simply insisting it is so.
Nothing you've said so far would make a dent in any serious debate; your mere insistence isn't enough to prove a thing is so and your only effort at evidence was horridly specious and easily debunked. I await any actual attempt to make a dent, but expect only more name-calling.
America refuses to enact gun-control. The individuals who legally own guns do control them. I have six guns, all legally purchased, all legally owned. My six guns have never been used in a crime and never will. That is because I, like every other law-abiding citizen, will not commit crime. However, like every other law-abiding citizen in the 'Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave', I have the right to use these weapons to defend myself, which has been shown statistically time and again to reduce violent crime. That America refuses to control its 'Weapons of Death' (movie at 11), is because it has *never* been shown statistically that doing so would reduce crime, which is exactly the sort of thing you should be showing in defense of your position. That you have not is further evidence that there is no such evidence and you remain convinced that 'guns are bad, so outlaw them' mentality, which is simplistic in the extreme.
Now, as to Switzerland: what evidence do you have that the Swiss are upset about being compared to the US? Do you know what Swiss gun-control regulations are? Well, I do. In Switzerland, every male citizen spends time in the army. As a part of this, he is issued either a handgun or a submachinegun, which, by the way, is a fully-automatic weapon. He is required by law to keep this weapon at his house. Yes, that is gun control, but it *increases* the number of guns in society radically. Anyway, as to personal ownership, ownership of a gun is registered, but is issued to any reasonable person, read one without arrests or mental deficiency, and then, in half of Switzerland, the permit constitutes right-to-carry concealed. Now, how do you reconcile this with your statement that Switzerland acknowledges the need to control its weapons? They control weapons less than the US does.
That being said, it is my firm belief that in order to be totally free, a country *must* trust its citizens. In order to be totally free, those citizens *must* be able to defend themselves against that country. Also, what is liberty without authority? Where is the dignity of living in a society that so hampers what you do that you can't even defend yourself? How is this a good life?
So, I await what I hope will actually be an argument, not more moralistic self-absorbed statements of how America doesn't do what you want it to.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Surprising? Not any more! (3.28 / 7) (#93)
by seanmeister on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 04:07:22 PM EST

2 shooting incidents in 3 days. Several students in several schools all over the country have been picked up with guns this week. How could this possibly be surprising anymore? They could probably print this stuff in advance in TV Guide these days.

maybe it's just me... (3.16 / 6) (#96)
by Epicurus on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 04:28:11 PM EST

Maybe it's just me, but my worst problems durring school where nothing compared to my daily life now. How could anything be more stressful that knowing that if you lose your job you won't be able to pay rent, car payments, etc. and that you'll be out on the street if you can't make everything work just right? Yeah, dating, being picked on, all that are pretty bad when you're in high school, but I'd have to say that having a mortgage is more stressful than all my days in school combined. Just my $0.02. Epicurus

That may be true (3.66 / 3) (#114)
by ZanThrax on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 09:38:03 PM EST

but it doesn't really matter. A high school kid hasn't had the experience of trying to survive in the way that you're describing. Add in the hormonal and emotional instability of being 15 and you've got a lot of highly stressed out kids. Besides, memory tends to reduce the negative and enhance the positive, so we tend to remember things as not being as bad as they seemed at the time. People react to stress (and pain) based on the severity of it. Just because a person once experienced worse (or is capable of conceptualizing worse) doesn't make the person not consider the current problem bad.

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

Yes, but... (4.00 / 2) (#141)
by spaceon on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 10:45:54 AM EST

Well yeah, of course your problems as a "grown up" are much worse than when you were a child. But that's because you're looking at those childhood problems with the hindsight of an adult.

To a child being picked on day, after day, after day, knowing that no-one will help them, and that most adults will just trivialise their problems, it feels like the end of the world.


Sigs are highly overrated.
[ Parent ]
I'm the opposite (none / 0) (#160)
by budcub on Sun Mar 11, 2001 at 12:40:04 PM EST

I would rather drink poison then go back to being under 18 again. When you're a minor, you are a legal SLAVE to your parents. They own you. They can give you limited freedoms, or they can keep you a prisoner in their home. They control how much of the world you see, and how much you know. Try to run away? They'll just call the police/FBI and have you returned.

The problems I have now as an adult are insignificant compared to being a teen. Back when I was a teen I swore to myself, its better to die on the street free, than live as a slave. I stand by that belief to this day.

I've been layed from work 4 times, I've had extended periods of unemployment, I've had serious illnesses that have put me out of work for months at a time, I've struggled to make that damn car payment, I've lost weight because I couldn't afford food, but I would never choose to be a teen again.

[ Parent ]

I don't believe anyone has yet said ... (3.42 / 7) (#99)
by Robert Hutchinson on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 04:42:57 PM EST

... that making schools "gun-free" is a major cause of school shootings.

This is obvious to anyone who asks himself "If I wanted to kill lots of people, where would I have the most success?", and spends more than two seconds thinking of the answer.

"Police station? No, those guys have guns. Out on the street? No, darn it, they just passed that concealed-carry law. Oh, I know! Those chumps over at Defenseless High would be easy pickings! Now where did I put my pipe bombs ..."

If the U.S. truly respected the right to bear arms, cowards wouldn't go on killing sprees for fear of reciprocation, and evil and insane people could at least be taken out before the death toll broke double digits. And if you don't believe me, go try shooting up a school in Israel (might want to write out your will first).

Robert Hutchinson
No bomb-throwing required.

live by the sword and die by the sword (3.00 / 2) (#134)
by mmcc on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 09:29:24 PM EST

Defenceless High? If what you say was true, then i would expect that people off the street would walk into schools and shoot students. As far as i know, it is students themselves that are shooting other students.

In response to the original question "is is any suprise?", my answer is "No!". In a country full of guns, people are going to get shot. How is that suprising?



[ Parent ]

not so sure (4.50 / 2) (#152)
by Delirium on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 03:59:13 PM EST

I don't think that's really the major cause - kids target schools because that's where their peers are - the people they want to get back at or prove a point to. They have no reason to shoot up a police station, since for the most part they've had little contact with police. As for reciprocation, many of the perpetrators of these crimes committed suicide (or attempted to), so it seems that wouldn't be one of their biggest fears.

And do you really think allowing quick-tempered high school students to all carry guns is a good solution? Do you really want there to be easy access to guns in situations where high school kids get in fistfights?

[ Parent ]

Clarified and supplemented (none / 0) (#157)
by Robert Hutchinson on Sat Mar 10, 2001 at 07:50:52 PM EST

I don't think that's really the major cause - kids target schools because that's where their peers are - the people they want to get back at or prove a point to. They have no reason to shoot up a police station, since for the most part they've had little contact with police. As for reciprocation, many of the perpetrators of these crimes committed suicide (or attempted to), so it seems that wouldn't be one of their biggest fears.
I admit that I was focusing on one link in a larger chain, but I was focusing on the arbitrary link--kids are cruel, and that probably won't end anytime soon. There are probably some policemen who feel like shooting up their station, but they're a lot less likely to try it. As for the murder-suicides, those would fall under the "evil or insane" part of stopping more deaths from occurring.
And do you really think allowing quick-tempered high school students to all carry guns is a good solution? Do you really want there to be easy access to guns in situations where high school kids get in fistfights?
We allow quick-tempered adults to carry guns on the street. I myself have a quick temper, but that does not mean I would come anywhere near firing a gun out of anger. Equating a quick temper with being trigger-happy isn't wise, IMO.

Only an incredibly stupid kid doesn't know the relative physical dangers (and subsequent punishments) of a fistfight vs. a firefight. Kids who throw spitwads have easy access to heavy books, but they don't usually chuck those at the teacher. And kids have been getting into fistfights for centuries ... I don't believe they led to murder terribly often in the past.

Robert Hutchinson
No bomb-throwing required.

[ Parent ]

My $0.02 (4.55 / 9) (#105)
by pistols on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 06:00:19 PM EST

Continuing the thread on 'the mindset of the killer', I see the motivation being three-fold. First, there's the revenge factor. Nothing feels better than knowing that you are in control of another persons destiny, especially when they were previously in control of yours. The revenge isn't only inflicted on those killed, it has the strongest effect on those who new the victims, who will always wonder if there was something they could do. Second, the reason for killing multiple people is the media attention. Being 'picked on' and 'bullied' sucks, but in my opinion is nothing compared as going through the entire day knowing that you won't have a worthwhile conversation with anyone. Knowing that the people *pay attention* when the media highlights a mass killing can be quite a motivation, even if you know you'll be dead or incarcerated when it happens.
Finally, I see most mass killings as a form of suicide. Attempting to kill yourself is hard to do. There's always that part of you that wonders if maybe later, life will get better. But the moment you take another persons life, IN PUBLIC, there's little hope for anything but years in prison, hatred from the victims, a trial, counselers, and so on. I suspect it would become much easier to turn the gun on yourself. I sure feel sorry for those who don't.

Prevention: It really bothers me when people say that 'limiting gun access' or 'limiting violence in the media' would prevent murders. The human body has several ways of killing another person, that don't involve complicated machinery. And I for one avoid the 'media' like the plague, and hurting other people is an art I learned when I first encountered people, long before I played video games/watched tv.

Human attachement is the solution I know of. It is not something that you can 'prescibe' in a 'policy', nor is it something you can 'enforce'. But nothing derails a suicidal train of thought faster than remembering that you have a little sister.


I can't believe I wrote this. I'm going to go sit in the corner now.

who are the cowards? (3.57 / 7) (#110)
by alliecat on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 08:07:07 PM EST

I saw a TV report on the shootings, and "Dub'ya" Bush called the shooting an "act of cowardice." While I in *no* way support the actions of the killer(s) in school shootings, I find this coment absurd and offensive.

It was made clear in the media that the perpetrators of most, if not all, school shootings had been victimised, bullied, ostracised, and generall treated like crap by their peers, and often by the staff of the school.

It is the bullies and the staff who did nothing to prevent the bullying who are the cowards here. I guess dub'ya's comments show just how screwed up the conservatives are when it comes to ethical issues. Apparently bullying is ok, fighting back is not.


It WAS cowardice... (4.00 / 1) (#144)
by beergut on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 12:31:22 PM EST

It is the bullies and the staff who did nothing to prevent the bullying who are the cowards here. I guess dub'ya's comments show just how screwed up the conservatives are when it comes to ethical issues. Apparently bullying is ok, fighting back is not.

Agreed that bullies are generally cowards.

Agreed that staff who does not intercede usually do so for cowardly reasons.

Agreed that conservatives are just as fucking stupid as liberals when it comes to issues of ethics.

Fighting back is to be encouraged, but why not just use a good old tried-and-true baseball bat? Instead of killing your tormentors, make them hurt. That is the best way to do it, and would provide the most personal satisfaction. Killing them, in this case, is an act of cowardice.


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Some insight (4.25 / 4) (#117)
by Tr3534 on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 11:01:43 PM EST

I see a lot of the knee-jerk type reaction discussed in the above article below. I see a lot of people rationally describing a how these kids need help, being depressed or such. Let me give you some insight: Ive been there. Before you say that everyone went through highschool, let me remind you that not everyone thinks themselves into a depression.

Basically earlier this year, about late August to early October, I somehow slipped into a moderate depression. It's like a one of those spiral slides you see in playgrounds: comes on fast, hard to climb back out, only goes down.

Daily routine: wake up. School. Get home, sleep. Get woken up for dinner, maybe do some homwork, but typically ignore it. Sleep.

I had 2 friends, figuratively speaking: one didn't seem to be avalible most of the time, the other was a mp3 player.

About mid-way through I made biggest mistake: I ASKED FOR HELP. I let my parents know how i felt, and asked to talk. Wound up with a some counselor for a while who obviously didn't care, and had the nerve to put up a fake exterior i could see right through. My parents honestly thought he cared, though.

What would you do in this situation? I was able to pull myself out thanks to creativity, but you can honestly expect a few will hit rock bottom. You can see the bottom, all the way from the top - and you know that when you hit, something happens, but you can't tell how you'll snap. Asking for help fails, as you become 'sick', and people see you as lower - sometimes the cause in the first place. Your friends typically don't listen. Parents are not there. How do you climb back up the slide?


Sigmentation Fault: Post Dumped.

When the murders take place. (3.00 / 3) (#128)
by zforce on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 12:32:59 PM EST

First your article does A LOT of assuming statistics. Statistics lie enough in themselves, much else when they are 'assumed'. However, even with your assumed statistics you need to compensate for the number of murders that take place during the day versus the number of murders that takes place in the night.

Maybe it's not all that bad... (2.40 / 5) (#140)
by Mr Tom on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 08:54:00 AM EST

OK, this is going to sounds like a troll. Trust me, it's not.

Maybe repeated shooting-ups of schools by bullied kids isn't really that bad. I mean, if a bullied teenager is going to go forth and kill his tormentors, isn't that a good reason to not be a bully?

If repeated school shootings aren't going to convince the NRA and their redneck chums that guns really are bad things that are designed to kill (Don't give me that "self-defence" bullshit - the only way you can defend yourself with a gun is to kill someone with it. Otherwise you might as well defend yourself with a cap gun.), then nothing is.

This sounds cruel, and I'm sad that american society has degererated to the point at which kids are being killed by their peers on a fairly regular basis, but maybe there's some accelerated evolution going on here.

Kids will stop being bullied, so they'll stop shooting bullies. This is a good thing.

Guns will be seen as the instruments of death that they are, and will be more tightly controlled. Which is also a good thing.

The only question remaining, is how long will it take for the idiotic coked-up policymakers in Washington to realise this?


-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.

I have to bite... (4.00 / 1) (#143)
by beergut on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 12:26:02 PM EST

If repeated school shootings aren't going to convince the NRA and their redneck chums that guns really are bad things that are designed to kill (Don't give me that "self-defence" bullshit - the only way you can defend yourself with a gun is to kill someone with it. Otherwise you might as well defend yourself with a cap gun.), then nothing is.

Imagine two scenarios:

1) I am a mugger. I come up to you and demand your money. Instead of handing over your money, you fish in your pockets and come out with what is obviously a cap gun, and threaten to discharge it if I don't stop what I am doing. I then, with amusement, beat the hell out of you, stab you, and take your money, anyway.

2) I am a mugger. I come up to you and demand your money. Instead of handing over your money, you fish in your pockets and come out with what is obviously a real gun, and threaten to discharge it if I don't stop what I am doing. I then, with fear, turn and run like hell because I don't want to be shot.

Implausible? Tell that to the many, many people who use guns in just such a way every year without ever having to pull the trigger and end someone's life. They do exist, you know, and I would be loath to tell them that they were wrong in defending their lives and their property in such a way, when the results were obviously effective.

This sounds cruel, and I'm sad that american society has degererated to the point at which kids are being killed by their peers on a fairly regular basis, but maybe there's some accelerated evolution going on here.

Not only are kids not being killed by their peers on a fairly regular basis, but those numbers are declining, and have been doing so for the past twenty years or so. I do agree, though, that a few well-publicized events like this might give a potential bully reason to stop and think about what he's doing.

Guns will be seen as the instruments of death that they are, and will be more tightly controlled. Which is also a good thing.

You might think this would be a good thing. Empirical evidence, however, dictates a different outcome.

Consider Australia and England, for example. These two countries are most like the U.S. in their culture (I don't count Canada because of the whole Quebec thing, and because Canadians are still allowed firearms, though that is changing).

British and Australian crime rates have skyrocketed in the past few years, now that more strict gun control is in place. More people are being robbed, burgled, assaulted, and, yes, shot by criminals than before the more stringent controls were put in place. In fact, these places now make the U.S. look like a fairy-land of peace and low crime.

The real question is this: do you want to rely on a police force to protect you from violence, or would you rather possess the means to do so yourself?

In pondering this point, please note that the average response time for a police call is about 15 minutes. More than enough time for you to have been robbed, raped, and killed.

Please also consider that the average time from muzzle to attacker of the average bullet is about .002 seconds.

Which of these two options sounds like it would provide you with more instant protection?

Also, consider this point: in the U.S. last year, more than 80 million guns were not used to commit a crime.


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Well, that's your choice, really. (none / 0) (#155)
by Mr Tom on Sat Mar 10, 2001 at 07:50:02 AM EST

> 1) I am a mugger. I come up to you and demand > your money. Instead of handing over your money, > you fish in your pockets and come out with what > is obviously a cap gun, and threaten to > discharge it Sorry, I should have been more descriptive in what I meant. What I was try to say was that if you are carrying a real gun, then you are doing so in the full knowledge that you may well have to shoot someone with it, and possibly kill them. So the argument of a gun being effective as a preventative measure is risible, as you might as well carry a realistic-looking replica. Obviously I'm not suggesting that we all carry neon pink waterpistols for self-defence! ;-) Also: if I were a mugger, and I knew that a percentage of my intended victims would be carrying a gun, I'd carry a gun. And I'd have it pointed at your head before you could even think about drawing yours. All that allowing any schmoe to carry a handgun on the streets does is create an arms race.... > The real question is this: do you want to rely > on a police force to protect you from violence, > or would you rather possess the means to do so > yourself? I would rely on the police force. And I do. Reason being: I would not want to walk armed for fear of having my weapon turned on me. And I'm much happier walking down the street knowing that the odds of someone carrying a gun are minute. (Well, actually they're not that minute - I live near Harlesden!) Oh, and one more thing. I don't believe in capital punishment. And I certainly wouldn't want to put myself in the position of judge, jury and executioner of someone that's about to assault me. And honestly, I don't think anyone has that right. I think we'll have to just agree to disagree on this one. Since essentiall the argument boils down to "Which is worse, a large number of minor crimes, or a low number of manslaughters?" And I think that that's a very personal choice. Which is why you live where you do, and I live where I do. :-) We'll see what happens first, whether the US descends further into a morass of gun crime, or the UK becomes so ridden with petty crime that her inhabitants desire to arm themselves. Personally, I think that there will be more controls on guns in the US. Not in the form of blanket legislation and bans, but in a more social context. Carrying a gun will start to be seen as a sign of bad manners - not dissimilar to smoking in the office, for instance. But maybe that's just a pipedream. (I mean, it would require americans to show some manners! [That was a joke, BTW, for the humour-impaired]) :-) But then again, I'm just a Guardian-reading member of the liberal elite, so what weight do I throw around... But at least I don't wear sandals. ;-)
-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.
[ Parent ]

You are wrong (none / 0) (#159)
by newellm on Sat Mar 10, 2001 at 11:20:52 PM EST

First of all, I will tell you a little something that happened to me a short time ago that should make you listen to and believe my opinion. During October 1999, in a small town(~5k) a man walked over to person A's house, walked in and shot person A and his brother(Both the assailant and the victim were involved with drugs). After this, he got a ride to a friends house(drug friend) about ten miles away. His friend wasn't home, so he began breaking into houses and holding people at gunpoint looking for a truck he could steal.

He broke into the house B and nobody was home.

He knocked on the door of the house C and Fred began to open the door, saw the gun, and slammed the door. The assailant then shot through the door three times(nearly hitting Fred) and then entered the house. There were two people in the house, Bob ran out the back door and over to house D. Fred ran to the back bedroom and was held down with the gun to his head. He did not have a truck, so the assailant went to house D.

Meanwhile, at house D, Bob had told me, yes I was in house D, that someone had came into his house shooting. I gave him the phone and told him to call the cops, and went and got my gun. Within 30 seconds, the assailant began to ram my front door and broke it in on the third try. He turned down the hall which I was standing at the end of, and began to raise his pistol(10mm) at me. I fired off two rounds from my Ruger 10/22 and ducked into my doorway. I hit him in the hand and in the shoulder.

The assailant was now in a different frame of mind(afraid), he ran, threw away his gun and went to another house to call an ambulance for himself. He called the ambulance, then realized that he did not want to be caught and so he stole a ladies van after cutting here with a knife. He wrecked the van a half mile down the road and continued on foot. In the end he was caught two weeks later and is now on trial for murder. The man in house A died and his brother was in critical care.

Without my gun, I or other people could be dead. There is also a good chance that he would have gotten away.

I understand your point about "bullies" getting what they deserve, but guns are not at fault. If the kid did not have a gun, he would have made a pipe bomb in ten minutes and killed 30 people.

If everybody had a gun in their home and was trained to use it, who you break into someone's house?

Matt Newell

[ Parent ]
Fair point. But that's a pretty unusual story... (none / 0) (#165)
by Mr Tom on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 06:28:34 AM EST

> Without my gun, I or other people could be
> dead. There is also a good chance that he would
> have gotten away.

In all honesty, I think that the thing that saved you was the phone, and not the gun. Had you not known about the imminence of the intruder, you may have been in more difficulties.. (Of course, I bow to your more intimate knowledge of the situation.)

You could also have been saved by a stronger door. ;-)

Although I applaud your bravery - there's certainly no way I could turn a gun on someone coming into my house in that sort of situation.

> If everybody had a gun in their home and was
> trained to use it, who you break into someone's
> house?

I think that's a bit like using a 10lb lump hammer to crack a nut. Would it not be preferable to find a way to make people not want to commit crime, other than the fear of punishment? And I would call being shot a pretty definitive punishment!)

/I/ would not break into anyone's house. But if I were the sort of person that would, I would go for empty houses, regardless of whether the occupant owned a gun or not. Unless, of course, I was seeking to steal a gun. In which case I would specifically target those houses...

I think that you were lucky to have escaped injury, and I concurr that your gun helped you do this. Although it seems pretty safe to say that this was an exception, and not a rule...


-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.
[ Parent ]

The root of the problem (none / 0) (#150)
by Belgand on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 03:17:14 PM EST

I think the main problem is that noone has really bothered to do anything constructive about the root of the problem. Instead it gets tagged with whatever agenda someone already has:gun control, decreasing morality, mental illness, depression, the role of parents, the media, censorship of tv/music/games/etc. but only very rarely does anyone consider that maybe... just maybe if something was done about the bullying it might decrease. The simple fact is that if you keep screwing with people long enough they'll crack. You'll reach a point where you either feel like you have nothing to lose or you simply want nothing more than revenge. In such cases the people getting killed are actually rather deserving. I'm not advocating that they ought to be shot, but they did cause the situation and now they're experiencing the consequences.

Schools rarely if ever do anything about bullying either on small or large levels. Most teachers and administrators at all levels caution such things as to "just avoid them" or something equally ineffective. Punishments... strong and immediate punishments on students doing these sort of things to other students are needed though. I realize you can't throw someone in detention because they seem to be excluding people, nor should people who prefer not to join in be forced to. Instead students who are actively ridiculing or harassing other students should be quickly and immediately shown that it's a rather bad idea to do so and that continuing to do so will result in numerous punishments. Current methods remind me greatly of the satirization by the Onion "Columbine Jocks Safe to Resume Bullying".

Until something is done about this shootings will only increase as students finally understand that they can strike back.

I feel that in order to avoid being taken for even more of a crackpot than I might be I was not bullied in school. Hell, I'm one of the few people that I know who didn't have a negative middle school experience at all. I do know extensively about the phenomenon however. End rant.



Punishing Bullies is not the Solution (none / 0) (#158)
by S plat on Sat Mar 10, 2001 at 10:20:04 PM EST

You'll notice that part of the reason people are bullied is because they are viewed as "favored" by the administration or teachers. Punishing the bullies would cause even more of this kind of resentment, and could result in more serious attacks outside of school property, as well as further alienating the students being picked on from everybody else.
-Splat
[ Parent ]
Punishing bullies IS the solution (none / 0) (#172)
by MarkCC on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 11:13:12 AM EST

You'll notice that part of the reason people are bullied is because they are viewed as "favored" by the administration or teachers. Punishing the bullies would cause even more of this kind of resentment, and could result in more serious attacks outside of school property, as well as further alienating the students being picked on from everybody else.

In my experience, kids aren't bullied because they're viewed as favored. They're bullied because they're defenseless.

I think bullying isn't based on any kind of provocation, but rather based on power and dominance. That is, bullying is a kind of power trip. It's not "I'm mad at him because the teachers like him, so I'll beat him up"; instead it's "Look at how macho and strong I am: I can beat people up."

I personally believe that this is related to our basic biology, but I won't go into detail about my theories of anthropology here. But if you're interested, try reading "The THird Chimpanzee" by Jared Diamond.

[ Parent ]

Many might disagree with me but .. (4.50 / 2) (#156)
by dvNull on Sat Mar 10, 2001 at 03:20:15 PM EST

The biggest reason that we are faced with so many school shootings is because of laws which dont allow us to discipline our children.

I believe that since parents arent allowed to spank our kids when they are younger, since if we do, the authorities take our kids away from us. The kids grow up realising that we parents cannot do anything but say ' Stay in your room. You are grounded' can always disobey us and do what pleases them. Though we should be able to spank our kids but then again laws should exist to protect the kids from totally abusive parents as well.

We have blamed everything for these problems. We have blamed violent movies, violent games, media everything .. we havent blamed the obvious as yet, ourselves .. as parents who have failed to show the child what is wrong and what is right. Kids need someone to respect and look up to. It can be the parents or .. . What I plan to do when my son is in his mid to late teens is simple, each time he does something totally wrong its to the gym we go .. put on some gloves and go at it. It will at least teach him to defend himself at the same time know that if he screws up, I'll be able to kick his ass :)

I would like to say again: I dont believe in hurting my kids or kids being abused at all. But they have to know WHO is the boss.

Secondly even though I am not in favour of most gun laws, I do believe every person has a right to own a gun. I dont for a moment say that guns should be banned completely either. But proper training should be had for anyone wishing to own a gun. The training certificate should be shown each time a gun is purchased and the gun should be held until the customer is able to show his training certificate.




If you can see this, then the .sig fell off.
Laws. (none / 0) (#163)
by gromm on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 02:46:54 AM EST

I believe that since parents arent allowed to spank our kids when they are younger, since if we do, the authorities take our kids away from us.

It's worth noting that there is a huge difference between a spanking and a beating. The latter is illegal, and they will take your children away, because when you beat a child, he or she often shows bruises and occasionally ends up in the hospital. When you give them a spanking, they don't show bruises and although it hurts, there isn't any real damage done, no injuries to anything but their pride.

So the entire basis for your arguement is wrong.
Deus ex frigerifero
[ Parent ]

Maybe you didnt understand .. (none / 0) (#169)
by dvNull on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 12:03:34 AM EST

... I dont condone beating up your kids .. its scars them mentally as well as physically. But I have heard cases in which parents were approached by Social Services for spanking a kid. I know the parents and I know for a fact that they do not hurt their kid in any way.




If you can see this, then the .sig fell off.
[ Parent ]
Spanking... (none / 0) (#171)
by MarkCC on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 10:57:15 AM EST

Sorry, but you've set off one of my personal triggers.

I spent every day of high school being beaten, abused, and tortured, by kids whose parents believe in spanking. All that it accomplished was to teach them that hitting was an appropriate way of dealing with conflict.

I grew up with parents who didn't spank, but who were extremely strict. We were punished when we misbehaved - sometimes quite severely. It just wasn't by beating.

What matters isn't whether you hit your kids or not. What matters is that you teach them right and wrong, and use discipline when they do something bad. Discipline doesn't mean hitting.

My own experience has been that kids who've been disciplined with spankings or more serious beatings are more likely to be violent than kids who haven't.

[ Parent ]

Again I repeat .. (none / 0) (#174)
by dvNull on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 03:26:33 PM EST

Yes verbal discipline works .. but not with every child. I can point out many families where verbally disciplining a child did absolutely nothing. I dont want to spank a child. I want the child to be able to learn and understand his or her limits without the need for spanking.

Have I been hit by my parents? Yes, twice (I am 24 years old now, I got spanked once at age of 9 and once at 14 when I took beer to my school). I learnt immediately that I cannot disobey or try to defy my parents.

If you read my post again, one of the solutions to disciplining a kid (when they are older - high school age) was to take them to a ring, put on gloves and box a bit. I am not going to hurt my son, but at least he will learn how to defend himself at the same time. Then again, I dont know what my future childs emotional structure is or what his or her behavioral patterns will be so I cannot say with surety that this is how I will raise my child, diff kids respond to stuff in a different way.

You were picked on in school and I am sorry that happened to you. I know how it feels and I know it from experience. I was picked on when I was a kid as well, though by the time I reached high school, i was big enough to ward off any bullies :)

I dont condone beating or hurting any child. Just wanted to let you know that.




If you can see this, then the .sig fell off.
[ Parent ]
I know it's awful (5.00 / 2) (#162)
by anonymous cowerd on Sun Mar 11, 2001 at 01:35:24 PM EST

I know it's awful but whenever this crap happens, and it seems to be a continuing trend these days here in Bangbang Land, I can't help at first admiring the jerk who did it, for having had the guts to go do what I wanted to do practically every single day way back when I was an insane HS student, but I never had the nerve.

I'm completely aware all along that these random scattershot murders are nearly the most reprehensible crimes imaginable, with a special added horror for me personally as my own two beloved lovely children attend public schools just like today's latest battleground, only the luck of the draw chose other kids to be targets; and the real difference between me and that white boy up there on the national TV news screen is that at least I've always known the difference between my antisocial fantasy and what you do out there in the real world, while today's news star was evidently either too dim or too bent not to lose grip of that distinction. But still that's always my first involuntary reaction. Here I try to be, I think of myself as, a fairly reasonable person with a well-grounded sense of right-and-wrong, yet... I must have a screw loose.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

"This calm way of flying will suit Japan well," said Zeppelin's granddaughter, Elisabeth Veil.

Re: I know it's awful (none / 0) (#170)
by MarkCC on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 10:51:02 AM EST

I know exactly what you mean, and I don't think that you have a screw loose.

What gets left out of so much of the coverage of these incidents is the kind of provocation that occurs on a daily basis in the public schools.

Now, that's no excuse for what these kids do. I don't mean in any way to excuse or justify a kid who takes a gun to school and starts shooting people.

But for so many of us, especially in the geek community, we can remember what public school was like. I'm 34 years old, and I still have nightmares about high school, where I was beaten and abused every day by the jocks. I can still vividly remember going to a meeting with the principal where I had a broken finger in a brace - a finger broken deliberately by another student - and having the principal refuse to do anything about it, and accusing my parents of being unreasonable for insisting that the school was responsible for preventing students from physically beating other students. ("Boys will be boys. What do you want me to do, assign an armed guard to follow him around all day?")

At the time, I certainly had revenge fantasies. I dreamed of how I could get back at them for the endless torture that I endured. And I think that having fantasies like that is a perfectly normal, sane response. Of course you'll dream about being in a position where you can make your tormentors feel the way that they make you feel.

The difference between a sane person and an insane one is whether they choose to act on those fantasies. Even as I dreamed of doing it, I always knew that I could never do what I was thinking about.

These kids who've gone to school with guns and started shooting are absolutely screwed up. They lack that all important moral sense that prevents them from acting on that revenge fantasy. I don't think that being screwed up absolves them of responsibility for the evil of what they've done. But as screwed up as they are, I don't believe that the responsibility lies solely on their shoulders.

The schools have some responsibility. They allow these situations to develop. They ignore the daily abuse suffered by so many kids. And when that abuse happens every day, at every school in the country, you're talking about the institutionalized abuse and torture of thousands and thousands of kids. In a group that size, of course you're going to have some screwed up kids that, when pushed far enough, are capable of doing something insane.

Mix that up with lousy parents who don't bother to teach their children a sense of morality. And then mix that up with irresponsible jackasses who leave loaded guns, unlocked, where kids can get at them without the adults knowing about it, and you've got to expect that this sort of thing will happen.

(Please don't think that I'm trying to turn this into a gun control debate. That's a whole separate issue. My only point here is that when you keep a deadly weapon in the house, you should be responsible about it. Leaving an unlocked, loaded weapon in an unlocked glass cabinet is not responsible gun ownership.)

And for those of us who've been there... Who've felt the pain inflicted on these kids, who understand what drove them to this point... We can't help but feel a little bit of sympathy for the shooters. Because even though we were strong enough to master our own darkness, we've got that little dark corner inside of ourselves.

Every time this happens, I call my parents and thank them. Because if it weren't for them, that could have been me.

[ Parent ]

Revisiting this old thing again. (4.00 / 2) (#164)
by gromm on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 04:01:01 AM EST

Second, seeing a multiple-shooting rate that is much lower in higher education, the differences ought to be explored. Key is that college kids are better treated than high school kids. They are treated much more as self-determining adults, and their civil rights are more respected.

Actually, I believe that there are two main factors in this, although they certainly aren't the be-all and end-all of the problems with the system:

1) Overcrowding and lack of supervision
2) In college, the bar for entry is raised.

With regards to overcrowding, do you really think it's sane to pack 5 thousand people into the same building and expect them all to behave? To begin with, if you take that many people from the general public, of *course* there are going to be a few of them that are mean and nasty and like breaking laws just for the pure joy of getting away with it. When kids are well supervised, especially from a young age, they are impressioned with the idea that they *won't* be able to get away with antisocial behaviour, instead with the belief that they will be caught because the authority figures are indeed watching. If they are not watching, then victims can easily be bullied into silence. Hoping that the students will report such crimes is pointless, as only the authorities themselves are free from retribution. It is the bullies that create the monsters, not the parents or the role models or the video games. People who are cornered and made to feel utterly powerless are the most likely to lash out in a hyper-violent way.

In college, you will find that the atmosphere is infinitely more pleasant because the bottom 25% (perhaps more, but defintely the bottom 25%) of the students cannot or do not attend. They are either not eligible by virtue of entry qualifications, or because of lack of interest. The juvenile delinquents and other psychopaths aren't interested because they'd rather shoplift for dope, or maybe even hold down a job at a gas station or hauling bricks around. They don't like school because 99% of the time they were never any good at it. If they even manage to finish high school, they don't go any farther with it than that. The biggest problem with high schools is that you're packing a bunch of people who belong in jail into the same building as people who belong in polite society. The people who were raised with good manners and to stay away from fights are going to be the ones who are brutalized the most because they don't fight back - until either they lose their good manners and start being mean to other people in order to fit in, or until they snap and shoot themselves or someone else.

In my humble opinion, I think it is a huge mistake to force the delinquents through the educational system.
Deus ex frigerifero

Are school shootings THAT surprising ? | 176 comments (170 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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