I’m not going to ‘take everyone’s guns away’

An expectation of casual, cynical lying has taken over American political culture. Seldom has this been more obviously displayed than Barack Obama’s address to police chiefs in Chicago two days ago.

Here is what everyone in the United States of America except possibly a handful of mental defectives heard:

Obama’s anti-gun-rights base: “I’m lying. I’m really about the Australian-style gun confiscation I and my media proxies were talking up last week, and you know it. But we have to pretend so the knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers in flyover country will go back to sleep, not put a Republican in the White House in 2016, and not scupper our chances of appointing another Supreme Court justice who’ll burn a hole in the Bill of Rights big enough to let us take away their eeeeevil guns. Eventually, if not next year.”

Gun owners: “I’m lying. And I think you’re so fucking stupid that you won’t notice. Go back back to screwing your sisters and guzzling moonshine now, oh low-sloping foreheads, everything will be juuust fiiine.”

Everyone else: “This bullshit again?”

Of course, the mainstream media will gravely pretend to believe Obama, so that they can maintain their narrative that anyone who doesn’t is a knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, sister-fucking, Confederate-flag-waving RAAACIST.

275 thoughts on “I’m not going to ‘take everyone’s guns away’

  1. What I find interesting is that after gun control became a 3rd rail of US politics, after a string of catastrophic Democraticd defeats starting with the 1994 Congressional election and ending with Al Gore losing in 2000, all of a sudden two of the top party leaders are calling for outright confiscations.

    Of course, it could just be that Obama is trolling us, he really likes to do that, and Hillary is political dumb and incompetent (and has been so since the Watergate hearings where her actions ended any chance of a career in Washington, forcing her to accept Bill’s offer of marriage and exile to Arkansas), but, still….

  2. Damn, Eric, I could have written this one. You’re really wound up, aren’t you?

  3. Elections are in a year, and he has no majority in either house.

    I think Obama is honest. He will not start confiscating guns as there is no point in even trying.

    What I understood from more level headed quarters is that Obama wants Hillary to win and to get the next nominee for the Supreme Court. Then he might help to curtail gun ownership more effectively. A futile attempt to do something drastic now would only hurt his future.

  4. What I understood from more level headed quarters is that Obama wants Hillary to win and to get the next nominee for the Supreme Court. Then he might help to curtail gun ownership more effectively.

    I don’t see how. After Heller and McDonald, establishing the blessings of the Supremes for us to keep arms and bear them only in our dwellings, they’ve allowed the lower courts to ignore anything else the decisions might imply. Adverse concealed carry cases in 4 circuit courts of appeals were denied cert, Chicago and Illinois didn’t dare appeal the 7th’s decision mandating shall issue, and there are cases in the 9th Circuit and D.C. which haven’t yet reached the Supremes.

    Unless you live in Illinois or especially Chicago, on the ground Heller and McDonald have been damp squibs, and the big action today is Michael Bloomberg pouring millions into all sorts of efforts across the nation, resulting in a big victory in Colorado, perhaps eventually big ones in Washington State and Oregon (where the authorities are pledging not to obey the letter of the new laws aimed at suppressing the creation of new gun owners), and is right now trying to turn Virginia more anti-gun, which would have long term detrimental effects on the NRA, which is mostly based there. He’s smarter than most gun grabbers, and for him, this is pocket change.

  5. @Russ Nelson
    “Obama HATES Hillary. With a passion unbridled.”

    I am sure the feeling is mutual. But they are professionals, not like the current crop of GOP candidates.

    Obama needs the Democrats, and especially PoTUS Hillary to advance his further career plans. Hillary needs Obama and his supporters to become and succeed as the next PoTUS. She does not only need to win the elections, but also to get majorities in the house(s). For both of these she needs the help of Obama and the Democrat establishment.

  6. The feeling is indeed mutual. As far as Hillary’s concerned, Barack Obama stole the office that was rightfully hers.

    Obama’s concerned, first and foremost, about his legacy, and that the work he’s done not be undone. He would prefer somebody, anybody but Hillary, but he’s got to work with what he has. As long as he’s the President, he could scupper her life with one phone call, and she knows it. She’s going to hold her nose and promise to uphold and expand his legacy, because that’s what his price is, and what it will take to get her past Sanders in the primaries.

  7. >I think Obama is honest. He will not start confiscating guns as there is no point in even trying.

    No, you’re quite right. But he does desire and is actively attempting to create the political conditions that will allow gun confiscation in the future. Which is why his protestations are both literally true and substantially vast lies.

  8. @esr
    ” But he does desire and is actively attempting to create the political conditions that will allow gun confiscation in the future. Which is why his protestations are both literally true and substantially vast lies.”

    Maybe. Unless we find someone who knows him that intimately, this is all speculation. But there are lots of people who think all these guns are a danger to the people. It is quite possible that there will be a political majority in the future that will limit private gun ownership.

    Still, a politician has only to speak the truth in a real sense, not about his possible actions in a possible distant future. He did most definitely NOT say he would like to promote gun ownership, just that he will not implement policies to confiscate all guns.

  9. @Jay
    “As long as he’s the President, he could scupper her life with one phone call, and she knows it. ”

    Both are professional career politicians. If you cannot set yourself over private grudges, you will not reach the status of PoTUS. If either is small minded enough to risk the next elections on personal revenge, they deserve all the wrath of the Democrats and the people of the US.

  10. “Both are professional career politicians.”

    And Barack Obama is a Chicago machine politician, steeped in that ethos. Chicago machine politics is all about retribution and favors. He carries grudges and takes retribution and returns favors because he literally cannot conceive of operating in any other manner.

  11. A fact that gets lost in the posturing and blathering –

    It is already illegal for a convicted felon to possess a gun. Many (most?) of the worst offenders in the places Eric cites as “urban areas where civil order has partially or totally collapsed” could be arrested and confined just on the basis of existing laws. See Wayne Lapierre’s commentary on the subject. (I am not a member of the NRA, and do not subscribe to their position in all cases, but this one is undeniably true.)

    I think that politicians, not wanting to follow through on enforcing existing limitations (for whatever reason), have to keep proposing new regulations so that they are seen as “doing something about ‘The Gun Problem'”.

  12. @Jay
    “He carries grudges and takes retribution and returns favors because he literally cannot conceive of operating in any other manner.”

    Possibly, but I have not seen anything yet of Obama trying to sabotage Hillary. He could have done that by pushing Biden to run, for instance. And if Obama really wants to get into the Supreme Court, he will need a Democratic president and a Democratic house with representatives who want him to be in the court.

    And why would Hillary keep her word about such a deal?

    Chelsea?

  13. For Obama to become a Supreme Court justice, he would need a Democrat president and 60 votes in the Senate. (The House has nothing to say about SCOTUS appointees, or appointees in general.) I just can’t see this happening.

    Especially someone who, despite being a lecturer in Constitutional law, has done more to trample the Constitution than any president in my lifetime.

  14. Why not look at this as a normal example of a politician lying?

    Also, it may be a matter of where I hang out, but I definitely see such accusations as not being a US citizen or being a Muslim treated as racist, but not so much with policy disagreements.

  15. There are at least two different strategies for disarming a citizenry. One is to proactively reduce private gun ownership via regulation, coercion, or confiscation. A second is via memetic reprogramming in which the citizenry is induced to dislike and fear guns; leading to a voluntary shunning of gun ownership. Both of these strategies are in play currently in the US.

    Eric is right to voice great concern over this issue. Private gun ownership and love of liberty are the ethos of the American spirit. Once that is extirpated, there is very little to prevent the rise of tyranny here. Now imagine a world in which a Stalin-like tyrant commands the power of the US military to do his bidding.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  16. @Jay
    “I just can’t see this happening.”

    Difficult, but not impossible. I Hillary has a very good run against a bad GOP candidate, say Carson or Trump, she could take the senate too.

    If John Paul II can get sainthood before even his successor is dead, anything is possible.

  17. @TomA
    “Now imagine a world in which a Stalin-like tyrant commands the power of the US military to do his bidding.”

    I cannot see how this is connected to private gun ownership. We already had a long discussion about the fairy tale that armed citizens are a match to a professional army.

    And really, neither Ovama nor Hillary have anything in common with Stalin.

  18. When you know all the politicians are incompetent and lying to you, you might as well vote for the most entertaining liars. Right now I’d vote for Trump. Vote for the Entertainer in Chief, since no adequate Commander in Chief is running. No serious candidate for 2016 president has a record of real achievement in successful military service (Eisenhower, say), real achievement successfully running a big bureau, or even a lucky state governor or CEO. None of them are qualified. On past form none of them will learn much on the job.

  19. I think TomA is talking about a Stalin-type dictator being the future outcome of an America in which the spirit of freedom were ultimately asphyxiated. And that that would be likely the case if the people were to embrace a policy of gun confiscation and willingly give them up.

    (We are of course aware that Europeans largely seem fine with this, and don’t appear to have lost any freedoms they believe are essential. But then, Europeans also no longer possess huge militaries capable of projecting force abroad or internally.)

  20. (Somewhat OT: did anyone else get an email notification about this post with a horribly mangled subject header? Namely: “Igoing to ‘take everyone’s guns aw’m not ay’”.)

  21. When Obama says we should look at the “common sense” gun laws of Australia … is there anything he could mean other than extremely controlled private ownership of firearms? It’s not so much that he is lying as the media is lying for him. An honest media would immediately push back when he says that.

  22. >Also, it may be a matter of where I hang out, but I definitely see such accusations as not being a US citizen or being a Muslim treated as racist, but not so much with policy disagreements.

    Er. You need to get out more.

  23. This is why I strongly dislike the term “common sense” these days. Everyone has their own definition, sometimes tendentiously constructed, so there’s no objective reference point; “common” is no longer common.

    I’d be tempted to call for the term “common sense” to be deemed Unparliamentary Language; however, by similar logic, damn near anything said in Congress would fall into the same category.

  24. I have at least one acquaintance I’ve heard literally and genuinely claim that most people who disagree with Obama’s policies do so only because he’s black.

    (Interestingly, we can and have worked together amicably on projects. We’ll shake hands when we meet. Sometimes people can compartmentalize stuff amazingly well. Shrug.)

  25. Winter: “Still, a politician has only to speak the truth in a real sense, not about his possible actions in a possible distant future. He did most definitely NOT say he would like to promote gun ownership, just that he will not implement policies to confiscate all guns.”

    Yes, this. Would President Obama personally prefer a U.S. with less gun ownership? Probably. As would tens of millions of other people. But an analysis that characterizes the president’s substantively accurate statements about his actual legislative and policy proposals as just so many lying lies while simultaneously leaving unchallenged the substantively inaccurate statements the president was seeking to rebut (“You know, the president is thinking about signing an executive order where he wants to take your guns away.”) is maybe not up to ESR’s typically high standards of cogency.

  26. @ Paul Brinkley – “I’ve heard literally and genuinely claim that most people who disagree with Obama’s policies do so only because he’s black.”

    This is the power of memetic programming.

    Factually, Barack Obama is biracial; born of a Negroid father and Caucasian mother. For most people, misstating his race is an intentional error that is promulgated willingly, if somewhat haphazardly. Imagine the consequences if you employed this same mindset when hacking.

    Intentional memetic distortion is no trivial matter; its anti-evolutiionary.

  27. >This is why I strongly dislike the term “common sense” these days.

    When I was much younger the media used to have a thing about what it called “dog whistle” language – subtly coded but deniable race baiting aimed mainly at conservative Southern whites. This had been a real phenomenon – segregationist Democrats like George Wallace and Strom Thurmond raised it to an art form in the 1960s. Of course, once the media got done rewriting history it was commonly attributed only to Republicans.

    The phrase “common sense”, used anywhere near gun policy, is best understood as a dog whistle for bicoastal left-liberals. It’s a way to whisper “Psst – I want to create the legal and procedural machinery for firearms bans, but I can’t say that out loud with the rubes listening”.

  28. Of course, once the media got done rewriting history it was commonly attributed only to Republicans.

    This was no conspiratorial rewrite of history. We’ve been through this before — lookup “Southern strategy”. After MLK’s assassination the Democrats adopted civil rights as part of their platform, alienating their Dixiecrat voter base. The Nixon strategists adopted dog-whistle politics in order to appeal to the pissed off racist voter base in the South so the Republicans would have a chance at winning. And it’s been going on ever since: the GOP is a failed party which would have no chance at the White House or a majority in Congress if it werent for their consistent appeals to the worst part of our nature. Aside from a few old-guard stragglers like Thurmond, dog-whistling to a racist base has been overwhelmingly a GOP strategy since the late sixties.

  29. And so, Jeff, you explicitly accuse Republicans of being nothing but racists.

    Fuck you and the …no, wait, you wouldn’t ride in on a horse, or a donkey, or an ox, or any other animal, because that would be enslaving them, and animals are just like people, right?

    You’re explicitly advocating for the disenfranchisement of a large section of the population that simply doesn’t kowtow to your leftist politically correct ideals. Everyone has the right to vote, except racist white Southerners, right?

    If I knew where you were, I’d tie you up, stuff you in a box, and find a time machine to send you to the 1950s USSR you obviously pine for.

    But I can’t, so I’ll just have to resort to telling you to fuck off every chance I get.

    Like now.

    Fuck off.

  30. I can vouch from personal experience that among what Eric calls “bicoastal elites”, criticizing Obama and his policies openly is enough to earn you shocked looks. Don’t do it at work — you may as well walk into your trendy San Francisco startup job wearing full KKK regalia.

    Such liberals usually settle down — somewhat — after I clarify that I think Obama has sold out his liberal values and moved to the center-right as President; and that someone like Bernie Sanders or Dr. Jill Stein would be much more suitable. But Obama is basically Jesus to people who want to identify with the correct political party but do not think critically about issues and policies.

    The scary thing is I think he knew and planned for this: being the first black President (half-black counts as black, both by the historic “one drop of blood” rule and by current norms espoused by blacks) is a thought-stopper among emotion-driven liberals and puts him beyond criticism or reproach. Which is what I think he wanted all along: to ascend unimpeded to power and thereby stamp his name into history.

    Similar dynamics apply to the first female President which is — along with the massive backfire of Republican attempts to trump up (no pun intended) scandals around Benghazi and her private email server, which now look as petty and self-serving as do the Vincent Foster conspiracy theory and Monicagate impeachment boondoggle — why I believe Hillary Clinton will be our next President, despite my serious misgivings about her. The election is the Democrats’ to lose — remember, GOP = failed party — and Hillary is the most visible and recognized candidate.

  31. I think that politicians, not wanting to follow through on enforcing existing limitations (for whatever reason), have to keep proposing new regulations so that they are seen as “doing something about ‘The Gun Problem’”.

    Almost all political action can be best understood as “being seen to be doing something”.

    (With the corollary of “something must be done; this is something; therefore this must be done”.)

  32. @ Jeff Read – ‘half-black counts as black, both by the historic “one drop of blood” rule and by current norms espoused by blacks’

    Factually, all races are descended from ancestral negroid tribes in Africa, so we all possess this founding DNA footprint of our species. Evolution has differentiated this root stock into various genotypes; which we now choose to describe using unique racial identifiers. The current wordsmanship over the “acceptable” use of black is a memetic tool of intentional mental manipulation. For leftists, it is signaling of collectivist fealty. For rationalists, it signals a lack of intelligence.

  33. Jay,

    I’m not accusing the Republicans of anything that isn’t documented history. Lee Atwater has already confessed they do everything I said they did.

    And I’m not saying that white Southerners shouldn’t be allowed to vote. I’m saying that pandering to racist sentiments in order to get votes is socially destructive. But that is a symptom of a structural problem with American politics: the first past the post voting system means that it’s political suicide to take a principled stance on the issues for either side; the only winning strategy is to use any means necessary to get more votes than the opposing party (there will ever be only two parties). American politics has historically been a Wheatstone bridge, each side constantly balancing itself with respect to the other side, but far removed from any principles on the actual issues upon which we appoint politicians to make decisions — be they liberal OR conservative principles. That’s why things like emailgate and Benghazi are what get talked about, rather than the issues.

    We need to get rid of FPTP election and the related problem of private campaign funding before American politicians will countenance serving anyone but the well-heeled special interests who back them.

  34. > We’ve been through this before — lookup “Southern strategy”.

    Yes, and you were fantasizing that time too. I will give you this much: it’s a fantasy that has been propagandized into conventional wisdom even among people who aren’t left-wing loons. It is nevertheless historically false.

    If you look at the actual psephological numbers, the pro-Republican shift in the South began well before civil rights was a central issue (I admit to having been surprised when I first learned this). I don’t know exactly why, but my best guess from the timing is that it was a reaction to the extension and deepening of the Great Depression by Roosevelt’s New Deal. The South was the poorest region of the U.S., and thus the hardest hit by Roosevelt’s ham-fisted attempts to imitate Soviet central planning.

    Thus, Dixiecat segregationism is best understood as a regional reaction against a northern/Republican erosion of their power base that was already well under way, a particularly bitter one because at that time the trend began the foundation of the Republicans as an anti-slavery party was a relatively recent historical memory. There were still a handful of Southerners alive then who could remember fighting in the Civil War, and many more with memories of the Reconstruction. “Bluebelly”, “Northerner” and “Republican” blurred together in their minds.

    Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” had remarkably little to do with any of this except in after-the-fact propaganda by his enemies. One of the facts that has been thrown down the memory hole is that before McGovern won the Democratic primary, Nixon thought he was going to be running against a segregationist and, far from attempting to outflank George Wallace on his racist side, presented himself as a moderate alternative to the first generation of what would later be called the “New South” – urban and suburban voters with relatively few ties to the corrupt Democratic oligarchy that still dominated the rural counties.

  35. > Factually, Barack Obama is biracial

    Okay, hold on a minute, take a step back.

    Are you seriously making the claim that there is no definition of “black” which is A) coherent B) sincerely held by a wide portion of the population C) used by at least some (certainly not most, particularly when sampled from people who bother with arguing about policy, but some?) people as a basis for discrimination, prejudice, and/or hatred of Obama and/or people of substantially the same background as him?

    Or do you consider the whole concept of having the definition of words determined by common usage to be “memetic programming”

  36. As usual, it can’t happen here.

    Of course, the only reason it can’t happen here is because there will be people with guns to stop it.

    Whatever “it” is.

  37. @ Random832 -“Are you seriously making the claim . . .”

    I’m saying that stupidity is not a virtue, regardless of the common misuse of words. In this particular case, the leftist’s and media taboo against accurately describing Obama’s racial composition is deliberate disinformation designed to promote conformity with their political agenda and mindfuck people into desired thought patterns.

  38. There were still a handful of Southerners alive then who could remember fighting in the Civil War, and many more with memories of the Reconstruction. “Bluebelly”, “Northerner” and “Republican” blurred together in their minds.

    This sounds plausible to me, although I’ve never read anything to this effect. Any suggested reading?

  39. “The phrase “common sense”, used anywhere near gun policy, is best understood as a dog whistle for bicoastal left-liberals. It’s a way to whisper “Psst – I want to create the legal and procedural machinery for firearms bans, but I can’t say that out loud with the rubes listening”.”

    So is there _any_ way for someone to say something like:
    “I’m in favour of some very basic restrictions on gun ownership, specifically things like waiting periods, background checks, and even mandatory liability insurance”

    without people hearing “this person wants to disarm the nation”?

  40. @ Sean C

    One could make the same sort of measured argument in favor of other social restrictions. For example, the right to drive an automobile could be privileged upon demonstration of a minimum IQ and the right to vote could be limited only to those who have demonstrated a productive contribution to society. Its a slippery slope.

  41. @TomA It being a slippery slope doesn’t mean that the top or somewhere mid-way, rather than the bottom, can’t be someone’s sincerely held position.

    Likewise, either of the things you mentioned could be someone’s sincerely held position without them actually wanting it to go further.

  42. >So is there _any_ way for someone to say something like:
    “I’m in favour of some very basic restrictions on gun ownership, specifically things like waiting periods, background checks, and even mandatory liability insurance” without people hearing “this person wants to disarm the nation”?

    That literal sentence – and strenuous avoidance of known dog whistles – would be a good start.

    But go read Destroying the middle ground for an extended explanation of why anyone sincerely uttering that sentence has a steep hill to climb. The discourse around it has been poisoned by decades of Big Lies by the other side, leaving even formerly moderate types like myself radicalized and mistrustful.

    The second, related problem you’d run into is that gun owners no longer trust that programs such as “mandatory liability insurance” would be administered technocratically. J. Random Gun Owner hears that and immediately visualizes the worst-case scenario: premiums deliberately hiked to the point where owning legally is financially ruinous. The point you need to get is that this is not a crazy reaction – it’s continuous with the entire history of attempted illegalizations by stealth.

  43. So Eric, let’s assume that we elect you “King For A Day” with the specific remit that you will make the rules to “Keep us safe from guns.” (Sorry, I’m too tired to figure out how to phrase it neutrally.) What rules do you make? Note that the problem space shows four large categories of gun deaths; suicides, domestic violence, crime and gang related, mass shootings, and as King you will be expected to address each of these issues, with the assumption that most people do not have the training or mindset to take on an active shooter.

    I can see some obvious rules that make sense to me; for example, one must own a gun safe before one can purchase a gun, but I’m curious on your take. How do you solve the problem of 30,000+ gun deaths in the US, plus the 85,000 annual gun injuries?

  44. So Eric, let’s assume that we elect you “King For A Day” with the specific remit that you will make the rules to “Keep us safe from guns.”

    You’re begging the question. Why wouldn’t we tell him to “keep us safe from automobiles”? The entire argument in favor of widespread ownership of and familiarity with firearms is that, net, they make most people (everyone who isn’t a large young adult male) significantly safer. Making everyone “safe from guns” is making them much more vulnerable to other sorts of violence; note, in particular, the massive rise in knife attacks in Britain in recent years.

  45. Chris, I would have loved to phrase the question in a more neutral fashion, but I’m too damned tired, which is why the phrase “Keep us safe from guns” is in quotes. I’m so sorry if that doesn’t meet your exacting standards… but if you want to address the issue, you can be “King For A Day” too. Have at it!

  46. My whole point is that keeping people safe from guns is a poor goal. I don’t object to the phrasing, I object to the essence. You are smuggling in the assumption of what “the issue” is.

  47. ‘I can think of some rules that make sense to me, for instance requiring ownership of a gun safe’

    I can think of rules that would make sense to anyone nickel-diming any constitutional right away. First amendment- Requiring media supporting the opposing party to include as much input from my party as my party considers proper- call it the ‘Fairness Doctrine’. Worked great before those dastards at Fox. Second amendment- Senator Moynihan wanted the feds to jack up the price of ammunition to cut the second amendment down to size. Working as we speak! Ask any gun owner what the price of a brick used to be before Obama. I’m not sure how to force people to quarter redcoats their homes again, though. Any suggestions?

  48. >How do you solve the problem of 30,000+ gun deaths in the US, plus the 85,000 annual gun injuries?

    First, total drug legalization. Pffft, the 80% of crime and gun violence associated with the drug trade goes away. Most of the U.S. already has a per-capita gun crime and accident distribution resembling Switzerland or Norway’s; with the drug trade gone our cities would almost cease standing out from that low background.

    We still wouldn’t look quite normal for a first-world country because we have a degree of cultural and ethnic variety no other first-world country matches, While this improve our cuisine, it also raises our levels of crime and intramural violence significantly. I don’t have a fix for that even as king.

    How bloody can I get? Executing every violent felon – without exception – would be quite effective. I’m opposed to the death penalty under normal circumstances, because it’s a power I don’t trust governments to have. But we’ve stipulated that I’m only king for a day, which I take as an invitation to consider extraordinarily and non-recurring measures.

    More seriously, I think there’s there’s a huge but largely ignored problem at the back of the residual of non-drug-trade-related gun violence, which is long-term use of SSRIs and other antidepressants by mentally ill outpatients. Dig deep enough into almost any mass shooting and you’ll find someone who is off his meds, or reacting badly to his meds, or just changed meds on doctor’s orders. Those drugs make people brittle. Brittle people snap. Reinstitutionalizing most people we now treat as outpatients would be expensive but it would cut out a lot of that remaining 20%

    I’m not sure I want to recommend this in the real world, however. Involuntary commitment is a dangerous tool that is too readily perverted into a means to suppress dissent. My point is that better ways to manage mental illness would help a _lot_, especially with the rare but prominent problem of spree killings.

    I’d abolish background checks. They’re useless except as security theater. Criminals easily evade them, crazies easily pass them. They don’t yield benefits commensurate with their cost and intrusiveness – it’s not even close. They’re only marginally less silly than TSA zap’n’grope.

    I would abolish all restrictions on concealed and open carry, and design some program of incentives for as many civilians to regularly carry concealed as possible; the places where this is normal have extraordinarily low crime rates. Members of professions like teachers and day-care workers that put their practitioners in loco parentis of minor children would be required to maintain firearms proficiency as a condition of employment.

    I would treat people who shoot criminals and terrorists as heroes. Tickertape parades, keys to the city, the whole shebang. The point is to socially reinforce beneficial firearms use – the defense of civilization – while being simultaneously hell on the criminal kind.

    I would abolish all “Gun-Free Zones” on public property – we know that mass murderers seek these out so they can kill unimpeded. I would allow private-property owners to ban weapons provided that resulting deaths are legally treated as failure of duty to protect and criminal negligence on their part.

    I would institute a tit-for-tat sentencing rule: if you shoot someone during commission of a felony, part of your sentence is to be shot in exactly the same way by the same caliber weapon. No exceptions. You get hospital care afterwards; if the bullet didn’t kill you outright, and you survive the wound, you get the rest of your sentence.

  49. Here’s the deal Chris. On one hand, we have the Second Amendment, with which I generally agree (IMHO a true liberal supports the ENTIRE Bill of Rights.) On the other hand we have a HUGE problem, because we lose more than 30,000 people a year to gunfire, with an astounding 80-90,000 injuries a year. So how do we balance this issue and prevent these deaths while still honoring the Second Amendment? What rules and laws are acceptable to a major fan of guns? As a gun fan, how do YOU solve this problem? What should “the goal” be?

    For me the issue goes something like this; gun advocates like to pretend that that 30,000 deaths a year, plus 80-90,000 injuries isn’t “an issue” or “a problem” that requires some kind of response. This is a completely immoral position… I don’t demand that we get rid of guns, ban large magazines or make semi-automatic weapons illegal, but I do expect that gun advocates will recognize the problem and make an intelligent attempt to solve it. I think my position is a fair one.

    “Don’t take my guns” isn’t good enough. It should be “Don’t take my guns and here is my proposed solution to the 30,000 deaths we see every year!”

  50. Hi Eric. I’m very busy these days, so I don’t know if I’ll have time to reply is detail – the last hour has been stolen from sleep, but you’ve got some very good ideas, along with a few I don’t like much.

    A couple things very quickly: I’ll note that as a Californian, I just took a trip to Oregon, where weed is legal. It felt so much SANER there, so I definitely agree with your idea on total drug legalization. I agree that being “off your meds” is also a big deal with “spree killers,” and there’s certainly something there which is doable. The rest, not so much.

    How does his majesty feel about issues like mandatory gun safes, trigger locks, and other safety precautions. Are they worth legislating over?

  51. >How does his majesty feel about issues like mandatory gun safes, trigger locks, and other safety precautions. Are they worth legislating over?

    No. They’re either ineffective or actually harmful, with a very limited exception around children. Even there, gun-safety education from an early age is more effective than any mechanical “safety” measure.

    Advocacy of these measures (and related ones such as “smart guns”) as “mandatory” should be recognized for what it is: nothing to do with preventing harm, everything to do with making self-defense more difficult and risky in order to erode popular support for legal weapons ownership.

  52. Paul Brinkley, I also got the mangled email header.

    Eric, one of the problems with guns is people who have problems staying clear-headed under pressure, and for some people, daily life seems to be too much pressure. Any thoughts about methods (presumably non-mandatory) which would make it easier for people to handle guns sensibly? There seems to be two categories of the problem– making mistakes when angry/frightened and not being reliably conscientious.

  53. On the other hand we have a HUGE problem, because we lose more than 30,000 people a year to gunfire, with an astounding 80-90,000 injuries a year. So how do we balance this issue and prevent these deaths while still honoring the Second Amendment? What rules and laws are acceptable to a major fan of guns? As a gun fan, how do YOU solve this problem? What should “the goal” be?

    Asking how we “prevent these deaths” is, at its base, a bad-faith question, because it (usually very deliberately) ignores all the other deaths prevented (and all the other effects) of firearm availability. It’s like saying that we should ban electricity because people get electrocuted, while ignoring the massive benefits that electricity brings, including, very directly, probably tens to hundreds of thousands of lives in the US every year.

    The usual “but we must do something!” crowd blatantly lies about the frequency of legitimate defensive gun use (DGU). Gary Kleck’s landmark study, conducted in 1995, well before the mass movement to legalize carrying handguns, concluded something around 2.2-2.5m DGUs in the United States annually. The FBI, which has an institutional aversion to “civilian” gun use, pouted and pointed out that their own survey, which had government questioners asking much more restrictive questions, only came out with around a million a year.

    An honest question would be, instead, “How can we reduce the overall levels of violence and crime?”, or even “How can we minimize the overall levels of violence involving guns, not just these specific incidents that may be massively offset elsewhere?” The clear answers to that are pretty much what Eric said upthread: eliminate black markets and thus the value of “turf”, encourage widespread daily carrying (note that several incidents that would have been called “mass shootings” were stopped by individuals before they got off the ground), and explore options for helping individuals who are mentally unbalanced.

  54. Jeff Read on 2015-10-29 at 15:46:30 said:After MLK’s assassination the Democrats adopted civil rights as part of their platform, alienating their Dixiecrat voter base.

    I’m going to try to concoct a computers/IT history that matches the above in howling error.

    “After Microsoft introduced Windows 95, personal computers became a big business.”

    The Democrats first put a civil rights plank in their platform in 1948, resulting in a breakaway “Dixiecrat” ticket. (The word “Dixiecrat” essentially dates to 1948 – see Google Ngrams.)

    This was the first harbinger of the breakdown of the “Solid South”. But the “Solid South” was an unnatural construct – a bloc of rural, mostly conservative, and mostly anti-Catholic voters who all but unanimously supported the party of urbanites, immigrant Catholics, and intellectual progressives.

    Until 1948, the national Democratic party served the South on civil rights. After 1948, that trade-off was broken, and with it, the reflexive loyalty of Southerners to the Democrats. Many began voting Republican instead – first at the Presidential level. (Eisenhower carried Florida and Texas twice; they had voted Republican only once since Reconstruction.)

    Eventually the change worked down to state elections. It took two generations; many older Southerners could never vote Republican, the Democratic party organizations in the South were robust while the Republican party was vestigial, and incumbent Democrat officeholders enjoyed strong voter loyalty.

    Demography also changed; in-migration (especially in Florida) and urbanization (actually, suburbanization) created new populations that were not locked into the old tribal loyalties.

    The Nixon strategists adopted dog-whistle politics in order to appeal to the pissed off racist voter base in the South so the Republicans would have a chance at winning.

    The Nixonite “Southern Strategy” was to appeal to conservative Southern voters on all the issues other than civil rights. On that issue they kept silent, letting the national Democrats wave the flag and offend Southerners. Instead they emphasized the general liberalism of the Democrats, especially on social issues. In 1972, Democrat George McGovern was pilloried as the candidate of “Acid [LSD], amnesty [for draft evaders], and abortion.”

    Nixon swept the South, despite the fact that there had been no relaxation of civil rights enforcement. But also note that while Nixon averaged over 70% in the 11 former Confederate states, Republicans won only 32 of 108 House seats and 4 of 10 Senate seats.

    ESR wrote: If you look at the actual psephological numbers, the pro-Republican shift in the South began well before civil rights was a central issue (I admit to having been surprised when I first learned this). I don’t know exactly why, but my best guess from the timing is that it was a reaction to the extension and deepening of the Great Depression by Roosevelt’s New Deal. The South was the poorest region of the U.S., and thus the hardest hit by Roosevelt’s ham-fisted attempts to imitate Soviet central planning.

    I don’t know what psephological numbers you’ve looked at, but I’ve studied this a lot and I think you’re mistaken. The “Solid South” actually cracked a bit in the 1920s. (Texas elected a Republican Representative in 1920-1932 – the only one between 1876 and 1954.) The Upper South (Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee) had always been a bit non-Solid, always electing a few Republican Representatives and often having serious contests for governor. In part it was because these states had Unionist areas that regarded the Confederacy as oppressors.

    The Deep South (from South Carolina to Texas) was truly Solid, voting 75% to 90% Democrat, with most elections not even contested. That was because in some of those states, and large areas of others, blacks were the majority. If they voted, blacks would rule those states and areas. Which was unthinkable! And Republicans were the blacks’ party. (In the Upper South, there were proportionately fewer blacks, less fear of black voting, and Republicans didn’t rely on black votes.)

    The big crack in the 1920s was in 1928, when many Southerners voted against Catholic Al Smith, allowing Hoover to carry five Southern States. Republican national strength carried over into the South as well. But the national Republican collapse in the 1930s also carried over; the South again became Solid until 1948, when it fractured over civil rights (at the Presidential level). Republicans began to penetrate the Deep South in the 1950s and 1960s; but the areas where they made the most progress were “New South” areas, prosperous and modernizing but still conservative, such as the Dallas suburbs which sent a Republican to Congress in 1954. There was also a shift in the Upper South, where Republicans had a substantial base. And by the 1950s, civil rights was very much a central issue,

    I don’t see a reaction against the New Deal as being important. If anything, New Deal relief and public works programs were popular in the South, and it’s not as though the Eisenhower-Rockefeller-Nixon Republicans were libertarians.

  55. Jeff: “We need to get rid of FPTP election and the related problem of private campaign funding”

    So you want to get rid of one-voter, one-vote elections and the First Amendment, eh?

    Oh, and your equation of Southern Republicans and racism has now been well and truly debunked.

    Now fuck off.

    Troutwaxer: Your 30K deaths figure conflates several problems that are not amenable of a single solution. In doing so, it places the focus on the tool instead of the user. As long as you address the wrong problem, you will not get good solutions.

    So long as you talk about “gun violence”, you will be wrong. Look at the problems that are, not the problem you want there to be.

  56. >Any thoughts about methods (presumably non-mandatory) which would make it easier for people to handle guns sensibly? There seems to be two categories of the problem– making mistakes when angry/frightened and not being reliably conscientious.

    The statistics on gun deaths and injuries do not back up the notion that this is a real problem. Every individual story about a mistaken shooting by someone who panicked, or someone who botched cleaning his gun and shot himself, gets news coverage precisely because these incidents are extremely rare. Certainly orders of magnitude rarer than, say, vehicular fatalities due to carelessness. And even rather rarer than other exceptional causes of death, such as swimming-pool drownings.

    This sort of thing is given false prominence by people who want you to believe that ordinary people are too stupid to handle firearms safely, and thus shouldn’t be allowed to. It’s not just wrong, it’s dishonest. If we’re too stupid for firearms, we’re too stupid for automobiles, swimming pools, alcohol, and half a dozen other common causes of death by misadventure or plain idiocy.

    That said, firearms safety training in schools, along with basic handling and marksmanship, would be no bad thing.

  57. >I don’t know what psephological numbers you’ve looked at, but I’ve studied this a lot and I think you’re mistaken.

    If I am, your account actually makes the shift earlier and the myth about “Southern Strategy” even more bogus. so I am not unhappy about this.

  58. >Troutwaxer: Your 30K deaths figure conflates several problems that are not amenable of a single solution. In doing so, it places the focus on the tool instead of the user. As long as you address the wrong problem, you will not get good solutions.

    Troutwaxer, this is true. I consciously chose to ignore that flaw in your question because I believed you actually wanted an answer to the nearest question that actually makes honest sense. But your question was indeed flawed as Jay describes.

  59. I wrote: “This sort of thing is given false prominence by people who want you to believe that ordinary people are too stupid to handle firearms safely, and thus shouldn’t be allowed to. ”

    Nancy, I should add that this is a form of sniggering elitism that ought to raise any libertarian’s hackles.

  60. To those suggesting “mandatory liability insurance” for guns—just what do you imagine will be covered by such a policy that isn’t covered by standard homeowners’ insurance policies?

  61. > How bloody can I get? Executing every violent felon – without exception – would be quite effective. I’m opposed to the death penalty under normal circumstances, because it’s a power I don’t trust governments to have. But we’ve stipulated that I’m only king for a day, which I take as an invitation to consider extraordinarily and non-recurring measures.

    You trust yourself with it? Many of the usual reasons not to trust a government with it (i.e. you can’t perfectly determine someone is guilty) apply even to a dictator of perfect moral character, and even that’s putting aside that the list of violent felons you’re working from is implicitly supplied by the government you’re taking over for. And even that’s putting aside that since they weren’t expecting to be executed they may have taken deals on things they weren’t guilty of, to avoid the risk of going to trial, being falsely found guilty, and receiving a harsher punishment (including the death penalty itself).

    Of course, there’s a utilitarian argument that whatever percentage of innocent (or guilty but not in fact at risk for recidivism) people you’d end up executing are acceptable losses. But it smells a bit of Pol Pot.

  62. “To those suggesting “mandatory liability insurance” for guns—just what do you imagine will be covered by such a policy that isn’t covered by standard homeowners’ insurance policies?”

    One suggestion I’ve heard is for people to be [financially, not criminally] liable for damages caused by someone who steals their gun, under a strict liability rule. Insurance premiums would, so the argument goes, naturally scale with how effective one’s security is.

    Personally, I’m skeptical – I don’t even trust car insurance companies to actually scale premiums fairly.

  63. @Random832
    “> Executing every violent felon – without exception – would be quite effective.
    You trust yourself with it? ”

    Even worse, crime is a type of career. When you would remove all plumbers from society, you do not expect to remain without plumbers for long.

    The same for crime. If you succeed in removing all criminals from society, you just created a huge employment opportunity for new entrants.

  64. Fortunately there are those on the Right who are learning to wield the memetic weapons of the Left: Expect comparisons to poll taxes, claims of restricting 2A rights to “the 1%”, etc. should such a proposal be formally brought forth.

  65. I can see some obvious rules that make sense to me; for example, one must own a gun safe before one can purchase a gun

    @Troutwaxer

    Let me give an example to illustrate why you will never get a gun owner (or even non-owner who understands the facts) to go along with “reasonable” restrictions even if it can be proven that the person proposing the restrictions has the most saintly motives possible.

    What would the reason be for requiring a gun safe? The two that come to mind are: 1: So a child can’t wander over to a gun and play with it. And 2: so a thief can’t waltz in and steal a bunch of capital for his robbery business.

    There are 4 basic facts that are important here:

    1. If the regulations are too loose then they are worse than useless; I I can get a marker and write “Gun Safe” on a cardboard box then the only effect of the law is to increase the size of the bureaucracy to no benefit. People will try to get around any loopholes or poorly defined clauses because of point 2. Keep in mind that enforcing these regulations will vastly increase the cost of certifying a safe for use.

    2. A proper safe (gun or not) is expensive, both for the safe itself, and for installing it. This creates a perverse result because the people who have the most need for the protection a firearm provides are those living in bad neighborhoods. People usually don’t live in those neighborhoods because they are wealthy and want some adventure. Btw, this little stunt of banning weapons for the poor has been done before with the banning of “Saturday Night Specials”.

    3. Any parent can tell you that “childsafe” isn’t. When it comes to getting into stuff you don’t want them messing with, a child will always be smarter and stronger than you thought possible. Combined with their lack of fear this means they will pull off feats of WTF that leave the adults around them speechless on a regular basis. This effect gets stronger the smarter the child is. So a merely “childproof” safe is insufficient, you need something that can resist a determined adult. This means that a home defense gun is going to be useless: when you need it you need it RIGHT NOW, not 5 minutes from now when you finally have the safe unlocked and the door open and the gun loaded (make that 10 minutes, precision work is shot to hell when you are adrenalized).

    4. Safes have to be either huge (as in, need to bring in a forklift to move it), or bolted to the structure of the building. Otherwise a couple of burly thieves will just haul it away to crack at their own convenience. Also they need to be able to resist extensive abuse so that a thief with a crowbar can’t simply bash his way into the safe when no one is home. All of these dramatically increase the cost, further penalizing poor people, and in many buildings will not even be possible without ripping out much of the structure and replacing it.

    Please note: I assumed perfectly benevolent everyone in this situation. Now add in a lobbyist for the safe manufactures, or someone who has an aversion to firearms and wants to impose their preferences on others, or someone who doesn’t like the people having the ability to resist a corrupt government. There are so many ways one of these people could make a “tiny” adjustment to the rules and require everyone to re-certify their safe at a cost of thousands of dollars. And then do it again. And again. And again. Anyone who objects can be cast of “objecting to safety”, which is a mind-killing meme. And that is one of the tamer ways of going about it.

    Not just no, but no fucking way in an infinity of hells no.

    PS: if you want to know how to truly secure and child proof firearms look no farther than corneredcat.com

  66. ESR> This sort of thing is given false prominence by people who want you to believe that ordinary people are too stupid to handle firearms safely, and thus shouldn’t be allowed to.

    This feeds into one of my pet peeves, which I call The Fundamental Contradiction of the Democratic Nanny State:

    If ordinary people are too stupid to handle firearms safely, then how are they smart enough to elect the people who get to decide who’s smart enough to handle firearms safely?

    Troutwaxer >gun advocates like to pretend that that 30,000 deaths a year, plus 80-90,000 injuries isn’t “an issue” or “a problem” that requires some kind of response. This is a completely immoral position

    That’s a straw man argument. It’s not that those numbers aren’t a problem; it’s the implicit assumption that “a problem” implies “a solution”, and the further assumption that the solution will be provided by government action. Statists are all about “solutions” like that. Those of us who live in the real world recognize that government can’t provide any solutions; it can only make tradeoffs. Everything governments do has costs, but those advocating such action tend to hide the costs and tout the benefits. When you get to a point of diminishing returns, the actions proposed to reduce “the problem” exacerbate other problems, and their net effect is negative.

    Suppose there were a way to cut the 30K annual gun death total in half, but in the process, increase non-gun deaths by 20K/y. A rational person rejects the proposal because it increases the death rate by 5K/y, which prompts you to say they’re “immoral” for not caring about the 15K/y gun deaths they refuse to prevent.

  67. > Btw, this little stunt of banning weapons for the poor has been done before with the banning of “Saturday Night Specials”.

    And of course, the very first law that might be described as a “Saturday Night Special ban” was passed in 1879, more or less immediately after the state of Tennessee found out that they weren’t allowed to explicitly ban black people from having guns.

  68. “One suggestion I’ve heard is for people to be [financially, not criminally] liable for damages caused by someone who steals their gun, under a strict liability rule.”

    And so someone who’s the victim of a burglary is victimized again.

    This is just another anti-gun measure, blaming the victim for something he cannot control.

  69. @esr
    “This sort of thing is given false prominence by people who want you to believe that ordinary people are too stupid to handle firearms safely, and thus shouldn’t be allowed to.”

    s/handle firearms safely/know when they are too drunk to drive/g

    The point is not that ordinary people are too stupid, but that all people will do stupid things at some occasions during their lives.

    And, as another example, it is well known that the probability of a suicide declines dramatically the more time it takes to effectuate it. That is why access protections on high buildings work. The same holds for murders as most killings are done in an impulse. You know, “criminals” have bad impulse control, and many “ordinary” people have periods where they have problems controlling their impulses.

  70. > And so someone who’s the victim of a burglary is victimized again.

    Er, the point is that they have insurance, so the actual cost of paying those damages is spread out across all gun owners.

  71. >You trust yourself with it?

    You really couldn’t tell that I was indulging in dark humor with a tinge of Swiftean satire here? I guess I need to be less subtle. Um, the “More seriously” at the beginning of the following paragraph should have been a clue.

    Your objections are sound, and indeed I thought of every one of them myself.

    I was trying to suggest that ‘king-for-a-day” thought experiments have inherent flaws before going back to my main argument.

  72. Call it a tax instead of liability/insurance if you want (maybe it’d be better administered as a tax… funny argument for a libertarian to make), the point is so that recovery isn’t limited to the criminal (who may not be caught or may have no assets).

  73. I’m a little baffled by the idea that you’d be “victimized” by your insurance being required to pay out for something. You might be victimized by your premiums going up afterward, but that’s better dealt with by insurance industry reform.

  74. >s/handle firearms safely/know when they are too drunk to drive/g

    There’s a big difference. The second mistake is common. The first – despite if-it-bleeds-it-leads coverage designed to make you think otherwise – is quite rare.

  75. @ J. C. Solomon – “to wield the memetic weapons”

    This is the elephant in the room. At its root, national gun control memes are not about making society safer, but about making government safer from rebellion should it veer into tyranny and spawn an uprising. See American Revolution, as an example of necessary civil disobedience made practical by private gun ownership.

    Liberal handwringing about gun violence is an artifact of memetic programming. Far more people are killed every year in automobile accidents, and yet this problem is not a political football because confiscating cars will not make the government safer.

  76. About requiring gun insurance …. Just like the gun safe example, insurance for firearms owners is a way of preventing entry to the firearms market. If you increase the cost of owning a firearm, then some people will not be able to afford one. And those people are, generally, poor ethnic minorities in bad neighborhoods. This was the strategy behind every single “Saturday Night Special” law. Ironically, the people today who advocate these things actually think they are helping the poor and vulnerable minorities.

    Also, from a purely moral perspective, why on earth would it be acceptable to make all gun owners pay the price of a bad person’s criminal behavior? Which is just what was explicitly advocated for. Firearm insurance is immoral (forcing me to pay the cost of someone else’s crime) and racist (without realizing it, perhaps).

    About the “we must do something about the 30,000 gun shot deaths annually” idea …. first, you need to break that apart into the actual four categories so that you can begin to understand the problems and how to tackle them. It’s convenient to lump them all together since it makes it look like a much bigger problem. But, really, there are four different issues here.

    1. Suicides. About 2/3 of all deaths involving a gun are suicides. There are two issues here. First, from a libertarian perspective, suicide is your right as owner of your body. If you are supposed to be libertarian and arguing to forcibly prevent suicide, you seem to be on the wrong track. The second issue is that many (not all) suicides result from poor mental health care for those individuals. Finally, taking away guns, gun safes, gun insurance, etc are highly unlikely to impact the suicide rate. The evidence is out there that gun control doesn’t change suicide rates and they have been hashed over several times on ESR’s blog.

    2. Death by cop. Betwen 2 and 3 percent of all gun deaths per year are due to cops shooting civilians, mostly criminals. Gun safes, firearms insurance, etc won’t change this. Some 80% of these deaths would probably go away with the end of the Drug War and full legalization and regulation of the drug market.

    3. Death by accident. About 2 percent of all gun deaths are due to accidents each year. Gun safes, theoretically, will change this number. However, considering that this is far less than 1% of all preventable deaths annually, you are aiming a cannon at a fly, so to speak. Regulation, gun safes, more gun control is A) not going to change this number in any statistically significant fashion and B) burdens the tens of millions of legal, safe gun owners.

    4. Death by mass shooting spree (4, or more, including the shooter, killed by gunfire). This number varies annually, but is between 50-100 in a typical year. In 2013 it was less than .3% of all deaths involving a gun and about .8% of all homicides involving a gun. In other words, it’s statistically insignificant. Once you look at it on the macro level, you begin to understand that it is well nigh impossible for gun controls to really impact this issue. In fact, when you look at the statistics across the 34 nations of the OECD, you see that all OECD countries have problems with mass killings, regardless of level of gun control. Better mental health, not prescribing SSRI like candy to any and all boys who behave like boys, school guards, etc are far more likely to impact this issue than anything else.

    5. Homicides involving a gun. Okay, here is the meat of the problem, right? 11,000, give or take, homicides annually involving a gun. Okay, the best way to solve this problem is to solve our inner city crime problem. This has been hashed over so much that I don’t see much point in trying to add to that. But I will say that a criminal is unlikely to purchase firearms insurance, a gun safe or a trigger lock. Those things have nothing to do with solving the criminal issues.

    Now, let’s look at where death involving a gun ranks in the grand scheme of things. The US has about 1 million preventable deaths per year. Of that number, about 900,000 are due to heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, and medical error. That is, if you really want to affect the preventable death problem in the USA, you tackle the things in that 90% number. Of the 900,000 deaths, some 400,000 deaths are attributable to medical error. 40% of the preventable deaths annually are because doctors fuck up, in other words. 13 times as many deaths as all deaths involving a gun. 36 times as many deaths as all homicides involving a gun. And the economic cost is approaching $1 trillion a year.

    Okay, so roughly 3% of all preventable deaths per year in the US involve a gun in some fashion. Roughly 1% of those preventable deaths are homicide involving a gun. 40% of those deaths are medical error. Why are you so worried about something so statistically insignificant that additional controls will not bend the curve in any meaningful fashion? You should be up in arms at the number of people that doctors are killing annually becuase they goofed.

  77. Crude breakdown:

    30K deaths by firearm p/a
    -> 15K suicide
    -> 5K lawful (civilian & cop)
    -> 10K criminal

    Suicide rates are remarkably stubborn, regardless of the available means to punch your ticket. You might argue that not having a gun available would prevent ‘impulsive’ suicide, but – apart from the seeming impossibility of quantifying which suicides were impulsive to project potential savings – given a person has reached a point where they are truly willing to destroy themselves, how can you have any certainty that they won’t either ‘impulsively’ commit suicide by some other means or just postpone the suicide. I doubt the numbers would shift at all.

    Justifiable homicide is lawful. No problem with that. Keep plugging the bad guys.

    Criminal homicide…ESR has already highlighted a strategy that would arguably have a significant impact – ending the War On Drugs. Outlawing obscenely reckless “Gun Free Zones” will enable targets rendered vulnerable by misguided law to harden themselves as they see fit. Last but not least – national reciprocity for concealed carry, or (my preference) national “Constitutional Carry”…demanding I obtain a permit to exercise my right to carry is an insult, and of no benefit to LEOs.

    Guns are not Gollum’s Ring – warping the souls of man. We have 80-100 million people in possession of 350+ million firearms. Using ammo purchases as a proxy for firearm use, it is clear that we have massive levels of widespread firearm use…without any corresponding level of slaughter and mayhem. Considering the unassailable mountain of nothingburgers, I can only conclude that we’re actually pretty damned competent and responsible with our firearms. We don’t have a gun problem.

    How can ‘we’ solve the problem of ‘they’ injuring themselves with firearms?

    Should ‘we’? Why are ‘we’ responsible for babysitting ‘they’ in such a manner? Why shouldn’t ‘they’ be individually responsible for ensuring their own safety?

    We already have excellent firearm safety ‘commandments’ and practices that keep 80-100 million people from doing harm. Perhaps ‘they’ should get their act together.

  78. Dan, you and I posted more or less the same thing at more or less the same time. GMTA

  79. I was not advocating. It’s possible to understand and explain someone else’s position without actually holding it.

  80. Random832, take this as me viewing your explanations as a proxy for …. If you don’t believe those positions, that’s great and I apologize for implying that you do.

  81. And, to continue in explaining this position that I do not hold:

    > Also, from a purely moral perspective, why on earth would it be acceptable to make all gun owners pay the price of a bad person’s criminal behavior? […] Firearm insurance is immoral (forcing me to pay the cost of someone else’s crime) and racist (without realizing it, perhaps).

    It was explained to me in terms of economic externalities. The risk of crime from stolen guns is an externality of the practice of having firearms be common in society.

  82. Sometimes I feel like these subtleties are lost on the internet or in political arguments. For example, I really do disagree with Jay’s objection that having your insurance pay out is a “victimization”, even as I also disagree with the proposed regime itself. But it’s very difficult to explain that, since tribalism means people are expected to agree with even the bad objections to the positions of the “side” they disagree with.

  83. @Eric – yep ;)

    I like the way you looped in the medical angle too, for perspective.

  84. > First, from a libertarian perspective, suicide is your right as owner of your body

    And yet we build fences on bridges. It being your right doesn’t mean others should not place obstacles to make it difficult for you to make that decision lightly.

  85. @Random832, a question for you. A friend of mine sold his car three years ago privately. He did not walk down to the DMV with the purchaser to ensure transfer of title, and the purchaser didn’t do the title transfer.

    The purchaser is untrackable, and has racked up speeding tickets, parking tickets, and various other violations for the past three years amounting to something in the order of $15,000.

    Recently in Illinois they passed a law that allows the state to withhold outstanding fines from your tax return. So last year he had a big bite taken out of his tax refund and that is when he discovered that he is liable for all these tickets. The state did not notify him of the fees as they were being racked up — not a single letter. And he is legally liable even though he has complete documentation on the sale. He tried to get it fixed, but the court says this is a common problem and there is nothing he can do but pay up.

    Do you consider this just? Is it any more just than holding someone liable for crimes committed by a gun stolen from their house?

  86. Jessica – I know nothing of the specifics of IL law in that regard…but how did this guy keep getting tickets without the cop realizing that he was not the officially registered owner? Were they all speed-camera tickets?

    Either way, that is just unconscionable.

  87. I think that fences on bridges, rooftops, etc are more because of insurance and legal liability. That is, the owner of the building doesn’t put up the barrier around the rooftop because they care about preventing suicide. They put it up to prevent the risk of being sued for negligence.

    My wife was shocked the first time she traveled outside the USA (to Rome) and discovered that walking paths along steep hillsides, cliffs basically, didn’t have fences and railings. That bridges didn’t have 6 foot tall fences, either. They have a different legal liability regime.

    Violent crime is an externality. But requiring insurance for it only in the case of firearms owners betrays the real intent of the person proposing the solution. Society has already decided to work on this externality by levying taxes to all people in the society, providing for police forces, criminal courts, prisons, etc. This is an authoritarian trying to bring in gun control and barriers to ownership and trying to disguise it as a problem of economics. But, I find that liberals/progressives like to try and explain their authoritarianism in economic terms. I’m not sure why, except to conclude that they think it will somehow convince freedom oriented people that it is about solving a freedom/economic problem rather than being authoritarian.

  88. > Is it any more just than holding someone liable for crimes committed by a gun stolen from their house?

    I think liability that actually falls on someone to pay the whole cost should be analyzed differently from liability in the presence of mandatory insurance, to be paid by that insurance.

  89. > I think that fences on bridges, rooftops, etc are more because of insurance and legal liability.

    Which liability exists because our society cares about preventing suicide.

  90. @Random832 – So I, as a victim of crime A, am to be held liable for crime B committed with the proceeds of crime A?

    Is that the proposal?

  91. > Society has already decided to work on this externality by levying taxes to all people in the society

    Is it just that people who contribute less to the externality are taxed the same as people who contribute more?

  92. > Is that the proposal?

    Liability in the presence of mandatory insurance is a fiction. The purpose is to decide whose insurance pays, not to decide who is responsibible.

  93. > Which liability exists because our society cares about preventing suicide.

    Preventing accidents.

  94. I think you’re confusing criminal liability with liability in general.

    Making a claim on my insurance is a judgement of liability, to whatever extent. It injures me because my premium will rise.

  95. > Preventing accidents.

    A fence to prevent suicides is a whole different animal than one to prevent accidents. It doesn’t need to be six feet tall and difficult to climb to prevent accidents.

  96. > It injures me because my premium will rise.

    If your insurance adjusters decide you are at fault, or if they are crooks, it will. Otherwise it won’t.

  97. It won’t? I think you seriously misunderstand the mechanics of insurance.

    It will. The money has to come from somewhere.

  98. The idea is supposed to be that they’re already high enough, across the whole group, to cover all the payouts. So they don’t have to raise them across the board, and (unless they’re crooks – and they are; I do understand how insurance actually works in practice) they don’t raise them individually without a legitimate determination that you’re a higher risk than the rest of the group.

  99. To play the other side….I do have to agree that if a person is reckless with their storage/control of a firearm, and as a result it is used to cause injury/death, then some kind of liability should exist.

    If I leave a loaded handgun on my coffee table, and some kid plays with it and shoots themselves or an other, then damn right I should face consequences for such reckless endangerment.

  100. My biggest problem is really with the idea of *mandatory* insurance for gun owners. Voluntary insurance coverage for people that want peace of mind is fine. I think such insurance products exist for people concerned about civil damages after a justifiable use of deadly force, frex.

    But I should be free to choose – cover my ass with insurance, or with personal responsibility.

  101. @ Winter – “The point is not that ordinary people are too stupid, but that all people will do stupid things at some occasions during their lives.”

    This statement embodies the heart and soul of socialist thought. Government must continue to grow and intrude upon the lives of all citizens until every form of stupidity is mitigated; except for the stupidity of electing a social government in the first place.

  102. Like I said, I don’t agree with the idea (mainly because it relies too much on insurance to cover what would otherwise be obvious injustices), I was just trying to, as someone who’s relatively recently been on the other side of an argument about it, explain what the position is beyond “what would be covered by standard homeowners’ insurance policies” – insurance is only half of the picture of what they’re advocating for.

  103. Just some back-of-napkin calculation: Assuming that the “30,000” number and the “About 2/3 of all deaths involving a gun are suicides” claim are both true, and that each of the remaining 10,000 deaths results in an average wrongful death payout of $250k; that’s $2,500M in total liability to be spread out across 100M gun owners, for an average of $25/year.

  104. Dan, of course if you are negligent, you should face consequences. In the case you cite, the DA could choose to go after criminal negligence that led to the wrongful death of another person. And the victim’s family could choose to go after damages for liability in a civil court. And I would totally support that.

    Random832, are you suggesting that the Italians don’t care about suicide and accidents? I would say both societies care about both suicide and accidents. But each society has a different approach for this. Our approach is to let people sue the shit out of people who own things that other people use in a criminal or negligent manner. And that is why we have fences and barriers and such. Not because we care more, or less, about suicide and accidents that cause injury. But because we tend to externalize the liability. An Italian looks at someone that walks off that hillside and gets injured, or dies, and says “Gee, dummy, you should have taken responsibility for yourself and not done that”. An American looks at that same thing and says “Gee, who are we going to sue for him being a dummy?”

  105. @Random832 …. I looked those numbers up on a pro gun control website. The numbers are roughly 31,000 deaths involving a gun for the most recent year the website had numbers on. I used CDC for the number of accidental deaths and suicides involving guns. Roughly 19,500 suicides and 600 accidental deaths. I forget what website I got death by cop, but that number is 1008 for the year in question, 2013. And homicides was 11,000. Homicides did not break out mass shooting vs. ordinary shooting, so I had to find the mass shooting numbers on another website. Those numbers vary pretty wildly from 20 to 100 on an annual basis.

    Regardless of cost, I object to making the 80 million law abiding gun owners who have nothing to do with the 30K deaths by gun responsible for those deaths. If you can show direct liability on the part of an individual or negligence of some sort, go after them.

  106. @ESR
    > Which is why his protestations are both literally true and substantially vast lies.

    I.E. – A near picture perfect example of “Bullshit” and why I consider bullshit worse than merely lying.

  107. Here’s the thing, back to the original point of esr’s post.

    Anti-gun types have three different strategies going, all at the same time.

    1. Memetic warfare. Guns do damage, guns are bad, guns are used to commit suicide, homicide, mass shootings. Convincing a large proporition of the population that guns are so bad that they should be extremely limited, controlled and regulated for the good of all society.

    2. Small, incremental gun control. The “how do you boil a frog” strategy. Getting folks to accept FFL as a requirement to sell you a gun (rather than just a commercial retail license from the municipality or state like other retailers). Background checks. Gun safes. Firearms insurance. Mandatory education. We know all the stuff advocated. Each one of these things makes firearms more costly and more difficult to acquire and incrementally imposes gun control. Because of course we don’t want a felon to buy a gun, so everyone should be subjected to a background check. But each of these things increases the barrier a bit, makes it more expensive, more difficult, to own a firearm. And reduces the number of people who do by some small amount.

    3. Mass confiscation and disarmament disguised as so-called common sense proposals. This is the outright lying that is going on. This is Obama saying “I don’t want to take your guns, I just want some common sense controls to prevent mass shootings like happened at XXX yesterday”. Except that this is a dog whistle. The Left knows full well that what is meant by “common sense” is confiscation. A lot of Rubes buy into common sense, thinking it means more of #2, which isn’t so bad after all. But the give away was when Obama said that he wanted common sense regulations like Australia. Well, Australia implemented mass gun confiscation, not incremental change.

    Ironically, #1 has failed miserably. The difference in how America feels about guns today vs. 1980 is night and day. #2 always seems like it will go somewhere until the actual proposals start getting made public. And #3 can’t succeed without #1.

    But none of that means that Obama and the hard left in this country will give up on this. Mass disarmament is a huge plank of the Progressive/Socialist/Authoritarian movement. Only eternal vigilance will prevent their success.

  108. I say it is ironic that memetic warfare around guns has failed miserably because it is just about the only left wing meme that has failed so miserably. The rest of the freedom movement could learn a lot from how the NRA has succeeded in the face of what is, otherwise, an incredibly successful strategic campaign by the Left.

  109. @ ESR: Troutwaxer, this is true. I consciously chose to ignore that flaw in your question because I believed you actually wanted an answer to the nearest question that actually makes honest sense. But your question was indeed flawed as Jay describes.

    That’s why I broke it down to the four sub-problems, suicide, gangs, domestic violence, and crime. I have no problems with anyone addressing these as separate problems.

    @ TomA: Liberal handwringing about gun violence is an artifact of memetic programming. Far more people are killed every year in automobile accidents, and yet this problem is not a political football because confiscating cars will not make the government safer.

    You’re not making much sense. The government has done enormous work to make cars and driving safer; seat belts, air bags, mandatory crumple zones, steering wheels that give way rather than penetrate a rib cages, etc. These changes are widely considered to be Good Things, but I wonder how far we would have gotten on making safer cars if one side wanted to ban “unsafe” cars and the other side screamed wildly about “the gubmint taking our cars away!”

    @ Eric: 5. Homicides involving a gun. Okay, here is the meat of the problem, right? 11,000, give or take, homicides annually involving a gun.

    I think the solution to this sub-issue is to focus on the domestic violence. This is probably a fixable issue. Also, on the subject of suicide, ESR’s comments on medication issues are very pertinent.

    Gotta get back to work!

  110. Getting back to the original topic…y’aint gunna git ma gunz.

    People that support such things obviously aren’t personally going to go around house-to-house and collect firearms…presumably they know exactly what would happen to them if they tried.

    No, they wish to stand on the sidelines cheering on another group of armed thugs as they smash down doors and confiscate firearms. I do wonder if they are fully aware that such activity is a direct deadly threat to innocent people.

    Are you perfectly content to applaud armed men being sent to my home and threaten me with death if I do not submit to them and hand over my private property? Even though I am otherwise a lawful and innocent person, generating no probable cause or reasonable suspicion that I am guilty/may become guilty of criminal wrongdoing?

    When, inevitably, people resist such violence, there will be a body count – mostly civilians at first – and you will be happy with that? Why did all this have to happen? Why did you cheer this inevitable sequence of events on?

    When the dust settles, what do you think will remain of the social/political bond between ‘we’ and ‘you’ ?

  111. @ Troutwaxer – “You’re not making much sense.”

    I apologize. I will try to be more clear.

    In my opinion, the national political debate over gun control is fundamentally a memetic war between individualists and collectivists. Individualists wish to defend their lifestyle of self-reliance and their right of self-determination through gun ownership. Conversely, collectivists wish to preserve government dominance in order to guarantee entitlement benefits and see private gun ownership as a potential threat to this supremacy.

  112. At its root, national gun control memes are not about making society safer, but about making government safer from rebellion should it veer into tyranny and spawn an uprising.

    I don’t buy this argument. Practically everyone I know who advocates gun control looks completely consistent with wanting to make society safer and not wanting tyranny, and positing the existence of some tiny core of tyranny lovers making useful idiots of the former crowd sounds like a conspiracy theory which, even if true, doesn’t actually make the gun rights position any more convincing to anyone still on the fence.

    I think it’s much more plausible that gun control advocates are approaching from an assumed vision of people working together at being adults, and compensating for each others’ moments of temporary immaturity. The flaws in their solutions are more likely to arise from mild innumeracy amplified by the large numbers actually in play, combined with a misunderstanding of incentives, than they are from veiled lusts for power.

  113. @TomA I do agree with you about the memetic warfare between collectivist and individualist visions for society. But it is much broader than just guns. And it has been going on since the 1920’s in this country. The one area where individualism has, more or less, won the memetic warfare is around the right to self-defense and firearms. In just about every area I can think of other than that, the collectivists are winning, or have won.

  114. Dan: “When the dust settles, what do you think will remain of the social/political bond between ‘we’ and ‘you’ ?”

    And considering the geographical distribution of firearms ownership and the purposes to which they are put, I would expect nothing so much as a Second Civil War. The country is currently split politically between Brie-eating bicoastal elites and the rest of us in flyover country, with the occasional pocket of leftism in places like Chicago, Madison, and the Twin Cities; I would dnot be surprised to see it split into separate countries along those lines.

  115. @Jay – Do you think that said Brie-eating bicoastal ‘elites’ are actually going to take up arms in an actual [ Lincoln’s war was not a civil war ;P ] civil war?

    I doubt it. As always, they will expect others to put their lives on the line on their behalf. Our side + government agent defections + military defections will result in perhaps the briefest, most conclusive civil war in human history.

    I hope they like the sensation of assless chaps in a blizzard.

  116. >positing the existence of some tiny core of tyranny lovers making useful idiots of the former crowd sounds like a conspiracy theory which, even if true, doesn’t actually make the gun rights position any more convincing to anyone still on the fence.

    That is correct. Which is why my strategy as a gun-rights activist is to plan and behave as though there is such a conspiracy (or, more accurately, such a prospiracy) while seldom admitting that I believe this is true.

    I have long known that there is a category of truths that are so socially radioactive that the best policy is to quietly plan around them while not admitting you are doing so. Many of these truths are political. About three quarters of what is generally dismissed as “conservative paranoia” is genuinely nuts, but that other quarter…

  117. Dan, I hope you’re right…but I’m afraid you’re not. There are enough folks on the other side (the kind of person who says “I’m a hunter, and I think common sense gun control is a good thing”), and enough in the armed forces and civilian services that would remain on the side of the government even in the face of a widespread governmental abrogation of the Second Amendment, that a civil war would be neither short nor bloodless.

  118. Jesus Dan, your last comment makes it sound like a good idea – get it over with and we can get back to work!

  119. Certainly not bloodless. Oh no.

    Even the milquetoast ‘gun rights’ people that you describe may well be very fractured.

    It wouldn’t be a civil war with one set of states arrayed against the other. It would be diffuse. Government & military defections would also fracture ‘their’ side’s resolve. Even if only 3% (an ass-extracted figure derived from assuming 1/4 of the 12-15% of CHP Americans) take up arms, that militia would dwarf the government.

    Plus, we know who they are, where they are, and we have them outnumbered, outgunned, and surrounded. Not good odds.

    Not a pleasant thought experiment. I hope that nobody is suicidally foolish enough to let it get that far.

  120. I’ve been listening to a podcast about the French Revolution lately, and it is pretty much leftists get everything they (really) want, and the continent goes to hell in a handbasket. You want to know why conservatives believe all these crazy conspiracy theories? Probably because they tend to happen whenever a certain type of people gain power, over and over and over again throughout history.

    One of the things that happened as the national council in Paris attempted to put together an army was that they confiscated weapons that were in the hands of the politically questionable, on the grounds of collecting arms to fend off foreign invasion. But those same confiscees had a remarkable tendency to be swept up shortly thereafter in any of the murderous purges of political enemies that followed.

    Again, you see the pattern: First, some sort of crisis is used as an excuse to discover all the people and weapons caches that might be a threat to an incipient tyranny. Then people are disarmed (and those arms are transferred to people loyal to the incipient tyranny), then suddenly it is discovered that the former weapons owners are ‘enemies of the people’ that need to be dealt with. It happened in the Russian revolution, it happened in Nazi Germany, and apparently it also happened in the French revolution. (They also decimated the former officer corps, replaced them with revolutionaries, and had political commisars (agents on mission) overseeing them.)

    Armed people are difficult to disposess, enslave, or otherwise ‘sweep aside’.

  121. @ Paul Brinkley

    Sorry for the continued confusion. I’m not pitching a conspiracy theory of shadowy forces plotting extremely unlikely events. Rather, I’m making observations about biology and evolution.

    All living things are creatures of habit, and all habits are embodied within the brain and nervous system. Homo sapiens are a unique species in that we utilize complex language to communicate, and we have evolved the ability to use this feature as a means of wetware reprogramming after birth. For most of our history, this ability allowed us to pass wisdom from generation to generation, and thereby greatly enhance our survival and fecundity.

    However, in the last few millennia, this process has occasionally been corrupted in service to malicious indoctrination and then used as a weapon against the innocent. This memetic pathology has grown more frequent in our current culture and the communications technology explosion is now taking into unknown territory.

    You and I might agree that the use of memetics in the gun control battle is less severe than indoctrinating children to wear suicide vests, but the side effect is that we are conditioning an entire population to be easily reprogrammable and then potentially hijacked by a future charismatic tyrant.

  122. Jeff, just wanted to put this out there, but Lee Atwater’s quote has been taken wildly out of context.

    I used to believe the myth of the southern strategy until I actually looked at the supposed evidence for it. It’s nowhere near as strong as democrats would have you believe. They twist suggestions to stay away from racism and focus on issues as secrect codeword methods of invoking it.

  123. It’s not just that I think gun control memetics are milder than suicide vest memetics; it’s also that I believe the former isn’t necessarily deliberate, and it doesn’t even sound convincing, even if it’s deliberate. I think crime statistics and microeconomic arguments are much more likely to be taken well.

    You might even say that arguments involving memetics are too hieratic…

  124. Dan said: “Plus, we know who they are, where they are, and we have them outnumbered, outgunned, and surrounded. Not good odds.”

    Actually, I’m sure they know who and where “we” are, but other than a few local pols, I don’t know who or where they are. Distributing this information would be an effective means to keep “them” from acting out.

  125. “Not that anyone who wants to believe conservative white voters are bigots ever pays attention to such things.”

    Of course not. Leftist idiots like Jeff Read love to shut down argument by crying RAAAAACISM!!! when they’re losing. But then, they argue from emotions instead of cold, hard facts, so…

    By the way, Jeff: Fuckest thou off.

  126. @Jay – I prefer the Shakespearean “Friggest thou and the steed that bore thee hither” ;)

  127. Except that, as I noted above, Jeff is a good leftist and would not exploit a defenseless animal that way.

  128. Phlinn, you obviously do not get it or have serious blinders on. Atwater was trying to assure the public that Republican rhetoric isn’t really about race anymore when, clearly, it is. It’s just gotten to the point where race doesn’t have to be explicitly brought up because everyone knew the dog-whistle frequencies involved. Do you honestly think Ronald Reagan giving a “states’ rights” speech near Philadelphia, MS — where a famous lynching of civil-rights workers took place — was a total fucking coincidence? What race do you think Reagan’s fictive welfare queen is?

    I’m not even saying that every Republican is a racist. But the GOP has adjusted its strategy to align with racists to remarkable effect. It’s the aftermath of Bacon’s Rebellion all over again: privileged whites convincing unprivileged whites to identify with themselves, and turning them against the blacks. With all this infighting amongst the lower classes they won’t notice how exploited they are.

  129. Jeff

    I’m glad you know what I’ and people I’ve known all my life are thinking even better we do.

    We’d be lost without you.

    Now seriously – piss off, you arrogant, condescending racist.

  130. “privileged whites convincing unprivileged whites to identify with themselves, and turning them against the blacks.”

    As opposed to privileged whites convincing unprivileged blacks to identify with themselves, and turning them against the whites, as the Brie-eating bicoastal elites do?

    Va te faire foutre, Jeff.

  131. I’ve asked proponents of gun control about the costs of enforcing it, and they didn’t seem to realize there would be any.

    I don’t know whether I’ve convinced anyone– probably not. There’s also the argument that gun control will come down harder on black people– this seems to have a little more emotional force.

  132. >And considering the geographical distribution of firearms ownership and the purposes to which they are put, I would expect nothing so much as a Second Civil War. The country is currently split politically between Brie-eating bicoastal elites and the rest of us in flyover country, with the occasional pocket of leftism in places like Chicago, Madison, and the Twin Cities; I would dnot be surprised to see it split into separate countries along those lines.

    The coastal elite patron classes, and their inner city client classes, are much less ill-equipped to survive a real, extended disaster or disruption. They need civilization and its infrastructure more.

    And I’ve noticed that there is an angry minority in flyover country that is exquisitely aware of this fact.

    If there is a second civil war, it will be more terrible than we want to think about. I don’t see how it won’t be genocidal.

  133. Hmm, I hate it when you we-word something midway and don’t make all the necessary edits. Need to be able to edit comments. :)

  134. @ ams: One of the things that happened as the national council in Paris attempted to put together an army was that they confiscated weapons that were in the hands of the politically questionable, on the grounds of collecting arms to fend off foreign invasion. But those same confiscees had a remarkable tendency to be swept up shortly thereafter in any of the murderous purges of political enemies that followed.

    IMHO, one of the most important arts of governing, and one we are not using here in the modern US, is the art of making sure that the difference in wealth and power between a rich and a poor man is not so large as to create the emotions which lead to “murderous purges.” France and Russia both suffered from massive income inequality, and Germany had gone through the loss (and losses) of World War I, plus the Weimar republic… All three of the examples you cite had laid the social and political groundwork for massive, very ugly social changes for many, many years beforehand.

    The left wing (or right wing) takeover you’re contemplating doesn’t happen in a healthy society.

    On the more general topic of the Republican “Southern Strategy,” I’m of two minds. On one hand it’s impossible to deny that Atwater spoke very clearly on the subject, (and some of Haldeman and Erlichman’s comments on the drug war are also very telling.) On the other hand, Atwater was taking the Republican Party in a new direction, so I suspect that Atwater believed that he’d “invented the wheel” when in fact he’d merely rediscovered it.

    The current Republican Party is highly aligned with racists, however they got that way.

  135. The liberal elitists seem to think that everyone respects the power of the government as much as they do. Witness the New York SAFE Act. Among other mandates it required registration of “Assault Weapons” and banned the possession of standard size magazines, limiting any magazine to 10 rounds. Following the passage, it has been estimated compliance with the Act of between 10% and 20% of the citizens. Albany now has a problem. They have put a law on the books that is making a huge number of citizens instant felons, but don’t have the balls to enforce it. Now what? Calls have been made to start kicking doors, but they just sit. They have no choice, but they look like fools to the right and tools to the left. This is the real side of gun politics.

    Over my early years I began to draw a series of red lines around myself that are decision points of personal behavior, rights and beliefs. For example, life begins at conception, liberty to speak as I please, the right of self defense, etc. These lines seemed to be far removed from the actual political reality of the day and so for decades they lay dormant. Over the past several years society has changed so much that the government is encroaching onto these lines. We now have the government supporting organizations like planned parenthood that are selling baby body parts for profit, the whole political correctness thing and gun rights. For me, these lines won’t move and I don’t think I am alone. There are many people who feel that the core beliefs they hold close are being pushed. You are now seeing a segment of society that are pushing back. Passively in the NY Safe case above and actively in the Bundy Ranch case last year.

    The politicians know that if they continue to make law that is ignored, their legitimacy is undermined. Look at the red lines Obama drew in Syria. He drew them, backed off and now Assad is going to be in power with a firm Russian presence now established in the region. The US is looked at as a joke in the region and we are in retreat. Now what do they do? We have to do something lets put special forces in the area. Not going to end well.

    The same dynamic can happen domestically. There are just too many people who will not register their firearms under penalty of law. They just won’t. What happens next as the federal government is seen as feckless? What are the chances of another Bundy Ranch or Waco or Ruby Ridge incident occurring and what are the chances this time of an armed response of pissed off Americans seeing their government as the aggressor?

    As to the military, the left constantly talk about how US gun owners could never prevail against the US armed forces. I beg to differ. Of the millions of members, there are not that many who are battle forces. Logistics, maintenance and administration take up large percentages of the headcount. A battle such as this would not be force on force. It would be savage and brutal. The US has not fought on its own soil since the war between the states. These wars are the worst of all wars. Targets are not confined to the military. Legitimate targets are supply lines, maintenance forces, manufacturers, families and supporters. The left does not understand the danger they are playing with in starting down this road.

    People are voting every day in purchasing firearms. Most are not hunters. They are not sporting clays enthusiasts. They are not buying bolt action scoped rifles. They are buying semi automatic rifles with red dot sights and standard capacity magazines holding 30 rounds. They are buying as much ammo as the industry can produce, and they are not shooting all of it. They are building reserves. Is this the behavior of a populace that is going to peacefully go along with an Australian style confiscation? Ultimately we are heading to a decision point as a country. Do the people serve the government or does the government serve the people. We are deeply divided on this as a nation. There is really no middle ground on this topic. Such are the problems of the fourth turning.

  136. Hunters are snipers, and there are millions of us. Out to 200 yards, you’re just bipedal venison.

    If the balloon goes up, I wish you good luck on patrol, enforcing ‘the law’

  137. Troutwaxer: “The current Republican Party is highly aligned with racists, however they got that way.”

    By your argument, so is the current Democrat Party, too. They’re aligned with black racists like Al Sharpton and his legions of followers. They’re aligned with the racists of #BlackLIvesMatter, based on a lie. They’re aligned with the racists who voted for Barack Obama solely because he’s black.

    That sword cuts both ways.

    As for inequality: Who’s fanning the flames of the politics of jealousy? Not the Republicans. Who wants to bend equality by bringing everyone down to the same level? Not the Republicans. Who refuses to consider that healthy economies are by definition unequal ones? Not the Republicans.

    The Democrats are buying votes with my tax money. They’re getting away with it, too.

    And enacting leftist redistribution to avoid a leftist takeover is like handing Hugo Chavez the keys to the White House. The whole point is that redistribution is outright evil, and needs to be fought at every turn, be it electoral or at the end of a rifle.

  138. @ Troutwaxer ‘ “The current Republican Party is highly aligned with racists, however they got that way.”

    Racism can be defined as calling someone a bad name or perhaps unfairly and harmfully discriminating against them because of their race (which they cannot control). But that is small potatoes compared to the real destruction of black families that was initiated by Lyndon Johnson and the Democrat Party starting with the Great Society programs of the 1960s. These new laws used the carrot-and-stick approach to seduce black women into government welfare dependence and simultaneously drove black fathers out of the household thereby destroying the family structure that had formerly been a source of great strength in this community. Three generations of black families have now been decimated by this false flag altruism and it has spawned an epidemic of drug abuse and violent crime in these neighborhoods.

    Sorry Troutwaxer, but it is Democrat politicians who are the real racists, and their policies should be more properly described as genocide in slow motion.

  139. If there wasn’t a Southern Strategy (or it was tried but it didn’t work), how would you (commenters generally) say that Jim Crow was ended?

  140. >I don’t know whether I’ve convinced anyone– probably not. There’s also the argument that gun control will come down harder on black people– this seems to have a little more emotional force.

    Pointing out the explicitly racist origins of gun control in the US seems to cause Progressive types too much cognitive dissonance to accept – th

  141. Greg, changing people’s minds about any entrenched belief is a long slow grind. I’m not convinced that people on the left are unusually attached to their beliefs.

    Something I find amusing– Megan McArdle was asked about what of her writing made a difference, and she said she wrote a piece about conservatives facing prejudice in academia. A number of conservatives said they now understood what SJWs meant by microaggressions. However, no liberals were able to see that there was prejudice against conservatives.

  142. >However, no liberals were able to see that there was prejudice against conservatives.

    Er. The sentence at the end of your second paragraph is evidence for the negation of the sentence at the end of your first.

  143. Not really– this is a particular case where conservatives were more mentally flexible because they had a chance to understand a situation where their own personal toes were being stepped on. Note that SJWs have been talking about microaggressions for years, and those conservatives didn’t get it.

    By the way, has anyone noticed that both Rand and Heinlein wrote about microaggressions as things that make people unhappy? I’ll come back later and say where, but I want to see whether anyone has already noticed.

  144. Micro aggressions are the focus now because macro aggressions are rare. What is the next phase when we have all cleaned our minds of critical thought and opinion, submicroaggressions? Femtoaggressions?

    The left is all about control.

    Political correctness? Thought and speech control.
    Gun safety? Liberty control

    BTW, if the left really wants to decrease gun accidents and accidental childhood shootings, they must be all on board with mandatory gun safety classes in every elementary school. Sort of like the mandatory sex ed they push on everyone else. Those parents who don’t want their kids polluted would be able to opt out. Same rules, right? No problem. I am sure the libs will be demanding this tomorrow.

  145. @ TomA: But that is small potatoes compared to the real destruction of black families that was initiated by Lyndon Johnson and the Democrat Party starting with the Great Society programs of the 1960s. These new laws used the carrot-and-stick approach to seduce black women into government welfare dependence and simultaneously drove black fathers out of the household thereby destroying the family structure that had formerly been a source of great strength in this community.

    I’d have to agree that Johnson didn’t get everything right, and there are indeed people of every race who’ve learned to abuse/be-abused-by the system. That being said, there are other factors which have been much more active in destroying the Black family, primarily the economic forces which have moved so much manufacturing out of our country – that kind of thing will always hit the poorest and least among us very, very hard – and the War on Some Drugs, particularly the very racist phenomenon of enhanced sentences for crack cocaine.

    It should be understood very clearly by everyone that the War on Drugs is consciously driven by racism; note the Anslinger quotes on the subject, or the documented conversations between Nixon, Hadleman, and Erlichman on this issue.

    @ Nancy Lebovitz: There’s also the argument that gun control will come down harder on black people– this seems to have a little more emotional force.

    I think you’ve got a decent point. A friend of mine complains, though with no historical sourcing of any kind, that gun control started in California after heavily armed Black Panthers started following Oakland PD cars in order to “monitor police brutality.” If anyone knows more about this, with decent sourcing, I’d love to learn the details.

    @ Jay Maynard: And enacting leftist redistribution to avoid a leftist takeover is like handing Hugo Chavez the keys to the White House. The whole point is that redistribution is outright evil, and needs to be fought at every turn, be it electoral or at the end of a rifle.

    That’s not remotely what I’m suggesting (and you know it.) Just to be clear, I’m making three concrete suggestions here. First, that we close the twenty most egregious tax loopholes – let the owners scream, they’ll still be bloody rich. Second, we raise the tax rates on the wealthy by about 20 percent and plough the money back into creating/maintaining infrastructure. (Notice how badly those freeways ride these days?) This will create jobs and decently-designed infrastructure always pays for itself. Lastly, we bring back Glass-Steagal; our banking system will be a lot more stable than it currently is, which leads to much better lives for middle/lower income people.

    On a more abstract basis, the system currently favors wealth and power in a fashion which is pretty obscene. I’d like to bring back the fairness doctrine and set things up so that every political donation can be traced back to a particular human being, and set a cap – maybe 2000/year – on these activities. I don’t by the whole “money equals speech” argument. (It’s quite obvious that money equals volume.)

    Basically, I’m a capitalist, but that system should serve us, we should not serve it.

    As to the rest of your blatherings, anyone who calls black people Racists in your particular fashion is announcing that they’ve consumed the Cool-Aid; nothing more need be said about that. I’ll say for everyone else whose reading that there are Black racists and there are Black leaders who IMHO don’t serve their communities intelligently, but Jay’s statements go so far beyond discussing that I won’t bother responding to them.

    LASTLY, AND VERY MUCH OFF-TOPIC, if anyone in Southern California wants a kitten, feel free to send an email to tungtung ***at*** pacbell —dot— net. We have two black/brown calico kittens, two black kittens, and a slightly older gray and white tabby.

  146. @Troutwaxer
    > Notice how badly those freeways ride these days?

    I’ll let others tackle your other points, but as for this… nope. I live in Texas; except for some patchier areas that just haven’t been gotten-around-to yet, and areas under active construction, our freeways are pretty great.

    Last time I was in California (NorCal), I was confused at how _awful_ the roads were there, considering how much goes to taxes.

  147. Winter:
    > But there are lots of people who think all these guns are a danger to the people.

    There are lots of people who think the US Government planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks.

    There are lots of people who think that Homeopathic remedies actually work.

    There are lots of people who think that vaccines cause/contribute to Autism.

    Which is to say there are a lot of idiots in the world.

    TomA:
    > Now imagine a world in which a Stalin-like tyrant commands the power of the
    > US military to do his bidding.

    The very thing that would allow a Stalin-like tyrant to come to power would dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the US military. In fact we’re seeing something similar (though not as bad) happen right now, and it’d degrading military effectiveness.

  148. Winter:

    > We already had a long discussion about the fairy tale that armed citizens are a match to a professional army.

    Was this another one of those conversations where you closed your eyes and typed “I Can’t Read You?”

  149. ESR:
    > Nancy L:
    >> Also, it may be a matter of where I hang out, but I definitely see such accusations as
    >> not being a US citizen or being a Muslim treated as racist, but not so much with
    >> policy disagreements.
    > Er. You need to get out more.

    I’d say that she’s hanging out in pretty reasonable places and there’s no need.

    There are a lot of leftists who won’t accuse people like you and I of racism in our opposition to Obama’s idiocy because we’ve got several decades of having rather consistent positions (including times when we may have changed opinions as facts changed, or our knowledge of the facts changed) that are the opposite of what Obama holds forth.

    There are also a lot who *will* make that accusation because they’re tribal idiots who hold a worldview that there is no damage to civil society too great as long as they win.

    That Ms. L. doesn’t spend much time among the latter crowd is to her benefit.

  150. @jsk Last time I was in California (NorCal), I was confused at how _awful_ the roads were there, considering how much goes to taxes.

    Unfortunately, we have a rather weird situation in California, with a 2/3 vote of the legislature being necessary to raise taxes. (Thank you Howard Jarvis, may you rot in Hell.) Essentially, we don’t get infrastructure projects done here unless we have a Democratic governor and a Legislature which is 2/3 Democrat. Since we elected Jerry Brown things have gotten slightly better – I’ve seen lots of CalTrans projects recently – but our state ran at a deficit for a couple decades and things got pretty bad.

  151. > along with the massive backfire of Republican attempts to trump up
    > (no pun intended) scandals around Benghazi and her private email server, which
    > now look as petty and self-serving

    And now we have a perfect example of what I just described.

  152. jfre: “What is the next phase when we have all cleaned our minds of critical thought and opinion, submicroaggressions? Femtoaggressions?”

    I registered yoctoaggressions.com the other day, just to get in on the ground floor.

    Troutwaxer: “First, that we close the twenty most egregious tax loopholes – let the owners scream, they’ll still be bloody rich.”

    Hahahaha. Whatcha wanna bet the twenty “most egregious” tax loopholes include some that affect the rich Left? Like, say, Hollywood? Whatcha wanna bet that those get exempted magically?

    “Second, we raise the tax rates on the wealthy by about 20 percent and plough the money back into creating/maintaining infrastructure. (Notice how badly those freeways ride these days?) ”

    More manna from heaventhe government for the cronies of the Left. The last time this was tried, precious little infrastructure actually got built or repaired, and lots and lots wound up in the pockets of Democrat cronies and union fat cat bosses. Remember the 2008-2009 stimulus that was supposed to concentrate on “shovel ready” projects? And remember Obama’s admission that not as much was as shovel ready as he’d thought? All that money disappeared regardless.

    And as for freeways: The Left hates spending money on freeways. They prefer Big Transit boondoggles that cost billions of dollars and serve only their cronies, not the people at large. Your citation of CalTrans is a perfect example. Another is the light rail built in the Twin Cities at a cost high enough they could have bought every rider a BMW and spent less money.

    “Lastly, we bring back Glass-Steagal; our banking system will be a lot more stable than it currently is, which leads to much better lives for middle/lower income people.”

    This is dreaming. The stability of the banking system is only enhanced by letting banks fail. You honestly think the Left will allow that to happen?

    “I’d like to bring back the fairness doctrine and set things up so that every political donation can be traced back to a particular human being, and set a cap – maybe 2000/year – on these activities.”

    So you overtly want to repeal the First Amendment. Hint: Both of these require that the government regulate political speech. You honestly trust it to do that in a fair and evenhanded way? Even under a Republican administration?

    Money itself may or may not be speech. Suppressing money, however, does nothing but suppress speech. Free speech is not free. There are costs that must be paid. But then, you want more manna from heaventhe government to pay for it, right? That just leads us farther down the rathole of government regulation of political speech.

    “As to the rest of your blatherings, anyone who calls black people Racists in your particular fashion is announcing that they’ve consumed the Cool-Aid; nothing more need be said about that.”

    Sorry. If you call out racism when perpetrated by whites but not when perpetrated by blacks, you demonstrate yourself to be a racist.

    See how it works? The Left uses the cry of raaaacism! as a way to shut down discussion they don’t like.

    “Basically, I’m a capitalist, but that system should serve us, we should not serve it.”

    Instead, you would have us serve government, instead of it serving us. This is not an improvement.

  153. Sean C.:
    > So is there _any_ way for someone to say something like:
    > “I’m in favour of some very basic restrictions on gun ownership, specifically things
    > like waiting periods, background checks, and even mandatory liability insurance”
    > without people hearing “this person wants to disarm the nation”?

    No.

    Because we already have background checks for the majority of the population, waiting periods have routinely been demonstrated to be **utterly** useless, and mandatory liability insurance is way too subject to manipulation by both the government and by political pressure.

    The simple fact of the matter is that a considerable number of gun owners DO NOT trust the government where guns are concerned.

    The law that established the national “instant” background checks (NICS) for licensed gun dealers also stipulated that the FBI (who was tasked with running the checks) was not allowed to use the data to build a database of gun owners, and was not allowed to retain the data about the background check for any longer than “necessary to verify the functioning of the system”.

    The system went live in 1998 (IIRC).

    It is (and this is coming from someone RABIDLY pro-gun) a sensible and reasonable step. The majority (in one source possibly 90%) of firearm murders are committed by felons, and keeping guns out of their hands is a reasonable goal[1].

    After the 2012 school shooting I sat down and thought through a system that the government could implement that would allow private PURCHASERS (private sellers are currently are neither reqired, nor allowed to run NICS checks) to run background checks on themselves and then prove to a seller that they are (at least at the federal level) not a prohibited person (term of art here) (and yes, this is possible. See “zero knowledge proof”).

    I was talking to a friend about it, laying it out so he could pick holes in it when I had a realization.

    See, several months after the Bush Administration took office (2001) The (IIRC) Attorney General ordered the FBI to dump all the data they’d retained (every check that had been done under the system–in violation of the law) and to only retain 2 days worth. The FBI was torqued off about this. They were violating the law and were upset because they’d been told to stop.

    The problem with my scheme was that no matter HOW good the system was from a technical perspective it would never be built because:

    1) It would not give the government the ability to track firearms EVER.
    2) The intended users would not EVER use it because of 1.

    So while many people may believe YOU (a random citizen/voter), when a Politician goes down that road we assume their end-goal is to strip us of our right to arm ourselves as we see fit.

    [1] Yes, I know that this will generally cause them to use something else to commit the murder. However a drive by knifing is unlikely to miss the target go through a wall and kill a toddler. I’m perfectly fine with someone being restricted as to their means of self defense one THEY have demonstrated they can’t behave.

  154. Ms Boxer:

    > He did not walk down to the DMV with the purchaser to ensure transfer of title,
    > and the purchaser didn’t do the title transfer.
    > The purchaser is untrackable, and has racked up speeding tickets, parking tickets,
    > and various other violations for the past three years amounting to something in
    > the order of $15,000.

    I’m going to assume that the speeding tickets is a misunderstanding between the two of you when he told the story, because cars don’t get speeding tickets, drivers do.

    > Recently in Illinois they passed a law that allows the state to withhold
    > outstanding fines from your tax return.

    As with Jersey, when one finds oneself in Illinois one throws the fucking ring in the fucking volcano and goes home.

  155. “> Recently in Illinois they passed a law that allows the state to withhold
    > outstanding fines from your tax return.

    As with Jersey, when one finds oneself in Illinois one throws the fucking ring in the fucking volcano and goes home.”

    There are many states in which I refuse to consider living. Illinois and New Jersey are near the top of the list, just below California and Massachusetts and New York.

  156. “Unfortunately, we have a rather weird situation in California, with a 2/3 vote of the legislature being necessary to raise taxes. (Thank you Howard Jarvis, may you rot in Hell.) Essentially, we don’t get infrastructure projects done here unless we have a Democratic governor and a Legislature which is 2/3 Democrat. Since we elected Jerry Brown things have gotten slightly better – I’ve seen lots of CalTrans projects recently – but our state ran at a deficit for a couple decades and things got pretty bad.”

    What Jarvis got wrong is that he did not also require a 2/3 vote to increase spending. Nobody thought politicians would overtly run deficits in the face of a refusal to raise taxes.

    California doesn’t spend money on infrastructure projects because they don’t buy votes like welfare programs and union-backed boondoggles and spending on governments do.

    The right answer isn’t constantly raising taxes. That’s what the revolt that got Jarvis’s proposal passed was caused by. The people of California said “enough!”, and the politicians refused to listen.

    The right answer is to limit government and especially government spending to what its true functions are. Hint: Major redistributive change, as Barack Obama calls for, is not it.

  157. ESR:
    > The second, related problem you’d run into is that gun owners no longer trust that
    > programs such as “mandatory liability insurance” would be administered technocratically.
    > J. Random Gun Owner hears that and immediately visualizes the worst-case scenario:
    > premiums deliberately hiked to the point where owning legally is financially ruinous.
    > The point you need to get is that this is not a crazy reaction – it’s continuous with the
    > entire history of attempted illegalizations by stealth.

    Insurance (real insurance) is driving by actuarial costs, not politics.

    There are somewhere north of 80 million LEGAL gun owners in the United States. There are 30k deaths from firearms every year, and another (supposedly) 100k (rounded) injuries per year.

    Now, the problem is that *generally* speaking liability policies explicitly state that if the holder of the policy is engaging in criminal activity then they ain’t going to pay.

    So deliberate shootings, suicides and crimes would not be covered by the insurance. Suicides are usually about 1/2 of the gun deaths per year, and murders are much of the rest. In 2010 there were about 606 accidental shooting deaths. 2011 had about 851.

    So really the push for liability insurance indicates either a misunderstanding of how insurance works, or is really a desire to eliminate firearms by making it more and more expensive to own a firearm.

  158. “So really the push for liability insurance indicates either a misunderstanding of how insurance works, or is really a desire to eliminate firearms by making it more and more expensive to own a firearm.”

    Those two are not mutually exclusive.

  159. @William O. B’Livion

    The problem with my scheme was that no matter HOW good the system was from a technical perspective it would never be built because:

    Generalize this insight, apply it to government. Thus was my first step towards anarchism.

    @Troutwaxer

    Thou hast earned a place in my fool list. Many claim to be capitalists while hating everything about capitalism, thou art one of them. Thou shouldst fucketh thyself, preferably with a poleaxe.

    Oh, and of course the same goes for you Jeff.

  160. Foo, give Troutwaxer some credit for at least not being the kind of unreasoning shrill screamer that Jeff (BTW, Jeff: Du-te dracului!) is. He’s capable of reasoned discussion.

    Indeed, he reasons correctly, though his premises are demonstrably false.

  161. >As with Jersey, when one finds oneself in Illinois one throws the fucking ring in the fucking volcano and goes home.”

    Did I ever mention here that when my wife and I were telling people that we were leaving NJ, from people we thought well of (not useless flakes or drones) a very common reaction was ‘I want to get out too, but my spouse has family here and won’t leave’.

    >There are many states in which I refuse to consider living. Illinois and New Jersey are near the top of the list, just below California and Massachusetts and New York.

    From personal experience, stay the hell out of Maryland and Rhode Island, too. They make Jersey look like it has honest, effective government that values freedom. Connecticut- well you’re going to want to think long and hard. (It’s become a blue hell-hole, but it still has some few vestigial remnants of freedom.)

  162. ‘as with jersey, when one finds oneself in Illinois one throws the fucking ring in the fucking volcano and goes home’

    Fucking A Right, Jay

  163. @Jay
    “The country is currently split politically between Brie-eating bicoastal elites and the rest of us in flyover country, with the occasional pocket of leftism in places like Chicago, Madison, and the Twin Cities; I would dnot be surprised to see it split into separate countries along those lines.”

    These Brie-eating bi-coastals are the ones who earn the money that is spend by those State-Hating Conservatives that live in the flyover country:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/05/which-states-are-givers-and-which-are-takers/361668/

    Btw, all that high tech stuff that the US military is so proud of is designed by the bi-coastals.

    @William O. Blivion
    “> We already had a long discussion about the fairy tale that armed citizens are a match to a professional army.

    Was this another one of those conversations where you closed your eyes and typed “I Can’t Read You?””

    Not exactly. I cannot find it now, but I am happy to repeat this discussion.

    So, who will start to argue here that the USA army will not be able to conquer a major US city where the population is armed with light arms?

    Think Roman empire, Japanese in WWII, or Germans in Eastern Europe:
    In case of resistance, decimate the population (i.e., kill every tenth person).

    Bonus point for whom can give us the minimum number of soldiers needed.

  164. It’s nice to see the euro-serf chiming in on matters it does not understand.

    Reassuring, in a perverse way.

    Winter, the ad absurdum you describe is not going to happen. The US military is not the enforcement plaything of the US government. If the US government even whispered the mere question of turning the US military against the American people, every possible wheel would fall off. The government would rapidly be politically considered null, void & illegitimate.

    We the People are in charge of America, not the government. They exist because we permit them to. The moment they suggest turning our own military arms against us…goodnight Vienna.

    But by all means, since you have such superior knowledge of our country….continue your ad absurdum by speculating about the nuking, bombing and shelling of US towns & cities. Are you projecting your own fantasies?

    Don’t worry about us, little Winter. We’ll be just fine. Rest your foggy euro-serf head on the statist pillow of socialism in whatever utopian slurry you call home.

  165. To my surprise, I found this:

    esr on 2015-01-13 at 09:28:03 said:
    >The real cause were the British policies.

    I almost certainly have ancestors who fled the Famine, and probably ancestors who died in it; I’m quite familiar with the anti-British narrative about it. But after having investigating the matter I believe most of the blame lies on the Anglo-Irish gentry and their middlemen, who thwarted the British government’s attempts to ameliorate the crisis because those would have brought about structural changes that threatened their privileges.

    The notion that the Famine was something not far from a planned genocide is unsupported by the facts, and appears to have become entrenched in legend because it served the propaganda needs of the Irish independence movement. Which, I hasten to add, was clearly justified in its demands – but even “good” political movements often succumb to the temptation to demonize their opponents and that is what happened in this case.

    This is Eric defending a centralized government taking charge.

    To my mind, there’s no obvious right size or organizational level to identify which governments defend rights. The end of Jim Crow is an example of the Federal government dominating state governments, and doing the right thing. Nazi Germany is an example of a national government committing atrocities that the local governments presumably didn’t especially want.

  166. All right, Safari 9 has now officially pissed me off. It has a bug that results in the page being displayed as blank when you go back to it…which wipes out anything you’ve entered into a text box. This is the third time I’ve written this comment.

    Greg: My avoid list has all of the East Coast north of Virginia already, except for Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Pennsylvania (though the latter only west of Philadelphia; I like the city, but there’s no way in hell I’ll live in it).Minnesota would be on it, but there were other considerations when I first moved here (and it’s gotten worse in the past several years).

    Bruce: That was William’s comment, not mine, but yeah.

    Winter: Considering that that map parallels the map of riches in this country pretty closely, this is not a surprise. We do, after all, still officially adhere to “soak the rich” as a taxing strategy.

    And those weapons of war aren’t designed by the elites, or even where the elites live. They’re designed in places like Georgia and Alabama. The elites won’t dirty their hands on those nasty icky weapons of war. We should all ust get along and give peace a chance. Weapons? Icky-poo!!!

    And the people using those weapons are quite predominately from the South and Midwest. There’s a reason that the university from which the largest number of officers in the US armed forces come from is Texas A&M.

    There’s significant doubt that the US military would remain under Washington’s control in a civil war, especially if the war were to be started over something like universal confiscation of civilian-owned arms.

  167. Hot damn, the blockquote tag worked! Note to anyone else who wants to try it– blockquote doesn’t just indent, blockquote and /blockquote (I’m not bothering to do the angle brackets), it indents and adds a blank line. I’m not fond of this feature (it’s harder to proof read when I don’t have the blank lines in the html-ed text), and what’s worse, it’s different in different versions(?) of html, but at least it worked this time.

    Eric, is there any hope of previewing comments?

  168. Looking back at world history again, with a more cynical perspective, a lot of it seems to read like tribal-warfare by other means, even the things that aren’t nominally wars. In the French revolution case (since it is at the top of my mind), the rebellion of the provinces against the Parisians happened after “liberating and selling” lands owned by officers of the previous regime translated into transferring land and property from the locals to political cronies in Paris. The Parisians had no loyalty to or respect for the rights of “those dumb ignorant backwards provincials” – they were a different tribe. The almost automatic and inevitable action the Parisians took on overthrowing the estates general and the constitution of 1791 was to dominate (and enslave through conscription) the other tribes that might be rivals for control. (PS – most of the victims of the later reign of terror were actually counterrevolutionaries from the provinces that were sick of Paris’s shit. Their lives and livelihoods were made impossible by the actions of the national convention.)

    In the world today, there is a lot of pressure built up on dominant political elites sitting on top of failed systems, and their impoverished clients to attack, disposes, and dominate people they see as ‘not theirs’. There is also a lot of potential for genocidal conflict between the muslim immigrants in Europe, the governing classes, and the natives who want to avoid being ‘replaced’.

    I think that if we want to head off genocide in the future, the only way to do it will be to arm everyone. Absolutely everyone on Earth should have a sidearm and a rifle. If this situation were to obtain (getting there is a different story), wars to dispossess and enslave another tribe would be too costly to pursue. Genocides would be Pyhrric affairs. Sure, a populous and belligerent tribe could organize an army, but the army would have to be organized knowing that the casualties for the infantry would be horrific, and that the leaders could still get sniped.

    Think of the American settlers vs. the Native Americans. The settlers had guns. The natives (other than what they stole in raids) didn’t. There were strict and harshly enforced laws against selling the natives rifles. There are perfectly good self-interested reasons for that (the raids, etc), but the end result, after enough time, enough conflict, and enough history is that the disarmed tribe was exterminated and the armed tribe took their stuff.

    The sequence of events is always 1. disarm, 2. exterminate/enslave/dispossess.

    If you want world peace, go the mutually assured destruction route: Arm everyone.

  169. I have relatives on both sides of that issue… but what it comes down to is, despite hundreds of years of contact with the Europeans, the Indians had no interest in adopting even the comparatively primitive technologies of the time. Trade for it, yes. Steal it, no problem. Smelt iron to make their own tools, guns, and knives? You must be kidding. Make gunpowder? Can’t be bothered.

    An entire set of cultures composed entirely of management, I guess.

  170. @Jay
    “Winter: Considering that that map parallels the map of riches in this country pretty closely, this is not a surprise. We do, after all, still officially adhere to “soak the rich” as a taxing strategy.”

    I mark these “Tea Party states” up as biting the hand that feeds them.

    Note that one of the persistent trends on this blog is to scold lefties for living of state wellfare. But it is clear that the states where these lefties pull the strings are also the ones that drive the US economy and actually generate the wealth that pays the subsidies for the Tea Party supporters.

    We find that in Europe too. All those anti-EU, anti-immigrant and anti-socialist populists are supported mainly by people living on welfare of some kind.

  171. >Eric, is there any hope of previewing comments?

    Not unless someone can point me at a WordPress plugin that allows this and doesn’t have fatal problems.

  172. > Foo Quuxman:
    > @William O. B’Livion
    > > The problem with my scheme was that no matter HOW good the system was from
    > > a technical perspective it would never be built because:
    > Generalize this insight, apply it to government. Thus was my first step towards anarchism.

    BTDT. The problem with Anarchy is the same as the problem with any sort of representative government (Dumbocracy, Representative Republic, etc.), which is the well-adjusted sociopath.

  173. A modest improvement would be to put a list of accepted tags at the bottom of the “Leave a Reply” box. That way posters won’t have to guess whether a given tag will work, as opposed to getting eaten or being converted into nasal demons.

  174. Nancy L:
    > Any thoughts about methods (presumably non-mandatory) which would make
    > it easier for people to handle guns sensibly? There seems to be two categories
    > of the problem– making mistakes when angry/frightened and not being reliably
    > conscientious.

    While ESR is correct that this isn’t really a big enough problem really worry about, IMO it is something *worth* solving because it has the side effect of making people feel safer around firearms, which means they don’t have (or don’t have as much of) a knee jerk reaction that Guns R Bad.

    The answer, as the Left is so fond of for things like sex, and drugs, is “Education”. Simply task the NRA with developing a program that can be taught to 6th through 8th graders that teaches the 4 rules of gun safety, and safe firearms handling of pistols and long guns (for these purposes shotguns and rifles are close enough). This should be something that can be taught in about a week of 60 minute classes (well, it can be taught in 1 60 minute class, but if practice it for a week it’ll get stuck).

    For them what don’t know, the four rules of gun safety are:

    1) Treat all firearms as if they are loaded.
    2) Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
    3) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
    4) Know your target and what is beyond it.

    This would, at very little cost, solve most of your “accident” problems.

    Your “when angry or frightened” part of the problem would involve great expense, and is basically just more training.

    However we have to realize (not only in this issue, but in many) that we really should look to solve problems but need to accept that we live in a stochastic/probabilistic universe in which shit will sometimes happen. People drink and use drugs. People of limited mental capacity will still get access to firearms (being a dumbass does not make one a prohibited person) etc.

  175. Winter:
    > @William O Blivion
    > > I found the old discussion. Nice to see that you engaged in it too.
    > http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6622&cpage=1#comment-1395862

    See Winter, I am a former Marine who has also spent time in 2 other military services (Army National Guard and Air Force Reserves), who has spent time in a zone of conflict (Baghdad after the war had been won and while Obama was working hard to lose it), and worked with the military in other areas.

    I’m also an owner of several military pattern weapons (Sig 55x based, AK based, G3 based), and have spent a considerable amount of money in private training.

    It would be very, very possible for say 2 divisions of heavy infantry to take some place like Houston or San Antonio. They might even do so with relatively few losses. For the first couple days.

    But then they’d bleed like crazy. With in 2 weeks their losses would be on the order of 20 percent or more. They’d have to travel everywhere in armored packs, they’d have to set up perimeters that cleared lines of sight out to 800 meters (I’m pretty much a piker at long distance shooting, but even I can put a round into a man sized target at that distance with your average deer gun, and wouldn’t hesitate to go for head shots at any closer distance).

    But see this is where your inability to think outside the box your society put you in becomes even more obvious.

    Who says we only shoot soldiers?

  176. > Unfortunately, we have a rather weird situation in California, with a 2/3 vote of the
    > legislature being necessary to raise taxes. (Thank you Howard Jarvis, may you rot in
    > Hell.) Essentially, we don’t get infrastructure projects done here unless we have
    > a Democratic governor and a Legislature which is 2/3 Democrat.

    Your problem isn’t your income, it’s your spending. You’re never going to get a handle on that.

    > Since we elected Jerry Brown things have gotten slightly better – I’ve seen lots of
    > CalTrans projects recently

    You mean like that multi-billion dollar high speed train that goes nowhere anyone wants to be and is basically designed to funnel US Taxpayer dollars to politically connected developers and freaken CHINA?

  177. Random832 :
    > I really do disagree with Jay’s objection that having your insurance pay out
    > is a “victimization”,

    You’re missing (slightly) Jay’s objection (at least as I read it).

    He’s not objecting to his homeowner’s insurance paying out if there is an incident, he’s objecting to being *forced* to buy insurance (aka “risk pooling”) that pays out for other people’s mistakes.

  178. @ William O. B’Livion: The answer, as the Left is so fond of for things like sex, and drugs, is “Education”. Simply task the NRA with developing a program that can be taught to 6th through 8th graders that teaches the 4 rules of gun safety, and safe firearms handling of pistols and long guns (for these purposes shotguns and rifles are close enough). This should be something that can be taught in about a week of 60 minute classes (well, it can be taught in 1 60 minute class, but if practice it for a week it’ll get stuck).

    It’s a good idea, but it needs more than a week and it needs to start very simply at a very young age. I think I can safely speak to this despite not being a gun owner – I watched a friend who is a gun-lover teach these skills to his child from a very young age, using the kid’s toy guns. Every “toy” gun was a “real” gun, and the rules had to be followed or the child lost his gun for the day.

    That being said, I wouldn’t trust the NRA to make the rules, for both political and practical reasons. The political reason being that the NRA is simply not trusted by anyone capable of signing off on educational change, the practical reason being that the NRA would not create a neutral curriculum. But I suspect that there’s a sport-hunting association someplace that could do the work very appropriately.

  179. Winter:
    > @Random832
    > > Executing every violent felon – without exception – would be quite effective.
    > > You trust yourself with it? ”

    > Even worse, crime is a type of career. When you would remove all plumbers
    > from society, you do not expect to remain without plumbers for long.
    > The same for crime. If you succeed in removing all criminals from society, you
    > just created a huge employment opportunity for new entrants.

    This is true if you executed every single criminal regardless of crime, but that’s not what Random et. al. were discussing.

    They were discussing executing a certain class of criminal, namely the violent felon.

    There isn’t much “market” for rape, for beating someone to death in a bar fight, for assault and battery etc.

    So while you’re right that if you killed off all the house burglars that you could find, you’d have more in a few years, but if you made it a habit of killing off violent rapists after the first conviction, soon you’d have fewer. Not none, because the reasons for it AREN’T economic, but at least the recidivism rate would drop.

  180. @William O Blivion
    “But then they’d bleed like crazy. With in 2 weeks their losses would be on the order of 20 percent or more. ”

    No, the solution is simple: Start killing hostages. Use William the Conqueror’s tactic of offensive fortresses. This was already used by the Romans to all but exterminate the Caledonians.

    These tactics were also used by the Germans, Japanese, Russians, and Chinese in the 20th century.

  181. @William O Blivion
    “There isn’t much “market” for rape, for beating someone to death in a bar fight, for assault and battery etc.”

    Not only is there a sucker born every minute, but also idiots who have impulse control issues. But, unlike suckers who must be born, the mental conditions underlying violent crime can be acquired at any time in life.

  182. @Foo:
    >Thou shouldst fucketh thyself,

    Thou hast earned a place on my fool list by ending an infinitive with “-eth” to give your speech a Shakespearean flavor. :-)

    Only the third person singular, present tense, may end in “-eth”. The sixth commandment is “Thou shalt not kill”, not “Thou shalt not killeth”.

  183. @ Foo Quuxman: Thou hast earned a place in my fool list. Many claim to be capitalists while hating everything about capitalism, thou art one of them. Thou shouldst fucketh thyself, preferably with a poleaxe.

    I don’t give a damn what you think. Who the fuck are you that your opinion of me should matter in the least? Oh wait? Is this going down on my permanent record? I’m really scared now!

  184. Winter–“No, the solution is simple: Start killing hostages.”

    What hostages? Houston’s lesbian mayor?

    You are really trapped in your thinking. The hostages they had in those days mattered to the people out side the walls. They were the minor nobles of the surrounding area who commanded the attacking forces. In the next civil war, there will not be formal commanders. Who would you pick as the hostages in a city of 4 million people. William is correct. You could take Houston fairly easily, but the effective control is a whole other matter. 2 heavy divisions total about 40,000 troop. They would be outnumbered 100 to 1. If you brought 100,000 solders in, they would still be outnumbered 40 to 1 and Houston is just one city. You would need a similar sized force for Dallas, and San Antonio. What about the areas in between? As you cross from Louisiana into Texas on I-10 the first mile marker is 878. Texas is huge. Good luck in the countryside.

    They would also be out gunned 15 or 20 to 1. I live in Houston. Texas is a different sort of state. It came into the union as an equal (by federal law the Texas flag does not have to fly lower than the US flag) and the culture here is that the state is an equal to the US, not subservient. Many people carry firearms and know how to use them. One third of the vehicles on the road here are pickup trucks. You want to see technicals in action in the US? Pick a fight here.

  185. The NRA already has a gun safety series for pre-k through 4th grade called Eddie the Eagle. I am e-mailing Hilary right now so that she can push for it being shown in classrooms across the nation to help in promoting gun safety. She must have just over looked it.

  186. That Texas flag thing is a common myth, but in fact:

    A) There is no law requiring state flags to fly lower than the US flag when on separate staffs,
    B) it is physically impossible, obviously, for two flags to fly at equal height on the same staff,
    C) Federal law and Texas law both require the Texas flag, like any other state flag, to be below the US flag when on the same staff (and to the left of it on separate staffs, etc), and the former has no language specifically mentioning the Texas flag.

  187. some place like Houston or San Antonio

    Maybe. I note in particular that it seems like everyone over 45 in San Antonio is retired military or spouses themselves.

  188. I agree with ESR 100% about this. The pejorative connotations that libprog Democrats associate with gun owners in flyover country makes me seethe with anger. I am one of those gun owners in flyover country! We are not monolithic, we are not inbred, unintelligent, uneducated, unrefined or naive, although that is exactly what that speech, about not taking away our guns, evoked.

    It doesn’t matter if Obama doesn’t “take away our guns” (for now!) or not, as the fact that he thinks we are so ignorant and docile that some trite platitudes, full of condescension, is all that’s needed to reassure us. To me, it hints of an Orwellian dystopia that is getting uncomfortably plausible.

  189. per jfre
    >The NRA already has a gun safety series for pre-k through 4th grade called Eddie the Eagle.

    That’s right! Here’s the URL https://eddieeagle.nra.org I’ll make sure and tell Hillary. I doubt she’ll care, but it isn’t true that gun owners are irresponsible dim bulbs.

  190. @
    “What hostages? Houston’s lesbian mayor? ”

    That would be, say, a few percent of all (young) males. Just keep a few hundred men in prison from all parts of the city and shoot them when something happens. Then round up new (young) men.

    The Germans simply killed all males in a village where a soldier had been shot. It is fairly easy to encircle a block of houses where a shot might have fired and kill everyone inside.

    During the Boer wars in South Africa, Churchill put all women and children in concentration camps. They died like flies, so the Boer surrendered.

    Having a talk with people who survived the German or Russian occupation gives you a whole different perspective on what Terror actually means.

  191. @Winter
    > That would be, say, a few percent of all (young) males. Just keep a few
    > hundred men in prison from all parts of the city and shoot them when
    > something happens. Then round up new (young) men.

    This, more than anything else I’ve read from you on this blog, shows just how much you fail to understand the American psyche (let alone Texan!).

    Not only would our armed forces patently refuse to do something so cowardly, our populace would ignite into a bloodthirsty conflagration. Think piranhas and cows.

  192. @jsk
    “Not only would our armed forces patently refuse to do something so cowardly, our populace would ignite into a bloodthirsty conflagration. Think piranhas and cows.”

    If I understood well, commenters on this blog are collecting arms to protect themselves against the government, i.e., to shoot at US soldiers and LEOs in the employments of the government of the USA. If the population fires at soldiers, they tend to fire back. I thought the Waco debacle would has told a lesson.

    Also, I saw a lot of talk (just scroll up) which implied that there were people commenting here that would be willing to fight a civil war against “Brie-eating bicoastals” or other segments of the US population. That sounds to me as a situation where the armed forces would intervene, and intervene rather forcefully. I also think that if the people of the USA are already firing at each other, they wont unite against their own army for shooting at their enemies.

    My whole point is that the population storing fire-arms is no match for the US armed forces.

    But building your strategy on the assumption that the soldiers won’t shoot back borders on the insane.

  193. > But building your strategy on the assumption that the soldiers won’t shoot back borders on the insane.

    Not strategy, but discussion. Not that [US] soldiers won’t shoot back but that they would shoot hostages (fellow Americans) on order.

  194. Jakub Narebski
    “Not strategy, but discussion. Not that [US] soldiers won’t shoot back but that they would shoot hostages (fellow Americans) on order.”

    People behaving honorably and morally during a civil war? Call me cynical, but I have difficulty seeing this happening.

    You are stockpiling weapons to use AGAINST the armed forces of the USA. You assume they are under the command of an evil dictatorship. You will use these weapons to SHOOT at soldiers. Shoot to kill, “bleed them” was the term, in sniper attacks. And then you assume you can talk them out of retaliating? To honor Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions? You talk so much about the atrocities of the 20th century. Did you not learn ANYthing from them?

    If you think the US armed forces are reasonable and would not shoot Fellow Americans, why start to shoot at them in the first place?

  195. I think Winter has a point. It’s not just a matter of how alienated some fraction of the public feels from the government, it’s how alienated the military feels from the public, and especially so if the public starts shooting at the military. I assume the military would moved around (if it isn’t already, probably by coincidence) so that soldiers won’t be shooting at people from their own region.

    It’s also plausible that the military will be divided on this– not a pretty thought.

    The situation in the country would have to be very bad (be very bad, not just potentially be very bad) to justify starting a civil war. What do folks here think would justify a civil war other than making private ownership of guns illegal?

  196. “It’s also plausible that the military will be divided on this– not a pretty thought.”

    Consider that the overwhelming majority of the military comes from the middle and lower class. Also consider the large number of former military members in the public. Whom do the military members identity with? Their peers in the public? Or the elites that send them aboard and refuse them proper medical care once they return?

  197. There’s a lot of questions going begging in the gun control argument.

  198. @Nancy
    “I assume the military would moved around (if it isn’t already, probably by coincidence) so that soldiers won’t be shooting at people from their own region.”

    I do not know about the USA, but over here it was SOP. And the Chinese did it with the soldiers they send into Tian An Men square to shoot at the protesters (which came from the other end of the country). Conscripts should always be send away from home.

  199. The US has no conscripts serving in any of its branches any more. The last one retired a year or so ago.

    And military units are not made up of folks from one particular area. Geographical segregation like that isn’t possible here.

  200. @ Nancy Lebovitz

    Insurrection speculation is largely a barometer of social disaffection with government and also a means of emotional venting. It shouldn’t be viewed too concretely in the blogosphere.

    Europe is now in the throes of a major immigration wave from the Mideast and the likelihood of near-term violent civil disobedience is greater over there; so we may be able to witness if Winter is prescient by watching what happens in his neighborhood.

    As a side note, there has been extensive modeling of these scenarios and permutations by many parties (military, government, and private). In nearly all of them, large scale private ownership of firearms and ammunition proves to be a significant deterrent to tyranny. It’s not US citizens that should fear our military on operating domestic soil, but foreign nations that would be conquered by the US military under the command of a homegrown tyrant.

    Note to Winter: it’s patriotic US gun owners that keep tyranny at bay here in the US and will be there once again to rescue Europe when you manage to start WW III.

  201. @TomA
    “As a side note, there has been extensive modeling of these scenarios and permutations by many parties (military, government, and private). In nearly all of them, large scale private ownership of firearms and ammunition proves to be a significant deterrent to tyranny. ”

    Could you give us some references?

  202. Those of you who fantasize about overthrowing or preventing a tyrannical U.S. government would do well to remember that some of the first uses of the U.S. Army after the Revolution were to put down Shays’ Rebellion and the Whisky Rebellion. This they did swiftly and effectively. So turning their guns on insurgent American citizens, if need be, has been part of the mission of the armed forces literally since the beginning, and the regular armed forces have the advantages of superior weaponry, tactics, strategy and command structure. The rebels had better amass HUGE numbers of supporters before the first shots are fired, or they will be met with bloody, bloody failure and those who remain will go the way of Timothy McVeigh.

  203. Winter, you are a fucking moron.

    I have two sons who are Marine infantry, a good friend who just retired as a colonel who came up through the ranks starting as a rifleman in an infantry squad, several cousins/uncles who have served in all of the services, bur mostly as infantry/tankers. I have come to know their friends and the men in their squads/platoons. Most, including the officers, are from the south, are conservative/libertarian, and would NEVER obey an order to attack their countrymen in a fight against an illegal government. In fact, I would venture to say that over 3/4 of the combat military would join the revolt, not suppress it.

    The hostage gambit would fail big time. The Japanese tried it in their initial attacks on Bataan in 1942 using the girlfriends/wives/children of the American/Filipino soldiers. It failed and was a major item in the war crimes trials conducted in 1946. The Germans were really effective at suppressing civilian revolts in conquered lands like Yugoslavia, Russia, France and Italy (after Sept 1943) weren’t they. The Soviets also had a huge problem in suppressing revolts in the Ukraine in the late 1940’s too. That was one reason they did not try to conquer the rest of Europe after the US de-mobilized in 1946.

  204. “and would NEVER obey an order to attack their countrymen in a fight against an illegal government.”

    Well, sure, when you put it that way… but would they attack US citizens who have been declared to be terrorists? Who may have even in fact, by the time it comes to that, engaged in acts that a reasonable person would consider terrorism?

  205. It’s easy to say you’d join the revolution when you don’t have to decide, in the moment, whether what’s happening is a revolution you should join.

  206. Germany had to keep 5 German divisions and 15 Italian divisions in Yugoslavia throughout most of WW2 to keep control of the country and keep the partisans there suppressed to the point where the country wasn’t lost to Tito. The German divisions were volkssturm units, basically third tier units. Not as capable as our National Guard, more comparable to what the US would create during full mobilization for homeland security. The Italian divisions were front line units, but not elite units. Think US National Guard without combat experience. Still, we are talking about 200,000 soldiers, give or take, to keep Yugoslavia pacified. The population of Yugoslavia at the time was 15 million, give or take a few hundred thousand.

    In the 1990s, General Barry McCaffrey (who I had the great honor of serving with in Desert Storm) estimated that the United States would need to deploy over 100,000 soldiers to the former Yugoslavia and get heavily engaged in guerrilla operations in order to pacify the country.

    So, Winter, you think that the US Army just has to kill a few civilians and occupy the big cities and conduct some combat patrols and they will win? You read books, but you clearly don’t understand actual military operations. Or what actually inspires partisan/insurgents. Or Americans, for that matter.

    As for my own bonafides to speculate on this topic …. career soldier, served in cavalry and armor units. Service includes Cold War era in Germany, the US and South Korea, Desert Shield/Storm, and the various operations in East Africa and the Balkans in the 1990’s. Also have extensively studied military history of the Roman Republic and Empire eras, the 100 years war, American Revolution, Napoleonic era, WW2 and Indochina/Vietnam. Oh, and yes, sometimes the US military has studied/wargamed pacification campaigns inside the US. I was never part of those studies, but they existed. They were highly classified. And the outcomes weren’t pretty.

    But, your belief, Winter, that the US government would win after a bloody war and the US military would conduct extensive, brutal anti-guerrilla operations that targeted guerrillas and civilians …. that position is way off base. It bears no relationship to modern military history, to include the most recent US military experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Since your beliefs and stated opinions radically differ from mine, and since I have an actual background in the military, in combat operations, in both conventional and unconventional battlefields, how about if you provide your expertise on the subject?

  207. Jeff: “Atwater was trying to assure the public that Republican rhetoric isn’t really about race anymore when, clearly, it is.” Prove it. You tried to use Atwater as proof that their rhetoric is racist, but here you acknowledge that he was trying to assure them it wasn’t. It may seem clear to you, but as far as I can tell only because your preconceived beliefs tell you so. As someone who is generally libertarian, but supports ID to vote, reductions to welfare, and any number of other things on principle which are accused of being veiled racism when the republicans back it, I want some actual hard evidence. Atwater’s quote is the go-to explanation, but it doesn’t ACTUALLY say what it’s critics claim it does.

    “Do you honestly think Ronald Reagan giving a “states’ rights” speech near Philadelphia, MS — where a famous lynching of civil-rights workers took place — was a total fucking coincidence?” Yes, because no actual evidence to the contrary has ever been produced, only assertions that various people knew what he really meant. Reagan in general supported federalism, so mentioning it in a speech anywhere is not surprising. How far away would he have to be from somewhere with a lynching in order for it not to be a racist dog whistle? Is there anywhere at all east of the Mississippi where it could be done?

    “What race do you think Reagan’s fictive welfare queen is?” Not fiction, and Linda Taylor was white.

    Your post is full of assertions without evidence. The major problem with claims of “dog-whistle politics” is that it’s fundamentally a form of straw man argument. If you can decide what your opponent really means, why are they even there?

  208. @Eric C
    “But, your belief, Winter, that the US government would win after a bloody war and the US military would conduct extensive, brutal anti-guerrilla operations that targeted guerrillas and civilians …. that position is way off base. It bears no relationship to modern military history, to include the most recent US military experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    Win? Who ever wins a civil war? Lets look at Spain. Who won the civil war? And the nations of South Americ in the 1970s? There are counter examples where a popular uprising wins. But rarely by beating the regular army. Mostly poor countries with bad armies.

    Lets make this concrete. The gun owning conservatives, say, Republicans, take up weapons against a progressive government supported by, say, Democrats, that has the armed forces on its side. You claim that in the end, the gun owning Republicans will win in the end. I claim the side with the support of the army will win in the end. The country will be destroyed, but I do not think there is doubt about the outcome.

  209. How about answering the question …. what background, experience, training or education do you have to make you an expert on conventional and unconventional warfare?

  210. a progressive government supported by, say, Democrats, that has the armed forces on its side

    You’re begging the question.

  211. Jeff, the federal army has been restructured since the revolution. Units are no longer raised in one state from that state’s population. Texas is a particularly hilarious example because pretty much every unit is 1/10th Texan.

  212. It seems pretty obvious to me that the types of weapons most useful against government forces are different from those most useful for self-defence against criminals.

    For the commission of crimes other than intentional murder, concealability is a key requirement for criminal use of weapons, and for self-defence, a weapon that is easy to carry on one’s person is a key requirement. Concealable weapons are generally easy to carry and vice versa – ie handguns.

    On the other side, weapons most useful against government forces are heavy and inconvenient for civilians, but acceptable as man-portable weapons for soldiers. I’m thinking here particularly of a true machine gun, RPGs or other similar anti-tank weapons and shoulder-fired SAMs. Civilians armed with those could turn just about anywhere in to a charnel house for the military.

    This makes me suspect that the government-fear factor is bigger in the choice of regulations than civilian protection; a law intended to stop gun crime but to protect the right of citizens to rebel would include items such as minimum sizes and weights for weapons (to remove concealablility) rather than restrictions on magazine sizes or on automatic / semi-auto capability.

  213. Emphasizing @kjj’s point about how the US Army is organized. The Army personnel system assigns soldiers to units and bases based on needed skills, experience and rank, not on geographic origin. Even when the US Army used conscription, there was no geographical assignment as people seem to think. That is, soldiers from California were not deliberately assigned to units in Georgia. In fact, just the opposite happened in Basic Training. There were multiple bases around the country that had Basic Combat Training facilities. Conscripts were ALWAYS shipped to the nearest BCT facility to their hometown. It still works this way in the Marine Corps, although the Marines are all volunteer.

    How can people spew such silliness without at least checking the basic facts?

  214. Eric: “How can people spew such silliness without at least checking the basic facts?”

    Gun grabbers don’t care about facts. If they did, they wouldn’t be gun grabbers.

  215. @ Winter – “Lets make this concrete.”

    No one can know the future, and battles are notoriously unpredictable, but modeling has provided some insight into how a real tyranny (not Democrat Progressivism) might arise here in the US. Below are listed some of the probable mechanisms; which fall into two broad categories.

    Systemic gradual subversion and weakening:
    Undermine the physicality of the population, e.g. obesity epidemic and chronic drug/alcohol abuse.
    Undermine the American liberty ethos, e.g. employ public education memetics to distort our national history and disparage patriotism.
    Undermine the family structure, e.g. denigrate/destroy strong fathering and substitute government paternalism.
    Undermine individual self-reliance and substitute welfare dependence and debt servitude.
    Disarm the population by fostering an anti-gun mindset and voluntary disarming/subservience.

    Power aggrandizement:
    Create and arm a paramilitary organization that is covertly loyal to a political entity.
    Cause and/or exploit a major crisis, e.g. collapse of the national financial system.
    Create false-flag provocations from manufactured insurgent activities.
    Demonize insurgents as terrorists and use major media to incite national outrage and demand for strong government action.
    Incite blue-on-blue conflict, e.g. patriotic militias versus LEO organizations.
    Blackmail Congress into approving “special powers” legislation.
    Divide and conquer pockets of resistance; isolate the non-compliant in detention camps.

  216. KJJ – “Texas is a particularly hilarious example because pretty much every unit is 1/10th Texan.”

    Winter,
    Google “Texas A and M University Corp of Cadets” and read the wikipedia page. Aggies make up a significant percentage of the current US military leadership. They are citizens of Texas serving in the US military. The sons of Texas will honor their oath.

    Winter –“Lets make this concrete. The gun owning conservatives, say, Republicans, take up weapons against a progressive government supported by, say, Democrats, that has the armed forces on its side. You claim that in the end, the gun owning Republicans will win in the end. ”

    The country is so much more complex then you imagine. The split would not fall along the Dem – Republican lines. It would fall along Urban vs everyone else lines. Solid Dem neighbors here have deer rifles and hate the gun control crap they are hearing. They want controls on big (crony capitalist) business and less disparity between rich and poor using the power of government. They drive diesel pickups and think the green movement is what you have after eating a bowl of fresh guacamole.

    Urban dems want gun control, rural ones want what the dems stood for when JFK was on the ticket.

    I agree that there are no winners in a civil war. But I also agree that “when a government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” 300 million firearms in the hands of its citizens gives many in power pause.

    And Winter, you need to understand what an America that turns into a tyranny could do to the world. We already intercept your phone calls, e-mail and texts. The NSA can grab your IP address off this website and essentially google you where ever you live. They can remotely turn on your cellphone and listen to your conversations. They can put a drone up nearly anywhere on the planet and light your ass up in under 24 hours based on your cell phone. We have satellites that can watch nearly anything anywhere. We have an enormous military that in a conventional war, few nations could match. We have nuclear warheads out the wazoo and are the only country to have used them in anger, and they were used against civilian targets. We have the world’s reserve currency and supply a fair percentage of the world’s food supply. If America goes dark, the world is going to face horrors. Imagine Hitler or Stalin with this US infrastructure. Our government is out of control. They are a threat to us and the world. They are not listening to the people and obeying the law. Obama is becoming a cult of personality. I don’t know if the next one will be any better. We have crossed so many lines that should never had been crossed in such a short period of time. I don’t know where this ends. You may never get it, but in the end what else tangibly constrains the US government? I don’t think a resolution from the UN is going to have much of an effect.

  217. Funny. There are so many people here that claim a lightly armed “dispersed” population without much training and organization can in the long term beat the armed forces of the USA.

    When pressed about this, they all back off to the position that the US military will never shoot at innocent civilians. Or even that the military will back the armed uprising.

    If the military is at your side, why do you need guns?

  218. >When pressed about this, they all back off to the position that the US military will never shoot at innocent civilians. Or even that the military will back the armed uprising.

    You’re hallucinating. I and others have pointed out numerous occasions on which insurrectionaries on their home ground have defeated conventional forces.

  219. @esr
    “You’re hallucinating. I and others have pointed out numerous occasions on which insurrectionaries on their home ground have defeated conventional forces.”

    The US armed forces? Who is hallucinating.

    To defeat conventional forces, you need to have an incompetent (or low morale) army and build your own army.

    The Palestinians have tried for decades to “drive out” the Israelis from their turf. They even build their own rockets. Still, it is just the fear for the US backlash that keeps the Israelis from driving the Palestinians into the sea/Egypt/Jordan.

    If decades of dedicated efforts of the Palestinians cannot drive out a medium sized army, why do you think the US army can be stopped by an unorganized collection of lightly armed civilians?

    The same story for Iraqi insurrections. Lots of guns and dedication. The US only leaves because they do not care about the country anymore. The US armed forces will not leave the US to go elsewhere.

  220. @Winter

    Ans what the hell do you think having to fight a guerrilla war against their own population is going to do to an army? The only time this doesn’t eviscerate morale is when the army is culturally distinct from the general population.

  221. @ Winter – “If the military is at your side, why do you need guns?”

    Gun ownership by private citizens is not a deterrent to conventional warfare, it’s a deterrent to the rise of tyranny. To paraphrase a line from the Game of Thrones, when embarking on a tyranny, you win or you die.

    No doubt a US grown tyrant would absolutely love to have our military under his/her total control and the ability to use it for internal suppression, but as others have pointed out, that’s not a sure thing (or even probable). Better to send them overseas and be occupied fighting a war somewhere, and then use a loyal paramilitary state police force to subdue the dissidents. That latter typically employ ruthlessness rather than heavy weapons.

    Modeling has demonstrated that there are many tactics that would be effective against the past modalities of tyrannical suppression. And these do not even take into account the advent of new technologies that are just now coming into practice. There is a good reason why governments fear quadcopters and self driving autos.

  222. @Foo
    “Ans what the hell do you think having to fight a guerrilla war against their own population is going to do to an army?”

    I assume they become as blood thirsty as their compatriots fighting the guerrilla?

    Maybe ‘mericuns are different, but most people become rather revengeful when constantly being shot at. Low morale in such situations often means a LOT of civilian causalities.

    But do I understand you correctly? These guns you are all hoarding are intended to be used in a guerrilla against your own army in the hope they give up before they have exterminated the population?

    Sounds like a brilliant plan. Worthy of Libertarians.
    [/sarcasm]

  223. @TomA
    “Modeling has demonstrated that there are many tactics that would be effective against the past modalities of tyrannical suppression.”

    Winning the previous war has always been a favorite past time of the military.

    But maybe, just maybe, there might be a very small chance that the military has models on how to cope with resistance in the population. Hopefully tactics that are somewhat more subtle than what the Romans practiced.

    @TomA
    “To paraphrase a line from the Game of Thrones, when embarking on a tyranny, you win or you die.”

    I see we have ventured into fairy tale land. I am sure the rest of the population will appreciate this “Better Dead than Red” mentality.

  224. @Winter

    Sometimes I’m not sure if you’re just fighting against a language barrier, or if you’re deliberately obtuse.

    The context is repeal of the 2nd Amendment and gun confiscation.

    The only way, in a purely “legal” sense, for a national gun confiscation to happen is (after the 2A repeal gets through Congress in the first place, a dicey proposition) for 38 states to ratify a repeal, which can take anywhere from years to decades.

    Even assuming that happened, and assuming the states that chose against ratification don’t attempt to secede (beginning with Texas most likely), the Federal government would still be stuck with the task of actually accomplishing the confiscation. An Australian-style approach would be a non-starter; the vast, vast majority of gun owners would not comply. There are then two likely outcomes:

    1.) The Federal government focuses on large sting operations, leaving the small-scale enforcement to the local authorities. So, basically the same as the US drug war, except this time the police would largely be aligned with the outlaws. In other words, utterly pointless. US gun manufacturers would either shut their doors or move overseas, but guns are simple to make; you’d end up with distributed small-scale, “black market” manufacturing of firearms instead. I’d personally call that a long-term win, actually.

    2.) Task the governments federal and local to go door-to-door, using any existing owner registration records as a first-pass guide, and collect everyone’s guns. I really hope you at least have enough of an understanding to see how this would play out.

    In neither case would the US armed forces step in. Legally they couldn’t, and our military _hates_ being policemen, which is what they would have to be in either outcome.

    This is the context for when we say that our military wouldn’t work against the American populace. We won’t need to use our guns against our military; we’d need to use them against our law enforcement, and so the argument that small arms are useless against the US military is a non sequitur.

    Now, this is all getting conflated with a separate but related issue of a fascistic tyranny gaining power and attempting to wield military force against the people. This Will Not Happen. Our forces, and I’m talking the enlisted and the low-ranking officers here, would (largely, if not entirely) refuse to comply, for a myriad of reasons. Such a tyranny would be left with utilizing law enforcement, and we’ve circled back around to the point above: we’re not concerned about our military, but about the far more tractable problem of Federal and state police forces.

    And then even in the strange, highly-unlikely event of our military working with a tyrannical government to suppress the people, we still have numbers and a kind of stubbornness I’m not sure you’ve ever actually seen, and from your comments here in the past I’m not sure you’re even capable of comprehending.

  225. @jsk ” except this time the police would largely be aligned with the outlaws”

    Says you. Also keep in mind we’re talking about a hypothetical future in which such an amendment manages to actually be passed.

  226. The question is whether if some armed group (which may or may not have the ideological support of the general population) manages to successfully fight off all law-enforcement efforts to arrest/etc them, the national guard and eventually the military will never be called in, but eventually the police will simply hang it up and go home.

    And that assumes no-one in these armed groups makes the utterly stupid decision of attacking a military base. Or a government building. Or a skyscraper full of civilian office workers.

  227. ” Legally they couldn’t” – you don’t think the circumstances described would invoke the Insurrection Act?

  228. “Now, this is all getting conflated with a separate but related issue of a fascistic tyranny gaining power and attempting to wield military force against the people” – it’s being conflated because you haven’t really advanced an intermediate scenario. “We need guns to protect our guns” is a non-starter, there has to be an underlying purpose, and in this argument it’s to fight real tyranny should it ever rise.

  229. This isn’t really something that is resolved with a debate. This is something you take a stand on.

    No gang is going to be allowed to threaten me with death [unless I surrender my private property] without experiencing severe consequences.

    You are not my superior, master or ruler. You are just fellow human beings. The answer is NO. Molon Labe.

    The serfs of the Old World have accepted the yoke. I will not.

  230. If I’m dictator for a day, I announce at midnight and hourly thereafter that anyone who kills a gun control activist will get a full pardon as long as I’m president. I’ll make a list, although I probably won’t have time to finish it in one day (although maybe I will–the number of anti-gunners is MUCH lower than you think) of these activists, as well as their addresses and workplaces (assuming they even have real jobs). I’ll send Marines to arrest and execute Travis Gettys, the Raw Story columnist who hinted that all combat veterans are anti-gun, even though the opposite is true, and holding his severed head on national TV, I will proclaim, “Wow. I thought all us veterans were anti-gun. Guess it’s the anti-gunners who are draft-dodging pussies, isn’t it?”

  231. >anyone who kills a gun control activist will get a full pardon as long as I’m president.

    You need to put a restriction on this: Anyone who kills a gun control activist by means that would have been readily preventable if the victim were armed. So, no fair running them over with a car or getting the drop on them with a gun – to qualify for the pardon one would have to strangle them or beat them to death with a pool cue or something.

    Not only would this policy be a lesson in practical ethics, if continued for a generation or so I believe it might measurably raise the average IQ of the general population.

  232. I think part of the reason left-wingers are on this anti-gun kick lately is that they are really, really shocked that gun owners aren’t acting like Republicans and being pussies. For all that they call us “evil,” up until recently they thought we were just another group of milquetoast Republicans who would say, “No, really, I’m almost as sexy as you anti-gunners.”

    Instead they see rugged men who scare the fuck out of them.

  233. @Ken

    I agree. They think that republican and gun owner are synonymous. They really don’t understand that an element of the gun culture that has drawn a line long ago that says this far, no further. As they continue to nudge and threaten gun rights they slowly push up against those lines. They see it as a continuum, for us it is a step function. They are seeing us push back and warn of what lies ahead, but they don’t understand there exists a point of no return. I think most second amendment believing gun owners would say that republicans in general have betrayed them as well.

  234. @ Troutwaxer on 2015-11-01 at 14:08:49 said:
    > @ WilliaB’Livion: The answer, as the Left is so fond of for things like sex, and
    > > drugs, is “Education”.
    > It’s a good idea, but it needs more than a week

    No, it doesn’t.

    The Marine Corps takes 2 weeks in basic to train 18 year old man-boys from “never held a gun before” to a very high degree of marksmanship out to 500 meters. This is 1 week of “dry firing” and instruction, and 1 week of range time.

    All we’re trying to do with the children is to get them to internalize four VERY, VERY simple rules, and to demonstrate those rules a few times.

    They’re really very, very simple, why I bet even you could understand them after repeating them 5 times over 5 days and a little practical application (demonstrating how to hold a rifle and a pistol).

    You do this for *one* week over 3 or 4 years at the right age and you’re going to eliminate a very small number of accidental shootings.

    Why a small number? Because there are–relative to the number of firearms in our country–already a small number of shootings, and most folks don’t do the stupid sh*t.

    > That being said, I wouldn’t trust the NRA to make the rules,

    Then you are an idiot. The NRA was FOUNDED to teach marksmanship after the civil war. Teaching people to use firearms was, for decades, their ONLY reason for existence.

    > for both political and practical reasons. The political reason being that the NRA is
    > simply not trusted by anyone capable of signing off on educational change,

    Then they need to get fired.

    > the practical reason being that the NRA would not create a neutral curriculum.

    So basically you DO think us gun owners are mouth breathing morons.

    > But I suspect that there’s a sport-hunting association someplace that could
    > do the work very appropriately.

    Nope.

    The only other organization that comes anywhere close is the “International Hunters Education Association”. All of the others teach the 4 rules and site/sport specific rules.

  235. jsk:
    > An Australian-style approach would be a non-starter; the vast, vast majority of gun
    > owners would not comply. There are then two likely outcomes:

    Shit mate, it didn’t work in Australia. They got between 20 and 30% compliance rate THERE.

    Hell, even the normally obedient Canadians told Ottowa to pound sand, which resulted in them scrapping THEIR gun registration program after massive non-compliance.

  236. Ah the lefty/gun control types are like Wormtongue, constantly whispering defeatist nonsense. “You can’t win, why try?” “The criminal will just take your gun, so be safe and don’t own one.” “You are not good enough to defend yourself, you’ll probably die anyway so why bother?”

    They don’t matter. They’ve lost popularly, they’ve lost politically, and would never be able to field enough troops, cops, and agents to enact gun confiscation or even to put down a middlin’-sized revolt.

    All they have left in their arsenal is lies. They know it, we know it. They can’t win with lies because enough folks are hip to their tactics. Therefore, nothing they say (or do) matters.

    Finally the great thing about a general revolt is that given recent political trajectory there would likely be 20+ states not helping the feds and maybe even mobilizing against them. Also half the population voted R and so there are a lot of red areas in other states that would not be sympathetic to a D/blue attempt at a roundup. Add in all the conservative/libertarian troops (and retired troops) that’s a huge hole for the Ds to start from and given how stupid and incompetent they show themselves to be on a regular basis it’s impossible to imagine they could even get started let alone win.

  237. Damn, I forgot to mention that intensity of belief matters here. Sure they might be able to field troops in the service of their cause but how committed will they be?

    How many are really willing to risk their lives to take the guns, compared to those who are willing to risk their lives to keep the guns?

  238. Richard Gadsden:
    > It seems pretty obvious to me that the types of weapons most useful against
    > government forces are different from those most useful for self-defence
    > against criminals.

    The same weapons used for defense against criminals are useful in a rebellion.

    > For the commission of crimes other than intentional murder, concealability is a
    > key requirement for criminal use of weapons,

    You ever see a guy walking down the street with duffel bag over his shoulder? Or just walking carrying a baseball bat?

    > and for self-defence, a weapon that is easy to carry on one’s person is a key requirement.

    Self defense outside the home/workplace, yes. Inside, not as much.

    > On the other side, weapons most useful against government forces are heavy
    > and inconvenient for civilians, but acceptable as man-portable weapons for soldiers.
    > I’m thinking here particularly of a true machine gun, RPGs or other similar anti-tank
    > weapons and shoulder-fired SAMs.

    Nope. Light arms arms are perfectly sufficient. While in a “perfect” world mission dictates tactics, tactics dictates weapons to unsupported forces fighting a numerically and logistically superior enemy the reverse is true.

    If all you have to fight with is a pistol you don’t fight, you assassinate.

    Light arms (rifles/carbines) and/or strategically placed obstacles can be used to force troops to dismount armored vehicles and counterattack right into the teeth of improvised explosives.

    Hunting rifles can, even in the hands of a mediocre shot, reach out to almost 1/2 a mile with sufficient accuracy to ruin someone’s day with boring repetitiveness. With someone good shots at a mile are tough with high end off the shelf hunting gear.

    > Civilians armed with those could turn just about anywhere in to a charnel house
    > for the military.

  239. @William O. B’Livion

    The Marine Corps takes 2 weeks in basic to train 18 year old man-boys from “never held a gun before” to a very high degree of marksmanship out to 500 meters. This is 1 week of “dry firing” and instruction, and 1 week of range time.

    All we’re trying to do with the children is to get them to internalize four VERY, VERY simple rules, and to demonstrate those rules a few times.

    You are forgetting an important detail: the Corps is a military organisation, and as such *must* be an effective teacher otherwise they get stomped by the people they are fighting. By contrast the children would be in the public school system, the poster child for utter incompetence of the “YOU HAD ONE JOB” variety.

  240. @Ken
    “If I’m dictator for a day, I announce at midnight and hourly thereafter that anyone who kills a gun control activist will get a full pardon as long as I’m president.”

    So, to be very clear: Guns are not to defend your life, but to kill political opponents.

    It should be clear that this will not be the best argument to win the hearts and minds of your compatriots. Because you just told us why all private guns should be banned.

  241. @Winter:
    >Maybe ‘mericuns are different, but most people become rather revengeful when constantly being shot at. Low morale in such situations often means a LOT of civilian causalities.

    But fighting a war against your own civilians is more than just getting shot at. It involves a fair likelyhood that you aren’t hearing from friends and family at home at all, and that if you are, you’re hearing about who’s been shot recently. It means worrying about having to face friends or family in battle. It means worrying about who among your loved ones might refuse to speak to you after the war. And for US troops, at least, it means worrying about whether the actions you’re being ordered to take violate the oath you took when you joined the military to protect and defend the constitution.

  242. Eric, how are you defining an gun control activist? I’m imagining a range from people who share a facebook meme to politicians who can affect legislation.

    What are the penalties (if any) for killing someone who isn’t a gun control activist in the process of trying to kill a gun control activist? This might be a bystander, or might be someone with the same name as a gun control activist.

    Do you consider yourself a libertarian? I would say you’re interpreting initiation of violence too widely.

    What do you think counts as a killing which could be stopped easily if the person had a gun? You’ve said that not allowing time to respond would be off limits, but how much time are we talking about? I wonder how much risk there would be from the public or police there would be from people who thought your anti-gun control killer was a mere common murderer.

    Scenario: Anti-gun control killer makes announcement. Gun control supporter responds with taser. The person who was attempting to kill dies of a heart attack. Any penalty for the second person?

  243. Jon, you needed to finish that sentence:

    “worrying about whether the actions you’re being ordered to take violate the oath you took when you joined the military to protect and defend the constitution” from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

  244. > Scenario: Anti-gun control killer makes announcement. Gun control supporter responds with taser.

    Or, for that matter, a gun. Maybe they’re hypocrites, or maybe you’ve defined “gun control activist” too broadly.

  245. I said: “By the way, has anyone noticed that both Rand and Heinlein wrote about microaggressions as things that make people unhappy? I’ll come back later and say where, but I want to see whether anyone has already noticed.”

    Rand wrote about microaggressions in the passage where Dagny is looking for something to enjoy, and all she can find is ugly music and fiction about how awful business people are. For that matter, the way Rearden’s family treats him could be viewed as a series of microaggressions, and see also the way Jim treats Cheryl.

    Heinlein wrote about microaggressions by white Americans against black Americans in Farnham’s Freehold. The one that comes to minds is Karen(?) telling an unfunny joke in a bad accent, and Joseph letting it slide because it isn’t worth the effort to tell her he doesn’t like it.

  246. >Eric, how are you defining an gun control activist? I’m imagining a range from people who share a facebook meme to politicians who can affect legislation.

    I wouldn’t actually make a “kill a gun-control activist, get away free” law, so I don’t think I need to fiddle with the boundary cases. You are quite right, that would be interpreting initiation of violence too widely.

  247. @Winter

    So, to be very clear: Guns are not to defend your life, but to kill political opponents.

    Bullshit. Among other things, the two are not mutually exclusive.

    But, since you are a socialist, and socialists certainly have perfected the art of mass murder into an assembly-line process in the last century or so…. I can see how your ideological filters would limit you to that view.

  248. @ Nancy Lebovitz

    As a I mentioned up-thread, a lot comments in the blogosphere are more about emotional venting and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If a comment seems unusually extreme to you, then that is an indication that the underlying emotion is deeply felt and it is being exacerbated by anxiety. For example, there are serious efforts underway nationally to implement another increment of gun control legislation (or failing that, Obama may once again issue an Executive Order to accomplish same). This is occurring despite recent polls that show over 80% of the population favor the Second Amendment. Venting on a blog is preferable to shooting an innocent, even if they are deluded.

  249. TomA, you’re right. At my end, the problem is that I’ve spent a lot of time reading SJW material, mostly RaceFail, and as a result, I’ve gotten sensitized to violent talk.

    I’m uncertain about how far I should dial it back. Part of the real world is that sometimes violent talk is a preliminary to violent action, though mostly not.

  250. Random832: And that assumes no-one in these armed groups makes the utterly stupid decision of attacking a military base

    [sarcasm]
    But wait, our military bases are gun-free zones. What better place to launch an attack?
    [/sarcasm]

  251. @ Nancy Lebovitz

    The fact that you are extraordinarily intelligent is your best asset when interacting on the internet. Remember also that emotions are natural, real, and non trivial aspects of the human condition.

  252. I’m uncertain about how far I should dial it back. Part of the real world is that sometimes violent talk is a preliminary to violent action, though mostly not.

    I sometimes wonder whether this is the primary cause behind the Great Filtering. Namely, violent talk that turns out to just be venting, but is later found by someone who doesn’t have enough prior probability data to accurately estimate whether it’s serious or not.

    It’s at least a big reason why I don’t vent on the Internet anymore, unless I’m six-nines sure that it’ll be received as such.

  253. JeffL, you obviously have never been in the military, just as most gun control freaks have not. Let me explain what a military base is like.

    You are absolutely correct that it would be suicide to attack a heavily armed training camp. However, most of the base is not training camps.

    Essentially, a military base is a city. If you were to launch an attack on Los Angeles, it would not be on the largest police station in LA; rather it would be in a shopping center.

    A PX in most bases is essentially a mall. Even in minor bases, PX’s resemble Walmart more than the bare-bones get-it-and-go outfit you probably picture. And even in the middle of the day, when most servicemen are at their jobs in their respective units, the PX is typically CROWDED–with servicemen on their lunches, with servicemen who have the day off for whatever reason, and most especially with wives and children of servicemen.

    Aside from that, in most MOS’s (jobs, for the civilians out there), you will not in a typical day have weapons readily available on the spur of the moment. When I was stationed in Camp Pendleton, I was fixing radars at my shop; the armory, even though it was in our own section, was about a half mile away. And you couldn’t just waltz in and take a rifle off the shelf; all rifles and guns (in the military, they are not the same–try passing for a Marine while calling an M-16 a “gun”) are passed out by the armorer from behind a window which, if I recall correctly, was barred. (Sorry, it’s been 22 years).

    Having said that, this being the Marines rather than the other services, terrorists would be much better advised to attach the PX during the middle of the day, simply because Marines tend not to be the types to take the lack of a weapon as being in and of itself decisive.

    Please note: I am not giving advice to terrorists here; in fact, if such an attack occurs, I had better not be living near anyone who seems to endorse the attack. Once a Marine, always a Marine.

    I am, however, happy to illustrate what a fool you are by demonstrating your arrogant ignorance about the nature of a military base, which I am sure you pictured in terms of tanks, fighter tanks, and a non-stop military parade.

  254. Note, regarding violent talk, that I was operating under the assumption that I’m dictator for a day–a condition with zero probability.

    Too little violent talk can be dangerous, just as too much can. The gun control minority needs to be aware that it won’t be them watching MSNBC and eating kale chips while their friends in the military (HAH!) kill a bunch of cowardly gun owners who have never served. Hint: it won’t be the military who will be the primary targets of the gun owners, a substantial number of whom are currently or formerly in the military themselves.

  255. Foo Quuxman on 2015-11-03 at 20:36:53 said:
    > @William O. B’Livion
    > > The Marine Corps takes 2 weeks in basic to train 18 year old man-boys from “never
    > > held a gun before” to a very high degree of marksmanship out to 500 meters. This is
    > > 1 week of “dry firing” and instruction, and 1 week of range time.

    > You are forgetting an important detail: the Corps is a military organisation, and as
    > such *must* be an effective teacher otherwise they get stomped by the people they are

    You have never been in the military, taken military classes, and then military tests.

    > fighting. By contrast the children would be in the public school system, the poster child
    > for utter incompetence of the “YOU HAD ONE JOB” variety.

    If we were trying to teach physics, yes.

    What we are trying to teach is:

    1) Guns are dangerous when mishandled.
    2) So don’t point them at people or pets.
    2) And keep your booger hook off the damn bang switch.

    I wouldn’t expect teachers to be able to teach wind estimation and bullet drop. Hell, those two things are (in the real world) fucking voodoo anyway (Bullet drop on a flat plane isn’t hard. Bullet drop when shooting up or down can suxor. Wind estimation at 200 yards with flags isn’t too hard. Wind estimation over 800 yards in anything more featureful than Kansas is black magic).

    But as much as I disdain the public school system these teachers *did* make it through college, and can do simple stuff.

    This is *very* simple stuff.

  256. Winter:
    > @Ken
    > > “If I’m dictator for a day, I announce at midnight and hourly thereafter that anyone
    > > who kills a gun control activist will get a full pardon as long as I’m president.”

    > So, to be very clear: Guns are not to defend your life, but to kill political opponents.
    > It should be clear that this will not be the best argument to win the hearts and minds
    > of your compatriots. Because you just told us why all private guns should be banned.

    Just so we’re clear here, guns should be banned so that the state is clear to kill it’s political opponents.

    That’s what you’re saying right?

    You know, like Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Hitler, Ho Chi Minh, Peron, etc.

  257. Nancy Lebovitz on 2015-11-02 at 10:25:46 said:
    > I think Winter has a point. It’s not just a matter of how alienated some fraction of the

    If he does, it’s on the top of his head.

    > public feels from the government, it’s how alienated the military feels from the public, and
    > especially so if the public starts shooting at the military. I assume the military would moved

    The public, generally will *not* start shooting at the military.

    I am active on gun boards (well, only one or two these days, but in the past more), am active in the gun community, participate in action shooting events, and etc.

    I know a LOT of people who run off at the mouth about being ready willing an able to engage in revolt. To a person they think of it as resisting a tyrannical government and fighting *back* against a military that has lost it’s constitutional/moral compass.

    Not one of them (absent a few extreme nutcases who also might be government plants) thinks if it in terms of starting things by shooting at US military forces. Most of these people hate and fear their overlords in D.C, but *respect* the military, doubly so the enlisted ranks.

    Yeah, it’s kinda split-brained, but that’s postermodernism for you.

    > around (if it isn’t already, probably by coincidence) so that soldiers won’t be
    > shooting at people from their own region.

    Other folks have (somewhat incorrectly) addressed this above. Contemporary regular/full time military units are thoroughly mixed (regionally), but by their nature Reserve and Guard units are not. The Feds can deploy reserve units anywhere they want, but Guard units in some senses belong to the state they’re in.

    This sets up a scenario where state governors could mobilize Guard units to prevent them from being federalized and use them to engage full time units. Unlikely but it’s possible.

    > It’s also plausible that the military will be divided on this– not a pretty thought.

    It is not plausible, it’s a fact.

    There will be 3 factions in the military. One will “Just Follow Orders” (such that they are orders from the appropriate leadership that do not violate the laws of war). There will be those energetically in favor of the government (and the higher up the rank structure you go this will be more true. Those at the top are more likely to support the Federal Government). And there will be those massively opposed. There might even be a significant fourth category “Those who want to sit it out”.

    Note that the US Congress would basically have to admit there was a civil war in some fashion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act

    > The situation in the country would have to be very bad (be very bad, not just potentially
    > be very bad) to justify starting a civil war.

    It is very bad right now.

    > What do folks here think would justify a civil war other than making private
    > ownership of guns illegal?

    Internment camps for citizens.

    Wide spread confiscation of private assets for personal use of government officials.

    Sufficiently deep corruption (which may already be the case).

    Frankly I think we need to metaphorically blow up D.C, scattering the bureaus around the country and moving to a “virtual” congress where representatives and senators stay in their home districts and do most of the legislative work over the wire.

  258. @William O Blivion
    “Just so we’re clear here, guns should be banned so that the state is clear to kill it’s political opponents. ”

    The state will do that irrespective of whether the public has guns. Your heroes, mentioned at the end of the comment, showed that very clearly.

    But there seems to be a distinct blindness to what I actually write. My argument has nothing to do with my views on personal gun ownership.

    My argument is that armed civilians are no match to an organized military. As NO army in the world is a match for the US armed forces, most certainly no people with private guns will be a match to the armed forces of the USA. Having fits about my alleged political ideas or dreams about how wonderfully nice and humane the US armed forces will react to an armed uprising does not diminish that point.

    If you want to fight a tyranny in the US, you will have to use political means. Deal with it.

  259. @ken: I think you misread the [sarcasm] tags in my comment… The sarcasm was directed at those who think gun-free military bases are a good idea. I have spent a lot of time on military bases – in fact I was on one the day after the Marines were shot at the recruiting center in Tennessee back in July. Without my CCW. I remember thinking how sad it was that I felt like a sitting duck while working on a military base.

  260. Frankly I think we need to metaphorically blow up D.C, scattering the bureaus around the country and moving to a “virtual” congress where representatives and senators stay in their home districts and do most of the legislative work over the wire.

    There is fortunately already market forces at play making this happen. I know of at least one major bureau whose need to expand was so hampered by its proximity to DC and the consequent traffic congestion and high cost of living that it has opened several “wings” in much less crowded parts of the country.

    On the downside, its base is still in the DC area, and still growing; just much, much less quickly. But the COL pressure is still pretty high to pushing people out.

    I primarily blame the Internet (more accurately, the Web) for bringing a lot of people together who normally wouldn’t be close enough to be disgusted by each others’ value systems. I also see it doing its usual thing and providing opportunities for relieving that problem by enabling virtual presence without geographic proximity.

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  262. >@esr The point you need to get is that this is not a crazy reaction – it’s continuous with the entire history of attempted illegalizations by stealth.

    Precisely. Witness “Operation Choke Point”, the purpose of which is was to put gun shops (inter alia) out of business by attempting to deny them access to the (now nationalized) banking system.

  263. >I hope they like the sensation of assless chaps in a blizzard.

    “Assless chaps” is redundant. If they have an ass, they’re pants.

    –Shannon

  264. @Shannon as a phrase it refers to the practice of wearing them without accompanying pants.

  265. Being pedantic:

    Wanting to takes lots of guns away and hugely restrict when they can be possessed or used isn’t “taking everyone’s guns away.”

    Everyone things some level of weapon regulation is appropriate. In a literal sense field artillery and naval batteries are guns. However, speaking informally about gun rights, everyone uses the word gun to mean those weapons which people posses for reasonable reasons and not extreme military weaponry which would let individuals threaten massive destruction.

    So yes Obama is being perfectly sincere when he says he doesn’t intend to take people’s guns away. He, like you, just understands that to be implicitly restricted to “reasonable cases of weapon ownership” and you disagree about what that means. He may well understand it to mean only owning weapons for target shooting held in range safes and he still wouldn’t be being deliberately deceptive.

  266. Everyone things some level of weapon regulation is appropriate.

    Not true, certainly around here

    In a literal sense field artillery and naval batteries are guns.

    And at the end of the 18th century, private warships were ordinary.

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