Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Can we talk about gun control?

with 25 comments

Sadly, not in America. The gun lobby delivers so many votes to the GOP that no national debate is possible, and has millions of Americans not only convinced that gun violence isn’t a problem, they are convinced that any and all attempts at gun control are part and parcel of liberal plots to confiscate American’s guns. Yes, Obama, who passed more pro-gun legislation than his predecessor, is secretly planning to use his second term to take away American’s guns. That’s right on up their with some progressive’s belief that in his second term Obama is going to show his true liberal stripes and actually fulfill the failed promises that got liberals to elect him in the first place. As an aside I think it’s fascinating that so many people are convinced that Obama isn’t really who he appears to be. I strongly suspect that the endless propaganda the past few years about how Obama isn’t a real American, wasn’t born in America, is a secret Muslim, etc. is driving these beliefs. I’m not sure there’s ever been a president who was so widely thought to be hiding a secret agenda. Kennedy maybe. However, even if gun control won’t be discussed in Congress, where they are too busy discussing vagina control, I can discuss it here.  Here then are three modest proposals for reducing gun violence in the USA:

1. Buyback programs. This is where a government agency offers money to people who turn in guns for disposal. People voluntarily turning in guns for disposal, who could possibly object? Gun nuts of course, who insist that this is both a useless waste of money, and a step towards total gun confiscation. The argument being that criminals aren’t going to turn in their guns, so how can this help? It helps because it gets crappy guns out of the homes of people who don’t want them and don’t know how to store them, let alone use them. Think widows whose husbands have died who left a pistol. These are the sorts of guns that get stolen by burglars or found by children with tragic result. Or how about parents who confiscate a gun from one of their kids. Or any number of situations where a gun is removed from a home where it didn’t belong and was just an accident or a murder waiting to happen. There’s a problem with getting a gun out of circulation, especially if it was circulating in the wrong hands? Criminals may not turn in their guns, but that doesn’t mean their relatives, spouses, or partners won’t turn them in.

2. Education. I see no reasons why public school children shouldn’t be taught about the hazards associated with guns. The equivalent of the Red Asphalt movies about the hazards of driving would impact some kids. And there’s nothing wrong with kids being taught the basics of gun safety. Don’t point it at people even for fun, store them properly, don’t leave them loaded, etc. Yes, some progressives will claim this is teaching kids about guns, the same way that some people claim sex education will make kids want to go out and have sex. Both are full of it. Kids will have sex, and they will encounter guns, better they know the risks and how to avoid them than to pretend that ignorance is safe.

3. Magazine control. I’m sorry, but there is no legitimate sporting or self-defence need for a semi-automatic gun that can shoot a hundred rounds without reloading, give me a fucking break. What, a herd of rabid deer is going to attack a hunter? And as Mr Holmes just demonstrated, they most certainly can be misused. Sure criminals will be able to find them, but why make it easy? And if they aren’t legal, manufacturers will have no reason to make them! That will reduce the number in circulation dramatically, making it that much harder for criminals and the insane to get them.

That just scratches the surface, but it would prevent some shootings. The real problem is a culture of violence and a gun cult mentality that pervades a huge section of the population and is impervious to reason or facts. Just do a google image search for “gun control,” it’s scary. Cartoon after cartoon promoting absolute silly shit about gun control. If taking away guns caused crime, Canada and Europe would be plagued with crime. Instead, they have trivial levels of gun crime compared to the USA. It’s complicated though, and America’s problems with violence are deep rooted and not due to the availability of guns. And of course not only does rejecting gun control get votes, it also makes money for Hollywood. Damned if I know how to address that issue though, we’re kind of a sick culture when it comes right down to it.

On the plus side, a wonderful video  just came out of Hollywood. The first step to solving a problem is to admit there is a problem, this video gives me hope, enjoy: The most honest three and a half minutes of television, EVER…

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Since I’m promoting discussion of gun control, hopefully the copyright holders won’t mind me using it. Credit and copyright: Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence. Coming soon, something more upbeat, maybe a post on Syria.)



25 Responses

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  1. The ownership and carrying of handguns are the major problems causing gunshot injury and death. Strict legislation on purchase and ownership of all firearms, including registration and licensing are necessary. The likelihood of that occurring in the USA is very slender.


    August 8, 2012 at 7:23 am

  2. Shouldn’t population be a small factor in that pic, maybe not but it seems off? Perhaps we should just allow people who can build/service guns to own guns, kinda like a drivers license…. I wonder if the batman shooter could dissassemble his guns and put them back together? I doubt it…


    August 8, 2012 at 8:10 am

    • Yes, it’s basically raw data, not presented scientifically. The point though is inescapable, the typical large American city has more gun deaths annually than most if not all western nations, a large and disturbing disparity. Anyone who can’t see that this is a problem is either wilfully ignorant or dumber than a sack of hammers. It doesn’t follow that confiscatory gun control is the solution, that’s not my point, my point is that there’s a serious problem here. —Doug


      August 8, 2012 at 9:24 am

      • Agreed, def. a serious violence problem, guns are kinda like drug paraphernalia, if you ban them it doesnt stop drug use and people will just use dirty needles, but facilitating drug use while preventing some small problems won’t help solve the bigger drug problem and might make it worse…Guns are the paraphernalia of the nasty violence addiction here in america….


        August 8, 2012 at 9:48 am

  3. The right to bear arms was NOT for hunting. It was for over throw of the government if it became despotic. Its NOT about hunting DUH

    Wade O Kane

    August 8, 2012 at 11:46 am

    • Are you joking?…I doubt, even armed to the teeth, any civillian group could overthrow the gov., the weapons and tech they have available would shut you down before you could even begin…


      August 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      • Is is better to not even have a chance?

        John Galt

        August 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      • Look at Arab spring and Syria. RPG’s and heavier stuff…..

        Wade O Kane

        August 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      • I don’t like it, just a reality, you can’t really say that you need guns to keep the gov in line..


        August 9, 2012 at 7:45 am

  4. The right to bear arms is an idea– US citizens are allowed to possess and own firearms- a fairly radical idea 230 yrs ago, and today.
    It is a government of “We, the People” and force of arms is the proof… Maybe the last proof.
    Your poster statistics are way off, and you neglect the statistics which show that concealed weapons PREVENT approximately 3 million violent encounters a year.
    Frankly I’m sick of your bullshit posturing on the subject. You have little knowledge, and many wrong ideas.
    I worked in law enforcement for 20 years and am professionally qualified to state that your position is seriously flawed, and probably a manifestation of a mental disorder. You should not own firearms. As for the rest of us keep your Bolshevick opinions to yourself. I’ve followed your blog for what? 2 years? Our mutual positions are intractible, and I’ve heard enough. Please…


    August 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    • Darn, and I was so hoping that someday you would actually get near enough to a point to make it. God bless! —Doug


      August 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    • Gosh your insightful comments are sure going to be missed. Good luck trolling a new blog!


      August 9, 2012 at 9:53 am

  5. Agree with you, but in my opinion we also need to re-frame the perspective on gun control. We need to focus less on what hardware is banned, than on who is being allowed access to it.

    We need stronger background checks and stronger laws preventing anyone who has a history of violence or mental illness from legally purchasing firearms.

    Oswald, Hinckley, Cho, Loughner, Holmes…all bought their guns legally, and in all these cases, someone (sometimes law enforcement, sometimes mental health professionals) knew they were dangerous. If more mental health and law-enforcement databases were cross-referenced, and if more mental health and law enforcement personnel were empowered to identify potentially violent or dangerous people, we might be able to actually stop some of these potential mass-shooters from becoming actualized mass-shooters.


    August 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm

  6. An ever more powerful state picking winners and loosers is not a good direction. Think political affiliation wont be a barrier to ownership eventually? Ideaology? Do you really want us to go this way? Who gets and who doesnt, Who decides? Regulation is a blunt tool that does not stop nut cases.

    John Galt

    August 8, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    • Agreed with John Galt here. Legislation isn’t the cure, though I agree a few (smart) regulations probably should be in place and enforced. The problem of violence isn’t limited to gun violence and never will be, so prohibition will likely only encourage violent offenders to get creative, and the possibilities are endless. The real problem here is the increasing inclination toward destructiveness, ranging from all-too-common self-destructiveness to mass murder. Where does this violent inclination spring from? Just personal nut jobs hell-bent on punishing society? Who are these nut jobs and what are their motives? What influences provoked their decisions to commit mass harm on others? Because understanding is half the battle, and I firmly believe this is a cultural problem that on some level psychologically affects us all.

      Because one person retreats into insanity and another into alcohol-saturated depression doesn’t make the latter person “healthy” or “normal” by comparison. The problem(s) run deep, one being the hostility growing among us in the U.S., caused I’d say in part because we’re stepping on each other’s necks, crowding and disrespecting and competing. Modern life is becoming maddening, at least to some extent, for nearly all of us. Some snap and create an alternate fantasy reality to subscribe to where they get to wield power over the rest, and it’s not fair or excusable at all, but how will gun registration stop these incidences from occurring? Will we require psychiatric evaluations of all persons wishing to purchase and license a firearm? That’s an uncomfortable idea. Who decides what sane is and is not? Would this perhaps slide down the slippery slope to where anyone prescribed psychotropic pills or seeing a counselor (past or present) might be denied access to guns for personal protection based primarily on that consideration by itself? That might sound like a stretch to some, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that were proposed during my lifetime.

      I’m seriously skeptical of talk of taking preemptive measures in an effort to thwart potential crimes when the outcome also leaves the citizenry more powerless to resist whatever the government decides is our fate. History hasn’t given me much faith in governments staying uncorrupted for long, and the U.S. government surely isn’t shaping up to be a disproving example. Our government is worrisome, and so is a segment of our population, and so are segments of foreign populations. Dangerous times we live in, despite the sense of comfort and security we take for granted. The law isn’t always on our side and sometimes neither are others, like those aiming to rob or rape. People deserve at least a chance to defend themselves, or else talk of possessing dignity becomes a moot point. Part of love involves affirming one’s life through taking a stand and carrying out appropriate defensive action. Without relatively equal advantage, we’re at the mercy of the most merciless.

      While peaceful coexistence is a wonderful objective to work toward bringing about, humans are dangerous beings. That potential has always been with us and very likely always will be.

      Another thought: most gun violence in the U.S. is carried out by young males, so wouldn’t it perhaps make best sense to start there in terms of restricting access? Discriminatory, yes. But with lessened concern about defending ourselves against violent young men, maybe people wouldn’t feel so inclined to buy guns for home and personal protection, resulting in fewer around to be stolen by thugs. But until threats are reduced I doubt many will be interested in trading their weapons in for cash.


      August 9, 2012 at 12:05 am

  7. The “Brady Campaign” was established by James Brady, the Press Secretary to Ronald Reagan, who was shot in the chest by John Hinckley jr. during an assassination attempt on the president.

    In 2010 the “Brady Campaign” set a grade on Barack Obama’s gun-control record. They gave the President an “F”, meaning he has been a terrible failure in helping establish new anti-gun control legislation.

    Here is a quote from Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign, “Throughout his career, President Obama has understood the urgent need for strong, sensible gun laws. We have been very disappointed by his first year record on this issue.”

    Great post Doug,



    August 9, 2012 at 12:02 am

  8. Meant to say gun control legislation…..


    August 9, 2012 at 12:04 am

  9. The problem isn’t the weapon, or easy access. It is the culture and the society. You have to look at who is killing, where they are killing, and whom are they killing. Another quick stat, since this is the way this discussion started… Many estimates proclaim that there are around 40 million handguns in the US. Simpl math tells me that at most, .02% of the handguns out there were used to kill somebody in the US. That is 1 out of every 5000 handguns. And that assumes each person killed was don with a separate handgun. I doubt that is the case.

    Address the problems that cause the violence. Address the Lack of deterrence. Make our society, our American culture a safer, more respectable place before asking anyone to give up part of their ability to defend themselves.

    Also, I do believe that the founding fathers did want to entrust the people with the ability and responsibility to defend themselves against a corrupt government. And I also believe that Americans would have the ability to do so if it ever came to that. Just look at the numbers and read more history. It was a founding principle of the nation, that I still agree with, even if I believe the possibility is extremely remote that the situation would ever approach that severity or level of insanity. But crazy things have happened.

    I’m not a republican, I’m not a member of the NRA. I’m actually pretty liberal, but believe everything is situational, everything has context. I don’t believe in action without thought, or addressing symptoms, as if that would mean a cure.

    Idea Man

    September 3, 2012 at 7:18 am

  10. […] I love this blog post with ideas of how simple changes could be effected in the US without impeding … […]

  11. Watch this video… A lesson from history… Wow!
    Is this what we want here in the US?

    C. G.

    January 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    • I can look up the tiresome straw man arguments promoted by the NRA and spread by their willing fans any time I want, I am very familiar with them, no need to post them here. The USA isn’t England, and I am not proposing that guns be banned, I am in fact a supporter of the 2nd amendment. There is however no legitimate sporting, hunting, or self-defense need for clip and magazine fed semi-automatic weapons. The kinds of weapons that allow people to go on mass killing sprees. There are also plenty of perfectly common sense gun regulation that would reduce the supply of guns on the street without affecting anyone’s right to bear arms. But because the only thing the gun lobby and the NRA care about is selling as many guns as possible, no debate on the subject is even possible. —Doug


      January 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      • The point of the 2nd admendment was NOT for sport hunting, and for if necessary to overthrow a government if it became oppressive. The British were opressive of the colonists and were over thrown. Ocassionally some nut case kills a few people, but I don’t think there should be limits on magazine size or for that matter full auto belt fed weapons. Should never have been a ban on full auto weapons, nor tax for owning them.

        What I’d like to know is why from the 911 from call to the police 2.4 miles from the school did it take the police 20 minutes to get to the school?

        Wade O Kane

        January 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      • Gee whiz 11,000 handgun deaths, 311,000,000 people, I’m really really worried that I’ll be one of the 28,000 people to have the bad luck of dying from a handgun. I wonder how many people a year die from getting run over on the street. Like I live in a town of 2,500 people with a undivided 4 lane highway, 35 mph by law, and one or two sheriffs cars will race through town going 70 mph, no lights no siren. Like I’m 66, look down the street for a block, ought to have plently of time to get to the 2 foot median if there are no cars withing a block of me going 35. But at 70 mph gotta get a move on not to get run over….

        Wade O Kane

        January 3, 2013 at 8:01 pm

  12. “The point of the 2nd amendment was NOT for sport hunting, and for if necessary to overthrow a government if it became oppressive.” You might want to look this up, that was not the purpose of the 2nd amendment, no matter how many times it’s repeated on pro-gun and Tea Party sites. It was so the Federal government would have a pool of armed men to call up to deal with insurrections and invasions, and thus make it unnecessary to have a standing army. Your analogy with cars is so tortured and irrelevant that no more needs be said. And yes, I am aware that people who think that Americans should have unfettered access to as many guns as they want like to pretend that the USA’s gun violence isn’t a problem. The parent’s at Sandy Hook and many others would disagree. —Doug


    January 4, 2013 at 9:55 am

    • My great grandfather when the Civil War broke out was a citizen of the USA and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was asked by the governor of PA to raise a company of infantry. My grandfather issued a proclamation on handbills that said basically “All those not degenerate from the spirit of 1776 come to the city hall of Kane Pa, and bring with you YOUR rifle, to join a company of milita to defend the United States of America, AND the Commonwealth of Pennyslvania.
      Note to not only defend the nation but the “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. States rights was a bigger thing then. About 150 men joined and were known during the Civil war as “the Bucktails”. Fought at several major battles. My grandfather was wounded twice. After they became a part of the Regular Army of the United States, the Army took away their high quality muzzle loaders and gave them POS army arsenel muskets. There is a reason arsenel starts with arse (kidding).

      You need to look up the 2nd amendment in the context of the times, Google “Founding Fathers quotes on gun rights

      Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?”
      Patrick Henry

      “Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not.”
      Thomas Jefferson

      Myself I have six firearms, kept loaded. An unloaded gun is just a collection of steel and wood parts. I’m 66, and started shooting firearms with my brothers at age 8. Its been 44 years since I fired a weapon trying to kill someone, which I did several times in spring 1968. (Tet ’68, Battle for Hue, Relief of Khe Sahn, the A Shau Valley April ’68) I was a door gunner on a Chinook with the 1st Air Cav. At the time I hope I killed them as they were firing at me. Now I hope I didn’t, and “suppressive fire” got them to stop.

      BTW why in hell did the French get Indochina back as a colony after WWII? FDR opposed it. Sorry if I wander, currently rated 50% for PTSD.

      The parents of 10 Afganistani girls killed by a land mine the day before Sandy Hook might wonder why the USA wont sign the ban on Land Mines.

      Wade O Kane

      January 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm

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