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Sunday, December 16, 2012

One of These Things Is Not Like the Others

Posted by on Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 11:11 AM

I'm not really sure what the Seattle Times is advocating, because their editorial is so vague and nonspecific. "Saying and doing nothing is not an option," they write. Really? Then why don't they say or do anything?

But one particular sentence really sticks in my craw:

Events this week stunned on opposite coasts and across the world. On Friday a gunman fatally shot 27 people, including 20 Connecticut elementary schoolchildren, and the toll may rise. Hearts break at the news that the children killed were between 5 and 10 years old.

The same day, a knife-wielding man attacked 22 children outside of their primary school in Henan province in central China.

On Tuesday, a shooter killed two people and injured one at an Oregon shopping mall.

The common element in the tragedies, and the mass violent attacks of the past, is that they took place in innocuous settings — shopping malls, schools — with innocent victims.

Yeah, maybe. But the uncommon element in these tragedies is that in the mass-stabbing outside the Chinese school, nobody died. That the editors fail to mention this salient fact is rather stunning. And telling.

One "common theme," as the editors conclude, may in fact be "bloodshed." But if there's anything the contemporaneous Chinese attack demonstrates it's that guns are much more efficient tools of bloodshed than knives. I doubt Americans are much crazier than people elsewhere. But we're certainly better armed. And crazy + guns = death.

We need a stronger public mental healthcare system (as opposed to, say, defunding Disability Lifeline, as the Seattle Times has tacitly endorsed), and we need stronger gun control laws. In fact, the two go hand in hand, for we can't effectively restrict the mentally ill's access to tools of mass murder if we can't identify and track either.

But if our opinion leaders lack the will to even say that knives are fundamentally different from guns, it's hard to imagine how we'll ever manage to do anything.


Comments (87) RSS

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Pope Peabrain 1
There is another common element with this and other mass shootings. They are the result of Republicans stopping any meaningful gun regulations over the decade they were in power. Republicans and their sick ideology have brought this nation chaos and tragedy. As we recover from their foolish economic policies we must also recover from their foolish weapons policies. We cannot allow weapons manufacturers who's only concern is their money fill our lives with death and destruction. The Times has unflinchingly supported these policies and they now try to weasel out of their responsibility.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on December 16, 2012 at 11:23 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 2
Guns are designed to kill, that is their purpose.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on December 16, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Report this
theophrastus 3
i believe right now we're in the media fueled "but how could this happen!?" phase; which will be sadly rewritten: "give me some details by which i can take comfort that this is rare and unusual situation"; which will come to be accepted as: "oh it was a crazy young man, nothing to see here". the result of which will be: no movement on gun-control and lots of sad memorializing.

everyone that owns a gun needs to stare at the photos of the dead children and know that the vast majority of them would still be happily making holiday wishes if not for guns.
Posted by theophrastus on December 16, 2012 at 11:36 AM · Report this
seatackled 4
When I read this editorial last night, I came away with the understanding that trying to murder kids is bad.

Bravo, Times!
Posted by seatackled on December 16, 2012 at 11:42 AM · Report this
It's my understanding that the guns used in the Sandy Hook school shooting were legally owned in a state with rather strict gun laws. I don't deny that lax gun laws sometimes enable gun violence, but I think the tragedy in Connecticut could have happened in any country.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 16, 2012 at 11:45 AM · Report this
seatackled 6
Talking Points Memo had a good conversation going on with a few posts yesterday. Here's something from Josh Marshal:

I also get that many people want and some need weapons for self-defense. The idea that mass gun ownership and C&C laws will make us safer seems unsupported and somewhat ridiculous to me. But guard your home? Sure.

The real thing is the stop government tyranny argument. This strikes me as both risible in practical terms and outrageous in civic terms. I’m sorry but that crap you bought at the gun show is not going to defend you against the United States government — either in the much more likely case that you pull a Koresh and take a few federal agents with you into the afterlife or in the rather more remote chance that the government goes bad and sends FEMA to put you in concentration camps. The USG has all your machine guns and body armor plus heavy weapons, helicopter gunships, an Air Force, artillery, etc. Of course, quite unlikely that you’re going to see the US military. It’s a few cops you’ll kill before they take you out or arrest you. As I said, just in practical terms, this is laughable. This is just part of the survivalist mentality hiding in constitutional clothes.…
Posted by seatackled on December 16, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Report this
It's the Seattle Times. I don't read the Seattle Times.
Posted by floater on December 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
@5 not really. The guns were owned legally, because gun ownership is legal and commonplace here. In countries with really strict gun laws, people tend not to own guns at all. People certainly tend not to own several guns in countries like that, unless they intend some harm to someone.
Posted by originalcinner on December 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
@5 total fucking bullshit dude. japan england places with stricter gun regulations just don't have these massacres as a common thing. how fucking ignorant are you?

many nations have 4% gun ownership, allowing rifles and some handguns, banning AWs and highly limiting gun availability so that the average NJ mom doesn't have one. obviously CT laws don't matter if guns are brought in for illegal murder, duh. NO ONE is claiming state level laws work. we do not point to bavaria's laws, we point to germany's laws. the ownership of an AW is irresponsible as it puts it within reach ofa dozens of potentially mad, crazy or drunk people to go out and kill 20 school kids, so if you own an AW, you are responsible for this. it's your collective action that banned tha ban on AWs. guns are to blame, and gun owners.
Posted by mom legally owned: dead on December 16, 2012 at 11:53 AM · Report this
Disability Lifeline is already defunded. Its replacement programs are ABD and MCS. ABD comes with Medicaid, which covers mental health treatment, but MCS does not provide mental health treatment. Not only that, but the measure for being approved for either program is whether your disability prevents you from working. So maybe you are in a horrid depression and having dark thoughts of violence towards others, but as long as you are still capable of showing up to McDonalds 4 days a week and ringing up orders, you are not disabled and are not eligible for state/federal funded health coverage that will help you get mental health treatment.
Posted by ourkind on December 16, 2012 at 11:55 AM · Report this
@8 If this sort of thing doesn't happen in civilized European countries than how do you explain this:…
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 16, 2012 at 11:59 AM · Report this
only with guns is the rhetorical demand made that proponents of regulations or controls show they would stop every single instance of harm. "Nicole got murdered. Therefore, murder laws don't work. Therefore, we shouldnt have murder laws!" "Burglary laws won't solvce the violence problem. They don't even reach many crimes, like street assaults! Therefore, we should not have burglary laws!"
" I was speeding today, and if you pass laws against speeding I will speed till you take my curling dead fingers off the steering wheel." "Oh okay, if some oppose a law, we shouldn't have it" most arguments by the gun lovers are about this absurd and phoney. here's another one: "despite truancy laws, some people don't go to school. Truancy laws and norms to encourage people not to go to school are thus worthless, we should make no attempt to get kids to go to sc hool."
Posted by many laws partially effective on December 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
@11 you moron. the rates of massacre in the 30 nations with good gun controls are far far lower than said rates in the usa. the rates of death by gun are lower too. you can't be as stupid as you pretent to be finding ONE example from can find on example from norway too....but overall the 300 million people in the 30 nations with good gun controls have TENS OF THOUSANDS of fewer gun deaths and here in america we have these mass shootings like 60 times since columbine. you're not really that stupid, are you.
Posted by deliberately dumb gun lovers on December 16, 2012 at 12:03 PM · Report this
@8: it's not impossible for it to happen in Europe, just a lot less frequent. Your example is from 2009. People still have (legal) guns, people still steal guns. It's just a lot less common because the culture there is not so gun-centric.
Posted by originalcinner on December 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM · Report this
Sorry, that should be @11, not @8.
Posted by originalcinner on December 16, 2012 at 12:08 PM · Report this
@9 Back in 1988 24 children died after a drunk drove his pickup in the wrong lane and collided head-on with a school bus. If we're going to ban guns to protect the children shouldn't we also ban booze?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 16, 2012 at 12:11 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 17
#16 cars and trucks too.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on December 16, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
@14 True, Jared Loughner probably wouldn't have been able to get his hands on a semi-automatic pistol in a country with stricter gun laws.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 16, 2012 at 12:17 PM · Report this
ken: maybe we should take away your license the moment the cops catch you drunk driving, as in sweden, and then we'd have fewer of those deaths, too. you jump from nonsensical argument to nonsensical argument. first you pull one german incident out of your ass; obviously they are not plauged by gun violence the way we are here; here we had clackamas, newtown and this : "CEDAR LAKE, Ind. — A northern Indiana man who allegedly threatened to "kill as many people as he could" at an elementary school near his home was arrested by officers who later found 47 guns and ammunition hidden throughout his home." in a brief period. go ahead, scour germany internets you can't find similar rate of incidents there. then you jump to some 1988 drunk driver incident. if we respond that we certainly have more regulation of drunk driving and drivingcompared to the non regulation of guns, to meet your argument rationally, you will jump to another nonsensical argument like "but our culture is different!" or "the second amendment!" or the ever popular "fuck you all, we already spread 200 million guns around, it's too late" not to mention the ultimate refuge of scoundrels "go ahead control guns, I will violate the law!" all the pro gun arguments are just bullshit. you all are to blame for these deaths through your love of guns and abandonment of common sense and reason. just shut the fuck up. better yet, tell usyou admit you're wrong and you now support a ban on assault weapons. you do don't you? because if you don't you're just another crazy fucking gun lover who's enabling truly crazies to get AWs to kill children at will in our nation.
Posted by gun lovers' stupid rhetoric on December 16, 2012 at 12:19 PM · Report this
@17 Cars and trucks are an economic necessity in a way that alcoholic beverages and privately owned firearms are not.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 16, 2012 at 12:22 PM · Report this
@19 Do you think an assault weapons ban would have prevented the tragedy in Connecticut?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 16, 2012 at 12:25 PM · Report this
1. yes.
2. your implicit demand that any proposed set of laws be shown to stop a specific incident is bullshit. take OJ: murder law didn't stop him. so what, how does that mean we shouldn't have laws against murder?
3. I can't believe you honestly are unaware that japan england etc. canada many nations with strong bans and gun controls don't have much lower rates of death by gun, or massacres. are you really that ignorant?
4. the mom in NJ who got the bushmaster used to kill the kids in CT ....she had no need of it. in this nation, we can't even agree on banning assault weapons this proves to me most of the pro gun side arguing this are lying, or deliberately stupid, or literally deranged. we ended the ban on AWs in the usa and as a result, we have these bushmasters all over.....they simply don't have this level of violence in germany japan england scotland australia etc or canada and btw in many of those places lots of folks have guns so no one is saying no one can have a gun.
Posted by AW ain't root beer on December 16, 2012 at 12:36 PM · Report this
Guns aren't going anywhere. This is a waste of time. We need a real working solution, and we need to address the deeper cultural issues at work here. Using this tragedy as a platform to restrict constitutional freedoms is shameful and ill fated.

I'm a democrat, nigh socialist, and I will never, in my lifetime, nor vicariously through my children, support any gun bans, nor any form of gun control that neuters our constitutional right to bear arms, and clearly, I'm not the only one. I'm a good-hearted, socially active, and responsible citizen, but I will never support a politician who will implement unconstitutional or overly-restrictive gun laws.

Put your effort into something that will actually make a difference.
Posted by NancyBalls on December 16, 2012 at 12:38 PM · Report this
Switzerland allows its citizens to keep fully automatic rifles at home while they're fulfilling their military service obligation.
Yet Switzerland has a very low rate of gun-related violence.
But Switzerland also has universal health coverage.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 16, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Report this
@8 that is an outdated stat re: guns at home. they are very strict and there are very few privately owned guns.
Posted by gnot on December 16, 2012 at 12:45 PM · Report this
The laws on drunk driving and even on the dispensing of alcohol are a hell of a lot stricter and plentiful than there are on guns. So, maybe you have a point, just not the one you were attempting to make.
Posted by Senor Guy on December 16, 2012 at 12:46 PM · Report this
wingedkat 27
I really hope the administration and democrats avoid gun control and concentrate on mental health treatment.

Ideally, I'd like to see guns regulated as completely as explosives. However, I don't see it happening. The battle for even minimal, innefective regulation will be vicious and alienate moderate democrats.

A mental health program with both out-patient and institutionalized treatments could be billed as a public safety issue, not another entitlement program, and gain both support and funding that way. It would also benefit many more people.
Posted by wingedkat on December 16, 2012 at 12:48 PM · Report this
@23 Sounds like you may be a gun nut tool who can be manipulated into giving up all your other rights for a fetishist version of the 2nd Amendment right.
Posted by cracked on December 16, 2012 at 12:50 PM · Report this
@23 There are so many who are willing to sacrifice the children of others for their version of this not at all "well regulated" right. Have you even read the 2nd Amendment?
Posted by cracked on December 16, 2012 at 12:52 PM · Report this
Maybe like China we also need better Internet policing. Violent comments, personal attacks and Google bombing behavior should be looked at with great circumspection.

Anonymous words should be banned.

Identification must accompany opinions.

Who knows how many Adam Lansa's in waiting there are making themselves known under cover of a false name on a blog.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on December 16, 2012 at 1:00 PM · Report this
Sam Levine 31
Nothing protects innocent law-abiding citizens like taking away their means of defending themselves.
Posted by Sam Levine on December 16, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
I just wonder where this liberal obsession w/ taking my guns away comes from. Smoking kills a lot more people than guns. In fact according to the CDC in 2008 more Americans died from the effects of secondary smoke alone than from gunshot wounds. If liberals really wanted to save lives they would be trying to outlaw tobacco. If gun control isn't not really about saving lives what's the real motivation behind it?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 16, 2012 at 1:06 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 33

In Australia, no colors or brand logos can be used on a pack of cigarettes. the whole package is covered in one big warning. In Canada, cigarette packages must depict graphic deterrents, such as X-rays of lung tumors. In much of the US and the world, smoking indoors is prohibited. Taxes on tobacco products deliberately price them out of the ability of an average young person to afford.

The result is that lives are being saved.

Lets restrict guns so that we can save lives that way too.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on December 16, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 34
The laws on drunk driving and even on the dispensing of alcohol are a hell of a lot stricter and plentiful than there are on guns.
And with all the laws, drunk drivers still kill thousands.

That suggests the laws and restrictions aren't helping.

Why would more laws and restrictions help with gun violence then?
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 16, 2012 at 1:17 PM · Report this
Why do people always claim that the second amendment grants an unrestricted right to gun ownership? The amendment reads: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Why do so many people ignore the "WELL REGULATED" part of the amendment? Historically, no curb on gun ownership has ever been overruled on second amendment grounds.

All people are asking for is gun regulation. Don't let crazy people buy them. Don't let people buy them on a whim. Don't permit the ownership of assault weapons [or at least require special licensing for them]. Limit the amount of ammunition a gun can hold. Get rid of the gun show loophole [which is a fairly recent thing] so that crazy people can't just go to a gun show on a whim, pick up an assualy rifle and kill as man6y people as they want. These things seem sensible to me.

Even in the old west, a cowboy was required to turn his guns over to the sheriff when entering city limits.

I'm not saying that guns should be banned - that is obviously unconstitutional. But regulation was fine with the founder fathers, so why can't we just regulate the damn things to prevent tragedies like this from happening?
Posted by Schweighsr on December 16, 2012 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Hey gun nuts, have you read the 2nd Amendment? Where is your call for your participating in the well regulated militia you are supposed to be a part of in order to justify your possessing fire arms? Seems to me that most of what passes for exercising the 2nd Amendment is a bizarre fetish worship for which there must be sacrifices.
Posted by cracked on December 16, 2012 at 1:39 PM · Report this
"Historically, no curb on gun ownership has ever been overruled on second amendment grounds."…
The SCOTUS says otherwise.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 16, 2012 at 1:44 PM · Report this
levide 38
If anybody can explain to me why a healthy, contributing member of society *needs* a gun, outside of vague 'self-defense' arguments, then ok, we'll talk. They exist. That's it?
Posted by levide on December 16, 2012 at 1:54 PM · Report this
Hawke 39
Much like Leonhart refused to admit that heroin was more dangerous than pot when testifying in front of congress.
Posted by Hawke on December 16, 2012 at 1:59 PM · Report this
@38 If you want to know how we conservatives feel about our guns click here,…

and here,…
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 16, 2012 at 2:13 PM · Report this
Guns don't kill people.

Guns kill the holy fuck out of people.
Posted by RonK, Seattle on December 16, 2012 at 3:13 PM · Report this
Hang on a sec, Goldy, and lemme read that passage again: "we can't effectively restrict the mentally ill's access to tools of mass murder if we can't identify and track either."

Gun registration is a no-brainer, but "identify and track" mentally ill people? This is way out of line, a newer version of pink triangles and yellow stars. If we create a proper mental health system, which we most fucking definitely do not have, much of the problem will take care of itself.

And don't get me started on monitoring police departments and elected officials, and certainly military officers, for signs of mental illness leading to acts of mass murder.
Posted by Che Guava on December 16, 2012 at 4:06 PM · Report this
One by one, the lies of the right are losing popular support. As much as they try to paint themselves as the voice of reason, conservatives have been propped up by the emotional attachments of rural whites to a pack of misconceptions that get proven wrong time and time again:

same-sex marriage = end of traditional marriage
low taxes = prosperity
war = peace
car + oil = freedom
manmade global warming = hoax
war on drugs = saving our kids
black president = welfare socialist economic doom


guns = safety

Sooner or later, the resistance will break down. It won't come soon enough (especially on global warming), but the number of people who view their guns the way a 5-year old views his security blanket and teddy bear is dropping.
Posted by Centrists Rule the World today on December 16, 2012 at 4:14 PM · Report this
The nation whose government murdered over 60 million of its own people is your model for gun control? Coming from the Stranger, that sounds about right.
Posted by Spindles on December 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM · Report this
@44 Uhhh... Actually, it is the gun nuts who started pointing to the knife case in China. It just happened to be very good evidence of something you and your gun nut ilk have been denying - that it is extremely hard to mass kill, or often to kill at all as in this case, with a knife or a club.
Posted by cracked on December 16, 2012 at 4:48 PM · Report this
@45 The only people I've seen exploit that tragedy in China are slimy, faux liberals. Why, I read that story first on the Stranger....and it was bookended with an anti-gun message. And fyi, it's extremely mass kill when you're the government and have a total monopoly of power. It's especially easy when the entire populace is disarmed.
Posted by Spindles on December 16, 2012 at 4:56 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 47
@ Ken Mehlman, I can't go through all these comments and see if someone's already made this point to you.

But... alcohol is not a gun.

Cars and trucks are not guns.

Properly used, alcohol doesn't result in death. That only happens as a result of abuse.

Properly used, cars and trucks don't kill. Their purpose is to take you from one place to another. They actually are pretty inefficient at killing people, if you look at the ratio of nonfatal accidents to fatal ones.

Kitchen knives can be pretty big, but they're not designed to kill, and can be hard to kill someone with, even if sharp. That's because they have only one blade. They're not ideal weapons for that reason.

But AR-15's? They are designed to kill people. Used properly, you can kill a lot of people with one. Sure, it can probably be used to break a car window if you need to do that, but one of those clubs the fire department use would probably do a better job.

That's why your comment @ 16 is patently absurd.

The difference between guns and anything else that can kill people is that guns are just about the only thing commonly available to Americans that have that express purpose, while few other things do. And they do it better than ANY of those things.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 16, 2012 at 5:50 PM · Report this
@47 Keeping alcoholic beverages legal and readily available inevitably results in the deaths of innocent people. The same can be said of firearms. The mechanism of causation is different, but the outcome is the same.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 16, 2012 at 6:50 PM · Report this
Goldy 49
@48 I'm curious. When your side relentlessly asserts a false equivalency between guns and alcohol or cars... are you really that stupid, or do you just think everybody else is that stupid? (Though I guess, if it's the latter, then that makes you stupid too. So I guess it doesn't matter.)
Posted by Goldy on December 16, 2012 at 7:17 PM · Report this
@49 Many liberals smoke and drink, few have have any interest in owning a gun. Do you think it's a coincidence that you guys only want to ban the thing that you don't want to do?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 16, 2012 at 7:34 PM · Report this
Goldy 51
@50 Come on. Just admit it, that you think that a school full of dead children—some mutilated beyond recognition by multiple gunshots to the face—is a small price to pay for our freedom. Because that's the only intellectually coherent (if reprehensible) argument you've got.
Posted by Goldy on December 16, 2012 at 8:16 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 52
@ 48, no. Not if used properly.

That's the key phrase. "Used properly."

Used properly, a gun will seriously maim or kill a person. In the case of the AR-15, you can scratch the "seriously maim."

You have to use alcohol IMPROPERLY in order for it to be deadly. Its proper use NEVER results in death.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 16, 2012 at 8:21 PM · Report this
Mehlman, look at those photos of crying kids being led from the school, after having heard gunshots and knowing that they were in danger. And that's BEFORE they knew their friends had been killed.

Then shut up about your damned rights to own a weapon whose ONLY PURPOSE is to kill.
Posted by sarah70 on December 16, 2012 at 8:33 PM · Report this
#50 - How much alcohol or cars or trucks can kill 26 people in 10 minutes ? Fucking stupid argument.
"Its proper use NEVER results in death." - how many accidental gun discharging result in death EVERY FUCKING day in the U.S.
All your arguments are stupid.
Posted by JaxBriggs on December 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 55
I'm starting to lose respect for you Goldy. You're getting emotional... journalists can be a bit emotional, but you're starting to go overboard.

I, for one, will gladly, GLADLY, admit that a school full of dead children is the price we pay for our freedom. It's not a small price, I disagree with you on that, it's a terribly large price to pay. But it's worth it. Freedom is worth the terrible price we pay for it.

As a journalist, writing whatever the fuck you want, whenever the fuck you want to write it, I would have thought you'd feel the same.

I'm not a conservative, not a republican, not a gun nut. I'm as liberal democrat as it gets, but those silly mouth breather redneck conservatives ARE right on one of their platitudes: Freedom isn't free. It isn't. We pay for it all the time every time a free person uses their free will and free expression for violence.

But you can have freedom or you can have control. You can't have both.

Dead children is a terrible thing. And that guy in China could only use a knife, and he didn't kill anyone. Ok. So would you rather have the freedom you can have in China or would you rather have the freedom you can have in the United States?

Freedom is not free Goldy. It really isn't.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 16, 2012 at 11:15 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 56
Alcohol is a poison. The proper use of alcohol is to sterilize - to kill.

We drink it in small doses because it makes us high, but that doesn't mean that's it's proper use. We're using alcohol very improperly, but we like it a lot, so we tell ourselves it's ok... it's civilized and part of our culture to have a toast.

That's just window dressing though. Alcohol is designed to kill. And it's good at it. When we drink it, we're using it improperly.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 16, 2012 at 11:19 PM · Report this
Goldy 57
@55 The freedom that makes America special, that makes us truly free, is that enshrined in the First Amendment, which, unlike the Second Amendment, the founders gave us with no explicit caveats. All other rights would ultimately be lost without those enumerated in the First Amendment.

Unlike others, I don't live in some sick paranoid fantasy where I must defend my freedom at the barrel of a gun. So no, you're China analogy doesn't hold.

That said, I commend you for having the courage to defend your conviction that a school full of dead children is a price worth paying for preserving your right to own an AR-15.
Posted by Goldy on December 16, 2012 at 11:27 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 58
@ 56, we've had this discussion already, and I believe we thoroughly disproved it. Heart disease reduced by a couple of drinks every day - remember? That's the opposite of poison.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 16, 2012 at 11:35 PM · Report this
Goldy, you seem to be okay with X deaths every year on the highways.
But you aren't okay with the far fewer people killed by other people with guns.
So it isn't about the deaths.

It is about whether you approve of the means of death or not.
A person killed on the road is worth, what, 1/10th a person killed by a gun?

I'm not going to argue about whether something is used "correctly" or "properly" or was "designed" differently.
This is about whether you approve of the means by which the person was killed.

Switzerland is an example that shows that guns do not lead to gun violence. They have had a lot of guns and they have not had the same level of gun violence that the US has.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 16, 2012 at 11:47 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 60
@ 59, see my comment @ 47.

Now, granted, there is obviously some deep cultural difference between Switzerland and the USA that ought to be examined. But that doesn't mean that comparisons of tools of transportation to tools of death are suddenly valid.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 16, 2012 at 11:51 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 61
@ 59, before I forget.... Your comparison of auto deaths to gun deaths also falters on this point: Almost no auto-related deaths were deliberate. I would bet a year's salary that fewer than 1/10 of 1% of all auto fatalities in American history have been due to using a car as either a murder or suicide weapon. They are overwhelmingly due to accident.

Gun deaths are often accidental, it's true, but more than a teeny, tiny fraction of them are brought about by deliberate use of the gun to kill.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 16, 2012 at 11:57 PM · Report this
Whether they were deliberate or not is irrelevant.
A dead person is a dead person.
I'm not the one saying that a person killed by a gun is worth 10x more than a person killed by accident in a car.
I'm showing that it is whether people approve or disapprove of the MEANS of death that is deciding factor.

The point with the Switzerland example is to show that guns are not equivalent to gun violence.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 17, 2012 at 12:22 AM · Report this
@61 In terms of the public policy implications of allowing a certain type of consumer product, does it matter if deaths are deliberate or accidental? I don't think the cars vs guns comparison is appropriate because automobiles are a practical necessity in a way that privately owned firearms are not, but that's another issue.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 17, 2012 at 12:28 AM · Report this
The fact is that most all of us are the products of failed system. A system which is abandoning us all and has allowed us all to be screwed by elites. Until you recognize that much and start to work for changes by not following the traditional =repeat insanity and expect a different outcome; then, and only ,then, will anything change.

People are going crazy because they can't figure out why they can't be anyone. Why no matter what they do they end up broke, bankrupt, without a home or hope. Well, stop listening to the propaganda would be good first step.

Honestly, it's taken my entire life to see that finally the people of Washington State have enough sense, enough balls, to not only give gays equality but to also start to throw out the bullshit about smoking pot. However, you notice that the Federal Govcorp hasn't exactly given it's blessing has it? Oh sure, they don't have any problem with letting gays get married, that's a legality they can deal with, but pot is something else. There's a reason beyond all convention that issue exists.

Yet once more...right in front of you own damn eyes you can't see what's going on. Like once you disarm then everything will be OK...Right? Yea, that's why while you all are getting ready to toss out another part of the bill of rights, the laws are being rewritten by the lobbists to change State Laws to match Federal Laws; so that they can help you. Never mind what the people want...yet again, lets toss out the right to not have a jack boot put up your ass...sheeze!

Interesting isn't it that right after Washington State passes this measure we get these murders. What, you think your little demonstration at WTO couldn't and wouldn't have been handled differently if your parents didn't have ways of fighting back. You kids need to wake up to the reality of the world around you. Go ahead and give up your rights. See where that gets you when you can't get jobs to pay back those student loans that they already know there aren't jobs enough for.

While you are all so quick to toss out your right to protect and defend your own lives and those of you loved ones you didn't notice that Canada's High Court ruled against two main Unions seeking an injunction to prevent the importation of Chinese Labor. LOL!

If you think all these other countries are so wonderful then you should move to them. Canada is close, but of course you have be worth a bit of money, and you have to have some valued and sought after service. So, you can't run, you can't hide, you can't get a decent paying job if you can get a job, and now you want to toss your right to defend yourselves out the window while "they" have their lobbists rewrite all the laws. Again...Brilliant.

Posted by Citizen X on December 17, 2012 at 1:52 AM · Report this
whoops. did you just called the Times an Opinion Leader? credibility fail.
Posted by JulietteF on December 17, 2012 at 4:27 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 66
@ 62/63, yes, the intent and use matter. If you want apples to apples, you have to have identical purpose. Logic 101.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 17, 2012 at 5:10 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 67
@ 62, in the USA, guns too often DO equal gun violence. Why is that a problem here and not Switzerland?
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 17, 2012 at 5:16 AM · Report this
@67 I think greater economic inequality and racial division both have something to do with it. Mass shootings by socially alienated suburban white boys get more press, but the vast majority of murders are committed by poor and/or minority youths.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 17, 2012 at 6:36 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 69
@ 68, that is likely a factor is all kinds of crime. But I think most of the mass shooters like Lanza come from middle or even upper middle class backgrounds.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 17, 2012 at 7:15 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 70
Don't you think that words inspire people to do violence though?

If a maniac reads a blog and is inpired to murder because of it, would you be so quick to suggest we put some restrictions on the First Amendment?

Indeed, what if the real problem is freedom of speech, not guns? I'm serious.

Don't be so eager to toss out the parts of the Bill of Rights that you feel lukewarm on, while conveniently defending the one that happens to protect your livelihood.

I don't live in some sick paranoid fantasy where I must defend my freedom at the barrel of a gun.
That's because others have already done it for you.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 17, 2012 at 8:53 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 71
Yeah, I think we did discuss this before. I don't recall conceding your point though. Alcohol IS a poison. Just because it has the side effect of thinning your blood to protect against heart attacks doesn't change that fact.

Botulism toxin is also a poison that people use for cosmetic reasons. Botox... botulism toxin. Gets rid of wrinkles... still a poison.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 17, 2012 at 8:56 AM · Report this
@71 I think most of the harm done by booze is the result of the psychological effects of alcohol rather than it's toxicity.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 17, 2012 at 9:16 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 73
@ 71, you don't have to concede the point in order to be incorrect.

For your notion to be valid, you'll have to cite medical evidence, specifically, what damage happens over the long term to moderate drinkers? The answer is "nothing." Lifelong light drinkers have a 15-18% decrease in all-cause mortality rates compared to both abstainers and heavier drinkers. That, again, is the opposite of poison - when used properly (lightly).

Alcohol is comparable to medicine. A little bit is fine; a lot is not. There may be the danger of poisoning if too much is taken too fast, but that would be an example of IMproper use. I was speaking of proper use, as you know.

Anyway, alcohol is very restricted, and with good reason. If you really and truly believe that alcohol is a fair comparison to guns, then you'd support similar restrictions for gun sales.

(Also, botox isn't taken orally, and is administered by medical professionals. We'll see in a few decades if it isn't poisoning people anyway, but that's different from the hundreds of thousands of years alcohol has been consumed by humans.)
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 17, 2012 at 9:26 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 74
I DO support restrictions for gun sales. Always have.

From the end of the second paragraph in the wikipedia article you linked to:
Alcohol should be regarded as a recreational drug with potentially serious adverse effects on health and it is not recommended for cardio-protection in the place of safer and proven traditional methods such as exercise and proper nutrition.[6][7]
There's no "proper" use of alcohol, other than by medical workers to sterilize things. There's no "proper" amount to drink. Not drinking it at all is the "proper" amount. It may not be dangerous, and it may even have some benefits, but no doctor is going to write you a legal prescription to drink alcohol. They'll tell you to exercise and eat healthy foods instead.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 17, 2012 at 9:36 AM · Report this
@73 I don't think alcohol kills quite as many people as guns do. I think it's analogous to guns in the sense that greater restrictions on the production and sale of alcoholic beverages would have a positive effect on public health and safety but that such restrictions are impractical because people to many people like to drink to much.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 17, 2012 at 9:38 AM · Report this
"yes, the intent and use matter."

No they do not.
They only matter in court for charging the person who killed someone.
Dead people are dead people.
If they were killed by accident that does not make them less dead.

"Why is that a problem here and not Switzerland?"

Because guns do not equate to gun violence.
Switzerland is the example of that.
As are the millions of guns here that are owned by responsible people that are not used in any crimes.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 17, 2012 at 10:16 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 77
@ 74, I'm glad to hear that. It seems contradictory to your arguments here, but hey.

Regarding your comments on alcohol, that's a shift from calling it poison, I'd say. And although no doctor would prescribe it to treat heart disease, no doctor will tell you that total abstinence is better than 1-2 drinks a day, either. (No doctor that's up on the studies, at any rate.) And I didn't allege that it was something that could take the place of cardio or diet. But the study I mentioned presumably included those who practiced good cardio and diet with light alcohol and those who did none at all. "All causes of death" seems to cover all the bases, anyway.

To say that abstinence is the "only" proper use flies in the face of all the evidence to the contrary. One CAN safely drink, and it will not result in your death, my death, or anyone's death. Which is precisely what you asserted back @ 56. EVERY time that happens, it's because someone drank too much, which is to say that they used it improperly. Whether it was to the point of poor judgment ("I can drive home, I done it lots of times before") or to acute alcohol poisoning (like drinking a liter of vodka in an hour or two), or to liver failure (after decades of abuse, AKA habitual overdrinking), those are all the wrong way to consume alcohol.

You can keep asserting that light drinking is as bad as heavy, but unless you can really point to something supporting that, I think the case is closed.

@ 75, there are already all kinds of restrictions on alcohol that DO have a positive effect on public health. I do believe DUI related fatalities are down over the past 25 years, when MADD got the drinking age raised nationally and got the states to enact serious penalties for DUI's.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 17, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 78
@ 76, yes, intent matters. If all the people who died in car crashes were killed because of someone's intent, then you would see calls for banning cars.

There's no point in elaborating. I'm right and you're wrong, and it's just that simple.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 17, 2012 at 10:37 AM · Report this
@76 Yeah Fairly, your just wrong. You know this because Matt told you so repeatedly, the fact that he offers no explanation for why your wrong should be of no concern to you. Your just wrong because you are.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 17, 2012 at 10:46 AM · Report this
"yes, intent matters."

No. Because the intent does not change whether a person is dead or not.

"If all the people who died in car crashes were killed because of someone's intent, then you would see calls for banning cars."

Yeah, can we stick to what can be demonstrated?

"There's no point in elaborating. I'm right and you're wrong, and it's just that simple."

Whoops. Sorry, Jesus. I didn't know it was you behind that name.
Maybe you might want to scale back the omniscience?
You've just stepped really far in the "wrong" territory with that.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 17, 2012 at 10:50 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 81
You can keep asserting that light drinking is as bad as heavy
That's not what I'm arguing (and I don't recall ever making that assertion). I don't think there's anything wrong with light drinking - I drink all the time - but that's not the same thing as saying it's proper to do so.

You said the purpose of guns are to kill. I said the purpose of alcohol is also to kill. We make a version of alcohol that doesn't kill us as long as we go easy on it, but it's a twisting of alcohol's purpose. There are also versions of guns that don't kill, but it's also a twisting of a gun's purpose.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 17, 2012 at 12:08 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 82
@ 79, I already elaborated upthread. Try to keep up.

@ 80, bold assertions don't make one wrong. As I just told @ 79, I made my case. You ignored it, ironically not explaining why I'm wrong as @ 79 accuses me.

But I'll ask you to think about this. Imagine coming across two different people as you go about your day. One is intending to use his car for its purpose - to get from one place to another. The other has his AR-15 and is intending to use it for its intended purpose. What do you think are your chances with surviving your encounters with each individual?

If that's not enough, try to find some per capita data relating how many fatal accidents there are per 1,000,000 car trips taken in the USA, and compare that to the per capita data of how many fatalities there are when someone decides to go shooting an AR-15 at people.

THAT is why you're wrong.

@ 81, there is more than one kind of alcohol. The kind that's used to sterilize (isopropyl alcohol, aka rubbing alcohol) is not safe to consume in any amount. The kind found in solvents (methanol) isn't, either. They're all different compounds. You probably know all that, but ethanol (the kind we drink) has no sterilization properties, which you seem to have asserted. If I misunderstood, never mind all this.

I will say this - I don't understand what you mean by "twisting alcohol's purpose." Maybe using the word "proper" is confusing. How about "responsibly"?

Now, one may rejoin with the fact that guns aren't being used responsibly when used to murder in cold blood. But it does beg the question as to why would someone would need to own one, if killing isn't what they want it for. I'm sure it destroys stuff pretty well - one of my wife's cousins, an Iraq vet, reported told my brother in law that unloading a clip at a person with an M-16 left nothing but a big bloodsmear, so if true, I'm sure there's shit you can destroy with its civilian cousin real good. Maybe that's "responsible," but I have a hard time seeing that.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 17, 2012 at 6:11 PM · Report this
@82 The intended purpose of an AR-15 is for use in self-defense or lawful combat. Unles you'r a violent criminal or an enemy combatant you've nothing to fear from a responsible gun owner using an AR-15 for it's intended purpose.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 17, 2012 at 6:36 PM · Report this
"As I just told @ 79, I made my case."

Yes, you are Jesus and therefore whatever you say is Holy Writ.
Guess I'm just a heathen.

"One is intending to use his car for its purpose - to get from one place to another. The other has his AR-15 and is intending to use it for its intended purpose. What do you think are your chances with surviving your encounters with each individual?"

Pretty good.
In fact, almost 100%.
Based off of prior experience.

"THAT is why you're wrong."

You might want to check with God on that, Jesus.
Because I'm still alive.
Anecdotally, I've had more people hit me with their cars than with guns or bullets.
Jesus, why have you forsaken the facts?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 17, 2012 at 6:51 PM · Report this
"I said the purpose of alcohol is also to kill"

This is one of the dumbest things Ive yet read here. Alcohol = natural product with many properties. Yes, it is a cellular toxin at high does and ethanol can be used to sterilize things (Matt, youre right about most of what you wrote, but it can be used to sterilize). It also depolarizes cell membranes, leading to a nice buzzy effect. However, we did NOT design alcohol. It comes from nature, and we have found ways to exploit its properties (much like many other natural products - morphine, taxol, vinca alkaloids, cannabis etc etc). How THE FUCK is this like a gun - a product which has no other stated purpose other than to kill things. Both you and K.M. are a couple of bloody crazy loonies. Oh and fuck you both. Cunts. Love, Me.
Posted by Nodz on December 18, 2012 at 4:41 AM · Report this
venomlash 86
@74: Alcohol has legitimate medicinal uses. For instance, it competes with ethylene glycol for an enzyme, so pure grain alcohol is administered to patients who have ingested antifreeze.
Posted by venomlash on December 18, 2012 at 5:11 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 87
@38- They need a gun to be part of the well regulated militia called for in the 2nd amendment. The founders didn't want there to be a big standing army dragging on the nation's resources, and felt that having The People ready to defend themselves would be an effective means of stopping foreign invasion or domestic tyranny. To keep there from being an armed class oppressing an unarmed class they guaranteed that everyone (and I'm sure they met white men, but we're past that now) had the right to bear arms. In the militia.

It's a pretty good plan. Too bad we have a massive standing army, no militia, and people who think they have that they have a right to carry a concealed weapon everywhere.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on December 18, 2012 at 12:58 PM · Report this

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