Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Victim Disarmament Laws have been overturned ! ! !

The Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of extending 2nd Amendment rights to almost all Americans. This makes sense, because we don't have a "well-armed militia" patrolling the streets of East Fort Worth.

I honestly haven't read that much about the legal aspects of gun ownership. Most of my research has been along the line of surveys showing that residents of gated enclaves don't see what the fuss is about, while those living in high crime areas tend to want a gun.

The New York Times recently ran an editorial lamenting the court's decision to overturn our nation's Victim Disarmament Laws. You can click here for an excellent Fisking of that editorial.

So let's take it to the next level, shall we? My new friend Robert Harrison, from the Tarrant County Libertarian Party, just sent me a link to an online petition which asks Governor Rick Perry to add Texas to the list of "open carry" states. In other words, your handgun doesn't have to be concealed.

Bad guys don't like it. Good guys packing heat in public are a great equalizer.

An armed society is a polite society.

Addition from July 4th. This was filmed in Dallas on June 29th, the day I wrote this post.


Jay@Soob said...

I live in an open carry state. Nobody carries openly, the only exception being rural areas during hunting season. The deduction? The mere prospect of open carry is enough.

Pete Wann said...


I'm usually able to let your more Libertarian "out there" stuff go, but I gotta question this one...

"An armed society is a polite society."???

Have you BEEN to Canada? Nicest, most polite people in the world, and no one carries guns.

Why do we United Statesians INSIST that our way is the only -- nay, the ONE TRUE WAY -- despite the examples of other democracies around the world, some of which have been in operation in some form for more than twice as long?

What is it about guns that gets everyone so damned worked up? Why do YOU, specifically, NEED one? (If you don't, then why is it that anyone you know NEEDS one?)

I think it's fear. I know a lot of women who live and frequent places where they're more likely to be hit by lightening than assaulted, yet they insist on carrying a gun purse because they're afraid. One of the guys who goes to my poker game is the sort that any criminal with half a brain wouldn't mess with, yet he carries a gun because he... well, I just don't fucking know why he carries a gun. I guess he's scared of something. Or he's racist and just looking for a reason to shoot some brown person who approaches him. (No, this guy really is, in addition to being every bit the stereotypical right-winger.)

sandersonmom said...

pete wann,
I don't see where your questioning lies. I see that you are basing your opinion on two points...either a person is scared, or someone is racist. Could it be that you are openly admitting something within yourself?
Have you BEEN outside in the world lately? The reason people need to carry any type of weapon would be for self protection.
Surely you are not that much of a hermit that you are keeping yourself locked inside your four walls with your monitor in front of you hoping that you stumble upon a post that you can relate your incredibly un-American view on.
If you like it so much in Canada, and their way of life appeals so much to you, by all means move there. I am sure that they would welcome you with open arms.
Us "United Statesians" (sensei, is that even a real term?) would be glad to have one less of your kind here.

Pete Wann said...

@sandersonmom - Nice try, but no, I have neither of these issues. If I did, I certainly wouldn't live where I do without a healthy stockpile of guns. Good job trying to turn my words around on me, though.

I go outside in the world regularly. I eat at restaurants in "shady neighborhoods", I walk around my neighborhood and back and forth to work, as well as riding my bike around. I see nothing to fear at all. I see a whole lot of people who are different from me, and probably less financially sound than me, but certainly nothing to fear.

Fear of an attack that will likely never happen is just irrational. That's the attack I'm talking about. You're talking like we're taking our lives into our hands every time we leave our homes, and that's just not the case.

Define "American" so that you can have some basis for declaring my views "un-American." In my United States, people have the freedom to speak their minds and put forth potentially unpopular viewpoints. In my United States, we don't tell people who don't agree with us to leave the country just because they say "Hey, maybe those guys over there have the right idea..."

What do you mean "your kind"? People who use rational thought to determine their actions? Folks who are looking for new answers to the same old questions? People who don't buy into the "Wild West" machismo bullshit around gun ownership? Please be more specific.

sandersonmom said...

No, I am not talking like everytime we walk out of our house there is an impending attack waiting. But I do know that there are people out there that have the option of feeling secure within their own personal space.
I do not get it at all when people compare the United States to other countries. That's all I was saying. If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence...
The United States has the ONE TRUE WAY of living that no other democracy has to offer. Where else can you get the freedom to express your opinions and get feedback from someone you've never crossed paths with.
You sound as though you fear nothing in your life, and you should be so lucky. Not many people are in that situaion.
Take into account that you may not buy into the machismo of gun ownership but you give no suggestions as to how other American's can feel as secure as you.
I believe that we all have differences of opinions and I am glad about that. Isn't that what makes America the greatest? Or am I wrong?

Dr Ralph said...

The oldest son is now going to school in Toronto. Beautiful city--clean, friendly, albeit colder than hell in the winter. I doubt he's ever coming back.

T-shirt I wished I'd bought while up there visiting: (front) "What is a Canadian?" (back) "An unarmed American with health care."

The Whited Sepulchre said...


I keep waiting on Sandersonmom to make this point about Canada....

There's very little gun violence among Canadians in Canada.

There's also very little gun violence among Canadians who've moved to the U.S.


I made my 4th Canadian trip about six months ago.

Most of this depends on where you are. For instance, I know from your blog that you live within a bike ride of TCU. Little or no need for a gun there.

I live on the East side of FW. I have great neighbors, but there are also some desperate people to the south of me. The perspective changes.

Dr. Ralph,

Check out "Canadian Healthcare" on Google Blogsearch. I'm gonna be posting on it sometime soon.

Pete Wann said...

You're right, I do live within a bike ride of TCU. In fact, I live in the Ryan Place neighborhood -- not exactly a hotbed of criminal activity.

But to hear my neighbors tell it (at the neighborhood meetings), the place is just crawling with gangbangers and meth houses. I live just to the west of the railroad tracks, a couple of blocks from Hemphill. The street immediately behind mine would be considered by most middle-class white folks to be "rough."

I suppose that's my point. I talk to people regularly who are still convinced that Fairmount and Ryan Place are dangerous or shady compared to their safe enclave out in Azle. These are some of the same people who wouldn't come into "the city" without a gun because it's so dangerous.

Two more points:

1. subadei -- Your logic is flawed, or you haven't stated your conclusion. "The mere prospect of open carry is enough" Enough for what?

2. Allen -- Before you post your Canadian healthcare post, I have one question. Do the statistics you're going to use include rates of incidence for whatever diseases and "delayed" life-saving procedures you're going to highlight?

sandersonmom said...

The only point I can make about Canada, and I agree with Dr Ralph, that many of them are are the Americans who refuse to accept the responsibility that what happens in America is really America's fault. "Run to Canada so that the mess we make in America will be cleaned up by the ones who make a stand and at least TRY to live the American Dream."

Call me wrong, but being the 37 year old mother of two handicapped children, who by the grace of GOVERNOR George Bush, got the help my little family needed in terms of hearing aides for our babies...
Not a whole lot has happened to make American's feel comfortable about the living conditions we face.
Are we just saying that Canadians over all are just more peaceful? Mahatma Ghandi once suggested that if an oppressive society lacks violence, the society is nonetheless not peaceful.

Dr Ralph said...

Not to be overly argumentative, but the would be Canadian son had some non-life-threatening medical problems at one point. He got in to see a doctor in what seemed like a reasonable amount of time. Last time I had to make an appointment with some specialist here in Ft Worth, it took me 2 months to get in. Even with my employer healthplan, it cost me a small fortune.

Is Canadian healthcare perfect? I doubt it. Is it better for the vast majority of its covered citizens than the American system? Harder question to answer.

Nearly 47 million Americans, or 16 percent of the population, were without health insurance in 2005, the latest government data available. Ask one of these unfortunate folks what they think.

As for the "If you like it so well there, why don't you move," statement, that sounds dangerously close to "America: Love It or Leave It," bumper sticker patriotism from the late 60's. I don't recall many conservatives leaving the country when Bill Clinton was president.

I'm more of an "America, if you love it, fix it," sort of guy.

Besides, it's hell trying to find good Mexican food in Toronto.

Pete Wann said...

I've heard that's the case (the lack of good Mexican) all over Europe, too... Maybe that's our play, Dr. Ralph. Two gringos from the US go to Canada and open the best Mexican restaurant for hundreds of miles. :)

Pete Wann said...

sandersonmom - You're right that the grass always looks greener, but sometimes it also actually IS greener.

"But I do know that there are people out there that have the option of feeling secure within their own personal space."

I don't understand this comment. "Feeling secure" is a state of mind, not a function of being armed to the teeth. In fact, I would argue that carrying a gun PROVES that you inherently don't feel secure at all.

You're right, I generally fear nothing in my life. I'm not lucky, though. I CHOOSE to feel this way. I don't understand what you mean when you say "Not many people are in that situation." I haven't met an American yet who doesn't have an option about where they live or the state of their lives to some extent. Everyone I know and have ever met can choose to live without fear, they just have to wake up and see that it's crippling their lives just as much as a physical impairment.

"Take into account that you may not buy into the machismo of gun ownership but you give no suggestions as to how other American's can feel as secure as you."

The two have nothing to do with each other, but here are my suggestions for how to feel as secure as I do:

Think about your fears. Evaluate them from all sides. Take a look at the input you're getting from the media, etc. If all you ever hear about is murder and death and killing on the news, then of course you're going to be afraid when you leave your house, because they make it sound like there's a rapist and murderer behind every tree. Learn to put things into perspective. There are nearly 6 BILLION people in the world. There are 350 MILLION in the US. In 2007, there were approximately 5.7 murders per 100,000 people. That's pretty ridiculously low odds that you're going to be a victim. Why assume that you're going to "be a winner" in that lottery? Wouldn't it make more sense to assume that you're not, since that's the MUCH MORE LIKELY outcome?

The next argument is that one needs a gun to protect their "stuff." If you've read my blog, you know that I don't give a damn about "stuff." It's just STUFF. If someone wants it bad enough to threaten me with death and face the potential legal penalties of taking it, then they can have it. Hell, I'll help them load it in their truck. (This does NOT mean I'm a pushover or that I won't fight to protect my home and family, just that my house and the accumulated STUFF in it isn't worth dying for. Ever. Period.)

Lastly, forgive my literalness, but there are a LOT of countries where people have the freedom to express their opinions and get feedback from someone they've never crossed paths with. That is not a right unique to the United States. It's certainly ONE thing that makes this a great place to live, but it's just one of many, and to imply that people in other countries don't also have that freedom is unnecessarily nationalistic.

I'm glad we have differences of opinion as well. I just hope that everyone is open to actually listening to other people's perspectives and not just to letting them voice them.

Dr Ralph said...

Re: protecting one's "stuff" -- I've lived in Fairmount for 25+ years now. Last year my house was broken into. The miscreants got a couple of video game consoles, a DVD player, a fabulous collection of movies and a bunch of miscellaneous crap.

One of my neighbors -- a newcomer who'd bought a fixer-upper and intended to slap some paint on it and flip it -- went off on the subject of guns and protecting his castle, blah blah. He didn't get how I had no interest in having a gun after this break in.

I didn't get how a pile of DVDs was worth more than a human life, even the life of some cheeseball.

I feel much more threatened by some bubba with a chip on his shoulder and a carry permi. Hell, I feel more threatened by this type of jackass in his Hummer on my morning commute.

But I'll grant you there may be situations where people feel they have a legitimate need to protect themselves, and I have a solution.

As the saying goes, guns don't kill people, bullets do. Let Wal-Mart sell all the Saturday-night-specials they want to, but tax the hell out of bullets. I'm thinking somewhere in the range of $1000 a round.

If you're genuinely threatened, it's a bargain. If, on the other hand, you're just feeling a little pissy because someone cut you off in traffic, you might consider your investment before popping off a couple of shots.

And the proceeds from the bullet tax could go to fund victims of gun violence.

Pete Wann said...

OMG, Ralph, that's the most brilliant suggestion for this issue I've heard, ever!

Seriously... I agree that you have the "RIGHT" to own a gun (I really do), but that doesn't mean it should be affordable... Just like your jackass in a Hummer -- it's his "right" (that word gets so much misuse) to drive whatever he wants; it's not his right to do it cheaply.

sandersonmom said...

It is true that we all have the option and decision of where we decide to live and raise our families.
It took me a little over a year to look and decide that we were going to move to Crowley, Tx because they had one of the top five deaf education programs for children. I love my neighborhood. I haven't had a problem one since we moved in. I feel secure in my home and not only because I have that type of husband whom nobody would think twice about messing with.
I feel secure because like you Pete, I don't think that the STUFF in your life is worth dying over.
My Grandmother felt the same way. And about 15 years ago, she was carrying groceries from her car to her house, when two delinquents decided to beat and rape her in her own home. She never had worried about being unsafe in her home either.
My Mother was beaten regularly by her so called boyfriend, I call anti-christ, for a number of years only because she didn't want to think of ever living alone because she had a problem with feeling safe and secure...alone.
So there are many different situations where many different people have many different reasons for owning a gun.
So I hate to sound like a hypocrite, and I hope that to some people it doesn't. My life has had a lot of ups and downs, just like everybody else's...

Pete Wann said...

sandersonmom - You don't sound like a hypocrite. Those are horrible crimes, and no sane person would ever wish them on anyone.

But because they happened (or were allowed to continue to happen) to your family members doesn't mean they're going to happen to you. You're living proof of that.

It's true that there are many reasons for owning a gun. I'm not against gun ownership, because quite frankly, it's just too damn late to stop it. There are enough guns sold in the US every year for every adult American to have one, practically. (And if there aren't enough manufactured yearly for that, then there are certainly enough in circulation.) That cat is out of the bag, and there's no way to get it back.

Let me give you a bit of background on me --

I was raised by a single mom in Ohio. My grandfather served in Korea, and had several guns which hung in a dusty rack in his bedroom. The only time they left that rack was when I would go back there and look at them while he was asleep. One of my uncles at one point ran a (legal) gun shop out of his garage, but stopped because he was really bad at that whole "markup" thing. He sold most of the guns he bought to his buddies at cost, so essentially he had a dealer's license just for that. No one in my family hunted, that I know of, but I grew up around hunters. (We didn't open school late during hunting season, but MANY of my friends missed the first couple of classes during that time of year.)

After high school I joined the Marines. (Here's where I think my issues with guns started.) We were taught to NEVER point a gun, loaded or unloaded, at anything (or anyone) we did not intend to KILL. Period. I guess I learned that lesson well, because there's no room in the "gun ownership" part of my brain for warning shots or deterrent effect. I think that if I owned and carried a gun, and if I pulled it on you, you'd be dead. I don't say that as a threat, or to brag (although I am a really good shot with both pistols and rifles), but to illustrate that this is where I'm coming from when it comes to carrying a gun. If I felt so threatened by someone that I'd be willing to pull a gun on them, then they'd be dead, or as close to dead as I could make them with the rounds in my gun.

I don't know if I want the burden of taking someone's life (even a criminal) in a non-combat situation on my conscience.

I suppose that's why I don't own or carry a gun. Maybe if more people looked at it that way, fewer people would be willing to carry them.

Jay@Soob said...

"Your logic is flawed, or you haven't stated your conclusion. "The mere prospect of open carry is enough" Enough for what?"

Hi Pete. Yeah it was a bit vague wasn't it? Allow me to elucidate:

There seems to be a popular conception that if citizens are allowed to sling a pistol on their hip they will do so and shoot outs at the OK Corral will become commonplace. As someone who lives in a state that doesn't require a permit for neither open nor concealed carry, this misconception seems bizarre to me. Citizens of my state seem quite content with the right to open carry without actually doing so. And crime (gun or otherwise) is of the lowest in the nation.

Jay@Soob said...

Dr. Ralph,

"As the saying goes, guns don't kill people, bullets do. Let Wal-Mart sell all the Saturday-night-specials they want to, but tax the hell out of bullets. I'm thinking somewhere in the range of $1000 a round."

Very Michael Moore-ish. American's are too afraid (and apparently too stupid) to be allowed access to ammunition.

You'd end up with a very robust new product for the black market.

How about we put this political snake oil aside and focus on the political/socio-economic basis for violence in America.

Dr Ralph said...


"Very Michael Moore-ish" : I'm not sure this was meant to be a slam or a complement. I choose to take it as a complement.

Americans too stupid or afraid to be allowed access to ammunition? Not really. More like putting some context around the cost of a human life. If a bullet costs a nickel, you've monetized what someone's life is worth. $1000 seems cheap to me.

Put up or shut up: if you have a gun for self-defense, how many live rounds do you really need?

Maybe it's different where you live, but here we've got people like Joe Horn, folk hero to God-knows how many gun-totin' folks for blowing away a couple of burglars breaking into, not his, but his neighbor's house, while he was on 9-1-1.

I'm not sure Canada is far enough away.

By all means, let's take a look at the socio-economic reasons for gun violence. For starters, how about peeling back the covers on the gun industry, which has the most to gain by having a society scared shitless of their neighbors. Then let's look at their lobbying arm, the NRA.

A couple of states have proposed putting a modest tax (five to ten cents) on bullets at various times in the past and every time the NRA went totally ape-shit.

They are not looking for reason solutions.

So don't talk to me about snake oil. Let's talk about gun oil. You've heard my solution. How would you propose dealing with the problem?

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I've added some video from an attempted convenience store robberty in Dallas.
It was filmed on the day I wrote this post.
See above.