Monday, October 29, 2007

Utah mayor doing his part

Another good, upstanding kid from a good family was caught red handed while perpetrating a crime recently. He was burglarizing a house and tried to make off with a bicycle , when one of the residents tackled him and put him in a headlock.

Said resident? The resident mayor.

That's right, Utah residents can proud themselves in having a mayor who isn't afraid to tackle crime head on, even when facing an opponent who is bigger and heavier than himself.

Fox has a video interview on their site, if you're interested in seeing this mayor, a slender man who has more in store than you'd think at first sight.

Now, as much as I love reading stories like this, I don't think he did the right thing. Unless you know absolutely sure that the "bad guy" doesn't have a knife or gun, it may not be such a good idea to lie down on top of him, not unless you know exactly what your doing with that headlock anyway.
A better idea would have been to tackle the guy, get up again and suggest he'd stay down, persuading him to do so by pointing a home-defence weapon at him.

But hey, all well if ends well right?
kudos to you Mr. Mayor, I don't think he'll try that again.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What passes for common sense thee days

One phrase I've been reading a lot lately is "common sense" gun legislation, or any variant thereof. Several high-profile cases of criminals murdering, torturing, mutilating and sexually assaulting their victims have degraded the notion that gun control groups hold the moral high ground, as the general public becomes more and more aware that sometimes, violence is the better option when defending yourself.

So rather than claiming the moral high ground, gun control groups are now claiming the logical upper hand, pushing their ideals as the most sense full thing to do, and you'd be a fool to oppose their benign measures.

But what exactly passes for common sense these days? Banning .50 caliber rifles which are hardly ever even named in crimes? Oh yes, I've read that big scary list of a whole 23 (!) offenses where a .50 as involved, it lists an incident dating back to 1989, and still I could count the occasions when one was actually fired on one hand, and still be able to flip off anybody claiming that these rifles pose a huge treat to the general population.

Is it common sense to try and ban something that is not really being abused? Or are you just trying to open up the door to banning other calibers?

What other humbug passes for common sense? Assault weapons bans, feeding device capacity restrictions, waiting periods, ... one needs only observe those places with serious restriction in place (California, Washington DC, the UK, ...) that these "common sense" laws do not work. It doesn't make sense to continue pushing them.

Common sense laws make none.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

Just because you ban something ...

"The proportion of young adults taking cocaine has almost doubled under Labour, intensifying pressure on Gordon Brown to toughen up its drugs policy.

Figures from the Home Office's British Crime Survey showed the number of 16 to 24-year-olds in England and Wales who admitted taking cocaine in the previous year increased from 3.2 per cent in 1998 to 6.1 per cent in 2006/07."
( Cocaine use 'rising among under-24s' )

Banning guns was going to go off far better they said ...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just give them what they want, they won't hurt you.

"NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The suspects in a deadly home invasion in Cheshire poured gasoline on and around a mother and two daughters, then set their house on fire and fled, according to search warrants released by a judge Tuesday.

Investigators found traces of rope-like material around the ankles of all three victims and tied to the two girls' wrists and bedposts, according to the warrants. They also found three partially melted one-gallon gas containers."

From Fox news

The girls died of smoke inhalation, which proves that they were alive when the intruders set fire to the house. They were left to burn alive!
Give them what they want, then they wont harm you?
Excuse me if I don't.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Expelled for having ... a butter knife

I'm all for keeping our schools safe, a zero tolerance policy on weapons can help, but there's limits even to zero tolerance.

"Butter Knife Leads To Student's Expulsion
Nicole Johnson, Live 5 News A teenager is expelled from school for bringing what the school calls a weapon on campus, the butter knife she used on her morning toast."

Seriously, what!? A butter knife? Poses more of a threat if used as a club for crying out loud.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Empty holster week has started!

Across the nation, students will be voicing their opinion for allowing the licensed carry of a concealed weapon on campus for self defense-purposes. They will do so by having an empty gun holster visible on their person.

This would be a great opportunity to buy a nice retention holster, or practice your arts and craft skills by making one yourself!
and remember:
Image by Oana, posted at "the high road"

A crime so horrid ...

... that he pleaded guilty and accepted his fate of dying while incarcerated, rather than have his parents hear about what their son had wrought.

It's not an excerpt from a play, book or movie. The man who killed Alan Shalleck, one of the co-writers of curious George, had done so in such a gruesome manner that he rather accepted a lifetime in prison, than put his parents through trial.
And if you know where you're reading this, you probably already know he didn't abuse a gun.
(Man gets life in "curious George" killing, CNN)

"One of the reasons Ditto took the plea was so his parents would not have to sit through a trial and hear details of the crime, Ditto's attorney, Robert Gershman, told The Palm Beach Post.

"It was a horrible, horrible crime scene," Gershman said.
Shalleck had 83 blunt force injuries and more than three dozen stab wounds, including to the abdomen, neck and groin, an autopsy revealed."

Some people aren't quite as civilized as we make them out to be, as we'd want them to be. Allowing or disallowing them to have firearms would not keep them from hurting you or anybody else, once they've set their mind to it.
Disallowing YOU from having a firearm and using it to defend yourself, *would* leave you at their mercy

The opposition is dwindling

Some of the pro-gun control blogs which I've been following have recently ceased to function.

Under fire, Robyn ringlers blog hasn't been updated since halfway September, and "I love my daughter more than you love your gun" has gone off line entirely.

But that's nowhere near as badly a downhill evolution as Jadegolds blog is going through. Where there used to be at least some decent reads, the last dozen of entries have been riddled with insults and smut, making little to no effort to actually put forward a political point of view. Especially recently, when Jade engaged in a personal vendetta against Sebastian from pro-gun progressive, referring to him as "Sebastian the Lying Censor™".
(It would appear that Sebastian censored out some profanities which were uncalled for, it's only now that I see what the nature of those comments could have been.)

Where has my opposition gone? When will the Brady blog allow the general public to respond to their entries again?
Does this mark victory for our side on the blogger front? Or does this mark the beginning of the end of true online debating?

I for one hope to continue to keep this blog updated with my personal articles, and bits on current events, preferably with resources included.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

If not by guns ... (2)

This isn't new to me, and it doesn't surprise me either ...
A teenager constructed an explosive device out of a sharpie, a length of fuse and gunpowder.
So ... some kid with his mind set on destruction manufactures an explosive device to bomb his school.

How could this have happened? Making those devices should be made illegal, think of our children for Christs sakes!
Oh wait, it is already illegal and he did it anyway ...

Now, this doesn't really disturb me. You're gonna have to trust me when I say that that "sharpie bomb" of his wasn't really that dangerous. A large amount of gunpowder? Yeh, a couple of grams at most. Gunpowder isn't even designed to explode, and a sharpie just isn't strong enough to allow gases to build up and rupture the casing. And if they did, the plastic shell wouldn't have made for dangerous shrapnel ... a fire hazard at most ... if that.

But it's the thought that matters: This kid was willing to break the law to harm other people, legislation wouldn't have stopped him, a vigilant citizen did.

Some people are just sick, badge or no badge.

Please read through this article:
It's about a cop, who sexually assaulted a girl.
A fifteen year old girl ... while she was sleeping!

So ... anybody still claiming that being a police officer automatically means you are more trustworthy than an average citizen?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hope for the UK!

After a (couple of) high profile shooting(s), a lot of British police officers gathered to discuss the issue. They were raising attention to the fact that gun crime is up 20% since last year, but fortunately, it's still not up to the all time high level of the 1990's.

I was reading through this BBC article, and was delighted by a lot of things.

One of them was when they finally clarified the replica issue, criminals aren't converting replica's, they're restoring "deactivated" weapons. It's not uncommon for guns to have lead poured down their barrel/breech to deactivate them in Europe, so I do suppose this is possible, as opposed to getting a replica to fire a bullet rather take your own hand off.

But the real kickers were at the end:

"On the broader front, there was much nodding of heads when Home Office minister Vernon Coaker made a veiled criticism of the judiciary when he said he wanted more people convicted of carrying illegal handguns given the full mandatory minimum sentence of five years."

So now the police are calling to enforce the current laws to the full extent? Cheers!

"And perhaps the greatest applause of the day came for a speaker with neither a police nor a political background.
There were cheers and shouts of approval as delegates watched a video of Jagdish Patel, a brave shopkeeper from Rochdale who saw off an armed robber with a baseball bat.
Not an officially-approved response to a potentially lethal situation. But an encouraging example of a member of the public prepared to take a risk to stop gun crime. "

Wait, not only are they calling for the enforcement of current legislation, but they applaud a citizen who has successfully defended himself against a criminal?
I hope they keep it up!
Maybe some day the law abiding will be able to legally match the criminals in his toolset.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The beautiful gun free California

California? Yup
Beautiful? Check
Gun free ... well they've got about the strictest gun legislation in the country, the Brady campaign gives it an A- Rating, so gun crime must be near non-existent right!? ... right?

If only ...

here's the LA Homicide map, from the LA homicide report, one of the blogs I've "subscribed" to to forever serve as a memento that gun laws do not protect the general public.

Right now, the highly adjustable map reports 679 homicides (starting this years January first, up to and including the 13th of October), 537 of those were perpetrated by people abusing firearms.
So, that A- rating, did they get it for having 79% of their criminal killings carried out with firearms, or for sporting one of the nations top homicide per capita ratings?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Over half of the V-tech fatalities families don't support the Brady campaign.

Today on the Brady main site: Huge announcement! Look, come look! We managed to get some people who were in great emotional pain to sign a petition to strengthen the measure that didn't save their deceased family members!

Well, out of the 32 surviving families, not even half of them could be bothered signing that petition, which looks all the heavier by the boatloads of "students represented" and th family of people who made it out alive, even without a scrape on them.

The vast majority of the nation supports gun control?
The vast majority of gun violence victims doesn't even support these frauds!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A new weapon to fight gun crime

So, Arnold Schwarzenegger signed off on the "microstamping bill". The legal definition revolve on what is considered an "unsafe" weapon. Essentially, it means that from now on, all newly manufactured semiautomatic handguns intended for sale will need to be made in such a way that the spent cartridge casings will have the serial number of the gun engraved onto them.

I tried to make my point in this entry from august 31, explaining what I perceive as flaws in this new technology, flaws which I hope will be dealt with. I have to be honest with myself and my audience, there is nothing I loathe more than people continuously pushing plans that have been tried and which have failed.

But microstamping is new, it has not been tried.
Could it work?

I projected that it could be helpful in a very limited amount of cases, as I focused on actually capturing criminals, but somebody claiming to be Todd Lizotte, one of the major designers of the microstamping technology, left a comment on my previous post. The last portion of this post mentions that criminals don't intend to let the law, be it armed with microstamping legislation or not, catch up with them.

Toddlizotte had the following to say:

"I do believe microstamping can help, however I will admit, I am bias to some degree, my point though is how law enforcement uses information to target handgun trafficking networks.
The FBI and ATF have developed ways of analyzing certain criminal enterprises by the patterns they form when they engage in criminal behavior. The critical element to defining these patterns and analyzing them is good INTEL or “real-time” data.

The FBI states that through their work, criminal enterprises or gangs are creatures of habit, and they often establish specific patterns in their activities. For firearm trafficking, this means they might prefer a certain type of straw purchaser, a specific source location or licensee, or a favorite method of distribution. Such patterns can be found through analysis of data; the problem is the current data is acquired when the firearm is recovered, instead of when the firearm is first used.
Firearm trafficking becomes vulnerable to these new techniques, link analysis and social network analysis, when an analysis of the data can form into patterns within a narrower window of time.
So, when trying to find unique ways of getting law enforcement the information they need to combat trafficking, while maintaining the rights of law abiding gun owners, it seems possible, microstamping will strike that balance.
Best regards,

His full comments can be found here.

It would appear that I have trapped myself; in spite of my disbelief in this technology, I will maintain two arguements in its favour.First I will give it the benefit of the doubt, we should allow it to fail along with all the previous golden bullet techniques that have passed by and passed away.
Second: pattern recognition is everything, if not William Gibsons best book. As a scientist I have a near religious devotion to find and isolate logical, predictable patterns. If that's what this law is really about, then I will support it on that front.

I still have other issues with this new legislation though. I still do not believe that this legislation will help put individual criminals in jail any better than a well funded homicide branch would. I resent the idea that law enforcement officers would still be walking about with guns deemed unsafe by state law, civil suits ensue?
Last but not least, what are the implementation costs? I couldn't find one when this technology was brought up, and nobody seems to worry too much about it now either.

Oh well, I'm off to invest in Oregon and Texan companies specialized in spare parts for selfoading handguns, cheers Herr Terminegger!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Another triple murderer that won't face trial.

There one ever-recurring argument against gun legislation which I'd like to illustrate today:

"Gun laws affect only the law abiding"

There's the "duh" explanation to this, because anybody who'd break these laws would be a criminal. But what about after a crime has been committed? If somebody were to do a drive-by-shooting, he could face some serious charges right? Breaking several federal laws concerning guns, homicide, reckless endangerment
will put you in that position.

No, these people break those laws, because they are not planning on getting caught. They have no intention to stand trial and face punishment for their actions.

Take for example the most recent school shooting in Ohio; at the age of 14 he could not legally buy any type of firearm that accepts primed cartridges. I'm using this wording because I don't know whether he used a rimfire or centerfire weapons, I'm quite convinced he wasn't using blackpowder pistols.

So, he was in violation of several federal laws, but he will -for obvious reasons- not stand trial.
Another person who killed several people killed himself yesterday after an hours long standoff with law enforcement. (Texas Standoff Ends When Suspect Drives Into Lake)

If you're a religious person, you can choose to believe that these people may still face penalty in the afterlife, but there are still plenty of murderers at large who are alive and well
. There are many who are out on parole, probation, or who have made themselves comfortable within the prison system.

This is one of the reasons why I think we should improve our penal system. Prisons are overcrowded with people who do not belong there, and people who are not rehabilitated are cut loose to make place for others. We should keep looking for better investigative tools, it's a true pity that ballistic fingerprinting and microstamping show little promise, but our prison system is ready for a reform.

And our gun legislation? Should we keep legislation which has not been observed to work?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It also happens in the netherlands

Apparently, children are quite capable of killing each other with or without guns. Just today, a 14 year old allegedly stabbed a 16 year old schoolmate who he was quarreling with. The argument supposedly started after somebody threw a pen ...

(article by the Herald tribune)

How about some anger control?

Hey Helmke, are you behind three months on everything?

So, Recently a 14 year old kid took two handguns onto school property and shot four of his peers before committing suicide. Few days before, a law enforcement officer gunned down six youths with an automatic rifle.

What is todays entry on the Brady blog? A regurgitation of a months old shooting. Yes, regurgitation, if it had been an update, they would have at least mentioned that the suspected culprit has been arrested, a man who has been arrested for robbery, assault, firearms violations, receiving stolen property, and providing false identification to police.He has been convicted only of false identification and was placed in a program for first-time offenders after his arrest last November. according to (and copied from, the Philadelphia inquirer)

You go on to recite your "common sense" laws, and how a majority of the US population supports your ideas.
I'll be the first to admit that I myself recycle a lot of arguments, especially my criminal statistics
, but that was the entire point of my blog.
What's the point of the Brady blog? To remind everybody of their poor friends who have been struck by tragedy in september?

Why don't you remind us how all of your -common sense feel good- legislation would have prevented this man, who was already in violation of several gun laws, from paralyzing that poor kid?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Brittish police too busy to protect civillians

Police tied up with paperwork, report says
"Figures released as part of a review of the performance of the 43 forces in England and Wales show that the Home Office is as far away as ever from achieving its much-vaunted target of reducing time spent filling in forms and dealing with administration, and "effectively freeing up 12,000 officers for the front line".

It had an overall poor grade for "protecting vulnerable people" - a key area, according to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), which carried out the assessments - though within that category it was "fair" in dealing with child abuse, missing persons and "public protection""

Obviously, certain high ranking police officers were quick to say that two-thirds of the police forces working hours are plenty to uphold the law, in the country were drug dealers dress up as scooby doo, schools are becoming an increasingly violent environment for children, police officers are too wrapped up in red tape to do their job in the time they actually *can* go out and make a difference. And when they actually do get somebody thrown in the can, they'll be calling the civilian population to help find the crook that escapes. Because of all the violence associated with the drug culture (no, not gun culture) parents are going out buying drugs for their children to keep them from mingling with the dealers themselves too much for Christs sakes! (I'm rejoiced to see they're not throwing her in jail, but that's a different issue)

You know what? Maybe you should place even more cameras and microphones, keep persecuting people for possessing books. Eventually, all the measures that haven't paid off anywhere in the past will start working (/sarcasm)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

ZOMG, correlation!

One of my colleages has found something to correlate gun violence to!

My god, turns out Economic factors can be correlated to homicide far better than gun ownership or gun legislation. Who would have tought that?

15 year old armed with a laundry utensil shot and killed by Police officers

"PHILADELPHIA — Police responding to a domestic dispute shot and killed a 15-year-old who went after a police officer with a clothes iron.
Public affairs spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore described the teen as being armed with "an object in his hand that he was using as a weapon" when he went at police officers Monday afternoon outside his home. The item was an iron, according to news reports citing unidentified police sources.It was not clear whether police first tried to subdue Timbers with pepper spray or a stun gun."

Whether or not the shooting was justified or excusable hasn't been decided jet, for all we know the officers involved could be charged under criminal law.
Not that I think they should, a clothes iron is perfectly fit for bashing someones head in according to the department of justice, which reports that an assault with a blunt object is more likely to result in a serious injury than an assault with a firearm.
The youth involved was reported to be a "difficult" child.

If I were to see an enraged person coming at me, I'd defend myself to the best of my abilities as well. I would hopefully not kill the assailant, but I would not hold back until I've effectively stopped him. I prey that he desists after seeing a weapon.

Let's never forget this:

I owe it to My colleague over at armed and safe to point this out in one of his most recent articles:
The Florida sun, maybe after the recent event of a police officer gunning down six defenseless youths in Wisconsin with an automatic rifle, has remove the article calling to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, proclaiming that only Police officers should be allowed to have them, if their name hath called them of "patrol rifles"

The article in question can still be viewed in Googles cached webpages, thank you 45superman for the link.
I've printed myself out a handy .pdf file of the entire page for safekeeping, and as a reminder that I should never lax my critisism for news-sources, the south Florida Sun-Sentinel should not assume that people will not call them on their statements.

This is the information age, not the age of memory holes.

Monday, October 8, 2007

All of us, or none of us!

This was on the 13 o clock news over here in Belgium for crying out loud:

Cop Kills six at party!

CRANDON, Wisconsin (CNN) -- A 20-year-old off-duty sheriff's deputy shot and killed six people at an early-morning party

Peterson was shot to death after opening fire early Sunday on a group of students and recent graduates who had gathered for pizza and movies on their high school's homecoming weekend. Peterson was off-duty from his full-time job as a Forest County deputy sheriff; he also was a part-time Crandon police officer.

Still think only law enforcement officers should have access to guns? They are no less prone to violent behavior than anyone else, they can make mistakes like every other human being.
If they are no different, why treat them different? Why should they be excluded from gun legislation if they too occasionally abuse their right to harm other people?

Note that I do not think police officers are bad people, I have little besides respect for our finest who do their job and keep people safe, but some police officers, just like some civilians, are prone to criminal behavior. This doesn't mean that they all, police and civilians alike, should be stripped of their arms. As a matter of fact, I've never believed for one second that taking a gun away from somebody would render him/her harmless. But for the love of all which has a determinable pattern, stop claiming that law enforcement officers are in any way better than your average citizen.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Assault rifles at work.

A very interesting article was recently brought to my attention by

"A security guard used an assault rifle to kill two robbery suspects at a Red Bird strip mall late Wednesday, police said.Police say the guard grabbed his weapon when one of the men pointed a handgun at him.Sergio Vann, the 19-year-old gun-wielding assailant, died at the scene late Wednesday."

Do you happen to know my stance on assault weapons? If not, here's a piece that I wrote which was censored out of Robyn Ringlers blog:

Robyn: "Allowing the ownership of guns that can shoot down airplanes or cause massive numbers of casualties in just seconds or minutes makes no sense."

Michael: Excuse me?
It may sound logical if you'd read it out loud, but does it really make sense?

It doesn't make any sense to you why people should be allowed to have guns which -as you've so eloquently put it- "cause massive numbers of casualties in just seconds"
Would you be referring to the select fire assault rifles and submachine guns on our streets today? The kind which has a 30 round magazine, capable of firing bullets fully automatically, every bullet posing a lethal threat?
Sound about right, doesn't it?

The only people who regularly carry these guns around town (usually in their car) are police officers, clearly the only purpose of these tools isn't to cause massive numbers of casualties in just seconds or minutes or even days, they are called defensive weapons because they excel in allowing a police officer to defend his own life, and the lives of others around him. Ordinary citizens can use these guns as well, to protect themselves and those around them.

And then I'm not even talking about fully automatic assault rifles anymore. I'm talking about a semi-automatic rifle chambered for an intermediary cartridge, fed by a standard capacity magazine (not high, 30 rounds is standard). A rifle whose stock can be folded so you can safely use it inside your house, or take it with you in a car to the range easier, and a pistol grip for ergonomics and user safety (better grip equals less slip ups, literally)

Why but by ignorance could you claim that it makes no sense to allow law abiding citizens to own such weapons? Because as opposed to the police, we'd never need them? I'll let you in on a little secret, the police hardly ever uses them either, they just hang there in the (locked and deliberately hard to access) rack, waiting -months, years, always- for that one emergency that validates their purchase. Said emergency isn't likely to ever produce itself, not for police officers, and not for civilians, but would you deny the formers the ability to prepare themselves, would you only then seek to judge the latter: us.

Now, reading that article that I found on the real gun guys, turns out I was wrong. It's not only police officers who carry and use defensive rifles, but private security guards do so as well! The guard was able to fight off two assailants who had the drop on him, because he had an effective weapon as well as the ability to use it, to the contrary of the thug with a gun.

Come on, where are you?

The gun control Blogs which I've "subscribed to" all seem to not have been updated recently.

Too dizzy?

Friday, October 5, 2007

The police will protect you! Stake your life on that thin blue line.

Relying on law enforcement to protect you is one way of life. I myself lost all faith in their ability to do so when an angry ex-husband was not apprehended for roughly 25 minutes after he'd bashed in the door of his former abode.
I live around the corner of the local precinct.

Law enforcement operates by tracking down the perpetrator of a crime after it has been committed. I believe that's a very valid way, more so because I'm radically opposed to preemptive crime fighting (racial profiling, confiscation of "risky" possessions, seizure of assets prior to trial, ...). Still, if it takes them that long to travel such a short distance, I will assume they will not be around to protect me in case of an emergency.

Now, if you think that 25minutes is bad, try seven months!

"Mr Woodhams's family claim the Metropolitan Police failed to investigate the first incident properly, during which the 22-year-old father of one was slashed across the neck and face after confronting youths who threw a stone at his car.
No one was ever arrested over the knife attack in January 2006, which was followed by a seven-month campaign of violence and bullying, and Mr Woodhams's family believe he would still be alive if police had investigated the first incident properly."

Excuse me if I insist on owning defensive weapons.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Innocent bystanders still die in a "gun free countries"

Gun free countries aren't free of guns or free.
After the freedom has been removed from the law abiding, criminals are still armed, and still willing to kill people. When they try to do so, innocent people may still get caught in the crossfire, and die.

Gun victim shot 'phoning sister'
"Magda Pniewska, 26, was caught in the cross-fire between two gunmen in New Cross, south London, on Tuesday"

In response, the mayor wants to make it illegal to purchase replica handguns, because they could be converted to functional firearms. Flawless plan, people won't buy replica guns because they are illegal, so they can no longer convert them into functional firearms, which is already illegal ... golden.

This is of course, assuming that people really are converting replica's to functional firearms. I didn't think that the materials used for replica's were able to stand up to the pressures that real guns are exposed to. Ill trust BBC to be accurate enough here. Still, it wouldn't surprise me if they (the criminals) were actually manufacturing their own guns, and using a handful of parts stripped from the replicas, such as the trigger group and grips, as I honestly can't comprehend why somebody would include a proper barrel in a replica.

Are you aware of just how easy it is to make a functional firearm? Anybody with some basic machine shop tools and the knowledge on how to use them can theoretically set up a gun factory in his garage. As a chemist, I can tell you that it's even easier to make propellant powder (single base, double base, with or without regulators, you name it), and marginally harder to make reliable percussive caps.

Banning guns hasn't worked so far, so instead of following through and banning toys too, could you -petty please- try looking for something that actually has a chance of working?
I don't blame them for trying to ban guns in the first place, I blame them for not repealing the ban after it had been observed to not work.
Now maybe, just maybe, could you try better criminal rehabilitation programs? An actively enforced way of fighting unemployment? A more deterring penal system, better education, legislation based on hope instead of hatred? Common sense rather than scaremongering?

-"Hey look, this key doesn't seem to open the lock, why don't we try another one?"
-"Are you crazy? Let's just twist it more violently!"

It's called tunnel vision, and it hasn't saved any lives so far.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Arson, so easy a 10 year old could kill somebody.

I've covered the futility of banning guns on several occasions, explaining the potential harm that can be done by people abusing knifes, bludgeons and explosives. Recently, I came a cross a case where a ten year old child was accused of killing several people by setting fire to the house they were in.

"The boy escaped the September 16 fire that killed his mother, Chanan Palmer; his half-sister Kaysha, 8, and three children of Christy Winans: Kayla Winans, 6; Je'Shawn Davis, 5; and Jasmine Davis, 3.
Darke County Prosecutor Richard Howell told the Dayton Daily News last week that the boy didn't give investigators a clear motive. But when asked whether he was certain the boy was behind the fire, Howell told the newspaper, "Yes, I am."
"He was just made a scapegoat for the whole thing," said Burke L. Goines, the boy's uncle. "It's traumatizing to put a 10-year-old boy in a situation like this, to make other people look better in their investigation," Goines said."

I'm not arguing guilt here, I have no idea whether or not this kid really is responsible for those deaths. I'm saying that he could have done it, accidentally or intentionally. Setting fire to something is no harder than pulling the trigger of a gun. Much easier than cleaning a firearm and learning to align the sights in order to hit something that's ten yards away.
You don't need to be an expert marksman to be able to kill somebody with a gun, nor do you need to know how to have a fire degrade the structural components of a construction in order to cause the roof to collapse to kill a handful of people.

You do -however- need to be either very sick, or hateful, bent on hurting other people.
Accidental shootings happen, accidental fires happen, all by people. People who make mistakes, people who are victims to bad luck. Murders are committed by people who have made the choice of killing somebody else. It's that choice that separates the law abiding from criminals, not the means he uses to carry out his dismal intentions.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Prohibition to prevent accidents?

Why would we ban guns?
According to the department of justice, criminals are less likely to hurt you when they are armed with a firearms (as opposed to a knife or bludgeon, or even unarmed), so that's not a reason.(1)
The fact that DC criminals still have access to firearms rules out banning guns to keep them out of all criminal hands.

Banning guns doesn't eliminate targeted killings either, BUT! (drummroll) Removing legal guns from civilians will prevent their children from shooting each other!

... if only.

"A 17-year-old boy has admitted accidentally shooting his 12-year-old sister dead at their family home with a powerful handgun kept illegally by their mother."

Illegally because this is the UK, I suppose they're calling the .38 snub a powerful handgun to make it seem more dramatic, those handguns are considered underpowered for self defense by many people. Not that it matters if the victim, a twelve year old girl, is hit in the forehead.

"Kasha was playing with the gun when it went off, killing his sister Kamilah, Manchester Crown Court heard. The teenager did not intend any ill will towards his sister, the court was told. He did not intend to fire the powerful handgun and it was simply "a terrible tragedy and terrible accident", Mr Justice Holland said."

See, this is the problem right there; guns are not toys! This accident could have happened as well if handguns had still be legal in the UK, but it probably wouldn't have happened if the youth involved had been taught to respect firearms.
Modern popular culture often glorifies crime and violence, guns are a part of that. This is the UK, some kids carry air guns around as a fashion accessory(2).

Banning handguns won't resolve the issue of accidental shootings, maybe we should give educating our youth on firearms a try.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Are guns offensive?

Scenario: You're strolling about a mall, minding your own business. In front of you, ten yards away, a person in the crowd produces a handgun from his pocket, and places it in a holster in his waistband. Said person walk away, no incident ensues.
How would you feel about that?

It's probably a citizens who is (legally or otherwise) carrying a concealed weapon, and places it in a more comfortable spot. It shouldn't have been in the wrong place, and he definitely shouldn't have taken it out in public, but he didn't do any harm, or did he?

He doesn't harm me, I don't really like to be confronted with guns outside of a range or cleaning table, as that usually results from criminal or irresponsible behavior, but guns don't scare me or make me uncomfortable. But I do understand that other people might be scared. I wouldn't say "take offense", but brandishing a gun can be considered an offensive gesture.

Same situation, different person:
-The person is accompanied by a uniformed police officer, and is obviously a plain clothes officer.
-The person is wearing a business suit, and places the firearm in his briefcase
-The person is wearing a hoody and sunglasses, he's shifting his head, surveying his surroundings. You're outside a pharmacy.

In the last case, you'd find me behind the nearest pillar with a cellphone ready to call 911, whereas I'd walk right by the first two. Don't tell me I'm thinking black and white, I know how I function in a stressful situation, can you honestly say that the image of a stereotypical criminal with a gun wouldn't startle you more than a police officer handling a handgun?

It's not the gun, it's the person holding it. Does he have good intention or bad ones, can he be considered a threat? Are you in danger? Guns scare few people, but a threat to their lives does.
I think that it's important to never lose sight of that, it scares people that they're vulnerable, this is only natural, but guns shouldn't scare you, people willing to abuse guns should scare you.