December 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm #175069
In case you missed it, the National Rifle Association held it’s much anticipated press conference today in response to the Newtown gun massacre. One of NRA’s main proposals is that every school in America should be protected by police officers or other certified armed security. The NRA says that we have such protections at airports, government buildings, sports arenas, etc., but not schools.
1) Do you favor police or armed security protecting every American school to safeguard innocent and defenseless children?
2) If yes, why? If no, why not?
Guns & Gov: Banning Assault Weapons
Guns & Government: What’s the Solution?
* All views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only.
December 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm #175147
Yes, I think our schools should be well protected by police or other certified armed security. America’s children are our most precious commodity and we cannot afford to wait for the next Newtown or Congressional inaction to do something about it. We need to have an immediate impact ASAP to deter and defend against other potential mass murders at our schools nationwide.
December 21, 2012 at 8:06 pm #175145
The reason is simple: shooting rampages are ended by the arrival of other people with guns. What is so preposterous, then, about having people on site already who are armed and trained? “Certified armed security,” if that’s an accurate summary of what the NRA said (I didn’t read their statement), can include teachers and principals. The courts have stripped the police of their ability to prevent crime. The courts let the crazies out of the institutions where they belong. It is now up to the property owners to protect themselves. We seem to agree that whoever is put in that postiion must be properly trained. That includes training in defusing a crisis, if possible. The person on the front line is wel aware that not having to fire a shot is the best way to solve a crisis. Attempting to defuse, however, does no good if the person causing the problem does not believe he will be killed if he does not comply. The stick must accompany the carrot.
The federal government has already set precedents for making school districts spend money to comply with ideas the feds think are wonderful. Remember bussing?
Interesting cartoon. Did you notice there is no alternative like “a car full of black or latino gang members has driven up and is shooting up our house”? I take it that in the mind of the cartoonist only white people randomly shoot innocent people.
December 21, 2012 at 8:38 pm #175143
I agree with most of your comments, John, which make a lot of sense.
However, regarding your remark about the cartoon, I would point out the following: while data may show minorities have a high crime rate overall, these mass shootings in suburbia have mostly been perpetrated by white men — with the exception of Va. Tech and Ft. Hood. It would be interesting to read an academic study addressing why that is?
Also, the cartoon was published in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. Thus, the cartoonist may have a Canadian outlook on crime, since I believe there is much less diversity in the Canadian populace — per racial and ethnic minorities — compared to the USA. Just a thought.
Thanks again, John, for your informative and valuable perspective.
December 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm #175141
I thought of that. Maybe white crazies simply dream bigger or simply don’t have or use the outlet of drive-bys on a regular basis to get their anger out. That’s for psychologists. The point is that the alternative was not there, thereby skewing the discussion in one direction. Also, gang members tend to used illegally-acquired weapons, thus proving the rule that so-called gun control laws do not, in fact, control guns.
One of the issues here that no one has yet brought up is that, in dealing with issues such as this, we are hampered by our very form of government. Legislators get their strokes from the voters by enacting new laws that “solve” a problem. They feel good about themselves, and their campaign contributors are happy (the most important thing). They do not, however, enforce those laws. That’s left up to the local D. A.’s (not the haircut). Their priorities are not necessaily those of the legislators. “What will get me into the attorney general’s seat and from there into the governorship” is more their priority. They do not want to turn perfectly law-abiding people into criminals as those people are voters and have friends and relatives who are voters. They may also not be in sympathy with the laws (look at the large # of sdpeeding tickets that were not written when the national speed limit was 55). I don’t know where you live, but where I live, there are plenty of gun-related laws on the books, but they are not enforced and can only be enforced against the otherwise law-abiding. As I think I have mentioned before, the kids who shot up Columbine High violated 20 federal and state gun laws. What good would the 21st have done?
Also, don’t forget that the feds are perfectly happy to support illegal gun-running when it suits their purposes. I assume you have been following the controversy over opertion “Fast and Furious”. The feds ordered gun shop owners to look the other way when known shills for drug organizations bought weapons, supposedly to track those weapons into the hands of the criminals. The weapons were not tracked and were used in many murders including that of a Border Patrol agent. As long as only Mexicans were being killwe, I guess, no one cared. Once a Border patrol agent was killed, it got national attend (not from the mainstream media, of course). It has come out that the real purpose was to manufacture evidence to support a new law to prosecute gun-shop owners. The AG and the President have, of course, denied knowing anything about it, but now the President claims executive privilege over communications about the operation, so he did know about it.
December 21, 2012 at 9:49 pm #175139
You make some more excellent points, John.
1) Politicians will be politicians (tigers don’t change their stripes).
2) The DAs don’t enact the laws, but must enforce them regardless.
3) Illegal gun ownership is a major perrenial problem.
4) “Fast and Furious” is in hot water for the reasons you stated.
How about this email to reporters from NYC Mayor Bloomberg on the NRA:
“Their press conference was a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country. Instead of offering solutions to a problem they have helped create, they offered a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe.”
The fact is that too many schools are NOT safe. In addition to these relatively rare and random mass shootings there are other safety issues. I live in suburban Maryland outside of Washington, DC and even the high schools in the upper income suburbs are not necessarily safe — based on what I hear from teachers on the inside (although the administrators won’t admit it because they treat students like victims and don’t want bad PR).
Students never brought guns to school when I was growing up. But today the climate has changed. Weapons are found on students or in their lockers and gang wars result in school shootings among students — whether during school or thereafter on, or near, school grounds.
Thus, having armed security, like police, assigned to schools would address multiple serious problems simultaneously:
1) Those random mass gun massacres.
2) The use of guns, knives and weapons, generally, by students against other students (or teachers).
3) The generally repugnant entitlement attitudes that too many students have, via cursing, fighting and horseplay during class — while teachers are trying their best to teach despite these constant disruptions. Then, if the teacher gives the students detention, the administrators blame the teachers! This is “political correctness” at its absolute worst.
Just knowing that armed guards are present would serve as a strong deterrent to all of the above. It seems to me that politicians and others who fail to admit the truth about increasing school violence, via guns and otherwise, are the ones who are really acting out a “shameful evasion” of the obvious and inherent problems. Mayor Bloomberg and other public officials need to face reality and wise up.
I wonder if the self-righteous NYC mayor would send his own young children or grandchildren to a NYC public school in the inner Bronx or Harlem, for example. I highly doubt it.
December 21, 2012 at 10:02 pm #175137
Mayor Bloomberg has, I believe, one daughter. She is grown now, but my memory is that she went to private schools. Interesting that so many politicians who espouse the worth of public schools send their kids to private schools. Another interesting fact. Know what group has the highest rate of sending their kids to private schools? Public school teachers.
December 22, 2012 at 10:49 am #175135
Doesn’t much matter one way or another to me whether some additional schools have armed AND trained professional shooters on campus.
Not sure that it would has much affect for someone who was bent on causing crazy havoc. Columbine had an armed police officer on the campus and Virginia Tech had their own police force which probably included 40 to 50 police officers.
So IMO NRA’s solution would have to be modified, to truly limit the number of killings of young people in our schools, to include an armed person in EVERY classroom.
And IMO not only would every classroom have to have an armed person in the classroom but they would need to be armed at the same level as Eric Hayes, Seung-Hui Cho and Adam Lanza. (See the history of police wanting to be armed with semi-automatic weapons, and even automatic weapons to put them on an even playing field with the bad guys)
One could discuss the political ramifications of this till the chickens come home but suspect that the actual real costs (in dollars and cents) would send most everyone into lower earth orbit. Not too sure on the numbers, but on the local media yesterday (Dec 21) a local school district said it would cost upwards of 10 MILLIION dollars to put an armed guard on EVERY campus
Now considering that there are somewhere between 11,000 and 15,000 school districts. Who pray tell is going to pay for this!
And all this discussion is NOT going to stop the killing of innocent children who are NOT at a school…
December 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm #175133
1. Everyone who needs protecting in this country gets protected – with a form of firearm. “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men (and women – DB) stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” – George Orwell.
2. To John Wald’s points:
* “MY point is: when seconds count, the police are minutes away. I used to be a police dispatcher – caution is the time factor for the police. Can’t rush in. HOWEVER, if the person being assaulted had a gun, it would be over except for the recounting of the story.” – Comment at MichelleMalkin.com, “The Post-Newtown Witch Hunt” http://michellemalkin.com/2012/12/19/the-post-newtown-witch-hunt/
* Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE Agent Jaime Zapata were gunned down with guns purchased through Fast & Furious and where was the mainstream media? In this operation, reports the National Review, 2,000 weapons were handed to drug cartels, they eventually appeared at 200 crime scenes, and 300 Mexicans were killed, and where was the news coverage except on CBS and occasionally FOX? When does a murder become worthy of public attention?
3. In general when does an issue become an “issue” that “matters”? Like when will we really become outraged at poverty, disease, human trafficking, women’s virtual imprisonment in many societies around the world?
4. Who is worthy to be listened to, and not listened to? Who has our ear and credibility? Why do we dismiss people on ideological grounds (e.g. the NRA is branded as “evil”) without critically evaluating what they have to say?
5. Israel does not apologize for protecting its children at school. Are our children less vulnerable than theirs?
December 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm #175131
1) I think it is fair to note that mass shootings are, blessedly, a rare event. Still too common, obviously, but rare.
2) When folks go off the deep end, what they seek out are places where many congregate. The choice of venue may correspond to some particular aspect of a grudge or delusion, but it is somewhere that people congregate. That can be: a school, a university, a dorm, a religious building, a town hall, a military base, a wedding, a shopping mall, a family gathering, a government building, a summer camp, etc. That is true of both those who simply go off the deep end, and those who carry out planned attacks for terror-inducing purposes. Our attention is presently focussed on schools, but they are but one place where people congregate, out of many, many others.
3) Comparisons against Israel, and the omnipresence of arms, there is not a great comparison. There, one is dealing with an extensive and ongoing history of planned co-ordinated attacks from hostile groups, with some random desperate acts thrown in for good measure. Those schools have bomb shelters, too, and they USE them. In that context, the omnipresence of arms has the added function of signifying the absence of “weak points”, further complicating any planning of attacks. Here, we are figuring out how to respond to instances where an individual implodes psychologically, in minimally predictable fashion (with respect to when), not some sort of co-ordinated attack planned out months in advance. Very different circumstance.
4) If you really want to prevent firearm deaths, have an armed guard accompany any woman who has terminated an established romantic relationship unilaterally, especially if she has gotten (and had to get) a restraining order against her former partner. The annual number of firearms-related deaths within the first 6 months of relationship dissolution exceeds the number of victims from random shootings like Newtown, and also often includes children from the relationship. I’m not trying to get into a pissing contest about whose boo-boo is worse. Rather, the overall response to Newtown is one of trying to mitigate risk, and the question has to be asked “What is the total risk, nation-wide, and what part of that overall pie is accounted for by X, Y, and Z?”. And, as absolutely heart-breaking as the Newtown killings were, because of the nature of the victims, don’t let the drama of those little coffins distract from the many others that are filled daily by folks who carry out armed violence, a couple of victims at a time. I have my doubts as to whether the NRA would ever rise to the defense of those victims with any grand plan.
5) I’m pleased President Obama wants to take the momentum created and transform it into something that would likely sit on the back burner in more peacable times. At the same time, policy drafted in response to isolated instances is almost invariable bad policy, regardless of what it is policy about. There are a few reasons for that. First, it can often be anger-fueled policy. Second, it can focus too narrowly, and be hemmed in conceptually by the particulars of the eliciting events, address an immediate problem, not an enduring one. Third, it tends not to be well-integrated with other existing law and policy (something which takes time to figure out) often resulting in defeats within the Court system, or creating unanticipated conflicts between laws and policies. Sadness and sound policy tend to pass by each other in the hallway, and rarely sit together for a chat. So the end-of-January decree to VP Biden gives me cause for concern.
December 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm #175129
“4) If you really want to prevent firearm deaths, have an armed guard accompany any woman who has terminated an established romantic relationship unilaterally, especially if she has gotten (and had to get) a restraining order against her former partner. The annual number of firearms-related deaths within the first 6 months of relationship dissolution exceeds the number of victims from random shootings like Newtown, and also often includes children from the relationship.”
Last I heard women could buy firearms too?
December 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm #175127
A large majority of middle schools and high schools already have armed, commissioned police officers (School Resource Officers-SROs) in place. The NRA approach is to extend the already massive SRO program. Why have SROs in some schools and not have SROs in other schools?
The primary purpose of SRO’s is to protect school personnel from students and parents intent on disrupting the school process. Refrain from attempting to portray this as a novel suggestion. SROs are nation wide. There is a number of School Resources Officers Associations.
During my stint as a SRO, on a daily basis, I arrested a parent that was loud, vulgar, and disruptive.
December 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm #175125
Wonder if the primary reason that children are safer, from crazy shooters is because the teachers in the west bank are issued assualt rifles which are owned by the army or because NO one is allowed to own a weapon without it being registered and they must be reregistered every 3 years?
It is forbidden in Israel to own any kind of firearm, including air pistols and rifles, without a firearms license.
Israel Defense Forces officers honorably discharged with the rank of non-commissioned officer, reservists honorably discharged with the rank of regimental commander, ex-special forces enlisted men, retired police officers with the rank of sergeant, retired prison guards with the rank of squadron commander, licensed public transportation drivers transporting a minimum of five people, and full-time dealers of jewellery or large sums of cash or valuables, Civil Guard volunteers, and residents of militarily strategic buffer zones considered essential to state security are eligible for licenses allowing them to possess one handgun. Reservists honorably discharged with the rank of regimental commander are also eligible for licences allowing them to possess one rifle. Licensed hunters may possess one shotgun, and licensed animal-control officers are allowed to possess two rifles while Civil Guard snipers may possess one rifle.
To legally own a gun as a souvenir, prize, inheritance, or award of appreciation from the military, an individual must first present proper documentation that they are about to receive it. Permits for gun collectors are extremely rare, and typically only given to ex-high-ranking officers.
To obtain a gun license, an applicant must be a resident of Israel for at least three consecutive years, have no criminal record, be in good health, have no history of mental illness, pass a weapons-training course, and be over a certain age (20 for women who completed military service or civil service equivalent, 21 for men who completed military service or civil service equivalent, 27 for those who did not complete military service or civil service equivalent, 45 for residents of East Jerusalem).
Gun licenses must be renewed every three years and permits are given only for personal use, not for business in the firearms sale while holders for self-defense purposes may own only one handgun, and may purchase a maximum of fifty rounds a year, except for those shot at firing ranges.
Residents of Israeli settlements in the West Bank are issued assault rifles and ammunition by the army, and are given civil defense training. However, the rifles and munitions are property of the army, and may be confiscated at any time.
December 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm #175123
Henry this is the United States. We have a Constitution. The Constitution has the Second Amendment. You have no idea what an assault rifle is. Wikipedia is not a recognized source for reference. It is subject to continual change. Reference a refereed journal and you will have some other that you opinion. If I wihed to live under the system of a different country I would move there.
December 22, 2012 at 7:52 pm #175121
I teach Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) classes pro bono each month. More and more women are showing up. They exceed the men in ability in many instances. My Grand Daughter in law to be (our Grand Son knows that if he comes home without her he had better not come home) is in medical school. She helps out. She carries a Glock 36 (.45 caliber) concealed. Some ladies borrow one of my guns to qualify.
December 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm #175119
Agree with you that Israel is a different country and has a different constitution. And I have no desire to live in any other country.
After spending some significant amount of time in the US Military, I suspect that maybe I might know what an assault rifle is although I imagine that there has been some blurring of the term and it’s correct usage, during all this “noise” over the mass shooting of children in Newtown. Although there was some noise over the shooting in Auroa Colorado
Perhaps if you don’t want to accept Wikipedia’s description of the gun controls laws in Israel then perhaps you would accept http://mops.gov.il/english/Pages/HomePage.aspx which is the Israel’s Public Security Ministry’s website as a referenced source, although I was NOT trying to reference anything for a paper just providing information where I was quoting from.
December 22, 2012 at 11:11 pm #175117
Henry – No, school officials should not utilize the same weapons as would be attackers. Effective Defensive weapons are often quite different from offensive weapons. The current craze among among local law enforcement to militarize their police forces is an unfortunate expensive mistake driven more by easily available federal grant money and equipment envy than real need. I cringe every time I see security guards with MP-3 machine pistols or local cops with M-16s. If a real fire fight took place, most of them would probably hit as many civilians as bad guys. Responding to a high rate of fire weapon with a similar weapon makes as much sense as responding to a bomb with another bomb. School officials, and local law enforcement, should use defensive weapons such as short barreled pump shotguns firing non-lethal hard rubber pellets in a wide pattern that will incapacitate a target up to 100 yds away. Much easier to use in close quaters; more likely to put assailant on the ground quickly and much less likely to cause fatal injuries to innocent bystanders.
December 23, 2012 at 12:33 am #175115
December 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm #175113
As a current law enforcement officer (state wide jurisdiction) and a retired Army Military Police officer it has been my experience that automatic fire is totally in-accurate. I have a question as to whether a short barrel pump type shotgun (I prefer the Remington 870 with a 24 inch barrel) would be accurate up to 100 yards). It my view the purpose is not to hit a distant target. In a urban (building) situation the ranges will be relative close. Rubber slugs are as a general rule non-lethal. A trained Law Enforcement Officer (LEO), not private security is the best defense.
As a criminal justice researcher I have never been able to find a good reason for civilian police department to have fully automatic weapons, assault vehicles, and other high tech military equipment. Civil police department have developed the habit of calling non-police “civilian.” That irks me. Most civilian police officers will complete a career and fire their weapons at the range twice a year.
December 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm #175111
I am a retired Military Police officer. Describe a “military assault rifle for us” you might teach me something. Wikipedia is not a creditable for any discussion. You state that Israel’s Public Security Ministry is a reference source. That falls far short of a refereed source. If you are going to quote sources as least go to the effort to find a creditable source.
December 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm #175109
President Obama is a long-time gun-hater. His Attorney General, Eric Holder, has been on record for at least 30 years as wanting to disarm all Americans and make them dependent for their protection on government. (Ask the Britons how well that worked in the riots last year.) He has been actively pursuing a small arms treay through the UN to get round the US Constitution and impose his agenda without the consent of the peoople from whom all power in this country supposedly flows. His administration is also well-known for using crises to push his agenda. As a result, we should be suspicious of his motives, no matter how altruistic he may see himself.
December 24, 2012 at 8:01 pm #175107
Why not follow the Israeli example to its logical conclusion — UMC (Universal Military Conscription). Every boy (and girl, if the feminists insist) service in the military for at least 2 years. There, they will learn discripline and job skills. They will also learn how to handle and maintain and respect fairearms. No one better knows what not to do with a weapon and to respect its capabilities than the person who have have to use it to defend himself. Perhaps more sociopaths with be discovered and dealt with in the screening process. What will happen is that more peoplel will be gfamiliar with and comfortable with firearms and the training they will receive will help make them more responsible owners.
The truth is that tragedies like this cannot be prevented by outside agencies. The greaest mass murder in this country was effected with basic box cutters.
BTW, to the young lady who mentioned it, many girls get firearms. Stephanie Ford in “Sons of Guns” and Paige Wyatt in “American Guns” on TV are highly adept at shooting and are smoking hot while doing it. One of the most visible self-protection advocates in this country is a young lady who was raped while at college. She was not allowed to bring her firearm to campus and while school officials felt better about themselves, she suffered the consequences. Self protection is great, but if women are accompanied by armed guards the deterrence factor is much higher. I teach my daughter how to use firearms for her own protection, and her boyfriend is a police officer. She would rather have a potential attacker on a slab downtown than herself. So would I.
December 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm #175105
The Messiah has a saying, “Never let a crises go to waste.” In a tribute to the dead Senator the Messiah refered to himself 67 times.
December 25, 2012 at 7:41 pm #175103
FYI by Ann Coulter:
“We Know How To Stop School Shootings”
“In the wake of a monstrous crime like a madman’s mass murder of defenseless women and children at the Newtown, Conn., elementary school, the nation’s attention is riveted on what could have been done to prevent such a massacre.
Luckily, some years ago, two famed economists, William Landes at the University of Chicago and John Lott at Yale, conducted a massive study of multiple victim public shootings in the United States between 1977 and 1995 to see how various legal changes affected their frequency and death toll.
Landes and Lott examined many of the very policies being proposed right now in response to the Connecticut massacre: waiting periods and background checks for guns, the death penalty and increased penalties for committing a crime with a gun.
None of these policies had any effect on the frequency of, or carnage from, multiple-victim shootings. (I note that they did not look at reforming our lax mental health laws, presumably because the ACLU is working to keep dangerous nuts on the street in all 50 states.)
Only one public policy has ever been shown to reduce the death rate from such crimes: concealed-carry laws.
Their study controlled for age, sex, race, unemployment, retirement, poverty rates, state population, murder arrest rates, violent crime rates, and on and on.
The effect of concealed-carry laws in deterring mass public shootings was even greater than the impact of such laws on the murder rate generally.
Someone planning to commit a single murder in a concealed-carry state only has to weigh the odds of one person being armed. But a criminal planning to commit murder in a public place has to worry that anyone in the entire area might have a gun.”
December 25, 2012 at 11:27 pm #175101
Smart young lady. Better to be tried by 12 than be carried by six. “Those who beat their swords into plowshares will work for those who do not.”
December 25, 2012 at 11:31 pm #175099
In South Carolina we have 187,086 persons holding Concealed Weapons Permits (CWPs). We have a much less murder rate per 100,000 than any of the major northern cities. I have taught pro bono classes for 15 years I intend to continue. My Grand Daughter in Law to be carries a Glock 36 (.45) and is good with it. She is also a Medical School student.
December 31, 2012 at 7:45 pm #175097
Dannielle brings up something that we often forget. When we say “prevent” in these discussions, we are really discussing two different concepts: (1) can government stop someone form forming the intent to go to a school, office building, etc., to shoot a bunch of people: and (2) once he gets there can we prevent him from actually doing it or minimize the casualties?
As Dannielle points out, the answer to the first question is “no.” That does not keep legislators from deciding that with enough time and our tax money they can do anything. The only thing that stops these things once they start is the arrival of people with guns. Why not, then, have at least the potential for people with guns already being there?
For David D., BTW, your future caughter-in-law might enjoy this little tidbit from Sherlock Holmes: “When a doctor goes wrong, he is the first of criminals. He has knowledge and access to means.”
December 31, 2012 at 8:18 pm #175095
She decided not to be a victim. She assists in teaching CWP classes. She can qualify with her left or right hand. She is all around good at every thing she does. She would make a good US Senator, and hopefully the first woman to be president. We can dream can we not.
January 1, 2013 at 1:29 am #175093
Without wishing to be too much of a jerk, I might point out that the rest of the industrialized world tends to look at the USA, cock its head quizzically to one side like the RCA Victor puppy and wonder “What the heck is up with those people? Why do they shoot each other so much?”. Americans carry out comparisons between their area and other areas within the USA, in order to direct policy, but comparisons between the USA and other nations can often tell a different sort of story, and suggest other approaches to firearms policy.
Concealed weapons in Canada are completely off-limits and many other nations. Try to cross the Canadian border with a weapon and you’ll find yourself quickly arrested (try crossing the other way with a Kinder Egg, and you’ll get arrested too. Go figure. http://www.cbc.ca/news/offbeat/story/2012/07/18/kinder-eggs-illegal-candy-canada-border.html ). In contrast to the USA, the Canadian region with the most such unprovoked shooting tragedies – Quebec – has pushed hardest for stronger gun ownership controls, much to the annoyance of other parts of the country. And this is not just politicians; this is popular support.
My quick search for murder rates in South Carolina put per capita rates in recent years between 6.5 and 6.8 per 100,000. The Canadian national rate is 1.9, with the “worst” Canadian cities hovering just over 4.0. The aggregate rates for firearms-related and other crime, by year, can be seen here: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2008002/article/10518-eng.htm Rates for Australia and the UK are even lower than Canada.
I know that some folks will turn their nose up at stats. But as a late friend and domestic homicide researcher once told me, the reason she studied domestic homicide was not because she was interested in murder per se, but because homicide stats are the most reliable numbers on interpersonal violence that one can get – unlike spousal or child abuse, ALL homicides are reported.
The desire to find justification for either prohibiting ownership or concealed carry rights, or for enshrining such rights, via statistical sleight of hand (and broad suspension of belief) seems to know no bounds. Here’s one site I stumbled onto which argues that the UK’s extremely low national murder rate (relative to other nations, but especially the USA) is deceptive with respect to firearms ownership because there are 4 US states with lower per capita murder rates than the UK average. http://libertarianhome.co.uk/2012/12/uk-murder-rate-higher-than-som… and especially Scotland. Huh??? Scotland is a generally a safe place, but Glasgow itself has a fairly high murder rate, and is considered the most violent city in western Europe, largely because of a tradition of gangs. Of course, it also makes up about 10% of the entire population of Scotland, nudging up the national rate.
Within the Canadian context, the highest murder rates are found in the North, where the rate of firearms ownership is also highest. Strong support for prohibitting or controlling ownership? Not really. People in the north own firearms for hunting and trapping, rather than self-protection or gang activity. They also live in small isolated communities, often with very little police presence. They also lead very hard lives, and the rate of substance abuse and domestic violence is quite high. Decent people, but living in some circumstances that tend to reduce inhibitions with respect to interpersonal violence, and unfortunately provide the means for making it fatal. On the other hand, its a fairly small population (I once flipped through the entire phone book covering the Alaska border to Greenland, looking for a name), and it doesn’t take many homicides to produce a high per-100k rate. So, the rate there is high, but contributes little to the overall national rate. For my own city (where, ironically, the posted cartoon comes from), I’ll happily walk any street in the entire region, day or night, without any fear of violence, firearms-related or otherwise. Paradoxically, the firearms-related crime rate in my city is almost 3x as high as another Canadian city with one of the highest homicide rates in the country. So, my town has more crimes involving forearms, but they are much much less likely to be fatal. Go figure.
So, the Canadian north has a high murder rate, but makes up a teeny tiny fraction of the nation, where Glasgow has a high murder rate and makes up a significant chunk of Scotland. The national rates tend not to adequately reflect what one can expect in particular areas, or in general.
The bottom line is that homicides, and really big tragedies like Newtown and similar, happen for, and don’t happen for, reasons that likely don’t have an awful lot to do with rate of firearms ownership, concealed-weapon permits, the presence of armed guards, or any of that stuff. Some of it is cultural. Some of it is geography. Some of it is economic and demographic. It’s always more complicated than we imagine, or than policies of any kind, or weapons training of any kind, can prevent.
January 1, 2013 at 2:16 am #175091
England is a small island with little impact on world affairs. Canada has some impact, but is politically correct to such a degree it is dysfunctional. Why should we compare out country (only super power left) to other countries that cannot defend their borders? Why care?
January 12, 2013 at 12:58 am #175089
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Coalition Says Armed Police in Schools Wrong Answer for Stopping Gun Violence
Leaders in Civil Rights, Education and Law Enforcement Voice Concern, Urge White House to Reject Initiatives Placing Armed Police in Schools
“In the weeks following the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut, a number of advocates, including members of Congress and the National Rifle Association, have called for armed guards and/or police officers in public schools. As Vice President Joe Biden’s task force on gun violence develops policy recommendations in response to the attack and gun violence more generally, a coalition of civil rights organizations, law enforcement and education officials are cautioning the White House against embracing proposals to put armed and police in schools.”
January 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm #175087
Suspect most of the noise about a police presence in the schools is mostly knee-jerk reaction to Newtown.
Suspect that a police presence in each school will NOT stop the crazies from doing crazy things(VA Tech killings) and the cost is going to be rather high…
(In Nashville TN., article in yesterdays paper, that to provide a single police officer in each school was going to cost the taxpayers 5.5 MILLION dollars and this is just for 153 schools, granted the 5.5 million also provided intruder locks.
Nashville was able to find the 5.5 Million dollars by cancelling other projects and using the rainy day fund…and that is only for this year. Wonder how many taxpayers are going to want to fund ~30,000 dollars for every school in their district especially 2 or 3 years from now when there hasn’t been any attack at a school.
January 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm #175085
It comes down to 3 questions.
1. Should schools have an armed defensive capability?
2. Who should provide it?
Teachers, administrators and support personnel who have completed appropriate training.
3. What should it include?
Non-lethal defensive weapons in every classroom including bear spray, tasers, etc;
shotguns with non-lethal and deadly rounds in random classrooms;
rifles and handguns with deadly rounds in the administration offices;
tested plans (annual drill) to access and deploy defensive weapons; and
hardened storage facility (gun vault) to secure weapons.
January 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm #175083
Peter, this actually sounds like a fairly sensible solution, at least to try on a pilot basis. I must admit that this entire debate has been personally enlightening and educational. It has caused me to reevaluate some of my prior positions on the issue.
However, what are the chances that the White House, Congress and the NRA will all agree on your policy perscription? Probably doubtful, right?
Meanwhile the White House is reportedly considering Executive Orders to implement more stringent gun control measures — or, as you might say, Executive fiat.
Thanks for the comments, Peter!
January 12, 2013 at 10:01 pm #175081
Good points, Henry. Other than the pro-gun crowd, most taxpayers likely won’t want more money coming out of their wallets, especially during these challenging economic times. As usual, most of the public wants to have their cake and eat it too, as the saying goes.
But if the NRA is so adamant that this is the real solution, then perhaps the lucrative gun lobby can help fund the effort and/or supply well trained volunteers for pilot programs. At least that would be a start and basis for further evaluation. What do you think?
January 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm #175079
President Obama is a gun-hater from way back. Attorney General Eric Holder is, too. VP Biden will recommend to h is boss what his boss wants to hear. It is a standard practice in politics to form a committee whose recommendations can be ultimately buried.
January 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm #175077
The NRA would. Only people not familiar with the NRA see it as a rabid “put guns in the hands of everyone” organization. The NRA has been in the forefront of responsible gun use since the beginning and has done more to reduce accidental shootings that all the government actions put together. While government has wrung its hands over accdental shootings of children but done nothing, NRA training programs have reduced accidents from about 1 in 100,000 at the beginning of the century (a low rate to start with) to about 1 in 1,000,000 today.
The White House and its anti-gun allies, however, are pushing an agenda and are not interested in actually solving a problem, Just like the terrorists in the Middle East turn their bombs on anyone who appears to be achieving peace, Obama and friends will find objectionalbe any solution that does not involve disarming law-abiding citizens, which is their ultimate goal.
The truth is that external action will not stop these things. These people are nut jobs that may or may not be capable of being spotted. They have all passed whatever gun check laws their state has. There is a reason why terrorists pick soft targets — they can achieve maximum carnage at minimum cost to themselves. The same thing is happening here. The only thing that can be done is to remember the Boy Scouts motto – be prepared. If that means having armed people in the schools, that may be what we have to do.
Remember, the nut jobs out there only have to be right once. We have to be right every time.
January 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm #175075
Please remember that “the lucrative gun lobby” consists of 4 million middle-class Americans and counting. That’s just NRA emembership. There are other Second-Amendment organizations out there as well. All privately funded. NY Mayor Michel Bloomberg is funding an anti-gun organization to impose his ideas of gun control all over the country. He, of course, lives in a gated community and moves around with armed guards provided by the taxpayers of New York City. One wealthy person against at least 4 million middle class Americans. Funny how the mainstream press, which is all over “rich” people getting tax refunds, doesn’t see this as an issue.
January 16, 2013 at 12:01 am #175073
Interesting and insightful comments, John. The NRA should have made some of these points during its December 2012 pre-holiday press conference, when the world was watching and listening. Perhaps the NRA could use YOU on its communications team — or at least as a consultant. Thanks for helping to put and keep this debate in perspective, John.
January 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm #175071
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