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« My low regard is for those who hold the government in "such low regard" | Main | The invulnerability of the right's "knowing" what it knows »

November 23, 2015

Comments

Peter G

And yet they have much in common: they extort from everybody.

Bob

Giovanni Gambino has an imaginative new approach to the protection racket or at least PR, and suprise!, right wing media mainly agree. The following article should be read entirely to get the full effect:

"Right-wing media figures are pushing the false claim that if the victims of the terror attacks in Paris carried guns, then they could have stopped the attackers and prevented the onslaught. Experts, however, have explained that civilians with guns have not historically stopped mass attacks and that increasing gun availability actually increases violence."

http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/11/19/conservative-medias-nonsensical-solution-to-ter/206985

Peter G

Let them arm themselves as they will. And then let them be air dropped into the middle of ISIS territory. I share PM's misgivings about American boots on the ground if not to the degree he does. On the other hand I would find Gucci loafers on the ground quite entertaining.

Bob

Follow them up with our unhinged gun enthusiasts and we'd be on to something. PM's in good company about combat boots on the ground. Yesterday on CNN Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, certainly no leftie, stated flatly that a ground invasion wouldn't work against IS and the only solution is political. It seems the only people on TV who support more boots are hosts and pundits.

Peter G

I would certainly agree that a ground invasion by any conceivable coalition of Western powers, including of course the US, would turn into a clusterfuck. Nope, this one has to be almost exclusively done by troops from Muslim countries or local anti-ISIS factions. But it will have to be done if ISIS is to be removed as a threat. All the presence of Western troops does is act as a recruiting point for terrorists. I see no possibility for a political solution that includes ISIS. They cannot be allowed a base of operations as a concession of diplomacy. Of course they'll reconstitute somewhere else, possibly under a different name and try to destabilize another regime. But no one can negotiate a deal with them that leaves them in control of geography or humans.

Bob

Hagel didn't include IS in his political solution:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/22/politics/chuck-hagel-syria-isis-assad/

Peter G

They can't be. They must be forcibly removed. A hypothetical group of forces tasked to doing this would almost certainly require cooperation with the Russians and the Iranians. I have no problem with that or the bulk of it being done by Muslim nations on the ground. Where the problem arises is afterward. Who in Syria is going to take support from the Western nations and undertake this task unless they are assured that when this mission is accomplished they will not be left to the tender mercies of a Russian backed Assad regime? What would their incentive be?

Bob

Excellent questions. I wonder is anyone has the answers.

shsavage

All of which sounds good on paper, but it's extremely messy in Mesopotamia, Upper, as it was in Mesopotamia, Lower. As I said a couple of days ago, each of the regional powers regards ISIS/Da`esh as the lesser of evils, as compared to its perceived number one enemy. Try cobbling together an effective coalition of ground forces out of that mess.

David & Son of Duff

Bob quotes this:

"Experts, however, have explained that civilians with guns have not historically stopped mass attacks and that increasing gun availability actually increases violence."

Has anyone carried out research into the levels of violence perpetrated in America during the 19th century when, so I believe 'unconcealed carry' was the norm? I mean, I wonder that enough of you lived to actually conquer the 'wild west'!

shsavage

I find myself in unexpected agreement with most of this, David. As to your last sentence, it's helpful to understand that the West was settled mostly by veterans of the American Civil War. They had extensive firearms training that was brought to bear on Native American populations. Eventually, even the Commanches were decimated by a combination of firepower, raids, and scorched earth tactics learned in the crucible of the war. A good book to read on the topic is "Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History" (2010). By S. C. Gwynne. Simon and Schuster. It was nominated for a Pulitzer a few years ago. As for your question, a good place to start might be "The Social History of Crime and Punishment in America: An Encyclopedia" edited by Wilbur R. Miller. (2012) Sage Publications.

David & Son of Duff

@ SHS:

Thanks a million, mate, another two volumes to add to the tottering pile of 'Waiting To Be Read' books which blocks the daylight into my garret and leans over me at an alarming angle! Jest kiddin'!

The whole business of an armed citizenry is tricky and made trickier by the fact that it is mainly governments who are against it, not for reasons of law and order but mainly as a protection for government themselves - as poor old Abe found out the hard way!

I remain neutral (but armed - well, only with arguments!) but I would have thought that the old 'wild west' would provide some facts, not so much about violence against the Indians (which upsets DA, I assume, given his fine feelings for Asian Indians!) but for violence between the whites. Alas, all of our conceptions have been well and truly coloured by Hollywood so I wonder what the reality was? Was life in a small developing township in the west actually safer or more dangerous given that men carried revolvers?

shsavage

There was a lot less of this kind of thing than we might think, precisely because of Hollywood. Such things as the "Gunfight at the O.k. Corral" are endlessly celebrated in movies and folklore (and even to the point of it's being a state park in Arizona -- I know; I used to work for AZ State Parks). But the fact that the same stories are endlessly rehashed shows you how rare they really were, not how common.

David & Son of Duff

@ SHS:

So the question arises then, is it actually better if the citizenry are allowed to be armed?

shsavage

I guess if we were to answer that question honestly, we'd have to start with another question: "Better for whom?" Proud liberal though I be, I grew up on a farm, had, and have, a variety of firearms. (I certainly don't carry them around in public, even though in Arizona I'm allowed to.)

I'd draw some lines, though. Assault rifles, letting mentally unbalanced persons purchase guns, no trigger locks--I'm definitely not down with those.

A proper interpretation of the 2nd Amendment would be helpful--one that views it, as a true conservative would, in the light and context of its original drafting, where the security of the country was based not on a standing army, but on a "well regulated militia." The NRA has convinced modern, pseudo-conservatives that it means the citizenry should be better armed than the government. As an anthropologist, I know that one of the characteristics of state-level societies is that they insist on a monopoly on the use of force. So the modern interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is essentially a negation of the State.

Is it better for the citizenry as a whole if we're all armed to the teeth? Not really. We already perpetrate more gun violence on each other than the rest of the world combined. Only our blindness to the reality of the situation prevents us from seeing that we're a far greater danger to ourselves than any foreign terrorist group. And the ultimate irony of the post-Paris hysteria is that the NRA has come out against the notion of preventing people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. Surely this is a bridge too far... Who would that be better for, anyway? The gun manufacturers, certainly; the NRA, absolutely; the fearmongers over at Faux Newz, no doubt about it.

David & Son of Duff

Well, I would only say that the majority of gun deaths in America seem to be centred on the lower criminal fraternity where gun law restrictions are invisible. Of course, if they confined their murderous habits to their own circles no one would mind. Unfortunately they frequently erupt into the un-armed section of the law-abiding community who stand no chance, particularly in those areas refusing 'concealed carry'.

Allowing the citizenry to be armed would not, of course, deter terrorists - *another section of the community completely free of any gun law restrictions* - but it would certainly help bring them down very much quicker than hanging around waiting for the forces of 'law and order' to plod along to do the job. If half the men in that Parisian club had been armed the incident would have been over in minutes and casualties much reduced.

Oddly enough, I also suspect that potentially hostile arguments between ordinary citizens might be much reduced if everyone was free to carry a gun! Would you really get that mad at the guy who nicked you parking space?

Even so, I would love to know what the gun death rate, excluding Indians, was in the USA in the 19th century.

shsavage

It requires a certain nuance and teasing out of data. But here are a few places to start:

http://fabiusmaximus.com/2013/01/16/gun-control-48017/

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/06/long-term-trend-in-homicide-rates.html

http://themonkeycage.org/2012/07/the-declining-culture-of-guns-and-violence-in-the-united-states/

One interesting parallel development to the decline in crime and gun violence in the U.S. in the past 50 years is the ban on leaded gasoline. See http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline and http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/ct-lead-poisoning-science-met-20150605-story.html for example.

The Dark Avenger

David, regretting the death of anyone from preventable starvation, even those under British rule, is not the flaw you seem to think it is.

The Dark Avenger

Really, you suggest that starting a firefight in an enclosed area, somewhat lit, is a good idea?

You might as well carry a lightening rod around, so that you can't get electrocuted by a sudden storm.

Also instructive:


“The dawn of a new day. May all of our coming sacrifices be worth it,” wrote 31-year-old Jerad Miller on his Facebook page at 4am on June 7. The next day, Jerad and his wife, 22-year-old Amanda Miller, left the apartment of a friend where they were staying at about 4:30am. The two headed off with a shotgun, pistols, and two bags filled with hundreds of rounds of ammunition and survivalist gear.

At around 11:30am, the couple walked up to two police officers having lunch at a Las Vegas strip mall pizza buffet. One of them shouted "This is a revolution!” as Jerad Miller walked past and shot one of the officers in the back of the head with a handgun. The officer died instantaneously. The other officer tried to return fire, but both Jerad and Amanda turned on him, shooting him several times and killing him.

The shooters then took the weapons and ammunition off of the dead officers. Over the body of the officers they draped the Gadsden flag – the iconic Revolutionary War symbol made ubiquitous in recent years by the Tea Party movement, and a swastika. On the body of one of the officers they pinned a mini-manifesto that declared, “This is the beginning of a revolution.”

From there, the couple made their way across the street to a Wal-Mart, entering through the front door. Jerad Miller raised a handgun into the air, fired a round and told the people to “Get out. This is a revolution. The police are on the way.”

Over at the checkout area, Joseph Robert Wilcox, was waiting in line when the pandemonium broke out. Wilcox had a conceal-carry permit and was armed. He confronted Jerad Miller but was gunned down from behind by Amanda Miller, who was pushing a shopping cart and “lying in wait.” Chaos erupted and people started rushing for the exits. One of the shooters shouted “we’re freedom fighters!" as the two headed to the back of the store. Minutes later, SWAT units arrived on the scene, and engaged the shooters, wounding Amanda Miller.

http://www.irehr.org/2014/06/11/tea-party-followers-kill-police-in-las-vegas-killing-spree/

Even if people are armed, it's easy to get the drop on them, as you can see above.

David & Son of Duff

@ SHS: Thanks for those links, I will read them with interest.

@ DA: Alas, DA, your "also instructive" was just the opposite, an example of two armed perps applying their surprise tactics against unsuspecting victims. Had every other man in that supermarket been armed not only do I doubt they would have lived long but I also doubt that they would have even tried their caper. And I assume that you would prefer victims to lie supine whilst they are executed rather than have the chance to shoot back whilst they are being executed because the light isn't right!

The Dark Avenger

Um, you did see that one of the casualties was an armed man who didn't see the woman who was armed who shot him, and that two armed officers were the first casualties?

That's what I like about you David, you have all the reality of a 6 year old boy playing cowboys and Indians, or, as in your country, Churchill and the East Indians.

As for my preference, where have I ever stated that victims shouldn't fight back when attacked?

But keep demonstrating the essential immaturity of the conservative mind.

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