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Old 12-19-2012   #1
Fuchs
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Default Side story on the recent gun spree

I had some fun after the recent shooting spree at an elementary school.
I went to a far left American blog with lots of visitors (American far left = centre of social democrats or left wing of conservatives on the German scale) and posted comments.

I didn't really argue for either side (except with some fatalism about how regulations could possibly have an impact on 200+M guns), but provided lots of fact.
"magazines", not "clips", how 30 rds is really the normal assault rifle magazine capacity, that tiny 5.56 mm bullets don't really do the most unbelievable things to a body, that assault rifles in military use are really not for killing many people quickly, that calling 30 rds mags "massacre magazines" is needless polemics and so on.

To my surprise, the blog posts I posted on ended up having a suspiciously small quantity of comments overall - as if the facts had somehow discouraged others from spewing easily refuted BS.
The one guy who tried to press back at me even quitted after a while, politely thanking for the discussion and wishing a good night.


I wonder if bringing more military- or guns-related facts to a public discussion could probably help a lot. We all know how often public discussions are almost devoid of facts and people with some actual knowledge can easily spot lots of fallacies among the arguments.
Now if even fact contributions on a most emotional topic, brought forward at a political far wing blog can score - shouldn't it be possible to succeed with the approach more often?


Shouldn't the national security-related institutions with all their more or less knowledgeable people contribute more regularly to public information?

So far their PR appears to be mostly about either recruiting, protecting their leader's careers or about securing a big(ger) budget for themselves.
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Old 12-20-2012   #2
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I think I know the intended spirit of the post but this statement...


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I had some fun after the recent shooting spree at an elementary school.
.[/I]
..just left too much of a bad taste in my mouth.
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Old 12-20-2012   #3
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Now if even fact contributions on a most emotional topic, brought forward at a political far wing blog can score - shouldn't it be possible to succeed with the approach more often?
No.

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Historically, we’ve expected that once the din of theories, hypotheses, and manufactured realities had quieted, we could count on getting the real story (or at least part of it) when we heard the thump of the morning paper landing at the foot of that stoop. But these days, the thumping starts right away. Instead of patiently correcting the mistakes and hearsay understandably spewed by the emotion-filled masses, the mainstream media has joined the fray. The thump no longer clarifies, it obscures.

This is the shooter’s name. Thump. His mother worked at the elementary school. Thump. She was the teacher in that classroom where are those poor kids were killed. Thump. Thump. Thump.

As you’d expect, the various bits of false details about the Newtown shootings spread rapidly throughout our virtual front stoop. But they didn’t originate there. These “facts” were coming from (or at least being repeated by) the media sources most of us have come to trust the most. Instead of correcting our hyperactive distortions, the mainstream media added to them by mimicking the haste and inaccuracy of social media. The wildfire of burning inaccuracies needed to be doused by a pail of water. Instead we got a bucket of gasoline.

We’ve seen this trend coming. Gabrielle Giffords was prematurely pronounced dead after being shot in Arizona. Both CNN and Fox got the Supreme Court’s ruling on health care’s individual mandate exactly wrong. The standards once applied to reporting are now often reserved for correction writing.
(excerpt from post on Tweetage Wasteland: Get Off My Stoop)
Get Off My Stoop - Tweetage Wasteland - 12.17.2012 (via Boing Boing)
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Old 12-20-2012   #4
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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
I didn't really argue for either side (except with some fatalism about how regulations could possibly have an impact on 200+M guns), but provided lots of fact. "magazines", not "clips", how 30 rds is really the normal assault rifle magazine capacity, that tiny 5.56 mm bullets don't really do the most unbelievable things to a body, that assault rifles in military use are really not for killing many people quickly, that calling 30 rds mags "massacre magazines" is needless polemics and so on.
Paul Barrett tried to say some things in the same spirit this weekend on NPR.
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Old 12-21-2012   #5
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Fuchs,

There are a number of variables, but the fact of the matter is a 5.56 round can create relatively massive injuries. I'm hesitant to post photos, but I'm posting one link to some graphic photos of leg wound. In the field I seen fairly large chunks of skull removed, and would hate to see that happen to 5-7 year old child anywhere. I'm confident you can do a Google search and find more photos. Again there are variables that will determine amount of tissue damage. I'm not making an argument on the pro's and con's of 5.56 for the military, but countering your argument that a "little" bullet doesn't do much damage. I can't imagine, or worse maybe I can, what those first responders saw.

Link to graphic leg wound photo:

http://www.timawa.net/forum/index.ph...7854#msg157854

A link that explains the how:

http://www.futurefirepower.com/myths...-556-cartridge

Quote:
So one might ask; ‘How in the world can a smaller bullet be more lethal than a bigger one?” One word: cavitation. Cavitation is the rapid formation and collapse of a substance or material after an object enters it at a relatively high velocity. I guarantee you have seen cavitation before. Next time you are in the pool or on the boat, look at your hand as it passes through the water or the propeller spinning. In both cases you will notice bubbles on the trailing edge of each. You see this because the liquid water falls below its vapor pressure. Without getting into physics and the hydrodynamics behind it, I’ll just leave it at that. When a human body is hit with a 5.56mm 62-grain bullet traveling at 3,100 feet per second; essentially the same thing happens but much, much more violently. For a split second, the cavity created inside the human body by the round from an M-16/M-4 is about the size of a basketball (if hit dead center of mass). The 5.56 creates this massive cavitation by tumbling through the body initiated by inherently unstable flight.
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Old 12-21-2012   #6
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Your source buys into the school of terminal ballistics which pays much attention to the temporary cavity, while another school of thought pays more attention to the permanent cavity. Evidence supports the latter much more.

"It's designed to bounce around inside the body once it makes contact with bone."

I argued against the "designed to bounce around", which frankly reminded me too much of the needle projectile stories from the 80's. Told them about the tumbling and fragmentation issues and bullet on bone in general instead.
I also opposed talk about "hollow point", which was simply the wrong term.


So I didn't claim that the little bullets doesn't do much damage. I pointed out that most damage is usually done at some depth, and that skinny or particularly young humans usually don't have this depth.


The point was more about telling them that normal hunting bullets (7.62) are even more mean and that some horror stories about 5.56 were either exaggerations or not specific to 5.56.
I've seen 5.56 carbines with normal 30 rds mags been talked up to the biggest, meanest weapons there are, and this is an irrational build-up of a bogeyman in my opinion.

The idiot could have pulled off the very same massacre with two pistols, one home-made wooden carbine stock and 8 rds mags with soft lead bullets. The shooting distance inside buildings is mostly less than 10 metres and nobody had body armour, after all.

The hope that a ban of "high capacity" (=normal capacity) magazines and 5.56mm automatic weapons could actually prevent massacres is just as unfounded as claims that armed teachers would be a good idea (one of them might possibly stop a massacre sometime, but a couple others would till then probably have used theirs on the pupils!).


I personally don't care what gun legislation you guys have - Pandora's Box has been wide open for too long anyway. I just made an experiment on how some facts might be received in such a heated discussion.
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Old 01-05-2013   #7
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It seems to me that the most important aspect of “assault weapons” (now there’s an emotionally laden term just begging for reactions) is often ignored. The haters usually hinge their rationale around the imagined physical effect of semi automatics with massacre magazines. The Newtown fuknuckle fired up to 11 rounds into each child. I submit he could have done at least the same amount of damage with just a .22 bolt action with enough 10 shot mags, with one aimed shot per target.

Same applies to the Norway fuknuckle. He already had a licence and a .308 bolt action. He went out of his way to get his grubby little hands on a semi. Given that his targets were sitting ducks on an island and he had all the time in the world, the semi would have given him no advantages to speak of.

The theatre shooting would be an exception.

The question is: why do they feel the need to use an evil gun? Is it because they too (often erroneously) perceive it to be of better effect? Or do the looks and stigma of these guns trigger something in their sick minds? I should think that the latter provides the gun haters with a much stronger argument. The question ‘would the Newtown shooter have done as much damage with a .22 bolt action?’ is the wrong one to ask IMO. The question is: would he have done it in the first place if he would only have had access to a bolt action? Consider also that they like to dress up like Ninjas.

I say this against my own agenda, because I too like me some AR15. In the same way that a car enthusiast might prefer a Ferrari over a Toyota Corolla.


On a side note, I almost feel sorry for Bushhamster; it always seems to be one of theirs… and the media know it!
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Old 01-05-2013   #8
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...as another nutter shoots 3 in Aurora...
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Old 01-05-2013   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
It seems to me that the most important aspect of “assault weapons” (now there’s an emotionally laden term just begging for reactions) is often ignored. The haters usually hinge their rationale around the imagined physical effect of semi automatics with massacre magazines. The Newtown fuknuckle fired up to 11 rounds into each child. I submit he could have done at least the same amount of damage with just a .22 bolt action with enough 10 shot mags, with one aimed shot per target.

I made similar arguments until recently, also pointing out the video of the insane speedshooter who shoots (and hits) with a revolver faster than I can count the shots in real time (with the video's audio track quality).

I became more careful about such technical arguments recently, though. There was a growing unease inside me about the psychological issue. I believe now that many of those who commit mass murder with firearms need to reach a certain threshold of self-esteem and confidence in their firepower. Kind of "taxi driver" on steroids.
Note how often they pose with guns or certain clothes and stuff prior to their murders. The Norwegian nutjob with his fantasy uniform and ridiculous weapons load was an especially obvious case. I suppose he would probably not have dared to attack a couple hundred people with only a pocket pistol, a dual barrel hunting shotgun and a bolt action hunting rifle (an example of a rather reasonable firearms set in a rural setting).

Then again, other nutjobs go on a rampage with a fake Katana...

(It'll be interesting to see if "nutjob" passes the obscenity filter here. I still have no good grasp of which words are caught by such filters and which aren't.)
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Old 01-06-2013   #10
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Having grown up steeped in the US gun culture and then left the country, I do notice a real and possibly significant change in the outlook and emphasis within that culture. My memory is that gun life in my youth revolved around hunting and the outdoors... competitive target shooting was a presence but was widely seen as preparation and training to be a more effective outdoorsman. Stalking and woodcraft were seen as goals equal to marksmanship. On the range bolt action rifles with telescopic sights dominated, and the goal was minute of angle accuracy. There was also a faction devoted to light, handy, brush rifles, with a fair bit of debate. Shotguns were for bird hunting. I don't recall ever seeing a centerfire semiautomatic rifle with a magazine above 3 rounds on a range or even in a shop.

Nowadays it seems like the culture revolves around actual or imitation military weapons. The adjective of the day is "tatical", and everything from your flashlight to your underwear is expected to be "tactical". The word, as far as I can tell, seems to have little meaning beyond intent, actual or pretended, to be used in killing people.

I'm not quite sure what to make of all that, but it does seem a rather unsettling shift... again, having been out of the country a long time highlights and possibly exaggerates such changes. I would note that in my entirely subjective opinion close contact with nature and the outdoors tends to produce a degree of sanity and calm, good things for heavily armed people. The idea of people accumulating weapons and other devices purely oriented toward use on people is on some level disturbing, though I wouldn't say prohibition is any answer.

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(It'll be interesting to see if "nutjob" passes the obscenity filter here. I still have no good grasp of which words are caught by such filters and which aren't.)
The filters only do English. "Scheisskopf" passes.
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Old 01-06-2013   #11
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Tangentially related but of possible interest is the phenomenon of amok. A Malaysian acquaintance, who was incidentally married to an incomparably gracious Iban lady, once mentioned that the number of amok incidents were noticeably reduced when the practice became punishable by law. Whether his conversational statement is accurate or not, I don't know.


Quote:
Running amok, sometimes referred to as simply amok (also spelled amuk, from the Malay meaning "mad with uncontrollable rage") is a term for a killing spree perpetrated by an individual out of rage or resentment over perceived mistreatment. The syndrome of "Amok" is found in the DSM-IV TR. The phrase is often used in a less serious manner in relation to someone or something that is out of control and causing trouble (e.g., a dog tearing up the living room furniture might be said to be running amok). Such usage does not imply murderous actions, and any emotional implications (e.g., rage, fear, excitement) must be gleaned from context.

[...]

Amok originated from the Malay word mengamuk, which roughly defined means “to make a furious and desperate charge”. According to Malay culture, amok was rooted in a deep spiritual belief. They believed that amok was caused by the hantu belian, which was an evil tiger spirit that entered one’s body and caused the heinous act. As a result of the belief, those in Malaysian culture tolerated amok and dealt with the after effects with no ill will towards the assailant.

[...]

Early travelers in Asia sometimes describe a kind of military amok, in which soldiers facing apparently inevitable defeat suddenly burst into a frenzy of violence which so startled their enemies that it either delivered victory or at least ensured what the soldier in that culture considered an honourable death. This form of amok appears to resemble the berserker of the Norse, the cafard or cathard (Polynesia), mal de pelea (Puerto Rico), and iich'aa (Navaho).

In contemporary Indonesia, the term amok (amuk) generally refers not to individual violence, but to apparently frenzied violence by mobs. Indonesians now commonly use the term 'gelap mata' (literally 'darkened eyes') to refer to individual amok.

In the Philippines, amok also means unreasoning murderous rage by an individual. In 1876, the Spanish governor-general of the Philippines José Malcampo coined the term juramentado for the behavior (from juramentar - "to take an oath"), surviving into modern Filipino languages as huramentado. It has historically been linked with the Muslim Moro people of Mindanao, particularly in the island of Jolo.

Norse berserkers and the Zulu battle trance are two other examples of the tendency of certain groups to work themselves up into a killing frenzy. The 1911 Webster Encyclopedia comments:

In 1634, the eldest son of the raja of Jodhpur ran amok at the court of Shah Jahan, failing in his attack on the emperor, but killing five of his officials. During the 18th century, again, at Hyderabad (Sind), two envoys, sent by the Jodhpur chief in regard to a quarrel between the two states, stabbed the prince and twenty-six of his suite before they themselves fell. (wikipedia)
Running Amok - wikipedia

Running Amok: A Modern Perspective on a Culture-Bound Syndrome (pdf) - psychiatrist.com

***

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An immediate contention against the cultural specificity of amok is that equivalents occur in many other ‘cultures’. What is also notable is that modern, developed or First World phenomena that resemble amok in their ‘indiscriminate’ nature of their ‘homicidal frenzy’ are not considered equivalents of amok. These intermittent phenomena involving contemporary weapons such as assault rifles have been given names such as SMASI (sudden mass assault by a single individual), and the autogenic (self-induced) massacre. Reference to a likely European equivalent of as ancient repute, the fearsome Viking warrior’s rampage berserkgang is excluded. If amok really is truly is a highly verifiable scientific truth it can be argued that this syndrome is so widespread as to be found also in the developed societies of the West, rather than merely a Malay cultural artefact.
The running amok of the Malay: a mental ‘culture-bound’ syndrome or another myth of the ‘native races’? - The Other Malaysia

***

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In the valley of the Cagayan, deep in the jungles of the Philipines, the Second World War had long been over.... except for one man... a monstrous Japanese soldier, seven feet tall, reduced to something less than human by his circumstances, a calculating killer the peasants call the amok..... (amazon blurb)
Amok by George Fox - amazon (Moderately popular business flight, page-burner from 1978)

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Amok Time - star trek episode - wikipedia

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Old 01-06-2013   #12
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In the valley of the Cagayan, deep in the jungles of the Philipines
Hey, that's my neighborhood....
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Old 01-06-2013   #13
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Hey, that's my neighborhood....
If the protagonist was a fictional former kempeitai in the seventies, he's probably even more fictional now. So you're probably okay. Unless...you're not over seven feet tall perchance?

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The centerpiece of the plot - a Japanese holdout soldier named Kurusu - was probably inspired by a couple of discoveries of Japanese holdouts in the 70s. The most famous was a Lieutenant Onoda, found in the Philipines.

I'm not certain how to classify the book - historical fiction, action/adventure, etc - and it touches on several topics without going overboard, to its credit. These topics include the politics of a country dealing with having been a former colony, the former colonial settlers (in this case, American landowning farmers) who remained behind after independence, culture clashes (Japanese bushido juxtaposed with the tight American expatriate community and juxtaposed with the local Filipino culture, etc etc - you'll figure it out....

Its easy to view the book as a shallow 70s work (and a discerning reader will see some of that in the style; it has some elements of old chauvanism and "macho" mentality) but its main theme seems to be one of a search for belonging: outcast soldier Kurusu found it as a Japanese Kempentai warrant officer and maintained it while terroizing the locals for 30+ years as a holdout, American Mike Brandon's search for his place in life before he returned to his "home" (the Philipines), the American community's desperate charade of colonial power after the Philipines became independent, Capt Shimura's coming to terms with his wartime activities when he comes to search for Kurusu....etc etc. But none of this gets too deep - the action flows along and it all balances. There is also a minor romantic sub plot. (amazon reader review)
Amok - amazon
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Old 01-06-2013   #14
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If the protagonist was a fictional former kempeitai in the seventies, he's probably even more fictional now. So you're probably okay. Unless...you're not over seven feet tall perchance?
I probably look seven feet tall to some of the locals, but... no. I don't think anyone in the kempetai was either, but fiction carries a certain license. That reaches beyond improbable height: anyone terrorizing the locals in these parts would likely have ended up with their head on a spear, tall or not... but that might not have made such good fiction. The term "amok" is also not used in the local dialects, but that's picking nits.

I'd read the book if I had it, being interested in the period and the location!
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Old 01-06-2013   #15
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The term "amok" is also not used in the local dialects, but that's picking nits.
That may have been a marketing gambit to use a somewhat loaded term that was 'exotic' but still in fairly common parlance. The cover hype suggests the publishers were going for a Peter Benchley size audience (also see: James Clavell, Wilbur Smith, etc.) Nitpicking would've been questioning why the logically puzzling 'Jaws' comparison could be expected to hold much water. The weird thing is, it probably drove more than a few sales back in the day. Maybe.
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Old 01-07-2013   #16
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The theatre shooting would be an exception.
The criminal in that case selected a theatre that had a posted policy stating that no firearms were to be taken into the building. Colorado is a concealed carry state...but, individual businesses can prohibit their customers from carrying a weapon into the establishment.

Nobody in the theatre tried to oppose, at all, this criminal. People all hid behind seats or ran. Nobody tried to oppose him and he went about his criminal task until he finished and then went out into the parking lot and quietly waited for the police to arrest him.

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Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
The question is: why do they feel the need to use an evil gun? Is it because they too (often erroneously) perceive it to be of better effect? Or do the looks and stigma of these guns trigger something in their sick minds? I should think that the latter provides the gun haters with a much stronger argument. The question ‘would the Newtown shooter have done as much damage with a .22 bolt action?’ is the wrong one to ask IMO. The question is: would he have done it in the first place if he would only have had access to a bolt action? Consider also that they like to dress up like Ninjas.
It is my opinion these criminals do what plays well. They study each others actions and they study how the newspapers react. Ninja suits play, tac gear plays etc. The Denver Post had an illustration of what the theatre criminal wore and carried. It looked like an illustration for an action figure, or one of those illustrations you saw of how spec ops people are equipped with all the cool equipment named. The papers have a role in these things that they should answer for in my opinion.

It wouldn't matter if all the ARs disappeared tomorrow. Anything a criminal used would be played up by the papers and immediately be labeled lethal cool. It could be a lever action rifle and it would be displayed on the action figure illustration, the effect would be the same.
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Old 01-07-2013   #17
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I became more careful about such technical arguments recently, though. There was a growing unease inside me about the psychological issue. I believe now that many of those who commit mass murder with firearms need to reach a certain threshold of self-esteem and confidence in their firepower. Kind of "taxi driver" on steroids.
In the US these criminals seem to be very careful about choosing the place to commit their crime. They choose places where they can be almost certain that there will be no effective (read: firearm) opposition, a resistance free zone so to speak. They don't like to fight. They like to kill. If effective opposition is in the offing they kill themselves or give up. With that in mind, it doesn't matter at all what kind of firearm they have for they plan that they will have the only one.

If they err in that, like the criminal in the mall in Oregon, or the criminal at the theatre in Texas, they fail.
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Old 01-07-2013   #18
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,,,unfounded as claims that armed teachers would be a good idea (one of them might possibly stop a massacre sometime, but a couple others would till then probably have used theirs on the pupils!)
Not unfounded at all. An armed teacher did stop a massacre at least once.

http://www.creators.com/opinion/larr...shootings.html

http://www.davekopel.com/2a/othwr/principal&gun.htm

"a couple of others would have probably used theirs on the pupils!" Well good thing the school says they can't have a weapon on school property then. That will stop 'em.
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Old 01-07-2013   #19
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Carl, you think too much in 0% and 100%.

It would be better to think in terms of differences, of ceteris paribus changes of outcome.
Tolerance for firearms in schools would ceteris paribus lead to more use of firearms in schools. No good idea.

Teachers may occasionally risk their job and break the rules themselves, but they would clearly do the same thing more often if it wasn't forbidden.
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Old 01-07-2013   #20
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Carl, you think too much in 0% and 100%.

It would be better to think in terms of differences, of ceteris paribus changes of outcome.
Tolerance for firearms in schools would ceteris paribus lead to more use of firearms in schools. No good idea.

Teachers may occasionally risk their job and break the rules themselves, but they would clearly do the same thing more often if it wasn't forbidden.
Nonsense. First off, your original remark suggested that if teachers were allowed the option of having a weapon, that includes having one in the car, that would somehow result in teachers shooting students. Nonsense. Shooting people when not in self-defence is a crime. Criminals are not dissuaded by a rule. If a teacher decided that they were going to murder students, a rule prohibiting them from taking a weapon onto campus would not stop them. If they did murder students, they probably don't expect to get their job back anyway.

Second off, were teachers allowed the option of having a weapon available (they are in some states and districts), we would be talking about mostly middle aged women being armed. Middle aged women don't do violent crime, especially this kind of crime. Middle aged women mostly take care of people and two women teachers in Connecticut died trying to defend their students. They attacked bare handed and they died because they had nothing to fight with. I think giving teachers, mostly middle age women and men, something to fight with if needed would transform schools from no resistance zones into zones of possible resistance; and the possibility of resistance is something these types of criminals don't like to face.
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Last edited by carl; 01-07-2013 at 01:22 PM.
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