William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

What Would Mark Twain Say About Gun Safety?

Merry Christmas, baby.

Merry Christmas, baby.

Domonic Gaines, the brute, held the gun to the baby’s head and…snapshot! As in photograph: somebody filmed him, baby, and gun. Tragedy came when, in an act of sick braggadocio, he posted the picture to Facebook.

The baby’s “maternal mother” ratted Gaines out. That’s how the cops knew about Gaines’s armament. They came to get him. Took him away in irons. Fingerprints. Jail cells. Humiliation.

Cops confiscated the weapon. Turned out to be a BB gun. And it wasn’t exactly “pointed” at his baby; careful examination revealed only that the baby was in “close proximity” to the toy. Close enough to be arrest-worthy.

Charge-worthy, too. They’re holding him without bond on “Child Endangerment.”

Authorities reasoned there could have been a “substantial risk of physical harm.” They might have hit upon that brilliant deduction after reading a peer-reviewed study by Robert DuRant of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

“Over 70 percent of families surveyed reported not storing their firearms safely in their residence,” said DuRant. “This concerns us a great deal because having guns in the home increases the likelihood that they will be used in a suicide or unintentional injury.”

The good doctor also pointed out that if a family didn’t have a gun in the house, then of course that missing gun would not be dangerous. “The safest practice would be to remove guns from the house,” he concluded.

These researchers forget that Mark Twain warned people way back in 1882 about the inherent dangerousness of guns in the house, particularly those which are thought to be unloaded:

Don’t meddle with old unloaded firearms. They are the most deadly and unerring things that have ever been created by man. You don’t have to take any pains at all with them; you don’t have to have a rest, you don’t have to have any sights on the gun, you don’t have to take aim, even. No, you just pick out a relative and bang away, and you are sure to get him. A youth who can’t hit a cathedral at thirty yards with a Gatling gun in three-quarters of an hour, can take up an old empty musket and bag his mother every time at a hundred. Think what Waterloo would have been if one of the armies had been boys armed with old rusty muskets supposed not to be loaded, and the other army had been composed of their female relations. The very thought of it makes me shudder.

DuRant estimates some 200 million guns are owned and, necessarily, stored by citizens. Think of the slaughter that awaits! Always remember: guns might be unsafe. Which is why you hear so many stories like this, again from Twain:

Never handle firearms carelessly. The sorrow and suffering that have been caused through the innocent but heedless handling of firearms by the young! Only four days ago, right in the next farmhouse to the one where I am spending the summer, a grandmother, old and gray and sweet, one of the loveliest spirits in the land, was sitting at her work, when her young grandson crept in and got down an old, battered, rusty gun which had not been touched for many years and was supposed not to be loaded, and pointed it at her, laughing and threatening to shoot. In her fright she ran screaming and pleading toward the door on the other side of the room; but as she passed him he placed the gun almost against her very breast and pulled the trigger! He had supposed it was not loaded. And he was right—it wasn’t. So there wasn’t any harm done. It is the only case of that kind I ever heard of.

Another surprising finding from DuRant’s study was this: “Our research shows that unsafe gun storage is associated with families who were raised with guns in the home…[These families] tend to be more comfortable with guns.”

Who would have guessed?

This expanded and re-purposed post originally appeared in January of 2008.

Update Thanks to the diligent grammarians for catching my typo.

61 Comments

  1. Let me get this right, guns in the home are not being stored properly and therefore are unsafe.

    Anyone determined to have a mental health problem (determined by the government) will be prevented from purchasing, and possessing a gun.

    Anyone convicted of a felony cannot possess or purchase a gun.

    Soon it will be: only people who are white may possess and purchase guns.
    No one who wears bluejeans may possess and purchase a gun;
    No one who is a muslim may purchase or possess a gun;

    On and on it goes.

    How long do you think the American People would stand for these same restrictions lets say on the First amendment? How about the third amendment? the Fourth Amendment? It would appear that Americans have been trciked into this constant drum beat the gun is bad, and therefore must be regulated out of existence, completely ignoring the Second Amendment protections in the US Constitution!

    82nd ABN
    1/508th BN

  2. Dear Mom…

    As you quake in fear at the thought of firearms in the hands of your husband, neighbors or friends.

    Be comforted

    “When seconds count the Police are only minutes away”

  3. Twain kicks ass.

  4. Of course the USA doesn’t have a gun problem. You only have the highest death rate of any developped country, and it is only about 3 times higher than the country in second place (Switzerland) and third place (Finland). And of course there is no correlation with the fact that also have the 3 highest gun ownership.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

  5. Briggs

    29 January 2013 at 5:38 am

    Sylvain,

    The entire population of Switzerland is, what, 80% of New York City? And a heckofa lot of racial and demographically homogeneous. And that’s just one tiny country.

    Fair comparisons start with looking at the post of a couple of days ago: who’s killing whom? And why?

  6. Mr Briggs,

    Murder are only a part of all gun death.

    Suicide by gun is at least 2 times higher in the USA, while unintentional are at par with other countries.

    Gun more often end up killing/injuring a member of the household than will be fired in self-defense.

  7. The thing is not to interdict all guns. Hunting guns are less used in crimes and if stored properly they won’t be use for suicide, or at least less often.

    Having smaller magazine, and less semi-automatic and handgun would greatly reduce the number of death.

  8. Sander van der Wal

    29 January 2013 at 6:13 am

    According to Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate), Switzerland has 0.52 homicides and 3.15 suicides (per an unspecified number of people, probably a 100.000), the USA has 3.6 homicides and 6.3 suicides, and Finland 0.26 homicides and 3.34 suicides in 2010.

    The suicide category in the USA is high, only Montenegro is higher for the countries with known figures.

    Also interesting is the Unintentional category, with the USA having 0.2, Switzerland 0.1 and Finland 0.01. Being careful with guns does work, but not in the USA, apparently.

  9. Sylvain, Suicide by gun is at least 2 times higher in the USA

    You do realize that eliminating a number one cause just allows number two to take its place, don’t you? Your proposals are too much like treating cancer with cough medicine.

    You are also aware that suicide by gun is entirely irrelevant to gun safety, yes? What’s next? Gun oil smells bad? Do you really think no one notices your misdirection?

  10. As in photograph: somebody filmed he, baby, and gun.

    somebody filmed HIM…

  11. Thanks, DAV, for the comment about “#1″. It’s a simple concept that so many do not grasp at all.

    Paratrooper: Americans have not been tricked. They want to believe so they do. No trick, just laziness and apathy.

    While there is nothing wrong with the picture, putting it on the internet was an invitation to arrest. Plus, in a country where anything the liberals do not like and MIGHT cause harm is equal to causing harm, the poster should have realized this. If he posted to make a point, that’s very brave.

    Two things about guns: (1) Children raised around guns properly learn to be safe. It’s what the NRA teaches, though the press ignores that. I have a niece who at age 5 knew where guns in the house were and never let friends near them. At 13, she took apart the gun she kept for target practice (which she ONLY did with adults around) when a friend stayed overnight. She did this all on her own. The most dangerous person with a gun is one who knows nothing about one (except what they see on TV).
    (2) You must make sure anyone who hates guns NEVER tries firing one. Many a good liberal has been lost in the gun control fight by actually getting them to fire and understand guns, even the evil assault weapons.

    As for this being about deaths, it is NOT. If we were talking about preventing deaths, alcohol and cars would be the first to go. Cars kill more than wars–innocent people and children. Why, if you are so concerned about people being killed, are you not trying to outlaw cars? This is about disarming a population.

    Perhaps a future column could look at the statistics used in these arguments more in depth–there is a lot of contradictory statistics, depending on which side of the argument presents them. I run into this all the time–what age counts as a child, the effect of narcotic and gangs on gun usage, etc. The posting on black/white was very good.

    Note: Finland had the largest mass shooting of any country, I believe.

  12. Sylvain Allard

    “Gun more often end up killing/injuring a member of the household than will be fired in self-defense.”

    This claim is completely and totally bogus. The problems with it are many. The two biggest problems are:

    1. Frequently simply brandishing a gun is sufficient for self defense.
    2. The FBI does not track self-defense shootings so the number of times guns are fired in self-defense is a complete unknown.

  13. DAV, (and Sheri)

    What you don’t seem to understand is that when the number 1 cause is gone the overall number becomes less.

    This is what was observe in Canada in 1991 when the laws for safe gun storage and background check.

    Look the first graph here

    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/ads-annonces/82-003-x/pdf/4194126-eng.pdf

    Here you have the overall suicide trend:

    http://www.suicideprevention.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/StatsCan-SuicideRates_AnOverview-July2012.pdf

    In chart 1, you can clearly see a reduction in the overall number of suicide starting in the early 1990s.

    Having had close friends who committed suicide and dealt with people who where suicidal. The availability of the choice weapon is important, and not many of the suicidal person will switch from one way to another to commit it.

    Suicide is not always inevitable, and if the weapon of choice is not available when the idea is present the chance is high that the person will live to see another day.

  14. MattS,

    Did you noticed that the NRA’s Lapierre pronounced itself against background checks last week.

  15. Sylvain, What you don’t seem to understand is that when the number 1 cause is gone the overall number becomes less.

    Only if number one was truly the primary cause. You can hardly say that suicides are committed merely because of the presence of a gun. A person bent on suicide or murder won’t let the availability of a firearm stand in the way. And since, as we’ve seen, guns are not correlated to murder, removing them would have no real net effect. Something else will be substituted.

    the weapon of choice is not available when the idea is present the chance is high that the person will live to see another day.

    Yeah? Two simple ways: slicing the wrists and running a car in a closed garage. Again, you underestimate what determined people will do.

    You are making the “association is cause” error.

  16. “What you don’t seem to understand is that when the number 1 cause is gone the overall number becomes less.

    This is what was observe in Canada in 1991 when the laws for safe gun storage and background check.”

    Well looking at :
    Statistics Canada, Canadian Vital Statistics Death Database; Statistics Canada CANSIM, table 051-0001—Estimates of population,
    by age group and sex for July 1, Canada, provinces and territories.

    There seems to have been a downward trend in suicide rates for both sexes starting in the early ’80s. And gun control doesn’t seem to explain the much lower rates of suicide between 1950 and 1970.

    Hmm high suicide rates between 1970 and 1984??? I blame disco music….

  17. Always treat a firearm as if its loaded–they often are; basic safety tip.

    All this concern lately about firearms–especially “assault” weapons & large/high capacity magazines…kind of misses a few points:

    - The numbers still show that getting killed in the USA in a spree killing are significantly lower than getting killed by lightning strike (the data is readily avaialble via the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports & NOAA’s on-line data for lightning strikes & deaths).

    - Underlying the whole hullabaloo about restricting, or not, firearms, is the intrinsic feature of human nature that places excessive emotional value on events that are dramatic, even if extraordinarily unlikely. This is why people will drive & text (more dangerous than driving intoxicated), not wear seatbelts, etc. — any one of which is much more likely to lead to death, disfigurement, etc. … the perceived risks based on observations is misleading.

    - Anyone wanting to kill a bunch of people will find a way if so inclined. One of the worst, possibly the worst, such killing sprees was the 1927 Bath School Disaster in Michigan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster . No guns were used there.

    - People don’t kill people, cars do:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,92133,00.html — Old man kills 9, injures 45, 14 critically by driving into a crowded farmer’s market; key factor: old-age related dementia rather than malice.

    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/81937638/ — Driver attempts to mow down crowd, with malice aforethought.

    http://www.break.com/index/crazy-driver-runs-into-crowd.html — Driver plows thru crowd in Switzerland, injuring two; this person appears only impatient and gave the pedestrians a sporting chance to get out of the way…imagine if s/he got a quiet running start & how often that possibility is available to anyone so inclined.

  18. DAV,

    Year A, you have 100 suicide total, 25 by guns, 45 by hanging, 10 by slicing,15 buy car exhaust, 10 poioining and 5 any other mean.

    Year B, you pass a law for safe gun storage that people abide to and instead of 100 suicide you have 90, and instead of 25 death by gun you have 10.

    Why because suicide is not inevitable, it is not a certainty, at least in the vast majority of cases. And in suicide the weapon of choice is different for each. Many will simply not change the way to kill themselves if it is not available. If someone wants to shoot himself, it is unlikely that he will resort to other mean, because they either find the other mean to slow, painful, or brutal.

    Most people who try to kill themselves, and fail, will never attempt it again. Some will but most wont if their request for help is heard.

  19. Sylvain, so in year B these young men, cause its a man thing blowing your own brains out, went out got in their cars and committed suicide by head on collision?
    Killing and maiming other people.
    As truck-drivers, cops and ambulance people will tell you, too many auto “accidents” have no logical cause other than suicide.
    Banning a tool because it frightens you is insanity, that tool is an inert object without human help.
    Having grown up where guns were necessary tools, incidents of deliberate shootings were almost nonexistent.

  20. My guess is that Dr. DuRant defines “safe storage” of guns as nothing short of encasing them in concrete.

    Obviously, people who “feel comfortable around guns” have a different understanding of what safe storage means than hoplophobes like DuRant have.

  21. John,

    1-) Nowhere did I say that all guns should be banned. Only high capacity magazine, background checks safe-storage requirement, would be a good start.

    2-) Men never use their gun to kill their children and wife before suicide, or they never use them to kill 20 children.

    People have easy access to gun and some will use their car. If guns are unavailable there no evidence to show that people will jump in there car to kill themselves.

    3-) The mother of Lanzer had gun, what good it did to her? They didn’t protect her. Maybe with safe-storage it could have been avoided, or it would not have made it worst for sure. Safe-storage is to have lock that covers the trigger and the gun should be place in a lock cabinet. Bullet should be stored in another room of lock box.

    4-) The first utility of cars is for transportation. There usage is heavily regulated and there are a lot of rules to follow and obey to keep the right to drive. Guns only utility is to kill. When they are use to kill animals it is one thing, but some gun available have no use in hunting and are only made to kill human.

  22. “Switzerland has 0.52 homicides and 3.15 suicides (per an unspecified number of people, probably a 100.000), the USA has 3.6 homicides and 6.3 suicides, and Finland 0.26 homicides and 3.34 suicides in 2010.

    The suicide category in the USA is high, only Montenegro is higher for the countries with known figures.”

    Those suicide rates are only for firearms. The actual suicide rates are here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

    Finland is 16.8, US is 12, Switzerland is 11.1. Other European countries such as France, Belgium, and Austria have higher suicide rates than the US. The evidence here fits the claim that if guns were not available, other tools would be used.

  23. Sylvain, suicide is not inevitable, it is not a certainty, at least in the vast majority of cases

    And you know this how?

    If guns are unavailable there no evidence to show that people will jump in there car to kill themselves.

    There is also none that they won’t except to note that suicide is not a recent phenomenon. Gotta wonder how people managed it before guns.

  24. Briggs

    29 January 2013 at 7:41 pm

    All,

    Do I understand that we’re talking about suicide as if it were a bad thing? Don’t we hear the Enlightened trumpet the morality of “right to die”, “assisted suicide”, organized euthanasia? You’d think we’d be calling for more guns, not fewer.

  25. DAV,

    I know about suicide because I have lived around it. 2 close friends have killed themselves with gun.

    I have also known many people who either tried or successfully killed themselves. I have helped some of them get their life back together. Most of those who tried and failed never did any other attempt but a few succeeded later. None of those who used gun survived, even if they didn’t die immediately.

    Yes suicide has been around a long time. But there are more suicide when gun are easily available.

  26. Sylvain Allard said: Nowhere did I say that all guns should be banned. Only high capacity magazine …

    Clearly, banning magazines that hold more than ten rounds would lead to a reduction in suicide because the suicidal person would be limited to shooting himself in the head only ten times. And who would want to do that? That’s the reason no one ever committed suicide with a revolver.

    It makes perfect sense to me. I don’t see why you all don’t get it.

  27. Mushroom,

    Since things are turning slow.

    High capacity magazine ban reduce chance for mass massacre or at least makes it harder.

    Safe storage reduce weapon access and suicide.

  28. Sylvain, Most of those who tried and failed never did any other attempt but a few succeeded later.

    So you are basing all of your claims on conversations with those who likely weren’t all that determined to succeed?

    Since you want to share anecdotes, I only know a handful who committed suicide. None of them tried using a gun. One stepped in front of a truck. Another jumped in front of a train. The most recent seem to revel in the attention she received from the failed “attempt”. Never mind that each and every time she arranged her rescue in advance. Kind of a hobby. She eventually did succeed by using — wait for it — a controlled substance overdose. So much for bans. I believe the successful attempt was intentional because that time she made no effort to arrange a rescue and really dosed up. Very determined on the final go.

  29. High capacity magazine ban reduce chance for mass massacre

    You only need to look at the recent club fire in Brazil. 230+ dead I’ve heard. That fire was likely accidental. Just think how many more it might have been had it been intentional
    . No guns needed whatsoever and ever so easy to accomplish. Or maybe you would sigh with relief that it wasn’t firearm related?

    Just exactly where do you get the idea that anyone setting out for 15 minutes of fame or whatever drives them will say “Oh, crap! I wanted to wipe out the mall today but can’t get my hands on any guns!”? You really aren’t thinking thing through.

  30. Concerning suicide and anecdotes: I had a cousin commit suicide with a gun. He would have killed himself somehow, gun or no. It might have taken another 6 months, but he would have done it. I know of 2 people who attempted suicide with a gun, both of whom survived. One survived trying twice. Both are still alive as far as I know. In Sylvain’s example, the 10 fewer people who committed suicide in said year would have to be followed to see if later they did so in order to claim the absence of a gun saved them. Was there such a following?

    Again, check all of the statistics. Remember, Finland had the most people killed in a single attack–77. They also have VERY strict gun laws. Many gun statistics include justified shootings by police and in self-defense. America is no where near the violent place gun opponents want to believe it is, if you check multiple sources of statistics and what they include. Carefully check the input data to be sure the data listed is not skewed by the reporter. It’s really quite enlightening.

  31. This is a subject that should be discussed slowly and carefully.

  32. As in.
    The little I know of suicides is that they are selfish pukes maximizing the pain they can impart on the survivors in their family. Their message was on the order of “see what did because of YOU!”
    I am sure that others have different experiences. I am sure that others have had different experiences.

  33. Bill S,

    Would you agree that this is your own interpretation of what you witnessed. Reality is usually different.

    The closest thing to what you are saying is the father’s that kill their children (with or without suicide)so that the mother cannot have them.

  34. Sylvain, re Bill S, your interpretation is somehow superior to Bill’s?
    Guns are tools, very useful tools.
    All this hysteria about restricting magazine capacity and everyones access to the tool of their choice, reveals your lack of knowledge. Look up pump action 12 gauge, buck shot and ease of reload while in use.

  35. No one really answered the main question:

    If guns are supposed to provide security, why then are the USA the place where more people die at the hand of a gun? (I mean all form of gun death, not only murder).

    Guns are not the main source of suicide, hanging is, but guns cause irreversible damages. Hanging and an employer once saved a girl who hanged herself soon enough that she didn’t suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen. This was 20 years ago. this girls is still alive and was able to recover and find a new joy to life.

    In 1986, my senior year in highschool, a good friend of mine kille himself with a long barrel shotgun. When he pressed the trigger the gun slipped and intead of shotting himself in the heart in shot himself in the abdomen and survived for a few days.

    That friend had told me that he didn’t want to live anymore and that he was going to kill himself. I didn’t do anything because at the time I understood him, I understood why he didn’t want to live.

    We were among the reject in school. We were teased, taxed, he was beaten physically. We didn’t have the same right than the other student. There were section in the school where we weren’t alloy to go through without having food thrown at us, etc.

    I have never been suicidal, but I understood why he didn’t want to live. We live similar difficulties but we faced it differently. When he decided to kill himself it was out of altruism, not out of selfishness (at least for him).

    He view himself as garbage. He was so used to be degraded that he believed what people were saying about him. They calle all sort of name, imbecile, village idiot, ugly, etc. He wasn’t, he was lean and muscled. Once in PE he even lifted the heaviest load. But the view he had of himself was distortionned by years of abused. He was in psychological pain, has I was, but he felt it would be best for society and his family if he wasn’t there. He had never hurt anyone and didn’t take it on others. One day, is parent went out, he took the gun and shot himself, all he waited for was to be able to access a gun. I didn’t want to jump, cut himself, or hang. His weapon of choice was a gun, this is how he wanted to go. If the gun in his house had been in safe storage he would have lived longer, maybe long enough to wait a few more months.

  36. Sylvain Allard,

    No, I had not. Do you have a link for that? Are they opposing background checks in general or a specific proposal?

    It was the NRA that pushed for instant background checks which were opposed by the Brady Foundation which wanted waiting periods + background checks with no relationship between the waiting period and the amount of time actually needed to do a reasonable background check.

  37. Sylvain Allard,

    On your suicide by gun numbers, have you separated out suicide by cop from those numbers?

    None of your proposals will limit police firearms. Want to commit suicide by gun and don’t have access to a gun. Get someone else to shoot you by threatening a cop. There are multiple incidents of this that have been recorded where someone suicidal got a realistic looking toy gun or other toy / costume weapon and charged at a cop or group of cops.

  38. Sander van der Wal

    30 January 2013 at 3:55 am

    @Briggs

    Suicide is a bad thing. And keeping people alive against their explicit wishes is also a bad thing.

    People being alive, healthy and enjoying it very much indeed is a good thing (in case people are wondering), and that is the state you would want everybody to be in. But that is not always possible, and then you must make a choice between two bad things.

  39. “Somebody filmed he…”. What sort of language is that???

  40. “If guns are supposed to provide security, why then are the USA the place where more people die at the hand of a gun? (I mean all form of gun death, not only murder).”

    I will ignore the murder bit and concentrate on suicide. Sylvain, did you look at the suicide stats I provided? You might as well ask why the suicide rates in Finland, France, Austria, Belgium, etc. are higher than the US.

  41. And what would jesus say about gun safety?

    Mt 26,52
    But Jesus told him, “Put your sword away. Anyone who lives by fighting will die by fighting.”

  42. MattS,

    For Lapierre comment about background checks you can watch his speech from last week on the NRA website. Or watch the coverage of today’s hearing.

    No one expect any law on gun control to prevent all the crimes from happening. This is an unfair expectation to put on these laws. But just like laws about cars don’t prevent accident they do reduce their numbers. You can’t drive while intoxicated, yet people often drive while intoxicated. Should the law interdicting driving while intoxicated be abolished because it didn’t prevent accidents where poeple were intoxicated.

    Even consevative justice Scallia says that the right to own firearm doesn’t mean the right to posess any weapon a person want. The government can regulate firearm as long as they don’t ban them entirely.

  43. Matts,

    I don’t know under which category they put suicide by cop. This is a completely other mean of suicide that someone uses because they can’t do it themselves.

  44. Hans: Use the entire context of a quote (whole chapter, preferably) or expect other “one-liners” galore that say the opposite. Quoting out of context is not useful. The longer version of your quote:
    “Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”
    This is referring to the crucifixion only.

    Sylvain: You get it! Laws only prescribe what behaviours will be punished. It does not stop bad things from happening, only gives a punishment and often causes a false sense of security. In many cases, it is designed to prevent the action from happening again, via incarceration. So why should the government take guns BEFORE bad things happen. What you are recommending is legislating “preventative” laws. I know we have seat belt laws–sugar laws are next, taxing cigarettes and health care to force people to quit smoking (except the rich, of course), pizza companies sued for “poisoning customers” (current lawsuit). Then we outlaw these things so no one can ever break the law. It’s a Brave New World.

    On suicide: Not everyone who commits suicide is cowardly. Mostly, these people cannot cope with the world and need an out. Some made such bad mistakes they cannot see a way to recover from them. Not everyone can deal with life effectively.

  45. Sheri,

    How is life in black and white. The creation of laws doesn’t create a false sense of security, they do reduce the risk of an incident happening, but the law doesn’t dissuade everyone from driving drunk for example. Mos people are dissuaded from drunk driving before it happens. Some think they are okay and then get caught, and after losing their license for a while will not do it again. And very few will be caught multiple time. Overall with more drivers on the road we have less people killed than before the laws.

    Very few Canadian feel the need to protect themselves with a gun. Home invasions are extremely rare and usually caused by the victim knowing the perp. Crime level is much lower here because we do help our poor, we get them education, healthcare. It doesn’t removes all crime but it does create a safer society.

  46. Checking stats, the crime rates are about the same for the US and Canada, though the US is higher in murder and Canada in property crimes. (I am told law dissuade people, but my actual life experience does not find that to be true. It may dissuade minor crimes, but those who would kill, drive drunk, assault others seem to not care about the consequences.

    Why is it that socialist folks are so inclined to dive in and tell others that if only we robbed our rich folks and gave to the moochers, we would be safer? That does not seem to be working for Greece as of late. Nor England. Actually, it seems that you, too, see the world in black and white–capitalist (bad) and socialist (good). Guess I’m not the only with the black/white view?

    I am constantly amazed at how people see the world so simplistically. If only you were socialists, your life would look like Walden. If only you were capitalists, you could catapult the world into riches and live in utopia. If everyone were equal, it would be utopia. If only there were no drugs, no guns, no cars, no government, it would be utopia–how terrifyingly naive.

  47. Suicide is a bad thing. And keeping people alive against their explicit wishes is also a bad thing.

    Then why are we even having the conversation about suicide: if someone wants to die, let them do it by the easiest method available, right?

    I don’t care too much about the gun debate as far as wanting to own a gun for myself for “daily use,” but when people use obviously specious logic and outright lie about statistics to propose more legislation that will obviously not change what they are claiming to legislate against.

    Example 1: “Piece” from NPR using terrible study/data that literally takes less than one minute on Google to find the bad math:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/01/14/169164414/lack-of-up-to-date-research-complicates-gun-debate?roundtwo

    Example 2: Gun legislation to limit Assault Rifles triggered by Newton Shooting – assault rifles not actually used.

  48. Sheri,

    I’m not sure where you have taken your stats but here is a comaparative study:

    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/85-002-x2001011-eng.pdf

    In all categories of violent crimes the rate in Canada is lower than USA.

    FYI I am not a socialist nor even an idealist. Mostly, I’m a realist.

    No one wants to take away all guns, but certain gun and accessories don’t have their place in society. Large magazines are an example. Background checks will have no impact on law abiding citizen, but would prevent criminal easy access to weapons. No one really think that these laws will prevent all gun crimes the next day, but over time they should decrease the rate of incident.

    About stealing the rich. No one want to steal anyone, but everyone in a society as the right to a certain minimum of quality of life. I have no jalousy toward richer people, I’m glad for them, when they follow the rule.

    We have special commission on corruption here in Québec. We have few mega construction company who rigged, with the help of corrupt politician, the way contract were distributed. We are talking very rich people with $18 millions cabin. They were able to gain this money by throwing smaller fish into bankruptcy. Similar to how thrust in the early 1900s were preventing the poor people from getting a better shot at life.

    When people who work full time and still need food stamp because their employer don’t pay them enough money for them to survive. Yet these people are called takers. Foodstamps in the USA are simply a subsidy to employer.

    In some cases the employer can’t afford giving bigger pays, but in many cases the employers are millionaire who are using their employees has slaves. This is what I object to. The USA did best when the middle class was groing and thriving. Now the middle class is dying. Wallstreet caused the 2008 recession, yet no one paid the price for having ruined so many lives. You have home owners in the US who had their house ceased even though the house was paid off. etc

  49. In some cases the employer can’t afford giving bigger pays, but in many cases the employers are millionaire who are using their employees has slaves. This is what I object to. The USA did best when the middle class was groing and thriving. Now the middle class is dying. Wallstreet caused the 2008 recession, yet no one paid the price for having ruined so many lives. You have home owners in the US who had their house ceased even though the house was paid off. etc

    ??? All I can say is you are not well informed. You should do something about that.

  50. Sylvain, background checks for guns in the US already exist, and they fail to prevent bad guys from getting guns all the time. And yes, a lot of people want to take away all guns. Any realist knows that.

    The rest of your spew is too silly to argue with.

  51. MattL,

    Any realist knows that it would be impossible to take all gun. Those who would want to remove all guns are a very small fringed of the population.

    Only 40% of all gun sales are submitted to background checks. So one person failing background checks in baltimore or Connecticut can go in another state or gun show and get the weapon without one.

  52. DAV,

    The seizure of houses that were already paid off in 2008 is a well known fact.

    In the US to receive food stamps, or most government help you have to work. It can be different from state to state.

  53. Sylvain,

    It’s amazing that Canadians always get it right (and Quebec most of all) while the US is just a muddle of idiocy when it come to gun laws and health care and other things. Canada must be almost Heaven just like West Virginia.

  54. Oh, yeah. The seizure of houses that were already paid off in 2008 is a well known fact.

    Been known to happen. The are also seizures of wallets on the streets in NYC. That doesn’t mean it’s legal. So, you are saying that laws don’t really protect anyone since crime happens despite them and your solution is more laws?

  55. DAV,

    Strange that someone who steals a wallet goes to prison while someone stealing a house goes free.

    No laws are perfect and will prevent everything but they do reduce the number of incident.

  56. Bible quote battle sheri?

    Lk 6,29
    If someone slaps you on one cheek, don’t stop that person from slapping you on the other cheek. If someone wants to take your coat, don’t try to keep back your shirt.

  57. Sylvain, of course Quebec, the home of Montreal, mass shooting capitol of Canada.
    Just think how much safer Canadians would be if, instead of wasting our money on the stupid long gun registry, we had imposed registration on all people from Montreal.
    I see you got the parasite lifestyle justification all figured out, as with your knowledge of guns you are wrong again.
    Some people like to steal, they feel vindicated by their wit and skill in living off of the wealth of others.The only barriers to them becoming wealthy in an honest manner, is how they chose to direct their effort.

  58. If you had read my previous comment you would have known that I do not favor the gun registry. Registry of gun sell is another thing though.

    Crime happens in any groups. Police, doctors, corporate CEO, etc, lawyer, priesthood, etc.

    Any profession has its criminals, but not everyone has enough money to influence politician.

    In the late 1800s early 1900s, the USA political landscape was plagued by the corruption from the thrust who prevented anyone who wasn’t part of the thrust from having a viable business. When they had the monopoly they fixed price has high as they could.

    Sadly, the recent political landscape in the USA is back to its old trick of money talk.

  59. Firearms, in the hands of trained legal owners, reduce deaths due to violent crime.

    Predators selectively target the defenseless. The teen who appeared at President Obama’s inauguration could not have possibly been shot in Chicago, a city with some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. The Sandy Hook Massacre could not have occurred because the school was a gun free zone.

    Outside of gun-free zones and restrictive anti-gun paranoia cities, the US is one of the safest countries to live in re violent crime:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196941/The-violent-country-Europe-Britain-worse-South-Africa-U-S.html

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_man-crime-manslaughters

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita

    The US doesn’t make the cut. Gun ownership in the US saves lives — except in those polities the government wants to disarm the people.

    Sylvan, how fast can you change a magazine?

    But that’s all an aside. The 2nd Amendment exists to arm the people against attack, whether by the government or criminals, not for hunting.

    The real issue here, which you’re ignoring, is however misplaced that the perception of threat — of Orwellian “thought crime” — is sufficient to deprive one of one’s right to liberty and property.

    JJB

  60. Sylvain, re: seizing all the guns.

    I wasn’t talking about realists, but leftists / statists, so we are in agreement.

  61. Ah but you see dear foreign friends the American government exists in reality to rob it’s citizens, along with it’s Wall Street Ruling Class partners. [I'm a free market capitalist BTW]. The charge of socialism is laughable, it would be an improvement. We have collectivism, but it’s an El Dorado sized Control Fraud. They certainly collect, but to themselves. I mention this in context – it’s entirely possible that having nearly run out the string on embezzlement they may be considering armed robbery. As we understand our government better than you do, we are very determined not to be completely helpless. You see we won’t get Stalin or Hitler. We’ll get Goldman Sachs and Rubinomics, which we already have. Completely disarmed they’d loot our very houses. Simply more of what we already have..

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