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US Gun Violence Statistics.

Posted on 22nd February 2023

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This report on the BBC contains some pertinent and shocking statistics on gun violence in the US.

Highlights (lowlights?) include:

  • The number of mass shootings (on the rise over the last few years);
  • How trivial the shootings at Columbine (13th on the list) now seem compared to what has happened since;
  • The number of gun-related killings as a proportion of all homicides in the US, compared to other countries:
  • The number of guns in the US - 120 per 100 residents (and that is just the ones they know about!);
  • The fact that a good majority of Americans support stronger gun laws (but politicians still haven't found the courage to toughen gun control);
  • The fact that only 7 states ban assault weapons.

As far as I can see, the statistics speak for themselves: gun ownership is a major cause of gun violence, and the voting public wants a change.

US Supreme Court Strikes Down New York Gun Law.

Posted on 24th June 2022

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The BBC reports here on the recent decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn New York's gun control legislation, declaring it unconstitutional.

I find this very sad in the light of the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and hard to fathom, even though the court was loaded with Republican justices during the Trump administration.

The court found that laws to restrict gun ownership breached the second amendment to the US Constitution, which states "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Interpretations vary, but a commonly held understanding is that people have the right to bear arms in the context of a well regulated militia. That does not imply that the have the right to:

  • Privately own guns,
  • Carry guns if not a member of a well regulated militia,
  • Carry guns when not engaged in the business of a well regulated militia.

There is legislation similar to that in New York in states including California and New Jersey, affecting about a quarter of Americans. All such laws are now at risk.

What will it take for America to get over their love affair with guns and put some sensible legislation in place? Other countries manage perfectly well without widespread gun ownership. My family traditionally hunted (deer, rabbits, pheasants and the like) and were able to own guns (rifles and shotguns) for hunting as long as they had licences and kept the guns secure.

Texas Mum Opens Fire on Neighbour's Puppy, Shoots Her Own Son Instead.

Posted on 3rd June 2021

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This story on "toofab" beggars belief.

A mother in Texas opened fire on a puppy belonging to a neighbour, which she claims was rampaging, firing three shots in quick succession across a public street in the direction of two occupied houses. She could see a man and woman across the street, but not her own son (her view of him was obscured), and a ricochet hit the boy.

The woman has been charged, as is only just. I also hope that her gun licence is revoked.

This is just another example of problems with gun violence and gun accidents in the USA, but "the guns are not the problem" right?

Texas Allows Concealed Gun Carrying Without A Permit.

Posted on 3rd June 2021

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Sometimes I despair of Texans! This article on the BBC reports that Texas legislators have passed a bill which would allow most people to carry concealed handguns without a permit. Current Texan rules require that people carrying handguns must have a licence, training and background checks, as in other states.

Gun violence is out of control in the USA, and getting worse all the time. At some point there will be measurable impacts on tourism and immigration, as people decide that America is simply too dangerous to visit or relocate to.

Dog Shoots Man

Posted on 16th May 2018

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The stream of stories about gun control issues continues in this piece from The Telegraph.

Like so many of such stories, it cements the case against guns.

Richard Remme was playing with his dog, a pitbull/Labrador cross, on the sofa at his home in Iowa, when the dog accidentally shot him in his leg. The dog had managed to turn off two safeties, and to pull the trigger of the gun, which was in a belly band.

The gun lobbyists' argument is that guns, when carried by responsible and trained people, increase safety for everyone. Well clearly Mr. Remme is neither responsible nor trained, which is arguably true about most private gun owners in the USA.

Thank goodness that private ownership of guns is not generally legal, in Germany, where I live. If you want a gun, the best option, according to the news, is to take one from a policeman; that should be hard to do, but according to this report in The Telegraph it is not.

If There Was Ever A Killer Argument For Banning Guns, This Woman Is It

Posted on 13th September 2017

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There have been many arguments used, by both sides of the debate about the right to bear arms in the USA, but this story on the BBC news really clinches the argument for banning people from carrying guns.

Katie Quackenbush

In this case, Katie Quackenbush (photo to the right) got into a row with a homeless man who was trying to sleep on the pavement, about the loud music from her car (unlike the BBC, I fail to see how the make of car is relevant). He asked her to move her car, and in response she got out her gun and fired two "warning" shots with her eyes closed, critically injuring the man, who was taken to hospital.

So let's break that down:

  1. She acted irresponsibly in playing her music too loud, causing a public nuisance (for which she should be charged, in my opinion);
  2. She felt that using her gun was an appropriate response to a row about her irresponsible behaviour (whereas an apology, and turning down the music, seems to be a more suitable answer) - we should remember that homeless people also have rights - she should also be charged for this;
  3. She fired her gun with her eyes closed (incredibly stupid and irresponsible), presumably because she is actually afraid of guns (and therefore shouldn't have a gun) - she should definitely be charged for this, and have her gun licence revoked.

Gun-carry apologists often claim that they are responsible and usually trained in the use of firearms, and that the carrying of guns increases public safety. Those arguments are anyway questionable, but particularly in this case, are obviously not true. Katie Quackenbush is clearly too stupid, too afraid of guns, and too prone to inappropriate escalation, to be allowed to carry a butter knife, let alone a gun!

Guns On Campus!

Posted on 27th February 2016

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It seems that the state of Texas has gone mad: they have passed a law there allowing guns to be carried on university campuses.

A Dean at the University of Texas, Frederick Steiner, is resigning because of this new legislation, (as reported in this BBC story) because he feels that it is not "appropriate" for higher education and does not "make logical sense"; he doesn't want to be be responsible for enforcing a law in which he doesn't believe. Good for you, Fred!

Given how much Texans love their guns, however, I suppose there is nothing to be done: the atrocities will happen, friends and family will mourn and demand changes to the law, but the gun lobby will yet again win the argument; claiming that more guns make us all safer. Common sense and hard fact will once again lose out to propaganda and lobbying by special interest groups.

A thought occurs to me, though. Maybe this will make it easier for the less intelligent students at UT to get a degree. Maybe all that will be necessary to get a degree will be to survive the whole course without getting shot.

Hypocrisy Over Gun-Control

Posted on 18th November 2015

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What an awesome example of hypocrisy from conservative anti-gun-control radio host Erick Erickson, reported in this short piece from Salon. Also, what an excellent headline: "Erick Erickson soils himself"!

Erick Erickson believes that "The best gun control in this country is an armed, honest citizenry who can shoot straight ... Instead of gun-free zones, we should allow law abiding, concealed carry permit holders to go where they wish with their guns." But not when it’s him that's at risk: he will not go to the cinema to see the new Star Wars movie on opening weekend because "there are no metal detectors in American theaters [sic]."

There is little hope for a nation (the USA) when the people listen to, and allow their opinions to be influenced by, such shallow and hypocritical thinking: thinking with the absence of thought!

I guess the influence that he has is a symptom of the sickness of the "cult of celebrity", which permeates US politics and public life. It doesn't matter how prejudiced, stupid and uneducated someone is; if they are famous for whatever reason, the public swoon at their pronouncements, irrespective of how patently wrong they may be. Thankfully, this public disease is rather less prevalent in Europe; I hope that doesn't change.

More on Gun Control

Posted on 9th July 2015

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I thought I would share this video with you. One of the best videos that I have seen in a long while.

Some of you may have seen the video clip already, as it has gone viral on some social media since it was posted.

This guy, Jim Jefferies, is an Australian stand-up comedian. He seems to be pretty brave, as he is performing for an American audience when he decides to discuss gun control (but seems to have survived). His routine is very funny but nevertheless factual and to the point.

Some of the language might offend some people (he is, after all, an Australian).

Pro-Gun Propaganda Debunked

Posted on 13th June 2014

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I found this article very interesting.

The whole issue of guns is very political in the USA, with the pro-gun lobby issuing lots of propaganda, in the form of statistics and other "statements of facts". It is nice to see someone challenging this propaganda.

In summary, the article says:

  • Myth #1: They're coming for your guns.

    It is clearly not practical to confiscate the 310 million privately owned guns in the USA.

  • Myth #2: Guns don't kill people - people kill people.

    There is a clear correlation between the number of people with guns, and the amount of gun murders. This strongly suggests a cause and effect relationship.

  • Myth #3: An armed society is a polite society.

    The facts show otherwise. Gun owners seem to be less polite and more aggressive.

  • Myth #4: More good guys with guns can stop rampaging bad guys.

    Again, the facts show otherwise. There have been no cases in the last 30 years where an armed civilian has stopped a mass shooting.

  • Myth #5: Keeping a gun at home makes you safer.

    Wrong again! Having a gun at home is strongly correlated with more risk.

  • Myth #6: Carrying a gun for self-defence makes you safer.

    Surprise: not true! Carrying a gun radically increases your chances of being shot or even killed.

  • Myth #7: Guns make women safer.

    Also not true! The chances of a woman being killed are much much higher if her parter (or ex-partner) owns a gun.

  • Myth #8: "Vicious, violent video games" deserve more blame than guns.

    So how do you explain why Japan is so much safer (in relation to gun homicides) than the USA: 1000 times safer?

  • Myth #9: More and more Americans are becoming gun owners.

    The actual trend is for more guns to be owned by fewer people. Why do these people need so many guns (an average of 7.9 per private gun owner)?

  • Myth #10: We don't need more gun laws - we just need to enforce the ones we have.

    The fact is that many gun regulations have loopholes, as a result of NRA lobbying (e.g. online gun sales do not require a background check).

Oh my god! Americans have guns!

Posted on 2nd May 2014

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Whilst I have the deepest sympathy for the father (and indeed all the family and friends) of the dead boy, quoted in this story, his statement beggars belief.

Diren Dede, 17, of Hamburg, was shot dead in Montana by Markus Kaarma, while Diren was trespassing in Markus' garage late at night.

Diren's father, Celal Dede, said that he would not have allowed his son to study in the US had he been aware of the lenient gun laws.

How can anyone be unaware, in this day and age, of the lenient gun laws in the USA? Hasn't he heard of Columbine, and all the other shooting incidents at schools and other locations? Hasn't he seen or heard any news about the various attempts (mostly failed) at federal, state and city level to control gun ownership? Is he really not aware of the power of the NRA as a political lobby?

I don't feel that the fact that Diren's parents are immigrants to Germany from Turkey is any excuse. Maybe if they had instead come from Apha Centauri that would explain how they had missed the decades of gun problems and political battles in the USA relating to guns and their licensing and control.

The other thing that I find bizarre is the suggestion that the father would have forbidden his son from going to the USA if he had known. Really? The son was 17 years old; almost old enough to vote and buy alcohol! Hasn't he heard that there are three ways to get something done:

  1. Do it yourself,
  2. Pay someone else to do it,
  3. Or forbid your children from doing it?