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Connecticut shootings: guns don’t kill people, lack of gun control kills people

After the mass shooting of children and their teachers in the United States of America a few days ago, some may say it is too soon to make a political point out of a personal tragedy. In reality, it is…

Mourners place flowers near Sandy Hook Elementary School after Friday’s shootings. EPA/Justin Lane

After the mass shooting of children and their teachers in the United States of America a few days ago, some may say it is too soon to make a political point out of a personal tragedy.

In reality, it is far, far too late. With the shooting deaths of 15 people at Columbine High School in 1999, 32 people at Virginia Tech University in 2007, 12 people in a Colorado movie theatre and seven people at a Wisconsin Sikh temple in the last six months alone, the moment to take action on the issue of gun control was before 26 people were shot to death by a gunman who also took his own life, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The gunman’s mother was also found dead in her Newtown home.

Other governments around the world have learned from such tragedies. Australia’s government introduced strict gun laws after the shooting deaths of 35 people in the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996.

In the public debate on gun control, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and pro-gun activists rely on a few key arguments to justify an individual’s right to own firearms. But if you strip away the millions of dollars organisations like the NRA spend on selling these arguments, how persuasive are they?

‘Guns don’t kill people. People kill people’

This sentiment is probably the best-known anti-gun control argument. But even on the most basic test of logic, it fails. The most that can really be argued is that people kill people, using guns. Pro-gun activists will argue that people also kill people using knives, but we don’t require them to get a licence before buying a kitchen cleaver. They also argue that people kill people using cars as a result of drunk or reckless driving, but we don’t ban automobiles.

Drawing an analogy between a gun and a car, or kitchen knife, is truly idiotic. The purpose of a car is to provide transport. If someone gets killed in a car, it is a tragic accident. The purpose of a kitchen knife is to chop food products. If someone gets stabbed, the knife is being used incorrectly. If someone gets shot with a gun, the firearm has fulfilled its purpose admirably.

If guns are so incidental to the act of killing, why then do we arm soldiers? Should we not instead send them into battle with a drunk driver, or perhaps a ceramic carving knife?

‘… the right of the people to keep and bear Arms’

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution declares that “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”.

The NRA relies so heavily on this argument that they have established an organisation called the Freedom Action Foundation to lobby in support of Second Amendment rights.

This amendment should not necessarily be viewed as an automatic right to carry an automatic weapon. The constitution was created following a war of independence where citizen militias rose up against an oppressive state.

In this historical context, it is understandable that the right to bear arms in order to fight for freedom would be deemed necessary. Centuries later, could a “well regulated militia” simply mean a police force managed by an elected government?

Or does it mean that individuals should carry automatic weapons and stockpile nuclear warheads just in case one day they need to overthrow the government? Surely the opportunity to bloodlessly vote them out every four years makes the purchase of grenades and rocket launchers somewhat redundant.

Shooting and hunting as an important cultural activity

In Spain, bullfighting is an important cultural activity, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t cruel or highly dangerous. The right to sports shooting seems to have particular strength in a country where in 2006 US Vice President Dick Cheney shot a friend in the face on a hunting trip, and was as popular as ever.

Introducing strict gun control does not, however, need to mean the end of sports shooting. Australia has an active sports shooting culture, where athletes can access weapons through licensed shooting clubs. But do they need to keep these deadly weapons at home? After all, elite rowers don’t keep a racing eight in the driveway to get in some extra training on the weekend.

Owning a gun will keep you safe

This is the biggest lie of all. Many gun owners are very capable of acting responsibly. They can follow procedures like locking up guns, and keeping ammunition separately. The NRA will even educate children on what to do if they find a gun! None of this changes the fact that people who carry guns are nearly five times more likely to be shot than those who don’t carry guns. Gun owners are also in the dangerous situation of having their weapons used against them by a member of their own family.

Gun owners may feel that if weapons are going to be available on the black market, then they should be able to defend themselves. But with an average of 230,000 guns stolen in property crimes every year in the USA, with 80% of these never recovered by the police, the proliferation of weapons in homes simply fuels the amount of weapons in the community.

Safer without guns

In a country where it seems that just about everyone has a firearm, gun control is essential, but won’t be an immediate fix. Sweeping gun reform, and even a constitutional amendment, will not prevent gun deaths in the short term. Attitudinal change to accept the reality that we are safer not with, but without, guns will take a generation.

In the meantime, it won’t be long before someone suggests that the Sandy Hook tragedy would not have occurred if only every teacher carried a gun. This is the worst argument of all.

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221 Comments sorted by

  1. John Coochey

    Mr

    Nonsense and cherry picking! A few points, over half of gun related deaths in the US are suicides. Gun deaths have been falling per capita in the US due in part to a decline in the inner city cocaine trade. When you correct ethnically the murder rate in the US is the same as Canada, Canada has fewer blacks and hispanics than the US. These ethnic groups have much higher violent crime rates than whites. Eighty five per cent of homicides one or both of the participants (perpetrator and/or victim will…

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    1. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to John Coochey

      Got links to prove it?
      Not wishy washy, but statistics that are peer reviewed?

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      Glad to see you don't know much about us up here, John. Just like you don't know much about science & engineering on the climate issues.

      Maybe you should study more before pumping out drivel, eh John? You're just embarrassing yourself in public.
      ;]

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    3. Andy Saunders

      Consultant

      In reply to John Coochey

      John Coochey

      Your first point (assuming it is correct) is an excellent argument for highly-restrictive gun controls. Do you know for sure that you (or a close friend or relative) won't be feeling suicidal tomorrow, or next year and reach for a convenient firearm?

      Oh, of course you or they could use a household poison, toxic drug or even a kitchen knife, but the chances of survival are higher, and, guess what, those suicide methods are also highly-regulated (perhaps less so in the case of the kitchen knife...). We as a society cannot stop every suicide (and every accidental death) but we can certainly target the main causes. Insisting on prescription-only drugs, poison labels and knife sale restrictions has probably (and I'm talking in the statistical sense) saved many lives and trauma, at a comparatively modest social cost. Most of the world outside the USA knows that gun restrictions do likewise.

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    4. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      TB, talk about a "bit of a silly response" -- you expect folks to believe you were actually in the army when you can't even make definite statement about "silly" and haven't the nerve to use a real name?

      Now that is "silly", TB. Not wimpy "a bit of a silly".
      ;]

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      TB, you've excelled: "you may just have a man-crush on me."

      That would suggest someone afraid to use a real name or make a call is indeed a "man".
      ;]

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  2. John Coochey

    Mr

    PS the Braham link does not work it simply goes to a secondary source

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    1. John Coochey

      Mr

      In reply to John Coochey

      Corrigenda and request for a source. Does anyone have a link to the Bramas paper which claims those carrying guns have higher assault rates than those who do not (ie as victims). I cannot find the paper, merely comments and abstracts. Has anyone who has read it can give me the link please. Did it include security guards and police in its sample or did it not say?

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    2. Peter Kelly

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to John Coochey

      The Branas study is freely (and easily) accessible: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2759797/
      Self-inflicted, unintentional and police-related shootings were excluded from the study, although police officers who were shot constituted 0.09% of the total individuals who had been shot during the study period.
      The study found an average of 4.77 shootings per day in Philadelphia during the study period.

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    1. John Coochey

      Mr

      In reply to Citizen SG

      I have been told on good authority that the highest gun ownership per capita is actually Belgium but I have not checked that out.

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  3. Gary Myers

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Americans will place strong restrictions on gun access around the same time Australians put similar restrictions on alcohol. A considerable proportion of both populations see it as a regular recreational activity which a minority of people handle improperly, harming themselves and others.

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  4. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    Although apparantly we don't see in any problem with the idea of Syrians (not to mention foreign fighters) bearing arms - kalashnikovs, explosives, anti-aircraft missiles, RPGs etc. In fact, by and large we are rather in favour of it.

    What happened in the US is a fairly minor incident compared with the mayhem we have lovingly brought to fruition in Syria. Shouldn't we be more concerned with bringing gun control to Aleppo and Damascus than worrying about comparatively minor incidents in rural US? If they want to bring in gun control, they will, if they don't, they won't It doesn't really concern us one way or the other.

    Or are American children more valuable than Syria ones?

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    1. Greg Horgan

      The Bush Philosopher

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean - "fairly minor incident". Geez mate. Get a grip! That comment is extremely insensitive.

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    2. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Ahhh, this is where my values differ from my compatriots.

      You see I find our complicity in the meltdown in Syria extremely insensitive - actually no, I find it totally obscene. But I have learned to accept these failings in my fellow man. And I realize that while I find silence in the face of preventable tragedy appalling, others see it as rather sophisticated.

      So hopefully you will find a similar forgiveness for my failings in regards to this incident.

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      So you volunteering in Bosnia, Sean? Rwanda? Maybe you helped depose Idi Amin?

      This would be good if Jay Leno reinstituted his game skit "Point, What's Your Point"
      ;]

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  5. James Jenkin

    EFL Teacher Trainer

    Three impassioned responses to the shootings in the Conversation today.

    Yet between them there's only one reference to any data to support the gun-control argument (the Philadelphia study).

    I personally hate guns. But do we read articles here just to reinforce our feelings? A lot of bright people support gun ownership, so don't we want to know why?

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    1. John Coochey

      Mr

      In reply to James Jenkin

      Can anyone produce this Philadelphia study? I am not saying it does not exist but if anyone has actually read it can they please give the link? I do not want to have to go to the National Library if I do not have to.

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    2. Adam Britton

      Senior Research Associate at Charles Darwin University

      In reply to James Jenkin

      Here's another one then, highly relevant I think.

      http://m.injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/12/6/365.full

      Written in 2006, it shows that in the 10 years following gun law reforms in Australia after the Port Arthur massacre, there were zero mass shootings in Australia. This is compared with 13 mass shootings in the 18 years prior to those reforms. Gun law reforms also resulted in accelerated declines in firearms-related deaths. This is pretty compelling evidence that supports the common-sense logic that fewer people are killed with guns when fewer people have guns.

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  6. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    We see the usual BS from James & Sean, until they might unhappily be personally affected. But such is one difference between being human and being a person.

    I go with Justice Scalia (though he's generally a disgrace to us Italian Americans) -- Scalia intoned mightily that the words of our Constitution should be "interpreted as they were understood at the time".

    The second Amendment really discusses the public's right to maintain a "well-organized militia" and adds the right to "bear arms…

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    1. John Coochey

      Mr

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Sorry but it is not your role to interpret the Second Amendment other than your own personal view. This issue has been covered in a number of cases most recently in Washington. The US Courts have consistently upheld the right to own modern firearms. Live with it. The murder rate is much higher in Mexico where they do not have the Second Amendment.

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    2. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      "We see the usual BS from James & Sean, until they might unhappily be personally affected"
      Just to make it clear. I don't have an opinion about what the gun laws should be in America whatsoever. Since I wasn't an eye witness at Sandy Nook I don't feel I am in possession of sufficient facts to know what took place, let alone draw any inferences about what should be done in response. This is not to say others might feel so justified, just that they possess a level of confidence about the modern world that I personally lack.
      All I said was that American gun laws were best left to Americans to decide. If they feel strongly that the right to bear arms represents a bedrock guarantee of their constitutional rights, they might be right - for all I know.

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      My god you live in a scary place Alex.

      Anyway, just thought I'd pass on our profound sympathy and sadness at this. There were a lot of wet eyes here watching this awful business on TV.

      Increasingly I think this issue is in fact a public health problem - combined of course with access to assault rifles, RPGs and god-knows-what else. What is the madness that drives people to commit such atrocities - and the madness that sees other folks demand their "rights" to such an arsenal at home. What next WMD's?

      And this is supposed to keep them safe and secure. Doesn't look like it's working does it? There's a madness to it.

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    4. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Hey John, tell that to Scalia! Remember, you're on the way to an F here.
      ;]

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Thanks for your sympathies, Peter. The problem is, as usual, $.

      The various gun lobbies make $ by stifling our democratic institutions. The gun manufacturers make $ by selling more gins than people, and selling to foreign terror & drug groups, via our poor regulations -- they'll never admit that, but just as with the worldwide campaign against land mines, we're the largest producer of all manner of weapons treasured around the world.

      Lots of $ in that and available to influence unscrupulous politicians, like the Gov. of Colorado, whose answer to gun regulation after Aurora was: "Well he could have made a bomb."

      Until we send a few gun execs to Gitmo for engaging in the support of terrorism, things will be hard to change. But, just maybe, slimebags like those under our NRA';s thumb in Congress, will be moved by the sacrifice of 20 first-grade kids.

      Such is the difference between humans and people.

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  7. Edwin Flynn

    I am a early retired executive at Worked in Local Government, Education and Financial Services Industries

    I love guns. I like the feeling of satisfaction of shooting at a target from a distance and hitting the mark. I remember the thrill of hitting a target. Do I own a gun? No, not any more. I debate gun control with a friend of mine, who still owns several, on a regular basis. I must point out that my friend is a very responsible gun owner. He collects antique guns and has meticulously restored some to mint condition. The guns are locked up properly and like all legal gun owners may be subjected…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Edwin Flynn

      Excellent comments, Edwin. Our situation in the US is both illogical and untenable.

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  8. Laurie Willberg

    Journalist

    Has anyone bothered to notice that the majority of these U.S. massacres have been committed by people taking anti-depressant drugs?
    This is not about "gun control" at all.

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    1. Dave Phillips

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      YEP got it in one!

      FIREARMS REFRESHER COURSE

      1. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
      2. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.
      3. Colt: The original point and click interface.
      4. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.
      5. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?
      6. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.
      7. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.
      8. If you don't know your rights, you don't have any.
      9. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.
      10. The United States Constitution (c)1791. All Rights Reserved.
      11. What part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?
      12. The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the others.
      13. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.
      14. Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians.
      15. Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety.
      16. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.

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    2. Andy Saunders

      Consultant

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Dave Phillips

      Re 11.: What part of "well-regulated" do you not understand? Or can we pick and choose parts of the Constitution to apply now?

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Good, Dave! You just showed how silly the argument for arbitrary gun ownership is...

      'What part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?'

      Like what "arms" meant toi the writers of that sentence you so admire?

      Or: "If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?" -- you can't use a blade longer than a few inches in Calif. But, I can shoot you in Yosemite Park with my assault rifle, while you;re pulling your illegal knife (or sword).
      ;]
      Keep trying, Dave, you're just adding to the dead weight (excuse the pun) of the 'argument' the gun industry hopes folks like you parrot.

      Hmmm, who's in "control"? Can;t wait to hear how you and your fully-automatic, AK or whatever, make out against a SWAT team you imagine is coming to steal your rightful weapons & ammo.
      ;]

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    4. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Laurie, you mean there are some of us not on anti-depressants?
      ;]
      So drugs kill, but guns that no one needs, or should have, don't?

      Just trying to get hold of the level of absurdity here.

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    5. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      @Dave Philips

      Not smart enough to write your own comments. You have to copy and paste some trite tripe from the internet.

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Edwin Flynn

      The killings in Mexico, with US weapons, are related to drugs being sold to US citizens. The two sources of death are only related by the single source of weapons -- us.

      The Pres. of Mexico has been pleading for return of our assualt weapons ban, because they've been losing so many police, not just drug gang members, to our guns.

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  9. Iain Wicking

    Director

    The gun problem in the US is particularly unique problem to them. The reason being that guns have been mythologised throughout US history, are entrenched in their political system, ingrained at every level of society and are treated as consumer items which is driven by a large and powerful industry group. Imposing controls would probably produce a 'prohibition' effect and immediately create a highly lucrative black market. Besides this there are already an estimated 200m+ guns in circulation in…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Iain Wicking

      Yes, we have a John Wayne & cowboy fetish that's morphed into automatic weapons for wimpy 'collectors', losers and more exciting drug gangs -- just watch our TV, or movies.

      We actually have over 300 million guns in the US. And we indeed do buybacks, some of which were stimulated this weekend by the insane murders our gun industry assisted in at Newtown.

      However, the Assault Weapons Ban, that was allowed to expire in 2004, had indeed reduced gun violence & deaths by about 30%, measured from both before and after its tenure.

      There is no excuse for privately owning any firearm that doesn't require two-handed ejection and cartridge loading upon each firing.

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  10. Yuri Pannikin

    Director

    I note that Premier Newman in Queensland is attempting to 'loosen up' gun controls in that state.

    Of course, he says he's not, but that's exactly what he's doing by reducing administrative controls.

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      Yuri, have Newman man up & call Mayor Bloomberg of NYC, so he can explain to Newman what good gun laws and enforcement accomplish -- such as lowest gun deaths in th US for cities, reduction in crime every year for the past 20 years... You know, the things elected officials are supposed to be elected to accomplish for their constituents rather than for their lobbyists.
      ;]
      Here, make it easy for Newman to man up:
      212-NEW-YORK

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  11. Yoron Hamber

    Thinking

    Nah, guns is what kills very well. And those Countries with a lot of guns on the loose will get more killings. The paper is correct and you only have to compare gun related statistics for countries that craves hard legislation to see it. On the other hand there is this idea of 'defending' yourself and your home, and that might be seen as a right too. And then we have those thinking that their machine guns and limited ammunition will be able to overthrow a democratically chosen government, in case they go 'bad', meaning 'they no longer act as I want them too' :)

    But guns kill, and a lot of guns will kill, a lot.

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  12. Edwin Flynn

    I am a early retired executive at Worked in Local Government, Education and Financial Services Industries

    Having thought about this shocking event over the past few days I have decided to make the following claim. I challenge any of you people arguing that the USA is not ready to impose meaningful gun control on the holding of military assault rifles to refute my claim.

    "If a society has "progressed" so far that its people cannot agree to ban their toys in the face of the mindless slaughter of so many of their its children, than clearly it has no future and it has progressed itself closer toward oblivion."

    If parents can justify that so many million gun bearers have not killed anyone in the last 24 hours, than we are seeing the demise of a great civilization.

    If we rejoice that it was someone else's child that got killed and not ours our society is already in the scrapheap of failed civilizations.

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    1. Firozali A.Mulla

      PhD

      In reply to Edwin Flynn

      I must say this is a brave act but who will bell th ecat ihas been the question all our lives I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

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  13. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Guns don't kill people. Americans kill people.

    Here's an excellent bit of computer wizardry - a global map showing gun ownership per capita, the number of gun murders per year and the percentage of murders involving guns. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2012/jul/22/gun-ownership-homicides-map

    Have a look at the US and its immediate neighbours. As Michael Moore has observed the comparison with Canada shows something seriously wrong with violence and access to guns in the US that suggests it's not the guns alone.

    I'd also have a hunch that the propensity to acts of random mass murder could be mapped within the US state by state with interesting results. Doesn't seem to happen on the coasts. Anyone seen a map like that?

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    1. John Coochey

      Mr

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      There was a study which I have already mentioned comparing Chicago with a Canadian city I forget which one, and when it was controlled for ethnicity the murder rates were comparable. This was largely because the crack cocaine trade was at that time an inner city black thing.

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Actually, Peter, CT & OR are nearly coastal. What must be examined are state laws, as well as demographics. I'm from NJ, which has good gun laws. Gangs in Camden just drive across the Delaware river to Philly, etc. and buy guns to bring back.

      Thanks for the map link.

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  14. John Coochey

    Mr

    PROBLEM SOLVED IT WAS THE SAFE THAT DID IT! It was not necessary to repeal the Second Amendment, it was not necessary to ban automatic rifles, it was not necessary to ban prozac. The latest press reports indicate the mother, the first victim, shot with her own firearms which were not locked away. So all that needs to be done is make firearm owners have and use proper storage facilities. Problem solved. In regard to someone who thinks restricting firearms lowers suicide you only have to look at the Queensland case where restrictions were brought in before 96, suicides did decline in the next year but soared in the subsequent periods to make up the deficit as it were. This is almost the universal experience when one method of suicide is removed, eg coal gas in the UK being replaced by North Sea gas, the rate will drop momentarily and then rise in subsequent periods using alternative methods

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  15. Firozali A.Mulla

    PhD

    America’s seems to be in for another debate over gun regulation after the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School left 27 (mostly children) dead. So it’s worth reviewing five made against regulating gun ownership in the United States: Is it too late too slow for us to act on this is the question now not what has happened and the answer is we have neglect the guns control laws A survey by researchers at the Harvard University School of Public Health found strong statistical support for the idea that, even if you control for poverty levels, more people die from gun homicides in areas with higher rates of gun ownership And despite what gun advocates say, countries like Israel and Switzerland don’t disprove the point This is from many net "LAW ON GUNS"
    I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

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  16. Firozali A.Mulla

    PhD

    ADD Not necessarily. As the New Republic’s Amy Sullivan reported after the series of mass shootings this summer, a majority of Americans would prefer both to enforce existing law more strictly and pass new regulations on guns when given the option to choose both rather than either/or. Specific gun regulations are also often more popular than the abstract idea. While we sympathise the dead and the families we have failed the task of keeping guns in control I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

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  17. Firozali A.Mulla

    PhD

    From the DT UK Latest updates as Barack Obama arrives in Connecticut to meet with families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting...Families are filing into a large lecture style hall in a somewhat surreal atmosphere. There is a hum of conversation as people greet and hug people they know. Several hundred people are in here already. There are a large number of elementary school age children with their parents. Some of the kids are carrying cuddly toys and teddies, including several with small light brown soft dogs. The whole scene this week end has been a tragic one on the one issue IS UISA DOING ANYTHING ON THIS? I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

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  18. Firozali A.Mulla

    PhD

    While I ma on this I notre there some UTUBES WWW as attached this is not the point of the conversation it you who has to comment WE would love to hear your voice and not hearsay I thank you FirozaliA.Mulla DBA

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  19. Erin O'Brien

    Lecturer Faculty of Law, School of Justice at Queensland University of Technology

    It has been very interesting to read all these comments, and I appreciate your interest in my piece. I wanted to respond briefly to another anti-gun control argument that has emerged in this forum. That is the argument that it is not the gun that was the problem, but the person on drugs, or the person with mental illness, or the fact that the guns were not properly locked away.

    Firstly, on this issue of a gun safe, why should we presume that adult family members will not know the combination…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Erin O'Brien

      Eerin,

      I think it is also worth distinguishing between the "background level" of murder ... the use of guns as a business tool for gangsters, the murder of the wife after she's left the cap off the toothpaste AGAIN ... though this is bad enough - and these acts of random mass murder.

      There is a different psychology at work here - a different sort of madness, individual and seething with hate and anger. At everything.

      The former - the "background level" is obviously related to the number of guns and a violence culture. The latter is all that and much more.

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Erin O'Brien

      Cool, we have TB (good!) who hasn't the gumption to use a real name saying he (assumed) won't let "knee-jerk reactions control my life" and "In the scheme of things, horrible as it is, 20 people isn't that many Americans" -- tell that to your neighbors, TB. Fly up here and say that anywhere in the USA, mate -- what, no guts?

      See what happens when the next flood or fire rolls in and you expect their help. They'll probably help anyway, because they surely have more class, eh TB?
      ;]

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    3. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Erin O'Brien

      @Moderators

      Why are we arguing with an anonymous coward called Troll Bait?

      The rest of us use our real names. If you have a policy of requiring real names, then it becomes a bit of a joke if you do not enforce it.

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    4. Stephen Tanner

      traveller

      In reply to Erin O'Brien

      Great article Erin,

      I would just like to add something to the discussion.

      Whilst there are a couple of exceptions the states and areas with the most guns and highest gun related injuries and deaths are the poorest. Inner city Detroit, New Orleans, South Carolina and Tennesee for example.
      Whilst greater regulation of hand guns and assault rifles seems a no brainer to me and and an easier short term proposition (probably still to bloody hard though), addressing poverty, inequality and education would bring about a greater reduction in gun crime.

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Erin O'Brien

      TB reaches a new height in gutlessness!

      Call me, TB, if you dare. 65o 4 hundred 3o 71 (USA)

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    6. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Erin O'Brien

      We agree, TB! Your presence is "just noise".
      ;]
      But man up & call anyway -- phone's on!

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    7. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Erin O'Brien

      Phone's still on TB, no guts no glory! Does this stuff you drip out ever work on any blog?
      ;]

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    8. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Erin O'Brien

      C'mon TB, stop being a tease. Call me, so I can at least get your name -- you know, the one you're afraid to use. You can do, TB, if you just stop wimping out.
      ;]

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    9. John Coochey

      Mr

      In reply to Erin O'Brien

      There are biometric safes available now at low cost. They can only be opened by those who have been programmed into the safe. Likewise it is an offence in Australia to allow people access to your firearms if they are not licensed not only for that class of firearm but those specific firearms.

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    10. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Erin O'Brien

      JohnC's "biometric safes", etc. So John, get Australia to put you in charge of being sure all those gun owners have all that stuff working and never lose track of it. You could start a company, if you could get liability insurance for when your idea might not quite work.

      When you've got it all perfected, come up here and branch out. Our lawyers will be happy to observe your 'success'.

      Remember, the question you fail to answer -- what 'manly' useful things do you do with your automatic weapons?

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  20. Michael Shand
    Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Software Tester

    Great Article, I always love the response that we dont need to restrict Gun ownership because Guns dont kill people, people kill people...

    Therefor we cant ban military grade assualt rifle's?

    Nuke's dont kill people, people kill people....its still true but who in their right mind thinks that means we shouldnt regulate who has a Nuke?

    Gun advocates are dishonest, they do want weapons to be regulated, they want grenandes to be restricted and nukes and biochemical weapons and rocket launchers restricted, they want all kinds of restrictions but they cant say that because they are idealouge's. The line needs to be drawn somewhere, we all agree on regulating availability of weapons, its just one side is completely dishonest about it and so we cant have that discussion

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  21. Mike Hansen

    Mr.

    Malcolm Turnbull summed up the issue in his tweet reply to Rupert Murdoch's hyprocrisy

    Murdoch: "Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy"

    Turnbull: "@rupertmurdoch I suspect they will find the courage when Fox News enthusiastically campaigns for it.’

    Americans face the same problem with guns as Australians face with pokies or Indonesians face with tobacco or the whole world faces with fossil fuels. Once a toxic industry gets established it has the money to buy politicians, media and influence and it becomes very difficult to rein in.

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  22. Pamela H.

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    To whoever said that 'a lot of bright people support gun ownership', I say, a lot of not so bright people support gun ownership also.

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Pamela H.

      And, a lot of "bright" people have been killed because of "bright" advocates of irresponsible gun availability.

      It's past time for us adults with guns to stand against the money-driven lobbies, manufacturers and pressure groups, like NRA, that exploit not so "bright" people to foolishly serve them, while they dis-serve all.

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  23. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Re the distribution of US gun deaths by state - found one: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/01/the-geography-of-gun-deaths/69354/

    Well worth a careful read actually ... nice stats.

    And this is the guts of the story:

    "What about politics? It's hard to quantify political rhetoric, but we can distinguish blue from red states. Taking the voting patterns from the 2008 presidential election, we found a striking pattern: Firearm-related deaths were positively associated with states…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks again, Peter.

      Our US problem is really twofold: 1) remaining, exploitable racism & anger associated with the beaten Confederacy, and 2) the influence of moneyed interests, like the Kochs and others over the years, exploiting the exodus of the Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party in the '50s, first to solidly embarrassing national losses (aspiring President Strom Thurmond), then absorption into the Republican Party, which had never been powerful in our South.

      So the Red states (interesting…

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  24. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    And here is the "Philadelphia study" requested by John Coochey.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2759797/

    Seriously John how often do you go to the library to bone up on stuff?

    Gotta love the interweb, aside from the presence of ticks like "Troll Bait" here. What is it about computers and binary code that attracts these dehumanised creeps?

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Nick O'Malley has some figures in an article in The Age

      "So far this year, more than 140 people have been killed or injured in mass shootings in the United States. There have been 70 mass shootings in America since 1982, and seven of those occurred this year."
      "According to an analysis by the US's The New Republic, 45 per cent of fatalities in mass shootings in the past 30 years were killed since 2007.

      http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/weighing-the-price-of-gun-freedom-20121216-2bhk8.html

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks for the link, Mike. Yes, the Assault Weapons ban worked. It did, Congress didn't.

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Good question, Peter. Combining an Internet connection with lack of a life may be an answer.
      ;]

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  25. Belal Haniffa

    Medical Student

    "Introducing strict gun control does not, however, need to mean the end of sports shooting. Australia has an active sports shooting culture, where athletes can access weapons through licensed shooting clubs. But do they need to keep these deadly weapons at home? After all, elite rowers don’t keep a racing eight in the driveway to get in some extra training on the weekend."

    What a stupid comparison. Shooting sports are more akin to archery, and it is perfectly reasonable for an archer to keep their equipment at home for when they want to practice, especially if they practice on private property.

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  26. Stephen Larsson

    Consultant

    For a junior academic the author has a lot to learn about remaining objective. Ms O'Brien asserts if someone gets stabbed, "the knife is being used incorrectly" but if someone gets shot with a gun "the firearm has fulfilled its purpose admirably". Really.

    Firearms, like knives, baseball bats, cars, syringes, the internet and cigarette lighters can be used for good or for evil. Only an irrational zealot would deny the 'good' that firearms can be used for such as winning Olympic medals or humanely and efficiently controlling feral animals.

    As horrific as these events are, the antagonists in the firearm debate should put aside their personal biases and calmly seek out and consider independent expert opinion like that of UK forensic psychotherapist Dr Gwen Adshead and her colleagues: http://www.bmj.com/content/335/7625/837.pdf%2Bhtml

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Stephen Larsson

      I am sitting here trying to imagine a "good use" for an assault rifle in the rumpus room. I'm having trouble. Your short list would be most welcome Stephen.

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Stephen Larsson

      Peter, that firearm has made good $ for some dealer and manufacturer, and maybe even contributed to a politician's election fund.
      ;]

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    3. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Stephen Larsson

      As can atomic bombs, following your logic :)
      Logic is a fascinating thing, you make some premises and then you build the logic on those. And as long as no one look at the ground they stand on :)

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  27. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    It's a curious sort of justification for guns - this craving for sports and targets.
    You'd think with all this weaponry about and these skeet enthusiasts the yanks would actually be pretty good at it. But they ain't.

    Have a look at the list of medals won by the USA in the Olypmic shooting events since 1900

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

    No wonder they need assault rifles.

    Maybe they'd do better if there were moving or huddling targets.

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Now you've stepped over the line, Peter!
      ;]
      But I recall challenging the token woman president of the NRA to a pistol match, but she demurred, maybe because I insisted she not wear her wimpy wrist brace.
      ;]

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    2. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Alex: "Now you've stepped over the line, Peter!"

      You'll have to forgive Peter; he's our resident "American-hating racist". Shame really, because he sometimes talks some sense.

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    3. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, good. No, Americans are not a race, nor is their behaviour homogeneous. So yes, let's not talk like that.

      On this issue, we feel the same, and I understand that anger and disbelief is somewhat appropriate.

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    4. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, bit misleading. Assault rifles are generally not available to the public in America (bar a few nutty states that love their guns a bit too much). The semi-auto rifles that look similar are available, but that is not the same thing.

      There is also a lot more competition shooting categories around other than those contested in the Olympics. I don't see 1000m .308 target shooting on the list, but my work colleague just represented Australia in that event.

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      TimS, nice try: "Assault rifles are generally not available to the public in America " -- come on up!

      And, as a gun owner & shooter for 50+ years, there's no need for any but manual load/eject/reload mechanisms. In fact, even semi-auto guns are useless for sport (as our recently dispensed-with candidate used the term).

      We have yet to hear anyone mouthing off against control of automated weapons here explain what personal, productive use they have had for them.

      Want to try, Tim?

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    6. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Alex, give it a break. You are emoting and completely misunderstanding what an assault rifle is and how it differs from a semi-auto rifle. But not just that, you are biased into believing that there is no sport or hunting that would ever use a semi-auto rifle or handgun.

      Have you actually seen the handgun trials? Have you seen the rifle trials? Have you seen pig/boar shooters? E.g. Winchester semi-auto rifle hunting feral boar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnqptBYfESI

      As for personal productive…

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    7. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      TimS, given your concern with "ad hom" talk, where does "You are emoting and completely misunderstanding what an assault rifle is and how it differs from a semi-auto rifle" sit?

      Banning full-auto does nothing. The kids you seem to say were ok to kill with semi-auto might differ with you, and others, if they just could.

      Your nitpicking about "sport" shooting & "competitions" is absurd.

      You know well that being able to pop off rounds as fast as one can pull a trigger isn't sport or hunting…

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  28. John Coochey

    Mr

    First thanks to those who gave me the links to the Philadelphiastudy here is a key paragraph
    "However, compared with control participants, shooting case participants were significantly more often Hispanic, more frequently working in high-risk occupations1,2, less educated, and had a greater frequency of prior arrest. At the time of shooting, case participants were also significantly more often involved with alcohol and drugs, outdoors, and closer to areas where more Blacks, Hispanics, and unemployed individuals resided. Case participants were also more likely to be located in areas with less income and more illicit drug trafficking"

    Thank you for proving my point. People who have dangerous occupations live in poor areas and are involved with drugs tend to get shot in the US. I also not that the response rate to the survey was only about half and the study involved matched pairs a rather hazardous statistical technique

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      Thanks for showing you're impressed by old news, John. So your point is?

      Maybe you want to make more repeating weapons and distribute at under-market prices to poor folks "involved with drugs", etc?

      Actually, your stats can also be checked to see the high percentage of weapons that aren't bought, but are stolen -- maybe complete with locks and in their "biometric" cabinets. Those really work, John, eh?..

      Might also look at the rate at which US weapons are used against their owners, during the commission of a crime?

      So again we see your argument is off in another, irrelevant dimension.

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    2. Peter Kelly

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to John Coochey

      Your 'dangerous occupations' include: Taxicab drivers, store owners and gas stations workers (data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 'Preventing Homicide in the workplace')

      Firearms are used in 75% of occupational homicides, with taxicab operators having the highest rate of occupational homicide. 26.9 homicides per 100,000 workers.

      I'm failing to see how the Branas study presents any argument against gun control.

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      Peter, just as climate deniers & fact avoiders do, fluffing around in partial truths and misleading sources is part & parcel of some folks' intent to misinform others. In a sense, it's like an automatic weapon -- the operator is at fault.
      ;]

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    4. Andy Saunders

      Consultant

      In reply to John Coochey

      John,

      Classy! So no need for gun control because it's only the trash like hispanics, blacks and unemployed that get involved with firearm incidents? Silly me, I thought they were human too (and some I thought might even be American).

      Thanks for setting me straight. I always thought correlation and causation were different, now, thanks to you, I know better...

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  29. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Last minute Xmas gifts anyone?

    http://texasguntrader.com/

    I recall one of the most awful and disconcerting nights of my life in Dallas where I was attending a forum of the Young Presidents' Foundation with my then boss in the 1980's. All teeth, tuxedos and limousines.

    After a sumptuous feast and a swag of dessert-curdling speeches, the lads (90% were lads) retired to the drawing room for cigars and whiskey. After a few rounds talk turned to guns. And my jaw hit the ground as folks started…

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    1. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Sure is. The way the restaurant food is now we all need a gun, or two? But I draw a line at bazookas..

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, we call these guys "heroes in waiting" -- they'll unholster at just the right moment to save wooses like us when that mugger attacks.

      But, oops, their records aren't very solid. Like the one 'carrying' guy at Gabby Giffords' group shoot. He had a visible belt holster and never drew. Asked why later, he said he was afraid someone else carrying would think him the shooter.

      A concealed weapon might "pump you up", but thse guys show their true wimpiness when the rubber hits the road.

      But, they do provide a ready source of registered weapons for burglars & muggers.
      ;]

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, put Troll in charge of following up where those guns went over the years, and how many injuries they helped cause after they left the owners you met.

      There must be some use for TB.

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  30. Sandra Kwa

    Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

    Doesn't it boil down to: gun control works, proven? So if you want fewer indiscriminate innocent victims you do what works. Unless you think those victims are a fair price to pay for the sense of power, security, pleasure or whatever the attraction is enjoyed by one sector of society who are into guns for whatever reason. It's certainly not necessity.

    Thank you Erin, I enjoyed your article. Sometimes when I see how insulting people can be on online forums, I think lucky they are not face to face…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      Very true, Sandra. And what we're after is preventing all folks from having to fear those who need unreasonable arms to prop up their own psyches.

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  31. John Coochey

    Mr

    When is Alex actually going to come up with a coherent argument?

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  32. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Hey Yuri...

    Three small issues:

    (1) Americans are not a "race".... a delightful hotchpotch of races, ethnicities and nationalities as amply demonstrated in the recent election.
    (2) I don't hate them or anyone else for that matter - but I don't like a lot of what happens there - politically, economically and culturally. Especially the food.
    (3) And I find it tragic that to the list of dangerous occupations and high risk activities that can get one shot in the USA we can now add being a preschooler.

    Too sad for pointscoring.

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  33. Shanna Cowell

    logged in via Facebook

    These types of tragedies are committed by and large by folks who, among other things, have poor impulse control. Something in their lives angered them and they "go postal". Lack of impulse control is traced to poor development in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This area can be strengthened and enhanced by simple meditation techniques. Even on people who were only trained for a few minutes a day for several weeks, there were noticeable and lasting changes to the pre-frontal cortex--even if they discontinued their practice.
    Gun control won't work because the genie is out of the bottle--too many guns already in this country and too entrenched a culture of guns. But start teaching simple mindfulness awareness techniques to kindergarteners and in 20 years this type of problem would become a distant memory.
    http://brainimaging.waisman.wisc.edu/~lutz/
    http://esciencenews.com/articles/2011/01/21/mindfulness.meditation.training.changes.brain.structure.8.weeks

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Shanna Cowell

      Now we see why psychologists are held in low esteem...

      "Gun control won't work because the genie is out of the bottle--too many guns already in this country and too entrenched a culture of guns. But start teaching simple mindfulness awareness techniques to kindergarteners and in 20 years this type of problem would become a distant memory. "

      Tell that to the parents & relatives killed over more than the past 20 years because of our foolish gun laws, put in place by wimply politicians sucking up to gun manufacturer & club lobbies to get campaign $ and avoid primary challenges from other hacks.

      Our assault weapons ban did work, which is why it was intensely lobbied by the industry to expire.

      This is as about as disgracefully naive a comment as I've ever seen on this site, and there have been many disgraceful ones.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Coochey

      Now now John, that FBI page is not about firarms but about violent crime which includes murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Gun crime is not specifically identified (which in itself is rather interesting).

      In fact if you look down in the footnotes you'll find this:

      "Information collected regarding type of weapon showed that firearms were used in 67.7 percent of the nation’s murders, 41.3 percent of robberies, and 21.2 percent of aggravated assaults. (Weapons data are not collected for forcible rape.)"

      More to the point John, I cannot find any mention of crack or crims killing crims or the like. Did you just make that up?

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    2. Peter Kelly

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to John Coochey

      @ John Coochey

      Table 12 "Crime Trends by Population Group" provides a counterpoint to your argument, revealing that murder and non-negligent manslaughter has only fallen 0.8% between 2010 and 2011 in cities. Even the 1 mil+ population (Group 1) subset, if we class that as a proxy for 'inner city' shows only a 4% decrease in homicides.

      Table 8 shows that firearms remain the predominant weapon for homicide. Table 9 further illustrating that firearms were used in 67.8% of homicides.

      Nine infants (under 1) were killed by firearms in 2011. 46 children between the ages of 1 and 4 were killed by firearms in 2011. (Table 9)

      Those are horrific statistics that could potentially have been avoided.

      "...due to the mitigation of the crack cocaine trade...."
      I'm not sure even Table 11 "Murder Circumstances by Weapon, 2011" could be used to support that hypothesis.

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  34. John Coochey

    Mr

    First thanks to Peter Ormonde for proving my point once again, if you read the tables correctly you wills see it is easy to extract the murder rates and the fact that murders do not always involve firearms again proves my point, or one of them. I quick glance will show that NY is not particularly safe it is three times the rate of Hawaii and a tenth of Puerto Rico which proves another of my points that US violence is largely ethnically based. Regarding crack cocaine this is well known a good starting point would be Wikepedia not to be trusted on its own but than just because something is written down does not make it true the Conversation unfortunately being the ultimate proof. If you have information to the contrary I would like to hear it.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Coochey

      No John ... no wriggling about ... you made up the stuff about crack and crims killing crims didn't you?

      No on here or anywhere is saying that guns are the only tool of choice involved in violent crime - and as the FBI notes in the US - just 67.7% of them. Have a look at that global map from the Guardian I posted here and see how that compares with anywhere else on the planet.

      In other words, if someone cuts you off in traffic or pinches your slot at the car par, you reach for the Glock…

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    2. John Coochey

      Mr

      In reply to John Coochey

      In response to Peter Ormonde who seems incapable of doing his own research here is a starting point from America Today

      WASHINGTON — A spike in murders in many cities is claiming a startling number of victims with criminal records, police say, suggesting that drug and gang wars are behind the escalating violence.
      Police increasingly explore criminal pasts of homicide victims as well as suspects as they search for sources of the violence, which has risen the past two years after a decade of decline…

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      John, you certainly know you have no "point". We know people can be murdered in many ways. The way we wish to avoid is automatic weapons.

      So again, for the nth time, John, enlighten us on how you use your automatic weapons in manly, productive ways.

      Can't answer?

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  35. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    First up - let's give these preschoolers the benefit of the doubt regarding their criminal records.

    Secondly, you have taken a report from Baltimore - a centre of extreme ganland and drug related violence - and extrapolated it to the entire country.

    Thirdly that report concerns the victims of crime having a record rather than the perpetrators. There is the implication that the murders are crime related and that the perpetrators are criminals but there is no data on perpetrators at all…

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    1. John Coochey

      Mr

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I do not normally waste my time with morons but it appears that this time I must. I would suggest you do your own research and then publish the result. What you must show I assume is that gun related deaths are directly related to gun control on a state by state basis and over time and equally between all ethnic groups and social class and whether or not they have a criminal record. Good luck tell me when you have it completed until then shut up and stop wasting my time and patience.

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      John, do you actually read your own stuff? Like...

      "I do not normally waste my time with morons "

      You seem to have mistyped "with", when "as a" seems more accurate, especially when the "s" is dropped.
      ;]

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  36. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Some further quotes from the USA Today - from a more substantial article published the same day and linked on the article quoted by Mr C here:

    "Patricia Jessamy, Baltimore's chief local prosecutor, doesn't want to create the false impression that violence affects only certain segments of the population and city.

    "If we only focus on one bad boy killing another bad boy, we never address the root causes of crime," Jessamy says, referring to rampant drug addiction and high school graduation rates…

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  37. John Coochey

    Mr

    Yet again I have to thank Peter for making my point for me! You see he can do his own research when he tries!

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Coochey

      How do these statements drawn from Baltimore's prosecutor and police chief "make your point for you" John? They are directly contradicting everything you're talking about.

      There's obviously some sort of information processing problem here.

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  38. John Coochey

    Mr

    Peter I will try and talk slowly and not use long words. Point one we now know you have basic abilities with the internet so why not google crime rates in the US and Cocaine trade? Then you can do your own research on the actual murder rates involving firearms or not in US States and the trends. Then you can access FBI crime stats which are collected and published on a race basis. Then you have already admitted that the reference I gave proved my point that the vast majority (but not totality) of murder victims have criminal records. Then re read the piece you quoted which supports my point but of course the politicians and their advisors will of course want to dissuade people from thinking it is all a gang issue so they do not need to worry about the overall crime rate. Go for it the truth will set you free!

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    1. Andy Saunders

      Consultant

      In reply to John Coochey

      John;

      What has race got to do with it? I thought even criminals are human.

      Oh! Maybe you meant guns can discriminate on the basis of race?

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Coochey

      John,

      Your dissembling and obfuscating on this particular issue is quite disgraceful.

      You quote a newspaper from 2007 regarding the high percentage of murder victims in Baltimore - a town rife with drugs, gangs and poverty - and you blithely extrapolate that the the US across the board. You then decide to ignore the statements made by Baltimore's law enforcement officers that directly contradict your ugly assertions even as they apply to Baltimore.

      This is what people who have no evidence…

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      Peter & Andy, John's argumentation is just like one of those huge weather balloons that look so big way up high, but collapse into fluff when brought down to earth.
      ;]

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  39. John Coochey

    Mr

    I am beginning to think we must institute compulsory brain transplants after reading Alfred Venison's comments. The issue of murders in Canada whether involving guns or not is how they compare with similar populations in the US. If Alfred or others bother to do any research they will see that the ethnic groups which bulk up the murder rate in the US are blacks and hispanics when the figures are corrected for this there is little difference between the US and Canada. So Alfred go do some real research…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Coochey

      John,

      "... the ethnic groups which bulk up the murder rate in the US are blacks and hispanics when the figures are corrected for this there is little difference between the US and Canada."

      How does one "correct" for the ethnic composition of murder victims or perpetrators, technically speaking of course. What statistical techniques are employed? I'm quite mystified.

      Can you give us all some link or other to where this has been done? That is, give us the research or analysis that you are basing your "corrected" assessment showing the equality between the USA and Canada. Or are you just going on "common sense" and CSI?

      Further, what difference does it make what colour, ethnicity or eye colour they have?

      It's simple John: Too many guns, too many crims, too many gaols, not enough schools. And a cowboy culture where, if you don't like something - you reach for the Glock in the school bag or glovebox.

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    2. alfred venison

      records manager (public sector)

      In reply to John Coochey

      sure as hell don't want your brain, John Coochey. i proffered a datum & not especially for you. take your racialist argument to stats canada, i couldn't care less. -a.v.

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      John, as a doctor, I volunteer to do your transplant, at low cost -- maybe just the airline ticket?

      Seems like almost any spare brain we have around will do the job, eh?
      ;]

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  40. John Coochey

    Mr

    Now I am convinced we need compulsory brain transplants. Peter now listen carefully, to correct for ethnicity you can simply look up the FBI stats which list the murder rate for whites or if your maths is up to it you take the total murder rates and remove those for hispanics and blacks and then divide by the total white population to give the normal figure of murders per 100, thousand, if that is too difficult consult a local primary school child.

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  41. John Coochey

    Mr

    Just for the record
    "Joseph E. Logan, PhD
    Sharon G. Smith, PhD
    Mark R. Stevens, MSPH, MA
    National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC
    Corresponding author: Joseph E. Logan, PhD, Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 4770 Buford Highway, NE, MS F-63, Atlanta, GA 30341. Telephone: 770-488-1529; Fax: 770-488-1360; E-mail: ffa3@cdc.gov.

    During 1991--2007, homicide was ranked as one of the top four leading causes of death each year for persons…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      So John, apart from being irrelevant to unnecessary gun deaths via automated weapons, when will we actually hear your studiousness applied to your personal, manly use of your automatic weapons?

      We've been waiting for your enlightenment. Colt got your tongue?
      ;]

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  42. Edwin Flynn

    I am a early retired executive at Worked in Local Government, Education and Financial Services Industries

    Erin I am glad you mentioned mental illness and drugs as possible causes of people taking up guns and murdering people. This event last Friday (US time) has really had a resounding effect around the globe. People everywhere are wondering how this could happen again in the USA, this time with such little children.

    I invited two of my friends over for a cup of coffee this morning and yes one of them was my gun loving friend. The other one like me has owned rifles in the past but is now not…

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  43. John Coochey

    Mr

    Peter why don't you make some effort for a change and google
    "National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC" and do some other research for a change.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Coochey

      I did. I'm reading as I'm writing this.

      But it really isn't up to me to track down your references John. You just make this stuff up.

      Nothing on the FBI site though about "white" murder rates - where is that?

      And, while I'm reading the CDC paper, could you just explain to me once again what it means that blacks, hispanics and asians have higher rates of gun death? How does this affect policy on gun control?

      You state that this a is evidence of criminality and that by implication…

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      Peter, John may be gone for a while -- he's still working on an answer to what manly, productive use he makes of his automatic weapons.

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  44. Comment removed by moderator.

  45. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Incidentally folks, (just while I'm waiting for Joh Coochey to explain why "race" is significant in the gun control issue) I've been trying to find out how the Centre for Disease Control actually determines who is in what category... how white is white? How much Brazilian makes a hispanic?

    Rather an strange little excursion actually.

    Those interested in the US pre-occupation with "race" or statistical methods might find it rather disturbing.

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr4210.pdf

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    1. John Coochey

      Mr

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter I can do no better than quote one of your earlier posts
      ?Hey Yuri...

      Three small issues:

      (1) Americans are not a "race".... a delightful hotchpotch of races, ethnicities and nationalities as amply demonstrated in the recent election. "

      First you demand information and sources which are easily availble but you seem incapable of finding and then when you get shot down you try and change the subject by saying there is no such thing as race but have used the concept in earlier correspondence, for god's sake grow up.

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  46. Tim Scanlon

    Debunker

    Ho Hum. If people are going to make statements about guns, can they please actually do some research on guns. America needs a rethink of its attitude to violence, not just guns.

    First off, "If someone gets shot with a gun, the firearm has fulfilled its purpose admirably." is incorrect. Which gun? What person? Military assault rifles are actually designed to wound, not kill. Handguns are an easy carry protective weapon (as they are too inaccurate for offensive measures) developed for hunting and…

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  47. Edwin Flynn

    I am a early retired executive at Worked in Local Government, Education and Financial Services Industries

    Interesting the amount of information that we now have at our fingertips. I am thinking that before TV really took hold and much more recently the internet, mass homicides were relatively not widely heard about. But now thanks to the internet we can get a real insight about the occurrence of mass homicides and perhaps the information about the individuals who committed these crimes can assist in the debate. I found the information on this link quite interesting:

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

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  48. Firozali A.Mulla

    PhD

    The society now can go in one of two directions. Either we will just accept periodic shooting sprees as one of those unfortunate things that must be lived with -- like, say, the periodic flooding and death that results from global climate change? If we go that route, even our sweetest, safest elementary schools will be turned into fortresses. The remnants of our open society will be turned into a surveillance society. We will solve our unemployment problem by hiring millions more armed guards. Alternatively…

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  49. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    @ Tim

    While for the less fearful and more law abiding, it is indeed relatively difficult to buy assault rifles in a licensed shop, but if you really want one, the second hand and grey market is fair bristling with them.

    Have a look at this little mob ... http://www.gunsinternational.com/Assault-Rifles.cfm?cat_id=256

    The main selling point seems to be get one before Obama bans 'em. And NATO issue ARs that "give you the tactical advantage" ... over a deer?

    I'm particularly impressed by the Warrior Foundation - something like the provisional wing of the NRA from what I can gather.

    Bushmasters seem to be pretty popular. Must admit I'm yet to see an ad spruiking them as "as used at Connecticut". Wonder why.

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks Peter.

      One point to gun control that has been overlooked so far, was proposed by the former NY Attorney General -- the DoD simply tells manufacturers it will no longer buy from them unless they certify they sell no automated weapons to the public via any channel, including dealers & gun shows.

      Law-enforcement agencies can do the same.

      The $ is what the manufacturers want -- cut it off to make them grow up.

      Just had a thought -- how fun would it be to record Coochey's gun club go head to head with a SWAT team!? Could solve more than one problem in one shot (excuse the pun).
      ;]

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    2. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      The AR is rubbish for hunting. The main use for them is target shooting and weekend warriors.

      The grey and black markets are scary, but fully auto are still not as common as the media make out. My point was that most of the claims made are mistaking a perfectly legal semi-auto rifle with a full-auto military weapon. The people you see with full-auto weapons are generally licensed to use them because they are ex-military.

      You've hit on the point I was trying to make about their culture of "tacti-cool" element of guns that America loves. People are stockpiling and people are wanting that ultimate weapon because they think they will be dragged into the street and shot by the government at any minute.

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Tim, there is no need for semi- or full- automatic weapons for public sale or for sport.

      The manufacture & sale of these is actually quite easy to stop, at the federal level.

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    4. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Alex, that is just plain wrong. Go on any gun forum and you will find discussion of sporting competitions involving semi-auto handguns and rifles. While you are there, have a look at conversion kits and the like, you'll find that there are plenty of manufacturers and smiths who do firearm modifications.

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  50. John Coochey

    Mr

    I think Alex and Peter should go back to writing obscenities on lavatory walls where they obviously learnt their literary skills (sic) I thought this blog was supposed to be moderated?

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Coochey

      Alex,

      You should realise that John's been at this race-baiting for a long time - this "guns don't kill people - niggers kill people" line.

      Here he is in 1999 - demonstrating his prowess with statistics - exactly the same phrases - this time for a sporting shooters association. http://www.ssaa.org.au/research/1999/1999-01-18_statistics-for-all-seasons.html

      Joh had a brief brush with fame a few years back after waving his gun licence around at a seminar on climate change where he'd been…

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      Thanks Peter how come I'm not surprised!?

      John has been known for his lack of knowledge on climate issues, so he now confirms his lacks spread wider, into ethics and statistics. Hope he gets paid for defaming himself.

      One fraternity at my undergrad alma mater had a pledging stunt that we could offer John. Strip him to his shorts (oh the thought!), write some ethnic slur on his butt with a marker pen, and set him loose at midnight in Camden or Philly.
      ;]

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      John, you're such a mannered, caring model of a man!

      Now about not telling us what manly use you have for your automatic weapons -- are they just to take to your gun club, so you won't look like a woose to the other 'men' there?

      We need to know!
      ;]

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    4. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to John Coochey

      Alex Cannara - "Hope he gets paid for defaming himself" Possibly.

      Although 'lobbyists' and their rigid level of thinking can be just unpaid cognitive bias. This bias blinding them to the next level of human development or thought, obviously their value system needs to evolve through this agrian thinking.

      While John's community internationally models agression and even trades in weapons, it is hardly surprising he sees guns can be used on his neighbours. The NRAs weaponised 'thought process' is very frustrating. This mindset parallels the larger issue of the global militarised nuclear armament threat to our ecosystem and its relentless promotion of the nuclear industry. Few have evolved enough to see this overview either, even if futurists continue to highlight the parallels in all form of media.

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      PaulR, thanks. One thing to keep in mind is that the nuclear weapons & nuclear power worlds are quite separate, with folks in the latter being very concerned for both climate change and safety.

      An excellent discussion of nuclear weapons history and politics is Mueller's "Atomic Obsession" A key point is that economics, not realities, have been the number one causes of arms reductions.

      This interesting time-series map of all nuclear testing, is illuminating -- over 2000 explosions to date, with a few rogue air tests by the French getting them in international doodoo around 1996. All nuclear tests/bombs exploded by humans...
      www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLCF7vPanrY

      A thought: maybe get gun clubs to take up celebratory explosives -- the Russians still have lots of small tactical nukes laying around. We could label them as just TNT, sell them to NRA & other club chapters for detonation on their weekend celebrations.

      Part of our problem solved.
      ;]

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    6. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to John Coochey

      Alex Cannara said; "One thing to keep in mind is that the nuclear weapons & nuclear power worlds are quite separate, ......... latter being very concerned for both climate change and safety."

      Yes, so true. The NRA mindset use the same unfalsifiable type argument for their unevolved thought process.

      Very frustrating, understanding a different level of thinking, while understanding the reasoning and value system of the unevolved.

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    7. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      PaulR, is: "Very frustrating, understanding a different level of thinking, while understanding the reasoning and value system of the unevolved." part of an "evolved" argument?

      Or, maybe just comfortable ignorance?
      ;]

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    8. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to John Coochey

      Alex thanks for the link on youtube. ; )

      About the comment you made " ... Or, maybe just comfortable ignorance?"
      I can see why you would say and think he is ignorant. Many may very well hold that opinion, but John is not ignorant, he simply has a different value system to ours.

      John's values would work well anywhere during the an earlier era, but that is not ignorance. No amount of emotive arguments based on our values will change his bias. His worldview is dying, where yours is 'the current…

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    9. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      And, TimS: "John's values would work well anywhere during the an earlier era, but that is not ignorance. No amount of emotive arguments based on our values will change his bias."

      Ignorance is a state we all share. Scientists love ignorance because it o-pens opportunities to olearn & study from reality -- re-search.

      My reference was to "willful ignorance", which is a self-deceiving state at best, and an "other-misleading" defect common in politics and business cupidity at worst. Willful ignorance is what holds us back.

      .

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  51. Yuri Pannikin

    Director

    There's a concise analysis of US "mass shootings" on the Mother Jones web site. Definition is more than 4 people killed.

    Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states.
    Half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings.
    70% were white males (nothing too surprising re race or ethnicity there considering populations).
    Other interesting stats, including type of weapon used.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      That's a very interesting report Yuri.

      It underlines the stark differences between the "background" level of US gun violence and these symbolic "statement shootings".

      Quite simply the folks who decide to "say something" by massacring their neighbours or schoolkids at random are not your average gun-toting murderer. They got their guns legally. They are of European ancestry, what John Coochey would call, "whites". Overwhelmingly male. And the distribution does not on first examination overlay the distributions of gun murders (or gun ownership) as a whole (see the Guardian map posted below here somewhere).

      In other words, these massacres are not simply the most prominent tip of a vast iceberg of violence. They are coming from something else as well.... different players, different motives and different places.

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    2. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      The Mother Jones site just emphasises my point about people not knowing much about guns.

      A semi-auto rifle is not an assault rifle, and a Bushmaster and AR-15 are both semi-auto. In fact, change the receiver and stock over and most people wouldn't be able to spot the difference between it and any other hunting rifle. The definition of assault rifle: "An assault rifle is a select-fire (either fully automatic or burst capable) rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine."

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      TimS: "semi-auto rifle is not an assault rifle"

      And neither is needed for hunting or competition.

      You raised the straw man of semi-automatics in competition -- I've had one and used it for years. There's no need for it.

      Just because someone concocts a competition in something, like seeing who can make the most ridiculous statements, doesn't mean the competition is of any use.

      And, when a competition needs a lethal weapon, then more important strictures prevail.

      There is no need for any competition, protection, or hunting weapon that does not require movement away from a sighting position, and two-handed ejection and loading of cartridges.

      That's all that has to be legislated. Carry as many rounds as you like, but you're not going to be able to pop off little kids near as fast as a Bushmaster can.

      And, you'll likely not be the loser wimp who succumbs to the Bushmaster ad that says: "Consider your man-card reissued".

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    4. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      Alex said "semi-automatics in competition -- I've had one and used it for years. There's no need for it."

      Why do you have a weapon?

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      TimS -- "Why do you have a weapon?" -- you mean why do I have a semi-automatic rifle? Because it was given me as a kid.

      It can be put on manual and used more effectively and accurately that way in competition.

      You're struggling here, Tim.
      ;]

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    6. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      Alex Cannnara said; "PaulR again obfuscates reality ...." I can understand your feeling, it is difficult for anyone comprehend the next level of thinking, or for that matter any higher or lower value systems.

      Alex said ; "The nuclear power industry is quite impotent ... "
      Again this depends on your level of thinking, your considered interpretation carries the bias of your long held value system and life conditions. Although these values are appropriate for you currently, they are not for many…

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  52. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Alex,

    I am deeply concerned. As a doctor you'd be well aware of subtle distinction between a transplant and an implant.

    Now I reckon we could have a whip-round (a telethon or somesuch) to organise a medivac flight over to California - god knows the Government might chip in dollar for dollar. But only - ONLY - on condition that you implant a "Black brain" - OK Hispanic at a pinch. Lots of fresh sources apparently.

    I know it's a tricky business, with a guaranteed zero success rate - but heck it's not like it would be a big loss.

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Ok, now that I've stopped laughing, I'll ask around the SF area to see if any MEs have such spare organs -- do we want one with a .223 or .308 in it?
      ;]

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  53. John Coochey

    Mr

    I have just found another of Alex's lies which is defamatory. He accuses my of threatening climate scientist (sic) by showing them a gun licence. That never occurred although the truth is a cause of general mirth at the ANU. At a very mediocre dinner there a couple of years ago I was recognized by Maxine Cooper , then the Commissioner of the Environment ACT, as one of those involved in the kangaroo cull which is controversial and occurs each winter. After politely asking if she could sit next to…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Coochey

      Not Alex Joh, mois. Please try and get a grip on sources and referencing.

      I didn't accuse you of threatening scientists incidentally. I accused you of waving your shooters' licence around at a seminar - one in which there was quite a bit of tension and aggro by ALL accounts. You frightened folks. Absolutely unintentional on your part of course.

      I'm just glad you didn't bring some of your rifles along - to further explain the detail of the roo cull to your fellow diners.

      Sorry about spelling your name wrong - the "n "on my laptop is broken. It thinks it's the 1980s in Queensland... buggered if I know why.

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      John's losing more than the argument now, Peter.

      Still waiting for your manly uses for your automatics, John. No guts, no glory.
      ;]

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  54. John Coochey

    Mr

    In response to yet another inane comment by Peter Ormonde I did not frighten anyone, I simply entered into an urbane conversation with a woman at her initiative if people had not eavesdropped on the conversation they could not have been frightened but simply chose to cloak themselves in the cloak of false victim which is a characteristic of what Peter Walsh termed the "New Class" what might have been called left wing a few years ago but they are hardly of the left. The FOI also extracted other occasions where the "Climate Scientists" claimed to have be threatened but these were also laughed out of court, on that occasion by the Privacy Commissioner. Incidentally Alex claims to be a doctor but spend a lot of time on the web, reckon he must be on night shift?

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      It's always a thrill when the bully claims to be the victim, finally displaying his gutlessness.

      John, you indeed exemplify those needy, frail folks suckling on gun manufacturers' promises of 'manhood'. We might all sense your thrill at the Bushmaster ad that says: "Consider you man=card reissued".

      Wonder what "card" was "reissued" in the mind of that miserable soul who used it to kill little kids and teachers last week?

      So John, yet again, show your man-card and explain what good, manly use you make of your automatic weapons. You seem scared to try. Your "man-card" a bit wrinkled?
      ;]

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    2. John Coochey

      Mr

      In reply to John Coochey

      Alex I thought your were a doctor so you should be hard at work, there is a shortage of GP;s. Have you checked the US murder rates yet or are you too busy attending Pseudologica Fantastica Anonymous meetings?

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Coochey

      John, you're always good for a laugh, on any subject.

      So yet again, what's your manly use for your automatic weapons? You seem so timid on this. Misplaced your man-card?
      ;]

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  55. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    The Bushmaster was the instrument of choice in Connecticut Tim. Not a full "assault rifle" but really it gives one that tactical advantage over cowering pre-schoolers. He had 30 caps in the clip and hundreds more at the ready. He also had a Glock 10mm and a couple of 9mms.

    The Bushmaster is the "civilian version" of the military AR 15 - the Bushmaster was the one used by the Washington sniper a few months back.

    Connecticut law restricts semi-automatic rifles — those capable of firing a…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      And, it turns out the kid & his mom bonded at shooting ranges with the gun and others..

      Hard to find a better example of why any weapon that doesn't need two hands and movement away from the sighting position to eject/load cartridges should be illegal.

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    2. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yeah, the preppers are nut-cases. They are on the far end of the gun-nut spectrum. If you want to find a group that shouldn't own guns, it's those guys.

      My point before about the "assault rifle" term being thrown around is that people immediately have the image of a military weapon, when that isn't what is used nor owned (except in exceptional cases). So it is a scare tactic to not discuss the actual issue, but instead demonise all guns by pretending that they are all the same thing.

      My argument is that guns are only a symptom and as such, dealing with only guns doesn't solve the problem. America has a violence issue, they have these nutters (like the doomsday preppers) who really need to be dealt with. This requires a much bigger rethink than just gun laws, it comes back to societal conditioning, culture and cycles of poverty. This doesn't even touch on mental health, which was clearly a big factor in several of the mass shootings in America (and those in Australia as well).

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    3. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Not sure who keeps up with the 3D printing revolution, but this is scary: plastic lower receiver for AR15, and it works (with a few bugs but already remedied apparently).

      3D printers are heading towards $500.

      Tech commentator Robert Scoble already talking about 3D plan files for guns being available and downloaded like mp3s.

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    4. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Discuss the gun type distinction with the dead teacher & 20 kids at Sandy Hook school, Tim. Oops, guess you can't

      The point has nothing to do with dictionary defs, but with function -- there is no sporting function for any weapon that does not require two- handed eject and reload, per shot.

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    5. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yuri Pannikin said ; " .... 3D printers are heading towards $500."

      Interesting you mentioned the printing because the issue is printing parts for nuclear weapons overshadows this incident. Once the method is digitised for metalized or plastic printing, 3D drawings can be shipped anywhere in the world in virtually any medium your imagination can carry. As a community our 'righteous indignation' about the Newtown shooting, needs to widen and think about the global picture about weapons and whole militarised nuclear industry.

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    6. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yuri, the 3D printing project is much over-hyped by the media.

      If you have a look at the prototypes being fired, they have all failed very quickly. Not only have they failed, they aren't using materials that are likely to be widely available, at least not for the cheap printers.

      Also, the hype is rather stupid. 3D printing is just another way of making a gun, something that is currently done in caves by hand in parts of the world. Remember that great Aussie WW2 sub-machine gun - the Owen gun - was designed and built in a guy's backyard shed. If you really want to you can make a gun from scratch without any fancy equipment. So talking about 3D printing as being somehow scary for guns is like saying anyone with a drill and a vice will start manufacturing firearms too.

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    7. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Alex, read my comments again and kindly retract your rather emotive rhetorical blather. You are assigning an argument to me that I wasn't making.

      People are uninformed about guns and they are seeking to pass judgement upon them. What you would regard as a hunting rifle could actually be the same barrel, receiver and working parts as what you also regard as "a deadly assault rifle" with just a few cosmetic changes.

      As for sporting use, so target shooting isn't a legitimate sport? Because there are plenty of semi-auto target shooting competitions, handguns and rifles. What about hunting? Well a good semi-auto rifle is actually better for hunting in some instances, especially with smaller calibre rifles, or with fast moving feral pests (like boar/pig). So again, Alex, you are emoting and not understanding guns.

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    8. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Scanlon said: "Yuri, the 3D printing project is much over-hyped by the media."

      As usual, Tim, you're way behind in relevance. Sure, the media are hyping it, and yes, you can make guns in your garden shed if you want to, but you don't understand the relevance of 3D printing technology and I'm not going to waste my time explaining to you.

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    9. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Wow Yuri, nice to have a friendly conversation with you too.

      How about you actually go and have a look at the test videos of the lower receiver failing like I did. How about you have a look at the components that will still have to be metal. How about you have a look at the reality that CNC machines are already capable of doing exactly the same thing as a 3D printer. How about you look at the impact the black market has.

      I understand the relevance of 3D printing, you don't understand the context. How about we be a bit more polite now.

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    10. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Tim said: "How about we be a bit more polite now."

      Glad to see you've changed your attitude. The reliability of the lower receiver was fixed quickly, varied plastics and composite materials are increasingly available in printers that are reducing in cost.

      It's not too difficult to predict handguns (the most used weapon in mass shootings) being available widely with this technology over time.

      Whether that will impact on such events is not easily predictable, but it is worth being aware of.

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    11. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Tim, I'm not exactly a fanboy when it comes to new tech. An internet user since 1986, I've seen it all come and go. 3D printing of gun lowers is here to stay and will only be improved.

      The early demonstration of this (not the trial you referred to) can be seen here as a mashed up .22 pistol on AR lower.
      http://tinyurl.com/cf75qam

      Now I know one can't believe everything one reads on the internet, but this looks close to functional, and it's been widely reported by others more attuned than I to this technology.

      Yes, I'm sure this can be done with other more sophisticated machinery, but surely you can see the implications of cheap, widely available technologies such as this. Note, on the forum, a user already asking for the model file.

      Ultimately though, restriction of guns may not work. Might it be better to target ammunition?

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    12. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      PaulR again obfuscates reality with:the " whole militarised nuclear industry."

      The nuclear power industry is quite impotent, and shares only the need for a small amount of a rare atomic isotope (U235) that is not what the weapons folks use.

      And, if one thinks a nuclear weapon can be "3D printed" & "metallized", then one has no conception of what such a weapon is or how it's fabricated and works.

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    13. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yuri, the 3D printing for a .22 or other lower power cartridge would be possible right now. The AR platform and the intermediate rifle cartridges are obviously a way off for home printers, but I agree that they will become an eventuality at some point. But I see it as replacing the CNC machines or lathes, much like not everyone is making explosives out of fertiliser.

      Bullet control is an interesting one. I'm in two minds about it. On one side it makes it very difficult, or alternatively very expensive, to buy ammunition for crimes, but on the other side we are talking about nutters, who will find a way because they are fanatical. Chris Rock did a great sketch on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuX-nFmL0II

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    14. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "Chris Rock did a great sketch . . ."

      Tim, I also laughed, ironically, at Chris Rock's famous line from the movie Head of State: "God Bless America . . .and no place else."

      I agree that determined sociopaths will always find a weapon, but reduced availability will certainly save lives in my view. In the current episode, I wonder what the outcome might have been had the boy's mother not been so steeped in gun culture with her son, including availability.

      Hand guns are a problem extant from the days of the Saturday Night Special. I don't see this changing much.

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  56. John Kelmar

    Small Business Consultant

    Far too much hyperbole in this discussion for any real meaning to be ascertained.
    As for citing the Port Arthur killings, perhaps more people should read "Deadly Deception at Port Arthur" by Joe Vialls before agreeing with the political opinion as to what really happened. If Martin Bryant was such a great shot why wasn't he employed as an Army sniper or recruited for our Olympic Team?
    Apparently Bryant was so good that he was rated as good as a highly trained combat shooter. His kill to injured ratio, in the Cafe, was so low that it rated as one of the best in the world, and these targets were moving after the first shot, as well as there being one more person killed than the number of shots fired - one bullet went through a person and hit another, and every other one was killed with one shot.
    The truth is out there.

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to John Kelmar

      It is despicable that conspiracy theorists cash in on tragedies. People like yourself and Joe Vialls should be ashamed of yourselves. Your statements have no place in any conversation about tragic events like mass shootings.

      For everyone who hasn't heard the conspiracy debunked: http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4253

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  57. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Tim,

    I think, given what Alex is probably watching on TV, any emtional response is probably pretty legit myself.

    I agree with you about "Assault Rifles" being useless for hunting - unless you're after mince. I'm not even certain what an "assault rifle" actually is - as opposed to an auto or semi-auto. Seems to be based on appearance and a whole range of "attachments" making it a well-rounded all-purpose weapon ... like bayonette clips and the like.

    As for printing your own I reckon that…

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yeah, those gun builders in Pakistan and the like are knocking out guns with such minimal tools. I remember seeing one kid holding the piece with his feet while he filed down the metal by hand. I've heard of examples of this happening in first world countries as well. The militias that do this are really concerning.

      My main gripe in this entire discussion/argument is one we seem to agree upon. People are being distracted by scary talk of "assault rifles" (or the lawyer piffle term assault weapon…

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  58. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Tim

    I too think the idea of formal affiliation to a licensed shooting or hunting club as a prequisite to getting a licence is a constructive idea. At least for these high capacity rapid fire rifles. And they should be kept there at the club - not at home, no matter how good your safe is. They have no place at home.

    I cannot see enough NRA-ish folks willing to book their handguns in there but at least having the Bushmasters, Uzis and the like locked up and guarded 24/7 will limit the damage that can be done in one episode of madness. And maybe over time they'll realise they can live quite safely without an arsenal under the bed.

    These are, sadly, all big maybes.

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      The NRA are chief propaganda agents, especially amongst the politicians. They want the exact opposite of keeping guns safely secured at a gun club, for use at the gun club. They want everyone to be carrying a gun on them at all times. They even supported a manufacturer who made a shotgun holder that held a shotgun by the bed ready to be fired.

      I reposted this link on my Twitter today, pretty much shows why sensible gun reforms will never happen, let alone reforms to address violence in America. http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2012/12/17/gun-spending/

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  59. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    TimS, somewhere, says: "Alex, read my comments again and kindly retract your rather emotive rhetorical blather. "

    And then goes on to say that "some" uses for semi-automatic weapons exist in hunting & competition.

    They do only if we don't care about their abetting criminal activities in civil life, as the subject here is treating.

    Wit your logic, Tim, fully-automatics would be allowed too. MAy RPG competitions, eh? Napalm?

    So again, the absurdity of thinking guns never described in…

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Before I address your ad hom, I would like to say that I agree with the plan you raised. Requiring gun manufacturers to only make a standard weapon, so that no full-auto military weapons are available to the public is a great way to go. Of course, the only problem is that the US makes a lot of money in legal and illegal gun sales. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_industry#World.27s_largest_arms_exporters

      Firstly, you are mistakenly thinking that I'm pro-gun, I'm not. I don't own a gun and have…

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  60. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    To cut to the chase, we in the US have long had a simple solution, as voiced by the former NY Attorney General...

    1) DoD and all federal agencies purchasing weapons simply inform all gun manufacturers that all current invoices & contracts are on hold and no new ones will be issued.

    2) Upon certification by ATF, FBI, etc. that all its semi- and full-automatic guns have been recalled from all sales streams and dealers, and that no new ones will be manufactured, a given manufacturer will have…

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  61. Edwin Flynn

    I am a early retired executive at Worked in Local Government, Education and Financial Services Industries

    I get annoyed when debate of important issues get highjacked by people more interesting in attacking the person making an point rather than expanding upon their position to change viewpoints. In my view all intelligent input whether I agree with the hypothesis or not is valuable and should be respected because it hopefully expands our knowledge of the issues under debate or better still what people think are the solutions to problems.

    People I have never met the parents of these children, not…

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    1. Edwin Flynn

      I am a early retired executive at Worked in Local Government, Education and Financial Services Industries

      In reply to Edwin Flynn

      The following is a corrected version of what I wanted to say above. I do wish there was a way to edit a post after the “post” button is hit.

      I get annoyed when debate of important issues get highjacked by people more interested in attacking the person making an point rather than expanding upon their position to change viewpoints. In my view all intelligent input whether I agree with the hypothesis or not is valuable and should be respected because it, hopefully expands, our knowledge of the issues…

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    2. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Edwin Flynn

      Edwin, agreed. I was about to give up entirely on this forum until your comment. Whilst some may see merit in arguing the finer distinctions between different models of guns, they are all weapons of destruction. As Erin said, those who also want to use them as sporting equipment don't have to take them home. Feral animals can be controlled by trained officers who leave their specialised tools at work.
      I have been dismayed by the comments of American gun lobbyists who attribute their liberty to…

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  62. Firozali A.Mulla

    PhD

    This was sad but the worst was Obama calling out each child name, the young ones, dead was in my opinion stated in TV was sad or there was no need for this. YOU MAY CONSIDER THIS AS SALT ON THE WOUNDS It is driving the truth to tragedy if I re call this and was unwanted. I have no idea how the parent must have taken this recalling the tragedy. I think this was uncalled for it was sad but to remind all agin is worst I thank you Firozali A.Mulla

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    1. Edwin Flynn

      I am a early retired executive at Worked in Local Government, Education and Financial Services Industries

      In reply to Firozali A.Mulla

      Really Firozali? I think the names of the children should be imprinted in the lead up to every TV news program until action is taken to fix whatever it is that is wrong with the USA that enables these types of events to take place. Remembering the children every day will ensure that people will not forget what is possible. By knowing the past people may find a way to minimise the likely hood of history repeating itself. The president did what he did because he is a parent and he knows what the parents are feeling. The salt in the wounds is being applied by people burying their heads in the sand and saying the problem is too large to fix or that US freedom relies on the rules that where made 200 years ago after a war of independence. Time to reconsider.

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  63. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    G'day Ms K...

    Do not abandon us. Do not leave us here wallowing in boyish technicalities.

    I think this issue is so serious that it requires very careful analysis and consideration. In part this is because the phenomenon of armed violence is not limited to the US but is spreading rapidly. Not armed violence - armed fear.

    I suspect there is a slim chance - a flicker of light - as a consequence of this Connecticut horror, for legislators to do something in the US.

    Probably not handguns…

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    1. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hello Peter,
      I'm glad it was you that said "it's a boy thing" as I wasn't game to lest the "boys" here pounce! But does it all start with boys' toys? I wondered, as I dubiously packed 3 high powered water pistols in my kids' bags for their last day of school traditional water fight.
      I feel hopeful that, as you say, the light is flickering and the wind is changing. Just as it was once cool and tough to smoke cigarettes, and bit by bit the image has changed as the ban pervaded one public area after…

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  64. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Ms Kwa,

    Ethics and Legal Studies? Bit like icecream with bacon isn't it? What on earth has ethics got to do with law?

    Seriously, well done - you are now a certified ex-student :) And probably three inches taller with that weight lifted from your shoulders.

    Look forward to reading more from you here. Hmmm ethics... law... that'll never catch on.

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