Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Been tied up...

Sorry I haven't been able to write as much this past week or so.  Internet has been kinda hinky.  I guess I am getting trolled by my ISP again, for some negative comments I have made.  Anyway, I am going to give you all some #progunbullshit.

So Mother Jones has an article out in which 10 pro-gun Myths are shot down.  So here is my take on it.

Myth 1: They are coming for your guns.  Yeah, I have heard that often, but those I hear it from are cranks.  I mean seriously, I start hearing talk of Obama coming for my lil' ole guns, I start backing away slowly.  Its insanity, and really they bring up a very valid point.  There are several hundred million firearms in the US.  To collect them all would be nearly impossible.  People would stash them.  Case in point, the Battle of Blair Mountain which occurred in 1921.  Little known fact, if I went there with a metal detector, I would find firearms from that uprising.  Almost one hundred years later I can find pistols, shotguns, and rifles used in that encounter.  Even if attempted the same principle would apply.  They would be finding guns, or guns finding people that they would never get them all.  And with the invention of the 3-D printer, it just got harder.

Myth 2: Guns don't kill people, people kill people.  "People with guns tend to kill people -- with guns."  Is the opening statement for this myth.  Again, I really cannot find anything wrong with the statement.  It is true.  There is a glut of idiots, psychopaths, and criminals alike with guns means you are going to have a lot of problems.  I cannot argue that, but I can point at the sane intelligent law abiding people who have firearms, and nothing ever happens.  I cannot count the number of times I have used a firearm as intended on a person, because as of today that number is zero.  I have never shot some, or even shot at someone.  I have on occasion had to pull it, the circumstances arose that lead to it.  But, I never had to pull the trigger.  Statistics on that are not really studied.  Have you ever had to draw a firearm in defense?  Not something asked.  See, I have found that sometimes just putting on a poker face when pulling is enough to not have to use it.  Making someone believe you have the intent is enough when it comes down to it.

Myth 3: An armed society is a polite society.  Yeah, manners are lacking, severely lacking.  There are two things I have learned over the past several decades.  Money and guns equate to power.  If you have money, you can do as you please (politicians and the wealthy), if you have a gun you can do as you please (see the police).  But here is the thing, people abuse rights everyday.  Oh that list is enough that I could start and never be finished.  But its not everyone.  Again, I don't want to use a gun if I don't have to, it makes one stupid.  I would be perfectly content to talk my way out, rather than shoot it out.  Then again, I would also rather be a nice quiet guy standing in the background.  Remember, this flies directly against what I am about, being respectful of the rights and privileges of others.

Myth 4: More good guys with guns can stop rampaging bad guys.  This is not one I like getting into, because lets face it, how many people who carry on a regular basis actually have had the proper training in firearm use.  I have heard constantly that most people freeze the first time in that situation (IE having to shoot someone).  Before you comment, that includes police and military personnel.  Anyway, the article links to a list of mass shootings in recent history, and well, unless you are heavily conditioned or simply have no value in human life, you are going to freeze in that split second.  Its why you see multiple gunshot wounds, even in self defense.  Of course they point out that 1 out of 5 ER shootings happened because the security officer was disarmed.  Men and women who get little respect to begin with, but the training is actually worse than the lack of respect they get.  When I started working security, I was dropped into the middle of a job and expected to figure it out, many companies do with with armed guards as well.  Better training should always be paramount to gun ownership.

Myth #5: Keeping a gun at home makes you safer.  So it is said in the article that having a gun in the home increases the odds (a higher risk) for suicide, homicide, and accidental death.  Correlation is not causation.  But alright, having access to firearms increases the chances that someone who is suicidal will succeed in killing themselves.  Someone who is already homicidal will kill their family.  People will be stupid.  A stat they gave was 43% of homes have one unlocked gun in the home.  Alright, that is something that if true is not good.  Sorry, firearms are lethal creations, and having them unlocked is one thing, but around children is worse.  Of course in a study a third of boys tested found an unloaded handgun, and pulled the trigger with enough force for it to have discharged (should it have been loaded).  Yeah, I would cringe each and every time I heard that click.  I am far to paranoid to ensure said handgun was unloaded.  Alright, so, looking at the study we find that out of 29 groups of boys, 10 groups actually pulled the trigger.  So that adds up, according to the numbers given.  But there is a secondary statistic I found that is far more disturbing.  90% of the boys who handled the pistol, or pulled its trigger said they had previous experience with gun safety.  Without children, keeping a firearm "unlocked is one thing", but kids are an entirely different situation.  But I am slightly anal about the mixture of kids and guns.  It always ends poorly, as children do not always make good choices, and firearms tend to end things permanently.  That is a bad mix, and something any thinking person should not allow to happen.  Oh yeah... There are "few" accidental discharges, they are mostly negligent discharges.  You must always pay attention when you are dealing with a firearm, even if you think it is unloaded.  Many people I know double or triple check them before they do anything with them.  I bought one from a store, soaked in cosmoline, and I checked it before field striping it.  Glad I did, there was a live round in the chamber.  God only knows how long that round had been in there, and thankfully it didn't discharge when it was shipped or any other time.  It shouldn't have been loaded, I certainly didn't load it, the owner of the shop didn't load it.  It had been sitting in cold storage for at least a decade with a round in there.

Myth #6: Carrying a gun for self-defense makes you safer.  In the circumstances I have been in, yes, they have made things end well for me.  Then again, I am not like most people.  But remember the intent to use, I mentioned it a little while ago.  Yeah, many numbnuts idiots use them to intimidate others.  Yeah, I do, when the situation warrants it (if you threaten me, and the situation is life and limb, I might elect to go there).  Its not like I run around threatening people with a gun for fun.  Its stupid to do.  It always turns out badly when you use them to intimidate others.  But here we are, people do it, and I am not going to excuse it.  I can't.  They also cite a study that states that people with firearms are more likely to be shot.  Again, training or a lack of, and people freeze for a split second in that situation, even police and military personnel.  Myth 7 deals with women and guns.  It covers similar situations.  But I will point out one thing that was almost a given in my studies of Criminal Justice.  When encountering a murder, the first person to look into...  Spouses, Boyfriend/Girlfriend, or the Ex.

Myth #8: "Vicious, violent video games" deserve more blame than guns.  I should have known the nuts at the NRA were going to be brought into this.  I have no use for the NRA, they are out of touch with reality.  Hell, I might be as well, but these people are certifiable.  So, what did the idiot at the pulpit of the NRA say?
"There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse," LaPierre said.
Alright.  Well, violent video games exist just about everywhere.  So, how does this tie into the problem here?  I haven't a clue.  I mean, I do feel that many video games, movies, books, television shows, etc, do tend to glamorize violence.  Violence in movies has picked up in recent years.  There is an 80 some odd minute movie glorifying guns and gun violence.  Sure its rated R, but hell, get an adult to take you as a teen and you get in slick as shit.  Video games, books, and television are harder to police.  I was reading people like King in my early teens.  Not really violent, but certainly vulgar, and in true horror fashion some pretty nasty things happening.  For most people, we can process these things and move along, tuning it out.  I watched about five minutes of Shoot'em Up, and turned it off.  I watch Dexter, and as a mostly sane person, I have no desire to become a serial killer.  That is how a normal mind works.  We process the information from said movie, book, game, or show and move on.  Other people, those who do not have a normal mind, they process the same information in a different way.  What I take away from a show like Dexter, is not the same thing a child or teenager will take away from it.  As two different viewers of the same program, we don't even take away the same things.  I see Dexter as someone who is growing as a very damaged person, others see him as being the typical psychopath.

Myth #9: More and more Americans are becoming gun owners.  The article claims that gun ownership is actually down.  This might be true, it likely is true.  Then again, the amount of paranoia surrounding specific issues, people might not be entirely honest about it.  I rarely talk about it, and on the occasions that I do, I am rather vague about what I own.  Not because I want to screw up someones work, but because it isn't really anybodies business.  I have some fairly rare firearms that I have collected over the years.  And I have also been the victim of theft as well.  I never recovered those firearms, even after it was reported, I never will.  I just rather have my old milsurp and antique firearms, and not broadcast just what I do or do not have.  Its also why a total confiscation of firearms is impossible.  This is why I take exception to the gun control crowd as well as the gun nuts crowd.  You can't twist stats both ways.  You can't claim gun ownership is down, right after you claimed that you don't really know who has what.  But it is a problem.

Myth #10: We don't need more gun laws—we just need to enforce the ones we have.  Alright, on some fronts we don't need more laws, we do need to enforce the ones we have, but we need to sure up some other ones along the way.  It is easy to get a gun, more so when you go through the private market.  If you are dealing with a licensed dealer you get to fill out paperwork.  If I go through a trading magazine, all I am required to do is bring cash.  I do not do that, it is a personal choice, I transfer ownership through a dealer. 
Around 40% of all legal gun sales involve private sellers and don't require background checks. 40% of prison inmates who used guns in their crimes got them this way.
• An investigation found 62% of online gun sellers were willing to sell to buyers who said they couldn't pass a background check.
20% of licensed California gun dealers agreed to sell handguns to researchers posing as illegal "straw" buyers.
• The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has not had a permanent director for 6 years, due to an NRA-backed requirement that the Senate approve nominees.
 So this 40% is a problem, but I do not see a good way to seal that hole (point of interest the study linked first is from 13 years ago).  I was unable to find the article dealing with the 62% of online gun sellers who were willing to sell to people who said they couldn't pass a background check.  But I cannot say it is untrue.  Far too many people are unwilling to ensure where firearms go after they leave their possession.  However, most sites I have seen online where you can purchase firearms require the firearm be sent to a FFL dealer, and guess what, when you go get said firearm, I am mostly sure that you have to have a background check.  I have a real problem with the next statistic put out there.  That 20% should loose their standing as FFL dealers, immediately.  Its bad enough when the likes of this last unstable idiot got guns and shot several people, but people acting as straw buyers only makes matters worse.  Honestly its no different than someone buying booze or smokes for a minor.  It leads to many issues for people who do follow the laws.  Then we have the fact that its been nearly a decade since the ATF has had a permanent director.  Now on the surface this isn't much of an issue.  Plug and play.  But there is a problem with this.  See, with a permanent director the ATF could get a direction.  But what is more troubling, and I know from experience, I had to give police a list of serial numbers when my firearms were stolen.  Now, I am wise enough to keep a list outside of the gun safe.  But not everyone is.  So that means they have a ton of work to do, just to open the investigation. 

So, we have the problems with gun ownership, but again no answers given.  This last shooter, legally acquired firearms in a state with magazine capacities, and a host of very stringent laws.  They failed.  Now, I am not going to say they failed so drop them.  What do I want, I want to look at why they failed, and fix them.  Thankfully he didn't have a fully automatic rifle.  So where did it go wrong?  Someone who wasn't in the system, was able to purchase firearms.  Why wasn't he in the system?  Some very lax laws dealing with mental health issue.  Now that is something the NRA has been screaming for a while now, but long before that moment of insanity, I was saying that.  I have long felt that the gun violence problem here in the US can be tied back to socioeconomic problems, and mental health issues.  Sure, there are other problems, a lack of respect for what firearms can do (most from the gun nuts), and a lack of education (everyone).