Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Connecticut shooting shows why we need to ban gun-free zones

Do criminals about to do a mass shooting care about signs?

Do criminals about to do a mass shooting care about signs?

(Thanks to TM for the image)

USA Today has an editorial about the recent shooting in Connecticut and gun-free zones.

Excerpt:

“After a shooting spree,” author William Burroughs once said, “they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.” Burroughs continued: “I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”

Plenty of people — especially among America’s political and journalistic classes — feel differently. They’d be much more comfortable seeing ordinary Americans disarmed. And whenever there is a mass shooting, or other gun incident that snags the headlines, they do their best to exploit the tragedy and push for laws that would, well, take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.

There are a lot of problems with this approach, but one of the most significant is this one: It doesn’t work. One of the interesting characteristics of mass shootings is that they generally occur in places where firearms are banned: malls, schools, etc. That was the finding of a famous 1999 study by John Lott of the University of Maryland and William Landes of the University of Chicago, and it appears to have been borne out by experience since then as well.

In a way, this is no surprise. If there’s someone present with a gun when a mass shooting begins, the shooter is likely to be shot himself. And, in fact, many mass shootings — from the high school shooting by Luke Woodham in Pearl, Miss., to the New Life Church shooting in Colorado Springs, Colo., where an armed volunteer shot the attacker — have been terminated when someone retrieved a gun from a car or elsewhere and confronted the shooter.

Policies making areas “gun free” provide a sense of safety to those who engage in magical thinking, but in practice, of course, killers aren’t stopped by gun-free zones. As always, it’s the honest people — the very ones you want to be armed — who tend to obey the law.

Here’s Dr. John R. Lott to make the case.

Excerpt:

It wasn’t supposed to happen in England, with its very strict gun-control laws. And yet last week, Derrick Bird shot twelve people to death and wounded eleven others in the northwestern county of Cumbria. A headline in the London Times read: “Toughest laws in the world could not stop Cumbria tragedy.”

But surely this was an aberration. Because America has the most guns, multiple-victim public shootings are an American thing, right? No, not at all. Contrary to public perception, Western Europe, most of whose countries have much tougher gun laws than the United States, has experienced many of the worst multiple-victim public shootings. Particularly telling, all the multiple-victim public shootings in Western Europe have occurred in places where civilians are not permitted to carry guns. The same is true in the United States: All the public shootings in which more than three people have been killed have occurred in places where civilians may not legally bring guns.

Look at recent history. Where have the worst K–12 school shootings occurred? Nearly all of them in Europe. The very worst one occurred in a high school in Erfurt, Germany, in 2002, where 18 were killed. The second-worst took place in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996, where 16 kindergartners and their teacher were killed. The third-worst, with 15 dead, happened in Winnenden, Germany. The fourth-worst was in the U.S. — Columbine High School in 1999, leaving 13 dead. The fifth-worst, with eleven murdered, occurred in Emsdetten, Germany.

It may be a surprise to those who believe in gun control that Germany was home to three of the five worst attacks. Though not quite as tight as the U.K.’s regulations, Germany’s gun-control laws are some of the most restrictive in Europe. German gun licenses are valid for only three years, and to obtain one, the person must demonstrate such hard-to-define characteristics as trustworthiness, and must also convince authorities that he needs a gun. This is on top of prohibitions on gun ownership for those with mental disorders, drug or alcohol addictions, violent or aggressive tendencies, or felony convictions.

The phenomenon is not limited to school attacks. Multiple-victim public shootings in general appear to be at least as common in Western Europe as they are here. The following is a partial list of attacks since 2001. As mentioned, all of them occurred in gun-free zones — places where guns in the hands of civilians are outlawed.

He then lists about two dozen incidents – all occurring in gun free zones.

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16 Responses

  1. In the tradition of “a picture is worth…”, Wintery, the cartoon says it all — or at least all that is necessary to be said for the obvious to be clearly visible to those who have been given eyes to see. Those who have not been given such eyes will not only refuse to read the cartoon, they will also refuse to see what it so clearly reveals about themselves.

    Readers interested in a plethora of additional resources revealing that which so many refuse to see are invited to visit ASND’s page devoted Gun Control.

    http://anotherslownewsday.wordpress.com/self-defense/gun-control/

  2. As my husband always says, “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.” That’s exactly what happens in these mass shootings. The police just can’t get there fast enough to protect the people. That’s why the good people need to be armed.

  3. US Journalist says:

    It took the gunman in Newtown 2 minutes to shoot everyone. His automatic weapon made that possible. You think that an armed first grade teacher would have made a difference? Granted, if cops had been posted at the door, perhaps the kid wouldn’t have shot out the windows and gotten in. PS: How much are you willing for your taxes to go up to support that?

    • There were no automatic weapons used. All the weapons were semi-automatics. Automatics are illegal.

      Also, the shooting at Appalachian School of Law was stopped by two concealed carry permit holders. They did not fire their weapons, which is the best use of a defensive weapon.

      http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~lambert/guns/appalachian/nd/tackle/gun/054.html

      This one was more messy:

      http://www.goupstate.com/article/20120121/ARTICLES/120129934/1083/ARTICLES?p=1&tc=pg&tc=ar

      These things happen all the time, but they are often not reported by the mainstream media, who are anti self-defense. For them, crime is a legitimate way of redistributing wealth and it is wrong to frighten criminals with self-defense. It makes the criminals feel bad if you scare them while they are killing your family.

      • US Journalist says:

        Yep, thanks for the correction. But the rest stands.

        These shootings do not occur when there are no available weapons. And you still haven’t addressed the additional taxes issue.

        • I think the key thing is that there are criminals and what should law-abiding people be able to do to defend themselves, their property and other innocent people. In your view, the answer is that they should do nothing. That’s not my view, and I would also say that your view is not compatible with manliness or marriage and family. Men don’t marry when they have no support from government to protect their family. The anti-gun people think that if I used a firearm to stop my wife from being raped, I should be prosecuted and jailed. That’s where things have gone in the UK:

          http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903918104576502613435380574.html

          If you like men getting married and having children, you have to give men the means to use force to defend the right and punish evil. It probably wouldn’t hurt for you to study the military and police more to see that the use of force is necessary in order to restrain and deter evildoers. Let a study of the evidence guide your views.

        • mtnjggr says:

          Look at recent history. Where have the worst K–12 school shootings occurred? Nearly all of them in Europe. The very worst one occurred in a high school in Erfurt, Germany, in 2002, where 18 were killed. The second-worst took place in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996, where 16 kindergartners and their teacher were killed. The third-worst, with 15 dead, happened in Winnenden, Germany. The fourth-worst was in the U.S. — Columbine High School in 1999, leaving 13 dead. The fifth-worst, with eleven murdered, occurred in Emsdetten, Germany.

          It may be a surprise to those who believe in gun control that Germany was home to three of the five worst attacks. Though not quite as tight as the U.K.’s regulations, Germany’s gun-control laws are some of the most restrictive in Europe. German gun licenses are valid for only three years, and to obtain one, the person must demonstrate such hard-to-define characteristics as trustworthiness, and must also convince authorities that he needs a gun. This is on top of prohibitions on gun ownership for those with mental disorders, drug or alcohol addictions, violent or aggressive tendencies, or felony convictions.

  4. US Journalist says:

    Oh, you’re wrong about that. I am for changing the status quo. You are too. But we are going in opposite directions. Here’s how Joe Scarborough put it this morning: “I knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want, that I demand for my children. Friday changed everything. It must change everything. We all must begin anew and demand that Washington’s old way of doing business is no longer acceptable. Entertainment moguls don’t have an absolute right to glorify murder while spreading mayhem in young minds across America. And our Bill of Rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-style, high-caliber, semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high-capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want.

    It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogmas. It’s time for politicians to start focusing more on protecting our schoolyards than putting together their next fundraiser. It’s time for Washington to stop trying to win endless wars overseas when we’re losing the war at home … For the sake of my four children and yours, I choose life and I choose change.”

    PS: your average school shooter generally commits suicide, spending only the moments during the shooting as a bonafide criminal. This is in contrast to other shootings perpetrated by people with criminal records. Two different groups. Your average criminal isn’t looking to kill innocent people.

    And—ahem—your notions of masculinity might be applied to asking why all the shooters are white males. We can’t lock them all up. We can keep the unstable from getting weapons and needless firepower. I realize you want to keep the options open for “good guys” but who is that, exactly? Do they wear ID? Can we check out their credentials and marksmanship, and their rate of fatal errors? Do they have a hankering to be first-grade teachers for no $$ and will parents entrust their kids to them? What’s more, will kids thrive in that type of environment?

    Finally, are you willing to pay more taxes to get them trained and ready?

    PS: members of my family own firearms. We kept one in our house locked up and it was stolen by hunters. I doubt you’d want to label hunters as criminals, but in this case, they were. Just your average, local hunters who saw nobody home in remote cabin, broke in, took the gun and two generators.

    Now back to the tax question…will you answer?

    • Yes! I think that would be a wonderful use of taxpayer money! Because the government has a responsibility to do that. It’s constitutional! Sorry so long to reply.

    • Oh, please take a good look at this:

      http://www.hutchnews.com/Editorialblogs/edit–concealed-carry

      Thesse statistics hold for all states. CCW permit-holders are the most law-abiding people on the planet.

      Also, I would be in favor of mandatory life sentences for anyone who is caught using a firearm to commit a crime. Instant life in jail, no parole. After all, no law-abiding person is going to do that. Also, if the person who sold them the gun sold it illegally, minimum 5-year sentence. Also, if a CCW permit holder commits a felony and does not turn in their firearm, that should be a minimum 5-year sentence.

      It should be a part of a felony conviction that a person’s guns are all seized, and if they ever touch a gun again, it’s jail for them.

      As long as law-abiding people can own them and use them for defense, we should be extremely harsh with other people who misuse them.

    • Oh look:

      http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/12/14/4486104/texas-school-where-teachers-carry.html

      Now tell me the truth. Do you think that this makes a criminal more or less likely to go to that school and try something, compared to a gun-free-zone school?
      Be honest…

      • US Journalist says:

        Have you ever been to Texas? The dynamics there are not replicable elsewhere with different demographics—especially in affluent school districts with bigger populations. Frankly, I wouldn’t use Texas as a model for anything when it comes to schools. Sure, this one might be safer. How are their test scores? What type of educational programs? That makes a difference. Many people move to places like Newtown because they don’t want to have to deal with this type of madness. And now, there it is, brought into the school because the kid got his hands on his mom’s cache. No one seems to be talking about the irony. Locks on guns? Kid with Aspergers using firearms? There was a breakdown there that no one seems willing to address. Had there been no guns accessible, this would have turned out differently.

  5. US Journalist says:

    The law-abiding person was an off-duty sheriff. I am fine with that. Just the way New Yorkers cheered when an off-duty cop getting her hair done shot an intruder from under the hairdryer during a stick up. Same way I’m fine with a friend’s dad shooting an assailant who tried robbing his store. I’m fine with that, too. I’m not fine with untrained, unregulated, anonymous people taking on that role in public, for which they get no training and have not been formally reviewed or hired. Who is legally responsible when they shoot innocent people? Sorry…the right to form an “unregulated militia” is not guaranteed by the second amendment.

    • So, you don’t approve of this law-abiding non-policemen stopping this crime, and you think that the criminals should be allowed to commit crimes without being obstructed by their victims?

      http://www.goupstate.com/article/20120121/ARTICLES/120129934/1083/ARTICLES?p=1&tc=pg&tc=ar

      Just being clear here about whether law-abiding people have a right to defend themselves, on your view. What do you think that law-abiding people should do when criminals threaten them at gunpoint? Should they allow themselves, their families and their neighbors to be raped, stolen from, assaulted and murdered? Is crime just a legitimate way to “spread the wealth around”, like pro-gun-control people seem to want to do?

    • “Who is legally responsible when they shoot innocent people?”

      If an armed private citizen were to shoot an innocent person, then they would be responsible, of course. Everyone should be held responsible for their actions. With gun ownership comes responsibility and a big part of that is knowing how to properly use the gun and how to refrain from shooting innocent people. No one is saying that we should allow people to use guns irresponsibly. However, people do have a right to defend themselves. There can be no right to life without a corresponding right to self-defense. To take away the right to bear arms from the citizens is to violate their right to self-defense.

      Guns are the great equalizer. Since it doesn’t require physical strength to use a gun, it allows those who are weak (such as women, children, the sick, and the elderly) to have just as good a chance of coming out on top as a strong young male. Before the invention of guns, the strong (mainly young males) could take what they wanted from the weak. Women and children were very vulnerable. A woman had to, as a matter of survival, marry a good man who could protect her and her children. Forget waiting for Mr. Right – she had to go with Mr. Willing and Able. Civilization was developed by strong good men who often banded together for strength against bands of evil men who wanted to take from the good people. Since the invention of guns, the weak have the ability to protect themselves. If we could magically push a button and remove all guns and the knowledge to make them from the earth, it would be a tragic mistake. It would return us to the old days where the strong could take from the weak at will and many, many more innocent people would die.

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