Calling these guns what they are


We spent a trillion dollars and almost 5,000 American lives trying to root out non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We fret about Iran getting a WMD, and we worry that North Korea already has one. Nuclear nonproliferation has been a key part of US foreign policy since the end of World War II.

Nobody says that we should stop trying to control WMDs because a crazy ruler of a rogue state could declare war on someone else anyway. Nobody says that "nuclear bombs don't kill people, people kill people." Everyone agrees that there's a difference between conventional weapons, which are bad, and WMDs, which are horrific.

So why can't we make the same distinction with guns?

Seriously: I'm not saying that an assault rifle is a nuke, but in the world of domestic murder, it's somewhat equivalent.

If Adam Lanza had entered the elementary school in Newtown, CT, with a run-of-the-mill rilfe or handgun, he might have shot half a dozen people. Maybe more if he could reload really fast. Some of them might have survived.

Instead, the 20 kids, six-year-old kids, were all shot multiple times, from a semiautomatic rifle that carried special deadly ammunition. None of them had a chance. In all, he killed 28 people before the cops could get there. That required a 30-shot clip and a gun that fired really fast. A gun that belongs on a battlefied. A gun his mother bought, legally, to fend off the apocalypse and the collapse of civil society.

There's a difference between the guns Sen. Manchen uses for hunting (which carry at most three rounds) and these weapons of mass destruction. There's no good use for a military-style assault rifle; you can't hunt with it and if you think it's really going to protect you against the end of civil society (or the black helicopters of the United Nations Army Of One World Government), you're too looney to have a gun anyway.

I'm not big on guns anyway, as all of you who hate me know. But can we please at least agree: Standing armies and conventional warfare, which we're not about to abolish soon, can do serious damage. Weapons of mass destruction do horrific damage. That's why we treat them differently. Can't we do the same for guns?



The crime rate in Europe compared to the U.S. is damned low, though, you must admit.

Posted by Hortencia on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 8:04 am

than the US. America was created and built on violence, and if we didn't have any guns, we'd be using other weapons to harm each other.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 8:44 am

Some countries in Europe are now more diverse than we are.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 8:49 am

because of temporary workers such as Turks, North Africans and people from the poorer peripherary of Europe who can move to the richer Euro States because of the EU's freedom of movement.

Outside of the major cities, Europe is still very white.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 8:57 am

to work, while the USA has a vast underclass opposed to work.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

entirely viable to have an adequate (although not luxurious) lifestyle by claiming all the cradle-to-grave welfare benefits on offer there that 60% income tax rates will pay for.

Do we really want to go down that sclerotic road?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

Longer lifespans, better health, more freedom (including free time), more security... and far less gun violence. I'll take the sclerotic road, thank you.

And few people except the rich pay 60% taxes on any portion of their income, let alone all of it.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

To pay for an open southern border and all your high dollar dreams.

As you like to say, "In Europe they" often times police their borders.

People sneak into the USA to work, driving down wages and increasing unemployment, but if we raised taxes all would be well.

Your report gets an F-.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

elects to live in the US with all those pesky constitutional freedoms like the right to bear arms.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 8:43 am

Get it. But i don't want to live in your world.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 25, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

for you. Here's another cliche: "If the shoe fits..."

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 25, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

I'm not going to try to change your point of view re Ross...if you don't understand by now that no one who was pro-ross staying in office condones "violent behavior", then you are the fool.

Posted by Daniele E. on Dec. 17, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

belittled Ross's violence towards his wife for no reason other than that he was a liberal. If a right-winger had done that, you'd have said the opposite. So what credibility can we attach to any of your wrods on violence when, in order to assess it, you first look at the ideology of the perp?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 6:55 am

It had nothing to do with "ideology of the perp". It had everything to do with all aspects of the case. And you know what? I'm not gonna re-hash all those aspects of the case now!

I didn't belittle Ross' behavior towards his wife. Didn't then, and don't now. Neither did Ross, btw....

I don't look to what a "right-winger" does vs what a "liberal" does. That is probably the difference between you and me: I look at the *human* aspects of a case--along w/ all other aspects/evidence....but *human* being the key word here. I don't use labels, because I don't think they are helpful. Why don't I think they are helpful? Because they do not, in and of themselves, reveal the humanity behind the label.

You, on the other hand, seem to live on "labels". I would venture to say that's why you're here: because you know this is a "progressive-thinking" paper, and you relish kicking said progressives in the butt.

That's not my idea of fun. I really prefer to see people—including you—as human beings.

Oh, and one more thing: you say "If a right-winger had done that, you'd have said the opposite." The truth is probably more like this: if a right-winger had been the star of that show, I probably wouldn't have participated in the discussion at all, because I wouldn't have had the time or motivation to dig into the facts. One of the reasons I did dig into the facts w/ Ross is because I know Ross a little AND I'm interested (have studied) nonviolence. The case—the reaction to the facts of the case—to me was the *real* violence.

I hope I cleared that up. Sincerely.

Posted by Daniele E. on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

worked up if RossGate had been a right-winger. That was exactly my point about your position and why it discredits most of what you said about RossGate.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 8:42 am

I don't follow your logic. If the right-winger had been someone I'd met or knew a little, I probably would have studied the case and come to whatever conclusion I may have come to. I'm just saying that it helped that I knew Ross a little.

Unlike a lot of people on these blogs who post regularly, I don't. I don't follow every story just because it's happening. I have to feel a certain affinity for the subject at hand. In this particular DV case, it was a personal connection to both the player in the story as well as the subject matter.

So, no, it has nothing to do w/ "left-winger" vs "right-winger". Just a personal connection coupled w/ an interest in the whole sequence of events.

I only have so much time (like a lot of us) to put effort into things. So I only do that when I feel the motivation.

If Ross had really done something wholly egregious, meriting a stiffer punishment, I would have come to *that* conclusion.

So don't confuse a limited personal connection with bias. I wouldn't have bothered to pour through the evidence if I was just gonna have a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that it was a "left-winger". I hope you can respect that.

PS It is not clear I would have researched a case like this if it were the same case with a "left-winger" I did not know. I hope that clarifies things for you.

Posted by Daniele E. on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 9:38 am

Daniele E. is being accused of having the exact same bias that Guest, in the least case, exhibits himself; but in the worst case, of projecting on her the gross intellectual dishonesty that he is in fact guilty of.

Would the commenter have been so vocal and energetic in formulating bogus criticisms Ross Mirkarimi defenders if Ross had been a reactionary hero? Of course not.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 10:44 am

Daniele E. is being accused of having the exact same bias that Guest, in the least case, exhibits himself; but in the worst case, of projecting on her the gross intellectual dishonesty that he is in fact guilty of.

Would the commenter have been so vocal and energetic in formulating bogus criticisms Ross Mirkarimi defenders if Ross had been a reactionary hero? Of course not.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 10:47 am

Sadly, we won't see any real gun reform until these incidents start happening on a weekly or daily basis. Until the right wing lunatics who think school prayer is the answer to gun violence can't leave their house without being shot will the situation change. Its probably going to get worse before it gets better

Posted by Fatcat on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 4:56 am

that it gives ammunition (ha) to the same tired old arguments that people like Tim come out with every time something like this happens.

The simple fact is that, for all the horror of this incident, these thigns are very rare, so we should not over-react. While the odds that I might need my firearm to fend off a home invader or mugger are quite high. In fact, I have twice driven off someone trying to break into my home.

Given that gun control does not deter criminals, we should do nothing to alter the balance of power. Gun control makes us less safe.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 6:58 am

The Gun Knutters are piling in, I see: Gun Death Rate per 100,000

Japan 0.07
Singapore 0.24
Taiwan 0.27
Kuwait 0.37
England/ Wales 0.4
Scotland 0.49
Netherlands 0.55
Spain 0.74
Ireland 1.24
Germany 1.44
Italy 2.27
Sweden 2.27
Denmark 2.48
Israel 2.56
New Zealand 2.67
Australia 2.94
Belgium 3.32
Canada 3.95
Norway 4.23
Austria 4.48
Northern Ireland 4.72
France 5.48
Switzerland 6.2
Finland 6.65
USA 13.47

Posted by Troll the XIV on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 6:56 am

different nationalities and ethnicities. It tells you little about whether we should have more or less guns.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 7:15 am

The argument that all these other countries have fewer gun deaths because of "ethnicity" (along with its variant to excuse this country's enormous incarceration rate), presupposes that there's something "different" about the people who live here than anywhere else -somehow Americans are inherently more violent, more evil, more crime-prone than people in any other country in the world.

It's American exceptionalism turned on its head. If you think about it, it's an argument that takes an extremely dim view of the American people. Well just as I refuse to accept the American exceptionalism of the neocons, I refuse to accept the argument that Americans are the worst, most evil, most violent people in the world. To accept that, you really have to hate the American people, and I don't.

People are people. It is our laws, our social structure, our government, that is responsible, not the nature of the American people. As we see in the superb example provided in the KPFA piece, which I linked to below, changing the law can have a profound effect.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

However, don't underestimate the violence prevalent in our past and present:

Continuous warfare
Stealing native lands and genocide of native people
300 plus years of slavery

I don't think that there is anything inherently violent about Americans or anybody. But a history and culture of violence is a hurdle to overcome.

What did George Carlin say? We like war:

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

But so called liberals insist that all of these people are different at every turn. You all want to celebrate diversity when it works out for you, but when things go bad it's all the fault of uncle Sam, who you want to solve all of your problems while disdaining.

It is such as bizarre world view that the fringe left holds, the government can solve all of our problems but its the government that creates all of our problems?

"In Europe they have" immigrant rape gangs, which I suppose is the governments fault.

That you refuse to accept things is a tired goofy extreme rhetorical jabber, Pat Robertson refuses to accept a secular America. It might work at the coffee house with you college studies pals, but who cares?

The average American being lazy and stupid is common liberal mantra (for example Michael Moore). The strangest thing is that the far left claims to speak for the common lazy, and stupid American, The lazy, stupid and violent American at both disdained and spoken for by the Greg left. Greg refuses to accept that these people are no different than other nationalities and yet "in Europe they" do something or another else.

According to Greg there is no free will, all our actions are dictated by the state, down to the last watching of Three's Company reruns. I accept that.!

Posted by matlock on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

You're contradicting yourself, matlock. I think. Hard to say because you're so incoherent. But you appear to argue that people are no different from each other... and yet in some countries people clearly murder one another less. So if it's not an inherent genetic difference, then what is it? "Culture?" Then why did Australia's murder rate drop so precipitously after they strengthened their gun laws. You want to claim that laws don't matter, yet clearly they do.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

Yes, cultural differences!

PURE RACE countries like Japan and Korea don't have violence.

We need a Hitleresque program to make American homogenous again. American Indians need to pack all those immigrants back to the places they came from.

You are ridiculous.

Cheap, accessible military hardware is to blame.

Posted by Troll the XIV on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 7:06 am

peaceful, law-abiding society. Serial killers and mass murderers there are virtually unknown, and all types of crime are at a much lower level than here. A close-knit, homogeneous culture imposes like-mindedness and empathy amongst it's denizens.

The US is the exact opposite - very different groups, classes and races ae thrown together who have very little in common with each other and, indeed, often do not trust each other. That is why we have more lawyers than the rest of the planet put together - because of all our inherent conflicts and battles.

And it's why we kill each in huge numbers. While even within the US, crime and murder rates by ethnic group vary greatly, even if much violence is within the same social or ethnic grouping.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 7:42 am

You want to impose your close-minded view of humanity and human relations on the rest of us.

Our diversity is one of the greatest aspects of human culture. Celebrate it rather than seek racial purity.

Your view reflects the fearfulness of "the other."

I moved to San Francisco from the East Coast because of all the places I had visited in the United States, this area best combined its rich diversity with the rare (at that time, late 1980's) ability of different groups to get along, in fact, to thrive with each other.

A total stranger with whom I spoke last weekend shared with me the same sentiments as we started talking about our love of San Francisco. I'm sure others who read this site will share similar feelings as well.

Keep launching your attacks and expressing your narrow-mindedness. I'd hate to view the world with your faint vision.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 8:09 am

Even in Sf, despite paying lip service to "diversity", most people still associate with their own. If not, we would not have ChinaTown, JapanTown and specific part of the city that attract hispanics, Irish, Russians, blacks and so on.

We still segregate ourselves voluntarily even though society no longer enforces it.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 8:39 am

Most Japanese SF residents don't live in Japantown; most Chinese don't live in Chinatown. In fact, the existence of Chinatowns is a reminder of the past legal restrictions on where Chinese people could live. Similarly, one reason that African-Americans who migrated here to work during the early part of the 20th Century moved into the areas surrounding Japantown was the forced removal of Japanese-Americans from their homes to concentration camps during World War II and subsequent laws that took away their property as "abandonded," allowing property speculators to scoop up that real estate.

You may segregate yourself voluntarily, but most people don't. Who is the "we" to which you refer?

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 9:09 am

communities within SF most certainly are not. There are relatively new neighborhoods that are racially divided the way the city as a whole is. I've already noted how Asians tend to live in certain parts, e.g. ChinaTown, Richmond, Sunset. But you notice it almost everywhere, as well as along other lines e.g. sexual orientation (gays in the Castro), economic class (rich folks in the far NW of the city) and so on.

Just taking my block as an example, it is all white except for one asian family. No blacks or hispanics, not because of any bar, but simply because they prefer to live in other area's of the city where there are more of "their own" like Bayview or the Mission.

Diversity is largely an illusion unless you're talking about the school system where it is enforced on unwilling parents thru what is effectively a school bussing system.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 10:15 am

that may have been considering moving onto your block but didn't because they wanted to live with "their own?"

Because you seem to talk authoratatively about this alleged phenomenon and wouldn't make such a statement without proof or evidence, would you?

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 10:31 am

choose to live within their own rather than in a supposedly "diverse" neighborhood. My point is limited to stating that that is what people do in practice, regardless.

And there is, of course, more violence in some of those self-selected single-race neighborhood's but that varies by the ethnicity. There are few shootings in JapanTown, for instance, just like there are few in Japan itself. Culture carries over.

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

That much vaunted Swiss example about how a country with lots of access to guns can be so safe... note something here. Switzerland has roughly half the guns per capita as the US, and roughly half the gun deaths. It's #4 in gun ownership, and #3 in gun deaths. The US is #1 in both, and way higher than the #2 country in both categories. We blow everybody else out of the water (no pun intended).

So yes, it appears that gun access does directly correlate to gun deaths, and Switzerland is not such a good example after all.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

Switzerland are 50% (per capita) of the US. I don't see that in Troll XIV's table above, nor anywhere else. I have difficulty believing it.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

Per the table above:
Switzerland: 6.2
US 13.47
6.2/13.47 = .46

What part of this is difficult to understand?

Posted by Greg on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

murder rate is 15 times that of the UK.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

In the UK, access to guns is much more restricted. When more people have access to guns, you get more gun deaths. This is really a no-brainer. But those who have a diehard ideological opposition to gun control see these facts, and the facts clash with their ideological frame, so they simply choose to not believe the facts.

Of course, as I said in the very beginning, we need to live in a reality-based world.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

From todays's Chronicle:

"A frequently cited study, "More Guns, Less Crime" by gun-rights researcher John Lott, says the probability of serious injury in an attack is four times greater for women resisting without a gun, and 1 1/2 times greater for men. The report, written in 1998 and since updated, also maintains that homicide rates are 127 percent higher in states that ban concealed weapons."

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 7:14 am

of the old "All in the Family" episode where Archie goes on TV to explain that the best way to end hijackings would be to arm all the passengers.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

firearm, dozens now dead might still be alive.

The bad guys are always going to carry guns, so we either face them helpless or face them equally. I know which I would prefer.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

to steal. To quote Woody Guthrie's "Pretty Boy Floyd":

"...Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home."

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

We know you don't like bankers, but suggesting that they are worse than child-killers is hypebole even by your own low standards.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

and the banksters are the biggest ones around.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

But FWIW, I blame the dumb borrowers as much as anyone else. Everyone is to blame for the sub-prime debacle, because everyone was either greedy, stupid or both. Including the politicians.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

I know that. I was just responding to your statement that bad guys are always armed by pointing that the biggest bad guys, corporate criminals, are not.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

guys are, by asserting that someone who murders children is much "badder" than someone whose "crime" is merely offering negative-amortizing, 125%-LTV, interest-only, undocumented loan instruments to those who are hapless and dumb enough to think they're a good idea.

If you hate mortgage bankers more than child-murderers, I'd advise that you take a long hard look at your value system.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

Who doesn't? Pointing out the crimes of corporate criminals does not equal hatred. Their crimes are far more extensive than predatory lending, however. Including of course, financing and profiting from the institutionalized violence of warfare, which unfortunately kills far more children around the world than the equally atrocious mass and individual killings of children like what occurred in Connecticut last Friday and what occurs probably almost daily mostly in low income areas around the US.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 18, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

Is there any level of exaggeration you won't reach for?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2012 @ 7:37 am

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