Posts Tagged ‘violence’

Heavily Armed Housewives

Shorter Gayle Trotter:

AR-15 assault rifles should be the weapon of choice for a woman to defend her home and her babies because they are light enough for a woman to hold and without a big strong man around she will need a scary looking gun to fight off all the violent hardened criminals, the men don’t need that because as men they are big and strong.

Jesus H Tapdancing Christ, her ability to cram so much sexism into nine sentences is truly amazing. A woman’s place is in the home with the babies! Women are helpless without the men around! Women are weak!

So you see, if you support an assault weapons ban, you’re the sexist one!

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I found NRA chief Wayne La Pierre’s comment that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” to be annoying for a variety of reasons, which I won’t go through here because I’ve covered this subject too much recently.

But, its been bugging me because, beyond all the substantive reasons, there was just one thing missing. Why was this bugging me so much? I couldn’t put my finger on that last elusive reason for a week. And then this afternoon it hit me.


The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a paperclip, a chocolate bar, and some string.

Your move, Wayne.

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A week ago I wrote this post about weapons used in violent crimes and it has since become the most popular post on the blog. A lot of folks seem to be referencing it, if my incoming links stats are to be believed. In one case, the argument in which I was referenced was taking place on an open forum so I took a look. Someone provided my numbers which the person they were arguing with immediately ignored because “you’re going to trust some random WordPress site?” Fair enough. I would be skeptical too. That’s only one case but I imagine its a common response. But that is exactly why I use, whenever possible, publicly available data from a reputable source and I cite it directly. In fact, I try not to use any data here that I wouldn’t use in a peer reviewed journal. So, random internet arguer, you don’t need to trust me, because you can check my work if you’re so inclined.

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This has been bouncing around my Facebook feed for the past couple of days, and it’s really starting to get on my nerves because it’s pretty much just blatantly false. There are a number of things wrong here. The first that jumped out at me was the baseball bat issue. Note, first of all, that the asterisk appears next to non-firearm homicides, but then goes on to describe a weapon used in violent crimes. Right away this should be a huge red flag that data is being cherry picked.

So, I looked for the data. It took me all of 5 minutes to find it right there on the FBI website, so we can check their work. According to the FBI, violent crime is defined as homicide, rape, burglary, and aggravated assault. Of the 1.2 million violent crimes committed nationally in 2011 (the most recent year for which data is available), 62.4% were aggravated assault. 21% of which were carried out with firearms. A third were carried out with “other weapons”, defined as “clubs, blunt objects, etc.) This is, I assume, the category in which we would find baseball bats.

For robbery, 29.4% of 2011’s violent crime, 41.3% were carried out with a firearm. “Other weapons” accounted for only 8.7%.

For homicide, which was 1.2% of 2011’s violent crime, a whopping 67.7% were carried out with a firearm. Only 13.1% were carried out with “unknown or other dangerous weapons”, they only category in which a baseball bat could fit.

Weapons statistics were not collected for rape.

So are you itching to whip out your spreadsheet and figure out how many violent crimes were carried out with a baseball bat, vs with a gun? I knew you were. But I’ve spoiled all your fun, and done it for you! A total of 315,134 violent crimes were carried out with a firearm in 2011, 26% of the year’s total. For “other weapons”, 279,012 crimes were carried out, for 23% of the year’s total. Even if we assume that every weapon that is not a firearm or a knife is a baseball bat, the information in the graphic doesn’t even come close to being true.

To whomever put this graphic together: If you’re going to cherry pick data to make a misleading case, at least have the decency to cherry pick data that supports your case.

And to anyone that sees this on their Facebook: please point out the above to the poster. This issue is too important for everyone to be getting false information from a spurious graphic.

Also, note the Yes, Virginia reference in the title of a post about violent crime statistics. There’s something just plain wrong about that, but I did it anyways.


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In an otherwise run of the mill piece that goes through the various suggestions for gun control and shows that they would not have stopped Sandy Hook or some other example of a mass shooting, Megan McArdle finds it appropriate to end with this (my emphasis):

My guess is that we’re going to get a law anyway, and my hope is that it will consist of small measures that might have some tiny actual effect, like restrictions on magazine capacity.  I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.  Would it work?  Would people do it?  I have no idea; all I can say is that both these things would be more effective than banning rifles with pistol grips.

But I doubt we’re going to tell people to gang rush mass shooters, because that would involve admitting that there is no mental health service or “reasonable gun control” which is going to prevent all of these attacks.  Which is to say, admitting that we have no box big enough to completely contain evil.

So there you have it. Since there is no policy that would be 100% effective, we should just say fuck it and instead teach our kids that when the shooting inevitably starts they should counterattack. We should fucking drill them on it.

Fuck. That. I don’t want to live in a country that would provide fucking children with combat training because we can’t confront the demons of our gun-worshiping culture.

That is the most fucked up, repugnant “solution” I have ever heard to any problem. I can admit perfectly well that there is no solution, policy or otherwise, to preventing “all of these attacks”. There are some terrible people in the world and they do terrible things and no one can ever stop that. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do everything in our power to minimize the incidence. And it most certainly doesn’t mean that we should fling our kids into the gaping maw of gun violence while shrugging our shoulders and saying “meh, what can you do?”.
I don’t know how to solve the problem. I don’t even know where to begin. Maybe the beginning is nowhere and the problem is unsolvable. I don’t know. But what I do know is that we have to try. If the alternative is encouraging children to dive into the line of fire when the inevitable shooting starts, then we absolutely have to fucking try.
(via LGM)

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Arm The Teachers, ctd

It seems my previous post wasn’t very clear.

The idea I was dismissing outright as laughably stupid was arming teachers as a matter of school (or state, or national, or whatever) policy. I was not dismissing the idea of allowing teachers who are otherwise liscensed and inclined to carry a gun to do so in their classroom, if they so choose.

Now it happens to be the case that I also think that’s a bad idea and one I oppose, but I agree it doesn’t merit the level of scorn with which I viewed the idea of arming all the teachers as a matter of policy.

So I should have been more clear, the differences between the two scenarios are important. 

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Arm The Teachers

All the articles and Facebook posts and whatnot I’m seeing claiming that the solution is to arm teachers are really something. There are always people arguing that this would never have happened if everyone was armed but the current arm the teachers embodiment is especially awful. Typically, the people making this case are the same ones who think teachers are a bunch of lazy overpaid union creeps who are just out to brainwash our kids into socialism and then steal all the government money, but put that aside and take the proposal at face value.

How would it work? Will we train the teachers in tactics and make them prove their marksmanship at the range? Better yet, let’s just put them through SWAT school. Would the teacher wear the gun in a holster? What’s to stop a pissed off student from reaching for it?  Should the teacher keep it in a drawer? It would have to be locked. Will a shooter wait patiently as she fumbles for her keys to unlock it? Should we implement the fingerprint sensors so only the teacher can fire it? This will all be very expensive, can we raise taxes?

As is typical for this type of argument, there’s no real thought involved.

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