Tags: gun control

Me 2

Kenosha, Take 2

Part of insisting facts matter, which I do, is changing you opinion about something based on facts. I have changed my opinion regarding the Rittenhouse shootings in Kenosha. Legally, they both appear to be self-defense. I do think we have a case of Sheepdog Failure Syndrome, which I'll elaborate on below. Here's why I changed my opinion. (Here's an interesting take on this sheepdog mentality.)

I watched this video which argues that both of the shootings were self-defense. The too long; didn't watch version is that Rittenhouse brought his rifle and first-aid kit to Kenosha. His plan was to "de-escalate" protests and "run into danger" to rescue injured people. Good intentions, but we know what the road to Hell is paved with.

In the first shooting, one of the rioters, Joseph Rosenbaum, chases Rittenhouse and tries to take away his gun. (Rosenbaum was white and we have video of him being a belligerent asshole earlier that night.) Rosenbaum's actions make the shooting self-defense for Rittenhouse. After the shooting, Rittenhouse runs away. The mob, not knowing why Rittenhouse shot or if he plans to continue shooting, run after him.

Here I take issue with the video. The lawyer in the video thinks the mob is chasing Rittenhouse because "he killed one of ours." I think the mob was chasing him because they were concerned that a mass shooting was breaking out. In either interpretation, from Rittenhouse's point of view, he was legally in a self-defense situation, especially once he fell on his ass.

Now, here's where we get all the gross errors of judgement on Rittenhouse's part that made this disaster happen:

1) Carrying a long rifle in a situation like this is problematic. It's very tempting for angry people to try and take it away from you. In this case, it made Rittenhouse a very visible target as well.

2) Rittenhouse did not appear to have the skills or physical stamina to be out in this situation. He's perpetually getting into binds and getting outrun. He uses terms like "overwatch" which suggest he knows what's going on but he clearly hasn't done any of this stuff before.

3) Rittenhouse has affiliated himself with a "militia" trying to protect businesses. This "militia" has no command structure or organization and appears to be just a bunch of Tactical Teds roaming the streets. Once the shooting starts, it's every man for himself, leaving Young Rittenhouse alone.

So, Rittenhouse does not appear to be a murderer. He does, however, appear to have made a number of very bad decisions that got two people killed and nearly got himself killed. IANAL, so I don't know if those bad decisions are legally actionable or not. This entry was originally posted at https://chris-gerrib.dreamwidth.org/743309.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2

Kenosha

As anybody who is not living under a rock knows, there have been protests, sometimes violent, in Kenosha Wisconsin over yet another highly-questionable police shooting. (Generally speaking, shooting somebody in the back is only legal if they are running around actively killing people in front of you.) These protests turned lethal a couple of days ago. Thoughts:

1) If you ignore non-violent protests, you'll eventually get violent ones. In other words, if you don't like professional athletes kneeling during the National Anthem, you'd better like riots.

2) Kyle Rittenhouse, the white teenager who killed two people in Kenosha, is not a part of BLM. He's 17, which makes it illegal for him to carry or transport the weapon he used (both in Illinois, Wisconsin and Federally). He's from Illinois, and has no ties to Kenosha, and as a civilian he was violating curfew. In short, he's the very model of an outside agitator.

3) Regardless of the details of what happened that night in Kenosha, it's hard to argue this is anything other than murder. If you travel somewhere specifically to break the law, whatever happens thereafter is on you.

4) On a political note, I remain baffled by Trump's claim that he's the "LAW and ORDER" President who can fix this. It seems to me part of his long-running tendency to act like a spectator instead of The Guy In Charge. Less campaign rallies, more fixing please. This entry was originally posted at https://chris-gerrib.dreamwidth.org/743149.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2

Monday Update

I had a quiet weekend and spent most of today out-of-pocket, so this will be a brief update. It will, in fact, consist of three Tweet-level thoughts.

Thought 1 - Assault Weapons

I am and remain a gun owner. Having said that, I agree with the tweet I saw (originally from Elizabeth Bear): "here are two reasons for a private citizen to want an assault rifle. 1) to kill a lot of people as conveniently as possible. 2) because it's a neat toy." To expound on that, neither reason is protected by the Constitution.

Thought 2 - March for our Lives

I am amazed (well, not really) at how badly the NRA and their associates are showing their asses regarding the organizers of last weekend's anti-gun marches. Calling them "crisis actors" (and WTF is a "crisis actor" in the first place) and all the other slights seem almost deliberately aimed at making the NRA look like a mustache-twirling villain in a grade-Z movie.

Thought #3 - Children of the Divide

Over the weekend I finished the third of Patrick S. Tomlinson's novels, Children of the Divide. In it, Tomlinson tuckerizes another writer of my acquaintance, Adam Rakunas, and tells an interesting story of two species living together on one planet. It appears that Tomlinson left himself room for more books in the series, which I don't see forthcoming. In any event, it's well worth a read, and since it's set 18 years after the other two books, should stand alone.

This entry was originally posted at https://chris-gerrib.dreamwidth.org/692614.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2

the NRA

One of the things that tend to irritate NRA members and the more vocal groups of gun owners is the claim that the NRA exists, not to protect gun rights, but to sell guns on behalf of the American gun industry. Herewith, some thoughts, based on the research reported in this article.

First, the article suggests that between 22% and 29% of Americans own guns. Given my experience in my social group (Rotary, writers, co-workers, family members) that one-third-ish number seems right. That's 93 million people, plus or minus. And you'll note that my social group covers both conservatives (Rotarians, bankers) and liberals (writers). Second, the article suggests that most people own one or two guns. Again, of the people in my social groups, that's pretty accurate.

I'm an outlier. I own nine guns, which puts me in the 3% of Americans in that category. I've purchased four of them, requested two as gifts, and was given unsolicited three (all of which are nearly as old as I am). By the most generous of measures, then, I cause a gun to be purchased once every five years. Again, I'm an outlier - most people are one-and-done over a lifetime.

So who the hell is buying the 11 million guns made in the US on a given year? And we import guns too. Guns are durable goods - I've fired guns made before World War II, so they really don't wear out.

Well, obviously some portion of the "one-and-dones" are newly minted buyers, but 93 divided by 11 is 8.45, so the US gun industry is making enough guns for every gun-owning American to buy a gun every 8th year. Oh, that 11 million is a significant increase over previous years.

Clearly, then, some large portion of the people buying guns are folks who already have multiple weapons and feel the need to have more. Something is driving that, and the NRA is as good a bet on "something" as anything else I see.

This entry was originally posted at https://chris-gerrib.dreamwidth.org/689829.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2

The Week That Was

A few random thoughts on The Week That Was:

1) Well, now we've got an actual campaign operative, George Papadopoulos, confessing to actual collusion with Russia on the election. This is of course on top of the meeting that Trump's son took with the "Russian Crown Prosecutor" that we all knew about. Now, despite Trump mentioning Papadopoulos by name at a Washington Post editorial board meeting, we're in the "well Papadopoulos wasn't really that important" phase. Color me unamused.

2) The article entitled What J. D. Vance doesn't get about Appalachia is well worth the read. The gist is that the coal industry created a culture of dependency out of what had been independent small farmers.

3) Borrowed from Twitter:
Manhattan attack: 8 killed, 11 injured
Trumpsters: "Muslims are evil! Let's kick them out now!"

Las Vegas shooting: 58 killed, 546 injured
Trumpsters: "It's too soon to talk about this."

4) Speaking of Trump, we hear that Whitefish Energy, a two-man company, got a massive contract to get the lights back on in Puerto Rico. Needless to say, the lights aren't on. Also as pointed out on Twitter, the crooks and grifters in the Trump Administration are competent in one thing only - enriching themselves.

This entry was originally posted at https://chris-gerrib.dreamwidth.org/685171.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2

On Debates, or that Woo won't Bum-kon

We are at the moment engaged in yet another round of debate on gun control, American-style. Without getting too deep into the argument, I would like to point out a very irritating debate point. Call it the Woo Bum-kon.

This post, by a person against gun control, points to the case of Woo Bum-kon, South Korean policeman who killed 56 people. In my previous post, somebody else pointed to Anders Breivik in Norway. Both were being cited as cases of "gun control didn't work."

Here's the thing: the arguments are bullshit. Woo did his thing in 1982. How many mass shootings have there been in South Korea from then until now? (Answer - not very many if any.) Breivik did his thing in 2011. How many mass shootings have there been in Norway since then? (Answer - zero.) Before these two men did their thing, how common were mass shootings in their countries? (Answer - really rare.)

The problem is, in the United States, we have had 273 mass shootings this year. There's only been 275 days this year. Yep - almost as many mass shootings as days. (source.)

Nobody thinks we can get to zero mass shootings, no more than we can get to zero plane crashes. But we can surely reduce the number of shootings and deaths.

This entry was originally posted at https://chris-gerrib.dreamwidth.org/683561.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2

Here We Go Again

Here we go again - lone wolf white dude gets a collection of guns and decides to hose down a crowd. Given that he was shooting from 400 meters away (per here) any security measure that didn't involve counter-sniper teams at full alert would be useless.

We'll hear a lot about "thoughts and prayers" and how attacks like these are unavoidable, but "thoughts and prayers" aren't very helpful and attacks like these are in fact avoidable. The harder it is to get high-capacity semi-auto weapons, the harder these attacks are. And yes, I'm aware that this appears to have been done with a full-auto weapon. It's a lot easier to hide a full-auto weapon in a forest of cosmetically identical semi-autos.

This entry was originally posted at https://chris-gerrib.dreamwidth.org/683376.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2

Friday Link Salad, or Clearing My Tabs

Stuff I found of interest.

A) Jim Wright on Trump's cabinet: "So far we've got The Idle Rich, Billionaires and Bankers, a couple of Evil Doctors, the Soap Queen sister of a mercenary, a Grand Wizard, Mad Dog Mattis, and Caribou Barbie

It's less like Donald Trump building a cabinet ...

... and more like Lex Luthor assembling a League of Super Villains."


B) The title says it all: Democrats, skip the civil war.

C) On stopping gun violence: Ya gotta go after the shooters.

D) I've met the author and I've pre-ordered the book.

Me 2

Three Thoughts for Friday

Thought #1 - "A Troubled Loner"

It seems that any time a black or Muslim man shoots somebody he shouldn't, that's proof of terrorism and conspiracy. Yet when a white man with a history of waving Confederate flags at black people shots somebody, we're told that they are "a troubled loner." In the latest case, it would be more accurate to call them a habitual criminal and violent racist.

Thought #2 - Making Water

It's said that necessity is the mother of invention. Israel, the driest country in the world, needed fresh water. So they invented cheap desalinization. Of note in the article - the same drought that forced Israel to make water let to the collapse of Syrian agriculture and the creation of large slums on the outskirts of Syrian cities. These led to the current civil war. Note to libertarians - either government takes care of the poor or the poor take care of government, French-revolution style.

Thought #3 - the Ghost Fleet of WWI

On a lighter note, in World War I, the US started an emergency program to replace merchant ships lost due to U-boats. Like much of our efforts in that war, the fighting was done by the time the ships were built. They were also uneconomical to operate, so they were left to rot in Mallows Bay. The wooden ships have created fascinating ship-shaped islands.
Me 2

Friday, Later Than Usual

Today's post is later than usual due to a busy morning.

A) Having merely pointed at Scalzi's post yesterday on Brexit and saying "me too" let me today point at Scalzi's newest post on Brexit and say "me too."

B) Game of Thrones a TV show that I do not watch, had a big medieval battle scene in it. Various people are complaining of inaccuracies, including the idea that the cavalry (well, armored knights) arrive to save the day, unbeknownst to the Big Bad. I remind people that at Waterloo, Napoleon knew the Prussians were in the area and had detached a Corp to fend them off, yet the Prussian arrival forced his retreat.

C) Chuck Wendig talks about common sense gun control. I note the article primarily to point out that there is a divide in gun culture from "old school" (Chuck and I) and "new school." The new school types seem to want everybody to have a gun instantly to hand.