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Jay Lake
Date: 2011-01-14 05:34
Subject: [links] Link salad gains weight
Security: Public
Tags:cool, guns, interviews, language, links, personal, photos, politics, publishing
The Lakeshore Drive-by: Jay Lake — In which I am briefly interviewed by Angela Slatter.

Publishing Brands — Andrew Wheeler on imprints.

Vintage New YorkDark Roasted Blend with some awfully cool photos.

Different Records, Same Warming TrendThe four records are unequivocal: the world has warmed since 1880, and the last decade has been the warmest on record. Yep, climate change is definitely a liberal plot. Those dastards have even managed to rig the data for the past hundred years. Must be nice to be a conservative and know you're right no matter how much the facts are biased against you.

House Republicans Remove "Civil Rights" and "Labor" From Committee Names — That'll fix them there Socialists! (Thanks to danjite.)

Over 9,000 Murders by Gun in US; 39 in UKIn the case of Britain, firearms murders are 48 times fewer than in the US. No wonder Second Amendment enthusiasts don't believe that limiting access to firearms would limit the gun death rate. It's both common sense, and it works in Europe. Therefore it can't possibly be true.

Bachmann: CBO is Bad When I DisagreeRepublicans who in the past have praised the CBO and relied on its scores to support policies that they advocate have now suddenly decided that the CBO is a fraud. But Michele Bachmann took this hypocrisy one step further, slamming the CBO in one breath and citing their figures in the next breath. She did this on Fox News, of course, so no one noticed.

?otD: What food would you give up last?

Writing time yesterday: 0.5 hours (WRPA, editing)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (solid)
Weight: 252.4
Currently reading: Salamanca by Dean Francis Alfar

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Brian Dolton
User: tchernabyelo
Date: 2011-01-14 16:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Again, I have to say that the gun crime statistics you cite there are not as simple as they first appear. Yes, there were (per capita) about 1/6 as many murders by shooting in the UK as in the US (which doesn't match the ratio of overall murders, implying that if guns are not available, many people can and do find other ways of killing their target). But gun ownership in the UK is FAR lower than in the US (and I'll guess that a high percentage of those UK crimes involved illegally owned guns, whereas a high percentage of the US crimes involved legally owned ones). I'd like to see the figures, but I'm pretty confident that they would show MORE murders per capita PER GUN POSSESSOR in the UK than in the US, which can be used as an argument in favour of the "deterrent"/home defense stance that many gun advocates take.

I remain unconvinced that gun ownership ON ITS OWN is the major factor at work here. Nevertheless I can come up with no justification whatsoever for the right of any individual to own and carry assault weapons, semi-automatics, etc. You don't need a 30-chamber magazine for "home defense"...
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-01-14 16:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Really, it's a lot simpler than that.

Do you agree that if there were zero guns, there would be zero gun deaths?

Do you then agree that a non-zero number of guns is directly correlated to a non-zero number of guns deaths?

If you agree with those two statements, then all we're really disagreeing on is the degree of correlation (ie, the statistical relation). Of course that is going to vary by society, culture, legal regime, historical era, etc.

The point I'm trying to make is that by definition, fewer guns mean fewer gun deaths. The relationship between the two is undeniable, unless you don't accept my two postulates above. The *degree* of that relationship is entirely subject to debate.

I have a third postulate which I recognize not everyone buys into, which is that private gun ownership serves no positive social purpose. That's why, for example, I find it specious that gun owners comparing guns to automobiles and arguing that we as a society accept death rates. Automobiles are generally agreed to confer a significant social utility. (Ignoring environmental arguments, etc., for the moment.) This is why we talk about deaths per passenger mile, for example.

The usual stated social utility of private firearms is a combination of the theoretical "defense of essential liberties" argument and the "self-defense" argument. I don't find either of those convincing, and I find the deaths per essential liberty defended rate to be completely unacceptable.

On home defense, a) there's no human being in the world I would kill to protect my television; b) as an experienced firearms user with range safety and marksmanship training, I know perfectly well how hard it is to get the drop on someone else who's more prepared than I am for a confrontation. Here the statistics are a lot murkier and the basis for disagreement is wider, but I also find the ratio of gun deaths to self defense successes to be completely unacceptable.

[edited to redact a significant typo]

Edited at 2011-01-14 04:21 pm (UTC)
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Brian Dolton
User: tchernabyelo
Date: 2011-01-14 16:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Zero guns would mean zero gun deaths, yes.

However, that does not necessarily mean that fewer guns means fewer gun deaths, because it is about more than just the guns. There are fewer (per capita) guns in the UK than the US by a huge margin (though since most of the UK guns will be illegally owned it is probably hard to find statistics - I will try and look later). Does the possession of legally held US guns actually reduce what would otherwise be a HIGHER murder rate? That's the contention of many within the gun lobby and I am not yet convinced they don't have a point.

The "home defense" argument is not one that entirely convinces me (to put it mildly; as noted, many of those gun owners know nothing about responsible gun ownership), but there have been studies that indicate there is a deterrent effect in play; the fewer people will break into a home knowing that there is likely to be a gun owner in place. Again, I remain cutious about this, as it's my firm belief that VERY few "home invasions" occur when people are AT home, and if those do occur, they are usually a). by mistake or b). about a crime against the person directly, in which case the home just happens to be a convenient location to find that person and indulge in whatever criminal act it is that the criminal intends.

To some extent I am playing devil's advocate with you, btu I'm doing so because you constantly seem to try and make this into a very simple argument and (as a former UK citizn and now US resident, who learned how to use a rifle as a teenager in the UK but has never owned a gun and has no plans to) I feel it's a much more complex issue.
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User: swan_tower
Date: 2011-01-14 18:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Does the possession of legally held US guns actually reduce what would otherwise be a HIGHER murder rate?

I have yet to see anything resembling a convincing argument/statistic showing "here are instances where murder WOULD have happened, but was stopped by civilian gun ownership." Things like the Tuscon incident are usually stopped by people tackling the shooter, not by a non-cop shooting him down. And you can argue there's a home invasion deterrent, but how often does home invasion end in murder? As you say, most of those happen when nobody is home; the exceptions are not (to my knowledge) hugely numerous, and the exceptions wherein the invader would have killed people but was prevented from doing so by the homeowner brandishing or using a gun must necessariliy be less numerous.

Do those occasions outweigh nine thousand confirmed gun deaths each year? Do they outweigh the subset of those gun deaths that are sheer stupid accident, let alone Columbine or Loughner? From where I'm standing, that's only true in movies.
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España Sheriff
User: cmdrsuzdal
Date: 2011-01-14 19:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
There's an interesting discussion regarding an element of this notion;


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scarlettina: NYC subway token
User: scarlettina
Date: 2011-01-14 16:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:NYC subway token
Those photographs of old New York are wonderful. And yeah, they make me a little homesick.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2011-01-14 16:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hang on, Penguin isn't much of a brand? Penguin? Splutter, mutter whorfle stomp... Penguin is The brand, the UR brand, the brand of brands over here. It's in our blood, on parental and grand-parental bookshelves. Its orange-and-white covers grace mugs and bags (as do the green-and-white ones -- those were murder mysteries). Honestly, she said, Americans... (Stomps off muttering Britishisms.)

Edited at 2011-01-14 04:26 pm (UTC)
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User: alumiere
Date: 2011-01-14 21:28 (UTC)
Subject: QOTD
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Jay Lake: food-wensleydale_cheese
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-01-14 21:31 (UTC)
Subject: Re: QOTD
Ah, a woman after my own heart...
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User: msconduct
Date: 2011-01-14 22:46 (UTC)
Subject: Re: QOTD
I instantly thought cheese too. Mmm, cheese.
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User: mmegaera
Date: 2011-01-15 03:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
AotD: Milk. Definitely.
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User: emmainfiniti
Date: 2011-01-15 13:42 (UTC)
Subject: AotD
Freshly baked.
Crusty or soft; white, wheat, pumpernickel, corn, rye, multi-grain, naan; slice, loaf, baguette, flat, muffin; toasted or not.
Lightly kissed with butter or a drizzle of olive oil.
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Deanna Stewart
User: Deanna Stewart
Date: 2011-01-15 22:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
While the UK may have fewer gun deaths, I believe that knife killings are rather high,or were in 2006 when I was there. At that time, there was a big public campaign to prevent knife violence. The underlying causes for the violence are still out there, whether someone can go out and easily buy a gun or a knife or not.

-Deanna S.
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January 2014
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