Demilitarization of the Police Requires Demilitarization of Civilians
by Benjamin Studebaker
The recent clashes between demonstrators and police forces in Ferguson, Missouri over the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police forces has many calling into question the slow, steady rate at which police forces in the United States have become militarized. If we want to stop and potentially reverse this trend, we need to understand its underlying cause–the simultaneous militarization of the civilian population.
For a police for to be effective, it needs a large advantage in military power over the population it is policing. When citizens contemplate committing crimes, they need to know that they are not going to be able to defeat the police in combat, and when police officers contemplate engaging with dangerous criminals, they need to believe that they are very likely to succeed and to survive.
In countries where the police do not have this military advantage, police officers themselves become afraid of criminals and refuse to engage with them. The Central American refugee crisis is a poignant example of this. In some Central American countries, gangs and paramilitary forces have weapons and training that make them capable of successfully defeat police forces in combat and regularly killing police officers. As a result, the police pull out of gang-dominated areas. The civilian populations living in these areas become subject to expropriation by the gangs. Organized crime is more successful than individual crime because organizations can pool individuals, finances, and weaponry, giving the criminals who comprise them a greater chance of successfully winning fights with police forces. This intimidates police officers into inaction or accepting bribes. True, sustainable victory for these organizations only comes once the police force has been corrupted and subdued.
In the United States, militarization of the police began with the formation of SWAT teams (Special Weapons and Tactics). These teams were created during the 1960’s to oppose paramilitary organizations like the Black Panthers or the Symbionese Liberation Army. By equipping SWAT teams with military-grade weapons and training, police forces were able to raise the confidence of officers when engaging with heavily armed threats.
This escalated after the September 11th attacks. Police forces feared a nightmare scenario in which heavily armed, organized terrorists staged assaults on major cities. And with the increased incidence of mass shootings in the United States, police forces have become increasingly fearful of extraordinarily heavily armed individual killers.
Unsurprisingly, once the police have special weapons and tactics, they are like the proverbial man with a hammer–everything starts to look like a nail. And so we have seen a tremendous rise in the incidence of police forces using military tactics in seemingly trivial situations, such as no-knock searches of suspects homes for drugs and other contraband, or containing peaceful demonstrators. Yet police defend these operations on the grounds that they cannot know if the suspects or demonstrators are heavily armed. They claim they are taking precautions for the safety of officers and for the surrounding community. As long as there is a substantive chance that criminals or demonstrators will be heavily armed, police forces will want to be armed yet more heavily so that they can sustain an intimidating power advantage over potential perpetrators and remain confident in their ability to defeat them in combat without sustaining losses.
So the question is, how do we make police officers feel more secure with less? If we reduce the threat citizens pose to police officers, we will correspondingly alleviate the police’s siege mentality. If criminals carried no weapons, police would merely need nightsticks. In Britain, it is against the law for civilians to manufacture, sell, lend, give, or import batons. It is even illegal to carry batons in public. In Britain, most police officers do not even carry firearms–only “authorized firearms officers” may have them. Only 5% of British police officers are authorized to carry firearms. In effect, Britain’s special units are like ordinary American cops. Not only do British officers not carry firearms, but most have no desire to do so–a full 82% of British police federation members are against arming the police more heavily.
How is it possible for police officers to not even carry firearms but nonetheless feel confident they will be able to handle perpetrators? Britain’s has way, way fewer guns per capita than the United States does:
As a result, British police officers do not have to worry anywhere near as much about being attacked and killed with guns:
Americans often despair of doing anything about the number of guns in the country, claiming that it would be impossible to successfully regulate them, but Britain’s history shows that this reasoning is wrong. After World War I, Britain was inundated with surplus weapons. Yet, over the past century, Britain has taken a series of effective steps to take these guns back from citizens and criminals alike:
- 1920 Firearms Act–Required certificates to purchase firearms, these lasted three years, and specified both the type of gun that could be purchased and the amount of ammunition. Allowed police constables discretion as to who could have the certificate. Made the right to bear arms, dated from 1689, conditional on permission from the police and the Home Secretary. Crime to own a firearm without a certificate, punishable by £50 fine (equivalent to at least £1,700 pounds today, and possibly as much as £13,000) and 3 months in prison. In dollars, that’s roughly $2,800 to $21,700 in today’s money.
- 1933 Firearms and Criminal Use Act–Cannot possess a firearm unless the bearer can prove to the officer that it is being used for a lawful purpose. Crime to use a firearm to resist arrest, punishable by 14 years in prison.
- 1937 Firearms Act–Raised minimum gun age from 14 to 17, total ban on automatic firearms, “self-defence” no longer considered an acceptable justification to apply for a certificate, more police liberty to fix conditions on certificates, extended certificates to more weapons left out of earlier laws.
- 1968 Firearms Act–Codified in a single document all extant firearm regulation.
- 1988 Firearms Amendment Act–Applicants must provide good reason for possessing a firearm (self-defence considered invalid), firearms must be locked up, ammunition must be locked up separately from the firearm, full ban on guns for people with criminal backgrounds, firearms amnesties were declared in which guns were handed in to the police.
- 1997 Firearms Amendment No.2 Act–Handguns banned with few exceptions.
We know from the British experience that this kind of serious legislation would be effective, but there is insufficient public support for it in the United States. So long as civilians insist on their right to bear extremely lethal weapons, police forces will continue to demand weapons still more lethal and equipment still more protective, and the militarization of our police forces will continue. In effect, American civilians and American police officers are engaged in an arms race that too often ends in tragedy for both sides.
Right off the bat.. There has not been ever a “simultaneous militarization of the civilian population” in the US, ever. Also, “In central America, gangs and paramilitary forces have weapons and training that make them capable of successfully defeat police forces in combat and regularly killing police officers” The author of this article wrote this purely on opinion and didn’t do really much research. Had they done this, they’d recognize that the arms and militarization of those civilians not in our country, were sold to factions in those countries by our own CIA. This was done for political reasons to purposely cause political and economical turmoil, it’s caused coups and also pressure for political leaders. In fact, that’s a direct result of why we have so many immigrants from these countries coming to the US right now. In the US, we are far far far from being militarized civilians, and I think seeing cops like this terrifies people. Just because we can buy guns, doesn’t make us militarized, and doesn’t mean we need to send our police to train in Israel so we can be treated just like those in Gaza (which we are doing!). Unfortunately, that’s the road we’re heading down if we don’t demilitarize our police. Also, it wasn’t until the 80’s when Pres Reagen signed in an act that allowed for trade of military equipment to police. Yeah we had SWAT before that, but they were not being equipped for the failed “drug war” that was being planned at the time. Taking away guns won’t change the behavior of the police. Their training needs to be changed, and providing grants to return military to join the police needs to stop. First those people needs psyche evaluations to even determine if they are fit to serve in that role after being subject to war time. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is where a large part of the brutality comes from. Also, while that graph shows gun crime statistics in the US vs other places, it doesn’t also show that places like the UK also has more violent crimes in general than the US. Sort of a flawed graph there. I would argue that this articles intent is to push for anti gun laws using the current situation and misleading details to sway consumer perception.
No simultaneous arming of the US civilian population? So you would contend that the American civilian population is no more deadly than it was 100 years ago? No more deadly than the civilian population in Britain? That seems hard to believe, given that 100 years ago we did not have organized crime, paramilitary groups, or any substantive civilian ownership of semi or fully automatic weapons, and given that most British criminals carry knives, not guns. Nearly any given US citizen is now capable of acquiring weapons that can kill dozens or hundreds of people in very short spans of time. Without heavy weapons and military-grade protection, police officers would be hesitant to confront such heavily armed individuals. While it’s certainly true that most citizens do not have these weapons and would never think of using them, police forces must be prepared for mass shooters and organized militants. Without the requisite weapons to feel secure whilst confronting such threats, the police are rendered impotent. Civilians have far more guns in the US than they have in other countries and the guns civilians have in the US are far more lethal than the guns civilians are likely to have in other countries.
It’s not particularly relevant to this argument how the factions in Central America acquired their weapons, the relevant fact is that police forces in these countries no longer feel capable of dealing with criminals because they are so heavily armed. Police forces need to have a large military advantage over the most severe threat they are likely to face. In the United States, that’s a group of mass shooters. In Britain, they’ve typically got knives.
A lot of these other issues are not relevant to the argument. I agree that the drug war is bad policy, that we should heavily regulate police use of weapons and improve police training, that we shouldn’t be involved in sending military aid to Israel, that we should reduce the supply of weapons to Central America, and so on. None of this has anything to do with the threat American civilians pose to police that civilians in other countries simply are not capable of.
Your claim regarding British crime has no basis in reality. The intentional homicide rate in the United States is nearly 5 times higher than the rate in the UK. It is impossible to compare US and UK statistics for other kinds of violent crime because the definition the UK uses for violent crime is much broader than the definition used in the US. Even if it were true that violent crimes were more common in the UK, this would not disprove the argument because police can contend with violent crime much more easily if it is committed with inferior weapons.
Wow. You really are misinformed about your history. A hundred years ago in the US (1910s-1920s), one could purchase Thompson SMGs in hardware stores before the days of the necessary background checks. This was when the average police officer was equipped with his .38 revolver and the iconic law-enforcement rifle was the lever-action .30-30. Today, even if one could afford the $15k price tag for a full-auto M4/M16, one would have to contend with a mountain of paperwork and hundreds in taxes courtesy of the National Firearms Act. If you are like the rest of the under-informed media commentators and believe that the civilian model AR-15 pattern rifle is “Fully-automatic” then, well, you are under-informed and need to rethink the way you do research.
Check your figures, even the DailyMail puts the UK in the number 1 slot of violent crimes worldwide. The UK even edges out South Africa (gasp!). So how are those cricket bats turned self-defense weapons working out for you these days? Is the rumor true that Britons are contemplating outlawing kitchen knives over a certain length? How will you cut melons after that?
The argument that police need to be more heavily armed than the citizens they supposedly protect and serve because of the amount of hardware that law-abiding citizens can own legally is non sequitur, because there have only been two noteworthy incidents that I can think of that left the police outgunned. The weapon of choice for the common criminal is the handgun. Very, very few homicides are committed by rifle-armed persons every year (compared to other weapons of choice, like hammers). However, did you notice the verbiage I used? “Law-abiding citizens”? We are just that; we can’t break the law in a serious manner lest we lose our 2A rights. Let me put this in simple terms: law-abiding citizens are law-abiding because they do not break the law. Stands to reason, yes? So how does it look to you when the police, whose duty it is to protect law-abiding citizens from wrongdoing by the non law-abiding sort, attempt to arm and equip themselves in such a way that they can switch roles from protecting and serving to conquering and subjugating?
The spirit of the Second Amendment is to allow us as citizens to protect ourselves from governmental tyranny. 2A has protected us from massacres like Ludlow, where not too long afterward, a union of coal miners defended their members and families from a second such massacre (perpetrated by law enforcement) at a place in Virginia called Blair Mountain. It also stopped the shameless takeover and tyranny in McMinn County in 1946. Both incidents illustrates the spirit of 2A; if corrupt elected officials do not fear the electorate’s vote, the courts, or law enforcement then they must be held in check as a last resort by fear of the people themselves. If they fear the courts, law enforcement, or the vote of the electorate; then they need not fear the people themselves.
During the early 20th century in the United States, mafia organizations took over major American cities. The police were beaten and corrupted by criminal organizations with superior arms. These organizations had to be defeated not by local police departments but by the federal government, which possesses much greater coercive capacities.
There is no way to compare US/UK violent crime statistics (outside of homicide) due to the tremendous difference in the way the US and UK define violent crimes. The Daily Mail is perpetuating a known fallacy–check PolitiFact:
Handguns make citizens far more competitive against police forces than knives do–for this reason, Britain banned handguns.
It is impossible to know if a given law-abiding citizen will remain law-abiding in future. All criminals were once law-abiding.
It is impossible for citizens to use the weapons currently available to protect themselves from state tyranny. Even if every American citizen carried a fully automatic weapon, the US military possesses heavily armored vehicles, an air force, a navy, nuclear weapons, and so on. While civilians can make themselves competitive with the local police, they cannot make themselves competitive with the federal government’s military forces.
100 years ago fully automatic weapons were cutting edge technology, so the number of people who owned them was almost non-exsistant. just like today most cutting edge tech is not in the hands of civilians until it’s been used by the military for years, and as has already been mentioned 100yrs ago it was completely legal for civilians to own full auto firearms with no background check.
but to answer your question, yes the general civilian population was generally armed at least as well as the police force, using revovlers of equal or greater caliber, and bolt action and lever action rifles, as well as pump action and lever action shotguns.
so yes the civilian population 100yrs ago was just as much of a danger to the police then as they are now. just like then, you had criminals being criminals, and just like now you have criminals being criminals.
“hey may have had a gun is why we used a SWAT team” is not an excuse for sending a SWAT team to search for an ounce or two of pot. if you want to talk about stats and the claim more guns=more crime lets look at england less than 2million registered firearms now america approx. 300million, yet our crime rate is not 150x that of england. in fact you are 3x more likely to be the victim of a violent crime in england than you are in the US. or how about australia where the violent crime rate skyrocketed 40% after their gun bans, and rape (they have a different title for the same crime) jumped up a similar percentage, along with increases in home invasions and muggings.
what about chicago, and DC where their crime rates jumped up and sky rocketed after their gun bans?
or how about this?
the plice can not contend with violent crime any easier actually, because in most violent crimes the criminals are gone before the police arrive and never arrested let alone confronted. the police could have a rocket launcher and a .50 cal mchine gun, but that’s not going to help them stop a woman from getting raped or a guy from getting jumped.
Travis–the Chicago crime rates have been dropping for quite a long time, though you wouldn’t know it from the way the media reports it:
In individual cities, it doesn’t really matter whether or not guns are banned because they will be brought in from surrounding towns and counties. For a gun ban to work, it must be nationwide, like the gun bans in Europe.
Proliferation of civilian arms led to massive increases in organized crime in the United States in the 1920’s and 1930’s, as the mob became able to intimidate police forces. Because the mob was so heavily armed, only the feds were capable of going after it with efficacy.
Heavy arms may not prevent rape, but they make it much harder for rapists and murderers to successfully resist arrest through use of civilian arms. They also aid police forces in confronting gangs, mobs, and other forms of organized crime, and can be used in hostage/mass shooter scenarios.
yes hostage situations or mass shooter situations there you go. that is just about the only time SWAT teams are justified. an M4 is not required to serve a search warrant regardless if a suspect may have an AR, because they’ll be wearing level III body armor any way, and most likely have ballistic shields as well.
it was not the weaponry that ended the crime spree of the early 20th century. it was the creation of a police force (FBI) that had the jurisdiction to chase criminals across state lines. that was the problem that most of these criminals would commit crimes and then run into another jurisdiction where the police of the city/town/county they commited their crime in could not pursue them legally. the end of bonnie and clyde was a travesty of justice and a crime itself against our constitution. the officers ambushed american citizens and executed them, they were not given the opportunity to surrender.
while i believe that LEOs have every right to protect and defend themselves shooting people simply for being known as having committed violence or being in posession of a fire arm is not right.
also, benjamin, how come the areas around these cities like chicago and DC don’t have comprable crime rates especially gun crime rates, if these crimes are a result of gun availability in other cities? while i don’t agree with these laws, why is it that towns where the head of a house hold is required by law to own a firearm aren’t bathed in blood? why is it that even CA where some of the strictest gun control over the largest area of land in the nation failed to stop the santa barbra murder? why isn’t the knife he initially used blamed the same way the gun was?
also if you think that the mafia’s hold on the nation was ended in the 30’s you are retarded, the mafia’s proverbial keel wasn’t broken until the 70’s by an FBI agent joe pistone, and his efforts had nothing to do with fire power, being armed, or militarized police efforts. they had to do with a new type of policing called deep cover agents. the mafia’s back was broken after joe pistone (donnie brasco) spent 6yrs undercover as a connected guy. that’s how the mafia was brought down, and that has proven to be the most effective way to bring down other organized crime rings. through the use of police work, not trigger work.
also in the US the police are not bound to lift a finger to protect any one according to the supreme court. the police are here to enforce laws.
according to the FBI statistics there were approx. 10,000 gun homocides in the US in 2011 (latest numbers i’ve been able to find) that number includes police shootings, and justified civilian self defense shootings. even if all of those were malignant shootings the fact that around 200,000 females a year use fire arms to stop or prevent a sexually based crime, and around 2million times a year a fire arm is used in self defense more than justifies civilian firearm ownership, also weapons like ARs are being used more and more in home defense shootings, because it’s easier to shoot a rifle than a pistol, and also the rounds are designed to deform and/or tumble on impact making them less likely to penetrate a wall and thus safer in a residential setting.
i also noticed that you seem to have completely ignored that i brought up the fact that middle eastern insurgents have effectively combatted our fancy military technology for last decade, and that our most effective tools for asymmetrical warfare would likely side with the people fighting for their liberty and freedom. that letter i mentioned about the green berets, do you know what their mission is? to recruit and train insurgents in a theater of operations to conduct guerilla warfare. 1,000 of them could easily break up into 5 or 10 man teams and spread to 100 or 200 of the most populated cities in the nation and train the fighters there, then move on after 4 months (i don’t know how they operate but 2months of ‘basic’ and 2 months of supervised operations would probably suffice)
in the event of rebellion in the US it won’t be like the civil war north v. south, it won’t be a conventional war like that was. there will be very few if any battles in open terrain. you won’t see AC130s flying over chicago shooting 105mm rounds into the city, you won’t see abrams tanks flattening kansas city, you won’t see indiscriminate naval shore bombardment of norfolk, or new york, you won’t see anything like that for several reasons. 1. they know that will push more and more of the population towards the rebels/insurgents. 2. because they will need somethign to govern after they win so they wouldn’t do it.3. it’s easy to bomb a city when you’re over seas, but do you really think that the average american soldier, sailor, airman or marine will be able to flatten a city block knowing his shipmate or battle buddy might have had family there, or if it happens to be in his own area? the situation that you’re trying to put forth of all out conventional war would simply not happen.
then you have to take into the state national guards and who would they side with? would they bring their fancy military tech to the side of the rebels/insurgents? it might surprise you what 1,000 guardsmen and and a few thousand more american insurgents could do.
Travis, I’m not arguing that cops should misuse these tools–their use should be well-regulated and civilians’ rights should be protected under the law.
I was not saying that the mob was ended in the 30’s, I was saying that the 20’s and 30’s was the period in which the mob rose to prominence due to its ability to procure extremely lethal weapons such that local and state police forces were intimidated.
Crime rates are high in certain parts of DC and Chicago because poverty rates are high. In more affluent suburban areas, crime rates are lower because the local population is less desperate.
The feds were able to go after the mob because the feds were not afraid of the mob. Unlike local police, the feds are militarized, and not merely in terms of their weapons, but in terms of their tactics and organization. Deep cover and infiltration are espionage tactics that have their roots in state-on-state military spying..
Guns are 36 times more likely to be used for a criminal homicide than for a justifiable homicide:
My graph bears that out–citizens in developed countries are much less likely to be killed with guns in countries where the number of guns per capita is lower.
There is a massive distinction between what’s going on in the Middle East and what would happen in the United States, even if the American rebels use guerrilla tactics.
In the Middle East, the insurgents are fighting an occupation. To defeat an occupation, you need merely stay alive and exhaust the occupier’s willingness to commit resources to the occupation.
In the United States, rebels need to do much more than stay alive and harass the federal government–they need to destroy its capacity to govern the country. The federal government cannot be simply exhausted in this scenario–because it is fighting for its life, it will not give up unless it is comprehensively defeated. Furthermore, because its existence is at stake, the federal government would be willing to use weapons and tactics it is unwilling to use in the Middle East. It would care far less about collateral damage and use its air force, heavy artillery, heavy armor, and weapons of mass destruction to intimidate the population into abandoning the rebellion. Historically, states have been very efficient at subjugating people through mass murder and intimidation, the only reason states have struggled to do this in recent decades is their unwillingness to commit acts of genocide. In a fight for its life, the US government would abandon such scruples, as all states have done in the past when threatened with armed rebellion.
nations have been succesfull at mass murder and subjugating their unarmed populations. i’m sorry but again no it would not come to that. while 1/4 of marines surveyed said they’d fire on civilians who refuse to turn in guns, even fewer would stand by the government when they heard about the first bomb being dropped, or the first tank blasting their own home towns.
planes, and tanks are wonderful weapons for conventional warfare, but you need infantry to win a war plain and simple, and the federal government wouldn’t have the numbers necessary after the mass desertion of the armed forces that would occur in such a scenario. most of the people who would ‘just be following orders’ are not the people who would be kicking in doors, or driving tanks, or dropping bombs, or firing the artillery, most of those types are simply looking for a pay check so they went looking for the easier ‘safer’ jobs that put them in an office some where. most of the actual war fighters that the federal government would rely on would not be there. not to mention the government would effectively tear itself apart as an intial split in congress would occur, and then more of the feds support would quickly erode away as their own home towns begin to be hit by federal forces. in the end you’d have an extremely factioned supreme court, and an extremely factioned congress, and a president with little support from anyone at all. it would fall apart top down the longer the fighting were to occur.
Travis, if what you’re saying is correct and that the state’s army would refuse to turn on its people, then it’s not relevant whether or not the population is armed because the army would never fight the population either way.
Now, personally, I’d challenge this–we see armies commit genocide and war crimes against their own populations all the time, regardless of whether or not those populations attempt to resist. But if it’s true that armies would mass desert, that they wouldn’t shoot at their own people, then the state cannot use armies for oppression. Only the credible threat that the army will actually kill civilians causes civilians to stand down.
I know of no instance in human history in which the public has deposed a home government by force of arms without the assistance of foreign military forces or a defecting military or noble class. This only happens in colonial circumstances where the central government is at a considerable distance and can withdraw without having to capitulate or be destroyed.
oh no! look another study that goes to show that more guns/looser gun laws does not equal more gun crime. it even supports the theory that more guns/looser gun laws reduces violent crime. oh no.
now lets listen to the excuses about why the ’94 bans didn’t work or how the results of 3 different studies coming to the same conclusion is inconclusive at best. it’s ok though you can live in your ‘utopias’ with strict gun laws where the physically strong and fit can take advantage of the weak and infirm. i’ll stay here and sleep well at night knowing that i can protect myself and my family from an attack regardless of how big and strong and tough he may be.
Travis, of course that’s going to be true on the state and local level, because people living in areas with gun laws can easily travel to areas without them, acquire guns, and then smuggle those guns back in. There is no border control between Chicago and the suburbs, or between Illinois and Indiana.
As I showed in this piece, countries with nationwide gun laws have much lower rates of gun violence. Gun control will only work in the United States if it’s mandated at the federal level.
For starters, your graph depicting Chicago’s crime rates makes no sense – Y-axis has different numbers on the left & right sides, neither of which is labeled. So is the current rate for each category of crime approximately 1,000/100,000 citizens, as the left side seems to indicate? Or is it approximately 20/100,000, as the right side would seem to indicate? Evan in a best case scenario, Chicago, the libetal bastion of gun control, with its “steadily decreasing crime rate” has a crime rate that is still over 4 times the national average.
You claim criminals are buying guns in areas with what you call “weak gun control laws” & bringing them into areas with strict gun control laws (such as Chicago), and that this is the reason for the higher rates of crime, violence, & the use of firearms in the commission of crimes. Then perhaps you can explain why the crime rates in the areas with “weak gun control laws” do not mirror the rates in areas with strict gun control laws?
The column on the left indicates robberies and assaults. The column on the right indicates murders.
As I’ve said before, gun control at the local level is irrelevant to the discussion. No matter what the gun laws are in Chicago, anyone in Chicago can go to the suburbs or Indiana, buy guns, and bring them back. For gun control to be effective, borders need to be controlled. The border between Chicago and the suburbs or between Illinois and Indiana is not controlled.
When gun control is applied nationally, it is extraordinarily effective–see Spain/UK/Italy/Netherlands/Canada/Japan/etc.
Wrong. Read this article… you are making false assumptions on bogus data. Even if you did hazard a guess, the statement, “The UK has more violent crime per capita than the US” is STILL true. US: year 2010 – 403; UK best guess 776. Read the article below from a guy who did his homework.
“Due to fundamental differences in how crime is recorded and categorized, it’s impossible to compute exactly what the British violent crime rate would be if it were calculated the way the FBI does it, but if we must compare the two, my best estimate‡ would be something like 776 violent crimes per 100,000 people. While this is still substantially higher than the rate in the United States, it’s nowhere near the 2,034 cited by Swann and the Mail.”
This piece you link me to supports the claim made by PolitiFact that the data are not comparable. It says:
“Due to fundamental differences in how crime is recorded and categorized, it’s impossible to compute exactly what the British violent crime rate would be if it were calculated the way the FBI does it”
PolitiFact concurs, the data is not comparable:
Exactly. Did you read your own article?
Did you read yours? It supports what I’m saying.
When you are on the receiving end of violent crime, victims don’t really stop to say, “geez, I wish you were using a baseball bat instead of a gun or a gun instead of a knife.” The entire premise of your point about countries that have banned guns makes people safer doesn’t make any sense. The facts don’t support it. The facts support more guns = less crime. And that doesn’t even include the primary reason why the USA has 2A in the first place.
Countries with fewer guns don’t merely experience lower rates of gun violence, they also experience lower homicide rates (irrespective of the weapon used). Check out the rates, per 100k population:
Keep reading… you’ll figure it out.
The data you present here is deeply misleading. British homicide rates must be presented in larger statistical context–the handgun ban reversed a malign trend that had been going on for decades:
Your data only considers the homicide rate from the 1990’s onward, and thereby conceals the success of the gun ban.
Data is going to be very misleading if you compare developed countries with effective law enforcement (e.g. Canada, UK, Japan) to countries with poor law enforcement (e.g. Mexico). Countries with poor law enforcement cannot effectively maintain their bans, so it’s as if the ban does not exist in practice. It is also going to be misleading if you compare rich countries to poorer countries (like those of the former USSR) where welfare states are less robust and citizens are more desperate and consequently more prone to criminal behavior.
Not completely true. It was both the CIA and the KGB who sold them those weapons. We started selling them when the KGB started trying to influence South and Central America to become Communist.
I just want to add to all of these comments that it’s not the guns that kill people. A gun has no mind and cannot make any decisions. It is the individual behind the gun that pulls the trigger that kills people. All of these people that have killed people with guns could have done the exact same, in some cases not the the same extent though, with other weapons. Majority of Americans who legally own a firearm have them for protection of their self and/or family or for hunting and/or recreational shooting purposes. As I said in a comment further down SWAT does not need to be a first line they were designed for specific high risk situations.
You are spot on about the majority of Americans who own firearms. Of course, the gun grabbers refuse to admit to that, & view all guns, along with all legal firearms owners, as the proverbial “ticking time-bomb”, a disaster waiting to happen. I would also add that even the firearms owners who are feel it is just a matter of time until citizens have to forcibly remove a tyrannical U.S. government do not wish for it to happen. They simply feel that it is an inevitable eventuality, and they are just preparing to defend themselves, their family, & their property, and ensuring they have a way to survive and and put food on the table by hunting.
Here’s a number the liberals will also never acknowledge: There are estimated to be 270,000,000 legally owned firearms in the U.S. (the low end of the estimates). There are approximately 12,000 homicides in the U.S. (that’s ALL intentional, unjustified homicides, not just firearms homicides). Doing the math, that puts the murder rate per number of legally owned firearms at .004444%.
And yet, when countries reduce the number of guns per capita, their homicide rates fall. Homicide rates include murder with weapons aside from guns. Homicides per 100k population:
Very well made article! Although I would disagree about militarization of the civilian population being “sudden” (in America’s case, it seems more that gun ownership slowly crept up and expanded) brutality of the police can certainly be linked to the inherent danger that they feel. A lack of lethal weapons on the street would mean that they would not need a “shoot first ask questions later” policy. For those who argue that gun ownership in the past wasn’t a problem, I direct you to the Whiskey Rebellion, a case where civilians gathering with lethal force needed to be forcefully contained by government with greater force. If we disapprove of the way the government does things, we should do so with votes, not bullets.
Thank you! I appreciate a little positive feedback–when you wade into the gun/police debate in the United States, you hear a lot of negativity. The Whiskey Rebellion is an excellent example of the state using superior coercive force to put down an armed civilian rebellion. Notably, there was not a whole lot of difference in the kinds of weapons the rebels had and the kinds the Feds had. Today, the rebels would be contending with armor/artillery/planes/WMD along with the infantry.
[…] time has come yet again for me to take Benjamin Studebaker to task for a piece. His piece, Demilitarization of the Police Requires Demilitarization of Civilians is, frankly, chilling. A different piece with what he believes to be his core point—that so […]
This conflates the weapons and tactics of the military with the military’s purpose–killing the enemy. There are times when the police must raid the homes of potentially heavily armed people, and when they do so they might use military weapons and tactics, but the goal is not to kill an enemy, but to arrest a citizen. The weapons, armor, and tactics are for the purpose of protecting the police from that potentially dangerous citizen, they are not about killing the citizen. This is not to say that police can’t misuse this stuff (they certainly can), but it is not intrinsic to the stuff, and can be corrected through sound regulation.
If the concern is abuse, research shows that wearable cameras for cops reduce complaints against the police by 88% and make it much easier for regulatory bodies and courts to determine whether the use of lethal force is justified or not in the given situation:
Ultimately, if we really want to eliminate the risk that cops will abuse heavy weapons, we need to eliminate the need for these weapons by reducing the risk that when police attempt to arrest someone, they will encounter lethal resistance against which military weapons/armor/tactics may offer substantive defense.
Mr. Studebaker makes a claim at the beginning of the article, “For a police for to be effective, it needs a large advantage in military power over the population it is policing.”
I don’t agree with this, but let’s ignore my own objection and look to Mr. Studebaker’s own argument. He points out that in the UK, many police do not carry weapons. Since the people are unarmed and the police are unarmed, how are the police effective, absent the huge advantage the the author claims is necessary?
The point is that firepower is but one factor in determining where the advantage lies. Even if equally armed, the police retain advantages in communication, coordination, and absolute numbers over civilians.
It’s important that those advantages are left to te police, but NOT the firepower advantage. The reason for this is so when the police lose their other advantages, a firepower advantage does not afford tyranny a foothold it would otherwise not have.
In Britain, the police carry nightsticks, stun guns, and pepper spray. When the civilian population is unarmed (or carries, at most, small knives), these weapons constitute a large military advantage.
Consider the case of the American wild west, where sheriffs’ departments and outlaws were similarly armed (they had horses and revolvers). When the police have no substantive military advantage, potential criminals are more likely to be able to successfully resist the police, particularly when they club together into gangs, bands, or mobs. Towns and regions were frequently lost to outlaw control in the old west, and crime rates were high. We see the same thing in other parts of the world where organized organized crime has acquired advantages not only in military power, but in organization and numbers. Such organizations have been a scourge in Central America over the last decade. Militant groups like ISIS, FARC, or Al Qaeda are, from the perspective of states, highly organized criminal organizations that are capable of defeating police forces in combat.
ISIS, FARC, Russian OC, and the Mexican cartels are empowered by gun control.
These organizations are powered by arms exports to conflict zones and misguided military aid policies. The arms ordinary civilians acquire under US gun laws are entirely insufficient to resist serious military force.
Unfortunately, you have skipped the major piece of legislation that actually allowed this, The Homeland Security Act, which was implemented before the expiration of the assault weapons ban. Additionally, MRAPs are not meant to combat small arms, they are meant to combat mines, EFPs, RPGs, and IEDs. The ambush protection aspect is due to the previously mentioned munitions being used to initiate an attack that was followed by small arms fire to kill anyone who dismounted to evacuate casualties. You really have not done your homework.
Ordinary citizens can make IEDs. They cannot make heavy armor, artillery, military aircraft, etc. When militant organizations acquire armor/artillery/etc., it is because of misguided decisions by states to arm these organizations, not due to disarming of civilians.
The author is 100% correct, gun control (Demilitarization of Civilians) works. Some numbers to back his assertion:
-In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up & exterminated.
-In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
-Germany established gun control in 1938, and from 1939-1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
-China established gun control in 1935. From 1948-1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated
-Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
-Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
-Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Demilitarized civilians rounded up and EXTERMINATED in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.
While civilians have often been capable of arming themselves such that they are capable of challenging the power of police forces, even heavily armed civilians have typically been unable to resist a powerful state’s armed forces. The national guard would be able to crush resistance from even the most heavily armed US civilians. If the US government were to become a genocidal totalitarian regime, gun control would be irrelevant to the efficacy of that policy, because even heavily armed civilians lack armored vehicles, military planes, heavy artillery, etc.
To be clear, I am not advocating nor suggesting that I would take part in or support such actions. Anything presented herein is purely hypothetical and for the sake of academic discussion.
The Soviet Union and the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, in almost 30 years of combined operations with the most advanced military hardware on two continents, have been unable to ‘crush’ the Taliban and Afghan resistance. There are less than half a million military personnel in the United States (that’s if you gave every clerk, psychiatrist, and cook a rifle), and they’re getting fewer every day. Whereas the number of American gun owners is astronomically higher, in the hundreds of millions. For the sake of argument using grossly underestimated numbers, if just 8 million Americans owned guns (those of ‘military-grade’, such as the AR-15 and AK-47), then the military would be outnumbered 16:1. Apocryphal or not, there is truth to the saying attributed to Admiral Yamamoto: “[We must never invade America] because there would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
That is if it were just citizens engaging in civil war. More than likely, if the US, heaven forbid, ever erupted into another civil war, then entire states would secede and we would see that advanced hardware being used on both sides of the conflict. History’s largest armies have always struggled to deal with insurgents. Imagine trying to deal with insurgents at the same time as dealing with well-armed and organized regular forces?
Whatever Yamamoto has said in public, the Japanese would never have considered invading the United States because their military and economic power was entirely inferior to that of the United States. Such an invasion would have been a logistical nightmare, as it would have required an amphibious invasion of a great power undistracted by a second front. Such an invasion has never succeeded in the modern era, even when it is carried out by a state of similar or superior power, which Japan never was.
The United States has been unable to beat the Afghan resistance because the resistors are hard to find–they can hide in the mountains. To continue looking for the resistors, the United States has to maintain an expensive military occupation that cannot be sustained indefinitely. The Afghan resistors can consequently stay in hiding until the cost of the occupation eventually forces the United States to leave. In contrast, were it to face a domestic rebellion, the federal government would never consider withdrawing from its home territory–it needs this territory to collect tax revenue and survive. Because its survival would be at stake, it would fight until the bitter end–in order to defeat it, the rebels would actually have to beat its army and/or prevent it from collecting taxes. This necessarily entails inflicting military defeats on America’s armed forces, not just waiting in the mountains for the Americans to go home.
The confederacy failed to defeat the federal government even though it was comparably armed and had the formal support of many of the states. Ultimately the confederacy did not possess the necessary wealth, manpower, or manufacturing capacity to sustainably field the forces sufficient to hold off the federal government. In a modern context, the gap in military capacity between the feds and the rebels would be much wider–rebels would be unlikely to acquire advanced armor, planes, artillery, ships, or nuclear weapons.
You sir have obviously never served in a combat zone. This statement is utterly untrue. I have served 3 tours in the Middle East as a member of the largest, most heavily armed, and technologically advanced military in the world. Nearly every day in Iraq and Afghanistan we were taken to task by goat herders and farmers that had nothing more than small arms, fertilizer, diesel fuel, and a strong will. They do not have armored vehicles, planes or heavy artillery. To say that a resistance of heavily armed US civilians would be crushed absolutely false.
man a couple thousand crazy guys in turbins and beards sure have done a good job of practically neutralizing all of our massive amounts of tanks, and airpower, and warships.
also it’s not terribly difficult to armor a vehicle, nor is it terribly hard to make explosives that can disable an armored vehicle or even penetrate them…we have more than a decade of proof that in asymmetric warfare conventional forces are extremely ineffective. millions of americans, armed many being veterans of the last decade of asymmeteric warfare, our military would not steam roll the people like you seem to think. 10 yrs in iraq and we never actually secured it despite AC130s M1 Abrams tanks, Nimitz class super carriers, and tomahawk capable subs and surface ships. despite all of our artillery and air power the insurgents maintained a serious fight for 10 years. the most effective weapon we had against them were spec ops units, people who by and large support gun rights in america. (google the letter sent by approx 1,000 green berets to the president)
men like the late chris kyle, and the now legendary marcus luttrel have a tendency to believe very strongly in the 2nd amendment. not to mention many if not most of the US armed forces would refuse to combat the american people many would defect and take the most current and up to date knowledge and skill sets with them possibly even taking gear, and sabotaging what they leave behind.
There is a huge difference between occupying a foreign territory and crushing a domestic revolt. In the case of an occupation, the resistors need merely stay alive and continue to harass the occupier and the occupier will eventually determine that the occupation is too costly and leave. In the case of a revolt, the state is fighting for survival and has no incentive to leave. Indeed, the state has an incentive to be extraordinarily ruthless. Even relatively weak states, like Ukraine and Syria, easily crush resistors unless those resistors are being heavily armed by foreign states (Russia and Saudi Arabia are throwing arms at the rebels in Ukraine and Syria, yet even despite that assistance, the government is doing quite well in both cases to this point). The US military is far more powerful than those states and would crush a rebellion with far greater ease.
In Germany, we have 5.6 millions of registered guns. This contains semi-auto rifles and shotguns, handguns, manual-action rifles and shotguns, single shot rifles and shotguns, and certain muzzle loading firearms. We have approximately 20 millions of unregistered firearms of the same type, which means they are illegal. Those can not be reduced or limited by any means. I want to make clear that confiscation is no possible way to end “gun-crime”.
Mr. Staudinger, thank you.
If you took a look at my graph, you’d see that Germany has a fraction of the number of guns that the United States has and, correspondingly, a fraction of the gun violence fatality rate. Indeed, Germany is remarkable–it is able to maintain a lower gun violence rate than France or Canada despite having roughly as many guns per capita.
Fortunately you do not make policy and there will be Americans who will never allow people like you to strip our civil rights away!
Guns were necessary for the black men of the Deacons for Defense in the 1960s to allow blacks to vote without being murdered by the KKK. Guns were necessary for AIM at Wounded Knee to bring national attention to the cultural genocide of the Native Americans at the hands of the U.S. Government. Guns were necessary for the Korean-American store owner in L.A. in 1992 to protect their stores from looters when police wouldn’t help them. Gun rights are black rights. Gun rights are Native American rights. Gun rights are women’s rights. Gun rights are AMERICAN rights.
So you can pretend your blog is going to have an impact but let me assure you that if you wish to see a society that is disarmed and the government has a monopoly on the use of force, you better find a new nation to call home. This is America where the people ARE the government and according to the Declaration of Independence reserve the right to alter or abolish the government when it no longer represents the interests of the people.
When police and civilians have guns, there will be tragedies. When just the police have guns, there will be genocide. Maybe the holocaust wasn’t a wake-up call enough for you.
Spot on James!
You are welcome to point to anecdotes in which guns have been helpful to civilians, but the statistical data in this piece conclusively shows that, on balance, more guns per capita leads to more gun deaths per capita.
I’m aware that my blog will likely not meaningfully impact this issue, but I nonetheless do my best to raise awareness of statistics and facts that many Americans ignore or worse, attempt to suppress.
“There will be genocide”? Look at all the countries on my graph that have much lower numbers of guns per capita. None of these countries has experienced a recent genocide. And if a government were to attempt to commit genocide, civilian arms would be very ineffective in preventing it from doing so–a state’s formal military forces are much more powerful than mere police forces. Nor is it likely that civilian arms would enable Americans to successfully overthrow their government by force of arms–even during the civil war, when the confederacy and union has similar weapons technology, the union was able to win through superior economic resources, manpower, and organization. Today, when the government possesses substantially superior weapons, armed rebels would stand little chance of success regardless of the gun laws.
None had a recent genocide? WWII wasn’t that long ago. Neither was the USSR or Communist China.
So if civilians can’t possibly fight their government if genocide was being committed then they should give up? We should accept our fate and march to the gas chambers and firing squads?
China and the former USSR are not on my graph, because they are not first world countries and have entirely dissimilar legal and political systems:
In World War II, even the formal military forces of many European countries were wholly insufficient to prevent the Nazis from committing genocide. While there were notable armed civilian resistance organizations in many European countries, most Europeans did not join these organizations, and many actively collaborated with the genocidal state. The Europeans acted this way because their chances of defeating the German army, even with the aid of civilian weapons, was negligible. Germany was willing to use tanks, artillery, and planes to decimate European cities until their populations collaborated or were wholly exterminated. They were indifferent to the number of people they killed and were happy to kill entire populations so as to create additional “living space” for the German people. Against formal military forces with significantly superior arms and no qualms about exterminating the entire population, civilians have no chance of resistance regardless of the gun laws.
An occupying army can only be resisted when the occupant has self-imposed limits on what the occupant is willing to do. When the occupying army’s goal is genocide, resistance merely helps the occupant to justify a policy he would have pursued either way–killing all those who resist the regime.
This is the biggest load of bullocks I’ve ever read. Read the 2nd amendment. If the police are out of line the citizenry has every right to fight back as they would against any criminal that would deprive them of rights. A vast majority of the time an armed citizenry would be a boon to police forces as the vast majority is law abiding and wants what’s right and good.
I’m aware of what the second amendment says. My argument is that the second amendment, as currently interpreted, causes an arms race between the police and civilians and gets many additional people killed with guns who otherwise might be alive. The statistical evidence I have presented backs this up. I’ve read many comments in opposition to my argument, but none have presented convincing statistical evidence that counters my view.
You think 90 million armed citizens can’t compete with a military? I would suggest your grasp of history, particularly insurgencies in combat zones, might be a little disconnected from reality.
In the Civil War, when the confederates were armed with roughly equivalent weapons to the union army, they were handily defeated by the state’s superior economic, industrial, and human resources. Today, the state has a far larger military advantage over civilians than it did in the 1860’s, because it now possesses tanks, planes, artillery, weapons of mass destruction, and so on. A civilian rebellion against the US armed forces would be laughable, regardless of the gun laws.
Okay since you sidestepped the issue I’ll ask you directly. Given the international community does not stop genocide, what should a people do who are facing persecution and genocide at the hands of their own government?
They should run for their lives, and wise states should see their economic potential and take them in as immigrants/refugees.
So leave their homeland that they were raised in and not fight back against the evil? Interesting perspective. Appeasement only makes the aggressor more aggressive.
Resistance is only a good strategy if it is likely to be successful. Given the relative weakness of civilians against a formal military with genocidal intentions, resistance is usually not a good strategy. Civilians should rationally pursue survival, and this can best be achieved by acquiring the protection of another state with formidable military forces.
Are you a National Socialist?
No, believing that gun control is good policy and that civilian arms cannot effectively resist a well-organized army with genocidal intentions does not make me a Nazi.
He is a sophiarchist.
Basically rule by a one party state but dolled up with the puffery of academia.
In a one party state, the ruling class is politically homogeneous in its beliefs (e.g. in the USSR, the ruling class consists exclusively of committed Marxist-Leninists). Sophiarchism restricts the portion of the population that is ruling, but is designed to allow for disagreement, vigorous debate, free speech, and various other liberties that one party states typically do not permit.
Academia is not a politically homogenous hivemind? That’s rich!
You’d be surprised–take a look at an academic journal sometime. Academics are exceedingly quarrelsome with one another. They give each other terrifically difficult times over minutia.
People like you are responsible for the greatest crime in the history of the world you fucking pig Nazi!
You may disagree with my descriptive claims regarding the efficacy of gun control and the military efficacy of civilian rebels, but they do not imply any normative affiliation with the tenets of National Socialism.
Godwin’s law… sigh…
When you write a piece like this, you kind of expect it.
Funny the author uses Brittan as an example being WW2 us Americas sent our personal pistols rifles ammo and other items to the British so they could protect their homeland.
Its an easy look up “Send a Brit a Gun”
Had Operation Sea Lion been successful, there was no chance that the British population could have resisted the German army because the German army was willing to commit acts of genocide to put down rebellion. Regardless of how heavily armed civilians are, if a state’s formal military forces are willing to turn heavy armor, artillery, bombers, and weapons of mass destruction on them, they will take extraordinary losses and be subdued. For this reason, the British government had planned to post the famous “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters in the event of a German occupation. The British government explicitly planned to ask its people to stand down.
Do you have data that violent crimes drop when civilians are prohibited to own guns? I also want to know how much gang related the gun related crime in the US? Lets say we know gang members will kill each other plus those who were caught in the crossfire wheter in public or while incarcerated. Now if we remove them from the statistic, how much of an impact would if affect the data you have? Are suicides included there as well? most cities that have high gun murder rates are usually gang related as far as i know.
Now about gun crime. How is gun crime rate compared to crime using diff weapons other than gun?
Also, what is the best way not to be a victim by thugs if you are unarmed?
Also in my opinion if ever US govt becomes tyrant, I strongly believe majority of it’s armed forces will side with the civilian population.
If ever I will own a gun, it’s more likely for home defense or for sports. Home defense for I live in a city where we are not allowed to have anti burglar bars in our window, or metal grills on our sliding door at the back porches. We pretty much can invite home invasion.
International comparisons of violent crimes in general are impossible because different countries use widely divergent definitions of what a “violent crime” is. Some of these definitions are much wider and some much narrower. All I can provide is a comparison of the gun fatality rates, which supports my argument.
The statistics I have include all gun deaths–homicides, suicides, accidents, and undetermined shootings.
It should be pointed out that street gangs are not unique to the United States–European cities have street gangs as well. They tend however to be armed with inferior weapons and are consequently less lethal and easier for local police to manage with less.
If you bought a gun for self-defense, it is statistically far more likely that it would accidentally kill a member of your family:
Click to access Accidental-Shootings-NYAGV.pdf
If a country’s formal military forces defect, what we have is a military coup, not an armed civilian rebellion against the state. In a military coup, it is irrelevant whether or not the civilians are armed because the military has itself abandoned the state, leaving the state with no means of maintaining power.
Now you have proven not only that you have no knowledge of history, but also that you have no knowledge of the Constitution, or how government functions. The purpose of the military is NOT to allow the government to maintain power. The purpose of the military, as sworn in the oath of enlistment we all took, is to ” . . . support an defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” No where in our oath of enlistment does it say we will ensure government maintains power over the citizens. You have shown what you truly are: a liberal statist who believes that people get their rights & freedom from the government, and that citizens need to be controlled by the government. In reality, it is the government that gets its power from, and should be controlled by the citizens.
The constitution is the government. The constitution states what kind of government we will have, what procedures it will follow, how it will be organized, etc. To uphold the constitution is to uphold the government prescribed by the constitution. The military may not uphold an unconstitutional government, but there is a great deal of disagreement over what the government may do within the bounds of the constitution as written.
I stand by my assertion that you know nothing about the Constitution, & your latest reply proves just that. The Constitution IS NOT the government. The Constitution is what gives the government its authority, and what places limits on what the government can, & more importantly, CAN NOT do. To uphold the Constitution is to uphold the LAW, not the government. Contrary to what most of you liberal statists believe, the government is not above the law. The government must obey the Constitution, NOT the other way around.
The constitution is the government’s founding document, it is the document that details how the government will be structured and what procedures it will follow. The government has the capacity to change the constitution through the amendment process, because the constitution is part of the government’s laws.
Reblogged this on Your Amateur Genius! 😉 and commented:
An extremely relevant article to the current military like police in America. Certainly an interesting read if you find yourself curious.
Thanks so much! I really appreciate your sharing it.
No problem, It’s people like you that help people see things from a whole new perspective. Keep up the great work!
The reason the U.K. can control guns better and create enforced gun laws better than the United States is because England is an island and much like Japan that controls it’s ports in stricter ways/ and within a more homogenous society, the U.K. is not facing the same border issues or land mass or diversity of states. United States history suggests the very revolution to separate from the British, was partly why citizens armed themselves. That whole “no more king” thing that school house rocky cartoons educated the kids in the seventies about was not in vain. It would be great if the united states would stop making and selling arms at home or abroad… but the NRA is heavily funded and any politicians who are against the NRA knows that this is the pronouncement of a career-death in politics. The debate about guns is a debate about greed.
The Netherlands, Spain, and Italy are also able to achieve very good rates despite not being island nations. European countries are facing huge influxes of North African and Middle Eastern immigrants and are less culturally homogeneous than they are often thought.
Agreed that it is unlikely the US will enact comprehensive gun control, given the US’ culture, history, and political system, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work or that we shouldn’t argue for it.
Italy has other ways of control and is dealing with the aftermath of a sexist and corrupt Berlusconi not to mention a series of scandals with the Catholic Church. Spain has terrible issues with poverty… and I’m not hearing about a lot of success there. I realize there are recent influxes of immigrants in the last decade everywhere you mention and that is in part due to the arms dealing of many countries and wars in which the U.K. and the U.S. have been allies for the sake of energy and other resources, that have force people to flee.
The island factor and port control does in fact create vast differences. I partly learned this in Japan.
I’m not saying we should not debate and also push for gun control laws that reflect a more humane people, I’m saying that the citizens are being obstructed by big money. It’s not really a bunch of criminals creating the need for armed police… as much as there are a small number of “shareholder- crooks” at the top undermining community and perpetuating systemic institutional problems. Now we have to face the historical implications of our recent occupations and global partnerships.
In the U.S. at least currently as it stands, there will be no real comprehensive gun control. Texas will cede before they stand for that, followed by Arizona and Nevada. And the U.K. doesn’t hold our answers.
Of course we should still fight against guns and global violence.
A police state with military style reactions are not appropriate.
Thanks for allowing my comments.
I’m not saying that Italy, Spain and others are by any means perfect societies but it’s remarkable that despite their comparative economic malaise, they manage to keep their incidence of gun violence so low. Spain, which currently runs an unemployment rate of nearly 25%, nonetheless manages a gun violence rate that is a fraction of our own.
I should also mention Canada–Canada shares an extensive land border with the United States, yet it only has about 1/3rd as many guns per capita and its gun violence rate is about 1/4th as high.
I guess my wider point about using spain or italy or canada comparatively is that they can’t be. No matter what your numbers say. We can try to find our solutions using other world models but U.S. politics and U.S. history are more complicated than that. The bottom line is even if the majority of people in the United States wanted more gun control (which I believe we do), big money is over-ruling that and even the politicians who are against guns can not oppose things like the NRA without losing their jobs in office. The military, political, corporate greed is in the way and the black market for selling arms is a cash cow.
I haven’t given up on the issue. I’m just suggesting that world models (in general) never impress Americans. Only America generally impresses Americans. And a police state does not sit well with Americans so the militia for example defends it’s creation. The rest of the world looking at the United States as crazy for the violence and amount of guns would be an accurate assessment. The rest of the world’s solutions to how the U.S. should handle gun violence will probably be as successful as our handling of Afghanistan and Iraq…
But we should keep trying to change this.
How about instead of banning guns, we just make the use of firearms in a crime illegal? Problem solved. You’re welcome.
Hey law abiding citizen, If you don’t want to be serious don’t talk to me. So no thanks.
Crimes are already crimes. Statistically, states that ban guns are much more able to reduce the incidence of gun violence and homicide than states that are not. Therefore, banning guns is an effective policy, while making it a crime to commit crimes is not.
So you’re telling me if we were to ban all guns, criminals would just turn them over?
Eventually. Look at what happened in the UK after they passed the handgun law–fewest homicides since 1983, despite a larger population:
I absolutely agree that gun control is unlikely to pass in the US due to moneyed interests and an entrenched gun culture. But if we were able to surmount the political difficulties and pass comprehensive national gun control, it would work.
Thanks Benjamin and I’m glad you care. So Ok on the result if we employ said techniques.
Now what are the solutions to a polarized government and an ever widening gap between rich and poor with the middle class being left out? Because those steps to common ground and common sense have to be taken before we reach utopia. No offense meant by the word “utopia”… I’ve heard excellent solutions to many things but obstructionism is currently the elected officials preferred method. The democrats can’t be considered all that better when tied to companies like monsanto and walmart. We are bought and sold. As much fun as people made fun of Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair at the republican convention for Mitt Romney and as dithering and confused as Mr. Eastwood sounded, what he said was don’t worry if Barack wins or if Mitt wins. They are both puppets and we own you them… He said to the american people that because of his money… he owns us. So far this has yet to be disproven. In light of the recent JP morgan bank hacking scandal after bailing the banks out and then them getting CEO bonuses etc. and so forth, we are not going to convince the elite to abandon guns. They need them in police and military form to protect their golf courses and gated communities against a disgruntled and disenfranchised people as well as to divide the people such as when gangs fight black on black etc. and this control is causing a “blame the victim” response and “send in more guns” as fear creates fear and the masses feed on the confusion of corporate media… I’m not against the U.S. as we have some documents to protect and some rights to protect and some actions to take as we the people are the government… but gun control is at this stage in the world according to the outlaw Josey Wales. And he says, “Make my Day.” Truly, this displeases me. I hope you keep working to get guns reduced. Thank you and peace.
I couldn’t agree more–structure of the political system is the root cause of our problems, including not just guns, but wider inequalities. On my blog I often write about the big problems with the system itself in my “Sophiarchism” category. You might really like my most recent entry on that subject:
Thanks Benjamin. I appreciate the link. I am interested and will definitely take a look at your recent entry. 🙂
Well, it took me some time before I could get to reading your recommended link to your arguments for “sophiarchism” but I did read your ideas. And I disagree strongly. I don’t believe we should further gut the branches of government and remake our entire form of government essentially and I do not believe in restricting voters as a way to ensure fair representation. All the same, thanks for sharing your ideas… as I have learned what further divides us all and cringe at the suggestion of abandoning some of the most visionary ideas for a united states ever formed. It wasn’t a guaranteed process, by our founding fathers, but one each generation would have to learn and defend anew and the constitution is a living document to provide for our progress and evolution. Separation between church and state and the checks and balances between the branches of government are abundantly in need of care. Campaign finance reform will work. Better than you restricting voters and requiring the high standards of education you propose in order to vote (and lead). I don’t trust “superiors” to gauge and qualify my “education” and voter readiness.
So, I appreciate you putting forth solutions towards your utopia, but not one of them suits me as an american woman. Thanks for the discourse.
How will campaign finance reform work? Legislators generally refuse to pass it because it threatens their re-election. The courts strike it down on the grounds that it violates the first amendment. And even if you pass it, unless the limit on spending is quite low, the rich can still have a louder voice. There’s also a lot of political money that cannot be intercepted through campaign finance reform (e.g. major media organizations, which often have strong political bents and manipulate public opinion to serve the interests of the rich, donations to PACs or marketing organizations unaffiliated with formal political campaigns, etc.).
Super PACs are no good and I understand the obstructions to campaign finance reform a lot less than revamping the entire system as you are suggesting by way of you sophistic revolution. I am seeking solutions to the obstructions and did not say I had them for you. I only mean that your comprehensive gun control ideas will not work in the United States and then for the sake of argument, I agreed the model of the U.K. could, but then how would we get there, I asked… and you have not convinced me of anything but a far more polarizing set of solutions. I didn’t find your system equalizing at all. It sounded kind of communist. Too austere. Not at all conducive to women or minorities and way too idealistic. I’m still open to hammering out ideas and I’m backing people like Jeff Merkley and Bernie Sanders in terms of ideas. So they may be little guys in the land of giants but they are fighting like hell for the people and I intend to do the same. I name drop them so you can investigate them and see what you think, if you’re not already familiar with them. Truly good men unafraid of the Koch brothers.
What about my proposed system is hostile to women or minorities?
Did I say hostile? Your “system” proposes taking away voting rights from people and leaves the decision of what is in their “best interest” to the “superior” who you have devised an education for. Big red flag. How are you going to equalize people by keeping them down by way of the vote? These seems backwards. A lot of people who were considered to have inferior educations or intelligence were not allowed to vote in early U.S. history. Suffragists and the civil rights movements have been about claiming our own voices. I see your system falling short of recognizing diversity by restricting voters to an elite class while claiming to spread the wealth. Just as you wrote about monarchs, czars, etc. and the consolidated power as something to deconstruct you have designed a system which still places too much power in the hands of what sounds similar to Nietzsche’s Ober man. With the best altruism in mind, and not at all fascist, and in fact going against the rigid controls of the christian church, he only managed to inspire Hitler with his nazis. Now I’m not saying you’re doing that… but even if there is a small number of intellectuals who should overrule the masses (ie. electoral college) I’m not interested in replacing our broken system with a new flawed one.
The way you’ve written about the criminal element naturally provoking bigger guns and military response sounded over-simplified. Your whole system sounds both complicated in convincing a “free people” as well as difficult to implement it… it sounds like a lot of laws without a lot of voices contributing to the process. It sounds very “male”.
I hope I’ve managed to answer your questions. I’m not really arguing, as I think neither of us can influence one another. I think we are in a neutral place. A stalemate… because I know you want to reduce guns and violence and I know you want money in politics out… and on this we agree. The actual way we look at the world, and at “systems” is very different. We can be using the same words and looking at the same points in history, but our take away is very different. So as a woman I can only tell you that your system doesn’t suit me. And that’s valid, you see? Because I come from a different set of experiences, and place, that I don’t feel you are considering. But I thank you for the discourse and for your civility. You’ve been kind.
My system does not have any bias against women or minorities. Any person could potentially gain the vote, if they’re willing to take on the necessary education and training.
The aim of the system is not to provide equal political inputs, but to provide equal political outputs. Statistically, the more formal training in politics/philosophy/etc. a person has, the more likely that person is to care about inequalities of opportunity and outcome. If we can identify a subset of the population that cares deeply about equality and we give that subset power, they are more likely to procure equality for citizens than the citizens themselves would be. One of our biggest problems today is that many people are persuaded to vote against their own economic interests not merely by formal political campaigning but by a media that has been bought and paid for by wealthy interests. As a result, voters have become increasingly poor defenders of their own interests. If we can find a group of people who are more likely to know the interests of the voters than the voters do themselves and who are more likely to act in accordance with that interest than the voters are, then voters would be better off relinquishing their votes in favor of this group of people. Academics have chosen careers that pay much less than the other options available so they can spend their entire lives arguing with each other about what the good/the just/the equal requires. These people care more about these issues than they do about their own material interests, and that makes them well suited to rule in the interests of the population.
Now, my system recognizes the danger of corruption and proposes a variety of controls to minimize the risk–there are the emergency stops, which allow the public to the opportunity to veto a proposed new administration, forcing the academics to return to the drawing board. There’s also a process of judicial review whereby the administration can be tried for committing crimes against the people.
I feel you’ve not been especially fair to my model. There’s a lot going on to guard against precisely the potential problems you’re highlighting. What experiences am I not considering?
Look, I understand what you’re getting at, and why, as it’s true people vote against their best interests. We already elect people who are supposed to work in our best interests and they aren’t working. So we keep our individual rights to vote and we don’t lump learning into one system… who says you know the best books to supply me with. Women’s history has been historically obstructed, co-opted, and neglected and so you are not considering those experiences. You have some good ideas, strong points, and yet your voting restrictions/requirements are ludicrous. People will not simply have access to the training and education to be able to vote right off the bat as their are inequities now and so you’d parent them and indenture them to your version of learning and educate and ready them for a system. I don’t wanna be a cog in your Machine, Benjamin. I don’t agree with your ability to minimize risk as enough. Checks and balances are already something we use as is the electoral college and they were supposed to minimize risk and have emergency stops. You offer no reasonable secure ability to rule the people… controlling their votes. We do need to educate school children about government and participation and prepare them to vote… there are more simple solutions than what you are wanting to do. Academics are important but so are craftsmen, tradesmen, laborers, mothers, and all manner of working persons… you risk an entirely out of touch administration leaving it all to the Ivy Leaguers. Besides, we are not just blocked by levels of education. We are blocked by degrees of belief and combating religions. Creationists and evolutionists aren’t going to go to the same school if they can help it and they will both want the vote, for example. You’ll have to address those experiences.
I’m sorry you don’t think I’m being fair. I don’t think I owe you that. I owe you a challenge to your ideas so that you can see if your system flies. If you can’t sell it, it won’t fly. As I see it, this is an opportunity for you to see where the holes are and not keep defending them, but rather alter the plan. Or stick to your proverbial guns, and no harm done… we simply do not agree on what “We the People” means.
What is it in particular about women’s history that my system excludes? Isn’t it sexist to argue that a political system is intrinsically “male” or “female”?
The system doesn’t prescribe what books people should read, it just prescribes that to earn a vote, a person should spend a number of years really thinking about what a good/just/equal political system is. There’s no prescribed right answer to those questions, I just think that if a person wants to vote, he or she should be willing to put some time in to really think about what a good society would look like. What’s wrong with that?
I definitely think it’s important that every person who wants the opportunity to spend time thinking about that stuff have the opportunity to do it. I think the state should pay for the education of any person who would seek to follow the path. But I think a voice must be earned, it cannot merely be given.
Every other kind of work is also extremely important to a well-functioning society, but to do those other worthy tasks, a person necessarily diverts time from deeply considering what a good society looks like. In learning, there is always a division of labor–no person can be an expert in everything. We can recognize that without degrading the other kinds of very important work people do.
The system as I have structured it to this point is the product of productive conversations with people whereby they elicit their discomforts and I try to resolve them. But I can’t do that unless the criticisms are highly specific to the structure. I need to know what precisely you think would go wrong with this kind of system. That’s the only way I can identify potential points of entry for corruption and attempt to block them.
You asked me, “Isn’t it sexist to argue that a political system is intrinsically ‘male’ or ‘female’?”
Benjamin, what planet are you living on? I live in a patriarchal society in a patriarchal world dominated by patriarchal religions, and patriarchal governments. The patriarchal systems have dominated and controlled history to favor the patriarchy. Duh.
So, I’m not interested what your patriarchal system based on the patriarchal philosophers, and patriarchal universities, will “allow” me to do according to your “earned” credits.
I live in an intrinsically sexist, chauvinist world and you’re actually suggesting I’m being sexist? Seriously? You’re going to go there? That’s lame. And a big red flag. No woman in her right mind is going to follow your regime.
Men are not the conscious authors of the system of gender norms. The system of gender norms is a cultural phenomenon passed from generation to generation through social learning that constricts the freedom of both men and women to live in whatever ways they want to live. Men are encouraged to be “male” just as women are encouraged to be “female”. You might find the male archetype preferable to the female archetype, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an archetype and it doesn’t mean it does not substantively limit what our society permits its men to be.
I still don’t see how it’s male to ask people who would participate in politics to spend a few years of their lives reading, writing, and thinking about political issues. If that’s male, then I fail to see how the democratic system as it stands is any less male.
I hope it’s okay to call you Ben, for short…um, you just don’t understand me. So your interpretations of my words and thinking are seriously whacked. We all live in patriarchal systems Ben and I am seeking to accept what works in those as well as not be defined or ruled by those limitations. I don’t want to get rid of the current system of government Ben. I want to fix what is broken and change some wording that reflects historic mysogeny as the living document suggests we should do in times of civil liberty and civil rights movements. I’m not working with you on your newer system because I don’t want to get rid of everything and start over. You asked me to speak of specifics and when I have, you ignore what I’m saying. Voter restriction is not cool with me. I think that people already give up their votes to a small group of people anyhow… by not voting. Of course I think everyone should have access to books, Ben. I’m a student of philosophy, history, etc. as well and so I understand where males have ruled the thinking and how they dominate history. I’m not inclined to a gender war with you, and I think we both got touchy so, I apologize for picking on you. Because I did. I’m hearing a lot of voices about proper communication, you know, so we can all make progress collectively for the best possible societal outcomes. And voices are canceling each other out and then there’s a bunch of factions and blah blah blah…
I’m listening. But I’ll not allow anyone to do my thinking for me. No head above my own is a catchy kind of thing I appreciate about my own path. It is a privilege of education I guess. And there are certain things I recognize about Americans… they don’t want to be like the U.K. or and European countries and those models wouldn’t work here anyhow, even if you don’t believe me… and they aren’t doing so hot as you suggest, even if you feel obliged to debate that… and although we need better gun legislation, no one here is going to give up their guns. They fear police states. Okay? It’s reasonable to face that reality and hopefully curb arming every citizen with oozies (spelling?) and ridiculously unnecessary military grade weapons… but I see no way of convincing our hunters and militia and NRA and military and police and CWC people of giving up guns and I don’t see a machine style of education that prepares each citizen to serve their government as you’ve proposed as something easy to convince them of either. I’m going to back more simple and doable solutions while hopefully working towards long term goals with more vision… but you know… it’s hard… because nobody listens and everybody thinks they are smarter than everybody else…
I’m doing my visual art now. I’m doing my feminist art. I’m doing my environmental activism art. I’m being me. Thanks Ben…I’ve gotta go… lots and lots of art to make… I encourage the people to go for their dreams, preserve their souls and don’t let anyone brain wash you… learn… for yourselves… ask questions and if the road stops one place… find and or make your own… Ok? idealistic? Naw… it’s possible. You can not help or save anyone but yourselves. To each is own.
Hi Ben, for clarification, I mean that I see the obstructions that campaign finance reform faces as well as the problems with it as less. And that your ideas have far greater obstructions and problems. But I think we both feel great changes are needed within the current system and part of that is civic participation.
Total liberal BS. And before you throw it out here, NO, I am not a Republican.
Which of my statistics do you believe to be inaccurate?
What I find inaccurate is the conclusion – there is no way you will ever succeed at making any society safer by taking away the power of good, honest people to defend themselves against criminality and tyranny. Anything you use to attempt to justify that is just statistics, the most crooked “science” in academia.
Are you denying that Britain, the Netherlands, Japan, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, etc. have lower numbers of gun deaths per capita? On what basis would you deny that? If not, how can a society be safer if the rate of lethal violence is higher?
Statistics – you have to factor out several things to even get accurate comparisons. Delete suicides, criminal-vs-criminal shootings, police shootings, home defense killings, and personal defense against criminal actions, from the US totals you’re looking at, and then tell me where the US ends up. Never mind, I’ll tell you – we’re #2 from the Bottom, of the whole world.
Even on just raw homicides, the US compares poorly.
Intentional Homicide per 100k inhabitants:
NO- it is BECAUSE you are using RAW statistics that you don’t have an accurate comparison. You are so intent on proving your position you’re not looking at what I said. Just like every liberal I’ve ever tried to talk to.
The intentional homicide rate excludes most of what you wanted excluded–suicides, justifiable homicides, and accidental shootings.The only thing it doesn’t exclude is criminal vs. criminal shootings. I can find no data for that, because it’s hard to define who the criminals are. Do you have any evidence that would support the view that roughly 80% of US homicides are criminal vs criminal? Otherwise the US is still going to compare poorly by your criteria.
Reblogged this on Starvin Larry and commented:
One of the most misguided,uninformed pieces of anti-gun tripe I’ve read in years…
Using the VPC as a credible source-that’s laughable.
Data on number of guns per capita in various countries comes from the Small Arms Survey. Data on gun violence rates come primarily from research done by the University of Sydney, World Health Organization, and a study conducted in the International Journal of Epidemiology. These are impartial, a-political organizations devoted to rigorous comparative research on gun policies in different countries. Check out the original sources for yourself:
Click to access Small-Arms-Survey-2007-Chapter-02-annexe-4-EN.pdf
Click to access 214.full.pdf
My argument follows from the extant research regardless of whether or not you regard the VPC as credible.
No one with more than three working braincells counts VPC as a credible source-every source you used is an anti-gun source-Oxford,gunpolicy,all the rest are anti-gun sources.
Disarming the legal gun owners-of which 0.001% have committed a gun crime does absolutely nothing to demilitarize the police-all it does is give the police even more power.
We have the right to keep AND bear arms in this country.
Your claims that should the gun owners in this country ever end up fighting the government-we would be crushed is equally as absurd as your entire anti-gun rant based on emotion,not facts-there are multiple factors that must be removed from the raw data,which is something you make no effort to do,because you are so intent on proving your “guns are bad” claims.
The violent crime rate in the USA has been DROPPING for about 40 years now,yet the number of guns,and gun owners has increased in that time.
Despite the claims of the anti-gun zealots when concealed carry laws were enacted-the streets did NOT “run red with blood”, and there have been exactly zero “shootouts on main street at high noon”.
Should the government and the gun owners in the USA ever go to war with each other-the gun owners are the most likely victor in such a scenario-for one-we outnumber the police,for two,many police officers would be much more interested in protecting their own families,and many others would join the gun owners.
Just like in Vietnam,and first the Russians,then the U.S. in Afghanistan-no modern military can ever win a war in which those they are fighting are embedded in the population.
Sorry,but your fantasy world scenario where everything would be rainbows and unicorns if only citizens were not permitted to own guns is never going to happen here-ever.
The accusations you level at my sources do not withstand scrutiny.
The Small Arms Survey is conducted by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Switzerland, the essence of neutrality.
GunPolicy.org is run by the University of Sydney in Australia. It compiles comparative political science research on gun policy. It does not have any intrinsic bias either way.
The World Health Organization has no political affiliations with any particular gun causes, it just gathers data and research on public health issues around the world.
The 4th study is not conducted by Oxford (which, incidentally, is an impartial university), it is conducted by independent researchers and was published originally in the International Journal of Epidemiology. Academic journals are not political organizations. They have no intrinsic bias.
Homicide rates have been dropping in most developed countries for quite some time. The gap between the US and other countries is essentially unchanged over the historical period.
Gun owners could do quite well against the police (which is why the police are militarizing) but they could not do well against the army, navy, and air force.
In Vietnam, Afghanistan, etc., the USSR and USA declined to commit genocide to intimidate the population into surrender. Their survival was not at stake and so victory was nonessential. In the event of a civil rebellion, states will fight to the bitter end.
My scenario where things are rainbows and unicorns already exists (at least so far as homicide rates and gun control go) in many other developed countries like Spain, Italy, Britain, the Netherlands, and particularly Japan.
Reblogged this on Starship Earth: The Big Picture and commented:
It amazes me how the gun debate never examines the root cause(s) of crime. I find it hard to believe that anyone can suggest that the government will give up their guns if and when the people give up their’s. Did we just uncover another “Problem, Reaction, Solution” scenario? If so, I’ve already seen this movie. The politicians declare the only way for peace is for the citizens to destroy their weapons as a show of good faith. Guess what happens, next? The opposing force lied, and starts killing people en masse. Check-out Battlestar Galactica. The series began when the politicians disarmed their people to bring in a new era of peace with the Cylons. Then the Cylons destroyed the planet. It’s a recurring plot throughout the series. -LW
There are many countries that have already followed my recommended policy to varying degrees (UK, Spain, Italy, Canada, Japan, Netherlands, France, Germany, etc.) They all have lower rates of gun violence. Spain has nearly 25% unemployment and is much poorer the the United States–factors which we would usually associate with rising crime rates–yet because it has far fewer guns per capita, its gun violence rate remains much lower. In none of these countries do I see any kind of dystopian scenario–why would it be in the interest of the government to start killing everyone? And if the government decided to do that with military grade tanks, artillery, planes, and WMD, how would civilians armed with handguns and semi-automatic weapons effectively resist the state? If the state wants to commit genocide, there is little a civilian population can do to resist it effectively regardless of how well-armed civilians are. Unless they’ve got tanks, heavy artillery, planes, and WMD, they are going to lose.
You constantly make the argument that there is nothing to stop a tyrannical government that has turned on its citizens from “going all out” & annihilating a majority of the population – yet more evidence of the fantasy land you live in.
You seem to forget a couple of things;
1. Tyrannical rulers need someone to rule over – it helps fulfill their lust for power & control, not to mention that they will need a working class to produce for them. Wiping out the population will leave no one left for them to rule or run the factories, grow crops, etc. Ultimately, THAT was the downfall of the South in the Civil War – virtually all of the manufacturing was in the North, and the South placed most of its stock in growing cotton, & not food crops. They had no way of supporting or re-arming themselves. themselves
2. As for your next argument that “A majority of the population will not resist, & they’ll be spared” . . . Well that’s just crap too. The more atrocities a government commits against some of the people, the less sympathy the people will have for the government, leading to less support & more opposition. Especially in the modern age, where it’s much harder to control information.
Read some history on controlling populations. Sooner or later, people tire of being oppressed. Especially people who have known the kind of freedom we enjoy in the U.S. The longer people are oppressed, the more the discontent, and the seeds of insurgency & insurrection grow.
The kind of conflict we’re talking about here is a conflict in which the survival of the state is at stake. In that scenario, the state will prefer to rule a diminished population rather than lose power and risk that it will be exterminated. A clever state will attempt to minimize losses so as to maximize economic strength post-rebellion, but it will prioritize survival first and foremost.
While contemporary democratic citizens in rich countries are more committed to freedom, they are also less accustomed to devastating violence. Modern states have a much larger military advantage over their populations than historical societies did. A modern rebellion would be unable to take or hold munitions factories, major population centers, or large expanses of territory because the state would have air superiority.
Historically, when governments commit truly horrific atrocities, they can easily put down armed revolts and even conquer subject peoples. Consider the German Peasants’ War, in which the government killed 100,000 peasants, causing the remaining 200,000 to give up.
Conquering armies routinely use terror violence to subdue conquered populations. Throughout most of history, conquering states would utterly massacre the population of a major city so as to show the remainder of the country the futility of resistance. The larger the weapon advantage for the state, the more effective a state’s terror campaign will be. In modern times, the state’s advantage is unprecedented. A terror campaign by a modern state would utterly devastate the will of any civilian rebellion, armed or not. Western states have avoided engaging in total war since World War II, but there is no intrinsic reason why they could not do so in future, particularly if their survival were threatened.
The United States had the capacity (though not the will) to utterly conquer and subjugate Iraq. It would have involved killing a large fraction of the population (1/4th or 1/3rd), handing over large tracts of territory to loyal colonists, and punishing entire cities whenever rebels took action against the state. It did not do so because this would have been deeply unpopular both at home and abroad and really expensive. States don’t care about popularity or expenses when their survival is threatened.
And once again, a gun grabbing liberal projects their own fear & lack of resolve on to everyone else. Do you think the troops storming the beach at Normandy weren’t scared? Do you really believe they didn’t know that many of them would die? Most certainly knew that many would not even make it past the edge of the water. But they fought anyway. Why? Because they knew that there was something at stake more important than their individual lives. They knew that evil must be stopped at any cost. In the event of an out of control government here in the U.S., it would be much the same. You seriously underestimate the courage & determination of the American People. What you, & most other liberals fail to realize is that that “Courage Is Not The Absence of Fear. Courage is Taking Action in Spite of Your Fear.”
The army at Normandy was just that–an army. It was armed with similar weapons to German army and had a realistic chance of success. A civilian rebellion would be at a tremendous disadvantage militarily and would have no serious chance of success. It would be suicide to join such a rebellion.
The problem with your “recommended policy” is that in every country where such polices were enacted-violent crime rates skyrocketed.
You use the U.K-Scotland is the most dangerous country for a person to visit-has the highest violent crime rate-(as of 2013).
Mexico has some of the most re4strctive gun control laws of any country-yet they have one of the highest rates of gun crimes.
Don’t even try to reply with the nonsense that the cartels are getting their military grade weapons from border gun shops-even the L.A. Tinmes debunked that sh*t.
Those intent on committing acts of violence will use other methods if guns are not available-think 4-19-95.
ISIS is beheading western journalists,they took over a wide swath of Iraq,and part of Syria without artillery,tanks,planes,and WMD’s.
The armies of the former USSR and the US along with NATO were defeated by guys with nothing more than some RPG’s,a few 12.7mm machine guns,and a few old SAM-7’s.
I appreciate your article and respect your view on this highly debated and heated topic, with that being said, I disagree. You mentioned that Italy has less guns per capital and less gun crime per capital. How does violent crime (non-firearm related) from Italy compare to the U.S. (honest question)?
In regards to Italian gun violence, my question is, who is still committing the gun crimes? The answer, criminals are. This means, criminals will still do what they want no matter what the legalities are. In the United States, the problem is not a gun, it is intent. What does a law-abiding citizen intend to use a firearm for? What about a criminal? Can we agree that law-abiding citizens are not intending to use firearms for illegal purposes or violent crime and that criminals are?
The Supreme Court’s decisions on cases like Castle Rock v Gonzales and Warren v The District of Columbia have shown that law enforcement does not have a constitutional obligation to protect an individual from harm even if the threat has a retraining order against them and a violent past. How does one defend oneself or family from violent criminals?
This aside, the Second Amendment’s purpose is for protection of the people against the tyranny of its government. You have made good points about the advanced military weapons but you are forgetting asymmetrical warfare. I understand your position that, if pushed, the government could decimate large numbers of the populace to squash any resistance. However, you are overlooking a few factors like the more civilians a tyrannical government kills the more other civilians join the cause (take a look at any insurgency). Next, your example of the German Peasants’ War is faulty. These were poorly armed peasants. How many U.S. veterans are out advocating for the Second Amendment or at least believe in it? Can you find it plausible that these advocates, who have already been trained and [many are] combat veterans, would be willing to fight or train the rest of the “resistance”? This, in my mind, changes the equation. Trained, battle tested veterans that are motivated by freedom they fought for, are much much more dangerous than peasants. It is shown that when a group is motivated by their beliefs, they are much harder to squash. For example, Israel and Hamas, U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Vietnam.
The next factor that you are overlooking is in your response that a tyrannical government would punish large cities by killing large portions of the populace [caused by the rebels actions]. Do you really think that Generals like Peter Pace, James Mattis or Joseph Dunford (among many others) would willing go along with that? The Generals would be able to lead at least a portion of the military against a tyrannical government.
To bring this back on the point of the article, I believe that law enforcement does need to be trained and equipped to deal with violence such as the 1997 LA shootout. However, I don’t believe they should be armed like the military ie fully auto machine guns, tanks, etc. This is where special tactics come into play. SWAT is supposed to be trained to a level that the majority of the population are not. SWAT teams are to use special tactics when dealing with threats, not just rely on superior firepower. Relying so heavily on firepower is a problem (it’s nothing new look at civilians with technology, same idea).
The fix is not to take away the advantage of law enforcement nor is it to take away right to bear arms. Let’s look at it this way. If there were zero crimes committed with firearms, would there be any debate about owning them? I don’t believe so. It’s only when a shooting happens that the gun debate comes back. How much of our prison population is due to mandatory sentences for drug violations? According to Federal Bureau of Prison, 50.1%. The next highest is immigration at 10%, meaning that 60% of our prison population is for non-violent offenses. Violent criminals are being pushed out of prison back to the streets. So if there is a qualm with gun violence, we need to take that up with the criminal justice system and not take away the rights of law-abiding citizens. Just my two cents lol
Let me take these in turn. To GameGetterII:
It is utterly impossible to make a meaningful comparison of the rates of non-homicide violent crime, because different states use radically different definitions of what “violent crime” entails. PolitiFact has made this point:
Mexico is not a developed country, its police forces have been totally overwhelmed by organized crime. It illustrates the dangers of having a police force that is weaker than criminal organizations, but it does not serve to illustrate the effects of rigorous national gun control policies because unlike most developed countries, its police are not capable of enforcing its laws. Canada, which is a developed country with an effective police force, has substantive gun control, much fewer guns per capita, and much lower incidences of gun violence and homicide.
Even if you look at homicide rates, which include homicides committed with crimes aside from guns, the United States looks much worse than other developed countries. Intentional homicide rate per 100k population:
Data on comparative homicide rates from the UN:
Neither the USSR nor the United States were willing to commit genocide to conquer Afghanistan. Had either been willing to do so, Afghanistan would have been conquered. States are very efficient at killing people when they want to.
Comparing overall violent crime among different countries is impossible because different countries define violent crime in very different ways. All we can look at are the gun violence rates and the intentional homicide rates. For what it’s worth, Italy’s homicide rate is better than the US’:
Intentional Homicide Per 100K Population:
Data on comparative homicide rates from the UN:
It is very difficult to separate out criminals from law-abiding citizens–every criminal was at one point in time a law-abiding citizen. Law-abiding citizens become criminals every day, and vice versa.
In developed countries in which gun control laws are strong, criminals generally do not have firearms (they more often carry blunt objects or knives). Citizens in those countries can consequently defend themselves adequately with blunt objects and knives. We know their level of defense is adequate because they are infrequently killed–homicide rates are lower.
I must disagree with you on the citizenry’s usual reaction to intense government violence. Historically, state genocide is met universally with capitulation. Citizens see that the state is capable of slaughtering them en masse and willing to do so. This terrifies them, and they are pacified. This is how states have managed to subjugate otherwise rebellious conquered peoples. Often conquerors would deliberately go out of their way to completely exterminate the population of a city so as to ensure that all other cities would capitulate. Mass killing has been effectively employed by the Romans, Mongols, Nazis, and many other groups of people.
The German Peasants’ Revolt is a stronger example than it appears, because there is much less difference in the level of weaponry between a German peasant a German knight than there is now between an armed civilian and the US armed forces. The military can now rain fire and death from the sky. It can deploy chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. It can raze cities to the ground with heavy armor and heavy artillery. Even heavily armed US civilians with military training only carry small arms. An infantry army cannot defeat a military with armor, artillery, ships, planes, and WMD.
Now, if you’re arguing that existing members of the military (or generals) would defect in the event the government attempted to commit genocide, then it’s a moot point whether or not the civilians are armed because the government is incapable of ordering its military to kill them. That would make state tyranny impossible regardless of whether civilians are armed. An unarmed population can bring the state to its knees through strikes and workplace disruptions if the state is unable to use lethal force to repress them. They wouldn’t need guns.
In the Gaza, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan cases, the states declined to use genocide to crush resistance. Both the United States and Israel possess the capable to incinerate large percentages of the populations of these countries and thereby cause the remainder to capitulate. They have chosen not to because their survival is not at stake, it would be unpopular, and it would be very expensive.
I would consider the adoption of SWAT tactics militarization. Militarization is not merely adopting the weapons of the military, but its tactics and strategies for overcoming resistance.
For the record, I agree that we should end the Drug War, but this would not solve the problem, because the statistical difference between the US and other developed countries predates the drug war. Compare the US rate to Canada’s historically:
At no point during the period is Canada’s homicide rate remotely close to the United States’, even before the drug war.
“A modern rebellion would be unable to take or hold munitions factories, major population centers, or large expanses of territory because the state would have air superiority.”
Bullsh*t- in the USA,all a force opposed to the government would have to do is control access to the interstates that form a circle around every major urban area in the country-that takes care of major population centers.
An opposing force no longer needs to take control of munitions factories,all they would have to do is take whatever ammunition and components for reloading that they could carry in their vehicles-then destroy the plant.
Do some research on 4th generation warfare-no way could the U.S. government contain an armed revolt-remember-the revolutionary war was won with only 3% of the population in the field fighting the English army at any given time.
What’s 3% of 100 million gun owners?
How many police and military would also join the armed rebellion?
IF such a scenario were to take place-the feds could not win.
Even the most well-armed and well-trained US civilians are no better than formal infantry. How is an army of infantry supposed to hold a city against an army with armor, artillery, and air superiority? Not to mention WMD. I see no means by which infantry could hold the interstates against armor alone, let alone the rest of the military.
Britain was defeated during the revolution because of several key factors, none of which are applicable here:
1. Britain was very far away from the United States (particularly given 18th century naval technology), putting the government at a tremendous disadvantage in terms of information, supply lines, and expenses.
2. The British government’s existence was not at stake–Britain could pull out of the United States without the government being destroyed. It would go on ruling the rest of the empire. This makes the American Revolution analogous to the anti-colonial wars of the decolonization period.
3. There was no substantive difference in the weaponry of the British and the weaponry of the rebels. Neither the British nor the rebels possessed an advantage in armor, heavy artillery, planes, or WMD. Both were infantry/cavalry/cannon armies.
4. The Americans were able to procure a foreign intervention to their benefit from France, a great power in its own right.
NOT to mention, who do you suppose the arms & ammunition companies would give their products to: The tyrannical government which has been trying for decades to restrict their operations, if not outright put them out of business, or the people fighting against said government?
If the government were to destroy those factories, we’ll then that’s just a bonus for the armed citizens, as the citizens around the U.S. have a MUCH larger stockpile of arms & ammo than the government. They also have the advantage of having that stockpile spread out across the country, making it much harder to seize or destroy. Unlike the government, which has its ammo dumps in a few locations on each military base.
Arms and ammunition companies will give their stuff to whoever has more money. The state has way more money and is their primary customer already. No one buy more weapons and ammo than the state.
Any munitions company that refused to sell weapons to the state could be seized by the state and operated directly by the military. Alternatively, the state could shoot people at the munitions company until the remainder agreed to work for the state.
I wouldn’t be a cop in the US unless I had a tank. Or an unmanned drone.
With what I’ve seen people packing in this country, I don’t blame you.
Reblogged this on ankurjoshi97.
Thanks for sharing!
It was good so i had share….. 🙂
[…] Demilitarization of the Police Requires Demilitarization of Civilians. […]
Thanks for sharing!
I think the discussion has gone way out, from crime to wars and spies!!! Let’s get back to the topic: demilitarization of civilians. This can only be done if the police is efficient enough to protect the citizens. To take the guns from a citizen is to disallow him to protect himself and his family. So if he gets killed, who bears the responsibility. You can’t say, O, it’s his bad luck. Who pays for the compensation to the family? This point is totally ignored by all governments who ban guns. They cannot protect their citizens and yet they do not allow them to protect themselves.
The only country that I find close enough to this ideal is Singapore. But still, people get killed in crime. Bad luck to them, I suppose.
It has gone off on a tangent, but it is certainly a relevant one. Whenever someone argues that the civilian population should be disarmed, they fail to address how they will: 1. Disarm the criminal population as well; 2. Enable the citizens to defend themselves from even common criminals; & 3. The purpose & intent of the 2nd Amendment, which was to allow citizens to be able to stand up against a government should it ever become tyrannical.
It’s the 3rd point which really is at the heart of the debate. Because the founding fathers understood that power tends to centralize, and that an armed populace was the citizens’ best defense against tyranny. In fact, this was addressed in The Federalist Papers (No. 29), during the discussion of whether the Country should have a standing army, or simply rely on militias for national defense. A standing army was regarded to be a much greater threat to liberty and freedom, and many were opposed to the establishment of a standing army. The fact that a standing army was established was one of the many reasons the 2nd Amendment was out in place – an armed populace was recognized as one of the most effective methods of keeping the government reigned in.
Until the gun-grabbers acknowledge & accept these facts, there cannot be a reasonable discussion. Sadly, if they would acknowledge & accept these facts, there would be no need to discuss disarming citizens, & we could move on to discussions on how to reduce crime & prevent dangerous people from obtaining firearms. Disarming the public will not prevent criminals from being criminals, & 99 times out of 100, the police will not get there in time to save you. To believe otherwise, or to think that if citizens give up their firearms, then everything will suddenly be OK, & that all crime will just magically disappear, is to live in a fantasy world.
The criminal population has been disarmed in the other countries on my chart. That’s why the incidence of gun violence and homicide is so much lower in these countries–the criminals themselves do not shoot people with guns.
There is no need for self-defense if the rate of gun violence and homicide is already a fraction of what it is in the United States. That is the reality in the Netherlands, Britain, Japan, Italy, etc.
An armed civilian rebellion had much better odds in the 18th century, when rebels and armies both carried muskets. Today the gap in hardware is too big for rebels to be successful, so it’s a moot point.
“There is no need for self-defense if the rate of gun violence and homicide is already a fraction of what it is in the United States. That is the reality in the Netherlands, Britain, Japan, Italy, etc.”
So if the criminals aren’t going to kill you, only beat you senseless, rob, or rape you, then there’s no need to defend yourself? Or if they’re going to kill you, but not with a gun, that’s acceptable too?
What a fantasy land you live in. There will ALWAYS be a need for self defense, and it is a natural right of people to defend themselves, the property, & their friends/family.
If the UK is so safe now that they’ve banned guns, why are they now considering a ban on long kitchen knives?
fyi, if you look at the UK crime rates, you’ll see that since their handgun ban in the mid-90s, their violent crime and murder rates have been increasing. Meanwhile, the U.S. rates since the mid-90s, when more & more States began adopting shall-issue laws for carry permits, our crime rates have been steadily increasing, while firearm ownership has been increasing.
As I stated above, the consensus among criminologists is that it is impossible to compare the overall violent crime rates because of different legal definitions. In the absence of a meaningful comparison of those rates, all we can really use is the incidence of gun violence and the homicide rate.
Now let me ask you this–would it make much sense for one country to have a homicide rate that is 4 or 5 times higher than another country’s but nonetheless have an assault or rape rate that is lower? How would that work? Does that seem plausible to you?
The UK is considering banning knives because the gun ban has worked out so well, they’re considering extending it even further to lesser weapons.
The UK murder rate was on an upward trend prior to the handgun law, and it took a few years for the handgun law to be effectively enforced. Today, there are fewer annual British homicides than at any time since 1983:
One cannot disarm criminals, obviously, because most household tools can kill people. I’m not following the logic that says “give everyone a gun” is the right response (possibly because I’m from Canada, and have yet to be threatened with criminal violence, but bear with me). Having a gun does not render one immune to being shot. If an armed criminal already has a gun drawn and pointed, it is fairly moot if the victim has a gun, right? Or the victim is asleep, with gun tucked uncomfortably under the pillow.
Looking at the strangely American fixation on the need to be always prepared to topple an elected government, I think you’ll find that chest-thumping fantasy aside a national army will always win against armed citizens. Apart from the imbalance of the arms (your Remington vs. his MRLS with area-denial submunitions), there is the matter of co-ordination. The Romans were not substantially better equipped than the Gauls, but they were trained to act as a concerted whole. Saying “we’ve got the numbers” also doesn’t help, as the Battle of Rorke’s Drift amply supports. Current events in Iraq (ISIS has serious military hardware, the Iraqi army seems to lack in both self-respect and political direction) don’t speak of any change in this truth.
The only point at which a citizen insurrection might match a national army is that of morale– the army is, after all, firing upon its own people, which is a hard thing to do, but that may not wear down its resolve as fast as repeated crushings by hugely superior weapons will abrade the resolve of the insurrectionists. Looking at the American Revolution again, the English as a nation didn’t care enough about holding onto those American colonies to dump in sufficient troops to hand out the requisite crushing (also, see previous comment re. French support).
The view from outside is this: Americans seem bent of killing each other because they’re very afraid of each other. You’re afraid of each other, apparently, because you’ve all got guns. It makes your friends very sad.
Quite true that criminals can use knives and other weapons (though, in countries where there are fewer guns, the overall homicide rate also tends to be much lower–it’s easier to pull a trigger than it is to stab or beat someone to death).
Agreed that a civilian rebellion is almost certain to fail without outside help or a defecting military. The argument about organization has also been overlooked in this discussion to this point–small Roman armies did indeed often tackle much larger enemy armies purely on organization.
We’re never going to live in a risk-free society. The better question is which model reduces the average person’s risk the most. Under the American model, more people per capita get murdered and more of those murders are committed with guns. The average citizen is safer living in a disarmed society, like Britain/Netherlands/Italy/Japan/etc.
In reply to Mr Benjamin Studebaker and in part to Mr/s ravensmarch,
Yes, we do not live in a risk free country. Therefore, a person must have the right to protect. If the police is fairly efficient, say, 90% of crime gets solved, or that the crime rate is low, say the probability of one happening is 10%, ok, then I’ll say you’re right. I can take my 10% chance of getting mugged or beaten or killed. I can just avoid those dingy area. But even 10% is too high to me. Imagine, 10% means that for every 10 persons you see, 1 has been the victim of a crime. I for one will not bet my life on others. Yes, with guns, the thieves and the victims may very well end up in a gun fight. That’s much better than being a sitting duck, waiting for the mercy of the thieves and robbers. All these robbers and thieves are drugged before they do their job. They are not rational thinking beings. Of course you can say that if the victim has a gun, the robbers might just gun him down before robbing him. But the psychology goes both ways. The robbers don’t want to die and so they will also think twice before they rob. Furthermore, if they do gun him down, then they are facing murder charge and not theft or robbery. In my country, murderer is hung. So that’s a deterrent. They will rob but they seldom kill.
Certain countries are safer not because they are disarmed. Singapore is a very safe country but not because of the lack of guns. The country is small. The population is small and it’s not scattered. It makes them easy to govern and the bad guys have no place to hide. And it has a low percentage of foreign low-skilled workers – these are the usual troublemakers. I don’t think UK is safe. It’s quite bad actually. Japan, I’d think that part from the Yakuza, the citizens are quite disinterested in crime.
In reply to Mr/s law-abiding-citizen,
I’m happy that we agree on one thing. But what you say on your third point is not applicable today. Firstly, the labelling of tyrant can go both ways. The insurgents can be called rebels too. It’s really up to the victor to say who is the good guy. Take Syria. You have the government which you can label as the tyrant and the other side becomes the good or you can call the other side the rebel which makes the government the good. Which side is really the good? No one really knows. The Middle East is one confusing place. And it’s not for us to say, we don’t live there anyway.
And if you think an armed population can withstand the real army in this modern time of armament, think twice. I don’t think the guns you can buy from the local stores can withstand a tank or the Apache. The only way the population can win is the way of Gandhi and the other side must be a government like the Great Britain. If it was some others, the rebels would have been exterminated.
In most areas, the probability that you will be the victim of a serious crime is much lower than 10%. In general, crime rates are massively overestimated by the public:
Statistically, we know that people are much less likely to be killed in states with fewer guns. This applies not just to island nations or nations with high population densities, but even to large, sparsely populated states like Canada and Australia.
on the second paragraph, I mean:
apart from the Yakuza
Reblogged this on mizzyxclusive.
Thanks for sharing!
[…] https://benjaminstudebaker.com/2014/08/15/demilitarization-of-the-police-requires-demilitarization-of… […]
Thanks for sharing!
You are brave to write about this topic. The last time I made an attempt I was bullied and harassed for weeks through my personal facebook account and email. People who come from a country that does not have an armed population (I am Australian) find the arguments of the pro-gun lobby bewildering. Prior to 1997 Australia’s weak gun laws led to 16 mass shooting incidents. After the Port Arthur massacre of 1997, automatic weapons were banned and gun laws changed. We have not had a mass shooting since. As to the personal safety arguments, my husband and I live in Lagos Nigeria and do not own any guns for our own protection. The risk of kidnapping, robbery and assault is far higher here than in the US. America for most people is a safe country. Its a shame they font appreciate it more. Perhaps they should come and live in Lagos for a while to gain a bit of perspective.
Thank you! I appreciate your ability to shed light on both the Australian and Nigerian experience. In my experience, the pro-gun arguments rely on the systematic repression of comparative international research on gun policy. The experiences of foreign countries are dismissed and ignored by the pro-gun lobby. I hope those who care about the 2nd amendment will care equally deeply about the 1st and avoid harassing or bullying me.
One person told me, “We dont care what other countries do.” That pretty much summed up most of the sentiment. Three of my students were sitting in the cafe when Martin Bryant started shooting at Port Arthur. They were lucky to survive. My stepson narrowly missed being involved in the Colorado movie theatre shooting. I am married to an American so half my family lives there and we will too one day. I have to say, however, that even living in Texas I never once met an American who actually owned a gun or wanted to.
That’s the biggest load of crap I’ve heard from you yet, & that says A LOT. Every time someone mentions violence rates in other countries being higher than the U.S., your standard response is “Comparing violent crime rates of other countries is difficult, because of the different definitions used.”
The only one ignoring the rates in other countries is YOU, continually sidestepping the issue, by claiming that meaningful comparison can’t be done.
PolitiFact confirms my view on that comparing violent crime rates:
To quote PolitiFact:
“Criminologists say differences in how the statistics are collected make it impossible to produce a truly valid comparison.”
I have however compared homicide and gun violence rates, which are defined similarly across national lines, and those rates support my argument.
I read your blog with interest. I would include that most police are poorly trained to handle the mentality of what is right and wrong. They tend to fit a subcategory of do it my way or pay consequences. Rights of the average citizen are overstepped as the law needs to be fulfilled. Kent State is an example of that overreach.
Absolutely agree that police training & regulation need to be improved. Wearable always-on cameras might help with this. Thanks for reading!
I understand the cameras but they suggest that the police are doing something wrong. I tend to be paranoid about them. I was in the classroom for forty years and it took some doing to forget I was being watched and listened to by people looking for something wrong. It tends to boost the stress level. But the mind of a person can be hard to comprehend. Some cops are controllers and need a handle on every situation, others negotiate and know how to bring down the level. Others have their hands on their gun and are ready to use it for whatever reason. Think of it as the old west. Everyone had a gun but some were gunfighters and most were not. Do we want the gunfighter mentality as part of a police force?
I see the argument, but from what statistical evidence we have, wearable cameras seem to be pretty effective at reducing the incidence of complaints against the cops. In Rialto, CA, always-on wearable cameras reduced complaints against the police by 88%:
I remember the cameras on Rodney King, do you think if the cops knew they were being filmed they would have beaten him up. I can see cameras broken to protect the insanity of a cop. Soon we will be filmed everywhere and the 1984 predictions will be here.
There’s a good chance if the cops knew they were being filmed, they wouldn’t have beaten him, based on the evidence we have. We could make destruction of the footage itself a crime. Ultimately, we have a choice–we can either prioritize reducing the incidence of police abuse, or we can prioritize police privacy.
The 1984 fear is not just monitoring, it’s monitoring being used for the purpose of policing people’s very thoughts. I don’t think monitoring is intrinsically dystopian–it depends on the way it is used and the regulations that govern it. We could monitor cops without compromising their first amendment rights.
1984 is already a reality. As far as I’m concerned, the black community’s response to the original verdict is more to blame for the militarization of police departments than any firearms the general civilian population has acquired.
It’s not hard to handle protesters with conventional weapons–British cops do that all the time. Military weapons and tactics are for hostage situations, mass shooters, organized crime, etc.
Hostage situations I can see. Mass shooters typically (especially lately) take the cowards way out & off themselves when confronted by even the slightest armed resistance. Organized crime is better dealt with in the same manner that were using to make progress in Afghanistan – a few well trained agents to go out & live within the population to gather evidence & intelligence.
Which all indicates that there is no “ONE” solution. Perhaps instead of blanket laws, we can deal with things on a more individual basis. Once we do that we can start to punish criminals in a way that will effectively reduce the likelihood of criminals returning to a life of crime if/when they are released from prison, without requiring the disarmament of honest citizens who have done nothing wrong.
I would consider the intelligence tactics police use when going after organized crime to be a form of militarization, given that it’s borrowed from formal state-on-state espionage.
Part of the trouble is that any given law-abiding citizen can decide one day for some reason or other to engage in criminal activity. There’s always potential that if a given person can get serious weapons and use them to commit crimes, that person will do so. The sharp distinction between criminals and law-abiding citizens is much harder to make in practice, and this drives militarization. The cops cannot know the intentions of citizens and prepare for the worst.
Except that anyone who has completed the paperwork, received the necessary training, & paid the expense required to carry, & in many cases, even purchase a firearm, is significantly less likely to commit a crime than those who do not, and either obtain their firearms illegally, or even those who do not obtain firearms at all. Lawful firearms owners & carry-permit holders are approximately 5 times LESS LIKELY to commit ANY crime than non-firearm owners. This includes misdemeanors, civil infractions, & even traffic violations. We go through a great deal of time, effort & expense to be allowed to exercise our Constitutional right, & we are very careful not to risk jeopardizing that right. And unfortunately these days, it’s far too easy for any encounter to turn into an event that puts us at risk of just that.
I would also add that arrest & conviction records show that most criminals convicted of firearms use in their crimes commit several less serious offenses before they move to firearm use. So yes, there is a way to tell who is more likely to use firearms for criminal purposes.
Even if you are right (I haven’t seen your source) and the risk is indeed 1/5th, there’s still risk. Based on my statistics, disarming the population is safer for all involved. Countries without significant numbers of firearms–legal or illegal–have much lower rates of gun violence and homicide.
And let me raise a further point–every firearm that is obtained illegally was at one point in time a legal firearm. All firearms begin their lives as legal weapons in lawful weapons factories. They go from the factories to distributors and from distributors to owners, but somewhere along the line someone in this chain sells arms to those who are not entitled to hold them. How can the police be certain that lawful gun owners, distributors, or manufacturers will not in turn sell their guns under the table? They can’t. And since these people are often not caught, their criminal activity goes unrecorded.
So essentially, what you’re proposing is the violation of citizens’ rights based on nothing more than the possibility they may commit a crime. Following your logic, anyone with a driver’s license should have their car taken away if they’ve ever gotten drunk, based on the possibility, however remote, that they may one day drive drunk. Sure, it would be inconvenient, but it’ll be worth it, especially considering drunk driving deaths every year in the U.S. far exceed the number of ALL intentional homicides, let alone intentional homicides with firearms.
I think citizens are entitled not to be killed by other people. I think this entitlement outweighs an entitlement to bear arms. Since there is evidence that reducing the proliferation of arms makes citizens less likely to kill each other, I support restricting the right to bear arms in favor of protecting the right to life.
Driving is entirely different–if we don’t allow people to drive, the economy cannot function. If we don’t allow people to have guns, there are no substantive systemic economic repercussions.
Fair point about driving & it’s impact on the economy. However, we could go back to horses & other beasts of burden. Or simply require that everyone use mass transit. Or we could install breathalyzers in every car in the country, to ensure that no one ever drives drunk again.
Wait, I know! Let’s just ban alcohol! Surely that will solve all of the drunk driving problems! As a bonus, it would also eliminate alcohol-related firearms incidents. Problem solved – 2 tweeties, one rock.
Once again, you’re welcome.
Horses are much, much less efficient than cars. Your example relies on the economic impact of driving. Guns do not have an analogous impact.
Interestingly, in France, they require that drivers carry around their own breathalyzer kits. I haven’t checked the incidence of drunk driving in France, but perhaps you have something there.
Banning alcohol doesn’t work because alcohol is much easier to manufacture on your own than guns are. Anybody can ferment, but metallurgy is hard.
I also take issue with the argument that there are no substantive economic repercussions to eliminating firearms. You would be putting entire sectors of people out of work. Not just employees at firearms manufacturers, but ammo companies, firearms accessories of every variety. Multiple areas of the economy would be impacted. Countless people would find themselves out of a job. Possibly more than eliminating automobiles, considering much of our auto production is now done outside the U.S.
The economic value of the firearms industry pales in comparison to the economic value of the automotive industry. Most Americans need cars to be able to do their jobs, buy groceries, and carry out other essential functions.
I don’t believe in having people do jobs that make our society a worse place in which to live. That said, I care deeply about the welfare of people who are laid off as a result of this policy–the government should extend them unemployment benefits and help them to train for and search for new jobs.
I think the attitude toward cameras depends on the mindset of the person wearing it. For a police officer who is honest & interested in upholding the law, protecting citizens, & doing what’s right, there should be very little worry. For the ones who have a more authoritarian mind set, not to mention the ones who are outright dirty, there’s more of a concern. While there will always be the possibility of video being used to jam an officer up for the actions they take, that’s always gonna be the case, & it seems like having a audio/video record would protect the officers more than not having one. In fact, if I were a police officer, I’d want the video camera so there would be a record of events to cover my a$$.
Here’s the interesting thing about body camerasç Studies have shown that when body cameras are used, the number of false citizen complaints against officers drops significantly more than the number of legitimate citizen complaints does. That indicates that without body cams, people cry foul, racism, or police brutality much more than it actually happens.
Reblogged this on RealCassius ® ZAR.
Thanks for sharing!
“given that 100 years ago we did not have organized crime, paramilitary groups, or any substantive civilian ownership of semi or fully automatic weapons”
This is not accurate by any stretch. Organized crime has likely existed for as long as civilization, but since you quoted 100 years I’ll just point to prohibition. It is only when an activity like the consumption of alcohol was made illegal that it became profitable for criminals to engage in the liquor trade, making them wealthy beyond what they could previously achieve, which also gained them notoriety.
The militias that made up the bulk of the infantry that fought the American Revolution were the very definition of a paramilitary force and they precede your 100 year mark by an additional 138 years.
Both semi-automatic and full-automatic rifles were new technology 100 years ago with semi-automatic pistols preceding them by less than a decade. Semi-automatic rifles and pistols have been more prevalent in civilian hands for much longer than police have used them. There was no problem with the police being unable to perform their duties due to being outgunned up until that point and in all cases that I’m aware of where they were, it was due to organized crime elements that had obtained illegal weapons that the average civilian didn’t have access to. Bonny and Clyde were a perfect example of this as they obtained most of their firepower by stealing it from National Guard armories. Police forces were reluctant to replace their revolvers and shotguns all the way into the 1980s and most only did so because their civilian constituency insisted on it.
All excellent points, except that until the National Forearms Act was passed in 1935, anyone with the money could walk in to just about any hardware store & purchase a Thompson machine gun, no permit, background check, or fee required. The only obstacle was the actual cost of the firearm – $230. Of course, $230 was quite a bit of money in 1935. However, the point still remains that 100 years ago, it was much easier to obtain firearms that exceeded the quality & capacity of law enforcement.
Though it is true that automatic firearms were more readily available, law enforcement had the same or better access to them so it can’t be said that they had inferior equipment. The reason for the enactment of the NFA was a direct result of gang activity and it had little effect on their ability to obtain said weapons as they had both the funds and means to make the new law effectively toothless. Much the same as it is now, criminals disregarded the law, meaning it only impacted the law-abiding members of society that were no threat to the police in the first place.
You are exactly right sir, and that is exactly what the gun grabbers either refuse to see, or more likely, refuse to admit. Criminals are criminals because they do not follow the law. It is ridiculous to believe that they will just turn in their guns should we suddenly ban them all. Just as it’s ridiculous to think a sign or a law prohibiting guns in a certain area will stop someone from walking in & shooting up the place. “Well darn, I was gonna go in here, shoot up the place, & kill a bunch of people, but dammit, it’s illegal to have a gun. I wouldn’t wanna break the law while committing murder” . . . so no one ever!
There is no class of people called “the criminals” who are of uniform attitude or behavior. All citizens have some non-zero propensity to commit crimes. Some people are more likely to commit crimes than others, but very few people are committed to a life of crime.
In any event, my statistical evidence on this point is conclusive–states with tough national gun control policies have been able to drastically reduce rates of gun violence and homicide. It works.
When law enforcement is on merely equal footing, things can go very wrong (consider the Wild West, when both sheriffs and outlaws carried revolvers and rode on horses). Law enforcement requires a military advantage to police successfully.
As we see from my international examples, rigorous national gun control does succeed in lowering rates of gun violence and homicide. If the law is tough and the enforcement is there, other countries show that this can be done.
There were relatively few semi and automatic weapons in circulation until after WWI. That’s what really did us in. 100 years ago (1914), these weapons were not manufactured in large numbers are were not easy to obtain.
Prohibition did not become a thing until 1919, not 1914 (100 years ago). Prohibition and the post-WWI weapons surplus combined to give organized crime an unprecedented level of armament relative to the US government. This led to a tremendous rise in crime rates, with criminal organizations subjugating local politicians and police forces.
The militias the fought the revolutionary war were not fighting against British police, they were fighting against the British army. Those we would have called “police” in the 18th century–local law enforcement–were predominately local people (non-Brits). Many of them joined the revolution rather than fought against it.
Major proliferation of semis and fully automatic weapons begin after WWI and prohibition. In the US, the state struggled to control access to semis and fully automatic weapons post WWI because of the sheer number of such weapons that came into existence. This is a textbook case of the phenomenon I describe–criminal organizations were able to overpower local police. The mob was only reigned in when federal agents went after it with espionage tactics learned from the military. Had the US government melted down the weapons produced for WWI and enacted national gun control during the 1920’s, a lot of crime might have been averted. This is what Britain did, and it has seen a lot of success.
“Prohibition did not become a thing until 1919, not 1914 (100 years ago). ”
If you want to get into semantics we’ll go back a bit to the Mafia–Camorra War of 1914 where there is clear evidence of organized crime going back even further.
“Prohibition and the post-WWI weapons surplus combined to give organized crime an unprecedented level of armament relative to the US government. This led to a tremendous rise in crime rates, with criminal organizations subjugating local politicians and police forces.”
The government made a product that people wanted illegal, sowing the seeds for a lucrative black market. They then provided the very weaponry that the crime organizations used to overpower the government? If we apply this rationale, it’s the government that is irresponsible and should be disarmed.
“The militias the fought the revolutionary war were not fighting against British police, they were fighting against the British army. Those we would have called “police” in the 18th century–local law enforcement–were predominately local people (non-Brits). Many of them joined the revolution rather than fought against it.”
This is accurate enough in and of itself, but you were trying to claim that paramilitary forces are a recent phenomenon, not that we were fighting the police. I was pointing out that militias are a paramilitary force and have been in action in America since before the Revolution. Please stay on topic.
“Major proliferation of semis and fully automatic weapons begin after WWI and prohibition. In the US, the state struggled to control access to semis and fully automatic weapons post WWI because of the sheer number of such weapons that came into existence. This is a textbook case of the phenomenon I describe–criminal organizations were able to overpower local police. The mob was only reigned in when federal agents went after it with espionage tactics learned from the military. Had the US government melted down the weapons produced for WWI and enacted national gun control during the 1920’s, a lot of crime might have been averted. This is what Britain did, and it has seen a lot of success.”
As I stated before, this is because these weapons were expensive to manufacture. Mass production for the war effort brought prices down making them more available. There was no significant “struggle” to restrict access to them except by a nearly insignificant minority. The mob was not brought down by military espionage. It was brought down by the IRS. The vast majority of the weapons used during WWI were bolt action rifles, not the scary rifles that seem to concern you so much, so I’m not sure what effect that would have had. Britain did not melt down their military arms. Many of the same weapons that served in WWI did so again in WWII.
Your grasp on history is tenuous, at best, and it seems that you are not so concerned with crime and violence so much as violence done with guns. What happens when there are no more weapons to take away and people just go back to killing each other with their bare hands and feet? But then, you’re not really that interested in preventing crime, are you?
I am not denying altogether that there was organized crime pre-1919, all I’m saying is that the proliferation of extremely lethal weapons and prohibition combined to make this a much larger problem in the 20’s and 30’s than it had been at any time previously. No historian would dispute that claim.
I agree that the state created the problem with mistaken policies–if it had followed the British example and banned the guns, we would be much better off. The failure to make a substantive effort to restrict access to these weapons has lead to many thousands of unnecessary deaths. As you yourself stated, mass production of these guns during the war increased their availability.
Paramilitary forces are relevant to the argument insofar as they pose a threat to the police. The threat posed to police by paramilitary forces and terrorist groups is much greater in this era than at any time prior to WWI and prohibition.
A lot of evidence against the mob was accumulated via “deep cover” espionage tactics borrowed from interstate spying. The Feds had to go after the mob because local police forces were often intimidated or corrupted.
As I have stated many a time, homicide rates (which include deaths due to weapons aside from firearms) are also much lower when there are fewer guns per capita. Check out the homicide rates of a few other states:
Citing only homicide is a very narrow metric meant to mislead. Let’s try it this way:
Violent Crime 2011
UK – 1.94 million, population 63 million http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_296191.pdf
USA- 1.2 million, population 314 million
Both show a statistical drop in the overall crime rate from the previous year so you can’t point to guns being the cause. But again, you’re not interested in reducing crime, just getting rid of guns, aren’t you?
You cannot compare violent crime statistics between the UK and US because the two countries use radically different definitions of “violent crime”. Criminologists are very clear on this, and I’ve already pointed it out to several people on this thread:
Sorry to say but honestly I think this post is complete bullshit. I believe strongly in the 2nd amendment and americans right to bear arms and protect themselves. I have had and still have shotguns, handguns, and assault rifles. I’m not a criminal or a paramilitary force. I’m sure we have small militias around the country but who doesn’t. The American police forces do not need the almost 500 million dollars worth of military equipment that has been given to them by the Pentagon. What does a police force need with grenade launchers and rocket launchers. What does a small town need with armored vehicles. The answer is nothing. They are not becoming more militarized because the people are becoming more militarized. They did that long before people began to see the truth about the police and the government. We are a reaction to them attempting to take away our freedoms. We will soon or at least one day become a police state. That is the end goal of the government to CONTROL the people. Also as for the SWAT they were designed for specific purposes, high risk purposes. They were not made to be the front line. Specifically I’m talking about the Ferguson riots. They were peaceful all day long but come night time the first people out were the SWAT team. Why would they need to be the front line against unarmed peaceful protesters? Why do they need to immediately come out full force SWAT, tear gas, flash bangs, bulletproof vests, assault rifles, gas masks, and armored vehicles against a large group of civilians citizens that have yet to do anything to call for such action? Just my two cents.
While you personally may never decide to become a mass shooter, hostage taker, or member of an organized criminal or paramilitary organization, there are several hundreds million Americans who could potentially acquire extremely lethal weapons and do these things. The police can’t know the intentions of any one of us for certain. If even a very small percentage of us go through with these acts, they will occasionally happen from time to time all over the country (even in small towns), and police departments must be prepared to deal with them.
That said, I agree that we should heavily regulate the use of these weapons and not allow police forces to use them in situations that do not warrant them (e.g. confronting protesters).
The right to life precedes the right to bear arms. If we can reduce the incidence of gun violence and homicide by restricting access to guns (and comparative international research suggests we can), it is wrong not to do so.
Well as for me personally they are going to have to take my guns from my dead body
That kind of language makes the police fearful of you and leads to militarization.
Why because I believe that they cannot take away a right given to me by the constitution??
Because you seem to be implying that if the law is changed and you don’t like it, you will resist law enforcement with extremely lethal weapons.
Resist with my weapons no but am I going to allow them to take them no
So how would you prevent the police from taking them, if they attempted to do so?
Honestly I dont know. Build a hidden storage in my house. Bury them in the back yard. something. If America gets to the point where they are going into peoples houses to confiscate their weapons then we have obviously come to a point where America is no longer a country of rights and freedoms. Also may I ask are you a gun owner? If so would you just freely let them come and take them no questions asked?
Clearly he is not a gun owner. If he is, I nominate him as runner-up for hypocrite of the year award, 2014 edition – right behind Leland Yee. You know, the CA Sate Senator, who was the “gun control” poster child, indicted on Federal charges of conspiracy to smuggle arms, among numerous other counts. People like him are the reason us firearms owners are so adamant about our rights. We don’t trust many in our government – & with good reason.
In theory, if comprehensive gun control were passed your guns would have serial numbers and the government would know that you had not handed them in. It could arrest you for this. I don’t think hiding the guns would solve that problem.
I don’t own a gun. I do however have a couple swords. If they became illegal, I would give them up.
Well said, in fact it has come out in The Economist.
It seems that militarized police does more damage.
It is very possible for police to misuse their armaments, and the use of these weapons and tactics should be closely regulated, but that does not imply that they are never needed.
1. Your chart shows that the U.S. has a firearms ownership rate which is nearly ten times that of the UK. However, you conveniently fail to point out that the over all homicide rate in the U.S. is not 10 times that of the UK rate. It’s not even close. Of course if there are less firearms, there will be less homicides & violent crime committed with firearms. But by your “logic”, the U.S. violent crime & firearms-related homicide rates should be approximately 10 times that of the UK. Why aren’t they?
2. I can’t help but notice that you still have not answered my previous question: If availability of firearms is the cause of murder & violent crime, why are those numbers not the same in areas with “lax gun laws” as they are in areas like Chicago & Washington D.C. where, until recently, handgun ownership was essentially prohibited?
The US homicide rate is nearly 5 times the UK’s rate. I by no means suggested that guns were the only factor in homicide rates, I only argued that they make a really big difference. Isn’t the difference between 4.7 homicides per 100k people and 1.0 homicides per 100k people worthy of note?
I have answered your question with respect to Chicago and DC, but if you missed it, I can answer again–gun control laws do not work on the local/municipal/state government level. This is because the borders between cities and suburbs or between US states are not controlled. There’s no customs between Chicago and Elmhurst, or between Illinois and Indiana. For gun control to work, it has to be a national policy, like it is in the UK, Canada, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Japan, etc.
4.7 homicides per 100,000 is certainly higher than 1 per 100,000. However, it is not 10 times higher, therefore, there must be some reason other than firearms for the homicide rates being what they are. You continually claim that police need to maintain an advantage iof force against civilians, and that’s why the UK banned firearms. You then go on to claim that police in the UK carry only nightsticks. Sure doesn’t seem like an advantage over someone who could use virtually anything as a blunt object weapon against a police officer. Something like, I don’t know, say a cricket bat. They haven’t banned those yet, have they?
And no, you haven’t explained why crime rates in areas with “lax gun laws” are not as high as crime rates in areas with restrictive gun laws. You simply blame a lack of national gun control on the high crime rates in areas with restrictive gun laws. So please explain, for example, why the crime rates in Indiana, Wisconsin, & the rest of Illinois, are not as high as they are in Chicago? Or why Virginia, with its permissive gun laws, who shares a border with Maryland, where guns laws are nearly as restrictive as Chicago & DC, has a much lower crime rate than Maryland does, even in the border cities & counties? Why isn’t the homicide rate high everywhere, instead of just the areas with strict gun control?
I am not required to show that guns are the only factor that influences homicide rates (indeed, I am not claiming this–poverty, mental health, and so on all play a role). I am only required to show that guns are a major factor. Given the strong statistical relationship between the number of guns per capita and the amount of homicide, by any reasonable research standard I have done that.
British cops do not carry exclusively nightsticks–many of them also carry tazers and pepper spray. This gives them a sizable advantage over criminals armed primarily with knives. The important thing is that only 5% of British cops carry firearms.
Crime rates are higher in major cities because poverty rates are higher in major cities. Major cities with large poor populations often attempt to enact gun control for this reason, but it fails because the control policy is not national. Maryland has Baltimore, a city with many poor people. Virginia does not have a Baltimore. That’s why Maryland has a higher homicide rate than Virginia.
As I said before, only with a national gun program do you get results. With a local gun program, the smuggling across uncontrolled borders kills you.
You need to get out more. Virginia has the Richmond/Petersburg area. Michigan has Detroit. Texas has Houston, Dallas, Austinn San Antonio, El Paso. All of these states have what you would call “lax gun laws”, & yet none of the cities mentioned have the crime rates of Chicago, Baltimore, or DC, all cities where citizens’ access to firearms is heavily restricted. Memphis TN was one of the most featured cities on “Cops.” No matter which direction you go when leaving Memphis, you always immediately end up in a state with “lax gun laws” – Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, or back into TN. Yet somehow, even Memphis, TN does not have the violent crime & murder rate of Chicago, Baltimore, or DC. Nor does Nashville, another major city that would rival Baltimore’s economic demographics.
Even using your own “explanation” – if violent crime & murder are higher in Chicago or Baltimore because criminals are heading into places like Indiana & Wisconsin, or areas in Virginia, to buy firearms, then why isn’t violent crime & murder in Indiana & Wisconsin, or Virginia, the same as, or higher, than it is in Chicago or Baltimore? Instead of going to all that time, effort, & expense of traveling to another state to purchase their firearms, why don’t the criminals also commit crimes in the areas where they are supposedly obtaining their firearms in the first place? Better yet, why don’t they just set up shop in the areas with the “lax gun laws” you keep lamenting? Then, according to your logic, they wouldn’t have to travel to obtain their firearms.
Richmond and Petersburg have a combined population of 246k. Virginia has 8.2 million people.
Baltimore has a population of 622k. Maryland has 5.9 million people.
Because Baltimore is a much larger percentage of Maryland’s population, it follows that the crime rates in Maryland are more skewed by the Baltimore crimes rate than the crime rates in Virginia are skewed by Richmond/Petersburg.
If you look at the statistics, you will find that crime rates are higher in states with large numbers of people living in poor urban areas.
Now, interestingly, many of the cities you claim are less dangerous are actually more dangerous. Here are US cities by homicide rate:
As you can see, many cities have worse murder rates than Chicago/DC despite strong gun protections.
Now, because we’re just looking at US cities, we can look at overall violent crime. That also supports my argument:
Again, there’s a mix of cities, all of which have large areas that are deeply poor. Data from the FBI:
I can’t believe that no one has yet pointed out the trends of violent crime & murder rates relative to passage of firearms laws. If you look at historical rates of murder & violent crime in the U.S., you’ll see that they were in decline before the National Firearms Act of 1935, and continued to decline, as the law affected uncommon firearms, which were used by few law-abiding citizens. With the passage changes to the law in 1965, placing more restrictions on law-abiding citizens, the violent crime & murders rates began to rise, & continued to do so until reaching an approximate 100-year high of approximately 9.8 per 100,000 in the early 1990s. As states began passing restrictive concealed carry laws in the early 1990s (prior to the passage of the Brady bill), crime rates began to fall. The passage of the 1994 “Assault Weapons” ban did little to affect crime rates, & they continued to fall at the same general rate. Likewise, the expiration of the AFB in 2004 had virtually no affect on the crime rate, as it continued to decline, and is now at its lowest point since at least 1965. So even as 38 states have adopted either shall-issue laws, or enacted Constitutional carry, where no permit what-so-ever is required to carry open or concealed, violent crime & intentional unjustified homicides have decreased by 50% over the last 20-odd years.
By contrast, the UK murder rate has been steadily INCREASING over the last 100 years, and stats from the UK Home Office show an increase in the murder rate each & every time a new gun control law has been passed.
So while you can’t compare the U.S. to the UK, if you look at the historical rates for each country & compare that country to itself, you will see that gun control doesn’t work. At least not the way some people want it to. Whether or not you accept that fact is entirely up to you.
Your claims regarding the UK murder rate are false. The homicide rate there has fallen to its lowest level since the 1980s:
The US homicide rate has consistently been far above the UK murder rate:
US gun laws have not succeeded because they have not reduced the number of guns per capita to Canadian levels, much less Europe’s or Japan’s.
Color me unimpressed.
At least you got one thing right – the U.S. has always had a higher homicide rate than the UK. That was true even before either country had any significant gun-control laws on the books.
What you gun grabbers fail to acknowledge is that the U.S. violent crime & murder rate is at its lowest point in over 100 years, even with the so-called “proliferation of firearms.” Despite the claims that the streets would “run red with blood” the old-west style shootouts simply have not materialized, and we have actually managed to reduce our violent crime & murder rate by 50% over the last 20 years, to a 100 year low. Meanwhile, the UK saw a spike in their murder rate after banning handguns. It took 10 years for the murder rate to return to where it was prior to the ban, and after another 10 years, it’s at its lowest point in 30 years. But guns are somehow the problem. Sure . . .
This data does not cover UK murder rates before the UK’s first major gun legislation went on the books shortly after WWI. I have no idea what UK murder rates looked like before UK gun control. There’s no data.
I absolutely acknowledge that the US crime and murder rates are much lower than they have been, but they are still way higher than the rates in all the other countries I list. The primary difference between these other countries and the US is number of guns.
It takes years for the government to actually get its hands on all the handguns after it passes a law against them. Those who presumed to judge the handgun law immediately after it was passed did not give the government adequate time to enforce it. Today we can see that the handgun law has made the UK much safer.
Again, the U.S. rates have ALWAYS been higher than that of The UK. I can tell you that if you look up the UK’s historical crime rates back to the early 20th century, you will find that UK violent crime & murder rates, relative to THE UK, have increased every time they have passed new firearms restrictions. Care to speculate on why murder rates increased so dramatically after handguns were banned in the mid-90s? Oh, LOOK! Here’s some of that data you claim doesn’t exist: http://markhumphrys.com/Bitmaps/crime.uk.gif
Looking at the UK numbers, I guess if we banned all firearms in the U.S., we should also expect the murder rate to nearly double. But that’s OK, cuz for the people who survive, their grandkids will live in a country that’s just as safe as it was before firearms were banned.
What you have still failed to explain however, is, even with the “proliferation of guns” & the “militarization of the civilian population” that you continually rant about, how has the U.S. reduced its violent crime & homicide rates by 50% over the last 20 years? Why are the streets not running red with blood, as you gun grabbers have all predicted they would?
As a free society, we should look at laws & decide whether or not they are in our best interests. And we have done exactly that over the last 20 years. Most states have been increasingly expanding citizens’ rights with regards to firearms ownership, possession, & use. 38 states now have reciprocity agreements with each other regarding concealed-carry permits among different jurisdictions. The Supreme Court has ruled that firearm ownership is an INDIVIDUAL right, GUARANTEED by the Constitution. The people have spoken, the Courts have decided, h the gun-grabbers are losing.
Again, you can’t compare violent crime rates, the definition are too different:
And if you looked at the graphs I posted for US/UK murder rates, you’d see that UK murder rates are at their lowest level since the 80’s.
US has reduced violent crime and homicide for the same array of reasons most developed countries are seeing decreases irrespective of gun laws–crimes are getting more difficult to commit and policing is getting better:
Yet there’s still a sizable gap between the US and the rest of the developed world, and that comes down to guns. Or do you have an alternative explanation? Why do you think gun violence and homicide are much worse in the US than in these other countries? I’ve yet to see you offer an explanation for this phenomenon in all of our exchanges.
This may be one of the dumbest things I’ve read in a long time. The idea that we need to have a police force with sufficient force to dominate the populace was real successful in Germany you may recall. We have laws, we will always have criminals who break laws, disarming honest citizens so they have no way to protect themselves is foolishness at best. If you want to be sitting defenseless waiting for the police to show up after the fact to place the crime scene tape, go right ahead. Perhaps all police are saints and the government is always looking out for your best interest, but then again you may want to step away from the comic books. And by the way this is the United States of America, we broke away from the British a long time ago, largely because our citizens had the ability to overthrow tyranny. You maintain the ability to exercise your 1st Amendment rights to write this largely because of the checks and balances of the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment is one of those watchdogs. Granting police or other governing bodies the power to dominate you will certainly lead to abuse and loss of your rights including the freedom of speech, no matter how much I disagree with you I defend your right to say it. We are seeing police across this nation and government officials tramping on 4th Amendment rights as well. I doubt that will get better if they can completely dominate the populace, by the way as Americans we don’t believe our military let alone our police should dominate us, move if you’d like but leave the Constitution alone.
I have an even better suggestion – If they don’t like guns, start a movement to repeal the 2nd Amendment. They won’t do that though, because it would quickly become apparent how many in this country actually do support the 2nd Amendment. Then they would be forced to admit defeat. By spouting their bullshit & repeating the lies that “90% of Americans want more gun control” they can continue pushing their agenda, & trying to pass unconstitutional laws which have no affect on crime, other than to turn honest, previously law-abiding-citizens in to criminals when they fail to comply with ex post facto laws (which, btw, violate the Constitution).
I have yet to hear one of these gun grabbing liberals put forth any kind of plan that would actually ensure the criminals are the first to be disarmed. If the could do that, then we could have a reasonable conversation. & yes, I include the criminals in the government among the group that needs to be disarmed first.
The second amendment is popular in the United States, which is a shame, because its popularity gets many people killed who need not have died.
There is no criminal class–all civilians have a non-zero propensity to commit crimes, and the police have no guarantees that any given civilian will never commit a crime.
That said, how would the state start winding down civilian guns in practice? It could start by closing down gun and ammo factories that make weapons for civilian consumption. It could then start up a gun buyback program, in which the state compensates citizens for turning in their guns and gives them amnesty for having had them illegally, if they did so. The people with the highest propensity to engage in criminal behavior are generally the country’s poorest people. If the amount of money we offer in exchange for guns is sufficiently high, desperation/financial need will cause many to turn their guns in.
“The second amendment is popular in the United States, which is a shame, because its popularity gets many people killed who need not have died.”
So essentially, you’re saying the law of the land, & the will of the people, are both secondary to what you think is good for them.
You also claim that “The people with the highest propensity to engage in criminal behavior are generally the country’s poorest people.” Bullshit!!! Visit some of the rural areas of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri. The poor people in Chicago & Baltimore don’t know how good they’ve got it compared to some areas in these states. And yet, even though all of those states carry such “lax gun laws”, those people are not shooting each other up like they do in Chicago, every single weekend.
Isn’t part of living in a free society questioning our laws if we think that they are not in our best interest? Check out the city crime stats I posted in response to your earlier comment, poverty is what drives crime.
Germany committed genocide not with the police force, but with the army. Because Germany was perfectly willing to kill large percentages of the population in the territories it governed and because it had heavy armor, artillery, and an air force, European civilians had no hope of successfully resisting Germany regardless of how well armed they were. Even the best armed civilian is at best an infantry man, and an infantry army cannot defeat a modern military if that military is willing to absolutely obliterate it.
For these reasons, guns cannot be used to resist a modern genocidal/tyrannical state. If the state is willing to kill its people en masse, even the most lethal of civilian arms will do little good against the state’s heavy armaments and, in the modern era, WMDs. We just have to trust that our governments will not become tyrannical/genocidal, or that if they do, their military forces will refuse to carry out the orders they are given.
I’d rather have the right to go down fighting than be herded to my death. I won’t sway you and you surely won’t convince me you are right. Let’s let it be there, you take your chances unarmed, I’ll take the other option.
Who is going to herd you to your death?
Absolutely no one
But who would, if you gave them the chance?
I cannot bring myself to continue a conversation with someone who really believes we should all be disarmed and just trust that our government will never become tyrannical. The vast majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens. Those who choose to break the law will continue to be armed, and under a plan like yours the law abiding will be victims. It is human nature that when supreme power is given to a government they no longer serve the citizens but lord over them. Our Constitution is designed for us to have a government for the people and directed by the people, not the other way around. No where in our founding documents or our law is the police or military supposed to have the right to dominate us by force. One only has to look at Afghanistan in the 80’s (Soviet Union) or Vietnam to see that you are mistaken about simple infantry not being able to disrupt or defeat a superior power, and perhaps you’ve never heard, but that is exactly how our freedoms were one in the first place. Have a good night, give up whatever rights you want but leave mine alone.
As I’ve said in response to many arguments of this kind, Afghanistan and Vietnam are fundamentally different from a domestic rebellion for two key reasons:
1. The USSR & USA’s survival was not at stake in these conflicts.
2. As a result, the USSR and USA refrained from doing everything in their power to win these conflicts–they did not commit genocide or use WMD.
In a civil rebellion, the state’s survival is at stake. If the state loses, its leaders expect that they will die and/or be dispossessed. As a result, the state is much more likely to behave the way the Assad regime is behaving in Syria–going all out and unleashing death and destruction on population centers. The only thing preventing the Assad regime from achieving total victory over the rebels is that foreign states (especially Saudi Arabia) are supporting the rebels. The US military is far more powerful than Syria’s. If well-armed rebels cannot beat the Assad regime even with foreign assistance, they have no chance against the US government.
In countries with comprehensive gun control (Canada, UK, Italy, Japan etc.), no one is armed. Not criminals, not police, not law-abiding citizens, nobody. Gun violence rates are low and homicide rates are low. These countries have not become tyrannical societies and they have not embarked on genocidal campaigns.
The police are entitled to enforce the law. Doing this entails using coercive force against people who have broken the law. For police use of coercive force to effectively uphold the law, it must be extremely difficult if not impossible for the average citizen to successfully resist police coercion.
You have failed to grasp one, simple concept: The people are the masters and the government/police are the servants. If you choose to abdicate your rights as a citizen and become a serf, that is your choice to make, but you don’t get to dictate that the rest of us need to do the same.
“The people are the masters” is a comforting idea, but the reality is that if the military turns its guns on us, we have no chance. That’s not me choosing to abdicate anything, that’s just the truth.
You also seem to forget that the government is made up of people and is not an entity unto itself. There are more gun owners in 4 US states than there are people in the military. There are more gun owners in the continental US than there are military and police combined. This doesn’t even take into account the number of police and military personnel that would defect, like I would, if the order came down to confiscate firearms from their fellow citizens. All the tech in the world is useless without the manpower to run it. Your totalitarian fantasy, even if attempted, would never come to fruition.
The US military makes its name with quality of forces, not quantity. It has armor, artillery, planes, and WMD. No matter how many civilian gun owners there are, even if every single one of them resists with force, an army of infantry cannot defeat an army with armor/artillery/planes/WMD if that army is willing to fight to the bitter end.
Defections are another matter–if the military defects, then it’s irrelevant whether or not the people are armed because the military does not have the stomach to kill civilians. At that point, civilians could just as easily resist the state with rolling strikes as they could through armed rebellion (e.g. the Egyptian revolution to depose Mubarak).
Before de-militarisation the Police is fact, it’s necessary to make it much more difficult for civilists to get weapons of each Type! First the gouvernement have to make it nearly impossible to get weapons for civilists, than they can begin the de-militarisation of the Police!
And this is the Problem since years and years to kick of the “Cowboy-mentality” of the Local people!
But since hundreds of years the US Citizins are used to the thinking, they have to defend their houses and families ….with Guns!
That’s true at one side, but we in Europe defend our families and houses, too, but we don’t shoot the “whole” time! 😢
It’s very seldom, that you will see here in Germany a fight between Police and some Criminals! It’s always a “big thing” at TV and Newspapers, if it’s happened!
Also we have not so much killing or murder cases as US has (300 Mill. Us/80 Mill. Germans) if you look for the cases in prozentual relationship ! Thx God!
Of course the same in GB, Netherlands a.s.o., and this is not, because we have fewer Criminals , but the way the strategy of our Police is different!
But….it’s only my meaning! But I was all around the world, and have had never bad and really dangerous situations (but I was also in places and countries of War and political, dramatical situations!), always we could talk to each other and stay friendly.
So I think it must be possible !
Interesting to hear about the German experience–thank you for sharing that. I agree that it is possible for the US to improve its safety and police/community relations with these reforms. Germany in particular is a very strong example of how to handle crime–it has even less gun violence than Canada or France despite being about even with these countries in guns per capita.
I’m happy, that you understand my comments well, because of my unusual english! 😉😊
I had last years nobody to talk in english…I’m sorry, but I’ll do my best!
But this what I wrote is true! 👍
No worries about your English–I’m impressed you can do as well as you can. Foreign language education was very poor where I came from, and I can’t speak much of anything aside from English.
Reblogged this on MrMilitantNegro™.
Want statistical evidence that an armed populace is more effective than a militarized police force? Look no farther than Chicago. Since allowing concealed carry this year, robbery down 20%, car theft down 26% and murder at a 56 year low.
People do not own guns to affect police ability to do their jobs and start wars with them. They own them to protect themselves since when seconds count the cops are only minutes away.
It is proven over and over, the more citizens that exercise their Second Amendment right, brings down crime rates. That means police can do with less, because there is less to do.
Nothing prevents recurrent criminal activity like taking the criminal out of the gene pool.
He claims that the U.S. drop in crime by 50% in the 20 or so years since states started passing their shall-issue laws is due to the same factors that have reduced crime in other countries, and has nothing to do with guns what-so-ever. He further claims that if the U.S. had banned firearms, then our crime rate would have fallen even further. Apparently guns cannot be used to eliminate or reduce crime, only increase it – at least the way he tells it.
What this liberal elitist fails to recognize is that if guns were the problem, the states where citizens have the strongest rights to own, carry, & use firearms would have the highest crime rates. He tries to explain it away by claiming that a lack of national gun control allows criminals to buy firearms in areas with “lax gun laws” & take them into areas where citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights have been restricted (like Chicago). He however does not explain why the criminals wouldn’t just commit their crimes in the areas where the guns are “so easily available”, nor does he explain why the areas with the “weakest gun control laws” don’t have the highest crime.
He also has done a pretty poor job of explaining why the UK crime rates went up for almost 10 years after the passage of their handgun ban other than to say “it takes time for the police to get all the guns out of criminals’ hands.” And finally, while admitting that the U.S. has always had a higher homicide rate than the UK, he offers no explanation as to why that is, other than “it must be the lack of gun control in the U.S.” – even though the disparity existed even when both nations had virtually no gun control laws.
As long as gun control laws are made on the local/US state level, they do no meaningfully reduce gun ownership rates. Guns can easily be purchased in bulk by unscrupulous vendors in the suburbs/Indiana and sold under the table in Chicago.
We know that gun control works if imposed on the national level because all of the developed states with rigorous national policies have much lower ownership rates and homicide rates.
UK crime rates continued to rise for some years after the gun ban was passed because it took some time for the British to successfully get hold of the handguns that were already out there in the civilian population. Enforcement of new laws is not instantaneously complete. Law enforcement must develop strategies to enforce new laws, and it can sometimes take years before those laws can be successfully enforced. The new lows in British crime show that, given time, governments can successfully enforce these laws.
We have no data on UK homicide rates before the UK started heavily controlling firearms. UK gun control began in earnest right at the end of WWI.
You keep saying the same things over & over, while continuing to ignore questions that you don’t care to, or can’t, answer.
All those fantasy stories you dream up about people buying guns in Indiana & selling them in Chicago are a felony, & as such are punishable by very lengthy jail time. Which goes to show criminals will be criminals. However, you claim that homicide rates in Chicago are falling (& supposedly have been for some time), then in the very next breath, claim that homicide rates in Chicago are high because of guns being brought in from areas where they are “easily accessible”, all while ignoring that Chicago’s homicide rate is down 56% since Illinois became the last state in the country to allow concealed carry laws. it’s worth noting that the Federal Standards for buying firearms are exactly that – Federal standards, & exactly the same no matter where you go.
So it took some time for police in the UK to get guns out of the hands of criminals. That still doesn’t explain why homicide rates INCREASED after the ban went into effect – it only (barely) explained why rates didn’t drop. Again, I’ll ask, if the U.S. were to experience the same type of trend should a ban be enacted here, are citizens supposed to just hold on & wait, knowing that the children or grand-children of those who survive the spike in the crime rate MIGHT live in a world that is just as safe as it was before firearms were banned? Again, I feel the need to point out that almost 20 years after the UK banned handguns, their homicide rate is at a 30-year low, while in the U.S., only 20 years after INCREASING firearms ownership & carry rights, the U.S. rate is at a near 100 year low.
All of the above just further proves what responsible firearms owners have been saying for years:
1. Guns in the hands of responsible, law abiding citizens reduces crime, because criminals prefer easy targets;
2. Criminals are criminals for a reason – to think that they will suddenly just give up their firearms because they have been banned is ludicrous. Your argument in the UK example proves that.
Once again, you really should read John Lott Jr’s “More Guns, Less Crime.”
I’ll also point out that we DO have numbers for the UK homicide rates before they enacted significant firearms legislation, as I’ve posted a link to that graph in a previous reply. But just to save you the trouble, here’s a link to another document (on page 15, you’ll find the historical homicide rate from 1901 to 1997, in homicides per million people – if you divide by 10, you’ll get homicides per 100,000):
And yet again, I’ll ask you to explain the difference between the U.S. & UK rates, even before significant firearms regulations existed in either place.
Incidentally, with the advent, & constant decrease in the price, of 3D printers, how would you propose to effectively implement a firearms ban anyway? There have already been several reports of small caliber firearms printed successfully with only plastic materials, and 3D printers that use metal powder are now becoming available too.
If I appear to be repeating myself, it’s only because I keep seeing the same spurious claims being made.
You’re quite correct that it’s a crime to smuggle guns from Indiana to Illinois, but enforcing that law is very difficult because the border between Illinois and Indiana is not controlled and because Indiana’s gun laws are especially lax–anyone can buy a gun at a gun show in Indiana:
You keep pointing to short term statistics and ignoring the larger statistical context. As I’ve stated before, Chicago homicide has been falling for years:
Similarly, your claims surrounding British murder rates ignore context–homicide increased in the years immediately following the handgun ban because that was the pre-existing trend. They only come down after effective enforcement is implemented:
As stated beforehand, crime/homicide in all the developed states has been declining due to improvements in law enforcement. The relevant fact is that US homicide rates are still several times higher than those of countries with stronger gun laws.
The statistics you point to regarding UK crime pre-1918 show a significant decline in homicide during the relevant period and support my argument. Homicide rates were higher in 1900, 1910, and 1920 than they were in 1930 or 1940. Your figures cut off in 1997, but if they were to continue they would show that the next round of gun control brought the aforementioned subsequent drop in the homicide rate.
As for why US homicide rates were higher than UK rates pre-1918, here’s my theory:
While US and UK civilians both had far more guns pre-1918, large parts of the US remained sparsely populated and law enforcement in these areas was weak. In the UK, by contrast, populations were more concentrated and the rule of law more firmly established throughout the country. To test this hypothesis, I would be interested in seeing Canada’s figures pre-gun control. Canada, like the US, had large frontier regions where law enforcement had a weak presence.
3D printed guns will force states to begin to control the 3D printers themselves, restricting the kinds of printers available for non-industrial home use.
Look at the long-term trends, crime in Chicago has been falling for a long time:
Reblogged this on Brian Anthony Hardie and commented:
Aggression brings itself to life and it will jump out of the mirror it stands before and shake the hand for which it stood begetting. Then again and again and again. By then we have a shattered mirror in which its shards go running for its life into a crowd of beauty blinded as it now only is a piece of the reflection bloomed monster it has given life to- a blind reflex of irrationally flailing arms lashing harmful means. How hypocritical of ME to say- that ego needs taming- yes. However this is how the cycle stops. Gotta stop pushing away. back twice as hard. At all. Just a thought. No manifesto. That said I walk long before I talk. Bleh
Reblogged this on What Annoys U.
There’s no point in continuing with Mr Benjamin. It seems that he is here just for the sake of argument and not of evolving a better strategy for the society. There are many holes in his arguments and he refused to see them or he ignored them and always went back to same craps about ‘the difference in definition.’
This is human’s life we are talking about. A policy must cover everyone in every scenario. Everyone must have the right to defend themselves. And so they have, just not with guns. So now you’re saying that we (men/women/robbers) should all just go back to Samurai swords and Viking’s axes and shields and karate chops and kung fu kicks. Be real, man. No one has the time for this. Can you imagine carrying a sword on the street?
And about the crime rates! What is 10%? What is 1% or 0.1%? If they are on to you, they are on to you. It’s a matter about what you’re going to do. Call the cops? They can shoot you down or chop you up or knife you dead before they get here. Crime is crime. Guns are just tools. Taking out the guns does not take out the criminals. They will just shift to other means.
I think everyone wants a fighting chance. Those that think they don’t are delusional, believing in the statistics that it will not happen to them. In that case, I ask, why people buy insurance? Clearly insurance is a ripped off. But we still buy because of ‘the insurance,’ because we want to have something when it does happen. I’m sure you buy insurance. A gun is an insurance. A gun is a better insurance than a knife.
The difference in definition is not “my crap”, it’s the official view of PolitiFact:
The principle of self-defense you continue to appeal to has been decisively proven by the evidence I present to increase the incidence of homicide in countries where it is most fervently followed. Countries with more guns have higher rates of homicide and gun violence than countries that don’t. This is fact.
Yes, when you have guns, you have gun homicide. So when you take away the gun, you have the knife homicide. So now the UK is taking away the knife as well. There’s no end. There will always be crime. Gun is just a tool. It can be used to kill and it can be used to protect. That’s the free choice that the US stands for. You can’t take that away. You do that, you cannot claim that the US is a free country because there is already things (good things) that you can’t do.
The only way to reduce crime, I think, is prosperity. If every one is well to do, have food on the table, have money in the bank, have a house to live in, have a nice job, you know, who wants to rob. Most robbery is committed out of necessity. You can’t expect that someone on the fringe be satisfied with what they have and they have almost nothing.
The same trend is evident if you look at the homicide statistics independent of weapon used:
Homicides per 100k population:
That said, I also think prosperity and strong social safety nets help to reduce crime rates of all kinds, but these policies should accompany rigorous gun control.
Great observations… Well written, I was there with you. Nice.
another anti-self defense hit piece… twisting facts to your agenda and in several cases void of facts. Not worth reading.
Which factual claims are you challenging? What evidence do you have that countervails them?
Why don’t you write a story with a supposition about keeping bicycling and fires out of “Citizens” hands?
Because statistically reducing the number of guns per capita is proven to lower rates of gun violence and homicide? I don’t know of any data supporting an argument that banning bicycles dramatically reduces homicide rates, but if such data existed I would support that ban.
You can deny it, but you have not presented any convincing contrary evidence.
You are thinking like a law abiding Citizen. You are not considering criminals. I’m done btw. have more important things to do. Cheers. Good luck in your search for truth.
You presume much – he’s not looking for truth. He’s only interested in banning guns, because guns are bad, & dying by anything other than a gun is OK in his book.
I’ve sent him the graphs & links showing where the difference between the U.S. & UK homicide rates was about same when neither country had significant gun control, but he conveniently ignores that information, or claims “Well, there were other factors that influenced homicide rates then.” Same thing with why the homicide rate isn’t high everywhere in the U.S., instead of being higher in the rural areas where, according to him, the “guns laws are lax, & guns are easily accessible.” Then it’s because of other factors, like large, concentrated ot urban population centers, or higher poverty. His answer to everything is “It’s all because of the guns! Except when it’s not something bad happening, then it’s something else.”
I’ve mentioned Professor John Lott at least twice – this guy won’t even acknowledge him or his highly peer-reviewed & validated research & book. When it comes down to it, he’s nothing but an elitist, who thinks he’s smarter than everyone.
Dude, how many times do I have to post the homicide rates of various developed countries with similar poverty rates? The research you’re citing includes countries that are dramatically different from the US/Canada/Australia/Western Europe in substantive ways that confound the data.
2nd and 3rd world countries are bad at enforcing their gun control laws, and their populations are poorer, more desperate, and more prone to criminal activity.
Really? What countries have I referenced other than the UK? I provided you with a link/graph to the UK vs. U.S. homicide rates back to the turn of the 20th Century (the difference between the rates was almost identical to today’s rates for the 2 countries). You claim was along the lines of “Well, there were other factors that influenced homocide rates then.”
I haven’t referenced any other countries. You’re delusional if you think I have.
However, I can’t help notice you won’t address Professor Lott’s book or his research.
The studies hingedthinker linked me to included data on numerous countries that were 2nd or 3rd world that skewed the results. I believe you expressed support for the studies he posted–was I mistaken? If so, I apologize.
If you find the other confounding factors I listed unpersuasive as far as the UK goes, perhaps you should consider the other developed countries with fewer guns and much lower homicide rates? There are lots of them:
Canada, Australia, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, France, Japan, etc.
I haven’t bothered with addressing Lott’s book because his methodology has been so thoroughly discredited–the econometric methods he employs can be used to deliver entirely contradictory conclusions. A couple examples:
Click to access Ayres_Donohue_article.pdf
The common refrain from gun-grabbers regarding Professor Lott’s work is that it has been thoroughly discredited. As usual, the truth & actual facts tell a far different story.
Among the peer-reviewed analysis of Professor Lott’s research, approximately half of the reviewers/studies said that concealed carry laws decrease homicides, serious assault, & other violent crimes. Approximately half said concealed carry laws have little to no effect on such crimes, but cause no harm, and ONE claimed that concealed carry laws actually increased homicides, serious assault, & other violent crimes. However, that one study was from an author that was so blatantly pro-gun-control, as to be considered non-objective. Additionally, further review of that study showed that the results returned were due to data which was limited to a 5 year span. Had the span of the study been increased by 1 more year, they would have showed results similar to Lott’s. I posted a link to some of this in an earlier reply, here is another: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/648703/posts
Your argument that “We don’t know when law-abiding-citizens will become criminals” is old, tired, and utter nonsense. In the link posted, not the statistics on Texas concealed-concealed-carry permit holders. Also note that these are arrest rates, not conviction rates, and that it is not uncommon to arrest or detain someone after justifiable use of a firearm, even when no charges end up being filed. As the author points out, conviction rates would paint a better picture, but even so, lawful permit holders still commit all crimes at a far lower rates than average citizens. As for me personally, I have owned firearms nearly all of my adult life. I’ve served 12 years in the military, performing several jobs, including unit armorer. I hold a security clearance, and have had several opportunities to break the law, when there was very little risk of being caught. I chose not to because I have values and principles (as do most carry-permit holders.) I have had my carry-permit for about a year & a half, and since obtaining it, I have been even more cautious about doing anything that could even result in any encounter with law enforcement, because: 1. There have been plenty of reports involving abuse of authority by LEOs; 2. More importantly, I do not want to give anyone any opportunity to say I was doing something I shouldn’t have been doing, while I had a firearm in my possession, thereby giving them an excuse to take my permit from me; 3. and finally, it goes back to the values & principles/morals thing. Following your logic, you’re a man, and men commit rapes and sexual assault at a far greater rate than women do. So in the interest of protecting women, we’re gonna have you castrated, cuz, you know, we never know when you might decide to rape someone. Innocent until proven guilty? Due process? Nope, sorry, we need to protect people here – it’s for the greater good.
The last thing I’m going to say is that as so many others have pointed out, there has been NO militarization of the general civilian population. I can personally attest (as will countless others who have real knowledge of, & experience with, firearms) that the firearms available to private citizens are no where near the same as what the military has. Cosmetic features do not make a firearm more deadly, & in fact, the military looking features (pistol grips, adjustable length stocks) on those scary black rifles actually make them safer because they allow the firearms to be tailored to the individual, making them more comfortable & controllable, and an uncontrollable firearm is an unsafe firearm. When people voice concern about militarization of modern police forces, we are more concerned with the military grade equipment & weapons – automatic weapons, body armor, and armored vehicles, and military style tactics being employed unnecessarily against average citizens. The average citizen owns or employs none of these against the police, and in fact are prohibited from owning any of them. Possession of “hard” body armor and automatic weapons by non-military/law-enforcement personnel is explicitly prohibited and, I believe, a felony.
I don’t think you’ve really looked at the arguments disputing Lott’s methodology–they’re quite convincing. Here are a few extracts:
“Lott had collected data for each of America’s counties for each year from 1977 to 1992. The problem with this is that America’s counties vary tremendously in size and social characteristics. A few large ones, containing major cities, account for a very large percentage of the murders in the United States. As it happens, none of these very large counties have “shall issue” gun control laws. This means that Lott’s massive data set was simply unsuitable for his task. He had no variation in his key causal variable – “shall issue” laws – in the places where most murders occurred.
He did not mention this limitation in his book or articles. When I discovered the lack of “shall issue” laws in the major cities in my own examination of his data, I asked him about it. He shrugged it off, saying that he had “controlled” for population size in his analysis. But introducing a statistical control in the mathematical analysis did not make up for the fact that he simply had no data for the major cities where the homicide problem was most acute.
Lott and Mustard were comparing trends in Idaho and West Virginia and Mississippi with trends in Washington, D.C. and New York City. What actually happened was that there was an explosion of crack-related homicides in major eastern cities in the 1980s and early 1990s. Lott’s whole argument came down to a claim that the largely rural and western “shall issue” states were spared the crack-related homicide epidemic because of their “shall issue” laws. This would never have been taken seriously if it had not been obscured by a maze of equations.”
Zimring and Hawkins:
“Lott and Mustard are, of course, aware of this problem. Their solution, a standard econometric technique, is to build a statistical model that will control for all the differences between Idaho and New York City that influence homicide and crime rates, other than the “shall issue” laws. If one can “specify” the major influences on homicide, rape, burglary, and auto theft in our model, then we can eliminate the influence of these factors on the different trends. Lott and Mustard build models that estimate the effects of demographic data, economic data, and criminal punishment on various offenses. These models are the ultimate in statistical home cooking in that they are created for this data set by these authors and only tested on the data that will be used in the evaluation of the right-to-carry impacts.”
Ayres and Donohue:
“Minor changes of specifications can generate wide shifts in the estimated effects of these laws, and some of the most persistent findings–such as the association of shall-issue laws with increases in (or no effect on) robbery and with substantial increases
in various types of property crime–are not consistent with any plausible theory of deterrence. Indeed, the probabilistic underpinnings of statistical analysis
suggest that running regressions for nine different crime categories to see if there is any measurable impact on crime will, by chance alone, frequently
generate estimates that on their face are statistically significant. Therefore, it may well be the case that the scattered negative coefficients for various violent
crime categories, which on their face suggest that crime decreases with passage of shall-issue laws, should be thought of as statistical artifacts. While we do not want to overstate the strength of the conclusions that can be drawn from the
extremely variable results emerging from the statistical analysis, if anything, there is stronger evidence for the conclusion that these laws increase crime than there is for the conclusion that they decrease it.”
Lott’s books were cooked.
Also, you repeatedly reference “other developed countries” as having much lower homicide rates than the U.S., but as with the UK, you have not shown any historical evidence that their rates were higher before firearms bans. I have yet to see any data showing the homicide rates in any of the countries you referenced was ever on par with the U.S. – to quote ‘Everlast’, “you know where it ends, yo, it usually depends on where you start.”
Even FBI statistics show that the U.S. crime rate is at a now historical low, even with all 50 states now offering some type of concealed-carry option. The DOJ even admitted that the silly 1994 AWB had little effect on crime, and that the effect was so small as to be within the margin of error, & quite possibly just a statistical anomaly. More evidence that disarming citizens does not reduce crime.
If you wanna be a victim, you go right ahead, if you think you’re gonna disarm me, I promise, you’ll have an issue. No one is telling you you have to own a gun, & the bottom line is that all objective evidence shows that law-abiding citizens at the minimum pose no threat to you. You “right” to FEEL safe does not trump my Constitutionally-protected, inherent, natural right to BE safe.
There is no hard, fast distinction between “law-abiding citizens” and criminals. All people who commit crimes are in other cases law-abiding and all people who are generally law-abiding can under some circumstances be driven to commit crimes.
This is the problem. You have an extremely progressive world view. You don’t believe in evil. You don’t believe people are born sinners. You literally cannot see evil. I can’t debate with irrational people.
I won’t deny that there are psychopaths, lunatics, and crazy people, but these exist in all states, yet many developed states manage to run much lower homicide rates than the United States does. Clearly there are many homicides out there that are preventable. How would you account for the difference in the homicide rate between the US and Canada?
How would YOU explain the difference between the U.S. & the UK 100 years ago, when virtually no firearms laws existed? You still haven’t satisfactorily explained that, because you can’t. Oh, that’s right, it wasn’t the guns then. But it is now. You can’t even be consistent with your hoplophobic bullshit.
Here’s yet another instance of a law-abiding citizen successfully defending himself with a firearm:
Not that it would matter to you. You gun grabbers all seem to think that being robbed, raped, beaten, and/or murdered is somehow morally superior to using a firearm to defend against such acts. Most criminals who choose to use guns do so because of the disparity of force they provide. Do you really think that those same criminals wouldn’t take the next most deadly weapon in the abscence of guns? So what do you propose when banning guns doesn’t make us any safer? Are you going to start banning long knives, like some in the UK are now proposing? Then what? Short knives? Then hammers? Baseball (or cricket) bats? Tire irons? Where does it end? Anything can be used as a weapon, and criminals have an advantage when they hold an advantage in force. How would you propose that someone who is smaller, weaker, and/or outnumbered defend themselves in such a world? Lock the door, call 911 & hope for the best? Tell ya what, you move to the ghetto somewhere, & try living there for a while. Lemme know how it works out for you. Just to make sure your experiment has no uncontrolled variables, none of us “future-criminals,” as you’ve labeled us, will use our lawfully carried firearms to defend you should you need it. Good luck.
As for me, I’m done wasting time with you. Like I said, you want our guns, come take them? It won’t end well for you. Oh wait, that’s right, you don’t have the courage to stand by your convictions & enforce your own proposed ban. So if you’re so anti-gun, just how are you going to confiscate all of ours? Won’t yof need someone else with guns to make us give up ours? So you’re not anti-gun, you just believe only a select few should have them. #hoplophobichypocrite #ΜΟΛΩΝΛΑΒΕ
I gave you my answer–I alleged that because the UK had a higher population density and was more settled, effective policing was more possible than it was in much of the United States. It may also have been the case that the UK never had as many guns per capita as the United States to begin with.
To disprove my counter, please present evidence that two highly developed countries of similar size had a similar number of guns per capita but nonetheless had widely divergent homicide rates, and offer an alternative explanation of why those rates differed.
I am sure there are lots of anecdotes in which citizens have stopped criminal behavior with guns, but this does not disprove the statistics, which say that the more guns there are in a society, the more danger one is in of being murdered, with or without a gun.
Once the civilian population is disarmed, the police can also disarm–see the British police, who carry tasers, nightsticks, and pepper spray, but generally do not carry firearms.
I really like your article but here you say, “In countries where the police do not have this military advantage, police officers themselves become afraid of criminals and refuse to engage with them.” What countries? And if you could, give examples of first world countries, not underdeveloped places.
At present, there are no highly developed countries where the police are so thoroughly outmatched that they have become afraid of criminals, though this has happened historically–consider the Wild West, or law enforcement’s inability to deal with the mob immediately after WWI and during prohibition. As far as less developed countries go, Mexico is the most obvious case–many cops are intimidated by and/or on the take from heavily militarized drug gangs.
So, you don’t know squat about firearms, firearms laws in the U.S., U.S. history, Constitutional and Civil Rights, legal precedent, civil rebellion, modern warfare or asymmetrical warfare.
Yet you think you should be taken seriously….
If I’m mistaken about something, you’re welcome to inform me of where I’m in error and offer a constructive counterargument. I’m always interested in learning new things and hearing different points of view.
[…] https://benjaminstudebaker.com/2014/08/15/demilitarization-of-the-police-requires-demilitarization-o… […]