Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Monday, September 19, 2005

They Never EVER Stop

Part Who-the-Hell-Can-Keep-UP?

Via David Codrea's War on Guns comes this mendacious and malicious op-ed from the Strib:
Guns at work/A recipe for danger, not defense
September 19, 2005

Neil Mahmoud had every reason to live. Newly married and on the verge of a career as a computer programmer, the 23-year-old student saw little peril in his job at an Apple Valley convenience store. The job entailed ejecting the occasional troublemaker, of course, and just this July Mahmoud tossed out two young men who tried to rob the place with a pellet gun.
Good thing they didn't have a real gun. Or a knife. Or a crowbar. Or a really bad attitude (it was two against one.)
But the neighborhood was regarded as supremely safe, and locals were shocked late last month when Mahmoud was found on the shop floor bleeding to death from a gunshot wound. How could such horror invade a tranquil town?

It invaded not because a criminal came to call, but because the store's owner had recently purchased a gun. The weapon was meant to deter robbers and protect employees, but -- as too often is the case -- ended up underwriting a tragedy. The person who shot Mahmoud, police have determined, wasn't an intruder. All evidence suggests that Mahmoud shot himself -- accidentally.

The accident may seem a fluke, a rare and unfortunate happenstance hardly worth a second thought.
That's because in this case it is a fluke. If it were common, you wouldn't be reading about it in an op-ed. Man-bites-dog. If-it-bleeds-it-leads.
In truth, Mahmoud's needless death vividly illustrates the folly of counting on guns for safety.
Right. An absolute minimum of 68,000 defensive gun uses per year, but "counting on guns for safety" is "folly." Tell that to the Algiers Point Militia. Tell it to Joyce Cordoba.

But the first mendacity:
Thousands of accidental gun deaths occur in this country every year.
Thousands? As in "In excess of two thousand?"


The editorialist just lied to you. According to the Centers for Disease Control WISQARS tool the number of accidental gunshot deaths in 2002 was 762. In 2001 it was 802. In 2000, 776. In 1999, 824. That's quite a few, but those aren't scary numbers like the vague "thousands" that could imply 7,000, 8,000, 9,000 or more are they?
The key to reducing the number is clear.
Of course it is! "Reduce the number of guns!"
More than a decade ago, a study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that private gun ownership heightens a household's risk of homicide threefold and raises the likelihood of suicide five times above that of a gun-free household.
That's our friend Dr. Arthur Kellermann's study. I discuss Dr. Kellermann in This is the Kind of Thing that REALLY IRRITATES ME, from June of 2003. (See why I say they never EVER stop?) Note the logical fallacy of correlation = causation. If you own a gun, it will cause you to suicide or become a victim of homicide. Not that you might own a gun because you live in a dangerous neighborhood, or you purchase a gun because you have suicidal feelings. Oh no. The evil mind-altering waves given off by firearms are the cause of Bad Things Happening.

The Joyce Cordoba link above relates the following:
Former assistant district attorney and firearms expert David Kopel writes: "When a robbery victim does not defend himself, the robber succeeds 88 percent of the time, and the victim is injured 25 percent of the time. When a victim resists with a gun, the robbery success rate falls to 30 percent, and the victim injury rate falls to 17 percent. No other response to a robbery -- from drawing a knife to shouting for help to fleeing -- produces such low rates of victim injury and robbery success."

What do "gun control activists" say?

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence's Web site displays this oft-quoted "fact": "The risk of homicide in the home is 3 times greater in households with guns." Their Web site fails to mention that Arthur Kellermann, the "expert" who came up with that figure, later backpedaled after others discredited his studies for not following standard scientific procedures.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Kellermann now concedes, "A gun can be used to scare away an intruder without a shot being fired," admitting he failed to include such events in his original study. "Simply keeping a gun in the home," Mr. Kellermann says, "may deter some criminals who fear confronting an armed homeowner."

He adds, "It is possible that reverse causation accounted for some of the association we observed between gun ownership and homicide -- i.e., in a limited number of cases, people may have acquired a gun in response to a specific threat."
That op-ed was signed. By Larry Elder. Back to Mr. (or Ms.) Anonymous:
In short, having a gun close at hand is generally more dangerous than not having one. Plain logic suggests that this is true not just on the home front but in the workplace as well -- and research bears out the speculation. Workplace violence has become an American commonplace, and those who study it insist that blessing the presence of guns on the job can only bring more bloodshed.
Got some cites? Names of "those who study it"? Another example of argument by "appeal to authority" - anonymous authority. "Take my word for it! I'm unbiased!"

"Workplace violence" seems to be a new stick with which to beat the gun-control drum, attempting to frighten people into defenselessness, but read the FBI's 2004 report Workplace Violence (an 80-page PDF file) where it reports that from 1993-1999 there were an average of 900 workplace homicides annually (more than the average number of accidental deaths by gunshot) and
(V)iolence by criminals otherwise unconnected to the workplace accounts for the vast majority - nearly 80 percent - of workplace homicides. In these incidents, the motive is usually theft, and in a great many cases, the criminal is carrying a gun or other weapon, increasing the likelihood that the victim will be killed or seriously wounded. This type of violence falls heavily on particular occupational groups whose jobs make them vulnerable: taxi drivers (the job that carries by far the highest risk of being murdered), late-night retail or gas station clerks, and others who are on duty at night, who work in isolated locations or dangerous neighborhoods, and who carry or have access to cash.
Robbery. Not accident. Victims like Mr. Mahmoud, even though his Stop-and-Rob was in a good neighborhood.

More than that, however, is this little tidbit:
As the total number of guns in circulation has gone up, as the total number of people with concealed-carry licenses has done likewise, workplace homicide has been declining. I'm not arguing correlation = causation. I'm arguing the opposite. More guns does not equal more death.

But this guy is.
As researcher Dean Schaner has argued in a book about employer liability, "It is far more foreseeable that an employee will be injured in a workplace full of guns and an environment reminiscent of the Old West, than one in which weapons are prohibited."
And here we have an invokation of Ravenwood's Law: "As a discussion about guns grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Dodge City or the Wild West approaches one."
All tragedies give rise to a flood of "if onlies." Surely all who cared for Neil Mahmoud are consumed with thoughts about how his life might have been saved. Yet such thoughts should preoccupy not just those mourning this charming young man, but all Minnesotans. This tragedy teaches a lesson to which employers -- and all of us -- should hold fast: To keep the workplace safe, banish weapons.
Right. So only the criminals and disgruntled employees can have a "safe working environment."

Sell it somewhere else. The American public isn't buying it. They're buying guns.

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