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September 30, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Self-defense claim doesn’t make sense

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Gun advocates constantly use self-defense as a justification for gun proliferation in America. Arming teachers has been discussed. Having armed security on school grounds, arming airplane pilots as well as individuals buying guns for self-protection have all been suggested in the gun debate.

Throughout history, there have been very few instances in America where people have been able to use guns to bring down individual or mass killers, but it makes for a good talking point.

Recently, Chris Kyle and a friend were shot to death at a gun range in Texas. Chris Kyle was a decorated Iraq war veteran and the deadliest military sniper in U.S. history. He was at the range with a friend when a deranged gunman shot and killed them. The gunman then reportedly fled in a truck owned by one of the victims. He was later apprehended.

This case exemplifies the ridiculous self-defense argument. Neither Kyle nor anyone else at the shooting facility could prevent one armed psychopath from committing mayhem.

If one of the deadliest military veterans in U.S. history couldn’t protect himself against gun violence, at a facility where everyone is armed, what are the chances that the common man can defend himself or herself against these armed lunatics?

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  1. Self-defense isn't nonsense. It's guaranteed by the Constitution's 2nd Amendment. It's the law and based on common sense.

    CarmineD

  2. To the contrary millions of Americans are equipped and otherwise prepared to defend themselves against bad people who would steal or kill the good guys. Self defense is not a perfect thing and sometimes a person like Kyle is vulnerable. This instance was a real tragedy and we lost a good guy who is a great American hero.

  3. Looks like we have a quorum...

    Do you guys have an ALARM that goes off when these letters are posted?

    Good letter, Sandra, but you might as well be talking to the wall.

  4. Three good guys, three veterans of American wars went out to the range to shoot. One good guy morphed into a bad guy and took out the other two good guys.

    The higher the number of those with guns, the easier it is for illegal carriers of guns to merge with the public. When everyone has guns, the criminals and soon to be criminals that have no previous convictions, are guaranteed to be carrying them.

    Cross fire in a classroom? Five accidental deaths? Oh, they died to protect Freedom, they are martyrs. When everyone carriers guns, the 'accidents' will soar along with the crimes.

  5. Once again, we see an individual fudge the facts to meet their agenda. Did the lady not notice two recent break-ins which were thwarted by homeowners with weapons of self-defense? Ideology makes for wonderful blinders.

  6. Enjoyed the letter. Another tragedy and the problem still exists regarding gun violence.

    One thing that is apparent is the dwindling power of the NRA and the pro-gun manufacturer lobby.

    They are in desperation mode right now.

    The NRA comes out with insane ramblings that everyone, including school children, should be armed nowadays. Or it's them, those insane people, they're the ones. Or those video games. Go after THEM. Not US...the ones who want to only sell, sell, sell guns and make moh money, moh money, moh money...should be left alone. In other words, the NRA got a good thing going....don't upset the applecart.

    The NRA, as everyday comes along, is being revealed to not have the political power everyone thinks they have. The money they have thrown out there for political contests have proved to be of no effect.

    Even their own members are clamoring for action. Action that is contrary to what the organization they signed up to wants to do.

    It was recently pointed out a list of perceived enemies of the NRA that was published. If you look at that list, I guess it was made up when someone or some corporation said something or did something bad against them. But the funny thing is they appear to NEVER EVER update that list. Some of that stuff was from years and years ago. In other words, the NRA acts like an ornery old mean old bastard of a guy who screams for you kids to get off my damn lawn all the time. They hold a grudge. And when they have this grudge against their perceived enemies in their paranoia, that grudge will last FOREVER.

    I am a gun owner. But I do want to be on that list too.

    Hey! Mr. LaPierre! You mother wears combat boots!

    C'mon, put me on that list.

    Your father is related to Ed Gein!

    Do it, Mr. LaPierre! I want on that list!

    You were born and raised in a cave!

    I bet you wear diapers all the time!

    PUT ME ON THE LIST! ME! COLINFROMLASVEGAS! I WANT ON THAT LIST!

  7. Yes it does. Self defense. George Z would be dead if he hadn't carried. Vegas senior homeowner might be dead if he didn't have a hand gun handy. Sure, there is NO GUARANTEE that you will be safe, that schools will be completely safe BUT you are SAFER than if you didn't have that option.

  8. The writers contentions are factually incorrect. In fact were she to check, firearms are used thousands of times each year to protect life and property by individuals. Numerous times private citizens have used them to prevent multiple shootings/murders and they are documented, just not well reported as they don't bring the sensational headlines.

    As we have seen several times recently, home invasions often involve multiple assailants breaking and entering homes, armed and ready to do harm. Being unaware of history doesn't mean it didn't happen.

  9. http://www.cato.org/guns-and-self-defens...
    Look at Nevada. One self defense shooting in the last ten years. I believe we had a second a couple days ago. How many gun crimes??? Tens of thousands.
    The Kyle case teaches a lesson. Psychopaths and guns don't mix. Killed for his pick up truck. Great!

  10. Mr. Swanson... All due respect you need to check your statistics. There are mandatory reporting requirements when firearms are discharged for other than recreational purposes. The above Cato Institute as well as the National Rifle Association keep comprehensive statistics on firearms used for self-defense in the United States. It absolutely does happen! But even when you factor in guns used to frighten away car theft suspects and wild animals you will only be able to find a few a month. Yet there are millions of gun crimes over time. Guns are most often used for recreational and criminal activities and almost never used for self-defense.

    Nevada is one of the most violent states in the country when it comes to gun crime. Search through hospital records, newspaper archives, Cato Institute data and National Rifle Association data and you will be hard-pressed to come up with a handful of self-defense shootings in the last 50 years in the state.

    A constitutional argument can be made for gun ownership. A recreational argument can be made for gun ownership. The self-defense argument is complete and utter nonsense.

  11. Ref.. The cases you list above are outstanding instances of firearms used in self-defense. If I would a list all of the gun crimes that occurred during that same time frame in the United States I would probably be typing for the rest of my life.

    You mentioned the elderly. One of the fastest growing gun crimes in the United States is murder suicide. Elderly men shooting their wives and then killing themselves because of financial problems, dementia, other physical ailments. I believe these types of crimes are up 400% or close to it in the last 10 years. If an elderly woman is murdered in the United States is likely that she was shot by her husband.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-...

  12. ref... They are not my statistics. They come from the Cato Institute and the National Rifle Association. You should send them your list. Some of the above shootings go back to 1999. They can add another few entries to the map. Now tell me how many gun crimes there have been in Nevada since 1999.

    There are roughly 400,000 gun crimes and gun deaths per year in the United States. A couple hundred documented cases of self-defense. Even in a good year it's a statistically insignificant number.

    If you have a source that provides the names and circumstances of self-defense shootings in the United States I would love to have it. I would appreciate the link. I haven't been able to find one other than the one from Cato.

  13. What is the number of home invasions resulting in death where the home occupant had a weapon but was unable to defend themselves? That seems like an interesting statistic to know.

  14. Given the amount of crime and the number of guns in this state you are absolutely correct. It did not pass the smell test. To be perfectly frank with you it's good to know that there's more than one person benefiting from self-defense gun ownership in the state.

    I don't generate the data I just report on what I can find. The Cato heat map needs a good thorough update.

  15. Gal. 6:7, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" NT Scripture.

    Another way of saying it is "what goes around, comes around." The law of karma, and this pertains to the individual or the collective.

    Each person makes a conscious decision about what is the path they will take in life and death issues, regardless of the means.

    What is important is whether they have considered deeply the ramifications of their actions present and future through informed and reasoned thought. Has one considered the personal and corporate effects of their choices?

    The focus on gun control is often limited to the law and self protection, and even goes to overthrowing a government of tyranny. But, how deep was the thought process?

    This is the danger of life in the US today. Too much superficial thought, too reactionary, too defensive.

    I think the quotes above are interesting as we see that the violence in the US has grown, and so has gun possession, while it is just the opposite in countries which have controls on guns.

    The causes are not just limited to guns. The dialogue needs to expand to mental health and social issues in the broader context. We need to examine the roots and look at our roles in attracting all the violence in our American society. The answer is not just reaching for a gun for self protection. That makes for adding to the problem. It is the easy out.

    Perhaps our focus shouldn't be on guns, rather on how to create a peaceful, thoughtful society that seeks solutions for a balanced and healthy society that is united and invested in each other.

  16. "Perhaps our focus shouldn't be on guns, rather on how to create a peaceful, thoughtful society that seeks solutions for a balanced and healthy society that is united and invested in each other." - peacelily

    As some risk of sounding trite, maybe we should keep in mind that, as many have said, "you can't fix stupid." But I would add this: "but you can hope that it dies before it breeds."

    As desirable it might be, the change peacelily hopes for is not likely to ever come about given current human nature.

    The incident referred to in the letter underscores the need for people, even those who are trained and should know better, to not allow weapons to be available to someone who is mentally unstable. The results are just too unpredictable. No existing or proposed gun control measure (short of total confiscation) would have prevented it.

    Speaking of which, everyone knows, regardless of which side of the debate they might be on, that nothing short of total confiscation of all firearms can prevent gun violence. That clearly is not going to happen for any number of reasons. Even a total ban on all sales/transfers of new and existing weapons would take decades, if not centuries, to be effective.

    The focus must be on preventing access to weapons by people in high risk categories such as the mentally disturbed or criminally involved. Part of what must be done is to have strong liability laws in place AND ENFORCED that will provide strong incentives for gun owners to be responsible at all times, especially with unsupervised weapons.

    Another step that would help is to have a pervasive PSA campaign to educate people on safe and responsible gun ownership. This would get the message out to people of all ages, whether or not they own guns. This would include both safety measures such as the proper way to transport a weapon, and reminders of legal responsibility and liability if one allows or enables a weapon to be used inappropriately.

  17. The Zimmerman case is interesting. I am not convinced at all that Zimmerman has "clean hands" in this. My gut tells me that he precipitated the attack in some way.

    What I would really like to know is if Zimmerman was on any kind of prescription drug either at the time or the recent past that carries the so-common warning of "watch for changes in mood or suicidal thoughts" (including on Chantix!) If I recall correctly, he had a background that would make that a reasonable possibility.

    As an effort to make a positive contribution to the discussion, I suggest finding out what correlation, if any, exists between the use of such prescription drugs and the use of weapons, especially in domestic violence cases. If a relationship is present, then it might be reasonable to prohibit the carrying of weapons while taking such medication. The law by itself won't do much, but people who want to be responsible might pay attention to it.

  18. By the way, I agree with Jeff that it is not at all certain that Zimmerman would be dead if he was not armed. I doubt Zimmerman would have done much at all other than "observe and report" if he did not have a false sense of security from carrying a weapon.

  19. Zimmerman was assaulted. Z did not confront M. Further, much of above posts are immaterial and irrelevant. 2nd amendment cannot be voided by any vote or majority rule.

  20. Roslenda,

    You are sadly mistaken when you say the Second Amendment can not be voided by any vote or majority rule. Any part of the the Constitution, including any Amendment, can be changed in accordance to the Amendment procedures contained in the Constitution itself. The worst case scenario would be a call for a Constitutional Convention to draft an entirely new document and government.

    Nothing in the Bill of Rights, or the Constitution or any other Amendment, must ever be taken for granted or thought of as unchangeable.

    That is why these discussions are so important. While it is very unlikely that anyone who posts here will have a change of opinion, it is entirely possible that those who read these comments will think about what is being said and possibly take a new view, or at least keep an open mind.

  21. In another letter, CarmineD (Carmine DiFazio) discusses "wild west" gunfighters and commented that "These days we don't have seasoned gunfighters save police." New York City had a shooting last August. Man shot his girlfriend, pointed his pistol at the police. They shot and killed him. The rest of the story??? The assailant didn't actually FIRE at the police. The police, however, our modern equivalent of the "seasoned gunfighters" managed to hit NINE bystanders! In reviewing police shooting reports, the New York Times reported that the police managed to actually hit their target only 34% of time when firing at a suspect. Shooting it out with an assailant is fine in theory, makes a good daydream. It appears to seldom work right in practice. Maybe that has something to do with hearing the wheeee of a bullet right past your ear...

    At 9:36 RefNV (Re Freeman) rightly criticized Sandara's use of one example as a "Hasty Generalization- basing an inference on too small a sample. . ." but he then turns right around and does exactly the same thing in an attempt to refute her. Granted, Kyle was shot in the back, but her basic point remains: Neither Kyle NOR ANYONE ELSE at the shooting facility could prevent one armed psychopath from committing mayhem.

  22. "Nevada is one of the most violent states in the country when it comes to gun crime."

    Not even close to true and you can't provide any data to back that up.

  23. 2010 - 2011 Murder/Gun Numbers.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?...

  24. "In another letter, CarmineD (Carmine DiFazio) discusses "wild west" gunfighters and commented that "These days we don't have seasoned gunfighters save police." @ Robert Leavitt

    You took my quote out of context. Here it is in its entirety.

    ""Does your hypothetical home invasion involve multiple attackers?" @ Freeman addressing a question to you about the need for semi/automatic weapons with hi capacity magazines.

    My comment to Freeman:

    "Excellent question. In the wild west days, it took a seasoned gunfighter with a six shooter standing alone to fend off a group of bad guys with six-shooters. The gunfighter had to have a good sense of who to shoot first, second, third and so on if he wanted to live. If the gunfighter miscalculated the correct order to shoot, he's dead. These days we don't have seasoned gunfighters save police. Even they often don't use their hand guns. The semi/automatic weapons equalizes the show down when one good guy faces a group of bad guys with guns."

    CarmineD

  25. PS: Note the caveat about many police not ever using their guns. ;-)

    CarmineD

    PS: I'm flattered that you quote me here from another thread. I think the moderators may cite you for trolling. ;-)

  26. Sandra Mary Smith, Las Vegas
    Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 | 2 a.m

    This case exemplifies the ridiculous self-defense argument. Neither Kyle nor anyone else at the shooting facility could prevent one armed psychopath from committing mayhem.

    If one of the deadliest military veterans in U.S. history couldn't protect himself against gun violence, at a facility where everyone is armed, what are the chances that the common man can defend himself or herself against these armed lunatics
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Another expert that believes they're so smart that they can use an example and distort it to try and make a point. Have you ever been to a shooting range,I'm sure you haven't. Shooters don't walk around with loaded guns and hide behind trees and rocks looking to protect themselves. Your gun isn't loaded until your ready to shoot at the target and you make sure there isn't any ammunition in the gun when finished. Pretty easy to kill the best sharpshooter in the world if you walk up and shoot him in the back of the head or from 50 yards away when he doesn't know your there.
    Where are the facts to say either victim had even a split second to protect themselves.

  27. First of all the Second Amendment says nothing of self defense, It talks about securing a free state. With that said, every good person should be able to buy a gun to defend themselves, however, with that right should come responsibility.

  28. Good discussion, (from some commenters who were not insulting others). I think it was a good letter, and some people are ignoring her basic points, preferring to spout out self-defense stats that do not even come close to matching the number of accidental deaths due to gun negligence, mentally unstable individuals being able to access said guns, etc., etc. It is obvious that some kind of gun control legislation IS going to pass, whether you like it or not. It will be tough to pass the assault weapon ban, but at the very least, background checks, mental status checks, and possibly a ban on high capacity magazines will make it through Congress. It will be a done deal soon.

  29. Excellent post peaceperson 12:06 even though I disagree on what is likely to pass. "ignoring her basic points, preferring to spout..." I call that BULLYING. And we think only the school kids are into bullying.

  30. teamster says "WE NEED A NEW ASSAULT RIFLE BAN"

    Shows that teamster doesn't understand what he's posting. Perhaps he needs to look up the definition of "assault rifle". "Assault Rifles" have been banned in the US since 1934.

  31. Sorry teamster, but try actually looking up the definition of "assault rifle" (which is explicitly defined by the US government.

    "Assault rifles" *ONLY* include "selective fire" weapons, meaning that they can be fired on full automatic. "Assault rifles" are machine guns.

    You probably mean "assault weapon" which is completely different....but also irrelevant since you have now shown that you don't actually even know what it is that you are demanding.

    (Seems pretty odd to demand a ban on something when you don't even know what the thing is that you're demanding a ban of)

  32. I did the search that RefNV (Re Freeman) suggested at 6:58 p.m. Found a total of about 191,000 hits containing that precise set of words. No, I did NOT review them all to see if they truly represented 191,000 unique instances of homeowners shooting intruders. I looked at only the first page (12 articles) and found that FIVE of those articles were about the same incident in Houston.

    I did, however, note one headline: "Man shoots granddaughter mistaking her for an intruder..."

    Regardless, the real-world issue at hand is the argument that we cannot bar rapid-firing rifles with high-capacity magazines because they are necessary for self defense. I found NO instance of that happening. Most of the weapons were pistols, with the occasional shotgun.

  33. Actually renorobert, the real-world issue SHOULD BE that people are asking for a change from the current state of things and need to justify the reason for the change. They are asking that certain types of weapons and certain capacity magazine be banned and should have to explain why they need a ban....what specifically will the ban accomplish.

    The people opposing the ban shouldn't have to demonstrate why they still need the items being banned. The people proposing the ban should have to explain WHY a ban is necessary and what it will accomplish.

    The proponents of the ban have stated that their goals are (at various times): reduction in violent crime, reduction in gun deaths, prevention of mass killings.

    The indisputable statistical and historical fact, however, is that every place that has enacted a ban - by type of weapon, magazine capacity, or even outright ban of all guns - has FAILED to actually accomplish those stated goals.

    Any of you ask yourselves, if a group of neighbors came up to your door and demanded that you leave your house, would you find it acceptable if they expected you to justify why you need to be in your house and why a different location is unacceptable to you.....or would you say that if they want you to move they need to justify their demands first? Would you accept an answer that they "think you might do something dangerous in your house, so making you leave might, possibly, prevent a tragedy"? I'm thinking you'd refuse and insist that if they want you out, they need to provide hard evidence first that evicting you would prevent that tragedy, etc. Would you accept them saying "we don't see why you NEED to be in that house, we think any other house would suit you just as well"

    Why would you accept the argument that "no one NEEDS assault weapons or large magazines for self-defense, other weapons would work just as well" if you wouldn't accept you neighbors saying "no one NEEDS that particular house to live in, other houses would work just as well". How is your choice of what house you want to live in different than someone else's choice of what type of weapon they want for self-defense?

    Why would you rally behind a ban that has no actual hard evidence supporting the idea that it will actually lower violent crime or prevent such a tragedy? Especially when the hard evidence actually shows the opposite....that similar bans do *NOT* work.

  34. boftx,

    "As desirable it might be, the change peacelily hopes for is not likely to ever come about given current human nature."

    I agree boftx, we have not evolved far enough.

    That said, we never will evolve unless we as individuals begin to think in theses terms. It may be few to begin with, but over time, the potential of growing in an evolving consciousness can lead to our evolution, or even an evolutionary leap at the best.

    It is all on an individual basis to begin with, and that is where we are now, individuals coming together to share our individual thoughts on many issues. Has to begin somewhere.

    My guide and hope is what will draw out the highest potential for human evolution, rather than annihilation of the species, over time.

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