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Old 06-15-2010, 09:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Debate #1: Firearms for Home and Self-Defense

Firearms for home and self-defense are a reasonable measure for making you and your family safer.

Debaters: telekinetic (pro) vs. Willravel (con)

Debate Format: Forum style [just like TFP: outside sources (concise, contextualized, and synthesized) and quoting opponent/addressing them directly are permitted]

Debate Limit: 10 posts per side (alternated)

First poster: telekinetic
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As this is our first debate, we might have to work out some kinks. This format is fast and loose, so it shouldn't be too bad. PM me if you have any questions/concerns rather than posting them in this thread. Alternatively, ask them in the original thread here: http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/general...e-threads.html

All posts should be for the debate itself.

And for anyone following this debate, you should be restricted from posting. If, for whatever reason, you're not, please don't post anything anyway. Feel free to comment in the original thread. Also, please follow the debate closely, as we will vote on a winner upon its conclusion.

Thank you.

Good luck, gentlemen!

Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 06-15-2010 at 09:32 AM..
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There are many dangers that people face in today's modern world. For most of these dangers, there are reasonable countermeasures that can be taken. We wash our hands to avoid potential sickness from germs. We carry jumper cables to avoid potential stranding from dead batteries. We wear sunscreen and avoid certain food additives and plastic water bottles to avoid potential cancer. We eat a healthy diet to avoid a potential untimely death from heart attack. Along with those, we can responsibly own and carry firearms to avoid potential life-altering injury or death for us and our families at the hands of violent criminals.

There is a chance you will go through your whole life without encountering a situation that requires the application of lethal force. However, there are some situations, however rare they may be, that can only be defused with lethal force, and if that lethal force is not available, the situation will end in death, rape or maiming of you or your loved ones. Since the consequences for having a gun and not needing it are near zero (considering the stakes), and the consequences of needing one and not having one are enormous, it is perfectly reasonable to own and carry firearms for self and home defense.
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Last edited by telekinetic; 06-15-2010 at 06:30 PM.. Reason: deleted the 'bump'
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd like to thank telekinetic for debating me on this subject.

There are many, many tools at one's disposal for the job of protection. You can purchase thicker doors to your home featuring very elaborate and strong locks. You can install double and triple pane windows featuring an adhesive plastic so strong you couldn't even hope to break them with the heaviest sledge hammer. You can even install electronic home protection systems which alert the local authorities the very instant something in your home is opened without permission. But it doesn't stop at passive protection. Currently, it's legal to carry with you all manner of nonlethal methods of self defense including electric stun-guns, pepper spray, and mace. It would seem the options for the pragmatic or even the paranoid are nearly endless. The primary function of these tools, however, is defense first and foremost.

What is the primary function of a gun? Some might argue that the gun was invented as a tool of defense, but I would beg to differ. The gun, a projectile weapon that uses an explosion to propel a piece of metal or pieces of metal at an animal or human, has one purpose: to kill. While there are certainly moral justifications for how guns are used, certainly it can't be argued that the gun isn't a tool which has a primary function of killing. You stand at some distance from the desired target and fire the gun with the expressed intent to take the life of the target. While some people use guns to hunt game or practice shooting, the intended use of a gun is to blow a hole in another human being. It's why they were invented and has maintained its primary function since then.

But what about your family? Certainly we do live in an uncertain world. There are unsafe situations and unsafe people out there, and there's a chance that you might find yourself in a situation where you and your family are in significant danger and are in need of some sort of defense. So why not arm everyone? I'll show you why:


I'd like you to take a look at that graph carefully. On the x axis, we have the percent of households with a firearm and on the y axis we have intentional firearm deaths per year. Before you go and say this is coincidental, be sure to examine how consistent that line is. Between Scotland and the United States is a very clear line demonstrating a relationship between simply having more households with guns and intentional gun deaths. I'm sure a few nations along this line could be excused as coincidence, but you're looking at 19 industrialized, Western (or Westernized in the cases of Japan, Australia and New Zealand) nations. I don't think this can be dismissed as coincidence. The graph would seem to demonstrate a correlative relationship between arming a public and gun violence.

Unfortunately, as you delve into the statistics even further, more troubling facts come to light. Did you know a gun kept in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a member of the household or friend than an intruder?* Worse still, using a gun to resist a violent assault increases the victim's risk of injury and death.** Worst of all, residents of homes where a gun is present are over 5 times more likely to commit suicide than those without.***

I wish it were as simple as having a gun to ensure you and your family's safety. I wish it was just a one time purchase of a handgun and some bullets that could magically make the bad people and bad situations go away. The sad truth, however, is that we live in a complex world with complex problems that require complex answers. Having a gun may make you feel safer, but it would seem that illusion comes with a steep price. I propose the best way to keep you and your family safe would be to employ many different preventative, passive, and active strategies from bolted security doors to avoiding dangerous parts of town to carrying a taser or mace. If you want to be safe, arming yourself with a gun may end up being a lethal mistake.



* Arthur Kellermann and Donald Reay. "Protection or Peril? An Analysis of Firearm Related Deaths in the Home." The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 314, no. 24, June 1986, pp. 1557-60.
** FE Zimring, Firearms, violence, and public policy, Scientific American, vol. 265, 1991, p. 48
*** Arthur L. Kellermann, MD, MPH; Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH; Grant Somes, PhD; Donald T. Reay, MD; Jerry Francisco, MD; Joyce Gillentine Banton, MS; Janice Prodzinski, BA; Corinne Fligner, MD; and Bela B. Hackman, MD, Suicide in the Home in Relation to Gun Ownership, The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 327, No. 7, August 13, 1992, pp. 467-472.
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you for the well-thought out response, willravel!

We are in agreement on several points, but the conclusions we draw from them are different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Willravel View Post
There are many, many tools at one's disposal for the job of protection. You can purchase thicker doors to your home featuring very elaborate and strong locks. You can install double and triple pane windows featuring an adhesive plastic so strong you couldn't even hope to break them with the heaviest sledge hammer. You can even install electronic home protection systems which alert the local authorities the very instant something in your home is opened without permission. But it doesn't stop at passive protection. Currently, it's legal to carry with you all manner of nonlethal methods of self defense including electric stun-guns, pepper spray, and mace. It would seem the options for the pragmatic or even the paranoid are nearly endless. The primary function of these tools, however, is defense first and foremost.
I concede readily that owning a firearm is not the be-all and end-all answer to self defense. A multi-layered defense, both passive and active, is strictly superior to a single-layer defense, consisting of only lethal force. However, an argument advocating a multi-layered defense is an argument FOR a firearm, not against it. If you are going to expend the thousands of dollars of resources to fortify your house, presumably in an effort to go out of your way to defend yourself and family, it would be irresponsible not to account for as many scenarios as possible.

Also, we live in a world of finite and limited resources, both in terms of what you can buy and what it is reasonable to carry at any given time. Since you have to start somewhere, I would advocate that you should first give yourself the option of an armed response, and then fill in less lethal and expensive passive fortification options as your resources allow. If you encounter a situation with a violent criminal where a Taser or pepper spray might possibly have been enough force to stop the attack, but only have a pistol, the worst case is your attacker is seriously injured or dies. If you encounter a violent criminal where your pepper spray is NOT sufficient, but you do not have a handgun to escalate to, the worst case is YOU are seriously injured or die. I do not have so much sympathy for people who wish to do me harm that I would weight these two scenarios even close to equally.

Quote:
What is the primary function of a gun? Some might argue that the gun was invented as a tool of defense, but I would beg to differ. The gun, a projectile weapon that uses an explosion to propel a piece of metal or pieces of metal at an animal or human, has one purpose: to kill. While there are certainly moral justifications for how guns are used, certainly it can't be argued that the gun isn't a tool which has a primary function of killing. You stand at some distance from the desired target and fire the gun with the expressed intent to take the life of the target. While some people use guns to hunt game or practice shooting, the intended use of a gun is to blow a hole in another human being. It's why they were invented and has maintained its primary function since then.
The purpose of a handgun in a defense situation is not to kill attackers. It is to stop attackers. Sometimes that results in their death. Other times it results in sufficient injuries to end the encounter, and frequently no shots even need be fired--do not underestimate the persuasive power of "Stop or I'll shoot!"

Quote:
But what about your family? Certainly we do live in an uncertain world. There are unsafe situations and unsafe people out there, and there's a chance that you might find yourself in a situation where you and your family are in significant danger and are in need of some sort of defense. So why not arm everyone? I'll show you why:

[graph]

I'd like you to take a look at that graph carefully. On the x axis, we have the percent of households with a firearm and on the y axis we have intentional firearm deaths per year. Before you go and say this is coincidental, be sure to examine how consistent that line is. Between Scotland and the United States is a very clear line demonstrating a relationship between simply having more households with guns and intentional gun deaths. I'm sure a few nations along this line could be excused as coincidence, but you're looking at 19 industrialized, Western (or Westernized in the cases of Japan, Australia and New Zealand) nations. I don't think this can be dismissed as coincidence. The graph would seem to demonstrate a correlative relationship between arming a public and gun violence.
I would say two things to this graph and your analysis: First, you know as well as I do that correlation does not equal causation, so it may be just as plausibly argued that more homes are arming themselves in response to increased firearms violence.

Second, national statistics of this type may be useful for policymakers, but not for personal defense decisions, except possibly to draw the exact opposite conclusion that you are advocating--I would suggest that residents of a countries with higher than average intentional firearm deaths may be even more inclined likely to arm themselves--there is significantly more chance it will be needed!

Quote:
Unfortunately, as you delve into the statistics even further, more troubling facts come to light. Did you know a gun kept in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a member of the household or friend than an intruder?* Worse still, using a gun to resist a violent assault increases the victim's risk of injury and death.** Worst of all, residents of homes where a gun is present are over 5 times more likely to commit suicide than those without.***
I find your '43 times' statistic to be overly-broad and slightly disingenuous for two reasons. First, your sourced article was very narrow in scope...according to the abstract,
Quote:
[W]e reviewed all the gunshot deaths that occurred in King County, Washington (population 1,270,000), from 1978 through 1983.[...] A total of 743 firearm-related deaths occurred during this six-year period, 398 of which (54 percent) occurred in the residence where the firearm was kept.
A five year sample from the late seventies of a specific county in Washington is hardly enough to make broad sweeping generalizations about the effects of owning a firearm.

Second, and more seriously, the abstract continues:
Quote:
"For every case of self-protection homicide involving a firearm kept in the home, there were 1.3 accidental deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides, and 37 suicides involving firearms."
If I am reading that correctly, your statistic did not mention that 37 out of those 43 were suicides. This ties into your third point. People do not commit suicide without a history of depression, and gun ownership has little or nothing to do with that. A person who wants to commit suicide will do so, gun or no gun.

Quote:
I wish it were as simple as having a gun to ensure you and your family's safety. I wish it was just a one time purchase of a handgun and some bullets that could magically make the bad people and bad situations go away. The sad truth, however, is that we live in a complex world with complex problems that require complex answers.
You are right: a one-time purchase of gun and ammo is not the solution to keeping your family safe. Gun owners need to be responsible, and by 'responsible' I mean have and use proper safety equipment (like locks and safes), have familiarity with their weapons, and train enough to be able to effectively use them.

Quote:
Having a gun may make you feel safer, but it would seem that illusion comes with a steep price. I propose the best way to keep you and your family safe would be to employ many different preventative, passive, and active strategies from bolted security doors to avoiding dangerous parts of town to carrying a taser or mace. If you want to be safe, arming yourself with a gun may end up being a lethal mistake.
I agree with your multi-layer defense proposal, but do not understand why that should not include firearms for when a lethal response is required.

Since owning and carrying a firearm is really worst-case-scenario prepardness, I would propose that the existance of any scenario where firearms were the only suitable resolution is sufficient to make their ownership reasonable. One such perfect example was earlier this month, in Florida, reported in an article which begins, relevantly, "John Lee says he's convinced they would have killed him if he hadn't had his gun." The details of the encounter are that the aforementioned John Lee was ambushed getting out of his car at his apartment by three armed attackers, who demanded he 'give it up' but opened fire without giving him on opportunity to do so. It wasn't until he had already been shot that he had a chance to draw his own weapon and returned fire. He fired multiple shots, and the assailants fled.

This is the perfect case study for a defense situation which required a handgun and only a handgun. The firearm couldn't have escalated the situation, since he didn't draw until he had already been shot. Less-than-lethal methods, such as Taser and Mace, are generally unsuitable for multiple assailants, particularly those who have already opened fire, and he was at home, not blundering aimlessly through 'the bad part of town', although after this incident I think his home de facto becomes 'the bad part'.

I argue that any statistical increase in danger can be mitigated in your specific instance with proper safety techniques and training, but I bet no amount of percentage annual increase in shootings would convince John Lee that he shouldn't have been carrying. I am going to let him finish my response for me:

Quote:
"If I hadn't had my gun on me, I wouldn't be talking to you right now," Lee said. "They would have finished me off."[...]

He said he was determined not to allow himself to be killed, for the sake of his children. He didn't want to leave them without a father.

"I can't even contemplate that, not being around my kids, not seeing them grow up," he said, his voice choking.
Sources:
NEJM -- Protection or peril? An analysis of firearm-related deaths in the home
Ambushed Palmetto Bay Man Tells Survival Story - cbs4.com
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Last edited by telekinetic; 06-16-2010 at 01:29 PM..
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
I concede readily that owning a firearm is not the be-all and end-all answer to self defense. A multi-layered defense, both passive and active, is strictly superior to a single-layer defense, consisting of only lethal force. However, an argument advocating a multi-layered defense is an argument FOR a firearm, not against it. If you are going to expend the thousands of dollars of resources to fortify your house, presumably in an effort to go out of your way to defend yourself and family, it would be irresponsible not to account for as many scenarios as possible.
I disagree. As demonstrated with my statistics, having a gun around makes one less safe than not having one around. Having a security door does not increase the rate of suicide by 5 times or increase the odds of killing a family member or friend. It is because of the collateral danger that guns do not belong on a list of defensive measures. Of the things I listed—security doors, locks, stronger windows, security systems, tasers, pepper spray, and mace—none of them pose any kind of serious threat the way a gun does. It's that collateral danger that leads me to conclude that guns simply aren't worth the trouble. This was my main argument.
Quote:
Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
Also, we live in a world of finite and limited resources, both in terms of what you can buy and what it is reasonable to carry at any given time. Since you have to start somewhere, I would advocate that you should first give yourself the option of an armed response, and then fill in less lethal and expensive passive fortification options as your resources allow. If you encounter a situation with a violent criminal where a Taser or pepper spray might possibly have been enough force to stop the attack, but only have a pistol, the worst case is your attacker is seriously injured or dies. If you encounter a violent criminal where your pepper spray is NOT sufficient, but you do not have a handgun to escalate to, the worst case is YOU are seriously injured or die. I do not have so much sympathy for people who wish to do me harm that I would weight these two scenarios even close to equally.
So you're argument is that it's better to have lethal force and not need it than to need it and not have it? Respectfully, I think you may be overlooking a few things. First off, if we assume the criminal is a rational actor, we can suppose a few things:
1) If he or she is armed, he or she will not necessarily pose a fatal risk
2) If he or she is armed and you are not, they have less reason to open fire on you as they are in less danger, thus
3) If he or she is armed and you are, too, their level of risk has risen significantly and they have more reason to open fire on you.

While the argument for deterrence could theoretically be applied, there's also a significant risk of escalation. I don't know about you, but that's not something I see as a safe risk at all.

Moreover, there are legitimate questions to be raised about killing someone for what could have been a minor offense. Hypothetically, if someone robs me at knifepoint on the street for the money and cards in my wallet, is that offense deserving of the death penalty? Certainly the knife represents a possible mortal risk, but if it's just there for incentive for me instead of with the intent to kill, I may not be in any danger at all. Don't forget: the vast majority of armed robberies in the United States involve no injuries or fatalities. The place where you see the most fatalities is in personal vendettas.

In 2005, 417,122 robbery offenses took place in the United States alone, and of them nearly 41% involved firearms. In that same year, only 16,692 murders took place. Even if we were to assume a full quarter of murders in the United States were related to robbery (a rather outlandish assumption), that's still only a 1 in 100 chance. The truth is, the likelihood of fatality in a robbery is negligible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
The purpose of a handgun in a defense situation is not to kill attackers. It is to stop attackers. Sometimes that results in their death. Other times it results in sufficient injuries to end the encounter, and frequently no shots even need be fired--do not underestimate the persuasive power of "Stop or I'll shoot!"
The first thing you learn in gun school is you don't pull your gun unless you intend to use it, and you shoot to kill. This would tell me drawing a weapon is not a deterrent and is an active response.
Quote:
Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
I would say two things to this graph and your analysis: First, you know as well as I do that correlation does not equal causation, so it may be just as plausibly argued that more homes are arming themselves in response to increased firearms violence.
It doesn't have to be a causal link, the correlative link demonstrates a consistent link. As I said, a few nations following that trend can be dismissed as coincidence, but all 19 are too hard to ignore.
Quote:
Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
Second, national statistics of this type may be useful for policymakers, but not for personal defense decisions, except possibly to draw the exact opposite conclusion that you are advocating--I would suggest that residents of a countries with higher than average intentional firearm deaths may be even more inclined likely to arm themselves--there is significantly more chance it will be needed!
And those higher arming rates have done nothing to put a dent in the gun violence rates.
Quote:
Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
I find your '43 times' statistic to be overly-broad and slightly disingenuous for two reasons. First, your sourced article was very narrow in scope...according to the abstract, A five year sample from the late seventies of a specific county in Washington is hardly enough to make broad sweeping generalizations about the effects of owning a firearm.
It's the only data available. Some data is better than colored data or no data. I stand by the results, though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
Second, and more seriously, the abstract continues:

If I am reading that correctly, your statistic did not mention that 37 out of those 43 were suicides. This ties into your third point. People do not commit suicide without a history of depression, and gun ownership has little or nothing to do with that. A person who wants to commit suicide will do so, gun or no gun.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Suicidal individuals who have access to guns are at the greatest risk of impulsive, unpredictable suicide. All methods most certainly are not equal. Having a gun significantly increases the odds of suicide. 57% of all suicides are committed with a gun. Think about that. It's not pills or hanging or cutting, but a gun that accounts for a strong majority of suicides. Most suicides are impulsive, in fact 24% took less than 5 minutes between deciding to commit suicide and the actual attempt. 70% took less than 1 hour.* This means suicidal people need immediate access to a method guaranteed to get the job done. Pills and cutting are messy and, should the paramedics get there in time, could result in a failed attempts. Hanging is incredibly painful and violent. A gun presents a somewhat unique option, where all you need to do is press the gun against your head or mouth and pull a trigger. Remember when I said 57% of all suicides were committed with a gun? That's successful suicides. 90% of all attempts involve drugs or cutting. Think about that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
You are right: a one-time purchase of gun and ammo is not the solution to keeping your family safe. Gun owners need to be responsible, and by 'responsible' I mean have and use proper safety equipment (like locks and safes), have familiarity with their weapons, and train enough to be able to effectively use them.

I agree with your multi-layer defense proposal, but do not understand why that should not include firearms for when a lethal response is required.
It is because firearms come with serious and unnecessary risk not seen in other methods of defense. What's the worst thing that can happen when putting in thicker windows or a security system? What risk is there if you decide to avoid a bad part of town? Virtually nothing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
Since owning and carrying a firearm is really worst-case-scenario prepardness, I would propose that the existance of any scenario where firearms were the only suitable resolution is sufficient to make their ownership reasonable. One such perfect example was earlier this month, in Florida, reported in an article which begins, relevantly, "John Lee says he's convinced they would have killed him if he hadn't had his gun." The details of the encounter are that the aforementioned John Lee was ambushed getting out of his car at his apartment by three armed attackers, who demanded he 'give it up' but opened fire without giving him on opportunity to do so. It wasn't until he had already been shot that he had a chance to draw his own weapon and returned fire. He fired multiple shots, and the assailants fled.
How likely are such situations? Now compare that to the likelihood of an accidental shootings, suicides, etc. That's my position.
Quote:
Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
This is the perfect case study for a defense situation which required a handgun and only a handgun. The firearm couldn't have escalated the situation, since he didn't draw until he had already been shot. Less-than-lethal methods, such as Taser and Mace, are generally unsuitable for multiple assailants, particularly those who have already opened fire, and he was at home, not blundering aimlessly through 'the bad part of town', although after this incident I think his home de facto becomes 'the bad part'.
You may need to explain to me how mace can't be used against multiple assailants.

*Simon OR, Swann AC, Powell KE, Potter LB, Kresnow MJ, O'Carroll PW. Characteristics of impulsive suicide attempts and attempters. Suicide Life Threat Behav 2001;32:Suppl:49-59.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willravel View Post
I disagree. As demonstrated with my statistics, having a gun around makes one less safe than not having one around. Having a security door does not increase the rate of suicide by 5 times or increase the odds of killing a family member or friend. It is because of the collateral danger that guns do not belong on a list of defensive measures. Of the things I listed—security doors, locks, stronger windows, security systems, tasers, pepper spray, and mace—none of them pose any kind of serious threat the way a gun does.
I'll address whether a gun makes a person specifically less safe later in this response, but for now, you cannot carry around a security door, locks, windows, or security system. This leaves your portable options at taser and pepper spray. I agree that both of those are viable self defense options, as a part of a self defense strategy that includes the option of lethal force if needed, for the exact reason you state...they don't pose any kind of serious threat the way a gun does, so if going up against an armed attacker, you're at a serious disadvantage. Most tasers can only be used against a single attacker, only disable for a few seconds, and have varied effectiveness based on target placement, drugs, and individual tolerance. Pepper sprays can blow back in your face (a problem bullets do not have) and also may not have the desired take-down results, due to either personal tolerance or drug-induced rages on the part of the attacker.

Quote:
It's that collateral danger that leads me to conclude that guns simply aren't worth the trouble. This was my main argument.
And my main argument is that there are situations that only possession of a handgun will get you out of alive, like the experience of John Lee, above. Explain how him not having a handgun would have been a better option or had a better outcome. You have not convincingly shown that handguns are not worth the trouble.

Also, do you have any facts or statistics to back up this collateral damage claim? Collateral damage typically refers to "Unintended damage, injuries, or deaths caused by an action, especially unintended civilian casualties caused by a military operation."* The self defense application of this would be a citizen shooting (and presumably killing) an unintended and innocent bystander in his attempt to stop his attacker. I could not find any reported instances of someone killing a bystander while engaging an attacker in a self defense situation, and definitely couldn't find any statistics.

Quote:
So you're argument is that it's better to have lethal force and not need it than to need it and not have it? Respectfully, I think you may be overlooking a few things. First off, if we assume the criminal is a rational actor, we can suppose a few things:
1) If he or she is armed, he or she will not necessarily pose a fatal risk
2) If he or she is armed and you are not, they have less reason to open fire on you as they are in less danger, thus
3) If he or she is armed and you are, too, their level of risk has risen significantly and they have more reason to open fire on you.

While the argument for deterrence could theoretically be applied, there's also a significant risk of escalation. I don't know about you, but that's not something I see as a safe risk at all.
1) If he has chosen to arm himself, it is not rational to bet your life they are not a fatal risk.
2) John Lee's story, already related, is one of many counterexamples to this. Due to absence of evidence otherwise, I would counter that they are less likely to open fire if you ARE visibly armed, as the ability to return fire and fight on equal ground is something a rational actor would avoid when other victims do not pose such a threat.
3) I don't follow your logic: Assuming criminals are rational actors, why would they be more likely to engage someone with whom they are equally armed? One-shot-kills are for movies and video games, there will always be the chance of successful return fire.

Quote:
Moreover, there are legitimate questions to be raised about killing someone for what could have been a minor offense. Hypothetically, if someone robs me at knifepoint on the street for the money and cards in my wallet, is that offense deserving of the death penalty? Certainly the knife represents a possible mortal risk, but if it's just there for incentive for me instead of with the intent to kill, I may not be in any danger at all. Don't forget: the vast majority of armed robberies in the United States involve no injuries or fatalities. The place where you see the most fatalities is in personal vendettas.
If someone doesn't appear to have intent and ability to kill, you don't shoot them. If there's grey area, I'd suggest erring on the side of them getting hurt vs you getting hurt, and presenting a firearm with intent to end the encounter is as good a filter as any. I'll gladly hand over my wallet to an armed assailant who I believe is just looking for a money grab--nothing in there is worth escalating to lethal force if you don't believe the assailant presents a credible threat.

In 2005, 417,122 robbery offenses took place in the United States alone, and of them nearly 41% involved firearms. In that same year, only 16,692 murders took place. Even if we were to assume a full quarter of murders in the United States were related to robbery (a rather outlandish assumption), that's still only a 1 in 100 chance. The truth is, the likelihood of fatality in a robbery is negligible.

Quote:
The first thing you learn in gun school is you don't pull your gun unless you intend to use it, and you shoot to kill. This would tell me drawing a weapon is not a deterrent and is an active response.
Can you give me a citation to a gun school page that advocates either not drawing, or pulling your gun and shooting to kill? That advice is criminally negligent, and I highly doubt you will see it captured. It is also wrong for another reason, in that fatally wounding and stopping someones ability to be a threat are often unrelated, and you're only concerned with the latter. An article by Massad Ayoob, one of the world's leading self defense experts, on ammunition choice states:
Quote:
When you get into it deep enough, you realize that the righteous combatant does not shoot to kill, he shoots to stop. A mortal wound is not enough. Many an American soldier who was mortally wounded went on to kill so many of the enemy before he ran out of blood and died that the majority of those on the sacred list who won the Congressional Medal of Honor won it posthumously. Every combat soldier who fought in heavy battle can tell you stories of enemy soldiers who, wounded unto death, still took one or more Americans with them. These men had been killed, but not stopped.
The responsible thing to do is present your weapon on target and shoot to stop the threat. If the threat evaporates without firing a single shot, you have stopped the threat, and no longer have a legal right to shoot. If a non-fatal wound neutralizes the threat (for example, by shattering a pelvis), you do not continue to shoot to ensure a 'kill'--that would be murder.

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It doesn't have to be a causal link, the correlative link demonstrates a consistent link. As I said, a few nations following that trend can be dismissed as coincidence, but all 19 are too hard to ignore.

And those higher arming rates have done nothing to put a dent in the gun violence rates.

It's the only data available. Some data is better than colored data or no data. I stand by the results, though.
I was pointing out that nothing about that correlation showed that increased gun ownership wasn't a reaction to increased gun violence.

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Suicidal individuals who have access to guns are at the greatest risk of impulsive, unpredictable suicide. All methods most certainly are not equal. Having a gun significantly increases the odds of suicide. 57% of all suicides are committed with a gun. Think about that. It's not pills or hanging or cutting, but a gun that accounts for a strong majority of suicides. Most suicides are impulsive, in fact 24% took less than 5 minutes between deciding to commit suicide and the actual attempt. 70% took less than 1 hour.* This means suicidal people need immediate access to a method guaranteed to get the job done. Pills and cutting are messy and, should the paramedics get there in time, could result in a failed attempts. Hanging is incredibly painful and violent. A gun presents a somewhat unique option, where all you need to do is press the gun against your head or mouth and pull a trigger. Remember when I said 57% of all suicides were committed with a gun? That's successful suicides. 90% of all attempts involve drugs or cutting. Think about that.
Is an increased risk of suicide a reason to not keep necessary medication in the house? Or own rope? I would personally choose a plastic bag, a big rubber band, a hose and a helium tank if I ever decided to end my life...should those items be banned, avoided, or restricted? People need to evaluate their own state of mind, both for ownership and potential use of firearms. Also, statistics at your own cited websites state that the risk is decreased if guns are properly locked up, which any responsible owner (at risk of veering too close to a 'no true scottsman') should already be doing.

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It is because firearms come with serious and unnecessary risk not seen in other methods of defense. What's the worst thing that can happen when putting in thicker windows or a security system? What risk is there if you decide to avoid a bad part of town? Virtually nothing.
What is the risk of leaving your concealed weapon concealed if you judge an encounter does not justify the use of lethal force? Virtually nothing.

What is the risk of not having lethal force available to you if you are in a situation that needs it? Very high.

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How likely are such situations? Now compare that to the likelihood of an accidental shootings, suicides, etc. That's my position.
First, there are no accidental shootings. There are only negligent shootings. An accident implies that you were following all proper safety guidelines, and some factor beyond your control caused an accident. Modern guns do not go off unless you pull the trigger, and pulling the trigger with the gun pointed at something you do not wish to perforate is negligent, regardless of whether you think the gun is loaded or not. This is gun safety 101. In fact, even imagining a circumstance where a gun COULD go off without the trigger being pulled, it should always be pointed in a safe direction, so even THAT would be negligent.

Because of this, the statistical risk to a population of a negligent shooting is something that an individual's safe gun handling practices can eliminate, and therefore the fact that other gun owners may not follow safe handling procedures should only encourage responsible owners to do so, not discourage them from owning guns.


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You may need to explain to me how mace can't be used against multiple assailants.
Well, to dispurse it wide enough to disable multiple attackers you run much higher chance of inadvertant exposure of yourself. Here is a video of police confront a suspect and pepper spraying him multiple times, starting at 1:07...I would deep link but that doesn't seem to work with an embed:



After being pepper sprayed directly in the face and eyes repeatedly, he continues to assume a defensive stance and remain a threat to the officers. This gentleman was fairly passive, but clearly still had his full facilities about him. I'd argue this as a counterexample to having pepper spray as your own line of defense, as if he had wished to harm the officers he certainly could have. If he had been an aggressive attacker, already engaged, I don't believe for a minute that the pepper spray would have stopped the attack.


* collateral damage - definition of collateral damage by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
I'll address whether a gun makes a person specifically less safe later in this response, but for now, you cannot carry around a security door, locks, windows, or security system. This leaves your portable options at taser and pepper spray.
Not necessarily. The option of avoiding dangerous areas is probably the single best way of protecting one's self. Like it or not, there are some places that are more dangerous than others. By not being at these places, especially at night, one can substantially reduce the threat to one's person. For example, walking down Monterey here in San Jose past maybe 11 p.m. isn't particularly safe. I don't walk that way. Sure, San Jose is one of the safest big cities in the world, and gun crime is quite low here, but there are dangers.
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
I agree that both of those are viable self defense options, as a part of a self defense strategy that includes the option of lethal force if needed, for the exact reason you state...they don't pose any kind of serious threat the way a gun does, so if going up against an armed attacker, you're at a serious disadvantage. Most tasers can only be used against a single attacker, only disable for a few seconds, and have varied effectiveness based on target placement, drugs, and individual tolerance. Pepper sprays can blow back in your face (a problem bullets do not have) and also may not have the desired take-down results, due to either personal tolerance or drug-induced rages on the part of the attacker.
If tasers and mace weren't effective, I have to believe the police wouldn't use them. They do. A lot. The police use them a lot more often than their guns.

This does raise a question, though: how often is a perpetrator just looking to inflict harm? Robbery I can understand. If someone pulls a gun on me and demands my wallet, they're not looking to shoot me but take my money. They're welcome to it. How often, though, would an armed, dangerous perpetrator have the main goal of hurting or killing you? It's not rational except in cases of personal offense, which are easy to avoid. So, if we're to assume it's an irrational actor, this is an exceedingly rare individual. It's highly uncommon for someone to attack a person at random with the singular purpose of hurting or killing them.
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
And my main argument is that there are situations that only possession of a handgun will get you out of alive, like the experience of John Lee, above. Explain how him not having a handgun would have been a better option or had a better outcome. You have not convincingly shown that handguns are not worth the trouble.
Where did the perpetrator get the gun?
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
Also, do you have any facts or statistics to back up this collateral damage claim? Collateral damage typically refers to "Unintended damage, injuries, or deaths caused by an action, especially unintended civilian casualties caused by a military operation."* The self defense application of this would be a citizen shooting (and presumably killing) an unintended and innocent bystander in his attempt to stop his attacker. I could not find any reported instances of someone killing a bystander while engaging an attacker in a self defense situation, and definitely couldn't find any statistics.
I said collateral danger, referring to the unintended danger of a higher rate of suicide and shooting a friend or family member I mentioned and cited above. Do you own a gun? Did you know it was dangerous in those ways?
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
1) If he has chosen to arm himself, it is not rational to bet your life they are not a fatal risk.
2) John Lee's story, already related, is one of many counterexamples to this. Due to absence of evidence otherwise, I would counter that they are less likely to open fire if you ARE visibly armed, as the ability to return fire and fight on equal ground is something a rational actor would avoid when other victims do not pose such a threat.
3) I don't follow your logic: Assuming criminals are rational actors, why would they be more likely to engage someone with whom they are equally armed? One-shot-kills are for movies and video games, there will always be the chance of successful return fire.
They would be more inclined to return fire in order to protect their own life, using the same logic you're applying to the victim. Robber pulls a gun and demands money, victim pulls a gun and opens fire, and robber returns fire. After the first bullets are fired, both individuals are just trying to survive. If they both believe shooting at the other person, to kill them, is the best way of surviving, they're both shooting at each other. That's my logic.
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
If someone doesn't appear to have intent and ability to kill, you don't shoot them. If there's grey area, I'd suggest erring on the side of them getting hurt vs you getting hurt, and presenting a firearm with intent to end the encounter is as good a filter as any. I'll gladly hand over my wallet to an armed assailant who I believe is just looking for a money grab--nothing in there is worth escalating to lethal force if you don't believe the assailant presents a credible threat.
How often do you suppose someone is just out there to kill you? It seems the entire case of being armed with a gun is to be ready for a situation where someone is very likely to kill you if you don't kill them first. Really, how likely is this situation? As you say, when being robbed it seems the most logical reaction to simply cooperate and give the robber what he or she wants. I only have like $70 in my wallet, along with a debit card and a credit card. If I'm robbed in public, the most I lose is a few hundred bucks. If it's a home invasion, I've got a nice TV, stereo, and an okay computer. Go for it, I say. Take them. If it's my car, go for it. It's not worth killing for.

So how often are these situations in which it's kill or be killed? And please, don't just link to a few isolated cases. That's how others have responded to this question in the past, but for every article featuring such a violent crime, there are hundreds of millions of people that are totally safe. I've been looking for statistical information on this for years, but I've never found any. Until we have it, I don't see how anyone can possibly say there's a real danger. As I've said in the past, risk is a combination of likelihood and severity. Sure, being murdered is quite severe, but if it's a rarity, as I believe, the risk isn't as high as people would have you believe.
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
Can you give me a citation to a gun school page that advocates either not drawing, or pulling your gun and shooting to kill? That advice is criminally negligent, and I highly doubt you will see it captured. It is also wrong for another reason, in that fatally wounding and stopping someones ability to be a threat are often unrelated, and you're only concerned with the latter.
I got the shoot to kill thing from Dunedan and dksuddeth. I'm working under the assumption that they're both highly trained enough to know what is or isn't appropriate. If I misunderstood them or they're wrong, mea culpa.
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
An article by Massad Ayoob, one of the world's leading self defense experts, on ammunition choice states: The responsible thing to do is present your weapon on target and shoot to stop the threat. If the threat evaporates without firing a single shot, you have stopped the threat, and no longer have a legal right to shoot. If a non-fatal wound neutralizes the threat (for example, by shattering a pelvis), you do not continue to shoot to ensure a 'kill'--that would be murder.
If there is a situation in which it's not necessary to kill, I can't imagine a reason to pull a gun. Doesn't that make sense to you?
[QUOTE=telekinetic;2799337]Is an increased risk of suicide a reason to not keep necessary medication in the house? Or own rope?[QUOTE]
A gun is clearly the preferred method of suicide. It's instantaneous and painless. Pills don't always work and hanging is torture. I will admit some people are willing to go through pain in order to carry out their suicidal impulses, but according to the statistics, they're clearly less likely to do it and less likely to succeed. That's no small thing.
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
I would personally choose a plastic bag, a big rubber band, a hose and a helium tank if I ever decided to end my life...should those items be banned, avoided, or restricted? People need to evaluate their own state of mind, both for ownership and potential use of firearms. Also, statistics at your own cited websites state that the risk is decreased if guns are properly locked up, which any responsible owner (at risk of veering too close to a 'no true scottsman') should already be doing.
You'd really want to suffocate instead of having it end instantly?

The point of that statistic is owning a gun comes with additional risks, among them the risk of being able to more easily commit suicide. Are we in agreement that suicide is generally a bad thing? (not being facetious)
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
What is the risk of leaving your concealed weapon concealed if you judge an encounter does not justify the use of lethal force? Virtually nothing.

What is the risk of not having lethal force available to you if you are in a situation that needs it? Very high.
What are the odds of finding one's self in a situation?
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
First, there are no accidental shootings. There are only negligent shootings. An accident implies that you were following all proper safety guidelines, and some factor beyond your control caused an accident.
I disagree. When you open fire on a legitimate target, there's always a chance, even if all proper safety procedures are followed, you hit someone or something you don't intend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
Well, to dispurse it wide enough to disable multiple attackers you run much higher chance of inadvertent exposure of yourself. Here is a video of police confront a suspect and pepper spraying him multiple times, starting at 1:07...I would deep link but that doesn't seem to work with an embed:

After being pepper sprayed directly in the face and eyes repeatedly, he continues to assume a defensive stance and remain a threat to the officers. This gentleman was fairly passive, but clearly still had his full facilities about him. I'd argue this as a counterexample to having pepper spray as your own line of defense, as if he had wished to harm the officers he certainly could have. If he had been an aggressive attacker, already engaged, I don't believe for a minute that the pepper spray would have stopped the attack.
He was not a mortal risk to the police officers overusing the pepper spray.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Willravel View Post
Not necessarily. The option of avoiding dangerous areas is probably the single best way of protecting one's self. Like it or not, there are some places that are more dangerous than others. By not being at these places, especially at night, one can substantially reduce the threat to one's person. For example, walking down Monterey here in San Jose past maybe 11 p.m. isn't particularly safe. I don't walk that way. Sure, San Jose is one of the safest big cities in the world, and gun crime is quite low here, but there are dangers.
I work in one of the most dangerous industrial areas in Phoenix. There is regular gang violence, there have been multiple shootings within a mile in the two years I've been there and I have seen a ten person brawl break out while eating at the nearby Chipoltle. I have no choice but to enter this area regularly, due to my employment, and I'm sure a very large swath of people work and live in and around the areas you deem dangerous. Avoiding them is not always an option.

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If tasers and mace weren't effective, I have to believe the police wouldn't use them. They do. A lot. The police use them a lot more often than their guns.
If they were always sufficient, why do they use their guns at all? My whole argument is based not on statistical probability, but possible need. Every sane gun owner hopes to go his or her entire life without needed to draw.

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This does raise a question, though: how often is a perpetrator just looking to inflict harm? Robbery I can understand. If someone pulls a gun on me and demands my wallet, they're not looking to shoot me but take my money. They're welcome to it. How often, though, would an armed, dangerous perpetrator have the main goal of hurting or killing you? It's not rational except in cases of personal offense, which are easy to avoid. So, if we're to assume it's an irrational actor, this is an exceedingly rare individual. It's highly uncommon for someone to attack a person at random with the singular purpose of hurting or killing them.
Uncommon does not equal impossible. You do not always have control of whether or not you personally offend someone. You could be a witness to a crime, you could rear-end or cut-off the wrong person, or you could simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. You also could be an attractive female targeted for some single-party-consent mating. That's excluding possibilities of someone having a legitimate grudge against you for perfectly defensible reasons. If you were a witness against a gang crime, with your name and face plastered in the papers, would you then feel the need to start carrying?

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Where did the perpetrator get the gun?
I'm not sure I understand...is this a call for the de-invention of the firearm?

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I said collateral danger, referring to the unintended danger of a higher rate of suicide and shooting a friend or family member I mentioned and cited above. Do you own a gun? Did you know it was dangerous in those ways?
I do own guns. I do not feel it is more dangerous in those ways for the reasons I outlined. They are locked in a safe when it is not under my direct control, I do not point them at things which are not targets with safe backstops, and I keep my finger off the trigger except when firing. I fail to see the increase in danger to me and mine.

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They would be more inclined to return fire in order to protect their own life, using the same logic you're applying to the victim. Robber pulls a gun and demands money, victim pulls a gun and opens fire, and robber returns fire. After the first bullets are fired, both individuals are just trying to survive. If they both believe shooting at the other person, to kill them, is the best way of surviving, they're both shooting at each other. That's my logic.
The aggressor is the only one who can end the conflict. No sane defender would continue the engagement if the aggressor was fleeing, whereas the aggressor, by definition, would.
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How often do you suppose someone is just out there to kill you? It seems the entire case of being armed with a gun is to be ready for a situation where someone is very likely to kill you if you don't kill them first. Really, how likely is this situation? As you say, when being robbed it seems the most logical reaction to simply cooperate and give the robber what he or she wants. I only have like $70 in my wallet, along with a debit card and a credit card. If I'm robbed in public, the most I lose is a few hundred bucks. If it's a home invasion, I've got a nice TV, stereo, and an okay computer. Go for it, I say. Take them. If it's my car, go for it. It's not worth killing for.
If someone is in my house, they are welcome to anything on the ground floor. The only thing upstairs is me, my wife, and daughter, and coming up to that level indicates they aim to misbehave.

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So how often are these situations in which it's kill or be killed? And please, don't just link to a few isolated cases. That's how others have responded to this question in the past, but for every article featuring such a violent crime, there are hundreds of millions of people that are totally safe. I've been looking for statistical information on this for years, but I've never found any. Until we have it, I don't see how anyone can possibly say there's a real danger. As I've said in the past, risk is a combination of likelihood and severity. Sure, being murdered is quite severe, but if it's a rarity, as I believe, the risk isn't as high as people would have you believe.
I state again: There is no cost to having a gun and not needing it, other than financial. The cost to not having a gun and needing one could be enormous.

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I got the shoot to kill thing from Dunedan and dksuddeth. I'm working under the assumption that they're both highly trained enough to know what is or isn't appropriate. If I misunderstood them or they're wrong, mea culpa.

If there is a situation in which it's not necessary to kill, I can't imagine a reason to pull a gun. Doesn't that make sense to you?
There may be a difference in terms here. One meaning is when talking about shot placement, contrasting shoot to wound vs shoot to kill. Shooting to wound, that is limb shots, is both illegal and unethical, as it shows that you believe even at the time, that your application of potential lethal force was not justified. You should always take shots at spots which could possibly result in fatal wounding--center mass primarily, but also head and lower torso. However, it is not because you wish to kill the attacker--it is because these are the same spots most likely to stop the attack...that is, deliver enough immediate damage to stop the attacker, either by disrupting the nervous or skeletal system, injuring the attacker so gravely they do not wish to continue the attack, or rendering them dead or unconscious.

The difference between shoot to stop and shoot to kill as a philosophy is that, if you are shooting to stop, you stop shooting once there is no longer a threat...if the attacker throws down his weapon, or tries to flee, or is injured to the extent that he is no longer a threat.

If you are shooting to kill, you would have to keep shooting even if the attacker throws down their gun, lays on the ground and surrenders--otherwise you haven't met your stated goal. Again, this philosophy is both illegal and unethical, and I don't believe that, in the context I have laid out here, either dk_suddeth or Dunedan would advocate shoot to kill vs shoot to stop, barring some sarcastic machismo. I, however, also consider them expert sources, so if you have quotes to the contrary, I deem them admissible.

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A gun is clearly the preferred method of suicide. It's instantaneous and painless. Pills don't always work and hanging is torture. I will admit some people are willing to go through pain in order to carry out their suicidal impulses, but according to the statistics, they're clearly less likely to do it and less likely to succeed. That's no small thing.

You'd really want to suffocate instead of having it end instantly?
Suicide by pistol, regardless of intended shot placement is also not always successful, despite movies depiction to the contrary (Fight Club notably excepted). And yes, I would--your lungs have no 'sensors' for helium, like they do for carbon dioxide, so you get no sensation of suffocation, just a gentle drifting off on an oxygen deprivation high. Again with the other thread's topic, however.

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The point of that statistic is owning a gun comes with additional risks, among them the risk of being able to more easily commit suicide. Are we in agreement that suicide is generally a bad thing? (not being facetious)
Impulsive suicide? yes, and that is decreased by having firearms locked. All suicide? Topic for another thread.
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What are the odds of finding one's self in a situation?
Non-zero, which is all it has to be.

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I disagree. When you open fire on a legitimate target, there's always a chance, even if all proper safety procedures are followed, you hit someone or something you don't intend.
There is a chance, yes. If you are not aware of your backstop, it is not safe to discharge your firearm. Using hollow-point bullets which do not over-penetrate and only taking shots at ranges you are accurate at can also help minimize stray bullets. At the point in which you engage in a gun battle, then the chances come in to play. There is a large chance you will die if you do not engage, or you shouldn't. There is a small chance someone else will get injured if you do, and that chance can be made smaller by backstop awareness and accurate shot placement. This is a fair trade--it is harder than the movies make it seem to intentionally kill someone with a pistol, it is almost completely unlikely to accidently do so. Like I said, I'd love to see an example of someone accidently shooting a bystander in self defense, compared to the amount of times the only casualty is the attacker.

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He was not a mortal risk to the police officers overusing the pepper spray.
You even grant that the pepper spray was overused. Did the perpetrator look disabled to you? If that glass had been a gun, do you think he would have been unable to discharge it with reasonable accuracy at those ranges? Do you think if it had been a gun pointed at the officers, they would have approached so calmly and trusted the spray?
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I work in one of the most dangerous industrial areas in Phoenix. There is regular gang violence, there have been multiple shootings within a mile in the two years I've been there and I have seen a ten person brawl break out while eating at the nearby Chipoltle. I have no choice but to enter this area regularly, due to my employment, and I'm sure a very large swath of people work and live in and around the areas you deem dangerous. Avoiding them is not always an option.
Phoenix does have a surprising crime rate, I'll give you that. As of 2003, there were 241 murders a year, about 2 and a quarter times the national average. Still, that's out of a population of 1.4 million. If I've done my math right, that's 1 per nearly 6,000. Again, this is high, but when compared to any other crime it's quite low. Burglary alone is 17,000, and larceny and theft are 55,000. This would seem to indicate that, while theft is quite common, instances of murder when being stolen from are exceedingly rare even in Phoenix.

BTW, I've eten at Chipotle before. Their burrito may be worth weathering a 10 person brawl.
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If they were always sufficient, why do they use their guns at all? My whole argument is based not on statistical probability, but possible need. Every sane gun owner hopes to go his or her entire life without needed to draw.
Police look for trouble, though. They intentionally look for dangerous people as a part of their job. You and I, on the other hand, probably avoid that kind of trouble. My point was that pepper spray and a taser wouldn't be used by police at all if they weren't effective.
[QUOTE=telekinetic;2799398]Uncommon does not equal impossible.
Are you suggesting that if there is even an infinitesimal risk to something, you should prepare for it? Are you prepared for a nuclear attack from Canada? Or an alien invasion?
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
You do not always have control of whether or not you personally offend someone. You could be a witness to a crime, you could rear-end or cut-off the wrong person, or you could simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. You also could be an attractive female targeted for some single-party-consent mating. That's excluding possibilities of someone having a legitimate grudge against you for perfectly defensible reasons. If you were a witness against a gang crime, with your name and face plastered in the papers, would you then feel the need to start carrying?
These are all interesting hypotheticals, but they're hypotheticals none the less. I'm interested in responding to something based on likelihood. If there's a legitimate threat, not just in severity but in likelihood, it would seem rational to plan for it. If, however, it's unlikely (and theoretically the planning would include having a dangerous weapon), it would seem the risk doesn't merit such preparation.
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I'm not sure I understand...is this a call for the de-invention of the firearm?
No. I should have been more clear. Gun manufacturers thrive on the business they get from people who are afraid of other people. Because of this, they produce a lot of guns to meet demand. If demand from legal, passive buyers were to decrease substantially, there would be less guns around for criminals and it would be theoretically easier to track them.

I certainly do wish I could de-invent the gun, though. The world would be a better place without them.
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
I do own guns. I do not feel it is more dangerous in those ways for the reasons I outlined. They are locked in a safe when it is not under my direct control, I do not point them at things which are not targets with safe backstops, and I keep my finger off the trigger except when firing. I fail to see the increase in danger to me and mine.
I read an article a few years ago about a little girl being hit in her apartment from stray gunfire from a block away, but I can't speak to that likelihood.
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
The aggressor is the only one who can end the conflict. No sane defender would continue the engagement if the aggressor was fleeing, whereas the aggressor, by definition, would.
If someone is in my house, they are welcome to anything on the ground floor. The only thing upstairs is me, my wife, and daughter, and coming up to that level indicates they aim to misbehave.
By misbehave you mean murder? Does that seem likely to happen?
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
I state again: There is no cost to having a gun and not needing it, other than financial. The cost to not having a gun and needing one could be enormous.
According to this study, a gun in the home makes it 2.7 times more likely that a family member will become a homicide victim in the home. Regardless of your care, even in locking away the weapon, you can't claim there's no risk involved in owning a gun. I'm sorry, but I disagree.
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
There may be a difference in terms here. One meaning is when talking about shot placement, contrasting shoot to wound vs shoot to kill. Shooting to wound, that is limb shots, is both illegal and unethical, as it shows that you believe even at the time, that your application of potential lethal force was not justified. You should always take shots at spots which could possibly result in fatal wounding--center mass primarily, but also head and lower torso. However, it is not because you wish to kill the attacker--it is because these are the same spots most likely to stop the attack...that is, deliver enough immediate damage to stop the attacker, either by disrupting the nervous or skeletal system, injuring the attacker so gravely they do not wish to continue the attack, or rendering them dead or unconscious.
I don't see how intent is relevant. If you shoot center mass and know that shot is likely to kill, intending to kill doesn't change the outcome: you're shooting in a way you know is likely to kill.
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
Suicide by pistol, regardless of intended shot placement is also not always successful, despite movies depiction to the contrary (Fight Club notably excepted). And yes, I would--your lungs have no 'sensors' for helium, like they do for carbon dioxide, so you get no sensation of suffocation, just a gentle drifting off on an oxygen deprivation high. Again with the other thread's topic, however.
Based on the statistics, it would seem to be highly successful, more so than other popular methods like cutting and pills.
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
There is a chance, yes. If you are not aware of your backstop, it is not safe to discharge your firearm. Using hollow-point bullets which do not over-penetrate and only taking shots at ranges you are accurate at can also help minimize stray bullets. At the point in which you engage in a gun battle, then the chances come in to play. There is a large chance you will die if you do not engage, or you shouldn't. There is a small chance someone else will get injured if you do, and that chance can be made smaller by backstop awareness and accurate shot placement. This is a fair trade--it is harder than the movies make it seem to intentionally kill someone with a pistol, it is almost completely unlikely to accidently do so. Like I said, I'd love to see an example of someone accidently shooting a bystander in self defense, compared to the amount of times the only casualty is the attacker.
So we are taking into account likelihood?
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Originally Posted by telekinetic View Post
You even grant that the pepper spray was overused. Did the perpetrator look disabled to you? If that glass had been a gun, do you think he would have been unable to discharge it with reasonable accuracy at those ranges? Do you think if it had been a gun pointed at the officers, they would have approached so calmly and trusted the spray?
Pepper spray is overused by dicks. Also, police put themselves into situations where they may be shot at, instead of you and I who will seek to avoid such situations. If you saw a man with a gun, I'm sure your first impulse would be to dive behind something of substantial mass to prevent the bullets from reaching you, yes?

I must say, this has been quite fun. Before we make our closing arguments, I'd like to thank telekinetic for a wonderful debate.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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In closing, I believe people have a right to defend themselves and their families. I believe that they have a right to defend themselves by whatever means are necessary to remove the threat. I believe that, in some instances, situations arise where the only means possible are firearms. I also believe that firearms can be owned safely and responsibly, and that negligent shooting statistics have more to do with negligent owners than inherent danger. Because of these two facts--the cost being low, and the potential cost of non-ownership (however unlikely an occurrence that could statistically be) being extremely high, owning firearms for defense is a perfectly reasonable way to ensure the safety of yourself and family, in the direst of circumstances that will hopefully never arise.

I doubt anyone under assault from a violent criminal wished they DIDN'T have a gun, and I'm sure innumerable victims (may they rest in peace) wished, however briefly, that they did. Choose your group wisely.

This has been every bit as entertaining as I had hoped, thanks primarily to my worthy sparring partner, Willravel! I hope that the peanut gallery has enjoyed it as much as we have, and that we can match wits again on another topic very soon!
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:47 PM   #11 (permalink)
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In closing, I also believe people have a right to defend themselves and their families. It's a dangerous world, after all. Still, there's something to be said of using methods that don't involve killing tools. I've never heard of anyone shot cleaning his alarm system. I can't think of an instance where someone used pepper spray to satisfy a suicidal impulse. Moreover, instances in which a deranged killer actively seek out the opportunity to murder you seem quite rare, so rare in fact that the idea of owning a killing tool seems... unnecessary. Other dangerous situations, things like robbery (btw, I just found out theft and robbery aren't synonymous, thanks to this debate), would seem to be best solved by consenting instead of shooting with the understanding the shots will kill.

In my humble opinion.

Thanks again, telekinetic!
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Debate Closed

This debate has reached its conclusion.

Feel free to join the discussion here: http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/general...iscussion.html
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