Boston school superintendent: Arming teachers would be stupid and dangerous

Boston School Superintendent Tommy Chang announced today he would fight any effort to arm BPS teachers - not that he's likely to see any proposal from either City Hall or BPD, where officials have long called for more restrictions on guns, not fewer.

In a statement in reaction to the president's proposal to arm some teachers with guns, Chang said in a statement:

The mere thought that teachers should be armed in order to ward off violence is utterly illogical and will only result in making our students and teachers less safe.

The real issue at hand continues to be access to guns. In Boston, we have some of the strictest gun laws in the country. We have a Mayor and a Police Commissioner who are fighting federal proposals that threaten to move us backward, such as the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. Just last year, we hosted the New England Regional Gun Summit right here at the Bolling Building to work with our neighboring cities and states on preventing the illegal flow of firearms into our city.

When it comes to school safety, we know that our focus should be on violence prevention and creating a culture of inclusion in all of our schools. We are providing regular training that’s rooted in best practices to ensure the safety of our students if a situation were to occur, not wasting our time training educators how to carry and use a firearm. Our priority in Boston will always be the well-being of our school communities, and bringing guns into schools is simply not the answer.

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Comments

Police at schools should be

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Police at schools should be armed. That seems like a no brainier.

I agree that arming teachers would be counter productive though.

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Voting is closed. 49

"No brainer"

I find it odd that you choose to brag about this quality.

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Doubt its an issue

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From one of the linked articles showing they are not all unarmed, only when arms are not merited:

Depending on the school and its ranking, some officers are allowed to carry guns, batons and mace.

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Voting is closed. 39

I don't think anyone is

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I don't think anyone is suggesting all teachers be armed. If a few teachers want to be armed, why not? Give them a small pay bump too. Surely there are teachers who are already licensed gun owners.

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I disagree

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Teachers who engage, love, and enrich their students should receive a pay bump.

Teachers who feel confident they can gun down one of their own students, accurately and efficiently, in the middle of a massacre should be fired.

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So you want teachers who are

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So you want teachers who are willing to accept the legal liability and invest their personal time to be prepared to risk their lives in defense of their students fired? How dare they want to preserve their life and the lives of their students from murderers.

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Guns do not preserve lives

All the evidence is that increased presence of guns produces more death. That's what they are made for, after all. People who obtain and keep guns are more likely to be shot than those who do not.

How are police responding to a call to know that the person they see firing a gun is a teacher? Why would those police not open fire on that person?

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That's a real concern

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And developing best practices to mitigate it would be the 'training' part of the 'training' that we'all are talking about for teachers and police.

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Because

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Teachers don't have enough training just being teachers? Now they need small arms and active shooter training too? Why don't we just combine the professions and make all cops teachers and vice versa.

Lots of teachers posting on twitter no thanks on the gun, but they'd appreciate some more classroon supplies. So now it's guns for glue instead of butter in econ 101?

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I mean

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if kids in Econ 101 need glue, the education system has WAY bigger problems than the lightning-strike risk of a shooter.

By the time they get to college, they should at least know how to use PowerPoint.

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Are the teachers going to gun

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Are the teachers going to gun down a student armed with an assault rifle who has just killed 17 other students? I think anyone in the armed students vicinity with a gun should take the armed student down. And save lives. Get it?

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And the soluyion isn't good yuys shooting bad guys

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And it's not just schools.

We don't live in the wild west

Or is that what you'd prefer?

This is about the dumbest solution I've heard.

How about we.all carry guns all the time. Someone starts shooting, we all just pull out our guns and blaze away at anyone with a gun...

...oh, wait a minute...

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Strawmen are immune to bullets

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But let's run with your example. Suppose we're all* armed all** the time.

Who's the idiot who's going to start making trouble first?

*With background checks and range tests to get your LTC, same as we have now. So not everyone in the mathematical sense but in the rhetorical sense.

**We could even have reverse stop-and-frisk. If you're out and about without your weapon, you're issued a ticket. And for good measure, if you're intoxicated while carrying you're sentenced to 10 years hard labor. It'll be a fuckin' puritan utopia.

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What fantasyland do you live in

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Virtually all of these mass shooters are on a suicide mission. Do you think they care?

NBC news said arming 20% of teachers means 640k teachers w guns. What could possibly go wrong with an extra half million guns on the street in.our schools no less?

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Let's say half

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are on a suicide mission.

What's wrong with deterring the other half?

To your other point...

Statistically speaking 36% of those teachers already own a gun themselves or their husbands or wives do. You're not talking about "extra" guns in any meaningful way.

As for 20% being armed...I don't know what the magic number is. Maybe 1% is enough. Maybe 20% isn't enough. I don't think there's a scientific measurement anyone's taken to see what the right number is. I know when I went to school in suburban Philadelphia in the 90s, some of the oldtimers waxed nostalgic about the good old days in more rural parts of Pennsylvania when on the first day of hunting season, everyone (teachers and students) brought their rifles to school so they could go hunting right after classes let out and there weren't really any incidents to speak of.

This is new ground, I'll admit, and I understand the instinct to caution, but again...36% of households own guns and do so without issue. Even in Liberal Massachusetts there are something like 300k+ LTCs for about 2.5 million households so about 10% of households again without any issues...so while I understand the apprehension the numbers don't indicate any particular danger with responsible law-abiding people owning and carrying firearms.

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Voting is closed. 39

Without any issues...

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You're not up on your gun stats are you?

Accidental discharge, suicides, domestic violence and on and on.

About 100k people are shot every year. A good number of them by themselves because a gun was "convenient" and they were depressed. Many many of the perpetrators are "responsible" gun owners.

And we are not talking gun "owners". We are talking armed people in the halls at school. Those are walking accidents waiting to happen.

Arming teachers a moronic idea. And what about colleges, christmas parties, music concerts and countless other venues. This is nothing but a dangerous prophylactic. Not a solution.

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I am up on my stats

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Of that 100k, 20k are suicides, which while tragic are immaterial to this discussion.

Of the 10k unlawful homicides, roughly half occur in the cores of our most violent cities which collectively account for 60% of homicides but only 20% of the population. And even that's misleading because not even in the Chicago or Newark or Detroit is anywhere close to *everyone* a killer.

Stats tabulated from the wiki page:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_crime_rate

This with more guns than people means that no, in fact nearly all gun owners and people who carry are perfectly capable of doing it safely.

As for "accidents" well I'd need to do more digging but you've got to exclude apples-to-oranges things like hunting accidents during peak season and "duh...I was cleaning my gun and it shot my girlfriend in the chest six times" stupidity. Yes...some people are too stupid to operate a firearm...or a motor vehicle...or be in charge of bridge maintenance and building inspection...and we somehow get along.

And we are not talking gun "owners". We are talking armed people in the halls at school. Those are walking accidents waiting to happen.

That's a stretch. Are armed police the nation over (something like a million people) also all accidents waiting to happen? Roughly 500 times a year a cop has to shoot someone. Out of a million people. For many of whom the job consists of intervening in dangerous situations.

You don't like guns...I get it. But risks need to be put into perspective and judged against the status quo, not just against their worst-case scenarios.

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I actually DO like the guns

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I just see absolutely zero reason for anyone ither than LEOs and a few other exceptions to gave one in their home or on their person.

You leave a lot out (like the fact that simply possessing a gun significantly increases the odds you'll be one of those 20k suicides).

And 500 times? You mean kill someone or shoot someone.

Bottom line, no statistical chance in hell that half a million guns in schools or anywhere increases safety. #lawoflargenumbers

See swirly s comments below.

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Theft

Combine how many guns get stolen from private owners plus the number of things that get stolen at public schools and you have the magic recipe for even more violence. Teachers need teaching supplies, not weaponry.

Anyone who thinks the solution to gun violence is more guns is an idiot. The United States is the only developed country which has mass shootings like this. How about trying more restrictions instead of more weapons for a change.

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Let custodians carry guns

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They know the schools, students and staff better than anyone.

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Then why

Virtually all of these mass shooters are on a suicide mission.

Then why do they most always pick gun-free zones to murder people?

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You mean like Fort Hood?

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An army base filled with armed trained killers where a guy w a pistol.took out 13 people?

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Correct me if I'm wrong

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But Major Hassan went all Allahu Akbar! on the cafeteria where all the patrons had their sidearms locked up, as in not on them.

Same thing with the Washington Navy Yard shooter a few years back. Only MPs around the perimeter of the base had guns...civilian staff and people who aren't MPs weren't (and still aren't) allowed to carry weapons on military installations.

And the nut who shot up that church in Texas was stopped by a parishoner who ran out to his truck and got his ... you guessed it ... AR-15.

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Not gun free zones

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At least the military facilities.

So what you are saying is our liveral gun laws allow people to shoot up our places of work, learning, education and recreation where we congregate in large numbers and the solution is not testricting gun access to the masses. It's the opposite, arm the masses. And somehow you think this should just be normal life?

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That's exactly what I'm saying

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If we force people to go unarmed and congregate together, that invites pot-shots that an armed population may deter and/or put a stop to.

I'm still confused why you think Ft. Hood helps you make your point.

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Not exactly a soft target

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And it's impossible to argue with someone whose basic premise is we should go backwards 150 years in history and live in the Wild West.

Civilized modern people take the stance that you limit access to guns which works in every orher developed country. You seem to prefer the living standards of Venezuela and central african notions living under repressive despotic regimes.

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I've got news for you

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If you look at just the gun ownership numbers, we already live in the wild west. But somehow even these episodes of violence are rare and our murder rate ranks considerable below central Africa and Venezuela or Central America.

Further, it drives by nearly 50 pct if you consider the population outside inner cities. Not to cherry-pick statistics but to make the point that violence in the US is a concentrated problem whereas in more violent countries it is more widespread.

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You know...

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...just like Fort Hood. Oh, wait...

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If arming

If arming teachers saves just one life, it is worth it.

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Congratulations!

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During a week whose political headlines were filled with things like the Republican party arguing "The president is too stupid, unobservant, and self-absorbed to act as the agent of a foreign power," you have nevertheless managed to eke out a win as the dumbest piece of shit I've heard say anything in a public forum!

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Right back atcha

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Argue against the idea, not against the person.

Your post is a complete non-sequitor.

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Well, OK

If arming teachers results in just one needless death, it was a horrible idea.

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Philosophy 101

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If you push this button, the 10 people standing behind the one-way mirror will die. If you don't push this button, 11 random people in your city will die.

All public policy choices result in bad outcomes for someone. What's the right balance? If armed teachers deter 90% of school shootings in the next century, "preventing" hundreds of deaths you don't see but result in accidental death of a dozen children that you do see...what then?

I'm told the status quo is not normal. I agree. That means a different approach is required. Maybe after twenty or thirty years of that different approach we'll be able to tell. It's a grim calculus for sure, but it's either that or complete guesswork and ideological posturing. Not scientific at all.

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Sophistry GR-1000

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If you push this button, the 10 people standing behind the one-way mirror will die. If you don't push this button, 11 random people in your city will die.

Please show me the universe where anyone is actually confronted with that choice.

All public policy choices result in bad outcomes for someone

And your assertion that your bad outcome is less bad than other bad outcomes is backed up by nothing but the fumes emanating from your fevered imagination. "Much good in your 'if'" indeed. Come back when you have anything that's supported by evidence.

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No

If arming teachers results in just one needless death, it was a horrible idea.

If disarming the public results in just one needless death, it was a horrible idea.

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Demonstrate where this has happened

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If disarming the public results in just one needless death, it was a horrible idea.

You cannot prove this. It is impossible to prove. Therefore, your entire argument is invalid. Go lie down, you're drunk.

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Voting is closed. 47

Denominator lives matter

How many people will be killed as a result of having lots of guns in the schools?

Remember: teachers get mad at principals, too. Guns have to be accessible and loaded - and can be grabbed and used to attack. Plenty of incidents of kids grabbing guns off of rentacops in school. Just google it

Of course, sometimes armed teachers in elementary schools just forget about their piece when they leave it somewhere. OOPSY!

Oh, yeah - what about those armed cops down in Florida? The ones who were there through the whole recent incident? The cops who exchanged fire with the Columbine assailants before they entered the building? Super effective.

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I don't follow his reasonning

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How exactly is having some teachers/staff armed going to make students and teachers less safe?

And what exactly is illogical about the idea that having some teachers/staff armed would provide a level of deterrence and in the God-forbid worst scenario some level of protection against an armed attacker?

I have no issue most of everything else he said about having schools "teach a culture of inclusion" assuming he actually means imparting values of good citizenship and empathy for your fellow man and not code words for SJW activism in lieu of what I said, but it really does not follow that armed personnel in the schools are a waste of time or a detriment to safety.

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Not *an* armed cop

Turns out, there were FOUR armed cops there, and they all stayed outside while those inside were being killed.

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Roman,

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you should perhaps talk to some teachers and ask them how they feel? I think that would help you understand the situation better in regards to your first question.

You are making a big assumption that having an armed teacher would stop anyone with a, say an AR-15, who is on a suicide mission and wants to kill others before his coup de grace. And both Columbine as well as Parkland had armed guards who could not or would not stop the shooter(s). In fact, the armed security guard in Florida hid behind a concrete column while the massacre went on and never entered the building:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2018/02/22/sheriff-deputy-never-...

And, then, there is the cost:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/02/22/the-economics...

So a teacher has say a AR-15 to match a potential killer's AR-15 (as it seems to be the weapon of choice). He/she opens with a rain of fire as well as the potential killer. So, the chance of any collateral damage is I guess part of what we would pay, as a society, for arming the good guys?

Teacher's are there to teach the kids, Roman. And we ask them to do much more than that these days. They have enough going on, on a day to day basis. They should not be law enforcement officers, too. And, more pointedly, you may be cool with a society that is so fucked up that it can't come together to address why many of us are seemingly ok with children, teens and adults are being murdered in mass shootings that we want to throw more guns into the mix. I hope for something better out of this mess.

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Can arm the cops already in schools

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They are called "Community Resource Officers". A handgun that they are already used to and trained to have.

Florida had an armed CRO, but he stayed outside the school while Cruz shot it up. Rather than answer questions why, he just retired.

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A, as in singular

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I'll say outright I wasn't there, and I'm spitballing, but...

Maybe if there were more than one then
1. More chance of intervention
2. Less chance of ... how to put this delicately ... the one person feeling like he's alone.

More armed CROs instead of asking teachers to take on more responsibility...that makes sense. But it shouldn't be all or nothing. If a teacher or staff member is willing to get trained then why not?

No one's under any delusion of gun = instant safety.
But the opposite of gun = instant calamity isn't true either.

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Unbelievable.

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I can't believe people are actually saying that teachers should carry guns. Of course Trump would be clueless enough to say that, but it's hard to believe anyone other than an NRA fanatic would repeat it. More guns = more problems, more violence, more shootings, more deaths.

And stop with the Second Amendment silliness. A generation ago, nobody, including hunters, thought they had a "right" to own or carry handguns or automatic weapons. Then, thanks to decisions by ultra-right Supreme Court justices Scalia and Thomas, amplified by an NRA hungry for more dollars in their unethical coffers, and the Second Amendment "right" to do anything with any type of gun, with absolutely no control, was born. That was a tragic moment for this country.

Will the courage of those high school students change anything? I hope so, but I'm not optimistic, given the spineless congressional Republicans who are scared to be on the wrong side of the NRA and the Tea Party lunatics. History will judge them harshly for selling out to the highest bidder with such cynicism, rather than listening to their consciences and standing up to do the right thing.

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I am not a fanatic

By on

and I did not vote for President Trump. But I will next time.

In fact, I don't even own a firearm. Never have. Many of my friends and extended family do own firearms. A buddy of mine lives in Manhattan and went through the rigamarole of getting himself a gun permit there. None has ever had any issues.

I shoot recreationally, and will likely purchase a pistol soon because it gets annoying to use community property after a while.

My ideas are either my own or cited where they aren't. I don't take money from anyone to post them here.

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Haha

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I did not vote for President Trump. But I will next time.

You're not gonna get the chance, skippy. But you can visit him in prison.

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Voting is closed. 39

How about non-lethal defense?

Give the teachers training in whatever sorts of evasive and self defense measures are suitable for area. Just don't bring more lethal weapons into schools that can be stolen and/or used against innocent people.

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No

There is a zero percent chance someone innocent is inadvertently killed with non-lethal defense.

There is a non-zero chance someone is inadvertently killed with lethal defense.

That's why guns in schools is a horrible idea.

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Voting is closed. 39

ahem

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Victoria Snelgrove. Ahem. All the people who had heart attacks when tazed. Ahem.

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Maybe?

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Roman,

Your maybes are living in a fantastical world.

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Most schools down south have

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Most schools down south have an armed cop called a Resorce Officer. If that’s a bad idea then I give up. Sure arming teachers is not practical but armed security is a no brainer..

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That part of the news story

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That part of the news story did bother me a little. For anyone that's read the critical incident report on the 2015 San Bernadino shooting on page 27 there is the following:

"The officers had learned during active shooter training to form a three- to four-officer contact team and immediately attempt to capture or neutralize the shooter(s)."

https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/file/891996/download

In the Parkland shooting, was the policy of the sheriff's department for individual officers to go in to neutralize an active shooter or were the expected to await additional resources to form such as 3-4 officer contact team?

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Presumably

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there would be safety in numbers.

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Voting is closed. 38

Well, then here's some safety for you

30-round, 50-round, 100-round magazines
5 seconds to empty a 30-round magazine
3200 feet per second
3-inch exit wounds

If those numbers make you feel safe, you'll love this
ER doctor discussing the treatment of Parkland victims:

One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle which delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. There was nothing left to repair, and utterly, devastatingly, nothing that could be done to fix the problem. The injury was fatal.
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What if an armed teacher goes

What if an armed teacher goes off the deep end?

Disgruntled, Disciplined by Principal?, Fed up, angry at students?

What if a student gets ahold of Teachers gun?

I'm just putting this out here for discussion.

Could a Teacher become "armed and dangerous?"

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Voting is closed. 61

Well ...

Cops are many times more likely to engage in domestic violence and to commit suicide (often with their service weapons) than the general population.

https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/09/police-officers-who...

They aren't known to be good at teaching math or history while on patrol, but that's because it isn't part of their job duties - kind of liked armed patrol isn't part of teaching duties.

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What stops him now?

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If he's already licensed and owns a firearm, what prevents him from going off the deep end now?

Same thing for violent students. They exist now, and they bring knives and guns and their fists and feet to school. The question to ask is whether this proposal would make the problem worse, better, or have no effect.

We can guess at worst-case scenarios all we want but we'd need hard numbers to tell.

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Voting is closed. 33

To answer your question

If he's already licensed and owns a firearm, what prevents him from going off the deep end now?

Time. If someone has to drive home to get their gun they're likely to cool off. If they have it on their hip it only takes a few seconds to go from pissed off to active shooter.

The risk posed by someone who plans their attack is unchanged so might as well lower the risk of spontaneous attacks.

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Voting is closed. 49

Well, what is that risk?

By on

And how does it stack up against the problem it's meant to mitigate?

And to the point here...what is the reduction in risk associated with cooling down? How does it vary with age, gender, and any metrics that can be meaningfully collected to gauge personality or disposition? Are sleeper hot-heads likely to be employed as teachers in schools already?

Some of these things can be quantified.

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Voting is closed. 39

What you seem to be missing

By on

1. other countries don't have these problems
2. when other gun culture countries started having these problems, they banned the weapons of choice.

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Why can't they put metal

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Why can't they put metal detectors and pass laws for stricter gun purchasing screening rather than having teachers being armed? I don't know. Too many guns in Boston and Boston neighborhoods right now as it is. Most of them stolen and in the possession of gang members (who all have head issues to begin with). BPD does an incredible job but their efforts are useless if the revolving court doorsjust kerp on turning.

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Nope

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Put them where they're needed. There hasn't been a need at BLS.

And it's not like they don't take other security measures. For that matter, it's not like there aren't actual BPD cops (you know, the ones with guns) at public schools, even BLS.

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In MA at least there are fairly strict screens

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You are required to submit to a criminal background check, produce two letters from your acquaintances vouching for your suitability to own a firearm, undergo an in-person interview, and in Brookline and Boston also pass a marksmanship test. That plus a two month wait gets you a license. Federal background check every time you want to buy a firearm.

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Voting is closed. 48

Roman’s Gun Advocacy: Clinical, Aseptic, Unadulerated Bullshit

I have been following this thread and take special note of your comments.

Curious - when it comes to defending oneself from an assault rifle attack, you speak as if you were experienced in such things. Length of barrel, muzzle velocity, size of round - why you sound like a regular ol’fucking, combat tested, weapons specialist.

Let me ask you: ever been in the military? Ever trained in armed response under combat conditions? Ever been in combat...more than that...ever been in a fire fight? Ever shoot anybody?

Unless you can answer yes to those questions, perhaps it time for you to sit back for awhile and listen - your “use by date” has expired.

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Voting is closed. 33

No to all specific questions

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What's your point?

Does the fact that I've been a life-long civilian and have never had to shoot anyone (and statistically speaking won't ever have too) have any bearing whatsoever on whether I can do math and look up specifications of commercially available rifles of one kind versus another?

More specifically, am I somehow not allowed to have an opinion on the same set of statistics you're looking at? Is that how it works? Thank you for your service if you've actually served but forgive me if I don't shut up just because you told me to.

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Voting is closed. 38

You can say anything you want...

Even the stupid comments of which you seem to have full command.

The majority of posters are thinking about humans - people - kids and the effect hat a minority part of society is having on them with their sick, twisted obsession with war weapons.

You speak of weapons in terms of nomenclature and specifications - you dipstick - our children are being murdered & maimed by people using high capacity weapons designed for military use. You know nothing of the death and destruction these gun are capable of rendering.

You speak of rights as if you were fucking arbritrator of what makes sense in a civilized society. You know, try talking to somebody who has been on the business end of an assault rifle in combat - they’ll tell where to put your statistics, research & comparisons.

And don’t thanks me for my service you Wanker - I didn’t do it for you or the rest of you self-entitled arm chair warriors - I did it to stay alive & for those I was with. Meantime you sit around mentally masturbating about Trump, freedom and whatever other slime dribbles out of your pie hole.

Want do something meanful - go down to the VA - take one of the old guys out for a walk - ask them what they think of the horseshit you have been spewing out. What a pathetic, empty breathing mass of protoplasm you have revealed yourself to be.

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I've known a number of veterans

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As teachers, as colleagues, as bosses, as subordinates. Some of them would agree with you, some are gun nuts to a level that I'm not, and some aren't.

Your opinion is your own, it isn't universal. You're not the arbiter of what's good and wholesome either.

And you know what? I heard you. I don't want to see those kids dead, or any more kids dead. But I don't want "rights" to become just another "tired argument" to be trashed whenever something bad happens.

Would I change my tune if it happened to me? Don't know. Maybe I'd be the hero, more likely I'd cower in the corner and play dead and shit myself for good measure. But I know now that I don't like talk of throwing out everyone's freedom because some people can't handle it.

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I figured out the solution

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We need tighter regulations on black market sales. Today, people buy whatever they want from black market sellers and both sides completely disregard our gun laws, which is unacceptable. Once we get serious about reigning in the black market, we'll see significant improvement.

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I figured out an even better solution

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The reason there is a prevalent black market for illegal gun sales is because there is a prevalent supply of guns which were all sold legally in some other state. If you eliminate all legal guns there will be almost no illegal guns. Already illegal guns are very expensive - often costing 5x what the legal purchase price would be. And that is with them being quite common and prevalent. How much do you think they will cost and how scarce will they become when the only source becomes overseas smuggling from say, Yemen.

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Where do you think they came from?

The illegal guns were legal guns, before they were stolen by or sold to criminals. If our country wasn't awash in the things, criminals wouldn't find it so easy to get them. There are more guns than people.

Fun fact: 3% of gun owners have over 50% of the guns. These are not normal people.

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Black Market

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Missed your reply until now, and I didn't know about the fun fact. That's pretty crazy if true.

Today's illegal guns were once legal, yes, but now they're illegal; can't "put the genie back into the bottle" as they say.

It's a touchy subject and I don't have all the answers (regulating the black market was obviously tongue in cheek). I'm skeptical that enacting a bunch of additional regulations/laws to make it more difficult for regular people ie "the good guys" to obtain guns is going to make anybody safer. Criminals don't follow laws and can get any weapons they want through the black market.

Seems like a more dangerous situation than what we have now.

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Because why?

I'm skeptical that enacting a bunch of additional regulations/laws to make it more difficult for regular people ie "the good guys" to obtain guns is going to make anybody safer.

It's worked everywhere in the world where it's been done. Why do we have to be so stupid about it?

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Where has it worked?

By on

Not saying you're right or wrong, just curious what you're referring to. Is there no black market in these places? Any new laws don't apply to criminals as they don't obey laws, so I'm conflicted about making it much more difficult for law-abiding to protect themselves (if they choose).

I'd love to find a solution for all of these shootings too.

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Easier to ask where it hasn't

I'll leave that for you -- where have they implemented strong gun controls and still had a series of mass shootings? I don't know of such a place. Do you?

Where it has worked: Australia, for one.

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Voting is closed. 11

Start with a national

By on

Start with a national database! If somebody buys a gun now, the only records are on paper, in a notebook, in the gun store somewhere - that gun gets stolen, or sold to somebody second hand and they sell it to a bad-doer, the police can't track down where it came from without acting like it's fucking 1968 and using a paper card catalog. Why can't we plug in a serial number into a database and look up where a gun came from and who was originally responsible for it? That is INSANE. I can look up perfect strangers' PROPERTY TAX RECORDS and whether they installed a WATER HEATER in their house, but we can't tell if they bought a gun and were irresponsible??

There's plenty of common sense shit we should be doing that has nothign to do with taking guns away from anybody, but aren't. Unreal.

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Voting is closed. 51

Database and teachers

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The ATF cant track guns in database because congress and the NRA backed a regulation to stop them. Strengthen the pre sale check system and create a national database and make all states and government entities have to provide arrest and confinement records. Would be a good start
Everyone cries abut gun violence in Chicago but a great percentage of all those guns seized are
sold from a gun shop in Indiana. That is where the cops and ATF have to stop.
if the FBI had interviewed the shooter in Parkland they could not have arrested him or taken his guns unless he made and overt threat. They would not have stopped him.
lastly trained police officers are less than 25% accurate firing their weapon under duress. Teachers no matter how well trained would be much worse. You would most likely increase casualties during an event as they sprayed bullets around

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Voting is closed. 41

Maybe

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Maybe arming teachers isn’t the answer. I can see the argument being made that a teacher could be overpowered by a 19 year old sophomore and have the gun taken away. That would not be good. However, there should definitely be licensed, vetted, and trained staff who are armed and within the school and are able to react to a Florida type of situation and mitigate by returning fire, if necessary. I’d like to go with “we need to look at the bigger problem”, but while we do that, kids still need to be protected.

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Voting is closed. 34

Gun-huggers: insane, deeply frightened of their own

shadows, or just desperately compensating for certain physical inadequacies?

It's incomprehensible to me, the kind of mind that believes that military-grade assault weapons belong in the hands of civilians.

I understand why Trump rambles on about patently stupid ideas like arming schoolteachers. He always needs another distraction from his everyday White House shit-show, to say nothing of the specter of criminal charges creeping up on him.

I also get why Wayne LaPierre raves like an utter loon about [paraphrasing from his recent CPAC speech] “a tidal wave of European-style socialists bearing down upon us, creating a captive society, eliminating resistance, making a list in a cloud database of those who spank their children, expunging the fundamental concept of moral behavior, controlling speech through safe zones, building a new socialist wave in America that's just a short hop to the systematic destruction of our most basic freedoms”. He gets paid six or seven million dollars a year to spew that frothing, paranoid horseshit to hordes of suckers. Pretty sweet gig: a highly lucrative, McCarthyite scary-clown act.

Ordinary citizens defending a right to own assault weapons, I don't understand at all. My best guesses attribute to them some combination of low intelligence, profoundly crippled risk-assessment skills, extreme gullibility, and/or moral depravity informed by pig-ignorant racism and xenophobia.

I'd dearly love to see the next generation of kids that have started speaking up lately manage turn the tide away from their elders' entirely irrational degeneracy. The NRA and its death cult are an ongoing menace to American society. We're the laughingstock of the civilized world on this score, except no one is laughing, just ruefully wondering how the "greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the earth" lost its collective marbles.

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Plenty of intelligent and ethical people

By on

enjoy their guns safely and responsibly.

Among my personal acquaintances who own semiautomatic pistols, all have their four-year degrees and many hold post-graduate degrees. They also run the gamut from observant Jews and Christians to damn-near atheists.

Your inability to understand that people just as intelligent and moral as you may hold different opinions from you saddens me. I remember when you and I could have more-or-less respectful conversations on this very forum. Now you're telling me to kill myself and accusing me and nearly a third of the country of practically pulling the trigger themselves. I hope you're more reasonable in person.

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As ever, you are a ridiculous adolescent, advancing

bad-faith arguments.

I grew up in an extended family of people in the service, including my dad, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces. Most of them are avid hunters and sport shooters. I get gently ridiculed at family reunions as the dorky city mouse with limited shooting skills, no gun room in my home, no experience hunting with antique weapons or crossbows. (It helps a little that I am licensed, though I no longer keep a firearm within easy reach.)

One of my uncles was a rust-belt city public-housing rent collector who went to work every day with loaded shoulder and ankle holsters. I count a couple of small-town New England policemen among my friends.

I have zero issues with traditional American gun culture, including the use of the kind of sidearms (including semi-automatics) my relatives routinely use for sport shooting or mercy kills while hunting. My clearly-stated problem is with the modern NRA-fueled fetishizing of the sort of military-grade assault weapons that are expressly designed for killing humans.

Gun manufacturing is a giant industry that has reaped huge profits with historically effective lobbying and canny marketing at the cost of countless lives. I had resigned myself to the horrible notion that they'd won the battle after Sandy Hook: if Americans could accept the slaughter of little kids without a whimper, what else was there to say? The response to Parkman has given me a flicker of hope. Maybe there are enough young people who share my belief that we'd be a much nobler, saner, safer society without assault weapons in civilian hands to make a difference this time.

Meanwhile, you're an intellectually dishonest putz. I sincerely hope you're just a precocious, misguided teenager who still has room to grow into a different kind of adult.

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I really don't see the distinction

By on

since I am sure that you will agree that all of the pistols and especially hunting rifles you have no issue with are just as capable of killing humans as the AR15 is. I will grant you that while it's not a matter of kind, it certainly can be a matter of degree.

As for a nobler and saner society...contrary to popular belief we are getting there. Violent crime of all kinds has been going down across the board, all while gun ownership has been constant or marginally increasing. That's because all of the nasty statistics are downstream of the culture at large more than they are upstream of it*. A nobler and saner society *can* have everyone keep an AR15 at home and a collection of bump stocks to boot and it won't matter one bit.

Maybe you do see bloodthirst in the NRA. I don't. I do see a movement toward an extreme negotiating position in reaction against a perceived (and in my estimation real) effort to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I guarantee that for every ten or hundred of you who has no issues with traditional gun culture, there's one extremist who'd like to grab and melt down anything and everything up to and including orange plastic squirt guns. And while I'd like to live in a logical and rational paradise, I'm OK with a little extremism in negotiating positions. It's the bread and butter of a healthy society that we can come to the table with completely opposed positions and walk away without one side dismembering the other.

As for the name-calling...maybe I'm ten years old, maybe I'm fifty-six with seven grandchildren and a pillar of my community known for my warmth and kindness. Maybe I'm a black lesbian escaped mental patient with a third-grade education and delusions of being a thirty-something Jew who immigrated from the former Soviet Union as a boy. Maybe I actually am that. What the fuck does it matter?

*Bash Andrew Breitbart all you like, but the man made a good point about what leads and what follows.

https://nypost.com/2018/02/22/gun-control-activists-need-to-learn-a-litt...

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Among my other friends are a couple of ER surgeons.

Advancing the notion that pistols and hunting rifles are in the same class of lethality as assault weapons is staggeringly, shamefully ignorant: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/what-i-saw-treating...

That Post editorial is hilarious, a brilliant exercise in entirely missing the point. I'm a liberal who is perfectly fine with everybody owning as many hunting rifles, shotguns, and handguns as they can afford: I am literally on that team, if not as enthusiastically as some. If you're worried about home defense, for instance, buy a shotgun. Your aim can be crap, and you don't have to worry about a round going through your next three neighbors' houses.

AR-15s and their ilk are another matter entirely. Muzzle velocity makes all the difference.

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As described in your link

By on

The key factors are muzzle velocity and caliber. Both a are function of the length of the barrel and the round. Whether the round comes out of a lever-action Winchester or a scary-looking AR it's just as bad for you. Again...a matter of degree, not of kind. An AR lets you get off a shot or two per second. A Winchester...not so much.

Despite the implication in your article, semiautomatic pistols can be just as lethal. The actual mental patient who shot up VT in 2007 did so with a single semiautomatic pistol and 50 rounds of "low velocity" ammunition. Or in practical terms, nothing you wouldn't have on your person for a quick stop at the firing range.

What's the common thread...intent of the person, not the tool. If you're OK with your friends and relatives having a 9mm pistol and a meager 50 rounds with them for mercy kills when out hunting, then you're OK with them having access to a tool that can enable a person to cause an immense catastrophe.

The other common thread is that the VT shooter, and the Washington Navy Yard shooter, and the Florida shooter, and the Texas church shooter, and Nidal Hassan, had either sought out psychiatric help, had had meaningful encounters with law enforcement before, had set off all sorts of alarm bells among family or co-workers, and yet were still able to get at a gun because the background check system wasn't used, wasn't used properly, or wasn't reported into.

That's where a culture change can and should happen. See someone who looks like he can't have weapons? Have a system in place to report him and let the courts adjudicate it if he comes looking to purchase a weapon. That's not there now as most of my examples show.

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Voting is closed. 37

Let me get this straight: are you seriously comparing

the lethality of *any* handgun or hunting rifle to that of an AR-15?

Sorry: you're just not grounded in objective reality. Talk to a military medic or ER surgeon and get back to me. There's solid reasoning behind our military's equipping our soldiers with assault rifles instead of fancy handguns. Reading that Atlantic article I just cited might also be a good start on your way back to Planet Science. Facts are stubborn things.

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Not any,

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The .22 target shooting pistol I'm fixin' to purchase is not a practical defensive weapon...but I'd still rather not be shot with it.

But please explain in small words so I understand how the same round fired from two different rifles with the same length barrel can have anything other than essentially the same velocity downrange? As far as I know, whether the rifle has a pistol grip or a hand-carved walnut stock, if the round is the same and the barrel is the same, then what happens downrange is the same.

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Oh, FFS. Study the difference

in muzzle velocities between the most powerful handguns and the most basic military rifles. It's not close. Study the effects of the worst wound you can take from a handgun vs. a glancing blow from an assault rifle. It's possible to kill a person with a well-aimed pistol shot; it's hard not to kill a person even if you just wing them with an AR-15. Pistols are versatile things, which means they're not optimal for everything. Military-grade rifles are keenly, narrowly designed for one objective: killing you even without dead aim.

Stop pretending that they're pretty much the same thing. I'm okay with you having a pistol. I can see exactly no reason why you should have an Armalite.

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Voting is closed. 36

I was talking about

By on

hunting rifles. Was that not clear when I explicitly mentioned two kinds of rifles in my post?

I wasn't aware I was pretending anything. Rifles are dangerous, pistols are dangerous. Which one is more dangerous depends on the context. Stashed away in the gun safe, neither are dangerous. In the hands of a madman, both can be just as dangerous.

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Voting is closed. 31

Maybe you can explain to me why a hunter

needs a rifle with the power of a soldier's weapon. My hypothetical Lamborghini can do 200mph: why can't I drive it at that speed on the highway?

No civilian needs that kind of horsepower for leisure purposes outside of a racing track, and there are good public safety reasons not to let them use it on open roads. The same logic should apply to firearms.

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To jump in here If I may....

Roman you have to agree that more damage is done with a semi-automatic rifle than with a hand gun. Accuracy and Magazine capacity are the #1 reasons

I have a Smith @ Wesson [email protected] .40 at home. I can do some serious damage if I wanted to shoot up an area where people are walking around. Magazine holds 15+1 in the chamber. I can probably carry 10 mags if I wanted, giving me a hundred bullets or so. My accuracy over 25 yards with moving targets is probably less than 20%, most of those wont be lethal shots either. If I go in a room with people hiding in the corner? Much more damage, but if those people wanted to charge me? The could probably take me out with 2-3 deaths.

Now lets ban the AR-15. Is that going to stop the shooters, especially seeing they all seem to love to use it? I'd say no. Your Smith and Wesson M&P 15 sport is pretty much the same weapon (cheaper actually). No if I go out with this rifile? I am killing more people, much easier. Each mag carries 30 rounds I believe, and I am accurate with this at about 50-100 yards with standing/hiding targets.

Overall I'm not so sure this last killer or the Sandy hook kid would use a handgun for their crimes. Like many of the people who commit suicide by gun, I don't think many of them would do it if guns weren't available.

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I don't think I ever disagreed

By on

So other than a question of 15 round vs 40 round vs 10 round magazines (good to be a cop or old enough to own pre-94 stuff, eh?), what's the difference between an that (still Massachusetts-legal?) 15-22 and any other rifle chambered for .22LR or an AR15 chambered for something bigger and any other Massachusetts-legal rifle chambered for the same round?

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AR 15 can be fun at the range

I found such weapons boring after a short burst of wow, however.

Trained with similar weapons in the military, but was never as much fun as picking cans and bottles off a fence with my uncles and a .22 Never as good a shot as my mom was, though. She had that Zen.

AR-15s are really "hoverround" weapons in the hands of civilians - an easy crutch for people who can't shoot and don't intend to learn. My gunny told stories about how Viet Kong would make a noise or drop a stick, get US Soldiers to blow their whole clip, and then pick them off when reloading.

Moreover, these ridiculous bullet hoses are useless for hunting and that is why Canada and Australia banned them. Haven't been to Australia, but I drove clean through Canada from the Okanagan to Sherbrooke before turning for Boston and there are long stretches where the only place for a restroom break is a gun-and-souvenier-and-sandwich shop.

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I'm actually going to agree with you part-way

By on

And I'll go further and say that people should be made to demonstrate some reasonable level of proficiency with any class of firearm before being licensed to own one.

But again...shot-for-shot, how's an AR-15 any worse than a hunting rifle firing the same bullet?

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Voting is closed. 30

You can probably answer that if you reverse you thinking.....

If someone was coming to your house to hurt you and kill you, would you rather have an AR-15 or a Mossberg MVP Patrol rifle (standard mag)?

Sounds like you and I both know there are dozens of rifles just like the AR-15, but if you gave this Florida shooter the Mossberg MVP, he simply isn't going to do the carnage that he did.

If you have both guns and need to shoot 10 targets in 10 minutes, there is no difference, if you want to kill a bunch of people in a short period of time (or protect your family and house from an intruder which is the argument gun lovers should be making), you want the one over the other.

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Right...and...

By on

if you ban or restrict AR15s...you're also going to have to ban or restrict every single rifle with anywhere close to the same achievable firing rate.

In fact, you're going to need to define an acceptable sustained rate of fire. Forget the bump stocks for a second (assuming you can ban a shaped piece of plastic in any meaningful way), what would be an acceptable rate of fire?

With a bolt-action or lever-action rifle you can get off an aimed shot what...every 5 seconds or so? With your pistol, you can get off an aimed shot every second. Is that a meaningful restriction?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Texas_tower_shooting

This guy wasn't using anything special, and he killed a lot of people over a good long period of time.

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Voting is closed. 39

I would say most people would find that reasonable...

banning semi-automatic rifles that have a high magazine capacity with .556 ammo.

The hunting angle should never be the issue (you don't need a semi-automatic firearm to hunt). Home defense is the issue. How are you going to tell me what I can have for a firearm if several armed intruders come into my house? I should have the right to defend my self with the most powerful weapons. There is some merit to those arguments logically, although I believe the opposing argument is that A. there needs to be a line drawn somewhere (you can't have a rocket launcher in your house) and B. stories of people dying from armed intruders because they didn't have the proper amount of firepower are so rare that you simply can't use that as an argument (the 2nd amendment helps gun owner's arguments as well)

Charles Whitman was doing sniper stuff, but obviously you can kill a lot of people with pretty much any gun in certain situations. (Whitman probably isn't killing as many people if he had my S&W .40. with unlimited ammo.)

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There's another argument

By on

About magazine capacity.

Say you take the California option and confiscate all magazines with greater than 10 (or is it 7?) Round capacity. All the lawful gun owners turn theirs in and no new ones are sold or imported into the country.

A magazine is a piece of metal (or plastic) with a spring at the bottom. They can be manufactured in your garage if you have a few thousand dollars worth of machine tools.

Same thing for bolt action or lever action rifles. That can be (illegally) modified for higher capacities, even if you accept the lower rate of fire. So now you get back to the same point we* gun nuts have been making the whole time: the ban would be an honor system and the bad guys would still be able to get their hands on weapons with high capacity magazines while law-abiding citizens who want a home-defense or personal defense weapon would not.

And by what mechanism would this have teeth? Would you be required to submit to random inspections? Would every factory and machine shop I. The country be subject to random inspections? Let's say I don't own any guns but have metalworking equipment or just an expensive 3D printer in my basement or garage. Will I be required to register it with the police and submit to random inspections?

My point is that we don't do any of that now and crimes committed with guns are going down over time and much of the violent gun crime remains a concentrated problem. Thus any bans and associated inspection regimes to give them teeth would be a misapplication of finite law enforcement resources while the alternative of an armed society (which is where we are now) with a more robust licensing and screening regime (whhich is not where we are now) and generally the same rates of ownership and availability of firearms would be a better application of finite law enforcement resources.

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Voting is closed. 36

People would still accept it...

And that is simply what you are going to need to worry about Roman. Even though pro-gun arguments work logically, you are going to see a ban on semi-automatic rifles. You won't need inspections. Like any crime, if the police have probable cause that you are breaking the law (printing money, making illegal guns, making drugs, taking bets over the phone), they apply for a search warrant and go through the same processes.

Break down these past mass shootings by different factors (would they have gotten their guns with MA type restrictions and would they have killed as many people?)

The Vegas guy probably could have gotten a class A LTC in MA an using a now banned bump stock, would have done a lot of damage either way.

The other ones Columbine, Sandy Hook, Va Tech, Aurora and Florida probably would not have been able to get those guns if they lived in MA, especially the VA Tech, Aurora and Florida Shooters. The columbine and Sandy Hook shooters did not have licenses and the columbine and Va Tech shooters used small capacity weapons I believe (or would have used them and done as much damage).

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I disagree

By on

Certainly some people would accept a total ban, a smaller number would accept a ban with confiscation, but there would be court challenges, there would be electoral push-back, from voters and state/local governments.

Montana (or Wyoming?) has a clause in its constitution that conditions its membership in the union on the second amendment. High gun-ownership states like much of the rest of the Mountain West and the South wouldn't enact state bans, let alone confiscation, and would balk at any federal attempt to enforce one.

God-forbid there might be even worse.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/the-gun-control-debate-could-brea...

Honestly...it's not a bear worth poking, a hornet's nest worth tipping over, or a policy worth seriously considering.

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Not talking about a total ban Roman...

I think first you might see states like Florida (not really the "south" if you ask a lot of southerners, especially Broward County) start with gun permit processes like MA or FL. If you did this, the gun lovers would pretty much still be able to get their guns, as most of the killers now (like my post above) wouldn't be able to have obtained guns and I don't think gun lovers would have a problem with that if they simply get to keep their guns.

If that doesn't work......, then limiting certain weapons would be the next step for voters to try.

Also, I tend to agree with you that most voters, even in Florida aren't going to be able to push any sort of legislatoin for bans at this point..

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Home Defense?

Seriously?

Well, lets ask this: how many armed home invasions? How many NOT involving enormous quantities of drugs or cash?

I don't deal drugs. I don't need a weapon of mass destruction.

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Small numbers

By on

And you know what...if we apply that filter in less well-heeled neighborhoods than yours it'll probably still be a small number. Mugging and car-jacking are where it's at.

Now: is it a small number for home invasions because lots of people have guns and burglars wanna burgle and not get themselves shot, is it a small number because most people aren't criminals to begin with, or does it not matter why because if there ain't no home invasions there's no need to get out the gun so it could be a shotgun, a revolver, or a nuclear artillery shell and it won't make any difference.

On a less hyperbolic note, we're talking about what happens at the extremes here. It's not mathematically valid to conflate what happens at the extremes with happens on average.

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Not sure if you were talking to me Swirly....

I wasn't saying an AR-15 is needed for home defense, but if you were to make a logical legal argument based on the 2nd amendment, a court might rule in favor of being allowed to have these weapons in the home.

Like I said in my above post, there are so few instances where someone can say they didn't have enough firepower to fight off armed killers invading their property, that argument doesn't hold up with me. Courts on the other hand don't always make decisions based on common sense.

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Voting is closed. 29

We don't ban Lamborghinis

By on

NASCAR cars are the same chassis as what you'd buy at the dealership with some minor engine tweaks, lightweighting in some places, extra restraints/safety equipment in others. The 'SC' stands for 'stock car.'
They aren't street legal because they take all the lights and mirrors out.

An F-1 racer could theoretically become street-legal with lights and mirrors added.

What's illegal? Racing them on city streets at 200mph, no matter what particular vehicle it is. And as we like to point out here, 30-40mph can be dangerous all by itself.

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U r...

By on

A one man theater of the absurd

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Because

By on

I partially agreed with you but put your personal experiences into a larger context? OK.

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No

By on

Because you compare a man made object designed for the sole purpose of taking life and you compare it to the most prevalent material on the surface of the planet and necessary to sustain life.

But even that absurdity is lost on you.

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Voting is closed. 27

Rocks

By on

Rocks are common as dirt, though not quite as common as water. They can be used to kill without much fashioning at all.

Most of the knives in my kitchen and yours are designed solely to cut flesh in the most efficient manner possible.

The gasoline in your car, or in the can you keep to fill up your lawnmower or snowblower is chemically refined solely for the purpose of releasing the maximum amount of energy in the shortest amount of time possible when mixed with air.

The electrical outlets in your house, the chemicals under your kitchen sink, and everything else all are either designed primarily to do something very nasty if put in contact with human flesh or have that as a direct and inseparable consequence of whatever it is they are designed to do.

Being a normal person, you don't think of them that way because it never occurs to you to cause harm to your fellow man in the first place. So sure, I understand why you think it's absurd but we've got here is a difference in perception and not in reality.

All of these things can be dangerous if misused and directed against another human being but we get along just fine because like you, just about every person in this country wouldn't dare dream about causing physical harm to their fellow man.

To drive the point further:

You don't hear anyone calling for the confiscation of laundry chemicals and car batteries after some nutter throws acid at another person. You don't hear calls for closing down all the filling stations after an arsonist is caught. You don't hear calls for confiscating kitchen knives and making everyone eat pre-made microwave meals with plastic spoons after one of our regularly scheduled hobo stabbings on the Common.

It's not absurd at all. I can understand why you'd think it is if you begin with the assumption that private citizens shouldn't have firearms and work backward from there, but it's not absurd if you don't presuppose that conclusion.

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Keep digging

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Saves the rest of us the trouble.

This is why you can't have a common sense argument with gun freaks.

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Shovels too

By on

Would you care to dig up a common-sense argument for why we allow private citizens to own all of the dangerous and easily-accessible stuff I listed or would you rather just assume I and a hundred million Americans of all walks of life are just incapable of rational thought?

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Roman's argument here is exactly what I'm

talking about when I ascribe "profoundly crippled risk-assessment skills" to gun fetishists.

Every security decision in the world is about making trade-offs. The value of the automobile far outweighs its societal costs in death, dismemberment and destruction in ordinary use, never mind its tiny fractional use in terrorist attacks. Add to that list every one of the examples he cites: kitchen knives, electrical outlets, etc., etc. It's one of the favorite and most foolish arguments of gun-huggers, the most patent proof that they suck at a basic life skill.

Military-grade weapons in the hands of civilians? Their benefits are not remotely worth the cost to society, which is why most sane, civilized societies don't allow them. Except ours, because we're beholden to an amoral, profit-driven gun industry that is sophisticated enough about marketing to hold a few million gullible idiots in thrall with its childish boogeyman scare stories.

I used to agree with the observer who said after Sandy Hook, "The gun control debate is over: Americans are now fine with the mass murder of children." After Parkman, I'm no longer so sure, which is the most hopeful feeling I've had about the issue in many years.

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Value

The value of the automobile far outweighs its societal costs in death, dismemberment and destruction in ordinary use

The value of the freedom far outweighs its societal costs in death, dismemberment and destruction in ordinary practice.

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Yeah, remember that

horrible time in America when there weren't millions of assault rifles in the hands of askeered numbnut white guys and we were all so terribly oppressed?

How surprising that you can't tell a real threat from one invented to frighten your tiny self in the service of sociopathic industrial profiteering, CC.

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Voting is closed. 18

So your ability

By on

to LARP a SWAT team member, so as to overshadow your massive inferiority complex and general fear of the world by carrying a gun and play-acting that it gives you any degree of control over the world and whatever chaos is in it, is worth the deaths of tens of thousands of people every year? And you're hanging your argument entirely on the inherent value of that "freedom," because you've decided that your definition of that abstract noun is the correct one, because 'Murica. Do I have that right?

I would usually step back here and let your own bald-faced idiocy stand for itself, but I'm worried that you don't actually notice when you get gang-tackled by the internet. I also feel like you really need to hear this said more often: you are not as smart a person as you think you are, and it would be in your own best interests to stop arguing in a public forum.

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Do an exercise for me

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Play devil's advocate and come up with two reasons why someone might want to own a high-powered rifle, or for that matter a 9mm pistol with a >10 round magazine, that don't hinge on having a small penis or a low IQ.

You don't have to believe it. You don't have to pretend you think it outweighs your position. But if you can give that an honest try, you'll have better luck understanding why you think you're seeing an explosion of stupidity around this issue in spite of your hectoring and haranguing.

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Voting is closed. 18

Fallacy of quantification

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You're completely right in that you can rigorously quantify the negative utility of cars, guns, lawn chemicals, kitchen knives, and various kinds of firearms very precisely in terms of individual deaths or injuries. You're on less firm ground about being able to quantify as precisely or accurately the economic value of all of them. And you're off in the clouds if you think you can quantify the non-tangible worth of any of them beyond an opinion poll and semi-educated guesswork.

Deaths and injuries are rare events. They can be measured exactly and just about every one of them can have a specific immediate cause attached to them.

The economic value of cars? Of lawn fertilizer? Of laundry detergent? You can measure in dollars the benefit of owning one brand over another, of using cars over horse-drawn carriages, of washing your whites with bleach versus Tide versus hot water.

But you can't really quantify very accurately in dollars the value of washing your clothes weekly versus monthly versus yearly versus not at all. There's a cultural value in not smelling like shit or looking like shit, but different people will draw the line in different places. So for someone who's a stickler for cleaned and pressed shirts, a better washing machine is worth more than for someone who doesn't mind coming to work like he's slept in his clothes. You can't put a precise dollar amount on it because a precise number doesn't exist. A range exists.

Same thing for having a car in the city or dense suburb. You can put a cost on insurance and gas and parking and gasoline. But you can't put a dollar amount on what the car buys you because it buys you convenience in getting to work outside the city center, in getting around, in being able to go somewhere with less advance planning than if you had to take transit or a zipcar or a rental. And you can't put a dollar amount on the sense of ownership and freedom that many (but not all) people derive from owning their own vehicle. Because a single number doesn't exist. Some people like it, some people hate it and don't own cars, and some people are indifferent and will buy a car if they need it and won't if they don't because they don't like getting out of the city or will choose not to do so for reasons of whim and not economics.

Same thing for firearms of all types. Some people feel very strongly that they must be able to protect themselves...including with weapons that look big and scary and have a high rate of fire. In practice of course it's only anywhere near a practical defensive weapon out in the middle of nowhere where it's ten miles to the nearest neighbor and twenty miles to the nearest police. But the value is in the perceived safety it adds. And that's real.

That's a real societal benefit. You shouldn't dismiss it as zero because it isn't zero. It appears to you to be zero, and it's easy to fool yourself into thinking that your assessment of it, no matter how rigorous and mathematical, is the objective assessment.

I'm not a post-modernist by any stretch of the imagination, but I've got to hand it to them: somewhere in their nonsense about mathematics and gravity being social constructs and tools of oppression is a kernel of truth: not everything has a single objective truth attached to it. Different people with different sets of values (not core moral values) can come to different conclusions presented with the same facts. And both can be valid.

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Voting is closed. 13

Actually, it is possible to quantify the economic benefits of

operating automobiles, various human vices like smoking and overeating, and other fixtures of modern life that carry some risks in their ordinary use. There's a whole industry devoted to those kind of risk calculations: maybe you've heard of it.

I'm pointing out the idiocy of the gun-slobberer's argument that "Hey, every human activity has *some* risk associated it: you could die sticking a fork in a socket, and nobody's talking about electricity control, amiright? Since everything carries *some* risk of death, and we can't ban *everything*, why ban anything? People are still going to get in lethal car accidents: why do we even bother with safety standards or road tests or vehicle inspections or eye tests: some bad shit is going to happen. Hey, we have laws, but criminals break laws anyway: I don't see why we even bother with laws!"

(And yes, you could kill 17 people with a kitchen knife, but if you can't tell the difference between knives and assault rifles as mass-murder weapons, you're even dumber than you sound.)

If gun-worshipers want to prove that the value of civilians owning weapons of war is worth more than the thousands of senseless deaths they have caused, they need to do more than wave a flag and holler "Freedom!"

Meanwhile, the non-insane world has exercised economic risk assessment and common sense and said, "The entertainment or sporting or personal-defense value or however else gun-tuggers justify the stroking of their military-grade weapons does not exceed their terrible costs to society, which is why we've banned them."

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Voting is closed. 14

How to live. I mean really live.

Luongo said she was so afraid of Yao that she would run to her car every day when she left the house at 5 a.m. to go to work.

Running to your car every day in fear.

Not a nice way to live.

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Voting is closed. 12

Again, the reasoning skills of a frightened and really

dim two-year-old:

"Let's see: my risk of getting murdered is maybe 1 in 500,000, and my risk of getting murdered by a psychopath with a knife is, what, a tiny fraction of that?

I know how to respond to this like a sane adult with a grasp of probability and solid risk-assessment skills: give everyone firearms! It's so clear how that makes us all so much safer!"

There's useless, there's dogshit-dumb, and then waaay below that, there's capecoddah.

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Voting is closed. 12

My risk of getting hurt in a car accident is low

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In fact, it's damn low. It's higher than getting shot, but it's still low.

And yet in just about every state, there are required minimum coverages for injury to self in car insurance policies. My risk of getting sick and requiring hospitalization is also low. And is low for everyone from age zero to about fifty or so. Yet Obamacare and Romneycare before it mandates minimum coverages for people who, making a rational risk assessment, are better off not paying for it.

I'm also required to purchase insurance coverage for breast cancer. As a male, my chance of contracting breast cancer is as close to zero as you can get without leaving the realm of reality for fantasy. My rational behavior would be to not purchase coverage for it.

Why do we allow, or in these cases, require these things? Because considerations other than the raw numbers you choose to focus on are at play.

And there you go again calling someone stupid because your values are different from his values. That's not a good look, dude.

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Voting is closed. 11

Non sequitur: your facts are uncoordinated.

I won't even bother with the gibberish capecoddah posted below.

You seem to want to keep running away from your argument that risk assessments cannot be made in economic terms. I don't blame you: it is patently specious, and anyone in a risk assessment profession can tell you. That includes institutional investors, insurance rate-setters, actuarial scientists, physical and IT security professionals, on and on and on.

The reason that the individual mandate exists is that insurance pools don't work if only the sick pay into them. Are you really ignorant of that oh-so-basic information on the healthcare debate? And congrats on finding an irrelevant marginal case like your having to pay for breast cancer coverage, as though that blows up gigantic industries that revolve around making economic risk assessments.

What's really not a good look for me is wasting time in any online discussion with you. As ever, I can't tell if you really are as obtuse as you seem, or if you just enjoy arguing in bad faith.

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Voting is closed. 14

I'm running away?

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I'm obtuse?

I'm telling you the bleeding obvious: you can't quantify subjective things that vary for different people like perceived safety and perceived freedom with a single number for everyone.

And you keep telling me I'm an idiot for not accepting that your quantification is the only one. Like there's no such thing as subjective perception and there's no such thing as placing a value on that subjective perception that outweighs another dollar amount.

Bloody hell, we all do it all the time. It's called civilization. Why do we not consume horsemeat in this country? Why do we have animal welfare laws? Why is it illegal for a physician to prescribe a suicide cocktail? Why do we have an age of consent? Why do we allow the sale of violent pornography? Why do we allow the sale of cigarettes? Why do we allow the sale of hard liquor (if ever there was a good analog to guns)?

Why the hell do we not pick one objective performance metric and impose it on everyone...cradle to grave...in the schools, in the laws, in public shaming...everywhere so that there would be no disagreements about assumptions and a single set of actuarial tables will govern all of our behaviors?

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Voting is closed. 18

What you are suggesting

give everyone firearms!

Arm all the strawmen (in some sort of socialist orgy of redistribution)?

What will you do when you need unarmed strawmen?

my risk of getting murdered by a psychopath with a knife

The woman who was terrified every morning was not killed. She simply led a life of being terrified every day.

It is unfair that she would need to be murdered with a knife before being considered worthy of being included in an argument about living in a land not worth living in.

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