Need Some Good News?

Here's a story to start your weekend with:

A 59-year-old Los Angeles woman exercised her Second Amendment rights on a punk wielding a tire iron this week.

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is it? If I were a criminal

is it? If I were a criminal it would convince me that I needed a gun. This is the beginning of an arms race, and it seems like it always starts with some fucking old lady!

Matt27: I can see why you

Matt27:

I can see why you might think that. I could be wrong (and admittedly I don't do research in the gun control/crime area), but from an economics standpoint I don't think it would work out that way. From what I've heard from police officers, criminals tend to be in two camps - "gun" and "no gun". So, it might cause a few to change camps at the margin, but they say that the groups tend to be pretty stable over time.

On the other hand, it might make criminals less likely to engage in crime if they thought the potential victims were packing. John Lott has done some pretty stupid things over time (self promotion, etc...), but his work seems to indicate that the enactment of concealed carry laws cuts crime on towns near state borders (and increases it in towns just over the border if the state doesn't have such a law). So, criminals rationally respond to changes in the "cost/benefit" tradeoff.

On a final note, the story tickles my sense of justice. Maybe that's showing that I'm not that developed, but if it was my mother (or my child) that was threatened, the perpetrator would be quickly cured of their pesky oxygen addiction by whatever means I had close at hand.

Matt, So what do you propose

Matt,

So what do you propose she should have done? Just lay down an let him kill her with the tire iron? He had already upped the ante by going in armed. Personally I think this woman should be rewarded just for the fact they she saved us the cost of the trial, not to mention all the other costs this wasted youth was costing society.

TUP,

Lott has screwed us on the gun debate. I wouldn't even mention his work, unfortunately it gives the gun control nutters far too good of a target to make you look foolish, and shut down any other arguments you have, no matter how good they are.

Pham, I'm inclined to agree

Pham,

I'm inclined to agree with you, but from what I've read, some of Lott's work is reliable and well-done. If such is the case, I think maturity dictates that we not abandon his oeuvre entirely, just be discriminating when citing him.

I agree, it tickles my sense

I agree, it tickles my sense of justice as well. The way to get handle on these issues isn't to look at individual cases, which can be inlammatory on either side (From "Pregnant woman accidentally shoots self with own gun" to an article like this.) I of course understand that the author of this post probably doesn't consider this article as something that informs his positions particularly well, just something funny. That's why my initial post was jocular in tone. The societal arguments against guns (like the American 'death by hadngun" statistics) I find mildly persuasive (which tips me to that side) and I remain unconvinced that increasing the number of guns in a society decreases murder statistics. I don't take the argument that seriously, because I think that while the consequences are serious there are more serious issues and some people are just absolutely fucking crazy on this issue.

So what do you propose she should have done? Just lay down an let him kill her with the tire iron?
I think that's the only appropriate response, yeah.

He had already upped the ante by going in armed. Personally I think this woman should be rewarded just for the fact they she saved us the cost of the trial, not to mention all the other costs this wasted youth was costing society.

that's on the crazy side. I'm not sure how flippant you're being, but while it's justified to kill in self-defense, it's certainly not morally preferable to a trial.

A general question:

Many gun control advocates are quite well versed in Gun control rebuttals, but I'm curious to know if anyone has a serious argument for gun rights. Besides the 2nd amendment argument which is unpersuasive, as is the "I'll shoot the government if they turn tyrant."

Matt, Sorry, I didn't

Matt,

Sorry, I didn't realise the tone you wrote your post in, I took it as dead serious.

As for the crazy side, yes it is a tad. I too would prefer a trial, but at the same time I'm not going to shed a single tear for the thug who got exactly what he deserved. One of the major problems today is that the courts either aren't able to, or won't step up to the task of dispensing justice to the victims of crime. I'm sure if it was able to come out, this youth probably has a long history of this sort of thing. Hopefully his death will make his buddies realize that crime is a life shortening prospect.

The generic argument for 'gun rights' (I prefer to call it the right to self defence). Is that any criminal (a 15 year old thug, or a State backed dictator, etc...) has already made the conscious decision to do you, your property, or others harm. There is no way for them to infringe on you or your property without the threat or use of force. As such they have already initiated force, you now have two choices.

A) You lay down and take it (pacifism, for which I do have a lot of respect), possibly hoping that the 'police' might (if your lucky) be able to help you after the fact, that is if the criminal let's you live.

B) You are able to defend yourself. Morally I find this more acceptable as the very idea of Justice demands that criminals are punished, and that the victim is restored. As you likely can't wait for someone else to restore you, or dispense that punishment, it is appropriate for you to take matters into your own hands to foil the criminal using whatever force they themselves put you in the position to require. If that is lethal force, they have only themselves to blame.

Knifes, Guns, Bombs, are merely tools that the criminal will use against you. As such you should have equal access to them, as that is the only sure way to defend yourself.

The problem I see with the whole gun-control debate boils down to the fact that people don't, or because of their own view point won't admit it has nothing to do with guns, or if the criminal is a 15 year-old punk, or the State. It simply has to do with "Do you have the right to defend yourself".

I think the 2nd does a good job of framing the answer, which is promptly ignored, by all those with an agenda, of trying to remove that right for one reason or another.

Pham, thanks for the very

Pham, thanks for the very reasonable response. I personally agree that people should be able to own guns for self-defense as they see fit. It's not a decision I see myself making, primarily because I lead a pretty normal middle-class existence which doesn't endanger me very often. What I think is the relevant question (and often gets lost among the furious diatribes often espoused by both sides) is whether easily accesible guns have a detrimental effect on murders with guns. It seems to me that they do, from what I've looked into it, and as such I tepidly support gun control legislation. If that legislation began affecting people's rights to own guns I would no longer support it, but further restrivting the ease with which guns are accessed seems to me reasonable. I also think that armor-piercing bullets and so forth should not be available (though I fully admit that this is mostly intuitive as I've hardly looked into this.)

Where I suppose we may disagree is whether "a right to defend yourself" neccesittates unfettered access to guns (gun show purchases and so forth.) To me it seems that increasing the requirements to be met in order to get a gun doesn't practically affect a person's right to defend him or herself, and as such a see no contradiction between agreeing with the points you've made above and still supporting gun control legislation.

I also agree that I'll hardly shed a tear for this thug with the tire iron, while I would not say he deserved to die (at least not based on the facts of this case) getting shot by an old lady should certainly be considered one of the hazards of his profession, which is bound to claim a few criminals.

matt

Scott wrote "I’m inclined

Scott wrote "I’m inclined to agree with you, but from what I’ve read, some of Lott’s work is reliable and well-done. If such is the case, I think maturity dictates that we not abandon his oeuvre entirely, just be discriminating when citing him."

Got a cite? I'm under the impression that the problems which have been uncovered (quite apart from the "Mary Rosh" incident) are so severe as to bring into question his overall reliability and thus all of his work.

(I just did some Googling after writing the above, looking for one of the reports I remembered, which I found here: http://slate.msn.com/id/2078084/
It's somewhat less damning than I remembered, but it does point out another example of data from Lott which shouldn't be relied on, since he allegedly lost all of his original data in a computer crash.)

I was going to refer to his

I was going to refer to his Wikipedia entry, but that's still kind of frightening. He does seem to have some published journal work--of what quality I'm not sure.

On second thought, it may be best to simply ignore him.

The tepid support of gun

The tepid support of gun ownership rights from some libertarians is puzzling. Perhaps I don’t know the meaning of the word libertarian. Are we talking about some philosophical speculations and utopian dreams about ideal societies or do additions and subtractions of real rights to live persons count? A person should not have to go with hat in hand to persuade the government, fellow citizens, and least of all fellow libertarians that it is proper to own guns or do lots of other things. People and organizations such as the NRA and other rednecks that get down and dirty in the political arena do the real work of protecting liberty.

Who you calling tepid?

Who you calling tepid? Those pussies over at Reason?

The tepid support of gun

The tepid support of gun ownership rights from some libertarians is puzzling.

Would it be less puzzling if I told you that Matt's not a libertarian?

He's not?

He's not?

No.

No.

guilty as charged.

guilty as charged.

I thought that Frank at IMAO

I thought that Frank at IMAO settled this issue:

"That reminds me of what I call the Frank Gun Control Challenge™. I'm tired of dealing with the convoluted logic of anti-gun nuts, so I have this simple challenge to prove the fallacy of their arguments. In the challenge, they stand on one side and let loose their best arguments, while, I stand opposite of them and shoot at them with my .45. If any of their anti-gun tripe can stop my bullet, they win. Otherwise I win. Some may now say, "Hey! That doesn't prove anything!" To which I respond, "I still have more bullets in this gun." Many will continue to think (but no longer voice) that nothing was proven, but some may now say, "Ah ha!" and achieve enlightenment."

what does IMAO stand for?

what does IMAO stand for? Is it "in my awesome opinion"?

No. It's not supposed to

No.

It's not supposed to make things less puzzling for you. It's supposed to make things less puzzling for Dave, who appears to have taken Matt's statements as evidence that libertarians are soft on gun control.

I think he was responding to

I think he was responding to me, Johann.

Well, now we're all less

Well, now we're all less puzzled.

Except Matt27, who's still a

Except Matt27, who's still a commie.

By the way, I don't entirely

By the way, I don't entirely disagree with Matt's comment in the linked thread. I don't know about the specific historical claims, and I strongly suspect that he's overplaying his hand, but I have no theoretical objections to the idea that a command economy could foster an impressive rate of economic growth.

The free market is a remarkable institution and its track record is unparalleled. But there's no question in my mind that there are government interventions that can accelerate economic growth. Forced savings is probably the best example. If you stop people from spending money on unnecessary consumer goods and instead force them to channel those resources into capital goods, this will almost certainly accelerate economic growth (unless the increased availability of capital is negated by reduced incentives).

Similarly, if the government takes over the means of production, it could, in theory, do quite well (as far as growth is concerned) by...say...cutting off food for the least productive 10% of its population and funneling all goods not needed for consumption into investment. This is particularly feasible when the nation in question is playing catch-up and can model its processes and technologies on those used by more advanced nations. The results almost certainly will not be in line with the preferences of the general population, but the numbers may look good.

Of course, all this comes with costs, and it's insanely dangerous to give this sort of power to a dictator---policies favoring austerity will never fly in a democracy---but it is theoretically possible for government intervention to produce impressive rates of economic growth.

Do you have an IM handle,

Do you have an IM handle, Brandon?

My apologies to all

My apologies to all libertarians who support liberty including gun ownership. I don’t know what Reason’s position. It publishes quite a variety of opinions, many of which I agree with. Is Matt 27 a commie? Isn't there another Matt who isn't?

dave- We have a big public

dave-
We have a big public sector but all public spending is parasitic on the private sector which ameliorates the injustices which are inevitable under the private economy.

I feel like this is maybe a statement of faith, no offense. The public sector contribution is practically impossible to overestimate, everything the massive military spending which always magically produces "dual use" technologies that are suddenly sold at private profit on the hi-tech market, to the enforcement of international patents (often on drugs and seeds developed by indiginous peoples who simply lacked the proper "capitalist instinct" to internationally patent them) to the massive federal highway project which enables large businesses to catch a break on their transportation cost.

All we can do is muddle along and hope that the bloated special interests don’t suck too much blood out of the system and make it fail.

I tend to think the problem is that the "special interests" are the most prominent members of the very capitalist system you trumpet.

I don’t see how socialism of any variety has much of a track record except one of abject economic failure in the long run.

this is more or less true, and free market capitalism has no such record either. I think we can move toward either one (and while I prefer socialism, I would also prefer a "truck and barter" Randian utopia to what we've got now) and see if it works. Either why will require overcoming massive private power which will be heavily opposed to any changes that you or I would seriously want. As Scott said on another thread "there never was a capitalist who preferred capitalism."

Why are these achievements sited by socialist apologists? Southern slave holders in the U.S developed their economy producing cotton with slave labor. No one apologizes for them.

this is a keen observation, though I would mention of course that people simply ignore it rather than apologize for it. When we discuss the glorious US industrialization, we rarely acknowledge that it was sustained and funded (in large part) via state sanctioned use of slavery. Anyone who cites the USSR as a model society has practically no business participating in a reasonable political discussion. However, I feel that there is a similar (though less extreme, of course)observation to be made about European and US economic growth, involving colonization, war, and heavy state funded gifts to the "private sector." Regardless, any reasonable socialist should consider the downfall of the Soviet Union as a tremendous victory for socialism, ridding itself of a terrible regime which dragged our names through the mud.

To Matt 27--I’m glad that

To Matt 27--I’m glad that you are no communist.
I’m not too much of an economist but I read the Wall Street Journal and a few other publications. I think the resilience of the U.S. economy is due to the large private sector and relative freedom to invest, innovate, fail and recover. A lot of people get hurt, we spend too much time thinking about money, are crass, materialistic, wasteful, selfish and just plain bad. A lot of philosophers and ideologues have formulas that would make the world a utopia. They get mad when nobody pays attention to them
We have a big public sector but all public spending is parasitic on the private sector which ameliorates the injustices which are inevitable under the private economy. All this is inevitably done in an inefficient corrupt manner and restricts and weakens the private economy. If the public sector gets too big it brings down the whole society. The best goal is to keep the public sector as small as possible without neglecting too many human needs. This is an impossible task as everyone wants unlimited government freebees. All we can do is muddle along and hope that the bloated special interests don’t suck too much blood out of the system and make it fail.
I don’t see how socialism of any variety has much of a track record except one of abject economic failure in the long run. I know Stalin’s five year plans got some results. Laverentia Beria was able to construct atomic bombs using slave labor at horrible human and environmental cost. Why are these achievements sited by socialist apologists? Southern slave holders in the U.S developed their economy producing cotton with slave labor. No one apologizes for them. Ultimately the socialist dinosaurs get so far out of sync with reality they fail.

Brandon- that was a very

Brandon- that was a very reasonable take.

Is Matt 27 a commie? Isn’t there another Matt who isn’t?

There are two Matts who aren't communists, and I'm one of them. I strongly object to nearly every regime which has called itself communist, and I have no interest in Marx's theories of "scientific socialism" (though I think he was an astute economist, and shorn of his labor theory of value, he has a great many insights.) I am I socialist though, of the anarchist persuasion.

this is more or less true,

this is more or less true, and free market capitalism has no such record either. I think we can move toward either one (and while I prefer socialism, I would also prefer a “truck and barter” Randian utopia to what we’ve got now) and see if it works. Either why will require overcoming massive private power which will be heavily opposed to any changes that you or I would seriously want. As Scott said on another thread “there never was a capitalist who preferred capitalism.”

It's statements like these that make me love matt, the lovable anarcho-socialist.