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  • After Newtown

    Posted by TM Lutas on January 2nd, 2013 (All posts by )

    After the Newtown school massacre, a lot of people feel unsafe and want changes. They are right to do so. But the changes we make should actually make us safer, not just make us feel good. So like any full review, we need to start by describing what we already have.

    The United States has the premier security system on the planet. It has the largest military, by far and has 50 state militaries in the national guard system. It has overlapping layers of federal, state, county, municipal and special purpose police (like the postal and railway police). It also has an amorphous, poorly documented, little discussed system called the unorganized militia. Naturally, the first thing to look at is the unorganized militia. Efforts to oversee and improve all the other parts are ongoing and permanent. We’re unlikely to squeeze major improvements out of those parts without major increases in expenses that we can’t really afford right now.

    The unorganized militia right now, for virtually no taxpayer dollars spent. Its costs are self-funded via license fees and members buy their own weapons, ammunition, and training. It is “bring your own device” defense and gives us somewhere on the order of 2.5 million defensive gun uses (DGU) per year according to the best guesses of the academics who study such things. That’s 2.5 million cases of robbery, rape, murder, and other mayhem that often don’t even make it to the FBI crime statistics because just the knowledge of an armed presence defused a situation and made potential criminals think better of what they were going to do.

    Any effort to change the rules under which the unorganized militia arms itself or gets rid of the unorganized militia altogether has to keep an eye on the DGU numbers so they either go up or the other portions of the system pick up the slack as the militia DGU numbers go down. Anything else and we are becoming less safe. This is why conservatives are mad at Sen. Feinstein. The gun control bill she is threatening to introduce will, very predictably, reduce the number of militia DGU and cause more innocent americans to be victims.

    cross posted FLIT-TM


    32 Responses to “After Newtown”

    1. Jonathan Says:

      I think you are assuming that Sen. Feinstein and her colleagues are more interested in reducing net harm than they are in leveraging the Newtown murders to impose more behavioral restrictions on ordinary Americans.

    2. Robert Schwartz Says:

      As the Blogfather says: It is not about gun control, it is about control.

    3. bobmark Says:

      Historical usage and past court opinions suggest there are two classes of arms
      Citizen arms – individual operated, solid firing, home kept, sport and defense
      State arms – crew operated, shell firing, armory kept, for defense and offense
      This isn’t that complicated

    4. Mrs. Davis Says:

      After the Newtown school massacre, a lot of people feel unsafe and want changes. They are right to do so.

      No they aren’t. They should just stop watching the crap on TV.

    5. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I don’t think Feinstein’s bill will get passed but the Democrats will push it as a club to beat Republicans in 2014 until they decide they are harming themselves. It is all about polls.

    6. Anonymous Says:

      Michael Kennedy, I certainly hope you are right but the Deomcrats will count on their propaganda arm, the main stream media, to do their clubbing. I would hope gun owners would eventually wake up to the media problem and refuse to support their advertisers.

    7. PenGun Says:

      “The United States has the premier security system on the planet.”

      Then why the carnage? Perhaps that’s not true when it come to it’s own citizens, just the brown people in other countries.

      You kill about 6 time as many people with guns as the rest of us first world types. We must be doing something right you are missing. What could that be?

    8. Michael Kennedy Says:

      PenGun, you are hiding behind us. In World War II, Canadians played an honorable role. More recently, not so much.

    9. TM Lutas Says:

      Jonathan – Sen Feinstein’s gun confiscation ambitions collapse if her solution is viewed as imperiling the citizenry. Her problem is that it does and she desperately needs for the analysis I refer to above not to be applied to her chosen solutions. I would hope she is frustrated in that and is rightly labeled as what she is, someone who is supplying dumb ideas that make us less safe.

      Bobmark – So if the state creates an app that makes it easy for people who are in the organized militia to register and for the governor’s designees to call them out, making them a security equivalent to a volunteer fire brigade, how do you fit it into your neat little category? Are you pro or contra? The point is that there are plenty of new sorts of reforms that occur once you have laid out the idea that you want to maximize effective defensive gun uses. A lot of these reforms would be orthogonal to the usual debates, but could very well leave us safer and with our rights secured better because how the exercise of these rights help us would be easier to perceive by the general public.

      Mrs Davis – What, you like gun free school zones? I do not as I find that they both negatively impact rights and endanger children.

      Michael Kennedy – This is why it is important to establish the narrative that these volunteer defensive gun uses are important to our safety and that reforms have to make the system better, not make it worse. It turns a negative to a positive. And as for Canada, there are plenty of honorable people in Canada and the country to this day takes on more burden than one would expect for a nation of its size. It has nothing to be ashamed of. PenGun is a case that should not matter for Canada’s national honor.

      PenGun – Unless you are a fetishist, what matters is the intentional homicide rate, not any particular subcomponent depending on method. And if you value lives lost to guns more than lives lost to knives, bombs, or poison, that’s disgusting. Shame on you.

      The US figure for intentional homicide rate is 4.2, which doesn’t even break into the top 100 countries in terms of rate. Your own Canada comes in at 1.6, a good influence, but not quite as good as your implication of americans being 6 times more murderous. The rate for north America is 3.9 and the rate for all the Americas is 15.4. Maybe the lesson we should be taking is not let in so many latin americans with their violent habits. As MS-13 continues its spread through Canada as it has already done through the US, we might end up seeing an unfortunate convergence.

      Europe does rather better, perhaps because so much of their immigration comes from Turkey, whose intentional homicide rate is 3.3, rather than the US’ major source, latin america. Certainly it is a competing narrative. I’d be interested in your take.

    10. PenGun Says:

      “PenGun, you are hiding behind us. In World War II, Canadians played an honorable role. More recently, not so much.”

      How does this make any sense at all? Who are we hiding from and how are you somehow between us and … who was that again? Elucidate.

    11. PenGun Says:

      Gun deaths TM, gun deaths.

    12. grey eagle Says:

      Banning guns is based on the premise that if there are no guns anywhere in the US then it will be impossible for anyone to be shot to death. This means no guns for the secret service, for police, for the military, for CIA agents or even for movies and TV dramas.

      If we allow the police to have guns, then some enterprising person will ambush a policeman, steal his gun and shoot up a kindergarten class. Che Gueverra describes getting guns this way in his diary.

      The government reports that 1% of all Americans use illegal drugs. There are 300 million American, therefore 3 million addicts. Your basic neighborhood drug dealer says the average customer buys 1 gram/day.

      That means 3,000,000 grams of illegal drugs (6607 lbs) are imported every day. If there are no guns in the US, then your basic drug dealer will ask his Afgan or Columbian suppliers to include a gun and ammunition in the next shipment of illegal drugs.

      About a million aliens sneak into the US illegally each year. If there are no guns in the US the cost of being smuggled into the US will be one gun plus lots of bullets. Every years a million aliens will import a million guns and bullets.

      So it will be easy for drug dealers and criminals to rearm. However there will be no one to protect us good gunless citizens because the police and the military will have no guns.

      The best way to prevent school massacres is to close down all the schools and home school the children using the currently available computer programs.

      Closing schools will have 3 major benefits
      1. children will be much better educated than they are in school
      2. children will not be killed in school
      3. no more property taxes will be collected for schools

    13. TM Lutas Says:

      PenGun – I really didn’t think that you would be so brazen a fetishist. It’s not about the method. It’s about the result. Shame on you.

      Grey Eagle – We are a long way away from ordinary poor people being able to self-finance an education. The end of the current system of public schools will not end the need for, nor the taxing to pay for public education.

    14. grey eagle Says:

      Lutas: home schooling via computer is already supported by many states. The programs I have in mind are already being used in k-8 classrooms nationally. Indeed, I suspect these programs could run on a Obamaphone. Nevertheless…

      All families, poor and rich, could get a free computer loaded with software, in direct wireless contact with the department of education, every year.

      Currently the Feds spend $68 billion on education. There are 61 million people ages 1-18. The Feds spend about $1000 on each. $200 will buy a computer loaded with the programs needed to educate that child. That leaves $800/student for graft and corruption.

    15. PenGun Says:

      “PenGun – I really didn’t think that you would be so brazen a fetishist. It’s not about the method. It’s about the result. Shame on you.”

      TM this is a standard lame tactic for you. You been watching Luntz a bit too much.

      I was just pointing out that I was talking about gun deaths with my post. About 6 times the rest of us first world countries.

    16. Lexington Green Says:

      TML, what is a reliable source for DGU statistics?

    17. Jonathan Says:

      The number or rate of gun deaths is a red herring. What matters is the murder rate. The US murder rate has been declining for a couple of decades as the rate of firearms ownership has increased. So at the very least the simpleminded theory that gun ownership causes murder is suspect if not completely invalid. Meanwhile there are countries where private firearms possession has been severely restricted, such as Jamaica and South Africa, that have extremely high murder rates by US standards. There are also big differences in murder rates within the USA. For example, compare the murder rates in North Dakota vs. New Orleans. The critical variables appear to be racial and cultural.

      Gun banners such as Pengun generally ignore these points, either from ignorance of basic statistics or out of stubborn unwillingness to acknowledge evidence that contradicts their emotionally-based beliefs.

      I predict that Pengun will ignore or misconstrue my argument here as he has in the past.

    18. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      }}} PenGun, you are hiding behind us. In World War II, Canadians played an honorable role. More recently, not so much.

      Exactly. Canada need fear no one. Your big brother will kick their ass if they even think about it. It’s laughable that you ask who you need fear, you’re so complacent in having that security blanket around you that you can’t even grasp the notion that there are threats to the Great White North.

      In the more general sense, the historical enmity between China and Japan, as well as China and Korea, is well documented. Thanks to the USA, both Japan and Korea spend far less of their own wealth directly on self-defense against Chinese aggression. We protect Taiwan a lot less, and they wind up spending far more of their own money to make sure China doesn’t get any ideas.

      }}} About 6 times the rest of us first world countries.

      Actually, if you eliminate black-on-black and black-on-white events, i.e., white-on-white crime — which produces a much more typical comparison of apples to apples — then the USA gun death rate is much, much more in line with that of Europe and your other “first world countries”.

      But you figure that the cultural circumstances should be irrelevant to your effort to associate guns with crime, and ignore any association with crime prevention.

      That the USA’s crime rate has been dropping steadily since the 1980s, despite lots and lots more guns…? Naaahhhh. That can’t be connected.

      That home invasion robberies in the UK (rising for most of the last 30 years) occur 80% of the time with the home owner AT HOME, while in the USA (falling steadily over the last 30 years) 80% occur with the home owner AWAY is confusing to you… so you ignore it as irrelevant.

    19. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      Pengun, you are one of the sheep who, having never seen a wolf at work, but having just seen a mad dog tear up a sheep, want to have all the sheepdogs put in chains to “protect” you from the rare mad dog… what that will signal to the wolves is just something you can’t begin to grasp.

    20. TMLutas Says:

      Grey Eagle – So which is it, we’re going to be taxed to fund education or not? I am quite leery of federal approaches to education at present.

      PenGun – I think I most recently saw Luntz for about 15 seconds sometime this presidential cycle. I found him as usual, not my cup of tea. What is it with you and your far from the mark imagining of how I consume media and live my life? You’ve been doing this with me for years.

      Lexington Green – I’m basically tacking Keck’s figures and discounting. I do not believe that there are any “gold standard” numbers that everybody accepts. Even if you take the low end estimates, you still have to do the exact same analysis of replacing those DGU and figuring out how you’re to avoid the problem of establishing a police state.

      IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully In All 57 States – PenGun is no sheep. You are being over-generous.

    21. PenGun Says:

      No I am almost pure wolf. About 95% of people are sheep and herd well. About 4.8% are dogs and herd the sheep. Us wolves just watch the comedy.

      “PenGun – I think I most recently saw Luntz for about 15 seconds sometime this presidential cycle. I found him as usual, not my cup of tea. What is it with you and your far from the mark imagining of how I consume media and live my life? You’ve been doing this with me for years.”

      “PenGun – I really didn’t think that you would be so brazen a fetishist. It’s not about the method. It’s about the result. Shame on you.”

      Almost pure Luntz with the insults and loaded words. What is it with your right wingers anyway? It’s how you avoid discussing the issues I guess.

      IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says all kinds of dumb stuff but nothing worth responding to … so far.

    22. mishu Says:

      PenGun prefers that murders push people out of windows rather than shoot them.

    23. TMLutas Says:

      PenGun – Your one true saving grace is that you admit that you’re a bad guy, revel in it actually. The wolf advocates disarmament among the sheepdogs and the sheep. It’s classic interest politics. This is not a surprise for anybody who’s been around the block with you for any length of time.

    24. PenGun Says:

      The sheep are the problem. You never want to arm sheep, it goes to their heads and they don’t handle deadly force well. Your dogs are very crazy.

    25. TMLutas Says:

      The wolf always thinks that the sheep are the problem.

    26. PenGun Says:

      No the sheep are just sheep. The dogs are the problem. Yours are nuts.

    27. Bill Brandt Says:

      IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says all kinds of dumb stuff but nothing worth responding to … so far.

      Talk about the pot….

    28. TMLutas Says:

      Pengun January 6th, 2013 at 5:42 am – “The sheep are the problem”
      Pengun January 6th, 2013 at 5:32 pm – “The dogs are the problem”

      This is actually pretty funny.

    29. PenGun Says:

      The sheep are the problem because your dogs have made it cool for them all to be armed. Dogs and wolves are killers. They kill what they think needs to be dead. Sheep are not killers. They normally bite and kick each other to create status etc in the herd.

      If your natural leaders, your dogs, arm the sheep and go further and arm all the sheep then they are the problem too.

      Sheep do what the other sheep do. It’s fundamental to their nature. It’s important for sheep to be like the other sheep and to do what they do. As your greed has overwhelmed your good sense your dogs have created a lobby group for arms manufactures, the NRA, and has waged a campaign to have all the people arm themselves.

      Our sheep are generally not armed hence the much reduced rate of gun death in my country compared to yours.

      Sheep just follow along. Facebook is their pasture.

    30. Mike_K Says:

      PenGun, you’re getting old. Contributing nothing.

    31. ASheepman Says:

      You have it all wrong. From the sheep’s perspective the human, who feeds them so well and hires the dog to protect them, is the real problem, only they don’t know it. Because one day the human sells them out, and a truck backs up to the shed and hauls them off to become food. The dog is just doing his job, just doing his job. The wolf’s life is hard, cold and short. He wants to live free but he’s hungry and doomed, because the humans have the guns. Understand now?
      By the way PenGun, I have raised – and eaten – sheep for twenty-five years, and have never seen a sheep bite or kick anything. They butt heads.

    32. TMLutas Says:

      One more point, this time of history. We are less widely armed today than we were in the early colonies. The academic fraud, Michael Bellesiles, tried to demonstrate the opposite, with his fable Arming America, a book that won awards and rave reviews right up to the point where it was proven to be built on lies. PenGun, in his last message is pushing a crucial Bellesiles meme, that of a late arming America.