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Grandad is a Looney Left and proud of it — 81 Comments

  1. Yikes! Do they search you out? Whilst I am fairly liberal socially, I tend to lean right, but not on this issue at all. Having said that if I were back in the states I would learn how to shoot. Wouldn’t buy a gun, but would like to at least know how should I ever have to use my mad karate skills to kick the gun out of some threatening bastards hands and then shoot his knee caps out. As you do…

  2. Robert – The whole thing is scary. Talk about rabid fundamentalists! And I hope it was that bloke, but I doubt it.

    Deborah – I was obviously caught under Resolution #6. But they didn’t piss me off. They just saddened me.

  3. Grandad,

    I was not making an exact equation between a gun and a pot of water. I was illustrating the absurdity of the statement, “If you have guns lying around the place, then people are going to get shot. It is such a simple argument.” It’s not “a simple argument”, in fact it’s a patently absurd argument. The fact that you only questioned the pot of boiling water example and ignored the others illustrates that you at least, in part, got my point. The presence of a gun does not equate to a person being shot any more than the presence of any of the other items (including a pot of water) equates to other accidents. If so, then half the population of the United States and all of the population of Switzerland would be dead and the entire population of the world would be in a burn unit.

    Second you say, “All you have done is turn a victim into a killer. Nice one.” Thank you. I would prefer a person be self-sufficient rather than maimed or dead. Why would you prefer a person to be a victim? There is nothing immoral about self-defense. There is something definitely immoral about disarming those who are weaker and leaving them to be helpless prey for the criminals. In addition, there is good evidence to show that the majority of the time a victim does not have to shoot. The mere presence of a weapon is enough to stop the attack.

    I agree that handguns are designed to kill people. What’s your point? Is it that only the criminals should have the ability to kill? Why would you advocate that?

    And I do think it is responsible to teach children about lethal weapons as well as other dangerous objects. If you’ll go back to what I wrote I said, ” If youโ€™re not responsible enough to teach your children not to play with dangerous objects and not to leave dangerous objects where irresponsible children will find them then thatโ€™s a parenting issue you need to deal with.” You say, “Children are not mature adults.” And it seems pretty clear to me that I understand that. In fact, that was my point. An adult is responsible to teach a child about the dangerous things in the world. If an adult fails to do that then it is the adult’s fault, not the inanimate object’s fault. Why do you disagree with this?

    “A gun is the ultimate weapon of no return. You pull the trigger – the victim is probably dead. Itโ€™s too late then to realise you have made a mistake.” Yes, using a gun is a serious choice. Life and death always is and many people are thrust into those situations every day. Would pulling a trigger in self-defense always be a mistake? Would it usually be a mistake?

    Thank you for reading my blog. However, your claim that I’m paranoid really is not an honest argument. I am an activist and so that blog focuses on a single issue. What were you expecting? A discussion of the history of classical music from the Baroque era? It’s true that some people obsess over violent crime and live in constant terror of it. Some of those people lock themselves in their homes and never come out. Some buy guns in a never-ending attempt to protect themselves from the unknown. However, violent crime is a reality. To deny that and to avoid being prepared for it is to take the other extreme and to be in denial.

    The purpose of my website is not to instill paranoia – it’s to point out the reality that we live in a dangerous world and to uphold the right of self-defense. Criminals exist and always will. The question is whether or not their prey will be defenseless.

    You also say, “Even mature adults suffer from moments of rage, confusion, panic and irrationality. They make mistakes. They act on the spur of the moment. To handle a gun, you have to be sane, logical, highly controlled in the face of danger and intelligent enough to know the consequences of your actions. How many of the general population fulfil all those criteria?”

    It’s true that normal people experience a normal range of emotions. I would argue that the majority of the law-abiding population is capable of using a weapon safely in self-defense. The fact that the United States and Swiss courts are not awash in cases of excessive use of force during self-defense indicates this is the reality.

    As far as you being part of the “Loony Left” I think you made an incorrect assumption (albeit this time I can understand why). You were not one of the sites I posted on as part of my New Year’s resolutions. If you were, I would have posted a note about it on the web page as I have done before. I simply saw an opportunity to advocate self-defense. In fact, I would say you’re probably not part of the Loony Left – you simply have a point of view I disagree with on a single issue.

    Best Regards,
    -SandH

    P.S. – George Bush is an idiot.

  4. It’s been years since I checked. I believe it was 1989 though. There were over 3000 people killed by handguns in the U.S and 7 in the U.K. This was the most compelling argument for gun control to me. The number of lives lost for an amendment.I would suggest that very few of the 3000 were criminals shot by non criminals defending themselves. More likely lovers shooting each other in an alcohol or drug influenced moment.
    Watch the Jerry Springer show and tell me you want those people armed. Including the audience.

  5. The National Rifle Association has won in the U.S.
    NONE of the presidential candidates make any mention of their stance on gun control.
    It’s hopeless here.
    Automatic weapons are in the hands of every criminal or wanna-be criminal of any age.
    It’s just hopeless.
    Every police chief thinks we need tougher gun laws. Who do the lawmakers listen to?
    The money.
    The NRA has won.

  6. I like this guy!
    He’s quite eloquent so I’ll leave the discussion to him.
    Oh and Grandad, I don’t know about you being the Looney Left but I always thought you were looney.

  7. Grandad,

    I tend to assume that you are a Fine Gaeler, which puts me to the Left of you, and if you are not, we vote for the same party.

    I think that the level of gun ownership in Switzerland is comparable to that in the US, but the Swiss do not have crime problems. The cause of the 30,000+ firearm related deaths in the US is presumably a function of more than just gun ownership.

    I am in the process of booking a car for Vancouver BC for the first two weeks in July. It must be one of the safest cities I have ever visited. Why do the Canadians not have the same crime problems and demand the same right to have guns? It mystifies me, it is not as though the majority of Canadians are living a huge distance from the US border.

  8. Grandad

    Hardly fair to judge the gun culture on the basis of a satiric website! And I would not agree with SandH on the widespread distribution of assault rifles (that seemed a bit tongue in the cheek, in any case), beyond that his website does not seem that extreme.

    No gun culture in Ireland? Would that have something to do with the fact that your English masters did not allow you to be armed back then?

    For the record, I’m not a right-wing fascist , not psychopathic (my wife agrees) and not paranoid (although in South Africa if you’re not paranoid about your safety, you can only be a criminal yourself or a politician with 10 bodyguards – not sure there’s a difference between the two). I’ve owned and shot guns for more than 40 years, as did my parents and grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., before me, as do my children. Gun owners were part of mainstream culture and we were never a problem to anyone and we should not be now.

    So? Let me and those who feel like me enjoy our guns and turn your attention to real problems – like your pathetic minister of health. While you’re at it, have a go at ours (South Africa) – she’s not only a drunken idiot, she’s an arrogant buffoon and a lot worse than yours.

  9. Thank you for responding, SandH.

    I will respond as quickly as possible, as I have a lot on today…

    You must admit, that while “the presence of a gun does not equate to a person being shot”, the proliferation of firearms has to drastically increase the chances of being shot, by accident or design?

    My reference to handguns being killing devices is merely to point out that other lethal devices [cars, knives etc] are designed for other purposes. While they do kill by accident [and in some cases deliberately] you can’t ban them on the grounds that they are dangerous. However, guns have essentially one purpose only – to kill, maim or intimidate.

    I am well aware that violent crime is a reality. It is not unknown in Ireland by any means. However 99% of gun crime here is confined to the drug gangs who are conveniently killing each other off. And good luck to them. I have lived here since the 1950s. I have never seen a gun used in anger, let alone been a victim. I would rate my chances of winning the lottery as better than the chances of a gun being produced in my house. It would terrify me to have a gun here, as I have an inquisitive three year old granddaughter……

    What would terrify me more is the thought of drunken teenagers [and older] having weapons lying around. We do have a lot of violent, drink induced crime amongst our youth unfortunately, and guns would not improve things.

    I notice some interesting comments have come in since yours.

    Brianf I ignore because he’s a nutcase who would rather buy a gun than a pair of trousers.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Interesting that Sixty [a fellow American] should feel as I do.

    TT [another fellow American?] probably has his figures wrong but the rest is right.

    Ian also makes a valid point [and Ian – I’m not politically aligned but we probably do vote the same!!]

    I’m almost sorry I’m not a Loony Lefty – I was beginning to enjoy the title!

    And as for George W – at least we agree 100% on something!!!

    Grandad

  10. Speaking as a well armed Republican woman I’d like to say, “I’m sorry.”

    What we (the US) needs is a ban on bloggers. Take away their keyboards because they’re too stupid to string together a series of words that will make sense.

    I’m armed and I’m okay with it.

    You’re not. I’m okay with that too.

    xoxo
    Sue

  11. Granddad,

    I’m fairly certain that we agree on a number of topics. Global warming is a crock, Guiness is the only real beverage fit to grace a glass, tourists are the lowest of the low, if people want to smoke something then let them, women are mysterious enigmas that only foolish men say they understand, everybody is a worse driver than we are, and so on. Just because we disagree on one hot topic doesn’t mean we have to be disagreeable on everything else.

    Sorry about taking away the moniker. You can keep using it if you’d like, but I just don’t think it fits – you are beyond description and classification. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’d like to answer a couple of your points because I think they’re important. I also have to apologize for such lengthy replies, but this is not a “cut and dried” issue and so it deserves more than flippant comments and platitudes.

    โ€ข “the proliferation of firearms has to drastically increase the chances of being shot, by accident or design…”

    Sure, and the presence of alcohol drastically increases the chances of alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, and spousal abuse. The potential danger of an object should not immediately preclude the posession of that object. Of course, with danger comes responsibility, but that is part of life and the requirement of liberty. With liberty comes responsibility. I would prefer liberty to being nannied by politicians (like Bush) who keep screwing up the world more than it already is.

    โ€ข “My reference to handguns being killing devices is merely to point out that other lethal devices [cars, knives etc] are designed for other purposes. While they do kill by accident [and in some cases deliberately] you canโ€™t ban them on the grounds that they are dangerous. However, guns have essentially one purpose only – to kill, maim or intimidate.”

    There are other things which have the same purpose (to kill) that we do not ban. For instance, rat poison has one purpose – to kill. However, because it is useful for exterminating vermin we often keep it available. Further, it is more dangerous than a gun since rat poison is always “loaded” and much simpler to use.

    A javelin is also a weapon designed for a single purpose – to kill (and donโ€™t give me that shit about the Olympics). ๐Ÿ˜‰

    More to the point, the “purpose” that you describe (kill, maim, and intimidate) is not a “purpose” at all. It is a function of the object. There’s a difference. The purpose is what the person using it intends to do with it. In the hands of a criminal the purpose of the handgun is to murder, maim, and intimidate. In the hands of a law-abiding citizen the purpose of the handgun is to protect innocent life (it may also be to hunt, target shoot, or simply look pretty as a collector’s item). As Seneca said, “A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer’s hand.”

    I think what is important here is that we differentiate the terms “kill” and “murder”. “Kill” is amoral. It is neither right nor wrong. A rock can “kill” a person by falling on him. The rock is not tried for homicide. However, “murder” means to “kill” a human with intention and without moral justification. Only a person can “murder”.

    To illustrate, go back to the poster I made that you have kindly displayed above. If you were in such a situation would you be justified in killing a person who was trying to rape or murder your granddaughter? Would it be murder if you hit him with a crow bar, stabbed him with a knife, or shot him with a gun?

    Of course it would not be murder. It would be justifiable in the defense of the weak and defenseless. If killing is acceptable in some instances (however much we hope never to have to do so) then I would argue that the implements used to kill are also acceptable in order to take that action.

    As humans the majority of us have a natural aversion to killing other humans – and that’s a good thing. However, we also need to realize that there are some humans who are “broken” and have no such aversion to killing due to mental illness (sociopaths) or outside influences (drugs, etc.). That implies that we need to be able to defend ourselves against such people – even if it means we have to overcome our natural inclinations and kill our attacker. Again, there is nothing wrong with self-defense and therefore there is nothing wrong with keeping the implements of self-defense at hand. Even if that implement’s sole function is to kill, maim, or intimidate.

    โ€ข “I am well aware that violent crime is a reality. It is not unknown in Ireland by any means. However 99% of gun crime here is confined to the drug gangs who are conveniently killing each other off… I would rate my chances of winning the lottery as better than the chances of a gun being produced in my house.”

    Undoubtedly. However, what are your chances of being a victim of a violent crime (not necessarily a “gun crime”)? Some studies have indicated that up to 40% of the population of Great Britain have been victims of violent crime. While the number of guns are lower the rate of violent crime continues to rise. It would appear that guns are not the problem – it’s violent criminals that are the problem. Murder continues. Rape continues. Armed robbery continues. Home invasion continues. It’s just that the newer criminals are using different weapons (the older ones kept their guns). The only real difference is that the average citizen now has to rely on hand-to-hand combat to defend herself rather than using the efficient tool that a gun is. She is now at a disadvantage. That hardly seems like a solution. I would argue that that kind of law is in fact unjust since it benefits the criminals and, as a result, hurts the victims.

    โ€ข “It would terrify me to have a gun here, as I have an inquisitive three year old granddaughterโ€ฆโ€ฆ”

    Why would you leave a loaded weapon where your three year old granddaughter could find and play with it? If you read my blog then you may have seen a simple strong box that I have put together to safeguard my children from irresponsibly handling my guns. I am a responsible parent – I don’t leave guns, rat poison, knives or other dangerous objects sitting about where my less responsible children will play with them. I suspect that you are equally responsible with your granddaughter. I doubt if there’s a bottle of Whiskey sitting with its top off next to her sippy cup. As she grows older I’ll bet the bottle is kept under even more stringent control until you can trust her to be near it responsibly. That’s a good thing and exactly what I advocate with guns.

    One of the comments above found it particularly terrifying that I might teach a child how to shoot and safely handle a firearm. Why? Teaching a child to be responsible and self-sufficient is what a parent is supposed to do. Part of that instruction is knowing that a child should not be left unattended with a loaded firearm. The comment seems to indicate a belief that I am so poor of a parent that I would teach my child to shoot, arm him up, and send him off to school. Why would this person think that? It’s simply not reasonable. There are irresponsible parents, but to assume that all parents would act irresponsibly is foolish. I would ask the person who commented to explain exactly what s/he has done to train children in their home to defend themselves against an attacker. I would bet the answer is “nothing”. That is more frightening and more irresponsible than the controlled instructive time I spend at the shooting range with my daughter.

    If all you do is tell your child that the world is mean and dangerous and never help them to contend with that reality then what you have done is set her up to be a victim. It’s astonishing to me how many anti-gun advocates argue that if a girl is being raped she should not fight back because rape is not life threatening. It is – particularly in an age where AIDS is prevalent. I want my daughter to be able to save her dignity and her life if/when she is attacked. She is a small girl and will be a small woman and martial arts will do her no good. Mace will not always work and won’t work at all on more than one attacker. A stun gun has the same disadvantages. A handgun is an extremely efficient tool that equalizes her odds against a larger or multiple attackers and when she’s well trained and old enough she will have one of her own. I don’t want her to be a victim blaming society because bad people are out there and the police weren’t there to save her. I want her to stand tall, defend herself, and go home alive with her dignity in tact. Why anyone would want to take that away from her is beyond me.

    In addition, a child who understands guns and knows how to handle them safely is much more likely to be able to take care of herself in a dangerous place where guns appear (and believe me they will appear even in a society with strong gun control). She will know when people are acting irresponsibly and either correct the behavior or get the hell out of there. In addition, the “mystery” of guns is taken away and the child no longer sees a gun as some mythic device that even the adults are terrified of. They begin to see guns as simple tools that need to be treated with respect. This is not a bad thing.

    There is also a sociological benefit to training children with firearms. A young person who is skilled with a firearm is much more helpful when employed in the military and can be trained and deployed in a much shorter time (the argument underlying the U.S. Second Amendment and the U.S. Civilian Marksmanship Program). A young person who understands firearms is more capable of acting and helping others when guns are employed in crime. For instance, one student in the United States who was well versed in guns was able to disarm an attacker in a school specifically because he understood the functioning of the firearm being used by the criminal. Finally, I have known many young people who have been properly trained in the use of firearms and they are far and away more responsible than those who are not trained. They have taken on responsibility bit-by-bit under the guidance of a parent or other adult and now they are much better adjusted and capable of handling themselves than others.

    Of course, there are some parents who are not responsible. However, as I indicated before, that is a parenting issue and not the fault of guns.

    โ€ข “What would terrify me more is the thought of drunken teenagers [and older] having weapons lying around. We do have a lot of violent, drink induced crime amongst our youth unfortunately, and guns would not improve things.”

    Would that be the same youth that are caught up in gangs and already have guns that you mentioned before? Further, it’s fairly clear that the drunken youth in Ireland are still killing, maiming, and intimidating each other as the numbers quoted by the newspaper indicate. Would some of them use guns rather than knives if guns were more freely available. Definitely. However, an absence of guns makes those individuals no less lethal. A lengthy knife in the chest creates a larger hole, more tissue damage, and more likelihood of death than a bullet. This is exactly the problem that the newspaper is pointing out – the drunks and punks are still maiming and killing each other. Now they’re calling for “knife control”. It doesn’t make any sense.

    Here’s a real world place where it’s clear that weapons are being blamed when another social problem is being ignored. Brazil has been having similar issues with drunks killing each other. They tried (and are trying) gun control and it really doesn’t change anything. However, a mayor in one city passed a law stating that all bars had to close at 11:30. Violent crime plummetted. You can read more about it on my blog.

    The real issue is not weapons. It’s a society that is permissive in it’s tollerance of alcohol abuse and violence in general. Blaming weapons takes the responsibility away from the people who are involved. That’s not a solution – it’s an excuse, and an irresponsible excuse that is costing lives.

    โ€ข To quickly respond to some of the other comments:

    Brianf – Yep. Buy pants first. Please! Then buy a gun if you feel comfortable with it.

    GoingLikeSixty – First of all, Granddad, whether one person agrees with one side or another really isn’t the issue. Truth is not defined by how many people believe it or where they come from. There are a number of people in Ireland who think the same as I do. Second, there are some fallacies in Sixty’s comments that need to be corrected. Gun control is not hopeless in the United States because of the politicians. A large number of the candidates have voted for gun controls in the past and would be likely to do so if given another chance in the future. However, they understand that the majority of Americans flat disagree with gun bans because of many of the reasons I’ve stated above. Politicians are nothing if not weasels and the last thing they want to do is upset the population with a flat gun ban – they might not get reelected and be able to wield their power over the masses. That’s why I am still active in the self-defense debate. Those weasels are still there and they need to be kept in check.

    Automatic weapons are not in the hands of “every criminal or wanna-be criminal of any age”. This is an oversimplification coming from a victim mindset and an attempt to make it look like the gangs are all armed with machine guns. There are two types of automatic weapons (full and semi) and there is a vast difference in their capabilities and it would be well-worth the time to become educated about them before making blanket statements. Further, as Granddad has stated, banning guns as Ireland has done doesn’t take them away from these groups. It just takes them away from the law-abiding citizens. The gang argument is nothing but a red herring.

    Finally, every police chief does not think that we need tougher gun laws. The majority of police actually support the right of private citizens to keep arms. Many police have had their lives saved by an armed citizen. It’s true that there are a few police chiefs that side with the Brady Bunch on gun control and so they get a disproportionate amount of the press coverage. However, to say “every” one the police chiefs supports gun control is a gross error.

    TT – has his numbers completely wrong and undermines his arguments with such false data. His entire argument is based on numbers he made up without any real research and so responding to him is pointless.

    Ian – I agree. In fact, I would argue that even the “documentary” “Bowling for Columbine” illustrated this point as well. Canada has a high-level of gun ownership and yet even in cities geographically close to each other there is a massive difference in crime and violence.

  12. Sue Doe-Nim – I never said everyone should be armed. That was an attitude falsely attributed to me. What I am arguing for is essentially what you said: As a law-abiding citizen I should be able to own a firearm if I want to as a way of exercising my civil right of self defense. If someone else doesn’t want to own one then they should have that right too.

    The problem is that the opposition does not agree. They don’t like guns and so they believe nobody should have them.

  13. I just did a quick search. In the UK in 2004/2005 there were 73 homicides where firearms were used.Not just handguns. Eastern European immigrants are bringing the guns in. Hence the increase. More guns = more shootings. It’s f*cking obvious.

  14. Oh Holy God!! With all due respect, SandH, I’d love to answer this in detail, but I just don’t have the time at the moment [I’m trying to write a book!].

    I’m very glad we agree on so many things [particularly Guinness, and Bush]. We will continue to disagree on firearms.

    The main tenet of your argument is that we are all liable to attack, and are therefore right to arm ourselves. If I lived in a society where attacks are commonplace [Middle East, parts of Africa, parts of Asia] then, yes, I would feel more comfortable with a gun.

    You are right about how I would feel if my daughter were being attacked. Any father would feel the same. But such attack are so extremely rare here that I [or my daughter] don’t worry about it.

    In 2005 [the latest date I have figures for], there were 54 murders in Ireland. The population was between 3.5 and 4 million. I would stake any odds you like that the majority of those murders were gangland related so the chances of my being attacked are slim, to say the least.

    In the same year, there were 16,740 murders in the U.S. Even taking into account the difference in overall population, that is a very scary figure. There is something radically wrong in the U.S. and my contention is that the freedom of availability of weapons is one of the root causes.

    Incidentally I got the above figures from the available crime statistics as published –
    http://www.cso.ie/statistics/headline_offences.htm
    http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

    So. Forget your guns. Come live in Ireland, where the Guinness is good and the living is easy.

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Booyakasha! Not much else to contribute here! You know my side of the fence . . another lefty loony and proud of it!

    (Brianf would rather buy a gun than a pair of trousers! Hahahaha . . the only funny bit in the whole discourse!)

  16. Brianf would rather buy a gun than a pair of trousers! Hahahaha . . the only funny bit in the whole discourse!
    Geez! I happen to be wearing a very nice pair of trousers right now thank you and in case you were unsure I shall list a few of my achievements here.
    Master, Service Rifle
    Expert, Long Range Rifle
    Expert, Indoor Bullseye Pistol
    NRA Certified Range Safety Officer
    NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
    4th Place, VA State Championship
    1st Place, Quantico Regional
    1st Place Navy Cup- Service Rifle, Camp Perry
    4th Place Nevada Trophy- Service Rifle, Camp Perry
    Rumbold Team- 2nd Place, Local Club, Sharpshooter Class, Camp Perry
    Vandenburg Cup- Bronze Medal, Service Rifle, Camp Perry
    Appreciation Cup- Bronze Medal, Service Rifle, Camp Perry
    Coast Artillery Trophy- Bronze Medal, Service Rifle, Camp Perry
    Air Force Cup- Bronze Medal, Service Rifle, Camp Perry
    Members Trophy- Bronze Medal, Service Rifle, Camp Perry
    Scott Trophy- Bronze Medal, Service Rifle, Camp Perry
    Rumbold Team- 2nd Place, Local Club, Expert Class, Camp Perry
    Expert Class 1st Place – Mid Atlantic Regional

  17. Hey GD, happy new one. Had to laugh at “viscous circle”. Honestly, bad spellers should be shot. Oops.

  18. tt – More handguns may mean more shootings. That does not mean more murders – which is what I’ve been saying all along. Guns are not a cause of anything. People are. As for your statistics, you still haven’t proven anything, particularly since you carefully avoided validating your statistics relating to the U.S.

    Unfortunately, your overly emotional response and ad hominem seem to show that you’re unable or unwilling to have a normal discussion and so there’s very little point in trying to rebut. Perhaps your typically-American (angry and out of control) ranting is more an indicator of what’s wrong with the U.S. than anything else. If we can’t be civil, even in an anonymous discussion like this, then there’s clearly something wrong with the culture in which we live. There’s no point in having a discussion if we pound the table so hard that we spill our beer.

  19. Grandad – I’m sorry if I pulled you away from the book. That wasn’t my intention. I know how important it is to you.

    I think you reiterated my position well and I respect your choice not to own a handgun. I’m simply asking for myself and others to have the liberty to keep firearms or other weapons for self-defense should we feel that we are in a place where danger is likely to befall us. Gun bans take away that liberty.

    And you’re right, Ireland is a much safer place than many parts of the Loony Land on the other side of the pond. Then again, the United States as a whole is different from Ireland in many regards. But consider for a moment a portion of the United States that is somewhat analogous to Ireland. Montana has a dispersed population of 935,670 (much as Ireland’s population is dispersed rather than centralized in large cities like those on the Eastern and Western seaboards of North America). Montana also does not have a border that is in constant ethnic tension such as the Southern United States. They also tend to drink better beer than the rest of the country. Montana recorded a murder rate in 2006 similar to that of Ireland and I can tell you there are a hell of a lot of guns in Montana. Clearly other issues are involved.

    Personally, I think if more Americans drank Guiness instead of the pee water they put in aluminum cans here the murder rate would drop through the floor!

    Regardless, I am truly pleased that you live in a place where you feel so safe and I hope that you and your family continue to be so.

    As much as I’d like to live down the lane from you and have a pint with you each night at the pub, I still live here in the Colonies and I feel some responsibility to try to help clean it up. We’ve made an awful mess of things and it just wouldn’t be right to walk away and let somebody else clean it up.

    It’s not quite the same, but if you’ll raise your next pint to the West then I’ll raise mine to the East. May you live long, laugh often, and weep only with joy.

  20. SandH – I just saw your post! I didn’t realise you were a regular reader?! I am humbled.

    I think we will never come to any consensus on this, so we’ll have to agree to disagree. The cultural divide is too great.

    I will certainly respect your desire for liberty to own a gun, though I may not respect that liberty itself. But there again, it is my morality from a viewpoint of my experience of life. Obviously your experience of life leads to a different morality. You must understand though, how we in the Old Countries find it very hard to understand when we hear these apparently regular tales from your side, of mass shootings by disgruntled employees, mad students and others who just want to be famous? We find this bizarre in the extreme, particularly when Americans bewail these acts and wonder how they happen!

    You could well be right about the beer. Maybe if America drank Guinness and Jameson it would be a far far better place. Though you’d have to get rid of the fast food places too – they’re ruining your health.

    You are more than welcome here [minus weaponry, unless it’s for tourist hunting]. I think we’d get on well!!

  21. Hmm. I wrote a thing last April (after the Virginia Tech massacre) about the Second Amendment and I might as well have been questioning Holy Scripture.

    There’s no way forward with these people and no possibility of dialogue.

  22. SandH (and Grandad) Yes, you are both correct. My memory failed me. I have found the newspaper cutting. The Atlanta Sunday paper magazine. Q&A.
    Rod Levy wrote from North Miami. “How many handgun murders were committed in Great Britain and the U.S. in,say 1988?”
    Answer:- “7 in Great Britain and 8915 in the U.S.” (According to Handgun Control Inc.) So, my figure of 3000 was wrong.To paraphrase Bill Clinton “It’s the guns, stupid.” It’s as if the Korean or Vietnamese war were taking place on our streets every year.
    Let me ask you SandH. How many dead would you be happy with? If you don’t want to believe the above numbers, what are yours ? Like a lot of my fellow Americans y’all never grew up. You still think its cowboys and Indians. Remember John Wayne was just an actor. Not real life; and he was a WW2 draft dodger.Anyway, time to turn on the news and see which State hosted this week’s high school massacre.I apologise if I am impolite, but I have to wonder what the **** is wrong with you people? Grandad, I promise I am done.

  23. Brianf – There’s really nothing to say after reading that list. I suppose your pants are probably inside out BDU’s with strips of burlap sewn into them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. Grandad,

    Thanks for the kind words and you’re right that we probably won’t come to a consensus. And, frankly, I hope we never will. If I change my position it will mean that I have given up a foundational part of my belief in self-reliance. If you change then it will mean that you have probably had to face a situation in life that I would not wish on anyone. I want only good things for those who know how to have a conversation!

    You’re also right that there is something deeply wrong in America, there is no denying that. We’ll have to work it out for ourselves. Albeit all the bitching and moaning when we screw it up is starting to get on everybody’s nerves…

    You’re also right about the fast food. I don’t know if you noticed my little weight-loss program, but it meant going all week without anything fried on a grill in under five minutes. This morning I broke down. I’m regretting it tonight…

    Thanks too for the invite to stay. Believe it or not if had told me to “snark off” I would.

    I’ll try to behave….sorta’. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. TT et al – It’s Grandad’s house and I’ve promised to try to be polite and let this topic go here.

    If you (or anyone else) would really like to discuss these issues and have me answer your questions then you’re welcome to ask me on my blog. I made a small post today pointing back to this discussion so that some of my regular readers could follow the discussion (you can click on my name’s link at the top of this comment and go straight to the post). That would be an ideal place to continue.

    I promise to take your questions seriously and avoid name calling if you’ll do the same for me. We can disagree without being disagreeable. Even if we both think the other person is being an idiot. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Let there be peace once again at Grandad’s table. I think everyone will agree that I’ve earned kitchen duty for raising Grandad’s ire.

    Oh…looky here…there’s an old bottle at the back of this cabinet behind the stoneware….

  26. Rob Carney – Sorry! You got caught in my spam trap! Don’t worry about our Minister for Sickness and MRSA – I’ve had enough swipes at her. Just do a site search for ‘Harney’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Hiya Bock! There’s no harm in throwing a few rocks at them from time to time. It makes them feel loved.

    Sneezy – Absolutely no chance!!!!! I can’t wait for the season to open.

  27. Grandad , I was given my first gun 58 yrs ago , by my Grandad , I have since had a lifetime of pleasure from my passtime . Not once have I shot anyone , assaulted anyone and rarely shouted at anyone , indeed I have never felt like doing so .
    Guns do not kill people , people kill people ; they also use a variety of implements to do so . And no I am not a Yank but an Englishman .
    P.S. I like Sear and Hammer .

  28. Welcome, TheDoc. I have no problems with people owning guns, provided they are used for target range shooting only. My only problem is the American attitude of apparently encouraging everyone to have them.
    Please don’t use that clichรฉ “Guns do not kill people , people kill people“. It is a complete red herring. Guns make it too easy for people to kill people.

    P.S. I like SandH too. Don’t like their website though! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  29. I know it may seem like an emotional argument, but it does seem that easy access to firearms does in fact lead to increased misuse and thus deaths. There were two major events in the UK which lead to a tightening of gun laws (Hungerford and Dunblane) and since then there has been no repeat of tragedies such as these. However in the US there seems to be a reoccurance of similar tragedies with no evidence of legislative reform to try and prevent these happening again.We only look to last year with Virginia Tech,Ohio and Nebraska to name but a few. If everyone was emotionally,intellectually and psycologically mature enough then guns would be mere tools and not open to abuse. Guns in the wrong hands kill and maim, and I am not just taking about the US, and that is a fact.

  30. Actually, PP, I don’t think that’s an emotional argument at all. I think it’s a perfectly logical one. And, what’s more it is the argument I was trying to make. The more guns there are, the more likely they are to fall into the wrong hands. I’m not against guns per se. I just cannot understand the logic in America that you must defend the right to own one.

  31. Folks, I’m really biting my tongue here because I gave Grandad my word. However, since Grandad posited that he can’t “understand the logic in America that you must defend the right to own” a handgun maybe I’m safe in answering that point. I have two posts on my blog that describe why we believe that it is a right worth defending:

    http://www.searandhammer.com/2007/12/its-not-just-about.html

    http://www.searandhammer.com/2007/12/why-do-we-support-gun-ownership.html

    Sorry Grandad, I said, I’d try – I didn’t say I would be very good at succeeding. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  32. Jayzus, SandH, but you’re a fierce paranoid bunch over there!!

    …. The right of self defense.
    …. The right to use a tool to fight against a stronger opponent.
    …. The right to even the odds against multiple criminals.
    …. The right to survive when someone else is trying to kill you.

    You just can’t understand how strange all that sounds from over here.
    Multiple criminals? Someone trying to kill me? Fighting opponents?

    However

    …. The right to be able to put government back in its place.

    I do agree with! ๐Ÿ™‚

    P.S. No apology necessary.

  33. I’m going to buy an aircraft carrier in case a drunken country attacks me.

  34. Well, I think their government might have had one or two, but I’m speaking up for the common man. Why shouldn’t every free American have the right to bear nuclear arms? That way, if you saw someone breaking into your car, you could just nuke ’em and go back to bed. You know it makes sense.

  35. Fair point.

    After all, when your country is led by a madman with aspirations towards dictatorship, a complete disregard for civil liberties and human rights and holds weapons of mass destruction, a completely over the top armed response is the only answer.

    I learned that from Dubya.

    Let’s nuke the whole country and put them out of their misery.

  36. Grandad,

    We are paranoid. But that doesn’t mean we’re wrong. Sometimes the world really is out to get you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  37. Bock,

    You’ve made a straw man argument. I don’t remember anyone saying that we should all have an aircraft carrier and nuclear bombs (or anything of the sort). I have been arguing for handguns. You should be able to see the difference. Besides, there are a couple financial and technological barriers to entry for aircraft carriers and nuclear bombs…

    However, your comments about Bush are interesting. Why would you want to live unarmed in a world where you believe a mad man is ready to take over? Grandad granted my point about putting the government back in place. It only takes one good reason to support the right to bear arms. You may not agree with self defense, but if you agree with the right to armed rebellion then that’s good enough for me.

    Grandad, please don’t nuke us….we have a large amount of fine whiskey and Guiness on hand. It would be a terrible waste…

  38. SandH – That’s only because you keep shooting everyone else in the world. [Too many guns!] It’s no wonder we’re out to get you.

    Ready when you are, Bock. I still have a good consignment of ICBMs left, that I bought on eBay.

  39. Grandad, no argument there. I think the U.S. should quit bombing other countries, stop supporting one side or another in stupid little regional wars, and stop sending aid to everybody.

    Let somebody else nanny the world for a while. I’m broke. Isolationism and Guiness all around.

  40. SandH – Granted, if I lived there with a complete fruitcake in charge, I would feel safer with an arsenal in the basement. So I’ll grant you that one.

    we have a large amount of fine whiskey and Guiness on hand. It would be a terrible waste

    No you don’t. You have bourbon [which is gnat’s piss] and export Guinness [which is nearly as bad]. Sorry. You have to go……..

  41. Yep. There’s a bunch of gnat’s piss. On the other hand do you really think we who have taste never import the good stuff? Just a couple friends and myself are probably half the GDP of Ireland!

    I can’t help the export Guinness problem….maybe it would be best to put us out of our misery…

  42. Just a couple friends and myself are probably half the GDP of Ireland

    OK, so. I’ll tell you what. I’ll replace the nuclear warheads with kegs of decent Guinness and send ’em over. Weapons of Mass Drunkenness.

    But only if you get rid of Dubya.

  43. SandH: It isn’t really a spurious argument. I’d be interested to know what kind of arms are covered by the Second Amendment and what are not.

  44. We’re getting rid of Dummya soon (albeit the up and comming crop is pretty frightening too). Send those kegs over!

  45. Bock, funny you should ask since that’s the main thrust of the anti-gun movement in the U.S. right now. The answer is that it was intended to protect standard military-ready weapons that could be easily afforded, used, and stored by the average citizen. I’m fairly certain it would difficult for me to afford and store an aircraft carrier or a nuclear bomb.

    Evidence for the above historical assertion is here: http://www.searandhammer.com/2008/01/1776-military-weapons-in-civilian-hands.html

  46. That’s true. However, the predicate of the amendment is “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. The portion stating, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,” is not verbal – it’s explanatory. The mandate is that the right should not be infringed, the reason is that an armed militia is good for the state. Even if the reason stated is no longer valid (and I would argue it is) the mandate of the law remains.

    At any rate, that’s what the Supreme Court will be debating in the next couple months and it will be interesting to see what they say.

  47. I think the court can’t ignore the militia sub-clause.

    Either it’s an essential part of the meaning or it wouldn’t be there at all: people in those days used written words with great precision.

  48. Annie – Truly a sad story. Even if she had been armed and been able to defend herself it would be a sad story…

    Bock – I don’t think they’ll ignore it either. As I said, it’s still important. I was just pointing out that some laws have reasons that are long since forgotten or ignored, but are still enforced.

    To get a good background on the amendment (as well as the rest of the constitution) the Federalist Papers are extremely helpful. They’ve been cited by the Supreme Court over 200 times in the past as an aid to interpretation. They’re very clear on what was intended as “arms” for the citizens and the reasoning for it. It’s a real eye-opener to see the difference between what they intended for the United States and what it has become.

  49. SandH: Yeah. You’re right. Their idea of a federation has disappeared and it seems that what they were afraid of has actually happened: centralised government controlling everything. I can’t imagine foreign invasions being part of their thinking.

  50. There is no denying it. This is the thread that just keeps on giving. Yes, I know it’s a cliche, but?

    But? But is yet another cliche. Give it a rest, agree to disagree, like. (there, that’s another cliche for ye.)

  51. You are so absolutely right Grandad! We have gun control in Canada, and I am glad of it! I especially appreciated your point on the fact that guns are made for one purpose and one purpose only. One cannot say the same for knives…no matter how hard they try to rationalize it.

    We get much criticism in Canada from the US…but I say..so what!

    Laurie

  52. Laurie – It’s a strange thing about the Americans, but they are the only country in the world that are always shouting about the ‘right to bear arms’. I doubt if there is any country that would envy them this ‘freedom’.

    Frankly the only argument that SandH put forward that I had some sympathy with is the right to defend himself against his own government! If I had a power crazed lunatic like Dubya running the place, I would be very worried. Even now, he is trying to pass a bill that could effectively make any dissension an ‘act of terrorism’, this making half of America into criminals overnight.

    I would worry about criticism from the US. They have a habit of randomly invading places they disagree with.

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

  53. Good grief! Is this thread never going to end?!?!

    Grandad, I’m really starting to feel guilty about this. If/when I make it to the land of shamrocks I’m definitely going to be stuck buying the beer aren’t I?

    Laurie, I understand what you are saying about guns being made to kill. However, I did address that. First in that killing in and of itself is not evil – murder is. Second that there are other items (rat poison and javelins) that fit the same description.

    In 2006 the Canadian violent crime rate was 497 per 100,000 (http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/legal17a.htm?sdi=violent%20crime). For the United States it has been at or below that rate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States).

    Now murder is higher in the United States, but there are probably some other key issues worth noting such as low population density, a notable lack of racial division, a low amount of poor immigrants, and so on. For example, the aboriginal population within Canada accounts for only 3.6% of the overall population, but 20% of the prison population. The United States has a much higher minority mix with a much larger poorer class. To attribute all crime to one simple variable, gun laws, without taking into account the other differences just doesn’t give a real correlation.

    You may also be surprised to find out that the United States’ crime rate has been dropping rapidly while Canada’s has remained the same. Since more Americans are buying guns now than ever it’s difficult to find a correlation there either that says that guns cause crime (http://www.searandhammer.com/2008/01/statistics_07.html).

    And Grandad, I thought we agreed that guns were perfectly understandable in the case of tourists – particularly those wearing hawaiian shirts and checked shorts.

    On a more serious note, I can think of a couple countries that do indeed appear to be envying this freedom:

    http://www.searandhammer.com/2008/01/ya-man.html
    http://www.searandhammer.com/2008/01/whoops.html

    Under “posters” at my site there are a few more that used to wish they had guns, but their governments executed them…

  54. SandH – You have a long way to go before you beat the record for number of comments, though I think this one has it for the most verbose comments! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I don’t know why you feel guilty, but if feeling guilty means I get a few pints, then go ahead by all means.

    Yes. Sorry. Of course guns are allowed for tourists, but they must be licenced here by the Gardaรญ [police] under very strict regulations. An exemption was made for shooting tourists. I must look that up and blog about it.

    And you can only find two countries that want guns? Out of how many?

  55. Yes, I do talk quite a bit. My mother says that comes from the Irish blood boiling in my veins because of the indignity of being mixed with less-pure stock. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Well, I haven’t tried too hard to find out what other countries envy the right to bear arms. I just pulled two out of my hat (my mother also says I have a big head and that my hat could quite easily hold a few more countries).

    Here’s another one: http://www.searandhammer.com/2007/12/zimbabwe.html

  56. Your mother could have a very good point. You seem excessively violent for someone of Irish descent? Normally we Irish are very placid. We gave up shooting the British a while ago, and the only things we take the odd pot shot at now are tourists and the odd person who annoys us. We are a very civilised nation. Except for the drug gangs of course – we arm them to the teeth so they can kill each other off. It’s very effective. It has decimated our heroin trade and the criminals in one fell swoop.

    By the way – Don’t quote Africa at me. They don’t count.

  57. Irish are placid?!?! The only way I’d buy that is if you argued that you sent all the cranky ones over here. If that’s the case then we’d be glad to send some of them back…

    You know, I could make an argument that we’re doing the same thing here in the states (arming the gangs so they kill each other off). The vast majority of the “gun crime” here is between gang members.

    Why doesn’t Africa count? Maybe I missed the point of the question…

  58. Africans seem to spend their time killing each other anyway, in tribal wars. If they don’t have guns, then they use machetes. Nasty. Very nasty.

  59. Hmm. It still doesn’t make sense to me. Besides, the original question seems to assume that right and wrong are defined by majority rule (if more nations support gun-bans then it must be okay). I’d take issue with that, but that’s okay. As we said before, we’re not going to agree on this one.

  60. Robert – Why is it that the Americans try to f*ck up everything. They can’t spell, yet try to convince us we’re wrong. They foist their f*cking fast cholesterol food kips on us. Tallaght TV shows nothing but American rubbish. They interfere everywhere where they shouldn’t and nowhere where they should.

    Nuking is the only answer.

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

  61. Imagine how boring it would be without them ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Nice, calm and peaceful harmony but I doubt it. If its not them then it would be someone else.

  62. I suppose life would be dull without them, all right. Mind you, some of them are all right [like all the American readers of this blog?].

  63. Ah yes, the British making the world England – even in spelling:

    “But the same year, an anonymous contributor to the Quarterly Review, a British political-literary journal, objected to aluminum and proposed the name aluminium, ‘for so we shall take the liberty of writing the word, in preference to aluminum, which has a less classical sound.'”

    We quit listening to them on those things a long time ago. . . fortunately we had muskets to get the job done. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  64. SandH

    I may be dozy today…but I cant get my head around your “javelin and poison” post.

    I also dont understand the point you were making about the percentage of aborignals in Canada vs. the prison population…and the comparison to the US.

    I guess I always look at the fact American prisons are filled with mostly black and poor americans of all colours shapes and sizes. How many of all condemned men or women on death row are from the middle to upper middle class…let alone the wealthy. I know this is a bit off topic…but you made the comparisons and I am confused as to what it has to do with having the right to bear arms. I for one..dont believe someone should die because they attempted to rob my neighbours home. I do believe this just happened in the US…no?

    Javelins and poison aside..Canadian officials are noting a very high increase in guns to our country. Guess where they are coming from?

    Laurie

  65. Laurie,

    Javelins and rat poison are dangerous objects designed to kill. We don’t regulate them. Why regulate guns because they are intended to kill? The argument that guns should be regulated simply because they are designed to kill is spurious.

    The point of showing that there are larger numbers of aboriginals in prison in Canada was to illustrate that guns are not the cause of crime. There are other societal factors which are completely ignored by the anti-gun movement which show a much higher correlation to murder and crime than gun ownership. The United States has a higher rate of poor and minorities than does Canada and so a higher crime rate is to be expected. To blame guns for crime is also spurious.

    The shooting in Texas was not because someone “attempted to rob my neighbors home”. He (stupidly) went to confront the criminals who were robbing his neighbor’s home because the police were (as usual) not arriving in time to capture the burglars. He (wisely) took his firearm with him. The burglars (stupidly) advanced on him while he was holding his firearm in clear view. He warned them to stay back. They continued to advance. He fired and killed them on his property. The police (rightly) ruled it a self-defense. Had he simply fired and killed them climbing out of a neighbor’s window (as you intimate) it would have been ruled an unjustifiable homicide and he would be preparing his legal defense now.

    Since the Arctic is notably devoid of guns (and people) it’s not surprising that the guns would be coming in from the American border. I seriously doubt that there’s much concern that they would be coming from Central Africa. On the other hand, and a bit more seriously, criminals will find or fashion weapons no matter what laws are in place.

    However, the question remains. Should people have the right to own a firearm for personal protection? Watch this video and tell me this woman shouldn’t have had the right to a gun…

    http://www.searandhammer.com/2008/01/police-will-be-there-in-minute.html

    If she hadn’t had a gun she would be dead. In fact, if you look at the statistics you’ll find that if a lot of people didn’t have guns they would be dead too.

    http://www.searandhammer.com/2008/01/lies-and-brady-campaign.html

  66. Why regulate guns because they are intended to kill?

    I imagine they are regulated because they are intended to kill. No?

    Since the Arctic is notably devoid of guns (and people) itโ€™s not surprising that the guns would be coming in from the American border.

    Last time I checked the Canadians were clubbing baby seals to death. So at least that backs up your theory on lack of firearms. Up North.

    And before anyone tries to launch into me over it; Yes. I do understand that the seal population needs to be controlled. But why not round them up and feed them to the polar bears?

    It has a nice ring to it. “club a seal, save a bear.” or “Club a seal, give a polar bear lunch”

    Win win if you ask me. But because you didn’t it doesn’t matter.

  67. Nope. They’re regulated because it’s easier than dealing with the real causes of crime and makes people feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that their governments are taking care of them. Kind of the same feeling you get when you put on a warm seal-fur coat.

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