Sunday, April 19

Hey. Been away. Now I'm back.

This is what brings me to the surface this morning, from Maureen Dowd (coiner of the immortal phrase "Darth Cheney) in the New York Times, about a conversation she had with George Lucas at the Obama Inauguration:

Lucas, the creator of “Star Wars,” had told me that I had gotten Dick Cheney completely wrong, that Cheney was no Darth Vader. I felt awful. Had I been too hard on Vice?

Lucas explained politely as I listened contritely. Anakin Skywalker is a promising young man who is turned to the dark side by an older politician and becomes Darth Vader. “George Bush is Darth Vader,” he said. “Cheney is the emperor.”


Ba-dm pshhh!

Rack one up for the Man in Flannel.

40 comments:

WarlordGrego said...

Sick burn, George.

In all seriousness though, I hate all politicians. ALL OF THEM.

*Sigh*

My martial arts instructor has a group of friends that started a gun club in louisville, ky. They received a letter from the Department of Homeland Security telling them to cease and desist or they would be labeled "domestic terrorist"

*sigh*


Anyways, good to see you back, Matt. I hope all is well.

Joe said...

Methinks thou dost protest too much. Joining gun clubs in Kentucky just don't seem too tough.

http://www.traderscreek.com/gun_clubs/kentucky.asp

Joe said...

(Edited to add: Not that I doubt the veracity of anyone's friend of a cousin of an associate.)

Anyway, Matt, you writing anything these days, or are you between projects?

WarlordGrego said...

Joe,
I've talked to the guys. They are pretty outspoken. They asked me to join them, and I didn't because they were pretty damn right wing.

Supposedly the issue came when one their members got into a scuffle outside of an abortion clinic (they are very pro life).

but yeah, I wouldn't be shocked if other gun clubs got similar letters. Civil liberties are going to the wayside.

ryan-howse said...

Yes, we must fight to defend the rights of very pro-life gun-toting right-wingers to scuffle outside of abortion clinics.

Joe said...

There's no right to scuffle. But there is a right to freedom of speech and association. But those rights do not protect conspiracies (or scuffles). I don't know all the details of what members of of X group did and I haven't read this letter from DHS, so I can't really pass judgment. My point was just that I suspect the vast majority of the many, many gun clubs in the U.S. have not had similar trouble. If they had, I bet it would be in the news and not in Matt's comment section.

Andy Butula said...

Seriously WG, now you're worried about our civil rights being trampled? Now that the administration that brought us warrantless wiretapping, the TIPS program, Federal agent provocateurs in churches and activist groups, indefinite detention without legal recourse, and a host of other indignities is out of office? Now is the time to worry? Because the DHS added "gun club" to "violent action outside women's clinic" together and it equaled "bad"?

It's true that Obama has an atrocious record on Second Amendment issues, but so far he hasn't moved on it, and I can't imagine him doing so as long as the wheels are coming off the economy.

On the other hand, you're right, that is indeed a sick burn.

WarlordGrego said...

Andy,
Civil liberties have been disappearing steadily since the Civil War. The Bush Administration just put things in writing with the Patriot Act.

I'm in the Intelligence Community. Warrantless Wiretaps have ALWAYS happened. CIA/FBI doesn't care.

I tended to be pretty moderate. I don't agree with pro-life groups that burn abortion clinics. The group in question got in a shoving match, as often happens during such rallies. Tensions were high. No punches were thrown.

That said, I don't think a shoving match justifies labeling an otherwise law-abiding group as "domestic terrorists"

Did you know that some states are starting to label the Libertarian Party as terrorists? I actually identify more as a libertarian than an other political group.

Does that mean i'm a terrorist too? Somebody who's fought in Iraq, and has never done more than get a speeding ticket?

I just worry about our country.

And while Obama hasn't directly brought up any gun control issues, 2nd amendment rights have been brought before congress as late as February.

The Obama administration has talked out of both corners of its mouth in regards to an assault weapons ban. However, most recently, Obama has said he won't pursue one.

Joe said...

"Civil liberties have been disappearing steadily since the Civil War. "

Yeah! Especially that civil liberty practiced by many a fine country gentleman of owning slaves!

As for states designating the Libertarian Party as terrorist organizations, please post some proof of this. Last I checked the Libertarian Party was on the ballot of most states. (I will note though, that many *self-described* libertarians on the internetz like to talk a big game about how armed revolution is currently justified--or was justified in the case of those fine country gentlemen in the Civil War. If terrorism is non-state actors using violence to achieve political objectives, then yes, they are advocating terrorism. I'm pretty sure this is not in the Libertarian Party platform, however, and like "feminist" or "socialist," "libertarian" means a lot of different things to different people.)

Joe said...

One more thing:

"The Bush Administration just put things in writing with the Patriot Act. "

So what? Just because police may sometimes plant evidence or lie under oath doesn't mean a law authorizing those things wouldn't be outrageous.

WarlordGrego said...

Joe,
Is there somewhere in the patriot act that allows a cop to plant evidence?

And like I said, I don't agree with it. I hate almost all politicians.

"They say politicians don't pay attention to people. That is not true. Politicians pay attention to their people the same way a dog pays attention to fleas"

As far as civil liberties, I was referring to suspension of habeas corpus in the Civil War.

Anyways, I never said anything about supporting the actions of this gun club. I never stated support for anything the Bush Administration did.

I do think its stupid to call a gun club a terrorist organization.

As far as "I will note though, that many *self-described* libertarians on the internetz like to talk a big game about how armed revolution is currently justified"...Isn't the point of the 2nd Amendment the ability to rise up against a corrupt government?

I'm not saying that it is or isn't justified. But somebody saying "I'm prepared to fight for my civil liberties" doesn't make them a terrorist.

MWS said...

True.

But saying "I'm prepared to shoot people someone tells me are trying to take away my civil liberties," is a different matter.

Someone who cites the need for "defense against the tyranny of the federal government" as an excuse to own assault rifles, well . . .

Neither of those stances actually MAKES someone a terrorist; however, it would be criminally negligent for our law enforcement community (including Homeland Security) to simply dismiss people who take such stances.

It's worth noting that the Oklahoma City bombing -- the deadliest act of terrorism within the United States prior to September 11, 2001 -- was perpetrated by a man who styled himself as a patriot, striking back against a federal government he saw as infringing upon our civil liberties.

It's also worth noting that for two or three days after the bombing, everybody thought Muslim extremists were behind it . . .

Joe said...

To kind of parrot what Matt said, there is no functioning government in the history of the world, ever, that would not view people who advocate its violent overthrow as a potential threat. Doesn't matter if the government in question is corrupt or not. Doesn't matter if it's relatively weak. So citing that as proof that a government is corrupt is essentially saying that all government deserves to be overthrown. Which is consistent worldview, but it's, y'know, anarchism.

WarlordGrego said...

I don't think this particular gun club has ever done anything but make speeches defending 2nd Amendment rights and pro-life laws. To me, that doesn't constitute terrorism.

Granted, I've only talked to the guys a couple times, but I've never heard them talk about anything other than "being prepared"

Hell, I'm prepared to fight for my rights if need be. I've been a soldier for nearly seven years. I've fought real terrorists.

Right now, I don't feel oppressed. I didn't feel oppressed during the Bush Administration either. If there ever comes a time that I do feel that way, I'll either leave or fight.

Trust me, I'm not a radical person. I only believe in violence when it comes to self preservation.

Also, I see nothing wrong with owning an AR-15 style weapon. Despite being named in Clinton's AWB, the only thing that really classifies it as an "assault weapon" is that it has a "military appearance".

And, I'm actually buying one. Not because I'm a gun-nut. I only own one small, .22 caliber SIG pistol. I'm buying it so I can defend myself against zombies! :)

Actually, I'm buying it because they're not bad weapons, and i'm used to shooting them. I don't feel that my .22 is good enough for self-defense.

In the Civil War, anything with a rifled barrel would have been considered an "assault weapon". I don't think anybody here would deny somebody the right to own a hunting rifle.

I think the second amendment allows for our citizens to maintain relevancy. I think if you limit that to "only rifles and handguns of a certain caliber and of a certain function" it goes against the spirit of the constitution.

But hey, that's just me.

BTW, Matt, I gave somebody a copy of Heroes Die. He loved it, and is going to buy all your other books.

Much Love,
-Greg (SC)

MWS said...

Awesome. You maintain your status as The Man.

For the record, I support limitations on the type of weaponry that is commonly available to citizens. I don't think regular citizens should have unrestricted access to heavy machine guns, say, or grenade launchers, claymore mines, or mobile artillery.


I don't give a shit about the putative "spirit" of the 2nd Amendment; our founding fathers could not begin to conceive of a rifle with a cyclic fire rate of 800 rounds per minute.

And I suspect that AR-15s were banned not because they are "military style" weapons, but because they were, and are, relatively easy to convert to a fully automatic M-16-style assault rifle.

Further: the only AR-15s banned under the so-called "assault weapons ban" were those with what was (and is) considered military accessories, such as a collapsible stock, a pistol grip or bayonet lugs. It is relatively easy to see why this is a minor distinction -- but it's NOT easy to see why this restriction would place an unreasonable burden on gun owners. Why the hell would a law-abiding citizen want to mount a bayonet on his rifle?

Seriously.

And finally, I do support private ownership of firearms. I say this as the owner of a match-grade Kimber Classic Custom 1911, with which I regularly practice, and whose clips are loaded with Remington Golden Saber personal defense rounds.

Since I don't figure to ever need to defend myself at a range of six hundred yards, I don't fancy a rifle for home defense; I do, however, have a great deal of faith in my Remington 870 Express 12-gauge with its 20" barrel and extended magazine.

But I don't imagine I'd ever really need to mount a bayonet on it.

Andy Butula said...

God damnit Warlord, stop making sense and being rational, I was really looking forward to a nice internet dustup!

If you're interested in the abrogation of civil liberties during a period of amorphous conflict you can go as far back as the Alien and Sedition acts from 1798. Overreacting to perceived internal threats during war time (and non-war time) is a grand old American tradition. The reason the Patriot act pissed me off so incredibly was the sneaky, back-door way it was implemented (try reading it; instead of saying what it actually does it's written in an incomprehensible "in part 3 subsection II of the United States Code (annotated) delete the comma and insert the word 'with'.")

As to the "abortion" clinic scuffle, I admit to a personal stake. I have a friend who manages a women's clinic that has been labeled by the nearby churches as an abortion clinic. Of course, the vast majority of their appointments and procedures have nothing to do with abortion, but that doesn't matter to the protesters who daily spout hateful shit at her, occasionally push or shove her, and send her reams of death threats every year. I don't begrudge them their views, it's a free country after all, but I draw the line at threatening a friend of mine. There's no such thing as a peaceful protest when you're yelling things like "murderer" at someone. I get very touchy about that sort of thing. The young woman in question could be making six figures easily if she wanted to, but instead practically donates her time trying to provide vital services to an under served community, and she gets hatemail and death threats for it. Ugh.

I'm a big fan of guns by the way, and am against any effort to ban assault rifles (I'm an atrocious Democrat rather than a good Libertarian since I prefer to have some voice in the primaries, also for local politics), though I already have my H&K USC, but yeah, the AWB was pure pandering to the base for the most part, though I didn't entirely mind the clip size limitations. I can't think of a single non-Zombie scenario where I need more than five bullets for any legitimate use.

Joe said...

I can definitely agree that Heroes Die makes a great gift to (literate) people. Most of my friends got over their reaction to the of "Is this a romance novel?"

Yes. It's about a man's romance with kicking ass.

WarlordGrego said...

Andy,

"Arguing with people on the internet is like running in the special olympics..."

As for a non-zombie scenario needing more than 5-bullets, recently we had a snow storm that crippled the state of Kentucky. We didn't have power for two weeks, and I live in a fairly large city.

There were reports of raiding in other parts of the state. I can see that as a legitimate home defense scenario where multiple bullets would be viable. That said, the only pistol I have is a .22 SIG. Though, I'm highly interested in the 9mm Ruger SR9. I'd also kill for a good Kimber 1911 like Matt's(my brother in law has one).

I don't know. I know that I'm a minority in most of my beliefs. I'm mostly against abortion, but I really couldn't give a damn if people did it. People have been having abortions long before there were rules against it or clinics to perform them in.

In "libertarian" fashion, I really don't care what people do, as long as it doesn't bother me.

Also, I'm all for enforcing current gun laws. Waiting times, back round checks, ect. Don't blame weapons when people use them to do harm. Blame the person and move on. There is a tradition of passing the buck here in the USA, and frankly it sickens me.

Its not a video game's fault that your kid is violent. How about some self-regulation. Take interest in your children's lives. Monitor what the watch and play.

Its not a gun's fault that a person commits murder. I also don't believe that guns make it convenient to commit murder. If I was mad enough to kill somebody RIGHT NOW, I'd take my benchmade auto-opener out of my pocket and do it.

Also, Guns don't kill people. Husbands that come home early do :)

Doug said...

Glad to hear your back, cant wait for the next installment to the acts of caine. Take your time and make it your best work ever =D.

AzrofD said...

As an aside: How *are* your sales and creative juices flowing these days Matt?

MWS said...

On the other hand, Greg my lad, if somebody pointed their Benchmade at me in anger, I'm confident I could shove that very same blade up their ass far enough that they could taste the blade -- a confidence that I do not maintain vs. a firearm, unless the user is foolish enough to deploy it while within arm's reach.

I am a big fan of the Benchmade brand, however, especially the AXIS-lock style -- the Fabulous Robyn has been known to occasionally pack a significantly nifty Osborne 941 combo-edge (a gift from yrs trly). . . and when my beloved Kershaw Blackout finally expires, I suspect that Benchmade will be the brand of my next pocket folder.

But anyway . . .

AR said...

"In "libertarian" fashion, I really don't care what people do, as long as it doesn't bother me."

Not caring what other people do makes you a libertarian? Damn, I've been a libertarian my whole(not yet long) life and didn't really know it.
Not caring is pretty much the basis for my whole view on politics. If people want guns, and don't want to shoot me, I'm fine with that. If people don't want guns, I'm equally fine with that.

But what really interests me(in an abstract intellectual sense) are some statistics I saw in a Sociology Class. The US has about 5 times as many gun deaths per capita as any other nation.
We are, unquestionably, doing something wrong. Because, really, If I had the choice to live where more people died versus less people, I'd choose the less(barring other extreme factors, of course)
Once again, this is all in a more intellectual sense. I'm not talking much about policy or anything, just wondering about the American mindset.
And, to add a little more to the puzzle, Canadians, those guys just right north of us, have about as many guns as we do... they just don't kill each other near as often. How do you explain that?

And, just to make clear again, I'm not anti gun. If everyone owned enough weaponry to shame the guy in Grand Theft Auto, but never killed anyone, I would be perfectly content. But, as things are, I can't help but wonder what is up with us?



... somehow it always makes me think of the Blind God.

WarlordGrego said...

Matt,

I'd probably explain the Canadian gun deaths numbers by attributing it to education. Especially in the inner cities. But that's just a guess.

You make a good point about self-defense against a knife. Being trained in both the military and martial arts, I feel much the same way. However, we're probably in the minority in that ability.

Anyways, I like benchmade, but I like cold steel better. They sent me a free recon tanto when I was deployed, and I've been hooked since. Also, I have a Cold Steel Peacekeeper, like the one you mentioned in CBK :)

MWS said...

Cold Steel makes good knives -- I have a pair of their black hard-rubber trainers modeled on the SOG fighter -- but I've yet to come across any folders; they make a few I'd like to try, but I'm not gonna shell out for one over the Internet without handling it first.

I still carry lust in my heart for their Black Bear Classic . . . but I've never found one for less than $175, which is a bit steep for a knife I will never actually use . . .

Probably the next knife I buy will be am A-F Combat Smatchet, if I can find one. If I'm gonna swing a knife like it's a small sword, I'd prefer to have one that *works* like a small sword.

WarlordGrego said...

Matt,
I'm generally not a fan of folders. However, the Cold Steel Recon 1 is the model they sent me. It retails for about 75 bucks now. It has been a great knife.

I also have a very nice Cold Steel Kobun Tanto. I have a lot of CS products. I find them to be superior to Benchmade and Gerber. The only knife that I have that comes close to their quality is my CRKT MUK. It is the only CRKT that I can afford right now.

My pride and joy in my knife collection is my Cold Steel Kukri. It is, for lack of a better term, "crazy awesome".

Oddly enough, the military has a rule that you're not allowed to carry knives over 6 inches long while in uniform, so when I deployed I packed a couple Smith and Wesson knives. I used a "Special Ops" Tanto and a HRT.

In general however, gun makers don't produce the best knives. But, its not like I was going to use it to shank somebody. Mostly, in war, knives are used to open MRE packets :P

((also, I'm not a grunt, I'm an intel guy. If I'm in knife range of the enemy, we're probably screwed anyways))

MWS said...

I'm with you. Our household kukhri (a trad wooden-grip with the two little flensing blades) belongs to the Fabulous Robyn, who received it from the hand of the international grandmaster of bando. She keeps it in her nightstand. Woe betide the home intruder.

Gerber makes a nice modern version, though -- with matte-blade nitride coating and a Kydex grip -- though my take on Big Knives is the same as my take on pistols: I don't want anybody to have to squint to see I've got a handful of Big Fucking Knife.

On the other hand, it's an aphorism of kali that "It's the knife you don't see that kills." Have a look at the AXIS-lock folders from Benchmade -- they're not cheap (the best models run $200 or more), but the AXIS system makes a deployed Benchmade as rigid as a fixed-blade -- in other words, the AXIS lock has a positive action, with higher failure-resistance than the blade itself; the blade will break before the lock fails.

Plus they're really fucking nifty, not to mention sharp enough to shave with (and I have sensitive skin), and they hold an edge better than any knife I own except for my KA-BAR -- which I have modified to a 25-degree edge to keep it from dulling when I use it to cut brush and branches and shit.

Dornicus said...

Grego,
Don't forget who gave you that Peacekeeper. :)

Matt,
In regards to "reasonable restrictions": when was the last time a murder was committed with a bayonet? I hereby challenge you to find me a murder (civilian on civilian) committed with a bayonet mounted to any manner of long-arm in the United States.

The "unreasonable burden" it places on gun owners is that it reduces the supply of inexpensive long-arms available to the public for their use in their defense against crime and tyranny; an SKS can be had for about $150, but it has a bayonet lug -- should it then be illegal? Very few cheap long-arms are available that don't have bayonet lugs, because most of them are military surplus.

Also, there are many models of AR-15 rifles that have none of the features that make them "assault rifles" under ANY legislation, but can be modified to fully-automatic just as easily. I'd also challenge you to find a murder committed with a legally-purchased assault rifle converted to fully-automatic.

Assault rifles are used in something like 1% of murders; far more common is that handguns are used. If anything, I'd suggest banning handguns, except that wouldn't work.

By the way -- Switzerland and Israel have some of the highest rates of legitimate civilian gun ownership, and also very low murder rates. Switzerland has almost 0 murders, and very few break-ins, because almost every male of legal age owns a government-issued assault rifle.

Either way, still a huge fan, with thanks to good old Warlord Grego. I own most of the things you've written (Catopolis, Legends from the Eternal Archive, all the Caine books, etc.), and love all of it.

Please don't ever stop writing.

-Mike

MWS said...

Thanks.

When was the last time a murder was committed in the US with a hand grenade? A .50 sniper rifle? A bazooka? By this logic, there's no reason to ban personal ownership of tactical nuclear weapons . . . because tac nukes, after all, have never been used to kill ANYONE (Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by strategic weapons). I still haven't heard anyone come up with a single valid civilian use of a bayonet mount on a rifle.

As far as Switzerland goes, correlation is not causation. One could, with entirely as much justification, say that the reason everybody in Switzerland can have guns is because the murder rate is almost zero. You follow?

OldEuropean said...

@Mike: Actually, Switzerland has one of the highest murder rates in Europe, and at least a couple of years ago had the second-highest gun violence rate anywhere in the West (after the U.S., of course).

And while it's true that many Swiss own a gun, most of those are registered, and you cannot legally buy ammunition without reporting said purchases to the authorities. So it's not as if they didn't have any gun control laws.

Anyway, that's what popped into my head about the Swiss, and a quick look at wikipedia and some google pages backs me up on this; though I'll admit I haven't done any serious research. I'm European, I've been to Switzerland, and let me tell you, they are not a very interesting people ;-).

Dornicus said...

Matt,
Hand grenades, bazookas, and tac-nukes aren't often used in murders because they're illegal and very hard to come by; this is not the case for firearms with bayonet mounts. I understand that there's no "reason" for a civilian to have them, but banning bayonet mounts would have far-reaching consequences. The ubiquitous sub-$70 mosin-nagants that almost every gun-owner gets as one of their first rifles will disappear, as will most SKS models.

The problem with your argument, as I see it, is that you're throwing guns with bayonet mounts in with a bunch of illegal weapons, when in fact they're perfectly legal, and at present widely (and cheaply) available. You could get a weapon with such a mount in a lot of states within 10 minutes of entering the store. And yet, despite their widespread availability and ownership, I haven't ever heard of anyone being bayoneted outside of a war.

Assault weapons in general are also presently legal and, I'll note, those legitimately purchased are rarely used in criminal activities of any nature.

You want a valid reason for a bayonet? Because if something goes bump in the night, and the only gun I could afford on my budget (which has been sitting in a Soviet storehouse since the end of WW2) jams or malfunctions, I want to know that I'm not holding a useless hunk of wood, but that I've got a spear to jab into whoever it is coming uninvited into my house.

And I do.

And as for correlation not equaling causation, well, that's exactly what I'm saying. High gun ownership does not lead to high crime. Even assault weapons with frivolous bayonet mounts.

OldEuropean, I'm not sure what your sources are, but here's mine:

http://www.data360.org/dsg.aspx?Data_Set_Group_Id=699

A United Nations crime survey. I'd happily consider other data, however. On the link above, though, England, France, Germany, Canada, and Spain, just to name a few, all top Switzerland in homicide rate. I wonder what those numbers look like when broken down by weapon, but I have no idea.

I'm not trying to say that there's no gun control in Switzerland and that everyone's happy and goes around yodeling or something, just that it's got an extremely high level of small-arms proliferation, and a very low rate of their misuse, if that makes sense, so it's a case example that such situations are possible.

MWS said...

My point was that rifles with bayonet lugs were illegal from 1994 to 2004 -- being included in the assault weapons ban -- and that the ban was neither unreasonable nor unconstitutional. A line has to be drawn somewhere; it's fine to natter on about hypotheticals that fall a hairline to one side, but you should never lose sight of reality:

An assault rifle in civlian hands is primarily useful for killing soldiers and police.

If you're seriously depending on a mil-surp rifle with bayonet for home defense, you have a bit less going on in your head than your obvious good taste in literature would suggest. The single best home defense firearm you can buy is perfectly legal: that is, a twelve-gauge shotgun loaded with #4 buckshot. A round from a shotgun, for example, is unlikely to pass right through the frame of your house and kill your entirely innocent next-door neighbor in his bed, unlike (say) a mil-surp jacketed ball round from your hypothetical rifle.

In the dark, in the close quarters of residential rooms and hallways,a bayonet is not very practical. You're better off using your rifle as a club. A rifle makes a better staff than it does a spear.

If your hypothetical home intruder carries a firearm and you successfully jump out to stick him with a bayonet, he will have plenty of time to blow your head off before he bleeds out.

If you insist on a blade weapon for back-up, you're far better off with a kukhri -- it takes considerably less space to deploy, it's used one-handed, it is EXTREMELY difficult to deflect or block (unlike your hypothetical bayonet), and it's designed to take the fucker's arm off -- which is a pretty sure defense against his hypothetical firearm, if you see what I mean.

And if you're going to ramble on about low gun violence in Switzerland, we should probably also look at the gun violence rates in places like, for example, England -- which, to be fair, doesn't have a total ban, as hunting weapons are legal, as are (to my understanding) collectible handguns and firearms grandfathered in before the firearm controls were instituted.

Dornicus said...

Matt,
I disagree with your contention that assault weapons are primarily useful for killing soldiers and police; they're also useful for target shooting, three-gun competitions, and numerous other types of gun competitions. Remember the North Hollywood Shootout, where the SWAT team had to rely on a civilian-type AR-15? It worked wonderfully.

Also, who's nattering about hypotheticals? Assault weapons are legal right now, in civilian hands right now, and statistics are available that show the rate at which crimes are committed with them right now. Unlike bazookas, grenades, claymores, tac-nukes, etc.

Intruders don't need to be in uniform to be armored and in your home. Is it rare? Yeah, but so what? So is the illegitimate use of legally-owned assault rifles.

I'll just say this: we don't ALL live in Chicago, where homes are packed in like sardines. For a lot of people, a stray round would have to travel over a mile through forest and over hills to find another home. In the area where I live, it's possible to see and challenge an intruder well outside the range of a shotgun. Someone stealing the copper pipes off your irrigation system or siphoning diesel from your tank may decide to just shoot you instead of running away when you call them out. In that situation, I'll take an AR, which can engage targets at impressive ranges with speed and accuracy.

A lot of Law Enforcement officers and ex-military folk with whom I've spoken disagree about the shotgun being ideal for home defense, too; I know more than one retired Marine who defends his home with a rifle for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which being maneuverability, rate of fire, and penetrating power (which is more an asset than a liability if you live "in the sticks" as many do).

Interesting point about the kukri, though; I *do* own one that I bought in Greece, which, the proprietor told me, came from Nepal. Either way, I'll consider it. The problem is the time it takes to draw; the sheath is very tight, so it's a two-hand job. I dunno. I'll give this some more thought.

What I can't consider, however, is the purchase of a shotgun; I just don't have the money. And my hypothetical example about the Soviet-era rifle and a bayonet and all that isn't actually the case for me, but for some people I know, it is.

Home for a good portion (maybe not the majority) of America isn't an apartment, or a one-story house on a half-acre lot; it's 10+ acres with a house overlooking them, and a lot of tempting toys for bad men to come prowling for in the night.

And I'm not rambling on about Switzerland, honest! I was just saying that it's a good example that widespread guns don't always equal widespread crime. Just that correlation isn't causation. That's all.

MWS said...

I think you're arguing against somebody else.

I have never contended that widespread guns causes widespread crime. I only contend that certain limitations on gun ownership are both constitutional and desirable.

As for the rest of your objection:

A shotgun can be used to kill a man at well over a hundred yards; with any pump action shotgun, the last round in is the first round out. So even if you're loaded with buckshot, it takes all of a second to pull a deer slug or a sabot out of your weapon's side saddle.

Sure, a rifle is fine if you want to shoot someone from a distance. But that's it.

And your contention of the assault rifle's utility for sport is entirely tautological -- the only reason assault weapons are used in such competitions is to give people an excuse to own an assault rifle.

And a Remington 870 Express, like mine, can be purchased for under $250 brand spankin' new. If your real priority is home defense, it seems to me that $250 (from $100 - $175 used, depending on condtion) is not an unreasonable investment.

Law enforcement is not considered "civilian" ownership; every major law enforcement organization (at least those authorized to use lethal force) has access to weaponry that are not (and should not be) available to the general public.

And do you really want to argue that a significant percentage of United States citizens live on ten acres or more? Really? And all these people need assault rifles to keep off the bandit gangs roaming the American countryside?

Really?

OldEuropean said...

Not to keep beating the Switzerland horse, but I've never owned a gun, nor do I plan to, so that's about all I can contribute:

@Dornicus: Um, take a look at your source again and scroll down to below the pretty graphic. I don't know what happened in 2000 that made Switzerland's homicide ratio drop so sharply and other countries' spike, but if you take a look at the more recent numbers, Switzerland moves past every other Western European country in that list.

Dornicus said...

Matt,
You're correct -- I'm arguing against OldEuropean, several comments above.

I directly disagree with the contention that restrictions on gun ownership are Constitutional. In my opinion, banning assault weapons is like banning fast computers or high-proof alcohol; just because it makes it easier to commit a crime is not a valid reason for banning it, and, in my interpretation of the Constitution, constitutes an infringement of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms", though obviously the Constitution is open to each person's interpretation. I also find it undesirable, but again, that is up to each person to decide for himself.

I'll concede the point on assault-rifle competitions; you got me there.

In regards to the N. Hollywood Shootout; I'm aware of the distinction, but was using it as an example where: 1) assault rifles intended for civilian purchase were used in saving lives, and 2) armed robbers wore armor that couldn't be defeated by buckshot loads from police shotguns or .357mag handgun rounds.

I never said "bandits" or "gangs", but if you'd like I can dig up some old news stories where armed metal thieves and diesel thieves (generally meth-addicts in both instances) have trespassed onto farms in order to steal copper and diesel. These were local news stories, so perhaps this has evaded your notice, but in Kentucky and Tennessee (and, to some degree, Iowa, where I live now) these are very real issues.

As for acreage, a map on this page is rather telling:

http://www.gislounge.com/images/density.gif (The numbers used to make this map came from the US census)

Look at how much of the map is nearly white, at .006 people/acre; the inverse of that is about 160 acres/person, so a good portion of the country lives in an area that sparse. I didn't mean that they own all the land, though may be the case in some situations possible, but that there are enormous areas with that low of a density. Response times for law enforcement in places like that can be a half-hour or more, and criminals know that. And if I've gotta shoot it out with them for that long (remember they're on drugs and don't give a shit about killing people), I'll take something semi-automatic and with a decent range any day of the week.

And maybe I'm getting a bit too "Glen(n?) Beck" here, but it's my honest belief that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to ensure that the people were able to arm themselves on a level almost equal to that of the military to prevent the wholesale usurpation of their rights.

Do I believe that I'll ever see such a thing? No. But it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

If somehow fascism ever came to America, and people were being herded into train cars, I wouldn't want to resist that with anything less than the best I could find.

Dornicus said...

Old European,

A lot of countries don't have more recent numbers (Germany and Poland and Portugal being the only exceptions I saw).

I'll try and find something more recent, mate. Got any good sources for me to look at on your end?

WarlordGrego said...

Mikey is essentially putting my argument into much more eloquent terms. (he's smarter than me. And freakishly tall)

OldEuropean said...

Like I said when I first entered the fray, I'm not an expert on gun violence (or any violence). What prompted my comment in the first place was simply that your claim about Switzerland didn't jive with my exposure to European media over the last decade. So no, I don't have any numbers more recent than 2004 (which is still more recent than the numbers you're using, though); wikipedia has a more complete list for that year, which rather handily puts Switzerland near the top: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homicide_rate

Is that due to the number of guns in Switzerland? I don't know. European authorities tend to be a bit more secretive with statistics like these than American ones, though I'm sure the police know exactly.
What the available numbers do suggest, however, is that Switzerland really isn't the perfect example for a gun-rich violence-free society many second-amendment activists seem to believe it is.

From a European perspective, I'm not particularly comfortable with guns in the hands of private citizens, and would likely draw the line at handguns and simple hunting rifles. I understand that America is less cramped of a place, and a more dangerous one (when I go into any of the nearby forests, I don't have to fear any animal bigger than a stag or maybe a boar; my father was once bitten by one). I still don't understand why anyone would need weapons that are overkill against any non-military threat.
("The second amendment doesn't make any exceptions" is an argument I've heard before, but a silly one, again from a European perspective. Americans have a lot to be proud of in their founding documents, but treating them like an unassailable Bible of sorts has always seemed a bit unreflective to me. And pretty selective, too, since, after all, Constitutional contents have been nullified or relativized before. The Bill of Rights wasn't written for the 21st century, it was written for the 19th, and people should take that into account.)

MWS said...

First:

The Constitution is not open to everyone's interpretation. It's open to the interpretation(s) of the federal courts. Your opinion, and mine, and the opinions of nearly everybody else (with the exception of Congress, and by extension, the legislatures of the various states in the event of a proposed amendment, and -- to a limited degree and under specific circumstances -- the President), are moot.

This is part of the price we all pay for living in a civilized nation: we must either comply with laws we don't approve of, or face concomitant legal sanctions. Any other way is a short road to THE TURNER DIARIES.

If I'm to understand you correctly, you're suggesting that you're planning to "shoot it out" with crazed murderous crank-heads, very possibly giving your life . . . to stop them from stealing copper?

The thefts themselves have not evaded my notice. What has evaded my notice is a compelling reason to kill someone for trespassing and grand larceny. I don't know what the local laws are like where you live, but in most states a private citizen is permitted to use lethal force only when he or she is reasonably convinced that to do otherwise would pose a grave risk to the health and safety of themselves or others; that is, in self defense (or the defense of others).

This is known (at least in the martial arts community, where it's regarded as a very serious matter) as the "rule of appropriate force," and it's not a joke. It's illegal to kill someone for, let's say, picking your pocket. Defense of property is not generally considered an appropriate justification for lethal force.

If an intruder is inside your house, the threat to health and safety is customarily assumed, even if the intruder's aim is a mere property crime. If you shoot and kill someone who's sneaking through your back forty to steal some irrigation pipe, you're likely to be in serious shit.

And you deserve to be.

Lots of folks talk about shooting people for trespassing. Folks who actually do so mostly end up in prison. For good reason.

If it were legal to kill someone for non-violent theft, there wouldn't be a single AIG financial trader left alive.

Dornicus said...

Matt,
First, I only meant that the Constitution is open to interpretation insofar as each man determines what he believes it means in regards to what kinds of laws should be made, and determining how he votes; of course, the actual laws on the books (sadly) supercede the Constitution in criminal courts. I am not unaware of this, and I act accordingly.

I specifically stated "armed thieves" for a reason; most states believe the use of lethal force justified if someone is on your land, and armed, without your permission. I didn't say I'd start shooting people on sight just for being near my house, but like I said, a lot of these people are meth-heads; they'd rather not leave any witnesses, and they know that even if you've called the cops, they'll be a while in showing up.

I'm very familiar with the laws in my area, and I think that perhaps I mis-communicated my intent both in defending myself and in the circumstances under which I would use lethal force in doing so. In every case, I assumed the absolute worst; that someone is stealing, and that when I called the cops and then challenged them, that they would open fire on me instead of running.

I don't think it unreasonable to challenge someone who is on your property, if you're unable to determine if they're armed. If it turns out that they are, and they start shooting, I believe it is your legitimate right to defend yourself.