Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pretty in Pink?

Okay, I'm not sure how I feel about this (thanks TR for sending me the link!):

It resembles a hand-held electric razor and is available in metallic pink, electric blue, titanium silver and black pearl.

But it gives out a 50,000-volt jolt that short-circuits brain signals and momentarily incapacitates.

Meet the sleek new C2 stun gun from Taser International in Scottsdale, a controversial device aimed mainly at women consumers that has sparked widespread concern among U.S. law enforcement and human rights groups.

Police forces in the United States have been issued with Tasers since 1999 to subdue violent criminals. A pistol-like civilian version aimed at the self-defense market has been available since 1994.

But the new, lighter, brighter designer version, which was launched in late July with a price tag of around $350, is small enough to tuck into a purse and packs the same paralyzing punch.

"We wanted to make sure that it was something that people were comfortable carrying and didn't make it look like they were 'Dirty Harry,'" said Tom Smith, the company's co-founder and board chairman, referring to the Clint Eastwood movie...

But some of the nation's top police authorities are concerned that the gadgets could easily wind up in the wrong hands. Amnesty International also is opposed, saying it can pose "serious harm" for women.


My question isn't "should women be using it?" I think they should if it is used properly for self defense. I have some other questions: "Why does a tool used for self-defense have to look like something Barbie would carry?" And "isn't it a bit sexist that Amnesty International is concerned only now that these weapons are being targeted to women when a pistol-like civilian version has been aimed at the self-defense market for the past 13 years?"

87 Comments:

Blogger Domenico said...

i don't think the color has anything to do with it. the victim's disarmament lobby opposes any and all weapons. they released their latest denunciation to coincide with the release of this new weapon. you will probably not be surprised to know that they protested the first civilian Taser as well. they are like politicians. they send out their press releases mostly so that people don't forget about them.

a better question is, why are we arming women with less than lethal force? women need to be taught from an early age that it is entirely appropriate to kill anyone who attempts to harm them. by pretending that women can survive by using less than lethal force, we are giving them a false sense of security. women need to be reminded that when someone attempts to harm them, they are not required to keep their assailant alive.

7:09 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

As the father of two wonderful daughters, I can't disagree with you, domenico.

If someone came after either of them, I prefer they have a .44 magnum to a taser. And use it.

7:57 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger navyvet said...

Indiscriminate use of lethal force is a really bad idea.

Aside from the serious psychological trauma the shooter does to themselves - there's always the law and the victim's family to contend with.

It is hardly appropriate or advisable to kill carelessly.

8:07 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

If a perp gets the tables turned on him, he's a victim? Surely you don't mean that.

8:38 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger Danny said...

NavyVet- when I was 14, I had to shoot my uncle when he attacked my dad and declared hisintention to kill both my dad and I. he did not die, but was crippled.
And unlike your assertion, I did not bring any serious psychological trauma upon myself. In fact, it turned me from an introverted, shy, geeky, easily frightened kid into a self-confident person.

8:42 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger Jason said...

"Indiscriminate use of lethal force is a really bad idea."

Yes, but we're discussing self defense.

8:53 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger navyvet said...

Even in self defense - you can't run around killing people.

"women need to be taught from an early age that it is entirely appropriate to kill anyone who attempts to harm them"

Anyone who attempts to 'harm' them?

Hmmm...shot your uncle and crippled him - not lethal force.

I'm all for an armed public - but not if you're going to tell people that lethal force is a casual option any time they feel threatened.

9:16 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger Joe said...

navyvet, NOBODY is talking about running around and killing people. They are talking about self-defense. And, no, we're not talking about someone brushing by someone, but those tens of thousands of cases where women are actually and brutally assaulted and raped. This isn't some fiction.

Frankly, the more rapists that we can move onto the next world, the better off this world will be.

9:24 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger GeorgeH said...

I have one on order for a lady friend in California who will never be able to get a pistol permit.

The fact that the gun NAZIs oppose this demonstrates their true desire to disarm us all.

I doubt Taser prongs will penetrate a policeman's Kevlar vest, and thus they aren't a threat to them.

When a Taser is used, the compressed air cartridge that fires the probes also disperses hundreds of tiny plastic disks with the serial number of the cartridge. The company will be glad to tell law enforcement who bought any cartridge used based on the numbers. That pretty much eliminates it's casual use. You will be answering questions if you use it.

Are they dangerous?
Life threatening?
They have been used for years by law enforcement yet no one has ever sucesfully sued Taser for damaging them.

Do they work?
Does it hurt?
Yes, from personal experience.
If you are lucky you can manage to remain standing, but you won't be in control of your movements.

9:27 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger navyvet said...

Joe -

Did you read the first comment? Go around giving that kind of advice to a woman and she'll end up on the wrong end of a manslaughter charge (no pun intended).

9:47 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger Super-Electro-Magnetic Midget Launcher said...

navyvet, the first comment said,

...women need to be reminded that when someone attempts to harm them, they are not required to keep their assailant alive.

"Attempts to harm" sounds like self-defense to me, though I can see how the prior bit about "less than lethal force" might be a bit overenthusiastic. But absolutely nobody but you said anything that could sanely be interpreted as being about "Indiscriminate use of lethal force" or "kill[ing] carelessly".

You're refuting arguments nobody made. Chill out.


Moving right along, here's what amazed me about the Amnesty thing:

Amnesty International also is opposed, saying it can pose "serious harm" for women.

Why, because the poor ditsy little dears with their cuddly little pink X chromosomes can't tell which end is which? "Self-defense is hard, let's go shopping!" Idiots... Same kind of idiots who think women are dumb enough to kill people who don't threaten them, just because they read a very mildly overheated blog comment somewhere.

BTW, WTF does this have to do with succoring political prisoners? Amnesty's really gone off the rails.

10:22 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger Super-Electro-Magnetic Midget Launcher said...

Clarification:

"'Attempts to harm' sounds to me like he's talking about self-defense..."

10:25 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger Yamantaka said...

And "isn't it a bit sexist that Amnesty International is concerned only now

I think Amnesty has been concerned about tasers for many years now. But, yes, I found their statement odd as well.

10:30 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger Lou Minatti said...

Even in self defense - you can't run around killing people.

If someone breaks into my house and threatens my kids, my wife or me with a weapon, I will shoot to kill. I will not debate with them or urge them to seek counseling. Comprende?

11:35 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger James said...

I was trying to figure out why Amnesty was talking about "Serious harm" and I think that they're talking about the serious harm a woman, especially if pregnant, may suffer on the receiving end of these things.

There's a report by Amnesty available in PDF on misuse of the Taser.

There's nothing wrong with the concept of non-lethal weapons--the police usually carry both lethal and non-lethal and have a thing they call the "use of of force continuum."

Also, if you're where lethal weapons are illegal, then a good non-lethal weapon is better than nothing.

11:46 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

My wife and my only daughter both have .38s and carry permits. They each own S&W Ladysmiths. No fancy colors, just stainless steel and grips fitted for their smaller hands.
Amnesty International doesn't like those, either. Of course Amnesty International hates it when we execute a murderer and cry loudly over the awful conditions in which we imprison them.
I shall stay monumentally uninterested in Amnesty International. And if my daughter ever moves to one of those benighted States where she wouldn't be allowed her .38, you can bet I'd be looking for some kind of TASER or suchlike.
And, no, my wife and daughter do not run around killing people although the gun came in real handy once at a highway rest stop. No shots fired, one ugly situation ended. My daughter and grandson okay.

11:48 PM, August 16, 2007  
Blogger jackson said...

I read somewhere years ago that in 85% of street attacks on women, the victim is accosted from behind with the assailants' arm wrapped around her head or face, i.e. a head-lock. In this situation, a hand gun would be useless, but a stun gun would be perfect.

yours/
peter.

12:19 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Peter,

Based upon the picture, the C2 stungun appears to be similar in size to a snubnose .38.

If you're capable of grabbing and using the C2 while in a head lock, then you should be able to grab and use a small revolver, too.

Also, remember that a Taser gives you one shot, a revolver gives you six shots, and a pistol can give you up to 15. The Taser has an effective range of 15 feet, while the revolver and pistol have much greater range.

When it comes to self-defense, I'll stick to firearms, but then I live in a shall issue state.

For those who live in states without conceal carry permits, or for people uncomfortable around guns, then the C2 is probably a good alternative.

12:43 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Joshua said...

Even in self defense - you can't run around killing people.

Actually, you can in states that truly allow you to defend yourself. Maybe in Cali you'd get a manslaughter charge but you can bet a few questions is all you'd get in Texas. Especially if they come on your private property.

12:53 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Kathy said...

When I took a self-defense class in college years ago, for PE credit, the instructor (who was also my karate instructor in a previous semester) was quite emphatic that if lethal force wasn't justified conflict should be avoided. If physical conflict could not be avoided, then lethal force was not only justified but required, because (especially as a woman who will usually be smaller than the assailant) without the attempt at lethal force there is a low probability of success, and an unsuccessful physical encounter would almost certainly end badly for the woman.

In other words, he said that we were not skilled enough to even think about disabling attacks. All our attacks should be intended to kill. Then, should we actually manage to make one of our attacks successful, we might actually be able to stop the attacker (but only if he was dead could we be sure he would stop). Just trying to maim him was unlikely to work. Of course, he also said that if we were in our car when confronted with violence, the best thing to do was to run over the perpetrator since the car made an excellent weapon.

No doubt you've surmised that this course was taught in Texas.

1:51 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger jw said...

Amnesty International has been anti-male, pro sexism dumped on to males, for quite some time now. I expect them to be sexist, it is what and who they are.

The colors are just sales. It's what all companies seem to be doing. I don't know if that's a problem or not.

3:14 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

"why are we arming women with less than lethal force? women need to be taught from an early age that it is entirely appropriate to kill anyone who attempts to harm them."

this is subjective, it does mean that the more women are taught to think they are victims, and men are the culprits, the more common the use of lethal force.

why not arm men with the weapons, if its all about violence, and threat and feeling in danger. would it be ok for a man to kill his wife if she attacks him.

you have to be very careful about perceived threats. they could just be in your mind.

4:37 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger P. Rich said...

Amnesty International is an activist organization who's avowed purpose is to seek out and prevent abuse of "internationally recognized human rights". You can guess the kind of members they attract. Pacifist would be near the head of the list.

Much like the ACLU, they cherry-pick issues and tend to ignore and avoid those which do not fit into their ultra-liberal [internationalist] framework. Genocide: too much trouble. Pink tasers: gotta protect those poor attackers from such dire threats.

7:26 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Graham said...

I think you're dead on, here, Helen. Furthermore, concealing the weapon as some sort of fashionable accoutrement transforms it from an defensive weapon into an offensive weapon. Part of what makes a good defensive weapon is the fact that it's obviously a weapon and obviously dangerous. It has deterrence value. Concealing the nature of a weapon, making it look innocuous, this is something you want when you're trying to catch an enemy off-guard, surprise him. It doesn't deter. It invites the perpetrator by being seemingly harmless.

8:15 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Apostolic Anchoress / Rowena Hullfire said...

There's an uproar against AI because of their recent decision to advocate abortion as a universal human right.

So, they're saying, a woman shouldn't pack heat to defend herself against a rapist, but she should just accept whatever happens to her, and if she ends up raped, alive, and pregnant, AI supports her right to an abortion.

Yeah right.

I am not familiar with AI's positions, are they for victim disarmament? (gun controllers)

Thanks for this news item. This is actually very helpful to me. There are many women who work at schools and colleges that by law are firearms free, so we can't pack heat at work--and there have been occasions where I wish me or someone did pack heat. An ongoing conversation we have is how to do our own security (because we have NO security). This would be an excellent solution, because it wouldn't violate the firearms prohibition but at least give us a chance.

8:25 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Mercurior --

"would it be ok for a man to kill his wife if she attacks him."

Describe the situation. You're talking in the abstract again.

8:46 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

would it be ok for a man to kill his wife if she attacks him.

If she attacks with a weapon and the husband fears for his life, then yes.

If she just slaps the guy, then no.

you have to be very careful about perceived threats. they could just be in your mind.

Yes, its about perception, but perception has served us well for thousands of years. Note how perception has allowed millions of Americans to carry concealed weapons without turning our streets into rivers of blood.

Pay attention to your instincts, they can keep you alive by helping you avoid potentially dangerous situations.

9:09 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger evdlinde said...

"It doesn't deter. It invites the perpetrator by being seemingly harmless".

Goodness Graham, that's the equivalent of saying a woman "invited" rape by the way she looks, or the way she dresses. I don't buy that argument.

9:33 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:56 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Evdlinde,

Your analogy doesn't work.

Research has revealed that most firearms used in self defense are never fired. Simply brandishing the weapon is usually enough to deter or end the threat.

Guns are black or shiny stainless steel. Not only are they deadly, they look deadly, and since most criminals are in fact cowards preying upon those perceived to be weak or vulnerable, the sight of an obviously dangerous weapon sends them fleeing.

Will a pretty pink stun gun that looks like a child's toy have the same effect on an attacker? Probably not.

The stun gun may be able to incapacitate the attacker, but it won't have the same "oh shit, gun, run!" deterrent effect that mean looking guns possess.

Put in baser terms, a gun says "f--- with me and you die." A pink stun gun says "look at my cute accessory!"

A weapon, lethal or nonlethal, should scare the hell out of anyone looking at it from the wrong end.

9:58 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

I'm with the Launcher: this is nothing like AI's charter cause. They have the mission creep of extreme hubris, and no mistake.

As for the pinkitude of the Taser, yeah, it's 100% marketing. I have a serious weapon and it's a toy-looking accessory too! Tee-phuqin-hee.

The first problem is the one dogwood described: it's got very little intimidation use, and as knowledgeable sorts like Sun Tzu and Napoleon have observed, that's most of the battle right there.

The second is in its deceptively innocent qualities. My Dad, in his periodic re-certifications on weaponry, was always disturbed by the toy-like feel of an M16. It doesn't seem like a real weapon, in the hand. Make it pink and not gun-looking and you have something deeply disturbing.

10:50 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger GeorgeH said...

Dogwood said
"Research has revealed that most firearms used in self defense are never fired. Simply brandishing the weapon is usually enough to deter or end the threat.

Guns are black or shiny stainless steel. Not only are they deadly, they look deadly, and since most criminals are in fact cowards preying upon those perceived to be weak or vulnerable, the sight of an obviously dangerous weapon sends them fleeing.

Will a pretty pink stun gun that looks like a child's toy have the same effect on an attacker? Probably not.

The stun gun may be able to incapacitate the attacker, but it won't have the same "oh shit, gun, run!" deterrent effect that mean looking guns possess.

Put in baser terms, a gun says "f--- with me and you die." A pink stun gun says "look at my cute accessory!"

A weapon, lethal or nonlethal, should scare the hell out of anyone looking at it from the wrong end."


The primary rationale behind the Taser C2 is that is is smooth enough to be removed from a purse or pocket without hanging up on stuff. If you look at a conventional police type Taser you will see that it has dozens of spots that could snag on things. If I get a Taser for use when I am in California, it will be a C2, though a blue or black one.

Handguns have been available intermittently in pretty colors for at least 30 years. Duracoat finishes any weapon in any color or pattern you can conceive of.

10:58 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

George,

Yes, you can get guns in any color you want, but even a pink gun will have a higher intimidation factor than a pink toy-like device.

If your weapon looks intimidating, and is intimidating because the attacker knows what it is, then odds are you won't have to use the weapon.

Intimidate first, then shoot if necessary, just be sure to hit the target because you won't get a second shot with a stun gun.

11:08 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger GeorgeH said...

I agree that a Taser isn't as good as a firearm, but in some states you have no choice.

Frankly, I'm not going to intimidate anyone. If I am threatened enough to draw my weapon, someone is going to die.

In North Carolina it is legal to shoot someone if you feel your life is in imminent danger, but it is never legal to just pull a gun and threaten.

11:29 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

I agree that a Taser isn't as good as a firearm, but in some states you have no choice.

Agree. See the end of my first comment.

Frankly, I'm not going to intimidate anyone. If I am threatened enough to draw my weapon, someone is going to die.

Love the attitude and couldn't agree more. If my gun comes out, then someone is going down and it isn't going to be me.

In North Carolina it is legal to shoot someone if you feel your life is in imminent danger...

Indiana adopted the Castle Doctrine a couple years ago. Basically, if you reasonably believe your life is in danger, then you can use deadly force to neutralize the threat.

The concept was pretty well established in Indiana case law already, but the anti-gun and anti-self defense crowds can get pushy at times, so the sate legislature pushed back.

Indiana also implemented lifetime carry permits. So for a $100 fee, you never have to renew your carry permit. Its proving to be quite popular.

11:46 AM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger 1charlie2 said...

Helen,

Not to pick on the fairer sex, but I have known a lot of women who won't have anything to do with firearms for self-defense.

I think this weapon fills a niche.

Disclaimer: I (along with the required police officer or lawyer) used to teach firearms for self-defense. So I am not a shrinking violet.

I absolutely agree that, for any person of either gender who has the legal means to carry a firearm concealed, and who takes the time to educate themselves on the legal aspects of deadly force in their jurisdiction(s), and who take the time to acquire and maintain proficiency with their chosen firearm, nothing by Taser, Inc. is a match for their firearm.

My wife, for example, wouldn't be caught dead with a Taser since she can carry her Ruger. (I have a Colt -- is that a mixed marriage ?)

But my sister-in-law ? The best salesperson in the world couldn't get her to choose to carry a gun. So her defense (if any) devolves down to a tool of lesser effectiveness. Not because of marketing, but because it's her choice.

And my S.I.L. is (compared to neanderthal me) a fashion maven, so the styling of this weapon doesn't bother me at all (assuming they focus-tested it). I suspect the unwillingness to carry a big, dangerous, ugly (fill in the blank) gun correlates highly with a desire for fashionable accessories.

If your XX is supposed to match your YY (I refuse to betray my complete lack of fashion sense by using any real examples), why not have your stun-gun match your shoes ? Maybe The Manolo can create something that matches well.

And I don't think AI is alone in using "targeted for woman" as an excuse to try to stop folks from buying them. A lot of criminal advocacy groups (those who want civilians disarmed) went positively berserk when the LadySmith line was introduced.

That's just more "divide and conquer" crap like "revolvers vs. semi-autos," "expensive firearms vs 'Saturday Night Specials'," and "hunting rifles vs. 'assault weapons'." If you can't take all of the existing weapons away, maybe you can take some of the away. Or keep more people from acquiring them.

12:52 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

Ok, let's follow amnesty off the rails, but to the other side of the tracks.

Unless each and every one on this planet is totally unarmed, except police and military personnel, the one world, one government thing can simply never happen. Especially here in the states. I know what freedom tastes like. Just try and take it away.

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean this is the plan, you know.

Let's all sing, now..."Imagine there's no heaven. It's easy if you try"...........

1:11 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean this ISN'T the plan. Sorry.

Outrageous? How many times has it already occurred? It'll never work unless freedom is eradicated first, world wide. Any power an individual may possess needs to be destroyed.

When the devil shows up (the movie "Network") is he going to be in a flaming red suit with horns, a pointed tail and a pitchfork?

1:23 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger knoxwhirled said...

Even in self defense - you can't run around killing people.

Presumably, if you're acting in self-defense, you're exactly not "running around killing people" Are you really suggesting that someone should use careful half-measures to stop an assailant from killing or raping them?

Sorry, but if I'm attacked I'm not going to be thinking about how I can spare the person's life. I'm going to do whatever I have to in order to stop them; if it means they die in the process, well that's the risk they opted to take...

1:33 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger knoxwhirled said...

Also: consider that in Great Britain, where criminals KNOW citizens are not allowed to kill in self-defense, violent crime and home invasions have sky-rocketed.

The knowledge that a victim might be armed is a real deterrent to would-be attackers.

1:37 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger serket said...

Oligonicella: Describe the situation. You're talking in the abstract again.

I think this is the exact point of contention. If someone is in a situation where there is a high risk of being killed, then yeah they should try to kill the attacker. However, the person should also be questioned and prepare for a possible murder trial, if their intuition was out-of-whack.

3:12 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger evdlinde said...

Jeez folks, we folks north of the border are a naive lot. If the posters here represent a cross-section of US citizens (and I'm assuming it does, as it's not necessarily a "pro-gun" forum site), I personally find it quite an eye opener that the average (?) US citizen has (?) to think in these terms. But, on the other hand, our crime and violence rates obviously differ dramatically (except perhaps places like Toronto or Vancouver), and it's not really on the average Canadians radar screen. Tasers for personal protection ? - wouldn't move off the shelves here. In the rural ER I work, I've seen 3 gunshot victims in 7 years : all accidental via hunting rifles. I don't lock my doors at night.

3:24 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

in a town of over 200,000 people theres only been about 3 or 4 murders in the last 10 years..

the home invasion has increased but from a lower figure. if there was 1 home invasion last year, and 2 this year then thats a 100% increase.. minor in reality.

but then again crime has increased as paperwork for the police has increased.. and less time is out there on the streets.. is there an answer.. i dont know.

one story i read, it was about a woman who shot a burglar in the kitchen, she later goes and turns the lights on and finds its her husband. she thought it was a burglar, and acted as such, but she killed her husband..

thats the perception, was she right in killing the burglar, yes, was she right in killing her husband.. no.

self defence is a tricky thing, it relies on where you stand. where does killing a person in their sleep become self defense, because the person thinks they may kill them in the future.. or is a death a death..justified or not.

3:49 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

serket --

The only contention was a question phrased so as to preclude any intelligent answer other than to ask for clarification.

No one here thinks that they should be able to kill someone and not have to be questioned about it.

mercurior --

A death is a death. That's a given. It's also a meaningless statement.

You'll note your story is not about someone who was attacked. She was not exercising self defense. Killing someone in their sleep is not self defense as there is no attack.

Apples and oranges.

4:00 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

its all about the comparison..

in manchester

In February, Chief Superintendent David Keller of Greater Manchester Police acknowledged that gun crime was on the increase in the city. Between April 2006 and March 2007 there were five gun related murders, 56 incidents of serious wounding and 714 incidents where a firearm was used this is a city of a couple of million (i think its upto about 3.5 million people in greater manchester).

http://www.manchesterconfidential.com/index.asp?sessionx=IpqiNwB6IwEjIHqiNwF6IHqi

4:03 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Evdlinde: the average (?) US citizen has (?) to think in these terms.

I would argue that the average American doesn't spend a great deal of time seriously considering the issue of self-defense, at least until they need it, which is too late.

Crime rates vary greatly in the U.S. I live in a rural area with very low crimes rates. Houses and cars are left unlocked. Probably very similar to your community north of the border.

Many folks in my area own guns for hunting, some for home protection, still others conceal carry for personal protection while out and about town. In other words, guns are common and not considered worth talking about.

The blog post is about self defense, so its to be expected that the comments would be dominated by those who have a very strong interest in the issue. I doubt we're average Americans when it comes to the topic.

Merc:

One question for the wife: why didn't she know where her husband was before she fired? If they slept in the same room, and a noise down the hall woke her up, wouldn't she first look in bed to make sure her husband was there before she assumed it was a burglar?

If her husband came home from work at night, wouldn't she first determine if it was her husband coming home rather than a home invader?

Based upon the few details in your post, it sounds like she panicked and fired before properly identifying the target.

Whether hunting or shooting in self defense, know what you are shooting at before you pull the trigger.

4:22 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

exactly dogwood,i think he came in late after a drink at work..

she was justifed in self defence, when she thought it was a burglar (home invasion), yet, she wasnt if it was her husband.

the story was there to show the perception of self defense is a very slippery thing. whats ones persons self defence is another ones accidental murder..

non lethal weapons, not sure about these, it may mean the criminals get proper guns, or it may deter.. its another grey area..

4:38 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

(sorry if i seem a bit rambling today, lack of sleep, and nerves)

4:39 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger tomcal said...

Well at $350, you can't argue with the price. I paid $450 for mine, which looks like a real weapon, 3 years ago.

I think there is something to be said for a weapon looking like a weapon. At least in some cases it might cause a perp to flee. But on the other hand, if these things catch on, all you will have to do is point a bar of soap at someone to appear threatening.

I've never been tasered, but I have been to class an seen the effects on others; I just didn't raise my hand when they asked for volunteers. It is quite dramatic and does indeed incapacitate for the duration of the charge. It's way better than nothing at all.

To me, it's a good idea. I would prefer a world where the possibility that a large group of the citizenry is carrying some sort of weapon is far greater than it is now. The deterrent effect alone is worth it, and if "designer weapons" are what it takes, then bring them on.

7:07 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger losergrrl said...

I've been concerned about coming to America because of all the stories one hears about guns.

Now this. I must come to New York next week. I am frightened.

What shall I do?

9:41 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger The Mean Aunt said...

losergrrl--I don't know if that was a serious question or not, so I'll answer it.

Don't worry about it. Use whatever normal precautions you use at home (assuming you don't walk down dark alleys unescorted at 2 a.m.) Be aware of your surroundings, your gut instinct and don't do stupid things.

We aren't being taken over by thugs, everyone isn't carrying a weapon (even in Texas ;) most people are nice and NYC is a wonderful city.

If all you know is what you see on tv/movies then rest assured that reality is really boring.

Hope you have a great trip!

10:32 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

No, mercurior, there was no self defense. One can only defend against an attack, not someone standing there doing nothing.

Just fearing someone might attack you is not being attacked.

You seem to be purposely conflating fear with an actual attack.

10:49 PM, August 17, 2007  
Blogger tomcal said...

losergrrl:

I have a home in Granada, Nicaragua, and also in Los Angeles, CA. Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest country in the western hemesphere. Your concern reminds me of a question which I am constantly asked in Nicaragua.

Nicaraguans are always asking me if the U.S. is a dirty place, filled with garbage and polution, like they see on TV. I am usually asked questions like this when I am standing in steets filled with uncollected garbage and piles of human excrement. It's very hard to keep a straight face when answering these questions, and to do so without seeming insulting to the people who are genuinely interested to know.

Pay no attention to what the media tells you. America is the safest place on earth. Sure, there are places you don't want to go alone in the middle of the night, but no more so, in fact less so, than anywhere else on the planet.

1:23 AM, August 18, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

ah but Oligonicella, a lot of people do that, look at mary winkler, and the other women.

they claim thats self defence, by shooting a man in the head while he sleeps.

the courts say it was self defense. so has other events that mutilate men. see what i mean about it being slippery.

losergrrl, i go to america regularly, theres nothing really to worry about, just be aware of your surroundings, like when the ira and sinn fein used to blow up cars and parcels and people. just take notice of things around you.

yes guns can be scary, they terrify me, but so long as you use common sense, you will be ok.

6:41 AM, August 18, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

mercurior --

Ah, but Mercurior, you're just playing word games and I'm talking about reality, not the legal systems of the world (which thrive on word games. "If the glove..."). If an area's legal system decides self-defense no longer requires someone be attacked, it is wrong and needs fixing, not that everyone else now change their minds to see that person as actually innocent.

A lot of people smoke crack. What's your point? They are wrong. She was wrong. Jackasses set her free. Jackasses set OJ free. And?

Webster's

self-de·fense, n.
1. the act of defending one's person when physically attacked, as by countering blows or overcoming an assailant: the art of self-defense.
2. a claim or plea that the use of force or injuring or killing another was necessary in defending one's own person from physical attack: He shot the man who was trying to stab him and pleaded self-defense at the murder trial.
3. an act or instance of defending or protecting one's own interests, property, ideas, etc., as by argument or strategy.

You'll note 3 isn't about violence and 1 and 2 specify a physical attack. You don't get to change the meaning of words, despite the dregs of the legal profession like Cockran.

8:12 AM, August 18, 2007  
Blogger Flash Gordon said...

If Gary Kleck's research is accurate there are over a million instances a year in which a handgun is used for self defense. But the really interesting thing is that in about 97% of these instances the gun is not fired because the criminal breaks off the attack immediately upon being presented with it by the victim. That's a good result which I don't think would occur with this new taser device.

1:34 PM, August 18, 2007  
Blogger evdlinde said...

My interest was piqued, and I researched Canada's Criminal Code. Found out that, amongst others, that it's actually illegal in Canada for a private citizen to carry a Taser (par 7) or even pepper spray / brass knuckles etc amongst others.

This leads to a question (and I'm not being facetious) : if Canada can provide a fairly "safe" environment for private individuals with these types of laws in place (in a society fairly similar to the US), why would this not culturally fly in the US ? And I'm asking the question more along the lines of is there true evidence for the deterrant effect on criminals, balanced against the risks of accidents - kids having access, killings in the heat of the moment, mistaken assumptions etc etc ? Apart from the constitutional right to bear arms debate, why would this rationale be shot down (pardon the pun ;-)) in America ? Would it not contribute to a less violent society in general ?

PART 3

PROHIBITED WEAPONS

Former Prohibited Weapons Order, No. 1

1. Any device that is designed to injure, immobilize or otherwise incapacitate a person by the discharge of any liquid, spray, powder, gas or other substance that is capable of injuring, immobilizing or otherwise incapacitating a person.

2. Any device that is capable of injuring, immobilizing or incapacitating a person by the discharge of

(a) a substance that contains oleoresin capsicum, capsicum, capsaicin or a capsaicinoid, unless the device

(i) is designed to be used for the control of wild animals, and

(ii) has a capacity greater than 224 g or 224 mL; or

(b) tear gas or mace.

Former Prohibited Weapons Order, No. 2

3. Any instrument or device commonly known as "nunchaku", being hard non-flexible sticks, clubs, pipes, or rods linked by a length or lengths of rope, cord, wire or chain, and any similar instrument or device.

4. Any instrument or device commonly known as "shuriken", being a hard non-flexible plate having three or more radiating points with one or more sharp edges in the shape of a polygon, trefoil, cross, star, diamond or other geometrical shape, and any similar instrument or device.

5. Any instrument or device commonly known as "manrikigusari" or "kusari", being hexagonal or other geometrically shaped hard weights or hand grips linked by a length or lengths of rope, cord, wire or chain, and any similar instrument or device.

6. Any finger ring that has one or more blades or sharp objects that are capable of being projected from the surface of the ring.

Former Prohibited Weapons Order, No. 3

7. Any device that is designed to be capable of injuring, immobilizing or incapacitating a person or an animal by discharging an electrical charge produced by means of the amplification or accumulation of the electrical current generated by a battery, where the device is designed or altered so that the electrical charge may be discharged when the device is of a length of less than 480 mm, and any similar device.

8. A crossbow or similar device that

(a) is designed or altered to be aimed and fired by the action of one hand, whether or not it has been redesigned or subsequently altered to be aimed and fired by the action of both hands; or

(b) has a length not exceeding 500 mm.

Former Prohibited Weapons Order, No. 4

9. The device known as the "Constant Companion", being a belt containing a blade capable of being withdrawn from the belt, with the buckle of the belt forming a handle for the blade, and any similar device.

10. Any knife commonly known as a "push-dagger" that is designed in such a fashion that the handle is placed perpendicular to the main cutting edge of the blade and any other similar device other than the aboriginal "ulu" knife.

11. Any device having a length of less than 30 cm and resembling an innocuous object but designed to conceal a knife or blade, including the device commonly known as the "knife-comb", being a comb with the handle of the comb forming a handle for the knife, and any similar device.

Former Prohibited Weapons Order, No. 5

12. The device commonly known as a "Spiked Wristband", being a wristband to which a spike or blade is affixed, and any similar device.

Former Prohibited Weapons Order, No. 6

13. The device commonly known as "Yaqua Blowgun", being a tube or pipe designed for the purpose of shooting arrows or darts by the breath, and any similar device.

Former Prohibited Weapons Order, No. 7

14. The device commonly known as a "Kiyoga Baton" or "Steel Cobra" and any similar device consisting of a manually triggered telescoping spring-loaded steel whip terminated in a heavy calibre striking tip.

15. The device commonly known as a "Morning Star" and any similar device consisting of a ball of metal or other heavy material, studded with spikes and connected to a handle by a length of chain, rope or other flexible material.

Former Prohibited Weapons Order, No. 8

16. The device known as "Brass Knuckles" and any similar device consisting of a band of metal with one or more finger holes designed to fit over the fingers of the hand.

2:31 PM, August 18, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

i dont know if you spent any time in any courts in the UK, or elsewhere.

do you agree, that you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law?

if you do, then he is innocent of that crime. thats it. nothing more nothing less, you cannot be found guilty by the media (or shouldnt)for a crime you havent been convicted of by your peers/jury.

if you were arrested for child murder Oligonicella, and you were found innocent (by the legal representatives), then would it be ok for everyone in your town to lynch you, for a crime you didnt commit (as PROVEN by a judge and jury).

its not word play, its the golden thread of justice, for you to allow the press or anyone in your town to be judge, and jury and possibly executioner, is mob rule.

do you agree with mob rule?

3:26 PM, August 18, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Mercurior --

And, now you delve into hyperbole. Did I say I would attempt to hang OJ? No. I said that he indeed murdered two people according to the evidence presented which the jury either ignored or friggin' didn't understand.

A miscarriage of justice won't change my opinion or my demeanor towards him. Nor will it change the fact that he performed the act. Nothing can change that.

Legally you are innocent until proven guilty. The reality is that when you murder someone, you have murdered someone. No amount of legal or linguistic haggling can change that, regardless of the outcome of said haggling.

Explain the $35M, please.

No. It's word play. Murderers get off sometimes. That doesn't make them not murderers. It just makes them not found legally guilty and not incarcerated.

I don't believe in mob rule. Do you believe the legal system is perfect?

If so, you need to quit arguing that some innocent people are wrongfully found guilty, for the system has found them guilty, therefore they must be.

5:00 PM, August 18, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

evdlinde,

I'll take a shot at your question:

Would it not contribute to a less violent society in general?

The underlying assumption behind your question is that the presence of firearms makes people violent, or at least allows them to act out their violent tendencies, therefore, removing the instruments of violence will eliminate the violence.

First, from a practical standpoint, you can not eliminate the existence of firearms. There are 200 million privately-owned guns in a nation of 300 million people.

Attempts to confiscate those firearms would lead to a civil war, and since liberals don't believe in gun ownership, they'd lose quickly.

Great Britain has made it virtually impossible to own firearms, and yet the country is experiencing a significant increase in violent crime and home invasions. Why? Because the people are unarmed and the criminals ignore the gun ban.

The tired old cliche, "outlaw guns and only the outlaws will have guns" is true and Great Britain is a good example.

Washington, D.C. and Chicago also are prime examples of the gun ban policy failing.

I believe people who push for gun bans are simply in denial about the existence of evil people who are intent on hurting other people. Getting rid of guns won't make these people go away, it just makes the rest of us unarmed targets.

Make guns illegal and those intent on committing acts of violence will find a way to get a gun or simply use different methods.

Even Canada, with its strict controls, has 500 murders per year. Granted, that's not a lot compared to the U.S., but Canada also has 1/10th the population.

Secondly, the level of violence in America is usually blown way out of proportion by the gun ban folks who latch onto outlier events like the Virginia Tech shootings to advance their agenda, while all but ignoring larger social problems that lead to gun violence.

A recent report by the Associated Press stated that nearly half of all murder victims were African Americans, and 93 percent of them were murdered by other African Americans, and half of those murders took place in high density urban areas. These are incredible statistics when you consider that African Americans only comprise 13 percent of the American population.

The country's rate of violence and murder would be siginificantly lower if African Americans had rates of violence comparable to the rest of the population.

Unfortunately, drawing attention to this fact will 1) get you branded a racist, and 2) will shine a light on the severe cultural crisis within the African American community that defies easy and quick solutions.

Since no politician wants to be called a racist or risk alienating inner city black voters, they ignore the real problem and instead focus on gun bans that will have no tangible impact on rates of violence in a community, but instead allows them to look like they are implementing solutions.

Finally, gun ownership is as American as baseball and apple pie. It is so rooted in society that convincing people that disarming themselves isn't in the realm of possiblity.

Clayton Cramer, author of Armed America: The Remarkable Story of How and Why Guns Became as American as Apple Pie offers great insight into the role guns have played in our country. If you want a better understanding of the American gun ownership phenomenon, read his book or his blog.

8:13 PM, August 18, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Second to last graph should read:

"...convincing people to disarm themselves..."

8:17 PM, August 18, 2007  
Blogger tomcal said...

Flash: C'mon over to my place. I'll tase you and after you recover, we can discuss whether it is an effective deterrent.

12:52 AM, August 19, 2007  
Blogger Willj1776 said...

losergrrl
Are you coming from the UK? I have read in the last year that the UK now has the highest rate of violent crime of any developed country, though its murder rate is lower. Sorry I do not have the citation in hand.

Are you aware that the murder rate in the US is lower than that in quite a number of countries? Murder rate in Russia for example is about 8 times the US rate. Last stats I saw for Taiwan (mid 90's data) showed a higher rate of NON-gun murders than the total murder rate in the US.

The factor most associated with murder is not gun ownership, but illegal drugs according to several studies I have read. Sorry I do not have any citations here, I'm just writing from memory. The are a number of government and other websites and books out there with this info.

Navyvet
I am not sure anyone here advocates indiscriminant use of lethal force. My standard with regard to use of lethal force for self defense is that one must be in "imminent and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or extreme bodily injury". This is how one of my instructors stated it. This is quite different from running around indiscriminantly blasting things.

Another point. Self defense shooting is done with the intent to stop the attack. It is not done with the intent to kill though that may indeed happen. If the assailant turns and runs you cannot just shoot them dead.

evdlinde
Canada actually has a relatively high rate of gun ownership. Gun ownership is not particularly well correlated with murder. Illegal drugs are the strongest predictor I believe. People with legal concealed carry permits have an extremely low rate of crime, much lower than the population in general. Don't see how taking their guns would reduce crime.

12:21 AM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger CanadianERMD said...

Willj1776 , I buy that argument, but the confounder here is sociologically "balanced against the risks of accidents" in my post as evdlinde above . Haven't worked that one out for myself yet, i.e. I would need to see a study with evidence that the deterrant effect on criminals (which seems logical, but not necessarilly : passion and human emotions override logic)saves MORE lives than the lives lost due to accidents / heat of the moment shootings / kids getting access etc. Personally always been a Catch 22 for me, along the lines of the death penalty being discredited as a deterrant. Would I want access to a weapon if in mortal danger from a criminal ? - sure. Do criminals still kill or harm in spite of civilians having access to weapons or the death penalty in place ? - yes. Societally, is it a good thing that we all have access to lethal weapons ? - not so sure, once the balance perspective is factored in. And although that may not benefit me personally, does it benefit society ?. Difficult question.

11:06 AM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

canadianermd,

Don't have access to Canadian stats, but in the U.S., there were 600 accidental firearms deaths in 2000. Of those, 230 victims were 0-24 years old. Not sure what percentage were hunting related.

So, if firearms are used approximately 1 million times each year for self-defense, then wouldn't the social balance favor the basic human right to defend oneself?

I find it always helps to put these statistics in perspective, so here are some the leading causes of accidental death in the U.S.

43,000 automobile deaths (21,000 aged 0-24)

16,200 fatal falls (350 aged 0-24)

11,700 fatal poisonings (900 aged 0-24)

3,900 drownings (1,500 aged 0-24)

3,600 fatal burns (900 aged 0-24)

3,400 suffocations (150 aged 0-24)

600 firearms (230 aged 0-24)

As you can see, firearms have one of the lowest accidental death rates in America. I would argue that the rate is so low because the vast majority of gun owners are safe, law abiding citizens.

Another problem with your social calculus is that someone could say that no accidental deaths were acceptable, therefore, all guns should be banned.

Who is to decide what a reasonable accident rate is before a type of activity is banned by government?

Taking this social calculus to an extreme, how many children must die in swimming pools before they are banned by the government?

Best I can tell, swimming pools do not save lives, and societal benefits are impossible to calculate, but they certainly take a great many lives each year, so why not ban swimming pools and outlaw swimming in lakes, rivers and oceans?

Using social benefit calculus is a dangerous path to take because your definition of social benefit and my definition of social benefit are going to be completely different.

Finally, you said: And although that may not benefit me personally, does it benefit society?

The problem with that line is its irrelevant. We are talking about the most basic human right, the right to defend oneself against an aggressor. If or how that benefits society is completely irrelevant. Surely you don't believe that basic human rights should be subjected to an economic cost/benefit analysis and only those rights that pass the test will be preserved and protected?

Personally, I believe my ability to kill an attacker is a huge social benefit because 1) a law abiding citizen gets to live, 2) a criminal dies (unfortunate perhaps, but their choice), 3) society saves the cost of a trial.

Some will read the above paragraph with complete revulsion, which means they would not use those factors to calculate "social benefit", which gets us back to the primary problem with your argument: whose formula is used to determine social benefit and how many individual rights are you willing to sacrifice on the alter of cost/benefit analysis?

12:31 PM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger CanadianERMD said...

Aah, but there-in lies the rub when it comes to the gun debate, Dogwood. The problem is that a "gun" (whatever ones definition of that may be) tends to be almost uniformly lethal, as opposed to e.g. a knuckle-duster, self-defence classes or a taser (and that appears to be controversial in some circumstances): and far more palatable for that reason in my view. Granted the latter are far less "effective" than a gun, and the former part of that statement is probably to a lesser extent debatable.

My definition of "accidental" was also broader and by no means addressed in your statistics : it included "crimes of passion", i.e. deaths that may not have occurred if the weapon had not been accessible (either to the assailant or for that matter the victim).

Murder is not uniformly pre-meditated, and I would submit the majority of gun related killings are "spur of the moment" - whether viewed from the perspective of the assailant or victim (societally, would it have been better for the victim to have been mugged for loose change, than a death produced : quite possibly that of the victim anyway, given the odds that a criminal generally by virtue of his acts is liklier to be the more proficient with a weapon than a casual member of the public).

Ergo the depressed individual perhaps blunted by a bit of alcohol in his kitchen at home : that weapon in the closet has the odds to produce a more permanent result than a handful of pills, for someone who may not have had a true intent to exit this world.

Ergo the husband or wife returning unexpectedly from work to home to find the spouse in a compromising situation - a divorce societally seems more civilised than a death that did not need to happen if the weapon was not accessible.

Guns don't kill people, people (with all their fallible detritus) kill people : that's the flip side of the argument commonly used by gun advocates.

And I know, I'm at risk of turning the post topic into a gun debate..... Just bothers me (not only as an MD) to see folk passionately espousing the lethal consequences that an event such as someone breaching a personal space barrier such as being on your property, as opposed to a direct threat to life.

Regarding "using social benefit calculus is a dangerous path to take because your definition of social benefit and my definition of social benefit are going to be completely different" : but that's exactly the point of why we choose to live in democracies - we allow a majority elected government to make and enforce that type of controversial decision on the minority detractors.

And an "economic cost/benefit analysis" is an entirely different animal to a "societal cost/benefit analysis". The former says that it would make sense to cull all geriatrics as a liability, however we all obviously subscribe to the latter, as opposed to the law of the jungle.

2:14 PM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

...given the odds that a criminal generally by virtue of his acts is likelier to be the more proficient with a weapon than a casual member of the public).

I doubt they are more proficient, just more likely to use them. Not sure how many criminals head to the gun range on a regular basis, but a lot of my friends who carry go all the time to practice.

Just bothers me (not only as an MD) to see folk passionately espousing the lethal consequences that an event such as someone breaching a personal space barrier such as being on your property, as opposed to a direct threat to life.

Haven't seen anyone in this thread advocate shooting random trespassers, or those who invade our personal space. Invading our homes? You bet, but that's a bit more serious than someone who just stands too close while they chat with you.

I believe case law and most laws on self-defense state that the shooter must have a reasonable fear that they are about to be physically harmed or killed. And when it comes to home invasions, the presumption is the home invader intends to physically attack and/or kill you.

Ergo the depressed individual perhaps blunted by a bit of alcohol in his kitchen at home : that weapon in the closet has the odds to produce a more permanent result than a handful of pills, for someone who may not have had a true intent to exit this world.

Australia offers a real world test of your thesis. After draconian measures to outlaw firearms, they discovered that while suicide by guns went down, the overall suicide rate held constant with increases in hangings and carbon monoxide poisoning. Seems those intent on killing themselves will kill themselves with whatever tools are available at the time the urge hits.

Crimes of passion fall under murder or involuntary manslaughter, but still, I doubt the instances of a spouse walking in on another spouse then shooting the interloper adds a significant number of deaths to the overall murder rate. I believe this is more common in movies than real life, although it does happen on occasion.

...and I would submit the majority of gun related killings are "spur of the moment"...

Actually, I think the majority of gun-related killings are drug related, but I'll have to do some digging to verify that one. Since drug dealers are already violating drug laws, I seriously doubt they will let a gun ban get in their way of owning a gun.

Whether their shootings are planned or spur of the moment, drug dealers are not going to disarm, so why should I?

but that's exactly the point of why we choose to live in democracies - we allow a majority elected government to make and enforce that type of controversial decision on the minority detractors.

Except some fundamental rights have been recognized in the U.S. Constitution, and the right to bear arms is one of those.

The fact firearms have played such a key role in American culture for hundreds of years, and that our Founding Fathers believed the possession of firearms was key to defending one's life against thugs and tyrants, places the entire debate in a different light compared to the debates in Canada, Great Britain or Australia.

I guess its just an American thing!

3:08 PM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger 1charlie2 said...

Tomcal:

Flash: C'mon over to my place. I'll tase you and after you recover, we can discuss whether it is an effective deterrent.

Actually, I'd argue that if you have to use it, it didn't deter anyone.

It may well stop an attack, and be useful for that reason, but if so it didn't prevent the attempt.

Which was to Flash's point -- that often the visible presence of a firearm has a "crime-attempt-suppression" effect that would certainly be diminished in the case of a pink Taser. Not suppressing the crime, suppressing the attempt itself.

How much of an effect I can't say. But I do acknowledge the difference in effect.

Deterrence and stopping power are two different things.

I, myself, have told my wife that in the event of civil unrest (admittedly extremely unlikely where we live, but hey, we were watching the LA Riots), she should grab my AR-15 National Match. But if she is really convinced she is facing a determined attack, grab the shotgun. The AR-15 looks much meaner, and as such would accomplish much deterrence, but the shotgun is the far more devastating firearm in actual use.


Sometimes, the attacker will press forward when faced with a non-lethal weapon. As a lesson to Law Enforcement, many years ago I and another instructor were sprayed with pepper spray. We then waited 30 seconds for it to take full effect. And then we drew our pistols and engaged standard targets at 21 feet (typical for close-in encounters).

The experience sucked swamp-water. Pepper spray is NOOO fun. At all.

But we "killed" the targets with several "judged lethal" hits each.

The lesson for the LEOs was "don't EVER use a non-lethal weapon when facing a lethal threat." Similarly, Tasers can be stopped by heavy clothing. Better than nothing ? Ohh, YES! Hence ym earlier example -- for those who can't / won't carry lethal weapons, they are the next most effective choice. But foolproof ? Nope.


canadianermd

. . . given the odds that a criminal generally by virtue of his acts is liklier to be the more proficient

Not given. Not at all. This is a logical fallacy: Simply because you have not been thru the Bondurant driving course does not make you a poorer driver than person X.

Not to start a war, but you have an unreasonably low opinion of firearms owners. The stereotype is common, but ask yourself this: How many do I actually know ? If that number is small, perhaps you'll examine your own preconceptions.

Also, no one I know advocates lethal force for trivialities -- that is a straw-man argument. In almost all jurisdictions, a reasonable presumption of imminent lethal danger is required. ("Reasonable" in the mind of the jury). In fact, in New York, I have a "duty to retreat" in all cases except when I reasonably believe doing so would place myself or another innocent human in greater danger, or when I am in my own home. (NY Penal S. 34)

As for "personal space" barriers, breaking into a home at 1:30 AM is not a triviality. At that time, the homeowner has every reasonable right to expect imminent danger.

As for the other cases: Would you shoot an unfaithful spouse ? If so, perhaps you should NOT have a gun. If not, why assume others are less reasonable than you ?

3:39 PM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

canadianermd --

My definition of "accidental" was also broader and by no means addressed in your statistics : it included "crimes of passion", i.e. deaths that may not have occurred if the weapon had not been accessible (either to the assailant or for that matter the victim).

So, seeing that you can't justify your argument, you'll just expand whatever definitions you need to until it works?

You do realize that you've only shifted the killing into the domain of either stabbing or beating, as both of those are readily available.

3:46 PM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Back in 2005, a physicians group in Great Britain asked the government to outlaw knives because they can be used to commit crimes.

Story is here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4581871.stm

It would take a lot of alcohol before I could dream up something like this!

4:15 PM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

First the guns.

Then the knives.

Finally, the sporks.

4:20 PM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger CanadianERMD said...

1charlie2 :

..."you have an unreasonably low opinion of firearms owners. The stereotype is common, but ask yourself this: How many do I actually know ? If that number is small, perhaps you'll examine your own preconceptions."

Nope, just a valid opinion of human frailty in general : we tend (in general) to be fairly fallible. No preconceptions ;-) (immigrated to Canada from deepest darkest Africa, gunowner until arrival, ex military etc).

"...As for the other cases: Would you shoot an unfaithful spouse ? If so, perhaps you should NOT have a gun. If not, why assume others are less reasonable than you ?"

Would you ? Could you possibly know until it happened ? And as an MD I've learn't to make no assumptions about human emotions.

Oligonicella :

"...you'll just expand whatever definitions you need to until it works?"

Read my original post.

"...you've only shifted the killing into the domain of either stabbing or beating"

Statistically, overwhelmingly less lethal.

Hey folks, and accept, this is not as straightforward as you seem to purport : I'm still trying to work it out for myself ......50 years on ?.

6:51 PM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

canadianermd --

Just did. That was an or set, you then later roll it into 'accidental'. However, that's an arguable interpretation on my part. But my point still stands, whether you wrote that way originally or later, you don't get to redefine the word accidental.

Statistically, overwhelmingly less lethal.

Nope. Check FBI stats on weapon use. Guns run equal to 'other'. If you remove guns, you'll just up 'other'.

You are starting with a premise and arguing back. You presume first that a gun "tends to be almost uniformly lethal".

FBI stats show that is not true as well. There are almost ten times the number of aggravated assaults in all weapon categories as there are deaths.

6:40 AM, August 21, 2007  
Blogger CanadianERMD said...

Oligonicella :

"You are starting with a premise and arguing back. You presume first that a gun "tends to be almost uniformly lethal". FBI stats show that is not true as well. There are almost ten times the number of aggravated assaults in all weapon categories as there are deaths."

Mmmm...trying to get around your deduction and interpretation of those stats. Perhaps I should have added "almost uniformly lethal in comparison to a knife etc" ?

I can assure you, as an ER MD with 23 years of experience I would choose a physical assault over a knife etc etc over a gun anyday... in terms over lethality potential.

2:37 PM, August 21, 2007  
Blogger CanadianERMD said...

That should read "in terms of lethality potential".

2:39 PM, August 21, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

canadianermd --

Yes, I'm sure you would and since the context of this thread was self-defense (taser), I'm also sure an assailant would. That's why they're more effective in that context.


If you look at this page, you'll note that the current rates of intimate homicides are pretty much equal for guns and other weapons. This has been a trend (in the U.S.) since 1975. Hence my debating the words uniformly and overwhelmingly.

If you want to talk about individual weapons, I'd have to say the 12gauge is the overwhelming winner you're average citizen might have. Beats hell out of a handgun, which will many times only wound.

But, what the hell, you win, guns are more lethal. That's why I'd rather have one than a knife if I'm being assaulted.

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