Wednesday, January 14, 2015

An obscure, revealing story of gun nuttery

You haven't seen this story. It did not make the national news, no one got shot and no one was harmed, at least not physically. It will not show up in any statistics regarding gun crime, gun injuries or gun deaths.

But it proves, beyond argument, that there is no such thing as a responsible gun owner.

It happened in Tomball (which the locals call Tom-ball, not Tomb-all) Texas Saturday, but it started somewhat earlier (this account derives from the report by Cindy Horswell in the Houston Chronicle, which does not say exactly when the initial event occurred).

That was an uncommon medical event: a 28-year-old man had a big stroke and was placed on life support at a hospital in Tomball. Doctors had no hope he could recover.

On Saturday, the man's father, George Pickering, angry about the nursing care his son was getting (it is not clear whether this anger was justified but it seems other members of his family did not share his opinion), pulled a gun and threatened to kill a nurse.

"According to witnesses, Pickering was standing by his ill son's bedside with another adult son, his ex-wife and a nurse when everything spun out of control without warning.
"Pickering, who is unemployed, allegedly pulled out a 9 mm handgun, waved it around and yelled, 'I'll kill all of you,' Hammond said.
" 'He was very distraught. As you well know, people handle stress differently. You never can say what it will take to hit such a serious trigger mechanism,' Hammond said."
No, you can't but doesn't having a gun handy improve the moment? And, no, I don't think police investigator Hammond was making a pun.

The son "jumped" his father and got the gun out of the room. The ex-wife (it is not clear whether she is the mother of the brothers) and the nurse left when Pickering said, "You don't think that's the only weapon I got."

Indeed not. Police checked records, discovered that Pickering had numerous gun permits and was known  to keep guns "all over his Pinehurst home." So they rolled the SWAT team and locked down the hospital, which could not have been good for the patients, especially the ones in the critical care unit where Pickering stood them off for four hours. All those very sick people were moved, and for the four hours nobody in Tomball who needed hospital care could get it.

(It is not clear that if Pickering had had the same number of guns but had not bothered to get permits -- something easy to achieve -- and create records that the police would have reacted so strongly. On Monday, when the Legislature opened its session in Austin, gun nuts who oppose any system of permitting threatened lawmakers and demonstrated how using a 3-D printer could create an untraceable gun, which they consider a very good thing.)

It is possible to have some sympathy for George Pickering, a father who cared about his son, and wanted to do something for him (although it sounds as if that was not possible). He did not know how to help, but he was true to the gun nut creed -- when in doubt, pull it out. But it is not possible to argue that the Second Amendment improved his options, is it?

A hundred thousand times a year in America, the gun option is chosen over every other option. 30,000 times, someone dies, and in thousands of other instances someone is injured. Even when no one is physically hurt, people are terrorized.

In only a couple of dozen instances is the gun option better than some other available option. A well-regulated society would do something about it.



  1. But it proves, beyond argument, that there is no such thing as a responsible gun owner.

    You keep saying this, and everytime it is approximately the stupidest sentence I see since the last time I saw it.


    The construction is this: anecdote about (x); therefore, all cases of x are like the anecdote.

    I know you are a progressive, and therefore both analytically and factually challenged, but certainly you must see the problem with that -- you can substitute anything for x: minivans, swimming pools, ladders, skis, airplanes, bathtubs, power tools, book cases, ad infinitum.

    There some 300 million guns in the US, and roughly 150 million gun owners. What, even in your fevered imagination, is the annual firearm mishap rate?

    Then compare it to a whole host of other things with a higher mishap rate; certainly, in a "well regulated society" (scare quotes truly deserved), you would ban all of them, too.

    If not, and not is the answer, then what you really are is a confiscationist fanatic. Which makes your routine slamming of the religious truly ironic.

    And immune to reality. Gun control worked great in France, didn't it?

  2. Minivans have a useful purpose. Guns are for killing people. In fact, there are no responsible gun owners. At least, all those anecdotes -- and they are common not rare -- prove there is no way to identify them.

    Gun control does work in France. When's the last time you read of a French 5-year-old shooting his baby brother in the head? For the US, it was yesterday.

    If you are cool with 3 million slain, that sort of proves you are not all that trustworthy with firearms, because you are downplaying the harm they cause.

    And while I have become a confiscationist, most gun control people are asking only for reasonable regulations of the sort that are applied to minivans. Are you for or against reasonable regulation? It's an issue you have always ducked.

  3. All the pictures of people referenced carrying guns in this story, they're responsible, right?

  4. Here's a whole police department full of responsible gun owners.

    You know, I never go looking for these example, they are always fresh, taken off my Facebook feed ususally.

  5. Minivans have a useful purpose.

    Minivans do not have a useful purpose going to a movie, that's merely entertainment. People die en route to movies — I'm sure there is an anecdote somewhere about a minivan driver doing something stupid, and killing everyone on board. Therefore, it proves beyond argument there is no such thing as a responsible minivan owner.

    Just as with swimming pools, ladders, skis, ad infinitum.

    Of course, the minivan example is barking mad. So barking mad that only a fundamentalist would use the same multifaceted insult to logic with guns.

    Guns are for killing people.

    As if the preceding wasn't bad enough, you trot out this bit of frothing at the keyboard. Guns are for hunting. Guns are for protection from bears, wolves, and mountain lions. Guns are for target shooting. Guns are for the Olympics. And guns are for defense against human predators, as well.

    In this regard, you are absolutely immune to reality. Why did the attack on the Canadian parliament not turn out to be a horror show? Oh, right, a guy with a gun who decided not to be a victim.

    Why was the attack on Charlie Hedboe such a horror show? Because the only people affected by gun laws were the victims.

    Here is where progressives show their true colors: you rather have the predators go unopposed. After all, that is the only thing confiscatory gun laws get you.

    If you are cool with 3 million slain …

    What that proves is that progressives are as numerically challenged as they analytically deficient. Risk is rate, not quantity. The risk of being slain by knives, bats, and hammers is every bit as high as being slain by a gun (since you include suicides, probably ⅔ that number, your use of passive voice is singularly inappropriate). Going on a jeremiad against guns, whilst ignoring all manner of other things posing just as much risk is, to say the least, puzzling.

    Are you for or against reasonable regulation? It's an issue you have always ducked.

    I quote from Google:

    Your search - "Harry Eagar" "reasonable regulation" guns "Hey Skipper" - did not match any documents.

    You should learn from Rolling Stone and do at least some superficial fact checking.

    I anticipate your correction.

  6. All the pictures of people referenced carrying guns in this story, they're responsible, right?

    Follow link to … what picture?

    Well, never mind that, let's look at Amanda Gailey's progressive vapors. This what has her exercised:

    Im calling for all Patriots who have had enough of Islamic Religion shoved down our very throats and our childrens to take part in placing small ornamental US FLAGS and CHRISTIAN FLAGS around locations of mosques nation wide.

    Oh, the horror. Far, far worse, than, say bombing a marathon. Or shooting up an Army medical clinic. Or trying to bomb Times Square.

    And, of course, the plague of violence against Muslims on MLK day was epic. Oh. Wait. What? Nothing? Despite all that provocation, and all the crazed gun owners in the United States didn't shoot even one Muslim?

  7. I don't think that search meant what you think it meant.

    Speaking of missing the point, there was this about the Paris attack:

  8. But aside from cougars, the principal function of guns is to kill you friends.

  9. It turns out I am not the only person unable to tell the responsible gun nuts from the irresponsible ones, unless this is just about racism and not gunism.

  10. Dallas Atlanta Phoenix Houston, I think we see a pattern. Pilots might care about this:

  11. Speaking of missing the point, there was this about the Paris attack:

    Once again you demonstrate your complete lack of perspective on this subject.

    Sure, one armed person doesn't stand much of a chance in the face of surprise and two armed people. Not only does that not prove the point you are trying to make, it proves the exact opposite.

    One armed person didn't stand much chance, but it was better than the same scenario with none.

    Now, if you can, think for just a bit. Instead of just one armed person being armed, they all were. Or, better yet, assume for a moment that, in response to active death threats against Charlie Hebdo, the French government had announced that any group, or person, facing terroristic threats would be entitled to concealed carry and defensive tactical training.

    What does that do to the outcome? Actually, that is the wrong question. If the Islamists believe they are going to face at least some armed and trained resistance, what are the odds they will even try in the first place?

    Instead, the outcome you confiscationists hope to obtain is one where only the predators are armed, and the police will show up in time to count the corpses.

  12. But aside from cougars, the principal function of guns is to kill you friends.

    Bollocks. That guy needs to do his sums. The murder rate — the vast majority of it the consequence of criminal activity — among blacks is vastly higher than rest of the population. In 2007, blacks committed more than 40% (4180) of all gun murders.

    Unless you are a racist, which you may well be, the fact that blacks commit a lot more crime, and murders, than the rest of the population isn't down to blacks. Which means confiscationists such as yourself are pandering numbers as if guns are the cause, without realizing that doing so must mean you believe blacks are disproportionately inclined towards murder and mayhem. (Well, not necessarily. It could also mean that confiscationists, all progressives, suffer the progressive ineptitude with math and analysis.)

    In contrast, firearms were used to kill family or acquaintances (which may well include criminal activity) 3,582 times. Oh, by the way, weapons other than firearms killed 3,000 people.

    I previously have taken you to task for ignoring the evidence of murder and suicide rates in countries that have severely restricted gun ownership. If you think that eliminating firearms will drive that 3582 to zero, while the murder count from non-firearm weapons unaffected, then you are even further out in Sparkly Unicorn land than I thought.

    Compared to guns and gun owners, there are vanishingly few recreational boats and boat owners. Yet there were 685 boating fatalities in 2007.

    If you think guns are sufficiently risky to deserve confiscation, then you need to build an even bigger soapbox for the elimination of recreational boating.

  13. Oh, one more thing. You and Mike Weisser are equally immune to evidence. When states started moving towards shall-issue gun permits, all the confiscationists were certain those states would turn into blood soaked shooting galleries.

    They didn't. In fact, quite the opposite happened. I'm not suggesting that guns had a major, or even a minor impact on that trend — that is a different discussion. However, what is pertinent here is that the trend is exactly the opposite of what it needed to be in order for confiscationist arguments to not be full of holes.

  14. So, you think the Paris attackers calculated: If we attack in France, we will get away uninjured because of course the French police and army will not bother to hunt us down.

    And, of course, if you followed the linkies, you'd know that when the ammosexuals ran their own simulation, with all 12 proxies armed and on the alert, they were slaughtered.

  15. And in the realm of 'same tune, different arrangement,' I recall you ridiculed my concept that 'fireproof hotels' explain a great deal of the badness spread by capitalism. Well, I'm sticking with it:

  16. And, of course, if you followed the linkies ...

    I followed the link you provided to a video that had one armed defender.

    If you have a different one, then by all means provide it.

  17. So, you think the Paris attackers calculated ...

    No, I'm certain the Islamists to whom gun laws apparently don't apply would not pursue an attack with significant (i.e., hardly any larger than zero) odds of failure.

    The knew, because gun control laws only apply to the law abiding, that they would be entering a shooting gallery where they had all the guns: their success was practically guaranteed.

    On the other hand, had they been faced with an unknown number of armed targets, there would have been at least a decent possibility that instead of slaughtering infidels for the greater glory of Allah, they would have failed while giving the Charlie Hedbo cartoonists the opportunity of emerging heroic.

    Instead of corpses, because gun control laws only apply to the law abiding.

  18. Well, if you define 'I get myself killed and earn 72 virgins in paradise' maybe your version makes sense, but in America, where I live, people do not think that way:

    From the Houston Chronicle (this one of hundreds and thousands of such local stories that never rise to national attention):

    'Police said the suspects targeted Sigalas because they had marijuana, GUNS and a lot of cash.'

  19. I don't think that search meant what you think it meant.

    No, it means exactly what I said it meant.

    You said Are you for or against reasonable regulation? It's an issue you have always ducked.

    As the search showed, you are once again blowing it out your hat.

    And, of course, if you followed the linkies ...

    And that link would be where?

    'Police said the suspects targeted Sigalas because they had marijuana, GUNS and a lot of cash.'

    Well, obviously, there was absolutely no way the suspects would have targeted Sigalas if there were only marijuana and lots of cash.

    Do ever give even a second's thought to anything before you blow it out your hat?

  20. Knowing Sigalas was armed did not deter them, did it?

  21. You don't know much about risk v. reward, do you?