Jared Lee Loughner's Second Amendment Rights and Ray Stern

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It seems I've introduced my dear colleague Ray Stern to the fascinating world of facts, statistics and sources, as he finally breaks down and uses a few in his latest pro-gun nut diatribe, "The Anti-Gun Culture..."

In it, Ray returns once again to his us-versus-them, all-or-nothing theme, calling out those who want some common-sense gun legislation as being (gasp) "metrosexual."

Wow, I had no idea I dressed that well.

Stern insists -- in very, um, stern language -- that those on my side of the fence are, "Unwilling to take their own security seriously. The anti-gun culture doesn't fear guns in the way that members of the gun culture fear guns. Their fear is more irrational, phobic - almost superstitious, as if the very presence of guns invites death."

Well, Ray, I take my security seriously enough, but it doesn't mean I'm fearful of guns. Far from it. I'm from the American South, boyo. And I went deer and squirrel hunting with my grandfather, a WWII vet who kept pistols around his house. 

Thing is, despite the fact that he was a decorated bomber pilot, who'd flown so close to enemy combatants that he could make out their faces as they shot up at him, he didn't feel the need to drive around with a gun, go into a bar with a gun, or wear one on his person, concealed or unconcealed.

Know why? Because he didn't need to, and didn't live in fear of physical conflict. Whereas, I see way too many pusillanimous Caucasian guys in this state, insecure in their own manhood, for whom a handgun is compensating for something they lack.

I'm not talking about their sexuality, necessarily. I'm talking about a deep-seated insecurity along the lines of a Bernhard Goetz. A gun makes such individuals feel invincible, whereas without it, they'd fear assault. The gun trumps that, though.

I don't want to deprive anyone of their security blanket. Let's just have a few measures in place that balance the Second Amendment rights of a Jared Lee Loughner with the fact that he was a danger to the community, something even a Wal-Mart employee was reportedly able to spot

I do agree that there is a disconnect, Ray. You obviously believe everyone should be armed, or they deserve what they get. That is an extremist position. Also, it ignores the fact that you might be armed and still get gunned down, so would you deserve that, too? Do kids deserve it if they're not armed or their parents aren't armed? 

This is where we differ profoundly. You say you do support some gun regulations, such as the mandated "instant" FBI check, which was the result of the very Brady Campaign you malign. A check, I might add, that the NRA opposed. Indeed, the NRA and gun enthusiasts such as yourself fought it tooth and nail.

Now, regarding the whole car vs. gun argument. I would remind you that this is one you raised in your first "editorial." Remember, the blog where you set up the straw man of mental health evaluations prior to gun buys, and the shibboleth of a pre-gun buy urinalysis? (See item number two  of your blog, here.)

Yes, the numbers I provided included all gun-related deaths, including suicide and accidents. and I made this quite clear in the text, BTW. The proposition is, if guns are less prevalent in society, there will, as a result, be fewer overall gun deaths.

And that, in my opinion, would be a good thing. Similarly, the mortality rates -- of which you were totally unaware until I provided you a link to them -- involving motors were also totals. 

But let's stick to the murders for a moment. Not accidents, or suicides, or manslaughter, just murders. According to the latest FBI crime stats, 67.1 percent of all murders were committed with a firearm.

Know why? It's easier to kill with a gun. Beating someone to death with your fists requires a tad bit more effort.

It's also easier to kill yourself with a gun, so no, there's no reason to take suicides out of the equation. They are very much part of the equation.

I was recently contacted by a woman whose mentally ill friend committed suicide after obtaining a gun over the counter with the standard FBI background check. Yes, he might have killed himself in another way, but pulling a trigger is so much easier.

Why not make it harder to kill yourself and others? True, we all have freedom of choice in that department, but a few speed bumps won't impair your ability to drive. They simply slow you down so you don't kill the kiddies in a residential area.

Ray focuses on murders alone, and begins comparing states based on this information, and that is one way to look at it. Murder is bad. Suicide is bad, too. And getting killed by accident or manslaughter, well, you're dead as much as if you were murdered.

According to the CDC's stats, just over half of all suicides in the U.S. for 2007 involved firearms. Men are far more likely than women to commit suicide with a firearm. And if one happens to be in the house when you lose your job or a loved one...

True, making guns harder to get won't stop all firearm-related suicides, much less suicides in general. There are a lot of ways to off yourself.

A study in the medical journal Trauma comparing U.S. homicides-suicides to those of 22 other developed countries found the following:

Among these 23 countries, 80% of all firearm deaths occurred in the United States, 86% of women killed by firearms were US women, and 87% of all children aged 0 to 14 killed by firearms were US children.

We can play this game all day, but the bottom line is that fewer guns and stricter gun control laws equals fewer firearm deaths. 

Now, you can make the argument about inconvenience, Second Amendment rights, the gun industry, and so forth. But all I want is a ratcheting back of the firearm fanaticism so that the pendulum swings toward the middle.

If you need your gun to feel like a man, or for self-defense, or whatever, by all means, you can have one. But it is not unreasonable -- seeing the carnage firearms can inflict -- that those of us who are not gun-obsessed would like to see some restrictions in place. 

Unfortunately, as the gun lobby is very powerful in this country, this will remain an uphill battle. 

In other words, don't worry, Ray. You'll be able to play with your guns all you want for the foreseeable future. And as long as you have your guns, no one will call you a metrosexual. Promise.

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18 comments
John Smith
John Smith

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botanybay
botanybay

In all likelihood (this being Arizona) there were armed people in that crowd at Safeway. And their having been armed did nothing to prevent or decrease the severity of the attack. In fact, it was UNARMED people that ended the attack.

Sooner or later, we've got to get a grip on the pervasiveness of firearms in our society.

Richard Dean
Richard Dean

The only person armed at the event was the shooter. There were no other people armed. The only other armed person was in a walgreens across the street.

Greg
Greg

You are factually wrong, Dean. One of the individuals who helped hold down Loughner was armed. He did not have time to take out his weapon and shoot (probably because the semi-automatic weapon and 33 bullet clip allowed Loughner to shoot 20 people in 10-15 seconds). Ironically, the guy he initially grabbed was someone who had just disarmed Loughner and another witness had to tell him he had the wrong guy. If he had done as the "more guns is safer" proponents hypothesize, he would have shot the wrong person, not to mention further endanger all the people in the vicinity. The most popular talking point among those pro-gun advocates who think any nut or drug user should be free to buy these types of weapons and clips is that the only answer is having as many people as possible armed and carrying their arsenal concealed. Supposedly, safety is achieved through immediate countervailing force. They also argue that any restriction on their right to carry a loaded weapon openly or otherwise is unacceptable and a reprehensible threat to their liberty. (Recall the defense of the guy who carried an assault rifle over his shoulder outside where Pres. Obama was speaking as a "statement".) I note with great perplexity, however, that anyone attending the huge gun show in Phoenix this weekend (or virtually any other gun show) is strictly prohibited from carrying a loaded firearm there. You must check your ammo at the door. What is the reasoning behind this "reasonable" restriction? It can't be for safety, can it? That would be hypocritical and directly counter to the argument that maximum proliferation of armed citizens is the ideal safety scenario. Are the gun show operators (or the arms dealer vendors) concerned about someone committing an armed robbery? Are they worried having some crazy extremist or unbalanced individual opening fire? As Ray Stern would say, "Their fear is more irrational, phobic - almost superstitious, as if the very presence of guns invites death." As I mentioned, I am damn confused because it would seem that having hundreds of armed citizens in the venue would make it the safest place possible. If there is anyone who can explain this paradox, please speak up.

botanybay
botanybay

you have no idea how many people were armed. More than likely, those that were failed to tell anyone, as then they'd be the one in the papers who failed to take action.

You can't swing a stick in Arizona without hitting a handgun carrier.

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Jimg9x21
Jimg9x21

I'm not sure I share either your or Stern's view of this issue. His side, all or nothing, is no better than your sides', "reasonable" restrictions. I carry, not for fear or insecurity but as a precaution. I also have fire extingushers in my cars, boat and home, also hoping to never have to use them. This doesn't make me insecure, just prepared if the worst happens.The term that sets most gun rights folks on edge is "reasonable" when talking about restrictions. What is "reasonable" to one side is "restrictive" or "outrageous" to the other. Until agreement is reached on that word, there is no chance anything other than the present situation wil prevail.Just and aside, I believe Goetz was actually attack by gangbangers with screwdrivers so maybe he was insecure.

Joshua Berger
Joshua Berger

@Leif Rakur -

You mean "people" is also used to mean "aggregate" in the First and Fourth Amendments?

Let's see how that works:

1) Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the [aggregate of the ]people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

4) The right of the people [in the aggregate - not the individual] to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Doesn't work so well, does it.

The Collectivist Theory has been soundly rejected by everyone but the bitter dead-enders. Dershowitz, Tribe and every single member of the Supreme Court has affirmed that the Second Amendment speaks to an indivudual right.

Sdfg
Sdfg

>" every single member of the Supreme Court has affirmed that the Second Amendment speaks to an indivudual right."

I'm not so sure about that. McDonald was a 5-4 decision.

Leif Rakur
Leif Rakur

I don't believe Jared Lee Loughner had any personal Second Amendment rights.

If the framers of the Second Amendment had intended to address a personal right to arms, they would have inserted the word “personal” in front of the phrase “right of the people.” Instead, they left the phrase to be understood in its normal aggregate sense, as the Founders had also done in the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence asserts the fundamental republican philosophy that it is “the right of the people” to institute new government. No one contends that this is a personal right. It is a right of the people in the aggregate. So is the right of the people to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.

It is, then, the right of the people both to institute new government and to keep it secure. But only those who are qualified and registered to vote actually participate in instituting new government, and only those who are legally qualified and enrolled participate in a well-regulated militia to keep it secure.

Created In His Image
Created In His Image

My best to wishes to Gabrielle Giffords. I, too, have been the recipient of a catastrophic gun wound by a "9" fired point blank. It ain't nuthin purdy to go through. That this tragedy of history will be forever remembered as the "Giffords Shooting" or "Showdown in Tucson" must not let the memories of those who were Mr. Loughner's successes be diminished. I can only wonder if Jared Loughner understands the full import of what he's done. If celebrity was his only motivation, he could not have done any better in achieving it. His satanic countenance still graces the front page of newspapers from sea to shining sea one week later. And the fear, the anger, the hatred of a world decidedly devoted to the destruction of it's own kind has gone supersonic.And by the way, Stephen, just what the hell is a metrosexual ??? Steve Tracy, Phx.

Stacy
Stacy

You guys should do Celebrity Death Match !!!

Pitzl Sm
Pitzl Sm

Must I go to each topic to comment? I found no place to register, any help is appreciated, pitzl.sm@gmail.com

Will
Will

By the way, suicide by firearm is not easy. Taking one's life involves overcoming one's self preservation instinct. Having the barrel of a gun in your face puts this to the forefront.

This isn't the movies where people simply pull the trigger.

Guesty
Guesty

>"This isn't the movies where people simply pull the trigger"

Uhm, yea it is. You pull the trigger and now you're dead.

The self-preservation instinct is gone, or has been overcome, or has been weakened. For those who instinct has been weakened, it's easier to pull a trigger than to take the steps required for other means of suicide.

Steve Tracy
Steve Tracy

Will, Your observation is very astute. I don't give a damn how dedicated a person might be to suicide... at the precise moment his finger begins to apply pressure upon the trigger, the panic of approaching the unknown afterlife will be chaotic within their mind..

Will
Will

You do realize Loughner was stopped by a POLICE officer for running a red light before and didn't pick up on anything? I thought they were the trained protectors of society? Shoot...

Crow
Crow

Two of Phoenix new Times best are having a killer debate ( pardon the pun )

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