Saturday, August 29, 2015

Jaed's Proposal

A regular commenter here had a clever bit over at Grim's Hall.
There is a relatively simple way to test the intentions of anyone who calls for mandatory training for gun owners: propose that such training be made a mandatory part of the public high-school curriculum. Mechanics of firearms, safe handling and storage, shooting practice, and the basics of self-defense law. Taking the high-school course to be considered sufficient for a carry license.
If the response is "Hey, that sounds like it would work," or some refinement about the details to be taught or whether students should be able to opt out, the person is serious about ensuring safety.
If the response is "OMG you BEAST how COULD you suggest corrupting the innocent CHILDREN with guns and besides they'll probably all SHOOT each other!!!"... well, then you know their true intentions.
Loved that.

I am not a gun owner and I'm not interested.  Four out of five of my boys shoot, but not often. Dropping the idea of "reasonable gun control legislation" was one of the last bricks to fall in my liberalism.  As well as I recall, up until about 1995 I think I believed that just having a gun around quietly encouraged people to violence as a first, rather than last, resort. I knew gun nuts who had poor judgement in just about everything else in their lives, and from my job I knew some very dangerous people who owned guns and made alarming statements about using them.

What I learned is that while those things should make a difference, when you run the numbers, they don't.

I have some fondness for the Bill of Rights as written, but so much of that has been bumped around that being a purist is not at the top of my political list. The cartoon version of how the government is going to make a list of gun owners so they know who to round up when the New World Order comes always put me off.  Liberals accuse all conservatives of believing it, and they can point to a lot of folks who actually do, even if it's not a majority. Ridiculous. Until...

Recently, that disquieting vision has become more plausible, if you get rid of the mental picture of commies knocking on your door.  The high-tech version, of impersonal bits of silicon programmed to keep track of who has guns because they are 17.4% more likely to be terrorists (and if you vacationed in the Middle-East you go on an even higher-profile list) is no longer far-fetched.  So that wasn't big in my conversion, but it may factor in the maintenance of my gun-freedom sympathies.

The big ticket item for me was always the numbers. The last 57 laws we passed didn't seem to reduce violence, so why would we think the next 57 would? The bad reasoning around the apples-and-oranges comparisons to European countries (which I admit look like our peer group at first), the attribution of bad motives to 2A people*, and the pernicious assumption that all people committing a gun crime must be conservative (because GUNS!), unless they are black or Hispanic, which doesn't count somehow - all these have only served to solidify me in the idea. All three are common themes in other things that make me crazy in modern political discussion.

If you've got an idea for a gun law that demonstrably does reduce violence, I'm glad to listen, as jaed is above.

* Sometimes true, but so what?  There are some people with bad motives behind all things, good and bad.


Grim said...

Waaaay back in High School, in Civics class, I raised the suggestion of mandatory gun training at the school as a means of reducing accidental gun deaths (and reviving the militia clause). The teacher shut down the idea as one that we wouldn't be allowed to debate. But he did allow one more comment, from a (liberal) friend of mine who pointed out that the suggestion I was making was exactly parallel to the way the school handled sex education. We wouldn't suggest that all sex education should be driven out of the school...

"Well," the teacher said, "that's true. But we still won't discuss it."

Earl Wajenberg said...

What are "2A people"?

Sam L. said...

Second Amendment, Earl.

Grim's teacher demonstrates a typical thought process: if it doesn't fit MY thoughts, even if parallel to my reasoning elsewhere, it's wrong-think.

Donna B. said...

Reasoning... as Jaed and Grim propose has little to do with "reasonable gun control" and what most "2A people" need to admit is that it has little to do with education.

Where there is a need for self-defense, there is no need for schooling... just as there is no need for schooling to be a threat. Guns just aren't that complicated.

Though I'm the same age as AVI, I grew up in the 'Wild West'. (Google "Reies Lopez Tijerina Tierra Amarilla" for background.) That's the only time I remember my father siding with the Forest Service. My family was not exactly "pro-government" prior to that. (Whole 'nuther story.)

Wait... perhaps that whole 'nuther story is pertinent. It involved a forest fire. A large fire that was burning private land but threatened public land. We're talking mid 1950s here. I remember the majesty of the fire and my father's assurance to my mother that it would not come "our way". He was blowing smoke, but Mama bought it... to a certain extent.

Long story short -- the US Forest Service had several water trucks parked at the boundary between public and private land. My Dad stole them and used the water (and his other equipment) to put out the fire on private land, thus preventing its spread to public land. That was my first lesson in "forgiveness is sometimes easier than permission" IF everything works out OK. Fortunately for my father, it did. It was not his first, or last, battle with the US Forest Service.

But Reies Tijerina and his gang were threatening (and killing) not only US Forest Service agents, but also private individuals contracting with them. Of course my Dad sided with the Forest Service on this occasion... even though he'd stolen their trucks a few years earlier.

If we'd had Facebook or Twitter back in those days, the Avon lady would never have rung our doorbell or run away in tears when Mom opened the door leading with a shotgun. And Mom and I might never have had this particular first "grown-up" giggle together.

I had an unusual childhood. It would not be fair for me to compare my attitude toward guns to one my age who had grown up in a less rural, less wild part of this vast country. Nor do your parents want to compare their hardships to mine (no electricity, for example). They had other hardships that mine did not have.

My parents are probably members of the last generation that took advantage of the Wild West and... made a good living from it.

Guns were always there. The reason our family had one when Tijerina appeared was because there had always been bears and mountain lions around. And... my Mom could make an elk steak taste as good as Prime beef does now.

Jim Cambias said...

For years I've been suggesting mandatory gun-safety and marksmanship training, not just in schools but in prisons.

Think about how many gun deaths are caused by murderous criminals who can't hit the other murderous criminals they're shooting at, and instead hit innocents nearby. Marksmanship training in prison would eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, that problem. (Plus, if gang members can actually hit and kill other gang members effectively, gang violence will decline along with the population of gang members.)

ymarsakar said...

Assistant, are you one of those people who don't realize that New Orleans confiscated all guns from their legal owners during Katrina? Or have you heard the rumours and then discount/disbelieve them?

That the US military was actually helping them, even though several military intel branches refused to due to their chain of command having not yet been purged under Hussein 2009.