Mythbustin’: guns save lives

Written By: - Date published: 10:31 am, July 29th, 2011 - 37 comments
Categories: crime - Tags: , , ,

Rightwing violence fetishists are exploiting the Norwegian terror attacks as a justification for looser gun laws. ‘If only one of those teenagers had a handgun to take on the drugged up zealot with the automatic rifle’. Fact is, the ‘guns save lives’ myth was destroyed by the Tuscon shooting earlier this year.

When Loughner shot first Congresswoman Giffords, then everyone in the area with an automatic pistol with a 30 round mag, a nearby civilian was legally armed. Arizona some of the laxest gun laws in the US. So he should have dropped that guy at the first sign of trouble, eh? Didn’t happen.

Joe Zamudio was out buying cigarettes last Saturday when he heard what sounded like fireworks but quickly realized were gunshots. He reached into his coat pocket for the 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol he carried, clicking the safety off.

He heard yelling around him: “Shooter, shooter, get down!”

Zamudio saw a young man squirming on the ground and an older man standing above him, waving a gun.

Zamudio, 24, had his finger on the trigger and seconds to decide.

He lifted his finger from the trigger and ran toward the struggling men.

As he grabbed the older man’s wrist to wrestle the gun away, bystanders yelled that he had the wrong man — it was the man on the ground who they said had attacked them and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). The gun the older man was holding had been wrestled away from the shooter. Police later identified 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner as the suspect.

“I could have very easily done the wrong thing and hurt a lot more people,” said Zamudio

So, armed guy heard shots. Ran out. Gun ready. This is going to be just like in the movies! Saw shot people everywhere and a scuffle. Drew his weapon. And just about blew away the 74 year old who, unarmed, tackled Loughner, wrestled the gun off him when he went to change mags (a 61 year old, woman, also unarmed, grabbed Loughner’s fresh mag from him). Fact Zamudio had a gun nearly got more innocent people killed. Admitted it himself.

Law enforcement needs guns in extreme cases. But fact is wide ownership of guns – especially handguns and automatic weapons that are designed for killing humans, not hunting – just means more deaths.

Norway will grieve the 76 killed for a long time. But it’s worth noting that’s twice its normal annual murder rate of 40. The US, with 60 times the population has over 300 times the number of homicides – 12,500 – from guns alone.

Norway has 0.6 murders per 100,000 a year. The US has 6.1 and 70% are committed with guns.

Guns designed to kill people save lives? What a bunch of bullshit. They’re designed for killing people, not just ‘bad guys’, and that’s what they do.

37 comments on “Mythbustin’: guns save lives”

  1. higherstandard 1

    No, guns are designed for shooting, it’s the bad/mad/psychopathic guys/girls who misuse them.

    • Blighty 1.1

      A handgun or a automatic rifle are optimised for shooting only one kind of target – human beings.

      You can’t design a tool, let lots of people have that tool, and then act surprised when that tool gets used for its designed purpose.

      • mik e 1.1.1

        Yeah Excuses excuses how many girls go on these rampages, and you don,t see any defending your position .So how do these nut cases and gangs always have a supply, serial no,s should be mandatory warrant of fitness for owners like wise . And random police checks on the proper safe storage user pays .I,ve seen a lot of registered gun users being lackadaisical in many areas of gun use and storage . These are not toys.Even the very sparse checks done by police now tend to throw up a high degree of prosecutions

        • higherstandard 1.1.1.1

          mik e please see my comment further down.

          “If you want to argue that guns should be very hard to become an owner of and purchase you will get no argument from me whatsoever I’ll be happy to support you 100%.”

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      modern weapons and firearms are a massive force multiplier hs. You can’t ignore that.

    • Shane Gallagher 1.3

      In the UK there were two deranged child-hating madmen. One had guns and one had a machete. In Dunblane 16 children and 1 teacher died at the hands of an overweight, middle aged child molester. In Wolverhampton a fit paranoid man with a machete who attempted to kill a lot of children was stopped by a 21 year old teacher, Lisa Potts, and was disarmed by other teachers.

      Now you tell me hs – can you explain to the parents of those dead children why guns didn’t kill their children? Then try explaining to the rest of us.

      • higherstandard 1.3.1

        Shane, guns didn’t kill their children a piece of shit called Hamilton did. What is needed is a way to keep said guns out of the hands of these types.

        If you want to argue that guns should be very hard to become an owner of and purchase you will get no argument from me whatsoever I’ll be happy to support you 100%.

        • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.1

          Guns are a massive force multiplier, and when you realise that you cannot perfectly control or assess who the guns go to, it makes sense to make sure there aren’t very many floating around, and extremely few of the more powerful varieties.

    • Vicky32 1.4

      And why is ‘shooting’ a necessary or even an acceptable  thing?

      • McFlock 1.4.1

        because rabbits run bloody fast and poison is indiscriminate.

        • IrishBill 1.4.1.1

          You don’t need hand guns or assault rifles to shoot rabbits. Also you can’t manage rabbits, or most other pests, with shooting.

          • weka 1.4.1.1.1

            Lots of people do manage rabbits with shooting – it’s the best way to get them for the pot 😉

            But I do agree there is no need for handguns or assault rifles.

          • McFlock 1.4.1.1.2

            I tend to agree, especially regarding assault weapons. But I think HS and Vicky32 neatly form the bounds of the debate: higherstandard with a variation on the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” bumper sticker, and Vicky32 who questions whether the entire concept is wanted in society – and I apologise to either party if I have particularly misrepresented their position.
               
                
            Personally I don’t think that the NZ laws are too far off the ideal compromise between the two poles. I think firearms of different types have legitimate functional uses as well as hobbyists and collections (although how far you want to tweak “collection” is another issue – e.g. a cupboard full of weapons vs a museum collection). I do not believe that citizens should be routinely armed “just in case”, and agree with the stipulaton that force in self defence must be proportional to the immediate threat, and bodily harm should not be inflicted to simply protect property.
               
               
            As for police, at the moment I am ok with AOS, but not the habitual arming of frontline police officers. Shift commanders having a lockbox in the car should be sufficient – holstered weapons are too easy to use in lieu of less-lethal policing skills (e.g. talking). I’m not even sure tasers are entirely appropriate – but then if it were up to me we’d have a load more cops and 2 in every car. And social workers on every section in case something needs a followup. All paid for by progressive taxation of personal income and companies, not forgetting an FTT and CGT.
              

            • davidc 1.4.1.1.2.1

              The issue of having the Cops armed is a tricky one. I do not want to see us like USA or Oz where Cops have a pistol on the hip at all times, however, where front line Cops are out alone (and rural where they are alone all the time)I think there is a strong argument for arming if not “on the hip” at least “in the car” (not a lockbox in the boot)

              The Cop who was attacked from behind by a coward with a machette when he pulled over a stolen car is a specific case that comes to mind. The coward should have been forceably put in cuffs prior to the Cop turning his back.

              • McFlock

                I’m not really keen to get into scenario gaming, simply because life is never as simple as to be summarised in a single paragraph.   
                 
                 
                My main concern is the balance between a weapon being readily available when genuinely needed (although some might disagree with me that this is ever the case) vs being an unnecessary escalation vs the possibility of falling into the wrong hands (either because the police officer was taken by surprise so the weapon was useless, or even something silly like kids nicking a cop car while the police are responding to a rowdy party).
                 
                 

      • Colonial Viper 1.4.2

        Having been in more rural areas, its part of the culture and lifestyle, for many it is a necessary part of their daily work, occupation or past times.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Now even disabled people can enjoy their 2nd amendment right to bear arms: http://www.palmpistol.com/

    I note that a follow up article says that the gun is no longer eligible for Medicare funding. http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2008/12/fda-says-gun-for-the-disabled.html

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    One other thing – the call for more guns typically ignores the cemetary of evidence:

    in this case the thousands of interpersonal conflict situations which were resolved without deaths and without guns, but where if guns had been present, actual deaths would have resulted.

  4. Zorr 4

    I go with the point of view that if we are going to support a form of violence it should have more of an element of skill to it and require the participants to be in melee… reintroducing the wooden club!

    Personally, I feel that guns give everyone the ability to act with deadly force while removing a lot of the “ick” factor to do with attempting to kill someone (like giant red buttons do) because if you are a distance from the person you don’t have to confront the horror of your own action.

  5. Mr Bean 5

    And cars are lethal weapons, too, if like guns, they are misused.

    I don’t know enough about guns “saving lives”, tho – you have given just one example. I’d like to see more examples.

    America has a vastly different (and crazy) gun culture than NZ – I’m not sure about the rest of the world. And I understand that some or most shootings in USA are drug related – sorry, I can’t think where I’ve read or heard that from.

    • Carol 5.1

      Yes cars can be lethal weapons. And too many people disregard that and think it’s their right to drive as fast and carelessly as they please. Too much focus on car as a the main means of transport in our culture.

    • IrishBill 5.2

      A car’s primary purpose is not to kill people. Most handgun’s and all assault rifle’s are. Why should any citizen be allowed to own something that has the specific purpose of killing human beings and no other purpose?

      • davidc 5.2.1

        Personally, if I had to choose a weapon I would least like to go up against in the hands on a deranged untrained shooter, it would be a semi auto shotgun. Against a trained shooter your toast everywhichway.

        I am very glad pistols are not in the hands of the general populace tho and those in ownership of civilians are very well secured.

        The saddest part of the gun laws of USA is when little Johnny plays with one of Dad/Moms pistols that are kept for “protection” (unsecured and loaded in nightstand or kitchen drawer) and blows brother/sister/friend apart.

    • mik e 5.3

      I can understand that a car can be a lethal weapon but only one or two people have bean killed by cars deliberately in recent times with a name like yours I can see why you would see them as a lethal weapon. Hows that mini running Mr Bean!

  6. Todd 6

    All I know is that if I was being shot at i would like to be able to shoot back.Not real keen I someone else deciding when my time was up.Maybe I just think different to alot of posters on here and are being selfish and should just accept the finality of a situation and roll over.

    • Carol 6.1

      I have no desire to own a gun and really don’t want to be around a lot of people who own guns. It’s never been part of my way of life. What about the young, the elderly and the disabled who would have difficulty wielding a gun with any useful amount of speed and accuracy?

      Our society needs to be organised to minimise the focus on gun culture and ownership.

    • Vicky32 6.2

      All I know is that if I was being shot at i would like to be able to shoot back.Not real keen I someone else deciding when my time was up.Maybe I just think different to a lot of posters on here and are being selfish and should just accept the finality of a situation and roll over.

      When I was a child, my father, a 2nd world war veteran from the UK, and who had (I realise now) PTSD, insisted on taking us (his daughters who were 8 and 10 years old) to a local quarry and teaching us to shoot. My younger sister did reasonably well, but because my eyes were very bad (none of us knew how bad at the time), I did very badly. My point is that “shooting back” (as my father wished us to be able to do, if New Zealand were ever invaded) is a helluva lot harder than most people believe. All this happened around 47 years ago. I have never been shot at, neither has my sister (although she and her husband are gun enthusiasts!) and I am 100% sure that we never will be. My father was manifestly wrong about the chances of NZ ever being invaded, and he died within a few years of all this, but not before having been to court for the arsenal he kept in the airing cupboard, which included a home-made crossbow that only he was strong enough to draw.
      There is no chance whatsoever of your being able to be like a character on an American TV show and doing a “righteous kill” in your own defence. (Unless of course you are an American, in the USA, which is very possible!)

    • McFlock 6.3

      The easiest way to reduce to infintesimal the possibility of “being shot at” is to minimise the number of firearms in public. That way you won’t accidentally be shot by a kindred spirit when they try to pick up a coffee in the cafe, tuck their newspaper under their arm, and Mr 9mm gets twitchy.

  7. Mbossa 7

    The situation on the ground was very chaotic during the shootings. Even after it was all over it took the authorities ages to confirm that there was only one gunman, so at the time many of the kids probably thought there was more than one. A lot of the kids probably didn’t even realise at the time that he wasn’t really a cop – they probably thought the world had gone topsy-turvy and the cops were shooting kids now. Even when the first real cops stepped on the island the kids were begging them not to shoot.

    Now imagine if some of the kids had guns. One of them may have been able to drop Anders. Good. But what would have happened when the first real cops arrived? I think there’s a good chance that the kids would have thought the cops were the next wave of attackers and fired at them. Then the cops would have assumed that the armed kids were the attackers and fired back, confirming the kids’ fears. Things could have turned out even uglier than they did.

  8. davidc 8

    NZ’s gun culture and laws are the envy of the world, we have a highly armed population and very few intentional (non suicide) deaths.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      +1

      The US culture of talking up the use of guns on people (whether its against agents of the government, criminals, home invaders or whatever) means that it happens much more easily.

      Poor foreign kids getting lost on a visit to the US, knock on the wrong door, and get shot dead. Property owner well within their rights.

      When that society goes under properly, there is going to be a lot of bullet holes in a lot of different things.

    • mik e 8.2

      David c Just about every gang or drug raid turns up firearms these days.The problem is escalating. time for a massive amnesty and buy back to start with we have far to many guns in this country, we are only second to the US in gun ownership.

      • davidc 8.2.1

        A buyback will take legal guns out but not the problem guns that you mention. Its not as tho the black power are going to turn in a glock that they have buried in the back yard for $200 on a buyback.

  9. Max 9

    Buy back? They never owned them in the first place! Anyway this country couldn’t afford to buy every legally owned firearm & theres no way they would be given away. My one little safe has about $30,000 worth of contents & I worked bloody hard for it.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      If they’re all legal and you are a proper responsible person to own firearms (no hiding automatic weapons in mannikins now!), you’re not really part of the problem group anyways.

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