Required Viewing: Jon Stewart on Gun Control


To continue my goal of getting the most Dislikes possible (I’m at 90+ on one comment), I’m going to pose a question:

Everyone in this country, including those under rocks, have heard about Sandy Hook. But why have you never heard about Pearl High School?

What happened at Pearl High School in 1997?

The Wikipedia page provides minimal answers, only details from a high perspective. Here’s another perspective: - but by all means, don’t believe me, spend some time researching it yourself.
No. I'll just assume the link says a gun saved some people one time.

"In the US, in 2010, there were 12,966 gun deaths. Compare that to the most recent UK data in 2011, showing there were 58 gun deaths in the United Kingdom; even when the rate is adjusted for population, the number of gun-related deaths in the UK would only be 290."*

You want to save a few lives once in a while? Arm every last person in every situation.

Want to save hundreds of thousands of lives? BAN GUNS, DUM DUM.

@ fidelity:

i agree that what happened at Pearl High in '97 should've gotten more press -- i certainly had never heard of it.

and i'm glad that that principal had a gun in his car and did what he did -- he most likely saved some lives through his actions. excellent.

but that's not what we're talking about here. what we're talking about is shamefully-belatedly enacting stricter laws regarding who can and who can't purchase and possess firearms, and of what sort.

banning certain weapons and types of magazines, requiring tougher background checks, requiring mandatory mental health evaluations, instituting longer waiting periods, enacting *much* harsher penalties for illegal possession, etc. -- even if all of these precautions (and more) were put into place, people like Mr. Myrick (and you, i'm sure) would still be able to legally own some of your firearms. but it would make it much more difficult and unlikely for said weapons to fall into the wrong hands. and *that's* what we're trying to do here.
That's funny. I read the Pearl High account as a reminder that even if you require licensing and registration and disallow the carry of weapons in schools/churches/courthouses and require trigger locks and gun safes and make background checks uniform and universal and limit magazine size -- that firearms can still be effectively used in self-defense.

I also read it as underlining the point that though you can never stop a crazy person from stealing a weapon and using it to commit murder, that a crazy person with a hunting rifle creates tragedy on a far smaller scale than a crazy person with a high capacity magazine.
Required viewing (from someone who's not the brother of the head the NYSE):…
@Colin - that's interesting about the UK, unfortunately, it's not the egalitarian or philanthropic solution you propose.

You see: guns deter crime, too.

So, look up the amount of violent crime in the UK, and you’ll see that sometimes lives are saved by a prohibition of guns, but more times than not, crimes are carried out because criminals know their victims are disarmed and helpless. Hence, the rate of home invasions in the UK is much higher than home invasions in the United States, and violent criminals hardly fear the average person on the streets. Equally you can look at the murder rate in Oregon, the plummet of murders coincided with the legalization of concealed carry in this State. Perhaps the correlation is not causation, but let’s look at it rationally:

Assume you were a criminal, would you feel emboldened to rape and steal from others if you knew the average person was unarmed? Now, ask the opposite, would you be deterred from stealing and raping if you feared that average person was armed? To me, it’s not that every person *must* be armed, it’s that enough people must be armed that the criminals and evil people fear it.

@roc – that is an interesting perspective, and you are accurate in part. Yet, to say the tragedy of Pearl High was on a smaller scale because of a hunting rifle is disingenuous to the actual story: it was an illegally posed gun that saved the day and prevented more lives from being lost.

@Human – unfortunately, you’re also removing many of my capabilities to protect good people from evil people. And your perspective of “what we’re trying to do here” is only YOUR perspective. The reality is that once a single prohibition goes into place, it will be used as a precedent for future restrictions. The ultimate goal of most supporters is the complete prohibition of firearms by civilians, thus giving tyrants their greatest advantage. The advantage of a reliable 100-round magazine is plainly obvious: hence the US Army, Marine Corps, and multiple law enforcement agencies purchasing as many as possible. If the military and police can have this capability, why can the militia (i.e. regular law-abiding citizens) not? Are citizens somehow more blood thirsty or dangerous than the government? Hardly, I think.
Without reading all of that: all I need to know is that for your "system" to work, it has to be likely to a criminal that nearly every person is armed.

I think it's a fucking stupid idea to let push-a-button-make-people-die weapons become that ubiquitous in daily life.

To the pro-gun folks, there never seems to be a gun-related problem whose answer isn't "more guns." That's a clear sign that the argument is rooted in a ludicrous logical fallacy.
@Colin - you've made it clear within your own words that you are making conclusions removed from an educated and well-rounded position - that, instead you prefer what your "gut" tells you will work for public policy, and that you’ll draw from a personal bias rather than learn the other perspective, and you’ll interject ignorant comments enthusiastically.

It's too bad the Bush Administration is gone, they surely could have used someone like you.

I don’t believe we necessarily need “more guns”, there’s plenty in America already. However, criminals and evil people should know that the average person is more than capable of deterring their wicked schemes.
@fidelity: I don't see why I should trust the average idiot on the street with deadly force when I don't even trust the average cop with it.

I grant everything you said. However:

Imagine any antagonistic interaction. Someone cuts in line at the grocery store. The cashier won't take a $50 bill. Someone gets cut off in traffic. Someone thinks someone else's music is too loud. Someone suspects someone else of a crime. Someone suspects their spouse of infidelity.

Now imagine that every time one of these situations occurs, it carries the implicit threat of lethal violence. The most routine activities become potentially deadly. And any individual holding a gun becomes more confident of their ability to come out on top in any given conflict: he just has to seem more willing to use his gun.

Even if the people in question aren't armed, the threat looms. Two friends have an argument that escalates to a screaming match, and one pushes the other. Imagining himself a good samaritan, an armed individual approaches to defuse the situation. He doesn't know if they know each other, he doesn't know if one is armed, he doesn't know if one is a legitimate threat to the other, but he knows he's a good guy.

(We don't even have to use our imagination here. Joe Zamudio was nearby when the Tucson shooting that nearly killed Congresswoman Gabby Giffords occurred, and he had a gun on him. He almost shot a man he saw pointing a gun at the shooter, rather than the shooter himself.… )

I'd rather live in a world where I have a remote chance of a home invasion at some point in my life and a zero chance of getting shot going about my business any given day, than the other way around.
@eldepeche – That is an interesting perspective. Yet, the violence you are supposing is potentially possible, that small antagonistic interactions will escalate to deadly force, is not accurate for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, we already live in a well-armed society, there’s tens of thousands of people who carry firearms on a daily basis in Multnomah and Washington counties. Some of these people carry guns legally, and some carry guns illegally. And yet, with all of these guns, it’s certainly clear that most antagonistic interactions do not escalate to deadly force. Sometimes they do, in the case of gangbangers, hot heads, and racist folks, and I doubt those people will ever be disarmed with any law.

This is supported by my own practice of concealed carry, and the old adage, “An armed society is a polite society.” Carrying a firearm for self-defense puts an imperative upon the individual not to get involved in most situations, and further, that if they are (involuntarily) involved, to deescalate it. Most people who carry can tell you, the last you want to do is let strangers know that you are carrying, or to introduce a firearm into a situation without cause, for this does escalate a situation unnecessarily.

I guess I just don’t see the practical fear that people who carry guns are reckless cowboys. Sure, there’s a couple of examples to point to, but the reality as observed is different.

For me the most interesting part of your comment is your last paragraph, because there will never be a utopian society (especially in this country) where you have zero chance of being shot on any given day. We can both agree that it is to our advantage, and our goal, to minimize the amount of people being shot on any given day.
I think it's pretty clear that at current levels of firearm ownership, the deterrent effect you're suggesting isn't sufficient to prevent violence or impoliteness, so if you're not calling for more guns, then what exactly are you advocating? More publicity surrounding guns?

Also, it's pretty rich to criticize someone for trusting their gut right before citing an "old adage." The fact that you don't feel afraid of some idiot firing a gun thinking he's a hero means jack shit, and your adage frankly conveys a weird authoritarian conception of human behavior, where you can only trust someone to behave under the direct threat of violence. It relies on a foundation of mistrust of those around you, but paradoxically requires that you trust the guy with the gun the most. Including yourself.

I'm well aware of the fact that I can't count on a zero chance of much of anything, so I'll rephrase: Given today's probability of my home being invaded and of my being shot while out and about, I wouldn't want to decrease the former if it meant increasing the latter. And independent of those probabilities, I would feel safer if I knew there were 3 million guns in the country than 300 million.
"The ultimate goal of most supporters is the complete prohibition of firearms by civilians, thus giving tyrants their greatest advantage."

jump to conclusions much? I own guns and am wholly in favor of significant restrictions on WHO can own guns, and HOW MANY rounds that weapon can carry, in addition to other common sense laws.

which leads to:

"If the military and police can have this capability, why can the militia (i.e. regular law-abiding citizens) not? "

you left out the "well regulated" part. i'm no lawyer but it seems to me that there's a lot overlooked in those two words by gun advocacy groups and people.

your faith in your fellow man is obviously much greater than mine...
@eldepeche - I think your over estimating the paradoxical nature of the adage; it’s simple that two parties will mutually respect each other if they suppose that noxious behavior will not be tolerated. I actually have a rather deep trust of other people, as I think most people are good, logical, and friendly. The adage is supported directly by my experience, and the experiences of my friends.

I’m not sure how to answer your question about what I advocate for. I guess my concern is the implementation of short sighted policies, to quote legal expert Eugene Volokh, “When all the proposals seem likely not to work, or do more harm than good, implementing one of them for the sake of ‘doing something’ strikes me as a mistake.”

So, generally I think there are probably significantly more compelling actions to take in society to reduce the number of crazy ass homicidal/suicidal people with guns: ban SSRI medication, instead put those people on a healthy organic diet. Also, I believe that “gun free zones” seem like ideal opportunities to crazy ass homicidal/suicidal people, and that other options should be considered. Finally, I think the regular debate about high capacity magazines and assault weapons has absolutely ZERO to do with personal safety, crime, or mass shootings. I think this is actually just one part of a long term plan to eliminate the capabilities of citizens to openly rebel against government – more directly, an “assault rifle” is more effective in combat than in a simple murder – yet, the arguments in this debate are taken from the perspective that everyone will be safer (and safer more often) with these firearms and these magazines in less circulation. I see no evidence of that. I hope that answers your question.

@Eric – OK, so “well regulated”, last night in my living room I helped a former and well decorated Army Ranger align his front sight post faster with his cross eye domination. I’m also a veteran, served 4 years, deployed twice, I regularly shoot and teach people to shoot. I’m within the context of “well-regulated” regardless of the definition (which, btw, is synonymous with “proficient” within the militaristic context of the 2A). Again, it is *your* perspective to somewhat limit firearms – however, I can point you toward dozens of advocacy groups (the ones leading and writing the policies in D.C.) that explicitly call for the complete prohibition of all firearms – so, I’m not jumping to conclusions.
Yeah, I bet "a healthy organic diet" will cure chronic depression. It reduces black bile in proportion to blood, yellow bile and phlegm, right?
@eldepeche - I'd bet my entire paycheck that SSRI drugs kill more people than assault rifles do in this country year over year. Key point (and important fact): look up the medications that these mass shooters are on.…

There's got to be a healthier option for those in need. I'm an organic gardener, and I think diet is a key to a healthy mind.
I'll definitely spend a lot of time reading this website that features no information on the total number of people taking SSRIs (and thus the proportion of users who are involved in the cataloged incidents), nor the incidence of shootings among people who don't take SSRIs, nor indeed any statistics at all. Your paycheck has more numbers on it than that website.

More mass shooters had guns than took SSRIs, so by innumerate illogic, ban guns instead of SSRIs. QED.
@eldepeche – So you’re on SSRI’s and you don’t want to admit how toxic and deadly these drugs are? My point is that there is profound evidence that the population of mass murders are on these medications. You asked for a proposal and my thoughts, I have supplied them. Our conversation is pretty much useless and is doing nothing to contribute to the market place of ideas.

If you’re curious of a possible link between SSRI drugs and mass murders, and you didn’t find my previous link insightful: Google it, college boy.
It would be a useful contribution if you could post a link to a quantitative study (or a summary thereof) on the link between SSRIs and violent acts. For example, is the incidence of violence higher among SSRI users than among the general population? Cataloging violence by SSRI users is meaningless without context.

1 in 10 people in the US are on antidepressants. Is more than 10% of the violence committed by people on antidepressants? If it were true, it seems like it would be easy to find that information, leading to my skepticism.
It would be useful contribution if you learned how to use a computer:…

Are you this inept in other parts of your life? Cause this took me 10 seconds. If that doesn't work for you, then get a subscription to SSRN.

The results overwhelmingly show that SSRIs can work well for some people, but for a small percentage of people it makes them go completely off the deep end: violence, suicide, homicide. Sorta like that film “Serenity” and the origin of Reavers. Or, just look at the relationships between mass murders and the medications they take, nearly every single one is on an antidepressant.
Not to be a dick or anything, but if you search for "SSRIs and violence" most of the links follow back to Alex Jones, and I don't really think he can be trusted to fairly represent the contents of an academic study. The other links point to a list of the drugs most commonly associated with violence. Since acute mental illness can also be associated with violence, I find this less than convincing. So, thank you for pointing me to something I didn't find on my own, and I'm sorry it was such a hassle that I asked you for evidence supporting your extraordinary claim that banning SSRIs would be a better move than any type of gun control.

Most of the results on the search you pointed to don't appear to compare rates of violence between SSRI users and the general population, so they aren't useful for answering a question about whether SSRIs should be banned, which you suggested as a potential solution for preventing mass shootings. One study, however, showed that homicide and suicide rates fell over a 14-year period when SSRI use nearly doubled.…

So there's research showing that some people using SSRIs exhibit violent behavior (more often than not suicidal), much more often than with other drugs. And there's anecdotal evidence that many mass murderers have been on SSRIs. And the huge majority of people using SSRIs are not violent, to say nothing of the therapeutic effect. And violence is linked with mental health crisis, a time when many people are first prescribed antidepressants.

You'll forgive me for being pretty underwhelmed.
When did Harvey Fierstein become host of The Daily Show?