Chekov’s Gun

A gun in the first act always goes off in the third – Peter CasePut Down Your Gun

America’s Stupidest Blogger™ continues down Artillery Road:

A lot of commenters seem sure that having a legal gun around substantially increases the likelihood that someone will, in a moment of rage, shoot someone–so sure that they are clearly convinced I am a lunatic for even suggesting otherwise.  I understand the intuition, and maybe it’s right.  But the evidence for the proposition is not all that strong.

First of all, as it shows in the articles I linked earlier, something like 90% of homicides are committed by people with criminal records, i.e. people who probably cannot legally own a gun. A lot of the rest are committed by juveniles, or mentally unstable people, who also cannot legally own a gun.

It is perfectly true that adding a gun to a dispute involving violent criminals increases the likelihood that someone will be shot.  But violent criminals are not like the rest of us.  They have very poor impulse control, and, well, a demonstrated willingness to use violence.  They also are not likely to apply for a permit before packing heat.

Murder is not something that usually just happens, even among family members.  The people who do it are usually abnormal in some way, and it shows.

I guess the McFiance can sleep peacefully knowing that someone who feels the need to camp out on the street overnight to be one of the first to get the new iPhone and thinks protesters should be greeted with a 2×4 exhibits better impulse control, particularly if violence is involved, than your common riffraffy non-econoblogger MBA. But I wouldn’t sleep too deeply:

You have access to fatal weapons every day.  How often, after a fight with someone, have you been seriously tempted to run them over with your car?  Or grab a knife from the rack in the kitchen and brandish it at them?  Put rat poison in their morning coffee?  Or take an exacto blade to their throat while asleep? 

I’m not sure where that exacto blade one came from but then I’m not an expert in "precrime" and almost all people look abnormal to me, so what do I know? Nevertheless: creepy.

And although most of McMegan’s commenters actually seem to agree with her (because they are socially awkward libertarian assholes) she can’t leave well enough alone and comes back for more:

Jason Zengerle indicates that the real point is that openly carrying weapons at a protest makes it harder for the Secret Service to do their job.  Probably.  On the other hand, lots of things make it harder for the Secret Service to do their job.  Protesting is much harder on the Secret Service–almost certainly harder than one guy openly carrying a gun, because the protesters are a crowd of people who have to be watched constantly for suspicious movements.  Should we ban protesting?  Or force the people who do it off the premises and into a park eight blocks away?

Nice analogy but I’m sure if you ask the Secret Service if they would rather be confronted by protesters or tightly wound openly-armed middle-aged white men carrying signs about ‘watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants’, the Secret Service would probably rather deal with the giant puppets.


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Yeah. Like I would tell you....