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Man shoots at cellphone thief, kills 4 year old.

  1. Oct 30, 2008 #1
    In light of the thread Boy, 8 shoots himself at Mass. gun show I thought I'd post this article and throw in my five cents' worth:

    http://www.newstoday.co.za/cgi-bin/newstoday/show.pl?1225269907 [Broken]

    Before I say anything else I just wish to point out that I'm aware that this topic is probably getting tired for many. Also, this particular situation is open to a lot of criticism (rightly so) and thus I do not want to address the specific issues at stake here (the idiocy of chasing after a cellphone thief with a firearm for one), but rather the question "Should personal firearms be allowed in public?".

    Let's get some of the preliminaries out of the way:

    1. Considering South Africa's violent crime statistics in comparison to the rest of the world (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_***_percap-crime-assaults-per-capita [Broken], http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir_percap-crime-murders-firearms-per-capita [Broken], Rapes Per Capita to name a few) as well as the fact that we are bordered by an Africa that has been subjected to extensive warfare over the past century making a "no gun zone" virtually impossible, I think it is illogical if not downright dumb to make it illegal for a person to own a firearm.

    2. Having said that, can it be shown, however, that owning a firearm and carrying it in public significantly increases one's chances of surviving a violent crime scenario? This is a hazy area since, as a developing country, reliable statistics are almost impossible to come by.

    3. Finally, in light of the two points above, I am of the opinion that firearms should be allowed for the protection of your family as well as yourself, but should be limited to protection against attacks at home (OFTEN the case). This will make for a controlled scenario where the chances of injury to an innocent bystander are virtually none as well as increase your chances of successfully defending yourself (you know your house and if you realise someone has gained entry to your property you have ample time to prepare yourself before they necessarily get to you/your family). However, I do not believe that carrying a personal firearm in public is of any benefit to anyone. If the possibility of injury to a member of the public exists (even if this possibility is "statistically insignificant") it is NOT a chance worth taking.

    Are there any documented cases of where an average "Joe" or "Jane Smith" carrying a personal firearm in public was of any benefit to anyone?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2008 #2


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    Why the discreptancy? (significant vs insignificant)
  4. Oct 30, 2008 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    No doubt there are many, many such cases. People who are subjected to dangerous environments or situations as a function of their job, often get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. One example would be tow truck drivers in the inner cities.

    I used to work at hospitals in some very dangerous areas in Los Angeles. One of these was Martin Luther Kind Hospital, near Watts, which is famous for the race riots of the 1960s. A local cop once told me that I was nuts to work there alone at night without carrying a weapon.
  5. Oct 30, 2008 #4
    (I hope I understand your question correctly)

    Perhaps I should have phrased it differently.

    Mmm...to use an example, let's say 1 in 1000 people have an STD. Then statistically speaking, you could probably shag a complete stranger without protection and thoroughly the enjoy the encounter without any negative side-effects. However, since the possibility of receiving one of those gifts that keep on giving exists (remember herpes is like diamonds, it's forever), you probably wouldn't take the chance even if the odds are small.

    Is that better?

    Had you carried a weapon though, do you think it would have made a difference if you ever ended up in a dodgy situation? If yes, how?

    I'm asking since the same arguments seem to come up amongst members of my friends and family (these discussions are rather common in South African society) and they normally start with: "If only I'd carried a gun..."

    MY argument is that a gun doesn't magically turn you into an invincible demi-god and HAD you attempted to draw a weapon on your assailant, you'd probably be dead now. I believe that, unless you are a very well-trained shooter (and here I expressly mean in combat-shooting, NOT just shooting a couple of rounds at a stationary target on a range) and have existing combat experience (or extensive experience in potentially violent situations) you probably only worsen the odds against you coming out the other end.

    This stems from the fact that your assailant has the advantage of the element of surprise and/or has the experience of dealing with these situations (as he's probably done it before), whereas you probably haven't been in many violent encounters in your life and are caught "off-balance" so to speak.

    There are often reports in the local newspapers of people successfully defending their families against robbers etc at their homes, but I can't recall a single incident that turned out in favour of the victims in a similar scenario involving a public place. In fact it's quite the opposite. There have been more than one report in the local newspapers of hijackers/robbers not only shooting and killing their victims, but fleeing with their victims' firearms on top of everything (which is rather crap for all the obvious reasons).

    So I'm trying to find out if there is proof that carrying a firearm in public significantly improves your chances of surviving a violent attack in public or in a public area, without endangering the lives of innocent bystanders.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  6. Oct 30, 2008 #5
    Japan has the lowest murder rate ever (or at least had) and having a gun was absolutely illegal unless you were an officer of the law. This statistic comes from the text book Serial Murderers and their Victims by Keenly and Hyde that I used in my serial murder class. The take home message was that eliminating the availability of gun dramatically decreases murders by guns. I think they should all be banned. They cause nothing but pain and death, they are designed to kill people and as such should be very tightly controlled and not taken as lightly as they are.
  7. Oct 30, 2008 #6


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    Well, this probably doesn't exactly answer your question since the shooter was a former policewoman with professional firearms training and was specifically chosen as a volunteer security guard because of that training: Church shooting.

    In this case, there had been a shooting at missionary training center associated with the church the night before, so the church decided some special security would be appropriate (and, as a matter of fact, it was the same gunman that attacked both places).

    I don't think the average person with a little practice at the shooting range would do as well.
  8. Oct 30, 2008 #7


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    This is my issue with many of those who are allowed to carry concealed weapons...I'm not convinced they have sufficient training to really be safe with them or to ever use them correctly if they needed to.

    I don't take the typical all or none approach to carrying weapons. Meaning that some people think anyone and everyone should have the right to carry a firearm any time, any where. Others think that nobody should ever be allowed to carry a gun anywhere. I think that people should be required to get extensive training and background checks (not just a quick peek for criminal records and traffic tickets, but the sort government employees go through where they survey family, friends, neighbors, former employers, etc., to make sure there are no indicators you are irresponsible or exercise bad judgement, and add in a psychological evaluation), and only if they pass all that, and have logged enough hours practicing on a range, then they could be allowed to carry.
  9. Oct 30, 2008 #8
    IMO, they are just less aggressive (even their religions and philophies - I am totally in love with them) and their society is very different from Americans. So, you cannot compare them.

    http://www.jccc.on.ca/martial_arts/aikido.htm [Broken]

    I am thinking about learing Aikidio! This is the best way to defend oneself while not harming others. :smile:

    Another one:
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  10. Oct 30, 2008 #9


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    A few people in nanking might disagree.

    You cannot just take two statistics from a country and correlate them.

    In Switzerland you are REQUIRED to have a military assault rifle at home, and it has the lowest gun crime rate in Europe. Isreal isn't exactly known for it's relaxed peacefull zen-like attitiude and has very high gun ownership, it's gun murder rate (excluding terrorism) is half switzerland's.

    Switzerland also has the world's highest consumption of chocolate - that might be the secret.
  11. Oct 30, 2008 #10
    Yes, I agree with that.

    I think Isreal has lower rate because its society is under real threat from other relgious groups. So, external factors like Hamas are uniting the whole society together.

    For Switzerland, I would look at its economical (particularly poverty and unemployment ..) or population statistics.

    US has poverty and unemployment. It does not have as good society as Japan or Switzerland maybe because of population + (religious) philosphies too.

    Edit: No clue about Switzerland! :( but I woud love to know what exactly making Japan or Switzerland peaceful and stable socities.
  12. Oct 30, 2008 #11


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    Yes,my point was that gun crime correlates with poverty/inequality rather than with gun ownership (or perhaps with low chocolate consumption)
  13. Oct 30, 2008 #12


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    I'm willing to test this theory. More chocolate for everyone! :biggrin:
  14. Oct 30, 2008 #13


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    I think the more important question is where does the changeover occur? There are many countries that get along fine with firearms being restricted.
  15. Oct 31, 2008 #14
    I completely agree with you Moonbear. That is exactly my problem as well. Also, they must be continuously evaluated. South Africa had compulsory military service up until 1994, so a lot of the people carrying firearms DID have formal training. What they forget, however, is that the last time they fired their weapons were, say, 5 years ago. You lose your edge.

    I lived in the UK for slightly more than two years and absolutely loved it (the aim is to eventually return, but that's another story). I always thought that the UK's policy of no personal firearms works due to the fact that it's more developed, your authorities have greater control and that it's an island (which I thought would make it more difficult to smuggle guns across).

    BUT then I went and lived in Ukraine and there it is also illegal to own firearms. However, their system is not as advanced as that of the UK and they are also within easy reaching distance of the known Eastern European war zones of the past 4 decades, yet very few gun-related crimes take place there.

    So I'm stumped as to what causes the people of one nation to employ weapons as a course of action or a "solution" to a problem where another's won't.
  16. Oct 31, 2008 #15

    Strange that you say that, since the UK has the worst crime rates in Europe. It's the poverty and the immigrants that cause the crime bill to swell, rather than weapons possession IMO.

  17. Oct 31, 2008 #16
    The overall crime rate as such is not the issue here, nor is what causes crime rates to increase or decrease. "Crime" is a rather broad definition and includes things like pot smoking and shoplifting (some things of which I can live with to be honest).

    The issue here is whether or not carrying a personal firearm in public will improve your chances of survival in a potentially violent crime situation and if it can be proven that it is a benefit to the victim without being a hazard to bystanders at the same time.
  18. Oct 31, 2008 #17
    Your link says something else.

    UK might have highest crime rate in Europe but how does it compare to US?
  19. Oct 31, 2008 #18
    Other than using guns for fun activities like hunting, I really don't see any other benefits. Average person depending on them for protection is just absurd.
  20. Oct 31, 2008 #19
    I agree 100%, and will extend on my opinion later.
  21. Oct 31, 2008 #20


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    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_***_percap-crime-assaults-per-capita [Broken]

    What a neat site , South Africa has around half the total rapes as the whole country of the US. There is definitely a moron problem there , morons raping thousands thereby producing more morons.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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