PDA

View Full Version : Hell Must Have Frozen Over.....



nhp
12-15-2004, 06:29 AM
Because I'm buying a gun. Yes, that's right, the same me that hates guns. Two nights ago at 2am a man came to my front door claiming to be my neighbor a couple houses down. He said that his son had an epileptic seizure and that he needed $46 for the copayment or they wouldn't treat his son. I told him to wait there, and I closed and THOUGHT I locked my front door. I went to my parent's room to wake up my dad to see if he knew the guy. Suddenly my bullshit detector went off and I realized that the hospital would treat his son regardless. I walked back out to the hallway to find the guy inside my house, standing there looking around. Me and my father escorted the guy out and he took off. I called the police, and they told me that a few weeks ago, someone went to another house in an area not too far from mine, with the EXACT same story, and they managed to get inside the house also, and came back and robbed the house a week later. So now, I have insomnia. Every little noise I hear I get up and grab my sharper-than-razor japanese steel knife and go searching around my house. To make it even worse, it's windy as heck over here, so I hear alot of strange noises. So my mom is getting an alarm system, and I am gonna buy a shotgun. I think once I have that thing under my bed I'll be able to sleep alot better. Until then, I'm goin nuts, seriously.

Sid_Vicious
12-15-2004, 06:57 AM
"So my mom is getting an alarm system"

I've slept better ever since I got my alarm, it's the best dollar a day piece of mind I've ever invested in. It's just a matter of time before almost everyone experiences an intrusion, why wait? sid

Chopstick
12-15-2004, 07:37 AM
Man, you are seriously lucky. A shotgun may not be the best alternative with other people in the house. There are also many legal aspects to the use of firearms even in a situation like yours. I would immediately stock up on non-lethal alternatives. Check the laws in your area. In Florida answering the door with a firearm soule be considered brandishing a weapon. Also some maniacs will dare you to shoot them. They prey on your responsibility as a citizen not to pull the trigger.

I am interested in your knife. The only Japanese knives I have found are kitchen knives.

SecaucusFats
12-15-2004, 08:04 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote nhp:</font><hr> Because I'm buying a gun. Yes, that's right, the same me that hates guns. Two nights ago at 2am a man came to my front door claiming to be my neighbor a couple houses down. He said that his son had an epileptic seizure and that he needed $46 for the copayment or they wouldn't treat his son. I told him to wait there, and I closed and THOUGHT I locked my front door. I went to my parent's room to wake up my dad to see if he knew the guy. Suddenly my bullshit detector went off and I realized that the hospital would treat his son regardless. I walked back out to the hallway to find the guy inside my house, standing there looking around. Me and my father escorted the guy out and he took off. I called the police, and they told me that a few weeks ago, someone went to another house in an area not too far from mine, with the EXACT same story, and they managed to get inside the house also, and came back and robbed the house a week later. So now, I have insomnia. Every little noise I hear I get up and grab my sharper-than-razor japanese steel knife and go searching around my house. To make it even worse, it's windy as heck over here, so I hear alot of strange noises. So my mom is getting an alarm system, and I am gonna buy a shotgun. I think once I have that thing under my bed I'll be able to sleep alot better. Until then, I'm goin nuts, seriously. <hr /></blockquote>

IMO, a shotgun is not your best choice for home defense,my top choice for a home defense gun is a revolver. Revolvers usually hold six cartridges, but some hold more. Revolvers are ambidextrous. Perhaps best of all, they can sit fully loaded and untouched for decades, (all springs are normally at rest), and still be ready to go into service in a skinny heartbeat. Just grab the gun and begin firing should the need arise. Revolvers come in two types, single action and double action.

A single action revolver must be manually cocked before the trigger will fire the weapon i.e the Colt Single Action Army and Ruger Blackhawk. They are slow to reload, but powerful, accurate, and deadly when the sh*t hits the fan. They can be fired rapidly from a two handed hold by cocking the piece with the thumb of the off hand. Single actions are good for experienced shooters but for an inexperienced shooter, a double action revolver is a better choice.

Double actions are the typical "police" style revolvers, like the Colt Python. Double action revolvers can be thumb cocked, just like a single action revolver, and then fired by a light pressure on the trigger. This is called shooting "single action," and it is the most accurate way to deliver aimed fire. They may also be fired by a single long pull on the trigger, which first cocks and then releases the hammer (trigger cocking or "double action" shooting).

Trigger cocking requires a longer and much heavier trigger pull, but it is fast. Shots can be delivered at roughly the same rate as from an autoloading pistol. It is plenty accurate for close range shooting in trained hands.

Double action revolvers are very safe, easy to operate, easy to shoot accurately, reliable, and practically impossible to jam. They can be reloaded quickly if you use a speed loader, and are very easy to reload from a box of loose cartridges should you need to. IMO, a double action revolver is hard to beat for home defense.

A medium size .38 Special with a 4" barrel with a nickel finish and fully adjustable target type sights makes it easier for you to see it and point it at night while the adjustable sights give you good accuracy in good light. Load it with Glaser Safety Slugs for indoor use and have a speed loader handy full of 125 grain hollow points.

The .38 Special is preferable to smaller rounds because it provides far better stopping power, and it is also better than larger rounds such as Magnums because it provides far less muzzle flash / blast (important in dim light).

Make absolutely sure you get some good firearms safety training, and practice on a regular basis. A handgun can save your life or that of your loved ones, but remember, it isn't the gun that gets the job done, it's the shooter.. there is no second place in a gunfight.

Oh and one other thing: in addition to a gun, a good dog is worth its weight in gold.

I hope you never have to use a gun to defend yourself, but if the need ever arises, make sure you are prepared.

SF

Wally_in_Cincy
12-15-2004, 08:13 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SecaucusFats:</font><hr>

Load it with Glaser Safety Slugs for indoor use and have a speed loader handy full of 125 grain hollow points.

<hr /></blockquote>

I would second the suggestion for a revolver. Very easy to grab and use at a moment's notice. I keep a .357 loaded with hollow points in the nightstand.

Fats, tell me a bit about the Glaser safety slugs. Since I now live in a house and not an apartment building it is not as much of an issue but might be worth looking into.

Popcorn
12-15-2004, 08:31 AM
Might not be the best idea. There are gun people and non gun people. I have been carrying a gun even before I had a permit and know guns and enjoy shooting. I would never recommend a gun to someone who did not plan on really learning all about them and going out and shooting on a regular basis. Hand guns are not that easy to shoot effectively, it could be a false sense of security. You "NEVER" defend property always look for a way out. Also have inside locks on all bedroom doors so if someone was to get in the house they can't get to you so easily.

SecaucusFats
12-15-2004, 08:40 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Wally_in_Cincy:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote SecaucusFats:</font><hr>

Load it with Glaser Safety Slugs for indoor use and have a speed loader handy full of 125 grain hollow points.

<hr /></blockquote>

I would second the suggestion for a revolver. Very easy to grab and use at a moment's notice. I keep a .357 loaded with hollow points in the nightstand.

Fats, tell me a bit about the Glaser safety slugs. Since I now live in a house and not an apartment building it is not as much of an issue but might be worth looking into. <hr /></blockquote>

The Glaser has a pre-fragmented core of compressed number twelve shot (a core of number six shot is also available), capped by a soft plastic ball, inside a bullet jacket. They fracture on impact transfering all momentum to the target at once and causing devastating wounds. They are called safety slugs since there is less chance the bullet will penetrate the target and hit someone on the other side. The performance of the Glaser has been proven in ballistic gelatin and on human flesh, and I think that it is the cartridge of choice in a .38 revolver. In summation the round offers high velocity, good accuracy, and a low chance of penetrating the target and hurting someone else, along with exceptional terminal performance. Glasers are not cheap but they are, IMO, the best choice for home defense.

SF

Popcorn
12-15-2004, 09:01 AM
quote
"I would second the suggestion for a revolver. Very easy to grab and use at a moment's notice. I keep a .357 loaded with hollow points in the nightstand."

Just that statement says you have not done your homework and should not have a gun in the house without proper training. You have a loaded gun sitting in your night stand? One of the first places a thief will check for money and valuables, now he has your gun. You don't want that kind of caliber for close self defense. It can kill an innocent person a block away or shoot through a wall and kill your kid sleeping on the other side. For your own safety and that of your family just rethink what you are doing a little.

Wally_in_Cincy
12-15-2004, 09:28 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> Just that statement says you have not done your homework and should not have a gun in the house without proper training.

<font color="blue">You have a point. I have shot all my life and I have read a lot about self-defense but have never had any formal training </font color>


You have a loaded gun sitting in your night stand? One of the first places a thief will check for money and valuables, now he has your gun.

<font color="blue">If he is the type of thief who would use a gun on a homeowner he probably already has one. </font color>

You don't want that kind of caliber for close self defense. It can kill an innocent person a block away or shoot through a wall and kill your kid sleeping on the other side.

<font color="blue">I don't have any kids and all the houses on my block are solid brick-sided, except for the windows of course. </font color>


For your own safety and that of your family just rethink what you are doing a little.

<font color="blue">I'm certainly open to suggestions. Seriously. </font color>
<hr /></blockquote>

SpiderMan
12-15-2004, 10:39 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> quote
"I would second the suggestion for a revolver. Very easy to grab and use at a moment's notice. I keep a .357 loaded with hollow points in the nightstand."

Just that statement says you have not done your homework and should not have a gun in the house without proper training. You have a loaded gun sitting in your night stand? One of the first places a thief will check for money and valuables, now he has your gun. You don't want that kind of caliber for close self defense. It can kill an innocent person a block away or shoot through a wall and kill your kid sleeping on the other side. For your own safety and that of your family just rethink what you are doing a little.
<hr /></blockquote>


Popcorn, your comments do not seem to reflect a person who is familiar with firearms and their use. "Because a crook will get it (and use it on you)" is an often-repeated mantra of the anti-gun crowd, but it doesn't make real-world sense. Assuming a person has made the decision to arm himself (and I agree that some should not), the weapon should be easy to reach and ready to go. An unloaded and locked-away weapon is useless when you wake to the sound of your bedroom door being jimmied.

Most self-defense professionals and instructors are in agreement with Wally, ie a loaded double-action revolver in .38 or .357 is a very sensible compromise for home defense. It's always ready without the need to manipulate slides or safeties, and it's the least likely to discharge accidentally.

And yes, you DO want "that kind of caliber" for close self-defense. The objective is to stop an assault as quickly and certainly as possible. You can be maimed in seconds by an unarmed man. There's no such thing as wanting to shoot someone "just a little" - if you feel that way you shouldn't be using a gun at all. Anytime you shoot, you are using deadly force, regardless of whether you hold a .357 revolver or a .25 auto. The courts will see it that way also. Try telling a jury that you used a mousegun because you didn't intend to "overkill" the poor scumbag who's now confined to a wheelchair after you shattered his spine - you've just admitted that even you did not think his menace warranted deadly force, and now you will certainly lose in court.

I'd also like to address the comments regarding penetration and bystanders. Many do not realize that penetration is far more dependent on bullet design than on power. Depending on loading, Wally's ".357 magnum with hollowpoints" has about ten times the power (based on muzzle energy) as a .25 automatic, yet the penetration can be nearly equal. This is partly due to the inherent frangibility of the holowpoint bullet, but also the higher velocity assists expansion and breakup. If other family members reside in the same house, there are also commercially-available prefragmented projectiles (such as the Glaser) that can add some safety margin. Does Wally have a kid in the other room?

Regarding killing someone "a block away", certainly that is within the realm of possibility, but the likelihood is so remote that it shouldn't enter into a life-or-death struggle in one's bedroom. Even forgetting about the house and it's walls, how many tries do you think it would take to hit someone a block away, assuming you couldn't see them and didn't even know their direction from you?

If a perpetrator is in your bedroom, there is a high probability that he can cause you serious bodily injury, a high probability that you can stop him with a .357 magnum, and an extremely low probability that you will instead injure someone a block away. The choice seems obvious, and Wally has wisely made that choice in advance so that he doesn't have to decide at 3 am.

SpiderMan

SPetty
12-15-2004, 11:27 AM
The following is supposedly an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term.

The answer by one student was so "profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Bonus Question:
Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving.

I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different Religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell.

Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they
are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:
1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the
temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the
temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year of college; and she said to me: "It'll be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you," and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.

The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct...leaving only Heaven thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God" repeatedly.

THIS STUDENT RECEIVED THE ONLY A.

SnakebyteXX
12-15-2004, 12:11 PM
(originally addressed to SpiderMan) Anybody?

I hesitate to get in the middle of this and I DO NOT intend this as an inflamatory question, but...

In your opinion are there any reliable statistics available to determine how effective this method of self armament is in fending off bad guys? I mean, is there anyone out there keeping track of such things as 'numbers of bad guys fended off by keeping loaded weapons handy in the home' versus 'number of friends, family members (wives, husbands, children) accidentally getting shot after being mistaken for bad guys? Not to mention the one we hear so often that involves small children accidentally killing either themselves or a playmate with Daddy's loaded gun that they 'found' in the bedside table?

Who tends to come out on top in those statistics? The bad guys who deserve whatever's coming to them for breaking into a home or the innocent bystanders who sometimes through no fault of their own get in the way?

Are there statistics that we can trust or has this whole issue been mucked up as a political football to the point where there are no dependable answers anymore?

Snake ~~~ owns tons of guns and honestly wants to know.

Popcorn
12-15-2004, 12:33 PM
I will tell you a story from personal experience. I came home one afternoon, went in the house. I went down the hallway to the living room to check my answering machine. I heard a noise and thought it was the cat or something so paid no attention. Then I went to the bedroom I found several drawers pulled out and dumped out on the bed. Only the first two drawers were out and there was some change laying on the bed. When I came in I must have surprised the thief who ran out the back door. I had just passed that bedroom on my way to the living room and he must have been in there at the time I went to the living room. Here is the scary part. I surprised him and he even left so quick he didn't even gather up the change on the bed. Had I been a few seconds later and had he had time to pull out the next drawer he would have had two loaded hand guns. I may very well have been killed by my own guns when I surprised him. I don't have kids either and was always a little careless about my guns. I learned a major lesson from that one incident about leaving guns around. I am no expert on guns and can not rattle off all sorts of caliber's and so on. I do know my guns though and shoot often at least once every few weeks. The gun I carry is an old Charter arms Bulldog 44 special that has been modified. I like this gun and have had it for years. It is only accurate for a small distance but has plenty of knock down power and makes a hell of a noise when fired and I am very good with this gun. There is a holster on the lower part on my backboard where a gun can be put at night and all the guns when left at home are in a concealed safe.

Wally_in_Cincy
12-15-2004, 12:43 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr>

...There is a holster on the lower part on my backboard where a gun can be put at night and all the guns when left at home are in a concealed safe. <hr /></blockquote>

Good idea. Thanks.

SpiderMan
12-15-2004, 12:45 PM
Snake,

Yes, there are reams of data supporting armed self-defense.

As you must realize, the presentation of statistics is often misused. You can get a vastly different picture, depending on whether you investigate pro- or anti-gun sources. An astute reader can usually tell when they're being misled, though. I'm quoting below what I consider two informative articles on the subject. Note particularly the comments in the second article regarding the shootings at Appalachian Law School in Virginia. You can also visit the Texas State Rifle Association's web site at www.tsra.com (http://www.tsra.com) :

***********************Article #1*******************
THE COLD, HARD FACTS ABOUT GUNS
Chicago Tribune, May 8, 1998, NORTH SPORTS FINAL EDITION
By John R. Lott Jr., the John M. Olin law and economics fellow at the University of Chicago School of Law and the author of "More Guns, Less Crime."
America may indeed be obsessed with guns, but much of what passes as fact simply isn't true. The news media's focus on only tragic outcomes, while ignoring tragic events that were avoided, may be responsible for some misimpressions. Horrific events like the recent shooting in Arkansas receive massive news coverage, as they should, but the 2.5 million times each year that people use guns defensively are never discussed--including cases where public shootings are stopped before they happen.

Unfortunately, these misimpressions have real costs for people's safety. Many myths needlessly frighten people and prevent them from defending themselves most effectively.

Myth No. 1: When one is attacked, passive behavior is the safest approach.

The Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey reports that the probability of serious injury from an attack is 2.5 times greater for women offering no resistance than for women resisting with a gun. Men also benefit from using a gun, but the benefits are smaller: offering no resistance is 1.4 times more likely to result in serious injury than resisting with a gun.

Myth No. 2: Friends or relatives are the most likely killers. The myth is usually based on two claims: 1) 58 percent of murder victims are killed by either relatives or acquaintances and 2) anyone could be a murderer.

With the broad definition of "acquaintances" used in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, most victims are indeed classified as knowing their killer. However, what is not made clear is that acquaintance murder primarily includes drug buyers killing drug pushers, cabdrivers killed by first-time customers, gang members killing other gang members, prostitutes killed by their clients, and so on. Only one city, Chicago, reports a precise breakdown on the nature of acquaintance killings: between 1990 and 1995 just 17 percent of murder victims were either family members, friends, neighbors and/or roommates.

Murderers also are not your average citizen. For example, about 90 percent of adult murderers have already had a criminal record as an adult. Murderers are overwhelmingly young males with low IQs and who have difficult times getting along with others. Furthermore, unfortunately, murder is disproportionately committed against blacks and by blacks.

Myth No. 3: The United States has such a high murder rate because Americans own so many guns.

There is no international evidence backing this up. The Swiss, New Zealanders and Finns all own guns as frequently as Americans, yet in 1995 Switzerland had a murder rate 40 percent lower than Germany's, and New Zealand had one lower than Australia's. Finland and Sweden have very different gun ownership rates, but very similar murder rates. Israel, with a higher gun ownership rate than the U.S., has a murder rate 40 percent below Canada's. When one studies all countries rather than just a select few as is usually done, there is absolutely no relationship between gun ownership and murder.

Myth No. 4: If law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry concealed handguns, people will end up shooting each other after traffic accidents as well as accidentally shooting police officers.

Millions of people currently hold concealed handgun permits, and some states have issued them for as long as 60 years. Yet, only one permit holder has ever been arrested for using a concealed handgun after a traffic accident and that case was ruled as self-defense. The type of person willing to go through the permitting process is extremely law-abiding. In Florida, almost 444,000 licenses were granted from 1987 to 1997, but only 84 people have lost their licenses for felonies involving firearms. Most violations that lead to permits being revoked involve accidentally carrying a gun into restricted areas, like airports or schools. In Virginia, not a single permit holder has committed a violent crime. Similarly encouraging results have been reported for Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Tennessee (the only other states where information is available).

Myth No. 5: The family gun is more likely to kill you or someone you know than to kill in self-defense.

The studies yielding such numbers never actually inquired as to whose gun was used in the killing. Instead, if a household owned a gun and if a person in that household or someone they knew was shot to death while in the home, the gun in the household was blamed. In fact, virtually all the killings in these studies were committed by guns brought in by an intruder. No more than four percent of the gun deaths can be attributed to the homeowner's gun. The very fact that most people were killed by intruders also surely raises questions about why they owned guns in the first place and whether they had sufficient protection.

How many attacks have been deterred from ever occurring by the potential victims owning a gun? My own research finds that more concealed handguns, and increased gun ownership generally, unambiguously deter murders, robbery, and aggravated assaults. This is also in line with the well-known fact that criminals prefer attacking victims that they consider weak.

These are only some of the myths about guns and crime that drive the public policy debate. We must not lose sight of the ultimate question: Will allowing law-abiding citizens to own guns save lives? The evidence strongly indicates that it does.


***********************Article #2*******************

Half cocked: why most of what you see in the media about guns is wrong.
The American Enterprise

July 1, 2003
LOAD-DATE: August 12, 2003

John R. Lott, Jr.

I often give talks to audiences explaining that research by me and others shows that guns are used much more often to fend off crimes than to commit them. People are very surprised to learn that survey data show that guns are used defensively by private citizens in the U.S. anywhere from 1.5 to 3.4 million times a year. A question I hear repeatedly is: "If defensive gun use occurs so often, why haven't I ever heard of even one story?"

Obviously anecdotal stories published in newspapers can't prove how numerous these events are, but they can at least deal with the question of whether these events even occur. During 2001, I did two detailed searches on defensive gun uses: one for the period covering March 11 to 17 of that year, and another for the period July 22 to 28. While these searches were not meant to be comprehensive, I found a total of 40 defensive gun uses over those two weeks. Some representative examples:

Clearwater, Florida: At 1:05 a.m., a man started banging on a patio door, beat on a family's truck, then tore open the patio door. After numerous shouted warnings not to break into the home, a 16-year-old boy fired a single rifle shot, wounding the attacker.

Columbia, South Carolina: As two gas station employees left work just after midnight, two men attempted to rob them, beating them about the head and neck with a shovel handle. The male employee broke away long enough to draw a handgun from his pocket and shot at his attacker, who later died.

Detroit, Michigan: A mentally disturbed man, yelled that the President was going to have him killed, and started firing at people in passing cars. A man at the scene who had a permit to carry a concealed handgun fired shots that forced the attacker to run away.

West Palm Beach, Florida: After being beaten during a robbery at his home, a home owner began carrying a handgun in his pocket. When another robber attacked him just two days later the homeowner shot and wounded his assailant.

Columbia Falls, Montana: A woman's ex-boyfriend entered her home to sexually assault her. She got away long enough to get her pistol and hold her attacker at gun point until police arrived.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana: At 5:45 a.m., a crack addict kicked in the back door of a house and charged the homeowner, who shot him to death.

Gainesville, Florida: A newspaper carrier was dragged from his car and beaten by five men at 3:15 a.m. The victim then shot one of the attackers in the chest with a concealed weapon.

Tampa, Florida: Two teenage armed robbers went on a four-hour crime spree, hijacking cars, robbing people, and hospitalizing one victim with serious injuries. They were stopped when one intended victim, a pizza-store owner, shot and wounded one attacker.

Charleston, South Carolina: A carjacking was stopped by a 27-year-old victim who then shot one of his attackers. The victim had paused to ask directions when several men, one with a lengthy criminal record, jumped into the car.

These life and death stories represent only a tiny fraction of defensive gun uses. A survey of 1,015 people I conducted during November and December 2002 indicates that 2.3 million defensive gun uses occurred nationwide in 2001. Guns do make it easier to commit bad deeds, but they also make it easier for people to defend themselves where few alternatives are available. That is why it is so important that people receive an accurate, balanced accounting of how guns are
used. Unfortunately, the media are doing a very poor job of that today.

Though my survey indicates that simply brandishing a gun stops crimes 95 percent of the time, it is very rare to see a story of such an event reported in the media. A dead gunshot victim on the ground is highly newsworthy, while a criminal fleeing after a woman points a gun is apparently not considered news at all. That's not impossible to understand; after all, no shots were fired, no crime was committed, and no one is even sure what crime would have been committed had a weapon not been drawn.

In other words, airplane crashes get news coverage, while successful take-offs and landings do not. Even though fewer than one out of 1,000 defensive gun uses result in the death of the attacker, the newsman's penchant for drama means that the bloodier cases are usually covered. Even in the rare cases where guns are used to shoot someone, injuries are about six times more frequent than deaths. You wouldn't know this from the stories the media choose to report.

But much more than a bias toward bad news and drama goes into the medias selective reporting on gun usage. Why, for instance, does the torrential coverage of public shooting sprees fail to acknowledge when such attacks are aborted by citizens with guns? In January 2002, a shooting left three dead at the Appalachian Law School in Virginia. The event made international headlines and produced more calls for gun control.

Yet one critical fact was missing from virtually all the news coverage: The attack was stopped by two students who had guns in their cars.

The fast responses of Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges undoubtedly saved many lives. Mikael was outside the law school returning from lunch when Peter Odighizuwa started shooting. Tracy was in a classroom waiting for class to start. When the shots rang out, chaos erupted. Mikael and Tracy were prepared to do something more constructive: Both immediately ran to their cars and got their guns, then approached the shooter from different sides. Thus confronted, the attacker threw his gun down.

Isn't it remarkable that out of 208 news stories (from a Nexis-Lexis search) in the week after the event, just four mentioned that the students who stopped the shooter had guns? A typical description of the event in the Washington Pose. "Three students pounced on the gunman and held him until help arrived." New York's Newsday noted only that the attacker was "restrained by students." Many stories mentioned the law-enforcement or military backgrounds of these student heroes, but virtually all of the media, in discussing how the killer was stopped, said things such as: "students tackled the man while he was still
armed" "students tackled the gunman" the attacker "dropped his gun after being confronted by students, who then tackled him to the ground" or "students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, who dropped his weapon"

In all, 72 stories described how the attacker was stopped, without mentioning that the heroes had guns. Yet 68 stories provided precise details on the gun used by the attacker: The New York Times made sure to point out it was "a .380 semiautomatic handgun"; the Los Angeles Times noted it was "a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol."

A week and a half after the assault, I appeared on a radio program in Los Angeles along with Tracy Bridges, one of the Appalachian Law School heroes. Tracy related how "shocked" he had been by the news coverage. Though he had carefully described to over 50 reporters what had happened, explaining how he had to point his gun at the attacker and yell at him to drop his gun, the media had consistently reported that the incident had ended by the students "tackling" the killer. When I relayed what the Washington Post had reported, Tracy quickly mentioned that he had spent a considerable amount of time talking face-to-face with reporter Maria Glod of the Post. He seemed stunned that this conversation had not resulted in a more accurate rendition of what had occurred.

After finishing the radio show, I telephoned the Washington Post, and Ms. Glod confirmed that she had talked to both Tracy Bridges and Mikael Gross, and that both had told her the same, story. She,said that describing the students as pouncing, and failing to mention their guns, was not "intentional." The way that things had come out was simply due to space constraints.

I later spoke with Mike Getler, the ombudsman for the Post. Getler was quoted in the Kansas City Star as saying that the reporters simply did not know that bystanders had gotten their guns. After informed him that Glod had been told by the students about using their guns, yet excluded that information, Getler said, She should have included it." However, Getler said that he had no power to do anything about it. He noted that readers had sent in letters expressing concern about how the attack had been covered. But none of these letters was ever published.

The Kansas City Star printed a particularly telling interview with Jack Stokes, media relations manager at the Associated Press, who "dismissed accusations that news groups deliberately downplayed the role gun owners may have played in stopping" the shooting. But Stokes "did acknowledge being 'shocked' upon learning that students carrying guns had helped subdue the gunman. 'I thought, my God, they're putting into jeopardy even more people by bringing out these guns.'"

Selective reporting of crimes such as the Appalachian Law School incident isn't just poor journalism; it could actually endanger people's lives. By turning a case of defensive gun use into a situation where students merely "overpowered a gunman" the media give potential victims the wrong impression of what works when confronted with violence. Research consistently shows that having a gun (usually just showing it) is the safest way to respond to any type of criminal assault.

It's no wonder people find it hard to believe that guns are used in self-defense 2 million times a year: Reporting on these events is systematically suppressed. When was the last time you saw a story in the national news about a private citizen using his gun to stop a crime? Media decisions to cover only the crimes committed with guns--and not the crimes stopped with them--have a real impact on
people's perceptions of the desirability of guns.

To flesh out this impression with some data, I conducted searches of the nation's three largest newspapers--USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times--for the year 2001 and found that only the Times carried even a single news story on defensive gun use. (The instance involved a retired New York City Department of Corrections worker who shot a man who was holding up a gas station.) Broadening my search to the top ten newspapers in the country, I learned that the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune each managed to report three such stories in a year.

To gain further perspective, I did deeper searches comparing the number of words newspapers published on the use of guns for committing crimes versus stopping crimes. For 2001, I found that the New York Times published 104 gun-crime news articles--ranging from a short blurb about a bar fight to a front-page story on a school shooting--for a total of 50,745 words. In comparison, its single story about a gun used in self-defense amounted to all of 163 words. USA Today contained 5,660 words on crimes committed with guns, and not a single word on defensive gun use. The least lopsided coverage was provided by the Washington
Post, with 46,884 words I on crimes committed with guns and 953 words on defensive stories--still not exactly a balanced treatment.

Moreover, the few defensive news stories that got coverage were almost all local stories. Though articles about gun crimes are treated as both local and national stories, defensive uses of guns are given only local coverage in the rare instances they run at all. In the full sample of defensive gun-use stories I have collected, less than 1 percent ran outside the local coverage area. News about guns only seems to travel if it's bad.

This helps explain why residents of urban areas are so in favor of gun control. Most crime occurs in the biggest cities, and urbanites are bombarded with tales of gun-facilitated crime. It happens that most defensive gun uses also occur in these same big cities, but they simply aren't reported.

This imbalance isn't just limited to newspapers. Take the 1999 special issue of Newsweek entitled "America Under the Gun." Though over 15,000 words and numerous graphics were provided on the topic of gun ownership, there was not one mention of self-defense with a firearm. Under the heading "America's Weapons of Choice," the table captions were: "Top firearms traced to crimes, 1998"; "Firearm deaths per 100,000 people"; and "Percent of homicides using firearms." Nothing at
all on "Top firearms used in self-defense," or "Rapes, homicides, and other crimes averted with firearms." The magazine's graphic, gut-wrenching pictures all showed people who had been wounded by guns. No images were offered of people who had used guns to save lives or prevent injuries.

To investigate television coverage, I collected stories reported during 2001 on the evening news broadcasts and morning news shows of ABC, CBS, and NBC. Several segments focused on the increase in gun sales after September 11, and a few of these shows actually went so far as to list the desire for self-defense as a reason for that increase. But despite slightly over 190,000 words of coverage on gun crimes, merely 580 words, on a single news broadcast, were devoted to the use of a gun to block crime--a story about an off-duty police officer who helped stop a school shooting. Not one of the networks mentioned any other defensive
gun use--certainly not one carried out by a civilian.

Another place where the predilections of reporters color the news about guns is in the choice of authorities quoted. An analysis of New York Times news articles over the last two years reveals that Times reporters overwhelmingly cite pro-gun-control academics in their articles. From February 2000 to February 2002, the Times cited nine strongly pro-control academics a total of 20 times; one neutral academic once; and no academic who was skeptical that gun control
reduces crime. Not once. The same pro-control academics were referenced again and again: Philip Cook of Duke, Alfred Blumstein at Carnegie Mellon, Garen Wintemute of the University of California at Davis.

This imbalance in experts interviewed cannot be explained away by an inability to find academics who are dubious about most gun control laws. Two hundred ninety-four academics from institutions as diverse as Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, the University of Pennsylvania, and UCLA released an open letter to Congress in 1999 stating that the new gun laws,being proposed at that time were "ill advised." These professors were economists, lawyers, and criminologists. None of these academics was quoted in New York Times reports on guns over a two-year period.

Polls frequently serve as the basis of news stories. While they can provide us with important insights about people's views, polls can also mislead in subtle ways. In the case of weapons, poll questions are almost always phrased with the assumption that gun control is either a good thing or, at worst, merely ineffective. The possibility that it could have bad results and even increase crime is never acknowledged. Consider these questions from some well-known national polls:

* Do you think that stricter gun control laws would reduce the amount of violent crime in this country a lot, a little, or not at all? (Pew Research Center/Newsweek)

* Do you think stricter gun control laws would reduce the amount of violent crime in this country, or not? (ABC News/Washington Post)

* Do you think stricter gun control laws would, or would not reduce violent crime? (CBS News)

I reviewed 17 national and seven state surveys and found that all asked only whether gun control laws reduce crime; not one offered respondents a chance to consider whether gun control might increase crime. This notion apparently never entered the pollsters' minds.

The omission in such polls of a "would increase crime" option creates a bias in two different ways. First, there is an "anchoring" effect. We know that the range of options people are offered in a poll affects how they answer, because many respondents instinctively choose the "middle ground." By only providing the choices that gun control reduces crime somewhere between "a lot" to "not at all," the middle ground becomes "a little."

Second, when the possibility that gun control could cause crime is removed from polls, this affects the terms of national debate. When people who hold this view never even hear their opinions mentioned in polls and news stories, they begin to think no one else shares their view. Repeated surveys that imply gun control either makes society better or has no impact gradually acculturate Americans to accepting the view that is constantly presented.

There are other subtle biases in the construction of these surveys. When a survey questions whether gun control will be "very important" for the respondent at the voting booth, the media often hear a "yes" answer as evidence that the person wants more gun control. Rarely do they consider that someone might regard a politician s position on gun control as important because he or she opposes it. This same blurring of opposite positions in one question causes gun control to be ranked more highly as an election issue than it should be. Polls typically
compare issues such as "increased defense spending" (which captures supporters on just one side of the issue) with questions on "gun control" (where both anti- and pro-control partisans say the issue is important, yet believe entirely different things).

A final area strongly affected by the media's anti-gun bias is that of accidental shootings. When it comes to this, reporters are eager to write about guns. Many have seen the public service ads showing the voices or pictures of children between the ages of four and eight, implying that there is an epidemic of accidental deaths of these young children.

Data I have collected show that accidental shooters over-whelmingly are adults with long histories of arrests for violent crimes, alcoholism, suspended or revoked drivers licenses, and involvement in car crashes. Meanwhile, the annual number of accidental gun deaths involving children under ten--most of these being cases where someone older shoots the child--is consistently a single digit number. It is a kind of media archetype story, to report on "naturally curious" children shooting themselves or other children--though from 1995 to 1999 the
entire United States saw only between five and nine cases a year where a child under ten either accidentally shot themselves or another child.

The danger of children stumbling across guns pales in comparison to many other risks. Over 1,260 children under ten died in cars in 1999. Another 370 died as pedestrians hit by cars. Accidents involving residential fires took 484 children's lives. Bicycles are much more likely to result in accidental deaths than guns. Fully 93 children under the age of ten drowned accidentally in bathtubs. Thirty-six children under five drowned in buckets during 1998. In fact, the number of children under ten who die from any type of accidental gunshot is smaller than the number of toddlers who drown in buckets. Yet few
reporters crusade against buckets or bathtubs.

When crimes are committed with guns, there is a somewhat natural inclination toward eliminating all guns. While understandable, this reaction actually endangers people's lives because it ignores how important guns are in protecting people from harm. Unbalanced media coverage exaggerates this, leaving most Americans with a glaringly incomplete picture of the dangers and benefits of firearms. This is how the media bias against guns hurts society, and costs lives.

John Lott is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
This article is adapted from his new book The Bias Against Guns.

Visit the John Lott, Jr. Page of Articles

Wally_in_Cincy
12-15-2004, 12:58 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SpiderMan:</font><hr> Snake,

Note particularly the comments in the second article regarding the shootings at Appalachian Law School in Virginia. <hr /></blockquote>

<font color="blue"> I hope you don't mind I culled part of that from your post: </font color>

"Yet one critical fact was missing from virtually all the news coverage: The attack was stopped by two students who had guns in their cars.

The fast responses of Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges undoubtedly saved many lives. Mikael was outside the law school returning from lunch when Peter Odighizuwa started shooting. Tracy was in a classroom waiting for class to start.

When the shots rang out, chaos erupted. Mikael and Tracy were prepared to do something more constructive: Both immediately ran to their cars and got their guns, then approached the shooter from different sides. Thus confronted, the attacker threw his gun down.

Isn't it remarkable that out of 208 news stories (from a Nexis-Lexis search) in the week after the event, just four mentioned that the students who stopped the shooter had guns?
A typical description of the event in the Washington Pose. "Three students pounced on the gunman and held him until help arrived." New York's Newsday noted only that the attacker was "restrained by students."

Many stories mentioned the law-enforcement or military backgrounds of these student heroes, but virtually all of the media, in discussing how the killer was stopped, said things such as: "students tackled the man while he was still
armed" "students tackled the gunman" the attacker "dropped his gun after being confronted by students, who then tackled him to the ground" or "students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, who dropped his weapon"


<font color="blue">The only place I heard about the guns was on talk radio and in my NRA mag </font color>

Popcorn
12-15-2004, 01:03 PM
I have to admit to not having read your post, it is too long. I just want to say this. If someone makes the choice to own a gun for self-defense, please get some training. Go to a range, become familiar with your gun and how it works. Develop confidence with it and learn to shoot properly. I know people, a lot of them, that have guns they claim are for self-defense who have never fired the guns, ever. I know a guy who told me he had never fired a gun period, yet had one under the seat of his car for self-defense. Point being, guns are not for everybody and a knee jerk reaction to something that will cause someone to run out and buy a gun is not a good thing. It is an individual thing and not governed by a statistic. You don't look at a statistic and say, "I need a gun to be safe" like you would do regarding wearing seat belts.
You know I'm sitting here laughing I had to come back and add this. I am sure you have seen the movie The Godfather. Remember when Don Corleone got shot at the fruit stand and Fredo pulled out his gun and came to his defense? Fredo's skill with that gun in a tense situation would be pretty typical of the average gun owner. Not much use and lucky if they didn't shoot themselves.

SnakebyteXX
12-15-2004, 02:02 PM
SpiderMan -

A couple of things jump out at me from the first half of the Lott quote:

<font color="blue">These life and death stories represent only a tiny fraction of defensive gun uses. A survey of 1,015 people I conducted during November and December 2002 indicates that 2.3 million defensive gun uses occurred nationwide in 2001. </font color>

How does he go from a relatively small survey of a thousand people to a conclusion that over two million defensive gun incidents occurred nationwide? That seems like a pretty big leap to me. Particularly if he's attempting to use that extrapolation to defend his observation that the few annecdotal 'life and death stories are but a tiny fraction of defensive gun use. A tiny fraction of over two million incidents that he extrapolates from interviewing only 1015 people? Something about how he reached his conclusion here doesn't ring true to me.

Then he takes what I'm thinking is a statistic he has extrapolated from a survey of just over one thousand people and comments on it as if it were fact:

<font color="blue">It's no wonder people find it hard to believe that guns are used in self-defense 2 million times a year: Reporting on these events is systematically suppressed. </font color>

This is somewhat akin to starting with your conclusion and working backwards to build a justification. If the conclusion is suspect then how can the rational argument in its defense be valid?

He makes what seems like a pretty good argument that reporting on these events (may be/is) systematically suppressed but given that to be the case reaching any conclusions on the total number of actual cases would be virtually impossible. It reminds me a little of government statistics on the volume of illegal drug business. Being illegal there are no records of that business - how can you come to any meaningful conclusions without the hard evidence to back them up? IMO: The lack of hard evidence (whether it be unreported drug business or unreported defensive gun incidents) makes it difficult if not impossible for Lott to adequately defend his conclusions.

Snake

Popcorn
12-15-2004, 02:10 PM
quote
"Because a crook will get it (and use it on you)" is an often-repeated mantra of the anti-gun crowd, but it doesn't make real-world sense."

Of course it does. Some kid breaks into a house looking for some money and some prescription drugs in the medicine cabinet all of a sudden finds a gun in a night stand. That gun is now on the street. Few kids of crooks walk into a gun store and buy guns. They get them from irresponsible gun owners.

quote
"And yes, you DO want "that kind of caliber" for close self-defense."

Close up you want knock down power not velocity.

Chopstick
12-15-2004, 02:39 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SpiderMan:</font><hr>

As you must realize, the presentation of statistics is often misused.

<hr /></blockquote>

Valid points, Snake. Extrapolating two million from a sample of one thousand seems a bit much to me also. Take into consideration the volume of guns under legal ownership and the number of times that a gun has prevented a crime has been reported. It seems impossible to have an almost unimaginable number of registered guns out there and they have only been used for good a handful of times.

I find that more unbelievable that what is currently being reported.

eg8r
12-15-2004, 03:31 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Few kids of crooks walk into a gun store and buy guns. They get them from irresponsible gun owners.
<hr /></blockquote> What is so irresponsible about a person keeping their gun in their locked-up house? You are passing the blame from the criminal to the victim.

eg8r

SpiderMan
12-15-2004, 04:09 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SnakebyteXX:</font><hr> SpiderMan -

He makes what seems like a pretty good argument that reporting on these events (may be/is) systematically suppressed but given that to be the case reaching any conclusions on the total number of actual cases would be virtually impossible. It reminds me a little of government statistics on the volume of illegal drug business. Being illegal there are no records of that business - how can you come to any meaningful conclusions without the hard evidence to back them up? IMO: The lack of hard evidence (whether it be unreported drug business or unreported defensive gun incidents) makes it difficult if not impossible for Lott to adequately defend his conclusions.

Snake

<hr /></blockquote>

Exactly. You have people on both sides of the fence (pro- and anti-gun) often using the same facts to prove their vastly different points. Both cannot be right, yet both are saying that the facts bear them out. You have to integrate many sources of information to form your own opinions.

Realizing that both sides are struggling to make their best cases, you have to decide who, in the underlying truth, is correct. I've chosen that I should own and use guns, and I encourage "most" others to do so as well. I've taught several former non-owners to shoot. Several have become enthusiasts, others dropped it after the novelty wore off. But I think all benefitted by having the mystique stripped away and finding the firearm to be an object they can understand and, with practice, operate skillfully.

Plus, competitive shooting seems to help the pool game. Maybe it's the follow-through.

SpiderMan

SpiderMan
12-15-2004, 04:13 PM
I contributed to the supression by burying it in a too-long quote!

SpiderMan

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Wally_in_Cincy:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote SpiderMan:</font><hr> Snake,

Note particularly the comments in the second article regarding the shootings at Appalachian Law School in Virginia. <hr /></blockquote>

<font color="blue"> I hope you don't mind I culled part of that from your post: </font color>

"Yet one critical fact was missing from virtually all the news coverage: The attack was stopped by two students who had guns in their cars.

The fast responses of Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges undoubtedly saved many lives. Mikael was outside the law school returning from lunch when Peter Odighizuwa started shooting. Tracy was in a classroom waiting for class to start.

When the shots rang out, chaos erupted. Mikael and Tracy were prepared to do something more constructive: Both immediately ran to their cars and got their guns, then approached the shooter from different sides. Thus confronted, the attacker threw his gun down.

Isn't it remarkable that out of 208 news stories (from a Nexis-Lexis search) in the week after the event, just four mentioned that the students who stopped the shooter had guns?
A typical description of the event in the Washington Pose. "Three students pounced on the gunman and held him until help arrived." New York's Newsday noted only that the attacker was "restrained by students."

Many stories mentioned the law-enforcement or military backgrounds of these student heroes, but virtually all of the media, in discussing how the killer was stopped, said things such as: "students tackled the man while he was still
armed" "students tackled the gunman" the attacker "dropped his gun after being confronted by students, who then tackled him to the ground" or "students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, who dropped his weapon"


<font color="blue">The only place I heard about the guns was on talk radio and in my NRA mag </font color>
<hr /></blockquote>

Popcorn
12-15-2004, 04:21 PM
quote
"What is so irresponsible about a person keeping their gun in their locked-up house? You are passing the blame from the criminal to the victim."

eg8r

Because even though you would rather not like your home broken into, it happens. And unlike your VCR or TV, a gun represents a danger to the public in general compounding the crime from a break in to a now public threat, because a gun was easily accessed when the owner was away. Yes, it is the victims fault.

SnakebyteXX
12-15-2004, 04:33 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I've chosen that I should own and use guns, <hr /></blockquote>

I come from a family that has owned guns for generations. I have a rifle over my mantle that was carried by my great-great-grandfather during the War of the Rebellion (FWIW: he wore grey).

I do not believe that it is possible at this point in time for our government to 'control guns' in any meaningful sense of the word. There are simply too damn many of them and they've been a part of our lives for way too long to even imagine that such a thing is possible.

Crime involving guns is another question. A good friend of mine lived and worked in Singapore for several years. In that country the use of a gun in commission of a crime was an automatic expedited death penalty offense - no two ways about it. He told me that their justice was swift and final and that as a consequence people in that country went out of their way NOT to use guns to commit crimes. He also said that during his stay there they never locked their doors and women would think nothing of going walking in the middle of the night without fear of molestation.

There's something to be said for that kind of simple justice.

Fear is something that criminals should constantly have to live with. It would be better for the rest of us if we had less of it in our lives.

Snake

nhp
12-15-2004, 04:45 PM
I think a homeowner's gun should be kept in a place that a robber wouldn't look, like a cut out floorboard, under the bed inside one of the matress boards, something like that. The gun should be hidden in a place that the robber wouldn't waste time looking in, but isn't going to take too long for you to grab should the thief come barging in your room.

I used to have a GREAT guarddog, unfortunately he died a few months ago. He was my favorite dog too, and my family has had about 10 other dogs before him. We now have this other dog, but he doesn't bark or do anything, he's kind of useless.

Keith Talent
12-15-2004, 04:55 PM
Can't blame you. After I got a blood-curdling 3 a.m. call from the crazed ex of a girl I'd just met ... (I soon learned the guy had just gotten out of the joint after 2 years for aggravated assault) I went straight to Wal-Mart and got a 12-gauge shotgun myself, considering there was a 2-week waiting period for a handgun in that state, Tennessee.

I filed the papers for that, too, and got a Taurus .44 special revolver, pretty much for the reasons Popcorn gives, knockdown power, ease of firing, and also a reduced risk of plunking people beyond my walls, considering it wasn't a Magnum. I had no formal training, but after 3 trips to the range, I found I was pretty accurate with it to about 15 yards, about 3 times the distance I'd probably need.

How much did I know about guns then? At 33? Well, I had to ask the guy at the range whether I could get in some practice with my shotgun, too, LOL. Had never fired a gun in my life, of course.

Fortunately, I never had to use either one of them ... and now they're both history that I'm living in New York with its tangled gun laws. But I did sleep way easier, especially since I was living alone then in a fairly isolated place.

Wally_in_Cincy
12-16-2004, 06:36 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Chopstick:</font><hr>
...Extrapolating two million from a sample of one thousand seems a bit much to me also...

<hr /></blockquote>

Although I have heard Lott's number of 2 million many times I am also a bit leery, even though his other points are valid.

I prefer to think of the millions of home invasion robberies and rapes that are prevented each year by the simple fact that the homeowner might have a weapon.