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In the discussion thread: 13 Shot Outside Arizona Nightclub [View all]

Response to LiberalLovinLug (Reply #53)

Sun Mar 4, 2012, 03:41 PM

81. Arguing from a flawed assumption

I am not arguing with the Reuters article; a poll conducted last year showed that 49% of American households have at least one firearm of some sort.

But in Switzerland, almost every household has a firearm. Households with more than one male over the age of 18 have one firearm per male. These range from older, semi-automatic rifles to the latest, selective-fire assault weapons. All issued by the Swiss government. Aside from that, it's relatively easy in most Cantons to get a permit to purchase a handgun. One applies to the local police, pays the fee and makes the purchase.

Firearm ownership is also high in Norway and Sweden, both of which have strong hunting traditions. The tragedy in Norway last year was aggravated by the fact most Norwegian police officers, though they are issued sidearms, don't carry them even on duty and never carry them off duty. The brave Norwegian police officer who was gunned down confronted the killer unarmed.

75%-80% of victims of handgun violence survive their wounds. Stabbings, especially involving family members, typically involve more than one wound but, again, many victims survive. Human beings are remarkably tough to kill, which is a good thing. I should note that the survival rate among those shot with a rifle or buckshot from a shotgun is far lower than among those shot with a revolver or pistol. Rifle rounds are sufficiently powerful that factors like hydrostatic shock come into play and buckshot rounds create such a massive injury that bleedout is fairly rapid. Birdhshot rounds, on the other hand, while messy and annoying, are quite survivable; just ask Dick Cheney's shooting buddy.

Incidentally, in a few high-profile family murders involving children, the weapon of choice was an SUV and a body of water.

You say that if guns were not an invention, the closest thing we would have is dynamite? Weird. I would have thought you would have said black powder as it was the propellent in early firearms. The Chinese developed it somewhere between the 9th and 11th centuries and did use it in warfare. Dynamite was an entirely different invention. Actually it was two 19th Century inventions: nitroglycerine, synthesized by Ascanio Sobrero, and dynamite, which made nitroglycerine safe to handle, by Alfred Nobel.

What about crossbows? Silent, extremely deadly and not hard to conceal under a long coat. The Pope condemned the crossbow, calling it the ultimate weapon and saying meant the end of the world. And of course, knives, dirks, daggers, swords, spears, clubs, maces, halberds and whatnot. The human race has never seemed to want for weapons or lacked ingenuity in developing them. We are, after all, the most successful predators of all time.

I am glad you like it the way it is in your part of the world. I like it the way it is in my part of the world. I don't care if none of my neighbors has a gun or if they are all packing heat every time they walk out the door. As in your part of the world, everything is fine, so long as nobody gets out of hand.

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