Ore. School Board Votes to Allow Staff to Pack Heat at School

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by arauca, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    That isn't actually so, in general. In the US, for example, many places where guns are more readily available (small rural towns in wealthier areas) have fewer homicides - especially gun homicides - than places like inner city minority neighborhoods where proportionally many fewer people keep a gun handy.

    In the US, gun ownership is positively correlated with income - guns are fairly expensive, and mostly recreational - while homicide (especially gun homicide) is negatively correlated with income.

    Michael Moore's much-misunderstood movie "Bowling For Columbine" goes into that at some length, for example spending several minutes interviewing Canadians about their rate of gun ownership (high) and murder rate by gun (low), and the main issue that seems to come up in the interviews is that Canadians are not fearful of their neighbors, in general.

    I would think guns in a school would be a hazard, if not from the well-known psychiatric oddities of the teaching profession than because schools are full of children and children do dumb stuff - perhaps some regulation, at least, would allow teachers to protect the precious children from the dangers that threaten on all sides without creating too much opportunity for childish mischief itself to become lethal: one might for example require that the weapon be a full size shotgun or similar and the shells kept on the teacher's person.
     
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  3. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Perhaps a better phrase would be:
    "In areas where an excessive proportion of people are overcrowded, poor, badly educated, unemployed, and drug dependent, the easy availability of guns is an exacerbating factor for homicide"
    In a prosperous small town the people are mostly not overcrowded, not poor, not unemployed, and not drug dependent,
    so the presence of guns has little effect on the homicide rate.
    The guns are like adding carbon to sulphur and saltpetre. In that mix it creates gunpowder, but on its own it is inert.

    I have been looking to see whether the availability of guns increases the suicide rate, and to my surprise it seems that it doesn't.
    The suicide rate in the US is similar to the UK and Ireland.
    The strict gun laws in South Korea do not prevent them from having the second highest rate in the world.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate
    My conclusion from this is that guns are being used as a preferred method, rather than being a causative factor.
    As suicides represent two thirds of the gun deaths in the US,
    the death figures suggest that guns cause a higher number of fatalities than they actually do.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
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  5. arauca Banned Banned

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  7. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    I'll put it more plainly.
    "In 2010, there were 19,392 firearm-related suicide deaths, and 11,078 firearm-related homicide deaths in the United States."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States#Suicides_involving_firearms

    It is only the homicides which you can blame on guns, not suicides plus homicides.
    If the availability of guns causes excess suicides, then you can blame them for causing the excess,
    but you cannot blame them for the whole number.
    In the absence of guns, people would have chosen a different method.

    The best statistic to look at would be a world-wide comparison of intentional plus unintentional shooting homicides combined.
    I can only find figures on intentional homicides.
    Countries may differ in how they define intentional.
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed - but, in general, they would have failed. And once someone tries to kill themselves once, they in general get psychiatric care; this greatly reduces the odds of them trying again.

    Thus eliminating the guns* would greatly reduce the incidence of suicide.

    (* - note that I am NOT saying this is a good or even achievable ideal.)
     
  9. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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  10. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

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    Just to play devil's advocate for billvon, how would it affect the statistics if three times as many Brits tried to commit suicide as Americans but were unsuccessful because they chose a method other than gunfire?

    Maybe the people in UK are just naturally suicidal. And ineffectual. Dreary weather and all... (for those that will have a hissy over this I would direct them to the dictionary under sarcasm)
     
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    And a comparison with Canada, or even high gun vs low gun regions in the US, shows that you can't blame very many of the US gun homicides on the guns either.

    About the only thing I can see that is reliably attributable to simple gun prevalence is accidental shootings - little kids finding guns lying around, cleaning accidents, dropped weapons, etc.
     
  12. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    I made this statement earlier.
    "In areas where an excessive proportion of people are overcrowded, poor, badly educated, unemployed, and drug dependent, the easy availability of guns is an exacerbating factor for homicide"

    The causes of the homicides are social, rather than guns.
    Give people jobs, good housing and pleasant surroundings, give them good education, and they will be like the people in the prosperous small town.
    Why wouldn't they be?

    You could try another experiment.
    Take a small town and treble the population. Make their houses unfit to live in. Make half of them unemployed. Bring in the worst teachers for their children. Then you could see after a couple of generations whether they started taking drugs and killing each other.
     

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