Reconciling assholes for nearly a decade.

Mass shootings Europe vs America

In Europe, with the exception of the Swiss militia, guns in private hands are relatively rare and hard to get, even when legal (laws vary between countries).  Mass shootings happen maybe once every 10 years.

In the US, guns in private hands are commonplace and easy to get.  Mass shootings seem to happen about once every 10 weeks.

That's why it strikes Europeans as a little odd when some Americans (as one did on TV last night, and others have done on this board), suggest that mass shootings can be reduced by introducing more guns in America.
Permalink  
April 18th, 2007 3:38pm
Let's look at that Swiss example again.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 18th, 2007 3:51pm
I guess the argument is that zero-guns-at-all and sufficient-gun-penetration are both stable Nash equilibria. It's the few-but-not-zero-guns state that's strategically unstable and morally faulty.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 18th, 2007 3:54pm
Mass shootings would definitely be reduced.  Shootings probably wouldn't.  As soon as some nut opened up on a room one of the people there packing heat would throw down on the nut, and there would be a lot fewer people killed.

Also, it would tend to divert the lunatics to new ways to attack.  The mere fact of having a gun would no longer give a single person power over the masses of unarmed.  They'd just be one more in the crowd, so it wouldn't be a very effective method for causing mayhem, just a moderately involved form of suicide.

Also, everyone would get a lot more polite.  At least the survivors.
Permalink Send private email Clay Dowling 
April 18th, 2007 3:54pm
>In Europe ... guns in private hands are relatively rare and hard to get... 

You need to take some time to read Illicit.
http://www.amazon.com/Illicit-Smugglers-Traffickers-Copycats-Hijacking/dp/0385513925 

Smuggling of guns into Europe is way way up, as globalization and the "one common market" is dropping barriers to transborder flow of goods and people. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellite states, the supply of weapons has gone up in Europe, Africa and Asia. Murder rates have been going up across europe. I think I can find you a chart showing that some parts of europe, like Scotland, have murder rates rivalling that of the US.
Permalink Peter 
April 18th, 2007 4:38pm
Do you really think that Cho wouldn't have attacked if more people had guns?

Cho already had passed the barrier of fear, he was not afraid to die. He might have get killed before killing ALL those people, but the shooting would not have been avoided.

OTOH, having more guns means more crazy, unstable people who didn't with access to a gun. I don't see how that is an improvement.
Permalink Send private email Masiosare 
April 18th, 2007 6:06pm
"with access to a gun"

illegal/regulated != access denied

BIG -> . <-

Plenty of stuff is illegal, it doesn't mean it is particularly hard to get.

American culture is also to blame for any difference in the stats. As it permeates the rest of you more and more, this is what you can look forward to, whether you have legal firearms or not.
Permalink JoC 
April 18th, 2007 6:09pm
>Let's look at that Swiss example again.

It's called conscription and like fuck it's ever going to happen in America again.

The Swiss are trained to use their weapons and keep them locked up. Neither of those are even looking like remote possibilities in the US.
Permalink Colm 
April 18th, 2007 6:36pm
"He might have get killed before killing ALL those people,"

Okay, I'll take that.

As for the Swiss - how does "being trained" stop people from becoming killers? Here's a hint - Timothy McVeigh was ex-military and most of the postal shooters were ex-Marines.
Permalink Send private email Philo 
April 18th, 2007 6:50pm
Some conscription! When was the last time the Swiss fought in a war?

Every young male in Switzerland has a machine gun or pistol. Switzerland has just as many disturbed people as anywhere else. How many of them go on shooting rampages with their guns? Zero. Why? Because they know that everybody else is armed too.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 18th, 2007 6:53pm
I call bullshit on that one.  A person who is sufficiently disturbed as to go on shooting rampage is not detered by the chance of being shot by other armed people - most of them expect to be shot be the police - and either end-up being shot by the police, or by themselves.

The reason that young Swiss males don't go on shooting rampages is far more likely to be sociological, including the fact that Swiss society has more effective mechanisms for intervening in a person's life (as compared to the US) before the person goes on a rampage.
Permalink  
April 18th, 2007 7:08pm
"I think I can find you a chart showing that some parts of europe, like Scotland, have murder rates rivalling that of the US."

Whereas I can find you a chart that shows outside the former Soviet Union that's bollocks:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2005/12/13133031/30384
Permalink a cynic writes... 
April 18th, 2007 7:10pm
>The reason that young Swiss males don't go on shooting rampages is far more likely to be sociological

+1.

i also think there's a copycat effect going on.  once the cherry is broken, there's an inevitable tide of similar repeat offenses.  i think this inevitability is irregardless of the type of gun control.
Permalink Send private email Kenny 
April 18th, 2007 9:01pm
"How many of them go on shooting rampages with their guns? Zero. Why? Because they know that everybody else is armed too."

huh?  Cho shot himself in the head.  what on earth makes you think that he would have cancelled if he thought someone else would do it for him?
Permalink Send private email zestyZuchini 
April 18th, 2007 11:34pm
Would he have shot over 50 people if other people were armed? No, of course not.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 18th, 2007 11:46pm
I'm a firm believer that every human being, doubly so American human beings, flip the fuck out and lose total control at least once a year.  Maybe they go apeshit for hours/days, maybe for only a few seconds.

Everyone.

That makes the human population a large set of ticking bombs.

Now imagine they all have a handgun in easy reach of everyone that does go off.  Exactly.

Checks can be stopped, cuts and bruises heal, pregnancies can be terminated, cars can get fixed.  Not so easy to undo bullet. :(
Permalink Michael B 
April 19th, 2007 1:33am
I don't think we need to arm the entire population in anticipation of the (fortunately) rare occurrence of a nutjob shooting up a bunch of people.

If everyone has a gun, the murder rate will skyrocket in general, completely negating the few lives that might have been saved if victims of a Cho-type shooting were able to fight back.  I can just see all of the minor traffic incidents that will turn into gun battles.  And bar fights.
Permalink AMerrickanGirl 
April 19th, 2007 6:25am
No Swiss mass shootings?

http://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/09/27/switzerland.shooting/index.html

Don't forget that Switzerland has 1/40th of the population of the USA -- so if the rate of occurance deranged mass shooters in both countries is the same -- then you would expect whereas has a mass-shooting about once every 6 months, that Switzerland would have one about once every 20 years... and it turns out that they do.
Permalink Practical Ignoramus 
April 19th, 2007 7:50am
On the other hand, AmerikanGirl, I think you're likely to find that it breeds a politer society in general.  Natural selection for good manners and polite behavior, since rudeness would have a much higher chance of getting you killed.  Plus, think of the boost to the burial industry.
Permalink Send private email Clay Dowling 
April 19th, 2007 8:50am
> then you would expect whereas has a mass-shooting about once every 6 months, that Switzerland would have one about once every 20 years

That's some bizarre math.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 19th, 2007 10:51am
What's so bizarre? - 6 months is 1/40th 20 years
Permalink Billx 
April 19th, 2007 11:08am
Well, it's like saying that the average marriage in the US lasts 10 years, and since the population in Switzerland is 40 times smaller, the average marriage in Switzerland should last only 3 months.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 19th, 2007 12:04pm
Uhm, per capita crime statistics are pretty common ways of looking at things like that. Did you eat lead laden paint chips this morning?
Permalink JoC 
April 19th, 2007 12:21pm
The reason why it's per capita, for crimes statistics, is because it's like 1 in 100 people commit robbery, 1 in 1000 commit rape, 1 in 100000 commit mass shooting (exact figures don't particularly matter for this argument, so I won't bother looking them up here),  and on that basis you will find that broadly similar countries tend to have similar crime rates.

The exception being, as far as the Western world is concerned, is that US murder and gun crime rates are way above what you'd expect.  I'm sure there are a whole variety of reasons for that.
Permalink Practical Ignoramus 
April 19th, 2007 12:50pm
> Uhm, per capita crime statistics are pretty common ways of looking

Um, you talking to me?

The funny math was not about per capita stats:

> Don't forget that Switzerland has 1/40th of the population of the USA - .... then you would expect whereas has a mass-shooting about once every 6 months, that Switzerland would have one about once every 20 years

How does this make any sense? One should compare rates not total population. You see? Funny math.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 19th, 2007 1:23pm
Oh, who knows, maybe you guys are right. Didn't take my math pills this morning.

Even if a mass murder occurs every 20 years in Switzerland doesn't mean that it's a more safe place than the US. It doesn't mean that everyone carrying a gun is a better thing, which is what was implied.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 19th, 2007 1:28pm
The figure for mass shootings in the States is twenty a year.
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
April 19th, 2007 10:55pm
I think everyone should have a rifle. No handguns though. Reason? If the government ever crosses the line which makes the people need to rise up people had better be armed. However handguns won't help in a war situation, though they account for most shootings. Mass shootings are so uncommon though that I don't think it is worth taking away guns.
Permalink Me 
April 19th, 2007 10:59pm
> If the government ever crosses the line which makes the people need to rise up people had better be armed.

Because all the guns in the USA are already so highly effective in making George Bush obey the constitution, not imprison people without trial, not use torture, not use searches without warrants, and respect human rights...

Most people are too apathetic to fight their government in Western countries. There's never been a grassroots revolution in any half-way modern industrialized nation.

And even if there the previous paragraph were wrong, you'd need a lot more than few automatic rifles to defeat a Western military.  Ask the pre-2003 Iraqi Army for details.
Permalink  
April 20th, 2007 7:32am

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