Drug Control Begets Gun Control

The violence in Mexico is caused by prohibition, not firearms.

During his visit to Mexico last week, President Obama suggested that Americans are partly to blame for the appalling violence associated with the illegal drug trade there. "The demand for these drugs in the United States is what's helping keep these cartels in business," he said. "This war is being waged with guns purchased not here but in the United States."

Obama is right that the U.S. is largely responsible for the carnage in Mexico, which claimed more than 6,000 lives last year. But the problem is neither the drugs Americans buy nor the guns they sell; it's the war on drugs our government insists the rest of the world help it fight. Instead of acknowledging the failure of drug control, the Obama administration is using it as an excuse for an equally vain attempt at gun control.

"More than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States," Obama claimed last week, repeating a favorite factoid of politicians who believe American gun rights endanger our southern neighbor's security. The claim has been parroted by many news organizations, including ABC, which used it in a 2008 story that suggested the sort of policy changes the number is meant to encourage. The story, which asked if "the Second Amendment [is] to blame" for "arming Mexican drug gangs," quoted a federal official who said, "It's virtually impossible to buy a firearm in Mexico as a private citizen, so this country is where they come."

But as Fox News and Factcheck.org have shown, the percentage cited by the president greatly exaggerates the share of guns used by Mexican criminals that were bought in the United States. Fox estimates it's less than a fifth, while Factcheck.org says it may be more like a third.

If the guns used by Mexican drug traffickers do not mainly come from gun dealers in the U.S., where do they come from? Many of the weapons are stolen from the Mexican military and police, often by deserters; some are smuggled over the border from Guatemala; others come from China by way of Africa or Latin America. Russian gun traffickers do a booming business in Mexico.

Given these alternatives, making it harder for Americans to buy guns, in the hope of preventing straw buyers from supplying weapons to smugglers, is not likely to stop Mexican gangsters from arming themselves. The persistence of the drug traffickers' main business, which consists of transporting and selling products that are entirely illegal on both sides of the border, should give pause to those who think they can block the flow of guns to the cartels.

The futile effort to stop Americans from consuming politically incorrect intoxicants is the real source of the violence in Mexico, since prohibition creates a market with artificially high prices and hands it over to criminals. "Because of the enormous profit potential," two senior federal law enforcement officials told the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, "violence has always been associated with the Mexican drug trade as criminal syndicates seek to control this lucrative endeavor."

The more the government cracks down on the black market it created, the more violence it fosters, since intensified enforcement provokes confrontations with the police and encourages fighting between rival gangs over market opportunities created by arrests or deaths. "If the drug effort were failing," an unnamed "senior U.S. official" told The Wall Street Journal in February, "there would be no violence."

Perhaps it is time to redefine failure. Three former Latin American presidents, including Mexico's Ernesto Zedillo, recently noted that "we are farther than ever from the announced goal of eradicating drugs." The attempt to achieve that impossible dream, they observed, has led to "a rise in organized crime," "the corruption of public servants," "the criminalization of politics and the politicization of crime," and "a growth in unacceptable levels of drug-related violence."

Instead of importing Mexico's prohibitionist approach to guns, we should stop exporting our prohibitionist approach to drugs.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and a nationally syndicated columnist.

© Copyright 2009 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Lawyers, guns and money. Where is Warren Zevon when you need him?

  • ||

    It is so obvious that prohibition is generating these ills, and simply bewildering that most politicians just don't seem to get it. There was a similar situation with the belief that there was a flood of WMDs in Iraq. In that case, however, the reality was eventually acknowledged. Why is this reality so difficult to recognize? Why is war preferred over regulation? It makes me wonder if our political system is on the drug cartel payroll.

  • ||

    Oh I think BO and other politicians get it, they just don't care. They are motivated by getting reelected, not what is in their constituents best interest.

    This is just a guess but I bet you can get a fully automatic AK-47 cheaper off the world market than a semi-automatic version from the US. If this is true, and I am sure someone like BO has the data to determine whether this is true, then it just goes to show how cynical he is...just like any other politician.

  • hmm||

    Just another political sham and PR campaign to work up support or a rational to peddle his progressive ideas. This one might actually blow up in his face.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    From "Liberalism: History and Future":


    That last thought returns us to the question: What limits the limited welfare state? Not only has "liberalism" meant ever greater economic controls, but now it means the application of socialist ideology to social issues. This has always been a dubious dichotomy -- Is a book a manufactured product or an expressed idea? -- and one that didn't exist among either the classical liberals or the Marxist regimes. Yet a surging number of voices tell us that "equality" demands, not only a redistribution of wealth, but also the banning of speech -- not only an end to "economic violence," but also the suppression of "verbal violence." How this rhetoric translates into reality can be glimpsed by looking north. The legal perversity that pornography constitutes the criminal "exploitation" and "objectification" of women -- a linguistic legerdemain whereby bourgeois feminists exculpate their own capitalist occupations as the "exploitation" and "objectification" of the proletariat, thus metamorphosing themselves from class oppressors into gender victims -- was affirmed by the Canadian Supreme Court. This idea, in turn, evolved into that of "hate speech," which was extended to "protect" other groups, such as homosexuals. So now when the Rev. Jerry Falwell airs his show in Canada, he must edit his preachings on homosexuality, which are not protected by freedom of religion or freedom of speech. Here is a "welfare state" that has gone well beyond taxing millionaires to house orphans.

    It's all really very easy to understand as the philosophic analogue to Mises' economic analysis. The initial introduction of a socialist law into a liberal society forces the question: Do we accept or reject this violation of the liberal ethic? If we accept it, we set a precedent for the next proposed socialist law. We have made a very clear moral decision -- collectivism trumps individualism. In contrast to the cynicism that leads to a deluge of special interest groups, this trend involves taking ideas seriously -- i.e., recognizing the mutual exclusiveness of the capitalist and socialist paradigms, and thus the imperative to choose one. It acknowledges the hypocrisy -- the incoherence -- of bringing the socialist outlook to issue A but not issue B, to the "economic" issue but not the "social" issue.

  • Freedomlover||

    If the CIA didn't illegally fund its illegal activities abroad from participating in the international drug trade, there wouldn't be a governmental motivation to wage the war on drugs. Until this hidden (Iran-contra being the exception) illegal CIA-funding source is recognized, the government will continue to wage the failed war on drugs.

  • ||

    "But the problem is neither the drugs Americans buy nor the guns they sell; it's the war on drugs our government insists the rest of the world help it fight."

    I find this article bizarre coming from a self-styled Libertarian. While I would never argue that the "Drug War" did not contribute to the violence in Mexico, any chance that the people of Mexico might actually have something to do with the violence that they commit against each other?! Is the "Drug War" also responsible for all of the 20 million illegal immigrants in this country? Is the "Drug War" also responsible for the "kidnapping industry" as far away as Mexico City? How about the culture of political corruption in Mexico, also the fault of the dastardly Americans? Even though it preceded the "Drug War" by several decades it couldn't contribute to the violence in Mexico?! No personal responsibility for the Mexicans, it is all America's fault?

    Blaming America for Mexico's problems without placing any blame upon the Mexicans themselves is what Leftards do. Jacob Sullum should know better. I don't disagree that the "Drug War" does fuel the violence in Mexico, but it is hardly the ONLY cause, as this article seems to imply, to me.

    Oh, and quoting "factcheck.org" is beyond ignorant. The are run by the same people, the Annenburg Foundation, that had the "community organizers" Barak Obama and Bill Ayers sit on one of their boards together. "Factcheck.org" is Orwellian. They call themselves "factcheck" and yet spend at least as much time attempting to cover up or distort facts as "check"ing them.

  • asdf||

    Of course guns didn't cause the problem - and nuclear missiles didn't cause the cold war - they just make the possible outcomes to the problem a million times more dangerous.

  • Robb Allen||

    "Of course guns didn't cause the problem - and nuclear missiles didn't cause the cold war - they just make the possible outcomes to the problem a million times more dangerous."

    Amen! Because before guns existed, men never fought wars or killed themselves off by the millions with sharp sticks, knives, swords, or their bare hands.

    The Internet makes idiocy a million times more dangerous since you can spread ideas like this with little effort.

    Back to the article - just remember the main goal of politicians is to increase their power or at a minimum, maintain what they have already. The gun banners and the drug banners both read from the same playbook - demonize something to where the public will agree to ban it. When the ban doesn't have any affect, point to the demonized behavior and demand more control. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    When you see it like that, it's no surprise why they do what they do.

  • asdf||

    "Amen! Because before guns existed, men never fought wars or killed themselves off by the millions with sharp sticks, knives, swords, or their bare hands."

    So you would see no difference if you were in a fight and you had a 'sharp stick' and the other person had a gun? You see no distinction between guns and sharp pointy things?

    Sorry for pointing out guns are dangerous - that was silly of me!

    "Back to the article - just remember the main goal of politicians is to increase their power or at a minimum, maintain what they have already."

    Umm, hey, if that's your starting point how could you ever have a real conversation about politics? You could say the same thing about any group of people - it's what is called a unfalsifiable statement - and only buffons and assholes use tactics such as these. Which one are you?

  • asdf||

    "Amen! Because before guns existed, men never fought wars or killed themselves off by the millions with sharp sticks, knives, swords, or their bare hands."

    ... and I'd just like to add that it's pretty hard to kill someone with a sharp stick, or even a knife - you have to be dead set on killing someone with those objects...
    whereas people/children kill themselves accidentally all the time (yesterday for instance - check cnn).

    (good news, I decided you're more likely an idiot than a buffoon or an asshole!)

  • asdf||

    "whereas people/children kill themselves accidentally all the time (yesterday for instance - check cnn)"

    ... with guns... of course...

  • ||

    So it's blame the U.S.A. again. If we are causing all the mayhem because of our drug laws, why aren't they having the same problems on our northern border? Could it be that there are other factors contributing to the problem? Let's start with the corruption of the Mexican system. And to blame the cartel violence on the U.S.A. because of the 2nd amendment is laughable.

  • asdf||

    Well it is the US the strong armed the other countries to illegalize pot (for one thing - I don't know about the others) - not that it matters too much at this point.

    There's always a few in the crowd that are "Don't blame us" and get all high and mighty. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. We're trying to get to the bottom of a problem, not get you in trouble, so don't worry - you won't have to stand in the corner or go to your room. Shesh!

  • Robb Allen||

    "So you would see no difference if you were in a fight and you had a 'sharp stick' and the other person had a gun? You see no distinction between guns and sharp pointy things?"

    One, never bring a stick to a gun fight. Two, the gun confers an advantage but not the win. I've spent plenty of time at the range and have watched numerous people, standing perfectly still, be completely unable to hit a paper target that is NOT attacking them at 7 yards.

    80% of gun shot victims survive in the US. If they are so efficient at killing, why is this number so high?

    "Umm, hey, if that's your starting point how could you ever have a real conversation about politics?"

    For one, I'd need someone intelligent to have a conversation with. You do not meet that requirement.

    "You could say the same thing about any group of people "

    I could, but I didn't (watch out for splinters with that straw man). Plus it would be incorrect to boot. I mean, I don't see the Rotary Club trying to consolidate its power-base or the local 4-H club trying to make rules that would keep the Scouts out of town.

    "and I'd just like to add that it's pretty hard to kill someone with a sharp stick, or even a knife -whereas people/children kill themselves accidentally all the time"

    Oooh! IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN!!! Too bad the CDC's numbers show that accidental firearm deaths among children are only higher than deaths caused by accidental gassing and "All Others" combined. Otherwise that would have been almost a good talking point. Swimming pools and deep buckets kill more children in a month that firearms all year.

    It's also pretty sad to know that out of all sports related injuries, firearms come in dead last. That's right! More people are injured playing pool than hunting or shooting at the range.

    You know, I might be a buffoon or an asshole, but at least I'm strong enough in my convictions to use my real name and not just the first four letters my hand comes into contact with on the keyboard.

  • ||

    Okay, why doesn't Mexico just legalize drugs -- and that way all their crime problems will go away!

    Just think -- they could put a bunch of vending machines providing Meth and Crack Cocaine just over the border in Tijuana and Juarez -- and solve their economic problems and put "Mexico Murder incorporated" out of business at the same time!

  • ||

    Most of you start talking about guns and not the fact that this administration is, once again, lieing through their collective teeth. There may be a few pistols or shotguns going over the border into Mexico, but we don't even have the weapons here they really want.

    This is all made up crap so they can go after our guns in their own slippery, slimmy, underhanded way.

  • asdf||

    "be completely unable to hit a paper target that is NOT attacking them at 7 yards."

    Does not that make it MORE dangerous?

    "80% of gun shot victims survive in the US. If they are so efficient at killing, why is this number so high?"

    Is that a good number or bad - I don't understand the point you're trying to make here I guess?!?!?

    "For one, I'd need someone intelligent to have a conversation with. You do not meet that requirement."

    Nice one, simple, but effective - I'm going to go cut myself now.

    "I could, but I didn't (watch out for splinters with that straw man). Plus it would be incorrect to boot. I mean, I don't see the Rotary Club trying to consolidate its power-base or the local 4-H club trying to make rules that would keep the Scouts out of town."

    OK, now its a 'straw man' to point out other peoples straw men?!? Someone point me to the debating rules here!

    Saying all politicians want to increase their power says TOO MUCH and NOTHING all in the same sentence. What is power? Who is a politician? Putting aside pesky definitions you could say we're both trying to gain power by winning this debate - and it would be meaningless to state. Making giant sweeping allegations against large groups is not only a straw man - its for weak minds and uncritical thinks AND ITS STUPID. FULL FUCKING STOP...
    (I said 'you could say that about any group' because that's how you can tell if it's a falacy - not that you care i guess).

    "
    Oooh! IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN!!! Too bad the CDC's numbers show that accidental firearm deaths among children are only higher than deaths caused by accidental gassing and "All Others" combined. Otherwise that would have been almost a good talking point. Swimming pools and deep buckets kill more children in a month that firearms all year."

    Kudos on mastering sarcasm. I agree guns only 'accidently' kill around 1300 a year compared to drownings which are 4000. Again, WHATS YOUR FUCKING POINT. I wonder how many deliberate deaths are caused by swimming pools? I wonder if you divided the amount of time people spent with guns versus the time people spent swimming if the numbers would be different? (do you even understand what the significance of that number would be?)

    "You know, I might be a buffoon or an asshole, but at least I'm strong enough in my convictions to use my real name and not just the first four letters my hand comes into contact with on the keyboard."

    Are you fucking serious!!! I that a threat?

    My email is andrewmosher@yahoo.com if you need to threaten me directly or would like to find me for some 'psychotic' reasons.

    BTW, how many deaths caused my ANTHRAX? Not many! Hummm!?!?! Must be safe than. Great reason skills on display there.

  • ||

    "...I'd just like to add that it's pretty hard to kill someone with a sharp stick, or even a knife - you have to be dead set on killing someone with those objects... whereas people/children kill themselves accidentally all the time..."

    Not so much if the sharp stick gives you a reach advantage, or is also a club, or can be hurled, especially with mechanical assitance. There's lots of dead Gauls/Frenchmen thanks to Romans and Englishmen with pointy sticks. You're assuming dedication to killing is in short supply. And annually lots of kids drown in buckets of water, what's your point?

  • ||

    1) If violence in Mexico happens because drugs are illegal there, then fine: legalize drugs - THERE.

    2) There are at least two ways to reduce the drug money flowing from the USA to Mexico. Drug legalization is one of them. Securing the fucking borders is the other. But it is corrupt politicians HERE who don't want to do that. Unless the drug dealers have carrier rabbits, these drugs have to be brought in by people. Many of them come in with the same people who traffic in human beings.

    3) Legalization in the USA is not an option. None of the legalization advocates here have much of a clue how socially devastating it would be. Just from my (perfectly legitimate) experience with purely legal narcotics like vicodin and oxycontin, I can tell that if drugs were legal there'd be tens of millions of people in this country who would be high all the time.

  • asdf||

    "Not so much if the sharp stick gives you a reach advantage, or is also a club, or can be hurled, especially with mechanical assitance. There's lots of dead Gauls/Frenchmen thanks to Romans and Englishmen with pointy sticks. You're assuming dedication to killing is in short supply. And annually lots of kids drown in buckets of water, what's your point?"

    OK let's fight, I get the gun, you get the stick (for the reach advantage). I'll even tie one arm behind my back.

    Seriously, 'reach advantage'. :)

    My point was guns are more dangerous than sticks, essentially. Apparently that's not common knowledge on this forum yet!

  • asdf||

    "Legalization in the USA is not an option. None of the legalization advocates here have much of a clue how socially devastating it would be. Just from my (perfectly legitimate) experience with purely legal narcotics like vicodin and oxycontin, I can tell that if drugs were legal there'd be tens of millions of people in this country who would be high all the time."

    I like the "I am/was a degenerate, and so is everyone else in my country" line.

    So the law is the only thing keeping you from being a crackhead? I think you're already a crackhead - minus the crack.

  • Robb Allen||

    Did you get nose grease on your monitor looking for a threat? 'Cuz I made none and I'll be damned if I can see where any normal person would take "My name is Robb" to be a threat.

    I have no desire to find you Andy. You can go back to your delusions of adequacy, mmkay? Touchy little thing, aren't we?

    Now, back to the discussion at hand. No, wild shots are not more dangerous that well aimed ones. You have to actually hit organs or the CNS to be effective. Handguns, also, are very underpowered to do the job of the type of tissue damage required to make a quick kill. That's why they generally hunt with rifles.

    I don't quite understand your rant against the observation that politicians are there to guard their own. I'm sorry that the little 2"x3" box doesn't allot me enough space to indicate every last politician in the United States and their positions on every last thing and I had to resort to generalization to try to remind everyone here who keeps asking things like "Why can't politicians see this is a bad idea" that it has nothing to do with the merits of the idea to begin with.

    "BTW, how many deaths caused my ANTHRAX? Not many! Hummm!?!?! Must be safe than. Great reason skills on display there."

    Never claimed Anthrax was safe. Had I made that claim, then you might have a good point but again, you're pulling things out of thin air to attack. You are the one that implied that the introduction of firearms made things millions of times more deadly. I am simply claiming that is incorrect. I have CDC numbers showing that firearms account for fewer deaths and injuries than practically anything else. I have facts to back this up. As for your assertion of

    "I wonder if you divided the amount of time people spent with guns versus the time people spent swimming if the numbers would be different? (do you even understand what the significance of that number would be?)"

    Actually, the amount of money spent on the shooting sports exceeds that of even golf. Billions of rounds are expended each year by civilians, be it target practice, hunting, or competition like IDPA or IPSC. I'd also say that many households (like mine) have multiple guns while most households only have one pool.

    The number you are reaching for isn't as big as you'd like it to be.

    "My point was guns are more dangerous than sticks, essentially. Apparently that's not common knowledge on this forum yet!"

    So, if a gun and a stick are on the ground, which one is going to get up and kill you by itself? I have a set of Wusthof knives, are they more dangerous than the Kmart kind? Maybe, JUST MAYBE, people with decent rational skills are implying that the danger doesn't come from the object, but the user. A Desert Eagle 50 Action Express in my hands is less dangerous to you than a .22 Short in the hands of a thug bent on taking your wallet.

  • ||

    *** "I like the "I am/was a degenerate, and so is everyone else in my country" line. So the law is the only thing keeping you from being a crackhead? I think you're already a crackhead - minus the crack." ***

    Actually no, asshat. As I pointed out my use of these drugs was purely legitimate, as in "prescription." My comment was merely to say that I understand their allure, and that plenty of people would be using them if they were more easily obtainable. In fact I'd be willing to wager that a huge percentage of the people who get hooked on painkillers are the types of people who would never have thought of using illegal drugs.

    It sounds like you are the one on crack.

  • Robb Allen||

    "are not more dangerous THAN well aimed ones"

  • asdf||

    "As I pointed out my use of these drugs was purely legitimate, as in "prescription."

    That why I said 'MINUS THE CRACK'

    God, do any of you know how to read?

  • ||

    He touched me! No I didn't!

    Sheesh, what a forum.

  • Robb Allen||

    "He touched me! No I didn't!

    Sheesh, what a forum."

    I'd personally like to be the first to welcome you to the Internet, then ;) It will only get worse from here. I fully expect Andy to start calling people 'crackheads' as an argument.

    Hey! Look!

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    "I can tell that if drugs were legal there'd be tens of millions of people in this country who would be high all the time."

    And...?





    (A statement so lacking in foundation as this one deserves a frivolous dismissal.)

  • asdf||

    "I have no desire to find you Andy. You can go back to your delusions of adequacy, mmkay? Touchy little thing, aren't we?"

    Why else would you need to know my name to debate me? Would my arguments be more credible if I put my address and phone number as well? Would you like a list of references? I do I know your middle name isn't Hussein - making all of YOUR arguments irrelevant?

    "Never claimed Anthrax was safe."

    OMG, I never said you did! You haven't debated much on the interweb, have you. You have no clue...
    OK, you said more people die in swimming pools - imply that pools are more dangerous or guns are less dangerous, than I am arguing. My point (if I have to fucking spell it out for you) is that if you compare the number of deaths between guns and pools and add ANTHRAX, using YOUR IMPLIED LOGIC, anthrax would be safer than the both of them. If that wasn't your point, than why did you make the point in the first place?

    I'm getting tired talking with you and explain ever simplistic point...

    "So, if a gun and a stick are on the ground, which one is going to get up and kill you by itself? "

    Fucking irrelevant. anthrax isn't going to jump out of my jar and kill you either - is it safe? can I then carry the shit on my person? Seriously, if you can't make the simplest of neural connections I'm done.

    DONE!!!

  • asdf||

    "I'd personally like to be the first to welcome you to the Internet, then ;) It will only get worse from here. I fully expect Andy to start calling people 'crackheads' as an argument."

    YOUR THE ONE THAT SAID 10,000,000 PEOPLE WOULD BECOME DRUG ADDICTS. I called you a crack-head (without the crack) - some people would call that a joke. You called 5% of the US population potential drug addicts. Whose's the crazy one?

  • ajacksonian||

    A sharp stick has another name: it is called a spear. At a distance between 3-7 feet with a fire hardened tip, you are not 'close' to a person. Try it. Get someone to take a longish size mop handle and poke you with it... I suggest some neck protection as that handle can still kill you.

    A knife has another name: a sword. Swords vary in length, from the typical few inches of knife size to an easily useful 2 foot short sword... it is called a 'short sword' because there are longer ones available, but that is an easily concealable length.

    Before the advent of firearms people without these arms could be harassed, intimidated and killed by them quite easily. A small band of men, less than 20, could ride roughshod over an entire town by making a few 'example' killings. Removing firearms does not in any way make killing, even mass killing, difficult. Count Belisarius demonstrated that putting down a revolt of nearly 80,000 with a fewer than 500 men. Never again would the chariot racing fans go *that* far.

    The only way that removing firearms 'helps' is that you get some personal training in arms to defend yourself, otherwise you are likely to be an unarmed 'victim'. The other name for someone who is unarmed is: Subject.

    To be a Citizen requires the ability to not only reason, but figure out that defending yourself, your family, your property and your society is up to you. To do that you must not be afraid of arms or the use of them. The deadliest gunfighters were not those with quick draws but solid aim, to stand there when bullets went past them to take their time and do this thing known as 'aim'. Any thug intent on killing you will not quail at the use of spear, sword, Chu-Ko-Nu, or firearm: you are an object to them, between what they want and what you are defending. And believe me, a Chu-Ko-Nu can put out quite a lot of hand-drawn firepower rapidly, for all the fact they are crossbow bolts, when one goes through your chest you will be just as hit as you were with a bullet.

    To protect children one must actually protect them: not disarm yourself so that those seeking to threaten them cannot be responded to by YOU. The police cannot be everywhere, nor anywhere quickly. When push comes to shove and you see someone start threatening others, do you quail in fear or stand up to defend them?

    If we remember Mumbai, the point where the police did nothing and one man, if only he had been armed, could start taking the terrorists down from behind... he told us of that and what being disarmed meant. That is the future of unarmed Citizens: they are subject to those willing to threaten and kill to get their way. And if the subjects of Mexico had the rights of Citizens to lawfully own and use firearms for their own protection instead of having to get them illegally, they would be better off and the drug gangs more wary of their practices. That civil right, the basis to uphold all others, is one that returns to you when threatened... which is why people get illegal arms to defend themselves. When the law tells you to be a victim, the law can go to hell.

  • Robb Allen||

    Angry much Andy?

    "YOUR THE ONE THAT SAID 10,000,000 PEOPLE WOULD BECOME DRUG ADDICTS. I called you a crack-head (without the crack) - some people would call that a joke. You called 5% of the US population potential drug addicts. Whose's the crazy one?"

    You're - not your. Who's (as a contraction of Who Is) not Whose's which isn't even a word. And no, I'm not the one who said that. Are you so enraged on an Internet forum that you cannot even get who you are arguing against straight? That's... crazy.

    I'm the gun guy arguing with you, not the drug guy (I'm on your side on that one).

    You claimed guns made things millions of times more dangerous. I can prove they don't. You get your panties in a wad and start screaming.

    Let me then try to discuss (without the screaming) the failure of your Anthrax analogy and why it's not relevant to this discussion.

    When you handle anthrax, you must have respiratory gear, negative pressure suits, labs, etc. If it gets airborne and you inhale it, you're toast. The danger of even the smallest amount is immense. Maybe 2 or 3 people a day safely handle anthrax.

    When you handle a gun, keeping in mind the 4 rules will keep you safe (treat the gun as loaded, don't point it at anything you're not willing to shoot, finger off the trigger, and know your target and what lies beyond). Statistics show guns don't cause the amount of carnage you are saying it does. Millions of people use firearms every day without incident.

    Pools are a lot of fun. Relaxing unless you have to clean the damned thing every week, but I digress. Millions of people safely enjoy pools every day without incident. A higher incident than guns, but not enough to call for the restrictions on people to own pools. Yet, guns, which are statistically safer are always being called for tighter and tighter restrictions. Because people like you say things like you did that got me started to begin with.

  • ||

    *** "YOUR THE ONE THAT SAID 10,000,000 PEOPLE WOULD BECOME DRUG ADDICTS. I called you a crack-head (without the crack) - some people would call that a joke. You called 5% of the US population potential drug addicts. Whose's the crazy one?" ***

    I am: for forgetting that most libertarians are completely fucking nuts. I am: for forgetting that most libertarians believe in the law of supply and demand EXCEPT for when it comes to drug use.

    And when did I imply it would only be 5%?

    Have a nice day.

  • asdf||

    There is way more knives and sticks in society than guns. What are the accidental deaths from knives and sticks? Surely there are some!

    "Before the advent of firearms people without these arms could be harassed, intimidated and killed by them quite easily. A small band of men, less than 20, could ride roughshod over an entire town by making a few 'example' killings. Removing firearms does not in any way make killing, even mass killing, difficult. Count Belisarius demonstrated that putting down a revolt of nearly 80,000 with a fewer than 500 men. Never again would the chariot racing fans go *that* far."

    Wow that's um, interesting? So guns aren't as dangerous because hundreds of years ago people killed people?!?!? There were dangerous things in the past, QED, guns aren't dangerous?!?!?

    "The only way that removing firearms 'helps' is that you get some personal training in arms to defend yourself, otherwise you are likely to be an unarmed 'victim'. The other name for someone who is unarmed is: Subject."

    helps what? Prevent people from dieing from firearms? I don't think it's any better to be an 'armed victim'.

    "To be a Citizen requires the ability to not only reason, but figure out that defending yourself, your family, your property and your society is up to you."
    I don't live in the Wild West. But if you really, really cared about your family, you'd have nukes!

    "If we remember Mumbai, the point where the police did nothing and one man, if only he had been armed, could start taking the terrorists down from behind... he told us of that and what being disarmed meant."
    Yes, and if only someone had a gun and shot Hitler! Now I see your point, hurray guns!

    Thanks for the essay, if you could condense your writing for next time and make clear, concise points that would be great.

  • asdf||

    "I am: for forgetting that most libertarians are completely fucking nuts."
    No problem. It's hard you remember your nuts, when your nuts. Its like the chicken and the egg.

    "I am: for forgetting that most libertarians believe in the law of supply and demand EXCEPT for when it comes to drug use."
    Lost me here, are you saying I don't believe in supply and demand?????

  • asdf||

    "I'm the gun guy arguing with you, not the drug guy (I'm on your side on that one)."

    I never, for one moment, confused the two of you.

    No worries...

    BTW... I'm not angry, I'm having fun, OK whose next?

  • wingnutx||

    ... and I'd just like to add that it's pretty hard to kill someone with a sharp stick, or even a knife -

    Tell that to 800,000 Rwandans.

    It is actually very easy to kill someone with a knife.

  • asdf||

    "You claimed guns made things millions of times more dangerous. I can prove they don't."

    Do it, I'm all eyes.

    "Millions of people use firearms every day without incident."

    Millions of people practice firearms. To use a firearm for what they were intended you have to aim it at a living being. Why do so many criminals like guns? Because they are the most efficient way to kill people because that's what they were designed to. If, as people are arguing with me, that pools or sticks or knives are just as dangerous as guns, then why do criminals have so many guns and use them so often? What other object can kill people by pointing it and expending 0.1 calories using it from large distances?

  • asdf||

    "It is actually very easy to kill someone with a knife."

    But you actually have to, like, go up to the person and, avoiding their attack, stab them in a vital organ. At least the person has a fighting chance. You can't kill someone through a wall with a knife.

    There must be hundreds of you guys on this site that think guns are like knives or forks or other objects. Claiming guns aren't dangerous because there are other objects that can be even similarly dangerous is deeply flawed, if not out right psychotic.

    Even an intelligent person can kill someone by accident all too easy - case in point, our last Vice President. How close do you think that guy came to dieing? If you were buttering your toast, even with the sharpest knife in the world, do you think it is possible to accidentally kill someone with it?

  • asdf||

    I'm all for dangerous things (activities/substances), but only when the danger is on me, not others.

    When you own a gun, you own an object designed to kill, and which is dangerous (not just for the people you don't know how to use them). Even if you have been around them all your life and took every sort of training there is... it doesn't change that fact that it's an object that propels objects 1000 m/s (which is not safe for any life form). Making a mistake with a gun can cost a life, it doesn't matter how much experience the person has. Making a mistake with a knife and you get peanut butter on the floor.

  • asdf||

    Sorry guys, but I have to go. Can we play tomorrow?

    Tomorrow I'll explain why poison is bad and why you shouldn't put it in kool-aid.

  • Robb Allen||

    "To use a firearm for what they were intended you have to aim it at a living being."
    My target pistol was designed for shooting people? No wonder I have to practice with it so much since I just shoot paper with it. I guess my match-barreled Para USA .45 is faulty too since it was designed to kill people yet I can only seem to pull it out at IPSC matches.

    I already have proven my points, clearly, and without a lot of ALL CAPS YELLING. I have done this research over and over again. With an 80% survival rate, guns are not as effective of a killing tool as you've learned from watching Die Hard.

    "But you actually have to, like, go up to the person and, avoiding their attack, stab them in a vital organ."

    Interestingly, that still requires the attacker to willfully wish to harm you and to act upon his urges. My firearms pose no such threat to you. Mishandling my firearm also poses statistically no risk to you. If you'd like, I can try a little trigonometry, calculus, and basic physics to show you that the chances of you being at the right spot for a lethal hit after a negligent discharge are considerably less than dying in a DUI accident (you know, that risky behavior -drinking or drug usage- you allow that DOES affect you).


    "At least the person has a fighting chance. You can't kill someone through a wall with a knife."

    Sure you can, given a long enough knife or think enough wall. And you'll have about the same chances of doing so with a firearm. Or a nail gun (those kill / injure an inordinate amount of people per year too).

    You talk as if thousands of people a day are dying from wayward bullets. Hell, during a standard police shootout there are dozens of shots fired per hit - using your logic there should be hundreds of deaths at each event (CCW holders have a much higher shot to hit ratio. Hmmmm...)

    "it doesn't change that fact that it's an object that propels objects 1000 m/s"

    That's one HELL of a firearm, buddy. Most pistols top out at 1200 FEET per second. Then again, you'd not know that if your primary exposure to firearms are the Die Hard movies.

    "Making a mistake with a gun can cost a life, it doesn't matter how much experience the person has"

    Making a mistake with a [car | airplane | dosage of medicine | scalpel ] can cost a life no matter how skilled the [ driver | pilot | pharmacist | surgeon]. What's your point? That life should be a safe event where we're all swaddled in bubble wrap from birth? Sorry, life has dangers. We've mitigated a lot of them with technology.

    The fact remains that an armed society is still better off than one where only the government and thugs have one. Again, if you'd like to read that link I put up there, there are hundreds of stories each month where Americans defend themselves and their lives with guns. I am living proof of this - I have protected my own life with a firearm.

    Guns are easy to make items, the reason the ones in the stores are expensive is because they're durable. A simple pipe plugged at one end works quite well. I load my own ammunition. If the price gets too high on powder, I can make my own (primers are a bit different, but that's why I stock up on them). Bullets are nothing but lead, melted down into a mold.

  • ||

    OK let's fight, I get the gun, you get the stick (for the reach advantage). I'll even tie one arm behind my back.



    OK

  • ||

    FWIW, I love it when people with limited mentalities and obvious anger management issues who are unfamiliar with even the most rudimentary mechanics of properly using a firearm try to tell me that I'm not to be trusted with a firearm.

    Hey, never mind the fact that I expend somewhere north of 10,000 rounds of ammunition a year, attend competitive shooting matches compulsively, carry daily, and have never had a negligent discharge or harmed another person.

    No. None of that matters. Asdf, who's experience with firearms seems to be somewhere between jack and shit, he's the real expert here.

  • Robb Allen||

    mediageek, I know the feeling. I'm a gun blogger which means I'm a masochist. I argue these points repeatedly with the asdf's of the world. I tend to forget I'm not arguing with them, but trying to change the minds of those examining the exchange from a disinterested position.

    I would like to clarify my comments though - I am not saying firearms are not dangerous. They are dangerous in the same way skill saws, hammers, and lawnmowers are - namely that each has an inherent risk associated with their use. They also have a benefit. Weighing them, using the facts that I've learned throughout the years, it is crystal clear that the benefits of an armed society outweigh the risks of 'random shootings through walls'.

  • Jake||

    mediageek:

    Off topic, thanks for that "Let me Google that" link. That site is definitely going to get used!

  • ||

    Robb-

    True enough. I've read your blog from time to time, and found the content to be worthwhile. (Though gun forums tend to take the bulk of my time.)

    Your arguments here are extremely well-refined, and I figure that if you reduce the opposition to comparing small arms to WMD's, you've pretty much won the debate.

  • Colleen McCool||

    It seems obvious to everyone but our policy makers that this is a policy created problem. All the unnecessary deaths triggered by our drug policies are democide (death by government).

    Our demented out-of-control drug policies' monetary and environmental costs are staggering and the human suffering is unconscionable. The new prohibition is about undesirable (in the minds of servant's of tyranny) citizen control, not drug control.

    Weed out morally bankrupt servants of tyranny, gun control fanatics and racists by taking away the main tool they use these days to extend their agenda, the new prohibition. Servants of tyranny want you to believe the evils of the drug war are unintended but felony convictions disenfranchise mostly poor and minority Americans. Help end the demented new prohibition, help construct better safer drug policies for society and the individual. Take morally bankrupt profiteers, servants of tyranny, gun control fanatics and racists a step closer to being politically dead bodies.

  • jgr||

    "So you would see no difference if you were in a fight and you had a 'sharp stick' and the other person had a gun? You see no distinction between guns and sharp pointy things?"

    I see a major difference. That's why I have my guns, and you can't have them.

  • ||

    I find it interesting how everyone seems to miss the main issue. Border Control. Drugs coming into America and guns and money going into Mexico. It is the total lack of border control that is the leading issue on both. Our government has refused to get tough on border control to the point that our border with Mexico is merely a line on a map. If border control was taken seriously and enforced as it should, the flow of drugs into America would stop and so would the flow of guns and money into Mexico. Everyone want to argue gun control or legalizing drugs, but no one want to step up and enforce our current laws surrounding our borders.

  • ||

    I've never heard people tell me a reasonably complete list of the cost and benefits of drug legalization along with some solid evidence or at least well thought out assumptions. I only hear that crime will drop, government will shrink and there will be a chicken in every pot.

    People advocating drug legalization are often conservatives but they act like liberals in that they make far reaching claims without offering solid justifications. I can't get Rich Lowry from the National Review to respond to me with support similar blue sky claims. We are all supposed to accept the wonderful projections of these "conservative" potheads by faith. Sorry but that is presumption, not true faith.

  • ||

    Prohibition and high American drug use likely add to the problems in Mexico and most certainly banning law abiding Americans from buying gun is not answer to Mexico's problems. However to lay the blame of Mexico's problems on prohibition of drugs in America is overlooking their real problems, which have kept Mexico from being a prosperous nation far longer than drug prohibition has had much impact.

    Mexico's fundamental economic and social problem stem mostly from weak private property rights. Mexico has an abundance of natural resources and labor and borders the largest market in the world, yet is a failing state.

    Property rights are necessary for a sound and prosperous economy.

  • nike shox||

    is good

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement