Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » April 2005 » Seriously scary....

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04/29/2005: Seriously scary....

And the gun nuts think that this is "making us safer". Over at Why Now?, Bryan has a most excellent post about a truly unwise bill that's apparently just been signed into law in Florida:

Back when Blogger was really having spasms I threw out a post called Florida Update that included a note that the Florida legislature had passed a gun fighting bill. John Ellis has signed it into law.

In most states you have the right to defend your house against intruders. It is the "a man's home is his castle" concept from Common Law. Other than that special case, you are expected to withdraw from a confrontation whenever possible. This new law says you don't have to back down and you can use deadly physical force if you feel threatened.


In the Air Force the revolver was carried with 4 rounds. The chamber under the hammer and the next chamber were empty to prevent accidents, and even in the war zone, if you were inside the wire at a base you turned in your M-16 to prevent accidents.

In law enforcement there was constant training on the rules for using your weapon, and that training emphasized when you didn't use it.
Note that Bryan knows whereof he speaks here, as he has experience both in the Air Force and in law enforcement.
Anyone reading the newspapers knows that police officers don't always make the right decision, even with all of their training, and there's no need to go into the thousands killed by military use of force that was wrong. It is a given that the military and police make mistakes and people die. With that in mind, why does it make sense to allow people with no training to make life and death decisions on the street?

I know a firearms instructor who had walked into a bar after work just as two guys came out of the rest room with what turned out to be a pellet pistol and attempted to rob the bar. The instructor emptied a Browning High Power 9mm pistol, 14 rounds at two targets 20 feet away and missed. This guy would shoot 200 rounds a day into paper at 50 yards with a total spread of 3 inches, but in a real situation he didn't hit either man. In a comment I mentioned a bank shoot-out in which another officer and robber exchanged at least 18 rounds and the only people endangered were the tellers. These were revolvers and both parties reloaded while standing within "Dodge City" range of each other.

A police officer is required to look to see where his bullets will go if he/she misses, will a civilian do this? A police officer knows that a round can travel a mile, does a civilian? It's dangerous enough with the "professionals" using weapons on the streets, do you really want to trust your neighbors, especially those that really need to go to an "anger management" refresher?

If an armed civilian gets involved in a crime, they stand an excellent chance of being killed by the police officers who respond. Undercover police officers are shot at every year by other officers at crime scenes, and some of them are killed. Merchants chasing robbers have been killed by police officers. Two people, neither a police officer, homeowner, or business owner blazing away in a parking lot are going to be gunned down by responding officers, and the shooting will be justified as the two individuals are putting bystanders in danger of death.

If someone threatens you with deadly physical force, you have always had the right of self-defense. You can't always get away and it is reasonable to defend yourself, but changing the rules so that you no longer have to even consider withdrawal, is just stupid.

Police officers and prosecutors in Florida spoke out against this bill, to no avail. People are going to die needless deaths because of this bill and police officers are going to be sued because they couldn't tell that Billy Bob was defending his honor when he started blazing away and got shot by the first officer on the scene.
Based on my own experience as a public defender, I think I can see part of the motivation on the part of the gun nuts; basically these "men" are psychologically little boys who have doubts about their manhood, and think that an extra gun-metal blue artificial dick that ejaculates lead is just the thing they need to prove that they're a "real man". Feh.

I like the way Rack Jite put it:
When thinking of handgun controls or carry legislation, wander back in life and recall all the confrontations you have witnessed or been part of. Now ask yourself if any of those situations would have been better resolved had one or both parties a gun in their hand.
And think of what it'll be like in Florida, where you can apparently shoot first and think later.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Len on 04.29.05 @ 09:28 AM CST

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