Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

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sardia
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby sardia » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:39 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Oh, and who should adjudicate if you're legally allowed to do something, if not a judge?

I am quite certain that a judge can utilize statements from a psychologist(or other experts at his discretion) to arrive at his verdict. Are judges perfect? Of course not. But merely arguing that a judge can make a bad call applies to...basically everything that's already illegal. Or legal for that matter. Adding more laws will do exactly nothing to fix that issue, and in fact, I'm not sure what can. Judges are people, and thus, flawed.

I guess I wasn't clear since you chose not to read my article. This is the typical scenario: Crazy guy requests that he can get his guns back at the courthouse. Judge sees the man, and asks "How are you doing?" "Good?, ok you can have your guns back."
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/03/us/03 ... wanted=all

Due to variation in state laws, vague guidelines, and lack of information sharing, judges are in a poor position to evaluate people based on their mental health. Take your assumption that judges utilize experts at their discretion. See the problem? at their discretion. After inspecting court records, and investigating the outcomes, judges are giving mentally ill people the benefit of the doubt, and are judging cases with a pretty casual work ethic. In addition, your straw man of expecting perfection from judges is bad. Nobody is expecting 100% correct decisions. However, looking at their current success rate and demanding better is perfectly valid.
You assumed that judges are utilizing experts and some mistakes are slipping through the cracks. The reality is that most judges are not utilizing anybody, and everyone is slipping through the cracks.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:54 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Oh, and who should adjudicate if you're legally allowed to do something, if not a judge?

I am quite certain that a judge can utilize statements from a psychologist(or other experts at his discretion) to arrive at his verdict. Are judges perfect? Of course not. But merely arguing that a judge can make a bad call applies to...basically everything that's already illegal. Or legal for that matter. Adding more laws will do exactly nothing to fix that issue, and in fact, I'm not sure what can. Judges are people, and thus, flawed.

I guess I wasn't clear since you chose not to read my article. This is the typical scenario: Crazy guy requests that he can get his guns back at the courthouse. Judge sees the man, and asks "How are you doing?" "Good?, ok you can have your guns back."
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/03/us/03 ... wanted=all

Due to variation in state laws, vague guidelines, and lack of information sharing, judges are in a poor position to evaluate people based on their mental health. Take your assumption that judges utilize experts at their discretion. See the problem? at their discretion. After inspecting court records, and investigating the outcomes, judges are giving mentally ill people the benefit of the doubt, and are judging cases with a pretty casual work ethic. In addition, your straw man of expecting perfection from judges is bad. Nobody is expecting 100% correct decisions. However, looking at their current success rate and demanding better is perfectly valid.
You assumed that judges are utilizing experts and some mistakes are slipping through the cracks. The reality is that most judges are not utilizing anybody, and everyone is slipping through the cracks.


Your link is not statistics, and thus, says jack-all about their success rate. It's an anecdote. And one that doesn't even seem to go anywhere. Man gets guns back, says it wasn't too hard. Was ajudicated to be capable of having them, and once he had them back....did not cause a problem.

I'm sure anecdotes about utterly terrible judgements can be found for basically any topic in law. That's not convincing evidence of a systemic problem. Widespread problems traceable to them is. One guy saying "The judge didn't ask me a whole lot" is hardly a sign of a societal problem.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby sardia » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:07 am UTC

Sigh...
Man, so much crap for what is essentially a side comment you made that unknown crazy people are more dangerous than known crazy people.
Btw, the point of the article was that the current laws aren't working very well to deal with mentally ill people and gun-right restoration.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:11 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Sigh...
Man, so much crap for what is essentially a side comment you made that unknown crazy people are more dangerous than known crazy people.
Btw, the point of the article was that the current laws aren't working very well to deal with mentally ill people and gun-right restoration.


It doesn't actually make that point very well, though. The initial example guy given says it was fairly easy to get his gun back. But...no evidence is given of him misusing the gun or being dangerously crazy after getting the gun back. It's a tale of "guy gets crazy, loses gun access, regains sanity, gun access returned without trouble". That seems strangely like how it should work.

Toss in the fact that only a few hundred people a year get gun rights back at all, and the scale of the "problem" seems like it's fairy small.

They use a ton of examples, actually, that don't actually lead to anyone being even put in danger of being harmed. It's as if they're protesting the entire concept of people getting gun rights back instead of the results of a dangerous policy.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby KevinLevin » Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:51 am UTC

This is really very bad news and I have also read about this in newspaper and government should do something regarding selling and purchasing of guns and weapons.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Роберт » Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:55 pm UTC

KevinLevin wrote:This is really very bad news and I have also read about this in newspaper and government should do something regarding selling and purchasing of guns and weapons.

It does.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Triangle_Man » Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:58 am UTC

Роберт wrote:
KevinLevin wrote:This is really very bad news and I have also read about this in newspaper and government should do something regarding selling and purchasing of guns and weapons.

It does.

I'm guessing that this isn't going to happen, though.

I'm fairly sure I read somewhere that gun control is just not seen as a huge issue in the States.

Is this true?
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Dauric » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:49 am UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:I'm fairly sure I read somewhere that gun control is just not seen as a huge issue in the States.

Is this true?


Gun control is... a persistent issue. It gathers media airtime fairly frequently and any time the news media notices any event where a gun was present the issue of gun control comes up. I'm not sure if this is really that it's a 'huge' issue or rather that guns make it a 'sexy' issue that just attracts eyeballs and attracting eyeballs drives media and the marketing that funds it.

The thing is that it's current state is pretty much at the political/social equilibrium in the United States. There's not enough support to enact more gun control laws, and there's not enough support to repeal the ones on the books, despite there being numerous organizations working hard on both sides of the fence.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby sardia » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:59 am UTC

Dauric wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:I'm fairly sure I read somewhere that gun control is just not seen as a huge issue in the States.

Is this true?


Gun control is... a persistent issue. It gathers media airtime fairly frequently and any time the news media notices any event where a gun was present the issue of gun control comes up. I'm not sure if this is really that it's a 'huge' issue or rather that guns make it a 'sexy' issue that just attracts eyeballs and attracting eyeballs drives media and the marketing that funds it.

The thing is that it's current state is pretty much at the political/social equilibrium in the United States. There's not enough support to enact more gun control laws, and there's not enough support to repeal the ones on the books, despite there being numerous organizations working hard on both sides of the fence.

Voters have the choice of electing a pro gun politician or a status quo gun law politician. This means the legislation you'll see coming is either gonna loosen gun laws, or keep gun regulation the same. The NRA has such an advantage that nobody wants to fight them anymore beyond the status quo. So if the more extreme faction of the NRA demands stuff like a way for mentally ill people to get their guns back, then politicians usually cave. There's this dynamic where the NRA is superparanoid of any regulation on gun control, so they raised a shit ton of money to shout down any opposition. The other dynamic is that most politicians are in tight races and they can't afford to offend such a vocal and demanding group. The end result is a stream of amendments and bills that either maintain the status quo or loosen gun regulation. The guncontrol group is fighting just to keep current regulations from being removed, while the NRA sorts out their extremist faction vs their mainstreamers.
It's strikingly similar to the Tea party faction within the GOP about taxes. We can either cut spending and lower taxes, or we can just cut spending. Anyone who proposes increases taxes shall be burned as a witch.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:10 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Voters have the choice of electing a pro gun politician or a status quo gun law politician. This means the legislation you'll see coming is either gonna loosen gun laws, or keep gun regulation the same. The NRA has such an advantage that nobody wants to fight them anymore beyond the status quo. So if the more extreme faction of the NRA demands stuff like a way for mentally ill people to get their guns back, then politicians usually cave. There's this dynamic where the NRA is superparanoid of any regulation on gun control, so they raised a shit ton of money to shout down any opposition. The other dynamic is that most politicians are in tight races and they can't afford to offend such a vocal and demanding group. The end result is a stream of amendments and bills that either maintain the status quo or loosen gun regulation. The guncontrol group is fighting just to keep current regulations from being removed, while the NRA sorts out their extremist faction vs their mainstreamers.
It's strikingly similar to the Tea party faction within the GOP about taxes. We can either cut spending and lower taxes, or we can just cut spending. Anyone who proposes increases taxes shall be burned as a witch.


Additionally, we've had rising gun ownership in the US recently. Well, either rising ownership, or rising numbers of people feeling comfortable reporting that they own firearms on surveys...the two are indistinguishable, really(source, Gallup).

However, either explanation for the stats indicates an increase of popularity/acceptance of firearms. It's not that surprising that legislation is reflecting that demographic shift. In addition, we see substantially more acceptance for less gun control in general. I won't deny that the NRA(and similar, smaller orgs) have an influence, but certainly we're seeing some of this because of changes in popular opinion.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Jonesthe Spy » Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:04 pm UTC

Okay, so since one can hope that XKCD readers are more likely to be of the type to be swayed by data rather than emotional argument than the average internet junkie, let's look at some numbers. We all like numbers, right? So let's make a comparison about guns and homicides between the U.S. and Britain. The UK is very similar to the U.S. in many ways - very economically and racially diverse population (with the accompanying racist extremists), mix of industrial/urban and rural areas, lots of drug crimes, gangs in urban areas, etc. The social safety net is better in the UK than the U.S. even after Thatcher and New Labor, but it's nothing like say, Scandinavia. The UK also has some of the strictest gun laws in the world.

After the Aurora massacre, history professor/blogger Juan Cole compared recent homicide statistics in the U.S. gathered by the FBI with figures from the UK Home Office and this is what was found.

Number of Murders, United States, 2010: 12,996

Number of Murders by Firearms, US, 2010: 8,775
Source FBI: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/cr ... rtbl08.xls

Number of Murders, Britain, 2011*: 638
(Since Britain’s population is 1/5 that of US, this is equivalent to 3,095 US murders)

Number of Murders by firearms, Britain, 2011*: 58
(equivalent to 290 US murders)
Source UK Home Office: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publicatio ... /hosb0212/

*British crime statistics are September to September, so 2011 is actually 2010-2011.

Now it's obvious that a huge percentage in the discrepancy in the homicide rate is from gun murders. According to these stats there were 4,221 non-firearms murders in the U.S. , and if you adjusted for population size the the UK would have 2,805 non-gun murders. So that's a pretty big difference, like 150% more non-firearms related murders in the U.S. per capita - I personally suspect that it's attributable to the greater amount of poverty in the U.S., perhaps a greater glorification of violence in American culture, an inferior health care system that lends itself to more fatalities from assaults than the UK's, but those are just theories.

Meanwhile, you've got 8,775 gun murders vs the 290 population-adjusted equivalent in the UK - we're talking a THIRTY to ONE difference per capita, which also makes up most of the reason you are almost four times more likely to be murdered in the U.S. than the UK. Also worthy noting that there have been all of TWO mass shootings in Britain in recent history, one in 1996 and one in 2010. Meanwhile, there have been FOUR big headline-grabbing mass shootings in the US in 2012 alone.

Discuss.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Chen » Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:22 pm UTC

I don't see why its clearly the availability of guns that results in that many more murders. Since guns ARE legal in the US its not obvious how to determine how many of those ~8000 murders would have still happened if guns were outlawed. We don't even know how many of those murders were with legally obtained guns. As you stated though, even comparing non-gun murders the number is significantly higher in the US. Already this leads us to question the initial premise of "The UK is very similar to the U.S. in many ways" at least with regards to things that influence the murder rate.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:47 pm UTC

Jonesthe Spy wrote:Okay, so since one can hope that XKCD readers are more likely to be of the type to be swayed by data rather than emotional argument than the average internet junkie, let's look at some numbers. We all like numbers, right? So let's make a comparison about guns and homicides between the U.S. and Britain. The UK is very similar to the U.S. in many ways -


You've got vast differences between these two societies. The cultures are different, the laws are different, the population size is wildly different. Picking only two countries and comparing them head to head like this ignores a host of confounding variables. You could compare to switzerland instead, which has very widespread gun access, and get entirely different results. So, clearly, this is not really a valid method to determine the efficacy of gun control.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby sardia » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:24 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Jonesthe Spy wrote:Okay, so since one can hope that XKCD readers are more likely to be of the type to be swayed by data rather than emotional argument than the average internet junkie, let's look at some numbers. We all like numbers, right? So let's make a comparison about guns and homicides between the U.S. and Britain. The UK is very similar to the U.S. in many ways -


You've got vast differences between these two societies. The cultures are different, the laws are different, the population size is wildly different. Picking only two countries and comparing them head to head like this ignores a host of confounding variables. You could compare to switzerland instead, which has very widespread gun access, and get entirely different results. So, clearly, this is not really a valid method to determine the efficacy of gun control.

You should at least acknowledged that he controlled for population by comparing per capita in a roundabout way. In addition, you have to explain why the culture in Britain is different from the US. Lastly, why are you saying we can't compare the laws because they are different if the thing we are trying to measure is the gun control's effect on murder?

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:18 am UTC

sardia wrote:You should at least acknowledged that he controlled for population by comparing per capita in a roundabout way. In addition, you have to explain why the culture in Britain is different from the US. Lastly, why are you saying we can't compare the laws because they are different if the thing we are trying to measure is the gun control's effect on murder?


It's a fair point to say the choice of comparison may not be the best. it's cherry picking.

if instead we were to compare the UK to Switzerland, a country where there's pretty much a gun in every home and a lower homicide rate than the UK, we could, using the same methods, conclude that the guns lower the homicide rate.

but that would be a problematic comparison for pretty much the same reason comparing the UK to the US is a problem: lots and lots of other things vary too.
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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:20 pm UTC

sardia wrote:In addition, you have to explain why the culture in Britain is different from the US.
Well, for one, we tend to murder a lot more folks here. So there's that.
sardia wrote:Lastly, why are you saying we can't compare the laws because they are different if the thing we are trying to measure is the gun control's effect on murder?
Those statistics tell us nothing about gun control's effect on murder. All they tell us is if you hold one variable constant, you can project any possible conclusion from a set of numbers. For instance, it appears that in Britain, which has effective gun control, the ratio of non-gun murders to gun murders is high. So therefore if we outlaw guns in America, and the gun murder rate stays the same, we'll see a massive spike in non-gun murders, right? Jones makes the same two mistakes shown here. First, the idea that gun control in Britain give us some sort of insight into how gun control in America might work. Second, that holding a variable constant (in my case, the ratio and the gun murder numbers, in his case, the non-gun murder numbers, I think) makes any sense at all.

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Re: Twelve killed by gunman in Denver movie theatre

Postby Zamfir » Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:27 pm UTC


There are already a zillion gun control threads, all of them comparing the US to the UK and to Switzerland.

Rule for this thread: if it's not directly related to the Denver shooting, it doesn't belong here


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