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A Headline I Would Not Want the Justices To See the Morning of the Second Amendment Oral Argument

(apropos Orin's post):

Gunfight Erupts Over Place in Line for Supreme Court Argument

I'm sure this won't happen, of course.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. A Headline I Would Not Want the Justices To See the Morning of the Second Amendment Oral Argument
  2. When To Show Up to Get a Seat for DC v. Heller?:
alias:
I hope Justice Breyer asks a hypothetical question about Gun Kata.
3.10.2008 8:13pm
Paul Milligan (mail) (www):
You HAD to say it, didn't you, Gene ?

You just HAD to go and put the idea in someone's head huh ?

Freakin' IANSA will be putting out an emergency req for volunteers tonight ....

Damn, son .....
3.10.2008 8:24pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
I think a supreme court gunfight would be curious historical event (kind of like the NY Police Riots), but I think it would be better if it occurred before some other case than ours.

And in case my reference didn't provide the clue, I think that the gunfight should be between the justices and their bodyguards, not between the spectators. It would be cool seeing Roberts jump through the air firing dual ingrams like max payne.
3.10.2008 8:54pm
alias:
I forget the exact catch phrase, but is this the latest iteration of the joke about your blog posts being "dangerous and irresponsible" or something like that?
3.10.2008 9:27pm
wekt:
Gee, I hope a gunfight doesn't happen. It would kinda indicate that a law should be passed outlawing regular people from carrying guns so that gunfights don't break out in the future. OH WAIT! Carrying a gun is already illegal in DC, so if gunfight simply *cannot* break out, because no-one, not even murders or rapists, would dare to care a gun if such carrying is illegal. </SARCASM>
3.10.2008 10:26pm
wekt:
Gee, I hope a gunfight doesn't happen. It would kinda indicate that a law should be passed outlawing regular people from carrying guns so that gunfights don't break out in the future. OH WAIT! Carrying a gun is already illegal in DC, so a gunfight simply *cannot* break out, because no-one, not even murderers or rapists, would dare to carry a gun if such carrying is illegal. </SARCASM>

(Oops, hit "Post Comment" too soon the first time.)
3.10.2008 10:28pm
Smokey:
wekt is right. By definition, those guns were all illegal.

If DC had a shall issue concealed carry law, a citizen with a legal gun could have stopped the fight -- which probably never would have happened in the first place, if the perps knew that a bystander behind them might be armed.

Unfortunate that it happened. But it seems that this is an argument for the 2nd.
3.10.2008 10:40pm
Kevin P. (mail):
wekt is correct. Because DC bans carrying guns, no one will carry guns in the Supreme Court line (or anywhere else in the city). Therefore no gun fights are possible in DC.
3.10.2008 11:24pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Ordinarily, I would go to a city with DC's crime rate and be quite uncomfortable not being allowed to be armed. But I suspect that the Supreme Court does a good job of protecting its immediate surroundings.

Remember: the rest of you better not get in line for the oral arguments, or me and my wife won't be able to get in. Don't make me mad!
3.11.2008 1:02am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
And just remember ... while the Court has metal detectors, Clayton will be clever enough to show up early and have his piece hidden under the shrubbery. Do as he says and there won't be any trouble. Remember that Mike Bellesiles crossed him and sleeps with de fishes. Well, got his prize revoked and his book recalled, anyway.
3.11.2008 1:47am
DJMoore (mail) (www):
We need to be careful not to tick Clayton off, or he'll change his blog over to all telescope construction, all the time.

[Still waiting for the historical analysis of telescope and lens ownership in the Colonies.]
3.11.2008 3:32am
Gene Hoffman (mail) (www):
Clayton et al.

I promise that my professional line stander will be both unarmed and in front of you ;)

-Gene
3.11.2008 6:44am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Ordinarily, I would go to a city with DC's crime rate and be quite uncomfortable not being allowed to be armed.

Be brave Clayton.

I lived in Old Town Alexandria for four years and frequently went into the District day and night, rode the Metro practically every day to work and usually if I was going into the District took it (driving in the District is a pain in the butt). If you just relax, you will actually enjoy the beautiful city. Spend a couple extra days. Leave your guns at home. Too bad I don't live there any more. I could show you around and teach you how you can survive in a big city without a gun (either on your person or even at home).

I live in New Orleans now--the murder capital of the country (and a CCW state and city by the way). If you're ever in town, I'll show you around. One condition though--no guns.
3.11.2008 12:40pm
More importantly...:
There's a line between brave and stupid, J.F. Carrying an effective means of self defense in your daily goings is simple prudence, assuming you're willing to put in the time needed to be able to use a weapon effectively and to know when you may do so.
3.11.2008 1:07pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
There's a line between brave and stupid

Actually, I am concerned about Clayton's irrational fear (although he only admits to being "uncomfortable") of being unarmed. He seems to think he is in danger if he goes to DC and is unarmed. I am sure he feels the same way about a bunch of other cities.

I just can't imagine living with that kind of anxiety. Does that mean he won't ever go out and have a nice dinner with some good wine with his wife when he is visiting a city like New Orleans, Chicago or New York (because certainly as a responsible gunowner, he knows alcohol and guns don't mix)? Or if he does, is concerned he will be jumped while hailing a cab back to the hotel?

I don't consider myself particularly brave or stupid. But I don't let fear rule my life. I have lived in Chicago, Atlanta, DC, Kansas City and New Orleans. I have enjoyed the city life in every one of those places. I have never owned a gun and have ever felt that I needed one.
3.11.2008 1:40pm
More importantly...:
Given the crime statistics for the urban areas you mention, his fear (or discomfort) of being unarmed is difficult to describe as irrational. Simply because you have personally not been in a situation where you've needed a weapon does nothing to mitigate the fact that, every year, X number of people in those cities are placed in exactly that circumstance. I'm sure you grasp how that works. Clayton, therefore, is simply aware that these things do happen and that they could happen to him.

I can't speak on others' feelings, but I don't "let fear rule my life." I get up, I get dressed, and off I go; step two happens to involve a handgun, just as step three involves a seatbelt.
3.11.2008 2:00pm
Kevin P. (mail):
I carry a fire extinguisher in my car, although the chances of being involved in an accident so serious that it results in a fire are vanishingly small.

For the last 16 years, I have religiously wearing a seat belt, as a driver and passenger but have never been in any accident where a seat belt would have been helpful.

Arming yourself for self defense is no different. Just like a fire extinguisher and seat belt, it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it. Of course, JF Thomas will promptly trot out his worn Kellerman citations that my gun is going to miraculously emit crime rays and make me 43 times to be the victim of homicide.
3.11.2008 2:18pm
Doc W (mail):
Here's an idea--why not just let different individuals make different choices regarding the level of personal precautions they take? Some folks would rather not bother with seat belts, others would rather not bother with self-defense.

You know, live and let live (or die, as the case may be).
3.11.2008 2:22pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Arming yourself for self defense is no different.

Actually, it is significantly different. Using a seatbelt or a fire extinguisher effectively requires no specialized training or frequent practice. Carrying a handgun also requires quite a bit a preplanning as you have to think about where you are going and what you are doing (don't have that gun with you if you are picking someone up at the airport, visiting a National Park, or plan to go out for drinks after work--or in most cases even if you are going to work). And of course, carrying a gun means that you think you are going to be able to assess a stressful situation and make a split second decision whether deadly force is justified--which means you must be quite knowledgeable about the current state of self defense law where you live or are visiting (and a justifiable homicide in Texas is a whole lot different than one in Massachussetts).
3.11.2008 2:47pm
Doc W (mail):
Is it just my imagination, or is J. F. Thomas offering a remarkably large volume of opinion on the ramifications of owning and carrying a gun, for someone who has never owned or carried one?
3.11.2008 3:07pm
Vinnie (mail):
J. F. Thomas:"
And of course, carrying a gun means that you think you are going to be able to assess a stressful situation and make a split second decision whether deadly force is justified
"

You make that decision without even considering the situation at all. You are faulting us for waiting for more information.
3.11.2008 3:30pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Is it just my imagination, or is J. F. Thomas offering a remarkably large volume of opinion on the ramifications of owning and carrying a gun, for someone who has never owned or carried one?

Hey, I'm just trying to ease Clayton's mind and let him know that he can go to DC, ride the Metro, hang out in DuPont Circle (although that might not quite be his scene) or Georgetown, have some great Ethiopian food in Adams Morgan and catch a cab back to his hotel at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning (or better yet that is the best time to visit the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Vet's memorial, absolutely a completely different feel than going there in the day when it is crowded with tourists). He doesn't need to carry a gun. I can almost guarentee that nothing bad will happen to him. If he is driving to DC, that is by far the most dangerous part of his trip (as long as he stays out of certain neighborhoods).
3.11.2008 3:38pm
More importantly...:

I can almost guarentee that nothing bad will happen to him.


You see, J.F., it's your necessary use of that qualifier that makes those of us who train with and carry a handgun anything but "irrational."
3.11.2008 3:49pm
Kevin P. (mail):
JF Thomas:

Is it just my imagination, or is J. F. Thomas offering a remarkably large volume of opinion on the ramifications of owning and carrying a gun, for someone who has never owned or carried one?


I wonder too. Certainly, he is fascinated by the topic. Perhaps he secretly desires to own and carry a gun?

You can come out now, JF. You are among friends here :-)
3.11.2008 4:01pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
You see, J.F., it's your necessary use of that qualifier that makes those of us who train with and carry a handgun anything but "irrational."

Well of course nothing in life is certain. I can't guarantee that Clayton won't slip and fall in the bathtub tomorrow morning (incredibly more likely than him getting assaulted in DC) or get bitten by a rattlesnake (probably much less likely). I certainly hope that doesn't stop him from bathing or I will withdraw my offer to show him New Orleans when he is in town.
3.11.2008 4:23pm
Doc W (mail):
"Hey, I'm just trying to ease Clayton's mind..."

Oops, sorry--I mistook you for one of those clueless anti-gun propagandists.
3.11.2008 4:23pm
Evelyn Marie Blaine (mail):
In response to the Cramer/Thomas discussion about carrying handguns. I think one should resist the conclusion that positions on concealed-carry laws always go together with general positions on gun ownership.

Personally, I'm quite strongly in favour of private gun ownership, but very ambivalent about concealed-carry laws. Let's accept, for the sake of argument, that having a gun on hand when attacked makes one less likely to be harmed and more likely to stop one's assailant. When one is at home, these are essentially the only parties involved (excepting cohabitants, who are probably also in danger in the same attack, and who, in any case, if adults, have presumably explicitly or implicitly consented to one's gun ownerships).

But in situations on the public streets third parties are involved: firing a gun in a public place, even by a trained shooter under circumstances of legitimate self-defence, carries a significant risk of harming bystanders. So it might well be the case that, in carrying a gun, you make yourself safer but increase the net risk run by those in your immediate vicinity. (Of course, on some occasions the gun-carrier will make those around him safer, by intervening in assaults -- but it's probably a very difficult empirical question whether such incidents are frequent enough to counterbalance the risk to third parties of accidental shootings. Note that this question -- the risk differential to third parties -- is a different question from whether net *mean* risk differential, including the risk reduction to the gun carrier himself, is positive or negative.)

So, if that's the case, carrying a gun in a public place might be an act of reducing one's own risk by offloading some portion of it onto non-consenting third parties. I don't think that there's a hard and fast rule about when that's morally acceptable, but it's clear that some instances of risk offloading are(1) morally frowned upon, (2) legally prohibited and (3) ususally considered to be justly prohibited. One shouldn't remove a toxic substance from your home by disposing of it at the first possible instance in a public waterway, even if that procedure is safer for oneself than getting close enough and hanging around it long enough to dispose of it in a specialized waste area; moreover, most of us would think laws preventing individuals from doing the former and enjoining them to do the latter are just exercises of the state's police power. Similarly, if there were a design of automobile that made its occupants twenty times safer in crashes at the expense of making crashes twenty times more lethal for other automobiles, I (at least) don't think it would be unreasonable to prohibit it from using the public roads.

But, one might reply, what if the net risk benefit of an action to the user is larger than the net risk detriment to third parties? Shouldn't one then have the right to perform the action? I'm not at all sure that, as a general principle, one should. Should one have the right to use a design of automobile that makes the driving of the motorists surrounding one 10 times more dangerous if one can, by so doing, make one's own driving 20 times safer? If everyone adopted this design, it might be argued, then everyone would be better off. Certainly -- but if everyone doesn't choose to, then perhaps one shouldn't have that right. One doesn't necessarily have the moral right to make a risk-offloading choice in the actual world just because the same choice wouldn't be risk-offloading in a certain counterfactual situation. Maybe there are rational non-safety-related reasons that the other drivers don't want to adopt the design.

In any case, it seems that risk-offloading on nonconsenting third parties is particularly problematic when the third parties have no way to know about the risk-offloading choices and alter their actions in response to them. Huge trucks, after all, are the (imperfec) analogues to the risk- offloading vehicles, but people at least see them and can try, as much as possible, to avoid driving next to them, or can even choose not to drive at all. But you can't choose to travel in circles that minimize one's risk of being shot accidentally by an armed passerby if you don't know which passers-by are armed and which aren't. So concealed carry is particularly problematical.

Anyway, this isn't intended to be a knock-down argument; my views on gun-control-related topics are fairly fluid and tentative. But it is a consideration to show that the combination of gun rights at home and no CCW permits is not unmotivated or arbitrary.
3.11.2008 6:42pm
Doc W (mail):
Concealed carry is advantageous generally, since robbers and other attackers will not know who might be armed. Personally, I feel safer knowing that other law-abiding citizens around me may be armed, and knowing that criminals are aware of the likelihood too. Criminals don't obey laws so it would seem unlikely that a flat repeal of pistol permitting would reduce the number of armed criminals--given which, there is something really out of whack about the idea of requiring all potential victims to be defenseless. Some 40 states now have liberal "shall-issue" pistol permit laws, and in each case, as the legislation came up for consideration, anti-gun propagandists warned of a bloody outbreak of wild-west shoot-em-ups. They've been proven wrong.

On another blog site last week, the idea that students and faculty with concealed permits might stop some of these campus massacres was ridiculed--because, you see, in attempting to neutralize the attacker, a private citizen might accidentally shoot the wrong person. If Clayton Cramer is still following the posts here, I imagine he can quote chapter and verse of the statistics demonstrating that police are MORE likely to shoot the wrong person. In any event, consider: a crazed gunman gets up in the front of an auditorium and starts methodically shooting as many people as possible, and the idea of personal self-defense is objected to on the grounds that SOMEBODY MIGHT GET HURT.
3.11.2008 8:08pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
But in situations on the public streets third parties are involved: firing a gun in a public place, even by a trained shooter under circumstances of legitimate self-defence, carries a significant risk of harming bystanders. So it might well be the case that, in carrying a gun, you make yourself safer but increase the net risk run by those in your immediate vicinity.

My dad's cousin carried a gun on the public streets for thirty years, but never had to fire it. He didn't carry it to make himself safer, but his carrying it put any bad guys on their guard. Did going about armed make my cousin and other policemen a menace to the citizenry?
3.11.2008 8:41pm
James Gibson (mail):
You all shouldn't worry, its not going to happen. Just because a gun massacre occurs whenever the gun control movement needs one to support some legislation doesn't mean it will happen this time. Truthfully, no one is going to show up with a pickup truck carrying a minigun (even though they did find a mini-gun in with other illegal arms when the Police raided a home in LA county recently). It will just be the normal problems when a large number of people want into a sold out show. A few fist fights here, a stabbing or two there, and the necessary unidentified white powder. Nothing unexpected.
3.12.2008 1:06am
More importantly...:

Using a seatbelt or a fire extinguisher effectively requires no specialized training or frequent practice.



Ah, apparently not true! This is the same logic behind not allowing any form of civilian CCL, and yet I doubt anyone wants to defend the Brit's latest idiotic excess.
3.12.2008 12:54pm
More importantly...:
Sorry, link didn't post: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article900459.ece
3.12.2008 12:54pm
markm (mail):
J.F: When I was in the Air Force, I had to attend fire extinguisher training once a year.


I can't guarantee that Clayton won't slip and fall in the bathtub tomorrow morning (incredibly more likely than him getting assaulted in DC)

So, how many Senators have armed bodyguards while on the streets, compared to how many have someone accompany them into the tub?
3.12.2008 6:30pm
More importantly...:
While he's not a senator, I'm willing to bet that Spitzer had someone "escort" him into the tub on occasion.
3.12.2008 6:53pm