Saturday, July 06, 2013

A philosopher has philosophized...

...that the way to solve the alleged gun violence problem the media keeps telling us we have in this country is to make us monobrowed gun owners civilly liable for the harm done with our gats if they are stolen. You see...
"One good consequences [sic] of strict liability is that people will take greater care of their arms, seeing, for example, that they do not fall into the hands of children or thieves. This is in keeping with my belief in personal responsibility."
That's a pretty odd notion of "personal responsibility" you have there. What about the thief's personal responsibility? Where does that come into the equation?

Oddly, I hear the same rationale used for burkhas.


Mugwug said...

I've heard this nonsense before. Its the same reason we make car owners responsible for any damages should their car be stolen and subsequently used in the commission of an offence, why being the victim of a crime automatically makes you complicit in another and....

Oh wait, that would just be stupid wouldn't it.

The Great and Powerful Oz said...

Philosophizing? Does he have the correct certifications for that? Is his licence current? Does he have a current medical? Are there any pending actions against him from the Philosopher's Review Board?

Really, you can't be too careful about this sort of thing, you could wind up losing your soul.

Dan said...

Precisely. Thieves doing bad things with stuff stolen is not my responsibility. My door is locked, stay the hell out.

RabidAlien said... someone steals a burkha, and uses it to do something truly heinous (like eat a pulled-pork bacon BBQ burger with an extra-large side-order of gravy fries and ungodly quantities of evil beer), then the original owner of the burkha is held accountable? Does that mean SHE gets all the cholesterol?! By Odin's sweaty ballsack...I think I just found the best way to enjoy food and avoid clogged arteries!!!! WOOHOOO!!!

Anonymous said...

Adopting their own rationale, we should assign liability to the gun itself; after all, they do insist on calling it "gun violence".

"I don't know, officer...that damn Glock just up and ran off with that lowlife; I hope it and him both get what they deserve."

Srsly though, does anyone here doubt that the pinstriped snakes that call themselves contingency lawyers are licking their slimy chops at the thought of such projected liability?


Brian N. said...

The most concise objection I can think of (besides calling it stupider than a crew of politicians trying to solve a problem) is that it would set out to punish the victim of a crime.

fast richard said...

I wonder if he believes his own argument. If so, I wonder if there is any way to get him to see how twisted that view of personal responsibility would be. Sometimes the antis come up with such obviously irrational arguments that I wonder if their reality is even co-measurable with mine.

Kristopher B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristophr said...

The little coward deleted my comment:

"Bloggers should be held financially responsible for any violent action s intemperate use of the first amendment may cause, since irresponsible use of the first amendment may cause weak-minded people to behave violently."

JohninMd.(too late?!??) said...

I'm with Oz. I wanna see this puke's credentials, then I'LL know how big a dork he is. By his reasoning, if a doper OD's on drugs burgled from a pharmacy, the druggist is responsible for the death. Utter nonsense.

Tam said...


I assume my comment fell into his "I don't publish anonymous comments" snit trap as well, which I found particularly droll considering I signed it with, you know, my first name and a backlink.

Tam said...

(Careful picking a fight with the guy; he's got more sheepskins than a condom factory. ;) )

og said...

Best part is where he says "Guns are inherently dangerous; cars are not" Orly?

rickn8or said...

Just another "I support the Second Amendment BUT..." monkey.

Tam said...


"Guns are inherently dangerous; cars are not"

He said that?

I'm not heading back to planet Zongo to continue the debate, then. If he can figure out how to get his inherently safe cars through the dimensional rift, though, he could retire from whatever Grave of Academe he's currently haunting on the licensing fees alone. Plus, think of the tax savings we'd realize from dissolving NHTSA!

(Actually, we should do the latter whether he brings any of his pixie dust cars here or not, on general principle.)

Anonymous said...

Little bowtied twit can moralize and philosophize all he wants, but it's just a smokescreen...

"People whose guns are used to do harm to others will be made to compensate those who are injured, even if the gun owners are not at fault. Most people will purchase liability insurance to protect themselves from the risk of liability."

It's all about the money.

og said...

he said that, indeed. A commenter opined:

"Are you responsible, should a thief steal your car and run over a pedestrian?"

His response, copy pasted:

"Guns are inherently dangerous, Dan. Cars are not."

Tam said...


"he said that, indeed."

What was he doing all those years in school?

I wonder how much insurance that thimble-headed gherkin carries on his steak knives. You know, in case those inherently dangerous objects get stolen and he's responsible for someone getting shivved in the liver.

What a lackwit.

Tam said...

I hope that's not a clip-on bow tie he favors, because otherwise I can entertain myself with fond imaginings of him slipping while getting dressed in the morning and garroting himself with his inherently dangerous choice of neckwear...

Kristophr said...

Don't be impressed by his academic credentials.

All soft degrees, which only qualifies him for a political or government post, or an incestuous position in a university teaching other students worthless soft degrees.

Anonymous said...

Well, he deleted my comment too, in which I asked him to explain why guns are inherently dangerous compared to cars. And also why he would punish one crime victim instead of the, you know, actual criminal.

I guess philosophical liberals are inherently oversensitive to logical thinking (by non-liberals).

Tam said...


The dude is not a "liberal". He's just squishy on the Second Amendment.

He's in plentiful, if not what I'd call "good", company. As I pointed out in the post I linked just now, the quickest way to spot a Metrocon is to get them to count to ten. If they say "One, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten," then you know what you've got. (Although, to be fair, Metrocons get a little fuzzy on the Fourth, too, at least when it involves dope-smokin' hippies...)

Mike_C said...

Not worth the electrons needed to respond on his site. His mind is armored by his self-righteousness.

he's got more sheepskins than a condom factory
A curiously appropriate simile, seeing that his "About" page is a bunch of condescending dick-beating.
"I practiced law in Tucson during graduate school—not because I had any intention of making it a career, but because it paid the bills." (Although I think the value of "name" schools is over-rated, sadly his list of tickets punched is like bragging that you once ran a 6:05 mile in high school. Nice, but in the wide world not exactly an earth shaking accomplishment, any of those places.)

People like him are the reason I majored in engineering rather than history and philosophy in college. One thing I did learn in high school was that in those areas over 90% of the time it was vitally important to agree with the instructor politically (the problems I had when we went over the New Deal in American History), but in physics or engineering if your math was right, you were right regardless of whether you were both members of tbe New Front for Liberation Veganism or if you cordially hated each other politically.

Ed Foster said...

I don't know, Mike C. or Rabid Alien for today's win? And several close runners-up.

I gave him a piece of my mind (what's left of it) and I wonder if it will get printed? Or possibly the same self-serving anonymous pop-up will bail him out again.

Cincinnatus said...

Reasoned Discourse in action of course, since he deleted my comment as well.

The fact that he falsely believes that cars are not inherently dangerous but guns are shows that he's an idiot.

Greg Tag said...


I ould not resist.
I posted this , we will see if t survives moderation:
Mr. Burgess- Jackson:

I find your reasoning interesting, but your bald assertion seems to be merely a circular construct, something along the lines of "guns are dangerous because they are".

Can you explain to me why guns are "inherently dangerous" ( your words) , while automobiles are not?

Based on sheer bloodshed, the assertion fails even a simple test - more people are killed or maimed by automobiles than are by firearms.

If we seek some other measure, such as the mayhem rate per individual firearm, and divide the total number of firearms in the US by the number of deaths and injuries, we arrive at such a tiny number it runs right off the screen, and, by inspection, the "car" number is a whole lot bigger.

Are you factoring in some intervening "t" variable such as utility?

Are you adding in a "moral value" ?

Abandoning arms for a moment, can we try other mechanical devices on for size?

Is a chainsaw inherently dangerous?

If a felon steals my Husqvarna chainsaw from my garage and then injures himself or another with it,am I responsible for his actions? If your answer is "no", how is this a correct answer?

What is the difference in character between my Husqvarna chainsaw and my Husqvarna shotgun?

Is alcohol inherently dangerous?

That's all in the philosophical realm- let's look at another issue - you propose to make a a third party, the victim of a crime no less, responsible for the actions of a felon, at a future time and place remote from the victim, and totally outside the control of the victim.

The only legal system of which I am aware where the victim of a crime is regularly punished is certain applications of Shariah; such a concept is repugnant to the Common Law.

Such a suggestion is neither equity nor justice, so how is it acceptable as a public policy prescription?

I am anxiously awaiting your reply.

Gregory K. Taggart
Plano, Texas

alanstorm said...

Does he intend this "strict liability" to apply to the police as well, who seem to be getting more and more trigger-happy?

Firehand said...

I wonder if he'd also go with "You should carry extra liability insurance in case someone steals your car and commits a crime with it"?
Or, since a car isn't really dangerous, does that get a pass?

Chad said...

What is "enough security"? Thieves get through safes all the damn time. They'll either cut/burn through them in your home, or steal the whole safe and do it at their leisure.
"Oh, now safe's aren't secure enough. Gun owners will simply have to have their guns secured at armories at the local range. That's the only safe way to protect the children..."

Gerry N. said...

Re: the problem with burkas.

I had a friend who is a muslim and we had this "discussion" a few years ago. His contention was that since so many girls dressed "provocatively" they had it coming if they were raped, and used the "Left the meat uncovered, and the cat found it" argument. I countered with if muslim boys and young men cannot be expected to have a little more self control than a feral cat, perhaps they should be treated the way feral cats are. That is either shot on sight or trapped and castrated. My "friend" hasn't spoken to me in six or seven years. I still think trapping and castrating is the way to go for muslim youth.

Gerry N.

The Elephant In The Room said...

For the sake of simplicity, let us assume that the U.S. population between from 2000 to 2010 was 300,000,000, * and that

• 63% of the population was non-Hispanic white
• 13% of the population was black
• 15% - 30% of the population owned guns **

From 2000 – 2010, there were 165,068 murders. *** The annual murder rate was 5.0 per 100,000 people

The annual murder rate in the English speaking countries of Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom was about 1.0 to 1.5 per 100,000 people.

Non-Hispanic whites committed at least 30% of homicides. ****

Blacks committed at least 42% of homicides.

Gun owners committed 67% of homicides.

The overall homicide-offender rate among non-Hispanic whites was at least 2.5 per 100,000 non-Hispanic whites per year.

The overall homicide-offender rate among blacks was at least 15.5 per 100,000 blacks per year.

The overall homicide-offender rate among gun-owners was 11.2 per 100,000 gun owners to 22.5 per 100,000 gun owners per year.

A non-Hispanic white person was ½ as likely as a member of the overall population to commit murder (0.5 x - ? x).

A black person was at least 3 times as likely as a member of the overall population to commit murder (3.2 x - ? x).

A gun owner was 2 to 4 ½ times as likely as a member of the overall population to commit murder (2.2 x - 4.5 x).

* 282,000,000 in 2000 to 309,000,000 in 2010.
** “Gun Counts Can Be Hit-or-MissWall Street Journal. March 23, 2013
**** The race of 51,735/165,068 (31%) murderers is unknown.

I make no claim that these "back-of-the-envelope" style calculations are any type of rigorous analysis. I leave that as an exercise for others more qualified than I.

Tam said...

So, some dude goes in your mom's house, takes the gun out of her nightstand, and gaps her with it, he' in the "gun owner" group, Mr. In The Room? Since we're equating "murder done with firearm" to " murder done by gun owner"?

You don't logic real well, do you?

Tam said...

(Excuse the typos; this iThingy's keypad blows goats.)

Josh Kruschke said...



Will said...

Your British Commonwealth numbers have no basis in reality. Not only do tey not record crime data like we do, they have been caught cooking the books on it, in a desperate attempt to make them look better. There is no way to make a casual comparison. It's not even apples and oranges, it's more like apples and horseshit.

og said...

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a classic example of what we in industry call "How to lie with statistics" I highly recommend the book by Darrell Huff, which, though written in 1954, is still quite topical. He details the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacies (Yes, there are actually several) and talks in depth about how to massage numbers to show what you want them to show.

Bottomline is the law abiding are by definition- you know- law abiding. The guns being used to commit crimes by "Tin Dog" and "Tupac Zabeer" in the process of an unlicensed pharmaceutical transaction gone bad are not coming from Granny's nightstand, because granny doesn't own a blingy gold plated engraved Deagle.

Tam said...

"The guns being used to commit crimes by "Tin Dog" and "Tupac Zabeer" in the process of an unlicensed pharmaceutical transaction gone bad are not coming from Granny's nightstand, because granny doesn't own a blingy gold plated engraved Deagle."

Having been the reseller of I-don't-know-how-many lots of police-confiscated firearms, I can categorically state that the gold-plated Deagle shows up in Hollywood a lot more often than it shows up in evidence lockers, or at least evidence lockers in the metro Atlanta and Knoxville areas.

Data shows that the majority of BATFE trace guns have been stolen at some point before winding up at the crime scene, IIRC.

og said...

lol. yeah, I suppose. Our local store has sold the same blinged out deagle about 30 times- someone comes in and buys it because, well, it's big and blingy! And then they shoot a magazine full or less, and it comes back and gets traded on a HKglock&wessonjudge. They have a paper on the glass under the Deagle with it's round count per owner. Some owners only get four rounds out of it before they decide it's hard! And I want something smaller anyway.

Tam said...

What shocked me was, outside of the expected pot metal blowback garbage, how often Ruger MkI/II/III rimfires turned up in the evidence locker. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, given how common they are out in the world, but still...

Kristophr said...

The lowly .22 LR is still the kill-rate champion in the US. A quarter-inch hole in your chest still kills. It just takes a while.

A Ruger .22 works just fine for crime, I guess. No one wants to volunteer to stop a round.

The same logic worked for pre-WWII European policemen, and their full-sized .25 autos, maybe?