3/04/2010: Anchorage walker shot in leg near East High

5 Responses

  1. Gwen,

    I think the hiker was very fortuanate because he was able to flee. The criminal thugs could have fired more rounds, chased after him, or even just beat him with their bare hands (six against one is not good odds, even for someone skilled in the martial arts). Or, his leg could have been wounded badly enough to prevent him from running.

    I’m not sure how removing the gun from this equation would have prevented the assault. A gang of six with malevolent intentions will do what they want with a lone individual whether the gang is armed with firearms or not. I would be curious to know how you suggest hikers walking alone should protect themselves from larger criminal gangs.

    Cheers,
    Chris

    • Since posting this story, the cops have been expressing doubt that it actually happened. In any case, the best solution is to reduce the number of guns on the street. Nobody should fear others just walking down the street. You’re right–thugs could go all Jackie Chan, but I think that’s a low possibility. Criminals like guns, because they’re quick, cheap, effective, and they don’t get their hands dirty or put themselves at much risk. Without a firearm, criminals tend to be a less brazen.

  2. Gwen,

    You state, “Without a firearm, criminals tend to be a less brazen.” Is this a fact or an opinion? This seems to be the linchpin of your argument so I think its important. I don’t think that criminals risk much bodily injury to themselves if two large men assault one smaller women, or if six thugs attack one lone hiker — even if they are unarmed. The only deterrent in such a case would be near-instant police response, or a weapon available to the defender.

    For example, my wife weighs significantly less than a typical man. If she were unarmed, I don’t see how she could resist six men with malevolent intent. I don’t even see how I could resist six men with such intent!

    I am aware of many reputable statistics from government agencies and peer-reviewed journals that show that there is little link between gun control and crime. I will be happy to present them if you are interested in facts rather than opinions. If you have any facts to back up your key assertion I would certainly take them under advisement.

    Cheers,
    Chris

    • Hi again Chris. There is no question that a person with a gun gains chutzpah. No question. Criminals try to leave nothing to chance, even if they weigh #270 and their victim #110. Guns are absolutely fantastic at getting people to do what you want them to do. And when they don’t, hey, you can always pull the trigger. And that simple fact begs the question: So with all of the guns in our homes, why are so few gun owners unsuccessful at preventing crime? That’s the real issue. It’s cost vs. benefit.

      I”m not going to get caught up in a discussion over who can present better statistics. I’ve been there (not on this blog, but elsewhere) and done that. Nobody wins that battle. I just present the facts and let readers (I think there’s more than just you…hahaah) and let people make up their own minds, reminding them that there is a very significant societal cost to the current application of the 2nd Amendment. Thanks again!

      • Fair enough, your blog, your rules. I won’t bring up any statistics, including the Department of Justice’s figures on the matter from a macro scale. I do post some relevant statistics over on my blog if you are interested.

        I’m not a criminologist, but I would refine your assumption about guns and increased confidence as follows:
        “A significant disparity of force makes aggressors more brazen.”

        After all, crime occurred before firearms were invented, and it still occurs even with no guns involved or where guns are banned. A criminal with a gun has achieved disparity of force vis a vis unarmed victims, but so has a strong man against a smaller woman, or a gang against one, or two men in an ally with a knife against a man in a wheelchair. Guns are a good way to achieve disparity of force, but not the only way.

        Logically I think we’d both agree that removing the disparity of force reduces the propensity for crime. I agree with you that most rational aggressors want to minimize chance and risk. So if you can even the odds somehow then it increases risk for the attacker and decreases the chance of aggression.

        You want to remove power from the attacker’s side of the balance. This is laudable but I see a lot of practical problems. Even removing guns from the equation — the easiest method to address — is hard. Private firearm ownership in Chicago or the UK or until recently in DC is basically illegal but gun crime still occurs. So does unarmed crime. Heck, there’s still violence even in super-max prisons.

        Removing other criminal methods to obtain disparity of force is even harder; do you forbid young men from working out in the gym to get strong? Do you forbid minorities from associating in groups of larger than 3? Do you impose a curfew? Do you forbid other weapons like knives (or spoons!) as the UK has done? I find all of these solutions to be troubling in a free society and difficult to implement even in a prison.

        Additionally, removing force from the attacker’s side of the ledger sheet is only effective if the attacker is a rational or calculating individual capable of accurately assessing risks. Many are, but people who are drunk, high, or desperate might not be deterred by even odds. Neither will animals.

        The other possibility is increasing the force of the defender; balance the scales in their favor. If a pair of attackers are faced with a skilled martial arts artist, then the disparity of force has been equalized. A taser can do the same thing for a young woman facing a burly man. For some threats, the only practical defensive tool might be a defensive handgun with a standard capacity magazine (unless you think young women jogging should carry six tazers).

        A third possibility is relying on some external force or third party to intervene and swiftly crush aggression. However, even if it were practical, I don’t want to live in a society where there is always a cop within 60 seconds. That sounds like an unpleasant police state to me. And while I avoid risky situations — don’t go looking for trouble, there’s enough out there that will find you — I think that handicapped people, smaller statured men and women, people walking alone, etc have a right to use public places, and I think that they have a right to self defense too.

        Thanks for approving comments. All too often “reasoned discourse” breaks out and comments are censored. I’m sure you have other readers and seeing a little debate forces them to think and make up their own minds on a complex issue.

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