Video: Road rage and gun control

I guess I’m not over this yet. I am NOT going to immerse myself in gun control or the gun culture, but this has been playing more and more on my mind as I’ve looked further into the issue. So I’ve still got one or two things to get out of my system. This one’s more about Australia than the US.

Quite a few people have offered the “why don’t they ban cars?” line in the gun control debate. Cars have been used as lethal weapons in some instances with courts deciding that the intent to kill was indeed deliberate. It’s quite a small number of cases compared to gun deaths, but it happens.

However, I think the car argument is a diversion in the debate on gun control. Pro-gun people seem to want to talk about one of these two issues only if you talk about the other as well, as if they’re inextricably linked. They’re not. They CAN and should be debated separately as one has nothing to do with the other.

People do use cars the wrong way, though. Here’s an Australian example shown on one of our current affairs TV shows late last year. The following video is truly scary stuff. The video goes for just over 8 minutes and I’d urge you to watch it all.

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Pro-gun people in Australia would like to see freer access to firearms. Some would like to see access to semi-automatic weapons and/or concealed carry laws introduced.

Sooooooooo, imagine the guy in the black ute with a gun. In fact, imagine both of these guys carrying guns.

How do you think this would have ended?

Road rage is a serious problem in Australia but personally speaking, I’d prefer that authorities crack down on drivers rather than permit everyone to carry firearms. Pro-gun types will argue that Mr Black Ute might think twice about his actions if he knows there’s a chance the other guy is armed. But if that’s the case, we have to assume Mr Black Ute is armed as well. Even if both these guys had weapons, my educated guess from seeing both men on the screen is that Mr Black Ute is going to act first and he’s not going to be backward about doing so.

And how would you like to be one of the motorists surrounding these guys? It was already bad enough for other motorists as the situation unfolded without firearms. What if you add some flying bullets into the mix? One of the things that gets missed in the gun debate here in Australia is the right that people who aren’t into guns have to the quiet enjoyment of their lives without the threat of people around them being armed. Paranoia about (fire)armed self-defence is one of the achilles heels when it comes to this issue and it’s one thing we’re (thankfully) free from to a large degree here in Australia.

Personally, I’m glad Australia is the way it is, with guns under a relative level of control. I’m glad they’re generally not carried unless they’re about to be used for a legitimate purpose. I don’t want people to feel as if they have to carry a gun because everyone else is, and I don’t want people like the guy in the silver ute facing the barrel of a gun if someone like Mr Black Ute goes off his rocker.

And yes, of course this bloke should be charged and taken off the road. It’s common sense. Throw the book at him. What he did was stupid beyond comprehension, but can you honestly say he deserved to die for it?

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Note

Keep your comments civil, please. Pay heed to the comments policy because it will be exercised without regard for which side of the debate you’re on. Warning first, then expulsion. This is intended to be an informed discussion, not a slanging match.

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20 Comments

  1. First, I am NOT saying that the two are linked, and I’ve not ever said so.

    I am saying that the common element is a person out of control and bent on destruction.

    Your argument that the number of deliberate car attacks is relatively small matches with the fact that the number of rage shootings/mass shootings is relatively small (back of the envelope figures – fewer than 50-60 per year average). Both are inflicted by a crazed antagonist and it’s my assertion that we should start with the crazed to stop these crimes because the absence of guns simply leads to arson, vehicle homicide or bombings. Mental health care should be more readily available and there should be less stigma attached. We should do more to stop these people before they hatch their plan.

    As far as overall gun crime, I may agree that guns are an efficiency that deserves attention. However, “control” as you put it, will be ineffective in the US because we have myriad guns already in circulation, and a 50-year-old gun shoots as straight as a new one. We’ve proven that laws against gun possession and gun purchase are ineffective (see Chicago, Washington, etc.). Let’s go in a different direction.

    It is my opinion that we can do two or three things in the US to curtail at least the availability of guns to people who cannot legally own them. Things that we’ve not done to date and I think that we are silly not to have done them in the past.

    1. Make the legal owners responsible for the crimes as a negligent accomplice. Some jurisdictions have made these charges in the past with mixed results. Codify this as law. “He stole my gun” is a common refrain; I consider this negligence, too. The only case when “ho stole my gun” would work would be if the rightful owner could prove that all reasonable safeguards were breached.

    2. Tax deductions or out right subsidies for gun safes. Why we haven’t done this in the past is beyond me. If our political leaders are really serious about gun control (which they aren’t, by the way), please explain why it costs a mint to lock the darn things up? There is no good answer as to why. Since this is (mostly) a car blog, this is the direct equivalent of the US mandate for circular sealed-beam headlights in the 1970’s. The reasons for the mandate were indefensible. Similar here: the reason that we can’t lock up the guns we have properly is for lack of a few dollars per household? Goodness gracious, I got a $1500 tax rebate to install a more efficient air conditioner on my house about four years ago to save energy. Lives aren’t worth the same consideration? IT BLOWS MY MIND. So simple, so doable, yet beyond the government wonks who would rather argue about guns to appear as if they are active. Wedge issue!!

    3. Enforce laws already on the books for gun registration and carry. We already have tons of gun control laws, even in a state like Texas which has a celebrated love for gun freedom. Make them stick. Confiscate the guns from people who abuse them. Destroy them if you’d like. Just do it, and quit wringing your hands about it.

    To recap:
    1. Rage/melee killings regardless of weapon are a relatively small portion of criminal homicides.
    2. Controlling the guns that we have will be difficult for years due to the number in circulation.
    3. We should start focusing on real solutions rather than passing new restrictions.
    4. Call our politicians to account for their lack of leadership.

    1. By 50-60 per year, I mean that 50-60 people are injured or killed each year in mass shootings. The number of instances is very small, perhaps fewer than three or four each year. Just to clarify.

    2. Eggs, you are correct that the genie is out of the bottle and you simply cannot ban guns without a huge backlash and driving it underground. Look at how effective prohibition or the war on drugs were.

      Firstly you need to create a culture of responsible gun ownership. The NRA needs to lead here in conjunction with a federal advertising campaign. This is maybe a 20 year program but it has been proven to work with drink driving, road safety and workplace safety here in Northern Ireland. The gun lobby needs to step up here and public figures need to create an atmosphere where it is ‘uncool’ to misuse firearms. Compulsory firearms awareness training to hold a permit – based on testimony from those affected by gun crime.

      Secondly impose curbs on gun advertising as there have been for alcohol and driving. Not a ban, however adverts should not glamorise guns for example “consider your man card renewed” (if the advert I saw was not faked).

      Thirdly promote strategies to make people understand that they are safe at home – for example making people aware police response times. Where I live I can have the police at my door within 3 minutes after a 999 call so I dont need a gun (and yes here in the UK we can buy and store guns – my neighbour has 3 guns and my father in law was a keen hunter and had 2 shotguns). A farmer with a 10 minute response time would likely feel much safer with a weapon in the house.

      Fourthly, for reasons I will not speculate upon, the USA is more likely to have mass school shootings, a sad fact, but a fact none the less. Instead of spending money on guns, training and police, make schools more secure. Secure doors to the outside, a plan and a safe room (perhaps the assembly hall) where students can be moved to until the gunman (its always men?) is stopped.
      Fithly enforcement. Simply make corporations and shops responsible for the weapons they sell. For example gun cabinets should come with a proof of purchase. No proof of purchase – no gun. If a gun supplied by a dealer is used in any kind of crime, unless it has been reported stolen the dealer to be fined 10% of turnover (not profit). If a gun is used in a crime and has not been reported stolen by the owner, the owner loses their right to bear arms for a period (like driving drunk) and is fined 10% of their salary. That tends to focus minds.

      Lastly limit the amount of ammunition a clip can carry to 5 rounds and limit the number of clips an individual can hold. All weapons must be single shot.

      Don’t look to politicians, look to yourselves for the answers. Guns are not cool, toys, status symbols or the first response to a problem.

      Great satisfaction can be gained from the use of guns in the appropriate manner – however the US needs to give weapons the respect that they deserve.

  2. Eggsngrits:
    I don’t really understand how the ability to own weapons will have a positive affect on the safety of a community.

    As for myself, I have lived both in the states and in Sweden. It was quite a quite shocking revelation to realize that there was actually a school cop at my high school (or even security personel). That thing is unheard of in Sweden.

    Also, growing up in a suburb in Sweden, I am used to the front door being unlocked when you are at home (during the day). This is the case in many places in the rest of the world. When we lived in the states, such a thing would have been unthinkable.

    There are many parallell cases. Such as having neighbourhood security companies keeping suburban neighbourhoods safe. Or gated communities. Both unheard of in Sweden.

    Then, let’s look at some statistics: Homicide rate is less than 2 per 100,000 people in Sweden. In the US, it’s 4.8%, 68 percent of these were with a firearm.

    Yet, we have 1.9 cops per 1000 citizien in Sweden, while you have 2.3 in the US.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the US, but I don’t get obsession with guns. It’s clearly not working…

    1. Not sure what your point is on either of those, Sledge.

      Criminals will always find access to these sorts of weapons, it’s true, but no-one in the Swedish video tried to stop them except the cops. End result, no massive crossfire, no bystanders killed, some property taken and recovered. The issue is as much cultural as it is a gun issue. Are you suggesting that one bystander with a handgun would have stopped these guys?

      The hammer thing – completely and utterly irrelevant to the question of whether or not masses of people should have access to assault style weapons and high capacity magazines.

      As mentioned above, it’s as much a cultural thing as it is a gun thing.

  3. No – I didnt write out my points clearly – it was food for thought.

    In the first video, which you did see my point- criminals and people that do not follow the rules will always have guns. No, I wouldnt suggest pulling out a handgun when police are involved but I say do have a gun to protect yourself and your family.

    The second point which you saw as utterly irrelevant is a point to show that lawmakers running out to pass new laws to make the ignorant masses feel more safe is silly. I am sure they will pass something but it will not actually make people more safe that is my point. I am sure you and I will never see eye to eye on this and much of this has to do with our cultures and experiences.

    look at this when you get a chance: http://www.gleamingedge.com/mirrors/onsheepwolvesandsheepdogs.html

    1. Just read it. What an appalling, demeaning and insulting piece of rubbish. If this is typical of the American psyche when it comes to society and guns (which I believe and sincerely hope that it’s NOT), then your gun laws aren’t the problem, believe me.

      That guy thinks guns are what makes you strong, powerful? All it shows (along with Wayne LaPierre’s speech after Sandy Hook) is how much fear there is in day-to-day life there.

      I think Eggs’ points above about different ways to approach gun ownership are fantastic (sorry I haven’t commented on them earlier, Eggs). They are a wonderful place to start. More than that, though, I think the US needs generational change when it comes to attitudes about both society and guns. The air of superiority and self-righteousness that permeates that trash gleamingedge article are typical of the problem, not of the solution.

      Let me give you an example…… a true example of a death that happened in the week after Sandy Hook.

      Two guys get into a traffic altercation, for whatever reason. One of the guys leaves the scene and goes into his home. The other guy, travelling with his wife in the car, doesn’t take this opportunity to leave the scene and take the heat out of the situation. Instead, he pulls out his gun and waits. The other guy, meanwhile, has retrieved his gun from inside the house and come back outside. A firefight between the two “sheepdogs” ensues and can you who gets shot?

      The wife.

      The mentality that governed this situation isn’t responsible. It’s not admirable. It’s not courageous or heroic. The whole situation is simply tragic and because it was so avoidable, it’s downright stupid.

  4. Swade,
    I dont think this is a demeaning article as he says in the article most people fit nicely right in the middle. Most would prefer to pretend there is not bad people and pass a few laws to feel better about themselves.

    Here is a recent example where a gun protected a lady and her kids: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/mother-of-two-surprises-burglar-with-five-gunshots/nTnGR/

    to your example: Those guys probably should not have had a gun to start with and who knows maybe there were even laws barring them??

    I know you wanted to vent about the terrible shooting but I hope you can go back to cars and stuff 🙂 I have always enjoyed your writing but in your article where you said bullshit, over and over it really bothered me and not did not ring true for me.

    1. I don’t know how you couldn’t find that article demeaning, unless you consider yourself a ‘sheepdog’. To characterise a firefighter who doesn’t use guns, or a nurse who doesn’t use guns, or a business leader, bridge-building engineer or anyone else who advances and cares for society – but without using a gun – as people who are meek little sheep hiding behind the legs of a gun-toting guardian is absolutely demeaning. The imagery he uses is very evocative and deliberately so (just like Mr LaPierre’s “monsters” speech).

      It’s not a matter of pretending there are no bad people. Nobody does that and nobody’s advocating that. It’s a matter of building a better, more caring society, one that helps people get the best out of themselves instead of marginalising them and yes, one that properly resources its law enforcement and punishment arms.

      I’m not anti-gun on the whole. They have their place, for sure, but that place is as a privilege rather than as a right, and only for those properly trained, licenced and committed to securing them properly. And only certain types of weapons, too.

      Why does this matter to me? I can’t change American laws or influence anyone’s thoughts.

      However, there is a gun lobby here in Australia that would like to have laws similar to those in America – for concealed carry and access to semi-automatic weapons. This is of interest to me because I don’t want to live the way you live over there. We have good laws here and we live well, on the whole. I hope things stay that way.

      This is not, and won’t become, a guns site. But I won’t be quiet about it when it’s on my mind, either. I know I’ll lose some readers. Maybe I’ll lose some friends over it, too. As the old saying goes, you’ve got to stand for something or your going to fall for anything.

    2. How did you even end up on a Saab-related blog? You are very sure others opinions are stupid and regarded as bullshit but cant elaborate further about what “rings true” for you.

      1. Montahue,
        I am assuming your comment was meant for me. How did I end up on a Saab related blog? Answer: Myself and plenty of Saab enthusiasts own both firearms and Saabs in the USA and have enjoyed Swade’s writings for years.

        I never said Swade’s opinions were stupid but tried to point out things from a different point of view. Swade was the one who called “bullshit” in his first article. Many who have never been a victim of a crime or have seen things as I have may not understand why someone would want a gun to protect themselves. In other countries, people do not have the right to protect themselves with a firearm and have to trust that someone from their government can arrive in time to save them but many of us in the USA do not want to rely on someone else to protect us.

        1. I’m going to close comments after this for two reasons

          1) because I don’t want this to descend into the personal and whilst I like Monty a lot, I know his consumption habits might take us there and he’s the last guy I want to ban from here. Call it preventative maintenance.

          2) because no-one’s actually addressed the scenario I posed in this post. No-one wants to say out loud that it’s OK if one of those guys dies.

          I called ‘bullshit’ not because some people feel they need arms to protect themselves. Why is that pro-gun people always assume you want to take away every gun in the country, that gun control means the government is taking over everything and will jackboot their way into your living room?

          I called ‘bullshit’ because the base on which America’s gone so gun crazy – fear – is unwarranted in a civil society. And because some of the weapons people are buying (assault weapons) are totally unnecessary in a civilised society. Because licencing and registration are not only right, they’re a baseline responsibility. Because gun ownership isn’t a right regardless of what an antiquated, manipulated, and often misinterpreted second amendment says. It’s a responsibility (of the most grave kind).

          This whole debate started because a woman collected a whole bunch of guns she didn’t need (out of concocted fear and paranoia). Because her son, who had a mental condition but otherwise had never been any trouble to anyone, had a bad day and got hold of her guns and used them to kill her and 25 or 26 other people, 20 of them only 6 years old. Putting a guard in that school would not have saved Mrs Lanza and would have presented a 30% chance, at best, of saving those teachers and kids. It’s a band-aid solution to a problem that should be addressed at the root – what’s making people go off at one another and why is it so easy for them to just grab a gun and do their nut? That scenario happens every damn day in your country, multiple times a day, and it’s one that could be addressed with some commitment from leaders and the population.

          The NRA solution? Make everyone more scared of ‘monsters’.

          It’s amazing but every time I read something from the gun lobby, they prove Michael Moore right over and over again. I don’t like that guy’s methods 70% of the time I see his work, but his baseline premise is spot on every time.

  5. Swade, I too respect your views, but I believe you are way off on your reasoning about guns. I have been a victim of a gun crime, and thank God I had my licensed weapon on me at the time, otherwise I would more than likely be dead right now, along with my wife. I’ll spare you the details, but it was not pretty for the perp, and incredibly scary for me. Not everyone who owns guns is a sick psychopath. BTW, the biggest mass school killing in the US happened in the 20’s…and it was a result of dynamite, not guns.

    1. Saabdog, I’m pleased you and your wife stayed safe in what was surely a scary experience. What I’d like to see considered in a real public debate is the circumstance that led to your situation – what caused the perp to do what he did, why he had access to a weapon and why you felt compelled to carry one. As far as I can tell, those questions are being asked by many in the US, too, so I don’t think I’m out of touch at all.

      Please don’t think I presume everyone with a gun is a sick psychopath – I’ve never said that and I don’t believe anything close to that.

      I also don’t believe that more guns are the answer, as the NRA and some others would seek to promote. It’s going to be tough for the US to re-shape its thinking on these issues (there’s more than just gun control at issue here) and I don’t know if the political will exists for it to happen or if the appetite is there to challenge the way society thinks about a number of issues.

      In the end, it doesn’t affect me directly except for when people with the same views as the NRA start to advocate strongly for similar “rights” here.

      1. Unfortunately, there is no answer to your questions about why evil exists, and no gun laws will solve this. The perp who held a gun to my head had a rap sheet a mile long — and he was only 19 years old. The gun he used was a 9mm stolen during a home break in. After his attempted robbery against me, it took about 20 minutes for the police to show up.

        Swade, ask yourself this one simple question: if you are someone contemplating an armed robbery or a mass murder, do you rob a gun store where you know the chances of getting killed are certain, or do you go to a “gun free zone” (like a school or post office) where you can kill at will with little or no opposition? I think the answer is obvious. If one person in that school had a fire arm, the outcome could have been very different. Yes, I am convinced more firearms in the hands of competent and trained gun owners DO make things safer for everyone.

        My life changed forever the night I fought for my life, and I have no illusions about the fact that criminals will ALWAYS be able to acquire guns illegally (even in Sweden, England or NZ) no matter how many laws are passed or if guns are “banned”. Because of this fact, the question as to why I felt compelled to carry a fire arm and be prepared to protect myself and my family is academic. I shudder to think what would certainly have been the outcome had I not applied for a concealed carry permit and gone through the training required to do so. I’m grateful to the 2nd amendment and the state of Tennessee…otherwise I would not be here to read or write this post today.

        1. I disagree.

          The questions I’m posing aren’t about why there’s evil in the world. I think people need to get past this classification of people as either good or evil. A week/month/year before the Aurora shooting, that guy was probably classified by all who met him as a good person. I think there’s a tiny, tiny speck percentage of people who are psychologically wired at birth in a way that we might characterise as ‘evil’. Other people end up doing bad stuff because of things that happen, choices that are made either by them or by others over a long period of time.

          The questions I’m asking are about society – why it has got to a point that people are exposed to that? And whether anyone cares. I work in the education sector and I see schools running breakfast programs, lunch programs, etc, because the parents don’t feed their kids. Either they haven’t got the money or choose to spend it on other things. We applaud the schools for doing this, but who’s educating or confronting the parents? The breakfast program is a necessary band-aid but it doesn’t get to the root cause for the bad start these kids are getting in life.

          The US is a wonderful place and it’s produced some wonderful things, but the dog-eat-dog nature of society in some parts of the country does you no favours. The “me” nature of things is leaving some desperate people behind and the 2nd Amendment – written at a time and in circumstances that in no way resemble 2013 – has loaded everyone up with guns. It might just be the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy.

          About Sandy Hook and the possibility that someone with a gun could have stopped him. Maybe there’s a remote chance they could have, but I don’t think it’s necessarily the case AT ALL. Think about it….. if you’re going to shoot up your local school then it’s quite likely you know the basic layout, where you want to go, where the guard might be. Schools have multiple entrances and exits. And then, of course, there’s also the fact that there was an armed guard at Columbine back in 1999, which didn’t stop the shooting (nor did the campus police at Virginia Tech). What’s next? A gun in every classroom? And then there’s the fact that a visibly armed atmosphere is not conducive to learning, which is what the kids are there for. And then there’s the irony of pro-gun people who complain about the possibility of a police state whilst advocating that everyone has guns (leading to a quasi-police state but without the mandatory training).

          More guns aren’t the answer. Better gun laws are a start. Here’s an amazing thing I read the other day – you can be on a terrorist no-fly watchlist in America and still buy a gun (it might be only in some states, I don’t know, but it shouldn’t be that way at all). You don’t think that law needs work? You yourself mention “competent and trained” gun owners, yet where’s the requirement for that training to actually take place?

          You can have more guns there if you’re willing to fight for it but I don’t want it here. I’d rather spend my time, energy and tax money on a more inclusive society.

          Here’s another question I’ve pondered more than once in the last few weeks – what effect do pro-gun people think them being armed has on people who don’t own guns and don’t want to own guns?

          1. Swade, this will be my last response concerning this topic, mainly because its traumatic to relive my experience of a violent robbery involving a gun. But I do want to address some of your points, see below in no certain order.

            Yes, the 2nd amendment may seem like an old outdated law that’s not relative in 2013. And many things in the world have changed since the 18th century…but unfortunately not human nature. The 2nd amendment was passed to protect citizens from the evils of an all powerful government where checks and balances are no longer in effect and tyranny has taken root. World history has proven time and time again that evil men and governments do commit atrocities against their citizenry. An armed populace greatly discourages this from happening…and the argument that “this could never happen today” does not hold water.

            I know of no state that does not require training for a carry permit. I’m also not aware about people who are on the nations no fly list being able to pass a background check before being able to get a fire arm…if this is he case, these laws should be changed or strengthened.

            I also have close friends who are neighbors. They are HUGE anti-gun advocates and have in the past chided me about having and carrying a fire arm and preached about the evil of guns. A few years ago (before my encounter with the above referred to armed robber), the wife of this friend called me screaming that someone was kicking in her back door one evening while she was at home alone begging me to bring my gun and help, which I did. Fortunately, the person attempting to break in left before I arrived. She got very lucky, and I can assure you, they no longer feel uncomfortable about being around someone who carries a fire arm.

            Schools can be protected without children being exposed to guns — or being aware they are even in a school. The airlines do this with plain clothed sky marshals everyday all around the world. Plain clothed officers would not be a target like an armed guard in a uniform as these officers would not even be known to the students. If this system was in place at a number of school shootings, I’m convinced the death tolls would have been greatly reduced. When was the last time you heard of an Israeli jet being hijacked? The system works. Aren’t our children’s lives worth protecting from these monsters?

            Sorry, Swade, I’ve travelled all over the world, even studied in Europe during my senior year in college — and I’ve yet to see a country or society that wasn’t dog-eat dog to some extent.

            If you ever make it to Memphis, please look me up. I’ll take you to a gun range and let you shoot to your hearts content…you can drive my Saab 9-5, and if you have time maybe even give me a hand restoring the 1986 Saab 9000 languishing in my warehouse.

  6. The gun crazy’s argument -why don’t they ban cars? is the most silly of their arguments. Yes cars are deadly both for those in it and for those that get hit by one, may it be accidentally or by purpose (purpous killings by car doesn’t happen often sice if you want to kill someone it’s easier just to use a rock)
    But since cars are deadly there is organisations like this http://se.euroncap.com/se/home.aspx that strives make them as safe as possible in the hands of a guy that is a bad driver or has his thoughts elsewhere but on the road after a crappy day at work. There are all sorts regulations for design and electronic stuff in a modern car with the soul purpose to make it less deadly. By heck there are even car manufacturers that implements crash cushions to make the front and hood of a car a bit less deadly for a innocent guy passing the street. This should in the future benefit everyone in risk of getting murdered by the crazies that prefers killing masses of people with their Ovlov or other brand that further develops this technology.
    At the same time this is happening in the car industry the opposite is going on in the gun industry.