Home / Bulletproof Backpacks? A Sad Commentary of our Times

Bulletproof Backpacks? A Sad Commentary of our Times

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A new invention by a couple of dads in Boston should have this country up in arms, so to speak, about the Second Amendment. According to a local news report, these fathers have invented a bulletproof backpack.

Now, it's come to this for going to school in America. What are next, bulletproof uniforms and teachers armed and trained to shoot to kill?

The Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights is a touchy subject for people who like to carry guns, and say those who want to take them away are being "un-American."

This country owes it to the children to take a hard look at the Second Amendment, and see it for what it's worth. To put it plainly, let's go right to the source: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

But those who sympathize with the National Rifle Association are probably screaming, "From my cold, dead hands," by now. The NRA also stands firm that "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

A gun is a weapon used for the purpose of killing — whether it's an innocent animal (sorry, hunters, you don't kill, you thin their numbers), or it's someone breaking into your home and you grab the gun from the nightstand — nothing more, nothing less.

To quote the legendary British comedian Eddie Izzard, "The NRA says 'guns don't kill people, people do.' But I think that the gun helps. You know? I think it helps. I think that if you just walked around going 'Bang!' you wouldn't kill too many people would you? You'd have to be really dodgy on the heart for that to work."

But, back on point here, it's sad to think that these fathers want their children to be mindful of the dangers of what could happen at any moment of any day instead of focused on why their in school to begin with — to learn.

The backpacks will sell for $175, and the bulletproof material in them will stop a number of bullets, including 9-millimeter hollow points, according to the news story. One of the inventors, Joe Curran, said the backpacks are a defensive move, and are not playing up the paranoia that schools are unsafe, according to the news station.

He said he and Mike Pelonzi thought of the idea as they watched the events of Columbine High School unfold on television. The Columbine massacre took place April 20, 1999, when two teenagers killed 12 students and one teacher before killing themselves, in Jefferson County, Colorado, near Littleton and Denver. The perpetrators, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, used the following weapons during the assault: an Intratec TEC-DC9, a Hi-Point 995 Carbine, a Savage 67H pump-action shotgun, and a Stevens 311D double-barreled sawed-off shotgun, and a number of homemade bombs.

On April 16, 2007, the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, became the scene of the deadliest school shooting in modern U.S. history. The massacre topped the Columbine shooting, as Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and injured 25 more in two separate shootings before killing himself.

Curran said to NewsCenter 5 out of Boston, "I want to keep my kid safe. I don't care what you do — if you want to fight the good fight or fix the world's hurts, I can't help you, but my kids are going to be safe because of these backpacks."

The backpacks are a sad commentary on the way this society treats guns on the streets.

Want to really keep the children in this country safe?

Let's get stricter gun laws on the books, and start another conversation about what exactly the Second Amendment means when guns in schools have children carrying bulletproof backpacks.

That conversation can do more for them than bulletproof book carriers ever could. It could save their lives before the next bullets take flight.

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About S. Manley

  • Tracy

    I think this is a great idea, there have been 3 school shootings in the last three weeks. This world is getting crazy, why not give have something to help.

  • Dustin

    Thanks for your comments STM. I would venture to guess that at least 51% of Australian politicians probably agree with you or the new gun restrictions probably would not have been able to take place.

    Some interesting info that you may not be aware of however is that although more than 640,000 registered guns made illegal by the new laws were confiscated from law abiding Australians & destroyed when the new restrictions went into effect, the criminals still have their illegal guns because they don’t ever bother to register them. Australians are not allowed to have the guns that they are still allowed to own (with permit) ready for self defense – they have to keep their gun locked up someplace separate from the ammunition, although criminals can break into a home & reach the homeowner in seconds with a perfectly functional gun. Since the new restrictions in Australia went into effect armed robberies are up 69%, assault with guns up 28%, gun murders up 19%, home invasions up 21%. If taking away some of the rights of law abiding Australians helped reduce crime, than perhaps there would be little to disagree with. However, in my opinion the results simply don’t justify the means, especially when the results are so overtly negative.

    Australia is not unusual in this result. Every single country & city that has done similar things has had the same type of negative result. Criminals really do prefer unarmed victims – they are emboldened when they know that they are safe from their victims. In the US criminals are more afraid of running into an armed homeowner than the Police (at least in the areas where guns are not banned), which is the way it should be. If we were to remove that deterrent, we would most likely have a massive increase as well, just like we have seen in local areas like DC & other cities that have instituted local gun bans.

    I concede that the 100% of the result can’t be tied exclusively to the new gun laws, as there could be other variables in the mix. I just propose that the results make it look like no gun ban that I have ever been aware of has ever had the intended result of reducing crime. The only result I have ever seen is law abiding citizens loosing some of their guns & rights, and the criminals taking advantage of newly disarmed victims. Criminals break the law by definition, they laugh at gun laws & are in full support of them.

    I saw a really nice DC gun rights poster the other day that states the situation nicely. It showed a woman holding a gun aimed at a would-be rapist. The caption said something to the effect of “This rapist won’t have to worry about disarming this would-be victim, because the politicians will do it for him.” I’m for freedom of choice for law abiding citizens – I choose to be armed, and I’m fine with the fact that many choose not to be. I hope I never need my gun for anything other than target shooting, just like I hope I never need my fire extinguisher, fire alarm, or homeowners insurance. I hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. I’m not afraid or paranoid, I’m simply prepared.

  • Alexis

    Besides a bullet-proof backback to protect school children, parents should consider issuing their kids the bottom portion of a kitchen pressure cooker, capable of withstanding most bullets, bombs and fists, as a protective helmet. Seriously, this would be a great idea in that each pressure cooker pot comes with an attached handle and hook eye that can be used to hang the device on the sides of their desks for instant use, or easily attached to a student’s belt. In an emergency, one can use the pot as a weapon to fend off attackers or as a cooking vessel in event of earthquakes and natural disasters. A frying-pan may be used for protection for the student’s backside, not only against bullets, but swats from the principal’s paddle when they are tardy to class.

  • STM

    Dustin, hand guns were always difficult to own in Australia if they weren’t used for sports shooting. It was always different to the US, because you really had to go through a battery of police checks.

    Rifles were a different story. I have had guns in my house, and have been around guns and used them in the country having grown up in Australia, where they are still common out in the country or up in the bush.

    We never considered them as a means of protection, because we have never been as fearful as you guys in relation to crime. That’s the big difference: Aussies never really had guns as protection – except from some wild animals.

    So when the government banned some semi-automatic weapons and made it harder for people to buy guns, it wasn’t that much of an issue in the cities. Most of us welcomed it. And country people can still quite easily get licences for them.

    I was in a gun shop recently buying something for a mate, and while I was there (15 minutes), two ex-Army WWII vintage Lee-Enfield .303 rifles and a German-built Mauser, all in full working order, changed hands, so it’s not how most Americans think it is. Getting gun licences is harder in town, but you can still get ’em and there are still plenty of them around.

    The new laws were designed to stop lunatics getting hold of high-powered semi-autos, and since the ban – in 10 years, touch wood, there hasn’t been a mass shooting of the Port Arthur/VT kind here. That, I think, is where the idea should head in the US – not in a total ban.

    Crims from organised crime gangs in Melbourne are still shooting the shit out of each other, mind you, but there are different feelings about that – some even regard that as a community service. I don’t because people can get caught in the crossfire, but so far they haven’t. Mostly, the shootings have been in the safety of the crims’ own homes and cars (or each other’s).

  • STM

    Joe: “edged weapon violence is an epidemic in Europe.”


    And in answer to a sort of concerned citizen: Yes, the rate is proportional to population. The US has by far and away the highest rate, especially in gun related deaths – it is way, way above the nearest western country (about three times higher), which I believe is New Zealand.

    The rate puts it on a par with some of the world’s most lawless third-world countries.

  • Joe

    A UK company has for sale a KNIFE proof school uniform, edged weapon violence is an epidemic in Europe.

  • A Sort-Of Concerned Citizen

    You should all be ashamed of the fact that the United States has the highest rate of homicide – gun or otherwise – in the western world

    The US population also dwarves that of other countries. On a proportional level, does the US still have such a higher level of homicide?

  • Dustin

    I’m glad to hear that you enjoy target shooting too. I can understand your decision to not want to keep a gun in your home, I feel everyone should have a choice, and would never want to force anyone to have a gun who does not want one. Sounds like your friend is a good guy – if he lived in Arizona I’d even ask who it was so that I could look into his class. I really enjoy training as there is always something new to learn.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I do enjoy shooting. I have a friend who’s a retired police lieutenant (I live in the US, by the way) and now trains IRS security guards part-time at the local range. I sat in on one of his classes once, got to watch the guards practice and then had a go myself. He keeps saying we ought to go and shoot off a few rounds, but we never seem to get around [no pun intended] to it.

    Although I enjoy it, I would be very uncomfortable having a gun in the house. Probably because I don’t come from a gun culture.

  • Dustin

    Thanks Dr Dreadful. I’ll concede that gun crime in the UK did not necessarily increase only because guns were banned. It is probably a number of factors. I do personally believe the gun ban was probably a big factor, but it can’t be proven so I’ll agree to disagree.

    I truly enjoy discussing political issues with folks like yourself who are able to have an open minded discussion without making it personal. I hope you have a nice weekend, and if you get a chance, go to your local range & do some target shooting. You may find it is a sport that you can really enjoy. I plan to do some target shooting myself this weekend. 🙂

  • Dr Dreadful

    Dustin, thanks for your well-worded response: you’re turning out to be a much more reasonable fellow than I thought you were when you came out with the old “cold dead hands” line!

    I do, however, think you missed the point of my caution, which was that, in the case of the UK, your premise was flawed. I can’t speak for New York or DC – I’m sure your figures are sound. As for Australia, if memory serves me STM has addressed the ban there on other threads where the gun issue has been discussed. You might be interested to look his comments up, if you have the time and patience.

    Again, all I’m saying is that gun crime in the UK did not increase simply because guns were banned.

  • Dustin

    oops – correction to #80. I made an error when I said “assault rifle” – I should have said “assault weapon.” An “assault rifle” is a well defined term that is defined as any select fire fully automatic rifle such as an M-16 or AK47. The “assault weapon” term was redefined in the Clinton ban to cause confusion & make people think that it was a ban on “assault rifle’s” which are already highly regulated & restricted. It is virtually impossible to get a license to own an assault rifle, but since the ban on “assault weapons” has expired I can now once again buy an “evil looking” semi-automatic black rifle with an evil pistol grip such as an AR-15.

  • Dustin

    Response to #78
    Thanks Dr Dreadful, very well said. I too agree that statistical correlation does not always equal causation. That is very true. With something like crime how can we look at any one thing & say it caused all the increase or decrease in that area. It would be ridiculous. There could be thousands of variables. The only true way to find out would be to have a test area & a control area where all the other variables are held constant except for the variable being tested. For example, if we could have two UK’s, one where a handgun ban was introduced, and a 2nd where it was not, but all other variables were held equal. Then we would finally know the answer to the age old question – do gun bans help reduce crime. Unfortunately such a test environment is all but impossible to create, so all we can do is look at what changed at the same time the gun ban was introduced, and say that one or a combination of those things caused the increase in violence.

    The one thing I do know to be true is, that crime has never decreased in an area where gun bans were introduced. So banning so called “assault rifles” (a term redefined by the now expired Clinton gun ban to mean any normal semi automatic rifle that has 2 or more “evil looking” features defined in the ban, such as being black & having a pistol grip) did not help. Banning handguns in the UK, Washington DC, New York, Australia, etc, did not help. Such laws only make it more difficult for law abiding victims to defend themselves. In all cases gun bans have had a correlation of a rapid spike in violent crime & gun related crime, which makes the correlation hard to ignore, but as you said, it is not conclusive.

  • Dustin

    Ray Ellis: – I’m pro choice on abortion as long as it isn’t a late term abortion – I can’t imagine someone wanting to shred up an alive baby that is already finished developing into a child – at that point I believe the child already has its own right to life. Why is a mother who dumps her baby in a dumpster a criminal, while a doctor can abort the same baby a day earlier & call it abortion? I personally don’t like smoke, but I’m for free choice of business owners to decide on their own smoking policy & the free choice of their customers to choose to patronize the place or not. A “criminal” as defined by current gun laws is any convicted felon, as they loose many rights such as the right to vote & the right to keep & bear arms. Since Felon’s already are not able to buy guns by any legal means, there is no point in additional gun restrictions. The criminals break the law when they buy the guns on the black market, just like they break the law when they commit violent crime. We should lock up violent criminals & throw away the key.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Look at the UK – since the gun ban was introduced violent crime has increased by more than 40%.

    I do look at the UK, frequently, because I’m from it. A word of caution about this commonly-used pro-gun talking point. While I agree with you that the British handgun ban – introduced in a piece of knee-jerk legislation after the Dunblane school massacre – has done nothing to reduce or combat gun-related crime (the 40% increase refers to gun-related crime, not general violent crime as you state – although that also has risen dramatically in recent years), correlation in this case does not equal causation.

    Britain has never had a high instance of private gun ownership. So, criminals have never really had to worry about whether their victims are armed, because 999 times out of 1000 they aren’t/weren’t.

    The reasons for the rise in violent and gun-related crime have their roots in a broad range of complex social issues, and we’re still trying to figure them all out so that we can effectively do something about the problem.

  • Are you pro-choice, Dustin? And how do you feel about smoking bans in public places? And finally, who determines what constitutes a “criminal” when restricting gun ownership?

  • Dustin

    Response to #68.
    Thanks Dr Dreadful. Yes it truly is a classic. No truer words have ever been said – it makes patriotic blood pump through my veins, just by saying them. Our founding fathers knew what they were doing when they created the bill of rights. As you know, a government who fears armed citizens is truly a government to be feared. I have no problem with the government restricting guns from criminals. It’s outright bans on gun ownership/bearing by law abiding US citizens that I don’t like. And don’t tell me that there isn’t any place in the US that does that. Look at DC, New York, and other cities like that where only the thugs have handguns. Thugs prefer it that way as it makes them feel safer to work their craft. The Brady folks & anti-gun groups like them won’t rest until all guns have been taken away from the law abiding citizens. I won’t rest until all the non-constitutional gun bans are done away with. Who is the government of DC & New York to tell a woman that she can’t carry a handgun to protect herself from rape? Don’t they know what the word infringe means? What happened to free choice? It works with abortion, why not gun ownership?

  • Dustin

    oops – correction to post #73 – I accidentally called the “gun free zone” a “gun safe zone” – I must have replaced free with safe due to the fact so many people “feel safe” in a gun free zone. Take the administrator at VT who stated that the students there would “feel safer” knowing that there would not be any students there with guns (stated after Virginia legislation failed to pass which would have allowed students with a CCW permit to carry on their campus). After the shooting they stated that the VT police couldn’t be everywhere protect everyone at all times. Why do you think we want to be free to protect ourselves?

  • Dustin

    response to #72
    Gun control advocates love to state that the US has a higher rate of Homicide than any civilized western nation. The thing they miss out on is that it isn’t caused by the so-called “lack” of gun control (by the way, how is more than 20,000 gun laws in the US not enough gun control?). The real cause is different reporting standards. Most other countries simply are not using the same method to count. Take the UK for instance. They don’t count any death as a homicide until a case has been proven to be homicide & the case is closed as solved. For non-homicide violent crime victims they don’t even count statistics when the same victim is hit more than once in a given year. Trying to compare US crime to other countries directly is like comparing apples and oranges – if the statistics are not created the same way they simply don’t match.

    Many studies have been conducted in specific locations where gun control has been introduced to get true results of the legislation. Not a single one ever was able to produce any evidence that the legislation helped, although there are many that prove that violent crime actually increased after the ban was introduced. Why don’t the gun ban advocates recognize these simple truths?

  • Dustin

    Response to #69 – One problem is that the Brady campaign & most other gun control groups have the ultimate goal of banning all guns – they’ve stated so themselves. They know that they can’t achieve their goal in a single ban as it would be rejected. Instead they target individual groups one at a time. First those who like semi-automatic AR-15’s. Many hunters are fine with that since most of them have never tried shooting one, and don’t realize it’s simply a normal semi-automatic rifle with 2 or more “evil” looking cosmetic changes such as being black. They feel “safe” to allow the ban of some guns that they have never tried. They don’t realize that the gun banning groups would never take their hunting rifle away without first calling it a sniper rifle. The other problem is the simple fact that no gun bans have ever been proven to work, so what is the point of having more? In the columbine event 17 different gun laws were broken. Also, the gun safe zone (what a JOKE – what criminal obeys a gun safe zone?) & the don’t attempt to kill anyone laws were broken.

    Look at the UK – since the gun ban was introduced violent crime has increased by more than 40%. Look at Washington DC & other cities that have complete handgun gun bans – after the ban was introduced crime skyrocketed, while before the gun ban crime was actually decreasing along with the rest of the US. Criminals feel safer knowing that all their victims will be defenseless. Surveys show that criminals are more afraid into running into an armed victim than the police. Why do you think so many tragic events have happened in gun free zones where they know that they’ll have no opposition?

  • Silver Surfer

    Dustin, the US has by a huge margin the highest rate of homicide of any civilised western nation (and Dave, don’t come back here citing Honduras and Colombia – they don’t count). It’s also the only one with truly open gun laws. Do you reckon there could be a correlation between the two, or do we have to be in denial about this for eternity.

    Keep your guns by all means – we all know you love ’em and don’t feel safe without them and fair enough, but possibly you could just make it harder for idiots to get hold of them. That’s not that hard, is it?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I went to the bulletproof baby site you recommended. When there, all I could think about was how many children would be alive now in Israel had they had such protection. One, a little infant named Shalhevet Pass was murdered in her father’s arms in Hevron six years ago. Instead of a six year old daughter, Mr. Pass has had six years of grief, not to mention years of harassment from the IDF and the Shaba”k goons…

    Because of South Syrian terrorists in this country, there is definitely a market for these products here…

  • dave

    check out the range of bullet proof baby gear over at http://www.bulletproofbaby.net … shocking!

  • You don’t know when to stop, do you, Dustin? If you’d actually read the article, you would have noticed that nowhere does the author advocate banning guns. He calls for a discourse about restricting certain weapons in certain places. That’s a big difference.
    But you have to go on and on with tired cliches about prying your weapon from your cold dead hands.Interesting you never mention that a bulletproof shield might give a kid an added measure of protection.

  • Dr Dreadful

    If someone wants to take it away they’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands.

    I can’t believe someone actually used that phrase on here. Classic…!

  • Dustin

    By the way, what would be wrong with allowing some teachers who choose to do so, to get training & then be allowed to carry concealed? Imagine if there were an armed teacher at Columbine or VT. It may or may not have been helpful, but why not allow them to have a fighting chance to save themselves & their students? We allow banks to protect our money with armed guards. Why don’t we allow teachers to protect themselves & our most valuable asset – our children, if they choose to do so? We know there are valiant teachers out there. Look at the professor who put himself in harms way to protect his students? Would he not have had a better chance if he had a gun? Perhaps he could have brought that rampage to an early end. Perhaps not. But give him a fighting chance for crying out loud.

  • Dustin

    I also just can’t pass up mentioning the authors mention of the so called “gun lobby” like it is just some organization to be dismissed. There are about 10 Million Americans who consider themselves NRA members even if their membership is not quite up to date. The NRA is a group of Americans who are fighting to take back their gun rights. I shouldn’t need a “license” to be able to exercise my right to bear arms, either concealed or open carry. It should only be a crime to use a gun while committing a crime, not for just having a gun. That is as silly as requiring a license to walk around with a bat just because you could kill someone by hitting them over the head with it. “The right of the PEOPLE to keep & BEAR arms shall NOT be infringed! What part of infringe don’t the anti gun nuts understand? My second amendment right protects my right to free speech (1st amendment). They go hand in hand – take away one, and eventually you’ll loose the other.

  • Dustin

    Has the author of this article already forgotten about the prohibition? How about the war on drugs? Why does the author think making it illegal to own a gun would keep guns out of a criminals hands? Criminals break the law by definition. They LAUGH at gun laws. They prefer unarmed victims. We can’t even keep illegal drugs or alcohol away from criminals, much less guns that already exist in the hundreds of millions in the US alone, not to mention the world supply. Any decent thug knows how to get his hand on a gun. Taking away my right as a law abiding US citizen to defend myself with my gun without breaking the law is foolish & idiotic. Let each man & woman decide for themselves how they wish to defend their family. As for me & my house – I will always have a gun. If someone wants to take it away they’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands.

    Even if somehow we could magically get rid of all the guns as the author proposes – people were murdering people long before guns were invented. They can use knives, baseball bats, crow bars, the list goes on & on. Are we to ban baseball next? The real solution? Lock the criminals up & throw away the keys. 99% of violent criminals have a rap sheet a mile long with arrests & jail time. Then they’re just let back out on the street to resume their dastardly deeds. Get rid of Thugs, not guns. End of story.

  • Dr Dreadful

    No, you pay up. That was my shot. Like the Ringo Kid, I was so fast you didn’t even see me draw.

    [narrows eyes to slits, blows on fingers]

  • Clavos


    Pay up, Doc…

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clav, by now we should have enough empty beer cans to start shooting them off the fence posts.

    You go first. 25 bonus points if you can make it flip end over end.

  • Clavos

    “Clavos, the police are only as corrupt as you the people let them be”

    Quite true, Chris.

    “I just hope your aim is better than your reasoning.”

    Nothing wrong with either.

    And “the law IS a ass.”

    But that’s America for you…

  • Clavos, the police are only as corrupt as you the people let them be. I just hope your aim is better than your reasoning. As to the constitution, so what, the law is an ass, as you have just pointed out.

  • Clavos

    The inanity (if, indeed there is such) is as much yours as it is mine, Christopher. The first point in my litany is a quote.

    The police in America fail to do adequately all the things I listed, and, in addition, are corrupt.

    As you, Stan, and a number of others have pointed out repeatedly, American cities these days are no longer safe.

    I don’t see the supposed inanity of my point.

    But, granting you your point for the sake of argument, I will say that I keep my guns because the Constitution says I can.

  • That’s an inane objection, Clavos. You don’t go around doing the police’s job for them or else you could simply disband the police and have vigilantes running around all over the place. Oh wait, they tried that, it was what we now call the wild west!

  • Clavos

    Let me see:

    The US police are:

    “useless at disarming criminals”

    useless at keeping drugs out of the country

    useless at keeping drugs in the country out of the hands of consumers

    useless at keeping terrorists out of the country

    useless at keeping Mexicans out of the country

    useless at keeping businessmen’s hands out of their tills

    useless at keeping politicians’ hands out of everyone’s pockets


    I’ll keep my bang-bangs, thank you.

  • I don’t think that because the US police are useless at disarming criminals means that the rest of the citizenry should arm themselves. The police ought to be made to do their work properly.

  • STM

    Lol! I was wondering how long it’d be 🙂

  • (holds up hand)

  • STM

    DD: “If true, this would seem to show that “law-abiding” Americans are worryingly trigger-happy…”

    That’s what worries me. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with protection, as no-one could be that fearful or that paranoid.

    I think it’s just that some Americans really like playing with their bang-bangs.

  • STM

    Grant: “Apparently they fail to remember that one of the first things that Hitler did was to confiscate guns from the citizens of Germany and any country he conquered.”

    Grant, you gibberer – Nazi Germany was a totalitarian state, not a representative democracy. You have rule of law that has been established for more than 200 years in your own country and another 1000 or so before that in England. Your cousins the British have had tough gun laws for decades, and there’s no sign of it becoming a totalitarian state yet. The opposite actually, whereby on average they probably have more fundamental rights, especially through the courts, than do US citizens.

    Come on mate, back to the drawing board, or shoot (pardon the pun) down to the Doodad County library and see if you can dig up some proper info.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I’d like to know how many shootings in the US as a percentage of the whole are carried out by people protecting themselves against armed criminals.

    As you’ve probably discovered, Stan, that’s kind of hard to quantify, due to the various and disparate methods used to collect the statistics.

    The best I’ve been able to do, so far, is a website called Just Facts.com, which says that Americans use guns to defend themselves from criminals 764,000 times a year. This seems awfully high, especially if you consider another statistic showing that only 691,000 crimes a year are actually committed using firearms. If true, this would seem to show that “law-abiding” Americans are worryingly trigger-happy…

  • STM

    You should all be ashamed of the fact that the United States has the highest rate of homicide – gun or otherwise – in the western world. In fact, the rate actually puts it on a par with many 3rd world countries (some of which have lower rates).

    I suspect the real reason behind this is the growth of America’s gun culture over the years and the VERY easy availability of firearms, rather just a big criminal milieu.

    After all, we all have our crims – but we don’t have homicide figures approaching anywhere near that of the US. It would still be far higher even if it was death by gun alone and you took the non-gun deaths out of gthe equation.

    Something to think about.

  • hey crazychester, how’s this for foolish?

    new york times columnist bob herbert has put this debate in vivid light on aug. 14:

    nearly 100,000 murdered since 2001. highlighted by the recent murder of three people in a church in missouri.

    according to the FBI, in 2003 16,528 people were murdered. of those, 9,659 were killed by various firearms. a year later, those numbers are: 16,137 total killed, 9,326 by firearms.

    yet, here we are, spending billions on anti-terror efforts that have us stuck in iraq, when we could spend a fraction of that on getting guns off the streets, and get back to the mid-90s when violent crimes in america dipped.

    i’m a fool, yet nearly 100,000 people in the last six years have been murdered? seems like the fool was rather well-informed.

    but, i guess my information doesn’t count, because it came from the new york times, and the federal bureau of investigaton.

  • STM

    Having said all that, Americans should resign themselves to the fact that nothing much will change in relation to the personal ownership of firearms. That’s because of the different interpretations that can be made of the 2nd amendment. You are stuck with it, and those silly founding fathers just didn’t, unfortunately, have themselves a crystal ball. IMO, it was the one thing they totally fu.ked up.

    I can see that given the proliferation of guns in the US and the ease with which criminals can get them (well, that’s why folks) makes it desireable for people to feel good by being able to own a gun with the intention of protecting themselves, I suspect the reality is something different.

    I’d like to know how many shootings in the US as a percentage of the whole are carried out by people protecting themselves against armed criminals.

  • STM

    Ray Ellis: “I’m not advocating a ban on guns. What I am saying is we need a system of accountability that is lacking. You ask any cop–and I mean any cop–what their greatest fear is, and they’ll tell you in a heartbeat that it’s they’re outgunned.”

    In my long experience of dealing with lawmen, even when our gun laws were similar to those of the US, I never met one police officer who wanted to see more guns on the streets rather than less.

    While some small-town American Sheriff’s dept officers in Doodad County might think more guns or a proliferation of guns are good, I would wager as a certainty most big-city police officers in the US are in favour of gun control.

  • Clavos

    “I would be interested in knowing, however, what sort of magic you’d have performed when the gun was held to your head.”

    I was expecting that question, Ray. The gun wasn’t suddenly held against my head; I saw it coming, but was powerless to do anything.

    I literally was in a Pizza Hut (the only customer, mid-evening), in of all places, Huntsville, Alabama.

    I was waiting for my pizza to be served, seated at a table facing the door, when it opened, and in came a dude with a stocking over his head and a revolver in his hand. He began to herd the employees behind the counter and didn’t even see me for several seconds. There was ample time to plug him before he spotted me.

  • Thank you, STM!

  • STM

    Why is the Australian Army featuring in the picture at the top of the story (unique, one-of-a-kind and unmistakeable jungle green cammo pattern). We don’t have bullet-proof backpacks in Oz. Anyway, surely it should be a picture of two idiots walking around the streets of the US with guns in their hands 🙂

  • Absolutely, Clavos. So you can understand where I’m coming from. I would be interested in knowing, however, what sort of magic you’d have performed when the gun was held to your head.

    I’m not advocating a ban on guns. What I am saying is we need a system of accountability that is lacking. You ask any cop–and I mean any cop–what their greatest fear is, and they’ll tell you in a heartbeat that it’s they’re outgunned.

    And no matter how you try to frame it, the Founding Fathers never intended for the average citizen to have rocket launchers or assault weapons. Any argument to the contrary is ludicrous. If you believe that, why are we worried about a “well-armed militia” in Iraq?

  • Clavos

    Doc, where were you when I was tempted??

    Yeah, gimme another one, please…

  • Clavos

    Not to get too one-up on you, but I’ve been shot at (and shot back), too. I’ve also had a loaded gun held against my head while unarmed and being robbed. Of the two, I much prefer having the option of defending myself.

    If I’m going to be shot at again, and that becomes more and more likely every day, I would like to be able to shoot back.

    Not sure which of the points I made you consider a “tired tired argument,” but tired only means it’s an argument that’s been proposed many times, not that it’s not valid.

    Sometimes an idea has to be repeated over and over again before people get the point.

  • Dr Dreadful

    #35-36: Clav, you fell victim to temptation. So did I, alas (#33), but I’m all better now. Another beer?


  • Here’s the truth of the matter. The average citizen can’t shoot straight. Firing ranges and life or death situations are very different scenarios.

  • I was waiting for that tired, tired argument. I’m only surprised that it took as long as it did.

    Firstly. I don’t think I advocated a ban on guns. I merely observed that guns make everybody a badass, which you so eloquently illustrated when you said it “evens the playing field.”

    That being said, the mentality that everyone should pack heat only perpetuates a problem that is not so easily dismissed. While I’m sure you’re one of the “good guys” who would never shoot somebody in a fit of rage, I’m certainly not willing to bet my life on it.

    Until you’ve been shot at (as I have) or until you’ve found yourself caught in a crossfire (as I have, it’s easy to say one guy is the good guy who is only arming himself against the bad guy who has no business having a gun.

    The smell of thermite whizzing by you makes you reevaluate things.

  • Clavos

    And actually, it’s precisely because we know badasses pack heat that we want to retain our right to pack, too.

    Keeps the playing field level…

  • Clavos

    One major flaw–and this is really is kinda major– in the anti-gun argument is that it assumes that no badass citizens are going to be packing heat after guns are banned.

    Good luck with that; it ought to be about as successful as the ban on drugs or Prohibition.

  • One major flaw–and this is really is kinda major– in the pro-gun argument is that it assumes that only right-thinking (no pun intended) citizens are going to be packing heat. And that those citizens will be so level-headed that they’ll only use their pistola, assault weapon, RPG launcher, whatever, as a force for good.

  • crazychester

    sigh, this topic is the proverbial dead horse.

    Shaun, you are a well meaning fool, but still a fool. Did you just sit down and start typing or did you research anything on this topic?

    How about this:
    We just go ahead and ban everything that isn’t directly involved with us getting to work and paying more taxes for more laws, more police, and more military. They will certainly do everything they can for us AFTER the crime.

  • Dr Dreadful

    They may not be wearing them in class, but they do have them in class with them. If a shooter were to try an attack at least the students would have something to shield them from bullets close to hand.

    Well, let’s put that to the test. You lift up your backpack at the same instant the bullet leaves the muzzle of the gun. We’ll see which one makes it to your chest first.

  • Grant

    They may not be wearing them in class, but they do have them in class with them. If a shooter were to try an attack at least the students would have something to shield them from bullets close to hand.

    The next logical step would be to have a means to engage the attacker available in the classroom. If a person is old enough and has whatever permit is needed to carry in their state, it should be allowed.

  • phiogistic

    People don’t wear their backpacks while they are in class. These would not have saved anyone at Va Tech.

  • Clavos

    Gotcha, Doc. Be right back. Take notes!

  • Leif Rakur

    In response to #25:

    The quote attributed to Jefferson that says, “The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it” is bogus. Jefferson never said nor wrote it, according to GunCite, a gun-supportive organization.

    Jefferson’s real view of the Second Amendment was that it is a provision for “the substitution of militia for a standing army.” (See Jefferson to Dr. Joseph Priestley, June 19, 1802.)

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clav, I’m running low on beer. Would you mind awfully going back to the store for more?

  • and never have i said in any way that i have a problem with that at all

    i’m of the position that like your car, dog, boat and many other things…you should have a license (personally i think all firearms should have their ballistic fingerprint registered with their bill of sale from the manufacturer to the distributor)

    then anybody that can legally do so, should be able to have their firearms…same as their car, dog, boat and so on…

    i personally would like firearm safety taught in high school gym class…issue folks one after they have done two years Service (not just military…any kind of service)…but that’s just me, and a completely different conversation…


  • The license issuer knows where to go to take the guns away. IMO a militia ought to be regulated by the people directly, not by the state.


  • Grant

    “from the wording of the Amendment..it would appear that the well regulated militia was supposed to be prepared against outside threats…THAT was why it was crucial”

    Outside threats? Let me review…

    “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    All it mentions is the security of a free state, it never mentions who the possible aggressor is. It could be a foreign power or it could be a domestic one. It may one day even be our own government.

    Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying, in a most simple and eloquent manner, “The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed untill they try to take it.”

  • i get that, but there’s the whole “well regulated” bit right there in the amendment…

    it states folks have the right to keep and bear…granted…but the condition appears to be in the “well regulated”

    so i would think that the intent would be for folks to have their well regulated firearms and if the government started fucking with them, the matter of who issued the license is the least of anybody’s worries

    and from the wording of the Amendment..it would appear that the well regulated militia was supposed to be prepared against outside threats…THAT was why it was crucial…again, if the armed problem is from within, you have a lot more problems than licenses to deal with


  • Gonzo, the objection to the license is who’s issuing it. Having the government we’re supposed to be armed to defend against determine who can get a license and own a gun seems inherently contradictory to a lot of people.


  • no way Americans are giving up their guns..and no one is seriously asking folks to…

    it’s the “well regulated” bit…

    follow the Laws there are already, shit ya license your car, your dog, catching fish…

    license the firearms, and enforce the laws

    what’s the problem?


  • Grant

    Every anti-gun person believes that the world would be so much safer and more civilized if there were no guns in civilian hands. Apparently they fail to remember that one of the first things that Hitler did was to confiscate guns from the citizens of Germany and any country he conquered. This gun confiscation worked wonders in allowing the German army to round up and kill millions of innocents.

    I believe that guns actually create a civilized society. I recently read an article (and I agree completely) that explained it like this.

    There are only two main ways to interact with others. Non-violently and violently. Non-violence is talking, communinicating, persuading, etc. Violence is the imposition of one’s will upon another through force or the threat of force.

    If there were no guns the young, strong and violent prone would be able to do whatever they wished. Noone would be able to prevent a stonger more violent person from imposing their will upon others. The gun ban in Britain has produced these results with an increase in home invasions and violent crime where the criminals use clubs, knives and yes, guns, to get what they want.

    Guns level the field. A 250lb murderer is now powerless against a 90 year old lady. If the 250lb thug has a gun he is now equal to the old lady and nothing more. Even if the old lady DOESN’T have a gun the thug has to wonder if she, or someone else, is armed or not.

    To lay the blame of violence at the feet of an inanimate object is ludicrous. A loaded gun is no more dangerous than a rock until someone decides to use it, and then the choice to use it can be for good or evil. And the gun doen’t make the choice, the person holding it does.

    If you want to reduce gun crime you can solve the problems that lead to criminal behavior or you can make sure law abiding citizens have the legal option to carry guns of their own.

    I believe both options should be used together.

  • Leif Rakur

    “A well educated electorate, being necessary to the maintenance of a free State, the right of the people to own and read books, shall not be infringed.”

    The obove analogy to the Second Amendment is imperfect, since “own and read books” is hardly parallel to “keep and bear arms.” Why not “keep and bear books”? Think maybe that wouldn’t make sense?

    If the imaginary book analogy were an amendment to our Bill of Rights, how would it be interpreted? Unless the Supreme Court had incorporated the right against the states through the 14th Amendment, the book-reading amendment would protect only against federal infringement. States could outlaw comic book reading if they chose to do so, insofar as this particular amendment was concerned.

    And what would be protected against federal infringement? Not the owning and reading of all books, of course. Books of child pornography almost certaihly would not be protected. How about other books that had no demonstrable relationship to “a well educated electorate”? No right is absolute, the courts could say, rejecting claims for protection under the the book-reading amendment.

  • hey lynn…mine’s blue as well, at least viewed through the zweiss 20x…

    your point?


  • lynn

    Hey Gonzo, What color is the sky on your Planet? Ours is blue!

  • A hollowed-out encyclopedia is a great place to hide a gun.

  • “because a book really is just as dangerous as an unloaded gun”

    bullshit…please show how many robberies have occurred with the victim threatened by a book?

    you can find it when it comes to fake or unloaded guns

    and the card you attempted to palm was the word “unloaded”…a bullshit ploy, it’s about a fired weapon and the effects of the projectile on human flesh

    i’m ONLY talking about how bullshit the attempted book = gun “analogy” is..i consider it fallacious at it’s basic premise, and thus completely invalid as well as the attempt being actual harm to the validity of the baseline argument


  • gonzo, that’s why the analogy is so good, because a book really is just as dangerous as an unloaded gun. It points up the contrast between the paranoia and the reality.


  • he’s stuck with some big trouble in little China, Doc…

    but i digress….


  • Dr Dreadful

    Where’s Jack Burton? He used to be able to sniff out a gun control debate at a distance of 350 miles…

  • can someone cite me a link for the amount of times someone was killed by a fucking book in the last 10 years?

    i mean beaten to death with it, not because of it’s contents…but the last time someone took a book and beat someone to death with it…

    schools have a lot of books in them, anybody got a link for the last school killing where someone took out 30 people with a book?

    the analogy is patently bullshit on all levels…firearms proponents do themselves NO favors by dragging out false analogies like this, imo

    just makes them look bad rather than addressing very valid points…


  • Actually, Deano, the book comparison is great because it highlights how ridiculous and irrational the anti-gun position is.


  • Books? you want to reframe your argument on the 2nd Amendmant by subbing in books?

    Are you serious?

    That’s possibly the weakest, most pitiful and asinine attempt to mitigate and re-frame a poor argument I’ve ever heard (at least since Nalle last compared them to cars, which he does everytime the gun issue arises). If your vaunted belief in the scanctity of your 2nd Amendment can’t handle arguing a position that calls guns guns, then, well, STM said it best: bollocks!

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Dr. D.

    My commander is middle-aged. That is where the semblances end. But considering that our best flak jackets only have ceramic tile – not enough to protect from a serious bullet – and are often cannibalized as well – a bullet proof back-pack might afford some protection…

    Besides, which is more important around here? Me, or the bottle of water I carry with me?

  • Bruce

    Funny, guns are used defensivly 2.5 million times per year. That is over 6800 times per day in America.

    Hmmm, 32 dead in a gun free zone that, you guessed it, had guns.

    When are these people going to get it? Guns SAVE Lives!

    Oh, and by the way, my guns are mostly for target shooting, my car is for getting me around and my doctor is for keeping me healthy.

    Statistically, I am more likely to be killed in my car or by my (or a) doctor then with any gun.

  • Well put, John. But do you even need to make all that argument when the founding fathers said again and again and again that the 2nd amendment was specifically intended so that private citizens could hold arms to protect themselves and prevent the tyrrany of a standing army. There’s not even any ambiguity. Washington, Madison, Adams and Jefferson are all on record stating it unequivocally.

    As for this article, it is indeed a sad commentary. But the problem isn’t the existence of guns, it’s that youth are let run wild by parents and by society and don’t have the respect for education that would keep them in class and not engaging in gang violence in the hallways.

    And just to hit a third point, your chances of dying in a car when you’re a teenager are about 1000 times greater than your chances of getting shot.

    The folks producing this backpack are just trying to profit from the unreasoning fear of the gullible.


  • STM

    John: bollocks

  • John Thayer

    To better understand the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution it is helpful to consider how almost every reasonable person would interpret this amendment if it did not involve something which is considered controversial or politically incorrect by some and idolized by others. Arms in the possession of ordinary citizens meet both criteria. Let’s, for the sake of argument, suppose that the Second Amendment dealt with books, not arms or weapons, and read like this: “A well educated electorate, being necessary to the maintenance of a free State, the right of the people to own and read books, shall not be infringed.” Does anyone really believe that liberals would claim that only people who were eligible to vote should be allowed to buy and read books? Or that a person should have to have voted in the last election before the government would permit him or her to buy a book? Would the importation of books be banned if they did not meet an “educational purpose” test? Would some States limit citizens to buying “one book a month”? Would inflammatory “assault books” be banned in California?

    Emotion in Reading
    The meaning of the Second Amendment becomes quite clear if one removes the emotional “gun” issue. Let’s restate the 2nd in another context:

    A well educated electorate, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books, shall not be infringed.

    If this were the law, would only educated people have the right to keep books? Or, would only the voting electorate be allowed to read? Of course not. All the people would have the right to keep and read books, and the state would benefit by having a more educated electorate.

    There is NO requirement to be a member of a Militia to have the RIGHT to keep and bear arms. However, the more people who DO, the better the security of the state.
    Gary Possert, Lancaster, CA

    The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right. [Nunn vs. State, 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243, at 251 (1846)]

  • Dr Dreadful

    As far as the policing application is concerned, Ruvy, I dunno. Wouldn’t good old bulletproof vests work better?

    Unless maybe the backpacks are cheaper. It might be the selling point… Especially if fact really is as strange as fiction and your commander is – as in all the best cop movies – a middle-aged, overweight black man who yells constantly, has an ulcer and obsesses about the department budget.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I dunno, guys. Considering that most everybody carries backpacks in Israel, some protection from Arabs shooting at us wouldn’t be so bad… Of course at 1,800 shekels, the protection is a bit pricey…

    I’ll talk to my police commander about seeing if we can’t get some somehow for the unit. In a world where fact is stranger than fiction, you never know…

  • Clavos

    Grab your beach chairs and cooler, Doc.

    I’ll run down to the store and get the beer and ice…

  • Dr Dreadful

    Ho boy. Here we go again…