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All I want for Christmas is…

…heavy duty firearms?

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Somehow, I don’t think we’re in Hammond, Indiana anymore.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

65 replies on “All I want for Christmas is…”

I pity the person who ever breaks into that household.

I don’t especially since I can think of two ways to do it safely…1. Wait until everyone’s asleep or out and get the firearms first then use them to threaten the owners (a classic method-apparently the vast majority of people keep their guns in one of a few places.) 2. Fire a shot from an unclear location and get them to fight each other to the death. (The Half Life method.)

I do pity their neighbors, however and wonder a bit about why these Aryans want so many guns…

My family is big on hunting and has quite the variety of weaponry, however Christmas was never the time for receiving them. My parents aren’t particularly religious but something about the whole “peace on earth” thing got to them.

“. . . they can take down a buffalo blindfolded from the sunroof of our H2, and they’ve never been vaccinated.”

Vast amounts of subtext in that picture, don’t you think? Lemme guess (without having clicked through): They’re funnymentalist Christians and white power flowers.

“I pity the person who ever breaks into that household.”

Most would simply wait for them to leave, break in and steal the guns. That’s about $6000 worth of firearms there so they can easily get $2000 for them ‘no questions asked’. Two large will buy them enough malt liquor, grass, delivery pizza, hookers, and crack to make a hell of a weekend.

Thieves love guns. Compact, expensive and easy to sell.

Pity the sheep. Assumptions, prejudice, and bias… (“Aryans” “Funnymentalists” “white power flowers”…) Oh of course, they’re blonde children with guns, so they must be racist whackos. And most assuredly unvaccinated! No room in this tent for pro vax, free thinkers who love their children enough to teach them to shoot straight?

GunnerMD,

Given the AK-47 role as a front line Soviet/Warsaw Pact assault rifle, what would possess you to think that giving children access to them is appropriate? Also, would your reaction be the same if they were Lebanese or Palestinian children? Finally, what kind of military firepower would you forbidden your children? Would you be okay if they were using squad-based weapons? How about an RPG? Grenades?

Automatic weapons have been illegal to purchase in the U.S. since the’30s. These look more like AR-15s, good hunting rifles. Of course, progressive dogma dictates that any gun which resembles an automatic rifle must be one, regardless of its actual function. As usual, thoughts and facts do not enter into dogmatic reactions.

“They are probably just going deer hunting.”

From the looks of it the two ARs, or derivatives, are basic .223s with the same bore as a .22 and so unsuitable for deer hunting. In some states they are considered too underpowered to kill a deer in a humane manner and outlawed in that use. They work fine on woodchucks, and poodle sized animals. But are generally considered overpowered for squirrels. So the selection of what you might hunt with them is limited.

The AK, an AKM actually, with power similar to a 30-30, is suitable for hunting deer but only at relatively close ranges typical of scrub forests.

Thanks, Art. I haven’t hunted anything but pheasants and that was along time ago, so, I don’t keep up with these evil looking weapons folks use to hunt deer. I certainly agree that a .22 would do nothing but hurt a deer, and, that would be an awful thing to do.

“Automatic weapons have been illegal to purchase in the U.S. since the’30s. These look more like AR-15s, good hunting rifles. ”

Neither of the above statements is accurate. Fully-automatic weapons are not illegal to own. Just a little more difficult and costly. And ARs are not widely considered suitable for hunting much of anything. Not enough power for even mid-sized game and not enough precision for even mid-range varmint shooting.

Sorry bigjohn756.

Our posts crossed and now it looks like I’m piling on. Hangs head.

And yes, it does look like suspiciously like a White Power poster. The girl on the right has a very Helter Skelter look in her eye. None of that is proof of affiliation or orientation but it does look like a swish shot into a certain stereotype.

“Given the AK-47 role as a front line Soviet/Warsaw Pact assault rifle, what would possess you to think that giving children access to them is appropriate?”

Because these inanimate objects are irreversibly tainted with Communist evil, amirite? I thought we were the reality-based community here. It’s not as if big, scary-looking guns magically turn children into killers.

(Oh, and a .22, with relatively low recoil, is a fine caliber for target shooting and learning to handle a rifle (as above). Would you have preferred to see them holding Mosin-Nagants?)

I did notice a lot of the use of the word Aryan here. Didn’t Hitler use that word a lot? Perhaps, I misjudged the commenters here.(This is not Godwin’s Law either. I did not use the term Aryan, others did.)

Anyway, I always resent people telling me what I property can and cannot own, just as I resent people telling me what I can and cannot believe.

I used to walk in jungles hunting people with what was to become the M-21, using the 7.62mm NATO round. The AK (I carried a PK-47, lighter by around a pound) is ideally suited for close order people hunting. So are the two ARs. That is the “game” these kiddies are learning about.

Anyway, I always resent people telling me what I property can and cannot own, just as I resent people telling me what I can and cannot believe.

Who, pray tell, is telling you what you can or cannot believe? No one. You confuse criticism of what you believe with someone telling you you can’t believe it. Sorry, it don’t work that way. Spout off, and anything you say is fair game for criticism, even brutal criticism. Don’t like it? There are lots of other places you can go where the echo chamber will suit you better. Freedom of speech and freedom of belief do not equal freedom from criticism. You are making the same mistake that many alt-med supporters I’ve encountered in that you seem to be incorrectly conflating the two.

In fact, no one is even telling you what property you can and cannot own, although one wonders how far you would take your apparent belief that people should be allowed to own anything they want. How about tanks? Or nuclear weapons? I suspect that, even for you, there’s a reasonable limit regarding what sort of firepower private citizens should be allowed to own.

“Firearm safety classes? We don’t need no stinking firearm safety classes! Oops, dad, sorry ’bout shooting mom. I didn’t see her there where I wasn’t looking and my finger caught the trigger!”

Growing up around guns many of these rules were drilled into us over and over again:

Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Whether you are shooting or simply handling a gun, never point it at yourself or others….snip… Indoors, be mindful of the fact that a bullet can penetrate ceilings, floors, walls, windows, and doors.

and

Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. When holding a gun, rest your trigger finger outside the trigger guard alongside the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.

Telescopic scope on the short barreled AR and a tactical on what looks like. Possibly a heavy barreled AR. Unlikely real combinations. Oh Armalite type rifles are very popwular target and plinking weapons.

Hahahahaaaaa…great pic! It made me laugh. A couple of years ago I told my husband I wanted a Micro Uzi for Christmas and he laughed at me. I wasn’t kidding though. 🙁

@Art: You’re just wrong about the AR-15 not being a useful hunting rifle. Yeah, the M-16 you got issued in the military has mediocre accuracy, but these days, you can get match-grade AR’s that shoot sub-MOA all day long. The AR-15 is an extraordinarily popular varmint rifle.

Whole lotta misperceptions being thrown around here.

#10, I don’t think it conflicts. Peace through superior firepower.

#11, that is appeal to ridicule. We are talking about the weapons depicted in the photo, not RPGs or grenades.

#14, #17, You are referring to .22 rimfire weapons and trying to equate them to .22 centerfire weapons. A .223 centerfire rifle is legal to hunt large game with. Whether or not someone should is a personal preference. You also leave out predator hunting and other varmints besides groundhogs, which these rifles are excellent for.

#16, #26, I noticed that too. They need to keep their fingers off the triggers–my only issue with the photo.

#19, speaking of inaccuracies, it is not legal to hunt with selectable-fire firearms (assault rifles) in any of the 50 United States. I think you are getting the technical term assault rifle confused with the arbitrary anti-gun nut term assault weapon.

#27, figures don’t lie, but liars figure. Three-fold increase means from what to what? Nine-fold from what to what? Your cut-and-paste argument from anti-gun nuts holds much less weight when the actual numbers are considered.

This reminds me we haven’t watched our “A Tuna Christmas” DVD in a while. Maybe tomorrow… I always get a kick out of all the different xmas trees, especially the one decorated with guns, grenades, and rockets.

“Automatic weapons have been illegal to purchase in the U.S. since the’30s.”

No, they just have to be obtained through class III dealers, and before purchasing you have to apply to the BATF, pass a background check, submit fingerprints and pay a shitload of taxes in addition to the cost of the firearm itself. It’s ridiculously easy to get around all that bullshit though, if you know when and where to show up at gunshows.

My best guess from the look of them is that those are AEG (Electric) Air-Soft guns, as opposed to genuine firearms.

re: automatic/semi-automatic weapons: There used to be pages of ads in Shotgun News for conversion kits for changing your legal AR-15 into an illegal selected-fire version. Evidently the kits were legal, instructions were legal, actually doing it was not. No idea if this has changed post 9/11. Had much fun in HS with surplus smoke grenades bought from those ads.
@ Pintos5150: Indeed, I’m certain you are correct. In fact, I am fairly confident that a *sense of humor* is connected to the creation of this photo. I am surprised that no one up-thread has suggested that any kind of joke might be involved.

I sure am glad we restricted legal ownership of firearms in the UK.

Guess we see the balance of risk and freedom differently here.

Ged:
Let me say this to you before someone more hostile to your position or the UK says it: Your point is facile and irrelevant. Culture and history matter, and the history and culture of firearm possession in the UK and in the US is very, very different. I lived in DC under a total ban on handguns but almost every household had a handgun anyway, because a man who’s a man must be able to defend his family. I would also say that most of Latin America makes USAians look like a bunch of unarmed pacifists. Mexico has stricter gun laws than the US but twice the firearm homicide rate, though it’s been dropping. Sarajevo, which has plenty of non-violent crime and where lots of people still have an AK-47 sitting around somewhere, has very little violent crime.
Laws are only effective to the extent that they reflect the consensus of society as a whole. Brits are plenty violent by European standards but have never had a gun culture.

I lived in DC under a total ban on handguns but almost every household had a handgun anyway, because a man who’s a man must be able to defend his family.

I’m woefully ignorant on weapons, but aren’t handguns widely considered to be piss poor for home defense when compared to more obvious choices? Or are you referring to those who carry in DC on the go?

@30 and 46: Are you, uh, sure that the demotivational poster didn’t just take a real picture and put a frame around it? In my experience that’s where most of them come from.

I lived in DC under a total ban on handguns but almost every household had a handgun anyway, because a man who’s a man must be able to defend his family.

Source?

Michael R — just scroll through the site (“Motifake,” which describes itself as selling as fake motivational posters). It’s pretty obvious that, at a minimum, the vast majority of the photos are staged. The use of the word “fake” is a pretty strong indicator, too.

If the photo was real, it would seem odd that the parents would sign a release allowing the photo their kids to be used in such a sarcastic poster, though you never know….

Diane,
There was no source other than talking to people in my neighborhood. Who are not likely to admit to crimes to random door to door survey takers. So I’m reduced to anecdotes without anything scientific to back them. I should add that I do not include the residents of DC’s White Boy Town (west of Rock Creek Park) in this. But where I lived, a man was not a man unless he could defend his family, and the means of choice at the time was a Glock. I dunno, maybe there was a statistically smaller proportion of handgun-defended households in DC than in PG County over the border, but I doubt it. There were maybe a lower number of concealed handguns on the street than in other cities because of fear of getting arrested with one. Didn’t seem to put much dent in firearm fatalities, though. DC Metropolitan pretty much only used the rule to give grief to people they couldn’t nail on anything else.
In DC this was a black thing but I’ve known white communities with a similar mindset (transplanted Appalachians in Lake County OH, outside Cleveland). I think it may be a working class, Southern thing generally.

JosephC,
Yes, anyone who read Guns & Ammo knows that a double-barreled shotgun loaded with something painful but non-lethal is a much better firearm for home defense, if you insist on having a firearm for home defense. But the weapon of choice in DC at the time was the Glock.
Funnily enough, the weapon of choice of the Jamaican gangs responsible for DC being Murder Capital of the US at the time was a sawed-off shotgun to the back of the head, not a handgun at all.
A uniform cop I knew filed 17 homicide reports his first month on the job, on the beat in the Montana Ave. projects. Though these were typically cut throats rather than gunshot wounds, of junkies too stoned to defend themselves and their $20 rocks. Maybe the handgun ban had some effect on weapon choice there.

Anyway, I always resent people telling me what I property can and cannot own, just as I resent people telling me what I can and cannot believe.

Interesting. Does this extend to nuclear weapons, fenced goods, and human beings? Or are guns just a special case?

Val:

If the photo was real, it would seem odd that the parents would sign a release allowing the photo their kids to be used in such a sarcastic poster, though you never know…

That photo could be ten to twenty years old, we have no idea how it originally ended up on the Internets. One of those pictured may be commenting on this blog!

#25, Orac – “There are lots of other places you can go where the echo chamber will suit you better.”

I don’t think you intended for that to sound like this might be an echo chamber of sorts also… but it does.

#52, Azkyroth – Of course guns are a special case, just as the other things you mentioned, but that doesn’t mean they are related in any other way. You merely to mock, do you not?

There was no source other than talking to people in my neighborhood.

In short, anecdote. The plural of which…

I’d be skeptical of how many of the bragged about guns actually existed. If I lived in a neighborhood where gun owning was the norm or supposed norm I might be talking about my Uzi too. Regardless of whether I owned one or not.

@22 (mad the swine ): (Oh, and a .22, with relatively low recoil, is a fine caliber for target shooting and learning to handle a rifle (as above). Would you have preferred to see them holding Mosin-Nagants?)

Do you really think they are being used for those (completely reasonable) purposes?

==========

It’s a funny picture. Be wary about reading too much into it!

Seeing that picture then reading the comments was like going to a Robin Williams movie. A little humor to start with then a down hill slide into pathetic confusion followed by feelings of remorse about wasted time.

Dianne at @55:
There was no bragging about it, at least not among the (admittedly small number of) older people I talked to. It was much more matter of fact. “Of course I have a gun, how else can I protect my family” is about the size of it, not “oooh, I have such a cool gun at home.”
One other anecdote: Someone tried to rob our local disco (with a handgun, btw). The bartender told him he’d give him the take but to please leave the patrons alone. Said robber took this as a challenge and tried to hold up the patrons.
When the police got there, his body had bullet wounds from 3 different handguns.
This was a popular story with the cops in the local bar, who pretty much didn’t care who had a gun as long as they were not crack dealers.
I admit that none of this may be true because I cannot corroborate any of it. But it would be a little odd if everyone just made it up.
Also, anyone who wanted a gun but didn’t know any criminals to buy one from only had to drive into Virginia far enough, and people sold them at shops on the roadside. This I can corroborate.

I’m sorry, I said something that was not true. I said that the cops I knew did not care who owned a gun, but actually I don’t really remember many opinions one way or another, just that lots of people had them, but they preferred to deal with people who did not.
I will say that in the ER where I worked, handguns were EXTREMELY unpopular. When I worked there, one playground dispute resulted in a drive-by, and it was sheer luck that no one was killed.

#52, Azkyroth – Of course guns are a special case, just as the other things you mentioned, but that doesn’t mean they are related in any other way. You merely to mock, do you not?

I intended it as a put-up-or-shut-up on his implicit claim that the government has no right to regulate what sorts of “property” he can own.

I don’t think Orac is completely, rationally skeptical. I think he, and a lot of the people who comment here, have an emotional bias against private citizens owning firearms. That’s a shame; he’s right good on autism. He does seem to have predictable political opinions. Does he live in Assachusetts, or some such benighted place?

All the best, from a person who thinks the Second Amendment means exactly what it says, in plain English, as does the rest of the Constitution.

P.s. Orac, have you ever voted for any Kennedies? Do you suffer from Gramscian mental damage?

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