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Looking for a 'news' story about an experiment with kids and guns


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Basically they stuck a real gun in a toy box. I think the gun was painted orange or pink. Then they turned the kids (8-10-ish?) loose in the room and the adults left but watched from another room. Pretty much every kid that had been exposed to gun safety reported the gun immediately. But the kids who had never been near a gun ran amok. One kid was pointing it another and pulling the trigger while the horrified mother watched from the other room.

'He has never even see a toy gun,' she stammered in shock. 'We don't allow them in our house!'

Does this ring any bells with anyone? What program was this?

Thanks,

mike

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Story from the Cold War days:

It was basic training and rifle week had begun, we were going to get handed out our M-16s and then trained to shoot them. Like many things the US Army does with new recruits, the procedure was set up so there could be only one result and the technique was catering to the least common denominator, or more simply the inherent stupidity of recruits. Who are after all mostly poorly educated American males in their early 20s, who for one reason or another have decide it's worth their while to give 2-3 years of their life to the military - this is not a group of people from whom one can reasonably expect reliably intelligent behavior.

What they did was march us into an arms room, line us up alphabetically, and once you got to the sergeant you had to sound off, say your social security number, sign a piece of paper with your official legible signature (they didn't allow chicken scratches, if your signature was sloppy before in the army it had to be neat) and the sergeant gives you a clearly well-used but fully functional M-16A1.

None of this surprised me and it even bothered me very little. Me, I was ready to get my rifle. My Dad was not a hunter except rarely when invited by friends, but one way or another even though we were in the suburbs I wound up shooting rifles from time to time. I think the first time I fired a .22 I was about six, just plinking at targets under very close supervision. I can still remember the first time I fired a 30-30 Winchester, I had to put the rifle over my shoulder and my Dad used his knee on the butt to take up the recoil. I was about 14-15 before I was allowed out with a rifle on my own.

So by the time the Army got me I already had a pretty solid grounding in the basics of marksmanship. I knew you never, ever, under any circumstances, point a rifle at a person. Period, end of story, and if you do it by accident you get yelled at and if are distracted by how cool the rifle is and forget, you can get smacked (not hard) upside the head, and this from my Dad who otherwise practically never, his entire life, raised a hand against me.

What the Army did was, after us recruits got the M-16s, the drill sergeants just left us alone with the rifles for about half an hour. It sounded like a room full of crickets, with all the clicking of triggers and bolt-cocking and handle-pulling, my first surprise was how much my fellow recruits could have fun just playing with their rifles. I knew rifles are as far away from a toy as anything on this planet.

But the real shock was how much these fellow recruits of mine - who mostly basically a mix of white high school grads from small towns out for adventure plus inner city minorities needing employment or in the military because a judge or a gang made civilian life unsafe - had fun pointing their M-16s at each other and pulling the trigger. "Bang you're dead, hah hah!", stuff like that.

They'd all grown up in the states and seen the movies and knew rifles kill people, and if handed a bag full of bayonets they might have postured a bit but they never would have pretended to stab each other. But this was clearly for most of them the first time they had every gotten their hands on a real working rifle, and these after all were young men. The instinct most young men have making weapons cool was too strong for them to resist.

I was a peaceful recruit and our training platoon despite its gang-bangers was pretty calm and non-violent, but I went off on one guy, a buddy, who dry-fired me. He was confused, he honestly didn't know what was so wrong about pointing a rifle at another person and pulling the trigger. Even as I yelled at him I knew it wasn't really fair, I knew he just didn't know why what he was doing was so stupid. But I also knew - or more exactly had been taught - doing that was so bad, you don't worry about being nice when it comes to handling a rifle the wrong way. It is for killing and killing is serious.

The drill sergeants came back after about a half hour and I think marched us around a and started us on the Army's fetish for training us, Cold Warriors preparing to fight the Soviets or the North Koreans or some one, manual of arms movements invented by Frederick the Great in about the 1740s so his army could deliver more efficient musket volleys.

That was a proper waste of time (well, the drill sergeants would have said it taught us discipline) and I was irritated when my fellow recruits sort of looked blank when I told them about Frederick the Great and von Steuban and their influence on the US infantry's training methods. But over the course of the week the drill sergeants hammered into every one's heads the rules about using a rifle and being drill sergeants they had ways of making it stick. And yes, they kind of laid off on me some when they saw I was a competent shot.

In retrospect though, the thing that impressed me the most was the decision to just leave us with the rifles for 30 minutes so the recruits could play with them, flip selector switches and try and move the sight posts and push the magazine release and dry fire until they got sick of it. Although I didn't realize it at the time, some one in TRADOC was a really smart psychologist, he allowed us (well not me) recruits to get weapons curiosity out of their system. It took about 15-20 minutes, after a while every one got bored with playing with the rifles and shifted to smoking and joking.

And before some one decides to post this on an NRA site or similar, I would say that most people cannot be reliably trusted with firearms and if it were up to me I would make the bearing of arms legal only for those who had spent a year or more with some one who already knew how.

As the 2nd amendment is written now I would repeal it. In my opinion, maturity and citizenship is not enough to give a person the right to use a firearm. If I have to choose, I would deprive people of that right to protect society from the threat of people untrained in weapons, having access to them.

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I find the whole Eddie the Eagle thing bizarre. And I don't mean bizarre as in 'wrong'. But bizarre because I am an Australian and the need for kindergarten kids to be taught about what to do if they come across a gun just wouldn't be on the radar here. For which I am grateful. But then, somebody from say, England, would feel the same way about all the time we spent in primary school being taught about venomous animals and what to do when we encountered them or were bitten by them!

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And before some one decides to post this on an NRA site or similar, I would say that most people cannot be reliably trusted with firearms and if it were up to me I would make the bearing of arms legal only for those who had spent a year or more with some one who already knew how.

Sounds fairly reasonable. I told my wife that I wanted to take some firearm courses and she just cocked her head and asked, 'Why do you have all of those guns if you don't know how to shoot?' Thanks, dear.

As the 2nd amendment is written now I would repeal it. In my opinion, maturity and citizenship is not enough to give a person the right to use a firearm. If I have to choose, I would deprive people of that right to protect society from the threat of people untrained in weapons, having access to them.

While I respect your opinion I couldn't disagree more but everyone is a bit different.

Thanks for the story, it was a good read.

Magpie,

Damn, the ending to the story in your second link is awful.

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In Rumania when I was their a few decades back thye used to put up pictures of crashed cars on the market place notice boards. I assume with details of who died and why. Plenty of blood and gore.

I thought perhaps a good idea that people were exposed to the aftermath not some sanitised long distance photoshots.

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Problem with shock tactics is that it tends to desensitise

We had a similar thing awhile ago where they put mangled cars on the side of the highway as a reminder. They are just part of the scenery now and don't mean much.

The key is education, you can stop the road toll by educating drivers.

As for guns, well only those who actually NEED them should have them and that is a pretty short list. Soldiers on occasion, some forms of vermin control, strictly controlled sporting activities, specifically trained Law Enforcement officers (TSG/SWAT/SO19) and that's about it.

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Problem with shock tactics is that it tends to desensitise

We had a similar thing awhile ago where they put mangled cars on the side of the highway as a reminder. They are just part of the scenery now and don't mean much.

The key is education, you can stop the road toll by educating drivers.

As for guns, well only those who actually NEED them should have them and that is a pretty short list. Soldiers on occasion, some forms of vermin control, strictly controlled sporting activities, specifically trained Law Enforcement officers (TSG/SWAT/SO19) and that's about it.

What if I want a PPSh just cause I like WW2 stuff? (and no just owning it isn't good enough I want to shoot it)

Gun control like any other form of prohibition is a bad idea. (beyond obvious stuff like no using your gun within city limits etc., no guns in bars, etc.)

In Switzerland you've got people with AT launchers in their basement (no joke I know a guy who used to... he's not in the militia anymore though)... not to mention all the assault rifles.

Yet they have very few issues with gun violence.

Poverty, social inequality, racism, etc. are the problem in the US. I can't speak about Australia but I do know you guys have ridiculous video game laws... no "Mature" rating from what I remember, which is pretty stupid because it basically just forces people to pirate the stuff.

Making something illegal =/= making it go away.

Prohibition of anything is always counter-productive. You just create a black market and stir up interest in whatever was outlawed.

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The US has a further problem in that there are so many guns in circulation and in people's possession that outright outlawing them would be a practical impossibility. The NRA used to have a bumper sticker that read, "If Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Guns." While a bit too glib, that does point to the problem that at present and for the foreseeable future, anyone with cash and connections can get a gun, even if they are convicted felons. Any meaningful effort to round up and destroy even a significant fraction of the gun inventory would run into serious 4th. Amendment search and seizure problems.

Michael

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What if I want a PPSh just cause I like WW2 stuff? (and no just owning it isn't good enough I want to shoot it)

Well you just know and understand that you can't have one.I have never fired or held a loaded gun and I am not the slightest bit bothered by that fact.Guns are non issue for most Brits.

In fact I don't see the attraction of owning them.Once you have one then what do you do with it.Oh that's right go to a range and shoot targets.Which i assume is fun for a short time.

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The US has a further problem in that there are so many guns in circulation and in people's possession that outright outlawing them would be a practical impossibility. The NRA used to have a bumper sticker that read, "If Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Guns." While a bit too glib, that does point to the problem that at present and for the foreseeable future, anyone with cash and connections can get a gun, even if they are convicted felons. Any meaningful effort to round up and destroy even a significant fraction of the gun inventory would run into serious 4th. Amendment search and seizure problems.

+1 This is what I was referring to with my "perfect world" comment above. In the real world people we don't want to have guns are going to get them anyway.

Even if we could magically make all the guns already in circulation disappear there remains the fact that illegal contraband of all sorts is flooding over our ridiculously porous borders every day. Supply and demand.

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As long as you say guys that the problem is too big it will remain so. As long as you say that people will always get guns they always will. Only criminals will have guns etc.

These are all arguments that we heard when Oz banned guns and as well you know they have not come to fruition.

Consider, for example, Branas et al (2009, Investigating the Link Between Gun Possession and Gun Assault, American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 99 Issue 11, pp 2034-2040):

"After we adjusted for confounding factors, individuals who were in possession of a gun were 4.46 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession. Individuals who were in possession of a gun were also 4.23 times more likely to be fatally shot in an assault. In assaults where the victim had at least some chance to resist, individuals who were in possession of a gun were 5.45 times more likely to be shot".

The rate of deaths due to guns in Oz has fallen from 9 per 100000 head of population in 1979 to 1.8 per 100000 in 2002 with 0.25 due to crime 1.45 by suicide and 0.1 by accident.

USA is 15.22 per 100000, with 7.07 Homicide , 7.35 suicide and 0.59 accidental.

There are an estimated 350 million guns in the USA huge masses of very cheap weapons.

If you instituted a gun buy back with an average price of $500 per weapon you'd be up for $175 Billion if all guns were handed in.

Small price to pay, what have you got to lose? If you implement it and no one sells their guns it won't cost anything, if everyone brings in their guns problem solved, they are gone. Even something in between would be a huge step forward.

"What if I want a PPSh just cause I like WW2 stuff? (and no just owning it isn't good enough I want to shoot it)" You can have it if you have it deactivated, if you want to shoot it, bad luck. You're not allowed to drive your car at 160kph on the highway because it endangers others, same rules for guns.

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Small price to pay, what have you got to lose? If you implement it and no one sells their guns it won't cost anything, if everyone brings in their guns problem solved, they are gone. Even something in between would be a huge step forward.

I'd be willing to give that a try; but again, I don't think it is easy to comprehend the magnitude of the problem. It also fails to address the massive irrationality of some gun owners attachment to their weapons. For them, guns are a symbol of empowerment in a society that increasingly confines their scope for personal initiative and arbitrarily determines the course of their lives. The same thing applies to driving over-sized and over-powered gas guzzling muscle cars.

And I won't be the least surprised if the mere fact of my posting this provokes howls of outraged denial...

Michael

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Australia is not the United States. You live on an island. The US has 2 very long and very porous borders. As long as there is a demand for guns there will be guns available. If you doubt that please do some research on how successful we have been at stemming the tide of illegal drugs from Mexico. Suggesting that where there is a will there is a way is too glib by far.

As for the numbers posted suggesting that when assaulted I am safer unarmed, there are lies, damn lies and statistics. For myself, I'll take my chances armed. Those who feel safer unarmed are always free to remain so.

Anyone familiar with the issue of gun control knows there are reams of studies out there purporting to prove one side or the other correct.

Examination of the long-term trends indicated that the only category of sudden death that may have been influenced by the introduction of the NFA was firearm suicide.

However, this effect must be considered in light of the findings for suicide (non-firearm). Homicide patterns (firearm and non-firearm) were not influenced by the NFA, the conclusion being that the gun buy-back and restrictive legislative changes had no influence on firearm homicide in Australia. The introduction of the NFA appeared to have a negative effect on accidental firearm death. However, over the time period investigated, there was a relatively small number of accidental deaths per annum, with substantial variability. Any conclusions regarding the effect of the NFA on accidental firearm death should be approached with caution.

It may originally have been hoped that increasing restrictions on access to firearms and criteria for obtaining a licence would have led to a significant drop in firearm homicide. However, two hypotheses underlie this prediction. First, it must be established whether or not persons legally obtaining firearms are likely to commit homicide. The subsequent assumption that increasing legislative requirements surrounding the legal acquisition of firearms would generate a drop in firearm homicide rests on the premise that tighter legislative stipulations would ‘choke off’ the supply of firearms to would-be criminals, and that this, in turn, may produce a corresponding decrease in homicides. This concern was presumably addressed by additional tightened requirements on civilian firearm owners within the NFA. A ground-breaking Australian study examined the licensing and registration status of firearms used in homicide between 1997 and 1999 (Mouzos 2000b). This study found that over 90 per cent of firearms used to commit homicide were not registered and the perpetrators not licensed. This trend continues to be found (see Crime Facts Info. No. 54, 2003, Australian Institute of Criminology and National Homicide Monitoring Program Annual Reports, e.g. Mouzos 2005).

The above findings, in conjunction with the current study, partially accord with predictions based upon rational choice theory. From rational choice theory, it would be expected that although legislation may alter the rate of use of a particular method through changing cost/benefit calculations at the level of method selection, this would not impact upon generalized behaviours. However, given that the NFA did not lead to a change in the rate of decline in firearm homicides, it can be assumed not to have impacted on cost/benefit models of choice-making among offenders. It should also be noted that from an empirical perspective, the NFA regulated mechanisms of legal firearms possession whereas evidence demonstrates that offenders are bypassing legal methods of acquisition. This, in turn, suggests that changing cost/benefit calculations at the level of method selection through the application of restrictive firearms legislation directed at the licit user does not alter the patterns of criminal behaviour.

The lack of effect of a massive buy-back and associated legislative changes in the requirements for obtaining a firearm licence or legally possessing a firearm has significant implications for public and justice policy, not only in Australia, but internationally. It is tempting to equate strict firearm legislation with effective firearm legislation. If policy is to be truly effective, it must have clearly defined outcomes and it must be able to bring about those outcomes. The desired, and implied, outcome of firearms legislation is to achieve an improvement in overall public health and safety by minimizing firearms abuse and misuse. Such aims may be difficult to achieve when legislation is drafted in the political arena. Consequently, we recommend that firearms policy development should be based on empirical data, careful evaluation of that empirical data, and community understanding and acceptance of proposed legislation (Baker and McPhedran 2004). There is insufficient evidence to support the simple premise that reducing the stockpile of licitly held civilian firearms will result in a reduction in either firearm or overall sudden death rates.

-- Gun Laws and Sudden Death

Did the Australian Firearms Legislation of 1996 Make a Difference?

Jeanine Baker and

Samara McPhedran

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Australia is not the United States. You live on an island. The US has 2 very long and very porous borders.

Does possession of firearms help with policing those?? :confused:

As long as there is a demand for guns there will be guns available.

And you accuse the OP of being glib??!! :rolleyes:

If you doubt that please do some research on how successful we have been at stemming the tide of illegal drugs from Mexico. Suggesting that where there is a will there is a way is too glib by far.

no it isn't - it's a simple statment of fact - what you & others have identified is that in the US, as a whole, there is NOT the will.

C'est la vie - if you have knowledge of alternatives and choose not to follow them then that's OK - you are adults, you are allowed to make these choices.

But at least you (the royal you - not you personally) should accept the obvious consequernces of your choice.

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