Tag Archives: Self-Defense

Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy paper: gun control doesn’t lower murder rate

Guns are for self-defense against criminals
Guns provide effective self-defense against violent criminals

Doug Ross linked to this study published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.

He writes:

The Harvard study attempts to answer the question of whether or not banning firearms would reduce murders and suicides. Researchers looked at crime data from several European countries and found that countries with HIGHER gun ownership often had LOWER murder rates.

Russia, for example, enforces very strict gun control on its people, but its murder rate remains quite high. In fact, the murder rate in Russia is four times higher than in the “gun-ridden” United States, cites the study. ”Homicide results suggest that where guns are scarce other weapons are substituted in killings.” In other words, the elimination of guns does not eliminate murder, and in the case of gun-controlled Russia, murder rates are quite high.

The study revealed several European countries with significant gun ownership, like Norway, Finland, Germany and France – had remarkably low murder rates. Contrast that with Luxembourg, “where handguns are totally banned and ownership of any kind of gun is minimal, had a murder rate nine times higher than Germany in 2002.

The study found no evidence to suggest that the availability of guns contributes to higher murder rates anywhere in the world. ”Of course, it may be speculated that murder rates around the world would be higher if guns were more available. But there is simply no evidence to support this.”

The authors also took a look at the effect of gun control laws in various U.S. states, gun ownership in rural and urban areas, and across racial lines. The long and short of it is that a small number of extremely active criminals with lengthy criminal records are responsible for the overwhelming super-majority of all gun crimes, and these criminals are psychopaths that ignore all laws.

The study also cited a previous report that was unable to find a single gun control law implemented in the United States that is proven to have reduced violent crime.

This is not the first time that a study in a presitigious journal has challenged the liberal gun control narrative. People who oppose guns oppose them because of feelings. Guns are scary and guns are loud, they say. That’s their reasoning. But if you actually look at the data, you’ll find that guns do reduce crime rates.

The peer-reviewed research

Whenever I get into discussions about gun control, I always mention two academic books by John R. Lott and Joyce Lee Malcolm.

Here is a paper by Dr. Malcolm that summarizes one of the key points of her book.

Excerpt:

Tracing the history of gun control in the United Kingdom since the late 19th century, this article details how the government has arrogated to itself a monopoly on the right to use force. The consequence has been a tremendous increase in violent crime, and harsh punishment for crime victims who dare to fight back. The article is based on the author’s most recent book, Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Harvard University Press, 2002). Joyce Malcom is professor of history at Bentley College, in Waltham, Massachusetts. She is also author of To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an AngloAmerican Right (Harvard University Press, 1994).

Upon the passage of The Firearms Act (No. 2) in 1997, British Deputy Home Secretary Alun Michael boasted: “Britain now has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.” The Act was second handgun control measure passed that year, imposed a near-complete ban on private ownership of handguns, capping nearly eighty years of increasing firearms restrictions. Driven by an intense public campaign in the wake of the shooting of schoolchildren in Dunblane, Scotland, Parliament had been so zealous to outlaw all privately owned handguns that it rejected proposals to exempt Britain’s Olympic target-shooting team and handicapped target-shooters from the ban.

And the result of the 1997 gun ban:

The result of the ban has been costly. Thousands of weapons were confiscated at great financial cost to the public. Hundreds of thousands of police hours were devoted to the task. But in the six years since the 1997 handgun ban, crimes with the very weapons banned have more than doubled, and firearm crime has increased markedly. In 2002, for the fourth consecutive year, gun crime in England and Wales rose—by 35 percent for all firearms, and by a whopping 46 percent for the banned handguns. Nearly 10,000 firearms offences were committed.

[…]According to Scotland Yard, in the four years from 1991 to 1995 crimes against the person in England‟s inner cities increased by 91 percent. In the four years from 1997 to 2001 the rate of violent crime more than doubled. The UK murder rate for 2002 was the highest for a century.

I think that peer-reviewed studies – from Harvard University, no less – should be useful to those of us who believe in the right of self-defense for law-abiding people. The book by economist John Lott, linked above,compares the crime rates of all U.S. states that have enacted concealed carry laws, and concludes that violent crime rates dropped after law-abiding citizens were allowed to carry legally-owned firearms. That’s the mirror image of Dr. Malcolm’s Harvard study, but both studies affirm the same conclusion – more legal firearm ownership means less crime.

If you still think that guns are somehow bad for reducing crime, why not check out a formal academic debate featuring 3 people on each side of the debate?

If you want to know why the Democrat parts of the United States have such high rates of violence, then you need to look at the enormously high out-of-wedlock birth rates in the Democrat parts of the United States. Democrats have no problem with having fatherless children, and they support paying people welfare in order to do it. No wonder they have a crime problem that’s caused by the fatherlessness that is caused by their own values and policies. When Democrats stop paying single mothers money to have fatherless kids, then the crime rates in the Democrat parts of the United States will go down.

Three unarmed Americans subdue Islamic terrorist armed with AK-47 on French train

Three American heroes rescue civilians from Islamic terrorist
Three American heroes rescue civilians from Islamic terrorist

Quick 3-minute interview with two of the heroes:

The person on the right is a British IT specialist who assisted the 3 Americans. US Airman Spencer Stone, not shown in the video, was injured in the attack. He was the one who charged the attacker, and ran 10 meters to tackle him first. The attackers gun jammed, but he was able to stab Spenser. The injuries sound terrible, but are not life-threatening. However, Spencer disregarded his own injuries in order to help the another victim, saving his life.

Here is a picture of Spenser after his treatment:

US serviceman Spencer Stone departs the Clinique Lille Sud
US serviceman Spencer Stone departs the Clinique Lille Sud

He’s doing fine, they are going to release him today.

My friend Laura shared this story from the UK Daily Mail, which has more details.

Excerpt:

US airman Spencer Stone, who on board the train during the attack, spotted the 26-year-old Moroccan acting suspiciously and heard him trying to load his weapon in the toilet.

He was travelling with Oregon National Guard member Alek Skarlatos, 22, who was on leave and travelling through Europe at the time after returning from a tour in Afghanistan.

With the help of their friend Anthony Sadler, from Pittsburg, California, and fellow passenger British IT consultant Chris Norman, they managed to wrestle the attacker to the ground, stopping what could have been a deadly terrorist attack.

Mr Sadler has described how the attacker pleaded with them to return his AK-47.

He said: ‘He was just telling us to give back his gun. ‘Give me back my gun! Give me back my gun!’ But we just carried on beating him up and immobilised him and that was it.’

French security services knew about the terrorist:

Thwarted train gunman Ayoub El-Qahzzani was part of an Islamic terrorist cell which came within hours of carrying out a ‘major’ attack in Belgium before it was shut down in a deadly fire-fight with police, according to French media reports.

El-Qahzzani has been linked to a gang of Muslim fanatics in Belgium who opened fire on anti-terrorism officers when Special Forces closed in on them near the railway station in the eastern city of Verviers, in January 2015.

Two terrorist suspects were killed and a third was arrested in the operation, close to the Belgian border with Germany.

Now El-Qahzzani has been linked to this terrorist cell, which was made up of Islamic extremists who had returned to Europe after fighting against the Assad regime in Syria.

France’s La Voix du Nord newspaper reported: ‘According to our sources, he [Al Qahzzani] was part of the same jihadist group which attacked on Belgian anti-terrorist police in a violent fire-fight in January 2015, in Verviers, near Liege.

‘It appears that he had been identified as a potential security threat by the Spanish authorities who had alerted French authorities and had asked them for further information about him.’

I guess the French socialists were too busy passing their 75% tax rate and selling warships to Russia to do anything about protecting their own people from terrorism.

French train staff did nothing to help the passengers:

Train staff on board the high speed train which was the scene of a suspected Islamic extremist attack yesterday have been accused of barricading themselves in their staffroom and locking the door, leaving passengers to fend for themselves.

The Moroccan terrorist was disarmed and beaten unconscious by US servicemen and a British man after he opened fire on a Paris-bound train with a Kalashnikov.

Now, French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, who was on board the Thalys train during the attack has slammed train staff who he claims locked themselves in an office away from the attacker and refused to help the trapped passengers.

The Socialist party in France has erected such a wide-ranging welfare state that it causes the French people to lose their proud national character as they become more and more accustomed to dependency. It’s sad, but no country is immune to the corrosive effects of dependency… many Americans are like the French, collecting payments from their neighbor’s earnings, looking out for themselves rather than serving their neighbors through work.

It might be a good idea for France to allow law-abiding civilians to carry their own weapons to stop attacks like this, but most Europeans, unlike most Americans, seem to have a horror of self-defense. I wonder if that will change if there are enough attacks like this? Reality has a way of disrupting leftist illusions.

Wayne Grudem explains what the Bible says about war

Theology that hits the spot
Theology that hits the spot

A two-part sermon from famous pastor Wayne Grudem.

The part 1 MP3 file is here.

The part 2 MP3 file is here.

The PDF outline is here.

Part 1 topics: (just war and conduct of war)

  • the commandment to not kill does not apply to killing enemy soldiers in war
  • government is authorized to prevent foreign countries from harming citizens the same way it prevents criminals from harming citizens
  • there are examples in the Bible of using military force to stop an aggressive nation, e.g. – David vs Goliath
  • principles of a just war, and relevant Bible passages, e.g. – just cause, only as a last resort
  • Moral principles for the conduct of a just war, e.g. – proportionality, combatants vs non-combatants
  • Can a Christian serve in a just war in good conscience?
  • What should a Christian do if called upon to fight in an unjust war?

Part 2 topics: (responses to pacificism)

  • what are the arguments in favor of pacifism?
  • government can do some things that individuals cannot do, e.g. – taxing vs stealing, punishing criminals vs revenge
  • it’s wrong for individuals to use force to advance the gospel, but not wrong for government to use force to restrain evil
  • Jesus loves everyone, but even he will come in judgment one day and use force to punish evil
  • what about nuclear weapons, nuclear arsenals for deterrence, and defenses to long-range nuclear missiles?
  • missile defense systems work, e.g – Iron Dome in Israel stopped about 85% of incoming missiles
  • building defenses does not embolden the enemy to attack us, it deters the enemy from attacking us
  • “turn the other cheek” means don’t return an insult, but you can defend yourself from physical threats

My favorite part of this two-part series was the midpoint of part 2, when a lady asked him a question about what is behind pacificism. Dr. Grudem runs through all the places in society where the secular left is opposed to authorities judging and punishing bad behavior with force. There are so many examples of this: parents disciplining rebellious children, teachers disciplining misbehaving kids, police catching criminals (lots of that lately!), courts putting criminals in jail for long periods of time, giving murderers the death penalty, using waterboarding on terrorists, and of course pacifism in the face of aggression, e.g. – Iran vs Israel, Russia vs Ukraine. Then another lady asked him why the same people who are so concerned about going easy on violent criminals and aggressive nations are so intent on being able to kill defenseless innocent children in the womb. Good question.

Wayne Grudem explains what the Bible says about self-defense

Theology that hits the spot
Theology that hits the spot

Reformed Baptist theologian Wayne Grudem speaks on the Bible and the right of self-defense.

About Wayne Grudem:

Grudem holds a BA from Harvard University, a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. In 2001, Grudem became Research Professor of Bible and Theology at Phoenix Seminary. Prior to that, he had taught for 20 years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he was chairman of the department of Biblical and Systematic Theology.

Grudem served on the committee overseeing the English Standard Version translation of the Bible, and in 1999 he was the president of the Evangelical Theological Society. He is a co-founder and past president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. He is the author of, among other books, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, which advocates a Calvinistic soteriology, the verbal plenary inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, the body-soul dichotomy in the nature of man, and the complementarian (rather than egalitarian) view of gender equality.

The MP3 file is here.

The PDF outline is here.

Topics:

  • what about turning the other cheek? doesn’t that undermine self-defense?
  • what does Jesus say about the right to self-defense in the New Testament
  • did Jesus’ disciples carry swords for protection during his ministry?
  • why did Jesus tell his disciples to sell their cloaks and buy swords?
  • what about Jesus stopping Peter from using force during Jesus’ arrest?
  • shouldn’t we rely on police instead of our own personal weapons?
  • what about brandishing a handgun vs actually trying to shoot someone?
  • what are violent crime rates in pro-gun USA and in the anti-gun UK?
  • does outlawing guns cause violent crime to increase or decrease?
  • do academic studies show that gun control decreases crime?
  • do academic studies show that concealed carry laws decreases crime?
  • what do academic studies show about defensive handgun usage?
  • do many children die from guns in the home compared to other causes?
  • doesn’t the US Constitution limit the usage of guns to the army and police?
  • what did the Founding Fathers believe about lawful ownership of firearms?
  • What should be the goal of someone who uses a weapon in self-defense?

This is a good example of applying the Bible to real life. We need more of that!

Concealed-carry permit holder uses gun to save woman from attempted rape

Guns are for self-defense against criminals
Guns are for self-defense against criminals

From Michigan Live.

Excerpt:

The mother of a woman who told police she was attacked inside an eastside home said she is thankful for neighbors who rushed to her daughter’s aid, including a man who held the alleged attacker at gunpoint then chased him down and helped hold him until police arrived.

“She got lucky,” said the woman’s mother, who is not being identified to protect the identity of the woman. “If it wasn’t for all these people who cared enough to help her, and not turn the other cheek like so many people would, my daughter would be dead right now.”

Jessica Abels, who lives near the spot on Cronk Avenue near Illinois Avenue where the woman was found walking bloodied and naked, said she looked out the window when she heard a woman screaming for help around 2 p.m. Sept. 26.

She saw the woman jump out the window of a nearby vacant home, she said.

“Her eyes were all swollen and she had blood all over her and in her mouth,” Abels said. “She was pretty messed up.”

That’s when the community jumped into action.

Several area residents offered the 21-year-old woman clothing and comfort while a man who holds a valid concealed pistols license ordered the suspect out of the house at gunpoint, according to Flint police.

The man took off running but was chased down by the gun-wielding citizen who, with the help of an undercover auto theft police officer, tackled and held him down until police arrived.

It’s a good thing when a law-abiding citizen is able to defend his neighbors from criminals. And no shots were fired. That’s what is the most common outcome from a defensive handgun usage. Usually, the mere threat of being shot is enough to stop the crime, and deter the criminal. Guns are a way to stop violence. The very rare case where a gun is fired, it is usually a warning shot. There are degrees of deterrence and shooting at a criminal is the last resort. In this case, it was enough to just brandish the weapon.