Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2012 July 9

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July 9[edit]

Concealed carry laws stopping a spree shooting[edit]

One of the more interesting (to me) results of the Luby's massacre in Texas was the relaxation of concealed-carry firearms permit regulations. One of those present at the shooting stated publicly numerous times that had she been legally armed, she could have ended the massacre.

Has that ever happened? Has a spree shooting ever been stopped by a civilian with a legal firearm? gnfnrf (talk) 00:38, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

There are success stories with concealed-carry permits. Here's one is about a hostage situation:[4], and this is about someone storming a church wth a shotgun: [5]. There are other examples in the news, if you search for them. Neither of these were shooting sprees, but that could be because they were stopped at the start. RudolfRed (talk) 01:00, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Here are a few recent ones over the last month: [6] [7] [8]. These stories aren't uncommon. As for shooting sprees, Trolley Square shooting was ended when an off-duty officer exchanged shots with the shooter, after which on duty police arrived and killed him, which I think is close to your question. While I believe most U.S. states allow officers to carry concealed anyway when off duty, the argument is that an armed populace can respond faster than on duty police could. Shadowjams (talk) 01:37, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
When I read the "this is about someone storming a church wth a shotgun:", I thought it was going to link to the case where the counter-armed man missed the armed man and killed a little girl instead, no shots ever fired by the first armed man, but I can't find that article through google. Unique Ubiquitous (talk) 02:15, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm interested in this story as well.A8875 (talk) 02:37, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
That was a plot point in an episode of The West Wing. Was it also a real story? RudolfRed (talk) 02:38, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Ha, that could very well be where I got that from, my bad, facepalm. But still while searching for it I did come across many cases of Americans shooting each other in churches... really what are guns for but for killing... Unique Ubiquitous (talk) 02:58, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I've seen better examples than those linked above. (I even had some links, but they're broken now.) Trouble is, when a bunch of people don't get murdered, it's less likely to make the news. —Tamfang (talk) 23:00, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Given the number of shootings and attempted shootings in the US, and the number of people that routinely carry guns, it's sure to happen sometimes. You need to compare the lives saved in such instances with the lives lost in accidental shootings and people getting hold of the gun (I heard a statistic somewhere that more US policemen are shot with their own gun than are shot with other guns, although I have no idea if that is actually true) to get useful information on the merits of concealed carry permits. --Tango (talk) 02:40, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
It has nothing to do with statist calculations of utility. US Citizens have rights [9], among them the right of self-defense,[10] and the government has no place abrogating them. μηδείς (talk) 02:43, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Sure, but in other nations people think that a person's right to carry massacre capable weapons is less important than a person's right to not be constantly threatened by others. But still, congrats to the US on leading the developed world in murder, 11x Japan, 4x Europe, 3x Canada, maybe more guns would stop the murderers. Unique Ubiquitous (talk) 02:58, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
What in the world are you talking about? The right to carry concealed nuclear weapons? Or the number of people murdered in WWII by Japan and the Axis compared to by Americans with guns? Or how much better it is to be stabbed to death than shot? Or saying that the murder rate in Mexico, two and a half that of the US, is better because their rate of death by firearm is only half hours? Or implying that murderers generally have legal weapons and seek concealed carry permits? Bizarre. μηδείς (talk) 03:55, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
The high murder rate in Mexico is mostly due to the irrational US drug policy, which ensures that drug gangs in Mexico will fight violently for control of the multi-billion dollar illegal cross-border drug smuggling operation. Their murder rate would also be lower if they weren't able to smuggle US guns into Mexico. StuRat (talk) 18:33, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
The high murder rate in the US has to do with the US drug policy. And absolutely nothing to do with the second amendment or the right to self defense. Next someone will say they don't have black people in Japan. μηδείς (talk) 01:14, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd say that the murder rate is due to both, as many murders in the US are unrelated to drugs. StuRat (talk) 05:12, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I am sorry, but without statistics, what you would say is rather dubious. Murder in NYC correlates almost entirely with drug crime; dealing and robbery.[11] Where statistics are known, the vast majority of murders are commited with unregistered guns [12] and the crime rate with registered gun users is very low.[13] It defies reason and evidence to claim that the right of law abiding citizens to defend themselves is a significant cause of gun murders. μηδείς (talk) 02:25, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
Where do you think unregistered guns come from ? They are registered guns which were stolen, sold illegally, etc. Also, you stats are rather questionable. I think you made a mistake on your 1st link, since it's just a map, showing something by race (homicides by race of victim ?). There's no correlation with drug shown on the map. Your 2nd link states that, in Canada, "where registration status was known, 7 in 10 firearms used to commit homicide were reported by police to be unregistered". Leaving aside the issue of those cases where the status is unknown, it's entirely possible that 70% of the guns in Canada are unregistered, meaning there's no difference in the tendency of registered or unregistered guns to be used in crimes. As for your third link, that's entirely useless. The percentage of Florida gun owners who've had their guns revoked would only be those who committed a crime with the gun, were caught, and subsequently had the permit pulled. You can't infer anything from this. Your 2nd link did have a relevant chart, though (number 4), showing that the non-gun homicide rate in the US is similar to other nations, but that the gun crime rate is up to 34 times higher. StuRat (talk) 19:34, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
The U.S. has 11x the murder rate of Japan because we have 13x the incarceration rate of Japan. We have 3x the murder rate of Canada because we have 5x the incarceration rate of Canada. See List of countries by incarceration rate. Most of the people in the jails, mind you, are not there for murder, but for non-violent offenses; but the purpose of prisons is to recruit people, in fear for their life, to join gangs and learn criminal trades. Wnt (talk) 15:56, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think anyone argues that unlimited weapons should be given to anyone who wants them (machine guns for felons ?). As to how much the right to bear arms should be limited, that varies from state to state and from election to election. StuRat (talk) 03:01, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I happen to agree (more or less) with Medeis, that there is a natural human right of self-defense. But I don't thereby conclude that empirical outcomes are not worth considering. Not everyone has the same theory of rights. —Tamfang (talk) 23:00, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
On the other hand, someone was in a nearby store carrying a gun at the time of the Gaby Giffords shooting, and later said that if they had been slightly less restrained, they would have started shooting at a time when the original shooter had already been caught and was being restrained by members of the public... AnonMoos (talk) 14:08, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Her self-restraint is an argument for allowing law-abiding adults to carry weapons. Either that or the fact mass transit should be banned because if I had been slightly less retrained on the subway platform today I could probably have pushed half a dozen small people to their deaths. There's no getting away from the need for people to be responsible for their actions. μηδείς (talk) 01:19, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Please, let us provide references for the original poster specifically connected to their question, and discuss other potential questions by starting new sections (US gun politics is one of the most boring recurrent discussions online). Fifelfoo (talk) 03:21, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

I wonder why people outside the US care about this topic so much and also about the death penalty. OK, both are probably bad ideas under many aspects, but there are worse things out there. OsmanRF34 (talk) 12:38, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I can think of two reasons for this of the top of my head. The first reason is that these are topics that are much discussed in US society, and as such, people outside the US, who are interested in society/politics etc. get a lot of information on it, and can discuss it.
The second reason, which perhaps feeds of the first one, is the comparison between what the US is and what the US perceives itself to be. The US describes itself as a peaceful, prosperous, just and democratic society. Keep in mind that the legal, political and philosophical traditions of Europe and America are very different. However, for a European, it seems like a contradiction that a modern, democratic state should be executing its own citizens, and that in a country with the rule of law, citizens should see the need to heavily arm themselves. And, of course, the different histories of the US and Europe will mean that these differences in opinion can lead to hours and hours of fun debates. ;-) V85 (talk) 15:34, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Thank you all for your answers and links. Of course, this is a touchy subject, and I don't think it's productive to rehash the basic arguments here. Just a few clarifications: I'm looking for a very specific scenario here, which I don't quite see. Many of the links are to incidents where robberies or other crimes were stopped by armed civilians; I know that happens, and that's not what I'm looking for. I want to know if the specific scenario of an actual spree shooting (where a criminal is in fact trying to kill people with a gun) is stopped by a civilian (not an off-duty police officer or other person with a professional reason to carry a weapon), presumably by shooting them. This is the scenario that Suzanna Hupp described in hearings before Congress about expanding concealed-carry rights. I don't know of it every actually happening, though, and I wanted to find out if I missed it. gnfnrf (talk) 01:56, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
This is incredibly easy to find on google. I started typing in "citizen stops shooting" and before I had gotten to the 's' in 'stops' google suggested the search term "armed citizen stops shooting spree" which generated the following results: μηδείς (talk) 17:20, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
That's certainly a useful search (I admit, it's a combination of terms I just didn't think to try) but the results have a lot of uncited forum posts and discussions like this one, and theoretical speculation. But, I'll go through the forums and see what I can find for actual answers.
  • Appalachian School of Law shooting - Close by some accounts, a little farther by others, but not actually concealed carry.
  • Pearl High School shooting - Another very close match, but still not actually concealed carry. Intriguingly, in neither of these two cases did the defending civilian actually shoot.
  • Tyler courthouse shooting - Also very close, but here, the intervening civilian didn't succeed in stopping the shooting, though his intervention may have helped police (at the cost of his own life).
  • Shooting by/of Ernesto Fuentes Villagomez in May 2008 in Winnemucca, Nevada. I'm having difficulty finding a complete news article about this event, only short excepts posted to blogs. It may fit the criteria very well, but it's hard to tell when the only sources I can find are advocacy-based.
  • A spree stabbing in Salt Lake City stopped by an armed citizen who fired no shots. The perpetrator wounded several people but didn't kill anyone. [14]
And a bunch of general crime stories, repeats, and stories with too few details for me to track anything down. The Winnemucca case looks very promising, but I just couldn't find a (in Wikipedia terms) reliable source for it. However, others may have better luck or better sources (I mainly tried Google News in the months following the event, using the perp's name.) Other than that, this search doesn't actually provide anything (that I saw) that directly fits the scenario I'm wondering about. Was there a specific incident you saw in that search that I missed, Medeis? gnfnrf (talk) 02:37, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I suggest you try google news if you want more "reliable" results, you'll get stories like this one where bystanders returned fire and killed the assailant. Using quotes around "shooting spree" also helps, although "stop" is very unspecific. As for a list, if it doesn't exist here it probably won't exist anywhere--but starting such an article might draw contributors to do the work for you. There is also the huge issue of what is seen and what is not seen. Given, as I have said, I don't think the statistics are relevant one way or the other in regards to allowing people to use guns to defend themselves you'll forgive me if I don't do the drudge work myself. μηδείς (talk) 02:53, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Can't resist replying to some of the slightly more tangential comments above, sorry. One (just one) problem with assuming it's a good idea to arm citizens more heavily in order to deal with other people who run amok with a gun, is that it potentially leads to situations like the Beslan massacre. An awful lot of the local populace seemed to be exercising their constitutional rights to bear arms (who'd a thunk it, I thought the parts of the former USSR mostly weren't free countries even now?), but this didn't stop the massacre, and in fact mostly resulted in the citizens hindering the police by taking potshots at the hostage-takers with their own rifles. (Thereby possibly actually provoking the massacre that ultimately took place.) --Demiurge1000 (talk) 19:51, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Single payer savings in the U.S. post-TB coverup[edit]

Given [15] is single payer savings over Obamacare going to be closer to $1.3 or 1.5 trillion per year? (talk) 07:03, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

File:PNHP poster.jpg
An analysis of the United States National Health Care Act by Physicians for a National Health Program who estimated the savings at $350 billion per year in 2008.[1] Others have estimated a 40% savings[2] from preventative care and elimination of insurance company overhead costs[3].
I don't see how that link relates to your question. StuRat (talk) 07:19, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
"The state of Florida has been struggling for months with what the Centers for Disease Control describe as the worst tuberculosis outbreak in the United States in twenty years.... the coverup began as early as last February, when Duval County Health Department officials felt so overwhelmed by the sudden spike in tuberculosis that they asked the [CDC] to become involved. Believing the outbreak affected only their underclass, the health officials made a conscious decision not to not tell the public, repeating a decision they had made in 2008, when the same strain had appeared in an assisted living home for people with schizophrenia. That decision now appears to have gone terribly awry, partly because the disease appears to have already spread into the general population but also because just nine days before the CDC warning was issued, Florida Governor Rick Scott had signed a bill downsizing the state’s Department of Health and closing the A.G. Holley State Hospital that had treated the most difficult tuberculosis cases for over 60 years.... as many as 3000 people may have been exposed to the strain over the past two years, mainly in Jacksonville’s homeless shelters, jails, and a mental health clinic. Only 253 of those have been found, of whom one-third have tested positive for TB exposure.... the strain has not only spread beyond the underclass but has started appearing in other parts of the state, including Miami.... The drugs to treat a simple case of TB cost only $500, but if a patient does not take them regularly and the strain becomes drug-resistant, the cost skyrockets to $275,000. And, as the Post notes, 'the itinerant homeless, drug-addicted, mentally ill people at the core of the Jacksonville TB cluster are almost impossible to keep on their medications.'"
So, if Obamacare costs $1 trillion/year over pre-Obamacare baseline, and single payer would have saved $350 trillion, if that kind of behavior is typical of government response to virulent disease, then presumably single payer would actually save somewhat more, would it not? (talk) 18:18, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Your assumption that this is the typical result is faulty. The combination of a Republican government there and being in the dark on the situation and bad timing is unlikely to recur. (Even the Republicans wouldn't have evicted TB-ridden patients from hospitals if they realized this would cause a spread of TB and garner bad PR for themselves.) StuRat (talk) 18:26, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I think you underestimate their ability to make sacrifices for their faith... I should note also that there is some evidence (though also contradictory results) favoring the idea that simple malnutrition, especially lack of meat, makes people more vulnerable to the disease; for thousands of years major and minor medical works have been recommending to give those with tuberculosis meat, often organ meat, often from carnivores (the sort of stuff one could catch gout just thinking about). I don't think the question has received satisfactory treatment in the recent literature that is indexed by PubMed, but I wonder if some basic food assistance for these people could limit the spread of the disease - and that too isn't going to happen. Wnt (talk) 00:42, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps there's a Republican solution to the TB problem in Florida more in line with their values. They could make a law that says having no permanent address and TB makes you a danger to public safety and subject to confinement, for the public good. The effect would be to criminalize having TB, if you are poor, allowing them to arrest all these people and imprison them until they die. StuRat (talk) 05:07, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Contradictions under international law[edit]

I was thinking one day about how many laws can come into conflict, especially with complex things like contract law, where (in my understanding) different laws and principles can affect the case, without any clear right or wrong. In the laws of individual nations, we have the government to clamp down with a binding legal process, including, typically, some single final court of appeal. Because there is no such power in international law, enforcing its decisions, it seems somewhat silly to talk of international law at all (note I'm not soapboxing, just making a point). Are there any cases that have come under international law where it was quite clear that different laws or legal principles had come into conflict, and no one could do anything much because of the lack of a strict process? What was the outcome? IBE (talk) 14:44, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm sure there are cases that can be interpreted that way, but the term international law basically implies a treaty that has been signed by a large number of nations. Since all of those nations have signed the same treaty, they are all bound by the same set of rules. Looie496 (talk) 15:44, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but they sign a lot of different treaties, and one government can then be bound by the treaties signed by several of its predecessors, including from parties with a very different outlook. They can revoke the local laws of the predecessors, so they could either just revoke the treaties as well, or sign different ones. Then the problem of jurisdiction will come up - who has the right to overrule decisions to prevent conflict among treaties/ statutes, and who has the power? Or, more exactly, what happens in practice when people argue out these things? IBE (talk) 16:19, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
(ec)Typically (although not always) the consequence of a state signing a treaty is that it passes legislation in its own parliament which enacts, in a framework consistent with that country's constitution and existing law, the core principles of that treaty. So for individuals or corporations dealing with one another over an international matter, the dispute is still settled in the court of one or other of the relevant nation states. Resort to a supra-national adjudication is available only in some circumstances, as described by those treaties. For contracts, it's very common for a contract to stipulate the prevailing jurisdiction (which might not be immediately relevant); so for example a German subcontractor of a Spanish building company building a Qatari funded skyscraper in Kuwait might all be bound by a contract under English law which mandates that disputes be settled in a commercial court in England - there just isn't a workable framework where, if contracts were written for German and Spanish and Qatari law, the conflicts between them could be resolved. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 16:31, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Say, for example, you fly from Mexico to Spain, and your bag gets lost. The prevailing treaty is the Montreal Convention, which establishes and limits liability and describes how claims against airlines are to be conducted, and in what jurisdiction. But you, and the airline, are not parties to the Convention - it's an Inter-National treaty (one nation to another). Both Mexico and Spain will have passed laws in their own legislatures which implement their obligations under that treaty, so you'd pursue your case in whichever the treaty (and thus the laws) specified. There isn't a need for an over-arching adjudicator, as both laws are broadly the same. If one country failed to pass a law, or if it then failed to enforce that law, then it would be in breach of the treaty. That's a rare event, but if it happens there's not much you as an individual can do about it. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 16:46, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
The United Nations Convention Against Torture has been ratified by a lot of countries who have continued to torture, e.g. Syria, Pakistan, but nobody can investigate or prosecute. There's the Kosovo War and 2003 invasion of Iraq: aggression is customarily against international law (see War of aggression, Crime against peace), but both of these had various justifications including defending the rule of the UN, self-defence (Iraq), enforcing the Genocide Convention (Kosovo). The International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons or Nicaragua v. United States might also be relevant. --Colapeninsula (talk) 16:44, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

See Conflict of laws (a.k.a. private international law). — Kpalion(talk) 07:03, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

When the UK fought a war with Argenina, the US had treaty obligations to aid both sides. (talk) 08:00, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

theory of Aristotle climate[edit]

According to the theory of Aristotle climate Is something can tell me what he say, where poeple live, where were the monster...

I think

  1. Warm areas (Zona torridaTorrid Zone) - from the Tropic of Cancer (23.5°) in the north, through the equator (0°), to the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5°)
  2. Cold regions - where?
  3. Temperate zone
  4. * In the northern - human live?
  5. * In the southern people inversive feet (Astaiodes)?-- (talk) 16:55, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

There is some information about Aristotle and his theories in Geographical zone#History. Is this what you're looking for? - Karenjc 18:44, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
That's actually a pretty cute example of the dangers of extrapolation. Looking at the map of Africa, at the vast expanse of the Sahara, who would have pictured that the equator would be survivable? Wnt (talk) 00:27, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I suspect that if the Earth wasn't tilted, it would be hotter at the equator, perhaps uninhabitable where it's in the center of a continent, like Africa. StuRat (talk) 05:01, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
IIRC, Herodotus (who was earlier than Aristotle) seemed quite comfortable passing on a story of Phoenician sailors completing a circuit of Africa without claiming that the bulk of it was uninhabitable; and there were reports that Carthaginian sailors got past the arid parts of the Western African coast and reached more equatorial bits of Africa.
Early travellers' accounts make for interesting reading but it's really tempting to read too much into them, to take some details literally and others metaphorically. Of course St Brendan saw an iceberg! bobrayner (talk) 10:07, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
But, of course, it's much cooler on the coasts, due to the moderating effect of oceans on temperature. If Eurasia was much farther south, so that it's longest East-West stretch straddled the equator, it might also be uninhabitable there. StuRat (talk) 18:42, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Interestingly, before the Greeks realized the earth was spherical, they knew it was not flat, and believed it to be like a great mountain, with position on the slope determining temperature. The Greek word climate is cognate with the Latin inclination and the English lean. μηδείς (talk) 17:08, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

U.S. involvement in Syria[edit]

Is the U.S. breaking any international laws with its involvement in the Syrian uprising? --Sp33dyphil ©hatontributions 23:30, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

I don't think so. The U.S. involvement is actually pretty minimal -- it consists mainly of talking. Looie496 (talk) 00:25, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
It's almost surely sending arms as well, if not doing other things. I wouldn't be surprised if the US was also clandestinely doing other stuff. As for whether this violates international law, I don't know. If it is a violation of international law, it's one that the US and many other countries violate routinely. --Mr.98 (talk) 02:03, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
That source says that American agents are helping other countries decide which rebels to arm. Sitting in a border camp in Turkey and telling some Turkish officers "Don't arm the Al Qaeda ones, mmmkay" is different from American agents actually handing arms to rebels. Such distinctions are important if we're talking about "law". bobrayner (talk) 10:26, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
A true point. But providing logistical support is still important, and I'd be surprised if the US wasn't doing more than that. They have at this point real motivations in getting Assad out of there and they've been selling this insurgency pretty hard, so the idea that they'd let that go its natural course seems unlikely to me. --Mr.98 (talk) 11:27, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
(Clandestine steps are an option, of course, but secret intervention has the potential to go very wrong and result in nasty headlines. Why should the current American government take that risk, when there are other allied governments who have openly discussed intervention, who have the capability, and who have much greater immunity to bad headlines?) bobrayner (talk) 10:33, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
(Why are you whispering?) Because the Americans take that risk more often than not. --Mr.98 (talk) 11:25, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Doesn't it have an embargo against Syria? That's an act of war under international law, though I suppose it's not a breach of it. (talk) 08:03, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Embargoes are not typically considered acts of war. You may be thinking of a blockade which no country is attempting against Syria. The U.S. has similar embargoes against Cuba, North Korea, and Iran. D Monack (talk) 23:30, 13 July 2012 (UTC)