An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gun fantasies

AR sent me the following video in which Rachel Maddow explodes the myth that a well armed populace will reduce gun violence by means of return fire. 2nd amendment fans please watch to the end before commenting.

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On the topic of the "gun fantasy" : I suspect that pop culture with its very contrived situations in which friendly fire fatalities never happen may contribute to this fantasy. Contrary to the history documentaries and war movies, a dirty secret about warfare, especially in the 20th century, is that "friendly fire casualties" are endemic. Also in smaller scale rescue operations it frequently occurs that the rescuers kill or wound some number of the people they are trying to rescue (The raid on Entebbe in the 70s comes to mind). The military takes pains to avoid publicizing some of its own research which bears this out, time and again. In the book, War by Gwyne Dyer, you will find a description of how a military doctor during WWI performed autopsies on hundreds of soldiers on both sides who died in combat. Examination of the bullets or fragments indicated that half of the soldiers on both sides were killed by their own people. Most people learn history from TV or movies. Sad but true. Although the book Band of Brothers describes incidents of friendly fire fatalities, none of these appeared in the mini-series. Perception vs. reality.

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