back to article US county named 'area of outstanding natural stupidity'

We recently promised to name Washington's Kitsap County 'an area of outstanding natural stupidity' (AOONS) if it could reach a critical mass of firearms-related idiocy. The Vulture Central critical mass required for an AOONS is three jaw-dropping tales of Darwin Award-worthy madness, and we're delighted to report that Kitsap …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I disagree with your assessment

    I don't think this events should qualify for your AOONS competition. This sounds like a horrible and unfortunate event. Call it an accident. Kids are sometimes involved in those. If there are too many guns around, gun accidents will happen.

    1. Graham Bartlett

      Re: I disagree with your assessment

      In other words... Guns don't kill people, idiots with guns kill people. So what was your objection again?

      Although Lester, I think AOONS doesn't quite trip off the tongue. Since the place is (nearly) on the sea, how's about calling it the Divviera? Other worthwhile tags would be the Costa Moronica, or perhaps the Costa Wanka if you can get that past editorial control.

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: Re: I disagree with your assessment

        Bloke shoots self in 'nads in Washington Divviera? I like it.

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        "So what was your objection again?"

        WTF man? WTF?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I disagree with your assessment

        Point is that poor parenting means kids can end up with miserable lives or even up dying.

        That's hardly a Darwin award nomination given that children are still learning about the world.

      4. Blane Bramble

        Re: I disagree with your assessment

        I submit (if no-one else has):

        Land Of Outstanding Natural Stupidity.

    2. Rob Dobs
      Devil

      Re: I disagree with your assessment

      None of these are worthy of a Darwin award.... you seem to not understand the meaning of the award.

      You need to either die, or at least loose your ability to pro-create through a act of self stupidity.

      The first one is at best an honorable mention, due to the stupidity of the act, but your article gives no reference to the shotgun idiot getting castrated, just injured.

      The second story sounds like it would have been really cool to see, and was caused surely by stupidity, but your article doesn't even mention that the bloke was injured, let alone killed or castrated.

      Your third and final example appears to be the only case where anyone dies, and the person being stupid (blame either the mother or the kid) were not the ones killed. The one killed was a completely innocent 8 year old girl who happened to be a bystander.

      An somewhat interesting area with several stupid people? Sure, but a AOONS site... don't see the evidence here.

      You really should look more to Florida where there are face eaters, and Darwin award winners galore.

      1. bill stiller
        Happy

        Re: I disagree with your assessment

        Just to set the record straight: thankfully, the girl did not die. She was shot in the abdomen hitting several organs, but after six weeks in the hospital and several operations, she is now home and the prognosis is for a full recovery.

        http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/apr/03/amina-returning-to-bremerton-today/

      2. Borg.King
        Thumb Up

        Re: I disagree with your assessment

        The young girl shot by the boy who took a gun to school has not died. She was critical for a long time but she is now recovering.

      3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: I disagree with your assessment - @Rob Dobbs and others

        "None of these are worthy of a Darwin award". Well, that depends - how long could the poor boy face in penal establishments? Remember, this boy - *9 years old* - "... has been charged with unlawful possession of a gun, bringing a dangerous weapon to school and third-degree assault." (from the newspaper article). He might not be out in time to procreate.

        I am completely astounded by the whole thing - someone lets a very young child take a loaded gun, presumably badly maintained (how did it go off in his backpack?) to school, and the response of the law is to arrest the child??!! $50k bail? FFS, I thought we were bad (Thompson and Venables was not meant to be a signal to the rest of the world how to deal with very young offenders)!

        Western civilisation is looking as if it is dead on its feet.

      4. John 104

        Re: I disagree with your assessment

        The 8 year old wasn't killed. Just critically injured. I believe she is out of the hospital by now; this story is about 4 months old if I remember.

        The fireworks deal. Sigh, what can I say? That guy was an idiot. But, we still got our show. :)

        I live in Kitsap Coutny. By association, your readers (or at least one) must also be naturally stupid. :) Actually, a great number of IT folk live in the county and commute to Seattle and destinations East for work. So it's probably more than just me.

    3. Kwac

      Re: I disagree with your assessment

      So giving an eight-year-old kid a gun isn't stupid?

      1. Thorne

        Re: I disagree with your assessment

        "So giving an eight-year-old kid a gun isn't stupid?"

        Ummm I'm pretty sure that he might have gotten the gun from Mum's boyfriend but I don't think Mum's boyfriend actually gave him the gun.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: So giving an eight-year-old kid a gun isn't stupid

        1. Darwin awards are for self-inflicted removal from the gene pool. No matter how stupid and deadly it was, it was NOT self-inflicted.

        2. Whether or not giving an 8 year old a gun is stupid depends to some extent on the kid and how he's been trained. I've been around 8-year olds who WERE properly trained and felt safer than when I've been at the range with some 30-year olds who weren't.

        The gun isn't the problem, the mom and the boy friend are. In court, I'd assign them both 100% responsibility, because if either had acted in a rational and truly parental fashion, the incident wouldn't have happened.

    4. LarsG
      Headmaster

      It seems that in the US

      It seems that in the US there are a lot of unintentional self-inflicted gunshot wounds, apparently more than intentionally inflicted.

      This is of course not down to the fact there is the 'right to bear arms' or that the weapons themselves are dangerous. A firearm left on a table does not get up and shoot itself, something the gun lobby keeps stressing to the public.

      No the real reason are all the idiots that buy the damn things and sadly in the US there are a lot of idiots.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: It seems that in the US

        If it were unintentional self-inflicted gunshot wounds then I can't help but think there would be less comment than regarding gunshot wounds inflicted unintentionally on somebody else!

        The problem with America is that once the people who want to act out their John Wayne fantasies get hold of weapons then other people feel (quite justifiably) that they need a weapon for self defense. Then other people feel they need weapons to defend themselves from those people, and it doesn't take long to end up with near universal firearms ownership.

        Who leaves a loaded and unsafed weapon where a child could get hold of it? Seriously?

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: It seems that in the US

          "....Who leaves a loaded and unsafed weapon where a child could get hold of it?...." You need to give kids more credit, they can be both very devious and very stupid at the same time. When I was twelve I had been thoroughly indoctrinated with gun safety, had been shooting handguns and small-bore rifles for over a year, and was a pretty well-behaved kid. But when I was denied the opportunity of shooting a more powerful rifle I carefully planned out how I was going to gain access to the two locked cabinets (the bolt was kept seperate from the rest of the rifle) and how I was going to pinch the required ammunition from the range (my father kept a careful count of his). I managed the crime, shot off twenty rounds in open country, not a controlled range, and then cleaned and returned the rifle undetected. Looking back, I realise that it was a very, very stupid thing to do, but I had convinced myself I knew what I was doing, which is probably what other kids do when they pinch their parents weapons to impress their friends.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It seems that in the US

            It is actually a medical fact that your ability for risk assessment only matures around age 16..18, so you're right - yes, that was stupid but yes, that's what a kid can get up to.

            Having said that, a kid that is 100% brave and compliant and always listens to their parents needs urgent help - to me, that isn't a normal, experimenting child. I don't expect my son to be devious - he doesn't seem to have that in him which makes him a tad vulnerable IMHO - but I do expect him to come up with novel ideas which might have latent danger in them he didn't see. And explaining those dangers to him teaches him to think even better for himself, which is what good parenting is all about. This also means working on limiting dangers to those he is likely to survive - leaving a gun out for an 8 year old is off the scale stupid.

            Where I live, weapons are controlled but getting permission for concealed carriage isn't that hard, and I fully intend to have my son trained in their use (have, because there are people that can do that better than me). That doesn't mean he'll have any or have access to them at will, but it means he knows what they are, how they work and - very importantly - that they are dangerous when handled incorrectly. It also means he can recognise other idiots doing something stupid, which is IMHO a more likely cause of injury.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It seems that in the US

        That's the reason why there's such a thing as a trigger lock.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigger_lock#Locks

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Re: It seems that in the US

          "That's the reason why there's such a thing as a trigger lock....." Seriously? I got into two locked gun cabinets with locks a lot tougher than those silly trigger locks, do you think I would have been unable to get round that last hurdle?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Poor understanding of grammar

        Of *course* it's due to the so-called 'right to bear arms' and its ludicrous interpretation. It's not that so-called gun control countries have no accidents with guns, but the notion that it's OK for the population in general to have guns lying around the place is just asking for trouble. Both of these poor kids are collateral damage, not from the need for a well-ordered militia, but from a wilful error in understanding the syntax of a sentence in the US Constitution.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Coat

          Re: Poor understanding of grammar

          'Right to bear arms' was caused by an unfortunate case of Dyslexia - The founding fathers really wanted the right to arm bears.

        2. Tom 13

          Re: Poor understanding of grammar

          Oddly enough, history reports that when people thought it wasn't an issue to have guns lying around the place, we had fewer of these incidents than we do now that we have a hoplophobic majority.

          Oh, and SCOTUS has declared your reading of the second amendment to be in error.

        3. John 104

          Re: Poor understanding of grammar

          Don't you mean asking for trouble from your Government? That provision in the Constitution is in there as a direct result of the monarchist, church driven tyranny of days gone by. Provided, of course, by jolly old england...

        4. jeffrey7112

          Re: Poor understanding of grammar

          Nothing willful about it at all. Having just thrown off a knuckleheaded government the American founders figured the people may have to do that again some day. Their intent was to keep the people free from an intrusive government.

          1. Benjamin 4

            Re: Poor understanding of grammar

            "Their intent was to keep the people free from an intrusive government."

            And of course the current 'Merican government is soo good to it's people!

      4. Don Jefe

        Re: It seems that in the US

        No. While some accidents/stupidity does occur I assure you that many more people are shot on purpose. It really sucks when kids get hurt though. The U.S. Statical Abstract will give you the numbers.

      5. Tom 13

        Re: It seems that in the US

        That would be because you read hoplophobic media reports that prefer to focus on rare and isolated incidents instead of the mass quantities of thugs bang-banging on each other. This is a particular problem in large cities where an overly PC media don't want to be forced to confront issues of black-on-black violence, because they are fixated on the meme that all damages to blacks are the result of white inflicted slavery in pre-Voting Rights Act of 1968 America.*

        *Yes, I'm aware that we abolished the practice decades earlier, but the meme doesn't take that into account.

  2. IglooDude

    I dunno, the third one seems like a bit of a reach as a "jaw-dropping tale of Darwin Award-worthy madness".

    1. Goldmember
      Thumb Up

      Agreed

      I was laughing out loud at this article until I read the last one. It sounds like a horrible accident involving a kid with an unfortunate upbringing and neglectful parents. Not a tale of self-inflicted (and deserved) damage due to idiocy.

      Still, on the plus side this is America we're talking about, so I'm sure Kitsap County will be more than happy to oblige in producing a genuine third incident to reach that all-important critical mass.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Agreed

        The fault would seem to lie with a country that allows firearms for 'home defence', even though far more family members are harmed by said guns than intruders are. Children are more drawn to adult items (phones, watches, spectacles) than they are to toys, in my experience.

        One English woman, living in the US, reported a burglary... the second cop to turn up managed to shoot another cop who had already arrived at the house... fortunately the police force in question bought her a new carpet.

        1. Miffo

          Re: Agreed

          > the second cop to turn up managed to shoot another cop who had already arrived at the house

          Upvoted for comedy value - even better if it's true?

        2. Phil 54

          Re: Agreed

          Link? Please? Link?

        3. Eddy Ito

          Re: Agreed

          @Dave 126

          Funny thing though, as the parents were convicted felons his mother had the gun illegally so actually the country doesn't allow firearms for 'home defence' in this particular case. Also, can you conclusively show that "far more family members are harmed by said guns than intruders are" or is that just bog standard drivel you read somewhere that would also apply to anything else in the home like kitchen knives, hatchets, hammers, swimming pools, automobiles, etc. Let's not forget the other two suicide favorites in the U.S. like poison and a means of suffocation. Hmmm, maybe that's why so many places are banning plastic bags at the grocer.

          That said, I can only hope she gets prosecuted by the feds in addition to the state and I hope the state's charges stick. Perhaps a nice break from a free and public lifestyle will allow her to gain perspective and perhaps understand why it was illegal for her to have a firearm in the first place.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Agreed

            "Hmmm, maybe that's why so many places are banning plastic bags at the grocer."

            Actually, the main reason is pollution. These bags don't decay easily yet are very light and airy. A stray breeze can pick one up from just about anywhere, even from inside a container, and carry it hither and thither--perhaps into a wildlife area or another environmentally-sensitive spot where it interferes with plants and potentially harms animals.

            If they don't ban the bags outright (most that do are in tourist areas or near said sensitive areas), they force retailers to charge for each bag by a tax: the proceeds normally used to clean up the messes produced by these bags.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Agreed

              Bangladesh banned plastic bags because they were blocking drains & contributing to flooding.

            2. Martin 47

              Re: Agreed

              Was there not an article in The Reg some time back pointing out that when you take into account manufacturing and re-use etc plastic bags are less polluting than paper bags?

              1. John Hughes
                Boffin

                Re: Agreed

                There probably was.

                El Reg is about as reliable on environmental issues as...

                On second thought I can't think of anything as unreliable on environmental issues as El Reg.

            3. Andrew Moore

              Re: Agreed

              >the proceeds normally used to clean up the messes produced by these bags.

              Unless it's in Ireland, where the tax collected mysteriously disappeared in the government department that was in charge of administrating said tax. It still has not been accounted for...

              1. perlcat
                Black Helicopters

                Re: Agreed

                It works that way in the US, too. Apparently, voters aren't paying enough attention, and don't mind paying: wheel taxes for renovations of public buildings that have long been replaced by far newer, grander public buildings serving the same purpose for which a new tax is also implemented. Government is like a roach motel -- your money goes in to the roaches, and it never sees the light of day.

            4. Tom 13

              Re: the main reason is pollution.

              No, the real reason is that egomaniacs with God-complexes are sure they know better than the rest of us what is good for us and are damned well going to make sure it happens. Pollution is just the convenient excuse they are using today.

          2. bep

            Re: Agreed

            Uh-huh, and kid who is already in trouble for stealing a gun and accidently shooting someone will get off to an even better start in life with his mum in gaol, I don't think.

        4. Euripides Pants
          FAIL

          Re: Cop Stupidity

          These guys were apparently extras from the "Blues Brothers" movie...

          http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2011/02/09/roseville-police-car-involved-in-accident/

        5. Tom 13

          @Dave 126: Your fake statistics were thoroughly debunked

          more than a decade ago. In fact, it's what lead John Lott to write his book: "More Guns, Less Crime." He looked at the study to which you refer and was horrified at the shabby statistical work. Being of the opinion that the conclusion was right, he set about to put the rigorous statistical foundation he thought it deserved. Only, when he was done with his study, the results turned out rather differently than he thought they would.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Dave 126: Your fake statistics were thoroughly debunked

            "Shooting Down the More Guns,Less Crime Hypothesis" - Stanford Law Review, 4/16/2003 pp1193->1312 http://islandia.law.yale.edu/ayers/Ayres_Donohue_article.pdf

    2. Thorne

      "I dunno, the third one seems like a bit of a reach as a "jaw-dropping tale of Darwin Award-worthy madness"

      The first one is an honorable mention at best

      The second one was impressive to see but doesn't rate a darwin

      The third was a dumb kid and an unlucky girl

  3. squigbobble
    Alert

    The last tale...

    ...is yet another reason why firearms safety lessons should be compulsory in US schools, at least in areas with a per-capita firearms ownership above a certain threshold. Besides, if parents and teachers are waffling on about guns intead of them being another not-for-kids thing it automatically makes guns uncool, that alone would probably reduce the number of child-related firearms incidents. Excluding 13 year old gang-bangers performing underaged drive-bys, obviously.

    The same principle might even work for sex ed...

    1. Aaron Em

      Re: The last tale...

      I had my first shooting lessons at the age of five, and had been trained in the use of handguns and long arms by the age of ten. (Not, like, to marksman standard or anything, but enough so that I knew how not to kill myself or someone else through carelessness or stupidity.)

      They teach drivers' ed in US high schools; that's where I had it. Why not shooting lessons in elementary?

      (And on your other point, I have absolutely no problem with the idea of providing aimed fire demonstrations for gangbangers. I'd even be happy to give 'em the traditional blindfold and cigarette first, too.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Aaron Em Re: The last tale...

        I had my first gun safety lesson at age 5. Dad's .22 pistol, no bullets, clip dropped, slide locked back. Dad and his brother were talking, handling the gun. One of them handed it to me. I noticed they were watching me carefully, but didn't know why. I looked into the chamber, then tilted the barrel to my face so I could peer down inside it ... at which point they both pounced, yelling the safety rules at me in full Marine Drill Sergeant Mode, and making me repeat them back. It scared the crap out of me, but the lesson took.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Aaron Em The last tale...

          To have even *touched* a gun at age 5 means you live in a crazy, f&cked up country.

          1. Thorne

            Re: @Aaron Em The last tale...

            "To have even *touched* a gun at age 5 means you live in a crazy, f&cked up country."

            Why? I was brought up on a farm and was taught gun safety and gun use at an early age. In rural areas it's quite common to prevent gun related accidents.

            Of course if the bleeding hearts get their way, kids won't get training because it's much safer to prevent kids from handling guns and thus make them more interesting.

            The simple fact is that any household with guns, everyone should do basic use and safety training.

      2. Peter 39

        Re: The last tale...

        No - they don't teach driver's ed in schools. They used to but that was cut a loong time ago.

        Drivers these days learn on-the-road. That's why driving habits here are so poor. Few U.S. drivers would survive a year driving in Germany. Or the U.K. [quite apart from the drive-on-the-left]

        1. eldel

          Re: The last tale...

          They don't?? Hmm - wonder what my two were learning in driver's ed then? Last year.

          Oh - and in Ca they have sex ed as well. Which they preview for the parents before the start of the year. Watching the reaction of some of the more 'religiously oriented' parents seeing it for the first time was side splittingly funny. Best laugh I had for ages.

          Of course - having it all explained by the teacher who also acted as the girls water polo coach (young, very attractive and with legs of seemingly infinite length) was kinda dangerous for my blood pressure. Which my wife also found hilarious. All in all an excellent evening's entertainment.

          On the firearms side - almost every town of reasonable size has at least one range where they teach a free course on kids firearms safety. With firing practice to go with it if the instructor wants. Normally based on the Eddy Eagle program (http://www.nrahq.org/safety/eddie/). I teach it myself occasionally. You really do have to be verging on the criminally insane not to have your kids go through at least some training. Even if it's just enough so that if (when) they see a firearm they don't immediately want to play with the damn thing. At our club we have events like 'bring your daughter to the range day'. Which are generally a huge success - guns are a lot of fun when used properly and safely.

      3. Thorne

        Re: The last tale...

        "They teach drivers' ed in US high schools; that's where I had it. Why not shooting lessons in elementary?"

        Cause leftie bleeding hearts might have a cry about it.

        How many gun deaths are caused by trained users verses gun deaths by people who learned everything they know from movies (AKA how to pop a cap in yo pimp ass)

    2. Goldmember
      Joke

      Re: The last tale...

      @squigbobble

      What exactly is the minimum age for a drive-by nowadays?

      1. senrik1
        Childcatcher

        Re: The last tale...

        21, Usually, however on the Island, it seems to be about 12...

        http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/2-students-accused-of-poisoning-bainbridge-island-/nKmPQ/

    3. Bill Neal
      FAIL

      Re: The last tale...

      I always thought guns were cool, but never had the desire to bring one anywhere near a school. I didn't need safety lessons to teach that common sense either. Kids make mistakes, but that kid was seriously underestimating the purpose of a gun. A WEAPON is something you show friends at home or while camping perhaps. All the safety I was taught later in life seemed obvious by my own reasoning. That kid & his elders all fail to meet minimum standards for critical thinking.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: The last tale...

        Guns near schools were not uncommon until recently. The most frequent instances were when high school students who were old enough to drive brought their guns on their pickup trucks because they planned to do a bit of hunting after school. It wasn't a problem back then, so it seems to be our population that has changed, not the inherent danger of the guns themselves.

    4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: The last tale...

      "...is yet another reason why firearms safety lessons should be compulsory in US schools,"

      Going whole hog would be advisable at this point but there are some problems:

      1) Anti-guns advocates up in arms

      2) Lawyers rubbing hands

      I think it would prove impossible to actually fire the things. That will have to be left to the discretion of the parents. Maybe one could implement a voucher system to allow kids to attend local firing ranges...

      On the other hand, handling and disassembly/assembly of mechanically interesting military and civilian boomsticks under supervision? That would be fun. One could get Colt to sponsor it.

      1. Jean Le PHARMACIEN
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: The last tale...

        "Anti-guns advocates up in arms" - pflhhurrgh! Excellent! I salute you sir! [make that a 21 gun salute..]

    5. Phil 54

      Re: The last tale...

      "..is yet another reason why firearms safety lessons should be compulsory in US schools"

      Agreed, but wouldn't stricter gun control work better?

      1. J__M__M

        Re: The last tale...

        Agreed, but wouldn't stricter gun control work better?

        The 300 million guns already floating around out there don't think so...

      2. Alan W. Rateliff, II
        Stop

        Re: The last tale...

        "Agreed, but wouldn't stricter gun control work better?"

        No. See Kleck, et al.

      3. Mr Temporary Handle

        Re: The last tale...

        "Agreed, but wouldn't stricter gun control work better?"

        Unfortunately not.

        Part of the problem is that the vast majority of Americans view gun ownership as one of those 'inalienable' rights which so many of them keep whinging on about. The right to keep and arm bears or some such nonsense.

        Lott carried out an extensive study into the impact of gun control on gun ownership/possession during the 80s and concluded that the only significant impact was to increase the cost of unlawfully obtained firearms.

        Those not barred could simply purchase a weapon legally. While those barred from obtaining a weapon legally for whatever reason simply purchased them illegally - as anyone except a politician would have expected.

      4. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Re: The last tale...

        "....but wouldn't stricter gun control work better?" You mean like the UK, where Blair went on a vote-buying spree and banned handguns, leading to a rise in gun crime for the very simple reason the ban only affected the law-abiding citizens unlikely to commit gun crime. The crims just laughed and carried on. Handgun accidents in the UK involving legally owned weapons before the ban were very rare.

        1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          Re: The last tale... @Matt Bryant

          A "Vote buying spree" is what we call democracy - y'know, convincing the majority that you're right (even if you're wrong).

          And FWIW I suspect the number of accidents would correlate with the level of gun ownership, because it would surprise me if ${Nation1} is more stupid than the ${Nation2}. But I haven't got time to do the research.

          1. Aaron Em

            Re: The last tale... @Matt Bryant

            You have neatly placed your digit upon the nub or crux of the essential failure of democracy. Well done, sir.

            1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Traditionally, I kill people using an old rotary dial phone.

              Furthermore...

              "As of April 2008, the British government added swords with a curved blade of 50 cm (20 in.) or over in length ("the length of the blade shall be the straight line distance from the top of the handle to the tip of the blade") to the Offensive Weapons Order. This ban was a response to reports that Samurai swords were used in more than 80 attacks and 4 killings over the 4 preceding years. Those who violate the ban would be jailed up to six months and charged a fine of £5,000."

              Politicians in action.

              1. Don Jefe

                Re: Traditionally, I kill people using an old rotary dial phone.

                Tesco can't even sell kitchen knives unless you have ID. At least we can still get guns here.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Traditionally, I kill people using an old rotary dial phone.

                Actually for edged blades made by hand this order has an exclusion now, however to buy an Iaito (blunt practice sword made of alloy) used for Iaido you need a martial arts licence or similar, also this law fails to cover "Ninja" style blades which are straight bladed and usually slightly shorter .

                Just shows governments are clueless when crafting legislation, at the time this law was crafted (Nu Labour Jacqui Smith era at the Home Office) they were also trying to craft a law to cover straight blades too, happily this foundered because it would outlaw the humble kitchen knife (which incidentally was responsible for far more violent deaths, Samurai swords accounted for something like 5 deaths over about 6 years, something like 0.001% of total assaults.

                Just shows the UK government policy in this area is controlled by the papers who seem to consider anything longer than a Swiss army knife to be a "Samurai Sword" lost count of the pictures I've seen in the media of a weapon used in a "vicious Samurai sword attack" which is either a machete or large kitchen knife

          2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: The last tale... @Matt Bryant

            "....it would surprise me if ${Nation1} is more stupid than the ${Nation2}...." It is not a matter of stupidity as much as attitude and training, as demonstrated by the Swiss case of thousands of Swiss Army asssault rifles being kept at home for years without a single case of accidental injury or a homicide with those weapons. This is further illustrated by a simple difference between Germany and the UK - in the UK we have some of the thickest people you could ever meet, a lot of them driving daily, yet our motorways are safer than Germany's. I find it very hard to believe that the average Brit is smarter than the average German (quite the reverse, TBH), or that we own more cars each than the Germans or even drive more miles annually, so the answer would have to be that we simply have better driving training and road attitude in the UK (which, if you have ever driven in the UK, would make you very worried for the Germans!).

        2. Spanners Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: The last tale...

          I would rather they went on a "vote buying spree" (AKA how an electoral campaign in a democracy works) by making me safer than by destroying the lives of the poor and the vulnerable as the conservatives do by cutting taxes to the Undeserving Rich and welfare and benefits for the Deserving Poor.

          1. Aaron Em

            Re: The last tale...

            So you're in favor of mob rule so long as it's your mob doing the ruling. Disappointing, but quite common in these degraded times.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Burkhard Kloss
          FAIL

          Re: The last tale...

          Indeed. stopping the olympic shooting teams from training in the UK really helped cut gun crime.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Re: The last tale...

            "....stopping the olympic shooting teams from training in the UK...." As a ex-competitive pistol shooter I was most annoyed. I could still jump on a boat to the Continent or Scandinavia for some pistol shooting. But even funnier was the fact that most pistol shooters simply switched to rifles which were not covered by the ban and were in many ways more deadly.

        4. strum

          Re: The last tale...

          >leading to a rise in gun crime

          Citation needed.

          Guns are now so rare in the UK that crims have to hire them to do a drive-by - there just aren't enough to go around amongst would-be gangstas. Add to this the now-common practice of re-purposing replicas and starting pistols, and the NRA-fed myth that 'gun control doesn't work' fizzles out.

          (This comes from an Operation Trident briefing, when I was on jury diuty.)

          1. Aaron Em

            Re: The last tale...

            You live on a comparatively tiny island where guns have never been all that well accepted. My nation, conversely, takes up half a continent and has had a firearms culture ever since it's had a culture -- which would not have occurred at all in the absence of firearms. Even assuming what you heard in that briefing is true, which does not strike me as self-evident, consider the possibility that what works on a tiny island, whose people have more or less always been ambivalent with regard to firearms, may not work in a sprawling firearm-reared amalgamation such as the US.

            Oh, and to the AC who said I live in a fucked-up country because I learned how safely to use firearms from a young age: Fuck you too, you goddamned moron. Come back when you have something vaguely useful to add to the conversation. (And to everyone else, please accept my apologies for lowering the tone of the discourse, but what other dialect but "ignorant asshole" may one expect an ignorant asshole to understand? Brains generally ain't these people's strong suits, after all.)

          2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Re: The last tale...

            ".....Citation needed...."

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1576406/28-gun-crimes-committed-in-UK-every-day.html#

            And that's after Labour fudged the figures by including air-pistols and air-rifles as "firearms", along with imitation weapons, incidents of both being used in crimes were falling, in an attempt to smooth out hte rise in actual guncrime. In fact, Labour went all out to fix the figures:

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/3222063/Gun-crime-60pc-higher-than-official-figures.html

            In fact, despite Blair, Borwn and now Cameron claiming that guncrime is "under control" and/or "falling", government departments are throwing out grants to community groups willing to work on projects to work on reducing the rising levels of gang-related guncrime (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crime/knife-gun-gang-youth-violence/) despite reducing funding in other areas due to budget cuts.

      5. Tom 13

        Re: The last tale...

        Yes, because that's worked so well in inner city Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angelos, DC, Detroit, ...

      6. TeeCee Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: The last tale...

        As far as I can make out from here, all stricter gun control gives me is the certain knowledge that if and when some dickhead shoots at me, it's almost certainly to be with an illegally held weapon[1] rather than only probably an illegally held one.

        Apparently the knowledge that, if I am unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, that nasty hole will have been caused illegally with an illegal bullet rather than illegally with a legal bullet is supposed to make me feel better about it.

        [1] Unless it's the cops having a momentary lack of common sense or some target discrimination issues.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The last tale...

      "The same principle might even work for sex ed..."

      I'd reverse it - the sex ed. lessons for firearms.

      I.e. "don't have sex".

      1. RICHTO
        Mushroom

        Re: The last tale...

        They are already big on abstinence becuase it suits the many religous nutters in the USA. But thats well proven not to work - i mean just look at Jesus....

  4. oddie

    but..

    how are any of these incidents darwin award worty?

    as far as I can tell none of these in-duh-viduals removed themselves from the genepool? (you don't have to die to qualify for a darwin award, just loose your ability to further contaminate the genepool with your stupidity).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      LOOSE

      is the opposite of TIGHT.

  5. Beachrider

    Firearms, personal liberty and the USA...

    To be sure, EU denizens have a vastly different perception on personal firearm ownership. I live in the USA and have never owned a firearm. The intensity of the NRA makes me wonder if it contributes to the intolerance that is becoming more and more prevalent in the USA (similar intolerance can be seen in the EU, but without the NRA, so it isn't caused exclusively by the NRA).

    Not to mention the big-news-story that happens whenever adolescents escalate their personal struggles into shame for a wide community, sometimes with firearms.

    All of that being said, I am more concerned about hunger, disease, abandonment and other issues that are more important, but less flashy in the press. A bunch of old-folks screwing up and abusing firearms that cause embarrassing displays or results just doesn't drive me very much.

    1. John Hughes

      Re: Firearms, personal liberty and the USA...

      <blockquote>To be sure, EU denizens have a vastly different perception on personal firearm ownership. </blockquote>

      Well, no.

      UK denizens have a vastly different perception.

      Firearms are much more common in the rest of the EU.

      (I'd contend that the UK and US are both, in different ways, insane on the "gun question". The rest of the world is much less crazy.)

      1. Crisp

        Re: Firearms, personal liberty and the USA...

        Dammit! What am I supposed to protect my home with now? Harsh language?

        1. Aaron Em

          Re: Firearms, personal liberty and the USA...

          You're not supposed to protect your home at all; that's what the police are for. If it takes thirty minutes for them to respond to your location, or if the home invasion occurs so quickly and forcefully that you're watching your wife raped and murdered before you have a chance to get to the phone? Well, that's just the price you pay for the temerity of being white in this country.

          1. Aaron Em

            Re: Firearms, personal liberty and the USA...

            ...and if you think I'm a horrible racist for my comment immediately previous to this one, your homework for today is to visit this article and read all the comments. (And if you think I'm a horrible racist for posting the link I did, I'd note that the linked site is sort of an online Ebony or Jet -- "newsone.com" is very much not "newsmax.com".)

          2. Thorne

            Re: Firearms, personal liberty and the USA...

            "If it takes thirty minutes for them to respond to your location"

            Try an hour and a half assuming they bother to turn up at all where I live. There is a local cop but when he's on duty, they station him outside of the area.

  6. oldtaku
    Alert

    Florida?

    I assume the entire state of Florida is already in the 'area of outstanding natural stupidity' Hall of Fame.

    Still the only state with its own Fark tag since the number of stupid and asinine news stories out of it rival all the other states combined.

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Florida?

      Was going to suggest that Kitsap County is the Florida of Washington.

      1. Local Group
        Thumb Down

        Re: Washington?

        There's gotta be a Dick Cheney angle.

        1. Koekie

          Re: Washington?

          Wrong Washington. You appear to be thinking of Washington, District of Columbia, which is a weeping sore on the devil's arse on the east coast of the country. This is Washington State, the top left corner of the lower 48 states.

          1. Don Jefe

            Re: Washington?

            Do you mean Washington state? The rainy, chilly & bland place with no culture? Been through there a few times on trips. Sucked. You ought to visit D.C. If you can. Loads of fun here.

            1. IDoNotThinkSo

              Re: Washington?

              Rainy? You've obviously never been the the UK if you think most of Washington is wet. I thought it quite pleasant.

              Did someone from Kitsap design their local link to Seattle?

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacoma_Narrows_Bridge_%281940%29

        2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

          Re: Washington?

          @Local Group

          There's gotta be a Dick Cheney angle.

          There is...

          Was Dick Cheney thrown in the slammer with bail set at $250,000 when he shot Harry Whittington? No, but then Dick Chain-gun was a director of Halliburton and is one of the 1% and the rules don't apply to them.

          1. Aaron Em

            Re: Washington?

            Jesus God, what an idiot.

          2. Local Group
            Mushroom

            Re: Quo Vadimus? Quo Fata Ferunt.

            Do you think all the handguns that have been made and sold in America, won't eventually make a humanoid, gun toting, chain reaction, when, like an atomic one, it achieves critical mass?

            But not to worry, by that time less than half the population will be white and most of the others will be on the dole. Getting the seniors off Social Security will be like shooting fish in a barrel. If we run out of oil or if climate change affects our ability to feed 7 billion mouths, the circus of 150 million Americans gunning down the other 150 million, offers the global survivors a reduction in demand for oil and food plus a televised picture, from drones, of millions of Hatfields and McCoys shooting at each other, en passant.

            You were expecting liberté, égalité, fraternité, maybe? Sorry, we don't have any of that left.

      2. IR

        Re: Florida?

        Kitsap county used to be part of the same county as Seattle - until they tried to ban alcohol and were quickly separated off.

        The number of "Proud to be a redneck" stickers on rusty trucks I see in Kitsap pretty much cements its status as an honorary member of the US southern states.

        1. senrik1
          Meh

          Re: Florida?

          Its ironic really, in that Bainbridge Island is still more like Seattle than the rest of Kitsap. That, and, well the liberal politics.

    2. Tank boy
      Thumb Up

      Re: Florida?

      Yes. If there is a story in the news about someone doing something idiotic, chances are it happened in Florida. I think to drum up a little money, we sell it back to the French.

  7. Bushman1234
    Happy

    Wouldn't it have been better called a "Location of outstanding stupidity" (LOONS)?

    1. King Jack
      Headmaster

      That would be L.O.O.S. then.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Put the "Natural" back in, and you've fixed it: Locations Of Outstanding Natural Stupidity.

      2. Tom Maddox Silver badge
        Joke

        Ah, that would explain those "loosers" that people talk so much about.

  8. Doug Bostrom

    Locus of natural stupidity

    How about the US Supreme Court? Can't tell difference between a "well regulated militia" and somebody who leaves a weapon with a bullet in the chamber and the safety off for her kid to find.

    SCOTUS can't parse a sentence with two clauses. Now that's stupid.

    Gun owners in the US should be required to purchase and maintain insurance policies to pay for the mayhem they're causing.

    1. DryBones
      Pirate

      Re: Locus of natural stupidity

      You're speaking of general versus specific cases, there. In the latter case I'd say it was something on the order of "Failure to take appropriate measures". This means not having given sufficient familiarization to the kid as to what guns were, how they work, what not to do, and having left a round directly in the chamber vs in the magazine waiting to be charged.

      This said, are we all still missing something that presents that magical combination of being ready to fire with perhaps a handful of seconds notice, and safe enough to emplace with children in the home? There have been stories that prove that both the separation of gun/ammo and pairing gun/ammo are bad ideas (unavailable for use when needed vs inadvertent discharge).

      It appears that education is the best remedy, because we can see just how far ignorance is getting us. Yes, having no gun in the home is an option, but it ought to be a choice, not a law. Some of us like the criminals having reason to think twice about coming through that door, you know?

      1. Doug Bostrom

        Re: Locus of natural stupidity

        RFID ring paired w/gun? Gun would need batteries, but then guns need bullets too and that does not seem to be an issue.

        There's no perfect solution. In my mind, "well regulated militia" means that quite opposite from selling guns to random people who're often crazy, gun ownership should come with responsibilities including membership in "a well regulated militia" whether that be some form of corps where training must be completed before gun ownership can happen or a more permissive arrangement where "well regulated" means "you participate in paying for accidental mayhem caused by proliferation of guns."

    2. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Locus of natural stupidity

      Now a-days SCOTUS is apparently in the business of re-writing laws for Congress.

      "TAX. FTFY. -- J. Roberts."

      Paris, no fix.

  9. frank ly

    Educating Kids About Gun Safety

    To see a police officer giving school children a practical example of the potential danger of firearms:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1_EoRZOVes

  10. Martin 47

    Well I was going to agree with all the others that you are reaching to far for the darwin awards and that, consequently Kitsap does not qualify.

    Then I searched for a Kitsap local paper and found the Kitsap Sun ..........

    ..enough said?

  11. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Don't upset them

    They've got nukes.

  12. The Axe

    LOONS

    Location of Outstanding Nonsensical Stupidity

  13. AlgoRythm

    Disagree with Assessment - Hasting NE clearly has higher density of stupidity

    Town of Hastings Nebraska. Population less than 28k (and falling)

    Has the honor of !2! Darwin award winners who actually nerfed their own reproductive capacity (nail hammer and bench involved in one case). It's possible that one of the towns in Kitsap County may now be aspiring to rival Hastings' glorious pinnacle of stupid, but for now it just remains a dream for them.

  14. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Angel

    Does this place include Redmond by any chance?

    Because 'Gross Stupidity' is the only possible explanation for some of the more recent decisions by Stevie boy.

  15. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Some errors

    A friend of mine in Washington State asked me to set the record straight. Apparently not all this happened in Kitsap county The wrecking yard incident was actually in Belfair, Mason County and the order of the events is wrong. But on the positive side we can add the following to the Kitsap tally:

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/dec/27/murder-suicide-victims-were-brothers/

    But his vote would also go to Florida for a LOONS award...

  16. asdf

    Washington?

    Parts of it are very rural but its not very redneck. In fact I think Washington allows full nude strip clubs with alcohol (don't laugh but in us can tell how redneck state is by strip club laws lmfao).

    1. asdf
      Thumb Up

      Re: Washington?

      If fact it looks like this area is near Seattle. You don't get much more liberal than this area. You pretty much can smoke a joint in public and not go to jail.

      1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Washington?

        Leon County, Florida, is heavily Democrat, liberal, and urban with smatterings of rural. No strip clubs here.

        Paris, smatterings.

        1. asdf

          Re: Washington?

          In the south liberal democrat areas tend to be isolated islands that still have to of course go by state law. Let me guess no strip clubs because its mostly retired old people like most of Florida?

      2. asdf

        Re: Washington?

        Oops looks like from other posters this is one of those rare islands of southern redneck red in a very liberal state.

        1. Koekie
          Boffin

          Re: Washington?

          Sorry, you're flat wrong.

          Real data: Washington is a battleground state, fairly evenly balanced between red and blue, with strong libertarian-oriented tendencies. Ron Paul bumper stickers are frequently seen. It makes the news less than Florida (also a battleground state) because it offers fewer electoral college votes (smaller population).

          Washington stretches far to the east of Seattle, into the desert areas between the Cascade mountain range and the start of the Rockies (at the border with Idaho) and pretty much the entirety of eastern Washington is red as can be.

          Even large parts of western Washington are fairly red (west of the watershed of the Cascades). What makes the balance is that Seattle is bright blue. However, not even all of the Seattle area is blue. Kirkland is fairly red, for instance, despite being wealthy, urban and near Seattle.

          Washington has a substantial union history (remember that it started with lots of blue collar jobs - logging, farming, fishing, and later on heavy industry like ship and aircraft construction). This has tended to boost the democratic party's chances, while an influx of californian technology workers has brought more democratic voters to the region.

          Bear in mind it's possible to be a republican party supporting, rural, armed american without being a redneck. There are shades and variations. In fact, depending on where you are, you might find armed, rural americans who are passionate democrats. There are a few people out here I might describe as rednecks, but the vast majority really don't fit that description at all.

          To add an example to the current political leaning of the state: the current governer (Christine Gregoire) who is not running for another term, is a democrat, but always squeaked in on the narrowest of margins. The arguable front runner for the job is the current state attorney general, Rob McKenna, who is a (pro-choice) republican and largely made his policy that of consumer protection, but took the federal government to court on the health care law (obamacare, as some call it). On the other hand the democrats run the state legislature, and there's good reason to believe gay marriage will win over challenges and be the law of the state.

        2. senrik1

          Re: Washington?

          uh, seeing that a substantial part of Kitsap is in Congressional district 1, which has consistently voted blue over the last 20 years, I am not sure what you are referring to.

          Disclaimer: lived on Bainbridge Island for several years before leaving the country.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reading the article...

    It says $250 000 bail reduced to $50 000. WTF? Do they seriously think a 9 year old is going to skip down to Mexico?

  18. Koekie
    Boffin

    'merkin here to explain some things

    1) Roberts didn't just casually rewrite the law. Read the oral arguments. The government actively asked the court to consider allowing the penalty as a tax, if the commerce clause didn't allow it. He merely did as asked. You mightn't care for his judgement, but he did his job.

    2) The second amendment's storied history goes back to the bad history of the class system in England, and differential rights of people under that system. The founders wanted everyone treated equally. Again, you mightn't like the choice they made, but at least if you want to carp about the amendment, read it carefully and realise that the first clause is a subordinating clause, and not in any way restrictive with respect to the interpretation of the clause with the actual restriction on congress's powers. As for the availability of firearms, that ship has long since sailed, and they are very useful. Not long ago I shot vermin coming for my livestock, and I would rather not have to do the kind of paperwork one does for a brewing licence just to buy a revolver so that I can do my job.

    3) As far as firearms are concerned, it would be positively malevolent of the government to ban firearms in private hands (or make it so onerous as to make ownership a trial) while not remedying the fact that one doesn't have to live far outside town to be unable to expect police service in under half an hour, in an emergency. Surely the right to self defense implies the right to arm oneself to do so? After all, the typical violent criminal is young, male and physically fit. My young days are long past, and while my work keeps me fairly fit I don't fancy my chances against a gang of thugs.

    4) Boeing, Amazon and Microsoft (and Real Networks) notwithstanding, Seattle is a small urban blob in a very empty rural area. Travel a hundred miles from Seattle in any direction (out past Everett, Tacoma, Olympia, Redmond and so on), and you'll see forests and farms (or ocean). The fact that there are differences of opinion, style, and attitude in different areas is a good thing. King county is positively hostile to agriculture, for instance, but all those hippies, hipsters, and basement-dwelling troglodytes want to eat locally grown food. It simply makes sense to have some reasonable division of authority.

    But sure, I'd love to see gun safety in schools. I'd be even more thrilled if they had self defense, marksmanship and wilderness survival. A lot of people die in the mountains around here, without much help from bears and cougars.

    Disclaimer: I don't live in Kitsap, but in the region.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: 'merkin here to explain some things

      1) No, he didn't he shredded the Constitution. Congress passed it as a penalty, not a tax, so it had to be read as such, regardless of what Attorney General "Fast and Furious" Eric Holder asked.

      2) Spot on.

      3) Good, but not far enough. Even in a big city where police are more numerous, they are still minutes away when seconds count.

      4) Seattle is deep, kooky, blue. And unfortunately, big enough to carry the rest of the state with it. As a resident of The People's Republic of MD, I feel for you.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: 'merkin here to explain some things

      It may just be me, but if you are living in the countryside, where are a "gang of thugs" going to come from, and why? It seems to me that this argument is used to justify everyone and their bear carrying lethal weapons everywhere, but is it a realistic argument?

      Living in fear of something extremely unlikely (being targetted by gun-totin' thugs, rapists, and drug-addicts) However, I can see the argument that, does make some sort of sense in a country with 90 guns per 100 people, and about a third of the world's known guns (http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/08/28/us-world-firearms-idUSL2834893820070828). You have start from where you are, not where the rest of the world thinks you ought to be, but you can't blame us for trying. This constant fear of the rest of the population goes a long way to explaining the American attitude to the world - if you are constantly afraid of your fellow citizens, you are not gong to be especially trusting of people with different ways - and that is affecting the rest of us very negatively.

      1. Koekie

        Re: 'merkin here to explain some things

        You raise a couple of good points, but perhaps you need

        more information.

        Gangs of Thugs

        Isolated houses in rural areas tend to be good candidates

        for miscreants. The authorities are far off, good

        samaritans are far off, witnesses are far off, and there

        are excellent chances that the most portable valuables are

        in those precise houses. It isn't particularly common, as

        much as in, say, South Africa right now, but rural houses

        are vulnerable in certain ways. Add some difficulties with

        crystal meth (a particular problem right now) or gangsters

        who are angry because a farmer came upon their illicit pot

        plantation and destroyed it because he wanted to do

        something constructive with the land and didn't want his

        farm confiscated under insane drug asset forfeiture laws,

        and it's a bigger risk factor than you appear to suspect.

        Other risks

        There are other particular risks than simple gangs of

        thugs. The forests of the area are overpopulated with

        black bear, for example. This is why they keep making the

        news (on slow news days) because they wander into suburbs

        in search of food. The fact that it's more than a decade

        since the state banned the most sensible ways of hunting

        black bear (leaving suicidal lunatics to stalk them on foot

        without dogs) means that their population has grown by

        leaps and bounds. There are similar problems, though of

        lesser scale, with cougar at this point. So yes, I don't

        just carry a gun because of the occasional coyote or stray

        dog, but also because it gives me a fighting chance when

        faced with a 400 pound black bear. Self defence includes

        animals, and bear spray isn't as effective as the

        manufacturers would have you believe.

        Mutual Mistrust

        It is true that the national character of the USA does

        include a certain degree of independence of spirit, and

        that includes a moderately wary eye cast on strangers. You

        can scratch your head which is the chicken and which the

        egg, but it's not an entirely unreasonable attitude.

        However, it is vastly more prevalent in the cities than in

        small towns or rural areas. Large parts of the country have

        a fairly hostile climate, and it is possible that the

        kindness of strangers might amaze you, as people have

        learned to support each other for survival. Remember that

        idiot writer who was shot in the arm in Montana? Remember

        that it turns out that he shot himself, for publicity. And

        local people helped him get help, and it was only later

        that the authorities realised what a waste of time he was.

        Different ways

        Now it is true that there are xenophobic elements in the

        USA, just as there are everywhere. On the other hand, the

        USA has one of the most successful histories of integrating

        people from all across the world. My point is that it is

        entirely possible to win our trust, and once someone has

        learned the language, learned some of the rules, put their

        hand on their heart and sworn an oath, they are americans

        and live under the stars and stripes like anyone else in

        the land. On balance, this country has a very mild history

        of sectarian violence compared to much of Europe. Nobody's

        perfect, but if you want to look for the sources of

        international trouble, reflexive mindless mistrust really

        isn't your best candidate, and doesn't reflect the way that

        americans really behave to each other either.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: 'merkin here to explain some things - Thanks, Koekie

          Thanks. It was good of you to respond.

          It does seem that we on this side of the pond can fail to appreciate how different things over there are. I have never heard of the level of drug-fuelled crime anywhere in Europe that you describe, nor the fact that anyone would go on a violent rampage because a pot-crop has been destroyed. That also comes back to chicken and egg, though!

          It is very easy in the UK to forget that wild animals exist and can be dangerous. The biggest wild animal we have here is the Scottish Wildcat, which would much rather be as far away from humans as it can. I'm off on holiday next week to the Pyrenees, and one of the books I've got warns about brown bears in those mountains (it doesn't give much advice about what to do if you come across one, though!). I had never rally considered that Europe has big, dangerous mammals previously (though I did once have a nasty fright when I came round a corner to find a family of two adult and six young wild boar crossing the path ahead of me!)

          Regarding casual v sectarian violence, I think I'd rather have the latter than the former.

          Lastly, I wasn't suggesting xenophobia is a trait inherent in the USA, but more that this "carefulness" seems to spill over into international relations, leading to what seems like excessive responses when viewed through European eyes (Iraq and Afghanistan spring to mind, but Japan, Korea, Vietnam might be included).

          1. Koekie
            Happy

            Re: 'merkin here to explain some things - Thanks, Koekie

            > Thanks. It was good of you to respond.

            No problem. Reasonable questions, with reasonable answers I can provide.

            > It does seem that we on this side of the pond can fail to appreciate how different things over there are.

            The terrain, population and politics are all substantially different, of course. Don't forget that the War on Drugs has made a huge difference to how things run here, as has the insane agricultural policy, compounded with insane immigration policy. Flagrant and frequent illicit immigration has enabled a lot of gangsters to enter the country on the behalf of remote drug barons. If a murder occurs in the county in which I live, chances are drugs were involved, and chances are an undocumented immigrant was a party to it. These facts are direct consequences of ill considered federal policies. This sort of thing may also explain why we don't trust our government much; the federal government has yet to see a problem it can't make worse.

            > It is very easy in the UK to forget that wild animals exist and can be dangerous.

            We also have a rabies problem, unlike the UK. If I see an animal I believe to be rabid, I shoot first and discuss the shooting with a veterinarian and a sheriff's deputy afterwards. Then again, bear and elk can ruin crops in short order, and raccoons are murder on poultry. The idiots who move to the country because they like trees, and then purchase bulk dog food to feed the cute raccoons drive me absolutely nuts.

            > Lastly, I wasn't suggesting xenophobia is a trait inherent in the USA, but more that this "carefulness" seems to spill over into international relations, leading to what seems like excessive responses when viewed through European eyes (Iraq and Afghanistan spring to mind, but Japan, Korea, Vietnam might be included).

            That's just international diplomacy for you. Every nation has a national character, and it's not necessarily one you'll like. I often think that the US and Russian national characters are closer than either side is comfortable admitting.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm a bit concerned

    with your definition of AOONS as requiring a given number of Darwin Award candidates. I'd nominate the Palace of Westminster, Capitol Hill, and such like places as regional ground zeroes for outstanding natural stupidity (and greed, dishonesty, betrayal, etc).

  20. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

    Darwins

    If memory serves me correctly, there was a period in their history probably in the 1970's or 80's when the majority of gunshot wounds suffered by Police in New York were self-inflicted....could we nominate the whole force as LOONS?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Darwins

      I was watching something the other day about a guy who was developing an armoured glove with a built in stun attachment for use by hikers attacked by wild animals in the US. At one point he gave a demonstration to the local police chief who was interested because they had a big problem they had with people being arrested snatching the police officers gun at the point of arrest (mostly if it was a single officer on his own).

      Even in the hands of the trained guns can be used against them.

  21. etabeta
    FAIL

    Constitutional madness

    The constitutional right "to bear arms" might have been OK 2 centuries ago, and all those guns laying around will do nothing but harm.

    Firearms should only be in the hands of the military and the police!

    Get with it USA, try to be more civilized- get rid of all those damned guns, and send all those diehard NRA fanatics to the moon.

    1. Koekie
      Stop

      Re: Constitutional madness

      > The constitutional right "to bear arms" might have been OK 2 centuries ago, and all those guns laying around will do nothing but harm.

      Incorrect. I use firearms for humane slaughter, for vermin control, and recreational shooting (an olympic sport, no less). These are harmless activities, in the measure of human society, or even constructive.

      > Firearms should only be in the hands of the military and the police!

      I suppose I could do vermin control by longbow (I'm a fair shot) but I'm a lot more accurate with a tuned small calibre rifle and scope. I like not putting my livestock at risk when defending them. I suppose I could slaughter with a knife (I know the technique) but it's faster and more humane done with an appropriately used revolver. Ideological demands do not magically fill the entirely useful, sensible and constructive needs which firearms do. Also, as a general matter, I'd rather like to be able to arm the frail, the weak and the otherwise vulnerable, as opposed to leaving them to the tender mercies of thugs wielding hammers, knives, baseball bats or similar (pretending for a moment that the thugs couldn't illicitly obtain firearms, which they could).

      > Get with it USA, try to be more civilized- get rid of all those damned guns, and send all those diehard NRA fanatics to the moon.

      Sure thing. Any time now. All we have to do is amend the constitution, run a massive and intrusive search which would make the Patriot Act's uses look like the ACLU's dream by comparison, and then somehow prevent anyone with a few tools from making their own. In case you're wondering, I'm not even an NRA member, and don't think much of their politics, and I'm quite capable of recognising that guns are useful tools.

      And just to inject a little reality into this discussion, I should point out that all gun deaths in the USA, including murder, police activity, suicide and sheer accident, aren't even much of a risk compared to, say, traffic. If you remove suicide from the equation (since people also use pills, jump from bridges and so on), the risk of shooting death is entirely minor compared to practically anything else the CDC bothers to measure. This is even more true if you're outside New York City, Washington D.C., Detroit and a few other large cities. Remove the top ten most violent cities from the USA statistics, and we're not much more prone to gun violence than Canada.

      If you're serious about wanting to save the lives of americans (a noble goal), then here's something easier which doesn't require a constitutional amendment: ban driving licences for anyone under 21, and require a much, much more strict test. The change you will make in fatality rates would dwarf anything you could achieve with gun legislation.

      I'd say you fail at statistics, but you don't appear to have appealed to statistics at all, rather than emotion and political ideology.

    2. Marty
      Stop

      Re: Constitutional madness

      "Get with it USA, try to be more civilized- get rid of all those damned guns, and send all those diehard NRA fanatics to the moon."

      ...and how do you plan on doing that? at gun point.... Its exactly that sort of comment why US citizens stand by their constitutional right to bear arms to defend against forcible unlawful eviction.... yo know like what they did with the native Americans.....

  22. Burkhard Kloss
    Thumb Down

    The point is that he didn't make you safer, and mortgaged your children's and grandchildren's income to pay on a completely ineffective splurge on public services.

    Not to mention being a completely authoritarian bastard. RIPA anyone?

    The only good thing Labour did while in power was to give the bank of England independence. And they even fucked that up by excluding housing from the inflation measure, directly contributing to the boom and bust.

    1. JimmyPage
      Unhappy

      not the *only* thing IMHO

      the other biggie is pushing forwards the Anglo-Irish peace process, and cementing the Good Friday Agreement. Whilst it's debatable whether the Tories would have got there, Labour (in the form of Tony Blair) seized on the change of adminstration impetus, and nailed the best peace I think we could have hoped for.

      It makes his subsequent career as war criminal all the more poignant - who remembers him for peace in Ireland ?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Not AOONS at all...

    Upon reading the article, it is clear that none of the incidents mentioned qualify for a Darwin Award, by your own definition; this is not an AOONS. I must insist that you publish a retraction.

  24. Don Jefe

    $500

    I will gladly donate $500 to the LOHAN project if at least two of the anti-firearms experts have ever done any shooting.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: $500

      Why would someone who is anti-firearms even want to do any shooting? By definition, they aren't likely to have done so. There is a serious problem in your logic.

      There is another one too - why should having fired a gun necessarily affect one's opinion regarding the much larger issue of mass gun-ownership??

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Re: $500

        "Why would someone who is anti-firearms even want to do any shooting?...." You're missing the very obvious point raised that teh anti-gun posters do so out of ignorance.

  25. ShadowDragon8685
    IT Angle

    Well, this is just sad.

    A tragic accident, I'd say, exacerbated by the fact that the Washington state courts appear to be attempting to charge the poor lad whose lapse in judgement (entirely understandable given that at the age of nine, judgement is typically more lapse than sound) with unlawful possession of a firearm, bringing a weapon to a school, and third degree assault, at least one of which (unlawful possession) sounds likely to be a felony charge.

    I should also point out this GEM of a line from the original article: "Both the child's parents have extensive criminal records." Don't blame this on the right to bear arms, this one can be firmly chalked up to a kid being in an unsavory environment where an irresponsible moron left a loaded firearm with a round chambered where he could get it. I sincerely doubt that a child of nine who had not received instruction in firearms use would have been capable of locating and loading a magazine, then chambering a round.

    And one who HAD received proper instruction would have known damn well better than to load a magazine, chamber a round, and then carry a primed weapon where objects jostling it could deactivate the safety and discharge it! (Not to mention would have known better than to take it to a bloody school.)

    It makes me sad for my country, honestly.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good ol' US of A

    So in addition to its citizens arming themselves to the teeth, the USA prosecutes and incarcerates 9 year-olds, parading them in court in bright orange clothing?

    Forget this liberal/conservative thing... the whole country is redneck.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When only criminals have guns the police know exactly who to shoot!

  28. vic 4
    Unhappy

    US Reporting Style

    Not that familiar with US news reports, is that normal that they only mention the health status of the victim at the end, almost as an after thought?

  29. Tinker Tailor Soldier
    Mushroom

    As a resident - don't mock us too much...

    We (as a county) have 1/3 of the US deployed nuclear weapons:

    http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=9460

    As to political affiliation. Bainbridge Island is actually probably Green, (hence more Blue than Seattle, even). The rest of the county tends quite red. Almost like a microcosm of Washington State. As anyone who has seen Islanders let off fireworks on the beach on 4 July can tell you, we can amass quite a stockpile.

  30. RICHTO
    Mushroom

    But there is no need for those weapons to have been available. The USA is on the level of terrorist states like Afghanistan and Israel in terms of it's gun laws.

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