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20 December 2012

This is the 100th edition of Land O Links. Thanks for reading. By the way, readers can send suggestions for links to We are looking for the interesting, informative and, occasionally, odd.

Today brings another round-up focused on the unfortunate No. 1 topic around the land — firearms.

* Do concealed weapon laws result in less crime? The Washington Post tries to answer that question: “Certainly, it appears such laws have not increased the crime rate, as opponents had feared, but it is equally a stretch to say such laws are a slam-dunk reason for why crimes have decreased.”

* In 1927, a bomb detonated in a schoolhouse in Bath, Mich.; in the end, the killer’s actions left 45 dead, including 38 children. According to reports mentioned in this piece, the carnage could have been even worse, but some of the explosives planted by the lone maniac did not detonate.

* In 2009, Michigan was one of 10 states where you were more likely to be shot to death than die in an auto crash, according to an analysis of death statistics by the Violence Policy Center.

* “Have armed citizens ever successfully intervened to bring down a potential mass shooter? Yes, but it’s rare. Often it’s not clear whether brave actions on the part of armed civilians prevented further death. … Not all interventions are successful: Other armed civilians who have attempted to stop shootings have been left severely injured or have been killed. Armed interventions by retired and off-duty police officers, who have been trained to react, are more common.”

Key point in the last sentence, it seems: It’s not just about having a weapon in the right place at the right time, but also having it in the hands of someone with the training and demeanor to use it properly in a crisis.

* Nate Silver of 538 blog fame ran the numbers and found that declines in gun ownership in American culture are concentrated almost exclusively among Democrats, creating yet another partisan divide: “The differences are most apparent in suburban areas. There, 58 percent of Republican voters said there was a gun in their household, against just 27 percent of Democrats.”

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