I'm interested in theory, but in practice I am attached to living in SF proper that may be hard to overcome.
I'll mention that in South Bay there are housing complexes that have multiple nearly-adjacent units in shared space, and it might work well to just pick such a complex and progressively have like-minded people take over more and more of it. Noticeably less awesome, but also noticeably easier.
I'm still reeling from http://lesswrong.com/lw/g0y/gun_control_how_would_we_know/84ky?context=1#comments ; I'm noticing how in other contexts "Why are we still talking about this we have better things to do?" is obvious, but it tends not to be for me in mind-killer contexts. Unfortunately, the impact of that point on my mind is such that I'm maybe not giving this thread the attention that all of your very well-thought out answers deserve, because I've suddenly stopped caring very much.
Regardless, though, y'all certainly have lived up to my expectations as polite, reasonable, rational debaters. Well done.
Answering the question before reading on: I have believe in the past that more guns in the hands of ordinary, well-meaning means less violent crime, and less violent deaths, due to deterrence; "an armed society is a polite society".
Heh. It was shorthand for "this is my pre-cached, non-rational response". I didn't really intend, or want, people to respond to that part, although the responses have been interesting.
Oh, I like this. I like this a lot. The underlying attitude, I mean. I'm going see if I can't extrapolate a general policy from this, actually. Something like:
"In a world where there still exist children that live (or, more likely, die) on garbage heaps, the fact that we're still arguing about [whatever issue] implies to me that it's not a low hanging fruit, and we should just go work on those instead."
You're absolutely right; this isn't the low hanging fruit for human deaths.
I don't have clear lines of retreat for the simple reason that to answer what I would do in each of those cases requires also knowing what sorts of actions make things better in each case. I mean, I can say something generic like "increase or decrease the availability of guns in linear proportion to how much they help", but what actually decreases availability of guns, without having terrible side effects? Like, does gun control as we currently understand it lead to only crazy/criminal/insane people owning guns?, because that seems suboptimal.
Having said that, I feel pretty confident that I'm willing to follow the data here; I think I've dismantled my ego need to support my historical position pretty well over the last few days.
In my limited-ish experience, some Canadian border towns (Niagra Falls, in particular) get pretty close, but you'll get lots of people on both sides that concentrate on their national identity.
Those are both really good points, thanks.
While a school shooting is what got me thinking about this, I didn't mean to limit to that specifically; my pre-cached thought on mass murders is "if people in the crowd had been armed, the shooter would have been stopped quickly". I phrase it that way to emphasize that I have no real evidence there.
Spending time training people to help those around them, in general, as a possible solution, though ... I admit that I'd honestly never thought of that. It doesn't just apply to teachers, either; one can imagine corporate "sensitivity training" that included basic lessons in how to identify/help/console a coworker who seems to be having a rough time lately.
I'm not sure that we are culturally capable, even in theory, of identifying the actual impact of such a program, but it's a hell of an idea.
What I was going for is the difference between wanting a particular person dead (i.e. one's wife, one's boss, etc), in which case I'd assume that access to particular weapons is irrelevant because you'll find a way, vs. wanting to kill lots of people, or to kill lots of people in a particular category (i.e. school shooting mass murders, which as I implied is how I got on this topic). It seems at least possible that weapon limitations could help limit the latter, whereas if person X really wants person Y, specifically, dead, weapon limitations seem unlikely to be relevant.