I read an intriguing article years ago (I think it was in Harpers) about how SUVs were actually designed to look hostile and aggressive — to appeal to the angry white male. There was a lot of talk about how buyers would perceive them as rolling fortresses to protect themselves and their families in a dangerous world. (It was more than a little ironic that so many of the early SUVs had a little problem with rollover that killed their passengers, but I digress.) For someone who’s paranoid, you can’t possibly have enough protection – unfortunately for the rest of us.

I’d suggest that we all just stay home, but at least two people were shot by stray bullets while they were asleep this past week.

Anyway, the Times takes a look at how that open-carry law in North Carolina has worked out, so be sure to go read the rest:

Alan Simons was enjoying a Sunday morning bicycle ride with his family in Asheville, N.C., two years ago when a man in a sport utility vehicle suddenly pulled alongside him and started berating him for riding on the highway.

The bullet passed through Mr. Simons’s helmet.

Mr. Simons, his 4-year-old son strapped in behind him, slowed to a halt. The driver, Charles Diez, an Asheville firefighter, stopped as well. When Mr. Simons walked over, he found himself staring down the barrel of a gun.

“Go ahead, I’ll shoot you,” Mr. Diez said, according to Mr. Simons. “I’ll kill you.”

Mr. Simons turned to leave but heard a deafening bang. A bullet had passed through his bike helmet just above his left ear, barely missing him.

Mr. Diez, as it turned out, was one of more than 240,000 people in North Carolina with a permit to carry a concealed handgun. If not for that gun, Mr. Simons is convinced, the confrontation would have ended harmlessly. “I bet it would have been a bunch of mouthing,” he said.

Mr. Diez, then 42, eventually pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

Across the country, it is easier than ever to carry a handgun in public. Prodded by the gun lobby, most states, including North Carolina, now require only a basic background check, and perhaps a safety class, to obtain a permit.

In state after state, guns are being allowed in places once off-limits, like bars, college campuses and houses of worship. And gun rights advocates are seeking to expand the map still further, pushing federal legislation that would require states to honor other states’ concealed weapons permits. The House approved the bill last month; the Senate is expected to take it up next year.

The bedrock argument for this movement is that permit holders are law-abiding citizens who should be able to carry guns in public to protect themselves. “These are people who have proven themselves to be among the most responsible and safe members of our community,” the federal legislation’s author, Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, said on the House floor.

To assess that claim, The New York Times examined the permit program in North Carolina, one of a dwindling number of states where the identities of permit holders remain public. The review, encompassing the last five years, offers a rare, detailed look at how a liberalized concealed weapons law has played out in one state. And while it does not provide answers, it does raise questions.

13 thoughts on “Protection

  1. Who drives a jacked up, de-engineered suburban assault vehicles with tires the size of a Volkswagon and the hood ornament the perfect rendition of the human female reproductive system*? Same kind as uses a gun on a bicyclist. Got no dick.

    Sadly, we will see more of this as the collapse progresses. It’s a feature, not a bug.

    *yes, i coined that phrase

  2. It’s supposed to be a truism that when guns are outlawed then only criminals will have guns. Looks like that’s the case now since “legalized carriers” are slowly turning into criminals when they otherwise would be law-abiding citizens. America, welcome to Iraq!

  3. Sorry Suzie, when you name your blog “Suburban Guerilla” and put up a cartoon of yourself throwing a grenade and shooting a machine gun, you lose any sort of credibility to then start whining about guns and or gun control.

  4. Dandy,

    The “case of ‘legalized carriers” slowly turning into criminals” is slow indeed. Of the 240,000 CCW permit holders, only 2400 have been convicted of a felony and only 10 of murder, two of these not by firearms. (These figures being from the above quoted article.)

    This is a rate and number below that of law enforcement officers committing the same types of crimes and the general population. Besides, what Mr. Diez did was clearly illegal even in North Carolina. And what was the victim thinking confronting a guy with a huge vehicle while on a bicycle with his family in tow? (I’m not blaming him, Diez was clearly at fault, but I would have wheeled away as fast as possible to some place that a car could not get.)

  5. (The SUV article you’re thinking of was in The New Yorker, I’m pretty sure. I haven’t read Harper’s, but I remember that same article.)

    As for the comment about the masthead: You have noticed that the blog is called Suburban Guerrilla, right? And the old masthead also had people holding guns. You have heard of the concept of “metaphor,” haven’t you?

    The crimes and accidents with guns that Susie writes about, on the other hand, are not metaphorical.

    Is the difference becoming clearer?

    (I mean, honestly!)

  6. I was looking for stats on who owns SUVs, because Jeep Cherokees, at least when I bought my first one, were mostly being bought by women. I entered into a mommy forum ( and found this post;
    Oh – and I love my big black tinted Envoy – everyone gets out of my way!!! Our next car will just be a newer model of the same truck – only we will opt for the video package with all the driving to fro’ Pgh!!
    The thread is a few years old, so I don’t know if things have changed.

  7. The SUV was invented because the federal goverment, in effect, made the suburban soccer mom’s favorite vehicle, the station wagon, remember them, illegal. The CAFE standards made it impratical for Detroit to offer station wagons. So they created the SUV.

    As vehicle safety is proportional to vehicle weight, I am quite confident that more American have died as result of having to drive goverment imposed Yugo’s than have been murdered by citizens who were legal licensed to carry.

    On another tack, there is nothing s dictator, or would be dictator, fears more than an armed populace. Had the colonists not had arms, it would be the Queen’s picture on the dollar bill.

    I am quite sure that Pinch Sultzberger’a office is protected by armed guards. If Pinch is good enough to be protected, so is your family.

    Freedom is precious. Protect it.

  8. The station wagon became illegal? On what planet? The SUV KILLED THE STATION WAGON. Station wagons are 4-door sedans with the roof extended to the back bumper. Station wagons, being based on cars, were therefore subject to all the same safety rules as cars and had to be engineered to stricter car safety standards. As for your rant about CAFE, by that standard all cars became illegal as well. A station wagon historically has been just a cargo-optimized version of an existing sedan.

    SUVs started out as wagon-bodied versions of pickup trucks. Trucks have never been subject to the same safety rules as cars, nor were they subject to the CAFE rules. That’s why Detroit loved them and promoted them — they were cheaper to engineer and didn’t have to be restyled as often as cars to remain competitive in the market. So they were far more profitable than cars, because costs were lower and prices were higher. With buyers demanding better fuel economy, most of today’s “SUVs” are now built on car chassis and are called “crossovers.” Buyers now want crossovers, not station wagons, because that’s what they’re conditioned to want.

    That’s why Ford sells the Explorer rather than the Taurus station wagon it actually is. Or why Toyota sells the Highlander instead of a Camry wagon. Ford’s new Focus is made as a station wagon for Europe, but not here. Volvo has dumped all its station wagons in the US — VOLVO! — in favor of crossovers. If Americans had to bear the costs of their vehicle choice via taxation the way Europeans do, there would still be station wagons for sale here.

  9. Sorry Suzie, Metaphors have meaning. If you and Ten Bears there can infer that any white guy driving an SUV is an angry white male or has got a little dick, then it’s perfectly logical to infer you are a violent revolutionary wannabe.

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