3 of 6
3
Gun control solution.
Posted: 05 January 2013 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  19
Joined  2013-01-03

While doing my own little research I came across this gem:
http://tinyurl.com/ae8e8tg

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 January 2013 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2013-01-05

Skeptic Michael Shermer noted that: “The only thing smart people are better at is rationalizing their dumb ideas” In The Riddle of the Gun, Sam Harris provides us with a brilliant example of this process in action. Tossing aside the rationality he uses so effectively in debating the religious in works like Letters to a Christian Nation, Mr. Harris does a 180, taking on the role of true believer and preacher of NRA dogma to rationalize his personal obsession with guns. (Obsession may be too strong a word. Mr. Harris says he owns several guns and spends a full day every month or two shooting, a practice that he describes as both time consuming and very expensive. Sounds like an obsession to me. After all, most Christians spend less effort on their religion.)

This rationalization takes a lot of effort, over 6000 words and all of it to advance one argument, guns enable people to protect themselves. As Mr Harris says; “I have always wanted to be able to protect myself and my family, and I have never had any illusions about how quickly the police can respond when called.  . . .if a person enters your home for the purpose of harming you, you cannot reasonably expect the police to arrive in time to stop him.” This, of course, brilliantly misses the point. Why do you live in a society where protecting yourself is such a time consuming and expensive concern? Could it be that the gun culture Mr Harris defends, is contributing to the violent and paranoid society that America has become?

Is paranoid to strong a word? Last year a vacationing American police officer wrote a letter to my local newspaper, the Calgary Herald, detailing an “aggressive” confrontation with the locals. Apparently, two young men approached the man and his family and asked if they’d seen the Calgary Stampede. The officer wrote that he wished he’d been legally allowed to brandish his gun at the unwarranted display of friendliness. Canadians were so baffled that the Herald had to issue a statement confirming the letter genuine. This soon went ‘viral’ as global media made the officer an object of ridicule. What was really being ridiculed of course, was the kind of culture, the kind of society, and the kind gun nut thinking Mr. Harris spends so much time defending.
My wife and I walk every day, usually in the late afternoon or early evening. We don’t typically lock our door when we leave the house. Why should we? And the idea that we would cart a gun along for protection, or leave one at the house in case of some late night intrusion, is an absurdity. But then again, I don’t live in a society where guns are worshiped as gods and by skeptics no less.

While the Canadian crime rate for break and enters and other offences are about the same as that for the United States, our violent crime rates are lower, running at less than half of those in the U.S. They fall further as the seriousness of the crime increases. These and similar comparisons with other jurisdictions leads to one inescapable conclusion, the tougher the gun legislation, the lower the violent crime rate because the ease of access to weaponry is reduced. Perhaps Mr. Harris could deal with honest comparisons instead of arguing about the rate of knife attacks in China.

Mr Harris closes his piece by saying, “Rather than new laws, I believe we need a general shift in our attitude toward public violence—wherein everyone begins to assume some responsibility for containing it.” A shift in attitude is definitely required, but Mr. Harris commits the logical sin of specifying the ends but ignoring the means. How are we going to achieve this? Some gigantic societal group-hug? Perhaps clicking our heals three times while chanting “no more violence” will make it better. 
No. A shift in attitude will come only when we call out the fallacious arguments made by Mr. Harris in defense of the indefensible. When we recognize the fascination with guns is the problem, not the solution. (Rather ironic given Mr. Harris’s substantial understanding of cause and effect.) Where ‘everyone’ includes gun owners taking responsibility for containing violence by demanding that all guns be registered, that background checks be required of anyone owning a gun, and restrictions be placed on certain types of weaponry. My god Mr. Harris, it takes more to get a library card in America than it does to get an AK-47.

I am a big fan of Mr. Harris’s writing and his skeptical pursuits. I own most of his books. I have watched his debates on you-tube. I would like to invite him up to Calgary sometime to see the Stampede. It’s great fun but you have to promise not to blow my head off for inviting you.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 January 2013 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3255
Joined  2004-12-24
robert42 - 05 January 2013 04:22 PM

Skeptic Michael Shermer noted that: “The only thing smart people are better at is rationalizing their dumb ideas” In The Riddle of the Gun, Sam Harris provides us with a brilliant example of this process in action. Tossing aside the rationality he uses so effectively in debating the religious in works like Letters to a Christian Nation, Mr. Harris does a 180, taking on the role of true believer and preacher of NRA dogma to rationalize his personal obsession with guns.


That interpretation makes it pretty clear you either don’t read very well, or you just don’t read very well if the material is critical of your sacred cows (or at least this one).

Calm yourself and re-read the article to see if you can figure out why the characterization above is plainly way off. It should be pretty easy. If it’s not, you need to work on your objectivity (detach, count to ten, maybe do some deep breathing, try reading a sentence at a time until you can keep your heart rate down from beginning to end—move on to the next sentence).

[ Edited: 05 January 2013 05:30 PM by SkepticX]
 Signature 

“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 January 2013 04:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
Newbie
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  31
Joined  2012-08-21
Ueeediot - 05 January 2013 10:12 AM

James, I would invite you to do a google search on the phrase ‘school resource officer’  You will find that there are many schools across the entire nation who have had armedpolice or sheriff officers/deputies assigned to schools for many years now.

Sorry, Ueeediot, I am NOT interested in “many,” whatever that means.  I am only interested in “a large majority” of schools having full-time, armed security personnel on campus, which would prove that Sam, the NRA, and I all have our collective craniums shoved up our posteriors here.


I’m also not willing to research your peculiar claim for you.  It is your assertion here that we have all horribly missed the boat.  Provide the citation(s) to back it up.

In my humble opinion, you would do much better to hire an iron worker to build a security fence around the school and force everyone to a single entrance/exit staffed by the school resource officer.

While I might prefer this fix to the predictable low-budget “security” the NRA “solution” would inevitably produce, there’s no money in school budgets for this either.

[ Edited: 06 January 2013 08:57 AM by JamesEvans]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2013 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  286
Joined  2011-04-26

Harris’ argument is rational and well reasoned.  Awesome essay!  You don’t end random, extremely rare individual criminal slaughter by enlisting the mass-murderering centralized government bureaucracy to control the weapons.  How many children has Obama and GW slaughtered compared to the Newtown psycho?  Can you F’n count past 20???

To ban guns, you have to un-invent them first.  Comparing the U.S. to other countries is useless.  We are purposefully quite different and designed that way based on the worlds’ history of failed (still failing), miserable theocratic and statist governments in the east and west.

[ Edited: 06 January 2013 09:35 AM by mormovies]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2013 06:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  19
Joined  2013-01-03
JamesEvans - 05 January 2013 04:51 PM
Ueeediot - 05 January 2013 10:12 AM

James, I would invite you to do a google search on the phrase ‘school resource officer’  You will find that there are many schools across the entire nation who have had armedpolice or sheriff officers/deputies assigned to schools for many years now.

Sorry, Ueeediot, I am NOT interested in “many,” whatever that means.  I am only interested in “a large majority” of schools having full-time, armed security personnel on campus, which would prove that Sam, the NRA, and I all have our collective craniums shoved up our posteriors here.


I’m also not willing to research your peculiar claim for you.  It is your assertion here that we have all horribly missed the boat.  Provide the citation(s) to back it up.

In my humble opinion, you would do much better to hire an iron worker to build a security fence around the school and force everyone to a single entrance/exit staffed by the school resource officer.

While I might prefer this fix to the predictable low-budget “security” the NRA “solution” would inevitably produce, there’s no money in school budgets for this either.

http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/racialjustice/whitepaper_policinginschools.pdf
page 5
“K-12 public schools across the country have begun to deploy law enforcement agents on
school grounds in growing numbers. Although there are no current national figures for the
number of such officers, in 2004, 60 percent of high school teachers reported armed police
officers stationed on school grounds, and in 2005, almost 70 percent of public school students
ages 12 to 18 reported that police officers or security guards patrol their hallways.  Frequently referred to as “School Resource Officers” or SROs, these agents are often sworn police officers employed by the local police department and assigned to patrol public school hallways full-time. In larger jurisdictions such as Los Angeles and Houston, these officers may be employed directly by the school district.”

While it is very difficult to quantify exactly it is easy to take your hands away from your eyes and look and find there are many SRO programs setup at the city and county levels throughout the country.
The notion that placing armed police officers in schools is a novel idea cooked up by the NRA since Dec 20 is a crock and easily debunked by 30 seconds of research.  Maybe you missed the link above showing the interview of a 16 year veteran SRO who has actually been involved in shooting a armed assailant on school property. 

And cry me a river that there isnt money in the budget.  Its there.  How much money do you think they will spend to enact the Fienstien bill should it become law?  The money is certainly there.  The will to spend it on what will protect your child is not.

[ Edited: 06 January 2013 06:41 PM by Ueeediot]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 January 2013 06:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  19
Joined  2013-01-03
SkepticX - 05 January 2013 04:30 PM
robert42 - 05 January 2013 04:22 PM

Skeptic Michael Shermer noted that: “The only thing smart people are better at is rationalizing their dumb ideas” In The Riddle of the Gun, Sam Harris provides us with a brilliant example of this process in action. Tossing aside the rationality he uses so effectively in debating the religious in works like Letters to a Christian Nation, Mr. Harris does a 180, taking on the role of true believer and preacher of NRA dogma to rationalize his personal obsession with guns.


That interpretation makes it pretty clear you either don’t read very well, or you just don’t read very well if the material is critical of your sacred cows (or at least this one).

Calm yourself and re-read the article to see if you can figure out why the characterization above is plainly way off. It should be pretty easy. If it’s not, you need to work on your objectivity (detach, count to ten, maybe do some deep breathing, try reading a sentence at a time until you can keep your heart rate down from beginning to end—move on to the next sentence).

Skeptic, I have been evolving an idea that no matter how truthful or accurate the case for private law abiding citizens to continue to be allowed to protect themselves with firearms, I am believing more and more the people supporting this idea will eventually lose the argument.  Not because their argument is incorrect or because they are not able to support the argument with facts and truth, but because people who write posts such as ‘Robert42’ are so absent of logic and reason as to be unable to accept anything that doesnt fit how they feel about the issue.  Welcome to the age of the low information voter.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 January 2013 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  4
Joined  2009-03-04

Come live in Australia.

We are more or less completely devoid of the gun culture that seems all pervasive in the US.

The idea that one has to have a gun in the house to protect one’s family is a totally foreign notion to the vast majority of Australian families.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 January 2013 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3255
Joined  2004-12-24
J.v.d.A. - 07 January 2013 08:25 PM

Come live in Australia.

We are more or less completely devoid of the gun culture that seems all pervasive in the US.

The idea that one has to have a gun in the house to protect one’s family is a totally foreign notion to the vast majority of Australian families.


There’s an appeal there for sure, man!

But do keep in mind the fact you don’t have a lot of guns there may just have something to do with why you don’t need them for self-defense. If it weren’t hard at all for Australian violent criminals to get guns and most of them were doing so, then you might not feel that way. But there are also, I suspect, other more causally important cultural differences.

 Signature 

“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 January 2013 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
Newbie
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  31
Joined  2012-08-21
Ueeediot - 06 January 2013 06:38 PM

http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/racialjustice/whitepaper_policinginschools.pdf
page 5
Although there are no current national figures for the number of such officers, in 2004, 60 percent of high school teachers reported armed police officers stationed on school grounds, and in 2005, almost 70 percent of public school students
ages 12 to 18 reported that police officers or security guards patrol their hallways.”

I’m afraid the “no current national figures for the number of such officers” undermines your argument, Ueeediot.  The hearsay perceptions of teachers and students is not proof of “a large majority” of schools having anything at all, let alone SROs (which don’t fill the bill, anyway…see below) or dedicated, armed security personnel.


For instance, this 2005 USDOJ-funded report pretty much flat-out harpoons the notion that SROs are “assigned to patrol public school hallways full-time.”


SROs programs spend an average of 20 hours per week on law enforcement activities, 10 on advising or mentoring, 5 on teaching, and 6 to 7 on other activities combined.


Over half their time spent doing something other than patrolling the hallways.  Not exactly dedicated security staff.


Then there’s the sticky bit that, as your own ACLU link alludes, they perform their duties so poorly that they create adversarial and punitive environments that lead to children being tazed/arrested for swearing at teachers, or shooting spit balls, and such.


Needless to say, SRO programs are not what Sam, the NRA, and I were talking about.


The other troubling reality for you is SRO programs have been scaled back or eliminated in recent years, due to, you guessed it, funding problems.


Connecticut (sadly ironic)


Arizona


Kentucky


Washington


Kansas


Massachusetts (…In 2007 the [Hopkinton] SRO program was cut to one position.  Officer Powers became the SRO and covers all the schools… Kinda tough for one officer to serve every school full-time simultaneously, huh?)


And on and on and on.


You’ll need to produce something other than officers who spend less than half the week patrolling the halls, arresting the very kids they are supposed to be defending while they are performing “security” duties, and who are being axed for the same budget realities I mentioned from the get-go in this thread.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 January 2013 01:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  4
Joined  2009-03-04
SkepticX - 07 January 2013 08:56 PM
J.v.d.A. - 07 January 2013 08:25 PM

Come live in Australia.

We are more or less completely devoid of the gun culture that seems all pervasive in the US.

The idea that one has to have a gun in the house to protect one’s family is a totally foreign notion to the vast majority of Australian families.


There’s an appeal there for sure, man!

But do keep in mind the fact you don’t have a lot of guns there may just have something to do with why you don’t need them for self-defense. If it weren’t hard at all for Australian violent criminals to get guns and most of them were doing so, then you might not feel that way. But there are also, I suspect, other more causally important cultural differences.

Perhaps that is one of the attitudes at the heart of the gun problem - ” I need a gun because there are so many guns out there”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 January 2013 05:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3255
Joined  2004-12-24
J.v.d.A. - 08 January 2013 01:19 AM
SkepticX - 07 January 2013 08:56 PM
J.v.d.A. - 07 January 2013 08:25 PM

Come live in Australia.

We are more or less completely devoid of the gun culture that seems all pervasive in the US.

The idea that one has to have a gun in the house to protect one’s family is a totally foreign notion to the vast majority of Australian families.


There’s an appeal there for sure, man!

But do keep in mind the fact you don’t have a lot of guns there may just have something to do with why you don’t need them for self-defense. If it weren’t hard at all for Australian violent criminals to get guns and most of them were doing so, then you might not feel that way. But there are also, I suspect, other more causally important cultural differences.

Perhaps that is one of the attitudes at the heart of the gun problem - ” I need a gun because there are so many guns out there”.


Well, yeah ... it’s a fact of life in the US though, not just some attitude issue.

It’s ironic that so many will lament, rightly, all the violence and such, and then wonder why anyone would feel the need for a gun. Again, it’s largely that disconnect that tends to separate gun control/anti-gun types and gun right/pro-gun types. It’s not about fear, it’s about addressing a potentially serious issue (as in potentially life-threatening, even if it’s relatively unlikely). In this specific and limited sense guns are emergency equipment, so to understand why many people feel the need, you need look no further than fire alarms/extinguishers and first aid kits. You don’t keep those things at the ready because you’re constantly in fear of a fire or of injury, you keep them at the ready because in the event you do have a fire or suffer an injury you need them to be all set—you won’t be well served if you then need to get things together to deal with the emergency when you can get to it. Emergencies aren’t gonna wait for you. That’s just kind of the deal.

The idea this is an attitude issue is a clear detachment from the reality “on the ground”. We are, most of us, at relatively low risk of being victimized by violent predators (particularly those of us who are relatively young and fit, depending of course upon where we do our thing day-to-day), and there is a somewhat inverse relationship between actual vs. the perception of violent threat potentials. But again, we don’t only concern ourselves with the potential for fires when we think we may have a fire. It should be pretty clear that’s not a reasonable way to think about it, and there’s a predator’s mind behind violence—a human mind. We can manipulate our environment ourselves and dramatically influence the likelihood of a fire. We can do the same with violence, but to a far lesser extent (turns out humans who want to prey on other humans take proactive measures to cut through our threat avoidance and management strategies—fire, not so much).

So, yeah, if nothing else, it would be HUGE if anti-gun/pro-control types could repair this disconnect and consider the other half of the equation we’re dealing with here—the legitimate defensive use of guns (DGUs, in the criminology lit). And by the way, criminology is the appropriate field of study for guns and violence, not epidemiology, and not economics so much. Cases can be made that those fields have some appropriate wisdom to offer regarding guns and violence, but it should be filtered through criminology and sociology and psychology—that’s who deals with crime and violence, and that’s what violent gun crime is (and just plain old violent crime). The biggest difference between gun crime and disease vectors and such is that human brain and volition.

 Signature 

“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 January 2013 09:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  286
Joined  2011-04-26

I love Sam’s response to his critics.  To really believe that guns actually lead people to become evil, you must believe that guns have a supernatural power over humans.  There is no other logical reasoning that you can elevate firearms as a unique evil compared to other types of homocide and assault.  Almost ANY insolvable issue comes down to reason vs. faith in the supernatural, in politics, economics, etc.

[ Edited: 08 January 2013 09:15 AM by mormovies]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 January 2013 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  286
Joined  2011-04-26

Perhaps that is one of the attitudes at the heart of the gun problem - ” I need a gun because there are so many guns out there”.

>>>YES!  It’s called facing reality.  Otherwise you must un-invent guns.  The same as saying “I can’t stick my finger in a live socket because I’ll get shocked.”  YES!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 January 2013 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2013-01-08

I think Sam is making the same error here as with his suggestion that individuals who appear Muslim be profiled at airports.

You have a threat and a disproportionate response to that threat that actually reduces one’s safety (as Bruce Schneier effectively argued in the case of profiling). Similarly, it is far more likely you’ll be injured by your own gun than by one belonging to someone else. Statistically, most people are safer without one.

With that said, due to personal circumstance, the benefits of protection may outweigh the risk of ownership. As a public figure who has written about controversial topics Sam may very well fall into this category.

Profile
 
 
   
3 of 6
3
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed