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Gun control - a suggestion
Posted: 28 March 2005 03:34 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I'm not sure if this forum is the appropriate place to talk about gun control, but given the recent mass killings in the US - why not?

My friend has a great idea about how to introduce a form of gun control globally.  It appears that those who own guns and use them are incapable of fully appreciating the consequences of being shot by a gun - but any moral society must make those owners more cognizant of the power of their property. To that end my friend suggested that anyone who wants to own a gun should be shot with that weapon so that he/she knows for certain what they are getting into.  MY suggestion is that we build a shooting contraption and that a licence to own a weapon could only be acquired by passing the gun shooting test. What this test would involve would be that 1) the person who wants a licence to own a firearm should be put into a room where a dark curtain covers a mechanism several feet away in front of him; 2) behind the curtain would be a loaded weapon (of the very kind requested by the potential owner) in the grip of a machine with a mechanical hand that can detect the person and moves at random tracing the skeletal regions of the licencee; 3) in that person's hand is a remote trigger that will shoot the weapon when pulled.

So if the person wants to own a .22 calibre rifle, he would have to pass the test of being shot by that same weapon in order that he comprehend the full impact of the thing he wishes to own and use.  Of course it will be up to him to fire the weapon (blindly) and pass the required test.  He might get shot in the toe, but perhaps in the head, depending on the random movement of the gun-gripping mechanism and his own sense of chance at pulling the remote trigger at a certain time.  NOw if the person wishes to own a machine gun, well his chances of being seriouly injured become much higher, but in justification, his use of such a weapon would cause similar chances of injury to his victims.

I think it's a perfect test because the checks and balances for the assailant and his potential victims is nicely equalled out.  It's a very just and egalitarian system of gun control, isn't it?

Bob

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Posted: 29 March 2005 01:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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This has always been a very confusing issue to me, not over my own position, but because the right and the left are not where one would expect them to be on this issue.  If I knew nothing other than the general “philosophies” of both sides, I would expect the right, with all of its feigned interest in “right to life” to come down on the side of strict gun control, and the “progressives” to support my choice to bear arms.

This is not, of course, how it stacks up, and that is what is confusing to me.  Firearms used to be part of my life, but now they no longer are.  In spite of that, I support the right to bear reasonable arms, for hunting and also self-protection.  Every statistic ever gathered on the issue points to the fact that gun control does not work, does not do a thing to stop murder or any other crime.  It is a symbolic issue only, and I am afraid that the left loves it’s symbols as much as the right does.

Pete

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Posted: 29 March 2005 01:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Hello Canzen ...

I have another suggestion taken from a comedian (maybe Chris Rock ?) who suggested bullets carry a high price tag, say $2,000 each.  That way it would cost you a fortune to shoot anybody other than your main target. 

I don’t know much about guns though; I’m a lover not a fighter.  Or maybe I’m a fighter whose weapon of choice is words.

Here’s to bullet control smile!

Susan

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Posted: 29 March 2005 02:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Unfortunately, because of the political climate (which is connected to the emotional climate because politicians have more to gain by pushing emotional buttons in a culture where people have a hard time separating “feels good/bad” from “is good/bad”) . . . there’s been a whole lot of bad science done in the name of research on guns and violence. That’s why I recommend “Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control” by Gary Kleck and “Under the Gun: Weapons, Crime and Violence in America” by James D. Wright, Peter H. Rossi and K. Daly to anyone who wants to understand the issue, which requires an understanding of the issue itself as well as how the public is misled by what passes for research and news in the field.

While I don’t think I need to bother pointing out the problems behind NRA literature and ideology, gun control advocacy groups and stats are actually less connected to reality. A couple of examples off the top of my head . . .

Gun control groups like The Brady Campaign/Violence Policy Center typically include “children” up to 21 in their statistics on children and guns. Why? People in their late teens and early twenties find all sorts of ways to kill and be killed and die violently or accidentally (trying to make the next “Jackarse” show, criminal activity, gang warfare . . . ). By including those top few years in particular, they add roughly 80% to their stats—besides the fact that the impression stats on “children” gives doesn’t include violent, “full-sized” criminals taking part in violent crime when they became one of the statistics. The Brady Campaign has even defined “children” as up to 31 for their stats on “children and guns.” This is pretty clearly deceptive rather than an innocent oversight.

Which brings me to Arthur Kellerman—the CDC guy who invented that bit of “common wisdom” that says you’re more likely to be shot by your own gun than you are to defend your home with it if you keep one in the house (which isn’t quite what his “study” actually said in the first place). He literally created the statistical basis of that one through creative research instrument design (with the help of the media and distortion over time).

1) He only looked at deaths. Studies suggest that around 80% of successful defensive gun uses don’t even involve firing the gun (some of those numbers are just references to a gun, so technically the gun doesn’t even have to exist in those cases). Why? When a gun is “introduced” on the scene predators/perpetrators run and go after easier prey. It’s simple applied ergonomics and self-preservation. So over 80% of the pertinent data on the effectiveness of guns was ignored.

2) He included suicides. Last time I checked all but one of the studies available specifically dealing with this question (12 total, probably three years ago now) show that when guns aren’t accessible [to use for suicide], other means are substituted (usually “leaping”—as in off of buildings and such), so while I wouldn’t want to make a gun accessible to a family member or friend who may be suicidal, it’s not reasonable to include that in a study on guns and home defense. Suicides accounted for a large chunk of his death stats (a percentage somewhere in the high 70s I think), so of we account for this and the previous study design flaws, he’s down to maybe 10% or so of his pro-conclusion data.

3) Successful defensive gun uses include any time the perpetrator fails to complete the crime. That includes (preferably) running away and not even being shot at, much less actually shot (roughly 50% of the time a perpetrator is fired at he’s actually hit by the police—we can assume civilians most likely don’t do any better), much less actually killed. All things being equal (purely statistically—circumstances are critical on this count), when somone is shot their odds of survival are about 90% (odds of permanent injury aren’t much worse). The perpetrator had to be killed to be counted by Kellermann. There went over 90% of the “guns work” stats.

So ever after all the padding and the liberal use of selective focus and such (strategic results-oriented study design), the stat actually showed that your gun, if kept in your home, is 43 times more likely to be used to kill you, a family member or friend, than it is to kill a home invader. It’s not actually a very useful statistic (particularly given the complication of suicide—In what way do you deal with the suicide-enabling potential when you purchase other tools or items?), besides being a “designer stat” which got the CDC a lot of money from the White House which was fairly anti-gun at the time. It also helped the CDC to re-define public health issues so it could stick its nose into all sorts of other fields (and coincidentally gain access to a lot more funding—if it’s not a biological pathogen, then you have to ask what the Centers for Disease Control is doing with it in the first place).

The other question that needs to be asked is how many people’s lives are saved by the civilian use of guns? It’s a seen vs. unseen kind of thing. We see the stories about tragedies, but averted stories (muggings and rapes and assaults etc) obviously don’t make the news. Another thing to consider is that this is about our means of taking equalizing self-defensive measures, which, if people could only get past the religious thinking/indoctrination, would be of great benefit to women and others like the elderly who are most preyed upon by predatory criminals (they’re like any other predator, favoring easier prey).

But . . . if you go over the actual data acquired on the matter, you’ll find that quite a few more violent crimes are prevented by citizens weilding guns than are committed (the minimum estimate is about 2x, the max about 5x, unless new data has emerged since I last looked). The other thing you’ll learn is that gun laws have very little if any effect on gun violence, for (mainly) the reason barnstormer pointed out at the top.

The most important thing, though (as always), is that people base their opinions/decisions on reason and evidence, and certainly not on emotion (our emotions just aren’t very smart—they don’t do a very good job for us of forming reasonable opinions or making very sound decisions). Unfortunately it’s particularly difficult to become well informed on this issue—which is why it’s good to know about the nature of the available research and what’s behind it.

So, you need to very carefully examine study methodolgy before you accept what gun studies say. I’ve even seen a “study” in which the data didn’t confirm the prediction, so in the “conclusions” the “researchers” actually wrote something to the effect of “in spite of these data, we conclude . . . ” which also says a lot about what can pass peer review in social sciences by finding the right peers.

Basically, the indoctrination factor on this one is is right up there with religion (and drugs), so keep that in mind.

Byron

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Posted: 29 March 2005 03:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Actually - I probably titled the original post incorrectly, as this is not an advocation for gun control, just a test to see if the potential owner truly understands what he is “buying” into.  In fact, I also own a gun (a registered one under recent Canadian law).

What struck me in SkepticX’s piece was the casual attitude with which he writes things like

“People in their late teens and early twenties find all sorts of ways to kill and be killed and die violently or accidentally (trying to make the next “Jackarse” show, criminal activity, gang warfare . . . )”

and

“When a gun is “introduced” on the scene predators/perpetrators run and go after easier prey. It’s simple applied ergonomics and self-preservation”

and

“Another thing to consider is that this is about our means of taking equalizing self-defensive measures, which, if people could only get past the religious thinking/indoctrination, would be of great benefit to women and others like the elderly who are most preyed upon by predatory criminals (they’re like any other predator, favoring easier prey).”

It’s hard to imagine, but Byron is writing about the daily lives of people in America. Maybe calling persons ‘predators’ is just the way things are in the land of the “free” but to someone from elsewhere, such talk is verging on the immoral.  Is that the way Americans generally portray and describe some their fellow citizens?  You people are living in something approaching an Orwellian state.  If we would just arm women and the elderly with weapons - why we’d create a utopia!

Why is it that there are 100 times as many homocides (mostly by gunshot) in the US than there are in Canada (9 times as many Americans as Canadians - in population) and our gun control is a joke when compared to Japan?

Bob

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Posted: 29 March 2005 03:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]What struck me in SkepticX’s piece was the casual attitude with which he writes things like:

“People in their late teens and early twenties find all sorts of ways to kill and be killed and die violently or accidentally (trying to make the next “Jackarse” show, criminal activity, gang warfare . . . )”

and

“When a gun is “introduced” on the scene predators/perpetrators run and go after easier prey. It’s simple applied ergonomics and self-preservation”

and

“Another thing to consider is that this is about our means of taking equalizing self-defensive measures, which, if people could only get past the religious thinking/indoctrination, would be of great benefit to women and others like the elderly who are most preyed upon by predatory criminals (they’re like any other predator, favoring easier prey).”


I’m not sure why my presumed “style” or attitude would have anything to do with the facts or arguments presented, which should be considered on their own merits. Do you disagree with the facts I presented, or do you think I should have presented them in a particular emotional manner . . . ?

[quote author=“CanZen”]It’s hard to imagine, but Byron is writing about the daily lives of people in America. Maybe calling persons ‘predators’ is just the way things are in the land of the “free” but to someone from elsewhere, such talk is verging on the immoral.


It’s a definitional matter though. I can use “violent criminal” if you’d prefer, but “predator” sums it up just fine. We’re talking about those who assault their fellow citizens violently. What word would you prefer I use? It really doesn’t matter to me. I’m not trying to vilify anyone, it’s just that I’m talking about those many/most would consider villians. I think your response is reverse discrimination. If I don’t white-wash the ugly realities of the matter I’m credited somehow with them.

And I’m hardly taking about “everyday” matters. In some sense that’s true—happens to some people every day here in the US, but not the same people all the time, and not to the vast majority of us. The chances that any given citizen will be the victim of a violent crime is very low in any given year, and while some criminologists suggest the odds that any given US citizen will be victimized by violent crime in his lifetime is pretty high, I’m not so sure of the definition used (what researchers consider assaults can include being verbally threatened or even insulted in a “violent” manner and such, so I’m skeptical). In any case, I’ve gone pretty much all my days thus far without being directly involved in any of this (except that I’m armed), and I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

[quote author=“CanZen”]Is that the way Americans generally portray and describe some their fellow citizens?  You people are living in something approaching an Orwellian state.  If we would just arm women and the elderly with weapons - why we’d create a utopia!


Who suggested such a rediculous thing!?

That’s pretty ironic though, because that’s far more reflective of gun control thinking—“Just ban guns and everything will be all better.” as if those planning to kill their fellow citizens would suddenly be deterred by the fact that the best tool for the task is illegal to have.

Actually, come to think of it, fair enough—it’s pretty reflective of both extremes. My bad.

[quote author=“CanZen”]Why is it that there are 100 times as many homocides (mostly by gunshot) in the US than there are in Canada (9 times as many Americans as Canadians - in population) and our gun control is a joke when compared to Japan?


Now that’s a good question! It’s the question Michael Moore expressed being stumped on in “Bowling for Columbine” and most reactionaries (maybe even most viewers) seemed to all but completely miss as the primary emphasis of the film.

Whatever it is, that’s the reason Canada has become so much more attractive to so many of us here in the US (myself included).

Again (speaking generally, not to anyone in particular), the important thing to remember with gun control is that what you’ve heard is likely nonsense, and you have to take particular care (just as with religion and drugs) to critically examine the available information and research . . . and as always, you have to have th discipline to avoid the emotional hijacking of your intellect.

Byron

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Posted: 29 March 2005 04:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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So if the person wants to own a .22 calibre rifle, he would have to pass the test of being shot by that same weapon in order that he comprehend the full impact of the thing he wishes to own and use.

Wow Bob, what a GREAT idea. Why didn’t someone think of this before.  But wait…this concept should expanded to solve bigger problems.  Since a lot more people are killed by motor vehicles than say…guns for example….so if someone wants to obtain a driver’s license and register a motor vehicle…you guessed it… let’s run ‘em over first so they understand the “full impact of the thing he wishes to own and use”.  So if they want to buy a Hummer…you guessed it again….run ‘em over with a Hummer. Want a GEO….run ‘em over with with a GEO. Oh, I know what you are thinking. Motor Vehicles are a necessity and guns are not.  Now you know you don’t really need that car. You could take the bus or the train or the taxi. Lots of people get by without those lethal motor vehicles. Just think of the positive impacts on the quality of life. No more dependance on foriegn oil…reduced air polution to the pont where the hole in the ozone layer would completely heal,  no more congestion or costs for road construction. Plus we would discourage or perhaps purge the gene pool of those fanatics who love their automobiles. All we need is a location to Beta site the concept…...thinking….thinking…thinking…..how about Canada.


Stay Well

Wot.

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Posted: 29 March 2005 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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SkepticX wrote:

CanZen wrote:
Why is it that there are 100 times as many homocides (mostly by gunshot) in the US than there are in Canada (9 times as many Americans as Canadians - in population) and our gun control is a joke when compared to Japan?

Now that’s a good question! It’s the question Michael Moore expressed being stumped on in “Bowling for Columbine” and most reactionaries (maybe even most viewers) seemed to all but completely miss as the primary emphasis of the film.

Whatever it is, that’s the reason Canada has become so much more attractive to so many of us here in the US (myself included).

The question, why is violence so much more prevalent in the States than in Canada? was partially answered in the book, “Continental Divide: The Values and Institutions of the United States and Canada”
by Seymour Martin Lipset, which was required reading for one of my history courses.  Lipset examines the differences, some subtle some glaring, between Canada and the US and asks the question why there are any differences at all when our two countries were being settled over the same period of time and by the same groups of immigrants. 

One of his main findings concluded that in Canada, everything was much more political and organized from the start.  We had the Northwest Mounted Police, the precursor to the RCMP, who would be commissioned to set up a post somewhere in no man’s land, before any settlers arrived.  The NWMP would organize the settlement, complete with local government and a police ‘force’, and THEN the settlers would come.  In the States, the settlers went out totally on their own and were obliged to fend for themselves while trying to claim land from the Native Americans. This all leaves us with atleast two important differences 1. Canadians, unlike Americans, are in general, very comfortable with government control over things. And 2. We are a much less fearful group of people. We have always had a ‘Big Brother’ watching out for us. In the beginning, it was the British, and today, it’s the Americans.  Not that the States has any direct influence on the functioning of Canadian societies, but I see it that we ‘owe’ our comfort and fearlessness to the States because you’d come save us if any other country dared to pick on us. 

As for government control, we don’t exactly give government a carte blanche to do as they please.  We actually monitor our government quite closely and speak out for change when we see trouble.  In January, our provincial government (which is responsible for public schooling) awarded a 10 million-dollar grant to a Montreal Jewish private school.  The public was so outraged, that the goverment withdrew their grant within two weeks.  So although Canadians may appear on the world stage to be more like sheep than wolves, we are more forceful for change than we are given credit.  Let’s say we’re more like a bunch of rams than sheep up here… 

Our motto:  Who needs guns when words work just fine?

Which leads me to add that I am not such a peace loving Canadian that I have thrown out all common sense to think that the nations of the world can all throw away their weapons, of mass destruction or otherwise, and everyone will behave themselves.  Since you mention Michael Moore ... I felt what Moore missed pointing out in his film was that the only reason Canadians can afford to be more relaxed, fearless, and peaceloving, is because we have the luxury of living under the protection of the States. We feel no real responsibility as a country to maintain a formidable military becasue the States will take care of us. Americans, on the other hand, as the guys out in front, are still fending for themselves as they have since their beginnings and can little afford to relax and be fearless.

All this to say, that even as a peace-loving and proud Canadian, I was uncomfortable with Moore placing Canada on a kind of pedestal, that we have somehow figured it all out up here. There are plenty of problems, social, political and otherwise, north of the border, which might have been mentioned. As with things spiritual, we could each learn from the other.

Proud to be North American smile !

Susan

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Posted: 29 March 2005 05:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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[quote author=“Rasmussen”]As for government control, we don’t exactly give government a carte blanche to do as they please . . .


I have major issues with allowing too much government control over the populace, but then you have to consider the government I’ve learned that from. It sounds like the Canadian government may be a great deal more responsive to its citizens than that of the US, where most of us have to deal with life in the constant crossfire of organized warring idealogues (I understand the typical vassal in Medieval England also paid his lord a lower percentage of his income . . .).

[quote author=“Rasmussen”]Our motto: Who needs guns when words work just fine?


Mine too. I’d hate to have to rely that motto to try and stop a violent assault though—eh!? It’s about when words are useless, not when they work.

That’s the context/perspective most anti-gun thinking seems based upon (or rather that it lacks). What most people just don’t seem to realize is that a gun isn’t about solving disputes violently. I find it odd that those who seem to think they’re anti-gun because they’re too peace-minded seem to have the most difficulty with the idea of not getting violent simply because a weapon is handy. The stats suggest gun carriers don’t share that presumed lack of basic self-control over violent impulsiveness (a small fraction of a percent lose their permits for violent offenses).

In order to consider the function of guns in self-defense, you have to consider the issue within a reasonable contextual framework. What is self-defense all about? It’s about how to survive and hopefully avoid serious injury when someone is trying to kill or seriously harm you. That’s why I talk about violent predators and not my standard issue fellow citizen—because that’s the issue. My standard issue fellow citizens aren’t part of that equation (unless they’re being assaulted by a violent predator). In any case, the violent assailant has to be in the picture or neither is any consideration of a gun being used in self-defense (then we might talk hunting and/or target shooting, but not our right to viable self-defense). It’s very simple.

[quote author=“Rasmussen”]All this to say, that even as a peace-loving and proud Canadian, I was uncomfortable with Moore placing Canada on a kind of pedestal, that we have somehow figured it all out up here. There are plenty of problems, social, political and otherwise, north of the border, which might have been mentioned. As with things spiritual, we could each learn from the other.


I didn’t see “Bowling for Columbine” that way at all. I do think Moore may have ignored a lot of negatives, but the issue was guns and violence, and I think we might be able to learn a lot more from you guys on that one, culturally speaking (most proposed solutions seem entirely dependent upon ignoring “all that social science stuff” though).

Byron

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Posted: 29 March 2005 08:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Guns are dangerous, but so are a lot of other things.  In fact, when you get right down to it, people are just intrinsically dangerous creatures.

So why are there such a high number of shooting deaths in the US compared with other countries where firearms are comparably easy to obtain?  Try the following reasons:

1.  Mental Health - The US has the worst mental health of any first world nation.

2.  The War on Drugs - The US War on Drugs is arguably one of the worst policy blunders of recent times.  The specific methodologies employed in prosecuting this dubious war are very conducive to putting guns into the hands of nervous (and often chemically impaired) hands.

Although I would have to do a lot of research to claim that these two reasons alone explain the discrepency, I feel it likely that they at least account for a large majority of it.

-Matt

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Posted: 29 March 2005 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Wotansson - just to remind you that the primary purpose of a gun is to kill(animals including people) - the purpose of a vehicle is to drive from one place to another.  Why would you want to run the potential driver over with a car?  It doesn’t make any sense.  Guns are used for killing, they are weapons.

BTW, anyone who quotes Voltaire is my kind of person, so there!

Bob

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Posted: 29 March 2005 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Bob said:

Wotansson - just to remind you that the primary purpose of a gun is to kill(animals including people) - the purpose of a vehicle is to drive from one place to another. Why would you want to run the potential driver over with a car? It doesn’t make any sense. Guns are used for killing, they are weapons.

BTW, anyone who quotes Voltaire is my kind of person, so there!

Bob


Thanks for reminding me Bob. I certainly did not know that.  I was just trying to use a liitle satire and analogy to point out the ridiculousness of your post. To take that one step further - why would you want to shoot a hunter or police officer? You made no exceptions. Of course I know this was not your intent.  The thread you stared is much too broad and too preposterous to precipitate any reasonable discussion on gun control. If you have a reasonable arguement favoring gun control, go ahead and make it. I already know that cars don’t kill people - people kill people. Some use guns, some use knives, some use cars.  I was for years a hunter and a target shooter and had an arsenal worthy of a small South American counrty.  I consider these to be legitimate sports. I already knew the power of these weapons. It was not necessary to shoot me to demonstrate it.  Lets get real.

Since you appreciate Voltaire here is my favorite:

Civilization will not achieve its true perfection until the last brick, from the last church, falls on the last priest.
- Voltaire

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Posted: 29 March 2005 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]
Why is it that there are 100 times as many homocides (mostly by gunshot) in the US than there are in Canada (9 times as many Americans as Canadians - in population) and our gun control is a joke when compared to Japan?

Everyone has made some very interesting observations in this thread, along with all those statistics (however valid they may be according to Byron’s explanation).  The thing that bothers me most is everyone’s seeming acceptance of the idea that Americans own guns for self-protection.  True, that is the reason gun owners will always give, along with all those sporting uses.  Although these are valid reasons, I see them as secondary, with the primary reason being that this country quite simply has a gun culture.  I believe Susan’s comments on the early history of settlement were very valid as a starting point.  Our country was founded with a revolution, settlement advanced through numerous conflicts with the native peoples (along with the lawlessness Susan mentioned), and wars were continually fought on our own soil.  All this in a relatively short period of time, laying a pretty solid basis for a society accustomed to violence.

As this culture progressed, guns became an icon in our society.  Remember the fifties and sixties?  What were the children’s themes on television and movies?  How many Saturday’s were spent watching all those cowboys shooting Indians and bad guys?  When we ran out of cowboys, we had our war movies.  Our heroes have always been cowboys.  And John Wayne.  Most kids in the fifties had Roy Rogers holsters and guns (not one, but two).  Of course, back then, you never saw any blood or busted up bodies, just the bad guy hitting the dust.

As cowboys became passe, they were replaced with Green Berets (John Wayne again), Dirty Harry, Rambo and Arnold.  We went from six shooters to military gear and weapons of mass destruction.  And blood and guts.  Amazing how the shock value wears off after repeated exposure to films that each try to be more realistic than the previous.

Now, all our heroes are packing not just a gun (or two), but a whole arsenal.  Our heroes are our role models, aren’t they?

I won’t even bother to discuss the effects of our addiction to violent video games and “fun” games like paint ball and laser tag.  That could be a separate discussion in itself.

Guns in this country have come to represent an image of power and personal independence.  It’s easy to see how troubled teenagers will use weapons to gain a sense of power and control in their lives.  When they feel as if they have no other resources to give themselves control over their lives, guns are available and represent total power.  Their role models have already demonstrated a casual regard for human life.  All the factors are in place for a tragic outcome, after which everyone asks “why???” 

BTW, in my part of the country, it seems almost everyone owns a gun.  Actually, it’s usually a collection of firearms.  The majority of gunowners, I would estimate, own between 5 and 9 guns (a combination of rifles and handguns).  A good number own many more.  Many gun owners tend to collect weapons in much the same way other people collect books or music. 

There are many more layers to this puzzle, and this is just another partial explanation, but I believe a core one.  Gun control won’t work.  Our values have to change.

Maggie

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Posted: 29 March 2005 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]Wotansson - just to remind you that the primary purpose of a gun is to kill (animals including people) . . .


That’s actually a pretty simplistic position.

Guns fire projectiles of various sizes at various velocities. They’re generally tactical, true, but even that doesn’t = they’re for killing (even besides the fact that they’re also for all sorts of target shooting and simply collecting—I think almost any item is used for collecting in the US though).

But before you can even really consider guns as weapons you need to have a basic understanding of the situation. Are you aware of how effective guns actually are for killing? Wounding? Stopping a violent criminal? Do you have any idea of how much guns are used by private citizens to stop crimes vs. how much they’re used to commit them?

In my experience the vast majority of people have formed and heavily invested emotionally in a position prior to having even thought of these basic questions much less having dealt with them responsibly. Far too often, once someone realizes there are actually important questions yet to be dealt with, the investment causes them to do their own results-oriented research in an effort not to understand, but rather to affirm and protect their investment.

As I pointed out, it’s very much like religion and the war on drugs.

Byron

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Posted: 29 March 2005 03:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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OK, of course the original post here was also a satirical bit of commentary. But I can’t tell you how we laughed when we came up with that whole idea.  The point of the test was to show the gun owner exactly how the deer or the duck or the robber feels when the bullet from your gun enters some vital bodily organs.  I still think that as a thought experiment it does serve a purpose, if only to make a potential murderer/hunter/recreationalist put himself into the place of his victim.  I was simply trying to express the seriousness of the potential results of weaponry to a gun-happy culture (as peregrine and Rasmussen pointed out so vividly).

I certainly respect Byron and Wotansson for their positions and have greatly appreciated their excellent comments in other posts, but why all the excuses and apologetics for the gun culture and its pervasive (often deadly) effects?

Byron, I can’t believe you said this “But before you can even really consider guns as weapons you need to have a basic understanding of the situation.”  To me the basic understanding of the situation all boils down to the fact that guns ARE weapons, that’s why they protect people, and avert crime, etc. - the reason that they can do all this is 100% because they are weapons. They are instruments made for killing.  Sure they can be collectibles and used in recreation, but that doesn’t in any way reduce their primary purpose of being a weapon.  Try harder to convince me that I am wrong here.

Bob

Remember on the 80’s television comedy SCTV - when John Candy and the gang would explode people.  That was a satire on the weapon-crazy (and celebrity-mad) culture south of the 49th parallel, “They blowed up real good!”

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Posted: 29 March 2005 11:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Bob said:

I certainly respect Byron and Wotansson for their positions and have greatly appreciated their excellent comments in other posts, but why all the excuses and apologetics for the gun culture and its pervasive (often deadly) effects?

Byron, I can’t believe you said this: “But before you can even really consider guns as weapons you need to have a basic understanding of the situation.” To me the basic understanding of the situation all boils down to the fact that guns ARE weapons, that’s why they protect people, and avert crime, etc. - the reason that they can do all this is 100% because they are weapons. They are instruments made for killing. Sure they can be collectibles and used in recreation, but that doesn’t in any way reduce their primary purpose of being a weapon. Try harder to convince me that I am wrong here.

Bob


I don’t think that anyone will try to convince you that most guns are not weapons by definition. You seem to acknowledge that guns have some legitimate and beneficial purposes - ” protect people and avert crime, etc.” These are good - no? Your basic argument seems to be anti-weapon rather that exclusively anti-gun but you focus on the gun likely because these are very efficient and compact weapons. Are you also anti-knife, sword, bow/arrow, slingshot, tank, canon, club, WMD, and sharp stick or just anti-firearm?

I think the philosopies of punishment vs. prohibition with respect to firearms needs some rational discussion here.  Unfortunately this frequently comes down emotional arguments of “gun people” vs. “non-gun people”

BTW - Some excellent comment and perspectives are offerred by Susan.

Stay Well

Wot

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