« SPAM, etc | Main | Basilisk is in hospital »

26 December 2012

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Al Spafford

Excellent!

Cal

''Guns allow us to resist tyranny; speech allows us to speak out against the arbitrary and capricious nature of government and privacy protects us from the nosey eye of government and our neighbors''

There are 300 million guns in the US and so far they have done nothing to stop the 'tyranny' that political corruption has forced on the country regarding almost every issue just as and some far more critical than gun ownership.

Show me where citizens with guns have stopped the WH Kill List, preemptive wars that cost trillions, detention of US citizens without charges, the Patriot Act right to spy,snoop on Americans, eternal POW camps in Gitmo, giving Corporations the same rights as people, stopped making politicians above the law, stopped the consolidation of US media and press into special interest organs only that has made many Americans dumber than shit, stopped ethnic lobbies from controlling US foreign policy, reimbursed any Americans for the trillion in funds they lost in the "unregulated' white collar criminal Wall Street meltdown, stopped DC from putting many Americans in a higher tax category than Cayman Island tax dodger Mitt Romney, ..do I need to go on?

I'll vote to give everyone a assault weapon if you can convince me how your having them is going to do anything about the "tyranny" that actually affects Americans. Until then I don't want to hear this 'tyranny' excuse for your 'hobby'...the tyranny is already here.

And let me suggest that if you think citizen assault rifles and firepower is gonna beat the gov should it ever decide to turn it's military fire power on you....you need to rethink that and invest in some really good sniper rifles instead so you can pick off the leadership behind that decision.

walrus

What a well written and argued piece!

I would like to make a few observations as a gun owner in a very different culture and jurisdiction on the question of hysteria.

Firstly Forseman, the hysteria you speak of is real, highly dangerous and it is constantly being manipulated by vested interests.

There is much scientific research that demonstrates that the ease with which a situation can be imagined directly affects our perceived probability of encountering that situation.

In the case of the recent massacre, every parent is now imagingin their child on a slab and rushes out to buy ballistic backpacks, believing wrongly that another murder is just around the corner.

The real causes of juvenile death (5 - 14) are:

*Accidents
*Cancer
*Developmental and genetic conditions that were present at birth

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001915.htm

This simple effect - probability of occurrence proportional to ease of imagination, is used mercilessly by all sorts of vested interests:

* You need a gun to protect yourself because scary black people are going to come and kill you.

* Jihadists are going to kill you.

* etc.

The reality is that the most dangerous thing we do daily is drive a car and that most of us are going to die of cancer or heart disease. However the car industry is at great pains to suppress the accident rate and the fast food and tobacco lobbies likewise.

So it is with guns.

Let me track this mass hysteria in Australia: I started competitive target shooting around age Eleven. By Fourteen I was taking public transport to the range with a .303 Enfield over my shoulder that was almost as tall as I was. The people on the train would smile at me, it was patriotic in 1963 to be seen as potential soldier training as a marksman.

Fast forward to 2012. Some months ago, I witnessed a young man being takne down, cuffed and arrsted in public open space. His crime? He was observed to have what appeared to be the handgrip of a firearm protruding from his backpack. He was off to some star wars themed role playing game with an imitation phaser. That did not matter.

If a 14 year old today walked onto a railway station. let alone a train, with a .303 Enfield on his shoulder, there would be instant lockdown followed by the arrival of a SWAT team.

Such are the mighty fallen, and all because a politician used the actions of a mentally ill man to grind their particular axe.

Meanwhile criminals have fast and easy access to any firearm they want - if they have the money.

While I have reservations about the militia thing in the Twenty First century, that is irrelevent, I fail to see how any form of gun control or regulation is going to stop a determined person intent on malice from obtaining their weapons of choice. The assault rifles are out there. There is no bringing them back.

As the police lady said when she checked my gun storage arrangements: "I don't know why we have to bother, you are all so law abiding".


oofda

Ironically, it was noted the other day that if shooting deaths are expected to surpass automobile accident deaths in a few years. This is due to both the increase in shooting deaths and the effect of various safety measures/campaigns.

Matthew

Col: There has to be some breathing space between irrational gun control and the NRA's ludicious suggestion that teachers carry guns. This creates a false casual connection between gun crime and a preventative "arms race" for civilians.

The Patriot Act trashed a number of amendments to the Constitution. Suggesting that we must turn our schools into fortresses is another hysterical--and grostesque--reaction to the shootings in Connecticut. And it repels those of us who do recognize the deep legal and cultural roots of the Second Amendment. I, for one, am more afraid of the over-medicating of our children...I never worry about my neighbors having guns. But then again, my neighbors haven't force me to get a concealed carry permit, either. Nothing will kill the Second Amendment faster than suggesting that we buy bullet-proof book bags for our kids.

Tyler

"And let me suggest that if you think citizen assault rifles and firepower is gonna beat the gov should it ever decide to turn it's military fire power on you....you need to rethink that and invest in some really good sniper rifles instead so you can pick off the leadership behind that decision."

Which is why the Afghanis laid down and died when we showed up with stealth bombers, drones, and everything else a modern army has.

Mj

Damn sissies in their Birkenstocks. Buncha hysterical pussies, not real men.

Lars

As I have pointed out elsewhere, if you require licensing for gun use, you do not have to ban guns, or components. You just have to provide levels of licensing covering various firearms. It can be simple and easy to own a .22 rifle and have much more requirements to use a .50 sniper rifle, with various stages in between.

elkern

Thank you, Foresman.

The focus on the evolution of "gun culture" in the US is key. I got an intersting data-point from a young intern at work recently. He knows 5 guys at his college majoring in Criminal Justice (there was no such major in my day). One of them wants to be a policeman (cop-on-the-beat); one wants to be a judge (CJ as pre-law); the other three want to be on SWAT teams.

I do think Rambo, Dirty Harry, and other pop-culture icons had something to do with it, but it's a tough sell, because gun violence has been prominent in American movies from the start. Even the worst macho aspect of this has been around forever (Bogart to The Fat Man in The Maltese Falcon: "Mine's bigger than yours").

But I do think things are different now. Some of it is fallout from the "culture wars"; some of is changes in power balance (male/female, white/other, rural/urban). Rural white men were confident of their place in society, as husbands & breadwinners. These days, not so much. The resulting insecurity gets twisted into resentment & hatred of unspecified "elites". Hatred & guns are a bad combination.

The tilt from Republic toward Empire is part of it too. Young men are encouraged to be Warriors, because being a Citizen just doesn't cut it anymore.

Tom S.

I suspect that many of those who are arming up to resist the "tyranny" of the US government have no problem with the infringements of rights that you describe.

Tyler

"But I do think things are different now. Some of it is fallout from the "culture wars"; some of is changes in power balance (male/female, white/other, rural/urban). Rural white men were confident of their place in society, as husbands & breadwinners. These days, not so much. The resulting insecurity gets twisted into resentment & hatred of unspecified "elites". Hatred & guns are a bad combination."

It'd be great if modern media didn't tell these same people that everything was their fault ("white male privilege"), and then portray them as idiots or bad guys to be killed by the Multicultural Hero.

Rambo? Dirty Harry? Your cultural references are thirty years old. Let's talk about Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds, or Red Tails, where Multicultural Hero slays the aryan hordes.

Encouraged to be warriors? Playing Call of Duty for 20 hours on end isn't being a warrior, its being a consumer which is the real end state. In a culture where you have the lowest amount of the general population serving, I find that claim incredulous.

I think the emasculation of men, the expectation that young boys should act like young women in school while young women are encouraged to give into the worst hedonistic impulses (look up "slutshaming" and "Slutwalks") has a lot more to do with our issues than any sort of 'machismo' feminists have been going on about for years.

Societies have wrestled since the beginning of civilization on how to civilize their young men. Telling them their choices are either: apologizing for everything their ancestors ever did ever, becoming beta male hipsters, or dropping out of society altogether and embracing video games and other pop culture is going to be problematic.

Embracing a warrior ethos (or citizen-soldier ethos) would honestly be a step up than the insanity of modern culture.

jack

"Rural white men were confident of their place in society, as husbands & breadwinners. These days, not so much."

Why is this equated with firearms rather than the decline of unionization and the loss of real purchasing power of the dollar since the mid-seventies?

optimax

One thing I hope we don't do is stigmatize the mentally ill more than we do now. Mental illness is a disease, like cancer, that can be treated and managed. The problem is we have a mental health system worse even than our healthcare system. But I guess our society thinks it is more important to spend our tax dollars policing the world than taking care of ourselves.

I've worked with a couple of men who committed suicide because they were taken off Prozac at the behest of the insurance companies--bottom line, you know.

Hank Foresman

Absolutely concur, clearly the results of the last eleven plus years has shown that it is real and can effect even the strongest.

confusedponderer

Re: Prozac - from a free market point of view, the invisible hand settled this handily, and without the need for some bureaucrat to regulate and impose inefficient red tape.

What could be possibly undesirable about such an efficient result? And are not the outcomes of market action eminently desirable, more, inevitable and infallible? Is the parable that Smith used not universally applicable to every facet of life?

Government intervention though regulation would have compelled the insurance company to spend money on these men without getting anything in return. Would that not be the equivalent of the government using force to extort money from insurance companies and have them give it to insurance takers?

Such redistribution of wealth we are told is abominable because it rewards lazy moochers et the expense of the performers.

/snark

Stuff like the above passes as an argument in some political quarters in the US. More terrifying than its inanity is the fervour with with such views are being uttered.

Al Spafford

Most states in the 70s thru 80s accomplished large scale "de-institutionalization" in the mental health field. Where there was a history of abusive care and much reform was necessary, the states did not put much of the saved $$ back into community services for care, treatment and monitoring. The result is that the 2 largest mental health wards in the USA are now contained in the LA County and Cook County Jails. Many other "patients" now wandering homeless of our city streets.

elkern

Yes! "Outsourcing", etc, led to loss of jobs & declining wages (after adjusting for inflation). People want to feel important. Supporting a family is important, but it now requires two incomes. Mom works, meets other people, shows less gratitude to Dad for his contibutions to the family. Men who grew up in families where only Dad worked expect Mom to do all the housework. Women who are working expect men to do more of it. More fights & less sex ensue.

Men look for other psychological props. Guns are a shortcut to a renewed sense of power.

There are other shortcuts, of course - cars, trucks, electronic devices, drugs, money, etc - and they all have dangerous aspects. But guns (excepting hunting rifles & antiques) are unique in that the feeling of power comes directly from the fact that they are designed to kill people.

Laura Wilson

I believe that the Newtown shooting was begun and ended in less than 10 minutes. In most schools, it would take 10 minutes to run across campus looking for the right door to where the shooter is....certainly, suburban high schools are very spread out.

How many guards?

And, if at the same time as we had buy-backs, we also restricted sales of semi-automatic weapons and high capacity magazines, we could start ratcheting down the potential for gun violence. Because that is what we want to do---start lowering the probability that anyone's neighbor has a high capacity magazine(s) available to use with their semi-automatic weapon. You are arguing that the perfect cannot be achieved so let's just settle for the status quo and that is just silly--and, frankly, kind of "unAmerican" to just throw up our hands and say "oh well". I don't think that is our style---if it had been our style, we would still be British, for heavens sake.

Children being gunned down in a school is a real problem--not an "oh well" moment. Someday it won't be the kids you never met.

turcopolier

Laura Wilson

"restricted sales of semi-automatic weapons" Which ones do you want to restrict? I am joking. I know you have no idea what the answer to my question remains.

The political truth is that your side lacks the political strength to pass any significant federal gun legislation without the cooperation of the 150 million legal gun owners in the USA.

That's called democracy. Get real. pl

SAC Brat

Not sure if anyone has mentioned it yet, but how about letting school personel voluntarily carry like the airline pilots do? Those that are interested in the training and responsibility can do their part and it should be an off-the-shelf program from the pilot's union and the TSA.

Granted, it does lack sound bite sensationalism.....

SAC Brat

What did Waco represent?

elkern

I really like your "Cannot Haz Security" meme, I disagree about explosives/burning becoming a common substitute for gun masacres.

"Normal" gun crime (stickups gone bad, crimes of "passion", drug-related drive-bys, etc) kills more people, but the occasional massacres are different. He crazy people who do those don't expect to survive; they don't even want to survive, they want to go out in a blaze of "glory". They are suicides - which are often a perverse cry for attention - but killing people with guns is also a "crime of Power". Sick parts of our culture glorify that aspect of guns.

The Law is generally helpless in these cases. Outlawing suicide is just silly (except in religious law). Law mostly expects to discourage crime by punishing those who get caught severely enough to make it not worth the risk.

Also, we can't legislate sanity (yet - neurobiology may make that theoretically possible, which is even scarier). So how can we minimize the risk of mass murders by crazy people?

Less readily available firepower seems to me like a reasonable suggestion.

optimax

No matter how catchy you think it is it is not a meme if you are the only one that repeats it.

Quentin

As a reformed former believer in gun control, there are a few points I would like to make:

First, the gun control movement has nothing to do with reducing crime or violence. It is a Socialist political movement that reinforces the idea that the individual is better off turning over their responsibility to protect themselves to the state.

Our laws are only able to differentiate law-abiding people from criminals and provide for the punishment of criminals after crimes have been committed.

The Federal gun control laws of the 20th & 21st centuries focus mostly on possession of firearms or firearm-related products, not on the intent of the user.

The second point above is critically important because people who use guns for criminal purposes disregard laws that prohibit them from possessing firearms, so-called high capacity magazines, ammunition, etc.

Therefore, those gun control laws only limit those who choose to obey the law from possessing those items. Gun control laws do not stop or reduce crime or limit the actions of criminals.

Decent hardworking people do not need the government to restrict their liberties. We need the government to restrict the liberties of criminals who abuse those God-given liberties.

Free people understand that they are personally responsible for how they exercise their liberty and for the consequences of their choices. They do not need the government or gun control groups to do that for them.

If some people in a free society want to turn over the responsibility to own a gun or protect themselves from armed criminals to police & regulatory agents, then they are free to do so; however, those same people do not have the freedom to force their choice on everyone else.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

March 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        
Blog powered by Typepad