Let Freedom Ring Like a Gunshot

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Tiassa, Jan 24, 2023.

?

It's the [(expletive)] guns.

Poll closed Feb 28, 2023.
  1. Yes

    80.0%
  2. No

    10.0%
  3. Freedom, motherf'er! I got my Second Amendment locked and loaded!

    10.0%
  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    What is your position regarding guns in the U.S.?
     
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  5. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Sort of. If you could ban all guns (which isn't possible) and save 5 lives by losing 1 (say, to someone who would be stabbed in a fight because he didn't have a gun) that would be a somewhat similar case, with a similar set of tradeoffs.
    The US had a smoking culture, popularized in movies, magazines and newspapers. And tobacco companies made several similar arguments - that it's not bad for you, that doctors recommend it, that it's too entrenched in our culture to go away. But it did, because we as a people decided they were killing too many people. Since the 1970's tobacco use has declined by more than a factor of 3. Deaths have dropped by almost half, but that of course is a lagging indicator. And it is worthwhile to note that this was accomplished without banning tobacco. We now have laws that restrict where you can smoke, how old you have to be to smoke, where you can advertise etc but tobacco itself is still legal, and tobacco companies are still trying to figure out new ways to get tobacco into people. But overall they are losing.

    We can do something similar with firearms.
    Other countries have done it - and it worked.

    We have made one (poor) attempt at it with the assault weapon ban of 1994. And even though it was poorly thought out, crimes with assault weapons DID decline. Overall it didn't do that much because people modified other weapons (extended magazines etc) to perform the same function. That is evidence that banning a certain type of weapon does indeed reduce the use of that sort of weapon - but it has to be well written.

    Also it is a mistake to assume that criminals loaded to the gills, with intent to kill, are the big risk to an average American. Look at the last ten mass murders, taken from Wikipedia's list of mass shootings in the US.

    Yakima shooting - the shooter, Jarid Haddock, had no criminal record - just a semiauto handgun and a lot of ammo.
    Half Moon Bay shooting - the shooter, Chunli Zhao, was a disgruntled worker with no criminal record.
    Monterey Park shooting - the perpetrator, Huu Can Tran, had one previous arrest for illegal possession of a firearm with no other arrests. No conviction. There was no apparent reason for the shooting but he did appear mentally disturbed beforehand.
    Goshen shooting - two suspects arrested. No clear motive yet but it may be related to gang activity.
    Enoch shooting - a man killed his family and himself. No criminal record although he had been investigated for domestic abuse allegations, and his wife was seeking a divorce.
    Chesapeake WalMart shooting - a WalMart employee with no criminal record shot several people at WalMart then killed himself. He left a note with allusions to Satan and being mocked at work.
    Colorado Springs - Anderson Lee Aldrich shot up a nightclub. He had one arrest previously for "taking his grandparents hostage" but was not convicted of anything.
    University of Virginia shooting - Christopher Darnell Jones Jr shot and killed several other students. He had no criminal record, although he had been under investigation for possibly having a gun at school.
    St Louis shooting - Orlando Harris shot and killed three schoolkids. No criminal record. He was being treated for mental illness. He tried to buy a gun from a dealer but failed the FBI background check. He then bought one from a private individual. His mother was horrified when she heard this and called the police. The police came, but said that he had broken no laws, so they could not take the AR-15 from him.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mass_shootings_in_the_United_States

    Of those ten, only one has any possible connection to those "criminals loaded to the gills." The rest were just people, not criminals, who snapped for one reason or another, had a gun available right there, and started shooting. These are the shootings that tougher gun laws will stop. It will not solve the problem 100% of course - but reducing shootings by 90% would be a pretty good outcome.

    I agree. But if we could get the ratio of guns to people down to (say) the ratio in Australia it would do a lot of good.
     
    James R likes this.
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    That the Second Amendment is not so mysterious as people pretend, and the current circumstance is an example of ineffective government as an outcome of our definition of "freedom"↗.

    Insofar as it's the goddamn motherfucking guns, the alternative is that it's about the goddamn motherfucking people with the goddamn motherfucking guns, and that's a much more complicated question.

    We might hear about how guns and knives don't kill people↑, but we might also wonder what happens if someone drives two hours to a Black neighborhood in order to threaten Black people in a grocery store with a knife, or if the cops in Uvalde would have been afraid of a goddamn motherfucking knife.

    We can easily observe that the goddamn motherfucking guns affect both the decision to kill and other decisions about how to respond to the violence.

    Maybe set the insurance companies on firearm owners. What are they going to do, prove their responsible gun ownership by shooting up the insurance offices? Oh, right; yeah, that probably isn't funny. Still, though, insurance companies won't be able to resist the market potential, and the actuaries, adjusters, and the policy book ledger should be able to take care of the rest.
     
  9. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    8,609
    We might hear about how guns don't kill people but we may also know that's a silly argument. We understand the outcomes, ya'know. We understand the harshness of the Supreme Court ruling on this matter. Just as we understand countries having the atomic bomb is a rabbit that we can't put back into the hat, so to is the gun culture in the US. ya'know...

    It's also a complicated issue. You appreciate those. right? As a problem, it also needs to be viewed in context.
     
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    8,609
    It's more like 1 guy loses his life to a gun, it's just that he doesn't have a gun, the other guy does. Of course that's not entirely accurate and it's not entirely inaccurate. If the killing is the result of some random argument and knives come out instead of guns, yes, there will likely be less people killed and that's all to the good.

    If it's a criminal robbing a store, the criminal will still have a gun, it's just the store owner that will not.

    That's not particularly analogous, IMO. One is seen as a right, by many, the other is a bad habit. The South is full of hunters, much of the country is full of people with a gun, that isn't used, but is for home protection. The culture of guns is deeper than the habit of smoking, IMO.

    That's not realistic, IMO. Australia didn't have the same gun culture or problems before the ban, isn't without guns or problems now. The main point is that what they did in Australia wouldn't work here and wasn't similar to the U.S. even when it occurred.

    Guns are pervasive in the U.S., most people don't misuse their guns. Statistically there aren't a lot of gun accidents, average people killing average people in a rage. The problem (statistically) criminals using guns, and people committing suicide using guns.

    The mass shootings are a problem but statistically that's not a large problem. It's the inner city shootings every weekend and criminals using guns to commit crimes and as mentioned suicides.

    Banning isn't really possible here nor would be do much. I know that people generally switch gears about here and starting pointing out that suicides are something that should concern us as well but most people arguing for gun bans don't really seem to be honestly motivated by the suicides, IMO.

    There is also the argument that many suicides would be prevented if the person had a second chance or time to think about it and the gun solution is final. That is true as far as it goes but it's also true that most people who want to kill themselves, ultimately do. If not this time, the next time.

    If you look at Japan, they have one of the highest suicide rates and very few guns. The option to using a gun isn't just something unappealing like jumping off a building, it's mainly taking pills or starting a car in a closed garage.

    I'm not making any argument about not enacting any gun control laws that have a chance of reducing deaths. I'm just saying to put the problem in perspective and it's mainly about suicides and criminal activity and against the gun culture in our country, not a lot is going to change and even though it is a serious problem, it's not a big of a problem as it is frequently portrayed to be.

    Much in the same sense that (before the recent abortion bans) abortion was always a bigger issue in the media than in reality. Most states allowed abortion, most people didn't get late term abortions and it was mainly a political hot potato to pass around. Now it's different with the recent Supreme Court ruling of course.
     
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    OK then it's not like the trolley problem. And is not pertinent to my example anyway, since the premise was "if you could ban all guns" which is of course not possible.

    Both are seen as a right by a great many people. And given how courts have defended the rights of tobacco companies for centuries here in the US, it is a right enshrined in established law here in the US.
    You're talking about two different things, though.

    1) Guns for self defense or hunting. Yes, a great many countries have guns for those purposes without seeing the gun violence we see here,
    2) Our gun culture, where gun ownership is very often a political statement, a declaration of power, and a means to garner the respect the gun owner feels he deserves.
    Of course. As you have just suggested, it is our gun culture that is the problem. We can change that if we want to.
    No, it's not. There was an APA paper about this a while back, and it turns out most non-gun suicide attempts get people into treatment and prevent future suicides, because it is a very clear sign that the person needs help. No chance of that with guns - which is one reason the APA is pushing for better gun protections.
    That hasn't been my experience. Abortion - and whether it was banned or not - has directly affected several people in my life, as has gun violence.
     
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    8,609
    I think you will find, overall that the banning guns/suicide question isn't as conclusive as you suggest. There have been plenty of papers written. Over time suicides tend to be fairly "stable" regardless of other policies.
     
  13. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not suggesting it would end all suicides or solve any mental health problems. Nor am I advocating banning guns. I am suggesting that reducing the availability of guns will significantly lower suicide rates, on the order of 20%.

    I can't find the APA study I mentioned above so I went searching for some others. Some stats:

    A comparison of western countries by gun ownership rate and suicide rate:
    US 42% 14.5/100K
    Australia 6.2% 11.3
    Germany 12.5% 8.3
    UK 6% 6.9

    Firearms are used in less than 10 percent of all suicide attempts, but they account for more than half of all suicide deaths. And states with CAP laws (child access prevention laws for firearms) have rates of youth firearm suicide that are eight percent lower than states without these laws. (Johns Hopkins)

    The RAND corporation recently did a study on the effects of reducing gun access as a way to reduce suicide. They state that there is strong evidence that reducing firearm suicides in contexts where more-lethal means of attempting suicide are unavailable will result in reductions in the total suicide rate. They looked at 18 different gun control policies, did metastudies of their effectiveness at reducing suicide, and concluded:

    Gun control policies that may increase suicide risk:
    None

    Gun control politcies that may decrease suicide risk:
    Child-Access Prevention Laws (note that this agrees with the Johns Hopkins study)
    Licensing and Permitting Requirements
    Minimum Age Requirements
    Waiting Periods

    Gun control policies whose effects were inconclusive on suicide rates:
    Background Checks
    Bans on Low-Quality Handguns
    Bans on the Sale of Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Magazines
    Concealed-Carry Laws
    Extreme Risk Protection Orders
    Prohibitions Associated with Domestic Violence
    Prohibitions Associated with Mental Illness
    Stand-Your-Ground Laws

    The rest had no studies that met their criteria for validity.

    So yes, reducing the availability of guns via four of the above methods can work, and can reduce suicide rates. Not 100%, not even by half - but by a significant amount. We see a similar effect in other countries.



    https://americanhealth.jhu.edu/news/how-do-gun-laws-affect-suicide-rates

    https://www.rand.org/research/gun-policy/analysis/suicide.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percent_of_households_with_guns_by_country
     
    James R likes this.
  14. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I stand corrected.
     
  15. ThazzarBaal Registered Senior Member

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    Well regulated rings a bell, as would a ccw type mindset with gun ownership. I wouldn't advise carrying one on the hip, nor waving one around your front yard with passing traffic or opposing type neighbors. Well regulated, you would think, would require some gun safety classes, at least for the militia minded. I would assume a good understanding of out bill of rights, including the common wealth kind also.
     
  16. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    It seems that many do not know what the phrase "well regulated" meant in 1791

    The phrase "well-regulated" was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected
     
  17. ThazzarBaal Registered Senior Member

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    A functional economy or functional democracy's seem to be no less needed than a functional militia. Well regulated, it would seem, implied and implies one in working order, or a functioning militia ... With rights to bear arms, per #2

    Asking a question now about gun ownership responsibility. Namely, gun safety, registration, and understanding severity of use if used against others.

    It's very much needed, so understanding both federal and state laws might be of benefit in terms of helping to regulate ownership. I support the 2nd no less than the 1st. Both are important.
     
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Exactly. And a well regulated militia was a militia that was organized and used as expected for a militia.
     
  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I think you could almost say that we have too much regard for our Constitution and that it's too hard to change (amend). The interpretation seems to be whatever the Supreme Court says it is. Before Heller the reading was more along the lines of a "militia" and if you weren't a militia gun control laws passed by Congress were legit.

    Now it almost makes a mockery of Congress having any authority in this area. It's like Citizen's United putting an end to any meaningful campaign finance law reform.

    The Constitution is a fine concept but it should be able to change more easily with the times, IMO.
     
  20. ThazzarBaal Registered Senior Member

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    Militia were developed for national security, which should be expected from a nation like ours. That was the purpose for the 2nd of our bill of rights. How it (the militia) exists today, I do not know, but my ignorance of this does not negate the purpose for one.
     
  21. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    8,609
    Militia were both for an overbearing government and later for national security. The only problem when one relies on a Constitutional argument rather than common sense or legislated outcomes is that it's easy for common sense to go out of the window.

    If the Constitution says that we have a right to bear arms then anyone can argue that they have a right to park a tank in their driveway and there is nothing you can do about it because it's in the Constitution. For you to have a legislated right to do that you would have a lot of work on your hands to get popular support for that because it's stupid.

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  22. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    That's a strange thing to say. These days, you have the National Guard, the police forces, the FBI etc. for national security. Why do you think you need a disorganised rabble of civilian gun owners as well?

    A common argument is that (a certain portion) of you Americans think that you need to feel secure from the depredations of your own elected government, your own appointed military, etc. To me, that implies that you don't really trust your own institutions. Also, since the institutions are administered by people, it means you don't really trust your fellow citizens.

    I get it that you had a civil war. Maybe all of this is echoes of that. Or maybe it's the national ethos of individualism, self-reliance, or something.

    So, understandable maybe, but it seems a bit delusional to me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2023
  23. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    There are lots of people in the US who would prefer to stockpile guns and ammo so they can defend themselves from the IRS, rather than voting. Voting is just so much trouble.
     

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