Uvalde and the American Condition

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Tiassa, May 26, 2022.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Notes on #60↑ Above

    @RottenInDenmark. "This is about Sandy Hook but it could be about anything. There's a sick pattern to conspiracy theorists simply deciding that someone 'doesn't seem honest' or that totally normal details 'don't add up.'" Twitter. 15 June 2022. Twitter.com. 15 June 2022. https://bit.ly/3xuwMPE

    Williamson, Elizabeth. "'Prove to the World You've Lost Your Son'". Slate. 13 June 2022. Slate.com. 15 June 2022. https://bit.ly/3QhoKCa
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    The primary purpose of a car is not to kill or hurt things. Guns, on the other hand, were invented for precisely those purposes.
    What do the letters "AR" stand for?
    Rifles are weapons and they are used in wars. Right?
    You said it! Now review the comparison to cars, above.
    Are you interested in reducing the number of gun deaths, or just the percentages? Do the actual raw numbers matter? I think they do. What do you think?
    It's not random. There are well-understood profiles for the kinds of people who decide to "shoot up schools". Those people might well want to commit acts of violence regardless of the availability of assault rifles and the like, but the ease with which they can get those weapons and the ease with which they can commit mass murder with them is a big problem. It's a problem in terms of raw numbers of innocent people who die in mass shootings. Those people aren't percentages. You might be willing to roll the dice with people's lives just so you can keep your AR-15, but don't pretend that your attitude does not enable mass shooters.
    It sounds like you're saying that American "gun culture" means that it's acceptable to you that once or twice or three times a year, a bunch of innocent kids will get shot and killed in your country. You don't want to be Australia, where mass school shootings are much rarer!
    It looks to me like you're looking for excuses to keep doing nothing.
    pjdude1219 likes this.
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  5. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member


    Do the people who buy guns think about who (people wise) they want to kill?

    For those planning to kill I guess so

    For many though I am thinking not. Gun is being bought for protection

    Do those buying a gun for protection do they look at risk of themselves being attacked? I don't know the percentage of those being attacked against those who are not attacked

    Add in personal skills in using gun against attacker

    Do the odds work out yes I am safer with a gun than without?

    If YES very weird that in America you need a gun to feel safe

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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    So? If cars kill what difference does it make what their primary purpose is? Guns primary purpose is for hunting or self-defense. It isn't for killing school kids.

    It stands for ArmaLight Rifle. ArmaLight was the company that developed this rifle in the 1950's for civilian use. It certainly doesn't stand for "assault rifle". Do you think a company would market a gun for civilians as an "assault rifle"? Let's try to be rational here.

    Hamburger is food and it's used to feed the troops in war, right? Is it a food of war? Come on, you're better than this type of argument, right?

    We use statistics for a reason. It provides perspective. It's why we still have cars. How many people die drinking beer and floating on inner tubes down rivers in the summer and end up drowning. Do you talk about banning all beer or outlawing floating down rivers in the summer?

    A few drownings every summer is the price we pay for being able to make choices like that. It's not a good choice but most people can float on the water without drowning.

    Do we try to keep the percentages down or do we look at the raw numbers? One drowning is too much right? Just think of the kids they left behind. Yet, we use percentages. With a population of 350 million how could we possibly make rational decisions without putting things into perspective using statistics.

    I'll go so far as to predict that you actually agree with my comments when not in anti-gun knee-jerk reaction mode.

    I'm not worrying about keeping "my" AR-15 since I don't own a rifle of any kind. Killing kids isn't acceptable but that doesn't mean that we can easily or completely stop it (or anything else).

    The U.S. isn't Australia. The population is 10 times greater, the history is different and the population is much more diverse. Australia really had no major "gun culture" to begin with and they only had about 1.2 million guns before the ban. We have about 400 million guns.

    Everything is about perspective and that's why we use statistics rather than hysteria. Of course everyone cares about school kids being shot and killed. Everyone cares about black people being shot by the cops however defunding the police (which was the recent rage) only resulted in more crime because it was a stupid reaction (based on hysteria) in the first place. It was also misguided based on the statistics.

    Australia's situation isn't even as clear cut as you seem to think. Mass shootings went down in Australia after the ban. There weren't many before the ban. Mass shooting also went down after the Australian ban...in New Zealand as well. New Zealand doesn't have a ban however.

    It doesn't matter if well-meaning people recommend gun control (I would make some change as well) if it doesn't actually prevent what they say they are concerned about. Guns have been around (here) for a long time but there weren't such mass school shootings.

    Something has changed but it isn't the available of guns. There are two issues here. It's is legitimate to try to prevent some unintended consequences whatever the subject matter. We now have seat-belts in cars. It doesn't prevent any specific injury due to illegal use of a car. It certainly doesn't prevent injury if people decide to ram a car into a crowd of people but we do it to reduce percentages when they get too high. Not to reduce absolute injuries to zero.

    It's the same with guns. Close loopholes around registration and background checks, pass red flag laws, those are all common sense IMO. They won't prevent a messed up teenager who wants to shoot up a school from doing so.

    Passing ill thought-out laws similar to "defund the police" doesn't help the situation.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2022
    sculptor likes this.
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    People buy guns for many reasons.

    The culture of fear in which people assume that they need a gun for "protection" is part of the problem.
    In many cases, I think they have no good idea of the actual risk of that happening.

    Of course, once enough people are buying guns "for protection" that risk inevitably rises.
    Rather than thinking about it individually, you'd be better off thinking about the big picture. It is obviously "safer" for everybody, on average, if guns are rare in society.
    You don't need a gun to feel safe in America, though there are plenty of people who believe they need a gun.
  9. Bells Staff Member

    Surely you are not this obtuse?

    Your car argument is ridiculous, but also kind of argues for gun control. The primary purpose of a car is to get from point A to point B. The primary purpose of a firearm is to kill.

    If you drink and drive, if you speed, etc, you can lose your licence and thousands are banned from driving every year. Your driver's licence can be revoked if you are deemed a danger to others. In fact, to drive a car, you have to learn how to drive, pass a driving test to ensure you are competent.

    An 18 year old kid was able to purchase 2 AR-15 style rifles and a crap tonne of rounds without any training, without having to obtain a licence, without requiring training.

    Perhaps you should rethink the car argument. There are more checks and balances in being to drive a car, than there is to obtain a firearm.

    Mass shootings (outside of family murder settings) stopped with the gun ban. Familial murders also went down, as did suicides.

    And there had been quite a few mass shootings leading up to the ban.

    But you do you.

    Yes, they do. They implemented it after their gun laws allowed a racist Australian man to travel to their country, live there for a couple of years and then buy firearms and kill 51 people in a Mosque and an Islamic Centre.

    It's not just mass school shootings though, is it?

    There have been over 250 mass shootings in the US just this year alone, so far...

    Consider this:

    But what makes the U.S. such an outlier is not just the number of guns but their accessibility, according to Lankford at the University of Alabama. His research shows that most American mass shooters are not lifelong hunters or gun owners — like most people in places like Canada and Iceland — but rather they are socially isolated people who buy their weapons shortly before carrying out killings.

    "Nowhere in the world is it as easy for someone who's already decided they want to kill people to get a high powered weapon that makes it easy for them to do so," Lankford said.

    Every country that made it harder to access firearms saw a drop in gun related violence and mass shootings, as well as gun related suicides.
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I'm guessing that you aren't that obtuse and that your response has more to do with your overly emotional nature just getting the best of you but I could be wrong.

    I agree that guns should be more regulated, just like cars, however that wasn't the point. If someone intentionally runs you over with a car instead of shooting you, the end result is still the same. It doesn't matter than the primary use of a car is for transportation.

    But you do you.
  11. Bells Staff Member

    How many deaths are there in America from people deliberately running people down? And compare those to gun homicides.

    And you completely missed the point.. Cars aren't regulated. Being allowed to drive the car is very much regulated. Driving lessons, tests, medical and eye tests and evaluations, if you are medicated, suffer from certain medical conditions.. All of those are factored in. At least they are in Australia. But in the US, anyone can go in and buy a weapon of war, so long as they are the minimum age. Do you understand now?
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    There are probably more people deliberately run down by cars than there are people who have been gunning students down in schools. It's a large country.

    You are the only one making a big deal of the semantics of cars being regulated vs being allowed to drive a car being regulated. Obviously, that was what I was talking about in the first place.

    Calling a gun a "weapon of war" just means that your argument is weak if you feel the need to do that. It's a gun, a rifle, whatever.

    Any 18 year old kid can pass all the driving requirements as well. Anyone who wants to shoot up a school can certainly switch tactics and mow down people at rush hour. The number of people doing this is limited.

    Your argument is all over the place. Is your anger at school shooters or at the large number of people using guns to commit suicide? They commit suicide (still) in Australia as well.

    Do you understand now?
  13. billvon Valued Senior Member

    To do that generally he needs to take a course. Then he gets a LICENSE not a car.

    To get the car he has to pay for it of course. Then he has to register it, so that it can be tracked. Then he has to insure it, so that if it is used in a careless or criminal manner there is a way to pay the victims.

    If your argument is that we should do something similar for guns I agree.

    If your argument is "it's totally easy to drive" then you're missing the point.
    sideshowbob likes this.
  14. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Then we agree. My argument is not that "it's totally easy to drive". It's that it's not relevant to talk about the purpose of guns being to kill and that not being the purpose of cars.

    If you intentionally kill someone with a car the result is the same as if you had done it with a gun. It doesn't matter than this is not the primary purpose of a car. Killing innocent people isn't the primary purpose of a gun either. Most of used either to hunt or for home defense.
  15. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Agreed there.
    Bit of a difference there, though. Most cars are used to transport people and things. That is their primary purpose. Most handguns/semiautos are used to kill people. That is their primary purpose. (Indeed, the venerable AR-15 was designed as a miltary weapon, specificially to kill the enemy.) Thus the risk of guns being used to kill innocent people is a bit higher, since it is a subset of what they are designed to do.
  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Except the AR-15 wasn't designed as a military weapon. It was designed in the 1950's for the civilian market. The modified M-16 was designed in the 60's for Vietnam.

    All guns are designed to kill if used whether that's an animal or a person. That applies to a .38 revolver or a AR-15 so I don't really get your point.

    You could also call a .38 revolver a "military" weapon if you can find some point in time when perhaps a military MP carried one. I'm not sure what the distinction is though.
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    The title of this thread refers to the "American condition", because it seeks not simply to assess the core gun issue, but also what propagates and perpetuates it.

    Consider that after some prior school shooting, the solution was not to regulate the firearm supply, but to harden the schools and put more good guys with guns in the way of the bad guys with guns. This has largely been a failure, and also happens to coincide with police harassment of minorities, which in turn leads in to more questions than we might count in the moment, e.g., oversensitivity in perceiving, arresting, charging, and sentencing nonwhites. One of the most direct observations about hardening schools, though, is that it doesn't work.

    Still, it's an easy political suggestion in the wake of the latest massacre, and if we must find something nice to say about suggestions, at least that one isn't to redirect public health funds to actively reduce the number of exterior doors in schools.

    There is something about the American discourse that is very difficult to explain to international neighbors, except that's not really the boundary; after all, it is evident in this thread that Bells, for instance, has a basic grasp of the issue that we are to believe Seattle does not. And if I suggest brief scrutiny of my American neighbor's posts, it is because his performance is largely unbelievable except for the point that it's an American discussion. One way to look at it is as if you are dealing with fundamentalist behavior and fervor.

    It's one thing if he leads with complaining about "populism" and "armchair quarterbacks" not being a "good background for any meaningful change", but here is something about #5↑ above that might seem a little bit subtle: There are answers to "the bigger issue of why 18 year old males are even wanting to go into a elementary school and kill kids", and even that shootings like this "didn't happen years ago even though the guns were still there". But as we delve into those answers, watch his relationship with the various components. For instance, if we recall his performance in re white supremacism, misogyny, and questions of free speech, we can easily imagine such inquiries about mass shootings will get even more complicated than they already are.

    For instance:

    “The shooter passed a background check. There were no warning signs. Nothing we could’ve done to prevent this.”

    Girls: We actually reported him for threatening to rape and murder us but nobody would liste-

    “Nothing we could’ve done.”


    That is, we cannot access some of the underlying attitudes of the core gun issue without addressing the vein of masculinity feeding the beliefs and fears driving the violence. Perhaps it seems an utterly American context: Hispanic-American mass shooter without a political manifesto. This isn't the white supremacist stuff we've been hearing lately. Damn it, is this about a girl?

    He could be cryptic, demeaning and scary, sending angry messages and photos of guns. If they didn’t respond how he wanted, he sometimes threatened to rape or kidnap them — then laughed it off as some big joke.

    But the girls and young women who talked with Salvador Ramos online in the months before he allegedly killed 19 children in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, rarely reported him. His threats seemed too vague, several said in interviews with The Washington Post. One teen who reported Ramos on the social app Yubo said nothing happened as a result.

    Some also suspected this was just how teen boys talked on the Internet these days — a blend of rage and misogyny so predictable they could barely tell each one apart. One girl, discussing moments when he had been creepy and threatening, said that was just “how online is.”

    (Foster-Frau et al.↱)

    Short form: We ought not be surprised.

    But that's just one part of the mess. To wit, there is a question whether propaganda inspires outcomes or justifies them; the discussion of what motivated participants of the Rwanda genocide is nearly emblematic—most were simply moved to do as their neighbors did. And with shootings like El Paso or Buffalo, actual white-supremacist terrorism, the manifesto is pretty straightforward. A question of Tucker Carlson's role, for instance, would consider whether his Replacement ramblings created and cultivated a shooter or simply escalated an existing potential through legitimization according to prestige.

    When it's about a girl, remember we've already been through Douthat and the reallocation of women as a resource, and his newspaper also carried the article in which Peterson called for enforced monogamy. And the living experience, the face to face decision to participate or be seen as other, is in these cases generally either reinforced or even substituted by a virtual experience, an online setting, where fellows often encourage higher body counts. We know the part of the Uvalde shooter that we see, and we can only wonder what else there might be.

    There is a swirling question from Buffalo, whether a retired federal law enforcer was among those who had short advance notice, and whether he sat on it or saw the message at all; he apparently met the shooter in a white supremacist social media group.

    And here, it's worth observing of our neighbor, we got a hint↗ of his take on feminism, for instance, amid an attempt to distract a discussion of prejudice and bigotry in law enforcement. And what is actually common between that occasion and our moment here has to do with an odd duh factor, in which his manner of discussion seems to attend certain stations as if rudimentary ritual performances. I still razz him over his performance in that other thread, the way he managed to just stumble through white supremacist talking points and even some anti-sjw stuff from once upon a time really is unbelievable.

    And a similar strangeness runs through his performance, here: "It has always been possible for someone to grab a pistol and a few clips and to go into a school and kill a lot of people in a short period of time," he tells us. "It's just that no one had any desire to do it." But this is actually a straw man. A nine-millimeter is a rough handgun, but it still delivers a wound doctors can deal with. The AR-15 delivers extraordinary damage; it's a .22 round that blows holes in people inches wide, maybe twenty times its diameter. Handguns are their own question; a Nine is an escalation compared to a .380, but it is unlikely the police would have been so frightened of a shooter rampaging with either of those. To the other, how much effort is anyone going to spend on his hijacking thesis, but inasmuch as it leads toward consideration of "people who don't seem to care about their own lives", that's a mixed bag, and here we come back to the records those people leave.

    It is one thing if, compared to his observation of "'enraged' citizens, media reporting before they have all of the facts, armchair quarterbacks", or "the local cops seem to not have reacted well in hindsight but we don't really know all of the details", the emerging details have been worse than anyone might have imagined. But we might notice that his argument tends back toward not some status quo, but some sort of idyll. His example about the city of Seattle is misleading: "Now the crime rate has gone way up and the city is trying to hire more cops (with less even being interested to be a cop here anymore)," is a misrepresentation of history. The city has long needed more police; the crime rate has more to do with quality of life and economic insecurity than anything the city council did; SPD is actually notorious, so the question of who wants to be a cop, there, and what the U.S. Department of Justice is saying in any given moment makes for an interesting discussion of its own. He's not entirely wrong when he says, "It's a predictable result of making policy by populism," but he is also talking about something else. Policy by populism is part of how Americans ended up with these police departments.

    And while he is not wrong about needing to consider two problems, take a moment to consider how what you know of his politics and discourse, and where he will land in relation to the realities of "whether that's mental health, radicalization of the population in general or whatever".


    @OhNoSheTwitnt. "'The shooter passed a background check. There were no warning signs. Nothing we could’ve done to prevent this.' Girls: We actually reported him for threatening to rape and murder us but nobody would liste— 'Nothing we could’ve done.'" Twitter. 29 May 2022. Twitter.com. 29 May 2022. https://bit.ly/3z4jCLs

    Foster-Frau, Sivia, Cat Zakarzewski, Drew Harwell, and Naomi Nix. "Before massacre, Uvalde gunman frequently threatened teen girls online". The Texas Tribune. 28 May 2022. TexasTribune.org. 29 May 2022. https://bit.ly/3aiPzp2

  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    It's always strange trying to figure out what people are protecting, but that's the thing: While our neighbor says certain things I would not disagree with, it is difficult to comprehend his context because what we know of him would seem disruptive of discussing mental health, radicalization, and whatever.

    Consider his post at #7↑: "If the people want more gun control then they can quit buying guns from places that sell AK 15's and from stores that sell to 18 year olds." As I suggested↑, it's an unrealistic boycott proposition. It's one thing if I don't eat at a certain restaurant, but it's not fair to say I'm boycotting them because I didn't eat there, anyway. I don't disagree with the boycott, but they won't notice my absence compared to before the boycott. Similarly, the local gun shop isn't going to notice my absence. The prospect that American gun buyers are going to refuse to buy guns from sellers who also move assault-style semiautomatics is facially absurd.

    In #9↑ he asks "why second guess" what the police were saying, though the official story had already frayed to the breaking point; one of the most astonishing aspects of the Robb School massacre is how godawul news about law enforcement just keeps bleeding all over the place as days pass. And, yes, Seattle said he was "sure that everyone didn't react with no mistakes", but he was complaining about "armchair quarterbacking" in which "everyone is 'outraged' but no one is actually doing anything constructive". Moreover, he went with, "It's the same after every shooting," and that didn't so much age poorly as fell over coming out of the box.

    Still, it's true, if we "worked toward actual (complicated) solutions we might actually progress". But compared to the basis of his critique, what does that actually mean?

    His pitch at #16↑ is bizarre; he is not wrong to say, "The problem is still with the 18 year old who killed all of the children," but fixing that part is an interesting proposition compared to what we know about his poitics in issues related to addressing the point of young men on mass murder missions. The political twist of teling Bells her "argument is almost falling into the NRA trap of 'We need good guys with a gun to stop bad guys with a gun'" is farcical at best. What happened in Uvalde was already emerigng to be described as as an exemplary failure of the good guys with a gun argument.

    Consider how that post opens, conceding that "the cops didn't react as we would have liked", and then closes by observing, "Once someone walks into a classroom with an AR15 and the intent to kill as many kids as possible...it doesn't matter what the cops do. It's already too late." We already knew that latter was dubious when it posted. What we had already learned that morning:

    Student calls to 911:
    12:03—whispered she's in room 112
    12:10—said multiple dead
    12:13—called again
    12:16—says 8-9 students alive
    12:19—student calls from room 111
    12:21—3 shots heard on call
    12:36—another call
    12:43—asks for police
    12:47—asks for police


    So, sure, of course our neighbor goes on to say, "Once someone walks into a classroom with an AR15 and the intent to kill … it doesn't matter what the cops do."


    Time out.

    This is part of a certain distinction that is important to observe. And no, it is not purely an explanation for international neighbors, but that context offers a framework: Our neighbor, Seattle, is not so unusual; this is not really so different than how the American discourse usually works around these issues. Notice how his part of the discussion stumbles and reels from one rhetorical pitfall to another; the way our American political discourse works, this is often sufficient to protect or preserve a political need.

    There are many issues in our discourse that work like this. But watch how soon substantive discussion of why young men turn to massacre runs afoul of which politics before collapsing into a shamble of rhetorical dysfunction.

    Still, though, it remains mysterious what our neighbor might be protecting, even if it is just the police as a symbol of institutional order and competency. Except that can be its own rabbit hole through the looking glass if we try to figure the shape of that order.


    In #22↑ our neighbor revisits traditional stations of firearms politicking: "You have to consider that 4 or 5 people a year use these weapons to shoot up schools," he says, "and yet Americans own 15 million AR 15s that aren’t used that way." Setting aside his prior suggestion of a boycott, except no, don't, because that's kind of how much of a troll the argument itself becomes; again, this is not unusual in American political discourse.

    Still, though, consider his contrast: "It could be argued that if a few 18 year olds purposely drive a car into a crowd each year that cars should be taken away from all 18 year olds." Congratulations, we're now thirty years ago.

    And his next paragraph is weirdly wrong. Yes, we "can make distinctions", but yes, changes to the law can be significant. Millions of weapons, sure, but regulating the existing weapons stocks is possible, so we can, in fact, collect the assault rifles, as long as we do it right. And as to the millions of guns that remain after we collect those, it's harder to achieve the same damage at the same pace; that's part of the point of these assault weapons. But as to predicting the future, that's not quite so mysterious as it sounds. The complicated question, there, has to do with how we go about collecting and assessing which information.

    In its American context, #24↑ is nearly hilarious. "If you ban AR 15 and don't ban other rifles," he asks, "why?" And if you pay close enough attention to the American discourse, this is something you'll see. Short form: Tell y'what, gun owners know why. We can't pretend these are hunting rifles. Consider how Seattle's question contrasts with gun enthusiasts discussing muzzle velocity, kinetic energy, bullet grain; I can remember Tackleberry and Kirkland romancing over stopping power, and it really ought to be some sort of wicked parody, except these days it isn't. Even compared to the power of an M1 Garand, it ought to be obvious why an AR-15 and its .308 cousins are different. The people who buy them care about the differences. An AR-15 delivers tenfold impact compared to its hunting-rifle relative, .22 long. And there are reasons why enthusiasts might prefer an M4 instead of a Garand. Consider, please, that as one who disdains firearms in general, even I can figure certain basic distinctions. It always stands out when the discussion suddenly overlooks commonplace and easily accessible chatter.

    Thus, sure, it's one thing if "all guns are designed to kill", but the part about manufacturing weapons that lack certain "offending parts" mitigates the significance of what those aspects of a firearm mean. "It gets pretty silly," he admonishes, and continues in fallacy: "You can kill a lot of people with any gun and you can carry extra magazines pretty easily and allowing one barrel length but not another just gets tedious." There is, of course, far more to it than barrel length. The thing is, if the test is a question of killing how many schoolchildren with a .380 handgun while carrying fifty magazines at six rounds per, we can also wonder at the absurdity of the prospect. Yet this is not necessarily so different from everyday chatter and noise in the American firearm discussion.

    In #26↑, our neighbor capitalizes on a typo on order to puff up toward inquiring, "Rage over knowledge?" Still, his address of the assault weapon ban is fallacious, and even self-defeating: That the "gun ban was also a misnomer in that the same/similar guns continued to be sold but the manufacturers just eliminated the offending parts mentioned in the legislation" only points back toward the core gun issue.

    It is one thing if we must, as he reminded in #22, account for differences between voters in different countries, but he is not simply representing a particular argument as very nearly embodying it; the mess he makes is an example of what Americans must account for in this political discussion. But, also, watch the line from #22 through his response at #28↑, having to do with urban and rural areas; if people in rural areas "commit almost none of this type of crime", and mass shootings "don't seem to be happening in rural communities", we can only wonder how specific he thinks he is being—the Buffalo shooter drove from rural New York to shoot up an urban grocery store as an act of white supremacist terrorism. At some point we can question what passes for rural and urban.

    And it just goes on; it's one thing if #28 opens and closes with stingers, but what comes in between is vaguely fallacious throughout.


    @ByMikeBaker. "Student calls to 911 …". Twitter. 27 May 2022. Twitter.com. 2 June 2022. https://bit.ly/3wX1XCI

  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    If we focus on "teenagers killing elementary school kids" and "why 18 year old males are even wanting to go into a elementary school and kill kids", there remains a question of other iterations of mass violence, such as shooting up a grocery store, hospital, nightclub, or maybe a church. Our neighbor asserts↑, "Guns have always been around but not mass school shootings."

    Those aren't the only two dots on the page, and if we skip the connections in between, we will surely fail to comprehend the shape of the phenomenon. As Bells↑ put it: "The ban reduced the number of mass shootings in general. You understand this, yes?" It's one thing to hear firearm advocates contest the overall efficacy of regulation, but now we need apparently need to parse the difference between mass shootings in schools versus anywhere else.

    By the time we get to #31↑, we must address the point that "the original AR15 was made in the 1950s". Armalite issued the AR-10 military rifle in 1956; in 1959, the struggling arms manufacturer sold its AR-15 design to Colt, who introduced the rifle for sale in 1964. The AR-15 had already distingusihed itself in battlefield assessments. We should observe, the "civilian market" our neighbor notes in #38↑ includes law enforcement, and the proof that it wasn't designed for something else, i.e., hunting, is that you can modify the design to make it more appropriate for something else: "You can use the same rifle for shooting rabbits as for deer," Seattle reminds, "by just changing out the 'upper' rather than by buying a whole new rifle."

    And in #32↑, the seemingly substantial middle paragraph is itself absurd, mostly a setup for a stinger¹, "Believe what you want."

    Consider #34↑, and wondering if he's just effing with people: "What happens when someone uses a bomb on school buildings instead of a gun? That's not to say that gun control isn't a good idea but it's just not the main solution to this particular problem." Is the mad bomber using military hardware? Yes, supply and distribution regulation will affect supplies and distribution channels. But inasmuch as gun control is, "not the main solution to this particular problem", we might wonder what is. While it is true that addressing the factors leading to violence is an important endeavor, addressing the firearm supply will affect opportunities to iterate violent impulses.

    But it almost seems like he finishes the turn in that post: "It's also probably barking up the wrong tree to focus on the AR15 as that has now seemingly become the America's Sweetheart of the rifle world," he says, acknowledging the supply aspect and then continues by praising—"and many of the reasons for that are quite understandable now that I've checked into it more"—what are otherwise considered significant points of concern. That is, he is no longer ignoring the differences, but praising what sets the AR-15 and similar weapons apart.

    Moreover, if we pay close attention, he doesn't seem to understand how gun control and other regulation works; regulatory policy can evolve according to needs of circumstance. Meanwhile, notice how much of his rhetoric ends up in vagary, though at least he got to complain about "the 'defund the Police' movement".

    Still, he goes on to declare, "talk about an AR15 ban reducing homicides and school shootings is ridiculous", and toward what happened in Uvalde, maybe it won't take a lot to convince me the police would have been afraid to confront a shooter with a .380 handgun delivering 240 foot pounds and requiring reload every six shots, but the whole thing about the only thing being good guys with guns ought already be as dead as those children.

    In #38, he poses a stock firearm advocacy argument: "Your arguments are just generic arguments for comparing rifles vs pistols," he complains. "Most of the arguments are just those that apply to anyone who doesn't believe that there should be any handguns, shotguns or rifles." He is actually just ducking out on observable, important differences↑, such as the discussion of the basic difference between handgun and AR-15, and glosses over the difference between the AR-15 and a .22 long cartridge hunting rifle by observing that the AR-15 can be reconfigured.

    And he even falls back to the argument about cars. We might, as such, observe that if a car was designed explicitly to facilitate extraordinary lethality, we probably wouldn't allow it on the road. As our neighbor pointed out in #24↑, "All guns are designed to kill so no need to keep bringing that up." Except we do need to consider the point, because cars are not designed as killing devices.

    Still: "When people get angry and use a car to mow down a crowd of protestors," he observes, "no one suddenly suggests banning cars." And then complains, "Yet that's exactly what we do regarding guns." At least now we know what he is protecting, and in order to do so, he falls back to straw fallacy, suggesting, "It's because they didn't think guns should be legal in the first place."

    To the other, at least he got to suggest, "It would be better to have that direct and more honest debate".

    If the vagary about his argument in #40↑, feels familiar, that is part of the point. His argument tends not toward some status quo, but some sort of idyll that kind of feels like it. After a fallacious setup, he suggests "more considered regulation" is "not primarily the issue behind school shootings … and it's not the primary solution". A lot rides on what he means by "primary".

    Yet at #44↑, he comes around to declare, "If we could have the same regulations and requirements as Switzerland I'd be fine with that." Two things stand out; one is that would actually allow more lethality without addressing other aspects, such as why young men turn to massacre; the other is how easily anyone might suggest to accept or agree with something they think is "never going to happen here".²

    And in #47↑, he seems to be sketching some aspect of whatever solution, or, perhaps, demands to be satisfied. But when we get to those aspects, we will come back to the question of politics and his relationship with the various components of answering questions about why such violence occurs. He asks if we should take the overwhelming tendency of mass shooters to be male into account, and where the answer is yes, we will find a lot of political noise. Compared to El Paso or Buffalo or even Christchurch, for instance, what happened in Uvalde occurred on a different arc, which includes École Poly, Isla Vista, Marysville Pilchuck, Umpqua, Aztec, Yonge Street, Danforth, Hanau, Crown Spa, Glendale Westgate, Atlanta, and Plymouth. Understanding the presence and influence of masculinity in mass shootings is a difficult and complicated endeavor; even beyond our neighbor Seattle, we might wonder who will be discomfited: Should tendency toward masculinity be accounted for? Yes, in more ways than we can count.

    And while amending the constitution is a tricky task, as he notes in #49↑, it is not actually necessary. Still, even with a wishlist Supreme Court, actually tacking back toward our constitutional purpose would be a slow and arduous undertaking. This is actually a very messy discussion in and of itself, but also one that takes place well beyond the confines of our neighbor's sort of pabulum pitch.

    Then again, per #51↑, he would "have no problem if we didn't have the 2nd Amendment", and two notes go here: First, it is difficult to express just how extraordinary a proposition that is. And then, it also has a kind of odd rhetorical safety about it, of something that is never going to happen. If we have a majority sufficient to amaend the constitution, then we already have a less drastic solution available to us through the courts. The elimination of the Second Amendment is nearly an absurd prospect.

    But there is also #52↑: "I'd also have no problem if alcohol drinking was banned or greatly reduced. That's what a civilized country would do." One might wonder to what degree we should take such trivialization seriously, but in his way, our neighbor is emblematic: In #56↑, he lays out "perspective and facts", and "whatever changes are to be made, if any, need to address that". So let's stop and think about that: Not only do we have the car analogy, we now have a booze analogy. We "don't call cars 'modern killing machines'" for the simple reason that they are designed for another purpose. And now we're supposed to equivocate a bottle of booze to an AR-15. We see what he protects.


    ¹ Our neighbor is not the only example of this sort of behavior around here, but neither is he the most obvious example.

    ² Strict enforcement of such regulations would be an extraordinary challenge in the U.S., and might require Constitutional amendment.​

  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    Observing where we started—

    —I should probably try to bring 'round the circle: If there is something about the American discourse that is very difficult to explain, we might consider the complexity of its relativity. Brief scrutiny—ha! Still, the mess only makes the point all the more clearly: This is how it always goes.

    Stockton. January, 1989. The discussion has gone this way at least since then.

    The point of reviewing Seattle's performance is to remind that the American discussion of firearm violence always goes this way. There is actually a fascinating side trip about how some of what he says in this thread relates to other aspects of his politics, but compared to the idea that such tension exists in other people's outlooks, it can get messy.

    The antisociality of his performance is apparent; as long as people are talking about the distractions, they are not discussing anything useful.

    It is not uncommon, in American politics, that one side of a discussion pretends to acknowledge a problem while complaining about solutions; we hear versions of this from people who claim to not support the deprivation or prejudice their arguments otherwise support, such as racism, misogyny, religious supremacism, hunger, violence, and even fraud.

    It goes by quickly, when spoken, but if people log their arguments in writing, it can become very apparent. Some people, for instance, claim to not be racist or white supremacist, but when it comes down to it, they will say what those supremacists need someone to say. They say they're not racists, but the real problem is that anti-racists. They say they're not misogynists, but the real problem is feminism. Our neighbor Seattle seems to posture himself strangely: It's one thing if he hopes "some meaningful gun laws will be passed", but if we keep that in mind as we read through his performance, we find that he would be okay with putting automatic weapons into circulation; his argument leads with complaining about "'enraged' citizens", "media reporting", and "armchair quarterbacks". Eventually, after making dubious claims in order to misrepresent history and fallaciously equivocate, he falls back to rhetoric familiar to anyone who has survived the American firearm discussion over the last thirty-three years.

    Bells makes the point↑: "Surely you are not this obtuse?" The question is not wrong, but we must also consider that the answer does not especially matter. Maybe our neighbor is not so obuse, but what would that actually mean? That is, what if the answer is yes, he is so obtuse? This is hardly an uncommon conundrum in American politics; one major bloc or our general dualism relies on this point. Part of the reason it is effective is that people are hesitant to countenance its implications: An advocate is either unable or unwilling to not run awry; Seattle is either unable or unwilling to not be so obtuse.

    And in any number of discussions, this poison is easily injected. But also think, for a moment, about myriad complaints of elitism and paternalistic condescension, or fretting and wringing of hands about silencing political views. Not wanting to silence political views is an easy appeal, but in many cases it is juxtaposed against a question of basic functional relevance and qualification: Surely, he is not so obtuse, for if he was, then we must doubt his assessments on their face for their failure to identify details and recognize differences; that is, if he is so wrong and incapable, then his argument is disqualified for being so wrong. Yet if he is not so obtuse, then he is to some degree knowing, and wilful disruption with identifiably dishonest political tropes is in its way disqualifying for its turpitude. Moreover, in either case, such arguments not only fail or refuse to be correct, they are actually precluded from being correct by either obtuseness, as such, or bad faith, i.e., one is either unable or unwilling to be correct.

    We might also observe, over the course of years, that performances like our neighbor puts on are only intended to forestall more functional discourse. And in a way, this is a baseline for what a certain politic needs. Consider M345's↑ reflection on the prospect "that in America you need a gun to feel safe", and then remember that the basic proposition of civility at gunpoint is not unknown to the American firearm discussion, and that the principal propagator of this bad-faith baseline is a firearms lobby. Who wins if the solution is that everybody should strap on?

    As to Seattle's ongoing performance↑, we see what he protects: "If cars kill what difference does it make what their primary purpose is? Guns primary purpose is for hunting or self-defense. It isn't for killing school kids." Consider the possible points for response: If a car was designed for extraordinary lethality, it would not be allowed on the road; there are increasing regulations attempting to constrain the lethality of cars; if you can simply change out some parts to reduce the extraordinary lethality, then why distribute extraordinary lethality in the first place; it is worth observing in how many places liability insurance is mandatory for the operation of cars, and that speaks nothing of licensure itself; there is also the basic point that the primary purpose being self-defense includes that the killing machine is intended for use against humans; the purpose of a gun is determined by the hand that wields it, and while it is easy enough to recognize that it should not include the killing of children, the fact remains that guns are intended to kill, and many of them are intended specifically to be used against other human beings.

    Remember, that's just one little talking point, and if we've been around the internet, then we already know how easily a discussion can fall into spelunking rabbit holes. Similarly, if we've been around the American discussion of firearm violence, then we already know that chasing down rabbit holes is actually part of the reason for loading up the rhetoric like that: As long as people are talking about the distractions, then they are not making any progress toward a solution; this is not uncommon in American politics, but it says something about market values to consider that such behavior can have such effective value.

    And that's the thing: Last month, perhaps it seemed a reasonable concern that discussion might "be bent to become about what the cops did or didn't do", but it turns out the cops kind of insisted, and even if that line didn't age well, who could have projected, when you wrote that, how this woeful tale would spill out; even then, it was hard to imagine↑ what we already knew about law enforcement at Uvalde. And if the "good guys with a gun" argument was slain in the Uvalde massacre, such pretensions about hardening schools are part of the core gun issue. Questions about why young men go wild with guns are also part of the core gun issue. And so is the devotedly nonsensical rhetoric of gun idolatry that requires the discourse waste its impetus performing show tricks to pass time in order to stall out. Watch our neighbor recycle, in #67↑: It is one thing if he agres that guns should be more regulated, but just like cars? Does he really think these are the same thing? Don't bother changing out the upper; I want to see him ride an AR-15 in morning commute traffic from Lakeland to Queen Anne¹. Note, though, that his contributions to the regulation discussion are an increase in automatic weapon distribution according to a regulatory standard that is "never going to happen", and an undefined equivocation about cars that is probably never going to happen. Oh, right, and something about booze; not drunk driving, but booze itself. And if we've been around the American firearm discussion, then dysfunctional equivocations are nothing new, and that is part of the point: This is how it always goes.

    If one suggests it seems a lot of American political discourse goes this way, they are not wrong. The portion of the discourse that is invested in traditionalist fantasy is, as such, invested in fantasy. For as much as people might suggest this or that about "both sides" in American politics, one of the key differences is observed when one side of a discussion is not bound to any assertion of integrity or good faith; history suggests there are reasons why this tends toward traditionalism and conservatism. It's like the people who insist that Jesus and Santa must be white, or despise the revisionism of attending Columbus' own diaries in telling our story of the New World.

    This dependence on fancy is customarily perpetual in American societal discourse, and as much as it stands out when given any significant scrutiny, think also of what is required to bring that scrutiny. At some point, it's the psychology of empowerment and fear of the unknown, but in this important circumstance demanding extraordinary and even existential scrutiny, we also find a measure of what we are willing to sacrifice for sentimentality and personal satisfaction.

    This is how it always goes.

    The core gun issue is massive and sprawling; in order to get to the part you might expect to be straightforward, we must work our way through a whole lot of everything else.


    ¹ High capacity or high occupancy: Is it really all the same?​

    James R likes this.
  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Nope. Its successor, the AR-10, was designed by Armalite as a 7.62mm battle rifle for NATO. The AR-15 was also designed by Armalite in 1956 as a lightweight version of the AR-10 specifically for the US military. Armalite then went out of business and sold the design to Colt in 1959. Colt sold the AR-15 to the US militay under the part number M16, and later sold a civilian version of the same weapon.
    And handguns and military weapons are specifically designed to kill people. The caliber, barrel length and muzzle energy are all specifically chosen to kill human beings. If not, it would be a poor military weapon (or handgun.) Other weapons, of course, adjust those parameters to kill other sorts of animals - squirrels, elephants, deer etc.

    Cars are designed to transport people and materials safely from one point to another.

    You do bring up a good point. It makes sense to regulate weapons far more stringently than cars for that reason.
    The term .38 refers to the weapon's caliber. The term revolver refers to its action, and is further broken down into single and double action.

    Thus the term ".38 revolver" refers to a type of a weapon, not what it was designed for. It would be like saying "piston aircraft are military aircraft" which would be silly. All the planes I have flown have been piston aircraft, and none have been military - even though some piston aircraft have indeed been military. However, if you referred to a P-51 Mustang, that was indeed designed and flown as a military aircraft, even though some civilians fly them today.

    See the difference?
  22. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    The AR-15 sold to civilians today can also be matched to the animal to be hunted (change the caliber) by switching the "upper".

    If someone flew and crashed a civilian P-51 Mustang today I wouldn't say that the civilian pilot shouldn't have been flying a weapon of war in the first place. That would be silly. It's irrelevant.

    It's the same for the AR-15 today. It's the most popular rifle sold in the U.S. It's used for hunting much more than killing people. By changing the "upper" you can use it to shoot deer, rabbit or anything else.
  23. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Probably, you hope.
    Guns are the primary weapons of war in the modern era. Soldiers typically carry guns when fighting enemies, and use them to kill. Various military vehicles are used as gun platforms.

    It's ridiculously silly to try to argue that guns are not weapons of war. Also somewhat desperate-sounding. Not that it makes any difference to the question of whether American gun regulations are too lax (they are, obviously).
    It's a number you are happy to tolerate. I get it. Perhaps you can tell me why, so I can understand you better.
    I would venture that the anger is directed at those who could make the country safer for its citizens but who regularly refuse to do so - indeed regularly take steps where possible to make it less safe.
    It makes good common sense to regulate the ownership and use of things designed specifically to be weapons, does it not?
    Guns are rarely used for "home defence" and where they are used for such it is not usually very successful, in terms of outcomes for the user.

    The primary purposes you mention for guns - namely hunting and "home defense" - both involve hurting or killing things as a deliberate and considered choice. On the other hand, were you to list off what you consider to be the primary purposes for a car, I doubt very much that hurting and killing would be high up on your list.

    This makes this pro-gun argument of yours, such as it is, look very strange. I suspect that, in fact, you don't care what the "primary purpose" of a gun might be. You just want everybody to be able to own them, with minimal if any restrictions. I wonder why. Is it that you fear you might need a gun for "home defense"? Is it that you really enjoy hunting? What? What is it that makes it okay for you if some school children die every now and then? This is a price you're willing to pay for ... what?
    Does it matter?
    Uh huh. And cars, perchance?
    Seems straightforward to me.
    Sure. It can also be matched to killing lots of people in a short time by appropriately "matching" its characteristics to the task at hand. So what?
    The civilian flying the P-51 is presumably not flying it with the pre-formed intent to hurt or kill things or people. Gunmen who shoot up schools do have that specific aim in mind. See the difference?
    It's popular because gun enthusiasts decided that they really wanted "military-style" weapons, and the gun sellers met demand with supply. The wonders of capitalism at work again!

    You obviously think that the need to have an AR-15 to hunt with justifies, somehow, the occasional school shooting. Tell me why.
    Including people.

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