OK, we've had this discussion before, and it's degenerated into name calling and incomprehensible fanatical drivel. So, here's my attempt to do something revolutionary for this great forum and start a *gasp* civilized, reasonable, rational discussion. Consider this sort of a social experiment, if you will, to see whether this community is capable of keeping up a well-mannered dialog on a controversial issue without degenerating into outright troglodytic nastiness.
Let's pick something that really gets people good and pissed off and talk about guns. So let me give you a little essay with opinions and my reasons for them (I do this sort of thing to blow off steam after work and to avoid picking up large numbers of boxes from our moving company), and let's see what kind of responses and arguments we get going, nuh?
I think guns are a fact of life. They're here to stay and they're not going away. Guns provoke pretty violent reactions in some people, yet a gun is nothing more than a lump of metal, like a hammer or a knife, that can be a threat when used improperly. Unlike a hammer, however, a gun is designed expressly for that purpose; unlike a knife, it is a lot easier to fulfill the intended mission of a gun (i.e. you just point and click.)
Guns are the tools used in some of the most heinous, high-profile crimes today, yet the number of people killed in traffic each year (let's assume a civil society; no bringing Iraq into this, nor should we focus on the U.S.) far exceeds gun deaths. And yet, it's far easier for an idiot or a small child to cause grave injury or death to himself or others with a gun than with a Buick.
A gun also allows an individual to project his power far beyond his immediate reach; as such, it is the great technological equalizer. In a room full of people with guns, it's neither the strongest nor the fastest nor the smartest who survives (well, maybe the fastest.) As such, guns evoke powerful feelings of distrust in the powerful and wealthy who fear the ability of the common man to negate the might of money or government. Conversely, the masses fear guns because guns give the powerful and wealthy the tools for oppression and violence.
Interestingly enough, I'm not entirely convinced about the role of guns as a deterrent to crime. Maybe they're _a_ factor in convincing someone not to rob a house or commit a rape, but most gun owners, despite their bravado, would probably as likely shoot themselves in the foot or brutally execute a potted plant as kill an armed and dangerous intruder. I have several firearms of various types in my apartment, and I have no fricking clue what I would do if a shotgun-armed barbarian kicked in my door at night. However, banning guns as factors in the commission of crimes is also nonsense; it's an overused phrase, but if you make guns criminal, only criminals will have guns. 'Struth, really.
So, where does this leave us? Power. Personally, I don't trust power. I think that anyone who aspires to power should be the last person who is allowed to have it (witness the last U.S. presidential elections); as George Burns said, "it's too bad all the people who know how to run the country are too busy driving cabs and cutting hair." Throughout history we have seen far too many examples where tyranny developed from seemingly innocuous beginnings, often with the approval of those who would soon be tyrannized -- viz. Germany, 1933 (at the risk of invoking Godwyn's Law.)
Likewise, many times tyranny came about when a revolution filled a void when a previous system of government became untenable -- as in Cambodia 1975, China 1948, Soviet Russia 1918. Lastly, tyranny arises when a community is unable to adequately defend itself from outside or inside aggression by another group -- witness Bosnia 1992, most of Europe 1939-45 and Armenia 1918 (hi Kruder.)
If you'll forgive the slight side-track, it is my belief that humanity is a resilient but tolerant species; depending on its culture, any group can be pushed so far before it sees the necessity of fighting back. Resistance movements in various European countries during WWII, the Afghan Mujahideen, the Haganah and the PLO, and the Rebel Alliance and its leader, Mon Mothma, all arose in response to perceived or real wrongdoing, and made a credible stand against oppression and tyranny.
Unfortunately (or fortunately?), today we no longer face the black-and-white choice between good or evil, or at least as it is often simplified in the history books (well, sometimes, you gotta admit the nazis were pretty bad on the whole, autobahnen and dogs and that whole elite guard in tight black leather outfits notwithstanding.) Threats to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness (there, I think I've got them all) come from far more insidious channels, and I believe that it is in the nature of power systems to become self-perpetuating with increasing disregard for the cost of maintaining a monopoly on power.
What does this mean? Well, for one it implies that, in a hyper-complex system of governments and bureaucracy such as most countries face today, rules no longer emanate from one particular group (i.e. the nazis, the communists, the martian overlords, whatever), but from normal people, working within the framework of a system, believing they're just doing their job. As an example, if a revolution broke out inside the U.S. right now, would your average policeman who shoots at a group of insurgents with guns (who also really believe in what they're doing and who may have legitimate grievances) automatically become a faceless murderous thug? Probably not, I know some cops and they're generally good guys, but they're sworn to uphold the law.
And therein lies the crux of the problem. Bringing us back to guns, what happens when a system becomes so odious, so obnoxious and twisted that it allows arbitrary oppression of ordinary citizens? I don't know about you, but I feel pretty pretty strongly about things like the death penalty (the government claiming the right to kill a defenseless human being in cold blood, guilty or not), certain kinds of taxation (without representation, subsidizing often illegal activities), the military draft (see death penalty), even idiotic laws preventing you from taking liquids onto aircraft (nonsense, as most chemists will explain to you.)
I feel that as a free citizen, innocent of any crime, it is my duty to do two things: first, participate in the processes that keep society going. This means voting, paying my taxes (assuming that these are kept reasonable, which they are where I live), educating fellow citizens about their freedoms and responsibilities, etc. Second, I strongly believe that it is part of a free citizen's role to keep his government reminded of its nature; i.e., as a servant of the people. Always. Always. Nobody should ever say "I work for the government." The government is not a corporation. You pay your taxes, they work for YOU. A government should not exist for its own sake. It is a means to an end, to keep markets working and make everyone better off, to enforce rules that keep the strong from beating on the weak, etc. etc.
Sounds like a libertarian rant? Well, sort of. Because part of my responsibilities, you may have noted above (WAKE THE FUCK UP, I'M NOT DONE YET), include, essentially, making sure my society maintains a balance of power between the individual and the government. As a wise man once said, "nobody should ever be afraid of their government, but every government should be afraid of its people." I did promise I'd bring us back to guns, right? Well, here it is. An armed citizenry is one that is not going to fall under the sway of totalitarianism very soon.
I believe the negative aspects of keeping everyone unarmed far outweigh the negative aspects of having guns in every household. The debate about guns is often framed in an "all-or-nothing" manner, and I think this is wrong. I am convinced that it is possible for a civil society, with laws and education and order and all the nice things that come from not living in a god-forsaken third-world shithole governed by tribal superstitions, to maintain a set of rules that allow its populace to experience the security that comes from owning firearms without the occasional bad apple shooting up a school or little Bobby blowing himself and little Billy away because he stumbled on dad's gun cabinet.
First, I propose a strict set of controls on who gets guns. Specifically, if you want a pistol or a rifle, you must:
- submit to a background check. No guns if you've been convicted of a violent crime. - be a citizen or equivalent of your country - complete a gun and shooting safety instruction at an accredited organization (hey, they do this for cars too.) Come to think of it, this should be a requirement for having children and annoying little dogs as well. - complete a refresher course for every additional gun you buy if your course is more than a year ago - have to belong to an accredited club or other organization if you want anything bigger (grenade launcher, machine gun, tank, who knows.) Consider this a good source of revenue as you can charge horrendous taxes and fees of all the rich idiots who want to go in the desert and fire bazookas at rocks. That said, they don't bother anyone otherwise. - buy a trigger lock (look it up) with every gun you buy - require anyone buying a gun from you to submit proof that they've got all the above
I wouldn't even find it so egregious to require prospective gun owners to undergo a psychiatric evaluation or something, but that's up for debate.
Most democracies already have mature penal mechanisms in place to inflict consequences on those who misuse their freedoms. For example, if you use your 12-gauge to go shoot up your ex-girlfriend's car, that's your problem and you'll have to deal with it. However, I believe that the above, or some system like it, would prevent most of the Cho-Seung Huis of the world (and if you want mass murder, you can always buy fertilizer.)
I own many weapons, as do several people who frequent these boards. Most are antiques, but two are modern, soulless killing machines. While I enjoy target shooting (I'm an absolutely atrocious shot) I do not hunt, and I don't know if I could shoot at a human being (I'm kind of a peaceful guy, I've never been in a situation where I've had to make that decision.) Nor do I have the faintest clue what I would do if, say, the Micronesian expatriate population of Switzerland all of a sudden decided to go on a rampage, take power and start killing all the blond, blue-eyed IT consultants of the world; I can't see myself as the civil war type, firing an AK-47 out of a bombed-out building at members of a rival clan.
But I sure want the option if it ever comes down to it.
Thank you for your attention, let's see what you have to say.
Canada already has all these rules. Edit: I also think they are good rules.
LITTLE BILL I don't deserve this. To die like this. I was building a house.
MUNNY Deserve's got nothing to do with it.
LITTLE BILL I'll see you in hell, William Munny.
MUNNY (Cocks rifle) Yeah.
Too many Godamn words :(
That's some nice, well thought out posting Fuzzy, must've taken you at least an hour to write. :) Being a gun owner and user, i agree with most of your ideas, if not all. Although I agree with them, I do not practice them, i'm underage, i don't have a licence, but i am no more psychologically ill then the next guy. I don't have anything illegal in my house, i'm that smart, but i frequently go to my grandfathers house to plink off some rounds in my rifle and his shotguns and revolvers. About the killing; the first time i consciously killed (shot, for that matter, i slit many a chickens throat) a living thing, when i shot a duck, i felt very bad. That's probably because the duck flew 5 yards from me, and it practically exploded, but yeah, i felt bad. After that, you get used to it, but i would never be able to shoot an innocent human being. Hoping to get a career in the military, i would not doubt to kill if the situation was potentially dangerous for me or my comrades, but definetly not an innocent person. Come to think of it, how do you define "innocent", an afghani waving an ak47 may be a threat, but so is every 7 year old running next to your apc , but shooting them all is not an option, so i'll have to rely on my common sence...
-edit- You must spread some rep around before... :(
For sh!ts I pasted it into word. 1904 of them!!!| Good, well thought out points Fuzzy. Lobo, Little Billy shouldnt even see one if its locked up properly which sadly, in those cases, it rarely is. Shitty Parenting in my opinion, case in point.... As far as car accidents? Funny, well almost not funny, in my neighborhood my girlfriend was driving home when a kid on a bike came out of nowhere and ran into the side as she was driving. 2 secondes earlier he'd have hit the front and it would have been a bad day for everyone. About a week ago I was driving and the same kid going way too fast, not looking, blows the same stop sign and I had to slam on the brakes. I get out, asked him to come over, calmly explain that I recognized him from the previous incident. I also spoke to his father a day later. I asked if he had internet and i suggested this 8 year old see a picture of someone who has been hit by a car. Honestly, I truly believe this kid needs to see something like that. He is simply not paying attention while riding his bike. If someone doesnt do something he without a doubt is going to go splat. Anyways, "How dare you!" tons of bullshit from the dad. Pretty reasonable up to that point, after that suggestion he blew his top. If ever there was a kid, this is the one. Show him. Let him see this is not a joke. Bad decision? Im not sure. If it was my kid, he'd be shown. This kid needs to wake up.
I have nimble fingers and a restive mind.
It just occurred to me that was kind of rant-ish, but I like to write down this sort of stuff after I have a bit of time to think about it. Beats talking to myself while taking a dump to help my thoughts congeal (and that's my nomination for the unfortunate choice of words of the century.)
It's hard for me at the moment to get into this because my point of view is such that it seems to me much like posing the question, "Should we all breathe?" Well....yeah.
Law-abiding no-fun boy I may be, but that's where i draw the hard line. I think I can safely say without fear of later retraction, I will never be persuaded that tight controls on firearms ownership is acceptable. There is no law, rule, or authority, no government, kingdom, principality or power, which can persuade me to surrender my firearms or the right to own them.
I recognize there may be a high price to pay for that view one day. It's conceivable that a US Congress and administration may one day get so serious about stopping guns that they'll criminalize simple gun possession, and even go so far as to seize all firearms. My personal view is that's as good a time as any to put everything I have at risk to oppose such a move, and take to the streets, because it means that much, much worse is in store. Might as well get killed in a stand up fight, hopeless as it may be, than die three years later in a "re-education camp".
Think it can't possibly ever happen? A country where a vociferous segment can seriously propose simply dispensing with the Electoral College because it "thwarts the will of the people" (meaning, "it thwarted us the last election", and I'm talking about the MoveOn-ers, CodePink-ers and Daily Kos-ers) is a country where, if that same segment gets its hands on the gears of power, a law or even an executive order permitting the seizure all privately held firearms is possible.
Did you guys ever see this? I just want some reaction. Here's mine. If I were this guys neighbor, I too would have been making calls. His frickin yard is ridiculous, however, Id also stand with him about this BS. Pretty sad actually. Granted, a loooooooooong way away from any thing worth taking anything other then civil legal action. [COLOR=navy]Click[/COLOR]
Fuzzy Bunny;3691757I wouldn't even find it so egregious to require prospective gun owners to undergo a psychiatric evaluation or something, but that's up for debate.[/quote] That's the dumbest part of that speech; I don't see why any psychological issues should not be addressed when you're going to get permission to buy a gun. Hell even some sort of check up would be necessary if it's a mild condition which could get worse should be commonplace. I don't see your logic behind not doing appropriate psychological tests.jumjum;3692354Law-abiding no-fun boy I may be, but that's where i draw the hard line. I think I can safely say without fear of later retraction, I will never be persuaded that tight controls on firearms ownership is acceptable. There is no law, rule, or authority, no government, kingdom, principality or power, which can persuade me to surrender my firearms or the right to own them.[/quote] I honestly don't think that anyone would want to take away your firearms since you listen to a rational law so well and use common sense, and from what I can ascertain, morals as well. [quote=Real-BadSeed;3691802]Canada already has all these rules. Edit: I also think they are good rules.Also you get your guns taken away at the slightest infraction of the law, at times, that is. True story; when working for an air conditioning company, last summer at 17, there was this one imbred moralless POS who constantly talked about killing kittens by hanging them and sling shotting their stomachs(not drowning them when there were too much; anything for some sick pleasure right?) and putting the heads of deer on the front of his bumper, the list goes on... Anyways, he started talking about how his brother and his wife got into a little "domestic dispute" and the cops came there within minutes of a neighbor reporting it and seized all his guns. This guy was, to use Fuzzy' wording, foaming at the mouth about his brother still not getting his guns back because he didn't do their "gay" course which "he didn't need to do". This guy was around 50 and I was glad that our justice system was working quite well to say the least. :) [quote=Fuzzy Bunny;3691757](hi Kruder.)
Why would you say that why why why?
It's maybe too bad that people, especially the ones who are talking now, are a too sane to do anything nutty. We need someone to be our lab rat!
And I am bringing sexy back and that sweatshirt was awesome fuzzy! You can insult me as much as you want, just don't say anything derogatory towards the sweatshirt.:p