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  1. #21
    Distinguished Lord of VBAX VBAX Grand Master Bob Phillips's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLGibbs
    America is a unique country. There are big problems with how the founding fathers as it were have crafted the consitution and how it continues to be misinterpreted, especially with the second amendment.

    Too many times those in our country who argue against legislation which appears to inhibit the freedoms laid out in the Bill of Rights, simply on the basis that the framers of the constitution intended it that way (in this case, that we should <snip...have the right to bear arms..>). The problem with arguments like that is context. Things were quite different back then. Perhaps everyone should have muskets, as this was the framer's intent?
    At the time the Bill of Rights were crafted, the country was still technically at war trying to gain our independence. It was a hostile time, and in many many ways much less civilized (sic) than we are pre-supposed to be now.

    Just as they make changes to other elements of the constitution, this is something that should probably change. Different gun laws don't work, the numbers don't lie. I agree with Bob here, the mass availability of guns is part of the problem. People who think that the Right to own was is the Need to own one are the same thing are part of the problem.

    Society, and how our country embraces freedom is also part of the problem. Too many times, we take the freedom to <fill in blank> to the extreme.
    I think that is an extremely valid point point, that the context in which the law was drafted is different to the context today, and laws should be reviewed in the light of the current context (one I wish I had artculated).

    The almost evangelical fervour raised whenever it is suggested changing your constitution seems, to an outsider, to be both the strength and A weakness of your democracy. It is the strength, because the constitution cannot be changed without a thorough debate, and needs to very properly justified. It is a weakness because it allows lobby groups to override the wishes of the majority (e.g. stem cell research), and/or stops the government enacting changes that changing times would properly demand (e.g. gun control).

    Herein of course lies the dilemma, the Catch-22. How do you square that circle? I have no idea, I just know that for a civilised country like the US of A to have such free access to guns is wrong, just plain wrong.

    There is an interesting Wiki item on the 2nd Amendment for those who care to look.

    BTW, how does your governement get away with the freedom curtailing laws they are introducing now? I know how ours does it, we don't have a written constitutiom to measure their actions against.

    Quote Originally Posted by XLGibbs
    It is our society that has created the problem over the last 200 years. Our country has created a quarter million professional victims--and it is getting worse. So in typical fashion, our country would respond that it is not our fault that 32K homicides deaths vs 112 in similar sample population elsewhere. Arguing of course that the freedom to own the gun didn't cause the death, an individual did. But didn't society create that individual by giving him the gun?

    It is people that pull the trigger, but it is the freedom to own a gun in the first place that creates situations where a gun becomes an option.
    Exactly the point I was making when I said that gun-owning chnges the society.

    The thing that worries me most of all is the number of reasonably intelligent people from your country that I hear defending the right to own guns. If they make that argument, the NRA has an easy job.

    Quote Originally Posted by XLGibbs
    I would like to chime in more, but my daughter needs to explain to me the inner works of the Dora / Boots dychotomy regarding how to get to Big Mountain.
    All of that went straight over me.

  2. #22
    VBAX Master XLGibbs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    I think that is an extremely valid point point, that the context in which the law was drafted is different to the context today, and laws should be reviewed in the light of the current context (one I wish I had artculated).
    That is the problem, many of our laws are antiquated--at best--based on context.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    The almost evangelical fervour raised whenever it is suggested changing your constitution seems, to an outsider, to be both the strength and A weakness of your democracy. It is the strength, because the constitution cannot be changed without a thorough debate, and needs to very properly justified. It is a weakness because it allows lobby groups to override the wishes of the majority (e.g. stem cell research), and/or stops the government enacting changes that changing times would properly demand (e.g. gun control).
    It is a tremendous weakness of a supposed democracy. It is not by the people as intended at all. It is by the people and industries with the most money and influence over those who craft the laws. Many lawmakers, I sense, would like to change, but the financial support to their political careers and other interests conflict with that...making the whole cycle of the nature of our politics narcissistic and self serving to those in office. Common sense and practicality are strangled by political motivation, ambition and greed.

    Guns won't be controlled, because the gun lobby and the politicians they support stand too much to lose personally in the matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld

    Herein of course lies the dilemma, the Catch-22. How do you square that circle? I have no idea, I just know that for a civilised country like the US of A to have such free access to guns is wrong, just plain wrong.
    I agree. It should not be a fundamental right that is exposed as a need. I equate this to the right to free speech as the media uses it. Just because we have the right to know doesn't make it the need to know. Just like the right to have guns, shouldn't perservere as an argument to need guns.


    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    BTW, how does your governement get away with the freedom curtailing laws they are introducing now? I know how ours does it, we don't have a written constitutiom to measure their actions against.
    That is a question many here ask as well. Some in government feel that the laws only apply to those they feel it should apply to. Themselves excluded.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    Exactly the point I was making when I said that gun-owning chnges the society.

    The thing that worries me most of all is the number of reasonably intelligent people from your country that I hear defending the right to own guns. If they make that argument, the NRA has an easy job.
    I long for the day when NRA stands for Not-Relevant-Anymore


    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    All of that went straight over me.
    Dora is a cartoon character, very popular, and Boots is her monkey friend. Their storylines often involve solving riddles to get to a destination, usually someplace like "Big Mountain".

    It was just my way of saying my daughter wanted me to watch Dora with her.
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  3. #23
    Distinguished Lord of VBAX VBAX Grand Master Bob Phillips's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLGibbs
    It was just my way of saying my daughter wanted me to watch Dora with her.
    You are lucky to have a daughter of that age. My two are both grown up now, and I miss things like that. Cherish it, it doesn't last nearly long enough!

  4. #24
    VBAX Master XLGibbs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    You are lucky to have a daughter of that age. My two are both grown up now, and I miss things like that. Cherish it, it doesn't last nearly long enough!
    Nope. 4.76 years now. Gone in a blink. Way to fast.
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  5. #25
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    I've been a target rifle shooter for nearly 40 years now and a nicer, saner bunch of folk, it's hard to imagine. Occassionally a prosopective member turns up in his camoflage/army type gear but it's soon made clear that this is not our image, and the "cowboys" never hang around long. I guess it's not exciting enough for them. Our oldest regular shooting member is 90 years of age

    From my point of view, the rifle is a piece of sports equipment used as a test of skill, which at the ultimate is putting all your shots through a 15" bull of a 10' x 6' target from a distance of a thousand yards. On a windy day, being blown completely off the target is not uncommon. While we can't win much cash, we certainly have big prizes!

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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    Guns are weapons not tools
    Logical problem with this statement: there is not an absolute distinction between "weapons" and "tools". Common household tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, and tire-irons are and can be used to facilitate acts of violence. Indeed, a "weapon" might be properly thought of as a subset of "tools".

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    I re-iterate, the population of Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and AUstralia is roughly equivalent to that of the United States but we had 112 gun deaths in total in those countries, you had 32,000+ in the US.

    I have yet to hear any argument, let alone a convincing one, as to why for a similar sized population sample you have 250 times as many gun deaths (Lord only knows what they multiplier for gun injuries is).
    As for the 32,000 vs. 112 stat... I found several web pages that substantiate the 32,000 number. It fluctuates a bit year to year, but that is the right ballpark. I found nothing (in an admittedly short search) to substantiate the 112 number. If anyone can offer more credible sources than a television drama series, that would be helpful.

    However, in that 32,000 number, slightly more than half were actually suicides, and then a large chuk of what was left were a result of accidental discharge. The number of deaths resulting from Person A intending to shoot at Person B, while tragically large, does not come close to approaching 32,000.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    I am not arguing that, in the words of your own constituion, we should not have 'regulated militia' that are armed, none of us want to be subject to miltary takeover, but I fail to see anay conection between that and allowing the general populace to own firearms. As I have quoted many times regarding the many countries, gun control works, and as yet neither you nor anyone else has given an argument as to why it doesn't.
    This statement shows a misunderstanding of American history. Please do not take offense--most US citizens would not do any better. When the 2nd Amendment mentions a "well regulated militia", the term did not refer to a "National Guard" or similar military force. The term at that time basically described all able-bodied adult men who have had at least rudimentary training in operating a firearm.

    The writings of many of the "Founding Fathers" indicates that they fully intended the 2nd Amendment to confer the right of ordinary citizens to keep and bear arms. Indeed, they saw having private citizens being able to defend themselves as one of the guarantors of liberty and the last defense against a tyrannical, overreaching government. (Recall that the framers of the Constitution tended to fear a strong central government. Recall that the wording of the Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-10, tends to say more about what the federal government cannot do than what it can do.)

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    But we don't have full gun registration, we have GUN CONTROL, which means you can't legally own guns except in very strict circumstances. Safer yet.
    That sort of gun control is very effective at keeping guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, but how effective is it at keeping the criminals unarmed?

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    I am referring to hicks with a gun. Maybe your definition of hicks differs from mine, but the thought of ill-educated, none too smart, disenfranchised people all owning guns scares the be-jeebers out of me. Even the thought of you owning one scares me, never mind the less well-balanced.
    Without going into hicks/not hicks... I do not love guns. I do not like them. I have no desire to own one, and having small children, I would never knowingly allow one in my home. That said, I will not say that other private citizens should not be able to own a gun. I made my choice, but I want to be very careful before I start wishing to enforce my choice upon others.

    Yes, there should be limits:
    • People with criminal convictions should never own a gun
    • People should be required to undergo a rigorous gun-safety class before being allowed to own a gun
    • I am not happy about concealed weapons! If you want to be armed, you should advertise yourself as such. (Indeed, if the weapon is concealed, doesn't that destroy the supposed deterrent value?)
    • I am all for background checks, and it would not bother me a whit if that background check took a couple of weeks. (Take that gun safety class while you wait!) If that makes sales at gun shows near to impossible, I am not the least bit troubled

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    I deliberately picked a provocative subject to see how you would respond. Again, you read the headlines, not the content.

    The point is that just because people want to do something, that does not mean the government should allow them to do it. Some things they definitely should not allow individuals to do, paedophilia is one, owning guns is another IMO.
    In our society, there is a very strong presumption that if people want to do something they should be allowed to, unless the government can present a very compelling reason why they should not. There is no reasonable person who thinks pedophilia should be allowed. There are plenty of (IMHO) reasonable people who think firearms should be allowed with some reasonable restrictions.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    Yeah, but I bet [President Bush] is funded by the NRA, and is a passionate advocate of unlimited gun access.
    Bush received campaign contributions from the NRA and its members, Bob, but it is absolutely not true that he has ever argued for unlimited gun access. Unlimited access means just that. It means things like "convicted criminals should be allowed to buy" and "there should be no background checks whatsoever." Bush is on record as an advocate of enforcing existing federal gun laws (which include such restrictions as limiting the ability of people with criminal convictions to get guns, and also mandating background checks).

    That said, Bush is also for relaxing some limits (for example, he is a fan of "instant" background checks, which to me is just patently ridiculous).

    So, let's be honest and accurate, especially when it comes to making statements about what we think other people believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    [Zack] seem[s] to be saying to me that you should be allowed to own guns so that you can defend yourself. By that same argument, Iran should be allowed nuclear weapons because (at the least) Israel has them, and there is a high probability IMO that Israel will use them against Iran one day. So, take the argument forward, Iran should be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
    Yes, there is a certain logic to Iran being allowed to have nukes, but then again it is a very flawed analogy: the rights and privileges accorded to a private citizen in a democracy are not the same as those accorded a sovereign nation. In any event, I see a close to zero percent chance that Israel would ever make an offensive nuclear strike against Iran: it is unclear that Israel would be able to strike enough targets to be effective, and the moment it tried to do so Israel would find itself embroiled in a fight for its very survival and almost certainly abandoned by all its allies. Nukes are not for using, they are for having (i.e., their value comes from being a deterrent), and I think the Israeli government fully understands that.

    But to address Zack's point, there are very bad people in the world and in our societies. People who mean to do us harm. I do not choose to arm myself, but I am not willing to say that everyone else should have to adopt my choice.
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  7. #27
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    BTW, I meant to include this, but forgot:

    I believe, fervently, that gun makers can do a lot more to guns safer and mitigate the chance of accidental discharge, and that if they will not do it voluntarily, I would be open to seeing some governmental coercion to make it happen.
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  8. #28
    VBAX Mentor Sir Babydum GBE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    ...the populations of Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and AUstralia is roughly equivalent to that of the United States but in the previous year there were 112 gun deaths in those conutries, 32,000 in the US.
    Quote Originally Posted by xld

    So, are Americans more homicidally inclined, or does gun ownership change social norms, or even rip the social fabric?
    Bob, though your observations may still hold up after this, there does seem to be a problem with this quote.

    As guns are more readily available in the USA, it is no surprise that gun related murders are greater there than they would be in a country where it's not so easy to obtain guns. But the question of whether Americans are more homicidally inclined or not will depend on a comparison of all murder statistics - as opposed to just gun related murders.

    Also, even if it should hold true that murders in America are greater in number than the combined numbers of murders in Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. This would not necessarily mean that the availability of guns was of itself the cause of the trend.

    I'm not suggesting that I agree with firearms. But having said that, as has been noted already in this thread, it is possible for statistics to be used to give credibility to an argument where, in fact, gross over-simplification has occurred.

    I'm not suggesting that you're twisting the figures - but I wonder if you've considered this aspect of things.
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  9. #29
    VBAX Mentor CBrine's Avatar
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    Some interesting information in a Star Article here in Toronto. We have some pretty strict gun control laws in Canada.

    Broken down further, the crime gun statistics indicate many criminals are arming themselves with starter's pistols, air pistols, replicas, toy guns, paintball guns, cap guns and flare guns. In fact, more than a quarter of the recovered guns are not normally considered lethal weapons.

    More than half of the total number of firearms seized by Toronto police last year were considered "non-criminal," coming into their possession through a variety of means, such as a family member turning in an antique rifle after its owner dies or through a gun amnesty.
    So it sounds to me like only about 25% of the guns recovered were actually considered Illegal Lethal weapons.

    I think we are on about our 5th or 6th gun related crime here in TO for this year. At least 2 murders.

    Another point
    The statistics also show that Toronto police are only seizing a small number of the estimated 5,000 firearms reported missing each year across Canada. The task force recorded just 40 stolen firearms recovered as of Dec. 18.
    Which seems to support xld's claim. Those responsible gun owners are having thier legimate weapons stolen from them, and then used for crime.
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  10. #30
    Moderator VBAX Guru Ken Puls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBrine
    Those responsible gun owners are having thier legimate weapons stolen from them, and then used for crime.
    To futher extropolate... where most citizens are able to purchase guns under less agressive gun control laws than we have, there are more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens. More guns in their hands leads to more thefts (the guns are available during our typical B&E, where they currently aren't as we don't have them.) More guns stolen in theft now mean more guns in the hands of already proven criminals, who are also more apt to use them.

    No facts to base any of that up, of course, but it seems logical to me that if the pool is bigger, the opportunity is bigger.

    As an aside, Pete, I spent some time on the Dora/Boots/Big Mountain thing this weekend as well.
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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Puls
    As an aside, Pete, I spent some time on the Dora/Boots/Big Mountain thing this weekend as well.
    Fortunately for me, my girls have moved past Dora. Much to my chagrin, they have fixed their attention now on Winx Club.
    Regards,

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  12. #32
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    Anyone that's ever worked on the land in a country such as Australia, where predatory animals are a problem will tell you that guns are most definitely a tool.

    Anyone that's ever served in the armed forces will also tell you that guns are a tool - in this case they're usually used as a visible threat to enforce peace on a group of ppl that have gone berserk and are running around killing others. But even a threat such as this would fail if they were never used, so sometimes the military are forced into using their guns to protect the lives of others or themselves. Do you think it would be better that the military went back to the 'old ways' of clubs, axes, spears, swords etc? Now THAT is really barbaric - standing face to face to club, stab, or hack a man to death, and all while close enough to observe their fear, pain, and anguish.

    The point is that if someone wants to kill someone, guns are not at all necessary, almost anything can be used - including carpet-knives and 'planes - no guns were used there...

    An interesting observation I would make is this:
    When I was a teen, almost every house in Australia had a firearm - usually a small-calibre weapon such as a .22, this was usually a bolt-action or semi-automatic (self-loading) device. - The possession of fully-automatic weapons, hand-guns, and larger caliber military type weapons being strictly curtailed by law. We used to read in horror and amazement about ppl in the US that were able to freely purchase the types of weapons forbidden to us and wonder why on earth anyone would want to own an assault rifle or machine-gun - these have absolutely no place in the hands of law-abiding civilians.

    In those days, Australia was a peaceful society, burglary was almost unheard of, home invasions were certainly completely unknown (many thieves considered the risk of being shot too great a price to pay for following their chosen profession - and even .22s can kill).

    Today we're much more enlightened, guns have now been been outlawed, which effectively means only the outlaws have them, and the laws really only increase their blackmarket value - very few law-abiding citizens now own them. As a consequence, the outlaws in our society are now almost the only ones armed and have a free hand to do as they like - burglaries and home invasions are becoming fairly common place (and yes (sadly) even drive-by shootings) and try as they might, police are unable to cope with this situation. Over-all violence has dramatically increased in Australia since guns were taken out of the equation.

    Guns really aren't the problem, the problem is the mentality of the criminal (or deranged) mind that sees violence of any sort as being their way of getting what they want and are oblivious of the many advantages that come from co-operation and peaceful co-existence.

    This might make an interesting read for some, it's a study of the consequences of the introduction of prohibitive gun laws in Australia, Canada, and the UK - it's titled 'The Failed Experiment'.
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  13. #33
    Distinguished Lord of VBAX VBAX Grand Master Bob Phillips's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matthewspatrick
    However, in that 32,000 number, slightly more than half were actually suicides, and then a large chuk of what was left were a result of accidental discharge. The number of deaths resulting from Person A intending to shoot at Person B, while tragically large, does not come close to approaching 32,000.
    I am not arguing that guns creates more intentional shootings (although I belive that it does), but that it creates more deaths period. A suicide, or an accidental discharge is as much a waste of a life as being shot by somebody holding up the local liquor store.

    Quote Originally Posted by matthewspatrick
    This statement shows a misunderstanding of American history. Please do not take offense--most US citizens would not do any better. When the 2nd Amendment mentions a "well regulated militia", the term did not refer to a "National Guard" or similar military force. The term at that time basically described all able-bodied adult men who have had at least rudimentary training in operating a firearm.
    Absolutely no offense taken, the argument is more important. I accept it was a very different militia, but it was still REGULATED. Nobody could call gun ownership in modern day USA regulated in any form whatsoever.

    [/quote=matthewspatrick]The writings of many of the "Founding Fathers" indicates that they fully intended the 2nd Amendment to confer the right of ordinary citizens to keep and bear arms. Indeed, they saw having private citizens being able to defend themselves as one of the guarantors of liberty and the last defense against a tyrannical, overreaching government. (Recall that the framers of the Constitution tended to fear a strong central government. Recall that the wording of the Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-10, tends to say more about what the federal government cannot do than what it can do.)[/quote]

    I think that is highly debatble. Just look at that Wiki article I posted earlier, it has been debated enormously, upto and including you Supreme Court.

    Quote Originally Posted by matthewspatrick
    That sort of gun control is very effective at keeping guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, but how effective is it at keeping the criminals unarmed?
    Streets more effective than in your country.

    Quote Originally Posted by matthewspatrick
    In our society, there is a very strong presumption that if people want to do something they should be allowed to, unless the government can present a very compelling reason why they should not. There is no reasonable person who thinks pedophilia should be allowed. There are plenty of (IMHO) reasonable people who think firearms should be allowed with some reasonable restrictions.
    I accept that point, but let's not get bogged down with my comparative. Just because that strong presumption exists, and just because reasonable people like yourself will argue for it, it does not make it right, or even civilised IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by matthewspatrick
    Bush received campaign contributions from the NRA and its members, Bob, but it is absolutely not true that he has ever argued for unlimited gun access. Unlimited access means just that. It means things like "convicted criminals should be allowed to buy" and "there should be no background checks whatsoever." Bush is on record as an advocate of enforcing existing federal gun laws (which include such restrictions as limiting the ability of people with criminal convictions to get guns, and also mandating background checks).

    That said, Bush is also for relaxing some limits (for example, he is a fan of "instant" background checks, which to me is just patently ridiculous).

    So, let's be honest and accurate, especially when it comes to making statements about what we think other people believe.
    Four things here:
    - I wasn't referrring to Bush, but that guy who lambasted Hugo Chavez (for criticising Bush). I suggested (but do not know) that jingoists like him were in the pay of the NRA, the point I was making (and XLGibbs made better) was that such law-making is in the purview of large organisations that run the funding of politicians
    - Bush's wanting to relax limits (because it works so well doesn't it) is not the action of someone who believes in gun controls
    - demonstrate to me, with references, that he has never always argued against anyone who advocated unlimited gun control, and vetoed it if necessary
    - do you honestly believe that in the USA the law that excludes criminals from buying guns has any effect whatsoever?

    Quote Originally Posted by matthewspatrick
    Yes, there is a certain logic to Iran being allowed to have nukes, but then again it is a very flawed analogy: the rights and privileges accorded to a private citizen in a democracy are not the same as those accorded a sovereign nation. In any event, I see a close to zero percent chance that Israel would ever make an offensive nuclear strike against Iran: it is unclear that Israel would be able to strike enough targets to be effective, and the moment it tried to do so Israel would find itself embroiled in a fight for its very survival and almost certainly abandoned by all its allies. Nukes are not for using, they are for having (i.e., their value comes from being a deterrent), and I think the Israeli government fully understands that.
    I am sorry, but I find that argument laughable in it's lack of rigour and naievety. If nuclear weapons are for having not for using, their value is nil. Israel believes (and I do) that in the event of a strike against her the USA would support her all the way.

    As for '... the rights and privileges accorded to a private citizen in a democracy are not the same as those accorded a sovereign nation ..', that is totally immaterial, we are talking about governments, and global interests. If you believe that the USA would not deploy exactly the same sort of measures that Iran would to protect what they see as their interests, I think you are deluding yourself. In that case, why are you in Iraq, but not in Somalia; why do you support a totalitarian Saudi Arabia, and so many more.

  14. #34
    Distinguished Lord of VBAX VBAX Grand Master Bob Phillips's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babydum
    As guns are more readily available in the USA, it is no surprise that gun related murders are greater there than they would be in a country where it's not so easy to obtain guns. But the question of whether Americans are more homicidally inclined or not will depend on a comparison of all murder statistics - as opposed to just gun related murders.
    I think that was exactly the point I made earlier. The vast differential in firearms deaths could only be attributed to one of two things in my opinion, citizens of the US are more homicidally inclined, or the incidence of guns disproportionately increases the chances that they will be used. My beliefe is the latter, and I have yet to hear an argument for a possible further cause, or an argument as to why they have 32,000+ against our significantly smaller number. All I have heard is statements picking holes in minor details, statemensts that I am wrong with nothing to back it up. Until I hear a reasoned argument, this thread is dead AFAIAC.

    Quote Originally Posted by BabyDum
    Also, even if it should hold true that murders in America are greater in number than the combined numbers of murders in Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. This would not necessarily mean that the availability of guns was of itself the cause of the trend.
    SO your alternative arguments is ...?
    [/quote]

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    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    Again though, you are not listening.
    But I am Bob.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    You are doing a Harlan on me, arguing something other than what I said to assist your point.
    Should I be flattered? While I'm not trying to argue something other than to what the point(s) are, I have been trying to hit all areas here and not leave anything out. Obviously one can [hardly] never do that and many, [QUOTE=xld]many good points have been made by others posting to this thread. I agree with almost all of them. What I fail to put into words, they have done rather well. Pete and Patrick are two particularly more well versed and adept at communicating it than I.

    I believe everyone has the right to bear arms. I also believe that many have lost that right (whether or not they actually/legally did so) if they have committed violent crimes, not taken safety classes and not proven that they have a profound respect for firearms and the responsibility which goes with them. Are guns far too available? I believe they are. But I do not believe gun control is the method. As far as curtailing abuse, I think the punishments should be much more severe.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    I re-iterate, the population of Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and AUstralia is roughly equivalent to that of the United States but we had 112 gun deaths in total in those countries, you had 32,000+ in the US.
    There is no way that all of those countries have only had 112 deaths involving firearms in a years time. Sorry, I do not believe that. Something more than a television series (which I do not think is even that good) will be needed to back that up.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    I am not arguing that, in the words of your own constitution, we should not have 'regulated militia' that are armed..
    You must have misread our second amendment of our constitution. It says (and I know you linked it, maybe you just mis-typed), "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    ..none of us want to be subject to military takeover, but I fail to see any connection between that and allowing the general populace to own firearms.
    Johnske has posted a very good paper to which I am referring, and many others have pointed to. I'm not sure how you fail to see it Bob. Just read the information. There are plenty of figures and information to back it up. And the information is not from a dramatic television show with no real data to back up with it is saying.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    As I have quoted many times regarding the many countries, gun control works, and as yet neither you nor anyone else has given an argument as to why it doesn't.
    I still don't follow Bob. The information shown and that I have read says the exact opposite. If you have any other data to support your opinion, let it be known. I applaud your effort, but there is, as of yet, no real data to support it. What exactly have you quoted showing that gun control works? Anything besides the TV show? If so I have missed it, as you keep referring back to your 112vs30k figures. Why should anybody give an argument to facts predicated on a fictional television series? (A dramatic one at that.)

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    I don't think that just by quoting Hitler proves anything, however obnoxious Hitler was.
    And prove nothing it does. It only goes to motive where one extreme can get you. How many times has that happened in the world? There was only one like it, and it probably will not happen again. But the history is there, a living history, a testament many people will tell as the worst times of their lives, which many have not had the chance - or ever will get the chance - to tell.

    The idea behind the history is (and this is only one philosophical viewpoint) you can have one person/entity take control and regulate everything, but beware what happens when one person/entity contains too much control and others cannot even defend themselves. I'm sure there are many topics which can be spawned off the passage I quoted, and I'm definitely not here to get into a historical debate regarding the Third Reich. I do, however, think the idea and historical aspects are relevant to the topic at hand. It doesn't matter the context, that was not the intention of quoting that passage, for reasons stated above.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    I am referring to hicks with a gun. Maybe your definition of hicks differs from mine, but the thought of ill-educated, none too smart, disenfranchised people all owning guns scares the be-jeebers out of me.
    Yes, I am a hick with a gun. And yes, my definition of hick differs from yours. That is probably because I know that the term "hick" does not represent a state of mind. A "hick with a gun" is not scary to me, nor is it threatening, nor is it a pleasant though. It just is. What matters is who that person is as an individual and how s/he safely handles said firearm(s) and any intentions thereof. You should come visit sometime. Out in the Pacific Northwest of the USA it is a different life. We're almost all hicks here (minus the cities), some scary, some not.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    Even the thought of you owning one scares me, never mind the less well-balanced.
    I certainly don't hope to incite fear in my friends!! (Only those who would try to hurt my family.) I certainly do not wish to hurt anybody. I enjoy target practicing and general "plinking". I also enjoy archery with my bow. My bow can be used as an instrument of death, most certainly what it was designed for, but I do not use mine for such purposes. I do not carry a weapon on myself, nor have a concealed weapons permit. (Those I believe should be heavily regulated, more than they are now.) I have a weapon in my home, safely tucked away from where the children can reach and stored in a manner (I believe, to my skill level) safe to those occupied in my house. Yes, they will be used if I ever have a home invasion (if I can).

    Will I hunt somebody down? Of course not! I will call the police! A firearm should only be used in the very, very last case scenario. I would hope that my family and friends would have faith in me enough to learn about something thoroughly enough to be safe and proficient with it before actually using it.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    The point is that just because people want to do something, that does not mean the government should allow them to do it. Some things they definitely should not allow individuals to do, pedophilia is one, owning guns is another IMO.
    I agree that some things should be regulated. Guns should be regulated - to a point. Just like a drives license. Should they be regulated? Of course! While being regulated, do you know how many people die behind the wheel each year? It is a far cry more than those who die from firearms, accidental, suicidal, homicidal, all combined. Does this mean we should not let anybody drive? Take away all of their cars?

    In its own context, it is a lot like what you are saying. Cars are tools. They were not designed to kill in mind (the largest difference of similarities) yet they do every year, and a lot of deaths too. Cars kill more than firearms, planes, suicides, etc, all combined. So would regulating drivers licenses increase the security on the road? To an extent, sure, but only to an extent. License regulation will not stop people from dying on the road. It would not only have a negative effect, but it would be extremely costly to maintain, hard to manage and (IMHO) ineffective. The answer would not be regulating the license, but regulating the person behind it. This is much related to gun control.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    I was using that as an analogy, which you are twisting, as that seems simpler than actually making a counter argument.
    I am certainly not trying to twist anything here Bob, you can count on that. What I was referring to was an analogy myself, which you have also done and should be of no consequence in the course of a civilized debate. Have you not noticed the rate of ascencion which we, as a civilization, have achieved with our technology? Look at the last 50 years. 100 years. 200 years. 500 years. It is amazing! We have come leaps and bounds. Technology is now advancing at an astounding rate. The comparative, was to us as a civilization. As with technology, we have evolved in our way(s) of life all across the globe. That is what we humans do, we evolve. Explore, divide, evolve.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    No they are not Zack. You seem to be saying to me that you should be allowed to own guns so that you can defend yourself. By that same argument, Iran should be allowed nuclear weapons because (at the least) Israel has them, and there is a high probability IMO that Israel will use them against Iran one day. So, take the argument forward, Iran should be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
    That is not what I am saying at all. They are two different things, yet there are some similarities, I'll agree that much. Nuclear weapons are in a different class [of weapons]. They have been used (regrettably) by my country in the past; the only good coming from it being the possibility of more lives being lost, which no one will never know. Nuclear weapons should not be had by anybody. Would I get a gun because my adversary did? Of course not, that is absurd. I would only arm myself to as much means as I would feel safely needed to protect myself and the one's I love. This of course, I have done. Will I get an automatic rifle? No, I don't think so.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    A suicide, or an accidental discharge is as much a waste of a life as being shot by somebody holding up the local liquor store.
    If somebody wants to commit suicide, it is not a waste of a life. If they want to take their own life they will. They may say they want to, but it is only a cry for help. Do it right or shut the hell up. That's what I say. Harsh, maybe.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    Streets more effective than in your country.
    This confuses me Bob. Would you mind elaborating on your comment to Patrick's statement?

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    On a lighter note, of course you can argue apples and oranges.
    No you can't.

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    Bob,

    Before getting into my response, I want to say that while I find myself disagreeing with much of your rhetoric, I am very grateful that we are able to have this debate in a civil manner. That is something that I fear is vanishing from our society, and I thank and applaud you for maintaining your civility.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    I am not arguing that guns creates more intentional shootings (although I belive that it does), but that it creates more deaths period. A suicide, or an accidental discharge is as much a waste of a life as being shot by somebody holding up the local liquor store.
    It is creating more gun deaths, but it is not at all clear to me that it is creating more deaths overall. Looking at the paper that johnske referred us to, it appears that if anything it is deadlier to be in the UK, Australia, or Canada now, as all three countries are shown as having higher homocide rates and higher violent crime rates than the US (measured as crimes per 100k in population). Perhaps the net result of taking the guns away from law-abiding citizens has made our British, Canadian, and Australian cousins was to make them more vulnerable to the criminal element.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    Absolutely no offense taken, the argument is more important. I accept it was a very different militia, but it was still REGULATED. Nobody could call gun ownership in modern day USA regulated in any form whatsoever.
    Again, trying to apply 21st century notions to an 18th century document can be dangerous. When the 2nd Amendment refers to a "well regulated militia", the regulated part does not mean that the government is stipulating to a large degree what the private citizen can and cannot have in the way of firearms. Have you seen statutes from the time, Bob? They are absolutely silent as to prohibited firearms or ammunition; indeed, some states required able bodied men who owned property to also own a weapon.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    [On Bush and unfettered access to guns...] Four things here:
    - I wasn't referrring to Bush, but that guy who lambasted Hugo Chavez (for criticising Bush). I suggested (but do not know) that jingoists like him were in the pay of the NRA, the point I was making (and XLGibbs made better) was that such law-making is in the purview of large organisations that run the funding of politicians
    - Bush's wanting to relax limits (because it works so well doesn't it) is not the action of someone who believes in gun controls
    - demonstrate to me, with references, that he has never always argued against anyone who advocated unlimited gun control, and vetoed it if necessary
    - do you honestly believe that in the USA the law that excludes criminals from buying guns has any effect whatsoever?
    Sorry if I misunderstood you, Bob.

    Would Bush like to see some of the gun regs relaxed? I know of at least one area where he is on the record for that: he wants to see "instant background checks" in place of the current waiting period. I happen to think that is ludicrous--I take the background check very seriously, an I want it to be thorough. I am also 100% in favor of increasing the hurdle for the first-time gun buyer with such items as mandated, serious gun safety instruction before being allowed to buy. It would not shock me if there are other areas where Bush would like to relax the limits.

    And no, I do not believe for a second that US gun laws exclude criminals from getting weapons. What I do believe is that if you make it so that ordinary, law-abiding citizens find it virtually impossible to own guns, then the situation will only get worse, as now the criminals will still have their guns and the ordinary citizen will have no defense.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    Quote Originally Posted by matthewspatrick
    Yes, there is a certain logic to Iran being allowed to have nukes, but then again it is a very flawed analogy: the rights and privileges accorded to a private citizen in a democracy are not the same as those accorded a sovereign nation. In any event, I see a close to zero percent chance that Israel would ever make an offensive nuclear strike against Iran: it is unclear that Israel would be able to strike enough targets to be effective, and the moment it tried to do so Israel would find itself embroiled in a fight for its very survival and almost certainly abandoned by all its allies. Nukes are not for using, they are for having (i.e., their value comes from being a deterrent), and I think the Israeli government fully understands that.

    I am sorry, but I find that argument laughable in it's lack of rigour and naievety. If nuclear weapons are for having not for using, their value is nil. Israel believes (and I do) that in the event of a strike against her the USA would support her all the way.

    As for '... the rights and privileges accorded to a private citizen in a democracy are not the same as those accorded a sovereign nation ..', that is totally immaterial, we are talking about governments, and global interests. If you believe that the USA would not deploy exactly the same sort of measures that Iran would to protect what they see as their interests, I think you are deluding yourself. In that case, why are you in Iraq, but not in Somalia; why do you support a totalitarian Saudi Arabia, and so many more.
    I did not do a good job of explaining myself in that paragraph.
    • When I said that I believed Israel would be abandoned by its allies if it made an offensive nuclear strike, what I meant is that if Israel launched a "first strike" nuclear attack. If another nation struck Israel first, I believe as you do that the US government would support her unconditionally if she chose to retaliate.
    • As for the "having, not for using" comment... What I meant to convey was that nukes are for deterrence and are a doomsday weapon. Nukes are the ultimate ace in the hole, but the trouble is that they have zero value as a tactical weapon: the moment you use them as such, you become the whole world's public enemy #1. The only time it makes sense to use them is in the greatest strategic extremity, where your country faces a substantial risk of annihilation unless you resort to the nukes. That is what I meant, and I am positive that the leadership of Israel understands that. The Israeli leadership might be contemplating a conventional strike against Bushehr, but they realize that a nuclear strike there to try and wipe out the Iranian atomic program would be a strategic disaster for Israel even if it were a tactical success.
    • Yes, I agree that the US looks out for its own interests first and foremost. That makes us like, well, every other country in human history. And we are not the only country that supports horrendous regimes. The French were too busy making money off of their illegal "oil for food" deals to even want to hear about more sanctions against Iraq. Until recently, many of our European allies were too reluctant to press Iran about much of anything, lest that make things complicated for some of their business dealings. Why does the rest of the world not send their own force into Darfur, rather than just sit back and complain that the US is not doing it?


    OK, I got a bit ranty at the end there. Anyway, envigorating debate, Bob. I do not expect to win you over, but I do hope that you can see that people like Zack and I are not raving lunatics just because we think it is OK if people own guns.

    And I do have to ask... The US has had in the ballpark of 30k gun fatalities a year lately. The same figure for car-related deaths is 150% of that--about 45k a year, give or take. Why do you not vent your spleen against the carnage on the roads?
    Regards,

    Patrick

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    Quote Originally Posted by firefytr
    There is no way that all of those countries have only had 112 deaths involving firearms in a years time. Sorry, I do not believe that. Something more than a television series (which I do not think is even that good) will be needed to back that up.
    Zack, you have good reason to doubt.

    I have already stipulated to the ~30k figure for the US. That is substantiated by many web sites. Some quickie research...

    Australia
    http://www.guncontrol.org.au/index.php?article=75
    In 2003 they had 290 gun deaths. Several other articles mention that in the mid-1990s a typical figure would be 500-700 or so.

    Looking at: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/ficap/foru...t04lemaire.pdf (slide 9)

    France looks to have about 2,400 / year (61MM population; 4 gun deaths per 100k people)

    Germany: about 1,200 (82.5 MM people; rate ~1.5/100k)

    Japan stands out as having like 2 a year.

    From this site the UK is hard to figure out. I have seen rates of 0.5 or so per 100k for England, Wales, and Scotland, but for Northern Ireland the number jumps to 6.6/100k.

    Anyway, the point is made: unless Bob can come up with a better reference for the 112 figure, it appears to be so far off the mark as to be farcical. All of which hardly excuses the number of US gun deaths, which is positively tragic.
    Regards,

    Patrick

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    I am only going to answer two points on this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by matthewspatrick
    OK, I got a bit ranty at the end there. Anyway, envigorating debate, Bob. I do not expect to win you over, but I do hope that you can see that people like Zack and I are not raving lunatics just because we think it is OK if people own guns.
    I do not, never have thought that Zack or you are raving lunatics, just because you disagree with me, even if you are wrong .

    What I worry about, besides the obvious number of deaths (and Zack, a suicide is a wasted life, how can you say what you said, that makes me almost weep) is what happens to people like Zack when they do use that weapon, and they kill someone


    Quote Originally Posted by matthewspatrick
    And I do have to ask... The US has had in the ballpark of 30k gun fatalities a year lately. The same figure for car-related deaths is 150% of that--about 45k a year, give or take. Why do you not vent your spleen against the carnage on the roads?
    I agree to an extent, but driving is controlled. You have to pass a test, you have to have a license, it can be withdrawn just for using that weapon badly, let alone if you kill someone with it.

    The problem with driving IMO is that the test is too easy, the laws are not strictly enforced, and again the citizens consider it a right, not a privilege. And I will rant about cars, especially petrol heads, but Zack didn't claim to be one of those in the post that provoked my response, he said he liked firearms.

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    Bob,

    Thank you for a lively and civil debate. I cannot speak for you, but I think I have made all the points that I wanted to bring up. We did not convince each other of our points of view, and that's OK.
    Regards,

    Patrick

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    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    I do not, never have thought that Zack or you are raving lunatics, just because you disagree with me, even if you are wrong .
    And I really appreciate that Bob.

    Quote Originally Posted by xld
    What I worry about, besides the obvious number of deaths (and Zack, a suicide is a wasted life, how can you say what you said, that makes me almost weep) is what happens to people like Zack when they do use that weapon, and they kill someone
    Well, let me define a little more what I think here. I did not explain myself very well here. In the cleanest sense of definitions a suicide is a waste of life, I agree. What I disagree with is that I don't think people should ever resort to suicide. It is tragic, of course, but more than that it makes me angry. Angry that people would resort to such a stupid, stupid decision that is not needed.

    That being said, if people are going to do it, they are going to do it and there is nothing anybody can do about it. Those who attempt but are unsuccessful are either too dumb to accomplish the task or do not really want to complete it. This, IMO, is the majority of people. I tend to find that these types of people (and yes I may be stereotyping harshly here) are more or less begging for attention or do not have the mental capacity to know any better.

    Surmising to say that if somebody is going to take their own life, what are they wasting? Would they be better off doing well with their life? Yes! Looking at the other extreme, there are people who are alive and are wasting their life as well. Nevertheless, it is sad in any case. I have had friends along the way take their own life, some even with firearms. There are very few times I have ever been so sad in my life. In the literal sense, their life was indeed a waste.

    Lastly, let me echo Patrick's comments about the debate. It is indeed nice to be able to civilly have a debate amongst friends, even if we agree to disagree. .. and even if you are wrong.

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