Atheists are a small minority in the U.S. Advocates of gun control might be a minority in America as well. In light of the recent shootings in Aurora I am curious as to how atheists in this network view the lack of gun restrictions. There are probably divergent views.
I have trouble believing that both presidential candidates are steering away from any call for reform after the horrific mass shooting. In my opinion it is insane to allow citizens access to assault weapons that can kill scores of people in a few minutes. It was even more shocking to hear on a news show that a family had to raise money to pay for the immense hospital bills for one of the victims while they were already crippled with medical bills from the mothers fight with breast cancer.
As a Canadian I came to stand with my U.S brothers for the reason rally and freedom from religion. I would be willing to come down to the capitol and march for two other important causes. Gun control and universal health care.
Dr. Clark is correct. As Michael Moore has eloquently put it (and I've differed with him over the years, but there's no faulting his sincerity and love of country), "Guns don't kill people -- Americans kill people." The US accounts for 80% of all gun deaths in the 30 richest countries (combined!). Other countries have moved past their violent history, he notes -- why can't we?
And (still paraphrasing Moore), what the hell are we so afraid of? Why do gun sales spike after a shooting? More broadly, why send 100,000 troops into Afghanistan (home to a just couple hundred al Qaeda fanatics) or launch a trumped up war against Saddam Hussein, who had no WMDs and nothing to do with 9/11?
Is America the land of the brave? Apparently not.
We could argue this ad infinitum. No, people don't "need" automatic weapons (or plutonium, for that matter). But banning them is like closing the barn door after the horse is already in the next county. I also note in passing that the drug war has vastly multiplied the number of illegal firearms in the US. Guns are legal, but marijuana isn't. It's bizarre.
Also worth noting: if someone is bent on mass murder, he'll find a way to do it. The largest body count was achieved not with firearms but with fire itself: an angry guy splashed a nightclub doorway with gasoline; dozens died. Who "needs" to be walking around with a gallon of gasoline? The Aurora shooter could have achieved much the same goal by setting a fire in the theater. The tragedy might have been even worse.
I also agree with Tammy. She suggests some important and meaningful changes. There is such a thing as responsible (no quote-marks) gun ownership.
Is America the land of the brave? Apparently not
Guns are legal, but marijuana isn't. It's bizarre.
Also interesting juxtaposition. I can just picture what would happen at a marijuana-filled gun-cleaning party.
if someone is bent on mass murder, he'll find a way to do it.
This post is full of great comments. Well, there's fertilizer bombs (Oklahoma/Morrow). There's the Unibomber. There's anthrax. I'm scaring myself.
Clint Eastwood and the Canadian sense of humor on the Difference between Canada and U.S gun attitudes
Another difference is that a gun rack in an American pick-up truck has guns in it, in Canada they have curling brooms.
I'm not sure the lack of gun control caused the incident in Aurora, CO. I'm not sure gun control would necessarily fix it either. Proponents have a point that if any of them had a gun, the gunman would not have been so bold. However, the theater is private property and likely would not allow guns anyway. What it comes down to in that instance was a lack of security: a parking lot camera or security guard could have put the gunman on alert when he opened the fire exit door. There's a way to prevent things like this without invoking the ominous words "gun control" every time something happens. Just like I'm sure someone must be hollering for increasing drug war funds after the bath salt incident. Nothing comes out of being reactionary.
A well-reasoned reply. There may still be mass murders (Fort Hood shooter) that are unpreventable -- the guy was an aggressively devout Muslim, but there's no lack of those.
We could ban all guns in a military base, we could ban all Muslims from the military, or we could do the sensible thing, which is to monitor mental health of personnel on base.
Jonathan, we have Mark Lepine in Canada who killed a lot of women at a University and there is that Norway monster - Anders Breivik. When these horrific events occur it just gets some of us thinking about guns. I like Alan's point in this discussion - "The US accounts for 80% of all gun deaths in the 30 richest countries (combined!). "
Just like there is a divide between atheists and the religious on god, there is a divide between the Canadian and American cultures about guns and I don't get it - I may be wrong just like I may be wrong about the existence of god, but just like religion always never felt right to me, carrying guns around also feels like the wrong way. It is a long frustrating argument that won't sway either society.
Here is some more on that cultural divide by an American who thanks God she lives in Canada
(I accidentally say thank God sometimes but would never write it.)
I'm not sure what's right. I don't know anybody that carries guns around either, the the subject is a little bit more complicated than at first glance. A lot of people will be quick to condemn the availability of guns following a massacre such as this, but can we really say that this will be solved with gun control?
Guns will exist. Especially in countries with such divergent communities such as America.
People who want one will find it, but I think tighter regulations will make sure they get into the hands of the right people, or at least people who show no signs of mental illness. I think people who want to carry guns should have to submit to psychiatric examinations every year or some period of time.
Even so, the government would have to spend incredible amounts of money to root out black markets for guns, drugs, prostitution, or whatever, and it's ironically a self-defeating exercise, because the more money you spend to crack something down, the more someone will be willing to spend to get it -- more importantly, the more incentive there is for people to profit from the situation.
Our 2nd Amendment is certainly a cog in the wheel...
I think the best "atheist reasoning" on this topic would be evidence based. Examples would be correlation, such as correlation of prevalence of guns with prevalence of violence. I don't have that evidence, and correlation vs. causation are not the same thing. But it's often the best that we have.
I work at a medical clinic that serves many thousands of people. It's a wide cross section of society. I have been physically assaulted 4 times, or about once every other year. I"m a big guy, and maybe you'd have to be crazy to assault me - but that's kind of the point. There are crazy people around. In addition, I've been threatened to the point that security guards are called, about once a year. That usually involves someone who discovers that their path to a narcotic prescription is through me, but there is no medical reason to give it, and plenty of medical and legal reasons not to. I've been verbally abused, threatened, lied to, and lied about, when I refuse such a prescription. I've had people say, "wait till you leave work, asshole." (Note, I do prescribe narcotics, to multi people per day. It's a big societal and medical issue).
Thinking about it, if people could freely carry guns here, I'd probably be dead now. I'm not a fast draw. I'm often in a room alone with these people. Or they see me going out to the parking lot. Or at the grocery store. I guess this doesn't happen in Colorado, good for them. But I honestly think I'd have to give up my career. Anyone who doesn't think this through, I think, Jesus, what planet are they on?
Then add to that, the zillion altercations that people get into . A crowded subway. Suburban commuting. Road rage. A drug store. A neighborhood dispute. Walking across a neighborhood with a package of skittles, while black.
OK, I'd like to see evidence, but the idea of people carrying guns freely in society, and especially in my workplace, would scare the shit out of me. I prefer for this kind of threat to be minimized. I absolutely do not think having guns in the hands of most people, when a significant fraction of people are either crazy, have attitude problems, are overworked and stressed, or are opportunistic, or something pisses them off, is a good thing.
America is a nation living in fear. Canadians (at least most of them) welcome diversity, while down south, it is often greeted with suspicion and distrust. With the exception of the war between the colonials (white settlers) and the British, Americans are constantly in conflict with people of other races. First it was the natives, whose land were taken by force, then you have the Negroes, who were forced into slavery. The Civil War created hurt feelings between northern and southern states; a sentiment that is still around in some states. The United States' involvement with Middle East conflict brought about this latest hatred of Americans and Western culture in general, by Arabs and other Muslim people. Lastly, you have the homegrown lunatics who are armed to the teeth, thanks to the 2nd Amendment. Americans see threats everywhere. Is it surprising that right after the Colorado shooting, the sale of guns actually shoots up?
Oscar: "Americans see threats everywhere."
Seeing threat is a rational response to our "To hell with the hindmost" sociopath-owned capitalism.
VERY slowly, employees are becoming owners of their workplaces. Such workplaces are more humane.