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.
The number of preachers arguing the shooting in Newtown is the result of some godless action in America is growing. Amazingly, Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family is holding forth that gays and abortion are the cause of the shootings, even though his own mother was killed in those shootings. (Yes, she was.)
On the other hand, Ray Comfort is holding forth that Godless Brits like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins are perverting our youth with their suave accents and higher educations and thus the cause of the crime.
In the meantime, here in the Greater Broadwater Metroplex, the same argument on a smaller scale is occurring in our home, between Beth and me.
Essentially the argument breaks down over whether any crime less than the threat to life (self or another) is cowardice (Beth’s word) if not met with lethal force. For example, an armed intruder stealing our microwave. An ancillary argument is the registration of firearms, as only handguns are registered (long guns are not), and whether handguns (registered or not) actually have an effect on crime reduction.
Beth holds it is cowardice if another option is available and taken (such as withdrawing out the back door) versus standing up to the intruder and shooting him. If one chooses to withdraw when that option is available, it encourages other criminals to take the same actions, and is thus cowardice (failure to take decisive action).
As a former military person, risk and penalty weigh in the decision of cowardice (choosing not to risk my life in armed opposition to someone stealing my microwave is not cowardice), and infinite punishment (death) is immoral in the face of finite crime (theft). Moreover, if killing armed intruders were a common everyday feature of the American landscape, then it would never make the national press (it would not be news); and if it were effective it would prevent intrusions.
That is not to say I wouldn’t use my shotgun (if I weren’t prepared to use it I wouldn’t own it), just that I do not see it necessary or justifiable when there is no risk of life or assault to another or me. Moreover, the time taken to get it, load it, and prepare would give up any element of surprise I might have.
Property is not worth the death penalty to me. Beth holds the opposite view (though sometimes she is so good at sardonic humour it is tough to tell if she actually believes her positions—she would make a good sardonic neo-con radio host, in the same way the Landover Baptist Church satirises religion.)
It is a frequent argument from the NRA that the right of gun ownership is that the government should fear its populace. (There is nothing like that in the II Amendment; in the amendment the purpose of bearing arms in a well-organised militia is the security of the State). I would also argue that no amount of armed populace could effectively oppose the armed forces.
I wanna tell you, it turned into quite a heated discussion, but we kissed and made up. = James.
Please consider reading and signing my atheists, agnostics, and nones acknowledgement petition on the White House petition Website. Petition must reach 150 to be visible on the site, 25,000 to be addressed by January 10. It has 53 signatures.
Even if you choose not to sign, please consider what it means when a sitting president's campaign adviser can blithely state that he does not view 1/5 of the American public as a constituency, what it means for our civil rights, and what it means to others who are religious that hear that. It is as egregious as Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% remark.
Umm... read this. It's always the guns fault, the video games fault, the devils music, or some other lame excuse for the actions of crazy people.
Attributing actions of people entirely to mental illness or personality characteristics instead of situational factors is called the fundamental attribution error.
If the only explanation we give for unusual acts is that the actor is crazy, we can overlook crucial contributing factors such as the availability of firearms or the unavailability of help.
Right, so let's forget all this mental illness hoo-doo and blame the culprit: guns. We don't want to push some sort of knee-jerk agenda, now do we? :) Blame the guns! Baaaad bullets.
You seem to be attributing to me an argument I have not made and your sarcasm suggests you lack a cogent argument of your own.
And one would note no one has come forth and said "he is my patient and he was under treatment." Or "he was my family member and he had thus-and-such."
Slinging around the mentally-ill argument with no evidence of it is dangerous to the mentally-ill, the most assaulted group of people in the USA. More than blacks. More than gays. More than children.
Yes, blame the guns. The experiment has been run. In the civilised world, where gun restrictions are much greater, the murder rate is much lower. Do all murders end? No. Have they been significantly reduced? Yes.
Beyond comparing culturally different countries, and irrelevant numbers, the thing to look at as atheists, is long term graphs of trends. Trend charts simply fail to demonstrate that anti-gun have any significant effect. Shouldn't atheists be concerned with statistically numbers and not ideological opinions? Yes armed people kill, No anti-gun laws are not effective. As countries, we're different, because we're culturally different.
Here's a graph showing TRENDS in homicides, demonstrating that since 1990, they're falling faster in USA than Canada, yet our changes in laws is not the cause. This is the only type of graph that is valid, comparative trends over time.
There are problems with your graph and comparisons between the United States and Canada.
1) Homicide is a general term that includes both firearm homicides and non-fire homicides. Your graph seems to deal with all homicides and not just firearm homicides.
2) In the U.S. firearm homicides account for about 2/3 of all homicides while in Canada, they account for roughly 1/3. Consequently comparing total homicide rates for the two countries gives a false impression.
3) The firearm homicide rate in Canada is about 1/5 th of the rate in the United States.
You've not presented a valid comparison at all, but chosen one that you think favorable to your argument.
Sorry to repeat myself... Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn... about HOW they die, I care about how many die in total, and how many are maimed in total. I hate cherry picking, and insisting on counting only gun homicides is cherry picking.
The gun homicide rate in Canada has always been lower than in the USA, no laws have changed that. My argument is not about whether guns are cool or not but whether making laws to remove then are effective. I hate guns, but I don't let my personal sentiments get in the way of numbers and rationality.
After going through the list of school shootings, I have come up with a solution to the problem. Let's prohibit men from owning, buying, or selling guns. Female mass murderers are awfully rare . . . .
The ancient Israelites are to blame. They decided that when life got shitty (as it often did with wars against the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, etc.), it was because the bad apples among them had turned away from Yahweh, so the nation deserved punishment. Sheer genius, really; it gave the priests control over people's behavior.
Anyone want to put Ray Comfort in charge? He's just a hop, skip, and a jump from Kirk Cameron.
James, you don't mean Dobson's mother was killed in those shootings? She would be, what, in her 90s? Kind of old to be at the school.
I assume you mean the shooter's mother. Just checking.
I am a former military man too. I did not swear to uphold the constitution and defend my Sanyo microwave. As microwaves go, it's not worth the trouble. Courage is doing what you must do, even though you are afraid. I would say cowardice is the opposite of that.
Actually, a life for a microwave seems to me, really perverted. Even a really good microwave with a carousel and a temperature probe. The courage thing is to let the thief have the damn thing and tell your wife that you could have shot him, but didn't.