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.
This conversation is not about "evidence", the anti-gun folks do not have better statistics than the pro-gun folks, though the NRA's points surpass the anti-gun folks in stupidity by a large margin.
The point is, when it comes to the true effect of guns on society, it's all rhetoric. And though yes, my life experience is anecdotal, it encompasses a half century of living/working in 12 countries, in 4 languages, and 11 years in university, mostly science... so I do consider my opinion to tilt on the side of "informed". So in a discussion which is supposed to be an "atheist's" perspective on gun control, the most rational position is that the gun debate is a ridiculous one, amped up by media. And that the entire content is really us debating the merits of ideas... since there is no evidence.
As for the state of our democracy, as I said, it's not just the past decade, it's been a long time in the making. I don't see Harper as worse than Mulroney really, or any NDP or Liberal (Canadian pop-politics for the non-Canadians reading this). You're allowed to think that Canada is doing a fine job of running things, but I'll disagree with that point til you demonstrate to me that Canadians are better off than in the past. Mental health is going down everywhere in Canada, it will soon be the number one cost in healthcare. That is the ultimate sign of a failed social policy.
So I really don't give a hoot about gun crime specifically. I don't own a gun and don't plan on one in the near future, but I also don't give-in to social hysteria, which is all this gun debate is about.
Put an end to the Alberta Tar Sands party, end back-to-work legislation, freeze tuition fees, institute proper living wages, cap CEO salaries at 10x the bottom salary in businesses, remove person-hood from corporations and give it to ecosystemic components, then we'll be on our way to less violent deaths, guns... meh... pointless debate. As a female in N.America, if I die violently, 9/10 times it's at the hand of the male who's my loved-one, that concerns me a hell of a lot more.
TNT If you think the gun debate is ridiculous and "amped up by the media" Then why is a President going out on a limb to the displeasure of a powerful lobby. Why would a former California Republican Governor (Arnold Schwarzenegger) break from the party line and support an assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole. (just read Total Recall autobiography and had to put in a reference)
Also your anecdotal opinion does not magically pick up credibility by associating with science in university.
Finally, i think your displeasure with Canadian democracy belongs in another thread and has nothing to do with gun control. If you start one, I would love to debate you there. I'm pissed off about a some things too, but it ain't near as bad as you are painting it.
Media amp up = presidential reaction
Completely logical... the NRA are being out-media'd, they've won many... they may lose this one...
Indeed, when discussing FACTS, opinions are but anecdotal, but since there are no good stats in this gun debate, we are left with opinions, therefore we are all anecdotal. So... we chose which anecdotal accounts we consider most informed. I'm sure you do the same in your life, maybe you just don't admit to it? I for one usually look at a person's intro to check out their creds when I converse with them, some people are worth the time, others aren't. If you think education and life experiences are completely irrelevant in a discussion of opinions... then we have nothing to discuss yes? And if education and life experiences are irrelevant to ideas, then we might as well not get educated or travel yes?
Mathew, no need to create one, it's existed for a long time, but it's terrible inactive.
Here are a couple of tweets from Richard Dawkins about gun control:
"Guns don't kill people, crazy people kill people." Can you believe anyone could be so STUPID as to trot that out, yet again?
"In every country, there are narcissistic, inadequate, fame-hungry losers who want to kill someone. In most countries they don’t have guns."
Here is a posted reply considering his scientific credibility:
‘Why can’t this limey bastard understand that high-powered murder weapons actually save lives?’
Because he studies statistics? That’s what Professors do apparently. They consider the facts, like gun homicide rates, gun violence rates, etc.,
In 2000 England and Wales had a 8% firearm homicide rate while the US was 65%.
That might be why Dawkins has the opinions he has about guns.
Just a guess on my part though. Perhaps he cares more about people in modern societies than the US Constitution and it’s unquestionable right to let the populace arm itself.
He's not using numbers, he's using ideas, just as we're doing here. In fact Dawkins often argues from an ideological perspective and not facts. It's of course his right, specially in circumstances where no good statistics are available. Dawkins is no god, and his word need not always be adulated. Adulation is a suspicious behaviour. For an entire population of "free-thinkers" so spend so much time quoting just a couple of pop figures is more than depressing to me. Thankfully, Dawkins has not been over quoted in this conversation! or else I'd have left before. As a fellow biologist and teacher, we are allowed to have debates and disagree yes? This is the type of thing which happens when faced with a lack of real facts. People disagree and must debate ideas instead.
Now what would be a true atheist position, or an improved one would be this: Given the lack of experimental evidence regarding the efficacy of random anti-gun legislation... we should conduct an experiment. In the USA, chose a few states of similar economic disparity and wealth, and test various versions of anti-gun legislation. Let this run for a decade, then draw some real conclusions from at least relevant studies.
I support psychological help and education and finances to test and train public school facilities to prevent entry by terrorism. Social discussions on styles and functions of different guns can certainly be debated and challenged. The focus of safety in perspective of time should be afforded to the immediate needs of school safety and health, as well as other public areas.
"You know what atheists like to do? We like to pretend we are reasoning."
Yeah, I'm back. Perhaps briefly.
Weeks of reading the views here on gun ownership resulted in my writing those words in an essay on why I like A/N and similar sites for non-believers. Most of us do, on many issues, rely on the methods of science. Here, not so much.
Posting statistics, metaphorically hurling them at each other, is not reasoning; it is an emotion-based substitute for reasoning. Happily, statistics are not lethal. Also happily, I can read and be either persuaded or not persuaded by them.
If we Americans were to vote on gun regulations we would have background checks...for the law-abiding among us. We would not surrender our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Actually those who would place certain restrictions on gun ownership (not "anti-gun folk") do have statistics.
The II Amendment does not trump the other amendments and Constitutional rights (such as voting, free speech, free press, &c). The II Amendment also calls for a "well-ordered Militia, necessary for the security of a Free State." It was a court case that decided "individual" is the functional equivalent of "well-ordered militia." It is also noteworthy that American Rifleman when it quotes the II Amendment always seems to leave out the first clause of that amendment.
How has the restriction on your purchasing hand grenades or anti-aircraft surface-to-air missiles impacted on your right to bear arms as part of a well-ordered militia? Those are arms. The II Amendment does not specify which kind of arms.
We'll start with cars. One hundred years ago states started licensing drivers and autos; this did not result in the taking of cars away from owners; it did result in better prosecution rates for auto crimes.
In the Seventies, the "impossible" ruling of installing safety belts in autos came into force. No surprise, auto deaths per 100,000 crashes plummeted.
Stricter rulings against drunken driving have been adopted by all states. Drunken driving deaths have plummeted too, though no one came for the alcohol or bars (it was the religious that did that in 1919).
Every Western nation that has imposed gun restrictions of some sort or another has seen a concomitant reduction of deaths by guns. This experiment has already been run, repeatedly.
Now in the USA, thanks to restrictions placed on the government studying gun violence and mitigation factors thanks to legislation crafted long ago by the NRA, we do not have recent data here, and it is unlawful for the government to gather such data.
Why would the NRA support such legislation, and continue to this day to fight against the idea that gathering empirical evidence is bad? Could it be they are afraid of the result? After all, the tobacco industry did the same thing for many years, and look what happened when the government was allowed to gather evidence for the putative health benefits of smoking. (Yes, the tobacco industry used to tout smoking as healthful.)
We have the evidence from Mexico, that its own gun control laws were in fact reducing gun deaths, until the War on Drugs arrived, and hundreds of gun shops opened along our southern border selling weapons to straw buyers to carry to criminals in Mexico. Aside from any issue of whether guns made Mexico more safe (they did not), said gun dealers and their NRA masters are in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (subverting the laws or officials of a foreign country is against the law here).
But like Fox News and Rupert Murdoch, the NRA and its gun dealers will not be prosecuted: follow the money.
"But like Fox News and Rupert Murdoch, the NRA and its gun dealers will not be prosecuted: follow the money."
Cynicism can quickly relieve the symptoms of stress; it does not relieve the stressor. It's also resorted to by people who feel powerless.
Except that it is not cynicism when it is true. And you assume I am powerless, and that I am cynical . . . seems quite a stretch on one remark I made, and you didn't answer the issue of why we need so many gun shops along the desert boundaries of the USA when hardly anyone lives there, or why we are not enforcing our laws. Those were not cynical statements, those are truthful ones.
Fox News openly states that they report the "other side of the story." That implies that stories only have two sides, and Fox only reports one of them.
Have you seen Rupert Murdoch prosecuted yet for News Corporation's paper News of the World in the phone hacking scandal in England? For corrupting Scotland Yard inspectors and members of the UK Parliament? Rebeccah Brookes (his final editor of News of the World, selected after the paper was called on the carpet) was jailed.
Our laws say the corporation should be heavily fined and its officers jailed. Didn't happen, isn't happening. The congressional commission called to study the issue never released a report one way or the other.
Fox News reporters themselves were caught on tape noting they would not cover the issue (from CNN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG7rgX3vk4I)
For scores of examples of how Fox manipulates the news, see LiberalViewer's channel on how they selectively quote, edit, cherry pick, &c.
He goes after other news outlets on this channel when they make such "errors," but Fox is the overwhelming host of the entries.
James, what follows are my conclusions and opinions. You need not agree.
Political idealism and cynicism differ from the philosophical idealism and cynicism I studied in college.
A political idealist needs the world to be better than it is; a political cynic needs the world to be worse than it is.
A political realist deals with the world as it is. Henry Kissinger used the German "real politik".
Politics is about power and four years in hardball politics, during which six men lost their jobs and one man lost his life, changed my perspective. My political idealism became political cynicism, until my opponents gave me a compliment; they'd recognized my power.
You predicted, "...the NRA and its gun dealers will not be prosecuted...." A prediction might be accurate; it is neither true not false.
Your prediction expressed pessimism about the future.
Your "follow the money" identified a motive, and a pessimistic view became a cynical view.
You predicted failure, powerlessness. I would have said it's for someone to prosecute, keeping my power.
James, you're free to reject my conclusions and opinions; your choice will affect your future, not mine.