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.
Tom you are focusing on James predicting failure and powerlessness. Isn't the person who needs guns predicting failure of government or failure of law enforcement. You might reply that you are being a realist with that approach. But, a realist should also have to acknowledge those approaches are working in other countries and the numbers coming in from those countries back that up.
Mathew, most of this we've done/said here enough that I don't feel like going over it again. But on seatbelts, no, it's a totally different math altogether. Seatbelts were fully tested before they were mandated. Thousands of test dummies were put through the wringer (unlike light-weight helmets in sports) and were amply demonstrated to EFFECTIVELY RESTRAIN PEOPLE IN THEIR SEAT. Since being thrown from the vehicle was a major cause of serious injury and death, keeping the person in their seat was demonstrated, beyond the shadow of a doubt, to save many lives. They do what they are meant to do, it was demonstrated with solid statistical analysis before laws were passed. That was a correct procedure to follow.
Numbers from other countries are just numbers in a void. There is no indication whatsoever that they provide insight on the efficacy of anti-gun legislation. You're focusing all your math inquiry into a social snapshot instead of looking at long term trends. That simply does not stand up to scrutiny.
And I'm sorry to inform you, but your example of "scientific" procedure is simply misinformed. In order to test whether anti-gun laws are effective, if you refuse to actually run a proper experimental model, and desire against rationality to rely strictly on demographic data, then, as I've indicated to Russel several times, your graphs must accomplish this: demonstrate a STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT difference between the "before" trend and the "after" trend. Without a conclusive demonstration of CAUSALITY, any data purporting to be "scientific" is just hot air. Comparing Canada and USA has no scientific credibility. We have different population density, different wealth disparity, different demographics (Canada's violence is incredibly unequal across the country), different drinking ages, different gun manufacturing industries, different educational attitudes and different healthcare. Comparing Australia to Canada would make a little more sense...
If personal knowledge is worth nothing in a conversation my dear, then acquiring that personal knowledge is worth nothing... then the entire debate on educating people to reduce social problems must be in vain too.
TNT, you're right about statistical significance. There once was a time when researchers could ignore it and get their work published. Not now.
Literacy in statistical analysis may well be the single most important tool of knowledge to have in these decades of false internet debates. Armchair science indeed just does not cut it. The number of irrelevant numbers that have been thrown around this discussion is depressing. :(
"Isn't the person who needs guns predicting failure of government or failure of law enforcement."
1. I don't know what the person who needs guns is predicting, or if he's predicting anything.
2. What do your "failure of government" and "failure of law enforcement" include and exclude?
Define your terms and discussion is possible.
A realist knows that violence has many causes and complex correlations.
I'll name a form of violence in America that few people consider.
If you followed the recent presidential campaign, you heard Republicans charge that Democrats want to bring European socialism to America.
Set aside the emotions the word "socialism" stirs up and look at the reality: European forms of capitalism and their more generous "entitlement" programs.
Compare European and American forms of capitalism and you will not escape the conclusion that "survival of the most fit" (or survival of those who bribe those who govern) describes American capitalism well.
Economic violence is epidemic in the US of A. Here are two considerations.
1) Some forms of economic violence have decreased during our lifetimes: labor-management law, consumer protection law, even store return policies.
2) Some forms have not decreased: mediation/arbitration does not exist or has been denied for employment-related conflict and "disgruntled former employees" use guns to settle scores.
People here who cite the gun laws in various nations as if they account for high or low rates of gun violence are providing far too little usable evidence.
Instead of hurling opinions at each other, we might set out to identify the many forms that violence takes in the US of A.
Let us then recognize the truth the ancient Roman Seneca expressed when he said violence arises from powerlessness.
Do that and we can start identifying the many ways that power is denied to people in the US of A and compare these ways with those in nations with differing rates of gun violence.
Or we can emote.
That sentence you quoted from me was a response to the two basic arguments I hear in this debate. Guns are necessary to overthrow a bad government and guns are required to save your life when the criminal comes to your home to do horrible things to you.
This is a fear mentality and a lot of horrible things have been done in the name of fear by countries and people individually. Fear does have a purpose in our survival, but it is like our appetites. When there is a plentiful food supply there is an obesity epidemic - we can overdo things with our primal instincts.
Your emote comment is a tricky one. I sound over emotional to you when making a case and I get that sense sometimes from your side. I wasn't going to post a video where a commentator makes fun of some of the NRA arguments because of the emotional baggage we can't seem to avoid in this discussion, but what the heck. People are welcome to include a video or tract that makes fun of the way I feel about gun control.
Excellent points are made, but it is long - the most eloquent point starts at 7:41, so if you don't have 8 minutes to waste drag the cursor to that time.
Here it is:
"[...hand grenades or anti-aircraft surface-to-air missiles] are arms. The II Amendment does not specify which kind of arms."
1. Google "SCOTUS Heller" and you can download the ruling. Read the part that denies II Amendment protection to certain kinds of weapons and some of your words above don't strengthen your case.
2. I ask, "In 1787, which kinds of arms would the II Amendment have specified?" and the rest of your words above don't strengthen your case.
Hurling what seem like randomly chosen sentences weaken your case.
Just came from the Comedy forum and got all inspired to inject a bit of humor into this topic
How many NRA members does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
I don’t know, how many?
The NRA who?
Thank you, Asa. Please visit again soon.
Matthew T: numbers from other countries are not numbers in a void. They are the statistics of other nations' experience with such regulation.
Tom Sarbeck: I would not argue that the case is weakened by my selection of arms. In the XVIII Century cannon and explosives existed. Explosives were permitted for private ownership until the Bath School Massacre in Michigan. (That massacre occurred some forty years before I went to school, just south of my home. The massacre was perpetrated by a tax protester who packed the basement of the school with explosives purchased from hardware stores all over central Michigan, resulting in the worst school massacre to this date. The result was the banning of private ownership of explosives without a permit.)
Since SCOTUS has already determined certain kinds of weapons can be controlled/denied/regulated, then all the government needs to do is show how its regulation/control would fit that precedent.
Requiring the actual registration of guns/gun owners no more would lead to confiscation or repression of rights than actual registration of drivers/autos, or registration for voting leads to suppression of voting rights. (The Constitution does not require registration for voters, either. That doesn't mean it prohibits registration of voters, in the same manner it doesn't prohibit registration of guns or gun owners.)
What would lead to confiscation is actual attempts at confiscation.
Matthew, with the proper paperwork, with the sufficient cash bribe, or with the sufficient physical violence or threat of physical violence, an individual can procure almost any arm under the sun.
The reliance by gun regulation proponents on a very few numbers that point to correlation but not to causation weakens their case.
Their refusal to consider the ease with which criminals can procure guns destroys their case.
Gun control is one of the emotion-laden issues that long ago persuaded me of this: on election days I choose between the candidates of a party controlled by "soft-headed" liberal folk and those of a party controlled by "hard-hearted" conservative folk. Lucky me.
Those two parties, with their winner-take-all rules, have shut out third parties whose candidates want to run.
James, as you point out, the Constitution does not prohibit registration of guns or gun owners.
If American politics were not so corrupted by money, we the people (the less wary of us at least) would have little reason to fear attempts by the military to take over the government.
During the 1930's Depression, a few very wealthy Americans did plan a military coup. They might have succeeded, but the retired Marine officer they chose to lead the coup "betrayed" them. For details, search Wikipedia for "Smedley Butler". Terms such as "bonus army" or "Roosevelt administration military coup" might lead you to the same info.
Before you conclude that the American military wouldn't kill American citizens, consider the Viet Nam War-era killings of UNARMED Kent State University students by ARMED Ohio National Guard troops.
Buying an election, as a few very wealthy people tried to do a few months ago, is but a step away from a coup by paid mercenaries. The first people they would recruit would be high-ranking military.