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.
Yes it is the guns. High capacity magazines and military-style weapons only have a purpose of killing large quantities of human beings rapidly.
On the Bath School issue, I grew up only a few miles north of Bath.
The fellow in question shot his wife, burned his farm, stacked legal explosives purchased in several hardware stores in the school and blew it up (half of it anyway as the timer failed on the other half), in a tax protest.
Immediately afterward, the explosive in question (used by farmers nationwide) was pulled off the market by the governent. The same arguments arose (we need the explosives, there is too much available to effectively control, &c). Guess what? It worked, that method of mass murder is no longer available for anyone to buy from a hardware store.
Anyone who really needs explosives can get a permit and buy them. Regulating those explosives did not put a halt on agriculture.
When the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was blown up, the government banned large purchases of fertiliser without a permit. The same arguments went up.
Not surprisingly, agriculture has not suffered.
When the government cracked down on drunken driving, the same arguments went up. Drunks used to kill about as many people as guns every year. But after a generation of indoctrination, drunken driving is now socially seen as unacceptable. Do drunks still kill people? Yes. Do they kill as many? Only about a third.
When the government instituted seat belt laws, the same arguments came up (can't enforce it, no one will do it, &c). The point was to reduce the number of deaths and horrific injuries in accidents.
After about a generation, the death rate came down, while additional safety features went into cars. Did they end deaths by auto accident? No. Did they substantially reduce them? Yes.
The argument of "It's too hard so we shouldn't try" is a cop-out. Good thing science doesn't work that way. Religion, on the other hand does, and the NRA is awfully like a religion, worshipping an ancient unchanging text handed down from on high.
Moreover, we do not know the fellow was "crazy." (My mother, a psychologist, points out that crazy is a technical term for use by professionals only.) We do not know his motivations; no psychiatrist or physician has come forth and said "he was my patient and a loon he was."
But atheists in particular should be avoiding the idea "he was crazy" without evidence, as atheists in the USA are familiar with stigma.
The mentally ill are eleven times more likely to be the victims of violent crimes than non-ill (according to the Department of Justice). Latest information indicates one-fourth of severely mentally ill have been victims in the last year.
Painting the mentally ill with the brush of "that guy must have been crazy" with no evidence perpetrates stigma.
Important point about the safety of people who are mentally ill. Thank you. Also, people with bad judgement, or drunk, or high, or just politically / socially obsessed with something like survivalism, may not be mentally ill. Just misguided or alternatively-thinking.
If most of the adults in that school had been carrying a gun, and knew how to use it effectively, would there have been anywhere near as many children killed? I don't think so.
If those that want to kill large numbers of people knew there were no gun-free-zones, would that drastically reduce their activities? I think so.
It appears to me that the mass killings are usually in gun-free-zones. Schools, universities, and malls. The nutters know where they will find the least opposition to their plans. So, why not get rid of gun-free-zones?
My idea would be to phase-in plans to eventually have all adults in schools well-trained and carrying.
We have armed police officers at our public schools in Texas.
I hope they teach gun management and appropriate use of guns, better than they teach critical thinking, math, science.....
Good one :)
I took my first ever gun ethics and handling course last year after feeling jittery upon seeing my friend's lady pistol (I hadn't seen a gun closeup in 35 years). I'll confess that gun handling is a much smaller teaching task than critical thinking, math, science, those require a entire life of academia :)
All the schools I sub in have 5-10 possible entrances that could be shot open, and hundreds of windows that could be shot through...
I think I have the answer.
Agreed Viking Don, but I think we have to go a step further and put limits on how much ammo can be purchased by one person on one I.D. at one address in a specified period, the same way we regulate fertilizer materials than can be used to create bombs.
We could use a system already in place like the one we use for cold medications that contain compounds that can be extracted to make meth. The system is there, the software is in place, we would just need to reconfigure the systems for use at shops that sell ammo to use the UPC codes on ammo boxes and a little different tracking/notification system so that they couldn't just go from store to store buying up ammo on the same I.D. It would be easy to implement now with software already in place, it's just getting the location to location notification down and tracking the purchases in a national database, databases already set up for tracking other items could be modified to track large purchases of ammo and of course we'd have to set limits and set exclusions, but it can be done. Then no one feels like they're being too infringed upon, it will just be a minor inconvenience like when I'm trying to buy good cold medication for a sinus cold, it will give them something to complain about but that is what they live for anyway ;) No one solution will stop every madman but we can slow it down to a trickle by making it highly inconvenient for them to buy.
I am also of the opinion that we should have to obtain permits to buy all firearms and not just handguns and that those requirements should include a profile sort of like the MMPI. We're much stricter with CCW's and we should be more stringent across the board.
Most adults in the school carrying a gun sounds like overkill to me. I teach in a college and I wouldn't feel comfortable with other professors carrying guns. We even have a case in Montreal where a professor shot and killed a few of his bosses and colleagues over a dispute.
I don't understand the more guns will solve everything mantra. A lot of stable people can become unstable occasionally. A guy takes out his family and the neighbors say this person was the nicest guy working a good job. Some of us can do horrible things when hardships strike like an impending divorce, dispute at work etc.
A well trained person can use his gun in a fit of temper or have an accident. There was just a recent case in the U.S. where a well trained retired police officer mistakenly shot and killed his son.
We all believe in democracy and encourage other countries to follow that model of government. Some societies have proven that you can be safe with less guns - why can't we copy that great idea.
Because they didn't become that way after anti-gun laws, they were always that way.
It's very similar to naturally skinny people who get into the fitness business and lie to their customers that by doing the exercises in the video, fatties will shrink to the skinny's size, but those exercises are pointless. The skinny is simply skinny.
I don't work in a school. I work in a clinic. I deal with thousands of people, up close and personal, in a year's time.
Most interactions are fine, the vast majority, but there are times when people are very angry. Often it involves them wanting / demanding pain pills, narcotics, or addictive sedatives. In some cases, it involves a family dispute. Sometimes just mental illness. People have attempted to kill me, literally, with their bare hands. Three times in 15 years, but that's still 3 times. Each time, out of the blue. If they had guns, I would already be dead. There have been other times when the security guards were called.
The idea that I would have to face people who might be carrying a gun would scare the shit out of me. It boils down to, I would have to be "on" every second of those interactions, ready to "draw" and shoot before they get me. What are people thinking? Guns make us safe? Really?
What a bizarre and stupid concept. And teachers in a classroom. Really? Some shadowy movement at the back of the room, and a kid winds up dead, and it was nothing? Think, Trayvon Martin, but multiplied in a thousand classrooms across the country.
High schools are stewpots of raging hormones. There will be tragedies. Giving teachers the responsibility to carry guns and act, would mean many more tragedies.