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.

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Joan. There are happier places in the world. So it is not foolish for you to dream of a better life in your country.

Catholic Ireland????

The majority of those countries are less religious in politics than the U.S.

Haven't you heard the one about the Irishman asking the newcomer if he was Catholic or Protestant. The man replied he was an atheist. So the Irishman said - yes but are you a Catholic atheist or a Protestant atheist.

 No Reason is not the opposite of liberal opinions. But it is the opposite of any emotional based "party line" Conservative or Liberal. Jingoism is what it is and wrong who ever uses it. My point here was to express disgust with those who take a moral high road in the argument when in essence they are just as guilty of gun based violence as anyone the only difference ethically being who pulled the trigger. 

Nothing wrong with those statistics, except other statistics are never brought into the picture so decisions are made on incomplete information, like the overall rate of violent gun crime in the USA has significantly declined over the last few decades and the ones developed by the US National Science Foundation which have shown that there is not one single law on the books that can be correlated with reduced gun crime.

Check out the rate of police shootings here. It is huge compared to the rate for the general population. Besides, I didn't say any of these things were wrong. I said they are due to the support of the public hence anyone decrying gun violence is ethically responsible for the same. They may be perfectly "right". I for one support  armed police, military.The difference is I acknowledge the responsibility for that violence on my behalf  and do not argue pro or con on the  basis of false ethics , self serving assumed innocence or insecurity.

It is ridiculous for you to argue the point with questions like:"does everyone need an atomic bomb?" when that sort of thing was blatantly, and  obviously not my point. My point was that every citizen supporting a nation that owns such weapons bears responsibility for that ownership and potential use. Any citizen who lives in a country that has an armed police force bears the responsibility for hiring others to do gun violence on their behalf. Hence, they forfeit any right to claim moral and ethical high ground argument.

Funny how you jumped immediately to an attack on the argument assuming I was arguing from an anti-gun control position isn't it? That you immediately jumped to the attack using absurd examples to try to ridicule an opposing view kinda makes my point, now doesn't it?  It is also the lowest , least valid form of argument. All the same lines that are lined up and ready to go?

Fact is, I am rather pro gun control. I don't like the idea of every nut  near by having access to assault weapons any more than other's do.   But The real stats(FBI) show that the chance of being involved in a gun crime overall is extremely small. The issue is not that of a dire crisis and never has been, That is what I mean by taking a rational, non-party line view. Ok. I should have said non-party line pro or con. But that doesn't change the issue. 

John: The atomic bomb was a stretch. Shouldn't have used it - but I used it with every country being armed to achieve an end, not every person having an atomic bomb -  the way you took it.

My points were not intended as an attack - it was a discussion. Sometimes tone is lost with typed words versus direct conversation. I didn't think any of my other examples were absurd.

So we agree on violence used on our behalf by a police force being necessary, some form of gun control and using reason in the discussion.

i think we might disagree on how significant a crises the current gun situation is in the U.S. i think it is a problem that could or should be addressed better than it has been so far.

The point of this discussion never has been about gun violence used by the authorities. It was more about highly lethal weapons being easily accessible to the general population and how that has given the U.S. a grossly inflated murder, suicide, accidental gun death rate compared to other developed countries..

I guess I was confused by your point "My point here was to express disgust with those who take a moral high road in the argument when in essence they are just as guilty of gun based violence as anyone the only difference ethically being who pulled the trigger. "

I never saw that happening in this discussion - or never realized it happened in this discussion - unless you could point it out to me when it did occur.

Otherwise I'm glad we have some common ground and would like to politely disagree when we do not.

Of course we agree to politely disagree Russell, and I do respect your opinion. My intent was to try to introduce some calm rationality into hopefully  fact based discussion into what has become a hysterical screaming match between two diametrically opposed interest groups down here in the states. Nothing is ever going to be resolved as long as gun issues remain in this venue. Think about it. Gun right advocates resent being stereotyped, maligned and feeling as if their legal activities are being intruded upon by what they see as adversarial and antagonistic people. They aren't going to respond to that any better than their opponents would if some group came along and vehemently attacked their right to free speech. 

The pro-gun control people see anti-regulation groups as contributing to crime and violence in society as well as generating fear and insecurity in there community. Gun rights people generally are antagonistic towards them and usually argue their point aggressively in ways that give credence to the extremist among them. Gun control advocates aren't likely to respond well to what they see as heavy handed, aggressive nut cases who potentially threaten their safety.

Both sides continually harp on "statistics" to support their case. Strange how their statistics are always mutually exclusive "numbers and frequencies". That's because (and I am highly trained in statistics) neither side has any interest in looking at the reality revealed by real statistics, nor do they attempt to analyze the problem through real statistics.What both sides do use are one liner anecdotal numbers or frequencies that they have picked up as catch phrases from their like minded fellows. Such "evidence" is non-informative giving no accurate picture of the reality of the situation or explaining any causality.I suspect that just about ALL so called "statistics that are bandied about by both camps are of this ilk and therefore meaningless at best and hysterical appeals to shock value at worst. I doubt very much that there are any valid , real statistics behind any such claims. In both camps they are only one liner catch phrases I hate to say it but they differ little from the buzz lines theists use as "evidence" for their beliefs. Everyone spouts "statistics" to validate their clams, but apparently not one, from either camp has studied or done the actual, valid statistics. Most of them can't spell STATISICS on a good day, let alone bother to  study them or truthfully interpret them. 

The problem is exacerbated by the public media taking up the topic as a way to generate ratings by incessantly over reporting every single incident over the nation and giving these incidents disproportional air time. They use that air time to to their advantage because they know fearful news sells. They steep the public in these images giving them a false impression that they are constantly under siege and that lives are in constant danger from a "gun crisis". Again, a very false impression. Once more think about how this must play into any attempts to reach agreements about reasonable regulation of firearms? Pro-gun rights people feel under threat and aren't going to respond well to those they see as promulgating the fear and threat. Gun rights people aren't going to respond well to the suggestions that they give up rights to what they see as  weapons of self defense under the false assumption that gun violence is rampart all around them.  Again we have impasse.

And, of course there are demagogue politicians willing to fan the flames of antagonism in both camps for votes and power while gun business rages on from fun and profits.

How, in the name of anything rational, can a reasonable compromise be reached unless both camps cut the crap (pardon the expression) and deal with the real facts and situation. Neither side currently does that period. And so it has degenerated into a national screaming match and seems likely to remain so.

My interest in exploring the "ethical responsibility" for gun violence and violence in society was to demonstrate that we all, every one of us, bears the responsibility and guilt for violence in our societies because we are all inherently violent. Whether we are directly and personally violent or whether we hire a proxy to do violence for us matters not ethically. Hence gun violence needs to be put in proper perspective and dealt with as a problem common to us all, as is also true of all types of violence, and can not be dealt with as an "us vs them" problem that will only perpetuate stale mate. Honestly Russell, after about 50  years exposure to this political soccer game over gun control I can truthfully say it has degenerated into little more than a hysterical screaming match that will only ever end in frustration unsatisfying to either side.

And,, once again, of course, we respectfully agree to disagree, that's a given in my mind and so I hope nothing I said has given offense either. As you say it is hard to express tone with electronics. An evening with martinis and good discussion is so much more appropriate to such topics. Cheers-John

Manufacturing lethal weapons (from nuclear devices on down to Saturday night specials) is one of the most profitable ventures in the entire history of humankind. That's the bedrock reality beneath all the debates.

I agree 100% People killing people is perhaps the oldest business known to man in spite of the claim held by another vice. Because humanity is inherently violent. Violence is evolutionarily and socially woven into our natures. we have had about 3.5 million years to grow out of or cease the behaviors. Fact is we never have and probably won't.

John, you have written a very informative explanation of the views on guns from both sides. I completely agree with it. You're absolutely correct that we have devolved into a screaming match. But on the matter of assault weapons alone would a ban reduce the number of deaths by guns ??

No, not likely in my opinion. More common domestic weapons are used in the vast majority of homicides and gun crimes. Truth is their use in illegal activities is extremely rare. Their public perception as dangerous stems from heightened awareness because they have been used in a couple of recent horrendous and highly publicized  mass shootings. But, these mass killing events are in themselves so rare as to be almost statistically non-existent. Of course they are news and horrendous, but the reality is that they are exceedingly rare. 

I am not a big fan of assault weapons in public hands, but let's be honest and admit they have hardly ever been used to commit armed crime, especially homicides. That means banning them will do little to change the prevalence for gun crime. Banning assault rifles at best will falsely sooth the fearful.

I am not a fan of assault rifles in general for the following reason. If you dig into the history of assault rifle you will quickly come to realize that they were developed to be an idiot's weapon in the first place. Though many enthusiasts gasp to hear that, it is true. Historically, Various military powers had come to realize that they needed weaponry that could be used by masses of unskilled, untrained inductee soldiers that were also cheap to produce, dependable under battle conditions and virtually maintenance free in the field. Along came a Russian named Kalashnikov who invented a full auto or semi automatic  firing rifle so cheap that it was virtually indestructible and so simple a chimpanzee could fire it after mud was packed into all of its  loosely rattling parts. The AK 47 was born and bloomed worldwide. The AR was the american response to it. These things were designed to be picked up by an untrained, unskilled, undisciplined raw recruit and sprayed about like a fire hose. So to my mind, they are also an insult to marksmanship and fine riflery. They are too dangerous because any moron can turn on a fire hose. That may be fine in assaulting an enemy position in wartime. But I don't want every idiot thug in the country running around with them either. However I have to admit that I do know many very responsible assault rifle aficionados and hobbyist who are no threat to anyone and never will be a threat. So perhaps a more regulated ownership policy would be better than an outright ban? I don't claim to know that one.

Frankly a practiced person with a good hunting or sniping rifle can do far more damage and from a distance that makes even assault rifles useless as a counter measure. The assault rifle is simply the boogey man of current gun control issue politics. Banning them will not lower gun violence.But I tend to support a ban just because I have a dim view of the whole assault rifle concept. 

Nobody wants a screaming match with the gun issue. They want reasoned study. I still don't understand why congress is preventing the CDC from looking at this issue with scientific reasoned study. A lot of us did not like to be told to wear seat-belts many years ago. I remember not liking it and being forced to because of fines twenty years ago. I also remember that ten years ago wearing a seat-belt saved my life.

There are the high profile Orlando semi assault rifle cases. There are also many other murders, accidents, suicides etc that don't get headlines but greatly distinguish the U.S. from other countries with firearm deaths.

What is wrong with this argument asking for detailed study?

John, you have answered my question very well. And I am in complete agreement with the rest of your points. I know politicians and the media use faulty statistics for votes and ratings. Which makes it difficult for those of us who try and find an answer and are met with endless amounts of contradictory information.
A ban on assault weapons may help eliminate the number of people killed during mass shootings and I'm in favor of that.
Thanks for your reply.

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