Gun control challenge
Since the horrendous murder of those innocent children in Sandy Hook there has been much written as well as many heated debates about gun control and the right to bear arms. And of course the question of how this type of thing can be stopped or prevented would be a natural response.
The gun control trap
TPATH understands that there are many good and patriotic Americans who feel frustrated and just don’t know how to approach solving this. And while the leftists of the world, those that do not have the agenda of saving innocent lives, and who’s game plan is the free and easy oppression and control of the people, use tragedies like this to further those goals, it is very easy for the common man to fall into their trap and then, ultimately under their oppressive tyranny.
History is rife with hundreds of millions of dead and murdered citizens who’s demise can be traced to their government disarming them. This is not hyperbole or exaggeration. It is an accurate account of the blood and misery man will impose on those of his species in order to dominate and rule them.
No easy fix
For those who are looking for an easy fix, which would seem to be the outlawing of personal protection by your government, the only thing easy about the question, is the answer. And that is, there is no way to stop criminals, cultists, devil worshipers or just plain crazies from killing people. For the most part, insane as they may be, stupid they are not. They will plan, organize and arm their intended mayhem and take as long as necessary to either fabricate, steal or illegally purchase whatever tools their devious plans require.
Traffic accidents kill more children
Many of you are aware, but some may not be, children in this country are at far greater risk from death and serious injury at the hands of those driving motorized vehicles who are incompetent, aggressive, abusers of drugs and or alcohol or just plain irresponsible. The numbers are staggering. Here are a few from the National Safety council from a few years ago.
The average death toll from auto accidents for a one year period is over 50,000. More than 200,000 injured and many of them, very seriously so. Heart wrenching as it may be, 35% to 40% of those deaths and injuries are children.
Has anyone ever blamed the vehicles for this? Of course some fools have. You may recall how anyone driving an SUV was chastised by the left for having the nerve to give their children a better chance to survive a crash than some eco-nut choosing to drive a Yugo.
Regrettably, children will continue to die in traffic accidents. It can’t be stopped. But what can be done is to make very effort to keep those who would cause these accidents, out of cars. Not ban them for everyone. No one can deny, that the use of motor vehicles and the good they do, far outweighs the horrible things that can happen while using them.
Firearms are no different. In the hands of good people, they protect life and property. They help feed and nourish. They keep tyrants from knowing they can easily control their citizens and they serve as a deterrent to those that would prey on others.
The gun control challenge
Now, to TPATH’s Challenge. Only those who want guns removed form law abiding citizens need to answer these. The reason we call this a challenge is because we know, not one leftist ideologue will be able to answer these question honestly and will refuse to answer after reading any one of them. These questions require yes or no answers. This type of clarity always befuddles the left. But here goes.
Please answer YES or NO to each question.
- Is it possible to pass a law that criminals and the insane will abide?
- Is it possible to keep criminals from manufacturing and selling guns?
- If your child was in a school or location away from home, would he be safer if there were armed guards there?
- If you are a politician, movie star or some other elite with armed guards protecting you, would you feel safer if those guards were not allowed to be armed?
- Do you think your safety is less important than the safety of the societal elites?
- Do you trust this government or any government to do the right thing if they do not fear the people?
- Would you be willing to wait minutes for police to come to your aide, if you only had seconds to live?
- If your wife and child were in a situation where they could not escape and a crazed maniac was in the process of murdering everyone, would you like to know that an armed citizen was in that room?
If you answered NO to questions #3 and #8, you may not want to face your family if they find out you would sacrifice them for an ideology.
To all the friends of liberty and Constitutional rights, please take these questions with you and ask them to anyone who believes the government should be allowed take away his rights and yours.
It will be interesting to see how many of them will answer even one of these questions.
Reprinted from Tea Party Advocate Tracking Hub
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1. No. Does that mean we shouldn’t bother passing laws?
2. Yes, to a greater extent then now. Gun rights advocates oppose measures to achieve this, because I suppose the best way to learn if something will work is to make absolutely sure it can’t?
3. Absolutely not. If you are that paranoid you’d be better off giving your child a gun to use themselves, but if you are paranoid enough to do that you shouldn’t have children in your care. Catch-22?
4. I’m not any of those things, but that’s a loaded question. I would prefer to know random strangers are not carrying guns.
5. About the same.
6. Define “fear.” Are you saying the government should be in constant fear of violent reprisal if they do not follow the wishes of a select social group? That isn’t very practical, to say the least.
7. I have had seconds to live, in the sense that I believe you mean. I had a loaded shotgun pointed at me during a robbery several years ago. If I’d had a gun I imagine the situation would have ended with one of us, myself or the thief, dead. Neither of those outcomes would have been preferable to me losing my wallet.
8. Yes. But that situation is so unlikely you might as well ask if I’d prefer that my family wear protective helmets whenever they go out in public in case a large object were to fall on their heads and kill them.
1. It certainly means that we do not pass the kinds of laws you want to pass. We do not pass laws that stop the sane and law-abiding from acquiring the means to defend themselves.
2. Wrong. The technology of 3-D printing already lets you build everything but the receiver out of the plastic medium that 3-D printers use. And pretty soon they’ll solve that problem, too.
3. Wrong again. Of course he would be safer. Now if you had asked, “Who guards the guards themselves,” you might have an argument. But you know what? I remember going to a summer camp where they let me practice with BB guns, and probably would have let me practice with .22 calibre rifles if I’d had an interest. And I was just breaking into my teens when I first handled a twelve-gauge.
4. Well, prefer all you like. If you suspect all random strangers as meaning you harm, then I will ask you the question you did not: who guards the guards themselves? In this case, the guards you favor are “public guards,” i.e. police. So what makes them automatically better guards than the private guards?
5. Since it’s the same, you should have the same rights as the elite members have. Those are the rights that Mr. Kehoe and I claim.
6. The government need not fear any specific segment of the people, if all segments have weapons and are ready to use them. Civil war is impossible if all elements of society are equally armed, and everybody knows it. An armed society is a polite society. But the broader point you miss is: when government fears the people as a whole, liberty prevails. When on the other hand the people fear the government, tyranny prevails.
7. First, if you want to be that willing to hand over your wallet, that’s your affair. If you try to stop me from defending my wallet, that becomes my affair. And second, these days the robber might not stop with the wallet. He might blow your head off just for spite.
8. Unlikely that scenario might seem, but not impossible. And you have no right to stop the rest of us from providing for that eventuality in the manner that we, not you, see fit.
“An armed society is a polite society.”
The mishmash of gun laws does not make ours the ideal of an armed society. Some parts of it are armed; some are disarmed. And the criminals know which is which and where is where, hence where to go to do some serious injury.
“It certainly means that we do not pass the kinds of laws you want to pass.”
How do you have any idea what particular laws I do or do not want to see passed? Don’t you realize how many degrees there are between ‘Everyone should be allowed to carry a loaded gun at all times’ and ‘No one should be allowed to possess a gun at any time’?
“If you suspect all random strangers as meaning you harm …”
Of course I don’t. That’s why I don’t own a gun. The thought of living in a society that allows anyone to possess a gun and carry it in public – and commit serious violence over perceived offensives – fills me with dread.
“you should have the same rights as the elite members have”
Who are these ‘elites,’ exactly, and what rights do I not have that they do?
“Civil war is impossible if all elements of society are equally armed”
I’m not sure how rampant gun possession makes Civil war ‘impossible.’ Please explain without resorting to sloganeering.
“An armed society is a polite society.”
You’re argument is based on the assumption that armed criminals by and large would refrain from gun violence if they believed their victims were armed, which is absolutely preposterous considering how frequently armed criminals commit fatal violence against other armed criminals. It’s called gang violence, and it is not the product of such presumably rational thinking.
“First, if you want to be that willing to hand over your wallet, that’s your affair.”
I’d rather lose my wallet than shoot someone in the face. Wouldn’t you?
“And second, these days the robber might not stop with the wallet. He might blow your head off just for spite.”
Except that’s exactly the opposite of what happened to me, so what are you talking about?
Don’t be absurd. I know exactly what sort of laws you want to pass. Your tone gives your game away. You want to forbid anyone but an LEO or active-duty military to carry a gun. Period. The Illinois Democratic Party made that abundantly clear in legislation they have dropped into the hopper at their State House.
Degree me no degrees. Gun ownership is either a right or a privilege. If it is a right, then it is something only a judge can take from you, and that after due process of law. And due process of law does not include your a priori assumption that no person is qualified until he satisfies the government that he is qualified.
And if the thought of living in a society that allows anyone to possess a gun and carry it in public fills you with such dread, then may I issue you the obvious invitation:
You may LEAVE.
Not necessarily this comment space (for you haven’t breached civility yet), but this country.
Your attempt to cite two thugs fighting over territory and compare that to someone defending himself against armed robbery, is absurd on its face.
Yes, I would gladly blow anyone to kingdom come rather than surrender anything of mine to the threat of force. If more people would take that attitude, crime. Would. Stop.
“Gun ownership is either a right or a privilege.”
Then it’s a privilege.
“If the thought of living in a society that allows anyone to possess a gun and carry it in public fills you with such dread, then may I issue you the obvious invitation: You may LEAVE.”
I already did. Unfortunately American policy on the matter unfairly influences others countries’, so it still concerns me.
“I would gladly blow anyone to kingdom come rather than surrender anything of mine to the threat of force.”
That is a disturbing point of view. The problem is, what is “yours” (thus, anyone’s) is often subjective – if I can murder someone because they’ve stolen my wallet, it follows I can murder someone because (in my view) they’ve ‘stolen’ my girlfriend. I could attack a co-worker if they were given a job promotion I believed was owed to me. Would I be justified in shooting my spouse if they tried to take away ‘my’ children’ after a divorce? This is a hypothetical extension of your argument, but consider how quickly defense of property can and does, often, devolve into cold-blooded murder.
Sorry, mhare, but according to the Second Amendment, gun ownership is a right.
You obviously want it to be a privilege. But your wants, and the plain meaning of the Constitution, do not correlate.
As to your current country of residence: since you have left, you have no standing to judge whether I ought, or ought not, have any given liberty. Just as I have no standing to tell you what rights you ought, or ought not, surrender. You made that choice by emigrating to a different country.
As to your final paragraph: now I know why you left. You have no concept of property, which mean: that which one owns. To you, no one really owns anything, nor do you mean that anyone ought to own anything.
Fine. Respect for the concept of ownership, and of things owned (which again, is what property is), is one of the foundations of this country.
Your attempt to conflate your place in the affections of another, with some physical asset that you somehow came to own, is absurd. Now I suppose that if all you “own” is something that is government-issue, like a government benefit, then maybe you don’t sweat a theft loss. The government will make it good, or maybe you didn’t really need it anyway, and you’ll accept that the other guy needed it worse than you did. Fine, again. Enjoy your ownerless, everything-held-in-common paradise. Your fool’s paradise. I live in the real world. And I will protect what I own.
“when government fears the people as a whole, liberty prevails. When on the other hand the people fear the government, tyranny prevails.”
It’s amazing how significant a theme fear seems to be. Every time I visit the USA I’m astonished all over again at how frightened everyone is. It strikes me as a pretty awful way to live.
The only mystery to me is that my fellow citizens elected the most fearsome political leader in American history, and one who learned all he needed to learn from Uncle Joe Stalin. If he, then, is whom they fear, then they have none to blame but themselves.
But they more commonly fear being somehow “left out in the cold” from economic failure, or sickening and dying because they “can’t afford such-and-such procedure or medication.” For that I partly blame the government for promoting a convention of medicine that is completely off the rails. (And will now destroy itself now that it is on the government teat.) But the other part of the blame I assign to those who did not bother to self-educate, as I did, on the alternative to conventional “sickness management.”
“For that I partly blame the government for promoting a convention of medicine that is completely off the rails.”
Well, I’m with you on that. The US healthcase system seems to be nothing but a money machine. What the average American worker pays for Medicare and Medicaid is far more than what the average British worker pays for a universal healthcare system that any British citizen can use. Yes, I know that Schlafly and DeMyer constantly demonise British healthcare, and I’m not really a fan of it myself, but the UK has higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality than the USA does. And it even costs the taxpayers less money.
The near-universal problem with what passes for health care in America and in Western Europe is that it is a sick-care system, not a health-care system. It has no precept for staying well. It will not tell you, for instance, that you don’t have to be a hapless victim of influenza. Take Vitamin D, 10,000 IU po qd, with a good alkalinizing diet with no added sugar or High Fructose Corn Syrup, and you can be the way I am: to me, the flu is like a cold. Over and done with in twenty-four hours. (I’ve had it this season, and am therefore immune already.)
But the current system tells you to just expect something to strike you down, and then makes you, or some third party, pay through the nose to “manage your case.” Advocates of free enterprise have a phrase for that: “rent-seeking.” And all that Obamacare will do, is pay the rents, or else become the rentiers. And if you go elsewhere for treatment or true wellness management, the establishment will seek to arrest the providers, and short of that, will do everything possible to discredit them.
But they have discredited no one but themselves.
Sources: link to mercola.com and link to hacres.com to name two. Perhaps you know some other sources.
If the UK has saved any money, then it might be because they left the “alternative medicine” practitioners strictly alone. People naturally repair to these when the NHS makes clear that they cannot and will not “cover” everyone’s expenses for everyone. I told you about the chap who pulled his own tooth with a pair of craftsman’s pliers. But at least the sources I named, might even be able to tell you how not to get the toothache in the first place. That, not any government system, will save you money and keep you healthy.
Now if you find my claims ambitious, check the sources out. Everyone should. Alternative medicine will come into its own, now that conventional medicine has strapped itself onto a runaway train headed straight for a precipice.
The murder rate in the United States is four times that of Britain and six time that of Germany. We have the highest number of guns per capita, with nearly double the second and third place countries (Serbia and Yemen). The claim you seem to be making is that our murder rate is independent from our massive number of firearms. So are you really prepared to maintain that Americans are four times more murderous than Britons?
I am the editor here, and not the original author. But I challenge you to disprove that Americans are four times more murderous than Britons. You haven’t even begun to make a proper ceteris paribus showing.
“I challenge you to disprove that Americans are four times more murderous than Britons.”
If that is actually teh case, wouldn’t you say that such murderous people are not ideal candidates for gun ownership? Also, how do you propose to identify and deal with the cause of this propensity for violence?
As I have already explained to you: it is not for you or me or anyone in government, except a judge applying due process of law, to say who is a fit candidate for gun ownership, and who isn’t. Gun ownership must remain a right, so that the government may not simply limit the privilege to its own friendly militias and transform from a republic to a tyranny.
“As I have already explained to you: it is not for you or me or anyone in government, except a judge applying due process of law, to say who is a fit candidate for gun ownership, and who isn’t.”
Yes, you have explained, but I completely reject your premise. A judge can’t readily pull up someone’s criminal record; a law enforcement database operator can. A judge isn’t qualified to say who is mentally unsuitable to own firearms; a psychologist is. A judge isn’t qualified to say who is competent to handle and use firearms safely; a miliary or police firearms instructor is.
That’s why we have experts; so we can use their expertise.
You reject my premise, and I reject yours. Fine. A judge can, and does, jolly well issue a bench subpoena for someone’s criminal record. (In fact, in this country, judges are on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to sign search warrants.)
I definitely reject the “expertocracy” you would set up. I do not accept rule by experts.
“I do not accept rule by experts.”
Neither do I, except that’s not what I was proposing, is it? We should be ruled by whoever we elect to serve us, but technical decisions should be made by technicians. If I want a network cable installed who should I ask; you or my neighbour, who’s a chef? Similarly, if you want to know whether or not someone’s qualified to handle a gun safely who should you ask; me or a judge?
A judge, with the clear understanding (which you consistently miss) that the person before him is presumed to have the right to keep and bear arms, unless the judge finds him less than qualified at least from a preponderance of submitted evidence, and more commonly beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty.
“unless the judge finds him less than qualified at least from a preponderance of submitted evidence”
OK then. Have the judge make the decision with the applicant’s criminal record (if any) in front of him and the psychologist and weapons instructor there to give evidence. That would probably be a workable (if unnecessarily expensive) way of doing it.
Understand this: that’s a procedure to follow when someone in government affirmatively “moves” to deny someone his right to keep and bear.
FYI: in America, judges are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to issue search warrants. So “forum not available” is never an excuse. Chief Justices have been very generous with writing Rules of the Courts to provide for judges “standing watch” on “other than normal working hours” to handle emergency motions of any type.
“in America, judges are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week”
OK, good. So if someone wants a gun they can easily find a judge who will review their criminal record and listen to testimony from a psychologist and a firearms instructor, and issue them a license unless there is valid cause not to. Would that work for you?
Once again you miss the essence of my message. Gun ownership is a right. But a judge and jury may revoke that right. Or a judge may issue a warrant to confiscate a gun. That’s what judges are on call 24×7 for: to clear requests for search and seizure warrants.
“But a judge and jury may revoke that right. Or a judge may issue a warrant to confiscate a gun.”
Yes Terry, but doing it your way means there’s no check on someone’s fitness to exercise their right until they’ve already demonstrated their lack of such fitness. That’s OK if they accidentally blow a hole in their TV because they’re incompetent, but not so good if they walk into a school and hose down 20 kids because they’re insane. You might as well say that people should only have to take a driving test if they’ve had an accident.
What, exactly, is so wrong with asking someone to demonstrate their fitness to own a gun BEFORE they get one rather than, as in the case of Nancy Lanza and her foul son, when it’s too late?
I’ll take the risk of “no check on someone’s fitness to exercise their right,” in order to preserve it as a right, and not the widely-held privilege you want it to be. Because doing it your way empowers the government to deny the privilege to any person who, for whatever Macchiavellian or Borgian reason, it does not like. That might be acceptable if all that ever happened was that someone who wanted to learn how to hunt, but who had anger management issues of any kind, were denied that privilege. It’s not OK when someone who has received a credible threat of bodily harm winds up in the morgue. (And I don’t think even you are prepared to say that the BKA, or the local Polizei, are willing to lay on armed stake-outs of every lawful resident who reports that he or she has received a credible threat of bodily harm from another person.) And it is definitely not OK when the government itself decides to “round up the usual suspects” any time a modern Pope Alexander VI or Cesare Borgia tells it to.
You ask what is so wrong with making someone demonstrate his fitness before he gets a gun. And I ask you: By what authority does the government of a free society decide for itself who is fit to keep and bear arms, and who isn’t? I go further: the one thing that keeps a government from going over the top and “rounding up the usual suspects” is the prospect that any police officer who received such a tyrannical order would face the prospect of having to get into a running gun battle with the very citizens he or she is sworn to serve and protect.
Atheist that you are, you would never consider yourself blessed by anything. So I will suggest instead that you consider yourself lucky that you deal here with me, who at least have a rational theory of limited government, i.e.: police to protect people from criminals, armies and a navy to protect them from armed invaders, and courts of law to provide them a recourse to settle a dispute without declaring a blood feud. If you were dealing with certain persons in my country, who call themselves “Patriots” (not to be confused with “Tea Party Patriots,” for whom this crew has the utmost disdain), and who in fact are rational anarchists (a school of thought that says that rational actors do not need a ruler), then you would well and truly find yourself talking to walls. Their solution is to create Committees of Safety, and, in the case of any wild man living in their town, gently (or maybe not so gently) suggest that said person leave town. And their theory is that the organized, paramilitary institution that we call “Police” in English and French, “Polizei” in German, etc., are just as fearsome as is the common thug-on-the-street, if not more so.
In fact, the material in this thread is worthy of another essay.
“And I don’t think even you are prepared to say that the BKA, or the local Polizei, are willing to lay on armed stake-outs of every lawful resident who reports that he or she has received a credible threat of bodily harm from another person.”
No, of course not; that would require a ridiculous level of taxation.
There is a simple solution though. When I received credible threats of bodily harm last year, courtesy of an individual who got my email address and phone number from a prominent American creationist whose initials are WB, I requested and was issued a Waffenschein (carry permit.)
Hence your monumental disgust at what The Journal News (Lower Hudson Valley, NY) did.
But I don’t accept your implied guarantee that the government would be generous in granting the own-and-carry privilege if I asked for it. Part of it is that I live in a “may-issue State,” where the local chief of police doesn’t have to grant you a permit if he does not like you.
“But I don’t accept your implied guarantee that the government would be generous in granting the own-and-carry privilege if I asked for it.”
Of course not; unless there are votes in it, governments are usually about as generous as (I’m going to use stereotypes about the, er, financial savvy of two ethnic groups here, but as one of them is my own it should be OK) a Scottish money lender in a yarmulke.
That’s why the ideal system presumes the right to exist unless there are clear grounds to restrict it, and outlines those grounds in a technocratic manner based on measurable empirical factors rather than personal prejudices.
Judges are people and people make snap decisions about other people based on their appearance. The system I propose would ensure that, whether the judge likes the cut of an applicant’s jib or not, they are obliged to issue the permit unless that applicant has been convicted of a crime, diagnosed with a recognised personality disorder or failed a standard military weapon handling test. Crusading politicians can’t mess about with the criteria because to do so would have serious knock-on effects. For example altering the military’s test standards would damage combat readiness. See where I’m going with this?
Well, at least judges are subject to (a) appeals, and in the extreme case, (b) impeachment.
Bear in mind that I’m looking at a chief executive who is overly fond of signing executive orders and treating them as if they have the force of law.
The burden of proof is one the one claiming Americans are four times more murderous than Britons. You are essentially arguing that there is something fundamentally different about Americans (meaning we are far more violent) than Canadians, Britons, French, Germans, Australians, Japanese, or the citizenry of any other modern democratic country.
The main differences I can think of between the United States and other such modern nations are:
1) our massive quantity of firearms per capita
2) our massive military industrial complex (military spending per GDP is twice the UK or France, thrice that of Canada or Germany)
3) our more conservative (both social and economic) politics, which promotes both 1) and 2) while also limiting government expenditures on programs that would assist those with mental problems (e.g. better healthcare)
You admitted, in another comment, that murders, using all sorts of weapons, were higher, per capita, in other countries than in America. Your only quarrel is that one commits murder with a gun more often than without. And I say that, absent the guns, murderous people would still find other weapons to kill their targets with.
And about those social programs: then you want us to pay to build institutions to confine me and others like me, and maybe cut out part of our brains. Is that it? For that is where the Psychiatrocracy leads.
I think a major problem here is this definition of the populace into “criminals” and “law-abiding citizens”. Its absolutely childish to think that you can just divide people up into “good guys” and “bad guys”. The overwhelming majority of murders in the United States (by a three to one ratio) are committed by someone the victim knows (or knew) personally, rather than some thug on the street. Most murders are committed by seemingly ordinary people in bouts of rage. It takes a lot less willpower to kill someone with a gun than with any other common weapon. If these people did not have access to a gun, we’d be talking about numbers of violent crimes, not murders.
Wherein lies the take-home message. Americans are not more violent than the people of other nations, we just access to more lethal weapons.
Per 100,000 citizens, the UK has 2034 violent crimes, Sweden 1123, Canada 935, France 504, while the United States only has 466
(source: Daily Mail: link to dailymail.co.uk).
Excuses, excuses. Better if both sides have access to a gun, and each side knows about the other. Then they might respect one another. Murders happen because the murderer gains an advantage. And advantage is ridiculously easy to get, if one person is reluctant to arm himself (or, as is the usual case, herself) and the other person is not.
You do realize, I trust, that you have now changed your story. I asked you the per capita rate of violent deaths from all causes. First you said that people kill each other more frequently in America than elsewhere. Now you admit that this is not the case. And you finally come up with the statistic I asked for.
Now then: those murders in other countries happened with weapons other than guns. That includes even one’s bare hands. Now maybe you, for your Macchiavellian or Borgian purpose, care to distinguish one deadly weapon from another. I do not. I regard that as a distinction with no useful difference.
The numbers I gave were for violent crimes (assaults, violent theft, rape, etc.), not murders. So no, I didn’t change my story, you just didn’t read what I wrote.
To re-state what I said previously:
Violent crimes are considerably higher in other western countries but America still has a higher murder rate. Britain has 4 times the violent crime rate but just one quarter the murder rate as the United States.
So once again, take-home message: Americans are not a violent people, and in fact seem to be considerably less violent than Britons, Canadians, French, Germans, Swedes, Australians, etc. We just have much easier access to much more lethal weapons.
I reject your message out-of-hand. For one thing, it doesn’t matter. If anyone threatens against me the kind of violence that is all the rage in the other countries you named, I reserve the right to blast him to kingdom come, if that’s the only way to stop him.
Let that suffice.
You’re missing the point. The issue at hand is America’s extremely high murder rate. Clearly we are not more violent than people in other civilized countries. So what, if not our high number of firearms, is responsible for our murder rate?
We certainly reserve a right to defend ourselves but I think that you are wrongly assuming that a potential assailant will be some thug on the street, which statistically just isn’t too likely. The overwhelming majority (in a 3 to 1 ratio) of murders in the United States are not by strangers. In fact about 15% of murders in the United States are family members killing eachother (I was quite horrified to learn that, as Im sure you are). [source: link to freakonomics.com, link to projects.wsj.com
You are missing my point. My point is that I trust my own friends, relatives, and associates (a thing that evidently does not apply to you) better than I do the government. And I happen to have far more to fear from thugs on the street than from my own kin. And I definitely have more to fear from this government than from my own kin.
The bottom line: I. Just. Don’t. Care. About your statistics. Making the very large assumption that I can trust anything from Freakonomics, I find it incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial, as lawyers love to say in court.
Read this next article if you really want to get your skivvies in a wad.
I would imagine that most victims “trust their associates”, otherwise they probably wouldn’t end up dead.
So you disregard Freakonomics. Fair enough. Apparently you also disregard the Wall Street Journal, as well as the official statistics coming straight from the United States Department of Justice. At least you admit that you don’t care about the actual statistics. This seems to be a typical argument in politics these days: if the facts don’t agree with your opinion, you can just ignore them. How convenient!
The point of the matter is that the high murder rate is a direct result of our high number of firearms (you’ve offered no evidence to the contrary). There is no other way to explain the violent crime and murder rate differences between western nations.
You have stated that it is of paramount importance that Americans be capable of our own self defense, and apparently have more of a need to defend ourselves than the citizenry of any other western nation (even though we have a lower overall violent crime rate). So is our ability to defend ourselves worth us having such a high number of homicides? Thats the question gun advocates need to ask themselves.
The trouble with The Wall Street Journal is that its news desk and editorial boards do not coordinate. The leftist bent of the WSJ city room is legendary. I recall Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson’s fraudulent piece about US forces in Indochina using sarin gas. I recall those two hissing, “We s-s-stand by our s-s-story!” when the contrary evidence came out. That was a black eye on the WSJ city room, a black eye that has never truly healed.
Those police-blotter statistics (which I say you are manipulating, anyway), however unpleasant, pale in comparison to the potential for unopposable tyranny that would result if your vision of the Second Amendment as a privilege and not a right, were to come to fruition. So yes, the right of Americans to defend themselves, against either raccoon-masked thugs or jackbooted thugs, is worth having however much an excess of homicides that you can actually demonstrate. With the clear understanding that I don’t buy your statistics for one picosecond.
“advantage is ridiculously easy to get, if one person is reluctant to arm himself (or, as is the usual case, herself) and the other person is not.”
Advantage is ridiculously easy to get anyway; google “ambush.” The element of surprise is something you seem to underestimate, but it’s the main reason why the person most likely to be shot with your home defence weapon is yourself.
Not sufficient reason to surrender what, in America, is still a right.
“First you said that people kill each other more frequently in America than elsewhere. Now you admit that this is not the case.”
Actually it IS the case. The murder rate – total, not firearms – in the USA is over five times higher than it is in Germany and 3.5 times higher than the UK. You’re in the same league as places like Turkmenistan. That’s probably why you’re all so frightened.
“according to the Second Amendment, gun ownership is a right.”
A ‘right’ is an invented concept. It is not a universal law that cannot (in a practical sense) be broken. In terms of a free society, it is one of the last rights I believe anyone should care about. Those that defend it with vitriol strike me as inherently violent in their nature. I can understand the possession of a gun as an unwanted necessity, something you wish you didn’t need to keep around, but pride in possession and the kind of gleeful, spirited defense you’ve shown here seems to fulfill a desire for retributive violence, a “come and get me” outlook on strangers.
In other words, the more you want a gun the less you should probably have one.
“since you have left, you have no standing to judge whether I ought, or ought not, have any given liberty.”
1) Moral judgement does not depend on national boundaries. If a given liberty is one that, by its nature, creates violence and death it is of very real concern to me.
2) Again, US policy strongly influences that of other Western nations, which American conservatives seem to be quite happy with until people from those nations take issue with it.
“You have no concept of property, which mean: that which one owns. To you, no one really owns anything, nor do you mean that anyone ought to own anything.”
You’ve completely and willfully missed the point. My argument is that the concept of possession is abstract – what we ‘own,’ that is, what is ‘ours’ to keep for ourselves is not always obvious. Sometimes it is, of course – I ought to own my television or my car. But if you give yourself permission to commit violence over physical, inanimate property, it logically follows that you may commit violence over subjective property – a wife, a job, a family. Even a parking space.
“Your attempt to conflate your place in the affections of another, with some physical asset that you somehow came to own, is absurd.”
It is absurd, yes. It is both tragic and incomprehensible, then, that murders occur over romantic jealously, envy of success, and domestic disagreements. My point again is that your value of property – I’ll quote you again, “I would gladly blow anyone to kingdom come rather than surrender anything of mine to the threat of force”, over the life of another human being shows the thinking behind many, many preventable acts of violence. If you give yourself that right you owe it to a nation full of unstable people. Your use of ‘gladly,’ again shows a preference for violence over other forms of resolution that is disturbing.
“maybe you don’t sweat a theft loss.”
I certainly don’t think a thief should be shot dead on principle. If you disagree you probably shouldn’t have a gun.
You demonstrate, with the above, that you really don’t recognize that the lawful residents of a society have any rights at all. You don’t know the score at all, nor have any concept of the rights of citizens, or of natural law.
Without the right to keep and bear arms, all other rights are meaningless, and revocable. And you have clearly shown that you consider that no one has true rights, that even the lawful residents have only privileges. Privileges that are revocable at any time, for any cause, without notice or explanation.
“Come and get me,” you say. Well, once again you should go to the next article I wrote. It has the Revolutionary-era cannon flag, with the slogan, “Come and take it.”
Odd, that you should mention murders that happen over envy of success. Does not envy of success drive the policies of the Obama administration?
And I say that any would-be thief who breaks into and enters someone’s house, deserves what he gets.
You have not said what country you have betaken yourself to. That doesn’t matter to me. I reject your anti-property, anti-ownership, let-the-thief-get-away-with-it attitude out-of-hand.
For the record: I never said that a murder over romantic jealousy was an honorable deed. Indeed, I regard that as unspeakably dishonorable, disgusting even. Why? Because it is an attempt to dictate the choices of another, and to supersede those free and honorable choices by force. It is an initiation of force.
You, not I, conflated one’s place in the affections of another, with one’s physical assets. And you missed another point: the theft of physical property is an initiation of force. As such it invites retaliation. But the “unhooking” of a romantic interest is not an initiation of force. It is a marketing pitch, nothing more. If the other person chooses to respond thereto, then the “reject” has no recourse. His own marketing has failed. The only remaining question is whether the person making the switch of affections has chosen wisely or foolishly. I recognize no warrant for trying to supersede such a switch by force. Hence I have no sympathy for the Code of Machismo that gives Brazil its highly dubious distinction. Nor do I recognize any warrant for Muslim Honor Killings. And I say that the target of such an “honor campaign” has the absolute right to arm herself, and to blow the would-be “honor killer” to kingdom come when he performs a threatening action, i.e. draws his knife or gun, guns his engine to run her down, etc.
You say that the right to defend one’s physical property by force necessarily extends to the right to avenge a romantic slight, a sacking, a traffic cut-off, etc. by force. Non sequitur. One does not follow from another. Yours is a total, abject failure of logic.
Force is appropriate, and sometimes even necessary, in retaliation against any who has initiated its use. And I have shown above what constitutes an initiation of force and what does not.
“I certainly don’t think a thief should be shot dead on principle.”
And I agree; that would be a silly principle.
However anyone who enters my home without my permission is likely to leave it in, if they’re lucky and my aim was poor, an ambulance. Because how am I to know they’re only a thief and not a terrorist or some other kind of murderer?
“consider yourself lucky that you deal here with me, who at least have a rational theory of limited government”
Actually you and I are probably a lot closer on that issue than you imagine. I believe very strongly that government should only be permitted to deal with issues that individuals can’t manage for themselves. The only difference between us is in where we define the limits of those issues and I believe there are misunderstandings there. With private gun ownership, for example, you seem to think I would give courts and politicians the power to arbitrarily deny firearms licences. Not at all. I would suggest that anyone who applied for a firearms permit should be automatically issued one unless the experts I’ve suggested could demonstrate that they were a) a criminal, b) incompetent or c) insane. All of these criteria to be clearly defined and not subject to political interference, of course. That’s why I’d rather have the decisions made by experts than judges.
Ah. So yours would be a “shall-issue” system. But those experts should, I contend, be officers of a court, not officers of the executive. It’s called “separation of powers.” And that also relates to what I said about judges standing twenty-four-hour call watches. They do it now, so they can issue search warrants at a moment’s notice. (So the police have no excuse not to get a warrant to search a premises, seize an article of contraband, or arrest someone.)
Still: a privilege, even automatically granted upon application absent any contraindication, is still a privilege. If you must apply for it, that makes it a privilege. A right is something a government must affirmatively act to take away from you when it can show, by preponderant evidence, that you have abused it.
“But those experts should, I contend, be officers of a court, not officers of the executive.”
Well, why not? I would impose only five conditions on these officers of the court:
1) There must be three of them.
2) One should be a justice of the peace.
3) The second must have a PhD in psychology and have screened the applicant for personality disorders in strict accordance with the DSM-IV.
4) The third must hold a current qualification from a military or police firearms instructor’s course, and have carried out a competency test on the applicant in strict accordance with the standard military weapons handling test for the primary personal weapon (email me if you want details on this.)
5) If the JP finds no previous criminal record at the appropriate disbar level (felony in your country, I believe) and neither of the others can OBJECTIVELY demonstrate to the JP a personality disorder or incompetence with firearms, the permit must be issued.
Would that work for you?
Sounds like an interesting mix. And at least it vests the power in the courts, not in the executive. Separation of powers is one of the finest inventions that free men have come up with for their governments.
Well, in a system like yours with a separate executive the power certainly shouldn’t sit there.
I see your point about rights, but the fact is the right to bear arms is already restricted in a variety of ways. That’s inevitable, or in the extreme case you’d have people buying field artillery for “home defence.” Bearing in mind that it has to be restricted, it should be done so in a way that’s beyond both political and judicial meddling and screens out unsuitable people as reliably as possible.
The restrictions I’ve seen, go way beyond what the Constitution allows, and what the Framers wished to allow. Most to the point, we have no “due process of law.”
By the way, I assume that by “field artillery” you mean any crew-served piece. Of course, there’s a little matter of getting a crew together to serve the “piece” in question. That kind of piece might come in handy, however, to defend a neighborhood.
“Most to the point, we have no “due process of law.””
Of course, which is why I’m proposing one that would only restrict the right for those who any reasonable person would agree aren’t fit to exercise it.
“Of course, there’s a little matter of getting a crew together to serve the “piece” in question.”
In theory. In practice one person can operate one – Labalaba with the 25pdr at the battle of Mirbat, for example – with a reasonable degree of efficiency. Certainly they could get off a single shot at a school, which is why I’d rather not see them in private hands…
“That kind of piece might come in handy, however, to defend a neighborhood.”
Um. Well, maybe. It depends on how frequently your neighbourhood needs defended against something 15 miles away.
In the worst-case scenario, with the total collapse of the global fractional-reserve banking system, with gangs of scavengers marauding about, looking for foodstuffs and not caring who owns them,…
“In the worst-case scenario”
No, still not. To use long-range artillery you need the whole ISTAR package to locate and identify targets. Without that you’re just lobbing high explosive around the place at random.
What the pro-gun lobby doesn’t seem to get, is that nobody is questioning their right to own arms – even though the Constitution restricts that right to members of a State militia – they are questioning a) the ease with which any nutjob has access to guns and the fact that people like Terry actively resist the mentally ill or criminals having access, unless it’s them who gets to say they can’t and b) why people need access to high-powered semi-automatic assault rifles? Pistols, revolvers, hunting rifles, shot guns, ok – tell me, why would anybody need to keep a semi-automatic assault rifle at home, over and above the options already available?
Very few people have gone on a killing spree with a revolver – look at all the ones over history – the Texas tower, the McDonalds in New Mexico, this last school, Marc Petine, Columbine, Hungerford – all have used high power weapons.
So why not ban those? There is no need for citizens to own that kind of firepower. And those who say they do, should be classified as mentally unstable and allowed access to no weapons.
Also, how do you equate the murder rates in the US 9where every nutter has a gun) to the UK, where nobody has a gun. Why are there fewer murders per capita in the UK?
I don’t accept any of your premises.
The Constitution makes no restrictions. The militia, by the way, is the whole body of citizens and lawful residents who are armed in any way.
When James Madison wrote the Second Amendment, the Continental Army had had no better arms than the people themselves had.
And I don’t believe that there are fewer murders per capita in the UK than in the US. No one has ever shown me that convincingly.
“And I don’t believe that there are fewer murders per capita in the UK than in the US.”
Believe it. The US murder rate per capita is nearly four times higher. In 2011 the USA had 14,748 intentional homicides; the UK, with a fifth of the population, had 722 (Germany, with a quarter of the US population, had 690.) Or do you think the UK is successfully covering up 75% of the murders that happen there? No way. The press are a lot more independent than yours, and they’d be all over that.
In fact murder rates among advanced western democracies are pretty consistent at, oh, about 1.1 per 100,000 annually, plus/minus 0.4, with the drunken and gloomy Finns getting all the way to 2.0. The USA is a spectacular outlier at 4.7. Either EVERY OTHER ADVANCED DEMOCRACY is hiding hundreds of murders a year or there’s something badly wrong in the USA.
I’m going to address the phenomenon of “lies, d____d lies, and statistics” either late this evening or tomorrow.
Here’s a clue: what was the murder rate in the UK (absent some high-profile multiple homicides, not all involving the July Underground Incident) before and after the UK Gun Control Act and its successor? In other words: can you show that those laws actually did Her Majesty’s loyal subjects any favours?
“can you show that those laws actually did Her Majesty’s loyal subjects any favours?”
No, and in fact I don’t believe they did; UK gun laws are far too strict and I’d like to see them relaxed to where Germany’s are.
“I’m going to address the phenomenon of “lies, d____d lies, and statistics” either late this evening or tomorrow.”
I’m well aware of the games that can be played with statistics However if the USA’s murder rates are actually comparable to those of other advanced democracies then either:
1) There is a huge and remarkably successful conspiracy in western Europe and Japan to hide an enormous body count, or
2) US governments of both parties have been working for a very long time to publicise a huge number of murders that didn’t actually happen.
Your country has an abnormally high murder rate, completely out of step with every other advanced democracy. That’s a fact and there’s no way around it.
First, I still hold that so-called fact in dispute.
Second, I don’t think that the gun control laws of either the USA or the UK have done their respective citizens, subjects, or lawful residents any favo(u)rs.
“I still hold that so-called fact in dispute.”
I know, but that’s just because you don’t want to believe it. You have no evidence that statistics are being manipulated on such a staggering scale, or even any suggestion as to who would do it and why.
That’s because statisticians have lied to me before. They will not lie to me again.
“That’s because statisticians have lied to me before. They will not lie to me again.”
That’s all fine, but if you don’t accept that the USA has a far higher murder rate than every other advanced democracy what is your explanation? It’s got to be a massive conspiracy that’s been sustained over decades, but is the USA inventing murderers or is every other advanced country hiding them?
In 2009 New York City had more intentional homicides (778) than the entire UK (722) despite having almost exactly the same population, within 100,000 or so, as London. London averages about 170 a year and has a much smaller, largely unarmed police force. Every source of statistics – the UN, NYPD, FBI, Home Office, whatever – keeps turning up that same ratio; the USA has four times the intentional homicide rate of the UK. Do you have ANY evidence that suggests otherwise?
I intend to show, first of all, that the murders have a lopsided distribution: in those cities that practice the worst gun control. More guns, less crime. Fewer guns, more crime.
I intend to show further that murders have increased, rather than decreased, with the imposition of any sort of gun control.
Now it’s all very well for you to say, “But I don’t approve of restricting the privilege as tightly as Her Majesty’s Government have done.” I might even be able to trust you on that. But natural law is still natural law. And by that law, the right of self-defense, even against the government itself, is paramount.
Just remember: you adopted a country that once took away everyone’s guns, and then fielded the largest army since Alexander the Great and used it to wage a war of conquest against the world. Not to mention murdering six million Jews, and four million Gentiles, in Germany and the occupied territories.
“I intend to show, first of all, that the murders have a lopsided distribution: in those cities that practice the worst gun control. More guns, less crime. Fewer guns, more crime.”
You’re going to have a hard time demonstrating that London has more guns than New York.
“you adopted a country that once took away everyone’s guns”
No it didn’t.
Do you deny the history of Nazi Germany?
Besides, I was talking about different cities in the USA.
And in any event: even the most dire statistics cannot justify denying someone’s right to equip himself for self-defense. In so doing, you assume that the police will not be there, that they never will be there, that something will always get in the way of their response, and that they will never respond in anything less than one hour. And that’s an eternity when you’re up against a criminal.
“Do you deny the history of Nazi Germany?”
No, I just know it. The Nazis substantially relaxed the gun laws of the Weimar Republic (except for Jews.) The idea that the Nazis banned private firearms is as much a myth as the idea that Hitler admired Darwin (whose books he banned.) In fact the Nazis encouraged shooting sports, even developing new air rifles for the HJ that had identical controls to the service rifle. The reasoning is obvious.
“Besides, I was talking about different cities in the USA.”
A valid comparison, but one that does nothing to counter the weight of evidence that the USA, when compared to other advanced democracies, has a serious murder problem.
“you assume that the police will not be there, that they never will be there”
Actually I assume that they’ll be screeching into my drive, clanking with MP5s and P99s and ready to enforce the law, within three minutes of me dialling 110.
“Except for Jews.” First they told the Jews that they didn’t need guns. Then they told them to board the trains.
I approve even less of discrimination in gun control than of gun control itself.
I will have something to say about comparative murder problems later. But one thing I’ve already found: gun control makes no difference. When you look at overall murder rates in many countries, not just comparing America to England/Wales, you see that gun-controlled countries are included among those having both the highest and the lowest overall homicide rates.
Last of all: I was talking about my own self-defense planning. And I’m not sure I want the police to come that quickly, in the way you describe. They might be coming, not to help me, but for me.
“I approve even less of discrimination in gun control than of gun control itself.”
Funnily enough so do I, but the fact remains that for 99% of Germans, the Nazis relaxed gun control.
“you see that gun-controlled countries are included among those having both the highest and the lowest overall homicide rates.”
But not if you’re comparing advanced democracies. No other civilized country has the USA’s lax gun policies and no other civilized country has the USA’s murder rate (among which firearms killings predominate.)
“They might be coming, not to help me, but for me.”
Highly unlikely, unless you’ve committed a crime. In which case, of course, coming for you is exactly what they SHOULD be doing.
The new article is going up right now. And you can decide for yourself whether you really want to tell a Swiss, for example, that his country isn’t civilized. (Or a Qatari, either, though you might possibly have better justice in that case.)
“And you can decide for yourself whether you really want to tell a Swiss, for example, that his country isn’t civilized.”
You don’t honestly think Swiss gun laws resemble US ones, do you?
No, I don’t, but not for the reasons you seem ready to cite. The Swiss recognize the keeping and bearing of arms, by individual citizens and lawful residents, as not merely a right but a duty.
“The Swiss recognize the keeping and bearing of arms, by individual citizens and lawful residents, as not merely a right but a duty.”
So would you accept Swiss gun laws for the USA?
Some of them, anyway.
“Some of them, anyway.”
The inability of anyone with a mental illness or a criminal record to own firearms? The requirement to keep records of all firearms sales for ten years? The fact that if you sell someone a gun without doing a background check on them, and they then commit a crime with it, you’re going to spend the rest of your life wishing you lived in a North Korean labour camp?
I assume you wouldn’t accept their definition of “militia.”
Actually I’m fine with people owning semi-automatic rifles, although there are good arguments for restricting magazine capacity. In Germany it’s 10 rounds plus one up the spout for sport shooting, two plus one for hunting. These limits seem reasonable; no civilian needs a 30-round STANAG magazine for any purpose other than willy waving, and firearms and willy waving generally make a poor combination.
I’d also not be averse to banning M4-style carbines, because the only thing they’re actually good at is something no private citizen will ever legally do – assaulting a building and killing all its occupants. Short-barrelled, military-style carbines are poor for hunting, poor for target shooting and suicidally misguided for home defence. In fact if someone wants to buy a gun for home defence I would restrict them to a pump-action shotgun, for their own good as much as anything else; it’s by far the best option.
The real issue isn’t the type of gun; it’s the type of gun OWNER. What the USA desperately needs is a system to stop the mad, the bad and the dangerously clumsy from buying firearms. Add in a voluntary buy-back scheme, and draconian penalties for anyone found with a gun but without a permit, and everyone else can go back to enjoying their Second Amendment rights in peace.