Infidel 753 notes the verbal assault by British Prime Minister David Cameron on those controlling the European Union. Infidel sides with Cameron. I suspect Cameron's attack would not resonate if the EU had not embraced the austerity policies that Cameron actually seems to like. Those policies just don't work during a recession.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame finds CNN promoting "balance" by uncritically embracing the NRA argument that the problem with assault weapons is their image rather than that their function is to kill huge numbers of people in seconds, and that those people are sometimes little kids.
The Heathen Republican once more invents arguments he opposes, like "if no one has a gun, no one can commit gun violence" which nobody advocates. He then objectively examines counter arguments like "if more people own guns, there will be fewer people for criminals to target and gun crime will go down" to oppose the anti-gun goals that he invented that nobody advocates. He does this by quoting discredited studies by John Lott. Did you know that gun safety advocates exploit massacres of little kids in classrooms to promote their evil agenda of preventing massacres of little kids?
T. Paine, at Saving Common Sense, finds a military recruit who agrees with his anger about the gun safety issue. Seems gun safety is an insult to gun owners because it assumes someone is a threat to a lot of people just because that person assembles a huge arsenal of weapons whose only use is to kill a lot of people in an instant. Just because such a weapon is used on a classroom filled with little kids is no reason for such a derisive concern.
S.W. Anderson at Oh!pinion seems to disagree with the current Republican campaign to prevent future Social Security cuts by slashing Social Security now. On the other hand, why put off for later what you can slash today?
Chuck Thinks Right blasts Leonardo DiCaprio for traveling about using fossil fuels as he advocates for the environment. It's an argument we sometimes hear from conservatives. We don't have the moral right to speak or work or vote for environmentally safer technology unless we adopt the spartan lifestyle of the Amish. It's the love-it-or-leave-it sentiment applied to global change.
Republicans have a problem with minorities, which used to be the black vote, then the block vote, now the urban vote. Whatever the euphemism, voter suppression schemes haven't worked so far, although the day ain't over yet. Reducing hours didn't work, at least not enough to keep Obama from re-election. The anti-democratic, slavery preserving, electoral college wasn't enough. Max's Dad reviews the latest scheme: changing election laws so only a Republican can become President, no matter what voting totals show. My take is here.
Kent Pittman, writing from Open Salon reacts to the watering down to uselessness of filibuster reform. Exposing it to light may dispel the "Senate Failed to Act" headlines with actual televised talking and talking and talking.
RANDOM THOUGHTS links the leadership of President Obama to the dream expressed half a century earlier by Martin Luther King.
- Although PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, tends to lump all Christians together, he does discover examples that straddle the line between repulsiveness and camp, as does this analysis of feminism.
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"Because you are a sinner, you are condemned to death. [Supporting verse.] This includes eternal separation from God in Hell. [Supporting verse.]"
On the other hand, it never disavows the popular conception of Hell, so make of that what you will.
As for arguments against further gun regulation, people quickly lose sight of the issues. Talk of how a society of rational, self-interested gun owners would behave is all very interesting, but that is not the sort of society that we would have.
Would there be fewer attempts at gun violence if everyone had a gun? It's hard to say. Universal gun ownership would have a disincentivizing effect on some would-be criminals, but some people would be emboldened to commit crime by the possession of a gun, especially if they were always armed. Crimes of passion would likely be more frequent and severe. Groups of armed criminals, particularly with the advantage of surprise, would still be able to take down lone or small groups of people. Break-ins would still occur. Criminals might need to be smarter about their crimes, but they would still commit them. Moreover, with wider access to and ownership of guns, it would be easier for would-be criminals (along with children and the mentally ill) to obtain them.
In any case, there is no use in speaking of universal gun ownership unless one intends to present a law that would mandate (1) ownership, (2) carrying arms at all times, and (3) training to make it worthwhile.
But this all misses the actual issue of the moment: regulation. Should people be allowed to own and carry something more than handguns and hunting rifles? How about assault rifles? Grenade launchers? Nuclear weapons, if one can afford them? Obviously, there is a point at which a weapon is too dangerous to allow ownership, even if some criminals might be able to obtain them anyway. That some of us think this point is closer to assault rifles than nuclear weapons is not evidence that we want to "take all guns away," fail to understand the concept of self-protection, or can only politicize tragedy. It's evidence that we're reasonable and unattached to the desire for guns.
I don't know how long we have to repeat these points before they're actually addressed in a reasonable fashion.
They have been and are being addressed in a reasonable fashion. You just can't see that it is reasonable because you don't agree with it.
As George Washington said in his farewell address; "all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests."
Luckily for all of us, the Founders had the foresight to require more than a simple majority of congress to change the Constitution. If not, the whim of 50.01% of the people would be enough to trample on the rights of the other 49.99%. Political parties are acting in their own interests, not in the best interest of the Country or the People.
The 2nd Amendment was not written to give people the right to hunt. When the government corrupts our rights under the 2nd Amendment, it destroys our ability to defend and protect the rest of our rights.
"They have been and are being addressed in a reasonable fashion. You just can't see that it is reasonable because you don't agree with it."
Speaking of the founding fathers' intentions, quoting historical figures, rejecting liberal positions as political posturing, and constructing strawmen about liberals do not count as addressing my points reasonably. This is not about agreement; this is about presenting valid data and relevant arguments on the topic at hand.
Now, your trollish behavior is beginning to annoy me. As you have addressed none of my points, I have nothing else to say to you.
The only point at which the government needs to intervene due to a weapon being "too dangerous" is the point at which it would be a threat to national security. Typically this would be a "weapon of mass destruction."
By the way, you have used plenty of straw men arguments yourself in the comments above.
Admittedly, George Washington was a very intelligent man and his writings reflect this. As a result, his writings may be complicated at times. Get someone to break it down for you.
You see the progressive-liberal views that you appear to espouse as reasonable, and those who argue against your positions have lost sight of the issues. Then you list a series of pure speculations on issues that no reasonable person would consider as having anything to do with the Constitutional issues of gun control. Then you give yourself a little pat on the back.
And all that is very well and good, but it represents the factional thinking that Washington warned about.
I will avoid quoting Benjamin Franklin since quoting the Founders bothers you so much... I will paraphrase him instead:
Anyone who is willing to sacrifice Liberty for security will have neither.
"When faced with certain truths, like many other liberals, you resort to name-calling and refuse to discuss further."
You will have a hard time finding examples of me calling others names. It is very rare that I do so because it is counter-productive, generally leads to more name-calling, and adds nothing to the conversation.
I suppose that you think that my calling your behavior trollish is name-calling. I refer to your consistent failure to contribute meaningfully to discussions on this blog. You come around with your speculation about liberals' and fellow commenters' intentions and your childish labels like "Dear Leader," then expect others to respect you and accuse them of the very behavior in which you engage most frequently. You recently defended some of this behavior with the similarly childish "They do it too" argument and decided that you would continue to do as you please. Fine, but don't think for a moment that you deserve any respect for it.
"The only point at which the government needs to intervene due to a weapon being "too dangerous" is the point at which it would be a threat to national security. Typically this would be a 'weapon of mass destruction.'"
I understand, but this is just a statement. Would you care to argue why this must be so?
"By the way, you have used plenty of straw men arguments yourself in the comments above."
Please, point them out!
My first comment brought up:
*The questionable effects of universal gun ownership
*The problem of implementing universal gun ownership
Perhaps you think that the notion of universal gun ownership that I challenged is the strawman. However, every actual point that I raised applies just as well to simply increasing gun ownership. Moreover, universal gun ownership is just the logical end of the idea that a well-armed society is a safe society, which you can hardly say is not a conservative argument. Whether all law-abiding citizens have guns or only some do, the points remain: (1) it is not certain that increased gun ownership will lower crime, nor is it certain that it will lower gun-related injuries and death; (2) if guns are easier to obtain in general, then they are easier for would-be criminals, the mentally ill, and children to obtain; (3) gun ownership does not necessarily correspond to gun carrying and mastery; (4) it is not clear how we would increase gun ownership; (5) regulation over weaponry is not an all-or-nothing proposition; (6) just because liberals want to ban certain weapons because of their destructive power does not mean that liberals want to [insert conservative conspiracy theory].
"As a result, his writings may be complicated at times. Get someone to break it down for you."
You see? This is an unnecessary insult, but you can't seem to help yourself.
"You see the progressive-liberal views that you appear to espouse as reasonable, and those who argue against your positions have lost sight of the issues."
No, I am just sick of conservative red herrings on this matter. I can have a conversation that sticks to the issues at hand, but I quickly lose patience when I find that a conservative "opponent" has all sorts of preconceptions about my position and motivations. I don't want to take away all guns. I don't suddenly have an anti-gun position because I am caught up in emotions over a massacre of children. I do not hate gun owners or the Constitution. And so on.
The fundamental questions here are: What weapons should the public be allowed to own and what limitations should we place on them? Why? How can we make related laws effective? Everything else is pretty much a distraction.
"Anyone who is willing to sacrifice Liberty for security will have neither."
Perhaps you shouldn't paraphrase. I know the quote as:
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Note the differences. At stake in this debate are precisely the definitions of "essential liberty" and "a little temporary safety."
In any case, we are by no means obligated to listen to his opinion on the subject. I do not agree that we should take away liberty and safety from those who would abandon the former for the latter. Do you? Or do you realize that this would be unconstitutional and, dare I say it, immoral?
I completely forgot about this little gem:
"Sounds like a few women I have known."
Really? Is that an appropriate comment?
I can engage with the Heathen Republican and T. Paine just fine, so my problem with you is not related to liberalism vs. conservatism. It's just about you.
Anyway, back to the main topic at hand, let’s look at what you stated regarding my recent posting. You said I found a Marine “recruit who agrees with his anger about gun safety issues”. First, in the technical definition and the connotation of the word, an eight year combat veteran of the Marine Corp is hardly to be accurately characterized as a “recruit” simply as a means of discrediting or downplaying his excellent letter. Second, I know the new administration talking points require that the left refer to these proposed unconstitutional infringements on our 2nd amendment rights as “gun safety” now instead of “gun control”, but that really is nothing more than propaganda and a slick marketing scheme to convince low-information voters that only pay attention to issues in small sound bites. It would seem that true gun safety to most progressives, including Senator Feinstein on CNN this weekend, would be to ban all guns eventually. Of course that really wouldn’t solve the problem though, because as any person with common sense knows, the bad guys won’t abide by that law either. They will still have guns.
I have explained repeatedly in the past why it might be necessary for me to hypothetically own numerous weapons that “scare” Senator Feinstein and other progressives. More importantly, I really don’t need to explain myself, but I do so in order to try and inform others who might disagree with me on this subject. I explained out of courtesy, but the fact remains that I have a constitutional right to theoretically own these weapons. I do not have to justify anything, accordingly. Your assumption that such weapons are only going to be used for ill purposes and that ultimately some nut job will use his AR-15 to massacre another class room of little kids if we don’t ban these weapons is not only not pragmatic, but it is inaccurate. Even Adam Lanza didn’t use his own weapon. He took his mother’s guns because she was not responsible enough to lock up her weapons where her known-mentally-disturbed son would not have access to them. Most of these killers have obtained guns through illegal means. By disarming the law abiding citizens, you will not fix the problem. You will only make the innocent people easier targets. How did that gun free zone law work in New Town, Aurora, Salt Lake, and myriads (more than three) of other places where similar massacres occurred?
Your assertion that no law-abiding citizen ever needs to own an inaccurately named “assault weapon” is wrong, my friend. As I have previously pointed out, we are only one natural (or man-made) disaster away from anarchy and the need for such weapons. I bet those good folks that had “assault weapons” were glad that they had the foresight to be able to protect their families in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina came through and gangs of looters and worse roamed the city without restrictions otherwise. I bet those Korean store owners that defended their businesses and family in south central Los Angeles after the riots in the wake of the Rodney King incident were glad they had assault weapons. I live on a mountain range which is also a fault line. It is possible that someday there could be a major earthquake which could cause the breakdown of civil society. I would very much like to have more than a five-round revolver at hand to protect my family and home if such a time ever came.
Next, Ryan, perhaps I missed it, but I did not read nor hear of anyone advocating for universal gun ownership. Was this something I missed, sir? Although this is an interesting idea and it does seem to keep crime very low in Switzerland under such laws, I would not be an advocate for it here. Just as I think it is our right to exercise our freedom to own any firearm, so too is it our right as Americans to refuse to own a firearm if we so choose. The issue should not be dictated to us though by our elected officials because these weapons are scary to them, particularly by the likes of Senator Feinstein who has the audacity to put forth such legislation while having owned and carried a concealed weapon herself. Once again she thinks that laws are just for us little people evidently.
Further Ryan, while you take issue with F&B’s tone, he is right in his historical and constitutional context of his arguments. The problem with us conservatives is that we assume such things still make a difference to all people today. Sadly and obviously they don’t to all Americans, my friend.
I did indeed use the term "military recruit." I apologize.
As I reconstruct it, I believe I meant to say that a member of the military had been recruited to the cause. Any reasonable person would take my meaning exactly as you took it.
Other than that admitted blunder, my "summary" of your article is actually an accurate summary of my own reading of it, which I believe to be fair, although unbalanced.
I use the term "Gun Safety" because I believe it to be more accurate than "Gun Control."
Semi-automatic firearms are useful only for the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people, such as a classroom of little kids. I see no reason not to confine their use to members of the military.
Although killing a street full of rioters might appeal to the video game part of a juvenile imagination, such action would also have mowed down a lot of innocent people. Included would have been the very brave Rev. Bennie Newton, who fought his way between the unconscious Reginald Denny and his attackers, then, waving his Bible, yelled "Kill him, and you have to kill me too."
If you can find a statement by Senator Feinstein or any other national figure, on CNN or in any other place, articulating any goal or any approximation of a goal "to ban all guns eventually", it might advance the debate beyond discussions happening only in the fevered minds of those who have rounded the bend of clinical paranoia.
Present company excepted, of course.
This last weekend on CNN “Will it only be ‘assault weapons’?” she asked. “No,” she declared, answering her own question. “Most likely there will be a package put together.” “If assault weapons is left out the package and I’m a member of the Judiciary, number two in seniority, I’ve been assured by the majority leader I’ll be able to do it as an amendment on the floor, which is the way I did it in 1993,” she said. “So that doesn’t particularly bother me.” Once again it is a matter of achieving through incrementalism the ultimate goal of gun bans. She admitted it won’t be only about “assault weapons”. What she ought to be doing is abiding by the United States Constitution which she swore to support and defend. Evidently she has a ban on that too.
Oh, and by the way, those of us that hypothetically go through the trouble to get concealed carry permits and purchase “assault rifles” are actually VERY discriminate in whom we would hypothetically choose to shoot. For us law-abiding AR-15 owners (hypothetically), not a single innocent child in a class room or anywhere else for that matter ever needs to fear us that choose to exercise the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
As I explained to F&B, universal gun ownership is the logical conclusion of the idea that people should have guns for self-protection and resistance against tyranny, which is sometimes described as a duty. Insofar as my points address arguments like "an armed society is a safe society," they are applicable whether one explicitly supports universal gun ownership or not. In any case, I am not saying that you (or anyone else, as far as I know) believe that the government should force them upon us; I am only pointing out that, if universal gun ownership were a goal, it would be difficult to achieve without such methods.
"The problem with us conservatives is that we assume such things still make a difference to all people today."
This relates to my post on the Christian pamphlet: just as Christians who want to reach out to others must bear in mind what non-Christians desire and believe, so must conservatives who want to reach out to liberals be willing to address their arguments. You won't get anywhere with a liberal by simply maintaining that the Second Amendment means that we cannot regulate guns. Legal arguments are generally not so much arguments as statements of one's interpretation of the law (at the very least, they are perceived as such), so it is rarely effective to engage with them.
I much prefer conservative arguments like "a well armed society is a safe(r) society," which is why I addressed it. However, if I were to wade into the legal debate, I would note the existing precedents on regulation and point out that even conservative Justices (who might just have some insight here) have parted ways with the modern conservative public on this issue.
If only bad nations are armed, the world becomes a far less safe place for freedom. Having the means to defend freedom keeps those that would take it away in check …just like my having the right to carry a firearm makes the likelihood of me becoming a victim of violent crime far less likely.
Of course I (and everyone else) agree that, in a battle against someone with a gun, it is better to have a gun than to not have one. Of course I (and everyone else) agree that it is better to have the same (or better) quality of weaponry as one's enemy than to have weaponry of worse quality. I even agree with the meme, "Guns don't kill people; people do," and I fully intend to own a gun at some point.
However, these points are of dubious value today. As we are talking about regulation within the United States, we must focus on the details of our own circumstances.
First of all, we must ask if there is really a chance that our government will become like Nazi Germany. While both liberals and conservatives may envision the other side creating such a state upon rising to power, it is highly unlikely. Nazi Germany did not arise from a vacuum, but from a set of circumstances that we do not face today in our country.
Next, we must ask if we would be able to stop our government if it turned against us. I find the idea laughable, given our government's technological and nuclear capabilities. Your AR-15 doesn't stand a chance against a drone or, if it came to it, a nuclear strike. A government desperate to maintain power against an armed populace would undoubtedly be willing to go so far. If you are concerned about our government's ability to control the public, you are too late; armed or not, it is beyond our power (or at least our will, in the face of great destruction) to overcome. And it will only become more powerful as it develops better technology.
Next, we must ask if we would stop our government even if we had the tools to do so. Do you believe that the people of this country are ready for war? Or do you find it more likely that we would roll over for our government in order to maintain our lifestyles? I'm inclined to believe the latter, but the point is: being armed is by no means a sufficient condition for effective resistance against our government.
All three points considered, the argument that we need guns to fend off a tyrannical government seems unreasonable. If it is unreasonable, it is not good support for keeping the public armed with unnecessarily destructive weaponry.
As for protection against criminals...
We must ask if a given weapon would really be necessary to defend against an attacker. Does one really need an assault rifle or grenade launcher to fend off a thief? Isn't a handgun sufficient?
We must ask how often one would be in a situation in which he could use a weapon other than a handgun. Unless you think that people should be allowed to carry assault rifles around with them in public (what, over their shoulder for all to see?), it seems that such weapons would only have any disincentivizing effect on crime within one's household.
We must ask if legalizing a given weapon would allow criminals to become even more dangerous. It might be nice to imagine fending off a cowardly burglar with an AK-47, but if that weapon is legal, then the burglar might very well have one of his own. Of course, access to dangerous weapons applies not only to would-be criminals, but to children and the mentally ill as well.
I could go on, but these are the points that I do not see addressed.
Most conservative arguments reduce to "The Second Amendment says this" (even when the Supreme Court, which generally knows better and settles such issues, has ruled otherwise), "We need to protect ourselves against criminals and tyranny," and "Gun control failed in locations A, B, and C while increased ownership succeeded in locations X, Y, and Z."
The first argument is not worth addressing because (1) it is a purely legal argument in the midst of moral issues that need to be addressed and (2) it is a legal argument that has already been rejected by the Supreme Court. Conservatives cannot use the law in their favor if the law is not in their favor.
The second argument is worth addressing, so I have. My points are precisely what must be addressed.
The third argument is also worth addressing, if only to point out (1) the perils of jumping to conclusions from mere correlation and (2) instances in which low gun ownership does not yield much crime and instances in which high gun ownership does yield much crime.
When I am told that these points have been addressed, offered a handful of dubiously relevant quotes from men long dead, and told that I reject conservative positions simply because I'm a liberal, of course I take a problem with F&B's tone. My points demand a proper response, not snarkiness and assaults on my character.
That doesn't sound like you are safer if you own a gun.
We do not see the progressive-liberals trying to eliminate or increase regulation of cars (and they are not even Constitutionally protected), and we do not see them trying to eliminate or increase the regulation of alcohol (if anything they want even more drugs legalized). So, in the case of drunk driving deaths of children, liberals apparently do not believe it is caused by the car, or by the drug, but they do try to prosecute the person who was drunk.
So does this mean that liberals believe that in the case of the death of a child by a drunk driving accident, the death was caused by the driver, but in the case of an intentional death by shooting the death was caused by the gun?
Really doesn't make much sense, does it?
Or maybe it does, when you realize that the left is only using the Sandy Hook tragedy to push their long standing agenda for gun control.
I'll reply to Ryan's glaring errors later when I have more time.
Are you suggesting that we regulate guns in the same manner as we regulate cars? That's not a bad idea. Lets do it.
With a driver's license you can drive a car legally. If you want to own a car you also need insurance.
I could see regulating guns in a manner similar to the way cars are regulated - except that we can't lose sight of the fact that owning a gun is a Constitutionally protected right, but owning a car is not. The bar for taking away an individual's gun rights would necessarily have to be somewhat higher than to take away a driver's license or a car.
Republicans in general are not opposed to all regulations of firearms, they are opposed to excessive and burdensome regulations, and regulations that would violate the 2nd Amendment.
Getting a drivers license involves training and testing. I think owning a gun should also. Do you?
Getting your drivers license taken away is not all that easy. It usually required multiple offenses or one very serious (felony level) offense. Seems about right for losing a gun license also.
In Illinois, one DUI can revoke your license for a year or longer with no other offenses. Being convicted of a felony revokes your right to own a gun.
The 3 month wait is a new occurrence. It used to be about two weeks until Obama was re-elected. Now it seems like everybody and his brother are lining up to buy guns.
There were nearly 1000 murders in Chicago last year (2012). Watch the murder rate drop as gun ownership increases.
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