- Local time
- Today, 23:02
- Nov 3, 2010
Yeah. Weekends are to be avoided.
No noooo, US society is by no means primitive or immature. Not at all. Not in the least. It just does its thing by its God-given rights, and all outsiders can just butt out.
3) I'll say it again - it's not the guns, it's the culture. If you take out the gun suicides and the (fairly rare) gun accidents and just look at actual violence, the pattern is clear: the vast majority of gun violence is in the pattern of either "person gets angry, person shoots someone", or "person decides to kill someone, gets their gun, and does so". No amount of gun control short of disarming the populace - which is NOT going to happen - will stop that. Even if they managed it, it would just result in knifings and bludgeonings going way up.
Your as I remember more critical of the US's gun laws? So your just more violent generally? Is that your position?
“The United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun-safety laws -- even in the face of repeated mass killings.
"These things happen."
I think that the America violence fetish goes a long way toward making the problem worse, yes.
I'm pretty much a moderate where gun control here is concerned. I would like to see the laws tightened so that third party sales don't get exempted from the background check requirements. I'm also a big fan of things like the smart guns they invented a few years back, which can have any of a variety of ways to tell if the user is the owner, and only fire when that is the case. Also, note that almost invariably, when one of these mass shootings happen, the guns used were legally purchased and owned.
I don't believe that arming more people does anything but get more people hurt, as evidenced HERE or HERE, or, alternately, in the case of a robbery a couple years back where a vigilante with a gun was getting ready to intervene when a second robber walked up behind him and blew his head off. The New York Times had the excellent article The Myth of the Hero Gunslinger, too.
The gun lobby insists that more guns solve the problem, when the truth is that putting more guns out there exacerbates the problem. Pro-gun folks like D7A like to claim that had THEY been there, they would have shot the shooter and stopped the crime, but the truth is that these things happen in seconds, and civilians like D7A are not trained in target recognition, when to shoot and when not to, and honestly, in combat reactions. In a sudden combat situation, virtually every civilian FREEZES (save when someone is swinging something at you directly - that usually triggers the Fight or Flight response instead). Hell, I can guarantee you that I, as a civilian, could walk into a store with three or four people carrying rifles on their back, and have shot every single one of them before they could stop me. And after the freeze breaks, you almost always wind up with screaming people running every which way, which makes WONDERFUL cover for the shooter. Armed would-be vigilantes in THAT scenario could easily end up killing more people than the actual shooter.
Another issue is that we Americans are, honestly, just too ready to resort to violence. Kicking someone's ass is seen, culturally, as the appropriate response to any number of things, and in fact you're looked down on in one of those situations if you DON'T assault someone. Yes, we have laws against assault and battery, but you're pretty much considered a pansy if you call the cops for some guy groping your girlfriend rather than just beating him half to death. (And we all know I have a temper, so I'd beat him down, THEN call the cops, but I'm also a vindictive bastard and by no means not at least somewhat part of the problem.)
You can't turn on the television without seeing murders, death, and lots of explosions, and it really does desensitize you. (And I'm not claiming to be any better in that regard - my favorite shows have included NCIS, Battlestar Galactica, and Band of Brothers, and I love the Super Power Beatdown series on YouTube.) I really do think we need fewer bombs and more boobs on American TV.
On top of that, Stand Your Ground doesn't help matters any, either, as it removes the need to attempt to de-escalate the situation, leading to thugs like George Zimmerman (who not only continues to brag about murdering Trayvon Martin, but this week started re-tweeting photos of Martin's corpse). It's part and parcel of the conservative feeling that the US is an overall lawless place and you're always only seconds away from being mugged or killed. (Strangely, the muggers and murderers in their scenarios always seem to be black....)
So we get a culture that approves of violence, glorifies it in popular entertainment to the point of fetish, and a legal system that allows for a level of violence most of the rest of the world would never stand for. Yes, there was a day where if you weren't in a city, you had to be ready to defend yourself at the drop of a hat, but the frontier days are long gone.
Conservatives like to point at 'thugs', 'druggies', and the like as being the cause of all the gun violence, and to a point, they're not entirely off base. However, there's a well-known correlation between poverty and crime that American conservatives choose to ignore, because acting on that would require those social safety nets and assorted help for the poor that are so anathema to them. I personally think that if we could take steps to get the poverty-stricken back on their feet, we would see a drastic decrease in almost all crime, both violent and non, but good luck getting anything done in that regard when Wall Street runs Washington.
Overall, America's violent crime rate has been dropping for decades, even as mass shootings (defined as four or more people being shot in one incident or related series of incidents) have been climbing. The ramifications are, I'm afraid, too detailed for me to armchair psychoanalyze while I run my reports here. Perhaps Doc will be so kind?
I grew up with guns. Country guns. Shotguns. .45s and .38s and beer cans on fence posts. That was back before public gun violence became a daily routine. If somebody got shot, it was a drug deal or domestic violence. There were guns all around me, practically under my pillow, and nobody got hurt. No one I know ever threatened another person with a gun. The few violent men I knew fought with their fists. Pulling a gun to settle a score wouldn't be worth the shame. Guns were for targets and critters. It seems like some kind of mythical world now.
From my experience traveling in northern Europe consistently the past few years, I offer a theory that is beginning to take shape in my mind. I'm in the UK now; their gun laws are famously rigid. The Olympic pistol team had to leave the country to practice. Intentional homicide rate is maybe a third to a quarter of the U.S., but I don't think the stringent gun laws are entirely responsible.
More interesting to this essay are other countries I've been to regularly: The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland. Canada is notably similar in that there are a lot of guns, but not much gun violence compared to the U.S. Almost every grown man in Switzerland has an assault rifle issued by the military. They have gun festivals with shooting competitions for the kids.
All these countries also take care of their citizens. You can go to school, see a doctor, or take a year off work and have a baby without worrying about losing your home or other financial catastrophes. Taxes are high, of course. Gotta pay for that stuff. Canada is closer on the scale to the U.S.: lower taxes and less social spending than most of northern Europe, but more than the U.S.
In the U.S. you are mostly on your own. If you have a strong family and/or community, you're set. If you don't you're screwed. 50% of foster kids become homeless when they turn 18. Three million U.S. citizens are homeless. That's one percent of us, sleeping on the ground, going to jail to get a decent night's sleep and breakfast. College? You know how that goes. I have friends in their forties who are finally paying off their student loans. Need mental health care? That's not covered. The ACA is not a national health care plan. It's a way to force everyone to pay for the same miserable shit that was available before. Very few people are better off with it. I'm one of them and I can still see it's a bad deal for the country. If you lose your job in the U.S., it can be life-threatening. How would you react to a life-threatening situation?
When millions of people live close to the bone in a country that doesn't seem to care about them, and the most effective weapons in the world are widely available, it doesn't take a lot of imagination to paint the resulting picture. It's not much harder to own a gun in Germany than it is to own one here. We have laws that prohibit convicted felons, the mentally ill, and non-citizens from owning guns. There are loopholes, but that's also true elsewhere. For instance, self-defense is not an acceptable reason to own a gun in the Netherlands, but being a member of a shooting club is. If you want a gun for self defense, you join a shooting club. Duh.
The availability of guns seems to be a problem in our country, but not a problem in others. As always, extreme viewpoints are suspect- "Guns are the problem" is just as extreme as "I should be able to openly carry an assault rifle into a department store." We do have laws. Colorado, one of the most gun-lovin', property-rights-conservative states in the union, passed a great piece of legislation after the school shooting in Columbine, legislation that was successful largely because part of its focus was to protect the rights of gun owners.
I appreciate everyone's passion on the issue. Sharing links from far-left and far-right sources is not likely to generate a productive discussion. Real people don't think that way. Real conversations don't happen in platitudes and memes.
Americans have a constitutional right to bear arms. Elected officials have a directive to ensure public safety. Humans have a responsibility to take care of each other. We're not all keeping our end of the bargain. I think socialism and the second amendment ought to meet and work things out. Education, health care, and a living wage might make guns fun again.
I'm not a political guy but it seems important to talk about this national crisis- a spiritual crisis, really. Does this sound foolish to anyone? Does it feel like a new way of looking at it? Did anybody else have a time in their lives when guns were kind of innocent and fun?
Please no yelling, name-calling, or other horseshit on my Facebook page. Imagine we're all gathered around after a funeral. Because we kind of are. Just share and let share. Thanks.
Just been watching Obama's comments on today's tradegy. I sympathise with his views that some thing must be done to bring in some sort of control.
America needs to accept there must be some restrictions on personal freedom to prevent these horrors.
If they don't, then the rest of the civilised world will feel they deserve it.