Gun laws do they work (1 Viewer)

spikepl

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LOL ... here we go again, so I won't even bother.

There is something genetic about this apparently, so as Colin the Incorrigible said, it will just go on and on, while we the onlookers maintain our astonishment.
 

Frothingslosh

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1) In regards to AG's article, while the author does make some good points, I have to wonder why he's taking his ideas about America from television shows. Mature people would understand that TV doesn't show normal life, and that 'reality tv' has no actual relationship to reality.

2) I'm starting to think that spikepl is very nearly as foaming-at-the-mouth-anti-American as Collin. Yes, let's link an Australian magazine slamming the US for the shootings but refuse to point out all the outcry from right here in America about it. (Also, the inevitable right-wingers and politicians decoupling from the NRA's teat to beat their chests about there needing to be MORE guns on the streets. But then, politicians here always say what their owners tell them to.)

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.

4) 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?
 

AccessBlaster

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We do have our growing pains. After all we haven't had the luxury of a millennium to attempt to get our act together.
 

AnthonyGerrard

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1)

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?
 

Frothingslosh

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Your as I remember more critical of the US's gun laws? So your just more violent generally? Is that your position?

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.
 

Frothingslosh

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AnthonyGerrard

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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.

Your take on guns to me seems so much more sensible than the NRA. If you don't mind me saying some of your reasons why , social security, machoism seem very akin to what the guy in the Aussie paper said in my post a few back.

I'm intrigued if the US is a violent as you say. I live in a "big" working class UK city, one like most of then that have a bit of a reputation. Though London the most violent and crime ridden by a long shot, by the statistics.
Having said that I go out into the city once a week, to drink, I go out locally too probably once a week sometimes not the best areas. But in 10 , 15 years I haven't seen any physical stuff at all. It exists all right, but I don't see it. I'm 40 though, so I'm in pubs bars where its mixed ages, teens to pensioners, rather than rampant testosterone, acting tough.
Is that not the same in the US?
 

Frothingslosh

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Overall, it's really not more violent than most places you may visit in Europe; we're still talking less than a hundred violent crimes per hundred thousand residents yearly, if I remember my numbers correctly.

Most of the violent crime seems to happen in poverty-stricken areas, and often is related in some way to drugs, gangs, or both. Those aren't the stories you see on the news, though - what shows up in the news are the outliers, and in a country of over 300,000,000 people, those outliers spring up every day.

In my life, I have spent 11 years in Flint, grew up fairly close to Detroit, and spent years going to Pontiac (another really rough city) every weekend. I've lived in East St. Louis (when there was an active serial killer dumping bodies in the dumpster AT MY WORKPLACE once a month), and I've lived outside Washington DC, which is also known as a very violent, very dangerous place.

In that time, I have been mugged (with a baseball bat) exactly once, been shot at exactly once, and (not counting school) been in precisely 3 fights, all three of which happened in bars. And that is coming from a 44 year old who has spent years living in or near some EXTREMELY dangerous cities. Most Americans have spent their entire lives in much safer places than I and have never in their lives encountered serious violence.

The problem honestly seems to be that when the violence DOES happen, it escalates here really, REALLY fast.
 
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AccessBlaster

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Until we acknowledge the mental health of our youth, everything else is mute.
 

The_Doc_Man

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FrothingSlosh:

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?

An increase in mass shootings coupled with a general decrease in violent crime is a sign of a change in the demographics of those perpetrating these crimes. I have some thoughts on that subject. (You know me... I ALWAYS have thoughts on something or another.)

To a certain degree I blame the sensationalist news media, which in the incessant race for readership or viewership, hypes such events as the multi-victim shooter who maims or kills with seeming disregard for the value of human life. There are cultures in this world that HAVE no regard for the value of human life - unless that human is "in their gang." (religious or political gangs). They kill children who DARE to go to a secular school. The kill villagers who don't support their politics. They ra** and murder without regard to consequences.

I also blame organized religion and their really STUPID (abysmally stupid) censorship policies. In movies, you can have the Dirty Dozen or the Expendables or the Magnificent Seven shoot off hundreds of rounds and very few people get hurt. There is no collateral damage. There is just "the good guys triumph over the bad guys in the end." (If that isn't a religious analog of "good guys go to Heaven" then I don't know what would be.) But if you DARE to even briefly THINK about showing something sexual, then {gasp} the religious wonks of the world call you a morally improper person. If you dare to show a married couple in bed, they have to be wearing pajamas and also have to be under two or three layers of covers.

In war movies you can show portrayals of dead bodies, even with some pretty gruesome special effects for missing body parts and gaping holes in bodies. But in romantic movies where the man and woman have perfectly peaceful intentions, she better not even show the slightest edge of an aureole and might even have to wear special nipple covers to avoid showing anatomical shapes under clothing. (The exception is, of course, that the slut of the movie can do without the "pastiest" because ... well, she's a slut - so you expect her to be provocative and immoral.)

Am I just not seeing the bigger picture here? Would a reduction in movie violence and an increase in movie sexuality be such a bad thing? NOTE: If your favorite reading matter is the KJV Bible, don't bother to answer the question.

Today's disaffected youth suffers from that most terrible of all afflictions - teen angst - that affects nearly everyone in that demographic. (To varying degrees, of course.) When the kids grow up watching movies and TV, they see the aftermath of other people who have the knowledge to use a weapon but not the knowledge of how to peacefully resolve conflicts.

Parents are so busy trying to make ends meet to provide for their kids that they don't have time to actually do parenting. How many times do we find one parent with two jobs or perhaps both parents working long hours just so they could make enough money to keep the wolf from the door?

One major problem with making ends meet is that all the really neat stuff shown on TV doesn't tell you the REAL price tag of ownership. If it weren't for being on-call at work, I wouldn't own a cell phone and would not have that monthly drain on expenses. Kids don't understand and don't appreciate what it costs to have such luxuries and the parents don't seem to know the word "NO" - or perhaps they are too tired for the fight that occurs when they use that simple word. And heavens forfend that any of the makers of the "smart phone" or the networks that support them would hear me call such items "luxuries." They would probably have a heart attack if such word got out.

Bear with me during what might initially seem to be a diversion. While it is perhaps an exaggeration and deals in stereotypes, I find the comic strip "Curtis" to be a very interesting and highly appropriate reference to kids with unsatisfied material desires and parents who struggle to provide material needs like food and shelter. The kids do their thing day by day, blissfully unaware of the struggle, while their parents slowly grind themselves to dust on that grindstone. The kids in the strip are either victims, artful dodgers, or thugs, but they have no skills at reconciliation and no ideas on how to handle adversity.

Kids in that circumstance grow up with an incomplete appreciation of reality and sometimes act out due to their angst. I am not claiming that the "Curtis" strip is a cause of such angst. It is a reflection of that angst. If you look at some of the cases of kids doing a mass shooting in a school, often you find that the kid was bullied. OK, that should not be an excuse, and I don't claim that it is. But if a kid is bullied, has typical teen / young adult insecurities, and has no resolution skills, you have the most volatile mix imaginable.

In the comic strip, Curtis (the protagonist of the strip) is frequently bullied by villains "Derrick" and "Onion." His homework motivation varies from non-existent to worse. He has a hopelessly doomed crush on "Michelle," whose existence is so self-centered as to be laughable. He has a friend "Chutney" who would be his devoted girlfriend if only he could turn his head from Michelle's train wreck, but he runs from her because of his seemingly morbid fascination for Michelle. His dad chain-smokes to relieve stress and is a heart-attack in waiting. Curtis's stresses, if not managed by his mother and father, would certainly lead him to become yet another disaffected youth. It offers an interesting view of the microcosm in which many inner-city kids find themselves. It might not be the funniest strip you've ever seen - but as a reflection of a part of our culture, I recommend it.

The question which FrothingSlosh referred to me - armchair psychological analysis of shooting trends - can be answered as saying that our society has learned much about physical and material needs but has learned next to nothing about social and emotional needs. (I refer to Society as a whole when discussing what we have or have not learned.) The issues of capitalism reaching to excessive levels and driving people to reach for the unreachable star leaves us with too many men of La Mancha tilting at too many windmills.
 

Rabbie

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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.
 

Frothingslosh

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Here's an excellent essay on the whole gun control topic that's getting pretty popular:

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?

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Frothingslosh

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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.

The problem is, as is apparent in his speech, that he's had to give up on that goal. The GOP flat out will NEVER allow gun-control legislation to go forward, and he has his hands full with the Iran deal and the hundreds (if not thousands) of federal appointments (judges, district attorneys, minor things like that) they STILL refuse to allow him to fill. He has to pick his fights carefully if he wants to get anything done.
 

Rabbie

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Then the GOP (Republicans) must accept that they are doing nothing to improve America's standing in the eyes of the civilised world.

Perhaps they want their country to appear to be reactionary and uncivilised but that is their choice.

Personally I believe that the USA is better than that.
 

Frothingslosh

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It's more that they don't really care what the rest of the world thinks - remember Bush II, after all. In most conservatives' minds, the US is still the bastion of the free world, front and center in the war against Oppression and Evil.

It's like they don't realize how much has changed since 1991. As far as they are concerned, you either suck up to the US, or you're an enemy.
 

Brianwarnock

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One problem is the poor wording of the second amendment, perhaps the original writers had no reckoned on the 20th century lawyers.

This link provides an interesting read

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opin...a19578-b8fa-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html

It suggests the following

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”

I'm sure that's what was intended and seems to be the situation in that much quoted country by the gun nuts, Switzerland
.

Brian
 

AccessBlaster

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The people who commit serial or mass shooting are mentally ill. It's estimated that 1% of the population is affected with schizophrenia or some form of paranoia, a small segment of them will commit violent crime. Dealing directly with these individuals would be easier than taking away the guns from the 99% IMHO.

BTW in most cases these individuals have had numerous contacts with police and health care agencies.

Its like our illegal alien problem, do you really want to try and deport 12 million people or do you want to deal with the 1%.
 

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