Gun Control and Mass Murder

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Rederic
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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by Rederic » February 23rd, 2018, 3:38 pm

I see that Trump has accused the police officer who stood outside the school while the shooting was happening of being a coward. Kettle, pot, black?
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GE Morton
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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by GE Morton » February 23rd, 2018, 4:26 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
February 22nd, 2018, 7:05 am

I think the reason for debate about the subject is that it seems to be a matter of personal preference where exactly to draw this line. And that personal preference is often based on ideological convictions as to what kind of bunch of people (a.k.a. "society") we want to live in, and now much ideological commitment we have to the concept of individual liberty.
That is certainly true. The issue is whether we wish to live in a free society or a "safe" society. Gun rights advocates often quote Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety," a quote which resonates with many Americans. There is a slippery slope involved in many proposed gun restrictions: they raise the question, What other liberties would their advocates sacrifice to obtain a "safer" society? Should automobiles be banned in order to eliminate traffic fatalities? Matches, gasoline and other flammables banned to reduce the risk of fire? Or or do we only ban things and activities enjoyed by politically weak minorities (only about 25% of Americans own guns)?

Moreover, many of the restrictions proposed amount to political stagecraft, theater designed to convince the public that the pols are "doing something" about the problem, but whose actual impact will be negligible. A few years ago the "solution" of the week was banning "assault rifles." As it turned out, what constituted an "assault rifle" was merely a matter of cosmetics. The weapons to be banned were merely semi-auto rifles, which operated just like all other semi-auto rifles. Then there was the proposal to ban large magazines. But of course, it only takes 5 seconds to swap out a magazine. Now the "solution" is to ban all semi-auto rifles --- which make up the majority of modern rifles, and ALL handguns. Even a 1880 Colt .45 is semi-auto --- it will fire six rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger.

No angry young man will be deterred from his plan to shoot up his school merely because he can't get his hands on a semi-auto rifle. He'll use handguns instead. So will the next solution be banning any firearm except single-shot muskets?

[more later]

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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by Greta » February 23rd, 2018, 5:24 pm

Why is it absolutely essential and necessary for freedom for civilians to have semi automatic weapons. Not so long ago they didn't need them. Was the US less free in the 70s through a lack of military grade weaponry in the community?

The situation in the US is the same as in Somalia and Syria and other failing states - if a small portion of the population are effectively sponsoring a small civil war and are destroying the many, the only people who can do anything about it are the many.

However, all these Americans who are supposedly for gun law reform are not making any effort whatsoever to change it. All the effort made is coming from the unrepresentative minority while the rest follow weakly like sheep, the occasional weak protesting "baa" after a slaughter seems about the extent of their commitment to save themselves. Then again, they are afraid. The strongest anti gun advocate will always be the person who wears the biggest target.

So the cowed and beaten American people wait meekly for the next slaughter, let out another few bleats, and thus the dominance of conservative "freedom loving" types continues. What government-fearing types don't realise that they have become tools of oppression themselves, acting as a well-armed militia fired up by conservative propaganda. America is far from free, rather she is paralysed with fear of assassination, oppressed by those crowing most loudly about "freedom".

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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by GE Morton » February 23rd, 2018, 9:02 pm

Greta wrote:
February 23rd, 2018, 5:24 pm
Why is it absolutely essential and necessary for freedom for civilians to have semi automatic weapons. Not so long ago they didn't need them. Was the US less free in the 70s through a lack of military grade weaponry in the community?
Semi-auto firearms, both rifles and handguns, have been available much longer than that. The semi-auto M1 rifle was the standard US military issue in WWII. And semi-auto handguns have been around since the mid-19th century.

Methinks you don't understand the concept of freedom, or what it embraces. It is not restricted to things one "needs." It embraces whatever one desires --- political freedom is the freedom to live one's life as one chooses, pursue any interests or goals, indulge any preference or taste, without interference from the government, as long as one is not violating anyone else's rights. "Needs" are irrelevant. And 99% of gun owners never violate anyone else's rights.
The situation in the US is the same as in Somalia and Syria and other failing states - if a small portion of the population are effectively sponsoring a small civil war and are destroying the many, the only people who can do anything about it are the many.
School shootings and other mass killings hardly constitute a "small civil war." There is no coordination, no unity of purpose, no common cause or objective, no political or economic goal. These crimes are always committed by disaffected young men seeking vengeance against teachers or classmates who they think have disrespected or ignored them, a boss who has fired them, or against a world they believe does not understand or appreciate them. Or in many cases, just to gain attention --- to rise from obscurity and see one's mug on television. Every wave of media coverage of one shooting inspires another angry young man to relieve his frustrations in a similar fashion.
However, all these Americans who are supposedly for gun law reform are not making any effort whatsoever to change it.
That is because most of them realize that the only truly effective change would be to ban the possession of firearms and confiscate all those already held. Which is not only unconstitutional, but impossible.

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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by Steve3007 » February 23rd, 2018, 9:56 pm

GE Morton wrote:The issue is whether we wish to live in a free society or a "safe" society. Gun rights advocates often quote Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety," a quote which resonates with many Americans.
There is not a binary choice between freedom and safety. And of course there is the question of what exactly we mean by "freedom". In a sense, no matter what sort of society we live in, we're all free unless we're physically tied down or locked up. But clearly that's not what most people mean by the word. To most people, it's inextricably linked to concepts of safety and fear. I think most people probably think that they are more free to carry out a given activity if they have less fear of unpleasant consequences as a result, whatever the cause of those consequences.

If the situation where I live had reached a stage where my kids' teachers had to bring loaded guns into the classroom I personally wouldn't regard that as an enhancement of their, or my, freedom. Others might disagree. The question then is: why do teacher's not have to do that where I live? Have we given up some kind of greater freedom in exchange for the short-sighted gain of not having guns in school classrooms?

I've read that the quote from Benjamin Franklin was actually originally intended to mean something very different from, almost the opposite of, that which gun rights advocates apparently use it for. It was in support of the right of government to tax and govern in the interests of collective security. Or so I've read.
There is a slippery slope involved in many proposed gun restrictions: they raise the question, What other liberties would their advocates sacrifice to obtain a "safer" society? Should automobiles be banned in order to eliminate traffic fatalities? Matches, gasoline and other flammables banned to reduce the risk of fire?
Slippery slope "arguments" of the form "if you want to do A then I assert that you also want to do B" are often absurd, as in this case. The answer to the above questions would of course be: No. Of course not. But I presume these are the kinds of arguments that Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, had in mind in his speech when he characterized anybody who suggests any form of gun control as an enemy of freedom and a socialist.
Or or do we only ban things and activities enjoyed by politically weak minorities (only about 25% of Americans own guns)?
No, I'd say, when we're being rational, we tend to ban things based on an assessment of the ratio between the harm that they cause and the use that they have. A type of cost/benefit analysis. Of course, there are also less rational reasons, like reactions to extreme events.

In the UK, restrictions on gun ownership (specifically handguns) were tightened a great deal after the country's only ever school shooting, in Dunblane, Scotland in 1996. Clearly all bans that happen after specific events could be described, to some extent, as knee-jerk. But perhaps understandable.

As a side note: This may be wrong, but my reading of recent developments in US politics suggests that US gun rights advocates are not politically weak. They appear, at least from a distance, to be among the strongest advocacy groups in the country, with wholehearted support from the top of government.

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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by Steve3007 » February 23rd, 2018, 10:11 pm

To Greta:
G E Morton wrote:Methinks you don't understand the concept of freedom, or what it embraces. It is not restricted to things one "needs." It embraces whatever one desires --- political freedom is the freedom to live one's life as one chooses, pursue any interests or goals, indulge any preference or taste, without interference from the government, as long as one is not violating anyone else's rights. "Needs" are irrelevant. And 99% of gun owners never violate anyone else's rights.
I suggested above that "most people probably think that they are more free to carry out a given activity if they have less fear of unpleasant consequences as a result, whatever the cause of those consequences."

It seems to me that when identifying the possible causes of these unpleasant consequences, you only consider "the government". If you regard the government as the only actor who is capable of restricting your freedom to do whatever you desire (by imposing consequences on you, such as punishments) then I can see how you would come to the conclusions that you seem to come to. But, of course, this is not true is it? There are other actors who can also threaten me with unpleasant consequence if I choose to do something (like going to school) and who therefore restrict my freedom.

So, do you think perhaps there is a sense in which you have not fully understood the concept of freedom?

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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by GE Morton » February 23rd, 2018, 10:18 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
February 22nd, 2018, 7:05 am

Again, the question of what constitutes a "high probability of harm" is open to debate.
Well, everything is open to debate. But a sound law would spell out which factors increase that probability (based on historical and empirical evidence) and assign them weights.
Also, if no crime has been committed, I suggest it would be pretty difficult to have a court assess every single individual in the country to see if they have exhibited some kind of tendency to violence in the past. Easier just to have blanket restrictions on weapons and accept that this infringes on the rights of some peaceful people to bear arms in order to protect the rights of others.
It would also be easier to stop drunk driving and barroom brawling by banning liquor (we tried that once), end traffic fatalities by banning automobiles, end identity theft and other computer crime by banning credit cards and computers, etc. That rationale leads to consequences free people are not willing to accept.
I'm really talking about the general character of the environment in which we all have to exist. It goes back to the continuum I was talking about above, and the fact that some forms of harm are more direct and traceable, while others are indirect, and there's no simple "harm/no-harm" dividing line.
Oh, I think that line is quite clear and sharp. Can you provide some examples of indirect or ambiguous harm?
If theoretically giving people individual freedoms means that in practice, down the line, everybody is less free, then arguably those theoretical freedoms aren't worth as much as we think they are.
No one "gives" anyone else freedom, except in the sense of removing restraints previously placed by someone. Freedom is the natural condition of all persons, and indeed all animals. One person can only restrict another's freedom; he can't increase it beyond his natural endowment. And I'm not sure how gun ownership makes anyone less free (which I take was your thrust there). It does contribute to everyone's risk, but that additional risk does not diminish their freedom in any measurable way. Can you elaborate?
An example would be the suggestion by the US president, yesterday, that part of a solution to the problem of school shootings, which would also uphold the general right to bear arms, is for teachers to carry guns. It's a suggestion that's been made before by others. On the one hand, I can see the Libertarian argument for it. But on the other hand, I step back, do a sanity check, and think: would I really want to live in a society (or "collection of people", if you don't like that word) in which school teachers have to carry guns?
You may be misrepresenting Trump's position somewhat. Here are his actual remarks:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/22/politics ... index.html

No teacher would have to carry a gun or have one handy, but public knowledge that some of them might, with no knowledge of who those might be, would probably have some value as a deterrent --- not much, but some. Many would-be shooters would simply choose different targets.
A related issue is that of material equality. In my view, there is nothing inherently wrong with inequality. Equality is not a goal in itself. Inequality drives ambition and innovation. But if society (collection of people) were to reach a level of inequality such that the rich have to protect themselves with gated communities and private security firms then I would argue that the freedom which led to this level of inequality ultimately makes everyone less happy.
Really? You think that people living in gated communities are less happy than those who don't? What is the basis for that belief?
I would argue that it's generally beneficial to limit some freedoms even if they don't directly harm, or risk harming, others. I would say that some of those limits to freedom would take the form of taking part of people's income, in the form of taxation, to fund various things that I would regard as public services, because a society/bunch-of-people in which those services are available to all will tend to benefit everybody.
Well, that is another topic, but your claim there is obviously false. Taking wealth from Alfie in order to bestow benefits on Bruno rarely, if ever, benefits Alfie. If Alfie cannot afford to send his kid to Stanford because the government has seized 30% of his wealth he will not count that as a benefit.
This is not an explanation. It's a statistic. An explanation is a proposed reason why an act occurs. This is simply a statement about which group is predominantly performing that act.
Actually it is an explanation for the phenomenon at issue in this thread, i.e., Why is the US crime rate higher than that in other developed countries? The explanation is that the US has a larger number of persons from a crime-prone ethnic group than other developed countries. Why crime is more common among that group is a separate question. Crime rates are also high in all other countries with large black populations.

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/VC ... _desc=true

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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by Steve3007 » February 23rd, 2018, 10:53 pm

G E Morton wrote:No one "gives" anyone else freedom, except in the sense of removing restraints previously placed by someone. Freedom is the natural condition of all persons, and indeed all animals. One person can only restrict another's freedom; he can't increase it beyond his natural endowment. And I'm not sure how gun ownership makes anyone less free (which I take was your thrust there). It does contribute to everyone's risk, but that additional risk does not diminish their freedom in any measurable way. Can you elaborate?
I only have time to pick one point for now. I'll deal with the rest later.

I disagree that freedom is the natural condition of all people/animals, unless (as I discussed above) we're talking about a definition of "freedom" that means: not physically restrained. As I said, I don't think that is what most people would understand by the word, in the context of people, societies and governments. In that context, it's clearly not what you mean by the word. You seem to define freedom as: having no risk of punishment for one's actions by the government. In that sense, I am not free to commit murder. But in the narrower sense, of course, I am free to to that. I'm not physically restrained from doing it.

As I've said, governments are not the only actors who "punish" us for out actions. Animals in the wild are frequently "punished" in the sense that some actions cause them to be eaten by other animals or to starve. So they are not, in the sense that we're using the word, free. There are many actions for which they fear unpleasant consequences.

So, an increase in risk is generally a decrease in freedom. It seems to me that the reason why you don't agree is because, in considering restrictions on freedom, you only consider risks imposed by the government. But the government, like society, is a bunch of people. It's an actor like other actors.

One person can indeed increase another's freedom by acting to remove the risks associated with various activities.

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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by GE Morton » February 24th, 2018, 1:44 am

Steve3007 wrote:
February 23rd, 2018, 9:56 pm

There is not a binary choice between freedom and safety.
You're right; there is not. But it is tempting for those seeking safety to obtain it by restricting someone else's freedom.
And of course there is the question of what exactly we mean by "freedom". In a sense, no matter what sort of society we live in, we're all free unless we're physically tied down or locked up. But clearly that's not what most people mean by the word. To most people, it's inextricably linked to concepts of safety and fear. I think most people probably think that they are more free to carry out a given activity if they have less fear of unpleasant consequences as a result, whatever the cause of those consequences.
Some may so think, but if so they are re-defining the term. Political freedom means, classically, freedom from restraints imposed by other moral agents, especially by government. It does not mean, as FDR claimed, freedom from fear or freedom from want. Nor does it mean freedom from risk, or freedom from responsibility. That someone may fear sending their kids to school does not make them unfree to send them. They are not free to send them only if someone is forcibly preventing them from sending them.
If the situation where I live had reached a stage where my kids' teachers had to bring loaded guns into the classroom I personally wouldn't regard that as an enhancement of their, or my, freedom.
It wouldn't be. But neither would it be a diminution of your freedom.
The question then is: why do teacher's not have to do that where I live? Have we given up some kind of greater freedom in exchange for the short-sighted gain of not having guns in school classrooms?
That is a good question; it amounts to the basic question: why are these incidents occurring, in this country in this era? Clearly the rate of gun ownership is not the reason, since that rate has always been high, but these random mass shootings are phenomena of the past two decades or so. I'm confident that part of the reason is the advent of television and, more recently, the Internet. The publicity given these incidents makes them acceptable in some immature minds --- commonplace, routine, a kind of theater or perhaps a form of civil disobedience. It also makes celebrities of the perpetrators. Heinous crimes committed in earlier decades didn't inspire mimicry merely because few alienated teenage boys read newspapers. But they do watch television.
I've read that the quote from Benjamin Franklin was actually originally intended to mean something very different from, almost the opposite of, that which gun rights advocates apparently use it for. It was in support of the right of government to tax and govern in the interests of collective security. Or so I've read.
Yes. But the advice has taken on a more generalized meaning that inspires many people.
Slippery slope "arguments" of the form "if you want to do A then I assert that you also want to do B" are often absurd, as in this case. The answer to the above questions would of course be: No. Of course not. But I presume these are the kinds of arguments that Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, had in mind in his speech when he characterized anybody who suggests any form of gun control as an enemy of freedom and a socialist.
The slippery slope argument is not that if you want to do A you will also want to do B. Often the advocate for A will not want to do B, and may even oppose B. But he has given the advocate for B a precedent and a rationale for doing B.
No, I'd say, when we're being rational, we tend to ban things based on an assessment of the ratio between the harm that they cause and the use that they have. A type of cost/benefit analysis.
And that is reasonable --- provided the costs and benefits accrue to the same parties. I.e., I may not secure a benefit for myself by imposing a cost on you.
As a side note: This may be wrong, but my reading of recent developments in US politics suggests that US gun rights advocates are not politically weak. They appear, at least from a distance, to be among the strongest advocacy groups in the country, with wholehearted support from the top of government.
Gun enthusiasts have a vocal and well-financed lobby which contributes generously to political campaigns, but their popular support is soft, since only 25% of citizens would be directly affected by a gun ban.

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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by Greta » February 24th, 2018, 5:32 am

GE Morton wrote:
February 23rd, 2018, 9:02 pm
Greta wrote:
February 23rd, 2018, 5:24 pm
Why is it absolutely essential and necessary for freedom for civilians to have semi automatic weapons. Not so long ago they didn't need them. Was the US less free in the 70s through a lack of military grade weaponry in the community?
Semi-auto firearms, both rifles and handguns, have been available much longer than that. The semi-auto M1 rifle was the standard US military issue in WWII. And semi-auto handguns have been around since the mid-19th century.

Methinks you don't understand the concept of freedom, or what it embraces. It is not restricted to things one "needs." It embraces whatever one desires --- political freedom is the freedom to live one's life as one chooses, pursue any interests or goals, indulge any preference or taste, without interference from the government, as long as one is not violating anyone else's rights. "Needs" are irrelevant. And 99% of gun owners never violate anyone else's rights.
The issue is that prior assassinations, along with the shooter lobby's and various cowboys' bellicose language, necessarily act to squash the freedom of those who don't want to live in a society saturated with military grade weapons. Americans who don't like guns are being oppressed by shooters, who cannot play innocent, as though the intimidation factor didn't exist. It does.

There can thus be never be a great American champion of gun regulation, not one that lives long anyway. After all the massacres of children you'd think there would be one great anti-gun champion by now - but due to implied oppression by gun advocates - it is not possible for anyone to persist and keeping pushing too hard with this issue safely without a posse of security guards.

An influential anti gun champion capable of cutting through would need armed guards 24/7 for themselves and family, and they would not be able to speak, or even go out, in public without expensive minders and bulletproof vehicles and clothes. Otherwise assassination or professional execution would seem guaranteed, a la Silkwood.

So it is you who does not seem to understand freedom because you cannot see the oppression that your political allies bring to bear on the long-suffering majority. For the oppressed, oppression is a big deal, for oppressors it's just BAU.
GE Morton wrote:
The situation in the US is the same as in Somalia and Syria and other failing states - if a small portion of the population are effectively sponsoring a small civil war and are destroying the many, the only people who can do anything about it are the many.
School shootings and other mass killings hardly constitute a "small civil war." There is no coordination, no unity of purpose, no common cause or objective, no political or economic goal.
Gun deaths in the US have been at wartime levels for a long time now. The signs of history seem to point towards civil war; as you noted yourself, the schisms in the US appear to be beyond repair.
GE Morton wrote:
However, all these Americans who are supposedly for gun law reform are not making any effort whatsoever to change it.
That is because most of them realize that the only truly effective change would be to ban the possession of firearms and confiscate all those already held. Which is not only unconstitutional, but impossible.
This is the schism - those who make it impossible to bring in sensible regulation so that gun buyers are either doing so for sport or work. That's partly why the US is effectively starting a civil war. It starts with language and in recent years the US has been displaying the most hate-filled and objectifying rhetoric directed to fellow countrymen and women I have observed all my long life. There is no coming together for these groups.

Consider the "logic" of the gun lobby - young people smoking, drinking alcohol or driving is deemed too dangerous but semi automatics are easily accessible. Lobbyists do not care about freedom - that is mostly a snow job, as pointed out above - the issue is purely about their guns and their being too selfish and paranoid to accept a bit of red tape.

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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by Steve3007 » February 24th, 2018, 5:57 am

Another quick one about just one point for now:
G E Morton wrote:Political freedom means, classically, freedom from restraints imposed by other moral agents, especially by government.
As I said earlier, governments don't generally physically restrain us from doing things. They arrange it so that there are unpleasant consequences if we do those things; punishments.. So...
It does not mean, as FDR claimed, freedom from fear or freedom from want. Nor does it mean freedom from risk, or freedom from responsibility. That someone may fear sending their kids to school does not make them unfree to send them. They are not free to send them only if someone is forcibly preventing them from sending them.
...it does mean freedom from fear and risk. If I fear sending my children to school because of the possibly unpleasant consequences (imposed by another agent) of doing so then this reduces my freedom by exactly the same mechanism as if I fear punishment by the agent known as "government" for doing something illegal, like owning a gun. As I've said earlier, if you define "freedom" only as freedom from physical restraint then you believe that we are all completely free, regardless of the political complexion of our government, unless the government preemptively locks/ties everybody up. By that narrow definition of freedom, completely repealing the second amendment to the US Constitution and making it illegal to own any kind of firearm wouldn't curtail anybody's freedom. Everybody would still be free to own firearms. They would fear the consequences of doing so. Doing so would increase the risk of something unpleasant (a punishment) happening to them.

If you think that repealing the second amendment would reduce people's freedom then you do not define freedom in that narrow way. You define it as freedom from risk/fear of one particular agent among the various agents in the world: government. As I've said, only accounting for the consequences imposed by the particular group of people collectively known as government is lopsided.

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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by GE Morton » February 24th, 2018, 10:45 am

Greta wrote:
February 24th, 2018, 5:32 am

The issue is that prior assassinations, along with the shooter lobby's and various cowboys' bellicose language, necessarily act to squash the freedom of those who don't want to live in a society saturated with military grade weapons.
That is an interesting comment, Greta. Its premise underlies a number of public policy controversies. That premise is that "democracy" allows people to choose what kind of society in which they will live. But democracy doesn't entail that, and there is no freedom to choose the kind of society in which you live --- other than moving to a different one if you don't like your present one. The reason there can be no such choice is that a society is nothing but people, and choosing the kind of society in which you live entails choosing how other people in your society live their lives. But those are not your choices to make, via "democracy" or any other method. Only Alfie may choose how Alfie lives his life --- what religion he will follow, what interests he will pursue, what interpersonal relationships he will enter into, what tastes and preferences he will indulge, etc., etc. You have no say in the matter unless he violates some right of yours. And you have no right that he give up something he enjoys merely because you find it objectionable, distasteful, or worrisome. Alfie, who has not violated or threatened anyone's rights, has no duty to forego his interests merely to afford you peace of mind.

The character, culture of a society are unplannable, unprescribable. It is the dynamic product of the choices and idiosyncrasies of millions of autonomous agents, all acting in pursuit of their own diverse interests and interacting in unpredictable ways. Your only choice is to take it or leave it.
Americans who don't like guns are being oppressed by shooters, who cannot play innocent, as though the intimidation factor didn't exist. It does.
I assume that by "shooters" there you mean gun owners, since actual criminal shooters seldom play innocent. If so, then you're indulging in hyperbole. Are people who don't like rock music being oppressed by those who listen to it? People who don't like marijuana being oppressed by pot smokers? People who don't like gays being oppressed by them? A gun owner who has not injured or threatened anyone is in fact innocent. Someone who nonetheless feels intimidated by him should seek counseling.
Gun deaths in the US have been at wartime levels for a long time now. The signs of history seem to point towards civil war; as you noted yourself, the schisms in the US appear to be beyond repair.
These school and other mass shootings are distinct phenomena with different motivations and a different class of perpetrators than "routine" homicides. While the latter have some elements of "civil war," the former do not.
This is the schism - those who make it impossible to bring in sensible regulation so that gun buyers are either doing so for sport or work.
Well, most people who keep guns do so for personal protection, not for sport or work. And they would not consider a regulation which forecloses that purpose "sensible." It would also be unconstitutional.
Consider the "logic" of the gun lobby - young people smoking, drinking alcohol or driving is deemed too dangerous but semi automatics are easily accessible.
Actually, the age restrictions on gun purchases are about the same as for purchase of alcohol or tobacco. Here's a state-by-state list.

http://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/ ... nimum-age/

But just as with tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, a kid who wants a gun will be able to get one.

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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by GE Morton » February 24th, 2018, 11:32 am

Steve3007 wrote:
February 24th, 2018, 5:57 am

...it does mean freedom from fear and risk. If I fear sending my children to school because of the possibly unpleasant consequences (imposed by another agent) of doing so then this reduces my freedom by exactly the same mechanism as if I fear punishment by the agent known as "government" for doing something illegal, like owning a gun.
No, Steve. When the government enacts a law prescribing a punishment for some behavior it makes a threat, a threat made plausible by its past actions enforcing that law. Speculative "possible" actions by some unspecified agent do not constitute threats. If your neighbor threatens to shoot up the school your kid attends he is attempting to limit your freedom. He is not threatening it merely by owning a gun.
As I've said earlier, if you define "freedom" only as freedom from physical restraint then you believe that we are all completely free, regardless of the political complexion of our government, unless the government preemptively locks/ties everybody up.
I don't define freedom that way. A prohibition against certain behaviors, accompanied by a plausible threat of injury or loss for engaging in them, is also a restriction on freedom.

You seem to be equating risks with threats. The presence of guns in a community does indeed increase the risks of being shot. But unless you're hyper-risk-averse, that slightly increased risk will not limit your freedom. Indeed, you probably accept greater risks every day. In the US your chances of being killed in an auto accident on any given day are almost three times greater than being shot. Similarly, your kid runs a greater risk of being killed while being driven to or from school than in being shot while there.

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Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by Greta » February 24th, 2018, 4:13 pm

GE you are trying to defend the indefensible. Your weak rationalisations in the face of extraordinary tragedy might hold a little validity except that other western nations have successfully dealt with the issue.

The solutions are there, but the US has always been afraid of losing its identity and I suspect that most Americans would rather the country destroy itself than admit that Europe did something better :lol:

Do you think other western nations have banned guns? They haven't, though that's what the NRA might have told you. The fact is that there are many shooters, including a family member, in my country and Shooter magazine arrives at my home every month. Do you think that non shooters don't understand hobby shooting? Do you think we would deny you that? That's what you have been told countless times, no doubt. Not true. It's only regulation on the table, not a withdrawal of the right to own guns.

The smart thing is to conduct background checks and ensure that the legislative rights of gun ownership are counterbalanced by legislative responsibility, as routinely occurs in issues that have not been so politicised.

What impresses me is how arms companies have so many unpaid apologists and defenders, who will fight hard for arms companies' right to maximise profits. Machiavelli would be proud.

GE Morton
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Joined: February 1st, 2017, 1:06 am

Re: Gun Control and Mass Murder

Post by GE Morton » February 24th, 2018, 11:55 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
February 23rd, 2018, 10:11 pm

It seems to me that when identifying the possible causes of these unpleasant consequences, you only consider "the government". If you regard the government as the only actor who is capable of restricting your freedom to do whatever you desire (by imposing consequences on you, such as punishments) then I can see how you would come to the conclusions that you seem to come to. But, of course, this is not true is it? There are other actors who can also threaten me with unpleasant consequence if I choose to do something (like going to school) and who therefore restrict my freedom.
Absolutely. Preventing those transgressions is the precise raison d'etre of government. That is its chief (and arguably, its sole legitimate) function. As Hobbes put it, “The only way to establish a common power that can defend them from the invasion of foreigners and the injuries of one another, and thereby make them secure enough to be able to nourish themselves and live contentedly through their own labours and the fruits of the earth, is to confer all their power and strength on one man, or one assembly of men . . .” (Leviathan, Ch. 17). Or as Jefferson put it in his First Inaugural Address, "What more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens -- a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government . . . “

But of course, most gun owners make no threats against anyone. When one does the State should certainly act.

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