Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

Use this forum to discuss the June 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell
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Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

Post by Sushan »

This topic is about the June 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell


Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (1776)........Witness the often quoted portion of the Declaration declaring under the laws of nature and nature’s God, “that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life liberty and pursuit of happiness.”
(Location 152 - Kindle version)

Since the beginning of America liberty to live has been declared in its constitution. But recently we see how this right is being violated by few men running around firing their personally owned guns. Even after a number of such incidents, no drastic measures are taken to control gun ownership, and still there are a lot of people who support the privilege of owning guns.

Have American minds and methods deviated from its original idea on 'life liberty and pursuit of happiness'?
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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

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We can discuss this one in depth, as we have done before, but the problem remains. Americans are addicted to the possession of killing-tools. Whatever anyone says to them, they insist that the only way they can live safely is with an AK-47 in the 'closet', 'just in case'... 🤔
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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

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Pattern-chaser wrote: June 6th, 2022, 9:38 am We can discuss this one in depth, as we have done before, but the problem remains. Americans are addicted to the possession of killing-tools. Whatever anyone says to them, they insist that the only way they can live safely is with an AK-47 in the 'closet', 'just in case'... 🤔
Ok, let's inject a bit more accuracy to the subject matter. First, "Americans" in general (meaning a statistical majority) are in favor of a change in gun laws, among the more popular are restrictions on "assault style" semi-auto rifles, especially with large magazines.

A minority of the populations of every country would like to have access to full auto guns, like AK-47s. Some actually do, say Switzerland, where gun killing is average to below average when compared worldwide.

You seem to be describing a certain American party's politicians, not Americans.
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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

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Sushan wrote: June 6th, 2022, 7:18 am This topic is about the June 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell


Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (1776)........Witness the often quoted portion of the Declaration declaring under the laws of nature and nature’s God, “that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life liberty and pursuit of happiness.”
(Location 152 - Kindle version)

Since the beginning of America liberty to live has been declared in its constitution. But recently we see how this right is being violated by few men running around firing their personally owned guns. Even after a number of such incidents, no drastic measures are taken to control gun ownership, and still there are a lot of people who support the privilege of owning guns.

Have American minds and methods deviated from its original idea on 'life liberty and pursuit of happiness'?
Have American minds and methods deviated from its original idea on 'life liberty and pursuit of happiness'?

Probably have, but that is a statement of ideals in the Declaration of Independence - It is not a statement of law.

The Constitution however is a statement of law - and most important in this case is the SECOND AMENDMENT which states:
Passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791. The first 10 amendments form the Bill of Rights

2. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Of course this is open to interpretation - but one of the more recent rulings by the Supreme Court says this:

"Until recently, the judiciary treated the Second Amendment almost as a dead letter. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), however, the Supreme Court invalidated a federal law that forbade nearly all civilians from possessing handguns in the nation’s capital. A 5–4 majority ruled that the language and history of the Second Amendment showed that it protects a private right of individuals to have arms for their own defense, not a right of the states to maintain a militia."

So you, and others may be 'happier' if private citizens did not own guns
- But many would be very unhappy with changing the Constitution
to suit the whims of a 'pursuit of happiness' philosophy.

Of course nobody wants homicidal lunatics roaming around with guns :!:

But what to do about that problem :?:

I started a post on this about 10 years ago still running here on Philosophy Discussion Forum:

"Gun Control and Mass Murder"
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7695

[NOTE: Opening post erroneously states that Australia had outlawed all guns - In fact Australia outlawed many guns, but not all,
and put the rest of private gun ownership under much tighter regulation]
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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

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Pattern-chaser wrote: June 6th, 2022, 9:38 am We can discuss this one in depth, as we have done before, but the problem remains. Americans are addicted to the possession of killing-tools. Whatever anyone says to them, they insist that the only way they can live safely is with an AK-47 in the 'closet', 'just in case'... 🤔
LuckyR wrote: June 6th, 2022, 3:14 pm Ok, let's inject a bit more accuracy to the subject matter. First, "Americans" in general (meaning a statistical majority) are in favor of a change in gun laws, among the more popular are restrictions on "assault style" semi-auto rifles, especially with large magazines.

A minority of the populations of every country would like to have access to full auto guns, like AK-47s. Some actually do, say Switzerland, where gun killing is average to below average when compared worldwide.

You seem to be describing a certain American party's politicians, not Americans.
Yes and no. 😉 For a start, I view America from the UK, on the edge of (but no longer part of 😥) Europe. From a distance, I get a view that you do not, caught up in the middle of it all. I do not differentiate between the two American political parties; they seem little different to me. Both of them seem very Right-wing, pro-Individual, anti-government, anti-social, and pro-punishment.

Of course, Americans vary in their support for private gun ownership. But these Americans are all mixed together, and the consensus that seems to emerge is that 'Americans' are strongly in favour of the possession of massacre-tools by any and all. I have heard of the majority of Americans who would like some form of gun control, but I have seen no action. Many of them only want to limit the most mega-powerful weapons anyway. But any multi-shot gun will do to kill a few schoolkids; it doesn't take a machine-gun. 😥

So yes, you are right to say that I am looking at Americans from a long way away, and seeing them to be pretty much the same as each other. Just as, from the outside, you might see that 'the UK voted for Brexit', when the split was very even, and 48% were opposed to it.
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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

Post by LuckyR »

Pattern-chaser wrote: June 7th, 2022, 5:40 am
Pattern-chaser wrote: June 6th, 2022, 9:38 am We can discuss this one in depth, as we have done before, but the problem remains. Americans are addicted to the possession of killing-tools. Whatever anyone says to them, they insist that the only way they can live safely is with an AK-47 in the 'closet', 'just in case'... 🤔
LuckyR wrote: June 6th, 2022, 3:14 pm Ok, let's inject a bit more accuracy to the subject matter. First, "Americans" in general (meaning a statistical majority) are in favor of a change in gun laws, among the more popular are restrictions on "assault style" semi-auto rifles, especially with large magazines.

A minority of the populations of every country would like to have access to full auto guns, like AK-47s. Some actually do, say Switzerland, where gun killing is average to below average when compared worldwide.

You seem to be describing a certain American party's politicians, not Americans.
Yes and no. 😉 For a start, I view America from the UK, on the edge of (but no longer part of 😥) Europe. From a distance, I get a view that you do not, caught up in the middle of it all. I do not differentiate between the two American political parties; they seem little different to me. Both of them seem very Right-wing, pro-Individual, anti-government, anti-social, and pro-punishment.

Of course, Americans vary in their support for private gun ownership. But these Americans are all mixed together, and the consensus that seems to emerge is that 'Americans' are strongly in favour of the possession of massacre-tools by any and all. I have heard of the majority of Americans who would like some form of gun control, but I have seen no action. Many of them only want to limit the most mega-powerful weapons anyway. But any multi-shot gun will do to kill a few schoolkids; it doesn't take a machine-gun. 😥

So yes, you are right to say that I am looking at Americans from a long way away, and seeing them to be pretty much the same as each other. Just as, from the outside, you might see that 'the UK voted for Brexit', when the split was very even, and 48% were opposed to it.
It is obvious that there has been zero progress, legislatively on the issue of gun reform/control in the US. The reason is that the Senate needs 10 votes from the other party (since it is split 51/50) to pass anything and one party is 100% (50 votes) against any and all gun reform. Now keep in mind that depending on the type of gun reform proposed as much as 60% of the members of this party supports gun law changes, yet zero % of the Congress members will support it. Why? Because not all wings of the party bother to vote in the primaries. As expected, party fanatics tend to vote in off year elections, so while 60% of the party supports gun reform, <50% of primary voters do in this party, thus zero sitting legeslators will support it.

The other party routinely calls for law change and actually proposes and passes legislation through the House (where a simple majority is required)
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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

Post by Gee »

Sushan wrote: June 6th, 2022, 7:18 am This topic is about the June 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell
Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (1776)........Witness the often quoted portion of the Declaration declaring under the laws of nature and nature’s God, “that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life liberty and pursuit of happiness.”
(Location 152 - Kindle version)

Since the beginning of America liberty to live has been declared in its constitution. But recently we see how this right is being violated by few men running around firing their personally owned guns. Even after a number of such incidents, no drastic measures are taken to control gun ownership, and still there are a lot of people who support the privilege of owning guns.

Have American minds and methods deviated from its original idea on 'life liberty and pursuit of happiness'?
You could be a reporter and write for the news, as this would make a popular article -- even though it is nonsense. The news is full of this kind of bad logic and emotional manipulation. You are implying that IF gun policy were changed, then there would no longer be a "few men running around firing their personally owned guns". IF "drastic measures are taken to control gun ownership" no one will be killed with a gun! Wonderful! All we have to do to accomplish this is to trash the Constitution. Except that people will still be killed with guns, knives, cars, fists, and in dozens of other ways, so instead of solving anything, we will simply have jeopardized the Constitution and created another problem.

The last time this issue came up, I went on Wiki and looked up preventable deaths, and what I found was surprising. Deaths caused by guns and even by drunk drivers was way down in the percentages, but deaths caused by doctors and hospitals was at the top of preventable deaths. This seemed very unlikely, but I remember that back in the 1970's, I believe, there was a problem with nurses in California, who were severely underpaid and overworked -- they wanted to strike. Everyone said, "No. You can't do that. People will die.", but they did it anyway. When it was all over and the statistics were checked, the surprising discovery was that less people died during the strike. After investigations, it was discovered that less people died because there were less surgeries and procedures done on patients, because the doctors and staff were busy doing the nurses jobs. Only life saving procedures were done during that time. So apparently the nurses were enabling doctors, who were a little careless. Do you think we should write an Amendment to the Constitution that would protect us from doctors? Maybe we should ban cars?

If anyone really wants to talk about this problem of people shooting kids in schools, then we need to actually think about what is causing the problem, because it is not the Constitution.

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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

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Gee wrote: June 7th, 2022, 4:58 pm You are implying that IF gun policy were changed, then there would no longer be a "few men running around firing their personally owned guns". IF "drastic measures are taken to control gun ownership" no one will be killed with a gun! Wonderful! All we have to do to accomplish this is to trash the Constitution.
Perhaps your Constitution need not be "trashed", but only updated in the light of changes in our world since it was written?

Gun deaths and injuries are more common in the USA than in most other countries, some of which also allow private gun ownership, but without the problems that seem to beset America. Changes to your Constitution might improve matters, but it looks to me like more fundamental, and wholly cultural, changes might achieve the best effects?
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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

Post by Gee »

Pattern-chaser wrote: June 9th, 2022, 11:49 am
Gee wrote: June 7th, 2022, 4:58 pm You are implying that IF gun policy were changed, then there would no longer be a "few men running around firing their personally owned guns". IF "drastic measures are taken to control gun ownership" no one will be killed with a gun! Wonderful! All we have to do to accomplish this is to trash the Constitution.
Perhaps your Constitution need not be "trashed", but only updated in the light of changes in our world since it was written?

Gun deaths and injuries are more common in the USA than in most other countries, some of which also allow private gun ownership, but without the problems that seem to beset America. Changes to your Constitution might improve matters, but it looks to me like more fundamental, and wholly cultural, changes might achieve the best effects?
"Changes to your Constitution might improve matters?" Might? Are you seriously suggesting that we change the foundation of our government because it might solve the problem? Would you change the foundation of your house because it might make things better? What if it made things worse?

Back when I was studying law, there was a case that came up in California in the 1960's or 1970's. It was about a man who admittedly beat his wife with the express purpose of making her miscarry her pregnancy. Apparently the wife had told him that she was getting a divorce and explained that she was going to take half of his business, his money, his home, and was then going to make him pay for the support of her child for 18 to 20 years -- as was her legal right. He didn't like it, so in order to mitigate his damages, he beat her until she miscarried, saving himself 18 to 20 years of support payments. Apparently, he seriously doubted that the child was his, and had no intention of paying for it for a third of his lifetime. DNA testing might have released him from that responsibility, but maybe not as they were married at the time of conception. Different laws are written differently.

The police were called and he admitted his crime, but to their surprise, they could not charge him with anything more than assault. There was no law against killing a fetus. This would never do! The California legislature called an emergency session and wrote a law to ensure that a fetus would be protected and this could never happen again. Problem solved. Right?

Then the real trouble started; doctors and hospitals started refusing medical treatment to many pregnant women. Some pregnant women died. Why? Because doctors did not mind if they were sued because they made a mistake, but they were damned reluctant to go to prison for murder if they made a mistake and a fetus died. The law has since been changed, and changed, and changed, and there is still no resolution as to the rights of the woman, the man, the fetus, and the community -- as is evidenced by the recent Supreme Court activities regarding abortion.

It is not a good idea, nor is it wise to change laws because they "might" solve a problem. Nor is it a good idea to change laws because they need "updating" because of "changes in our world" since the laws were written. The Books of Law in the Old Testament of the Bible treats causing the death of a fetus as a civil act, not a criminal act, and those laws are thousands of years old, but still relevant.

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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

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Gee wrote: June 9th, 2022, 11:47 pm "Changes to your Constitution might improve matters?" Might? Are you seriously suggesting that we change the foundation of our government because it might solve the problem?
I'm suggesting that changing your Constitution, or maybe even the more fundamental (and cultural) stuff that lies behind it, might be worth considering. After serious and careful consideration, it might turn out that there are changes that could be made that would improve matters. But by that time, we would be rather more confident than "might", having given the matter the serious consideration that I describe.

Knee-jerk reactions would benefit no-one, IMO. On that, at least, we can surely agree?
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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

Post by Gee »

Pattern-chaser wrote: June 10th, 2022, 6:40 am
Gee wrote: June 9th, 2022, 11:47 pm "Changes to your Constitution might improve matters?" Might? Are you seriously suggesting that we change the foundation of our government because it might solve the problem?
I'm suggesting that changing your Constitution, or maybe even the more fundamental (and cultural) stuff that lies behind it, might be worth considering. After serious and careful consideration, it might turn out that there are changes that could be made that would improve matters. But by that time, we would be rather more confident than "might", having given the matter the serious consideration that I describe.

Knee-jerk reactions would benefit no-one, IMO. On that, at least, we can surely agree?
Sorry it took so long to get back to you.

Of course we can agree on that; unfortunately, I believe that this talk of changing the Constitution in order to resolve the problem of people shooting kids in schools is a "knee-jerk reaction". That is why I can not support the idea.

The Constitution is over 200 years old, guns being owned by private citizens is over 200 years old, and kids have been in schools for over 200 years, but the problem of people shooting kids in schools is relatively new. So did it take 150 years for us to come up with the idea of shooting kids in schools, or is there maybe a different reason for this development?

So do you have any evidence that this problem started in the US about 200 years ago, or at least more than 40 or 50 years ago?

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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

Post by UniversalAlien »

Sushan wrote: June 6th, 2022, 7:18 am This topic is about the June 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell


Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (1776)........Witness the often quoted portion of the Declaration declaring under the laws of nature and nature’s God, “that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life liberty and pursuit of happiness.”
(Location 152 - Kindle version)

Since the beginning of America liberty to live has been declared in its constitution. But recently we see how this right is being violated by few men running around firing their personally owned guns. Even after a number of such incidents, no drastic measures are taken to control gun ownership, and still there are a lot of people who support the privilege of owning guns.

Have American minds and methods deviated from its original idea on 'life liberty and pursuit of happiness'?
THOMAS JEFFERSON also said:
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
- Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776

"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787
"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
- Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776

But what about the children you ask - Isn't this a good reason to revoke the Second Ammendment :?:

For this we have to go back to the 20th Century and hear what one of the most famous {or infamous} gun control advocates
had to say. Yes, he was from Germany but many gun control advocates seem to favor his logic:
“The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”
― Adolf Hitler
So rather than do the right thing by adding effective security to ALL schools - the 'who gives a damn about the Constitution'
group would rather disarm all citizens and flush the Constitution.


“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

– George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905.
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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

Post by Sushan »

Pattern-chaser wrote: June 6th, 2022, 9:38 am We can discuss this one in depth, as we have done before, but the problem remains. Americans are addicted to the possession of killing-tools. Whatever anyone says to them, they insist that the only way they can live safely is with an AK-47 in the 'closet', 'just in case'... 🤔
I do not think that all the Americans feel the same. The anti-gun movement also happens within America, lead by the Americans who think guns are unnecessary for a civilized society. Yet, quite a significant number of people believe that they need guns, and that is the problem to be addressed.
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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

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LuckyR wrote: June 6th, 2022, 3:14 pm
Pattern-chaser wrote: June 6th, 2022, 9:38 am We can discuss this one in depth, as we have done before, but the problem remains. Americans are addicted to the possession of killing-tools. Whatever anyone says to them, they insist that the only way they can live safely is with an AK-47 in the 'closet', 'just in case'... 🤔
Ok, let's inject a bit more accuracy to the subject matter. First, "Americans" in general (meaning a statistical majority) are in favor of a change in gun laws, among the more popular are restrictions on "assault style" semi-auto rifles, especially with large magazines.

A minority of the populations of every country would like to have access to full auto guns, like AK-47s. Some actually do, say Switzerland, where gun killing is average to below average when compared worldwide.

You seem to be describing a certain American party's politicians, not Americans.
Yes, even Baiden is trying to remove assault rifles from the common market, to make them out of reach to the ordinary civilians. But it seems like even he is going to let the Americans to have access to 'some guns' which still can kill others. Why none of the presidents are keen on totally banning guns? Is America that much an unsafe place to roam around without having a gun?
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Re: Life Liberty vs Gun Policy

Post by Sushan »

UniversalAlien wrote: June 6th, 2022, 6:24 pm
Sushan wrote: June 6th, 2022, 7:18 am This topic is about the June 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell


Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (1776)........Witness the often quoted portion of the Declaration declaring under the laws of nature and nature’s God, “that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life liberty and pursuit of happiness.”
(Location 152 - Kindle version)

Since the beginning of America liberty to live has been declared in its constitution. But recently we see how this right is being violated by few men running around firing their personally owned guns. Even after a number of such incidents, no drastic measures are taken to control gun ownership, and still there are a lot of people who support the privilege of owning guns.

Have American minds and methods deviated from its original idea on 'life liberty and pursuit of happiness'?
Have American minds and methods deviated from its original idea on 'life liberty and pursuit of happiness'?

Probably have, but that is a statement of ideals in the Declaration of Independence - It is not a statement of law.

The Constitution however is a statement of law - and most important in this case is the SECOND AMENDMENT which states:
Passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791. The first 10 amendments form the Bill of Rights

2. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Of course this is open to interpretation - but one of the more recent rulings by the Supreme Court says this:

"Until recently, the judiciary treated the Second Amendment almost as a dead letter. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), however, the Supreme Court invalidated a federal law that forbade nearly all civilians from possessing handguns in the nation’s capital. A 5–4 majority ruled that the language and history of the Second Amendment showed that it protects a private right of individuals to have arms for their own defense, not a right of the states to maintain a militia."

So you, and others may be 'happier' if private citizens did not own guns
- But many would be very unhappy with changing the Constitution
to suit the whims of a 'pursuit of happiness' philosophy.

Of course nobody wants homicidal lunatics roaming around with guns :!:

But what to do about that problem :?:

I started a post on this about 10 years ago still running here on Philosophy Discussion Forum:

"Gun Control and Mass Murder"
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7695

[NOTE: Opening post erroneously states that Australia had outlawed all guns - In fact Australia outlawed many guns, but not all,
and put the rest of private gun ownership under much tighter regulation]
Thank you for the detailed explanation.

Constitutions do not come from heaven, or the God. So they can be (and have to be) either updated or changed as per the changes in the time and the society. Keeping an outdated constitutional amendment, even it is clearly seen that it is getting harmful day by day serves no one, but only keeps a certain political party and its followers happy.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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