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Guns 'n OSes

By Da Unicorn in Culture
Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 06:45:23 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)
/etc

I am not into politics, religion, music or a lot of the things I read about here I am into guns and computers.

I just did a Kuro5hin search for "firearm" "handgun" and "pistol". I was somewhat surprised that the searches returned a rather anemic list of stories. Perhaps it is just me. There were a few stories mostly news. Now, IAAA (I AM an American). At the risk of starting a Holy War on either side of thie firearms issue I ask the community for a bit of indulgence while I ramble on with my questions / museings / opinions.


Some background is in order. I am ~50, born and raised in the Midwestern U.S. I am NOT one of these "Take my gun from my cold, dead fingers" types but I do believe in the absolute right of an individual to defend their home, family and property. By any means available wherever they live. I am a country boy. I hunt for meat. I shoot for fun. Computers are an addiction and I do computer, network and technology consulting.

My arsenal has gone from dozens of firearms in the past to a mere handful at the present time. As far as rifles are concerned I have owned everything from a .17 Bee to a .300 Weatherbee Magnum, including many in the middle of this range. Many an odd duck cartridge has been in my collection like the .357 Roberts, .45-70's, et al. Much like computer Operating Systems they all do basically the same thing with different uses, advantages and FUD surrounding the "best" for whatever job was at hand. Experience has led me to the conclusion that, just like an O.S. there is no "one" that is good for everything. While that old .17 Bee could damn near put one bullet inside the hole of another at great range with very little recoil or noise, it was traveling so fast that it would damn near vaporize the light bullet on leaving the bore of the rifle and could be deflected or fragmented by a blade of grass. Not much knock down power, either. Now that .300 Weatherbee could disable a Mac truck at 300 yards and it was pretty accurate but it could dislocate your shoulder if fired improperly. Just 2 example rifles and the differences between 2 tools that do the same basic "thing". Both were fine, beautiful rifles. Each had its use and one was not "better" than the other beyond a specific use. The point being that if I had the need to stop a bull elephant or enraged rhino the .17 Bee would be all but useless while the .300 Weatherbee would do it with authority and finality, all things being equal. Nor would I use that .300 to clean gophers out of the hay field as it would be like swatting a bee with a sledgehammer. It would be dangerous to neighbors and livestock, expensive and extreme overkill. As well as a waste of resources.

NOTE: I do NOT advocate killing for pleasure and certainly not the killing of endangered species for any reason beyond self preservation.

A few years ago I started shifting my arsenal over to handguns for several reasons. Living in a relatively small farming state we do not have any "big game" hunting opportunities beyond the White Tail deer. The law allows shotguns only with handguns included lately. Large bore rifles are extremely dangerous in populated areas and with a limited legitimate need beyond target shooting I slowly sold most of them off.

About the same time I started shifting my arsenal over to handguns I discovered Linux. Slackware .99 I believe. I have always been a do it yourself kind of guy. I had reloaded my own ammunition for decades before this. Those first few Linux installs were a good parrallel to my "roll your own" philosophy WRT reloading. You could get what you wanted with a little effort and try some things that were not available otherwise. I guess I was an Ammo hacker. I found the same satisfaction in using Linux as I had in reloading. There were catastrophic failures in both endeavors but I never gave up. I learned from my mistakes. I now wear shooting glasses while reloading and shooting and I backup my data often. Guns and Ammo are inherantly more physically dangerous than computers. I blew the side out of a fine Winchester 30-06 by stuffing too much vigorous powder behind too heavy a bullet once. I've lost several hundred Megs of data by hitting <enter> in a telnet session (B4 ssh) without reading the command closely rm -rf / is a lot different than rm -rf ./ heh. I guess what I am saying is there is a lot to be said for being able to customize your tools and equipment but it comes at a cost in effort, time and perhaps safety. It is not for everyone.

OK, you got this far so I didn't bore you to tears or you found it entertaining or perhaps you just need some ammo for the flamethrower. Thats cool, I welcome your comments but hear me out.

This is NOT a firearms or Linux advocacy piece. Not everyone should have a firearm nor should everyone be a Linux user. I am only attempting to draw a parallel between customizing ammunition for a specific use with customizing your computer software for a specific use. You can save money doing both although at the expense of your time. Both can become an obsession if you let it. Niether will bring you great riches, except to a few. Both can be exceedingly rewarding. Both have led me on to new exciting uses of my hardware. Niether has brought me fame or fortune. A firearm and its ammunition are simply tools, ditto a computer and its OS. Tools which you can custom load with whatever you need to get the job done.

While whatever the factory loads for the retail trade may do well for some, it is not for me. Reloading like Linux, BSD, et al are definitely not for everyone. It can provide a rewarding departure from the norm if you are willing to put forth a little effort.

Fdisking a factory install of M$ and slipping Debian/GNU 2.2 with a 2.2.17 kernel on the HD feels nearly as good as that well placed shot from the .44 Mag with 24 grains of H110 and a 240 gr. JHP handload that puts that fat doe in the freezer. Both help me retain my sanity. Both give me a sense of having accomplished something useful in my own way. The OS was free and the reloading components cost me less than a dime and a couple minutes. Both do exactly what I need no more and certainly no less. I have more I could blather on about but this has gotten pretty long and I can get into it in the discussion phase.

The questions are. Are there other communitiy members out there who reload ammunition? Are there other pastimes / hobbies that people engage in that have similar parallels? Am I totally and completely off my rocker?

Thanks for your time.

Da Unicorn

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Poll
Do you shoot, if so what?
o no 30%
o shotgun 3%
o semi auto pistol 7%
o revolver 0%
o rifle 5%
o all of 'em 20%
o you are an idiot 19%
o Pizza 12%

Votes: 207
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Display: Sort:
Guns 'n OSes | 242 comments (233 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
I shoot... photographs. (3.16 / 12) (#2)
by inspire on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 10:26:29 AM EST

I'd like to take a line from "Mentor's last words" (though I stress that I am not a cracker/phreaker, but I find his words inspiring).

I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me... Or feels threatened by me... Or thinks I'm a smart ass.. Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...

This reflects quite well on the reason I use a fully manual camera when taking my photographs - if I get a photo back underexposed, overexposed, out of focus, poorly composed, or whatever, its because I screwed up.

Not some 4th-generation whiz-bang matrix-metering system with autofocus systems that can track moving subjects up to a gazillion miles per hour. And not because I used some point-and-shoot happy snappy type camera (although I admit that I take one of those to parties, it's pretty stupid-looking to lug 10kg/$3000 worth of gear to take a party snapshot).

And I use Linux. I guess it's because I'm a purist control freak deep down inside.
--
What is the helix?

initial generic anti-gun arguments (3.30 / 13) (#4)
by Potatoswatter on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 10:38:58 AM EST

First off, thanks for posting this. Greatest Culture thing I've seen. You can't be totally off your rocker.

One argument would go:

What you seem to do is just collect guns. This is totally innocuous, just as collecting any objects for their useless but interesting properties/potentials. However, there are people out there who don't have such harmless intent, and you're opening the door for them to acquire arms that they're not just getting for the completeness of their collection, so that they could stop a rhino. Therefore, it's your civic duty to protect the rest of America by giving up your collection hobby.

In counterpoint, however, you don't just collect guns, you use them "for cleaning gophers out of the hay field" etc. Guns are, in fact, useful tools to you. [This isn't the end of this argument, if you actually want to carry it further, write a reply.]

I guess what needs to be pointed out is that firearms, unlike Linux, are a lucrative business to those that sell it (Redhat notwithstanding? It's really a different issue), and they have a lot of potential to do evil in the wrong hands.

A Linux newbie infatuated with the power of the command line who inadvertently screws up their computer out of ignorance probably hasn't lost anything of value permanently. A gun newbie who decides they need something to protect their home from theives and take justice into their own hands ("the Government can't do anything right", after all), and makes a mistake while someone *is* breaking into their house, has probably lost something of priceless value.

Linux is renowned for its incredible security. That's why it's safe to leave lying around the house. Guns aren't. Of course, if you don't have kids, that's not much of an issue either. But the parallel in feeling of power given doesn't run throughout.

myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;

Firearms and Children (3.55 / 9) (#13)
by driftingwalrus on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 01:46:28 PM EST

A lot of people react to firearms with this generic terror. It's important to realize that a gun is just a tool - it is neither inherently evil nor inherently good. It's like an axe. Lots of people have been with guns, lots of people have been killed with axes. Lots of people have even been killed by cars("KILLED BY CARS! HORRORS OF HORRORS!"). Cars are tools, axes are tools and guns are tools. Don't get me wrong, using a gun on a person is not a valid use for it, just as using an axe to kill someone is not a legitimate use for an axe.

My father is from Northern Manitoba, mostly mining country. Up there, when he was a child, you had to take a safety course on firearms and once you passed you could buy them no sweat. Only requirement for carrying them out in the open was to leave some visible way people could tell that it wasn't loaded(i.e., leave the action open) People respected firearms, and he still has a number of .22 calibre rifles.

As a result, when I was very young I knew we had rifles. I was, naturally, curious about them. So my father would pull them out, and let me see them. However, every time they came out I had to follow the safety rules. NEVER point a gun, loaded or unloaded, at anything you don't intend to shoot. Check frequently to make sure it's not loaded(whenever I handle those guns, some of them haven't even been shot in 20 years, I check the action to make sure they're not loaded about once every 5 minutes, knee-jerk habit). NEVER pretend to shoot someone. These are pretty simple rules. But every single time I handled those guns when I was a kid(and I mean young, I've got photos of myself with my dad's .22 repeater from when I was 3 years old. I can remember when I wasn't strong enough to even cock my dad's .303 british), these rules where drilled into me.

These rules where always stressed as being EXTREMELY important. They where taught to me as being very serious stuff. I grew up with the understanding that guns wheren't toys. They where tools, very dangerous tools. To this day whenever I handle a gun I follow those rules, just by knee-jerk habit. I don't even have to think about it. If done properly, exposing children to guns can be important. But they have to be taught how to use them responsible. Guns are dangerous, just about as dangerous as high voltage. Anyone who works with high voltage or dangerous chemicals has to follow very strict safety precautions - same thing goes for guns.

I think those that are concerned about killing bambie should stop anthropomorphising animals. Animals have no concept of death. They don't understand it. When a person goes hunting, they are at a significant disadvantage. Physically, humans are very mediocre creatures. Our sense of small is very poor, eyesight isn't very good, dull sense of taste and we're practically deaf. At least, compared to the animals one might be hunting. We're not very strong either. Someone who's hunting faces a foe that has hearing 100 times better than his, a sense of small 1000 times more sensitive, and eyesight that's at least 10 times better than his. His only advantage is that he's smarter than this creature.


All banning guns would ever do is make sure that only criminals can get guns. No, I don't think that one should use a gun to defend oneself - shooting people is not a legitimate use for a gun. The danger is too great.


"I drank WHAT?!" -- Socrates
[ Parent ]
slow down! (3.00 / 3) (#17)
by Potatoswatter on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 02:07:32 PM EST

Those were generic arguments to initiate debate - I never said we should ban guns!

But to respond to your argument of gun safety: I've gotta say that you were fortunate to have responsible parents, but it doesn't seem to me like something to base a political philosophy on. The average American family can't be trusted to keep the kids away from the guns. Disciplinarianism ain't too hot here, to say the least and make a totally gross way-understatement. I don't have the energy to argue that American culture in general simply doesn't encourage the bare minimum of discipline necessary to make arms as safe in general here as they are there, but allow me to point at the difference in amount of organized civil violence (KKK, etc) here vs. in Canada.

Is gun control even an issue there in Canada?

myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;
[ Parent ]

A declining lack of responsibility... (4.00 / 4) (#21)
by Cheerio Boy on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 02:48:09 PM EST


Disclaimer: IAAA + include [disclaimer.h]

I too had resposible parents, for the most parts, and I too learned from quite an early age what a gun could do and what the rules for using a gun safely were. (This was exceptionally weird because I had always lived in the city and suburbs so we never really use the gun as a tool - not that we didn't understand that it was to be used as such.)

To emphasize these rules my father took both myself and my younger sister to a shooting range and fired off the .22 rifle he had into a metal target. He brought the target back and showed it to us and made the point very clear "See these holes? Now what do you think would happen to somebody if you shot them with this? Do you remember when you got hurt last? Do you remember what it felt like? What do you think this would feel like?"

He wasn't mean or harsh about it but he was _very_ firm. Needless to say this session rammed the idea home very well and neither my sister nor I would pick up a gun without knowing what we would happen if we used it.

My rambling point is this - most parents today in the US would not take the responsibility for this or for any other action taken with their children.

A bad trend that has become far more rampant than it should have ever become. "Pay me 1.5mil because the coffee that I spilled on myself was hot! It was your fault because the cup wasn't labled!" "I never had sexual relations with that woman!" "I'm still looking for the real killers!"

This needs to be fixed. Guns aren't the problem - ethics is the problem. Ethics and intelligence. Without either of those a gun becomes 10,000x more dangerous. A gun is just a tool. Give say...a blowtorch to an idiot and watch what happens. Bet money he'll burn the house down. ;-)


[ Parent ]
My first gun experience (2.00 / 1) (#121)
by tzanger on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 09:05:08 PM EST

To emphasize these rules my father took both myself and my younger sister to a shooting range and fired off the .22 rifle he had into a metal target. He brought the target back and showed it to us and made the point very clear "See these holes? Now what do you think would happen to somebody if you shot them with this? Do you remember when you got hurt last? Do you remember what it felt like? What do you think this would feel like?"

My first memorable gun experience was at the firing range. My dad's .357 Magnum in my 6 year old hands, with my dad's hands around mine. One small squeeze of the trigger and the kickback and noise scared me so bad I ran back the car and refused to come out until it was time to go home. I will never forget the fury that comes out of one of those little pieces of metal.

It's likely that exact experience which gives me this fear of handguns. Rifles aren't a problem for me, it's the handguns.



[ Parent ]
Gun Control (2.33 / 3) (#25)
by ZanThrax on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 03:18:52 PM EST

is an issue here in Canada right now. The federal government introduced a new gun registry system that has been a horrible mess from the get-go, and there is an incredible amount of resistance to it. Some of it is the paranoid "if they know who has guns, they know who to go after first when the revolution comes" type ranting, but for the most part, there doesn't seem to be any clear reasoning for it. There's a group that calls itself the "law-abiding gun owners" (or some similar oxymoron like that) who refuse to comply with the law. Their main arguement seems to be that the system is screwed up right now. (which it unfortunately is)

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

Oxymoron? (3.66 / 6) (#30)
by AEtherean on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 04:51:44 PM EST

How is "law-abiding gun owners" an oxymoron?

[ Parent ]
Re: oxymoron (2.00 / 6) (#36)
by jitter on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 05:38:29 PM EST

"law-abiding gun owners" (or some similar oxymoron like that) who refuse to comply with the law
that's the oxymoron

[ Parent ]
Ummm... (2.33 / 3) (#56)
by IcyQuizdom on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 11:10:17 PM EST

Calling something an oxymoron doesn't make it an oxymoron.

[ Parent ]
oxymoron (3.33 / 3) (#67)
by ppanon on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 04:42:09 AM EST

Well to a certain extent you are correct in that an oxymoron is usually a combination of two words which have mutually incompatible meanings. Since
"law-abiding gun owners" (or some similar oxymoron like that) who refuse to comply with the law
is a phrase, it can't be an oxymoron. And law-abiding gun owners by itself is only an oxymoron if owning a gun is illegal. However " 'law-abiding X' who refuse to comply with the law" is certainly iconsistent. If you refuse to comply with the law, then you are not law-abiding. So that phrase may not be an oxymoron but, to me, it sure seems moronic.

[ Parent ]
Bad wording on my part (none / 0) (#130)
by ZanThrax on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:47:06 AM EST

This is a group of people who refuse to obey the law that requires the registration of the firearms they already own. They insist that this makes them law-abiding gun owners. And no, it's not an oxymoron, but I couldn't (and still can't) recall the proper term for a statement that contains a contradiction in terms.

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

ranting (2.66 / 3) (#53)
by Danse on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 09:14:18 PM EST

Some of it is the paranoid "if they know who has guns, they know who to go after first when the revolution comes" type ranting

Only people with a poor knowledge of history consider this to be "ranting." People tend to be very shortsighted. This is probably why we have the saying (paraphrased)"Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it."




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Bravo. (3.00 / 3) (#102)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 03:11:52 PM EST

People are very short sighted. 3-4 generations ago, our country nearly collapsed and fought a horrific war up, down, and through the cities where people pooh-pooh the idea that it could happen again.

It's true that there is no chance of such a war happening today - or of us being invaded by another country tomorrow. But that's not the point; none of us know what the future will bring, and in a hundred years our descendents might again be fighting in the fields of Gettysburg, or the streets of Philadelphia - against someone who's threat we cannot even imagine today.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Personal responsibility. (none / 0) (#146)
by Alarmist on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:30:18 AM EST

The average American family can't be trusted to keep the kids away from the guns. Disciplinarianism ain't too hot here, to say the least and make a totally gross way-understatement.

The reason why the average US family "can't be trusted to keep the kids away from the guns" is because nobody bothers to teach children how to handle guns properly. I agree with you to some extent; if you can't teach your kids how to use guns safely, or at least handle them safely, then don't have them. People who won't learn such basic rules or enforce them are not worthy of keeping around something that could easily hurt or kill someone else.

If, on the other hand, you know the rules and are willing to live by them, and if you are willing to teach your children the same, then own a gun. Treat it with the same respect you would treat anything else that can kill or maim in the blink of an eye.

I'm taking my own advice now. I didn't always; I have a nifty scar where I shot myself because I didn't follow the rules. I got lucky, and when I have children, I will show them that scar and say, "This is what happens when you don't follow the rules."


[ Parent ]

I'm sorry, but I can't let that stand... (2.66 / 3) (#20)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 02:47:02 PM EST

No, I don't think that one should use a gun to defend oneself - shooting people is not a legitimate use for a gun. The danger is too great.

I'm sorry, but that's the whole purpose of the second ammendment. Our founding fathers had no interest in preserving man's right to whack Bambi. They had a great deal of interest in man's ability, as an individual, or as a group, to defend themselves against attack. Living in a semi-urban area, that's the only reason I have for owning a gun. Living in an semi-urban area, my weapon of choice is a shotgun - it looks scary, you don't have to aim very precisely and you don't have too much risk of killing someone down the block.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
neighbourhood (3.00 / 3) (#107)
by h4x0r-3l337 on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 04:34:59 PM EST

Have you ever needed to use your gun for self defense? If so, why didn't you move to a safer neighbourhood?

[ Parent ]
Ah... Yes... (none / 0) (#137)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:34:47 AM EST

They call that "White Flight". It's considered racist.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
gah, another wild guess stated as Truth(tm) (2.00 / 2) (#44)
by boxed on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 08:02:19 PM EST

Animals have no concept of death. They don't understand it.
Prove that to me. Seriously, give it your best shot (yes I know that all major philosophers and theologists in the world has failed).

Now that you have proven that, prove to me why it has any relevance whatsoever to the argument. A child does not have a concept of death (if animals don't) so it's ok to kill it? Not likely. When you're asleep you don't have a concept of death, is it ok to kill a person who is sleeping? Not likely either.

[ Parent ]

Animals do have a concept of death. (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by jason on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 11:53:04 PM EST

Luckily, I know a good number of falconers, including my girlfriend. I've been out with them, and I've seen the birds catch plenty of jack rabbits, pheasants, etc. The prey very much have a concept of death. They know what's happening when a predator appears. When you flush a jack, it keeps its ears down while it's in cover, and it heads to the nearest straight-away. Cottontails dive through patches of dense briar in a trail that leads them to distant holes without ever going into the open. If that's purely instinct, then I'm not too certain how much of my own daily life is pure instinct. The animals seem to know what's at stake.

Seeing what happens when they get caught is interesting. They fight a bit, but then they seem to know it's over. To be honest, I can't know if it's simple panic overload or knowledge, but it's fascinating to see.

And in case anyone's wondering, jacks (and other quarry) tend to escape far more often than they are caught. It's almost funny how frustrated the hawk grows, but then you remember that most wild hawks and falcons starve in their first year.

Jason

[ Parent ]

Instinct... (3.00 / 2) (#103)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 03:18:26 PM EST

If that's purely instinct, then I'm not too certain how much of my own daily life is pure instinct.

The part that occurs before my first cup of coffee is just about completely instinctive.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
interesting, but here's another view (3.00 / 1) (#62)
by SEAL on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 03:27:44 AM EST

Linux is renowned for its incredible security. That's why it's safe to leave lying around the house. Guns aren't. Of course, if you don't have kids, that's not much of an issue either. But the parallel in feeling of power given doesn't run throughout.

I think both Linux, and guns can be abused by an attacker if not properly secured. Say you install a vanilla Linux distribution on an old machine for NAT purposes. You better take steps to shut down extra daemons, set up firewalling rules, get the latest updates, etc. Secure your box, otherwise you're just waiting to be hacked.

Similarily, if you own a gun and you leave it lying around the house with your doors unlocked, you're playing with fire. That gun could get stolen, be used to kill someone, or fall into the hands of a child. The same rule applies here: secure your home, your gun, and your ammo.

Certainly the consequences of an unsecured gun are far more serious than a hacked computer. I think the comparison, however, is still a good one.

Best regards,

SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]

At first ... (3.00 / 12) (#5)
by Morten Liebach on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 10:41:00 AM EST

... I thought it was too incendiary (hope I spelled that right), but then I Came to the good part, the 'do it youself' part.

I like the customizability of free/open software, and I think Da Unicorn is right on target on this, and I hope people will see this instead of the "I do believe in the absolute right of an individual to defend their home, family and property." comment, which I find kind of disturbing.
It should generate some good discussion.

It's also nice to see someone ~50 posting here, it's certainly a different demographic then the norm here, and I really apreciate that. :-)

Diversity is good, and I think this should make it to the frontpage.

HAND


http://m.mongers.org/weblog/
No Absolute Right to Defense? (3.20 / 5) (#6)
by the Epopt on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 10:56:35 AM EST

... the "I do believe in the absolute right of an individual to defend their home, family and property." comment ... I find kind of disturbing.

Okay, Morten, let's get specific: under what conditions, pray tell, do I not have a right to defend my three-year-old daughter?


-- 
Most people who need to be shot need to be shot soon and a lot.
Very few people need to be shot later or just a little.

K5_Arguing_HOWTO
[ Parent ]
heh. (3.25 / 4) (#22)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 02:57:34 PM EST

Anybody touches my baby, I won't bother waiting to get a gun.

More rationally, like you I find it appalling that so many people think it's worse to shoot a home invader than it is to invade a home. While I do wrestle with issues like the death penalty and abortion - do I really want someone's death on my conscience? I have no problem at all if I kill someone in the act of protecting myself from them. If I could use non-lethal methods of defense, I would, but in the complete absence of such tools, guns are what you have to use.

While I find the NRA a bit over the top for me, I love their monthly magazine column that lists incidents were a person used a firearm - often without having to actually pull the trigger - to prevent harm to themselves or someone else.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
when... (2.33 / 6) (#43)
by boxed on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 07:51:19 PM EST

When you're mentally ill and your daughter has been dead for several years for example. You can't really know that your daughter is alive, and you can't really know if she is threatened. In a passing glance a spoon can be mistaken for a knife. You can be mentally shattered by the death of your child to the point that you will not accept his/her death and you will get paranoid in your attempts to protect him/her.

This is why gun control is a Good Thing. Reality is not view the same by all people, and way too many people view it in a way that can (combined with a gun) create havoc and destruction.

[ Parent ]

sheesh... (2.20 / 5) (#52)
by Danse on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 09:05:16 PM EST

And your comment applies to what? About .001 percent of all shootings?

Yes there are crazy people in the world. No, they probably shouldn't have guns. That doesn't justify taking guns away from the vast majority of the population that is sane.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
oh yes it does (3.00 / 3) (#72)
by boxed on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 06:40:04 AM EST

I'd say that a great deal of shootings stem from hysteria or paranoia in a certain situation (what the courts will call temporary insanity). It basically comes down to the fact that people come several steps closer to madness when under extreme duress. If the percieved threat is big enough you WILL snap.

[ Parent ]
sure... (2.50 / 2) (#74)
by Danse on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 06:56:44 AM EST

Let's see some evidence of your theory. Bear in mind that while many people will attempt to plead insanity, it doesn't mean they actually were insane, or even confused at the time. It just happens to be their best chance of getting off as light as possible under the circumstances. I'd like to see what you come up with.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Evidence? (1.00 / 1) (#136)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 05:52:22 AM EST

You need evidence to prove that people loose their cool when their life is threatened?

[ Parent ]
If their life is threatened... (3.00 / 1) (#140)
by dennis on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 09:48:49 AM EST

...then in any jurisdiction in the U.S. a shooting is legally justified. To prove your point you would have to show that a significant number of legal gunowners shot people who were not threatening them. "Significant" means anywhere remotely comparable to the number of legitimate self-defense cases. Good luck.

[ Parent ]
you still don't get it (3.00 / 2) (#142)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 10:38:36 AM EST

It's not a matter of it being justified. If you shoot someone who is going to shoot you of course you are in your right. This has nothing at all to do with it being the smart thing to do. Self defense is wrong but it may often be extremely stupid. When a bank gets robbed you give the money to the robbers as fast as you can because it's the smart thing to do. You are advocating that the clerks in the bank be armed and open fire on any robbers. This is pure madness when you look at the consequences.

[ Parent ]
Not at all (1.50 / 2) (#145)
by dennis on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:19:38 AM EST

In case you haven't been reading the news...people frequently get shot in armed robberies. That's why it's dangerous to be a late-night convenience store clerk. They're often shot even though they don't resist. Women are often killed by rapists, even though they don't resist. A lot of criminals are more ruthless than you seem to think.

I'm rather familiar with the relevant laws in my state--a person who shoots someone to protect property is breaking the law, and of course I don't support that. If I were threatened with robbery, and felt that I could get out of it by just turning over my money, I certainly would. Banks generally follow the same policy, as they should. I was simply observing that armed robbery and other violent crime tends to go down in areas where criminals realize they could be shot by their victims.

A lot of people say that ordinary citizens can't hope to effectively defend themselves, that if they try they are just likely to get their gun taken away, etc. If you look at real cases you find out this is generally not the case.

[ Parent ]

oh that's just rich (3.50 / 2) (#155)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:42:06 PM EST

I was simply observing that armed robbery and other violent crime tends to go down in areas where criminals realize they could be shot by their victims.
I don't know where you got that idea but it's not true. We've got like a tenth of the number of armed robberies per capita in Sweden and guns are extremely hard to get a hold of. The same goes for most of northern Europe. You do the math.

[ Parent ]
Counterexamples (2.00 / 2) (#162)
by dennis on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:36:10 PM EST

Counterexamples include Switzerland and Vermont. More to the point, when the law is changed in a particular area, crime tends to go down in that area when people are given the ability to carry concealed. Violent crime in Australia and England have gone up since they enacted strict gun control. One person who has done the math is John Lott, in More Guns, Less Crime.

[ Parent ]
Switzerland not a valid example (3.50 / 2) (#163)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 02:02:35 PM EST

Switzerland is not a valid example since what we're talking about there is all people with weapons (rifles if I'm not mistaken) are given a thourough military education before they can get their weapons. This gives them the opportunity to restrict who gets guns fairly well. Thera are also restrictions on these people, unlike what it's like in the US.

Anyway, since I'm not getting through to you with this line of reasoning, I'll try another example:

In Sweden when the police breaks up groups of huligans or nazis or other violent groups the weapons they confiscate are: sticks (of various kinds, including baseball bats), pipes, stones and knives. In the US when similar stuff happen it is common that guns are fired because the mobs are armed with specialized means of destruction, namely hand guns, rifles and in some extreme cases even automatic weapons.

[ Parent ]

This is getting tiresome (1.50 / 2) (#173)
by dennis on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 03:05:38 PM EST

I don't know where you get your news in Sweden but in the U.S. the police rarely have to break up "groups of huligans." If this is a commonplace occurence in Sweden then perhaps you should follow our example. I don't recall any case where mobs went rampaging with firearms (although in the L.A. riots a couple years back, store owners did stand guard with rifles--purely as a deterrent, no shots were fired). If you don't believe what I say, here are quotes from various U.S. police officials. However, feel free if you like to believe that Hollywood portrays the U.S. accurately.

[ Parent ]
propaganda != facts (1.00 / 1) (#181)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 06:07:41 PM EST

You just gave me a link to a propaganda page. If you expect me to take that serious you are seriously mislead. This discussion is as far as I'm concerned over.

[ Parent ]
Fine.. (1.33 / 3) (#182)
by Danse on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 06:15:21 PM EST

Then you find some evidence to refute what the link claims. Maybe you should go read some gun control sites. Hopefully not the ones that rely on the discredited studies done by the CDC. You can claim it's propoganda, but that doesn't make it so. We've seen evidence offered by one side... let's see YOUR evidence. Or would you rather just keep whining that you're right because you just KNOW it.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
you want proof of 1+1=2 (2.50 / 2) (#186)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:25:04 PM EST

If I shoot you with a gun you will be hurt more than if I punch you. That's the bottom line. A punch or a kick can kill, why the hell would we want to put even more powerful means of killing into anyones hands? That's not even crazy, it's pure madness!

[ Parent ]
Am I being trolled? (1.66 / 3) (#191)
by Danse on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:20:21 PM EST

Or is this guy serious? The bottom line is that people, all people, have an absolute right to defend their own lives and the lives of their family. That right cannot be taken away from them. We do not live in a "civilized society." If that were so, it would be safe for women to walk alone at night. It would be safe to leave your home unlocked. The fact is that there are violent predators out there and they prey on the defenseless. The fewer defenseless people there are, the fewer prey the predators will have. Gary Kleck's study shows that defensive gun uses occur 3 to 4 times as often as criminal uses, and he even admits that that number is conservative since the study doesn't include adolescents, "who are the age group most likely to suffer a violent victimization." I posted this link in another reply to you, but I'll do it again. Read what Kleck has to say here. If you can find fault with his analysis, then I'd appreciate you detailing why you believe the analysis is wrong, and provide information on your sources for facts.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
for the last time (3.50 / 2) (#196)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:36:59 PM EST

I'm NOT saying the argument you're giving is wrong. I'm saying it's totally irrellevant. Saving lives is accomplished by making it harder to kill people: laws on safety belts, laws on deformation zones in cars, laws to restrict access to atomic, chemical and biological weaponry, and the banning of guns. You want to protect yourself? Take self-defense courses/martial arts, go buy a tazer or pepper spray or something. Buying a gun is a huge overkill. It is much like killing flies with nukes. I'm not saying it doesn't work (of course it does!).

[ Parent ]
Your assumptions are wrong... (none / 0) (#205)
by Danse on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:51:09 AM EST

By banning guns you just make it harder for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves. Criminals will get guns anyway, just as they do all over the world. Just like banning drugs hasn't stopped people from getting them, neither will banning guns. Saving lives is accomplished by giving everyone access to the best weapons for self defense. This not only deters criminals from attacking those people in the first place (thus saving the life of both), but it also helps give the victim a fighting chance against people who would normally overpower them, especially when there are multiple attackers. We're not talking about weapons of mass destruction here.

We're not talking about giving people the ability to level a city. We're talking about weapons for personal defense. Most people don't have time to learn martial arts well enough for them to be able to stop someone who is physically superior, and god help them if the attacker is more skilled as well. Not to mention those people who are physically incapable of the rigors of martial arts, whether due to age, health, or other physical problems. Nor should they have to rely on weapons that are relatively inneffective when compared to a gun. Victims need MORE power, not less. They are already put at a severe disadvantage just by being forced to defend themselves from an attacker who chose his time and place of attack. It's simply inhumane to disadvantage them further.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
you're having problem with proportion (none / 0) (#208)
by boxed on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 09:47:52 AM EST

All what you are saying is correct technically, just like everything drug liberals say is technically correct. The fault in your reasoning does not lie in your arguments, it lies in your lack of a sense of proportion. Drugs (ALL drugs) should be banned because when you ban them, less people can get a hold of them and therefor less people can start using them. The long term effects are what is relevant, not the short term effects of increased suffering for the addicts. The same thing goes for guns. The increased difficulty in getting guns will make it harder for criminals to get guns period. Bank robberers in Sweden for example normally just have hand guns and maybe shotguns (often it actually turns out that the guns were fake). In the US semi-automatic weapons and fully automatic weapons are really common. This is a substantial difference. Another consequence is that the criminals get no training in using weapons making them grossly less dangerous in a fire fight against police forces. Swedish police officers fire on an average 1 bullet per year. This is for 9 million people. Also, there has been one death by police fire in the last 3 years. This is what I think is relevant: saving lives. The UN declaration of human rights says the same thing.

[ Parent ]
sigh.. (none / 0) (#211)
by Danse on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 10:50:06 AM EST

First of all, you can't accurately compare the U.S. with Sweden. They are vastly different places culturally. Sweden has always had much lower crime than the U.S. Gun control isn't even a factor. It's quite futile to compare different countries, as every permutation of guns-to-crime is represented. Many guns/high crime. Few guns/high crime. Many guns/low crime. Few guns/low crime. There are examples of all of these that can be used to counter any of them. In the end you realize that trying to apply the same solutions to very different cultures just doesn't work.

The long term effects are what is relevant, not the short term effects of increased suffering for the addicts.

The long-term effects of the drug war can be readily seen. An increase in violent and gang-related crime. An increase in corruption of the very agencies charged with carrying out this war on drugs. No significant effect on the amount of drugs coming into the country. Many drug enforcement officials have admitted that despite the fact that every year they are able to sieze larger and larger shipments of drugs, they don't seem to even put a dent into the supply that gets into the country. Corruption could also be part of the reason for that. It's quite similar to prohibition. It increases all sorts of crime from petty crimes all the way up to organized crime. In 20 years, they haven't been able to improve the situation. It has only gotten worse.

Aside from the crime and corruption, the drug war has also given us civil asset forfeiture and other constitutional violations that have been permitted by politicians trying to show that they are "tough on drugs." They show this by taking away basic rights from people simply because they are suspected of being involved in a drug-related crime. If you're carrying too much money on you, they can take it without ever charging you with anything. Nice way for some of these agencies to make a few bucks (and yes, they get to keep at least part of it, with the rest funnelling on up the chain of command). Then you have to go to court and find some way to prove to the court that you are innocent. What happened to "innocent until proven guilty?" No, the drug war has not done anything positive for this country. Time to admit that it hasn't worked and try something else.

The increased difficulty in getting guns will make it harder for criminals to get guns period.

Poor criminals. They might have to work a little harder to get a gun, or might have to resort to knives or other weapons when they attack me. I'm dead either way if I can't defend myself! Criminals will get guns! They will! They still get them everywhere! Even in countries that have banned them! Do I care if I'm killed by an old shotgun, a snub-nose revolver, or the latest high-tech semi-automatic pistol? Not really. I just want to make sure I at least have a good chance of preventing the criminal from attacking me in the first place (which is how most defensive uses of guns play out), or defending myself by using the weapon if the criminal is determined to attack anyway. There are at least 2.5 million defensive uses of guns every year, resulting in at least 400,000 lives saved. It has also been determined that when a woman offers no resistance, she is 2.5 times more likely to be injured or killed by the attacker than if she resists with a gun. The number is 1.4 times for a male.

In the US semi-automatic weapons and fully automatic weapons are really common.

Fully automatic weapons are very rare, even in the U.S. Semi-automatic weapons are a lot more common, but are also more rare than revolvers, shotguns, and bolt-action rifles. Many many semi-automatic weapons ARE banned here in the states by the Brady Bill. They are classified as "assault weapons." The classification is pretty arbitrary, often resorting to nothing but the "looks" of the weapon to determine whether or not it should be banned. This has led to very many semi-automatic guns being banned completely. Hasn't helped of course.

Another consequence is that the criminals get no training in using weapons making them grossly less dangerous in a fire fight against police forces.

Criminals are already usually untrained in gun use. Doesn't matter much when you're just a few feet away from your target. It's not gun-club members who practice with their weapons that are out killing people. It's people who managed to get a gun from someone, usually not even from a gun store. They have usually never even fired the weapon before. You don't normally go around firing test shots if you don't want to attract police attention.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Proportion (none / 0) (#217)
by Dolphineus on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 04:18:37 PM EST

Drugs (ALL drugs) should be banned because when you ban them, less people can get a hold of them and therefore less people can start using them.

Interesting theory. Wrong, but interesting. Making something illegal does not make it more difficult to obtain, it only changes the channels thru which you must obtain it. Illegal narcotics in the US are not difficult to obtain, neither are illegal firearms.

The long term effects are what is relevant, not the short term effects of increased suffering for the addicts. The same thing goes for guns. The increased difficulty in getting guns will make it harder for criminals to get guns period.

Again, interesting but wrong. Illegal guns are readily available. It is more difficult to get a gun legally than illegally. The only deterrent to obtaining an illegal gun is who you know. If you know the right sort of person, getting an illegal gun is easier than getting prescription medication. And often cheaper.

Swedish police officers fire on an average 1 bullet per year. This is for 9 million people.

My father was a police officer for 30 years. He never had to fire his gun in the line of duty.

If the US decided to ban all firearms, or even handguns, the result is easily predicted. Criminals, who would still have access to those supposedly difficult to find illegal weapons, would have no fear of the average person on the street. Criminals would have a profound advantage over the average person. Crime would increase because of this, not decrease. The main problem with prohibition of firearms, is not necessarily the increase in crime, but in the increase in number of normally law abiding citizens who would be turned into criminals for refusing to give up their Consitutionally protected rights. Kinda like what has happened with the war on drugs.

Face it boxed, you are wrong.
C ya
Dolphineus

[ Parent ]
Wrong? (none / 0) (#218)
by boxed on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 05:21:26 PM EST

Making something illegal does not make it more difficult to obtain, it only changes the channels thru which you must obtain it.
You mean to tell me that it's just as easy getting a hold of pot as it is getting a hold of cigarettes in the US? That's just laughable.
If you know the right sort of person, getting an illegal gun is easier than getting prescription medication. And often cheaper.
So if you know a gun-runner it's easier to get a hold of prescription medication than if you know a (corrupt) doctor? That too is laughable.
Criminals, who would still have access to those supposedly difficult to find illegal weapons, would have no fear of the average person on the street.
Very true but if YOU don't fear the guy walking past you on the street then neither will any criminal. And if you fear him something is wrong.

[ Parent ]
btw... (1.00 / 1) (#206)
by Danse on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:53:00 AM EST

Gary Kleck thought the same way you do. That is until he actually did the research. You should read what he has to say.


An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]

thought the same did he? (none / 0) (#207)
by boxed on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 09:33:49 AM EST

Thought the same did he? I've heard that argument thousands if not hundreds of thousands of times before, mostly form drug-liberals and creationists. It's 99% of the time lies.

[ Parent ]
Again... you give no reasons... (none / 0) (#209)
by Danse on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 09:52:26 AM EST

Well, I have no idea how you can peer into the mind of someone to know whether he is lying or not, but this guy has no connection to the gun lobby whatsoever, took no money from them for his research, and documented what he was looking for up front. You can call him a liar, but I'd say the onus is on you to offer some evidence of that, other than "his study doesn't say what I think it should say."

Assuming that fewer legally owned guns will translate into less crime and death is also not an unreasonable assumption to make in the absence of contrary evidence. It's the fact that that evidence exists, and has been corroborated by several other studies that convinces him that he has found the truth, or is at least closer to it. The gun control groups are relying on a single, obviously flawed, study for their evidence. Not a single other study corroborates the one that they have decided to use to defend their position. Is this because gun-control groups can't fund studies? Not even remotely likely. Is it because the studies don't show what they want them to show? Quite likely, which would also explain why the Center for Disease Control was discredited by Congress for using wildly flawed methods, and even "adjusting" the numbers when they didn't show what they wanted them to show. If that's what gun-control advocates have to do to get evidence for their argument, they've already lost.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Temporary insanity. (4.00 / 1) (#148)
by Alarmist on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:41:41 AM EST

I'd say that a great deal of shootings stem from hysteria or paranoia in a certain situation (what the courts will call temporary insanity). It basically comes down to the fact that people come several steps closer to madness when under extreme duress. If the percieved threat is big enough you WILL snap.

Yes. And you will either fight or flee. This is an instinctual reaction; psychologists refer to it as the "fight or flight" reflex. While in this state, people will fight to kill or they will run away. (Part of the reason why soldiers don't usually go berserk is because they've been trained to deal with this reflex and can override it to some extent.)

If you run, then you run. If you fight, though, then you will do so with the aim to kill your target and will use whatever weapon (or bare hands, lacking weapons) are at hand if you have the presence of mind to do so. Guns simply make it easier for you to kill your target; the same goal could be accomplished with a baseball bat or a fork.

Fight the Power.


[ Parent ]

You're reaching. (4.50 / 2) (#147)
by Alarmist on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:37:45 AM EST

(Scenario deleted for brevity)

This is why gun control is a Good Thing. Reality is not view the same by all people, and way too many people view it in a way that can (combined with a gun) create havoc and destruction.

Alright. Let's go ahead and start controlling knives, eating utensils, power tools, baseball bats, machetes, and just about anything else that could conceivably kill a human being.

When a person is so far removed from reality that they become an active danger to themselves and everyone around them, denying them guns is not going to ameliorate the condition. Rather, it is likely to either provoke them in their paranoid fantasies or encourage them to develop skills involving killing people with something that isn't a gun. You can't keep someone that insane from killing someone else simply by taking away guns.

This sort of argument is not really helpful for making your point; arguing for the prohibition of all but a very few things (like, for instance, nuclear weapons) on the grounds that somebody who uses that thing could be deranged is stretching too far. Better to argue against something on more realistic grounds.

Fight the Power.


[ Parent ]

Conglomerate response to comments (3.83 / 24) (#9)
by Da Unicorn on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 11:40:16 AM EST

This was my first posting of a story to K5. Been reading it since before it got DoSed into temporary submission. From the very beginning actually.

Personally I thought I would get laughed out of the Q but it seems to have sparked some discussion which is the point I think. Inverse posting order responses follow.

The first commenter thought it was funny. Although it was not my intent to humor you, I figure if you can make someone laugh your day has not been a total loss.

Another comment was on photography and manual cameras. Usually I let my wife do the photography but I have been getting a few ideas on taking up the hobby myself. Sneaking up on critters so I can take a candid photo would use exactly the same skills as sneaking up on them and shooting them with less blood on my soul. It is another parallel! Thanks

The Furry deers as they were called by another poster are thick as hair on a dog locally and without a certain amount of hunting we would knee deep in them and be killing them in a much more brutal manner by hitting them on the roads. Overpopulation has some gruesome side effects on any species allowed to outstrip its food supply. Every animal I have killed for food has been humanely killed and consumed. I know it isn't for everybody but meat does not come in plastic packages in the real world. If you eat animal flesh someone kills it and a slaughter house is not humane at all.

Yep, guns are very dangerous tools, deadly in fact. Children, loonies, criminals, irresponsible people and idiots should not have access to firearms. Generally I don't fit any of those categories.

A firearm is very much NOT like Linux it is like the computer, useless without something loaded in / on it. A point I was trying to make was the ammo I build myself is like the system I install. Cheap, customized to my needs and useful to me. Compaq, IBM and Gateway, etc all make big bux selling _hardware_ just like Colt, Winchester, etc. You can take what they offer to load it with or you make your own combination.

I appreciate the candor of the comments and am glad to see intelligent responses to what can be a knee jerk type subject.

The Computer is by far the more powerful weapon with regard to positive change in the world. "The pen is mightier than the sword" and all that.

I truly tried not to get a flame fest going. I honestly can see all sides of this issue I just happen to be on this side of the fence.

I probably qualify as an old fart by the average K5er. Get cocky with me and I'll smack you with my walker:=>. Age has nothing to do with what you think. Just how long you have had to make and learn by mistakes.

I have absolutely no idea who Natalie Portman is but I know who Joan Baez & Jim Morrison were. Seen them both in concert live. Old hippies never die they just hole up on the farm and play with their toys. Especially the ones in the attic!

Da

Natalie Portman (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by davidduncanscott on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 12:01:18 PM EST

At 41, I had to ask my 15-year-old daughter. Among other things, she (N.P., not my daughter) played the Princess in the recent Star Wars. (I saw the move, just didn't note the credits.)

As for manual cameras, there's a little Japanese company that just warms my heart.

[ Parent ]

Population control (4.50 / 2) (#26)
by ZanThrax on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 03:31:00 PM EST

is very important. Too many people can't understand that we've almost completely removed the predators that used to keep deer population in check to some extent. Same with most any other animal that gets hunted to any extent. (gophers for example) While I've not personally hunted deer or the like, I have respect for anyone who has the skill (and the intestinal fortitude) to kill and dress their own meat. That said, I can not respect sport hunting. Admitedly, some of the species that are sport-hunted have their populations kept down to a stable level this way, but that's not why the hunters do it. There was an American tourist arrested in Manitoba last week. The mounties have a tape of him talking about how "he just has to kill" something every day if he can. I'm not some sort of anti-gun zealot, or big "sanctity of life" type, I have participated in some pest control (gophers & porcupines) and am actually a fairly good shot. I just don't think that most hunters are responsible people with good reasons for what they do. Most are like my uncle and his friends who grab the rifles and get together for a "good old bear hunt" whenever one is spotted within 20 miles of one of their homes, regardless of the time of year.

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

Natalie Portman (3.25 / 4) (#32)
by Dolgan on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 05:09:39 PM EST

Natalie Portman is a very pretty and talented actress. She has played in many movies, all of which you can find listed here, among other things.

You should also visit Natalie Portman.com. It's neat.

I didn't read the rest of your post because I don't like guns, even when one's joking. But I noticed that you didn't know who Natalie Portman was. Now you do.

[ Parent ]

Hey! (5.00 / 1) (#242)
by Dolgan on Sat May 05, 2001 at 07:18:25 PM EST

I sort of doubt that, CAPTAIN!

[ Parent ]
the fault with guns (3.75 / 4) (#41)
by boxed on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 07:44:03 PM EST

The problem with guns is really expressed clear in that sentance:
Yep, guns are very dangerous tools, deadly in fact. Children, loonies, criminals, irresponsible people and idiots should not have access to firearms. Generally I don't fit any of those categories.
How do you know that you don't fit any of these categories? You need absolute knowledge to make any claim on your sanity, and there just isn't any absolute (moral) truths known to man.

[ Parent ]
reasoning.. (3.00 / 3) (#50)
by Danse on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 08:59:31 PM EST

You could apply that same reasoning to anyone for any purpose. We could say that irresponsible people, loonies, and idiots should not be allowed to drive cars too. Would be a lot easier to pass such a law since there is no amendment prohibiting it. Yet we don't do it? After all, who is really qualified to judge such a thing? And should we all be submitted to such judgement regardless of it's margin of error (which we could probably not discern)?




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
heh, my point exactly (3.00 / 2) (#71)
by boxed on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 06:37:29 AM EST

But we DO have laws to keep loonies and idiots from driving cars (at least in Europe.) This is the consequence of two laws: you need a drivers license (which you can't be totally stupid to get) and you loose your drivers license if you behave badly with it. The same rules (but extremely more strict) apply to owning a gun here in Sweden. Of course when I say "gun" I mean rifle, since only the police can have pistols and the like.

[ Parent ]
not really... (2.50 / 2) (#75)
by Danse on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 07:02:26 AM EST

You can have your license suspended or revoked here in the States too. But that doesn't really help much if you just killed a family of four with your car. Sure, you could lose your license, and probably end up in jail if it was determined to be your fault. Same goes for a gun though. You do something stupid with it, you end up in jail. Either way, you have to do something pretty dumb or criminal before you lose your freedom. The rest of us don't need to be punished to prevent the few from doing stupid or criminal things (they'll do them anyway).




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
seriously though (3.40 / 5) (#76)
by boxed on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 07:07:15 AM EST

You can't really do anything constructive with a gun enless you're a professional hunter and most people with guns aren't (in the US that is). A car however is something different. It is vastly useful, not like a gun which sole purpose and design is to destroy.

[ Parent ]
seriously... (2.00 / 3) (#81)
by Danse on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 09:04:51 AM EST

I consider defending my home and family to be quite constructive.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
let's run this past you again (3.50 / 2) (#135)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 05:51:06 AM EST

If everyone has a gun, everyone can inflict X amount of damage. If you take away all the guns everyone will be able to inflict Y amount of damage. X >> Y. The result will be that the amount of damage inflicted in society will go down. Protecting your family in reality means: Don't mess with a person carrying a weapon into your house. You give him what he wants, then when he has gone you call the police and they grab the bastard. This works perfectly in Sweden.

Think of it this way: Let's say some group of people gets a hold of automatic weapons and decides to rob a bank. Normally this leads to a number of casualties of zero to the number of robbers plus maybe one or two of the hostages. In the kind of world you seem to want everyone of the civilians in the bank would draw their weapons and start to shoot at the robbers. The robbers would then of course shoot back. The number of casualties would be a GUARANTEED of the number of robbers. And the number of civilians killed would be substantial.

[ Parent ]

And if everyone has a gun... (1.50 / 2) (#151)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:52:47 AM EST

Then every would-be criminal knows that any would-be crime could possibly get him killed - making him think twice.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
And if you've got death penalty... (2.66 / 3) (#156)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:45:17 PM EST

..then people would also think twice right? I used to think so to but then I saw some raw statistics on it. Death penalty has no (or negative) impact on violent crimes. The same goes for having lots of guns in a society. This is proven by comparing the US to more or less any European country.

[ Parent ]
Not really... (1.50 / 2) (#174)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 03:37:46 PM EST

It's true that the death penalty is not a deterrent. But that has a lot to do with the remoteness of that possible punishment - even for the most heinous crimes, people live for decades before they are executed.

On the other hand, studies *have also* shown that there is no correlation between gun ownership and crime rates.

There is so much misinformation out there on this issue. My personal favorite: 1400 children die each year in shooting accidents. Except, it's not true. According to the CDC, the number is less than 200. In addition, it's fallen by more than half since 1970, despite an increase in gun ownership.

Finally, I'd like to point out that the recent additional gun laws in the UK have had no effect on their crime rate. On the otherhand, I have read claims that guns are successfully used to prevent over two million crimes in the US each year, especially in domestic violence cases.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
who gives a shit about crime rates? (1.00 / 2) (#180)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 06:04:27 PM EST

Who gives a shit about crime rates? It's LIVES we care about. At least I do. 200 children are killed per year because of guns you say? Well that's 200 totally idiotic and 100% preventable deaths per year. Crime rate has NOTHING to do with it.

[ Parent ]
oh boy... (2.50 / 4) (#188)
by Danse on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:07:24 PM EST

This is exactly the sort of hysterical blathering that causes so many stupid laws to be enacted in the first place. You cry hysterically, but fail to offer any evidence or even consider the other side of the coin. I guess all the people that protected their own lives and the lives of their family don't really matter then, huh? Guns save a lot more lives than they take, as Gary Kleck's study shows (and it's a quite conservative study). Read this if you want more information about the study. I'm not sure if the study is available on the net without a subscription to some legal journal. At least I haven't been able to find it. I did, however, find this afterword written by Kleck for a book. Read that here.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
and the sites you give are still pure propaganda (2.00 / 3) (#190)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:18:40 PM EST

Come on, stop linking to gun liberal groups and accept the fact that guns make it simpler to kill.

[ Parent ]
propaganda (2.75 / 4) (#193)
by Danse on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:27:18 PM EST

Anything used to try to convince people of something can be called propaganda. That doesn't mean it's not true. You have yet to offer anything to support the idea that guns should be banned.

I won't argue that guns make it easier to kill. That's their purpose. It doesn't logically follow though that banning guns will have a net positive effect of reducing crime, violent or otherwise. The studies I've pointed out in various links posted in this thread have offered evidence of that fact. Since you refuse to say why you believe the studies are incorrect, I have to assume that you are simply attacking out of a purely emotional response instead of a rational one. Until you can give me some refutation or rebuttal of the studies, this conversation is a waste of my time.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
read what I write for crying out loud! (1.00 / 1) (#194)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:29:51 PM EST

I'm not saying those studies are wrong, I'm saying they are TOTALLY IRRELLEVANT. Saving lives is important. Stopping crime is not.

[ Parent ]
you must be kidding. (2.66 / 3) (#197)
by Danse on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:39:26 PM EST

Crime is what takes those lives in the first place!!! I'm not concerned with saving the lives of violent attackers. They chose to attack. I'm concerned with the rights of the victims to protect themselves! You would take away the ability of a woman jogging in the park to defend herself from a group of thugs that attack her intending to rape and beat her. You would take away the ability of a person to defend themselves from an intruder. You would take away people's fundamental right to defend their own life!!




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
No (1.00 / 1) (#199)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:55:02 PM EST

I would take away or severely cripple peoples ability to KILL. This has already been done in most of Europe and it works increadibly well. It is also the same in all countries I know of except most African states, the US and former Jugoslavia. Think about that for a second.

[ Parent ]
I have thought about it... so have many people.. (5.00 / 1) (#203)
by Danse on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:38:26 AM EST

If you'd bother to read the "propaganda" I posted, you might see that they've looked at this very situation and given very good counter-arguments. When you can find a flaw in their facts or logic, let me know. They come to the same conclusion (even though some of the researchers were actually looking for evidence to support gun-control), gun bans don't work. Look at violence in Britain. Even after they severely regulated guns (to the point of banning in most cases) their crime rate has continued to rise significantly since they banned guns. Europe has always had less crime than the U.S., so you can't point to gun laws as being the reason for that. It's kind of interesting to note that the states in the U.S. that have the least violence are the states with the most liberal gun laws. The reverse is also true. Washington D.C. banned guns, and they have the worst crime rate in the country. Banning guns doesn't work any more than banning drugs has worked. The drug problem in this country is worse now than it was 20 years ago. Criminals don't care about laws, otherwise they probably wouldn't be criminals. They will get guns, and when they do, everyone is defenseless prey for them because law-abiding citizens won't be able to defend themselves against the guns of the criminals.

There are over 230,000,000 guns in the U.S. Only a very tiny fraction of them have been used to commit a crime. That tells me that the vast majority of gun owners are responsible gun owners. You may believe that violent attackers have rights too, but I don't. I think their rights ended when they tried to deprive another person of their life or liberty. At least insofar as the victim is concerned, and the victim is the one that matters. It's another matter in court where everything is 2nd or 3rd hand evidence, but when you get attacked, you have the right to use whatever force necessary to defend yourself, up to and including killing your attacker. Non-lethal weapons just haven't gotten to the point where they are nearly as effective as guns. Nobody should be made to rely on less than effective weapons to defend against someone who will likely have a gun. You can choose how you wish to defend yourself. I can choose my own way.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
why I don't consider the other side of the coin (2.25 / 4) (#192)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:25:40 PM EST

The other side of the coin is what you state and you are right in your insistance on peoples right to defend themselves. But that's not the issue. We want to save human lives, and removing weapons that are specifically made to kill humans are a very natural step in our work to sanctify human life.

[ Parent ]
Wrong (2.66 / 3) (#195)
by Danse on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:34:31 PM EST

Taking away people's ability to defend themselves will not save lives. It makes the lives of predators that much easier. Criminals, by definition, will not obey your laws. It also gives rise to the idea that "might makes right." Those who are stronger will do and take what they like because those who are weaker have no way of leveling the playing field. That's what guns allow us to do. We are responsible for our own defense. If a guy comes after me with a baseball bat, or even just his fists, I don't believe that just because he's bigger or stronger, or has better training, that he should be able to injure or kill me. I want to protect myself, and my family if necessary. A gun allows me to do this. The police do not exist to defend us. They exist to apprehend criminals so that they can be punished, after they have committed a crime. The police couldn't defend us if they wanted to. There aren't enough of them. We have to defend ourselves, and guns are currently the best method of defense. They usually don't even have to be used to be effective.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
sigh (2.66 / 3) (#198)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:50:31 PM EST

Think about it! Someone attacks you and as defense you use a gun! A GUN! Guns are for one thing and one thing only: killing. Nothing can change this. Do you really want to kill your attacker? If you do, then you're just as bad as he/she is. In a self defense situation (in Sweden) you are only legally justified to exert as much force as neccessary to defend yourself. Shooting someone is way over the top. Why don't you just pull out a chainsaw and cut the attacker into pieces while you're at it? The job you want to do (protect yourself) can be done with tasers, teargas and pepper spray. I'm talking about the nasty long-range types of tasers btw. I think the problem you have with seeing what I mean is that you have never experienced a low-violence culture like the one in the nordic countries for example. I understand your view very well though since I've been in the US and I study iaido. (Feodal japan is very similar to modern day US in the number of people carrying weapons. The samurai used swords though but they killed really efficiently with them and when swords were outlawed the number of unnatural deaths dropped very sharply).

[ Parent ]
I guess we have fundamentally different beliefs... (3.00 / 2) (#202)
by Danse on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:22:51 AM EST

Why exactly should I be concerned with the health of someone who is trying to rape or kill me? Killing them does not make me as bad as they are. I do not go around looking for people to victimize. I do not try to violate the rights of others. If you take the initiative in attempting to deprive someone of their right to life or try to violate their body, you have abdicated your rights to both. It was your own choice, the victim never got a choice. That's how it has to be. Tasers, pepper spray, and teargas (how the hell do you defend yourself with teargas?) are not as effective as a gun, nor do they serve nearly as well as a deterrent to the would-be criminal before they actually make the attack. Guns are used to deter violence every day. Like I said, guns are used at least 3 to 4 more times as often to defend life than they are to take it. Most of the time a gun is used in defense, it doesn't even have to be fired. I would not entrust my safety or that of my family to something like a taser. They just aren't nearly as effective, and nothing less than excellent effectiveness will do. I may only get one chance to save my life.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
yea... (none / 0) (#210)
by boxed on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 10:18:17 AM EST

I guess it all boils down to me thinking of life as the highest thing and you thinking liberty or something being the same.

[ Parent ]
yes.. basically... (none / 0) (#212)
by Danse on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 10:53:07 AM EST

I believe that my own life is worth more than the life of someone who is willing to resort to violence to get what they want from me. Their choice of violence automatically lowered the worth of their own life in comparison. If that makes me less human in your opinion, I can live with that.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Criminals (3.00 / 2) (#230)
by Ratnik on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 02:06:16 PM EST

Sorry to me the only good criminal is a dead one.

[ Parent ]
Excuse me, I meant to say.... (none / 0) (#175)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 03:39:45 PM EST

On the other hand, studies *have also* shown that there is no correlation between gun ownership and crime rates.

Sorry - I meant to say that there is no correlation between increased gun ownership and increased crime rates. In fact, the recent experience of Texas is that the reverse is true.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
kidding, right? (1.00 / 1) (#183)
by Danse on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 06:26:05 PM EST

There is no causal link between increased gun ownership and increased gun violence. In fact, increased gun ownership may even reduce crime in some cases, as we've seen in places that have enacted concealed-carry laws that allow citizens to carry concealed handguns. Some of those areas have seen a 5-10% drop in various types of violent crime.

In order to get such a permit, you have to undergo some training, kind of like getting a drivers license. One thing they will teach you is that it is stupid to resist armed criminals unless someone's life is in imminent danger.

In the kind of world you seem to want everyone of the civilians in the bank would draw their weapons and start to shoot at the robbers. The robbers would then of course shoot back.

I think it's been shown already in the 10 states that now have concealed-carry laws that this just isn't the case. Read this and this and this for an explanation and numbers.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
What is a professional hunter? (2.00 / 1) (#91)
by bigbird on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 12:19:13 PM EST

Never heard the term, or met one. I know a few guide-outfitters, and many people who hunt to keep the freezer stocked. The neat thing about moose and venison is that you can be pretty certain they are certified organic, not pumped full of antibiotics, and that they died quickly (bolt operator at a slaughterhouse is a high turnover position, especially when you miss a few).

As far as constructive activities, target shooting is an Olympic sport, as is biathlon (in which you combine the intense physical activity of a cross country ski race with the precision skill of using a rifle for target shooting).

Many environmentalists would argue your point on the utility of cars - they are obscenely wasteful, encourage suburban sprawl, pollute the air, promote selfish and individualistic behavior (road rage and single-occupant commuters), are a leading cause of accidental death, lead to obesity (why walk to the corner store when you can drive), promote consumerism (gotta have the newest / best car on the block), and so on.

bigbird

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom 1:16
[ Parent ]

Constructive (3.00 / 1) (#116)
by CyberQuog on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 06:31:14 PM EST

I happen to be a part of my school's rifle team. We shoot small .22 single shot bolt actions. It takes intense training and skill to shoot a bulls-eye the size of a pin head from 50 feet with no scope. Granted this isn't very constructive in the sense of the word, but it is as constructive as any other sport, and probably even more so because in the process you learn other lessons, like self-controll. By the way, the rifle team has a long tradition in my highschool, which might end because of a few parents who complain about putting guns in the hands of kids. Yet in the 90 years of the sport at my school we have NEVER had one injury.
-...-
[ Parent ]
Sanity and Insanity. (none / 0) (#152)
by Alarmist on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:56:23 AM EST

The problem with guns is really expressed clear in that sentance:

Yep, guns are very dangerous tools, deadly in fact. Children, loonies, criminals, irresponsible people and idiots should not have access to firearms. Generally I don't fit any of those categories.

How do you know that you don't fit any of these categories? You need absolute knowledge to make any claim on your sanity, and there just isn't any absolute (moral) truths known to man.

Okay. He's not a child, an idiot, or a criminal. He doesn't seem to be an irresponsible person. That really only leaves the "loonie" classification. Most people who are insane enough to go on a killing spree are spotted at some point in their lives. Some of those people even know that they're crazy and exactly what they're capable of.

For instance:

A few months ago, a friend of mine called me up with a harrowing tale to tell. Her brother was insane. This was no news, we'd known it for years, but what we didn't know was how insane he was. We didn't know that he was into bestiality, or that he'd raped people, or that he'd taken potshots at people while driving, or that he was planning to become a serial killer. He is a diagnosed sociopath. He has discussed all of this fairly frankly with his sister and knows that what he's doing isn't normal and that he is most definitely insane.

This is a case of a person who is insane, knows that he's insane, and has a fairly good idea of how insane he is. He doesn't need "absolute truths" to tell him whether he's sane or not; he knows that the voices he hears in his head aren't real and that most people would not have sex with a dog and then kill it.

What you seem to be having trouble with is the definition of sanity and insanity. We as a society (I'm speaking of US society; yours may differ) seem to have decided that anyone who holds views that are markedly at variance to observed reality is insane. So far as we know, squirrels do not talk; if someone claims that they do and that they announce themselves as messengers from God, then that person is viewed as being insane, or at least a bit skewed. If you hold to this definition of sanity and insanity, then it's pretty easy for someone to tell whether they are sane or not (exception: some people are so removed from reality that they no longer have any idea of what the people around them hold to be real, and thus, can't accurately describe the reality that the rest of us know).

My points are these: contentions about a person's sanity do not depend on an absolute knowledge of that person. The person him/herself can usually perform assessments of their own sanity with a fair degree of accuracy.

Fight the Power.


[ Parent ]

Guns are bad. (2.67 / 34) (#10)
by Eloquence on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 11:48:45 AM EST

You are, in fact, "totally and completely off your rocker", whatever that means. The fact that you draw a parallel between an operating system and deadly weapons already seems to be the result of a twisted way of thinking, a symptom of the American gun-obsession. I can think of no useful discussion to come out of this other than the dreaded handgun control debate, and if anyone is really interested in it, they can find a good collection of facts here.

I don't have a strong opinion on hunting for food or for pleasure (and I don't believe you if you say it ain't for pleasure); although I would prefer if the people doing it could stick to playing Quake 3 Arena and leave the animals alone. I do have a strong opinion if kids are involved in this kind of activity. The kind of people who install porn-filters at home to prevent their kids from seeing a dick or a pussy but teach them to make their own amno, frankly, just piss me off. And then they'll probably tell you that the kids shouldn't see nudity because it would make them violent..
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!

Aren't you overreacting? (3.66 / 3) (#15)
by bgalehouse on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 01:55:26 PM EST

There are all sorts of parellels with computers and free speach. And he sounds like a typical gun advocate. Not the prototypical gun nut.

I'm not saying that gun control is totally bad, but there is another side of the story. I'll not try to repeat the content - I prefer to come up with my own arguments, but, GunTruths has a reasonable collection of direct arguments/refutations. Amazing how much a difference in presentation affects the interpretation of what are nominally facts.

Guns can be seen as similar to port scanners and DOS tools. Alright, it is hard to kill somebody with a DOS tool, but the tool has even fewer legitimate uses than a gun. There have been attempts to make both illegal. There is some truth to the statement "when guns are illegal, only criminals will have them".

Similarly with lockpicks. You can make them out of bicycle spokes and a dremel tool. Like DOS tool or the exploit code you might see them as a legitimate hacker's hobby to play with on your own and on your friends systems. But in many states, carrying them is illegal.

Similarly with reverse engineering tools. You half joke about the day when debuggers are illegal, but I have seen a electronic book reader that refuses to install if you have a debugger installed.

Similarly with encryption technology.

America has had lots of guns for a long time. Only in the past few decades have we had problems with crazies shooting places up, and with criminals shooting indiscriminantly. Cause and effect doesn't work that way.

[ Parent ]

I don't think so. (3.57 / 7) (#27)
by Eloquence on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 04:08:41 PM EST

There are all sorts of parellels with computers and free speach.

I don't think free speech and free guns are really comparable. The freedom to possess guns reminds me more of the freedom to pollute the environment. Guns are inherently harmful, they are designed to kill people. It's really quite simple. The less guns we have, the less people get killed.

I'm not saying that gun control is totally bad, but there is another side of the story. I'll not try to repeat the content - I prefer to come up with my own arguments, but, GunTruths has a reasonable collection of direct arguments/refutations.

Is that so? I have taken a look at their site. I have rarely seen a more dishonest compilation of pseudo-facts and propaganda (well, actually, creationist and pro-life sites are remarkably similar). They argue that Hitler and other dictators were pro-control (and that Jews would have been able to defend themselves otherwise, yeah right, that would only have made it easier to label them a criminal and radical element of society) while omitting that most modern European nations are pro-control.

They hardly cite any sources at all, confuse correlation with causality (concealed carry laws "lead to" reduced crime), and the statistics they cite to prove their own points actually disprove it. See, for example, America Most Violent?. Nobody has ever seriously claimed that America is more violent than Third World Countries, and the table of statistical data clearly shows that America has a homicide rate that is 7 times higher than that in European countries like Austria, Germany, Sweden, Spain ..

On a different page they argue:

In the U.S., there are about 3.2 murders per 100,000 people each year by weapons other than firearms. This means that even if firearms in the U.S. could be magically eliminated, we would still have three times the murder rate of the Japanese.

Yeah, but with firearms, it is 10 times higher.

This is not a site that presents facts, it's a site that grabs all propaganda it can get and throws it in a central directory, regardless of its scientific value. The important thing to know about guns is that if you have one, you're more likely to die by one (and more likely to lose a loved one by one). By accident or because the bad guy is more likely to shoot you when he sees your gun. It is true that you are less likely to lose property, but you exchange that for a higher likeliness to die.

Guns can be seen as similar to port scanners and DOS tools. Alright, it is hard to kill somebody with a DOS tool

That is the important part. Nobody gets killed by obscene phone calls, that's why we don't have "phone control". The disadvantages would far outweigh the benefits. But far too many people get killed by guns, and that's why we need gun control. The loss of the personal freedom to feel more powerful and safer than others can be tolerated if it results in many saved lives, and it does.

We draw the line when people get killed.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Gimme a break... (2.71 / 7) (#49)
by Danse on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 08:52:28 PM EST

They argue that Hitler and other dictators were pro-control (and that Jews would have been able to defend themselves otherwise, yeah right, that would only have made it easier to label them a criminal and radical element of society)

I'd rather be labeled a criminal and be able to have a fighting chance at living and escaping than be just another lamb to the slaughter.

They hardly cite any sources at all, confuse correlation with causality (concealed carry laws "lead to" reduced crime), and the statistics they cite to prove their own points actually disprove it.

Show me a single "gun-control" website or group that doesn't do the same thing.

Yeah, but with firearms, it is 10 times higher.

Actually, you're both wrong. There is no evidence that the homicide rate would drop significantly if guns were outlawed. Criminals would still obtain them, just as they can still obtain drugs despite the decades-long war against them. There is little reason to believe that if guns weren't as readily available that people wouldn't just use other methods of killing.

The important thing to know about guns is that if you have one, you're more likely to die by one (and more likely to lose a loved one by one). By accident or because the bad guy is more likely to shoot you when he sees your gun. It is true that you are less likely to lose property, but you exchange that for a higher likeliness to die.

Where is your evidence of this? I hear this claim all the time, but the only numbers i've ever seen that offer any support are those that include suicides as "accidents" and include anyone whose name you know as a "friend or loved one" regardless of the fact that they might have been trying to kill or rob you and you barely know them."

But far too many people get killed by guns, and that's why we need gun control.

Many more people are killed by alcohol than by guns. Many more people are killed by smoking than by guns. Many more people are killed by automobiles than by guns. I don't hear anyone advocating the banning of those things. The alcohol ban has already been tried and it ended up creating more crime and death than it prevented. The drug war is another example of a failed attempt at controlling something that has been labeled as "bad mmm'kay." There are many reasons for violence in America. Poverty and poor education are probably tops on the list, yet we do surprisingly little to improve those situations. Why don't we have a War on Poverty or a War on Poor Education? Because those might require that we get off our asses and actually do something to help rather than just make hysterical pleas to our government to ban the offending objects, regardless of the fact that it most likely couldn't be done, and most likely would be inneffective at significantly reducing homicides in any case. It's a lot easier to rob, rape, or kill someone if you know they don't have a gun.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Re: Gimme a break ... (4.00 / 3) (#61)
by blackhole_1 on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 02:45:45 AM EST

Many more people are killed by alcohol than by guns. Many more people are killed by smoking than by guns. Many more people are killed by automobiles than by guns. I don't hear anyone advocating the banning of those things. The alcohol ban has already been tried and it ended up creating more crime

They are not controlled? Yes they are to a certain extent. i.e. selling to minors is wrong, liquor shops in Texas have to close after 9 PM (don't know about other places).

In any case, they are not controlled because by drinking alcohol or smoking the person doing it harming himself. The gun owner has the ability to harm others and hence these is a stronger case for gun control.



[ Parent ]
not quite... (3.00 / 2) (#65)
by Danse on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 04:11:29 AM EST

They are not controlled? Yes they are to a certain extent. i.e. selling to minors is wrong, liquor shops in Texas have to close after 9 PM (don't know about other places).

I was referring more to the idea of banning when I talk about "gun control", since that seems to be the eventual goal of the gun control movement and most of them will tell you so. Pity the poor folks that believe that the gun control movement will be satisfied with just new regulations.

In any case, they are not controlled because by drinking alcohol or smoking the person doing it harming himself. The gun owner has the ability to harm others and hence these is a stronger case for gun control.

What about the effects of alcohol on the mind? It often makes people aggressive and violent. What about automobiles? They cause a vastly larger number of deaths than guns, yet they are not controlled as much as guns. You only have to be 16 to drive or buy a car. You only have to take a relatively simple test once in order to get a license.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Gun and alcohol control. (1.00 / 1) (#154)
by Alarmist on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:06:32 PM EST

In any case, they are not controlled because by drinking alcohol or smoking the person doing it harming himself. The gun owner has the ability to harm others and hence these is a stronger case for gun control.

This is wrong. People who smoke harm others around them (see the recent debate on the effects of second-hand smoke). People who drink have the potential to harm others around them (drunk drivers, anyone?). Why, then, are we not controlling these to the same extent that people propose we control guns?

To purchase a gun from an establishment that sells them, the buyer has to fill out a form, be processed, and usually sit through a waiting period. In addition, people who want to buy longarms (rifles and shotguns) must be at least 18, and people who want to buy pistols must be at least 21. Gun stores also tend to card people, to make sure you're of the proper age. In some states, the firearm must be registered with a central authority of some sort. If you want to carry a firearm for defense, you must apply for a carry permit, and must usually pass a course as a part of that. If you want to transport a firearm, you must make sure that the bullets (if any) are in one part of the vehicle you're travelling in and the firearm is in another, with the chamber open to show that it is not loaded. And there are some places, like schools, state property, and any place where alcohol is served, that you can't carry a gun at all for any reason.

On the other hand, I can buy a pack of cigarettes with pocket change from the local gas station. They may or may not ID me, though they are required by law to do so. I can also buy alcohol from a corner store (or a liquor store). Again, I may or may not be ID'd, but it's more likely that I will be carded for buying alcohol than I will for buying cigarettes, even though I'm supposed to be carded for both.

Guns are already being controlled, far more tightly than alcohol or cigarettes. Yet lung cancer and drunk driving deaths kill more people per year than firearms do.

[ Parent ]

True... (2.00 / 1) (#57)
by bgalehouse on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 11:41:10 PM EST

The site I referenced didn't back it's data with analysis. Nor did it provide much real analysis. I was responding to a post which provided a reference that I found problematic for the same reason. Neither site should be taken seriously.

If you want something more reasoned, with refernces, try this or this.

The less guns we have, the less people get killed.

Evidence? References? Mexico is number 3 in gun deaths per capita, while at the same time, we are warned here that having a gun in Mexico without permit can put you in jail for 5 years. Jamaica is similar - owning a gun legaly is difficult an unussual, but the amount of violent crime (and the number of gun deaths) is high.

Again though, my point is that it is easy to come up with arguments for and against this stuff. I don't know who is right. But anybody who sees it as simple is wrong.

[ Parent ]

Interesting... (1.50 / 2) (#70)
by Danse on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 06:37:12 AM EST

I thought this was especially interesting. I hadn't heard about this, except for the Lott study.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Designed to kill people? (1.33 / 3) (#59)
by jason on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 11:58:36 PM EST

Guns are inherently harmful, they are designed to kill people.
Please cite a source. I tend to believe they were designed to kill prey animals. And in my experience, they're mostly used to eliminate dangerous critters like rattlesnakes and cottonmouths.

Jason

[ Parent ]

Re: Designed to kill people? (3.66 / 3) (#68)
by YesNoCancel on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 06:08:21 AM EST

I tend to believe they were designed to kill prey animals.

Yeah, sure. And the atom bomb was designed because the blast looks so nice.

[ Parent ]

Design (3.00 / 1) (#73)
by Danse on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 06:52:27 AM EST

Guns vary quite a bit in their design. The shotgun was designed to kill birds and such. It requires less accurracy and doesn't have much punch at medium to long range, but is sufficient to take down a duck.

Most bolt-action rifles are designed for hunting animals (sniper rifles are an exception). They don't fire quickly and don't hold much ammunition, so they are not well-suited to killing humans, although they can, like most things, do the job in a pinch.

M-60 machine guns were designed to kill people. As many as possible really. People are generally smarter, quicker, and harder to kill than ducks or deer. Therefore you need something that fires fast and with a lot of power. Accuracy is a plus, but when you can fire that many rounds that quickly, great accuracy is not essential.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Re: Design (3.00 / 1) (#87)
by YesNoCancel on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 10:49:21 AM EST

It's true that some guns, like rifles, were designed to kill animals. However, the first guns in the 13nth century were designed solely for war (remember that war is the father of all inventions, as they say). It was only later that they were also used for hunting animals. And remember that all handguns are designed with the only purpose of killing humans. At least I haven't seen many hunters with handguns.



[ Parent ]

Fair enough... (3.00 / 1) (#90)
by jason on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 12:14:31 PM EST

You're probably right about the initial design of guns. I now recall that as well. Blah. Forgot they were direct descendants of cannons. But then computers were initially adopted for computing shell trajectories, so...

One other point, though: Some hunters carry a small pistol to dispatch quarry that is suffering. It sucks, but sometimes it's necessary. A rifle or shotgun blast at that short range would be dangerous. But that's definitely a secondary purpose for pistols, and the pistols used are not particularly powerful.

Personally, I'd prefer bow hunting or falconry, but I'm not about to tell other people what to do. I've only really encountered the good type of hunters, those with a deep respect for nature and an understanding of what they're doing, so that's definitely biased me. I know the others are out there, but I normally hear of them from stories about catching poachers...

Jason

[ Parent ]

Guns are illegal in England... (3.20 / 15) (#29)
by Goldberg's Pants on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 04:51:16 PM EST

And yes, criminals have them. The police aren't armed except the armed response teams... How many gun deaths in England each year? It's generally in single figures.

Sorry to this, but this article is moronic. Anyone who can draw a parallel between Linux and guns is in need of serious mental help. It makes about as much sense as comparing chocolate with the internal combustion engine.

The author saying that getting a fat doe in the freezer is satisfying. You are sick. People like you make me ill.

DoS tools, lockpicks, all ridiculous counterpoints to an argument. I find it amusing that America is so pro guns, and also has the highest fatality rate due to gun violence, especially among children, and yet somehow sees it as their birthright to hold them... Yeah, I agree, I mean how else would those kids in Columbine have shot all their fellow school pupils... Way to go for making their job easier... To paraphrase Michael Moore, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people... with guns." Guns are the answer to a question nobody asked. Sure, defend your home. There are a million and one ways OTHER than guns. The only thing guns show is how little the human race has evolved from the "Can't screw it or eat it, kill it" mentality.
---
This space intentionally left blank.
[ Parent ]

Re: Guns are illegal in England... (2.88 / 9) (#34)
by gunner800 on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 05:21:35 PM EST

I apologize for singling out a single statement from your post, but you stumbled across a pet peeve:

The author saying that getting a fat doe in the freezer is satisfying. You are sick. People like you make me ill.

Do you eat meat? Do you enjoy eating meat? If so, do you make yourself ill?

---Ignore poorly-chosen handle for purpose of gun-control discussions.
[ Parent ]

Guns in the UK (2.50 / 2) (#37)
by titus-g on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 05:41:11 PM EST

Guns aren't illegal here, if you have a reason to have then then you can.

Most farms around here have shotguns and rifles, if you want to shoot for sport (target/clay pigeon etc) you can get a license.

Even we used to have some, err just not legally...

Just as a nation we don't have the same obsession with them, so ownership is rarer.

--"Essentially madness is like charity, it begins at home" --
[ Parent ]

re: Guns in the UK (3.00 / 1) (#109)
by psyklone on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 05:17:11 PM EST

Guns aren't illegal here, if you have a reason to have then then you can.

With many exceptions, including any non-air pistol. Yup, thanks to the "efforts" of the Dunblane campaigners it's illegal for our Olympic target pistol team to practice their own sport - and these are the bulky, totally impractical 0.22" single shot pistols. Instead they travel across to France every week to practice - anyone living north of London had to move down or give up their sport and representing their country.

Of course, our two-faced Government would grant a short-term exception if we made a successful bid to host the Olympics. And of course, you're allowed a 50-shot semi-auto 0.22" carbine on a Firearms Certificate, or semi-auto shotguns, or 0.50" hunting rifles.

At least in the UK posessing weapons for self-defence isn't a valid reason..



[ Parent ]
US Police with guns (none / 0) (#241)
by davidmb on Mon Dec 11, 2000 at 11:03:18 AM EST

I hope the general police force never have to carry guns here in the UK.
There's something civilised about hitting people over the head with truncheons. I think armed police forces would lead to more armed criminals and more gun deaths.
־‮־
[ Parent ]
analogy (3.75 / 4) (#40)
by boxed on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 07:39:34 PM EST

it is hard to kill somebody with a DOS tool, but the tool has even fewer legitimate uses than a gun
DOS tools can be used to test resistance against DOS attacks. Guns can be used in the same way to test for example bullet proof vests. The analogy however is flawed because it is possible to take away practically all guns from society (as in most of europe and asia), while DOS tools can be written in minutes or hours. DOS tools can also easily be copied and distributed, guns cannot. And the old idea of having guns for protection is quite frankly silly. Having a gun doesn't make me harder to kill it just makes me better at killing.

[ Parent ]
Which is kind of the point, isn't it? (1.25 / 4) (#55)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 11:03:21 PM EST

Having a gun doesn't make me harder to kill it just makes me better at killing.

Since bullet-proof pajamas have yet to be invented, the best defense a home owner has is to ensure that the only person with a hole in him is the guy who was coming in the window.

If you come up with another method to protect my family, I'll use it. In the meantime I use what is available to me.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
best defense is a good offense? or... (2.60 / 5) (#63)
by SEAL on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 03:39:50 AM EST

"An armed society is a polite society."

- Robert A. Heinlein



SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]
If you want to protect your family... (3.75 / 4) (#66)
by sec on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 04:37:16 AM EST

Of the several dozen people whom I have known who are now dead, exactly zero died by being shot.

Really, if the place you live in is so dangerous that you live in constant fear of being shot, you would better serve your family's safety by moving someplace safer than by owning a gun.



[ Parent ]

And where would that be? (none / 0) (#236)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 10:17:54 AM EST



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Mutual Assured Destruction (1.50 / 2) (#69)
by boxed on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 06:33:13 AM EST

Mutual Assured Destruction is what it is. If I nuke you, I'll nuke you. If none of us had nukes there would be no risk of getting nuked. The same goes for guns.

[ Parent ]
And will you also eliminate.... (2.20 / 5) (#77)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 07:23:22 AM EST

  • Ammonina and bleach
  • Lye
  • diesel fuel and fertilizer
  • gasoline and polyethlene

Not to mention knives, cars, hammers, saws, etc..

Seeing how I can make some very nasty weapons out of any of those items above, not to mention millions of other every day items, how protect yourself?

The idea that without guns people would be less violent is magical thinking. The guns didn't create the violence, and removal of the guns would simply switch people to other weapons. On the other hand, the effectiveness of guns mean that they provide a great equalizer - allowing a smaller, weaker, individual to protect themselves from someone much larger and more aggressive.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
But... (2.33 / 3) (#125)
by sec on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 10:44:42 PM EST

Ammonina and bleach

Ammonia is a cleaner. Bleach is a cleaner and a whitener.

Lye

Cleaner, disinfectant, preservative. diesel fuel and fertilizer

Diesel fuel is a fuel. Fertilizer is, well, a fertilizer.

gasoline and polyethlene

Gasoline is a fuel. Polyethylene is a plastic, used to make all kinds of objects.

On the other hand, the primary purpose of a gun is to kill. The primary purpose of a nuclear bomb is to kill, and cause a great deal of collateral damage in the process.

Controlling any of the things that you mentioned would also interfere with a great deal of legitimate uses. Not so with guns or nuclear weapons.

The idea that without guns people would be less violent is magical thinking.

It wouldn't get rid of violent urges within people, true. It would mitigate the effects of such violent urges, though.

The guns didn't create the violence, and removal of the guns would simply switch people to other weapons.

However, those other weapons are generally harder to kill people with, or require more knowledge to use correctly than a gun does.

On the other hand, the effectiveness of guns mean that they provide a great equalizer - allowing a smaller, weaker, individual to protect themselves from someone much larger and more aggressive.

The flip side of that is that it allows people who would otherwise be too small and weak to cause much harm to be able to express the violent urges that they have.



[ Parent ]

eh? (2.00 / 1) (#134)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 05:36:35 AM EST

The idea that without guns people would be less violent is magical thinking
I never stated this and anyone who does is an obvious idiot. It is clear however that you can't cause cause as much damage with a baseball bat as you can with, say, a sniper rifle. Get my drift?

[ Parent ]
look at the rest of the world (3.57 / 7) (#97)
by uweber on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 02:14:34 PM EST

Well, this just shows how far the US is past the point of no return.
Here in Germany burglars almost never carry weapons because it is much saver for them to simply run if they are surprised by their victim and it gets them in a lot less trouble if they get arrested.
I also think violent robberies are more frequent in the US because the "tools" to rob somebody are readily available and crimminals genneraly dislike beeing shot as much as everybody else so they just do the same everybody else does, they get a gun.

BTW I would probablyshot myself with a gun hidden under my pillow ;-).


[ Parent ]
Actually, you have a good point... (4.16 / 6) (#104)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 03:36:29 PM EST

but it's not quite the one you think. There simply isn't any correlation between the per-capita rate of violent crime and the per-capita rates of gun ownership. For every country you point to and say "look: no guns, low crime." I can point to another country and say "look: lots of guns, low crime." Heck, from what I've heard and read, Switzerland is a gun enthusiast's wet dream, with military grade weapons issued to every adult male - but it's also a very safe place to live.

And despite the popular perception, the USA is not in the middle of some sort of gun-toting crime wave. In fact, the USA is safer right now than it has been since before the Vietnam war.

Nonetheless, it is certainly true that the USA is, and has always been, a much more violent place than western europe. (At least, western europe since, say, the rennaisance.)

So, be honest - the question is not "why don't Americans get rid of their guns?" The real question is "why are Americans so much more violent than citizens of other countries."



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Out of curiosity... (4.66 / 3) (#123)
by sec on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 10:27:52 PM EST

For every country you point to and say "look: no guns, low crime." I can point to another country and say "look: lots of guns, low crime." Heck, from what I've heard and read, Switzerland is a gun enthusiast's wet dream, with military grade weapons issued to every adult male - but it's also a very safe place to live.

I keep hearing this. Whenever I hear it, the only country that is offered to back it up is Switzerland. .ch is only one country, and it's a rather small country (~7M people) at that.

So, what are all these other countries? Note that, population-wise, it would take 12 Switzerlands to equal one Germany.

And despite the popular perception, the USA is not in the middle of some sort of gun-toting crime wave. In fact, the USA is safer right now than it has been since before the Vietnam war.

So why do you feel the need to have a gun in order to protect your family, then? Your previous post made it sound like you were living in a war zone, or something.

So, be honest - the question is not "why don't Americans get rid of their guns?" The real question is "why are Americans so much more violent than citizens of other countries."

Partly. There are definately other factors besides gun ownership which influence the crime rate, and, indeed, I'm not sure whether the crime rate in the US is a cause or an effect, or both, of the crime rate.

Being totally honest, I'd have to say that gun control is not an ultimate answer, but rather a symptomatic treatment. Just like Aspirin won't cure a cold, gun control won't end violence. However, by making a device which makes killing other people easy harder to obtain, it will alleviate the symptoms.

[ Parent ]

Canada is a good example (5.00 / 1) (#126)
by earthling on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:17:32 AM EST

Canada is ranked third in the world for the amount of guns per capita, the United States being first and Finland (I believe, not sure about this one) being second.

Canadian and american cultures are, compared to the rest of the planet, relatively similar.

Yet, the overall crime rate (per 100,000) is around 4 times lower in Canada than in the US, while the amount of crimes commited with firearms is more than 11 times lower.

However, Canada has much tougher gun control laws requiring different lisences for possession, use and purchase of firearms. Also, fully automatic, converted, assault, nearly all semi-automatic and most handguns are illegal.

As for Switzerland (which I go to often since a part of my family is living there), it is true that most adult males are members of the army and have assault weapons and ammuntions in their homes, and yet there is a much lower crime rate with firearms than in the US. However, there is very strict screening of all military officers and extreme control and verification of those weapons and ammunition. A single round missing from the sealed boxes they are stored in, for whatever reason, will nearly always result in a free ticket to jail. Use of those weapons is always illegal, even for self defense, unless under direct orders from your superior.

I hope this answers your questions.

-Earthling
"I'm sorry, I had to; the irony was just too thick."
[ Parent ]

Interesting... (5.00 / 1) (#128)
by sec on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:24:29 AM EST

I'm from .ca myself. Most of the people I know who own guns are either hunters, or farmers, who use them to control wildlife which might threaten their livestock. The whole 'you need a gun for self-defence' line just doesn't seem to be very prominent here.

Since we have so much undeveloped land, hunting is a popular pastime.

Regarding .ch - it looks like guns are strictly controlled there, too. When you look at these cases, it doesn't seem to provide a strong argument for the anti-gun-control people.



[ Parent ]

Handguns... (4.00 / 1) (#153)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:00:06 PM EST

Actually, since the gun of choice for criminals is the cheap handgun (despite the media's harping on "assault weapons"), I'm a big fan of the idea of putting a heavy tax on any gun shorter than 30 inches or so. You could set it up on a reverse scale so that the cheaper the pistol, the higher the tax. Home defense is much better done with a shotgun, and for fighting a guerilla war against tyranny, rifles are the thing: I definitely want to be as far away from the soldiers as possible when I pull the trigger.

(I'm joking.)



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Examples... (none / 0) (#177)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 03:42:53 PM EST

Israel is another country where gun ownership is high, but crime is low. (Of course, some would consider the treatment of Palestine to be a crime, but that's another subject.)

Mexico has very low gun ownership, and very high crime. Same with Russia.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Zip guns? (2.66 / 3) (#114)
by Luke Scharf on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 06:00:30 PM EST

The analogy however is flawed because it is possible to take away practically all guns from society (as in most of europe and asia), while DOS tools can be written in minutes or hours.

AFAIK, anyone with some basic machinning skills should be able to make a short rifled gun barrel. Probably not as good as manufactured guns. At least, given a .22 bullet (the only ones I've seen are rimfire), the aforementioned barrel, a carpenter's hammer, and a block of wood, I would have a deadly weapon. Maybe not very accurate, but it could be built and tested in less than an hour.

I believe that police call these contraptions "zip guns". They claim that they're dangerous on both sides of the barrel. They're also aware that they can be built without too much skill. Or at least that's what one local police officer in Southwest Virginia told me.



[ Parent ]
Won't Somebody Please Think Of The Children (2.00 / 5) (#16)
by antizeus on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 02:02:44 PM EST

Much information on the other side of the issue can be found at: http://dmoz.org/Society/Issues/Gun_Control/Pro-Gun_Rights/.

In closing I would like to remark that you are completely irrational, and that only people who agree with me are rational.
-- $SIGNATURE
[ Parent ]

Please. (2.75 / 8) (#24)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 03:10:51 PM EST

And who else do you think I'm thinking of when I hear that yet another pipe bomb has gone off on my street (6 this year) or that the new video store, open less than a month, has already had a fatal knifing, and that the local cops are trolling my development looking for the suspect?

Are kids killed by guns? Accidentally? By other kids? Yes. on the other hand, the number of accidental shootings in the USA has fallen by 75% since the early 70's. (You don't hear gun control nuts talking about that). You also don't hear them talking about how, with the exception of the urban poor, very few children get shot at all.

Which really gets my goat. Colombine got national attention. But if it happened in west Philadelphia, or Harlem, or Watts, it would have gotten five minutes on the local news and no national attention at all.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
poverty bad (3.60 / 5) (#39)
by gunner800 on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 06:52:13 PM EST

You also don't hear them talking about how, with the exception of the urban poor, very few children get shot at all.

Perhaps we should simply ban poverty. After all, outlawing something statistically associated with violence is bound to decrease violence. After poverty, we can outlaw violent video games, pornography, four-letter words, and basic human emotions.

---Ignore poorly-chosen handle for purpose of gun-control discussions.
[ Parent ]

one thing... (3.00 / 3) (#48)
by Danse on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 08:25:31 PM EST

Heh... I got what you were saying, but I hafta point one thing out. Violent video games are in no way statistically linked to gun or any other sort of violence. In fact, /. ran a story one day where someone showed that each year, as the number of violent games increased, the number of violent crimes committed by kids decreased by a significant margin. It wasn't meant to be a realistic study of any sort. Just sort of an off the cuff observation to point out that you could just as easily claim that violent video games prevent violent crimes among kids as you can that they cause them.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Poverty is bad. (4.33 / 3) (#83)
by Spendocrat on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 09:19:30 AM EST

Duh. Not that poverty is in any way related to the rest of your examples.

But anyways, eliminating poverty would do a lot towards solving a lot of problems statistically correlated with urban areas. Higher crime rates, larger burdens on healthcare systems, larger burden on the environment etc.

News flash to the US - take some money out of your military spending and do something about the crap that's happening in your inner cities. I'm not talking about welfare here people - youth centres, better public schools, school meal programs etc. Don't make children suffer for any mistakes their parents made. Yes, in fact, please think of the children - in a totally non-cliched way.

I know this will probably draw flames related to the fact that the US needs its military to stave off the evil of country X, or political system Y. More importantly, people would lose jobs if the US cut military spending. My answer to this is to say that maybe the US should stop giving away military hardware to foreign states it might probably go to war with some time in the future. Don't keep parts of your country dependant on an artificially inflated aero-space industry (now with new .aero TLDs!).

[ Parent ]

Interesting set of viewpoints (2.66 / 3) (#54)
by ChannelX on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 10:48:45 PM EST

So you think everyone should be vegetarian? You think someone hunting for food is less humane than the way food animals are treated in 'production'?

I don't get the parallel between gun owners teaching their kids responsibly and porn-filtering, etc. I'd say that people who are teaching their kids how to load ammo are probably teaching them responsible gun handling. I'd also bet that those folks are about as anti-'porn filtering' as you can get. The parallels you're drawing are totally bogus. Pull it out for awhile and actually think.

[ Parent ]

Vegetarianism. (2.00 / 1) (#82)
by Spendocrat on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 09:05:31 AM EST

While I wouldn't force it on people, I *do* wish everyone was a vegetarian. Growing crops is a lot more efficient than raising animals on an land-area basis. If everyone hunted for their food we'd all be starving in a few months - one of the drawbacks of technological advances like modern medicine.

[ Parent ]
Efficiency of Agriculture (4.00 / 2) (#85)
by bigbird on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 10:39:28 AM EST

I have several relatives and friends who raise cattle, and have helped out on the farms, and followed the industry in the Western Producer. Typically, the land used for raising cattle is marginal for grain production - it is often rockier, with lower agricultural capabilities (less soil nutrients, sandy soil, less rainfall, etc).

Much of the feed used is also second-rate - the high grade barley and wheat gets sold for human consumption, the lower grade products are used as animal feed.

If livestock farming were to come to a sudden end, a huge amount of land currently used for agriculture in North America would be abandoned for two reasons:
1)we would not need the surplus low quality grains without livestock to consume them
2)much of the land used for livestock production could not be efficiently used for much else.(industrial hemp maybe? Don't know).

bigbird

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom 1:16
[ Parent ]

Good point. (none / 0) (#149)
by Spendocrat on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:43:09 AM EST

That's a good point, though I'm not convinced that this is as common in other countries as it is in Canada (Though I'm guessing it holds for most northern countries).

And of course no one is advocating for the sudden end to anything. People want to eat meat and for the forseeable future most people aren't going to change, especially not for an ideal of more efficient agriculture. I think what we're going to see is farmers switching to more efficient methods only when the profitability of those methods becomes greater than less efficient methods (read when we start to see food shortages due to lack of production as opposed to poor allocation). Farmers switching away from meats will drive the price up and people will be essentially forced (economically) into moving away from a strongly meat-based diet.

[ Parent ]

I agree (2.00 / 1) (#124)
by ChannelX on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 10:35:24 PM EST

I do agree with you but I really dislike the idea that the way animals are treated and slaughtered for food production is somehow better and more humane that if they were hunted. As I said the author really needs to get a little wider worldview than they currently have by doing some research on the process of how meat gets to their grocery store.

[ Parent ]
Guns? I hate guns... (2.50 / 2) (#122)
by 0xdeadbeef on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 09:38:43 PM EST

For one who links to something called "infoanarchy", you seem strangely willing to leave the job of defending yourself against violence to the state. What do you do when the state doesn't come to your call, or, when it is actually the one committing violence?

[ Parent ]
Wow (3.00 / 2) (#172)
by trhurler on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 02:48:03 PM EST

For the first time ever, I see a post with the name "Eloquence" on it that, aside from being content free, appears to be explicitly written to piss a bunch of people off.

Think for a few minutes. This guy obviously does not live in a city or do stupid irresponsible things. He obviously is a responsible owner of firearms, and he obviously enjoys them for their own sake. People often use Linux for the same reason.

Then of course, you insert some highly inflammatory bullshit about porn, which makes no sense either. It isn't relevant, you have no idea if this guy even has kids, and if he does, you have no idea how old they are or what exposure they have to guns or to porn, and yet somehow, here you are, let's go piss some people off.

Here's a hint: there are 80 million firearm owners in the US. Probably more like a half million to a million have at one time or another reloaded ammo. Many teach their kids, not just because the kids can then use guns, but because educated kids are safer and less likely to do something stupid with those guns. They're not all nutcases; most of them are at least as reasonable as you are. They're not all inbred morons either; many very intelligent people enjoy various shooting sports and so on.

And here's a fact you'll try to deny: gun control is based on fear, rather than reality. You know, if you think about it, that almost everyone can, with reasonable education, safely own firearms. However, you're so afraid of that one guy, or that one freak accident, or that one kid who was so stupid he put a gun in his buddy's mouth and shot him, that you ignore the millions and millions of others. You talk about banning guns? Let's ban doctors; more people die of medical mistakes than of guns. Let's ban cars; they kill ten times as many. Let's ban buildings taller than a few stories; construction accidents are a lot more common than you'd think. Let's ban cities, because population density has a lot more correlation to crime than any other factor ever has or probably will. Let's ban black people, because they commit more murders in the US than any other group. Let's ban junk food, and let's ban rock music, and let's ban free speech - after all, Hitler was elected. (They did that last one in Germany, btw.)

This attitude towards people makes me sick. If you can't trust people to act sanely in the normal case, then you're going to lose anyway; why is it necessary to screw things up for people who aren't afraid of everyone they don't know?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Tools aren't good or evil (3.41 / 17) (#12)
by Luke Scharf on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 01:38:34 PM EST

Discplaimer: IAAA

<rant>

Tools aren't good or evil - they do whatever the person who is weilding wants.

For instance, take the lug wrench that's part of the spare-tire kit in every car. The one on my car is a piece of springy steel that's about two and a half feet long. It provides great leverage for getting the lug nuts off and the finally wheel off of the car. I can use to change a tire for stranger in distress - out of the highest moral aims. I could also use it to beat the poor driver senseless and take his/her valuables.

Computers and guns fall into the same catagory as the wrench - they are tools, and do what we tell them. AFAIK, nobody in their right mind would advocate banning lug wrenches on the basis that they can be used to commit crimes.

</rant>

<rant>

One other rant - it seems to me that most people who are afraid of guns haven't really used one. I went shooting not too long ago with my friend who has a .243. For those of you who don't know, that's a rifle that's big enough to kill a deer, but not as big as some people use. The weapon was just powerful enough to let you know what you had in your hands - a tool that can kill things. The limits also become very obvious - it will ONLY kill things that you point it towards. Obviously, nobody in their right mind will point it at a person. These constraints are, as far as I know, the foundation of gun safety.

The other thing that came very evident at the shooting range was that everyone's lives depend on being civilized and following the protocol. And I could see that everyone else there was aware of this. The situation is the same in normal life (traffic for instance), but people aren't aware of it as often. I want share this insight with other people in the hopes that people will realize exactly how good we have it here in this part of America, and so that they don't mess it up by being reckless.

</rant>

And yes, I plan to get a rifle once I get my DVD player and digital camera. Hitting a piece of paper that's 100yd away is difficult enough that I think I can put in the effort required to get good at it.



Flawed analogy (4.00 / 13) (#18)
by dead_penguin on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 02:10:32 PM EST

Tools aren't good or evil - they do whatever the person who is weilding want This is true, but you forget that each tool is designed to do a specific task better than most others. In the case of the wrench, it is designed to do one thing-- loosening bolts. Using it as a beat-down weapon probably works, but it wasn't designed for this, and there probably are more efficient beating tools out there designed with that specific purpose in mind.

Guns are designed for killing. Most for killing people. While some (shotguns, bolt-action rifles) are best for hunting, anyone who thinks the primary purpose of handguns and semi-automatic rifles isn't for killing people is deluding themselves somewhat. The claim that these weapons are also good for target shooting is also problematic. The only guns really designed for this are some of the more esoteric target pistols, and the rifles used in the olympic biathlon. Using a .357 at a target range may be a good way to improve your marksmanship skills, but there are better tools out there for this, and this tool is somewhat better at doing other things

Personally, I'm not as anti-gun as I probably have come across. I've had a hunting license in the past, and I know how to use a gun safely. I do have an problem, though, with tools being in the hands of the general public whose primary design function is killing people.

[ Parent ]

Now this is a moral argument... (1.50 / 2) (#108)
by Luke Scharf on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 05:07:56 PM EST

Guns are designed for killing.

Despite my semi-Quaker upbringing, I contend that there are times when killing is morally defensible. For example:

  • Animals for food.
  • To prevent greater loss of life - eg stopping someone who is sincerely threatening to kill other people and capeable of carrying out that threat.
  • To protect my kids (when I have them).
  • In these cases, a tool would be a good thing to have. In the first and last cases, I'd do it with my bare hands if I didn't have a tool available.

    While some (shotguns, bolt-action rifles) are best for hunting, anyone who thinks the primary purpose of handguns and semi-automatic rifles isn't for killing people is deluding themselves somewhat.

    Where do you live? Where I come from, lots of people have shotguns and bolt action rifles. I don't know of too many handguns - the vast majority of handguns I've seen were being worn by police officers at the time.

    I personally don't see the point in me owning an assult rifle or a handgun. I agree that those weapons are designed primarily to kill people. Still, I don't think it's my right to tell people what tools they can or cannot own. I don't know anyone who's had an accident with a handgun, and I've never heard of someone having an accident with an assult rifle. I'd agree that private ownership of nuclear and/or chemical weapons should be illegal - since I don't know anything about them, there's a great potential for accidental loss of life. In the case of a shotgun, though, the potential for damage is about the same as an automobile.

    I feel MUCH safer at a shooting range than crossing the street. I'm 21, and I've had two friends who've been killed in traffic accidents and one who recovered from being hit by a car. I don't know of anyone who's been seriosuly injured by a firearm, although I'm sure that veterans can say otherwise.

    Civilized people respect the power contained in a firearm, and so they don't have very many accidents. People often fail to respect the power in normal everyday life, and so people get hurt or killed.



    [ Parent ]
    Sigh. Another flame war. (2.81 / 11) (#19)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 02:36:48 PM EST

    Okay; is this topic really neccessary? We all know how this will go - a few gun owners and supporters, and a few lets-talk-about-this-rationally types will be drowned in a sea of invective from people who firmly believe that the only way to make themselves safe is to destroy all guns. (The fact that any schmuck who paid attention in high-school chemistry can wipe out an office building is never to be paid attention to, along with the fact that cars kill 10 times the number of people guns do every year.)

    Nor can people seem to discuss rationally the fact that crime falls in cities that pass right-to-carry laws, or the idea that the purpose of the 2nd ammendment isn't hunting - it's self defence. Heck, people freak at the site of a fingernail cleaner.

    So, since we all know how this is going to go, why bother talking about it? I've seen it over and over again, on bulletin boards and in real life. I don't have the strength to go through it again.



    People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
    This is uncalled for. (3.66 / 6) (#96)
    by StrontiumDog on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 12:45:26 PM EST

    We all know how this will go - a few gun owners and supporters, and a few lets-talk-about-this-rationally types will be drowned in a sea of invective from people who firmly believe that the only way to make themselves safe is to destroy all guns. (The fact that any schmuck who paid attention in high-school chemistry can wipe out an office building is never to be paid attention to, along with the fact that cars kill 10 times the number of people guns do every year.)

    I will be the last person to deny anybody the right to defend themselves. I have in the past owned a variety of weapons for self defence, and have lived in a neighbourhood where a civilian militia was neccessary at times (my dad was on it sporadically), as there was completely inadequate police protection during crime waves. It was not a romantic experience, nor one to be repeated; there's nothing glamorous about an overweight middle-aged lecturer patrolling the neighbourhood in his car at night, with the prospect of a long sleepless day at work ahead of him. Nor did we, as family, sleep any easier; whether or not your dad is the hottest shot in the 'hood (and mine was definitely not), you still lie awake wondering if he's going to come back safe and sound. Being in such a situation makes one acutely aware of the desirability of a well-trained, well-equipped, disciplined police force. If one is not available, you have to make do the best you can.

    Ten years ago I moved to a country with an efficient police force and strict gun control laws. I feel safer than ever, despite the fact that I no longer own a weapon. As a South African immigrant once said, "In South Africa I slept with a revolver under my pillow; here I sleep with a book under my pillow." This is a sentiment I identify with completely. I cannot judge the US situation; I do not live there, and I believe it is a heterogeneous country, so what goes for one area in the US may not go for another. But I do know that I am firmly opposed to the abolition of gun control here. It is not mere invective, and I would resent my reasons being characterized as mere "invective": they are based on hard experience and reasoning. It has happened in the past that I have had arguments with people who have never used guns in any other capacity except as expensive toys (these were also the types who love spouting quotes like "he who values safety above freedom deserves neither" and similar hot air).

    Nor can people seem to discuss rationally the fact that crime falls in cities that pass right-to-carry laws, or the idea that the purpose of the 2nd ammendment isn't hunting - it's self defence. Heck, people freak at the site of a fingernail cleaner.

    You have seem to have some contempt of people, and the reasons they form opinions on matters that differ from yours. The original article by da Unicorn contained statements I understand and approve of; not because I like guns -- I don't, just as I don't like speedboats or grunge or banana sundaes -- but because he had a well thought out, well reasoned point of view, and respect for points of views that differed from his.

    [ Parent ]

    Really? (2.66 / 3) (#100)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 02:57:31 PM EST

    Given the name calling and "guns are bad period" arguing that's already gone on in this discussion forum, do you still think I'm wrong about how this thread will go?



    People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
    [ Parent ]
    Heh. (3.44 / 9) (#23)
    by simmons75 on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 03:01:29 PM EST

    If this gets dumped, it won't be my fault. =) I voted +1, front page.

    Maybe it's because I'm a Linux bigot, but I love hearing stories like this. I can identify with this. Quite frankly, though, my Linux story is sadly typical: I discovered it in college and haven't let go yet. The weird thing is that once I got to univerity level I switched from CS to Journalism, but refuse to quit using Linux. I'm not a reloading type, but my father is. I blame my parents for my love of Linux for the same reason you credit your Linux usage: my parents are do-it-yourselfers and it rubbed off on me.

    My dad started as a mechanic, and does woodworking. My mother did some woodworking and currently does a small craft-show circuit with hand-woven rugs. I don't carve, I'm all thumbs, but I dig Linux. Something not working right? Fix it. That's my philosophy. I'm terrible at math so I'm not going to code the next Quake. I've forgotten most the theory I learned in CS classes so I'm not going to be coding the next Linux filesystem, the next UN*X graphical user interface or anything of that nature. To me, my Linux box is a '68 Camaro in the back yard. I tinker with it, beef it up a little here and there, and generally try to squeeze the most performance out of the thing as possible. It doesn't require an engineering degree or a CS degree.

    Nice to see that other "normal" folks treat Linux as a hobby. =)
    poot!
    So there.

    Creativity & flexibility are good (2.60 / 5) (#33)
    by gunner800 on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 05:11:01 PM EST

    With enough time, knowledge, and willpower I could use linux and an old 486 to make a serviceable firewall. Obviously not the ideal solution, but a challenging and fun one to implement. Just try putting Windows 2000 on a 486 and see what happens.

    With practice and a lot of refinement of my equipment, I can knock over targets at 100 yards with my .357 revolver (a short Ruger Security-Six, intended for defensive use at maybe 10-20 yards). Not as effectively as I can with a high-powered rifle, but it's more fun with the revolver. Try that with a cheap or poorly-maintained gun and ammo you didn't pay attention to when reloading.

    I like to customize. I like being able to take things apart without destroying them. I like knowing that no matter how good I am, there's always something more challenging to try. I like being able to find out what's really going on inside my stuff, what makes it go. I like having enough fine control to try something that isn't really supposed to work.

    I get all that by building and upgrading computers rather than buying proprietary stuff. I get it from using linux more than from Windows. And I get it from target shooting.

    ---Ignore poorly-chosen handle for purpose of gun-control discussions.

    Love the message, dislike the messenger (3.40 / 5) (#42)
    by Saxifrage on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 07:49:17 PM EST

    I think you have an awesome point there. There are certainly similar parallels which make us want to use Linux, and I think that it's a fair analogy to make.

    The question is, what are they? After all, not everybody gets into it because they have the roll-your-own mentality. I started using Linux just before my fourteenth birthday, and have been ever since then. I dropped the Windows habit two years ago now, and haven't looked back since.

    But at thirteen, I didn't have any sort of analogy to the roll-your-own philosophy, nor did my parents. Unlike a lot of nerds out there, I come from reasonably affluent stock, and I never saw my parents doing a lot of fix-up projects. I mean, there was always that aspect -- he could fix stuff, sure, but seldom did for lack of time -- but it was never prominent. So what brought me into it?

    Part of the nature of Linux is that, while your point is true for a number of people, there are lots of reasons to start using Linux. I mean, I use it because I live for stability, and because I do programming and that sort of thing. (You have to give up something, too; I do web design, and I hate The GIMP. I still own Windows copies of Photoshop, and I'm still planning to build myself a box to run Windows on anyway, because I can't afford not to have it anymore.)

    I think it's key that the mentality is there, but I just wanted to make the point that the roll-your-own isn't the only reason to get into it.
    "I may disagree vehemently with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it." - Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire
    Missed the point? (3.50 / 2) (#80)
    by Spendocrat on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 08:58:01 AM EST

    While you've made some good points of your own, I think you've missed the point of this guy's article.

    He's not advocating Linux for Linux, but advocating (as one half of his analogy) doing thing "on your own" or "rolling your own". In this case Linux allows him to do what he wants to do.

    I think it's key that the mentality is there, but I just wanted to make the point that the roll-your-own isn't the only reason to get into it.

    As much as that's true, his story was all about rolling your own as being his reason for getting into Linux.

    The actual reason I'm responding to this is I'm wonder what your reason for "disliking the messenger" is - you don't actually go into it in your post.

    [ Parent ]

    foooood (2.83 / 6) (#45)
    by goosedaemon on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 08:05:18 PM EST

    i think homesteading is a good parallel. grow your own food, experiment with it, play with animals and their behavior. lots of fun. very roll-your-own-ish. a related link is www.countrysidemag.com. and self-sufficiencistic. yes, that's a word. at least now it is.


    I don't totally disagree (2.85 / 7) (#46)
    by Dacta on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 08:08:02 PM EST

    I'm not totally anti-gun. I think they have their place, even if I think the concept of a "right to bear arms" is a stupid idea (yeah, IAMNA - I am not American).

    However:

    A firearm and its ammunition are simply tools, ditto a computer and its OS. Tools which you can custom load with whatever you need to get the job done.

    That argument is meaningless - you can use it for anything. A nuclear bomb is just a tool (see how China wanted to do engineering with them?), so should everyone be allowed to have one?



    Disagree with your conclusion. (3.66 / 3) (#79)
    by Spendocrat on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 08:53:38 AM EST

    I don't think the argument is meaningless. More, it's broadly meaningful - almost everything we do isn't an end unto itself, but a means for us to feel happy, to feel useful, to survive etc.

    I guess you can say that since it applies to almost everything, it's therefore meaningless (providing no further light on any conversation); I think it's still important to say once in a while because it keeps things in perspective. Why do I program? Not so I can have programmed, but so I can feel the enjoyment of soliving a problem, or learning a new thing. I think sometimes that gets lost on people sometimes.

    [ Parent ]

    Computers, guns, hacking, self-reliance (3.80 / 10) (#47)
    by gbroiles on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 08:22:59 PM EST

    Eric Raymond has written some about guns and his fondness for shooting.

    Some of the enjoyment people get is perhaps because they're engaged in a task which is complicated enough to keep their attention, but not so hard it's frustrating - as described in Flow by Csikszentmihalyi.

    I think there's more to this than that, though - you can get some satisfaction or fulfillment from any number of tasks. I find that I get the most satisfaction from doing things which not only create a "flow" experience, but from those which enhance or maintain my own self-sufficiency and proficiency at important things.

    Computer/net-related things are on that list for me - as is shooting, though I haven't taken up reloading, and law, and electronics, and auto mechanics, photography, and politics. I really enjoy learning about, manipulating, building, fixing, and teaching others about the things that are important to me in my environment. (The list above isn't complete - there's tons of other stuff I want to learn about - but real learning takes time, and resources.)

    Also, I enjoy working with things which are susceptible to tinkering and hacking and exploring - like Unix, like older cars, like 1911-pattern semiautos or AR-15's, like PC architecture hardware. I can appreciate the quality and design of some things which aren't really intended for tinkerers - like Macs, or Glocks, or newer BMW's - but I find I don't enjoy using them as much as I enjoy using things I can monkey with myself. (That's not meant as a slam against those things - there's a Glock in the gun safe on my nightstand, and I bought my mom an iMac, just because they're hard to screw up if you're not in a good position to fuss around with details or appreciate configurability.

    Some things - like modern 35mm SLR cameras - can give you the best of both worlds. I've got one of those fancy cameras another commentator didn't like. I bought it after spending a day with another friend who took a lot of unrepeatable pictures with her manual 35mm camera - turned out after we developed them that they were underexposed due to misconfiguration. It's great to have the ability to monkey with aperture and exposure when I want to take artistic risks - but it's also really nice to be able to use the "green box" setting (on the Canon EOS series) and be confident that I'll get sensible exposures if it's crucial that I get a reasonable if less expressive exposure (like these from a protest in Berkeley - no way I'd ever get to reshoot, if I'd judged the settings wrong.)

    I think there's a lot of crossover between different vocations or hobbies that are susceptible to people teaching themselves about technology - some people enjoy learning, and enjoy a feeling of understanding and mastery over their immediate surroundings. I realize that sounds kinda old-fashioned and macho, and not very PC - but it's what I experience. It feels good to know that I built my computer from parts by hand, that I set up the OS myself, that I keep it running myself - that if my truck breaks I can fix it again, probably with the tools that I've got on hand, that my home is comfortable for me because I've made it that way, and I can protect myself and my dogs and my family from harm which others might cause.

    Am I in control of everything? Nope. If the hard disk crashes, I don't have the skills or the tools to recover it at the hard disk level. I've rebuilt engines, but don't really have the time for that any more. If an earthquake swallows my home, it's gone. And, sure, there's a limit to the protection I can expect from my own weapons and training. None of these things is absolute.

    Still, I feel a lot better when I'm operating in a world where I can understand what's going on, and how to change it if I want to. That's the underlying motivation behind my adoption and use of open-source software, and a lot of other things, too.

    writing poetry...coding (3.66 / 6) (#51)
    by AtomZombie on Sat Nov 25, 2000 at 08:59:53 PM EST

    Are there other pastimes / hobbies that people engage in that have similar parallels?

    getting over the fact that this post had to do with guns, i would like to respond to the actual point of the story rather than the example.

    i am a writer. i am an observation junkie; i rely on my own ability to remain insane. writing can become an obsession, just as having a writer's block can become an agony, a hell. during my freshman year in college i had a dry spell of about 4 months. i felt like i was losing my identity. when the first poem in months began to find its way from my brain to my fingers to the screen it was ecstacy. for a writer, especially one who wraps herself around it so much, getting a poem to work your thoughts into exactly what they should look like in linear form is a wonderful feeling; a relief after a terrible thirst.

    i am very new to coding. not so new to web design. but getting a program to do exactly what i want it to do, to work, gives me the same feeling of relief, thrill, and completion as writing a poem or story that is the sum of my thoughts and observations. getting my web pages to communicate to the eye exactly what i want them to is equal to writing a coherant essay, missing no angle.




    atomic.

    "why did they have to call it UNIX. that's kind of... ewww." -mom.
    Satisfaction & Self sufficiency is the reward (3.88 / 9) (#60)
    by Da Unicorn on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 01:11:09 AM EST

    Yesterday I posted this story. I was quite happy that the piece sparked some dialog. Despite the controversial nature of chemically propelled projectile weapons I got less flamage than I expected. Trying not to use the G word here!

    One thing I was sad to see was that very few people actually got my point. This is likely due to the rambling nature of the story and the apparent subject. Many just grabbed the controversial section of the subject and ran with that.

    This story is an attempt to make my point from a different, less controversial angle.

    It comes down to one concept: satisfaction in doing something in the way that best suits your needs and abilities / resources.

    I like to do things my own way. I still believe in concepts like honesty and honor. By living my life the way I do I find great satisfaction in how I do what I do.

    One of the things I like is knowing that I can take a run of the mill PC and a Debian/GNU Linux CD and build a reliable gateway or fileserver and do it with whatever tools installed that I need without hassles about how many installs I made from MY CD (a point made in another comment, also). The Awesome configurability of a Linux system coupled with the multitasking makes it very satisfying for the time & effort.

    I get the same feeling from processing my own food, be it veggies from the garden or butchering an animal I have raised or taken while hunting. This extends to creating tastey dishes with the produce of that labor.

    People who have no concept of how meat and fish get to their table should refrain from chastiseing those of us who actually can kill, dress and process a carcass for food. It is an ancient survival skill that has been replaced by exchangeing pieces of paper for plastic wrapped packages of flesh.

    We burn wood to heat our home. We sold logs awhile back so I have a huge stash of cull logs and tops for blocking up into stovewood. By the time I have cut, split, hauled and stacked the wood I have gotten a good workout, a few liters of clean air and some dirt under my nails. When the wind blows and the mercury is in the bottom of the tube that wood feels mighty satisfying burning away in the stove.

    The way I do things isn't for everyone but it works for me. I use Debian for the same reasons I process a portion of my own food and burn wood to keep warm. Because it seems to be the right way for me to accomplish the goal at hand. Like the food and the wood I learned it as I went along by reading and picking it up from others as I did it.

    Therein lies the recurring theme. To find the best way to accomplish your goals utilizing the best tools you can find in an economical and useful manner.

    I hope this clarifies my point without the controversy.

    Da

    guns and OSes (3.33 / 3) (#64)
    by chale on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 04:08:02 AM EST

    in reading your story and your replies to the various posts i rather liked some of the music- related references.i also liked the way you related some of the meaning in your life to your various hobbies/obsessions/lifestyle choices.if you don't already read or subscribe to any self-sufficiency magazines, i would suggest that you consider expanding your views into a longer story and submitting it for publication.
    When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -John Muir
    [ Parent ]
    You fucking idiot! (1.35 / 20) (#78)
    by pissant on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 08:02:09 AM EST

    It's people like you that make the US a laughing stock of the world.

    Guns and OS's. Get real.


    [ Parent ]
    What? (2.00 / 1) (#120)
    by Paul_F on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 07:54:09 PM EST

    Who is an idiot? What are you babbling about? Can you be just a bit more vague?

    [ Parent ]
    What!! (none / 0) (#159)
    by minusp on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:14:34 PM EST

    Hey, he said he were a Pissant, he don't have to make no sense!
    Remember, regime change begins at home.
    [ Parent ]
    I got your point... (3.40 / 5) (#84)
    by Sheetrock on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 09:24:29 AM EST

    ...though it really involves looking beyond the gun control debate, which is impossible in a forum of this size. Worse, you mentioned hunting, and (gasp) the possibility of eating venison, so there is a minefield for some people to cross here before they can even begin to tackle the Debian/gun analogy. 'Guns are barbaric, slaughtering animals is barbaric, now let me get back to my cheeseburger thank you very much.'

    I don't think it's too hard of a comparison to comprehend, but it was certainly original. Here's what I took away from your piece and the above comment:

    (A) You enjoy being an integral part of the process (developing custom loads for your firearms, raising/hunting animals for meat, maintaining a garden for vegetables) because in the end you are more satisfied with the result (fried venison, BBQ chicken off the grill, corn-on-the-cob, garden-fresh green beans, and an ice cold beer) than what you probably would have ended up with off the shelf (Extra Value Meal #3 from McDonalds with stale fries).

    (B) You enjoy being an integral part of the process (investing time in learning how your computer works, examining/installing/testing the various packages available for Linux, compiling a kernel that is customized for your system) because in the end you are more satisfied with the result (a system that boots and runs smoothly after days of planning and tweaking, an installation that most closely fits the purpose you have for it, the warm fuzzy feeling of GPL) than what you probably would have ended up with off the shelf (Microsoft Windows Me, Microsoft Office 2000, and Norton Antivirus 2001).

    It's probably just not possible to draw a comparison if you don't already understand either A or B.

    [ Parent ]

    I don't think we missed your point, Da.. (2.50 / 2) (#94)
    by Chiron on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 12:37:46 PM EST

    I think most of the people who have read your article and got your point have nodded, scanned the rest of the knee-jerk flamage, then continued on.. It's an interesting parallel you make, albeit one I don't have a lot of experience with, having not done any handloading.

    You just have to realize that ever since people started noticing ESR's standings on guns, and how he mentions them in the same breath as Free Software, the flamethrowers are immediately locked in the on position when guns and linux are in the same article. =)

    Good article, tho. =)

    [ Parent ]
    ESR's mixing of free software and guns (none / 0) (#138)
    by Radagast on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:43:30 AM EST

    Given the way ESR mixes in his own personal politics (which I happen to disagree with, but that's beside the point) with his free software message, it's quite fair that people react. I can guarantee that even though this might be acceptable in the US, a lot of people outside of the US (particularly in Europe) have been severely turned off by this.

    Of course, now that it seems ESR's 15 minutes are up, and people are turning back to saying "free software" and listening to more reasonable people again, maybe we can just forget about him and his silliness, and move along...



    [ Parent ]
    Just sit back and enjoy the show.. (none / 0) (#144)
    by Chiron on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:11:09 AM EST

    I regard ESR with the same kind of amusement that I gave Ross Perot.. Interesting achievments, and it's comic watching him foul his nets.

    [ Parent ]
    Hear! Hear! (none / 0) (#157)
    by Nick Driver on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:51:37 PM EST

    Hear! Hear! Da Unicorn, you are indeed a kindred spirit. There's nothing like practicing freedom (and the responsibility that goes with it) to make a person complete. Along these same lines of freedom to keep and bear arms, freedom to hunt, freedom to make oneself self-sufficient, freedom to use your computer with the o/s and other software of your own choice... we should also include aviation. Flying a small aircraft is the ultimate expression of freedom (and responsibility). Contrary to popular misunderstanding, it is not actually the US government that deems you fit for a private pilot's certificate here in the US... it is your own local community of fellow pilots: your instructor(s) and a "designated examiner" -- a senior, advanced instructor, who gives you the checkride (your "final exam") and the official stamp of approval on your application papers for the certificate. Here in the US, you are still even free to build your own airplane and fly it if you feel like it and are capable of accomplishing such.

    Nick

    [ Parent ]
    Some more points (4.30 / 13) (#86)
    by naasking on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 10:42:35 AM EST

    I've seen alot of good comments and discussion here. Both sides have some very interesting views and there are good points on both sides of the issue. But in reading all of these discussions, I came to a realization about this the whole gun control issue: whether or not there should be gun control depends on how much destruction you're willing to put in the hands of the average person.

    That's what it really comes down to. I'm sure you wouldn't want every person to have a nuke would you? Of course not. Why? Because they are FAR too destructive. But I would also bet you wouldn't mind too much if they owned a bat*. Why? Because a bat is not that destructive. The amount of damage/harm that could result from a bat is much less than from a nuke. The same goes for just about anything else that may cause harm; in the end it comes down to the question of whether you want the average person to have access to a device with this destructive capability. I believe this is undisputible.

    Now, with guns specifically, you have a great capacity to do harm. In the average case, all you need to is squeeze the trigger once, and someone is dead. If you compare a gun to a nuke where you'd kill millions of people with one squeeze, then you can see it's far less dangerous than a nuclear weapon. Compared to a bat which would take multiple swings(in the average case) to kill someone, it's obvious that a gun is more dangerous than a bat.

    So there's a tradeoff point, and the only thing that has to be decided, is whether or not guns are destructive enough(ie. it's easy enough to do a sufficient amount of harm) that they warrant control like nukes and other explosives. In short, do you want the average joe to be able to carry around an item with this amount of destructive capacity with said ease of destruction? An obvious example of this point is the fact that some guns ARE outlawed. Uzi's and other automatic weapons simply make it too easy to do harm and cause too much damage to allow the average person to carry around, hence they were banned.

    Now I believe that we have reached the point in the debate where most people disagree. The pro-gun people believe it's ok to own guns because they feel they can handle the responsibility of this destructive device. They feel they can make intelligent decisions about how and when to use it so it will not cause unintentional harm. The gun control people say that MOST people CANNOT handle the responsibility because people are, for the most part, irrational and emotional and hence, prone to make stupid decisions. Having such a destructive device just makes it easier to do harm when they make these irrational decisions/mistakes. All it takes is one squeeze, and you can't take it back.

    So you see, I don't think both sides are even in disagreement with each other. I think it's simply a case of arguing completely unrelated points. In fact, I bet that both sides would agree with the points I've made. The only thing they disagree on, is how to solve the problem.

    So the question then becomes: how do we resolve this? To be honest, I do think that people should be able to own guns if they want, but I also support a certain amount of gun control. Gun control does not necessarily preclude owning guns. I don't think that guns should be banned because they have their place and their legitimate uses. But I don't think we should make guns easily accessible to simply anyone. You wouldn't just give anyone a car would you? You need a license to drive which requires you to prove your proficiency and responsibility in handling the potentially destructive device that is a car. So why not with guns? Sure it's more hassle to have to register or get a license of some sort to prove you can handle a gun if you are a gun owner, but if it makes it that much more difficult for someone wanting to use a gun for harm to get one, don't you think it's worth it?

    So in conclusion, I'd like to say to the pro-gun people that not every gun control proposal is trying to take away your right to own a gun. I'd also like to say to the pro-gun-control people that if you try and limit a persons freedom to do what they want, they will fight you to the death so you're really not going to get anywhere. To both sides: problem solving requires thought and listening, not irrational evangelism and vehement defensiveness.


    * Note: Yes, I'm well aware of the fact that bats have other uses than destruction, but that doesn't lessen it's destructive potential so it's still a good item to use in this analysis.

    Brilliant! (3.00 / 1) (#115)
    by Smiling Dragon on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 06:17:20 PM EST

    At risk of sounding 'metooish' I just have to commend you on such a good piece. I honestly don't think I've ever seen someone look at this problem so rationally before. Bravo! :)

    My experiances with public opinion seem to be always in the extremes or those that just don't think about it. Seeing the number of proud 'It's our right dammit' speeches from the Americans along with the 'Guns kill people' blabs gets damned tiring. Congrats on your ability to see past the insanity!

    -- Sometimes understanding is the booby prize - Neal Stephenson
    [ Parent ]
    How's this for a compromise (3.50 / 2) (#139)
    by dennis on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:29:41 AM EST

    The obvious problem here is that there is a real history of registration leading to confiscation. It's not just paranoia, it happened most recently in California with "assault weapons" (the definition of which turned out to include Olympic target rifles).

    To deal with the "what about privately-owned nukes" question, how about we say this: any private citizen who's not a violent felon is allowed to own, without hassle, any weapon used by any law enforcement with jurisdiction over that person. If the local cops use revolvers, any citizen in the area can buy, own, and carry one. If the FBI has MP5s and M16s, so can any American. If no law enforcement uses mortars, then mortars can be regulated however stringently people feel is appropriate.

    Since the main purpose of the Second Amendment is preserving the capability of resistance to tyranny, and since law enforcement in general has not proven to be more responsible with their firearms than private citizens who are legal gunowners, this seems like a good middle ground to me.

    [ Parent ]

    I'll have to think about it... (4.50 / 2) (#189)
    by naasking on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:07:37 PM EST

    The obvious problem here is that there is a real history of registration leading to confiscation. It's not just paranoia, it happened most recently in California with "assault weapons" (the definition of which turned out to include Olympic target rifles).

    Yes, that is a problem and it has mostly to do with lack of foresight and arrogance. People draft laws about things they really don't understand since it's most likely not their area of expertise. I think before something like this becomes law, it would have to be discussed by people who would be affected by the law. The current law system is just dumb and blind that way.

    So far your proposal sounds fairly reasonable, but I don't think that anyone should be able to own any of the weapons carried by police. At least not the "high-end" ones. Police are trained in proper use and handling of weapons, and most other people are not. If some licensing system(like cars and driving) were in place to ensure that anyone who owned such a weapon had been trained in it's proper use and handling, then I'm all for what you say. But as it stands now, I don't have much confidence in the average person to handle a weapon as powerful as an M16.

    Since the main purpose of the Second Amendment is preserving the capability of resistance to tyranny, and since law enforcement in general has not proven to be more responsible with their firearms than private citizens who are legal gunowners, this seems like a good middle ground to me.

    I guess it depends where you hail from(hi from Canada! :-) ). Like I said in my original argument, it comes down to whether you feel comfortable knowing that the neighbour you don't get along with has an M16 ready at hand.

    In disagreements, emotions quickly escalate and tensions run high. Before you know it one of you may do something completely out of character and without thinking... and end up regretting it for the rest of your life.

    Other people owning guns is not the only danger of this issue. You can hurt yourself this way if you own one. I myself don't own a gun and I probably won't ever buy one. I can honestly say that I don't want the responsibility of having someone else' life in my hands and I don't want to know that all it might take is a bad day and someone else' bad attitude; I don't want to run the risk that I just mentioned. I'm not foolish enough to think that I could handle them responsibly, because I know myself and I honestly don't have enough knowledge about them.

    That's my choice so I live with it. I wouldn't try and restrict someone else from owning a gun because that's not right, but I would be willing to put a limit on the destructive power. I don't think many people can justify an M16 unless they're a collector of some kind. and if they, then they don't mind justifying their purpose in wanting one.

    Anyway, to get back to the point, I think your proposal is mostly reasonable because for the most part, the police don't carry automatic weapons or other devices of mass destruction. But I think there may still be a problem with this: people often stupidly try and fight fire with fire. Take this as a possible example:

    All of a sudden the police force finds out that the local gangs have as much firepower as they do and they have trouble controlling violent situations because of it. So instead of being intelligent about it and finding alternate solutions, they'll most likely just request more firepower, thereby elevating what the gangs can get their hands on. Then the police will want more to once again get the uppoer hand on the gangs, but now the gangs, etc. ad infinitum, or at least to the point where the police are asking for nukes. Then you know it's gotten out of hand. ;-)

    So, like any plan, it has kinks and many possible flaws. Also, not everyone will accept it based on anirrational "moral"-"we have to protect people from themselves" basis. But I think it could be worked into a useable plan if executed by rational people... that being the key of course. It always is isn't it? It's too bad there never seems to be enough of them to go around either. I bet they could have this world fixed up in no time. :-)


    [ Parent ]
    More food for thought (none / 0) (#213)
    by dennis on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 11:24:54 AM EST

    Thanks for the intelligent and thoughtful response.

    People who don't own guns often talk about how easy it would be for someone to lose their temper and shoot someone they shouldn't. But when you actually own a gun, when you go down to the range and feel it blasting in your hand, you get a different kind of respect for it. If you're not a ruthless criminal in the first place, you find yourself highly motivated to be very careful with the damn thing, to follow the basic rules: always treat it as if it were loaded, never point it at anything you're not willing to destroy, etc. As a gun owner, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there's no way I would resort to that gun, unless I or a loved one is in immediate deadly danger.

    And I'm not alone. Over the past few years a number of states in the U.S. have enacted concealed-carry laws. The opposition predicted blood in the streets from people losing their tempers. It hasn't happened, according to police officials quoted here.Training is easy to get, and at a basic level generally not expensive. When you look at actual crime and accident statistics, you find that police generally do no better than civilians. Personally I would rather have my neighbor have an M16 than my local vice squad--there have been quite a few instances lately of the police accidentally killing people in drug raids, often on the wrong houses. Most notoriously, an 11-year-old boy lying on the floor with hands behind his head was killed when an officer's shotgun went off. No drugs were found. The officer swears his finger wasn't on the trigger. Maybe not--but he violated one of the cardinal rules I mentioned above, never point at anything you aren't willing to destroy. Any responsible civilian would have known better.

    Police departments in the U.S. are arming themselves with all sorts of heavy weaponry, and generally not being extensively trained with them. My own view is that when the police are given special privileges of this sort, it leads to the kind of arrogance that results in these tragedies. It's also worth noting that M16s and similar weapons were perfectly legal in the U.S. until relatively recently. There were no restrictions prior to 1933, even for mortars and 20mm cannon. There were no problems with law-abiding citizens, though criminal gangs did use tommy guns during Prohibition. After 1933 it just took a $200 fee to get full-auto weapons. More stringent restrictions were enacted in 1968, and tightened further in the '80s, though I'd have to look up the details. People weren't exactly machine-gunning each other in the streets in the 1950's.

    It's also worth noting the difference between legal and illegal gun owners. Gun ownership by the law-abiding presents little difficulty, and tends to provide a deterrent to violent crime. But gun control has little effect on gun ownership by criminals, as Britain is finding out currently--I've seen reports recently of British gangs smuggling in AK47s. We can't keep drugs out, we can't keep illegal immigrants out, and we won't be able to keep guns out either.

    Finally, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership likes to point out that the 1968 gun control law is very similar to the Nazi Weapons Law of 1938, and that every major genocide of the 20th century was preceded by gun registration followed by confiscation. I don't think America or Canada is headed that way in the foreseeable future, but an armed population is a good way to make sure of it. The JPFO argues strenously that even if legal gun ownership does cause problems, it's dwarfed by the damage that can be done by out-of-control governments. To anyone who takes the long view and pays attention to history, that's a powerful argument. Giving private citizens the same arms as law enforcement seems to me a good rule-of-thumb to keep things in balance.

    [ Parent ]

    True enough. (none / 0) (#141)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 10:30:32 AM EST

    So the question then becomes: how do we resolve this? To be honest, I do think that people should be able to own guns if they want, but I also support a certain amount of gun control. Gun control does not necessarily preclude owning guns.

    All rights have limits. The right to speak does not include the right to lie about someone (slander/libel), for example.

    Unfortunately, most advocacy groups are fans of the "slippery slope" argument. Whether it's guns or abortion, people argue that any regulation as the first step in a complete ban.



    People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
    [ Parent ]
    Well...... (none / 0) (#161)
    by minusp on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:31:05 PM EST

    Whether it's guns or abortion, people argue that any regulation as the first step in a complete ban.

    This is not too far-fetched a conclusion, when the proponents of such regulation (at least in the two examples cited) declare that outright prohibition is, indeed, the goal of any such regulation.
    If there was to be some sort of rational discussion around, I'd certainly be willing to discuss, but as things now stand, I'll keep my absolute right to Choice in both of the above matters, thank you.
    Remember, regime change begins at home.
    [ Parent ]
    Legal nukes. (none / 0) (#232)
    by Wolfkin on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 01:58:47 PM EST

    I'm sure you wouldn't want every person to have a nuke would you? Of course not. Why? Because they are FAR too destructive. But I would also bet you wouldn't mind too much if they owned a bat*. Why? Because a bat is not that destructive. The amount of damage/harm that could result from a bat is much less than from a nuke. The same goes for just about anything else that may cause harm; in the end it comes down to the question of whether you want the average person to have access to a device with this destructive capability. I believe this is undisputible.

    It's disputable. :)

    Some of us, naasking, believe that the magnitude of the "destructive capability" is not the point, and shouldn't be a consideration. People should be punished for committing acts of violence against others, not for having the capability of doing so. It does seem to me that were nuclear devices to be commonly available, we would have a far less centralized society, than we have now. I happen to believe that would be a good thing, but it isn't the way it turned out. Interestingly, there are technologies which are coming into fruition in the next ten to twenty years which promise (or threaten, if you prefer) to be not only far more destructive, potentially, than nuclear devices, but nearly impossible to limit to approved persons.

    As a last thought: it seems to me that those who don't want ordinary folk to be "allowed" to own whatever they choose are implicitly advertising that they believe that their neighbors are less trustworthy than any of the people in government that do have access to nukes, biological agents, or chemical agents. Do you believe that the people around you are less trustworthy than Reagan, Clinton, Saddam Hussein, or Quaddafi?

    Randall.

    [ Parent ]

    More Legal Nukes (none / 0) (#237)
    by DaveP37 on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 11:06:35 AM EST

    naasking said:
    I'm sure you wouldn't want every person to have a nuke would you?

    and Wolfkin replied:
    Some of us, naasking, believe that the magnitude of the "destructive capability" is not the point, and shouldn't be a consideration. People should be punished for committing acts of violence against others, not for having the capability of doing so.

    There are a few issues here. The first is that the right to self-defense is what stands behind the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It's hard to argue that a nuke is a self-defense weapon. It's pretty much an offensive weapon. On this basis, I might be convinced that banning nukes is reasonable, the problem is with who gets to make the distinction between offensive and defensive weapons.

    Secondly, nukes are also troubling because of the danger inherent in one, even when it's just sitting there. Weapons-grade radioactives emit radiation. Improperly stored, they have the capacity of killing accidentally, unlike a firearm, which only kills when it's pointed at someone and the trigger is pulled (ignoring shoddily made guns which discharge without someone pulling the trigger -- such guns exist, but are not common).

    These two issues convince me that comparing guns to nukes isn't a valid argument. Nukes are tools that can be misused to cause great destruction (similar to other explosives). Guns are weapons. They should be treated differently, and lumping them together is comparing apples and oranges.

    I think the most important point of all is that the danger in a firearm is not inherent in the firearm. Guns don't become dangerous until someone is ready to pull the trigger. If someone is killed by a gun, another person caused the death. No matter how many violent movies play on the TV, my guns don't suddenly jump up and start shooting. Violence is caused by people and people need to take responsibility for their actions.

    -DaveP



    [ Parent ]
    I don't understand you. (IANAA) (3.88 / 9) (#88)
    by holdfast on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 11:25:51 AM EST

    This attitude of some people in the USA about firearms is completely incomprehensible to many of us elsewhere. I am not saying it is wrong. It is just completely bizzare.
    Why do people in developed countries need guns? If bad people wander into town with guns, the police can deal with it. If a crazy dictator decides to invade my country, we have armed forces and alliances. That where some of my tax money goes.
    If we are invaded, I can assure you that the last thing the Army needs is a load of people rolling in with automatic weapons and assorted camoflauged vehicles. Soldiers are trained to work with other soldiers. If I wanted to be ready to help, I would join the reserve. I was in it when I was at college. I know what to do with a rifle and other nasty stuff. The trouble is that I am not part of the system now. I would just get in the way.
    Why do you need guns to get food? Like yours, most of my country is civilised. I come from a less developed bit of it. I go to work. I get money. I go to shops. I buy food. I may grow some food. It is not really neccessary. I might fish. I had an Air Rifle. I shot rabbits when I was younger. I stopped doing that a while ago. If I want better quality meat, I go to a better quality supplier.
    Personal freedom? I am free. Democracy? I live in a multi-party (more than 2) democracy and my election results are decided by vote counters, not lawyers and judges.


    "Holy war is an oxymoron."
    Lazarus Long
    IAAA (3.66 / 6) (#89)
    by cp on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 11:39:21 AM EST

    Why do people in developed countries need guns? If bad people wander into town with guns, the police can deal with it.

    Except when they choose not to. I don't know about the UK, but in the US, the police have no obligation to come to the aid of individuals who are being threatened by violence (see Riss v. City of New York and Deshaney v. Winnebago). If you'd been a shopkeeper in the LA riots a few years back, then you would've been waiting for quite some time for "the police [to] deal with it", to pick one tired example that gets bandied about a lot.

    Why do you need guns to get food?

    You don't. You shouldn't. Go vegetarian.

    Like yours, most of my country is civilised.

    Neither is civilized. People still hurt, maim, and kill each other, and people still seek legitimacy through the legislature for their violence (called law). The "goodness of man" is a lovely thing, but always have a fallback plan.

    I live in a multi-party (more than 2) democracy and my election results are decided by vote counters, not lawyers and judges.

    In the US, the vote counters are judges, so hey: us too!

    [ Parent ]

    IAAHB (I am a human being) so, probably, are you (3.50 / 2) (#119)
    by holdfast on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 07:45:10 PM EST

    Except when they choose not to.
    They are supposed to. If they don't the government is not doing its job. You and we have public enquiries, elections and (sort of) free press to cover that. (Only sort of free. It is owned by rich people over here too and they have their own preferences)
    Go vegetarian
    No thanks. But feel free to if you want.
    People still hurt, maim, and kill each other
    such things are often more common in civilised countries than "uncivilised" ones. They are certainly more efficiently organised!
    the vote counters are judges
    Perhaps yours are different but in the UK our Judges are lawyers who have moved up the system. I would be unhappy if I had lawyers running my country. - Oh Help! They already are. Our Prime minister is one and so's his wife. Your President and his wife are too. Aaarrgh!
    More seriously, I don't want them to have any more to do with the electoral process than can be helped


    "Holy war is an oxymoron."
    Lazarus Long
    [ Parent ]
    A small explanation.. (1.20 / 5) (#95)
    by Sheepdot on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 12:39:16 PM EST

    The major reason why citizens are allowed to own guns is because of the 2nd amendment, which will probably never lose its luster due to the impact that militias had in turning the War of Independence to the Americans at the time.

    To put it quite simply, go see "The Patriot" and you'll get a good idea of why militias were so effective. While I don't think that any British soldiers were as ruthless as the particular calvary head in the film, it does a good job of showing how militias are effective.

    In Vietnam, militias were effective in stopping the US. I'm not saying this is the main reason why North Vietnam was never reached, but militias tend to know their area the best, and are thus the best soldiers to have in defend-the-homeland situation.

    Now, before we go through and say, "But there isn't any militias!" please remember that militias usually only form after a group of people have had what they consider their "rights violated".

    The only reason militias would form in this country, the US, would be if there was a mainland attack, and I would guess that 1 out of the next 2 wars the US is on a side in will be an attack on our homeland.

    That is why the right of the people to bear arms cannot be infringed, so when the time comes to defend the homeland, they will have weapons to use to protect their private property.

    I hope I didn't come off as a crazy gun-wielding freak, I don't own a gun though I plan to in the near future before the right is taken away. I also realize there is a large number of British folk who frequent the site and I want to apologize if I said anything offensive. I don't know how many of you have seen The Patriot, but please don't think that all Americans now view British military as if they are like the ones in that film.

    Also, one more thing that might help some people from other countries look at the US:

    The US was founded on libertarian principles (www.lp.org), basically the argument is that you are entitled to whatever you earn or obtain, as long as you didn't use force or fraud to obtain it.

    A lot of people think that sounds like a good idea, but fail to define force and fraud the same way libertarians do.

    Also, in order to help you understand US thought, think of this:

    1. When an American sees someone drive by in a brand new BMW, they say, "Someday that'll be me."

    2. When a (insert any European countrymen here) sees someone drive by in a brand new BMW, they say, "Someday we'll bring that person down to our level."

    Sadly, #1 is happening less and less in the US nowadays.


    [ Parent ]
    RE: A small explanation (4.75 / 4) (#98)
    by Spook on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 02:30:12 PM EST

    In one sentence you write that you do not wish to offend British folk. In a later sentence you make an outright attack against Europeans:

    2. When a (insert any European countrymen here) sees someone drive by in a brand new BMW, they say, "Someday we'll bring that person down to our level."
    It is probably more appropriate to write:
    When a BMW driving European drives by the homeless they say "I am glad that we have scocial prgrams to help those people out."
    But that in turn is offensive to Americans. In truth the Europeans are more likely to think along the lines of "someday that will be me."

    [ Parent ]
    Not insulting unless you take it that way (1.25 / 4) (#99)
    by Sheepdot on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 02:41:22 PM EST

    In all honesty, I've yet to hear anyone from Europe say that socialism is wrong. You just renforced the idea of socialism with your "more appropriate" statement.

    And no, I don't take offense at hearing someone say "When an American in a BMW drives by the homeless they say, 'Too bad we don't have social programs to help them out'."

    In the US, there is no excuse for you not having a profitable life. There are only 3 things to stop you and if you know how to deal with each you'll do fine:

    Laziness
    Government regulations
    and Religious immorality

    The only one that is preventing me from starting up a Computer Retail business is the Government regulations. Socialism will DEFINATELY not help me there.

    [ Parent ]
    you forgot a few (4.00 / 3) (#105)
    by thePositron on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 04:30:58 PM EST

    There are other things that prevent a person from being "profitable".
    Sickness.
    Old Age.
    Opportunity.
    Race.
    Unfair Laws.
    Obviously you have avery limited conceptualizaton fo the world if you think that our purpose is profitability.

    [ Parent ]
    Opportunity? (1.50 / 2) (#112)
    by Luke Scharf on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 05:29:03 PM EST

    Opportunity.

    As someone who came from somewhat humble roots and who consideres myself successful, I would say that people can make their own opportunities. It takes work and determiniation, but anyone without those qualities won't do very well running their own business. You have to put in the twelve hour days, and if you won't then you should be working for someone else.

    Of course, I can argue myself into a corner by saying that I've been taught to think this way by my father. You could argue that by teaching me that I can overcome obstacles, I was given an opportunity. Anyone can figure this out. I can sketch scenarios if anyone is interested.



    [ Parent ]
    RE: opportunity. (4.00 / 1) (#223)
    by thePositron on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 01:49:12 AM EST

    to answer your statement concerning opportunity. Yes there are some people who do not have "opportunities like we do , some people are born with an Iq of 50 in the depths of hell in Madascar. A person in this scenario does not have the same opportunities as you or I. So opportunity can make a difference. Most people are arrogant when they roll a few 7 11' s with the dice but as soon as they get a few snake eyes in life, most learn humility and compassion for those who have less whether they came from poverty or not. I have struggled through poverty and I am ever grateful for the few months of welfare I recieved when I needed it.


    [ Parent ]
    I'd like to hear your perspective. (none / 0) (#227)
    by Luke Scharf on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 09:14:35 AM EST

    <p.I have struggled through poverty and I am ever grateful for the few months of welfare I recieved when I needed it.

    I'd like to hear about this. As someone who's generally opposed to welfare, I'd like someone to show me a new perspective!

    Most people are arrogant when they roll a few 7 11' s with the dice but as soon as they get a few snake eyes in life, most learn humility and compassion for those who have less whether they came from poverty or not.

    I respect poor man who works two jobs to feed his family a lot more than someone who pays for a Beamer by thoughtlessly shuffling paper for 7 hours a day.

    Of course, there are some people I've worked with about whom I've said "whatever they're paying him, he's worth it!" This particular guy has amassed great amounts of skill and works probably 50-60 hours a week.



    [ Parent ]
    It isn't wrong. It just doesn't work. (2.00 / 2) (#118)
    by holdfast on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 07:03:11 PM EST

    What is wrong with socialism?
    I am not referring to the practical side. I think the world has seen how it is abused and corrupted. I thing the principle itself may be sound. I will leave such discussion to others for now.
    There are a few other reasons for not doing so well in life.
    Corruption - big companies or government
    Poor choice of ancestors - racialism is only one part of that.
    Bad luck - not all business failures are beause of laziness and red tape
    lack of intelligence - not so clever people deserve to live too.


    "Holy war is an oxymoron."
    Lazarus Long
    [ Parent ]
    Life, Liberty, and the Third one (3.00 / 2) (#220)
    by Sheepdot on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 08:23:50 PM EST

    Oh yeah, that third thing that everyone seems to forget about. I have a right to a pursuit of happiness. Under socialism, I am told I cannot own property. (don't take my word, start reading Marx and you'll see how horridly opposed he was to having people own property)

    I've heard some statement that goes, "In theory, anything will work." I'll add one of my own, "On principles, anything will work."

    One could say that fascism works to an extent. It keeps everyone at the same level with regard to personal issues. Any deviances from the personal norm are dealt with.

    One could say that socialism works to an extent. It keeps everyone at the same level with regard to economic issues. Any deviances from the economic norm are dealt with.

    I say that objectivism works to an extent. It has varying levels of success among individuals, but it gives people the possibility to have both great economic and personal lives.

    I realize you haven't done this, but I've heard profs at the university I attend say that Socialism works, it just wasn't implemented right with the USSR. That is probably one of the most ridiculous statements I've ever heard. There is ALWAYS going to be a middle class that owns property and that is ALWAYS going to be the failing point of Socialism.


    [ Parent ]
    Socialism died out years ago! (4.00 / 1) (#225)
    by holdfast on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 07:52:40 AM EST

    Under socialism, I am told I cannot own property.
    By that definition, probably nobody in the world lives under socialism! I have a house, car, and so on. I also have a bank account. As far as I know I am not unique here (UK). European governments are encouraging more people to own their own homes. That doesn't sound like socialism at all.
    There is ALWAYS going to be a middle class that owns property and that is ALWAYS going to be the failing point of Socialism.
    It has long been a common aspiration in the UK to become middle class. People didn't alwys know it though. They wanted to own their house, live in a better area, have a better job/car/school for their kids. People are often keen to keep their roots so they thought they were retaining true to their background.
    Europe is not "socialist". There isn't even agreed models about how the different countries should treat their citizens.
    In answer to other peoples comments.
    In a war zone, if soldiers see armed people that are not them, they will shoot them.
    Over here if armed criminals come around and armed citizens come out and there is a gun battle, the police will regard both sides as hostiles. How do the police where you are tell the difference? Or do you believe that police are a bad thing too?
    When people I know see someone driving a BMW their attitude is generally something like "I'd like one but there are more fun things to spend my money on". If there is something really expensive there the attitude is "what kind of dishonest things did he do to get that?" or "how tasteless".
    Lazarus Long is in my .sig here because he is a rebel. I would like to be a rebel too - even an anarchist. The reason I don't is because I have a low opinion of human nature in general. Individually people are nice. En Masse they fight, squabble and mistreat the weak. 5,000 years ago, people got together to deal with those problems.
    I have noticed that people from your country sometimes regard mine as a mediaeval hangover - class system and all that. That is not socialism either.

    The idea of state run socialism died with the fall of communism. Where is still trying to do it? N Korea, China and Cuba are all I can think of. They are not setting examples to the world. The first is starving, the second is the fastest growing capitalist economy in Asia and the third is waiting for their leader to die so they can return to the world.



    "Holy war is an oxymoron."
    Lazarus Long
    [ Parent ]
    Socialism is not dying (3.50 / 2) (#229)
    by Sheepdot on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 10:03:31 AM EST

    My point is that even if socialism is not mandated or "state-run", it will never work. People are not going to give up property that they believe they rightly own out of their own free will. In a mandated system, they give in to pressure, so that is why socialism will eventually lead to forced-socialism (use communism if you like) and it will be rejected.

    In the UK, I will agree that things have changed and are even continuing to. The move toward a more even distribution of power amongst the Welsh, Scots, English, and the folks in N.I. are examples, as well as all the privitization that is going on, even under a Labour-dominated parliment.

    The problem is that a lot of people still hold that older view when socialism was big in the 30s and such. And unfortunately, those people are the higher-educated.

    But enough about the UK, what I'm really worried about is the turn of the US to an authoritarian-style of government. The people here *refuse* to see libertarian idelogy as the answer and actually fall for the rhetoric that the Green party spits out.

    And in case you are wondering why I can say this and claim to not be biased, I'll be blunt. I *am* biased. But I've been able to convince people who were thinking of "going Green" not to due to the pain they would be inflicting on themselves.

    By offering regulations on large companies, you are giving them an avenue (reason) to influence the government to go their way.

    Corporations will show no interest in a government in so far as they don't see it as a way to improve revenues or decrease revenues for competitors. Basically the point I'm trying to get at is that if you pass legislation to prevent Microsoft from doing A, they now can adapt to prevent doing A, do more work and raise the standards to B, and then use the government to demand that anyone in the tech business operate at B, thus squelching competition.

    And it happens all the time but the media never says a thing about it! It is the foolish but good-hearted requests of others that lead to the inability to compete at equal levels.

    And don't let anyone fool you, the Reform Party is dead and the Green party is pert near it. Nader is hitting a backlash with parts of the media due to the fact it cost Gore the election. Funny thing is that it is their fault for making him sound so attractive.

    Another utilitarian socialist will come along...

    [ Parent ]
    What you worry about is not socialism. (3.50 / 2) (#234)
    by holdfast on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 04:38:22 PM EST

    The ideas that you seem to be worrying about are not socialism. Giving up property is not a new idea. It was not invented by Carl Marx or any other 18/19/20th century philosopher. It wasn't first proposed in 1st century Palestine. The idea of giving some of your property to help others is mentioned to Moses in the Old Tetament. It was also a poplular idea in just about every advanced culture in history. Many people see it as the definition of civilisation. Assistance to and protecion of the unfortunate is not a by-product of over educated European philosphers. It is what defines civilisations over the last few millenia and before that.


    "Holy war is an oxymoron."
    Lazarus Long
    [ Parent ]
    How socialists trick people.. (none / 0) (#238)
    by Sheepdot on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 12:11:26 PM EST

    Is by saying exactly what you just said. Utilitarianism, like most anything else, can be measured and categorized into different levels. At some point in Utilitarian thought, we reach what I like to call the "Goodwill Level". That is where the ideal utilitarian stance should be in order for civilization to acquire meaning.

    Socialists believe that Goodwill is not enough to determine a good society. They claim that a higher level, one that I will call Charity, is required for the world to have a most civilized society.

    Other socialists (Marx and friends) feel that civilization will achieve its maximum potential by all property being owned by the collective soul. That type of socialism, thank God, failed when it was discovered there was a middle class, not just ruling class and working class. Middle class people own property, and are not willing to give it away usually.

    Charity is a failed stage, I believe, because it requires those of us who may not be at a disadvantage to help those that are. Oftentimes without even knowing who the peole we are helping are.

    It also promotes laziness and contempt amongst the different types of people in the country it is used on. The United States and Canada are in this boat. European countries I would consider more socialist because a lot of their programs are still nationlized. Privatization is going on though, and I commend them for that.

    I guess my point is that socialism is the ultimate utilitarian argument, and utterly fails if any one person does not want to be part of a collective soul or does not want to live under forced charity.

    In order to maximize the sum good of society, a utilitarian would have to kill (don't think this is far out there, it is a portion of an argument against utilitarianism) anyone that disagreed that society formed better as a collective soul. So I would be dead.

    This is part of what happened with communism, and it shows how easy socialism can escalate to that form of government. I could keep talking, but I'm preaching to someone that I know doesn't see eye to eye with me anyway, so I'll just end here.


    [ Parent ]
    Re: Not insulting unless you take it that way (4.00 / 1) (#133)
    by use strict on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 02:09:52 AM EST

    >In the US, there is no excuse for you not having a
    >profitable life.

    Really. I was always under the impression that I didn't have to have a lot of cash to achieve happiness.

    The americans that I know with BMW's, etc normally do one of 3 things when near/approached by homeless people:

    1) Make faces and do the 'fast walk', as if they were about to be mugged

    2) Shout rude, ignorant trash at homeless people

    3) Simply ignore them

    I take the train to work and back everyday (working in downtown PDX) and see this all the time. They could give a fsck about social problems, all that really matters is the size of their wallet.

    The sad thing is that our culture perpetuates and ENCOURAGES this activity. If religion only got one thing right, it's that no one is better or worse than you are based on material goods. Your morality is all that counts in the end. Of course, this is coming from an agnostic. :)



    [ Parent ]
    LOL! (5.00 / 1) (#219)
    by Sheepdot on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 08:11:05 PM EST

    The americans that I know with BMW's, etc normally do one of 3 things when near/approached by homeless people:

    Come on, you are making that up and you know it!

    Listen, I have a stinking rich uncle, he's a Republican and he wouldn't give a dime to the local bum. It isn't because he hates the bum or thinks the bum is a lesser person, it is because he likes his life and doesn't feel a need to contribute to someone else's.

    And imagine this, he hasn't given his son, my cousin, a single thing! He makes his kid earn everything he has, and I have to say that the kid is doing well because of it.

    The only thing the "filthy rich" want is for people to leave them to themselves. I love how professors at the college I attend talk about minimum wage increases and all sorts of socialist philosophy, but refuse to take part in any of the nitty gritty involved to help out the people that need it.

    Just imagine for once that just as there are non-violent bums, there are non-violent wealthy. Not every single wealthy person tears the shirt off of other folk's back to make themselves even more rich.

    What really torks socialists off is that the people who have limitless wealth usually obtained it by honest means that socialists find to be not so honest along their definitions. But socialists want to obtain money by taking it directly from you, and that is supposed to be honest?

    [ Parent ]

    bleh too lazy to make a title (none / 0) (#239)
    by use strict on Wed Dec 06, 2000 at 07:17:31 AM EST

    Your uncle doesn't feel a need to contribute to society?

    That is sad, frankly. A man with 'limitless' wealth should have no issue contributing some of it to a cause worthwhile to him.

    It should also be noted that 'legal' and 'moral' are two very different terms, I think this is understood without explanation. That is the one that socialists most have a problem with.

    Someone who only takes but does not give, is a glutton.



    [ Parent ]
    nothing wrong with socialism (none / 0) (#221)
    by Spook on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 11:09:36 PM EST

    In your original example you used the phrase "bring him down to our level." This is not socialism. Socialists think "I want to help those below me." These are two very different ideas. The first is what all Americans seem to be afraid of: the govrenment will steal my money. The second idea is that those who are better off choose to help those less fortunate. The idea of a choice is quite important. I think it is lost on a number of Americans who can't get their head around the idea that Socialism is not evil. Socialism has its advatages and disadvantages. It depends on what the people want the government to do for them.



    [ Parent ]
    Utterly wrong... (4.00 / 1) (#228)
    by deefer on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 09:39:24 AM EST

    2. When a (insert any European countrymen here) sees someone drive by in a brand new BMW, they say, "Someday we'll bring that person down to our level."
    I'm not a political animal, but I was reading Billy Connolly's biography recently. In it was a made up anecdote that went something like this:
    Marx and Lenin were on a train. Marx gets into the first class carriage. Lenin follows and says to him "Karl, what are you doing in the First class carriage, with all the rich and bourgeoisie that oppress us all? Shouldn't you be in the 2nd class, with the proleteriats? Where are your socialist principles?"
    Marx replied "Because when we have our Socialist state, everyone will travel first class"

    And that, IMHO, is what most Euro's think. Here in England, I can work my arse off and buy that BMW if I make it. But if I try and fail, through failings on my part or through just bad luck (e.g debilitating illness), I know there's a safety net there to catch me, to help me feed and clothe myself when I can't.


    Kill the baddies.
    Get the girl.
    And save the entire planet.

    [ Parent ]
    complex issue (4.33 / 3) (#117)
    by monkeyfish on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 06:49:32 PM EST

    i think first and foremost, americans have a fundamental distrust of government. this distrust has been borne out by experience (slavery, jim crow laws, fun adventures like the spanish-american war and the vietnam war) as almost every country in the world knows by now, governments can become intolerable, and people may have no option but to resist forcibly. i have no idea where you live, but i know that most of western europe was embroiled in the massive class/land struggles in the 17th/18th century. wasn't 1849 an especially fun year? not to mention the fact that europe (ahem) hasn't been the _stablest_ continent in the 20th century either. just trusting in government seems like a pretty naive proposition to me.

    second, hunting is recreational for a lot of guys. and we have enough of a healthy deer population, for example, that it's not particularly damaging or us to hunt them. it's also sort of in that do-it-yourself category. why not know how to kill and gut an animal?

    third, i'm relatively certain that until this century, america's population has been largely rural. people on farms/ranches have guns. it becomes a rite of passage to get your first one. i know that when i was little, and lived in a rural area, i couldn't wait to get my first shotgun at 12. that meant a lot to me, and i think it was a fairly common thing.

    [ Parent ]

    your .sig and your attitude (none / 0) (#158)
    by barooo on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:00:08 PM EST

    This attitude of some people in the USA about firearms is completely incomprehensible to many of us elsewhere. I am not saying it is wrong. It is just completely bizzare. Why do people in developed countries need guns?

    I find it somewhat ironic that your .sig has a quote from Lazarus Long, yet you don't understand why someone in a developed country would need to arm themselves...


    --
    [G. W. Bush makes] one long for the flashy showmanship of Calvin Coolidge, the easy eloquence of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the simple honesty of Richard Nixon.
    P. M. Carpenter
    [ Parent ]
    But it is Bizarre (5.00 / 1) (#226)
    by tumeric on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 09:08:34 AM EST

    As a non-american I too find it hard to understand this attitude towards guns. As far as I know the following things are illegal and yet don't hurt third parties:
    • Putting certain substances into the body.
    • Growing certain plants.
    • Drawing and displaying certain symbols (copyright).
    • Using someone elses ideas (patenting).
    We can agree or disagree with these laws, but why, given this background, is it OK to walk around with a killing machine? Is it alright to potentially hurt other people, as long as you don't potentially hurt their profits (or yourself)?

    [ Parent ]
    You're wrong. (3.00 / 5) (#169)
    by trhurler on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 02:25:03 PM EST

    The police don't protect you; they just clean up the mess after someone spills your guts all over the sidewalk. As for the effectiveness of nonsoldier combatants in a defensive campaign to drive out an invader, please do inspect Vietnam, Korea, China, and similar places. When granny's got a rifle and a few rounds, and there are a hundred million or so grannys, military units are irrelevant; what're you going to do, liquidate half the population of a continent?! Get real.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    This is simple... (1.76 / 13) (#92)
    by TheLocust on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 12:27:28 PM EST

    Guns Kill.
    Linux Doesn't.

    End of Story.


    .......o- thelocust -o.........
    ignorant people speak of people
    average people speak of events
    great people speak of ideas

    Correction.. (3.66 / 6) (#93)
    by Chiron on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 12:32:51 PM EST

    Guns Kill..
    Redhat Kills..

    I've heard our Linux admin threaten to kill himself several times, whenever we mention upgrading to Redhat 7. =)

    ( Sorry. Had to do it. =) )

    [ Parent ]
    heh heh (2.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Smiling Dragon on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 05:19:40 PM EST

    Can't say as I blame him. Although for me it's usually a desire to kill others after dealing with RedHat. :)

    Nice comeback to such a dire decree <grin>

    -- Sometimes understanding is the booby prize - Neal Stephenson
    [ Parent ]
    Nope (3.25 / 4) (#168)
    by trhurler on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 02:21:42 PM EST

    Guns don't kill people. I do.

    As for Linux, if people keep trying to use it in RT embedded apps to get a touchy-feely warm fuzzy, sooner or later, it IS going to kill someone. Or maybe someone will just hack a system hooked to some poor sap's heart monitor; who knows. What I do know is that Linux is a neat unixish kernel that a lot of morons have turned into a religion, and guns do not willfully seek people out and kill them - that is a human action, and it occurs with or without guns. The sad fact is, without guns, murder is much more brutal, much more painful, and dying usually takes a good deal longer.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    Software can kill (4.50 / 2) (#214)
    by Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 11:25:18 AM EST

    And I will cite you the best known case: the Therac-25, a medical linear accelerator used in cancer treatment. Various software failures ended up causing massive overdoses and death in several well-documented cases.



    --
    Rev. Dr. Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated, KSC, mhm21x16, and the Patron Saint of All Things Plastic fnord
    I'm proud of my Northern Tibetian heritage!
    [ Parent ]
    Linux-powered guns? (4.00 / 1) (#240)
    by davidmb on Mon Dec 11, 2000 at 10:42:51 AM EST

    At least we'd know for sure how they worked.
    ־‮־
    [ Parent ]
    DIY astronomy... (3.00 / 4) (#101)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 03:04:56 PM EST

    As others here have noted, the common thread isn't Linux and guns, it's Linux and doing-it-yourself.

    My grandfather is a reloader; although I don't think he has the chance to hunt much anymore. (Heh. He tells stories about taking the Philadelphia trolley to go hunting as a boy. Really seems like a different world).

    Personally, I enjoy building and working with a variety of gadgets. For example, I built my own telescope: an 8" dobsonian (picture a cannon 10" in diameter and 50" long, with a revolving mount for aiming). I also built my own astronomy software.

    Like many hackers & coders I get more pleasure out of building things than actually using them.



    People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
    I like building things... (3.16 / 6) (#106)
    by slambo on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 04:31:37 PM EST

    For me, the attraction to Linux and other open OSes is the idea that I can build it myself. I've always liked to make and build things, as is evident in my other hobbies: model railroading, cooking, candlemaking and writing. For me it's the attraction that I can put something out in front of everyone and say (like at the end of the X-Files...) "I made this." There is a great deal of satisfaction in completing such a project.
    --
    Sean Lamb
    "A day without laughter is a day wasted." -- Groucho Marx
    Afraid (4.07 / 14) (#111)
    by flamingcow on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 05:28:21 PM EST

    I know more of you are thinking it, but everyone in the US is afraid to say or even think it.


    The second amendment was not put in place to guarantee our right to hunt or to protect ourselves from invasion; it was put in place to allow us to protect ourselves from our own government. Should our government decide to throw all the rules out the window, stop elections and take over completely, that part of the constitution is there to insure that alot of citizens have guns, and can defend themselves against the government.


    It may sound silly that a group of citizens could ever fight against a government with a professional military behind it. However, even if that military is willing to fight the populace, remember Vietnam. The best military in the world can't control a populace that doesn't want to be controlled; it just doesn't work.


    The second amendment should be titled "The Right of Violent Overthrow of the Government" and we should be damn proud that we have it. It is our final defense against dictatorship.

    Uhhh. (2.00 / 4) (#113)
    by Requiem on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 05:59:59 PM EST

    If the government throws all the rules out the window, do you honestly think that you'll have your constitutional right to bear arms? No. That'll be the first to go. I don't see what all the conspiracy theorists get so worked up about. If the government is hell bent on controlling the people, no amount of resistence is going to stop them (see: the communist revolution of 1917).

    [ Parent ]
    Uhhh - uh (4.33 / 3) (#127)
    by gunner800 on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:14:58 AM EST

    see also: The American Revolution

    Yeah, it was a long time ago, but it is possible for an armed and united population to overthrow its government. More modern examples exist, especially in eastern Europe; watch CNN.

    ---Ignore poorly-chosen handle for purpose of gun-control discussions.
    [ Parent ]

    Err... (3.75 / 4) (#129)
    by costas on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:44:02 AM EST

    ...most of the Eastern European revolutions were done by UNARMED civilians. There was no such thing as private gun ownership in the ole Soviet block. In most cases, factions of the Army sided with the revolutionaries. Heck, I have coworkers or friends from back home that were in the Romanian Army when they (the Romanian people and the Army) overthrew Causesku or in the Albanian Army when the people broke down the government --although that's a different mess altogether-- and did so with sticks and stones. Literally.

    Y'all seem to forget that the monstrous government machine that the 2nd Amendment is supposed to fight is made up by good old *people*. Soldiers, police and guardsmen are not deranged robot monsters that will follow commands from black helicopters: they are mostly educated, mostly well-traveled men and women who can judge if they are fighting for the right cause and will refuse to do so if they think they don't. It's one thing to fight for one's country and another to turn on your countrymen: I know of no soldier who would consider it his or her duty to do so.

    I don't mean to flame; I really don't and please excuse my tone. But, as ex-Army and a reservist, I take offense when people assume that I will break my oaths (which are always to the People and the Law, not the Government, in every country on this planet) just because those are my 'orders'....


    memigo is a news weblog run by a robot. It ranks and recommends stories.
    [ Parent ]
    You're correct (3.00 / 1) (#132)
    by use strict on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:59:48 AM EST

    But remember, each one of these people have families they want to feed. Also a lot of these people are subjective to the law, they could care less about who it affects as long as it's not them.

    As well, in other countries (ie, most communist nations), being a part of the military is not only a requirement for some, but a benefit for most -- good pay, bed & bath, etc. Military grunts are miles high compared to lowly civilians.

    And don't kid yourself - americans run on money, not oxygen.



    [ Parent ]
    Soldiers (2.50 / 2) (#166)
    by trhurler on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 02:18:06 PM EST

    You're right about one thing: they'd be reluctant to fire on American civilians. However, some of them almost certainly would do so; having a professional volunteer military does not make you immune from the fact that some people make bad choices and some people are so scared of punishment that they will do anything to avoid it. A military coup would be difficult if not impossible, but convincing US soldiers to fire on people trying to overthrow the government would not be as difficult as you might hope, I'm afraid.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    True, for now... (none / 0) (#201)
    by Luke Scharf on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:55:42 PM EST

    Y'all seem to forget that the monstrous government machine that the 2nd Amendment is supposed to fight is made up by good old *people*. Soldiers, police and guardsmen are not deranged robot monsters that will follow commands from black helicopters: they are mostly educated, mostly well-traveled men and women who can judge if they are fighting for the right cause and will refuse to do so if they think they don't.

    You're right about this. This is one of the reasons why things are good here and now.

    But, it is *theoretically* possible that our government could become too currupt to govern in a matter of decades. Our government probably will become currupt to govern in a matter of centuries[2]. So, it's a good idea to have an armed populace[0] to revolve[1] the power back to a democracy or republic when this happens.

    [0] By this I mean a populace that's allowed to arm itself when it wants.

    [1] As in have a revolution.

    [2] Look what happened to the Romans - they went from a nice happy republic[3] with a kick-ass army to the immoral, dwarf-tossing, feed-the-christians-to-the-lions, watch-people-kill-each-other-for-fun empirial mess that we hear about in the bible.

    [3] All of the Patricians had their say in the senate. There were strict classes, but there was some class mobility for promising young men through the Roman version of adoption.



    [ Parent ]
    I am sorry, but no (3.66 / 3) (#204)
    by costas on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:42:25 AM EST

    An armed populace has nothing to do with revolution; it is more correlated with subversion. Historically, when peoples have been truly unsatisfied with their government they have overthrown it, regardless of the disparity in firepower: look at the French and Russian revolutions, the revolutions against the Ottoman empire in the Balkans, look at Apartheid, consider the fall of Causesku, the fall of East Germany, the fall of apartheid in South Africa.

    OTOH, abundance (or at least availability) of weapons has, historically, enforced a dictatorship of minorities, not majorities: it has usually ended in civil war. Consider the numerous civil wars that followed WWII throughout Europe and Asia, because political opposition happened to have ready access to firepower and the willingness to use it. Consider the numerous (foreign-backed or not) guerilla wars in Asia and South America. Availability of weapons among the general population has NOT stabilized a nation --democratic or otherwise. If you don't believe me, please, visit Albania.

    Yes, this is counter-intuitive, but let's put it in somewhat mathematical terms: in any political system, there will be a) people who oppose either the party or clique that has power and would like to assume power themselves without disrupting the system, or b) people who oppose the dominant political system itself. When the dominant political system (democratic or otherwise) becomes corrupted in such a way that the governing clique can cling to power, preventing opposing views from having a chance at assuming power, dissatisfaction will grow.

    Now, the dissenting clique could be either a majority, a plurality, or a minority. However, it is certain (not just likely, but certain) that those within the clique that would be willing to take arms or otherwise extreme measures to overthrow the governing clique will be --in the beggining-- a minority of the total population.

    Absent readily available firepower the extremist minority can not, mathematically, overthrow the governing system --there are certain well established power ratios in military science for these things. Thus, corruption will linger UNTIL dissatisfaction grows to such an extent, that the extremist, dissenting faction becomes large enough to overpower the governing clique and change the political system. Because of the large difference in fighting power, the militant faction will have to be, in effect, a large majority of the TOTAL population.

    It is obvious that when the governing political system is an oppresive one --say a dictatorship, communism or the British Empire-- the difference in firepower between population and government actually disenfranchises the populace. However, when the incumbent system is, literally, popular --for the People, by the People-- the same difference becomes and actual *stabilizing* factor of the political system.

    I am not American; my country has had Empires and colonies but she also survived 500 yrs of foreign occupation, had a 10yr civil war after WWII (despite the fact that we were on the Allies' side), two military dictatorships and has, to this day, widespread corruption. However, very, very few Greeks will defend their right to carry semi-automatic weapons, and those that do are not worried about an oppressive government but of foreign invasion.

    The Greatest Democracy on Earth should know better...

    memigo is a news weblog run by a robot. It ranks and recommends stories.
    [ Parent ]
    Which would be why... (none / 0) (#150)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:49:08 AM EST

    We fight so hard to keep them from doing just that.



    People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
    [ Parent ]
    The government lost in 1917 (4.00 / 1) (#167)
    by Rand Race on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 02:18:57 PM EST

    So how, exactly, does the Communist Revolution support your point? The government of Russia before 1917 was the Czars and the mass of the population were serfs. It can be safely said, judging by their secret police and internal security forces, that the Czarists were hell bent on controlling the people. The revolutionaries were the Communists who represented the people far more than the Czarists did and who quite decisively won their revolution. So the 1917 revolution is a counter-example to your point not a supporting example. Sure the Soviets soon resorted to authoritarianism and despotism of their own (which in of itself was ended by a popular uprising), but that does not invalidate the fact that the 1917 revolution was at least as popular in nature as was the American Revolution.


    "Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
    [ Parent ]

    This is why... (2.33 / 3) (#131)
    by use strict on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:52:49 AM EST

    I hate to be so dogmatic, but...

    If I were to announce tomorrow that I was going to assasinate the president, I would be detained and probably never heard from again.

    There are many laws just like this that twist and turn our constitution into little piles of rubble (the 1st, 2nd, and 4th are twisted here).

    The point is this. Laws, on paper, are just that, words on paper. It matters not if they exist, if they are not enforced. People can still get a good cuban cigar in the states, and illicit drugs, I won't even go into that.

    Regardless if the 2nd amendment existed or not, you have certainly seen tens if not hundreds of overthrown governments which have no provisions that our 'beloved' constitution provides for us. They still manage to get what they need, and the determined ones always win.

    The whole process is flawed. Law, by definition, is uninterpretive. Only theory and hypothesis fall under that category. Our political process INTERPRETS laws, and adheres to the 'spirit' (read: whatever the political consensus is at the time) of the law instead. This is why a cop can pull you over for no justified reason (4th), and a judge can sentence you to contempt of court for exercising your right to free speech (1st).

    The US will be a pipe dream in 100 years anyways, as history has told and will tell again, and again... Too much power in one place leaves a lot more power spread out to join and overthrow those who possess it.

    [ Parent ]
    It goes deeper than that (3.75 / 4) (#143)
    by Darth Yoshi on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 10:56:57 AM EST

    I've given it some thought and I think that the pro- and anti-gun control groups are just a symptom of a deeper problem. The whole issue is really a conflict between basic assumptions. To simplify a bit, on one side you have the "american" perspective; that is, people are independent, capable, and responsible for their own actions. You can do almost anything you want, so long as you don't interfere with anyone else's right to do anything they want (remember, this is a simplification). Governments are formed for the convenience of the citizens. If you assume this, then guns are just a tool like hammers and saws, if you misuse them, then your fellow citizens (or their designated representitives (i.e.; police (remember, the "american" system is not "anti-government" just "anti-big-government"))) come down on you like a ton of bricks.

    The other perspective (I call it the "european" perspective) is that governments are formed to take care of their citizens. Citizens are not required to be independent or capable or responsible (I'm not saying they aren't or can't be just that it's not required). In this case, the government has to govern to the lowest common demominator and has to protect the citizens from themselves. Guns are dangerous and therefore strictly regulated. Police are representives of the government, not (directly) the citizens.

    Both systems have "government" and "citizens", the difference is which is more important. The "american" system considers the citizens more important, the "european" system considers government more important.

    I'm not saying either system is bad. Obviously both approaches work. People are born, live, and die under both systems. There's a measure of malice, greed, and incompetence under both systems. What I am saying is that I think we in the US are moving from an "american" style of government to a "european" style of government and the current debate about gun control is just one symptom of that change. Of course the next question is "do we want to go to a european style of government", but that question opens up a whole 'nother can of worms.

    ---
    Have a nice day.

    People just as important in "European Style&q (none / 0) (#160)
    by John_Booty on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:25:35 PM EST

    I'm not sure where I stand on gun control yet, but a more powerful government does not necessarily mean that the citizens are less important. It could be argued that the "European style" (ie, socialist style) of government you speak of actually places more value on the people by creating greater equality among citizens.

    For example, I'm a highly paid computer professional. At 24, I'm making almost $100,000 a year for writing code. I can easily afford healthcare, etc. Now look at my girlfriend. She's 24 as well, of equal intelligence, but works her ass off even more than I do for only about $20,000 a year and no health insurance. Plus, she actually has a college degree and I don't. She gets paid a lot less just because she's in a differnect career. Most cops, firefighters, judges, nurses, etc, all make less money than me.

    Is that fair? If a system truly "considers the citizens more important", I think it would treat all its citizens well, not just the ones who were lucky enough to be lucky bastards who can code like the wind at a time when programmers are extremely in-demand. A system that treats citizens as more important should treat ALL citizens like they're important.

    In a more socialist-oriented society, I might make less money due to taxes, but that money I paid would go towards things like healthcare for people like my girlfriend who can't afford it. So I'd consider that justified.

    I look at all the homeless people and people without healthcare in this extremely wealthy United States of America, and I find it hard to believe that citizens are truly considered important here.

    Now, don't get me wrong. A more powerful government and/or more taxes are only good if that extra power and money is used to HELP people. And yes, I pay for my girlfriend's healthcare when the need arises. :-)


    _______________________________________________________________
    Anime, game, and music reviews at www.bootyproject.org... by fans, for fans.
    [ Parent ]
    Fair?! (3.33 / 3) (#164)
    by trhurler on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 02:14:19 PM EST

    Yes, it is fair. Your effort makes your employer a lot more money than hers makes for her employer, and/or your skills are rarer. You need to stop and ask yourself, "whose money is this, and where is it coming from?" The implicit assumption in "evening out" incomes between the two of you is that money exists and the only issue is who should have it; this is a falsehood: money is created, and it belongs to those who do so.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    RE: People just as important in "European Sty (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by Darth Yoshi on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 03:42:37 PM EST

    It could be argued that the "European style" (ie, socialist style) of government you speak of actually places more value on the people by creating greater equality among citizens.

    First, I didn't say anything about the "value" of citizens in either system, I spoke of "importance". There's a difference. Second, I might point out that the usual way of equalizing the value between you and your girlfriend salaries is not to increase your girlfriend's salary to $100K a year, but to decrease yours to $20K a year.

    Is that fair?

    It has been truly said that life is unfair. I'm sorry, I don't like it, but I accept it. No form of government can make life fair.

    A system that treats citizens as more important should treat ALL citizens like they're important.

    Important enough to treat their citizens as mature, capable, responsible adults and not just overgrown wards of the state? That is the conundrum. If the citizens are truly more important, then the government should treat them as mature and responsible adults and you don't need a large, all-encompassing government to watch over them. If the government is more important, than it must watch over its citizens from cradle to grave, which leads to the assumption that citizens are not required to be mature or responsible.

    My snap judgement is that european citizens are more valuable like a cash crop is more valuable for the farmer. Or like sheep are valuable to the shepherds. Hmmm, that sounds harsher than I intended, but fundamentally correct. And I don't even mean that in a bad way, the european system works, at least for europeans.

    I look at all the homeless people and people without healthcare in this extremely wealthy United States of America, and I find it hard to believe that citizens are truly considered important here.

    The "american" system has always relied on people helping each other at a local level. How much have you given to your local charities? At the moment we are betwixt and between, moving from local charities to all-encompassing government agencies and people are falling through the cracks. I know, I know, it's not fair.

    My original post was intended to try to expose some of the underlying assumptions beneath the pro- and anti-gun control arguments. I deliberately did not try to evaluate either system. Clearly you favor the european system, fine. There are others who would disagree.

    ---
    Have a nice day.

    [ Parent ]
    You Make Some Good Points, But... (3.50 / 2) (#184)
    by John_Booty on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:01:26 PM EST

    My snap judgement is that european citizens are more valuable like a cash crop is more valuable for the farmer. Or like sheep are valuable to the shepherds. Hmmm, that sounds harsher than I intended, but fundamentally correct.

    If you want to see people treated like sheep, go to any McDonalds in America. There you'll find people working their butts off for like six bucks an hour. How would you feel if you were a single mom, working McDonalds, with no hope of ever earning decent health insurance or anything. The usual answer of "go to school, get a better job" just doesn't always apply. I doubt a single mom working 50 hours a week at McDonalds has time or money to load up on credit hours at a college. Okay, that's a real bleeding-heart example, but true.

    It has been truly said that life is unfair. I'm sorry, I don't like it, but I accept it. No form of government can make life fair.

    Obviously, life isn't fair. But that's perhaps the poorest excuse for unfair actions that I've ever seen. By that logic, since life isn't fair, I guess we should just have evil dictatorships! They're not fair, but hey- neither is life! Bull. Life isn't fair, but we should try to make our government as fair as possible.

    Important enough to treat their citizens as mature, capable, responsible adults and not just overgrown wards of the state

    I don't think that providing things like healthcare and higher education for everyone is equivalent to babying them. People die in this country because they don't have enough money to pay for healthcare. This isn't an esoteric argument. I knew a guy in college with Hodgkin's disease who had no money. He had to drop out of school and work because he had no money. Of course, with no education, he had no way of getting a good job and no way of paying for cancer treatment. Maybe he's dead now, I don't know. Kind of ironic, someone dying in the one of the world's richest countries because they're too poor to pay for cancer treatment. But hey, life's not fair, right?

    How much have you given to your local charities?

    Common fallacy in arguments- attacking the other debater rather than the argument. Whether or not I donate a dime of my money to charitable causes doesn't make my argument any more or less valid. It might make me a crummy and hypocritical person, but that doesn't make my argument any more or less valid. In this case, though, the answer is "yes"... I do donate time and money to a couple of causes. So hopefully I'm not too hypocritical/crummy. :)


    _______________________________________________________________
    Anime, game, and music reviews at www.bootyproject.org... by fans, for fans.
    [ Parent ]
    RE: You Make Some Good Points, But... (none / 0) (#187)
    by Darth Yoshi on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:29:50 PM EST

    I apologize for responding to your post. Obviously this is the point where we start being rude and insulting to one another (and off-topic). In my original post I said, "Of course the next question is "do we want to go to a european style of government", but that question opens up a whole 'nother can of worms.". Of course someone had to come along with a can opener. :-)

    In my original post, I tried to state what I thought were some of assumptions and dynamics underlying the pro- and anti-gun control arguments. I tried not to claim which style of government was better, only what I thought were the pertinent differences. I can only observe that both styles of government work and they both have their strengths and weaknesses. Reasonable people may argue which is the better system, but that would be off-topic in this thread. I will say no more.

    ----
    Have a nice day.

    [ Parent ]
    Well... (1.00 / 1) (#200)
    by John_Booty on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 09:36:25 PM EST

    Amen! I was pretty off-topic, I must admit.

    The really funny part is that I actually do support the right of people to own guns.

    Okay, I'm going to bend over so that you can kick me now. :)


    _______________________________________________________________
    Anime, game, and music reviews at www.bootyproject.org... by fans, for fans.
    [ Parent ]
    re: good points (5.00 / 1) (#233)
    by Stradivarius on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 02:24:03 PM EST

    How would you feel if you were a single mom, working McDonalds, with no hope of ever earning decent health insurance or anything

    OK, this whole thread is getting a bit off-topic, but it's a good discussion so I think I'll continue it... :)

    The "single mom" argument is used a lot, and is good for getting sympathy ('cause everyone, myself included, realizes that parenthood is a monumental task, and so sympathizes). However, pregnancy is not just something that happens to you, like catching a cold. You have to engage in certain behaviors, namely sex, which has certain risks (disease, pregnancy). If you choose to engage in those behaviors, and as a consequence end up pregnant or diseased, there's really your own fault. Yes, you'll have a rough time, especially if you don't have the skills to land a high-paying job. But, as with anything, people need to be prepared to deal with the consequences of their actions. And having to work a shitty job flipping burgers to support your kid is one of those possible consequences.

    (though really, if you're unprepared either financially or emotionally to properly support a kid, there's always the possiblity of giving the kid up for adoption - there are a lot of loving families out there who would love to adopt a child.)

    The issue, I think, with this (as with a huge number of issues confronting America right now, from welfare to gun control) is how much one believes in the traditional American ethic of self-reliance. If you're like myself, you believe everyone is responsible for their own actions, and that on the flip side they're not responsible for making sure everyone else acts in the "best" manner. Thus, I oppose censorship because I believe it's my responsibility to form my own opinions and decide what it is I want to be exposed to; and it is not my responsibility to decide for others what they should believe. I support the right of people to own firearms, because I believe that adults have the right to exercise that responsibility; and don't have the responsibility/right to impose their ideas upon others. If someone shoots themselves in the foot because they don't exercise the proper caution with their weapon, it doesn't mean we should ban guns because someone might get hurt - it means that person damn well is gonna be more careful around guns next time.

    The same idea extends to lots of issues. How far one is willing to take it varies - for example, I'm not absolute in the self-reliance thing. There are situations where I think it is reasonable to provide assistance to people - for example, those who are unable due to some sort of handicap to work I think should get some help from society. Lots of other people would go much farther than that.

    But if you look at a lot of the debates going, the unspoken issue is how much self-reliance should we expect out of people.

    [ Parent ]

    re: good points (none / 0) (#235)
    by Darth Yoshi on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 07:15:17 PM EST

    Thank you. Self-reliance is the concept I was groping for to discribe the primary difference between american and european style democracies. The more self-reliant one is, the more one is responsible for ones own actions, and the less government one requires.

    This is what I tried to say when I said citizens were more important in american style government. The more self-reliant the citizens are, the more responsiblities devolve to the citizens, and the less important government becomes. The less self-reliant the citizens are, the more responsiblities devolve to the government, and the more important government becomes.

    ---
    Have a nice day

    [ Parent ]
    are citizens more important? (none / 0) (#165)
    by saoirse on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 02:14:29 PM EST

    I believe that this post captures alot of the underlying realities of the situation - the importance of government vs citizens. Does the goverment exist to serve the citizen or vice versa? I disagree on one point and that is that the citizen in the US is more important than the government. Certainly, this was the objective of the US founding fathers but it appears to me, that this ideal has been eroded severally by the federal government.

    [ Parent ]
    RE: are citizens more important? (none / 0) (#170)
    by Darth Yoshi on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 02:25:11 PM EST

    I disagree on one point and that is that the citizen in the US is more important than the government. Certainly, this was the objective of the US founding fathers...

    I was unclear. When I was speaking of the american style of government, I was speaking of how I believe the founding fathers intended.

    ...but it appears to me, that this ideal has been eroded severally by the federal government.

    We are in agreement on this point. I believe this is part of our conversion to a european style of government.

    ---
    Have a nice day.

    [ Parent ]
    American vs European styles of government (5.00 / 1) (#178)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 03:51:26 PM EST

    What I am saying is that I think we in the US are moving from an "american" style of government to a "european" style of government and the current debate about gun control is just one symptom of that change.

    If by "European" you mean "socialist" then I agree with you, to an extent. But I don't know how far America will go down that road.

    The thing is that America is really more than one "country". The recent election demonstrated that perfectly: Gore and Bush are nearly in a perfect tie, yet according to the map, Gore won only the urban areas, while Bush won only the rural ones. Those rural areas are the very places that still celebrate (and require, to an extent) the self-reliance that founded the country. Governing the cities, meanwhile, requires the kind of consensus building and inter-dependence that characterizes the flip side of the coin.



    People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
    [ Parent ]
    RE: American vs European styles of government (3.00 / 1) (#179)
    by Darth Yoshi on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 04:29:07 PM EST

    If by "European" you mean "socialist" then I agree with you, to an extent.

    I was trying to calmly point-out some of the underlying assumptions in the gun-control arguments without bringing in emotionally laden terms like the "s" word. :-)

    The thing is that America is really more than one "country". ...

    An excellent and interesting point. Things could become interesting. Although I think, in the end, the rural powerbase is too scattered and distributed to make a difference. Whoever controls Washington DC, controls the country, for all intents and purposes.

    ---
    Have a nice day.

    [ Parent ]
    Whoever controls Washington controls the country (none / 0) (#216)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:46:46 PM EST

    I don't know that I can agree with that, totally. Certainly, whoever controls Washington controls national policy - but enforcing that policy is a different matter. This has come to a head repeatedly as Washington has attempted to force locals to comply with something (usually environmental regulations) and the locals promptly take up various forms of passive and/or active resistance - clearing roads that the govt. wants closed, hunting or grazing on restricted land, etc..

    Usually, the national goverment's ability to intervene is limited because the local goverment refuses to support it, or does so as little as possible.

    In addition - again, look at the distribution in the election. There is a lot of resentment in those parts of the country that don't live in California or New York.



    People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
    [ Parent ]
    Colt Woodsman, music, et al. (3.50 / 2) (#171)
    by CAIMLAS on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 02:41:12 PM EST

    I've got a pistol that I just adore - the Colt Woodsman. Sure, it's an old .22 pistol (1920 or something, I believe). It has a 10 round clip. It's the most balanced handgun I've ever seen, and fires quite well. As might be seen by it's age, it was also well built. This paticular gun has seen about 50 years of good, solid use on trap lines in NY state by my grandfather. He trapped foxes and coyotes to put his children, my mom and her siblings through college - Duke, Darmoth, and two other smaller schools most people woudln't have heard of. But aside from that... the gun is a beauty. :) It's a good symbolism of superior craftmanship that is rarely seen.

    I agree with what the author has to say here. I've experienced several parallels in different fields. I play drums, and there's a /similar/ parallel there. Every drummer who groks his drums -needs- to have them set up in a certain fashion, or he's somewhat disabled - he has become accustomed to how he has them positioned, and anything else causes a slowdown or inefficiency. Model building (customizing a car/plane/etc), model railroading (designing your own cars, making your own scenery and buildings, setting the set's era), or hardware hacking - all draw parallels. There are always people that go beyond the expected norm and maximize the 'geekyness' of their hobby.

    (Now back to wasting away on school work...)
    --

    Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.

    Making things happen (2.00 / 1) (#185)
    by z on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:02:35 PM EST

    One thing I learned before reaching 50, is that people who have the hacker mentality (in the hacker sense of that word), that is, those who like to get their hands on the inards of a system and see what they can do with it, take that approach with more than source code.

    In the early days of personal computers it was easy to find the computer club meetings. You just looked for the cars with the ham radio antennas. People who were hacking radios easily transferred to hacking bytes. Others have mentioned building telescopes or airplanes.

    There are some theories in psychology about the need to be creative or effective. But I don't know why some people have the hacker mentality and others don't.

    z

    Here's a quote that just seems to be relevant?

    "Responsibility is not the price of freedom, but its reward. It is what keeps our lives from being trivial."


    The problem is pepple don't want to be responsible (4.50 / 4) (#215)
    by neuroprophet on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:03:22 PM EST

    I am a US citizen and live in the US. I have been watching the US government's power grow, and the freedom of individuals to make simple decisions for themselves taken away. I believe the problem comes down to responsibilty. Slowly, more and more people in the United States don't want to have to take responsibility for the choices they make.

    I will give some examples. Some of them may seem cruel, but it is how I feel.

    Somebody earlier complained about a mother having to work 50 hours a week in a McDonalds at $6/hr to support her child and that simply saying, "Go to school and get a better job isn't the answer". While I agree that isn't the right answer, the question comes to me, why did somebody who can not properly support a child have one. It is a very irresponsible thing to do. She caused her situation herself, and I don't pity her of feel the government and my tax money should have to support her for doing something irresponsible. She needs to take responsibility for her actions herself.

    There are all the people who want certain things censored/banned because they feel they are corrupting their children (porn on the internet, foul language in lyrics,etc.). Banning these things removes the right from people who would like to see such thing to see it. If people spent more time teaching their children, spending time with them, reading to them, then they would be more involved in their childrens lives and be able to steer them away from things they don't want them to see like a responsible parent should. It should not be the governments job to censore/ban all things you don't want your kids to see/hear. It is not the governments responsibilty, it is YOURS. It should be your resposnibility to screen your kids from what you feel is innapropriate. I may feel it's alright for my children to see things that you don't let your kids see. That should be my right. But as these things get banned, that right is being taken away.

    I feel the US is destined to keep slipping towards a more european style of government where people are not required to be responsible. I feel this is a bad thing. I think people pay more attention to what they are doing and make better decisions when they know they will have to be resposible for the outcome.

    I guess selfishness is now in vogue. (none / 0) (#222)
    by thePositron on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 01:36:08 AM EST

    So you would rather spend your taxes on the military? What's wrong with helping people when they need it?rather than spending 100's of billions of dollars on things that kill. I am all for responsibility but I also have a heart. I don't mind paying for taxes if it is used for purposes that are in alignment with my conscience and spending billions on weapons while children starve is NOT in accordance with my values.

    [ Parent ]
    Do it yourself or let others do it? (none / 0) (#231)
    by z on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 06:34:50 PM EST

    So you would rather spend your taxes on the military? What's wrong with helping people when they need it?rather than spending 100's of billions of dollars on things that kill. I am all for responsibility but I also have a heart. I don't mind paying for taxes if it is used for purposes that are in alignment with my conscience and spending billions on weapons while children starve is NOT in accordance with my values.

    This has gotten a bit off topic. The original discussion was about individuals doing things for themselves.

    So you're in favor of helping starving children? Do you do anything yourself by donations of either money or time? Remember if you donate to 501c(3) organizations you can deduct from your income meaning less going to taxes (and thus the military).

    I spend about 10-15 hours a week with a local community volunteer organization (well, it doesn't help starving children unless they're sick, too.). Just some more of that get in there and do it myself attitude.

    BTW, I think just about all Federal taxes should be spent on the military (but as little as possible). Welfare is a local problem.

    [ Parent ]

    I sympathise with the feeling, but ... (none / 0) (#224)
    by StrontiumDog on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 07:13:15 AM EST

    I have been watching the US government's power grow, and the freedom of individuals to make simple decisions for themselves taken away. I believe the problem comes down to responsibilty. Slowly, more and more people in the United States don't want to have to take responsibility for the choices they make.

    Although your posting was a bit harsh at times, I do have a sneaking sympathy for the premise. It has taken some hard convincing to get me to see the viewpoint from the other side. Take your first example:

    Somebody earlier complained about a mother having to work 50 hours a week in a McDonalds at $6/hr to support her child and that simply saying, "Go to school and get a better job isn't the answer". While I agree that isn't the right answer, the question comes to me, why did somebody who can not properly support a child have one. It is a very irresponsible thing to do. She caused her situation herself, and I don't pity her of feel the government and my tax money should have to support her for doing something irresponsible. She needs to take responsibility for her actions herself.

    The problem is, people do not always have 100% control over their lives or actions, no matter how much we would like that to be so. This hypothetical $6/hour mom could have had a child because:

    -The condom broke, and she's pro-life.

    -The condom broke, and someone shot the doctor at the abortion clinic

    -She had the kid when she was a teen, and teens are the dumbest creatures on Earth: the ones who haven't yet been through the school of hard knocks but think they've already graduated

    -She lost a job she thought she'd have held when she got pregnant

    to name a few possibilities. I know one of the problems with a nanny state is a citizenry that thinks money grows on trees and streets clean themselves, on the other hand few people have 100% control of their lives. Our autonomy as human beings is dependent on a mixture of background (rich, poor, etc), phenotype (IQ, handicap, perfect physique, hare lip, ugly, beautiful etc), education, environment(depression, boom, Third World, First World) and experience (most easily correlated with age: people are not born knowing everything, and we all learn better the hard way -- which takes time). The problem is that the playing field is not level for each human being, and could never be, even in a communist utopia. We don't start out life equal, we dont all get equal opportunities during our lifetimes, we are only equal in death. This means that no matter how you look at it, a compassionate society is going to have to do something to redress at least a few inequalities. What, and how much, a government should do, makes for lengthy, heated and often subjective debate.

    [ Parent ]

    Guns 'n OSes | 242 comments (233 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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