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On a Constitutional Right to Private Firearm Ownership

By jolly st nick in Op-Ed
Fri May 17, 2002 at 05:38:30 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Attorney General Ashcroft has now taken the position that the second amendment to the US constitution is intended to protect private firearm ownership (see AP Story). Here is the AP Lead:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration has told the Supreme Court for the first time that it believes the Constitution protects an individual's right to possess guns, reversing the government's longstanding interpretation of the Second Amendment.

In addition, controversy over Michael A. Bellesiles' deeply flawed book, Arming America : The Origins of a National Gun Culture has already inflamed the debate about the most controversial amendment in the US Bill of Rights. So, should Americans consider personal firearm ownership as protected by the Bill of Rights?


The Problem

The second amendment states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
This amendment is unique in the Bill or Rights in that it contains a preamble: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..." This leaves us with the question: is this preamble meant modify, limit or otherwise alter our understanding of the right being recognized? If not, why is it there? Note to future constitution writers: resist the temptation to clarify things with preambles -- they only make things less clear.

So, we are left to try to interpret the amendment, as a whole. Do we simply ignore the preamble? The uniqueness of this feature in the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights makes me uncomfortable with this approach.

Historical Context

The US Bill of Rights is modeled on an English Bill of Rights adopted in 1689 following the overthrow of the tyrannical James II by William of Orange. This English Bill specifically limited royal perogatives that had been abused. For example, Stuart monarchs attempted to reinterpret the feudal practice of levying ships or their financial equivalent in a way that circumvented the Magna Carta's proscription against levying taxes without consent. Thus the Bill states: "That levying money for or to the use of the crown, by pretence of prerogative, without grant of parliament, for longer time, or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal." In another famous incident James the Second inflamed the populace by prosecuting Anglican bishops for treason on the mere account of a petition that they set before him privately (although this was, in modern parlanced, "leaked"). Thus, "it is the right of the subjects to petition the King, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal."

The US Bill of Rights is a similar document. It is not a political-theoretical discussion of inherent human rights. It is a concrete guarantee against specific abuses that were committed in recent memory. In this case, the attempt by General Gage in April of 1775 to seize the militia's stores of ammunition at Concord must surely have been in their mind. Clearly, then, the Second Amendment is, at the very least, has a very important State's Rights aspect. Standing armies controlled by a strong central government were deeply distrusted. In 1648, such an army ejected the dissenting elements of Parliament, paving the way for the dictatorship of Cromwell. Starting in the restoration period, citizen militias, although clearly less efficient than the regular army, were seen as at least some counterbalance to its power. (This is the real meaning of John Marshall's famous phrase "the power to tax is the power to destroy"; he was referring to the power to raise and maintain a standing army.)

In congressional debate over the amendment, Eldridge Gerry stated:

What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures with respect to a militia, as to make a standing army necessary. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins. This was actually done by Great Britain at the commencement of the late revolution.

There is no question that the issue of a militia was foremost in the framer's minds. In the congressional debate, there was a question raised as to whether the amendment should include an exemption from militia service for Quakers and other dissenters.

However I don't think this means that they couldn't also have had private ownership in mind. Mr. Bellesiles' controversial book notwithstanding, private ownership of firearms in the eighteenth century appears to have been fairly common. And, as anyone who has watched High Noon knows, assisting the local sheriff is an important civic duty of any armed man in communities that lack a professional police force. The 1689 Bill of Rights provided, "7. That the subjects which are protestants, may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions, and as allowed by law." I believe in historical context this refers not only to the militia, but also to right minded individuals who take the law into their own hands in times of lawlessness, tyranny, or popery.

My own opinion is that the separation between the public and private spheres of firearm use have grown more distinct over the years. In feudal times, personal arms was not only a gentleman's right, but necessary to his duty; there was no distinction between a gentleman in his private capacity as a land owner and his capacity as a magistrate or soldier. The framers stand midway between this primitive tradition and us. The distinction which makes this amendment seem vague to us would have been incomprehensible to the medieval gentleman, and while the founders could certainly grasp it, it would likely have seemed to have no practical value to them. For this reason I believe that any attempt to strictly limit the application of Amendment II to public arms supposes that the framers had a viewpoint which would have been anachronistic. If you were to travel back in time and ask a typical person whether this amendment covered personal firearm ownership, my own opinion is that they would probably answer yes, although they might find the question strange.

What A Right to Personal Firearm Ownership Means

So, in my own opinion, the second amendment covers the private ownership of arms. However I do not agree that this necessarily precludes any regulation on the manner of acquiring and using firearms; rather I believe that it means that such regulations may not pose an unreasonable barrier to personal ownership. Handgun registration serves as such an example.

To conclude that any sort of regulation of gun use would constitute and "abridgement" of the right to bear arms requires an interpretation of these terms that is unique to this one issue. For example, people are guaranteed the right to peaceably assemble, but they may be fined if they do not obtain a permit. On the government's side, permits must be issued in a reasonable and nondiscriminatory fashion, and failure to do so means that citizens may simply go ahead. This represent a reasonable accomodation between the government's responsibility to maintain order and the citizen's right to assemble. In these kind of accomodations, any restrictions must be narrowly crafted to avoid abridging the public's rights and to do no more than the government has legitimate interest in doing. To publish information about current troop movements and certain kinds of covert action that the government is legitimately engaged in can be considered a punishable offense, despite first amendment protections. To publish the Pentagon Papers, or to uncover the illegal shipment of arms to rebel groups in Nicuragua is not.

In my non-constitutional-scholar opinion, I think that some kinds of regulations on firearm ownership, such as background checks, do not constitute an unconstitutional abridgement of rights so long as they do not present significant barriers to firearm ownership and are narrowly crafted to serve a particular and legitimate government function. Keeping the streets from becoming awash in guns, although perhaps a laudable goal, is not one that in my opinion can be pursued by strictly constitutional means.

Contemporary Problems

It is important to note that the rights granted by the Second Amendment do not specifically refer to "firearms". There is nothing to indicate the framers intended that this right should be limited to weapons that a man can carry and work by propelling a slug of lead through a metal barrel by means of an exploding charge. If so they could simply have said "firearms", which carries all these connotations.

At the time broadswords and pikes were of little account, and cannons were unlikely to be owned by individuals. However, I think cutlasses and bayonets were probably intended to included, as were publicly owned artillery pieces. The possiblity of private ownership of artillery probably wasn't considered, but it was not specifically excluded even though the framers could have made this distinction if they saw reason to. When, some day in the future, handheld rayguns become common, I believe these too would have to in strict terms be considered protected under the Second Amendment.

Industrial and scientific progress has brought us to a situation where arms are plentiful, cheap and devestatingly powerful. Ownership of land mines, grenades, and anti-aircraft arms are within the reach of many individuals or small groups. Certainly there is no economic reason that gun enthusiasts would not buy fully automatic weapons. I believe that using literal criteria, the Second Amendment must be interpreted as applying to any sort of arms, up to and including nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. I don't want to sound like a crackpot here, since I don't want to see private ownership of weapons of devestating power. However there is nothing in the amendment which precludes any weapon based on its destructive power. If we adopt a position of strict fidelity to the meaning of the amendment, then we are forced, in all honest, to admit any weapon regardless of its deadliness. The same argument (which I view as valid in a logical sense) that disallows exclusion of personal firearm ownership from Second Amendment protection must also, in all fairness, disallow the exclusion of weapons of mass destruction.

One might argue that these kinds of highly destructive arms were not conceived of back then. But neither was the self contained cartridge fired by a percussion cap. Nor was smokeless powder. Smooth bore muskets were the norm, and rifles a relative rarity. All these changes increased the deadliness of the personal firearm dramatically in ways that the framers could not have forseen. But nobody argues that smooth bore muzzle loading muskets and pistols should be allowed, but not modern rifles and handguns. The framers were certainly aware that technological advances were going to take place; if they intended this to invalidate the right they were recognizing, they could have. They undertandably failed to anticipate how completely technology would change the character of armaments. It is differences in the exact location of the line where arms change in character from inoccuous to intolerably destructive that is the source of disagreement.

I think missing in the debate is possibility that the Second Amendment is simply too deeply flawed to be taken seriously in its full implications. We have maintained the idea that we are ruled by constitutional law by adopting the fiction that the Second Amendment is anything less than absolute in the rights of private arms possession. Nearly everybody is participating this fiction; "Gun Rights" advocates are for this right as absolute when applied to firearms but usually not all other miltary hardware.

Drawing Lines

For better or worse (usually worse) some things simply don't require legislation or constitutional authority. We needn't legislate that people breath air, because if they stopped they would cease to be. And although we ought to legally grant our government the right to regulate weapons of terror and mass destruction, in absence of that legal grant we can be sure any government will do so, for the same reason. If it did not it would cease to be.

So, what we have is an exercise in drawing lines where none exist. I think that, in deference to the rule of law (or at least as much deference as we can practically manage), we should subjugate our own private policy preferences to the kind of government which the framers were attempting to create. In particular, consider the ninth amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people
I think they were telling us that a government which forbids a thing to many on the basis that a few would abuse it is wrong. The same can be said for their treatment of press freedoms. Press freedom is not absolute, but the one absolute right they unquestionably have is to print first and face the consequences later.

I think the framers were aiming for a government that would not be paternalistic; which would not be so zealous in carrying out its duties that it quashed common and established rights and privileges. While guns, particularly handguns, are a severe law enforcement problem, nearly all people who own them are law abiding. Guns are tools, and they are toys. I've never been much involved in shooting sports other than archery, but I can see how they are tremendous fun. That they afford many people innocent and law-abiding pleasure is reason enough, in my estimation, to forbid the government from denying them their guns.

Let me be clear on what my preference would be. I would divide weapons into two classes: common and exotic. Common weapons are either widespread public use or roughly comparable to ones in widespread use. These should enjoy constitional protections. People could own and use them, subject to reasonable and nonrestrictive regulations, and free of harassment. Exotic weapons, such as weapons of mass destruction or military weapons of immense killing power should be treated as outside the protections of the Second Amendment. This argument I have made seems like a long way around to reach a conclusion that will strike many peole as commonsensical; however I believe this kind of pragmatic conclusion is often undercut by a failure to realize the serious conundrum that the Second Amendment poses to the idea of the rule of law.

What I am advocating here a kind of Burkean conservatism, rather than legal formalism. Although this is not a perfectly neat solution, I don't think there is a completely satisfactory one.

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Poll
Second amendment rights end at
o the militia; 28%
o private civilian firearms (handguns and rifles); 18%
o private ownership of military firearms (automatic weapons); 14%
o private ownership of any personal weapon (explosives, small rocket launchers) 9%
o private ownership of any conventional military weapon (tanks, artillery) 8%
o any weapon of any kind 22%

Votes: 209
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o AP Story
o controvers y
o Michael A. Bellesiles'
o Arming America : The Origins of a National Gun Culture
o US Bill of Rights
o English Bill of Rights
o Magna Carta
o congressio nal debate
o Burkean conservatism
o Also by jolly st nick


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On a Constitutional Right to Private Firearm Ownership | 892 comments (836 topical, 56 editorial, 0 hidden)
Remark on 2nd admendment vagueness (3.00 / 2) (#4)
by khallow on Fri May 17, 2002 at 02:06:36 PM EST

I'm starting to suspect that the second admendment was deliberately vague. Ie, the Second Admendment was controversial when it was created and refined. My suspicion is that this watered-down admendment represented a compromise between gun ownership advocates and those who didn't really want a highly armed citizenry.

Given that initial dichotomy, it makes sense that the real purpose of the admendment was for states to decide what level of gun ownership they would permit. In other words, the second admendment was a "pass the buck" clause that appears to explicitly limit Federal government powers in this area, but not State powers.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

It's an interesting idea (5.00 / 1) (#46)
by jolly st nick on Fri May 17, 2002 at 03:52:37 PM EST

Except that so far as I know there was no such debate between gun ownership advocates and their opponents. I expect that nobody even questioned the idea of private gun ownership. They were concerned with the regulars raiding the stores of local militias, as the British did many times at the outset of the war. I bet that every one of the thirteen original states has at least one town with historical markers where the old powderhouse was sacked prior the the Declaration of Independence.

[ Parent ]
Re: interesting idea (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by khallow on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:50:18 PM EST

Except that so far as I know there was no such debate between gun ownership advocates and their opponents. I expect that nobody even questioned the idea of private gun ownership. They were concerned with the regulars raiding the stores of local militias, as the British did many times at the outset of the war. I bet that every one of the thirteen original states has at least one town with historical markers where the old powderhouse was sacked prior the the Declaration of Independence.

I think the original debate may have been over how much power should the average citizen have? Recall that some parties wanted voting rights restricted based on education and/or wealth (implemented in states like Louisiana after it was first created, and the post-Civil War southern states). In other words, the group that viewed the average US resident as insufficiently responsible would want to take power away from the citizen. Gun ownership is obviously a great deal of power. IMHO, a variation of this same argument is being considered now.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Considered in light of the English Civil War (4.50 / 2) (#99)
by jolly st nick on Fri May 17, 2002 at 07:19:51 PM EST

The seventeenth century had numerous object lessons for the founders. On one hand, you had the Stuart monarchs trying to extend royal privilege. On the other, you had a coup by the parliamentary army which set a commoner up, in effect, as king.

The founders were not all of one mind. Take Jefferson and Adams, for example. Jefferson was more for the French ideal of democracy as simple popular rule (tree of liberty -- blood of patriots etc). Adams was a republican (small-r); he wanted the people to on one hand, rule, and on the other hand, be limited in what they could do with that rule. He saw the British constitution as close to ideal in that the components of the government each had particular limitations. The King (executive) could make war but could not tax for example. On the other hand, the commons could not conduct foreign policy, even war, nor could they usurp judicial functions. Dictatorship was a bad thing, even when democratically controlled. I think that while history has been kinder to Jefferson's reputation, Adam's view of constitutional rule was borne out better.

It is worth asking if the founders wanted to empower the people absolutely by granting them ultimate military power, then why didn't they allow them to elect presidents or senators popularly? Of course, it is perhaps asking too much for a government to be entirely consistent.



[ Parent ]

founders not of one mind (4.00 / 1) (#130)
by khallow on Fri May 17, 2002 at 09:50:10 PM EST

It is worth asking if the founders wanted to empower the people absolutely by granting them ultimate military power, then why didn't they allow them to elect presidents or senators popularly? Of course, it is perhaps asking too much for a government to be entirely consistent.

Just as now, the founders had many competing interests. Making compromises often means you lose something in consistency.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Practical rifles DID exist. (3.75 / 4) (#6)
by BadDoggie on Fri May 17, 2002 at 02:09:03 PM EST

Rifles were being invented and improved upon in the late 18th century. Here's a good starting point to look at some of the history.

Rifles were more practical than the standard "Brown Bess" and other half-inch bore muskets, which could be loaded and fired three to five times a minute. Due to having to ram down a ball wrapped in a leather patch, only one or two rifle rounds could be loaded each minute, but the accuracy and distance was astounding and devastating.

The rifle was known and feared, even in thee 1770s. One wonders what our forefathers would have thought of the current sniper rifles, able to accurately hit a three-inch diameter target from more than a mile away.

woof.

Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.

So what limited their use? (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by jolly st nick on Fri May 17, 2002 at 02:15:06 PM EST

My understanding was that the problem was that they were tricky to reload if the bullet was optimally sized for the barrel. Perhaps it was the difficulty of manufacturing the rifled barrel?

However my point, I think, stands. The firearms of the nineteenth century eclipsed those of the eighteenth in range and accuracy; however I don't think this means they should be treated differently in a legal sense from their more primitve counterparts.

[ Parent ]

some limits (4.00 / 1) (#28)
by khallow on Fri May 17, 2002 at 03:03:18 PM EST

There are several things that come to mind. First, the rate of fire. This really was significant in European battles. A disciplined force could hold better and fire faster than a less disciplined force. Accuracy was insignificant since often you were firing at a line of troops maybe half a soccer field away. So your line of troops would volley several times to soften up the opposition, and then charge with fixed bayonette.

Later on, the breech loader rifle came into use. It had better accuracy, a faster reload time, and most importantly one could load it from a prone position. It's very hard to load a musket or old Kentucky rifle while lying down.

Also, the military brass didn't really understand the advantages of the rifle and adoption was very slow. Further some of the tactics that one can do with rifles were considered at the least ungentlemanly (in particular sniping officers).

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

On the rifle (5.00 / 6) (#24)
by khallow on Fri May 17, 2002 at 02:48:39 PM EST

The rifle was known and feared, even in thee 1770s. One wonders what our forefathers would have thought of the current sniper rifles, able to accurately hit a three-inch diameter target from more than a mile away.

I imagine that the quaker from Pennsylvania would be horrified while the hunter from Eastern Tennessee would ask where he could get one.

The North American continent saw the first use of the rifle in war. They were used during the "French and Indian" War where England siezed Canada from France, and more significantly during the US Revolution. In the battle of King's Mountain, the inventor of the first military rifle (a breech-loader I think, see link in parent post), Major Patrick Ferguson was killed by American home-made rifles. Ironically, the British military leadership failed to see the need for a rifled gun at the time despite having access to Ferguson's rifle for some time.

Later on, the Kentucky rifle made a strong showing at the battle of the Alamo. Here, settlers originating from the US were rebelling against Mexico. Santa Ana had cornered a little less than two hundred at the Alamo, an old Spanish mission in what is now San Antonio, Texas. In the final assault , Santa Ana directed three columns (each about 400-600 men) against various weak points of the mission's walls. One column was directled at a group of about a dozen Tennesseans who came with Davy Crockett. The rifle fire from the Tennesseans was so ferocious that the column veered and took a nearby tower instead.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

I smell a fellow East Tennessean (none / 0) (#529)
by farmgeek on Mon May 20, 2002 at 11:11:47 AM EST

[NT]

[ Parent ]
Don't agree, but think it needs to be seen (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by MickLinux on Fri May 17, 2002 at 03:27:19 PM EST

I don't agree with this -- my feeling is that the government, our rulers -- can and will do whatever it wants, and our opinions of an old document matter not a whit.

That being said, I think that the bill of rights carries in it a warning to a government -- if you violate these basic rights to regularly, you will  be overthrown, either from within or from without.  

But whether the current rulers want to say "all guns", "all weapons", "low-caliber air rifles only", or "pea-shooter slingshots with regulation, no more" ends up being up to the whim of the current ruler.  

But I think debate is good, so I'm gonna vote it as "bring it up."

I make a call to grace, for the alternative is more broken than you can imagine.

Supreme Court (none / 0) (#92)
by Cal Bunny on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:50:49 PM EST

Do you think acts on a whim?  I see the execute and legislative branch routinely pass unconstitutional law, but the USSC tends to be very good decisions and even if you do not agree with their verdict, they usually have very well reasoned opinions.

In Emerson v US the USSC is very pro 2nd ammendmant.

^cb^
[ Parent ]

Ironic (none / 0) (#122)
by kerinsky on Fri May 17, 2002 at 09:17:47 PM EST

I think it's a bit ironic that your argument actually demonstrates further that our government, or at least the disparate parts of it, can and will in do whatever they want.

The constitution does not grant the supreme court the authority to decide the constitutionality of any laws or other acts of government. John Marshal and the other supremes usurped that power in the case Marbury V Madison. As the constitution does not explicitly grant such theoretically absolute power to any group the tenth amendment reserves it for the states or the citizens.

Maybe over all it's been a good thing that the supreme court grabbed for power when they saw the chance, maybe over all it's been for the best that Lincoln trampled all over the constitution, maybe its for the best that we denied half the states the right to vote on the thirteenth amendment. Or maybe we're fools for deciding that when the constitution and our rules of law become inconvenient that we should simply ignore them, even though they are specifically designed with provisions for handling such matters.

If we ignore our constitution then it's not worth the parchment its written on.

-=-
A燾onclusion爄s爏imply爐he爌lace爓here爕ou爂ot爐ired爋f爐hinking.
[ Parent ]
Judicial Review (5.00 / 1) (#164)
by Cal Bunny on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:44:42 AM EST

Judicial Review had firm constitution support at the time.  It can easily be implied from the structure and rhetoric of the Constitution.  Without this review ability the judicial branch of the government was nowhere near equal to the executive or legislative branches.  It was not some radical idea that Justice Marshall developed for himself.  Many states already had granted the power of judicial review to their top courts over state laws.

The Judiciary Act of 1789 Section 25 granted the Supreme Court the ability to review a decision involving federal rights that a state court had heard.  In 1792 the Supreme Court had had already reserved the power to review laws.  A Circuit Court in NY had already ruled legislation unconstitutional, however the legislation was withdrawn before the case reached the Supreme Court.  Therefore the a state court had alread exercized judical review before Marbury v. Madison.

Marshall's opinion is the paragon of fairness.  It clearly establishes the rule of law, holding all men accountable under the law, even the President.  It puts civil liberties in the forefront of the decision.  And it show restraint in not going beyond the powers of the judiciary.


^cb^
[ Parent ]

The constitution says... (5.00 / 1) (#306)
by kerinsky on Sun May 19, 2002 at 12:33:40 AM EST

Firm constitutional support can only be had based upon what the constitution actually says. The constitution does not delegate to any part of the federal government the power to decide the constitutionality of any law or action or to interpret the constitution. The tenth amendment which states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people" clearly reserves these powers to the states and people. Implication matters not a bit in the face of such clear language.

You are right that the branches of government were not balanced in power, and that is the way that (at least some of) our founding fathers designed our government. Jefferson pointed out that the ability to change the text of the constitution is a completely overwhelming power, and that whoever wields such power can not ever be fully balanced by other forces. Because of this the amendment process was strongly restricted, requiring a strong and broad base of support in both houses of the legislative branch and among the states. Of course the power to interpret and RE-interpret the laws and constitution as well as declare acts of the executive and legislative branches unconstitutional and illegitimate is an even greater power, and yet is is usurped by nine men and women who have no such restrictions or checks and balances placed on them. Yes a judge can be removed by congress, but only by using the laws that those judges decide the meaning of! This would be like having Michael Jordan and the Bulls (back in the day) playing against five referees, the referees have complete power to decide the outcome of the game. In our system of government as currently applied there is no possible way (short of brute force) to stop a mere five supreme court from completely taking over the country.

Thomas Jefferson had strong words to say about these issues. "The Constitution... meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch" and "The question whether the judges are invested with exclusive authority to decide on the constitutionality of a law has been heretofore a subject of consideration with me in the exercise of official duties. Certainly there is not a word in the Constitution which has given that power to them more than to the Executive or Legislative branches" as well as several other quotes can be found at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1030.htm Furthermore in the federalist papers he is quoted while refering to the virginia legislature as saying "All the powers of government, legislative, executive, and judiciary, result to the legislative body. The concentrating these in the same hands, is precisely the definition of despotic government. It will be no alleviation, that these powers will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one. One hundred and seventy-three despots would surely be as oppressive as one." The basic issue of conferring such power onto such a small number of people applies even more strongly considering there are only nine members of the supreme court.

I agree that it wasn't a radical concept at the time, and will happily point out that some/many of our founding fathers thought the supreme court should have such powers. I also know that many states did explicitly grant their supreme courts such powers. All my points stand however, the US Constitution does not grant such power to the supreme court and does reserve such power to the states and citizens. I doubt congress had any valid authority to grant such powers in the Judiciary Act of 1789, but I wouldn't say for certain without reading it and rereading the constitution. I will say that it does not matter what powers the court reserved in 1972 as the tenth amendment was ratified in 1971. Nor does the fact that another court had ignored the constitution and taken such powers upon itself excuse the supreme court for what is basically an act of treason.

Marshall's opinion was a brilliant and Machiavellian act of politics. I cannot read his mind to know specifically why he made such a decision, but he did steal a great deal of power for himself and the court that he had no constitutional authority to take. Furthermore it does not hold anyone accountable for anything, nor is this needed in the case of the president at the constitution already provides means for holding the President accountable by removing him from office. Punishing congress or the president for unconstitutional acts would be holding them accountable, all the supreme court can do (under the current system) is say "No, you can't do that", which is not accountability. It actually puts nine men (and women) above the accountability of the law, without careful consideration and the resulting safeguards placed against abuses of other branches of the government. Any system of checks and balances in the Constitution was set up without the assumption the the supreme court would have such broad and overwhelming powers. A well balanced mobile is a wonderful thing, and it completely breaks when you add a large weight to one place. Likewise giving such a great deal of power to one branch of the government is un balancing. The supreme court has become (or perhaps always was) a political institution.

I'm sorry this was so long, but I do love debates and tend to get carried away a bit.

Kerinsky
PS - Your response did get me to think about, and read about this issue more than I ever have in the past. Thanks.

-=-
A燾onclusion爄s爏imply爐he爌lace爓here爕ou爂ot爐ired爋f爐hinking.
[ Parent ]
James Stuart (4.40 / 5) (#36)
by IHCOYC on Fri May 17, 2002 at 03:31:53 PM EST

The US Bill of Rights is modeled on an English Bill of Rights adopted in 1689 following the overthrow of the tyrannical James II by William of Orange.
James II never really got the chance to become all that tyrannical during his brief reign. Because he was a Roman Catholic, Englishmen feared that he meant to import a system of royal absolutism into England. The experience with the last openly Roman Catholic monarch, Bloody Mary, lent substance to these fears. James was disliked for his unwillingess to enforce the various Test Acts and similar measures that sought to deprive Roman Catholics of influence and property, a policy that seems more reasonable to us than it did to seventeenth century Englishmen.

His worst tyranny was the brutal suppression of a Protestant rebellion that rose up against him. While this did little to endear him to his subjects, it was hardly extraordinary conduct for a monarch of his period, and the rebels were indeed guilty of high treason. When his wife bore him a son, the prospect of a Roman Catholic dynasty was raised. As a result, he was driven from the throne in the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688. The English Bill of Rights actually gives a fair recitation of what the controversy was actually about.

This message has been placed here IN MEMORIAM by the Tijuana Bible Society.

I wouldn't necessarily disagree (none / 0) (#39)
by jolly st nick on Fri May 17, 2002 at 03:39:07 PM EST

But what is important is the historical assesment of James at the time.

I think a case can be made that James would, by most standards, be considered a tyrant. The savagery of his reaction to Monmouth's rebellion could be put down to military expediency. However, I think that any ruler who would have countenanced Jeffreys, the corrupt and brutal hanging judge, would by any modern standard be considered a tyrant. Remember also that in the case of the seven bishops, he asserted that it was sedition for a private party to even petition the king.

What is a bit confusing is not that the standards of tyranny of changed so much, but that the opponents' conception of liberty seems so foreign to us. Defense of religious and civil liberties was, as you point out, identified with the suppression of popery and the exclusion of Catholics from any office of honor or responsibility.



[ Parent ]

Concepts of liberty (4.00 / 1) (#127)
by IHCOYC on Fri May 17, 2002 at 09:41:40 PM EST

What is a bit confusing is not that the standards of tyranny of changed so much, but that the opponents' conception of liberty seems so foreign to us. Defense of religious and civil liberties was, as you point out, identified with the suppression of popery. . .
That's just it. Few Americans identify the struggle for liberty with the struggle for the Protestant religion. (IMO, more of them should.) The origins of the American revolutionaries' somewhat extreme Whiggism are hazy at this remove. The business about stamps and taxes is foregrounded; fear of being surrounded and cut off from the interior by the Roman Catholic French Canadians is downplayed.

Of course, the revolutionaries had only adopted a more extreme version of an ideology that rose from the English perception that Roman Catholicism meant Inquisitions, absolute rule, and an autocratic court. In England, this was tempered by a countervailing impulse that stemmed from a perception that Puritanism equalled military dictatorship and an equally obnoxious tyranny. In Boston, these sentiments were not shared.

How much else has changed since 1688, since 1789? Then, there was still a lingering, ultimately Teutonic notion that armed men trained to fight as a unit were free men. Today, military conscription seems the policy of cruel and deceitful tyrants who must force their unwilling subjects to fight their wars, utterly obnoxious to our notion of freedom. In the contemporary context, the notion of a yeoman militia as a potentially effective fighting force is incomprehensible.

The Federalist Papers claim that state militias stand on guard against attempted usurpations of power by the Federal government they proposed. After the Civil War, it seems to me that this notion is no longer tenable. The notion of bearing arms as some kind of guarantor of political liberty meant something to James Madison. To us, that world and its values are as alien and distant as the court of Nebuchadnezzar.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spel鎖s stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]

Up with you... (none / 0) (#37)
by Some Blonde on Fri May 17, 2002 at 03:37:50 PM EST

Thought-provoking and well written. Deserves FP; up with it...

Handgun registration (3.40 / 5) (#50)
by /dev/niall on Fri May 17, 2002 at 04:09:04 PM EST

Do you believe that folks with unpopular or minority opinions should have to register them with the government before they can discuss them in public? Why or why not?

-- 报告人对动物
Of course not. (4.00 / 2) (#55)
by jolly st nick on Fri May 17, 2002 at 04:20:47 PM EST

I have no opinion on the topic of handgun registration in general, because it covers too much ground, a lot of which I don't know much about.

Let me give you a concrete example. Suppose we had a law mandating that convicted felons register their handguns. Most people wouldn't object to this, except to the idea that convicted felons would even be allowed to own one! However, if we posited a society in which the norm was to carry concealed weapons for protection and indeed this was necessary, it might be positively inhumane to deny a felon, especially one convicted of a non-violent crime. On the other hand, we'd want to make sure he was using his gun responsibly, e.g. not loaning it out to people who were going to commit crimes.

Of course, the problem with this example is that many people think that felons lose all their constitutional rights.

Handgun registration falls into the category of something which, if there is a good reason to do it, then I think the government should be able to do. But like anything else which touches on a constitutionally protected right, the particular scheme would have to be examined carefully and be shown to have (1) a legitimate public purpose which the government is empowered to pursue and (2) does not pose a practical restriction to the exercise of the right.

An example of this would be an excise tax on guns; such as tax would naturally require the registration of handguns. And, of course, the tax could not be set at such a level that it prevents people from buying them. In this sense, I see guns as rather like automobiles.

[ Parent ]

However ... (none / 0) (#318)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 02:25:01 AM EST

That is precisely what the National Firearms Act of 1934 set up. It stated that, in order to transfer ownership of a fully automatic weapon, or a shotgun with a barrel less than 18" in length, or a rifle with a barrel less than 16" in length (I believe those numbers are correct,) one must pay the government a tax of $200. That isn't chump change today, at least where I'm from, and in 1934, it was a fortune.

Miller and Layton were busted for evading a tax.

BATF is the outgrowth of that 1934 law, and its 1968 successor (which reads astonishingly like the 1938 or 1939 Nazi Germany weapons law, incidentally.)

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Content Neutral (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri May 17, 2002 at 04:37:16 PM EST

A requirement mandating permits for those expressing unpopular ideas would run afoul of the First Amendment as the regulation would apply to content. Unlike regulations requiring permits for assembly, which are permissable so long as the regulation applies to all groups, irrespective of their nature, on the grounds that there is a compelling state interest to protect the public welfare. The requirement to recieve a permit is deemed to present only an insignificant hindrance to assembly and is therefore allowed. By much the same logic, requiring a permit for gun ownership is deemed to be within the purview of a compelling state interest.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Opinion registration? (none / 0) (#131)
by arcus on Fri May 17, 2002 at 09:59:38 PM EST

I read the parent comment by /dev/niall three times, the first reading I thought it was about registering minority opinions, the second I thought it was about people with minority opinions registering guns, the third time I decided it really was about registering opinions again, as the idea of people registering their guns so they can discuss them in public doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

I've had some pretty fringe ideas in my time, but I've never managed to kill anyone with them. I don't think anyone does, at least not directly. Generally they use guns for the direct part.

[ Parent ]

You're missing the point (5.00 / 1) (#151)
by DarkZero on Fri May 17, 2002 at 11:54:08 PM EST

The point of the post, I believe, was that you do not have to register for the other rights provided to you by the Constitution, so it's more than a little ridiculous to claim that no one's infringing upon the rights given by the Constitution when they force people to register for a gun.

Either we decide to intentionally infringe upon the Constitution and be honest about it, or we don't infringe on it at all. In the middle ground, which is where this debate is right now, lies bullshit.

[ Parent ]

Permits and rights (none / 0) (#157)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:31:38 AM EST

The point of the post, I believe, was that you do not have to register for the other rights provided to you by the Constitution, so it's more than a little ridiculous to claim that no one's infringing upon the rights given by the Constitution when they force people to register for a gun.

I believe the article mentioned the fact that the first amendment does not preclude the state from requiring a permit to stage a public assembly. The second amendment is not alone in being subject to limitation in cases of compelling state interest.

Either we decide to intentionally infringe upon the Constitution and be honest about it, or we don't infringe on it at all. In the middle ground, which is where this debate is right now, lies bullshit.

I don't really think anybody is being especially dishonest about this issue -- or at least not in the way you suggest. Requiring a permit when there is a compelling state interest has been ruled by the Supreme Court to be constitutional.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
You can't blow someone's brains out with a opinion (5.00 / 2) (#153)
by Demiurge on Fri May 17, 2002 at 11:59:48 PM EST

When's the last time someone was mugged by an assailant wielding their views on the Copenhagen interpretation? Can you name an instance where a dozen schoolchildren were mowed down by post-modern literary criticism?

[ Parent ]
You can fuel passions with words (none / 0) (#523)
by duffbeer703 on Mon May 20, 2002 at 10:08:05 AM EST

Words can incite a riot, inflict mental harm and incite violence against persons, property or a combination of the two.

Words are by far the most deadly weapon.


[ Parent ]

Yeh, and why *is* a raven like a writing desk?(nt) (3.00 / 1) (#168)
by dogwalker on Sat May 18, 2002 at 03:29:49 AM EST


--
share and enjoy

[ Parent ]
One missed point (3.83 / 6) (#51)
by notafurry on Fri May 17, 2002 at 04:11:40 PM EST

What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures with respect to a militia, as to make a standing army necessary. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins. This was actually done by Great Britain at the commencement of the late revolution.

It is abundantly clear from this quote, and from many others like it during the debates, that the chief concern was to keep the people of the nation free, and free from their own government as well as from outside oppressors. At the time, the question of private gun ownership was not a question; it was assumed. A gun was an essential tool of the time. This simply provided a framework for explicitly permitting militias.

The National Guard, despite what many gun control advocates proclaim, is not a militia. It is a part of the standing army, that which the quoted speaker is railing against. It is simply under the control of the state government rather than the federal government.

Militias of the time were formed by and of the people. A Militia Captain, usually a veteran of the English or new American army, was chosen from the local population as someone who was respected, responsible, and able to serve. The members of the militia were made up of the older boys and young men of the area; they used their personal weapons, underwent limited training under the leadership of their militia captain, and served much like a cross between a police force and the modern National Guard, turning out on demand to assist in law enforcement, flood control, emergencies, or defense.

Militias were the first units to fight against the British; five days before the Battle of Bunker Hill, a militia unit from two small towns in Maine defeated and captured HM Armed Cutter Margaretta by boarding, killing her captain and imprisoning her crew. That same militia unit, with the local assistance of their towns and some surrounding villages, used the guns of the vessel to build a battery for the defense of the area, as well as arming and equipping a Privateer. They did all of this without direction from any national or state authority; the militia acted on its own, asking only for the approval of their local townsfolk. They also defended the lives and property of those in their towns who sympathized with the British. Members of the militia who were sympathizers - and there were a few - were simply allowed to cease serving in the militia, or if they chose to leave and serve in the British army.

The point? A militia is not a reserve Army unit which also serves some local humanitarian functions. A militia is an independent military force, raised from among the people it serves, equipped with privately owned weapons, and acknowledging no authority higher than their own local government.

Militias are not an argument for or against gun control. They are an essential freedom, guaranteed in the Constitution's Bill of Rights, which depend on the right to private gun ownership.

Civil authority (3.50 / 2) (#60)
by jolly st nick on Fri May 17, 2002 at 04:31:14 PM EST

I believe that your description of an eighteenth century militia is accurate in the main, excepting one thing. I believ the militia was generally understood to be at the service and under the authority of the local civil authorities. It wasn't just a spontaneously assembled mob of armed men.

In many ways, what you are describing resembles a modern police force, excepting that membership in the police force is not open to any citizen, and that the police force remains mobilized at all times.

I have a question for you though. Do you think this concept of a militia might not be anachronistic at this point in history?

[ Parent ]

Posse (none / 0) (#69)
by Bad Harmony on Fri May 17, 2002 at 05:13:30 PM EST

The old idea of the militia is still alive in the posse, where armed civilians assist law enforcement officers, under their command. Even in urban areas, there are often reserve police officer programs, where civilians are trained to assist police.

In many areas of the country, there are not enough police officers to handle anything more than the usual level of minor crimes. They must rely on the state police and local civilians for assistance.

5440' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

Answers (4.00 / 2) (#70)
by notafurry on Fri May 17, 2002 at 05:26:31 PM EST

First, militias were not usually considered to be under civil authority; they were part of the civil local authority. The militia captain was often the Mayor, or someone who would be considered for Mayor (or the equivalent.)

And no, I don't think the concept is anachronistic. Look around - we use the National Guard for some of these same functions every day. The only differences are that the National Guard is not under local civil authority, is not open to any member of the community, and does not carry personal weapons, instead using the same or older versions of the same weapons used by the standing army.

The question really could be broader; why does the United States of America, a Republic, have a standing army? Traditionally, we would maintain a Navy and Marines, a small professional army which is heavy on non-commissioned officers and officers, and that's it. Armies would be formed as large Citizen Armies as needed for conflict. This worked up until World War II, and very effectively, too. Marines and Navy ships fought small actions - "brush fires", if you will - and the army was only raised and used when it was time to kick butt and take names or if the security of the nation was seriously in doubt.

Now I'll grant that times have changed. For one thing, we have an Air Force, and farmers can't be turned into effective fighter pilots in 30 hours of lessons anymore. For another, the weapons our standing army commands are awesome in scope and power; a squad today commands as much power as an 18th century infantry company.

But the issues have not changed. Republics are founded on the principle of power in the hands of the people. We haven't always been perfect at that, but that's not a reason to throw away the idea - it's better than anything else out there. No matter how you slice it, power is in the barrel of a gun. Freedom of Speech? Yes, and how do you defend it when the government no longer guarantees it? Freedom of Assembly? What if the government only pays it lip service?

The only way to keep this from happening is for the people to command the ultimate power. True militias and widespread private gun ownership do this by guaranteeing that even that nation's own government can not usurp nor remove those powers without destroying the nation completely.

Remove those rights and the power goes away. Remove the power and you remove the guarantee.

[ Parent ]

OK (4.00 / 1) (#76)
by jolly st nick on Fri May 17, 2002 at 05:46:19 PM EST

First, militias were not usually considered to be under civil authority; they were part of the civil local authority.

This distinction is a bit beyond me. Perhaps you mean they didn't take their battlefield orders from the aldermen unless they happened to be captains?

I think I can see your vision of what a Republic is or should be, and I'm generally sympathetic to the spirit, but I don't think that it is the only way, and I have my doubts of its practicality. Frst of all, your example of the airforce applies equally as well these days to the common infantryman. The military has all the warm bodies it needs, what it needs young people with brains who are going to train long and hard.

Secondly, I don't think that the idea of the militia as a truly effective counterweight to a regular army has ever been effective over the long run. Certainly, militias using guerilla tactics can harass and maybe in some cases win battles, but a regular force of well trained and supplied soldiers is by far more formidable, even in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. While the militia was an element in the defense against an overweaning central authority, far more importantly is the ability to restrict taxation and spending.

Finally, I am more optimistic than you on the nature of power. It doesn't always come out of the barrel of a gun, as Mao said. Hungary; Russia; the Phillipines; these are all places where the power of ideas looked down the barrel of a gun and won. The same will happen someday in China. It won't be some ragtag group of revolutionaries, it will be the people becoming disgusted at being told what to do and rising up and crushing the party apparatus.

[ Parent ]

I think we're agreeing in different ways (4.80 / 5) (#101)
by notafurry on Fri May 17, 2002 at 07:24:39 PM EST

This distinction is a bit beyond me. Perhaps you mean they didn't take their battlefield orders from the aldermen unless they happened to be captains?

More or less. I meant that the militia captain decided when the militia stood to arms; the mayor or alderman or what have you might request their assistance, and in practice the militia and the civil authority must have a close working relationship, but the authority for the militia rested in the hands of the captain.

And the idea of training an infantryman is... well, I guess I'd say "yes and no". Your basic mudfoot can be trained to load, aim, fire, and clean a rifle, dig a trench properly, follow orders, and in general be a private soldier in a few months. This is where the bulk of an army has always been and for the forseeable future always will be; an army is not effective if it can't post troops with rifles to effectively just stand there and hold the ten square feet of ground that soldier occupies. The standing professional army consists of the seargents, corporals, and low-rank commissioned officers who have to have learned tactics, leadership, broader command structures, and the like. Yes, a great number of modern weapons require a great deal of training - but note that most of those positions are filled by officers and non-coms, or warrants in the case of some pilot functions (helicopters, mainly.) So it doesn't require any great change in the force structure of the military.

Regarding the use of a militia as a counterweight to a standing army, it's not as simple as the idea a militia could defeat a regular army unit. It has happened in the past, but it's not what normally happens. (For a pop culture reference, look at "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson. The British are referenced as being contemptuous of militia, because they don't have the training to stand up to regular army troops. They were generally right.)

However, they don't have to. The United States consists of 250 million citizens, more or less, and only a few million of those are under arms - including Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserves. The idea is that if things got to the point of open, armed rebellion, the Government would not stand a chance - an individual militia unit might not be able to fight off an equal force of infantry, much less an armored battalion, but the only way the government could stop the rebellion would be to completely destroy the militia, the populations supporting them, and the infrastructure and production capacity they represented. The government can't do that to their own people, no matter how degenerate it gets, because it needs that infrastructure and capacity to support that standing army - and even there, you have to assume your standing army is going to be willing to kill their neighbors, friends, and family members.

It happened twice in the United States, first with the Whiskey Rebellion and John Brown, and second with the Civil War. The Whiskey Rebellion didn't work because the issue was not something the general population disagreed with, and John Brown and his men, instead of being one unit among hundreds, found themselves alone with no support. They lost quickly in a battle which bears remarkable similarity to the Montana Freemen standoff.

The Civil War, on the other hand, *was* a popular issue. (And no, it wasn't slavery. Slavery as an institution was dying, slowly, with or without the Civil War because it was no longer economical.) The issue was States' Rights, and the power of the central government. If the rebellion had been fought in a more generalized manner, with popular uprisings and widespread disobedience, it would probably have succeeded. Instead, Jefforson Davis and a few others decided to try and control the rebellion and defeat the central government on the field of battle - and the South never had the industrial capacity to defeat the North in that kind of fight. Even so, it was a close thing; public support for the war in the North was never very high, and the only thing that kept it going was Lincoln's personal charisma and skills at debate and rhetoric, and anger at a few issues such as slavery and supposed atrocities committed by Southern troops.

As for the nature of power... well, many have stated that violence never settled anything. Perhaps the citizens of Carthage could offer an interesting perspective on that view; I think they would say violence settled their issues quite conclusively.

It's not ragtag revolutionaries that win rebellions, I agree. Ragtag revolutionaries lose, that's pretty clear from history. Shining examples of leadership to the Will of the People win revolutions, it says so in all the history books. <G> My point beind that the difference between a ragtag group of rebels and a rising up of the people is who wins; and besides, an uprising of the people is as violent as a resolution. Militias, on the other hand, can keep the violence to a minimum, reduce needless deaths should violence become essential, help keep the between when violence is *not* necessary, and most importantly, reduce the chance that it will become necessary at all.

[ Parent ]

Double edged sword.. (none / 0) (#716)
by ajduk on Tue May 21, 2002 at 10:22:07 AM EST

Militas in recent wars have been more associated with genocide then freedom.  Think Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo.

Here is the problem:  How exactly do you define government aggession, especially in the context of a democracy - at what point is it required for a milita to act against the government?  What about the locals who happen to support he government?

[ Parent ]

Good Article (4.00 / 4) (#54)
by thelizman on Fri May 17, 2002 at 04:18:45 PM EST

While not as pro-second amendment as I would have like, I think this article is well written and does a great job of exploring the fundamental principles that moved the framers to include the second amendment as written. I equally agree that the 2nd Amendment is flawed because the first clause is worded such as to provide a reason for such a right, but fails to include language which disallows that reasoning to be used as a limitation on the amendment.

It should be noted that the clause "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" is absolute. "Shall not be infringed" is a rather clear statement, and anyone tasked with explaining that clause would have to admit that anything which constitutes and infringement would be unconstitutional. As a society, however, we tolerate practical limitations such as excluding weapons of mass destruction.

There is also an important detail not addressed by this article. Words. In our modern usage of the word "regulated" we think of "regulated" as meaning "controlled". However, in the context of a military unit it refers to equipping and training, hence the term "regular army". Meanwhile, "militia" refers to citizens who are non-professional soldiers, but are eligable physically to be called to action in the role of a soldier. Specifically to the US, the "militia" is any male 17 to 55 who owns a firearm, and most states kept standing militia's until the Cival War, after which the practice declined leading to the rise of the National Guard. Some states maintianed militias until about the 60's, but political factors made them unpopular.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
A flawed second amendment (none / 0) (#64)
by jolly st nick on Fri May 17, 2002 at 04:44:23 PM EST

I think the flaws in the second amendment were not there when it was drafted, but accrued over time as society and technology changed. It was a simple solution to a simple problem, which subsequently grew to be a complex problem. For example, I would be very interested in where you stood on the poll. Should people be able to culture and weaponize anthrax, or to build private stockpiles of sarin?

If not, exactly what exempts these from protection?

If so, don't you think that there would be so little public support for the second amendment that politicians would ignore it with impunity?

It's a serious problem for people who respect the rule of law.

With respect to the "absolutism" of the Second Amendment, I think a lot of the problem comes from a disagreement as to what contsitutes "infringement". My own position, stated in the article, is that modest regulations that serve a definable public purpose are allowable so long as they don't, either in intent or effect, prevent the legitimate exercise of the right. This tends to raise a "Camel's Nose" kind of scenario I know.

[ Parent ]

Sanity In Gun Legislation (5.00 / 1) (#88)
by thelizman on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:43:54 PM EST

I think the flaws in the second amendment were not there when it was drafted, but accrued over time as society and technology changed.
Every time I hear this I am amazed at how low an opinion people seemed to have of the founding fathers. They knew of cannons, rockets, high explosives, and biochemical warfare. These things were actually quite common, albeit crudely implemented, during their time and the framers were well educated men who knew that more terrible weapons would come with technology. They wrote that amendment anyway.
Should people be able to culture and weaponize anthrax, or to build private stockpiles of sarin?
The nature of these weapons are that people who can do it will regardless of the law. The short answer to the question is an obvious no. These are not "arms".
It's a serious problem for people who respect the rule of law.
And the reverse is also true: It is not at all a problem for people who do not respect the rule of law.
With respect to the "absolutism" of the Second Amendment, I think a lot of the problem comes from a disagreement as to what contsitutes "infringement".
This is not at all a problem: Infringement with respect to this issue is when the laws prevent someone from acquiring an arm of a specific design. For instance, the law banning SKS Rifles equipped with a bayonet, a 30 round clip, a folding stock, and a full auto trigger group is an unconstitional infringement. The law which says I can own a fully automatic weapon so long as I register it and pay a tax of $300 on it is not at all an infringement, provided I can reasonably afford the tax. A number of people would be suprised to know that machine guns and silenced pistols are perfectly legal.
My own position, stated in the article, is that modest regulations that serve a definable public purpose are allowable so long as they don't, either in intent or effect, prevent the legitimate exercise of the right. This tends to raise a "Camel's Nose" kind of scenario I know.
Modest regulations are one thing: But complete bans on firearms of any type are in no way modest. I find it odd that many of the banned weapons are no more destructive (and often less) than weapons which are allowed because they are "sporting". I could (with a large enough tumor pressing on the part of my brain responsible for morality) kill just as many people with a bolt acton .308 rifle as I could with a XM-177/M4 carbine set to 3 round burst or full auto. I also find it reprehensible that people abide by the removal of second amendment rights in situations where there has been no due process (you can lose your right to own a gun forever based solely on the issuance of a restraining order, or an allegation of domestic violence).
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
We agree and disagree in interesting ways. (none / 0) (#93)
by jolly st nick on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:56:43 PM EST

Every time I hear this I am amazed at how low an opinion people seemed to have of the founding fathers. They knew of cannons, rockets, high explosives, and biochemical warfare. These things were actually quite common, albeit crudely implemented, during their time and the framers were well educated men who knew that more terrible weapons would come with technology. They wrote that amendment anyway.

This is an interesting point, however I don't quite buy the idea that they fully anticipated a combination of social organization and technology that would allow a single man to kill hundreds of people in a surprise attack.

The nature of these weapons are that people who can do it will regardless of the law. The short answer to the question is an obvious no. These are not "arms". ... It is not at all a problem for people who do not respect the rule of law. I agree that criminals will break laws. However, this says nothing as to what the laws should be. Laws which are aimed at reducing the the public's access to bioterrorism. With respect to whether these are arms, there is no question in my mind that they are. Arms are weaons of any sort, and while usually firearms are usually what is meant, the category of arms includes nuclear and biological weapons. The dictionary bears me out on this.

This is not at all a problem: Infringement with respect to this issue is when the laws prevent someone from acquiring an arm of a specific design.

Form here to the end I pretty much agree with you. However, the distinction sometimes drawn for automatic weapons is not due their greater lethality, but the fear that law enforcement which typically doesn't employ such weapons will find itself outgunnted. Of course for many people, this is exactly the point.

[ Parent ]

Not All That Far Fetched (none / 0) (#109)
by thelizman on Fri May 17, 2002 at 08:10:14 PM EST

This is an interesting point, however I don't quite buy the idea that they fully anticipated a combination of social organization and technology that would allow a single man to kill hundreds of people in a surprise attack.
It is not without precedent in their time. I'll have to dig it up, but it was common to use undetectable poisons in the water supply of a village that opposed a lord or king in medieval times. But, and just as importantly, in philisophical terms there's not much of a difference between a weapon of mass destruction being used against a small city, or an entire army marching on that same city with the intent of utter destruction.

Afterall, aren't our great minds just as adept of thinking up devices like "The Death Star", "Quantum Torpedoes", "Point Singularity Projectors", "Novabombs", and "The Omega Particle"?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Furthermore (none / 0) (#139)
by carbon on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:31:59 PM EST

Novabombs? Urgh, you've sent me into a reeling vortex of Star Fox nostalgia! The horror...

Seriously though, those imaginary weapons (or at least those items I recognize) are limited in that they're constrained mostly to weapons which work a lot like our current weapons, only more-so. The Death Star is basically a really big carrier, Quantum Torpedos and Novabombs are just like any number of highly powerful weapons we have now, and so on and so forth. I'm not too sure about the Point Singularity Projector and the Omega Particle, though, where are those from?

There are, however, lots of even more exotic weapons, ones which can't really be compared to any particular class of contemporary weapon. For instance, there are mind control devices, shrink rays, time travel as a weapon, cloned armies, and man eating tomatoes, to name just a few.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Obscure Sci-Fi Weapons (5.00 / 1) (#540)
by thelizman on Mon May 20, 2002 at 12:23:29 PM EST

Novabombs? Urgh, you've sent me into a reeling vortex of Star Fox nostalgia! The horror...
Seriously, that was not my intention. I'm talking about the kind of Novabombs as used by Cpt. Dylan Hunt of the Starship Andromeda
Seriously though, those imaginary weapons (or at least those items I recognize) are limited in that they're constrained mostly to weapons which work a lot like our current weapons, only more-so. The Death Star is basically a really big carrier, Quantum Torpedos and Novabombs are just like any number of highly powerful weapons we have now, and so on and so forth.
And how big of a leap are any of those from canonballs? The ingenuity of man when it comes to destroying his fellow man is really quite amazing. The Star Destroyer of tommorrow is yesterdays Spanish Galleon or Man of War. Today's Predator is a very advanced relative of the explosives laden kits the Chinese swopped down upon the Mongels, not to mention the rockets they were on about.
I'm not too sure about the Point Singularity Projector and the Omega Particle, though, where are those from?
The PSP is from Andromeda again. It basically is a large cannon which shoots black holes - very effective, and there is not much of a defense against it. On the plus side, it requires a very large power source, and sustained fire rates are tremendously slow.

The Omega particle is from Star Trek Voyager - it's a highly unstable molecule with tremendous amounts of energy stored in its bonds. A single molecule at a time can be synthesized but quickly begins to decompose. If it is not retarded or suspended in a matrix, its decomposition will yield a pretty good explosion sufficent to rend space-time making warp travel impossible in that section of space.
There are, however, lots of even more exotic weapons, ones which can't really be compared to any particular class of contemporary weapon. For instance, there are mind control devices, shrink rays, time travel as a weapon, cloned armies, and man eating tomatoes, to name just a few.
See, now in those times tomatoes were widely believed to be poisonous!
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Hmm... (none / 0) (#319)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 02:44:48 AM EST

I believe such a thing was certainly thought of.

I'd have to look it up, but wasn't there a single-man submarine built during the Revolution which was used to sink enemy ships in the harbor, sometimes explosively?

It might not kill hundreds of people in one fell swoop, but it might.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Ye Olde Turtle. (none / 0) (#404)
by physicsgod on Sun May 19, 2002 at 03:27:00 PM EST

Was launched in 1776 to sink British ships. Alas it didn't fare well against the metal-lined hulls the British had installed to prevent worms.

More can be found here.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Good points... (none / 0) (#103)
by Count Zero on Fri May 17, 2002 at 07:28:14 PM EST

The nature of these weapons are that people who can do it will regardless of the law. The short answer to the question is an obvious no. These are not "arms".

I agree with you here, but I'm curious what does meet your definition of "arms". How about a LAW rocket, or something similar?

I could (with a large enough tumor pressing on the part of my brain responsible for morality) kill just as many people with a bolt acton .308 rifle as I could with a XM-177/M4 carbine set to 3 round burst or full auto.

So could I, but that's because I know how to shoot. The problem is that with a semi (or more so with a fully) automatic weapon is that someone with a minimum of knowledge could kill quite a few more people than they could with a bolt-action. Note that those who've had proper firearms training are more likely to respect the power of what it is they have, and not do something foolish with it. It's the untrained that you need to worry about. (Note that I do agree with you that one should be allowed to own such a weapon, but I would like more emphasis on proper firearms training in this country.)

I also find it reprehensible that people abide by the removal of second amendment rights in situations where there has been no due process (you can lose your right to own a gun forever based solely on the issuance of a restraining order, or an allegation of domestic violence).

I totally agree here. This, to me, is part of the increasing trend in this country to ignore the principle of "innocent until proven guilty". I believe that the only grounds for disallowing one to own a firearm are mental defects, or an actual conviction for a violent crime. To this end, I'm a supporter of background checks.




[ Parent ]
Arms - They Are Not Legs (none / 0) (#108)
by thelizman on Fri May 17, 2002 at 08:01:49 PM EST

I agree with you here, but I'm curious what does meet your definition of "arms". How about a LAW rocket, or something similar?
That would certainly come into play as an arm. My definition of arms includes man portable items which can repeatedly function as weapons with the ability to immediately kill or physically harm another person. That basically opens up the debate to everything from sticks and stones to mark 19 grenade launchers. It does, however, exclude grenades, suit case nukes, dynamite, and biochemical weapons because they cannot repeatedly do immediate harm - they only do it once, then you have to get another one (and those suitcase nukes are barely man portable). Also, tanks, mobile artillery pieces, APC's, aircraft, and such are obviously excluded both because they are not man portable, and because they are motor vehicles.

Unfortunately, my defintion does not include bullets, because they do not in and of themselves constitute an arm, even when you try to make them, without a gun to fire them. This is a problem because it opens up the debate to the regulation of bullets.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
So.. (none / 0) (#116)
by Kwil on Fri May 17, 2002 at 08:52:43 PM EST

..when man portable tac-nuke launchers are invented, then they'll be legal?  Say they fire a shell that only has enough yield to take out half a block or so, and have a clip of five such shells - this is cool?

What about a man-portable ray gun that fires a wide-area spread of neutrino beams? Instantly kills everybody that's in a cone projection up to a range of 1000 feet, and can be used up to 15 times before the energy backpack needs recharging. This is fine?

Never mind the idea of using common paintballs filled with smallpox or ebola virus in a standard  CO2 powered paintball gun.

The problem with your definition is that it's only limited by current technology. And as we've seen, the technology changes.

Somewhere, you have to draw a line that isn't based on the physical characteristics of the weapon, but rather is based on what the weapon can do. But as soon as you've done that, you go against the 2nd Amendment.

That being said.. your regulation on bullets idea is interesting. Could anti-gun activists realize their goals by instead concentrating legislation on bullets, thus doing an end run around the 2nd amendment? "Sure, you can have all the guns you want - we just can't sell you bullets or gunpowder."

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Already being tried - where else but Cali? (none / 0) (#320)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 02:58:04 AM EST

State Senator Calls For Tax On Bullets, from "The San Diego Channel".

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Short Attention Spans (none / 0) (#546)
by thelizman on Mon May 20, 2002 at 12:49:58 PM EST

..when man portable tac-nuke launchers are invented, then they'll be legal? Say they fire a shell that only has enough yield to take out half a block or so, and have a clip of five such shells - this is cool?
The launchers will be legal, the shells won't. Perhaps you did'nt read my statement: Man portable nukes would'nt be legal because they can only be used once, and therefore aren't an "arm" under my personal definition.
What about a man-portable ray gun that fires a wide-area spread of neutrino beams? Instantly kills everybody that's in a cone projection up to a range of 1000 feet, and can be used up to 15 times before the energy backpack needs recharging. This is fine?
What about rabid ebola infected monkeys that fly out of my ass? My ass is protected by the second amendment, the rabid ebola infected monkeys are NOT. The energy backpack itself is subject to regulation, especially since your fantasy ray gun (note: neutrinos are mostly harmless, and we're bombarded by them all the time, you probably meant neutrons) would likely require a nuclear reactor to generate the necessary energy to create subatomic particles.
Never mind the idea of using common paintballs filled with smallpox or ebola virus in a standard CO2 powered paintball gun.
Yes, nevermind because the smallpox and ebola are not protected as arms because they cannot be reused. Further, they are biological agents.
The problem with your definition is that it's only limited by current technology. And as we've seen, the technology changes.
There is no problem with my definition, the problem arises from the ability of individuals to clearly interpret it. In each one of your examples above, you ignored the clause which separates the arm from its ammunition. Particle/Energy weapons may be a sticking point, however. Even in those cases, the "ammunition" is still at issue, but in the case of the energy supply instead of cartridges.
That being said.. your regulation on bullets idea is interesting. Could anti-gun activists realize their goals by instead concentrating legislation on bullets, thus doing an end run around the 2nd amendment? "Sure, you can have all the guns you want - we just can't sell you bullets or gunpowder."
It is possible, but loosely interpreting the 2nd amendment would give us the reasoning that restricting to sale of ammo restricts the right to keep and bear arms under any other definition. My point is that the bullets in and of themselves are not a weapon: they must be combined with a specific firearm to cause any damage. I would not, however, be against the idea of using molecular tagets in the jacket/slug alloy to allow for registration and tracking of bullet lots. For instance, Mr. X buys a box of 230 grain .45 cal FMJ shells at Wal-Mart. He presents ID (drivers license, state ID, military ID, etc) which is then correlated to the lot number of the ammo. If anytime down the line a slug is pulled from a body or found at a crime scene, the metals can be run through a sprectrochromatograph to get the molecular taget which corresponds to the ammo lot ID, which narrows down the list of suspect that the cops have to talk to. This would in no way infringe upon a persons right to keep in bear arms, and because the identifying information is linked to state id information, wouldn't constitute a violation of privacy. At the same time, it would'nt be very good evidence in a trial, but it could go a long way towards solving some unsolved murders.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Portable sticks and stones (none / 0) (#156)
by Aphexian on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:26:37 AM EST

"Also, tanks, mobile artillery pieces, APC's, aircraft, and such are obviously excluded [...] because they are not man portable,"

Well that actually depends on which way you interpret the phrase "man portable".
A car is "man portable" as it makes "man portable", however I assume you meant "portable by man", which is completely different from my interpretation.

As I peruse your statement, it seems to me you have a few definitions that differ from mine - such as the definition of "arms". Unfortunately you offer no rationale whatsoever as to why your viewpoint is correct, only a statement as to how flawed it is (eg, bullets). On that note, I'm afraid I find it very difficult to be convinced by your "definition".

In short, to quote a cliche I suppose, just because you say it - doesn't make it so.

However I'd be interested in your refutation.

[I]f there were NO religions, there would be actual, true peace... Bunny Vomit
[ Parent ]

Words Have Meanings (none / 0) (#542)
by thelizman on Mon May 20, 2002 at 12:31:03 PM EST

Well that actually depends on which way you interpret the phrase "man portable".
You don't "interpret" it, it already has a definition. Man Portable means it can be carried by a person of average physical abilities. Don't go questioning the definition of "is", by the way.
As I peruse your statement, it seems to me you have a few definitions that differ from mine -
That's very nice an all, but the previous contributor was asking for "my" definition of arms as it relates to the second amendment.
In short, to quote a cliche I suppose, just because you say it - doesn't make it so.
It is considered bad netiquette to inject yourself into a conversation that you haven't been paying attention to for long. Once again, the previous poster was asking for MY definition of arms, and I gave it.
However I'd be interested in your refutation.
Care to hold your breath?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Statements have purpose (none / 0) (#839)
by Aphexian on Thu May 23, 2002 at 11:13:56 AM EST

That's the tricky thing about the English language. It is always open to interpretation. Mine was as valid as yours.

It is also bad 'netiquette' to pick apart a post while skirting the main point. Since you seem unable to process it, and keep your viewpoint, let me point it out again.

Unfortunately you offer no rationale whatsoever as to why your viewpoint is correct, only a statement as to how flawed it is (eg, bullets).

I resorted to no personal attacks, although you seem to attack my character. I was simply, if perhaps long-windedly, asking you to prove what you asserted.

If you cannot, I suppose this conversation is over.

[I]f there were NO religions, there would be actual, true peace... Bunny Vomit
[ Parent ]

You Apparently Don't Listen (none / 0) (#844)
by thelizman on Thu May 23, 2002 at 04:40:57 PM EST

You're entire post was predicated upon debasing my definition of arms, which you thought I was expousing as the accepted definition of arms. Ergo, you had no substance to be addressed.

Also, I never once attacked your character, I just pointed out (apparently in painfully obvious fashion) the deficiencies of your statements. If that makes you feel inadequate, then go cry on someone else's shoulder.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Not much of a listener... (none / 0) (#853)
by Aphexian on Fri May 24, 2002 at 10:09:22 AM EST

However I read just fine.

My post was not predicated on discussing the accepted definition of arms, it was - as you state - predicated upon debasing your definition of arms.

Since we now understand eachother, would finally care to support your definition of arms? Or is it so, just because you say it is so?

Personally, I try to base my opinions on what I consider to be factual. That usually involves my observations and interactions with others. When I find examples that contraindicate my opinions, I try (at best) to modify my assumptions, or (at worst) to explain them away.

What I don't do is refuse to discuss the issue.

P.s. If your shoulder is wet, perhaps its time to try repairing the roof.

[I]f there were NO religions, there would be actual, true peace... Bunny Vomit
[ Parent ]

It's MY Definition (none / 0) (#860)
by thelizman on Fri May 24, 2002 at 05:50:18 PM EST

Since we now understand each other, would finally care to support your definition of arms?
I don't need to "support" my definition, it is my definition. However, if you want to know why I use that definition, here goes: "man portable items which can repeatedly function as weapons with the ability to immediately kill or physically harm another person"

Here is why I said that. First, an "arm" must be man portable. There is a reason the word "arm" (as in 'your right arm') and the word "arm" (as in 'armaments') are so close. The word "armaments" comes from the old French word "arme", which means "arm", and is derivative of hand to hand combat. Therefore, no type of arms could truly be an arm unless it were man portable.

"repeatedly" means that you can use it more than once. For instance, a sword could be repeatedly used, but a bullet when discharged cannot be discharged again without being rebuilt. A grenade, once exploded, will never be used again.

"function as weapons" is important because as Bruce Lee points out, anything you can get your hands on could work as a weapon. But a hammer, for instance, would not function as a weapon because it's function is to drive nails (or pry them loose).

"immediately kill or harm" means that something has the capacity with a single use to kill someone. This would exclude poisons, radiation, or yelling.

"another person" is important as well, since the point of any weapon is to ultimately kill people. If, for instance, you sprayed me with salt, I'd be pissed. If you spray a slug with salt, he'd be pissed, but he'd die a horribly painful death that is cool to watch. If you stabbed me in the chest with a swiss army knife, you would'nt kill me. Stab a bird, and it's a goner.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Correct... (none / 0) (#871)
by Aphexian on Sat May 25, 2002 at 08:53:55 PM EST

You didn't need to, but I asked you to. Thank you for finally doing so.

My opinion differs, but obviously you have made it clear you aren't interested in my refutation or interpretation of it, so I won't provide either. (You're welcome, in advance.)

However, your exposition has been interesting. Thanks again.

[I]f there were NO religions, there would be actual, true peace... Bunny Vomit
[ Parent ]

re: (none / 0) (#121)
by Anon 17933 on Fri May 17, 2002 at 09:16:48 PM EST

I have a small nitpick here: a semi-auto/automatic weapon is NOT more effective in an untrained person's hands. Have you ever fired an automatic Uzi, for instance? or an M4? These weapons jerk, and kick, and generally spray all over the place if a person has not been properly trained in how to control them on full auto fire. Semi-automatic simply takes loading each single round into the chamber out of the equation -- and it's been my experience that this confuses/disorients most people who aren't used to shooting and keeping track of their rounds. They'll go through a seven round clip in a .45, for instance in about 2 seconds without even realizing they pulled the trigger seven times -- and they'll miss with at least six of those rounds. I can empty a .45 into a target (accurately) in about 2 seconds -- but most people would be lucky to get the first round on target -- after that it's all over, and usually the other rounds go high and left. Anyway -- I agree with you otherwise. Proper training should be a prerequisite to owning a firearm -- however, this could very easily be used to infringe upon a person's right to bear arms. So I'm not really sure how to deal with that problem, other than saying why not allow local police departments to conduct classes for anyone who wishes to own a firearm, and regulate strictly to ensure that the classes are offered on an equal-opportunity basis. And background checks should be a no-brainer -- again, as long as they're completed in a timely manner and not used to deny qualified people their rights.

[ Parent ]
NRA (none / 0) (#551)
by thelizman on Mon May 20, 2002 at 01:14:15 PM EST

Anyway -- I agree with you otherwise. Proper training should be a prerequisite to owning a firearm -- however, this could very easily be used to infringe upon a person's right to bear arms. So I'm not really sure how to deal with that problem, other than saying why not allow local police departments to conduct classes for anyone who wishes to own a firearm, and regulate strictly to ensure that the classes are offered on an equal-opportunity basis.
I would'nt say it should be a prerequisite. However, just as it would'nt be smart to jump behind the controls of a 747 without training, it would behoove most people to get some weapons training. Most good gun stores I know of, or firing ranges for that matter, have the equivalent of a golf pro who gives seasoned advice on using firearms safely and properly. Our attitude towards guns in this country is more dangerous than anything, and while anti-gun folks are busy demonizing them, folks like the NRA are holding free-to-the-public seminars and training sessions on good firearms practice. Simple things like "muzzle awareness", finger off the trigger, and lock-look-and-feel by themselves could prevent hundreds or thousands of accidental deaths each year - more than gun locks even.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
re: (none / 0) (#754)
by Anon 17933 on Tue May 21, 2002 at 06:24:20 PM EST

Good point about the 747. I grew up on a farm, therefore I learned to use a gun from about age 7 on. Unfortunately, many people today are raised in a society that seems as a whole to look down on gun-owners. As a result, most of them don't have any kind of idea what to do with one -- all they know is they can use it to hurt someone or hunt something. That's why I suggest some type of training -- and now that I think about it, maybe training isn't the answer. Maybe some form of demonstrated competency -- for people who actually do know how to use a firearm effectively and don't feel they need to go to a class. The problem, of course, is making sure that it's not used arbitrarily by rogues to deny an individual their right to own a gun -- and I really don't have a good solution for that one.

[ Parent ]
Clarification on fully auto / NFA (5.00 / 1) (#161)
by jw4539 on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:59:13 AM EST

You said:

The law which says I can own a fully automatic weapon so long as I register it and pay a tax of $300 on it is not at all an infringement, provided I can reasonably afford the tax. A number of people would be suprised to know that machine guns and silenced pistols are perfectly legal.

Depending on your state, machine guns and silencers may or may not be legal. The ATF does have a procedure through which civilians can own what are generally referred to as NFA weapons. These include full auto, silenced, and short barreled weapons. However, that procedure is subject to state law. Many states do not allow the ownership of one or more types of NFA weapons. For more information take a look at the NFA FAQ. The procedure is also much more involved than paying a tax. Most importantly you need to get written permission from the chief law enforcement officer in your area. This requirement of course absolutely infringes as a select fire AR15 is pretty much just an M16, standard issue for the military. Short barreled shotguns are often used by military special forces, FBI studies indicate that 14" barrels are most effective yet 18" is the minimum for a non NFA weapon. And yes the select fire MP5 which most NFA collectors prize is a favorite among special forces. I am not even going to try to get into why the mere registration requirement directly opposes the intent of the 2nd amendment.

[ Parent ]

I am completely against prohibition (4.00 / 2) (#56)
by Yellowbeard on Fri May 17, 2002 at 04:21:51 PM EST

I have given this a lot of thought, and I think that prohibition is a bad idea - whether it be guns, drugs, or sex. Making a law that takes away the rights of law abiding citizens in order to "protect" them from those who would break the law seems somewhat disingenuous to me.

I say, people should be able to own and do basically anything they want as long as they are not violating the rights of others. Now, I am not particularly for individual citizens being able to own or purchase easily nulear arms or biological weapons - that seems... well... It seems as if there is no context in which items of this type could be used in a way that would not ulitimately violate the rights of many others. However - an M-60? Hey, why not?

However, I don't think just anyone should be able to go purchase whatever they want whenever they want. I don't like age as a restriction, as many of you should be able to guess from some of my earlier articles (rants). However, we should not just arm everyone who wants to be armed, and Jimmy the 8 year old probably shouldn't be able to buy heroine.

My idea? Stop prohibition. Tax the shit out of everything exotic like drugs, weapons, etc. Use the money gained from taxes and saved from enforcement of poor prohibition laws to set up a regulatory board. Want to own a hand grenade? Can you pass this course on Hand grenade safety and this psych eval once a year? Then sure - go right ahead. Want to try cocaine? Are you older than a reasonable age (say - old enough to drive a car)? Have you taken the several hour course on how it fucks up your life? Have you passed the psych eval? Hey - go for it.

Rather than having a father knows best attitude, my parents let me do pretty much whatever I wanted - result - I hardly rebelled at all. Couldn't the same work for Uncle Sam? Don't stop all people just because some people will abuse the situation. Instead, make sure that they are properly and rigorously educated and evaluated (I mean, I don't want Jeff Dahmer running around with an M-60, really) and then - hey - have fun. If you get addicted, we have a nice recovery program that will cost the state a lot less than keeping you in jail. If you kill someone, we have a nice jail or electric chair for actual criminals.

Prohibition and arbitrary age limits are ridiculous. We have the technology and manpower to build a better system - let's do it and stop restricting the rights of people who want to have law abiding fun. That's my two cents.

Great, thoughtful article that, IMO is perfect for K5. +1 FP.


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


Taxing the shit out of it... (none / 0) (#59)
by catseye on Fri May 17, 2002 at 04:27:43 PM EST

Heavy taxation just leads to the creation of a black market. States such as Minnesota and New York that have put a heavy tax on cigarettes are seeing a lot of cigarette smuggling into their states because of it.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
Ok - well - maybe not tax the shit out of it (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by Yellowbeard on Fri May 17, 2002 at 04:50:47 PM EST

But tax it. Firearms should be taxed. Sex should be taxed. Recreational drugs should be taxed - not to the extent that they are prohibitively expensive, but those who use should pay the lion's share of the government's enforcement costs.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Errrr (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by Yellowbeard on Fri May 17, 2002 at 04:52:13 PM EST

Sex that is sold should be taxed - not sex in general. Although this is more of a service, so maybe it shouldn't be - maybe just a licensing fee for prostitutes and mandatory health check-ups.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Taxing sex (none / 0) (#75)
by catseye on Fri May 17, 2002 at 05:42:12 PM EST

I suppose it would depend upon the sales tax laws in the area in which you live. Some services are taxed, some are not.

I imagine if legal brothels/prostitutes needed to charge sales tax, it would be a huge source of revenue for the states.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]

I don't understand (none / 0) (#86)
by Cal Bunny on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:42:52 PM EST


I don't like age as a restriction,


Want to try cocaine? Are you older than a reasonable age (say - old enough to drive a car)?

I don't see how these statements are consistent?  It sounds like you are just resetting what it means to be of "resonable" age.

^cb^
[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#162)
by vectro on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:03:12 AM EST

I agree - it's inconsistant. But you could read it that a "reasonable age" is not necessarily the same for everyone, in which case it would be consistant.

This may even be what he meant.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

still doesn't make sense. (none / 0) (#350)
by Cal Bunny on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:36:14 AM EST

If you remove the age-basis for prividges, then the only requirement for getting a driver's license is the ability to pass the written and hands-on tests.  That doesn't really show maturity, does it?  Why would you base the ability to take cocaine on how well you can drive?  You will just shift the complaints from people complaining that age-based restrictions are bad to people who can't drive complaining that they should be able to use cocaine regardless of their other abilities (somebody with poor eyesight, some total goof that has not coordination).

^cb^
[ Parent ]
Not necessarily. (none / 0) (#394)
by vectro on Sun May 19, 2002 at 01:11:26 PM EST

I agree with you: I think the only real prerequesite to a driver's license should be the ability to drive well. Note that in the US this is certainly not a requirement, although being of age is. Furthermore, I'd say driving would require substantially less development than cocaine, despite the fact that the two are both quite dangerous.

However, I could see an argument for requiring people to understand consequences of actions before issuance of a driver's license. It's important to realize that, e.g., driving recklessly can result in being in a wheelchair for the rest of your life.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

You're right (5.00 / 1) (#527)
by Yellowbeard on Mon May 20, 2002 at 10:34:41 AM EST

But you were supposed to be listening to what I was thinking - not blindly accepting what I /wrote/. ;)

If someone can prove that they are able to understand the consequences (good and bad) of thier actions, then they should (probably) be allowed to take those actions. The only age restricion I should see on drugs is: Jimmy the 8 year old may be able to drive just fine - however, heroine or any sort of drug (including, I guess, caffine) can be bad for maturing individuals - I am just thinking about people going through puberty doing a lot of hard drugs and screwing themselves up for life - not that screwing up one's life should be illegal - go for it. However, I am not sure (though I may be wrong) that any say, 5 year old, is capable of understanding the consequences of his/her action enough to choose to use such a substance. Maybe I am wrong, but there certainly seems to beat least some age below which people are not capable of being competent - I am not so blind as to not be able to see that - I just think that the government has set the bar farr to high, and I think that, given testing and such, we could assess competence at different ages. It could be that some 26 year olds would never be able to own a firearm or do drugs because they couldn't possibly understand the consequences even at that age... Does this make more sense?


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
I'm against prohibition, and "sin tax" t (5.00 / 1) (#94)
by Qarl on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:58:05 PM EST

Making a law that takes away the rights of law abiding citizens in order to "protect" them from those who would break the law seems somewhat disingenuous to me.

I say, people should be able to own and do basically anything they want as long as they are not violating the rights of others.

I agree with the above sentiments wholeheartedly.

However, I don't think just anyone should be able to go purchase whatever they want whenever they want. I don't like age as a restriction, as many of you should be able to guess from some of my earlier articles (rants). However, we should not just arm everyone who wants to be armed, and Jimmy the 8 year old probably shouldn't be able to buy heroine.

You are, on the other hand, greatly inconsistent in your views about age. You say you don't like age as a restriction, but here your only reason for preventing Jimmy from having heroine is that he's 8, and later in your comment you say that "old enough" to drive a car is a good age to allow cocaine.

However, I see that you probably mean "immature Jimmy" and "mature enough to drive". Just please be clearer. This is not my main point of contention at all.

My idea? Stop prohibition. Tax the shit out of everything exotic like drugs, weapons, etc. Use the money gained from taxes and saved from enforcement of poor prohibition laws to set up a regulatory board. Want to own a hand grenade? Can you pass this course on Hand grenade safety and this psych eval once a year? Then sure - go right ahead. Want to try cocaine? Are you older than a reasonable age (say - old enough to drive a car)? Have you taken the several hour course on how it fucks up your life? Have you passed the psych eval? Hey - go for it.

Here's where I have to seriously disagree with you. "Sin tax", taxing items that are deemed dangerous by the government, is not a good practice for many reasons. For one thing, if the tax is high enough to be any sort of preventative, it is a form of prohibition. For another, if people really do have the right to own these things, what right does Uncle Sam have to take a bite out of our wallet for it? If I, knowing the risks, get to be a binge cokehead on the weekends, why do you have to make that habit even more expensive for me? Also, if your purpose of owning a gun is protection from tyranny -- which, in a nation and under a Constitution forged in a rebellion for independence from tyranny, should be understandable and prohibited -- how much sense does it make to have that purchase fund the government? I don't think the current government has crossed the "tyranny" line yet, but others may not agree, and if we institute this policy now a tyrannical form of government in the future certainly wouldn't repeal it.

Rather than having a father knows best attitude, my parents let me do pretty much whatever I wanted - result - I hardly rebelled at all.

How is it not a "father knows best" attitude for the government to be telling us, with taxes, what we should or shouldn't be doing? And I definitely don't like your proposal of government-run "psych evals" to determine weapon competence. A well-written psych eval, if such a thing were objectively possible, might be a good determiner but if run by the government it would always be tainted by the political leanings of whatever organization wrote it.

Couldn't the same work for Uncle Sam? Don't stop all people just because some people will abuse the situation. Instead, make sure that they are properly and rigorously educated and evaluated

You're right on that count, I do think things could improve if we got more permissive about things like drugs and weapons -- could, not would, I don't claim to know for certain there wouldn't be big problems.

However, we have to be careful. Any taxation -- which I still think is a bad idea -- should be strictly limited to those items, substances, and practices that are demonstrated to be harmful. It should neither be the exclusive province of drugs, prostitution, and weapons, nor should all of those things be permanently under such a tax. If marijuana were legalized under this policy and in the first few years never ran up significant costs due to people being injured by its use, then the tax and the aid program should stop, as they would be unnecessary. Conversely, if driving of new super-SUVs were proven to cause serious accidents frequently, their ownership and use should be subject to the same sort of tax, no matter how much more "acceptable" they seem to be.

Since I don't support the taxation of super-SUVs, I don't support taxation of much else on the "it's dangerous" basis. Insurance, yes, but that's different, insurance (which I'm not sure should be mandatory) you at least get a personal policy out of.

Anyway, hope this provokes some good discussion, and sorry if I rambled on a bit.
--Carl
[ Parent ]

Taxing Guns. (5.00 / 1) (#98)
by Count Zero on Fri May 17, 2002 at 07:16:29 PM EST

My biggest problem with this, is that gun taxes are an unbalanced restriction on those who need them most, the poor.

Yeah, someone who is rich has more to protect, but the poor will typically live in high-crime areas, where having a firearm for personal protection is much more important.




[ Parent ]
Mr. Saturday Night Special (none / 0) (#322)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 03:12:14 AM EST

This very point is why the attempts by gun-grabbers to outlaw inexpensive handguns is so odious.

It sounds good on its face, maybe, but when you consider the ramifications of this sort of thing, it really begins to look discriminatory.

It really does seem to be some sort of "elite" that wants to disarm everyone. That can never be a good thing.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

What are you basing this on? (none / 0) (#215)
by pexatus on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:30:27 PM EST

I see so many people who share your view exactly, but I never see a reason.  What basis do you have for this belief?  Do you think it will result in less gun-related and drug-related deaths?  Do you personally want to do things that are currently illegal, and you don't want to get harassed for it?  Do you think that more drug-related deaths will occur if drugs are legal, but you believe the increased freedom is worth it?

Please give some reasons, other than vague, Nostradamus-like predictions of the results of removing all prohibition.  I don't have a good enough understanding of the complex system that is our society to know what would happen if all prohibition were gone, but you seem to have a better understanding than I.  I want to believe; help me to do so.  Help me help you.  Give evidence or logical arguments or something.  You said you've given this a lot of thought; please share these thoughts.

I shouldn't have to say this, but since I know someone always has a temporary lapse: "My parents were liberal and I turned out fine" is not evidence.  It's anecdote.  The citizens of the US are not children, and the federal government is not our parent, so the analogy doesn't work.  Even if it did, one example doesn't mean anything.

[ Parent ]

As to drug prohibition ... (none / 0) (#321)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 03:09:17 AM EST

I ask a question, but first a little bit of background:

When the National Firearms Act was passed in 1934, it was ostensibly to curtail the availability of machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and rifles, and silencers, which were supposedly "en vogue" with the criminal elements of the day.

They sought to do this with a tax, rather than by outright banning them. They knew then that restricting the ability of people to own these weapons was unconstitutional. They did an end-run around the Constitution by setting up a tax program for it - supposedly a revenue-generating measure, though its administrative costs far outweigh (then and now) the revenue gathered from it. It is, therefore, not serving its legal purpose.

The problem with that model is, gangsters like Al Capone could easily afford the $200 tax to arm their thugs. No sweat. Who got hurt? Regular people who, until that time, were able to mail-order machine guns for a reasonable price. Heck, you could go down to your local sporting goods store and pick up a new Thompson for a couple hundred bucks. Not a small amount of money, especially in those days, but it's not exactly a single-shot shotgun, either.

Capone and the rest of the bootleg whiskey crooks (like Joe Kennedy) were using these weapons to gun down their competition. There were drive-by shootings and the whole nine yards.

Now, I ask you, since Prohibition was lifted, have you heard of a single beer distributor machine-gunning his competition to death in a turf battle?

Apply that same logic to drugs, which were legal until around 1914 (for stuff like heroin and cocaine,) and 1934 for marijuana (actually, that one was a tax issue, too, at the time, before it made a "schedule" of controlled substances in 1968.)

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

In response to your question (none / 0) (#387)
by pexatus on Sun May 19, 2002 at 12:12:46 PM EST

No, I haven't heard of any violent beer-distributor deaths since Prohibition was lifted.  Though you don't say it explicitly, I assume that you contend that the total number of deaths related to alcohol, and not just those related to drive-bys related to alcohol, has declined as well.  I don't have the answer to that, though out of hand I'd guess that the number of deaths in drunk-driving accidents alone is higher than the number of gang-related deaths that would occur if alcohol were banned again.

So when I apply that same logic to drugs (and I assume from your response that your guiding logic principle is "enact laws that minimize the number of deaths"), I arrive at the conclusion that whether to ban drugs should be based on whether less deaths would occur if they were banned.  You seem convinced that less total deaths would occur simply because less pushers would die in gang-related deaths, but I'm not so convinced.

By the way, this is not really central to your argument, but in response to another question:

The problem with that model is, gangsters like Al Capone could easily afford the $200 tax to arm their thugs. No sweat. Who got hurt? Regular people who, until that time, were able to mail-order machine guns for a reasonable price.

You know who else got hurt?  Most criminals, who have just as much trouble affording expensive guns as the average citizen.  And the average citizen is much more likely to run into the average criminal than to run into Al Capone.  This isn't a constitutional argument, just pointing out a flaw in the argument that gun-control laws ensure that only criminals have guns.

[ Parent ]

Well, (none / 0) (#435)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:28:23 PM EST

Insofar as violent manufacture, sales, and distribution-related deaths go, I believe it is safe to say that there are fewer deaths.

As to drunk driving deaths, well, more people have cars nowadays than they did back then, travel at higher rates of speed, and live in more densely populated areas. Add to that the fact that stupidity is pretty much a constant, and I'd say that the number of drunk driving deaths have probably increased. Assaults and whatnot where one or both parties was liquored up are probably exacerbated by density, too. But, you have to remember one thing... even during prohibition, just like with drugs today, it was easy and possible to obtain intoxicants. The only real difference is that we imprison more people today for longer terms. An entire industry has grown up around this, if you haven't noticed before.

Commercialized drugs would be safer, by far, than the run-of-the-mill street drugs. Pharmaceutical cocaine, for instance, could be had cheaply (whilst helping out Colombian farmers in a legitimate business, and by not having three or four gangs of thugs running their country at any given time,) and would be pure. It would not be "cut" with, say, strictnine.

It is my position that we should legalize drugs, and educate people as to their effects. Much like alcohol is legal today, except that we should remove or lessen restrictions on all of it. I was able to drink beer at home, if I wanted to. As such, it didn't hold the overawing temptation for me that it did many of my peers. I grew up able to handle it, and to drink responsibly. IIRC, German laws on wine and beer show this same sort of thing - not a huge problem with alcoholism in Germany, when pretty much anyone tall enough to see over the counter can buy.

The difference in criminals, however, is that it was the big-time "St. Valentine's Day Massacre"-type crimes that whipped people into a frenzy that made it possible to ban machine guns in the first place. These criminals were well-funded, and would have been able, through straw purchasers or whomever, to buy the guns and pay the taxes, anyway. Ma and Pa Kettle, who owned a local pawn shop, might not have been able to keep a Tommy gun on hand for defense. Rural folks may not have been able to obtain a BAR to more effectively participate in the defense of their nation.

Maybe small-time criminals used them. Probably not as much as they used shotguns, sawed-off and otherwise. Should we ban those, too? Those were used at Columbine, you know.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

One argument against taxing guns. (5.00 / 1) (#512)
by tekue on Mon May 20, 2002 at 08:53:40 AM EST

If anyone is for excessive taxation of guns, just take the following into account, that when things are very expensive, they're only bought by people who need them to make money (burglars, robbers, other commercialy-violent persons, in case of guns) and the people who are hobbyists (gun collectors and such). It's not the matter of how much a gun costs or what do you have to do to get one. It's a matter of how much do you want one.

It's like with computers a couple of years ago. They were owned by people who needed them to make money (companies, educational institutions) and hobbyists (students, again educational institutions). Now computers are owned by everyone, because they're cheap. Computers can be used to do bad things, but we don't ban them because of that. It's been said a million times before, but it's the people who kill other people, and it's those people we have to get rid of (by education and good parenting among many others), not the guns.

I'd say I'd like to see guns in the hands of everyone except the people who'd like to have them. As that is not possible, I'd like it more if all people had guns, compared to just criminals, wackos, and gun collectors.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

Ok - let me see if I can answer that (5.00 / 2) (#528)
by Yellowbeard on Mon May 20, 2002 at 11:09:34 AM EST

First of all - excellent point - I was unclear on some things, and you are completely right that my one example of me turning out the way I did proves nothing.

One thing I am basing this on is personal freedom - I believe very strongly large amounts of individual rights coupled with large amounts of individual responsibility. I think that you should be able to kill yourself if you want to. I believe that you should be able to do this in a variety of ways - including by smoking, if that's your fancy. I believe that you should be able to do things which you enjoy - basically anything - as long as doing so does not directly infringe on the rights of others - obviously, we could debate where this line is.

It is not, IMO, my government's job to decide what is best for me to do to myself. I get to decide that. My governemnt has several jobs - most of which /do/ relate to me, but most of which should not infringe on what I do. My government should try to protect me from harm from outside forces: this includes robbers, murderers, terrorists, other governments, the plague, bad meat, milabled drugs, false advertising - basically any outside force that could attack me - I want them to try and make sure I don't get attacked. They don't have to be perfect at this - they just have to try.

My government should warn me about things that could be harmful to myself. They should, for example, make quite sure that I know that heroine is really addictive and that it is dangerous for me to do it - after they have made sure I know that, it should be my decision as to whether or not I do it. Once I am on it, it would be nice if they would help me get off of it if I ask (of course, I should pay for this - through taxation, whatever... those who use more should pay more. Of course, this also goes for roads and several other services provided by Uncle Sam, but it is seldom set up that way).

Here are some definite things that I think would happen if, for example, we legalized drugs:

1. Huge numbers of non-violent drug offenders would be set free and defelonized so that they could actually go back to society and be productive members of it. Think about this: You get convicted for selling pot. You go to jail for 2-4. When you get out, you have a fellony on your record. Now, you can go flip burgers for 6.25 per hour or you can go back to selling pot for 50 an hour - which are you going to do? If you didn't have a felony, you could get a regular job - you could have a chance at making decent money some other way.

Also, we would be freeing up massive amounts of prison space - for the amount we pay to keep people in prisons, we could be sending them to college. Which would you rather have? People locked up together going crazy and learning all types of new crime to practice when they get out (because they won't be able to get a decent job) or a bunch of guys in college? I have heard that part of the reason drugs stay illegal has to do with prison guard lobbies - can someone back me up on this?

2. The reason terrorists use drug money is because it's a hidden money source - making it illegal takes away the government's ability ot regulate it. Do you think the IRS would let someone secret away enogh money to fund a terrorist organization? And if drugs were legal, they would be far, far cheaper - there is no way a black market could really compete. All that money would go to legitimate biz owners and would get taxed. The taxes (along with the millions if not billions saved on prisons) could go back to keeping people off drugs in the first place.

3. Most people don't avoid drugs simply because they are illegal. They have other reasons - Do you really think that if drugs were legalized tomorrow that, say, your grandma would start doing them? Most people wouldn't - they would just go on as normal - oh, maybe there would be a bit more recreational use, but with the testing involved, you'd have to really want to do it.

I just feel that these decisions should be in the hands of the end user. The education and psych evals are to make sure that 1. the end user is duley briefed by the government - something I think that the government should be responsible to do, and, 2. the end user is not liable to use whatever it is (s)he is using to do harm to others - Uncle Sam can't garuntee this, but he should try.

Does that answer some of your questions?


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Collective Rights or Individual Rights? (3.66 / 3) (#73)
by Count Zero on Fri May 17, 2002 at 05:29:15 PM EST

The long standing view of the 2nd amendment comes from the 1939 United States v. Miller decision.

Miller states that the "standing militia" clause in the 2nd amendment means that it was intended to be a collective right, applying to actual militias, as opposed to an individual right, applying to everyday citizens.

This has been the accepted legal definition since 1939, and has paved the way for much of modern gun-control laws. However, I'm sure everyone is aware that the Supreme Court can hardly be concidered infallible, as the Dredd Scott decision certainly shows.

There's a new case on the gun control front which challenges the Miller interpretation of collective rights. In the Fifth Circuit case, United States v. Emerson, the judge ruled that a federal law that prevents someone under a domestic violence restraining order from being in possesion of a firearm was unconstitutional under the 2nd amendment. This is definitly an individual rights view of the 2nd amendment, and is in direct contrast to Miller.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out of the government decides to appeal the Emerson decision, and it makes it to the Supreme Court.




Miller is often misunderstood (5.00 / 2) (#81)
by jw4539 on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:22:44 PM EST

This is a quote from the actual ruling :

"In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense."

[ Parent ]

More on Miller (5.00 / 1) (#117)
by Sawzall on Fri May 17, 2002 at 08:55:04 PM EST

Try to find an auguement for the person accused of the crime in this case that was presented to the SCOTUS. You won't. There was none. The accused was undefended.

A hick from OK owned and carried a cut-down shotgun as a part of his travels looking for work into Arkansas - an extremely common weapon of the day since it was quite effective on snakes and other vermin. You took the old, typically cheap, breach loading gun and cut it down.  (NB - shotguns have been considered illegal weapons of war several times in history since they tend to cause great suffering before death - thus giving Miller the ruling that it did - the weapon had no military use. It would be interesting to see that come up again given the US Army's use of 870 Wingmasters in Vietnam.)

Miller had no idea it was illegal at the time, nor did the vast majority of the citizens. This was a violation for not having payed for a TAX stamp. (Which if you want to own automatic weapons, destructive devices and such, you must pay. That is how people have Civil War cannon, 20mm cannon, WW2 era automatics, Thompson machine pistols and such at their homes. It has become much more difficult to own these, but there are probably millions in private hands - of the 220 million firearms in the US.)

So once Miller won his case at the District Court level, he was simply gone. He did not consider the appeal an issue, nor did anyone else who might have filed a brief. So the SCOTUS heard only the Government's case and brief. The court made a ruling very limited in scope - that it was not a weapon useful in war, thus not covered under the 2nd. The government got to keep a law aimed at criminals that they could not put in jail on any other reason ie. Al Capone and his tax bust.

The court has not had the courage to give cert to another case on this issue since. Why? Civil Rights. The vast majority of laws passed on "gun control" up until Bush 41 were simply Jim Crow laws: they restricted the ownership of weapons in the hands of minorities. For example, handgun laws are historically most restrictive in areas that had rapid urban growth of people of color. New York, Chicago, Washington DC. In DC's case, the law was passed at the time of riots and the assumption of the majority by African Americans. It only outlawed new guns coming into the city. IF you were a white person already there, you got to keep your gun. Still today, if you are the person who has money, you are basically exempt from these laws. See Don Imus in NY. Carl Rowan in DC.

So really, up until the last decade or so, these laws were directed upon the poor and minorities. Until very recently, simply getting a "dealers" permit for $40 to $200 allowed you to own damn near anything - AR16, M-14, cannon, 20mm or even larger guns.

This has become a State vs. Federal issue in many places now. In most of the south and west, you can get a concealed gun carry permit with little trouble. Many states have agreements honoring each other's permits so that a citizen of Florida can carry in Texas. Interestingly enough, Vermont, perhaps our most leftwing state, has written into its constitution the right to carry a weapon - no permit required at all.

Given the current court and the politics involved, it should be interesting to see if Ashcroft's new stand has any effect.

[ Parent ]

Miller was dead. (5.00 / 1) (#324)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 03:21:15 AM EST

He was found shortly after the ruling in a creek in some backwater in Arkansas. Probably dead before his case went to the Supremes.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

It is quite obvious... (3.25 / 4) (#79)
by mingofmongo on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:09:54 PM EST

...if you just read it instead of trying to 'interpret' it. To make a non-standing army (militia) possible, it is necessary for individuals to posess the guns. That's why it says "right of the people" and not "right of the militia." It is very bad strategicly for the militia to hold all the guns centrally. I'll leave it as a mental excercize for the reader to figure out why.

It is simple in grammer and in meaning. It only becomes complex when people make a cause out of it.

The language involved is only 200 years old. Most of it doesn't even sound archaic. Formal speach was quite stabilized at that point, and hasn't altered enough to matter. It doesn't sound like 'ebonics' or anything, its just plain english.

I know damn well, that apathy and stupidity have made the concept of partisons fighting off a superior force look impossible, but ask a VietNam veteran what it's like to fight poorly equipped people who know the area, and have a purpose.

The second ammendment is quite straight-forward and would be much more important if people could pull their head out for just a minute.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion

Oh, I don't think can can avoid "interpreting (none / 0) (#85)
by jolly st nick on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:38:11 PM EST

For example, you are reading more into the word choice "Right of the people" than is warranted. True, they could have said "Right of the militia," but of course they could equally well have said "The Right of Individuals".

My own contention is at the time they didn't make too much distinction between these ideas; and if you agree with many of the second amendment advocates that have posted here, that is actually a good thing. Myself, I have my doubts.

If you read carefully, you will see I basically agree with your premise that you must start with what the amendment says. However, as revered as this amendment is, I don't think most people have fully thought through its implications.

[ Parent ]

I disagree... (none / 0) (#150)
by zonker on Fri May 17, 2002 at 11:50:54 PM EST

I don't think most people have fully thought through its implications.

Just because they didn't reach the same conclusion that you did, doesn't mean that they haven't thought it out. I think the original poster had it right - people are over-analyzing the 2nd Amendment, trying to find more that is actually there. People should have a right to bear arms.

I fully expect that every person who had a hand in the Bill of Rights owned at least one or two guns. I doubt that they would have seen fit to endorse an outright ban on such ownership.
I will not get very far with this attitude.
[ Parent ]

Present company accepted of course ;-) (none / 0) (#227)
by jolly st nick on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:02:35 PM EST

When I say "most people", I mean most Americans. I'm not being perjoritive, just saying they haven't put the thought in.

Sometimes simple laws have complex effects; trying to simplify the effects complexifies the law (and often fails of course).

[ Parent ]

"That depends on what 'is' is..." (none / 0) (#326)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 03:31:53 AM EST

The problem you get from "parsing" things like "the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," is that you might end up some day parsing statements like "Congress shall make no law ..."

Of course, we see that in effect now.

If the People mentioned in the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments are not the same as those in the Second, meaning "State Militias" in the Second, then substitute "State Militia" everywhere in the Bill of Rights and see where that leaves you.

Consider also that, though ostensibly under the control of State governors, the National Guard (hint lies in its name, for Chrissakes,) is a Federal force. It is not militia, and that has already been settled in Presser v. State of Illinois, in 1886.

Here's more info.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

i've got a question. (none / 0) (#526)
by chopper on Mon May 20, 2002 at 10:28:49 AM EST

if the militia is supposed to be independent of the federal government, and run at a state- or even local-level, why does the constitution specifically give Congress the power to command the militia, and the federal government the power to regulate it?
Article I, section 8:
[The Congress shall have Power]To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;


give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

Why is there a standing army? (nt) (none / 0) (#537)
by beergut on Mon May 20, 2002 at 12:05:50 PM EST


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

moot point. (none / 0) (#543)
by chopper on Mon May 20, 2002 at 12:33:57 PM EST

you didn't answer my question. if the militia is supposed to be so independent, why does the constitution put it under the power of Congress?

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

Very obviously... (none / 0) (#544)
by beergut on Mon May 20, 2002 at 12:42:24 PM EST

for the organization of the defense of the several states.

What's your point?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

my point is... (none / 0) (#564)
by chopper on Mon May 20, 2002 at 02:10:22 PM EST

that you were wrong when you stated that the National Guard!=the militia.

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

Well (4.14 / 14) (#80)
by trhurler on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:18:00 PM EST

The whole argument as to what was "meant" is stupid, and indicates massive ignorance on the part of those making it. One needs only to look at the sources from which the people who wrote the amendment took their notion of "rights." Today, the concept has been muddled, but back then, it was quite clear. Rights were individual. There was no such thing as a "collective right," or a "right of society" or any such construction. As such, the right to bear arms could not possibly have been anything but individual. "Powers," "priveleges," and so on might pertain to any person, group, or other entity, but rights were individual, which was half the point of calling them "rights."

Also, there is no reason to believe they did not intend for individuals to own the same weapons any military would use. They fully intended private militias to go head to head with professional armies, after all. Granted, there are practical problems with individuals(even really rich ones) owning nuclear weapons and so on. That said, I cannot comprehend why law abiding citizens should not own sniper rifles, automatic weapons, large caliber weapons, explosives, and so on. These are all readily available to would-be lawbreakers, and always will be - so what argument can you level that will convince any sane person that the rest of us should be prohibited from having them?

And please, spare me the "oh, the children" argument. I mean, really. That lame excuse is dragged out to explain every stupid restriction people want to put on us, from weapons to television to the prints on t-shirts, and if we listened to it, we'd end up living in one big fucking Disneyland from sea to commoditized sea. A little selection pressure against stupidity and bad parenting sounds reasonable to me.

By the way, in light of the first paragraph of this comment, you should think long and hard before assuming Supreme Court justices are always right. There are only two possibilities: either the Miller justices were ignorant, or they were liars.

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

Glad you weighed in (4.00 / 2) (#82)
by jolly st nick on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:24:03 PM EST

Glad you weighed in on this one.

Now:
Today, the concept has been muddled, but back then, it was quite clear. Rights were individual. There was no such thing as a "collective right," or a "right of society" or any such construction.

Care to cite some examples to support this? If anything, my own reading suggests the situation was more muddled back then that it is now.

[ Parent ]

Excellent point. (3.33 / 3) (#106)
by Count Zero on Fri May 17, 2002 at 07:38:54 PM EST

Rights were individual. There was no such thing as a "collective right," or a "right of society" or any such construction. As such, the right to bear arms could not possibly have been anything but individual. "Powers," "priveleges," and so on might pertain to any person, group, or other entity, but rights were individual, which was half the point of calling them "rights."

The concepts of collective and postive rights didn't really come around until much later. At this time in history, rights were generally understood to mean the classical liberal definition. This is a great argument against the interpretation in Miller.

That said, I cannot comprehend why law abiding citizens should not own sniper rifles, automatic weapons, large caliber weapons, explosives, and so on.

Well, I certainly don't see why one would need Semtex to defend one's self, but I'm with you on the rest. IIRC, the current standard is that the 2nd amendment does not let someone own a "crew-served" weapon, which is a pretty good standard to me.

And please, spare me the "oh, the children" argument.

Heh. Whenever I hear someone use that phrase, it instantly sets off a red flag saying "bad arguement to follow."

By the way, in light of the first paragraph of this comment, you should think long and hard before assuming Supreme Court justices are always right.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Dredd Scott decision is a perfect example that Supreme Court justices are not perfect.




[ Parent ]
YRI (5.00 / 1) (#138)
by ti dave on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:18:51 PM EST

IIRC, the current standard is that the 2nd amendment does not let someone own a "crew-served" weapon, which is a pretty good standard to me.

Several crew-served weapons are legal to own, if the proper licensing conditions are met.
Examples include;
M2 .50-caliber Heavy Machine Gun
M1917 Browning .30-caliber Machine Gun
M1919 .30-06 caliber Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR)
and my personal favorite, the M60 Machine Gun, 7.62mm
All of the above may be fired by a single operator, but they are considered "crew-served".

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Think: "Cavalry". (none / 0) (#327)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 03:37:06 AM EST

Nowadays, a tank is a crew-served weapon. In days of yore, a paddock of horses could have been "crew-served". I don't think the intent of that amendment was to outlaw horses.

I believe that we should certainly be able to own and operate (safely) crew-served weapons, like tanks and howitzers and all that other fancy-schmancy stuff, so long as we can do so responsibly.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Think "improbable" (none / 0) (#442)
by jolly st nick on Sun May 19, 2002 at 07:05:51 PM EST

A horse soldier takes much, much more training than a foot soldier. A war horse takes much, much more training than a horse soldier.

Effective cavalry is the province of professional armies. During Monmouth's rebellion, Lord Grey attempted to use non-professional troops mounted on riding and plough horses. Despite his personal bravery, he and his troops were repeatedly carried off by mounts crazed with fear.

[ Parent ]

Fine. (none / 0) (#455)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 08:43:45 PM EST

Which is why we should have tanks, as an armed citizenry, instead of horses.

Tanks, being dumb machines that do what their drivers tell them to do, without running off screaming during battle, are much more useful.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

I had "crew-served small arms" in mind.. (none / 0) (#458)
by ti dave on Sun May 19, 2002 at 08:48:34 PM EST

especially in light of how dangerous indirect-fire weapons can be, even with a trained operator.

I just can't see how untrained civilians can be entrusted to operate these items safely.
They aren't going to keep a mortar in the shed out back, and expect to be proficient
with it when the Black Helicopters arrive.

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Except that they are (none / 0) (#471)
by Pseudoephedrine on Sun May 19, 2002 at 11:17:10 PM EST

Ever actually _read_ survivalist literature on this sort of thing? Most of the people going out and making mortars and other indirect fire weapons in the US today (and people are doing this) are training themselves on them as much as they can. They aren't stupid - they realise that there isn't any point to owning a weapon you can't use properly.

Go check out paladin-press.com and type in 'mortars' to see what you can pull up. I think you'll be surprised at what level of skill a dedicated amateur can train themselves to.
"We who have passed through their hands feel suffocated when we think of that legion, which is stripped bare of human ideals" -Alexander Solzhenitsyn
[ Parent ]

That's the problem, you see... (none / 0) (#474)
by ti dave on Mon May 20, 2002 at 12:21:32 AM EST

Most of the people going out and making mortars and other indirect fire weapons in the US...

You are kicking up the "danger factor" exponentially by making those items yourself.
These folks can get some "book learning" by reading the appropriate FM's,
but there is no substitute for hands-on Battle Drills.

I'm all for them going to remote areas and trying the stuff out, in the hopes that they suffer a hang-fire and thin out the gene pool a bit.

I just don't want an amateur Ammo Dump in my neighbor's garage to go up in flames.

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Quite so. (none / 0) (#107)
by bakuretsu on Fri May 17, 2002 at 07:51:40 PM EST

I agree wholeheartedly that parenting skills in this nation are at an all time low, and it behooves us to look a little deeper into that issue before barring everyone else from enjoying the rights they deserve (and exercise without harm to said children).

-- Airborne
    aka Bakuretsu
    The Bailiwick -- DESIGNHUB 2004
[ Parent ]
Re: Well (3.50 / 4) (#167)
by emag on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:49:15 AM EST

I definitely have to agree with you.

One of the things that I see pointed out often when it's argued that in the 2nd Amendment, "the people" refers to the military is the point that "the people" appears in several other places, and clearly refers to the citizenry at large.  Why should it refer to anything else in this one particular amendment?

Examples:


  • "We the People" -- Preamble
  • "chosen every second year by the people" -- Article I, Sect 2
  • "the right of the people peacably to assemble" -- Amendment I
  • "The right of the people to be secure in their persons..." -- Amendment IV
  • "shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." -- Amendment IX
  • "are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." -- Amendment X

--
"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." --H.L. Mencken
[ Parent ]
unfortunately... (none / 0) (#719)
by chopper on Tue May 21, 2002 at 10:50:14 AM EST

your examples actually show the differing definition of 'the people';

note your second example- 'chosen every second year by the people', defining elections of Representatives (IIRC).

the thing is, in this case, 'people' is interpreted nowadays as meaning 'only citizens above the voting age who are registered', not 'everybody'. so, by applying that same definition to the second amendment, only registered voters over 18 should have guns.

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

OK I'll have a go (4.00 / 1) (#479)
by awful on Mon May 20, 2002 at 02:23:47 AM EST

Because gun ownership is inherently anti-democratic.

Democracy in essence is a group of people agreeing to compromise and abide by rules, many of which relate to the non-violent settlement of conflicts. The only reason these rules can work at all is because the citizens of a democracy accept that sometimes the resolution will not be in their favour.

Owning a gun instantly invalidates non-violent conflict resolution, as it is effectively saying "If I don't like the way this turns out, I have an ace up my sleeve".

In exchange for incorporating within a democratic state structure and abdicating any power to retaliate, citizens can expect a level of protection from the state, that should hopefully resolve the issue of people operating outside the law threatening your person.

Of course it doesn't work as well as we would like it to, and so some people arm themselves. But when they do, they only weaken democracy further. And as more people arm themselves, others follow suit, until you have a heavily armed society, comprised of citizens trusting that everyone will do wrong, rather than that everyone will do right.

As soon as all the gun-owners in the U.S. work out that they don't have to take any shit from anyone, America will collapse into thousands of tiny warring states.

[ Parent ]

Oh yeah? (5.00 / 1) (#495)
by enkidu on Mon May 20, 2002 at 04:34:20 AM EST

Democracy does not mean that the majority rules. Democracy does not mean that all people accept the state as the arbiter of personal safety. what are you describing is a Fascist/Socialist state. Think about it. Democracy includes the concept of personal freedom. This means that what I own, and what I do in the privacy of my land, as long it does not directly infringe on the same freedoms and rights of others, is no one's business. If the majority of people decided that porn is/was BAD and should not be allowed to exist, should we then outlaw all porn? Do I object to my neighbor owning a sports car and scotch? He might get drunk and run over the kids in the street. Should I be able to outlaw the empty bottle, gasoline, hankerchief and match that my neighbor owns? He might make a molotov cocktal and throw it at my house. Should I be able to outlaw your private airplane? You might use it to bomb my house!

You are confusing gun ownership with illegal gun use. You are confusing your fears for reality. Just because I have a gun doesn't mean that I feel that I have the right to force you to do what I want. If I don't respect your rights, I will eventually be punished. Owning a gun isn't "an ace up my sleeve" you nitwit. It's just a thing, which by it's mere existence affects no one. Only through use or misuse can it affect you. Just like the sports car. Just like a can of gasoline. Use of any of which to infringe the rights of others to live or lead their normal lives should and is punished. The social contract isn't nullified by the existence of guns. Plenty of anarchic states without guns. Plenty of nice peaceful civilized democracies with guns.

Living in a democracy means that as long as I don't restrict the rights of my neighbors to live as they wish, they should do the same. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution doesn't exist to protect the will of the majority. The Bill of Rights exists to protect the will of the few from the tyranny of the majority.

In exchange for incorporating within a democratic state structure and abdicating any power to retaliate, citizens can expect a level of protection from the state, that should hopefully resolve the issue of people operating outside the law threatening your person.
And what do you do when you are a 70 year old woman and a couple of 16 year olds attack you with baseball bats? Wait for the cops to arrive I suppose? Think about it.

A rule of law means that actions should be punished, not ownership of items. I have not commited any crime, nor have I conspired to commit a crime. Why should I be punished for the things I happen to own?

The two pillars of liberty are freedom and responsibility. Gun ownership is simply a manifestation of those two pillars. If you aren't willing to accept both of those pillars nor accept that others may support those pillars, then you don't desrve to enjoy the liberty provided by those two pillars.

See my rant on slashdot for more along the same thread.

EnkiduEOT

[ Parent ]

Wrong in almost every possible way (none / 0) (#545)
by trhurler on Mon May 20, 2002 at 12:42:55 PM EST

Because gun ownership is inherently anti-democratic.
This isn't a very good start to an argument, seeing as the first of the modern democratic republics was until the last century a land of essentially no gun laws whatsoever, and thrived in those conditions.
Democracy in essence is a group of people agreeing to compromise and abide by rules, many of which relate to the non-violent settlement of conflicts.
There is nothing inherently nonviolent about democracy; the whole reason we have a bill of rights is because otherwise, there would be nothing whatsoever stopping the majority from voting to do anything they might like to a minority, and concepts much older than democracy underpin our preference for nonviolent conflict resolution. You are both wrong and fishing for grounds for your argument. Your fishing expedition has failed. Democracy is nothing more than the principle of one man, one vote; what is voted for is another matter entirely.
Owning a gun instantly invalidates non-violent conflict resolution, as it is effectively saying "If I don't like the way this turns out, I have an ace up my sleeve".
This is absurd. If everyone owns guns, or even a substantial fraction of people do, then using your gun to defy the existing order is also known as "suicide." Do you really think your average gun owner is going to say "$5000 fine?! Fuck you, I'm going to kill you all!" ? If so, are you stupid?
In exchange for incorporating within a democratic state structure and abdicating any power to retaliate, citizens can expect a level of protection from the state, that should hopefully resolve the issue of people operating outside the law threatening your person.
Taken as a percentage of crimes against persons committed in the whole world last year, excluding essentially lawless nations(ie, only including nations with effective police forces that actually work to solve crimes,) the number prevented is essentially zero, and the number "solved" is quite low. The job of the police, when all is said and done, is to collect the evidence properly, clean up the mess and send your corpse off for autopsy so that they can forget about you and go clean up someone else's mess. Your faith in the protection of government is charming, but misplaced.
And as more people arm themselves, others follow suit, until you have a heavily armed society, comprised of citizens trusting that everyone will do wrong, rather than that everyone will do right.
Your premise here is exactly the opposite of true. An armed society is a polite society. The only way to win if everyone has guns is not to resort to guns unless the other guy leaves you no choice.
As soon as all the gun-owners in the U.S. work out that they don't have to take any shit from anyone, America will collapse into thousands of tiny warring states.
Are you really this stupid, or are you trolling? Gun owners in the US are among the most patriotic people in the world; they're so pro-US it is astounding.

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

[ Parent ]
The polll (3.66 / 3) (#87)
by jolly st nick on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:43:39 PM EST

I've noticed an interesting thing about the poll. I tried to arrange the answers so they represented increasing degrees of radical support for Second Amendment rights. Things may look different by the time you read this, but right now it looks like a log normal distribution with civilian firearm ownership as the mode, with a large spike supporting the ultimate position.

Does this suggest to somebody with more statistical soophistication than me that there may be two populations answering the poll?

Radical support for the second ammendment? (5.00 / 2) (#110)
by ka9dgx on Fri May 17, 2002 at 08:10:26 PM EST

It took a while to consider, but what is "radical" support for an amendment which is intended to protect us from government run amouk?

The only "radical" support I could think of would be something silly, like requiring people to have firearms training, and requiring people to own weapons. That would be silly, and overreaching.

The amendment speaks for itself, in order to allow people to defend themselves (especially from government), they are specifically allowed to have weapons of deadly force.

Now this concept can obviously taken to extreme. I'm willing to conceed that private ownership of nuclear weapons is certainly a bad idea... I know I wouldn't want Mr Gates to own them as a lever to extend his monopoly, for example.

--Mike--

[ Parent ]

Is Gates really worse than Bush or Clinton? (5.00 / 1) (#145)
by nomoreh1b on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:59:57 PM EST

I'm not a fan of Gates, but the idea that someone like Clinton or Bush have control of nuclear weapons is scary to me.

My own take on the constitution here:
states should regulate weapons ownship, not the federal government.



[ Parent ]

In Australia it is a State matter (none / 0) (#182)
by cam on Sat May 18, 2002 at 08:30:07 AM EST

My own take on the constitution here: states should regulate weapons ownship, not the federal government.

This is the case in Australia. Weapons ownership and regulation is a state issue, not a Federal one.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Required ownership and training (none / 0) (#181)
by wiredog on Sat May 18, 2002 at 08:28:32 AM EST

Isn't that how they do it in Switzerland?

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
Radical == root (5.00 / 1) (#238)
by jolly st nick on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:32:20 PM EST

My exessive verbosity was showing. Radical is often used as a perjorative, but I don't use it that way. What is really means is somebody who wants to get to the root meaning of an issue.

For me the opposite of a "radical" should not be "moderate", but "pragmatic". However, in my mind "radical" isn't necessarily bad and "pragmatic" isn't necessarily good. In practical terms, sometimes the radicals are right and sometimes the pragmatists.

So, you see while my personal bias is pragmatic, I'm pragmatically pragmatical, not radically so;-)

I hope I've made myself clear.

[ Parent ]

Yes. (5.00 / 1) (#141)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:33:02 PM EST

I would argue that the two populations are: (1) People who are voting what they *want* the 2nd ammendment to mean and (2) people who are voting what they think the 2nd ammendment *says* whether or not they agree with it.

I fall into the second category: clearly, by the phrasing of the 2nd ammendment I have a right to own a nuclear weapon. Clearly, however, this is ridiculous. The solution is to amend the constitution, but neither side is actually interested in trying that - they'd rather just see who can yell louder.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Who cares what it *meant* (2.85 / 7) (#89)
by chbm on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:46:20 PM EST

It's totally irrelevant what the 2nd amendment meant more than 200 years (which isn't actually a lot of time, but society changed a lot). What's important is whats makes sense *now* in an orderly and democratic society.

The 2nd amendment tends to be used by the weapons industry to protect the right to a gunrack on every pickup which goes to say, to protect themselfs.
I'm quite happy to be european and most likely never having to face a gun in my whole life. USAians otoh seem to forget than even more than driving owning a weapon is a responsability, not a way of life.

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --

Don't ignore individual gun rights supporters (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by TheSleeper on Fri May 17, 2002 at 07:04:50 PM EST

The 2nd amendment tends to be used by the weapons industry to protect the right to a gunrack on every pickup which goes to say, to protect themselfs.

This seems to be a popular argument among gun rights opponents. It's extraordinary spin to focus on the support for gun rights by large, faceless organizations, and ignore the fact that a great many individuals support private gun ownership, and that there is genuine grass-roots support for these rights.



[ Parent ]
you got that right! (none / 0) (#105)
by techwolf on Fri May 17, 2002 at 07:34:24 PM EST

and I for one support those rights. I have found them to be too important not to be supported.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

but of course (1.50 / 2) (#114)
by chbm on Fri May 17, 2002 at 08:24:08 PM EST

a great many individuals support private gun ownership, and that there is genuine grass-roots support for these rights.
Yes, but what do you think is the real fuel behind this whole issue ? The induhviduals who feel fuzzy for gun ownership or an Industry that doesn't stop at keeping wars alive to sell ? kid you not.
Kind of like saying "don't ignore the great many individuals who support the DMCA".

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
[ Parent ]
It is definitely the individuals here in the south (5.00 / 2) (#123)
by acronos on Fri May 17, 2002 at 09:19:51 PM EST

I live in the bible belt. It is probably the most heavily armed part of the US. At least two out of three people I talk to STRONGLY support the NRA. The NRA (National Rifle Association) is certainly predominately supported by individuals in my area rather than corporate money. Sometimes, the gun control advocates do publish commercials. If anything, what we see on TV is in favor of gun control. The fight against gun control is a grass roots organization. It is the INDIVIDUALS fight for their freedoms. Your post is a significant misperception of the American society I live in.

[ Parent ]
not quite true (4.00 / 1) (#97)
by techwolf on Fri May 17, 2002 at 07:16:29 PM EST

You see it is our right own a firearm. And it comes in handy at times (read my last two diary entres) and yes with owning a friearm comes a responsiblity to propery use that firearm, however our culture is different than yours and we have grow up understanding that we have more rights than most european countries.

I am not cathloic but here is an example of why it can be VERY important to have the right to bear arms. in the early 1800's a wave of immagrants came from europe, mostly Irish catholics. the predominate religion at the time was protestant and they viewed the catholics as a dangoer. they thought that the catholic church would become toopowerfuland start to control the local grovernments. So when a bunch of roiting broke out (I belive it was over the return of a slave to the south, but thats not important here) the police refused to protect the churches from being vandalized/burned to the ground as they knew they would be. So the Bishop called on his faithful to come to their local churches and protect them with their personal firearms. Not a single church was burned down during that time of riots and unrest.

Having a personal firearm canvery important at times. and I for one would never think about giving up my right to bear arms for any reason, it is simply too important a right.




All Information was provided by American history: A Survey by alan brinkley V. I tenth ed.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

True (none / 0) (#111)
by chbm on Fri May 17, 2002 at 08:14:38 PM EST

You see it is our right own a firearm.
That goes to my point, is that a sensible or rational right in a modern democratic society ?

Then you go on with an example about rioting and church wars on the 1800s which furthers my point. And finally you give a trully sad example (I'm very sorry for your dog, that you were forced to shoot an animal and that you live next door to a grunt) that in fact doesn't prove you need a gun but that your animal control laws (and/or enforcement) are inedequate.

As you can see, what I said above is quite true.

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
[ Parent ]

Loss of civil order. (4.00 / 1) (#125)
by forii on Fri May 17, 2002 at 09:33:07 PM EST

Rioting can happen in any era and time. If you're complaining about the other poster's example being in the 1800s, you may remember a little civil disturbance that happened just over 10 years ago in Los Angeles. Something about some police officers being accused of beating a motorist or something. In that case, there were a lot of Korean (and perhaps other minority) shopowners who were targets of the mobs. And in many cases, these shopowners were able to use firearms to protect themselves, as nobody else was available to.
Proud member of the ACLU, the NRA, and the EFF.
[ Parent ]
you sir are correct (none / 0) (#129)
by techwolf on Fri May 17, 2002 at 09:48:08 PM EST

MANY of the asian shop owners that did not protect their own businesses are now out of said business. Those that stayed to protect their shops are still there making a living because they had the means to protect what was thiers. and as for the point i was amking with the story about the 1800's, well think for a moment and you would realize that there are MANY instances where they are useful and needed.

gun myths

or try

Cal NRA


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Thanks (none / 0) (#177)
by chbm on Sat May 18, 2002 at 07:50:17 AM EST

And in many cases, these shopowners were able to use firearms to protect themselves, as nobody else was available to.
Again, do you wish to live in a democratic orderly society or a small south american country ? It seems you're slipping down the second path. "We need guns to protect ourselfs from rioters" is ludricous, you should ask yourself why do you have rioters in the first place instead of amassing stupidity and violence on top of stupidity and violence.

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
[ Parent ]
The first (5.00 / 2) (#277)
by Dr Device on Sat May 18, 2002 at 08:23:23 PM EST

Unfortunately, it's not within my power to make it that way. The fact you're missing here is that the riots did happen.You can ask yourself why you have rioters all you want, but that's not going to do you any good during said riot. What will protect you is having a gun, and having the training and ability to use it.

[ Parent ]

Take the good with the bad. (none / 0) (#462)
by forii on Sun May 19, 2002 at 09:51:40 PM EST

Again, do you wish to live in a democratic orderly society or a small south american country ?

Unfortunately, as long as people have control over their own minds, you will have violence. That is one of the dangers of living in a society where people have self-determination. People sometimes act irrationally (or perhaps rationally, just contrary to the interests of society). But even if you achieve the social-engineering utopia of being able to cater to ever person's needs to such a degree that they will never wish to cause violence, you still have to deal with the odd strange case (like someone with encephalitis) who has lost all rationality and acts out in a violent manner.
Proud member of the ACLU, the NRA, and the EFF.
[ Parent ]

Most monstrous! (4.00 / 2) (#115)
by I am Jack's username on Fri May 17, 2002 at 08:33:31 PM EST

On the morrow I shall procure munitions, and I and mine bastion shall smite those who covet ye donjon!

I think people should be free to own any kind of munition, on condition that it can't possibly be used against peaceful and law-abiding folk, ever.

Guns don't kill people, people pointing their finger at you and saying "Bang!" do. Thermonuclear weapons don't kill people, people do.
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

*I* do (4.40 / 5) (#140)
by kerinsky on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:32:12 PM EST

The whole point of having written laws is consistency. If we're going to constantly reinterpret them, or ignore what they say when society finds them inconvenient, then we must give up the pretense of being a nation of law. Amazingly enough our constitution has a perfectly wonderful way of ensuring that it "makes sense *now* in an orderly and democratic society." We can amend it. We've done it 18 times in the last 211 years (counting 1-10 as 1 amendment).

Any other approach that changes the way we apply the constitution is tyranny pure and simple. Small groups of powerful people, like the supreme court in Marbury V Madison abuse their power over the country. We teach about it in grade school, but nobody is concerned because the system seems to work. Forgetting that the system worked just fine in Germany in 1933 when Hitler was elected chancellor. I'm not saying that will happen here, but wars are often caused by people who act upon their opinion of "makes sense *now* in an orderly and <fill in a patriotic word here> society."

Much of the point of writing down laws, and enforcing them as written, is the sobriety that it brings to governmental action. If we rigorously enforce the laws as written then we take advantage of the cool headedness, wisdom and foresight of our predecessors making it more difficult to act in a hasty or "half-cocked" manner. In an emergency that threatens survival our government will always be willing to ignore any restrictions that it needs to. The important thing here would be accountability after the fact. Let the officials that trashed the constitution for the country stand up and admit it, and resign, and refuse to serve again. No official should ever be allowed to discard the restrictions placed by the constitution unless they can also justify such a personal sacrifice to themselves. Of course this would not be a necessary AND sufficient condition to trampling our laws nor would it be perfect, but I feel it would be a lot better than a system as fickle as simply deciding what makes sense right here right now.

And by the way, the whole POINT of laws is to protect people (and groups of people). Pointing out that the NRA or anybody else has a vested interest in the second amendment doesn't help any argument that it should be applied more narrowly.



-=-
A燾onclusion爄s爏imply爐he爌lace爓here爕ou爂ot爐ired爋f爐hinking.
[ Parent ]
Whoa, buddy... (4.00 / 3) (#147)
by zonker on Fri May 17, 2002 at 11:38:20 PM EST

Since our entire system is based on the Constitution, it does matter quite a bit what was intended. Yes, I think there is some room for interpretation - but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater here.

What's important is whats makes sense *now* in an orderly and democratic society.

Why? That's not what we're discussing here - we're discussing the US as it exists now, which is just barely democratic and hardly orderly.

I'm quite happy to be european and most likely never having to face a gun in my whole life.

I'm glad you're a European as well, your arrogant attitude wouldn't play too well here.

owning a weapon is a responsability, not a way of life.

Err. Only half right... Owning a weapon is a major responsibility, but that is a way of life. If I owned a handgun (I don't) and had a family, for example, making sure that I took the necessary precautions for safe storage and such for that weapon would be a serious part of my life. The problem comes in when people own guns and do not handle or store them responsibly. Our way of life is supposed to guarantee maximum individual freedom without compromising the rights of others - and owning a gun of some sort is part of that.
I will not get very far with this attitude.
[ Parent ]

Question... (none / 0) (#330)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 03:56:25 AM EST

If you've got your pistol "safely stored", will you have enough time to procure it, load it, and prepare it for use in the dark when an intruder has just broken in?

Can you protect your family adequately with a "safely stored, unloaded" weapon?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Answer (none / 0) (#378)
by zonker on Sun May 19, 2002 at 09:38:51 AM EST

If you've got your pistol "safely stored", will you have enough time to procure it, load it, and prepare it for use in the dark when an intruder has just broken in?

Maybe, maybe not. Since there are about a million possible scenarios for a person breaking into a dwelling, it's kind of hard to say. You're also making the mistaken assumption that I believe gun ownership revolves around protection. I think it's perfectly valid for someone to own a gun for hunting purposes or just for target shooting or just for collecting, without arguing that they need to justify the protection aspect.

Can you protect your family adequately with a "safely stored, unloaded" weapon?

In my case, this is not an issue. I live alone, the only person I have to protect is myself. At this time I don't even own a firearm, though I have a fully-loaded baseball bat in a convenient place. Just as with a gun, it's entirely possible that someone could break in and use my baseball bat (or any number of other household items) against me - but I don't hear anyone screaming that baseball bats should be illegal. A gun may be quicker, but the bat can be just as deadly - and frankly, if I'm going to be killed by one or the other, I'd prefer a quick shot to the head with a gun rather than being bludgeoned to death with a bat.

Your questions really aren't universally valid, since there are too many variables to take into account. If I have training with a gun, I can probably retrieve and load it much more quickly than someone who is not well-trained. If I do not have children in my house, the storage requirements to be "safe" are different than if I do have children in my house. Someone breaking into the first floor of a two-story house may give a homeowner a lot of time to retrieve and load a gun, whereas someone breaking into an efficiency apartment is probably not going to give me much time to react at all - regardless of what weapon I wish to retrieve, or if I just want to call 911 and hope that the cops aren't too busy on this occasion.
I will not get very far with this attitude.
[ Parent ]

s/2nd/1st/gm; and all that rot... (5.00 / 3) (#148)
by emag on Fri May 17, 2002 at 11:38:41 PM EST

I'm sorry for picking your post to illustrate this point, but I happened upon it, and it's short and sweet...

All of the same arguments that can be made about the 2nd amendment can also apply to the 1st, the 4th, the 5th, the 6th.... (getting the idea?).

An example:

It's totally irrelevant what the 1st amendment meant more than 200 years (wish isn't actually a lot of time, but society changed a lot) ago. What's important is what makes sense now in an orderly and democratic society.

The 1st amendment tends to be used by the religious/publishing industry to protect the right to a bible/newspaper in every pickup which goes to say, to protect themselves.

For the 4th, "privacy industry" and "safe, encryption, envelope" (you get the idea).

For the 5th, err, "ACLU, citizens", etc, and, well, "security".

For the 6th, "accused" and "speedy and public trial".

True, you can argue some of this is a contrived example, I'll even grant that.  The point of the matter, however, is that just because "society has changed a lot" is not a reason that these protections can be done away with.  The one constant is that society will continue to change, with no guarantee as to which direction that change will tend to be slanted.

I also have to take issue with the statement that USAians forget that owning a weapon is a responsibility.  Every friend of mine who owns a weapon (or more than one), and even myself, have all received at a minimum basic training in the handling and proper use and storage of said weapons.  *Every* one.  Some are single and in their mid-20s, others are parents with young children, still others are grandparents.  The one thing we all have in common is an overwhelming respect for the level of responsibility that we have chosen to take upon ourselves.

--
"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." --H.L. Mencken
[ Parent ]

Good point (none / 0) (#179)
by chbm on Sat May 18, 2002 at 08:02:17 AM EST

My only reply to that is where I find security, justice and privacy self upholding values gun ownership is not. Those 3 are axioms of any society that wishes to be called western and democratic so that kind of argument, or any argument, is totally powerless against them. Otoh gun ownership does not work towards those 3 and isn't instrumental to a modern state.

The question for me is "would social order fail if you remove the n amendment ?". For 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th the answer is quite obviously yes while for the 2nd if you interpret it in todays  terms (that is, no individual right to bear arms imo) social order would improve.


-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
[ Parent ]

Seems to me ... (none / 0) (#333)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:05:52 AM EST

Lots of Brits were happy the Americans had guns, as they asked us to send private firearms to them to aid in their civil defense during WW2.

Also seems to me that I've heard lots of stories of how burglaries, assaults, robberies, and other such mayhem, and more of it occuring with the assistance of guns, is on the rise sharply since stringent gun controls were put in place. See, for instance, the reported 40% rise in assaults since handgun ownership in Britain was, for all intents and purposes, banned.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Firearm Ownership and Public Order (none / 0) (#558)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon May 20, 2002 at 01:53:44 PM EST

 The two defining characteristics of a free citizen in a democracy are, to me, the right to vote and the right to own a gun.

 Why? Because it is these two rights, and these two rights alone that can secure and protect other civil rights, including each other. Your right to free speech is meaningless when government can ignore speech-- your right to vote is meaningless when your government can ignore votes.

 There's a Texan proverb: "There are four boxes that protect democracy: the ballot box, the soapbox, the jury box, and the cartridge box."

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

... "Use in that order." (nt) (none / 0) (#583)
by beergut on Mon May 20, 2002 at 03:47:41 PM EST


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Perhaps a different nature for amendment 2? (none / 0) (#244)
by jolly st nick on Sat May 18, 2002 at 03:12:10 PM EST

Yes, I agree you can substitute the terms and come up with a logically equivalent argument; however the terms you use make a difference as to whether the argument is true

In other words, it depends on exactly what you have in mind when you say "Society as changed".

The first amendment restrictions against religious establishment were put in place because attempts by government to meddle in the private conscience of its citizens produce misery and hypocrisy. Is that less true now than then?

In the case of the second amendment, there were (or may have been) some common assumptions. First, that a large standing army would not be maintained by the US. Second that a militia would be an effective countermeasure to the small standing army, at least for long enough for like minded citizens to rise up. Just these two conditions have changed drastically. Finally, the destructiveness of weapons has changed, so that a single individual can kill thousand of people, as did Timothy McVeigh.

Do these constitute changes fundamental enough to make the Second Amendment a liabilty? I think people differ on this question for a basic reason: some people see the issue of gun ownership as one of natural rights, others purely as one of utility. People who take a fundamental natural rights stance towards this gun ownership will also, being human, tend to see the utility arguments as being in favor of their position.

Finally, I think that things have changed around other amendments. For example, freedom of the press. For many people, this originally meant merely "no prior restraint". The government couldn't silence somebody on the liklihood that they would print seditious literature. They couldn't license people or make them affix government stamps to their literature. However, they might well prosecute for libelous or seditious works already published.

We now know from experience that libel against the government and scandalously seditious works don't really hinder the government that much, or at least not enough to be worth the aggravation of having the government throwing its weight around. We have, more or less by mass mutual agreement, decided that the first amendment protects virtually any kind of speech made against the government.



[ Parent ]

OKC bombing - 169 people. Not "thousands&quo (none / 0) (#331)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:01:18 AM EST

Get real.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Well, Mr. 'gut (none / 0) (#441)
by jolly st nick on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:57:55 PM EST

Does it make any difference?

[ Parent ]
Heheh... Yes. (none / 0) (#453)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 08:41:12 PM EST

It points to a tendency on the part of anti-gun extremists to inflate hundreds-fold the number of deaths due to "right-wing wackos". It's an issue of intellectual honesty.

Add to that the fact that McVeigh's tool of choice was fertilizer and diesel fuel, not guns, and you can see why people in the "gun culture" think it is wrong to conflate his actions with those of honest, law-abiding gun owners. Linking these same people with the wacko segment of society does the honest, law-abiding gun owners a huge disservice, and serves only to illustrate that same basic dishonesty.

Remember: 279,970,000 guns were NOT used in the commission of a crime last year in the United States.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

I think you may be missing my point. (none / 0) (#533)
by jolly st nick on Mon May 20, 2002 at 11:56:34 AM EST

My point is that I favor private firearm ownership, but I don't think that the second amendment is limited to firearms only, but taken literally covers any kind of weapon up to and including nuclear weapons. There is no doubt in my mind that if it were legal to obtain small nuclear weapons or extremely powerful and compact high explosives, Mr. McVeigh would have used them.

I hope you don't think I'm being intellectually dishonest, I'm trying to put all my cards on the table where everyone can see them. Sometimes I may be sloppy an inaccurate, I admit, but this is like anyone else.

[ Parent ]

I tend to agree. (none / 0) (#541)
by beergut on Mon May 20, 2002 at 12:23:45 PM EST

I believe that the Second Amendment affords us the right to obtain, and practice with, arms of any kind.

The only problem with nuclear and biological weapons, to my mind, is that it is very difficult to "practice" with them - verging on the impossible, in fact.

Once they're gone, they're gone, and the "practice" can easily destroy thousands of people. This is unlike a hand grenade, ammunition, or anything else where it is possible (and fun) to shoot at targets and blow shit up. Expending grenades as a form of training teaches the soldier-at-need how a grenade works, its destructive potential, its safe handling, storage, and transport, as well as giving practice at timing, coordination, and some idea of how to hit at range. Expending ammunition gives the same advantages, in that it allows a soldier-at-need to train and hone his skills. This extends to armor, air support, and artillery, too. It is useful to know how to effectively use a civilian aircraft, if no other resource, to subdue an enemy from the air. There are tactics that can be learned to maximize the efficacy of such an endeavor.

Radiation kills at range - probably yourself when you detonate a nuclear device. Biological weapons kill at range - probably yourself, when you release such an agent. Chemical weapons are less pernicious, as they will dissipate pretty quickly, and the damage you can do is generally to yourself. They also have the advantage of being relatively inexpensive to manufacture.

I do believe that it is valuable for a citizen militia to know of, and do some practice with, the deployment of chemical weapons. Should it be necessary to do so, such an agent would be probably the most effective way to take out an enemy encampment or installation. As such, it should be well known how (and when) to do so. Basic military tactics ought to be part of a militia training, and often the most effective weapons a militia can possess are the nastiest, and yet cheapest.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

is Kosovo in Europe? Can they own guns? (5.00 / 2) (#303)
by bluebox on Sat May 18, 2002 at 11:36:43 PM EST

I'm quite happy to be european and most likely never having to face a gun in my whole life.
Seems to me that a lot of people take their freedom for granted and they take the existence of stable governments for granted.

There is a bumper sticker that reads "Gun control is not about guns, its about control." For those of us who live in many of the stable societies on our planet today it's easy to relinquish control. Who needs guns anyway. They make this loud noise, and they are dangerous and messy. I don't even have a place at my house to shoot a gun safely.

Many of us haven't seen how ugly leaders or governments can be. Ask a Kosovar Albanian if he thinks that his gov't will protect him.

I sure as hell hope that here in the US the gov't doesn't get too corrupt, and that most people will never need to use weapons to protect themselves from the gov't. But face it. Some people are just bad. And sometimes the bad guys get into positions of power. Sometimes the bad guys get jobs as the good guys.. It's common to here about corrupt police. You could find yourself getting kicked and beaten by a Texas Ranger, face down with hand cuffs on. You might find yourself getting raped in the ass with a mop handle until they rip a hole in your colon.

Allowing citizens to keep some power ( read "keep guns" ) has an effect of forcing the controllers to think twice before they do things that are particularly obnoxious. Yes. Guns are dangerous. Yes. People get shot and killed in various ways. BUT, BUT, BUT., it is hard to measure the preventive effect that allowing people to keep some power has. How many lives does this preventive effect save?? Don't know. Can't say. But I do know one thing. In many parts of America the bad guys need to think twice before they do things.

Will some Bubba be on the other side of this door with a shot gun?? Don't know... Will The father of this guy that I'm raping come and gun me down after I'm found innocent??? I don't know. Will the residents of this compound shoot back at us if we rush in for no reason? Don't know... Better wait..

If we give up our power today, when things are good, we won't have that power tomorrow, even if things turn sour... In 50 years will USA be the same mostly fair, mostly safe, mostly free place that it is today? I hope so. But just in case its not, I want to retain my power.



[ Parent ]
Guns protect minority rights in a democracy (5.00 / 1) (#312)
by VitaminSupplementarian on Sun May 19, 2002 at 01:18:37 AM EST

All of that bullshit about the "right of dissent" in a democracy exists on paper. It is not some self-enforcing law of nature that prevents the majority from deciding to kill anyone that disagrees with them. Private gun ownership is a part of the checks and balances between democracy and inalienable rights. When the majority decides to eliminate a human right like the right of freedom of speech or to outlaw a religion, private gun ownership comes into play. An armed Jew for example can say, "hey fascist thugs, you're razing my Synagogue to the ground over my dead body!" An unarmed Jew could not. That is the power of private gun ownership, it reminds the majority that the minority actually has rights too. It isn't a scary right, the minority could never be conventionally armed well enough over the majority to wipe out the majority. It simply puts the majority in a position where if it wants to damage or destroy the minority's rights it has to weigh the cost of losing a large number of its own against having its agenda brought about. Hitler would never have be able to be effective if every Jew and Gypsy had refused to turn over their weapons and shot the Gestapo at their doorsteps when they came by to take their weapons. When a government hell-bent on taking away minority rights comes to power, private gun ownership can bring it to its knees and restore the public liberty in a way that mere vocal dissent never could. The only vocal dissenters that are truly safe are the ones that have access to firearms. History has too many examples to support that.
"A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy" --F.A. Hayek
[ Parent ]
Well, its about time (3.80 / 5) (#95)
by Pinball Wizard on Fri May 17, 2002 at 07:01:53 PM EST

this showed up at K5. Allow me to post a few choice links, repeating what I had said in a slashdot journal.

The Militia Act of 1792. It defined the militia as every able-bodied male citizen between the ages of 18 and 45. Further, it specified that all members of the militia were to provide their own musket or flintlock and other related supplies. I'd say that's pretty good evidence the average person was armed back in the early days of our country. And it leaves no doubt as to the framers intentions.

The William and Mary Quarterly recently published an issue containing several critiques of Arming America. You can read them online here.(scroll down a bit)

Finally, allow me to post a link to some poetry written by one of my ancestors, Richard Bard(who I imagine has thousands of living descendants in the U.S. by now). Read his story and imagine that kind of life without weapons. Frankly I don't think his situation was atypical for the time and place he lived in. Bellisarius is a historian with an agenda, not one looking for the truth.

Enrolling is not equivalent to defining. (none / 0) (#532)
by jolly st nick on Mon May 20, 2002 at 11:51:36 AM EST

After reading the link you provided, I believe that act enrolls such people in the militia. To say every able bodied male must serve in the militia is very different than saying that the militia is by definition comprised of such persons. This act looks to me like a kind of federally mandated compulsory military service.

If anything, considering this act weakens my conviction that the founders meant to cover the kind of private firearm ownership we have today. Yes, they intended everyone to be armed, but in the ocntext of performing the kind of militia functions which are now undertaken by state and local police forces, as well as the standing army. If it were merely understood that such persons as covered by the act served as a militia, then the act itself would be unnecessary.

Again, I am trying to look at this objectively, not in terms of my personal feelings about personal firearm ownership (which I am sympathetic to), which I have made clear elsewhere.

[ Parent ]

As a rule of thumb (1.33 / 3) (#100)
by techwolf on Fri May 17, 2002 at 07:21:51 PM EST

I am in favor of allowing any citizen the right to bear arms of any type that is 50yrs or older. so for now you would be able to have anything that is from 1952 or earlier, assuming you could find it and afford it.

I know I would *love* to own a p-58 lightning.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson

Ok, then (4.00 / 1) (#102)
by jolly st nick on Fri May 17, 2002 at 07:25:46 PM EST

The A Bomb precedes your 50 year limit. ;-)

By the way, historical collecting gets to one of the reasons that, absent an absolute second amendment protection for arms, a ninth amendment protection would still apply. There was a principle of Roman Jurisprudence, which the founders were not doubt aware, that the abuse of a thing should not necessarily invalidate its acceptable uses.

[ Parent ]

true (4.00 / 1) (#104)
by techwolf on Fri May 17, 2002 at 07:32:28 PM EST

provided that it was for historical collecting. that type of collecting assumes that it is de-militarized, or non-functional. if it is fully functional it oft times would not be protected by the ninth unless it was so old that no one really cared, like my black powder rifle for example.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Really? (3.00 / 2) (#136)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:14:13 PM EST

Could I have 23 kilograms of refined uranium and some gunpowder, please?

I'm sure I can find a machine shop to mill out the needed sphere and slug.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
By the way... (4.00 / 2) (#137)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:15:25 PM EST

The were P-*38*'s not 58s.

Personally, I'd rather have a mustang - unless I was on a really long mission.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Two words - "Torque Roll" (none / 0) (#197)
by gordonjcp on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:24:47 AM EST

I'm sure you're really good at recovering from a flat spin, rolling inverted, every time you crack the throttle.... :-)

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
LoL. (5.00 / 1) (#452)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun May 19, 2002 at 08:39:58 PM EST

Sure, all us Shrine Klownz are rated for single engine fighters. Comes in handy when dealing with hecklers.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
no you oron (none / 0) (#251)
by techwolf on Sat May 18, 2002 at 04:22:42 PM EST

it is the P-58 "Chain lightning" not the P-38 lightning two different planes. try doing a little research somtime.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

An Oron, Am I? (5.00 / 1) (#454)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun May 19, 2002 at 08:42:28 PM EST

Well, "Uck Ou, Uddy!"

As to the P-58, well I will grudgenly admit that I had forgotten that puppy, but I think I can be forgiven since only a single un-armed prototype was ever produced.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
yes you can : ) (NT) (none / 0) (#476)
by techwolf on Mon May 20, 2002 at 02:05:03 AM EST


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]
Oh great (3.00 / 1) (#149)
by zonker on Fri May 17, 2002 at 11:42:07 PM EST

In three years we can own our own atom bomb? Nifty. I guess flamethrowers and tanks are fair game now too...
I will not get very far with this attitude.
[ Parent ]
hmmmmm (none / 0) (#279)
by techwolf on Sat May 18, 2002 at 08:32:29 PM EST

I would say no. there should be limits to what you could have, suchas a nuke. but conventional weapons should be allowed. poll choice #3


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Are you joking (none / 0) (#165)
by jw4539 on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:05:02 AM EST

Having previously posted about using a firearm to defend your pet (and as you claim your own life) I must question this post. How would you have liked to have been firing a 50 year old 1911 that was prone to jamming and by the way to even own it you had to pay a 1000X markup cause it's hard to come by 50 year old guns. I guess the thousands of civilians who draw a firearm in self defense would be SOL because they couldn't track down / afford some some f'ing historical relic to meet your criterion.

[ Parent ]
one word, replicas. (none / 0) (#252)
by techwolf on Sat May 18, 2002 at 04:25:28 PM EST

The m1 carbine is still made, and sold even thought it is an "assualt rifle" and is perfectly legal to own. I know I have two.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

One name: "Glock". (nt) (none / 0) (#335)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:08:06 AM EST


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

replicas (none / 0) (#395)
by jw4539 on Sun May 19, 2002 at 01:26:53 PM EST

I'm sorry, from your post I thought you meant doing a pre ban / post ban type thing much like the way NFA weapons are currently handled.

Even with the limitation just being on the technology, I really have to question if you are serious about this or if you have even really thought it through.

I am not an expert on the history of firearms nor am I 50+ years so I cannot comment too specifically on the technology the 50 year limit gives us. However I am relatively certain that advances which allow thousands to carry concealed comfortably were not available 50 years ago. Polymer frames which drastically reduce weight spring to mind.

Further, advances such as trigger safeties make weapons safer. Trigger safeties also allow the removal of a manual safety which is of enormous benefit to those unfamiliar with handguns and can save lives.

The .40 / 10mm rounds likely did not exist in your timeframe. These are among the most popular personal defense rounds as they strike a nice balance between the 9mm and the .45. Speaking of which were 9mm even in common use 50 years ago? I do not believe the military used them. The lack of a 9mm makes handgun defense even less approachable to those who need it the most. What about hollow points, were they around and in common usage? Not only do they more effectively stop an intruder but they also make it less likely that a stray shot hits a neighbor.

I could go on about various advances and I'm sure I've missed several but my point should be clear, weapons today are simply better for personal defense, especially to those who are not strong, able bodied men.

[ Parent ]

50yrs ago (none / 0) (#413)
by techwolf on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:55:32 PM EST

45 cal were common as were 9mm. In WWII both the LUGER P.08 9mm, and the 9mm MK II Sten were used, and were concealable. yes many of the advances would not be availabe. However upon re-reading my own post is see that i did not make it clear that I would want the rule applied to anything beyond pistols and hunting rifles. soory I did not make myself clear on that one. pistols and hunting rifles would still use todays advances.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

The 1911 Colt Government Issue (none / 0) (#557)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon May 20, 2002 at 01:45:18 PM EST

... is one of the most reliable firearms you can purchase, bar none.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]
Sounds like (1.70 / 10) (#112)
by mami on Fri May 17, 2002 at 08:18:35 PM EST

you wrote that for a class, nice work.

I hate guns. I hate men with guns. I detest women, who love men with guns. I fight a woman with a gun any time.

But today thanks to the influence of reading K5 for over a year, I have changed my mind about all, men, women and guns. I am all for letting you arm yourself under the teeth.

Let 'em people enjoy their individual rights to the fullest. Usually that makes people who deserve it kill themselves faster. Good.

Just make laws so that the military is still more heavily armed than the militias. Otherwise the few people left, who are not crazy about guns, will be shot before the ones who are.

When that happens, I buy my gun and that should be a dangerous day for the world at large. The first thing I shoot in pieces is the internet.

Well, that just goes to show you... (none / 0) (#336)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:13:47 AM EST

People like mami should never be able to pass a psychological background check, or something.

For your benefit, mami, it's called "projection", whereby you see a fault in yourself, and then magnify it in all those around you, even if that fault does not exist in them.

Because you are a violent, schizophrenic control freak (sound like a short guy with a funny moustache to you?) doesn't mean that everyone is.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

what it shows (none / 0) (#392)
by mami on Sun May 19, 2002 at 01:07:39 PM EST

People like mami should never be able to pass a psychological background check, or something.

Too bad, I passed already. Go figure. And then I declined to buy myself a gun.

Because you are a violent, schizophrenic control freak (sound like a short guy with a funny moustache to you?) doesn't mean that everyone is.

Seems to me that some gun swinging, freedom shouting big boys are the true "control freaks", but you seem to prefer to project that to some unarmed, scared old lady. Shame on you.

[ Parent ]

Well, (none / 0) (#428)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:09:27 PM EST

If you're unarmed and scared, get a gun. Then you can be armed and scared, but stand a fighting chance when some "big boy" comes a-callin'.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

I hear you (none / 0) (#469)
by mami on Sun May 19, 2002 at 10:31:10 PM EST

and won't listen...

[ Parent ]
Here, folks, is the mind of an authoritarian... (none / 0) (#597)
by trhurler on Mon May 20, 2002 at 04:31:44 PM EST

laid bare. Granted, it is barely coherent. That's the point.

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

[ Parent ]
EXCELLENT article! (4.85 / 7) (#113)
by Kasreyn on Fri May 17, 2002 at 08:22:37 PM EST

Wish I'd been around to apply my +1FP. Your article is probably the most insightful and well-reasoned look at the topic I've seen in years. Well done.

All too often in debates on gun control and the 2nd Amendment, I've been infuriated by the way most people don't even take the preamble to the amendment into consideration. It's always difficult to guess what the Framers had in mind when the terminology is vague. Personally, I think that if they had been alive today, they may have formulated the Second Amendment quite differently. It was a product of their times.

As to "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people", I think maybe this was just one of those Constitutional catch-alls, meaning "the government shall not strip freedoms from the people in any area merely because those freedoms are not explicitly stated as rights". Just a restating of, "those powers not specifically granted to the government are retained by the people". At least, that's my amateur interpretation.

One of the main problems is how to define a "militia". U.S. militias of today seem more like a combination of shooting hobbyists with a streak of paranoia, than a bunch of farmers banding together to defend their homes from danger. Of course, in both cases militias contain people ready to take up arms against their own government should it prove tyrannical, a thought which I applaud as long as they maintain a good idea of what tyranny is. One of the terms that seems to be ignored often is "a well-regulated militia" - but how can you regulate a civilian militia without turning it into a de facto arm of the armed forces? I don't claim to have answers to ANY of these points; please reply and tell me what you think.

Another point I have to raise is regarding what you said about "exotic" weapons. I agree, at least with the basic idea. One person with a gun can take a stand against a criminal, or against his government if it turns tyrannical. However, if he had access to weapons of mass destruction, he could be far more effective than individuals with mere ordinary guns. Thus his ability to affect things by rebelling is disproportionately large; he has a bigger "say", because he can do more harm if he rebels. I used to support gun control, but it seems futile now. A better idea is education about weaponry, and levelling the playing field - everyone can have rifles or handguns, but no one can have Uzis or RPGs or flamethrowers. Or maybe some other method, I don't know.

If the playing field were levelled that way, and everyone had and knew how to use a weapon, it might be a great thing for individual liberties. In the stone age, physically stronger men enslaved / dominated / controlled weaker ones. In the Iron Age, better armed, stronger, and most importantly better trained fighters could control large amounts of serfs (common people). Guns are a superior weapon to a bow or sword because they take far less training to become proficient with. Thus, a strong man or a little old lady, a dictator or an anarchist, can be equally dangerous. If we go with the idea that Force = Political power, then everyone would have equal power (as long as the weapons were equal).

Of course, I just now thought of it that way and I haven't had time to look at all the angles. It's completely possible I'm making a fool of myself. Comments?


-Kasreyn

P.S. If you agree or disagree, post! I'm tired of being 3.50/18 with 2 replies.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
What drives me nuts (4.75 / 4) (#135)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:12:35 PM EST

Is the absolutists who insist that free speech is a virtue no matter what the topic (even kiddie porn, for example), but that weapons ownership is always bad, no matter what the purpose.

Of course, the gun-registration-is-always-bad crowd are just as ridiculous.

the idea that speech, gun ownership, religion, the right to assemble, etc.. exist in a balance and that limited restrictions and counter-balances are appropriate seems to escape most people. Or, at least, most politically active people.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Where we differ ... (none / 0) (#339)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:22:54 AM EST

It may not be that all forms of speech are virtuous, like your example of kiddie porn, and that not all forms of gun ownership are virtuous.

Nevertheless, they are rights.

The problem with kiddie porn is that, in the original instance, the child is harmed. Fifth and sixth generations of such things, while just as abhorrent as the day they were made in form, are not really that harmful to the child, in substance, are they?

I don't condone a right to kiddie porn, obviously, and there are some people I don't think should own weapons (like those people currently in prisons, for instance, or those who have been convicted in the last ten years of a violent felony.) But saying that there's a "balance" to be struck doesn't make something any less of a "right" that should be protected.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Oh, I agree. (none / 0) (#459)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun May 19, 2002 at 08:53:58 PM EST

But your rights (to paraphrase somebody or the other) end at the tip of my nose. When the spheres of our rights collide - then a balance must be struck.

--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
"Well-regulated" (4.50 / 2) (#196)
by gordonjcp on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:22:02 AM EST

The meaning of the word "regulated" has changed over the years. It used to be something more like "in good order" rather than "well-controlled".

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
2nd Ammendment in the 21st Century (4.00 / 10) (#118)
by mcelrath on Fri May 17, 2002 at 08:57:07 PM EST

The second ammendment is now very out of place, and very outdated in our modern world. I think most of the intent was to protect the people from their government. The founders wanted the people to be able to protect themselves, and in the event that the government became corrupt, to overthrow it. They wanted to prevent the possibility of the government outlawing all weapons which could be used against it, and then ruling by kicking people around with the standing army (as the Brittish so successfully did).

But what about today? Does any one of you really think that any group could possibly overthrow the US government by force? Should we then interpret the 2nd ammendment as allowing citizens to own tanks, planes, and nuclear bombs? There is no way the founding fathers could have forseen the development of the tank, or the airplane, much less nuclear bombs and spy satellites. The ammendment is horribly out of date, as these days owning a gun has more to do with philosophy and/or hunting than protecting oneself, and certainly has nothing to do with protecting oneself from a tyrannical government.

But what will we do when the US government does become tyrannical? No government is stable given a long enough time frame, including the US. How will we replace the government when it becomes time to do so? Military force is not an option against such an advanced power. How will we know when the bohemoth has gone too far? (Hint: selective enforcement of a very large number of laws and enormous prision populations)

-- Bob

History Lesson (3.81 / 11) (#124)
by Sawzall on Fri May 17, 2002 at 09:28:24 PM EST

Do some research on the Warsaw Jewish Ghettos during WW2. You will find that a small force of lightly armed people can effectively hold at bay a much larger, well trained, army. They must be willing to die for it. That is all. If you have a popular cause, you will eventually win. See all the stupid wars the US has gotten itself into since WW2.

I only need one gun. With that, I can get another, more powerfull one. Right on up to the weapons of mass destruction we all worry about. It just requires a commited group of combatants with support among the people to be effective.

[ Parent ]

Only need one gun... (5.00 / 4) (#146)
by emag on Fri May 17, 2002 at 11:13:08 PM EST

Yes, this is absolutely right.  I remember once, watching "Tales of the Gun" on the History Channel that the US during WW2 mass-produced single-shot, stamped-metal .45 caliber guns, and air-dropped them into occupied territories.  The intent?  With one of these cheap-to-produce, easy-to-conceal, and moderately powerful guns, the population of the occupied region could obtain more powerful weapons, depriving the enemy of them (and the soldiers who formerly carried them).

A VERY good illustration of your statement, and a reason why confiscation of firearms won't work...  "Clearly, we took all their weapons, so we have nothing to fear.  Let's get careless around the people we're oppressing."
--
"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." --H.L. Mencken
[ Parent ]

Re: History Lesson (4.00 / 3) (#163)
by mcelrath on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:14:00 AM EST

Your point is well taken, but I think the US government has resources not available to anyone opposing a resistance group, ever. Surveillence in particular. If through video, electronic, and satellite surveillence they can identify and track organizers and leaders of the resistance, I think the US government could successfully destroy any internal revolution.

-- Bob

[ Parent ]

You're oversights will be your undoing. (5.00 / 2) (#223)
by Bad Mojo on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:53:45 PM EST

You make the assumption that the military backs the government under ALL situations. The military is composed of US citizens. The same people who would take up arms against their own government during a revolution. The US government could find its own military depleted of a large portion of its own troops or parts of it focused back on itself.

I'de go so far as to say that a revolution today would probably contain members of the military that used their position of power to keep the government from getting the upper hand.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]

Just so (none / 0) (#461)
by dorsai on Sun May 19, 2002 at 09:45:50 PM EST

In fact, such has happened, like the Portuguese revolution of April 1974, where the armed forces took the lead in putting down a dictatorship and installing a democracy.

No one over the rank of captain was involved - but it proved enough... of course, it was "bound to happen sooner or later" - but then armed forces proved the determining factor in keeping it bloodless (oddly enough).


Dorsai the sigless


[ Parent ]
Perhaps so (none / 0) (#692)
by streetlawyer on Tue May 21, 2002 at 06:40:35 AM EST

But you make the mistake of assuming that the civilian population would be united in revolution. In actual fact, in most historical revolutions, the reactionary element among the civilian population has been extraordinarily strong. One might look at Castro and Guevara in Chile, for example.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Don't put words in my mouth. (none / 0) (#731)
by Bad Mojo on Tue May 21, 2002 at 12:09:06 PM EST

I never said that ALL citizens would take up arms against their government. I just said that if they did (any amount from all to a handful), that the military might be just as divided. There could even be a three way conflict.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]
sorry, my mistake (5.00 / 1) (#691)
by streetlawyer on Tue May 21, 2002 at 06:39:00 AM EST

I said above that picking the Palestinians in Israel as an example of the success of a civilian militia was about the worst possible example; I didn't think anyone would have picked the Polish Jews.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Two words (3.88 / 9) (#133)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:07:59 PM EST

"Viet" and "Cong".

A determined population armed with small weapons can make life miserable for any invader.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Don't forget about the Palestinians (4.00 / 3) (#143)
by nomoreh1b on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:39:47 PM EST

These folks have made life in Israel rather difficult with minimal outside support. Some military theorists are calling the suicide vest a major change in military tactics.

[ Parent ]
Good point (4.33 / 3) (#144)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:45:55 PM EST

But I didn't want to distract from the issue at hand by getting into the "suicide bomber as military tactic" argument. Vietnam is far enough in the past that most people can address it dispassionately.

I do think that Israel has set themselves up for long term failure. They may be right, they may be wrong, but they have undercut themselves on the world stage and ensured another generation of conflict.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
why not, everyone else has? (5.00 / 1) (#690)
by streetlawyer on Tue May 21, 2002 at 06:37:51 AM EST

If you're trying to find an example of successful resistance, I would have thought that the Palestinians are about the worst possible example you could have picked.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
The Vietnam War (3.75 / 4) (#158)
by Demiurge on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:32:13 AM EST

America lost 58,000, the Vietnamese lost an estimated 2 million(that doesn't count Cambodian deaths, for instance). I'd hardly call that a "win".

The NVA also had a hell of a lot more than handguns. Anti-aircraft artillery, for example, is hopefully something your local gun club does not possess.

[ Parent ]
It's called "sacrifice". (4.66 / 3) (#170)
by forii on Sat May 18, 2002 at 04:56:07 AM EST

America lost 58,000, the Vietnamese lost an estimated 2 million(that doesn't count Cambodian deaths, for instance). I'd hardly call that a "win".

War isn't a video game, with the side with more frags getting the win.

The (North) Vietnamese wanted the Americans out of their country. Mission accomplished.
Proud member of the ACLU, the NRA, and the EFF.
[ Parent ]

Instruments of a Militia (5.00 / 2) (#180)
by cam on Sat May 18, 2002 at 08:25:32 AM EST

Anti-aircraft artillery, for example, is hopefully something your local gun club does not possess.

No but a well regulated militia would possess those components.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Also: (3.00 / 1) (#236)
by jolly st nick on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:23:20 PM EST

don't forget they had state support and direction as well. They weren't just the local yeomenry acting on their own impetus with their own resources. A guerilla force is not the same as a militia.

[ Parent ]
An interesting quote I happened upon ... (4.50 / 2) (#341)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:31:12 AM EST

"The difference between an army and a militia is that an army loses by not winning, and a militia wins by not losing."

I don't know who said it, and I may have "militia" mixed up with some other entity of a like nature, but I thought it was fitting.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Two words "General" and "Giap" (5.00 / 1) (#689)
by streetlawyer on Tue May 21, 2002 at 06:35:42 AM EST

As Giap's excellent "How We Won the War" makes clear, you are wrong. The Americans were not defeated by "the Viet Cong" (which was merely the Vietnamese Communist Party"). The Viet Cong were useful as insurrectionaries and to tie up US forces in holding territory, but the military victory was won by the People's Army of Viet Nam, a formidable military force, largely made up of soldiers with anything up to twenty years of combat experience, and with considerable logistic support from the Soviet Union. You simply cannot compare a disciplined army of combat veterans, led by a military genius of the calibre of Vo Nguyen Giap, with anything which the civilian population of the USA could raise. Similar objections have force against any attempt to compare the membership of the NRA to the Mujahedin or the Kurdish pesh merga, other favourite comparisons.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
addendum (none / 0) (#709)
by streetlawyer on Tue May 21, 2002 at 09:31:32 AM EST

Once more, I misremember something on the subject of Vietnam; I'm sure eviltwin is out there to pick me up on this one. I stand behind the analysis of the relative roles of the Viet Cong and PAVN, but, as I just remembered, Giap's memoir doesn't say this at all; it parrots the official party line that the war was won by the indomitable people of Viet Nam organised on the infallible political principles of Marxism-Leninism under the inspired leadership of Comrade Ho in the early years and then his successors in the Vietnamese Politburo.

"The Sun Shines Only Half The Day, But You, Comrade Stalin, Shine All Night As Well" -- title of actual song written in Russia in the 1950s.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Try "Giap, The victor in Vietnam" (5.00 / 1) (#772)
by Alan Crowe on Wed May 22, 2002 at 08:50:05 AM EST

"How we won the war" is just 62 pages, and came out promptly after the war.(Philadelphia, PA: Recon Publications, 1976)

Giap, The Victor In Vietnam

by Peter Macdonald

Fourty Estate

London

is interesting because it is based on interviews with Giap in 1990, after the need to keep up appearances had passed. Dipping in at random, page 207-8

To further counter Thanh's arguments Giap then wrote an assessment of the situation in which he said that the size of main force units telegraphed their intentions. His top priorities for the PLAF were to inflict casualties, hit bases, and erode the ARVN, in that order, which could best be done by increasing the frequency and striking power of guerrilla attacks rather than by attempting to take on major U.S and Allied formations with big PLAF and PAVN concentrations, which could result in heavy losses to both. In an article published in October 1966, he wrote that "the use of widespread guerrilla actions would oblige the enemy to disperse and so water down their efforts." Guerrilla attacks had already disrupted American attempts to establish bases, had tied down their troops on security duties, and in the countryside had hampered the pacification program: they should be continued. He was right: General Westmoreland told the author that the VC "posed in somes ways a more difficult problem for me that the regular troops from the North because by harrassing th U.S. and government installations they could tie down more and more troops on defense."


[ Parent ]
There are people who need guns... (2.54 / 11) (#119)
by Demiurge on Fri May 17, 2002 at 09:08:23 PM EST

such as the police, security officers, game wardens, and the like. I think that any sort of position on the proliferation of guns would have to take their needs into effect. Emphasis on needs.

Then, there are people who want guns. And they don't just want guns, they seem to lust after them. The fervor with which otherwise normal citizens pursue their transplanted ejaculations is, quite frankly, alarming.

There are very few rational reasons for allowing a private citizen to own a gun. One is for sports shooting. While it is a legitimate use of guns(and one I used to take part in), how can your hobby be worth the tens of thousands of gun deaths in America each year?

The other major argument is that if guns are outlawed, law-abiding citizens will have no way to protect themselves from criminals with access to illegal firearms. The facts don't support this either, as a gun in someone's home is far more likely to kill a family member than an intruder. And to claim that rigorous anti-gun laws would not affect the criminal population is ludicrous.

In 1998, in the United States, on average, 84 people were killed by firearms each day. In Canada, the rate was one death every five days.

There is no rational reason to allow widespread gun ownership. The proponents of widespread availability of guns rely on twisted facts and half-truths, as well as downright freudian emotional arguments.

Bullshit. (3.00 / 2) (#132)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:06:11 PM EST

The other major argument is that if guns are outlawed, law-abiding citizens will have no way to protect themselves from criminals with access to illegal firearms. The facts don't support this either, as a gun in someone's home is far more likely to kill a family member than an intruder. And to claim that rigorous anti-gun laws would not affect the criminal population is ludicrous.

La, La, La. The *facts* are that cities that pass right-to-carry laws see a drop in gun crime. The *facts* are that the nonsense stats about guns being used to kill family members are just that - nonsense. They created that stat by including every incident in which the the shooter knew the person being shot - whether or not the shooter was legitimately defending themselves or not.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Your "facts" are wrong. (3.33 / 3) (#152)
by Demiurge on Fri May 17, 2002 at 11:57:12 PM EST

The "facts" most pro-gun activists site come from a study by John R. Lott, an Olin Fellow at the University of Chicago School of Law. Numerous and serious flaws in Lott's research have been shown to exist, and more reputable studies done since Lott's in 1996 have shown just the opposite. A 1999 study showed that in the 29 states that have lax CCW laws (where law enforcement must issue CCW licenses to almost all applicants), the crime rate fell 2.1%, from 5397.0 to 5285.1 crimes per 100,000 population from 1996 to 1997. During the same time period, in the 21 states and the District of Columbia with strict carry laws or which don't allow the carrying of concealed weapons at all, the crime rate fell 4.4%, from 4810.5 to 4599.9 crimes per 100,000 population. The decline in the crime rate of strict licensing and no-carry states was 2.1 times that of states with lax CCW systems, indicating that there are more effective ways to fight crime than to encourage more people to carry guns.

Furthermore, according to the analysis, violent crime actually rose in 12 of 29 states (41%) which liberalized their CCW laws over the five years beginning in 1992, compared to a similar rise in violent crime in only 4 of 22 states (18%) which did not change their CCW laws. The disparity in the decline is even more obvious for rates of gun violence. From 1992 to 1997 the violent crime rate in the strict and no-issue states fell 24.8% while the violent crime rate for states with liberal CCW laws dropped 11.4%. Nationally the violent crime rate fell 19.4%.

[ Parent ]
This study... (5.00 / 1) (#176)
by emag on Sat May 18, 2002 at 06:57:31 AM EST

Would you care to cite this study which has these findings?  A URL would be preferable, but even just the name so that I can dig it up would be nice.  I'd be very interested in seeing the data that was included, thrown out, the backers of the study, etc.  After all, as I've mentioned elsewhere in comments on this article, statistics are great for lying, so I prefer to see more of a breakdown than just the absolute highest-level numbers.

--
"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." --H.L. Mencken
[ Parent ]
Perhaps, but... (2.00 / 1) (#193)
by gordonjcp on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:14:15 AM EST

... here in the UK, where handguns are just plain banned, and other gun ownership is uncommon outside farms, there's almost no gun crime at all.
Any shootings tend to be drug-related - one gang having a pop at another.
This whole "Citizens need guns to protect themselves" makes the US sound like a terrifying dystopia, with people shooting each other all the time, for no readily apparent reason...

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Protecting yourself from the police (4.00 / 3) (#174)
by Alan Crowe on Sat May 18, 2002 at 05:27:58 AM EST

The other major argument is that if guns are outlawed, law-abiding citizens will have no way to protect themselves from criminals with access to illegal firearms.

Take a look at Who shot the Sheriff in The Economist, earlier this year.

THE murder of Derwin Brown is, as one local puts it, the stuff of bad dreams and bad novels. Mr Brown was elected sheriff of Atlanta's suburban DeKalb County in August 2000. Four months later, and three days before taking office, he was gunned down outside his house. Rumours of a political motive for the murder began almost at once. Mr Brown's widow said that, when she saw her husband's body, her first thought was, "Sidney did it"--Sidney Dorsey, that is, who had unexpectedly lost the sheriff's post to Mr Brown after one term in the job. On February 22nd a grand jury indicted Mr Dorsey on charges of murder, racketeering and abuse of office. Two of his former employees are also charged with murder.
Although Mr Dorsey is not the first DeKalb sheriff to be accused of abusing the office, the list of allegations against him is impressive. He is said to have sent prison inmates to work at the homes of political supporters of his wife Sherry, an Atlanta councillor, and to have taken bribes in return for private contracts with the jail. One of Mr Dorsey's co-defendants had been among 40-odd jail employees whom Mr Brown, promising to clean up the sheriff's office, planned to dismiss.
A former deputy sheriff and an accomplice are alleged to have told prosecutors that Mr Dorsey asked them and two other men to kill Mr Brown. The four drew straws to decide who would pull the trigger. In exchange for their co-operation, the two who came forward were given immunity from prosecution; the former deputy sheriff also accepted reduced charges in an unrelated shooting.

Scary stuff. What kind of argument would persuade Derwin Brown's widow that the ordinary citizen should rely on the police to provide protection from armed criminals?

[ Parent ]

That's the beauty of statistics... (4.66 / 3) (#175)
by emag on Sat May 18, 2002 at 06:21:21 AM EST

...they can say whatever you want.  Especially when you decide to leave out some of the qualifying information.

You said:

In 1998, in the United States, on average, 84 people were killed by firearms each day. In Canada, the rate was one death every five days.

Now, 84 people per day sounds like a lot.  In fact, I did confirm that this was the number of deaths due to firearms in 1998, by going to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.  On their mortality rate page, for 1998 and earlier, if you select "All Intents" for the manner of injury, "firearm" for the cause or mechanism of injury, and leave the "specific options at their defaults (all of the US, both sexes, all races, both hispanics and not), and make sure "All ages" is checked under "Advanced options", you do, indeed, come up with 30708 deaths due to firearms in 1998, or on average, 84.132 deaths per day.  Definitely an alarming number.

Of course, this includes homicides, suicides, accidents, etc.  A look at the breakdown is a little more revealing...


  • Unintentional -- 866, or 2.373/day
  • Violence Related -- 29526, or 80.893/day

       
    • Homicide and Legal Intervention -- 12102, or 33.156/day

           
      • Homicide -- 11798, or 32.323/day
           
      • Legal Intervention -- 304, or 0.833/day

       
    • Suicide -- 17424, or 47.737/day

  • Undetermined intent -- 316, or 0.866/day

In all of these, the only option that I changed was the answer to What was the intent or manner of the injury?

The breakdown shows some rather interesting facts.  

  • Suicide is the largest single category, accounting for 56.7% of the deaths in 1998 due to firearms.  Now yes, it can be argued that if we restricted access to firearms, we'd have saved over 17000 people, until you realize that a lot of those people would likely have just found another method of committing suicide, but a firearm was seen as a fast and easy method.
  • Homicide is the next largest category, accounting for 38.4% of the deaths.  Speaking as someone who has family members who work in hospitals, people will find just about any way to kill someone if they want them dead.  Baseball bats, knives, cars, you name it, I've heard stories about trauma cases and emergency room admitances about it.  Seems to be especially prevalent during full moons...
  • Unintentional (accidental or negligent, depending on who you speak to, and I prefer negligent since it's very rare that a gun "just" goes off), legal intervention, and "undetermined" combined account for only 4.9% of the deaths in 1998 due to firearms, or 4.072 deaths per day.  Yes, this is still tragic.  There shouldn't be any "unintentional" deaths at all.  Ideally, there wouldn't be any undetermined deaths, some of which likely fall into each of the other categories.  And, in an ideal world, there wouldn't be any legal interventions necessary either.
The disparity between the US and Canada, while I haven't looked into the statistics for the Canadian numbers (but they have gun confiscation, as America's First Freedom, an NRA monthly publication, likes to point out quite often), are likely due to the population differences between the two countries.  If someone has the time or inclination to find these numbers, and preferably links, I would love for you to share them.

You could look at some of the other breakdowns, as well.  For example, I could easily state that there over 50 deaths/day due to poisonings (58.7% unintentional, 27.6% suicide), or that 86.5% of all drownings are unintentional (that's 4406), or that almost 120 people/day die due to motor vehicles (43647), but unless you actually bother to look into the breakdowns behind those numbers, and report on them especially if they don't support your argument, you're being intellectually dishonest.  This is what the anti-gun lobby is essentially guilty of when they throw out numbers like "84 people a day died in 1998 due to firearms".  

Now, we can also look at the numbers for 1999, but I'll leave that up to you.

--
"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." --H.L. Mencken
[ Parent ]

Population comparison. (5.00 / 1) (#243)
by degauss on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:55:36 PM EST

here are the numbers I'm using for population (1999). 30,491,000 canadians, 1 death every 5 days. 272,878,000 ustations, 420.66 deaths every 5 days. Thats 11% of the population vs. 0.2% of the gun related deaths.

[ Parent ]
not what the original poster was looking for (none / 0) (#606)
by Gumpzilla on Mon May 20, 2002 at 04:49:21 PM EST

The parent of this article suggested (or at least I interpreted it to suggest) that the population comparisons be made after you break it down into accidental deaths and non-accidental deaths. If you compare the rates then, it becomes ~5% as many gun deaths in Canada vs. 11% the population. Still a disparity, but nowhere near as large.

Of course, the data that we have been given for gun deaths in Canada has not been broken down in the same fashion. So that comparison isn't really fair either. I think it's hard to tell a priori if the approximate ratios for homicide, suicide and other are the same in Canada as here, so further research would be needed to check on that.

[ Parent ]
Wow, there *is* data (5.00 / 1) (#697)
by emag on Tue May 21, 2002 at 07:16:01 AM EST

It took a while to find it.  And it's not in a pretty format, but on page 16 there is data, albeit 1997 is the last year there's data.  Funny how this has gone from 1998 to 1999, and yet the only somewhat official data is from 1997.  Just to save people the time of having to load this and search through the PDF, the 1997 numbers are:

  • Accidents -- 45, or 0.123/day (5.20% of US1998)
  • Suicides -- 815, or 2.233/day (4.68% of US1998)
  • Homicides -- 156, or 0.427/day (1.32% of US1998)
  • Legal Intervention -- 9, or 0.025/day (2.96% of US1998)
  • Undetermined -- 12, or 0.033/day (3.80% of US1998)
  • Totals: 1037, or 2.841/day (3.38% of US1998)

Of course, the number of homicides from that PDF contradicts this chart for 1997's entry.  Using that number, 193, it's 0.529/day (1.64% of US1998), which brings the total to 1074 (2.94/day, or 3.50% of US1998).  It really makes me wonder about the accuracy of the numbers there.

Using the 1997 population of Canada (29,987,200) compared to the 1998 population of the US (just click submit) (270,248,003), we end up with Canada having approximately 11.1% of the population.

So we really can't compare raw numbers.  Instead, we really need to compare rates to the overall population of each country for the particular years we have data for.  Using these numbers, we can see the breakdown in more comparable terms as (using the terms in my original post, any intelligent person should be able to see the mapping, since they're almost the same):


  • Unintentional: US: 0.320, Canada: 0.150 (2.14x)
  • Homicide: US: 4.366, Canada: 0.520-0.644 (6.78x-8.39x)
  • Legal Intervention: US: 0.112, Canada: 0.030 (3.75x)
  • Suicide: US: 6.447, Canada: 2.718 (2.37x)
  • Undetermined: US: 0.117, Canada: 0.040 (2.92x)
  • Total: US: 11.36, Canada: 3.46-3.58 (3.17x-3.29x)

So, it's statistically about 3.23 times more "dangerous" to be in the US than Canada.  What would make these numbers even more interesting would be comparing them to the number of firearms in each country.  I've heard reports that there are some 220 million firearms in the US, or enough firearms to arm over 80% of the population.  I wish I had a reference to verify that with, as well as something more accurate than Table 1, page 3 of the above-mentioned report.  Although, the 1997 numbers claim a cumulative total of 1,204,998 registrations for "restricted weapons" (the caption: "SOURCE: RCMP: Annual Firearms Report to the Solicitor General of Canada" leads me to believe that a "restricted weapon" is a firearm--please correct me if I'm wrong, as I haven't lived in Canada since I was 4, and haven't spent enough time there in the intervening years to actually learn the definition), which is about 4% of the Canadian population.  So it could also be argued, based on the sheer numbers of firearms in each country, that Canada is significantly more dangerous.

--
"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." --H.L. Mencken
[ Parent ]

Ok, I see the population... (none / 0) (#687)
by emag on Tue May 21, 2002 at 06:03:03 AM EST

but I still don't see how you're getting 1 death by firearms every five days.  Especially when you happen to look at this page, where it seems there's a homicide by shooting ever other day (plus change).  In fact, for every year listed, just the homicides by shooting go from slightly more than double the rate you're claiming (0.414/day in 1998), to almost thrice the rate you're claiming (0.581/day in 1996), with the trend being an increase in 1999 and again in 2000.

So again, I'm afraid I need to ask where you're getting 1 death every 5 days, since even the numbers on the same site provided don't support that claim.

I'm also now curious about your percentages, since  your percentages also seem off by about 3 orders of magnitude.

--
"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." --H.L. Mencken
[ Parent ]

Only 32 deaths a day? Whew, I was worried... (none / 0) (#255)
by Demiurge on Sat May 18, 2002 at 04:51:33 PM EST

for a second there. It's a good thing that someone was only murdered in America by firearms every 45 minutes.

You can't ignore the suicide count either. Suicide rates are higher in households with guns. And while some of those suicides might have been carried out without guns, a significant number could have been prevented.

[ Parent ]
Why? (none / 0) (#342)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:41:02 AM EST

Yeah, it's bad that people wanted to kill themselves. But when it's gotten to the point of sticking a gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger, what's the point of trying to stop it?

By saving those wretched lives, we would have had to deprive what the most conservative estimates I've heard place at something over 60,000 people of a chance to defend themselves against an assailant with a firearm.

Doesn't seem quite rational to go to that effort to save someone who's going to probably try to off themselves, anyway, just to have more people screwed over by not being able to mount an effective defense against violence, when they themselves think their lives are worth keeping, does it?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

A deeper problem with statistics (none / 0) (#367)
by Alan Crowe on Sun May 19, 2002 at 07:00:45 AM EST

You have to decide what category to use for those killed by states gone bad. Were the 3000 killed in Chile by General Pinochet's regime lawfully killed. If not, were they killed by criminals? Would a right to bear arms and widespread gun ownership have meant that Pinochet's coup seemed unrealistic to its plotters and never took place, saving those lives?

What makes this important is that the numbers get real big. You could look south to Argentina for 20000 "disapeared" by the generals, or cross the Pacific for 2million killed by Pol Pot. Then there are 10 to 30 million lives lost in Stalin's dekulakisation and collectivisation of the farms. Similar numbers died under Mao with the agriculture disasters of the Great Leap Forward, enforced at bayonet point against un-armed peasants. I'm sure I'm forgetting one. Oh yes, it is the Turkish massacre of Armenians in 1919, that was another multi-millioner.

These numbers are so large as to be decisive. If you want to use statistics to argue for guns control, your initial methodological step is to subdivide the deaths of civilians in peace time into two categories, Napoleonic and Ordinary. You then discard the larger category, over the protests of those who believe it is central to the debate.

The formal structure mirrors that of the arguments over the safety of nuclear power. On the one hand we have a day-by-day drip feed of fatalities, on the other hand we have a terrible death toll, but only once every few centuries. In the gun debate it is the steady toll of ordinary gun crime versus the problem of states going bad and massacring their own citizens. In the case of nuclear power, it is the small but inevitable toll of fatalities in the coal mines and oil industries, versus the fear of a catastrophic failure of a reactor and its containment. Not even the most ardent proponent of nuclear power waves away concerns about reactor safety by saying: "We're Americans. It won't happen here." The nuclear power industry stands or falls on whether it can persuade the general public that it will not cause the great disaster that seems inherent in the technology. Doing international comparisons of deaths due to shootings, but leaving out the deaths of civilians massacred by their own governments is like doing international comparisons of the death rates of for electricity industries and leaving out Chernobyl because, well, um,...

Actually, the statistical mire over gun control is much deeper and boggier than that over nuclear power. The USA government is fighting a war on drugs other than alcohol. It lost the first war on drugs, 1919-1934, with the consequence that Americans today are free to drink alcohol. Many Americans see the prohibition of cannabis as just as misguided and tyrannical as the prohibition of alcohol. Meanwhile, many `gun' shootings could equally be called `drug' shootings, and they are a substantial fraction deaths due to firearms in the USA. The US government has a much harder time intruding into the lives of its citizens than do European governments, because unpopular laws are flouted, and in a country awash with guns, shootings rise. Is it legitimate to use these shootings as evidence in favour of gun control? In the 1930's, the violence associated with Prohibition was seen as evidence against Prohibition. The roar of the Thompson sub-machine gun was silenced by repealing the 19th amendment, not the 2nd. When contemporary statisticians include `drug' shootings in statistics for the gun control debate, they are taking a political stand, that the War On Drugs is legitimate, and consequently blame for the violence associated with it can be laid elsewhere. This is `participating in politics' not `doing science'.



[ Parent ]
Aside on Mao (5.00 / 1) (#693)
by streetlawyer on Tue May 21, 2002 at 06:46:47 AM EST

Similar numbers died under Mao with the agriculture disasters of the Great Leap Forward, enforced at bayonet point against un-armed peasants

However, Amartya Sen makes the uncomfortable point that the Great Leap Forward actually worked, and that Chinese agriculture has been able to support a far better lifestyle as a result. Starting from more or less equal footings at the beginning of the century, China's forced modernisation resulted in a much lower mortality rate by the 1970s. In fact, in terms of premature death, democratic India's failure to modernise agriculture has killed by now roughly twice as many people as the Great Leap Forward.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Horseshit (none / 0) (#596)
by trhurler on Mon May 20, 2002 at 04:30:34 PM EST

Even if guns were banned today, you'd still have tens of thousands of gun deaths yearly. Why? Because almost all of them are criminals shooting criminals, and criminals do not care whether it is legal to have a gun.

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

[ Parent ]
Bullshit. (1.20 / 20) (#120)
by Icehouseman on Fri May 17, 2002 at 09:09:23 PM EST

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. Wannabe intellectual tries to be smart and misses the target completely and becomes raving left-wing lunatic. What I got from this: Freedom is wrong.
----------------
Bush's $3 trillion state is allegedly a mark of "anti-government bias" on the right. -- Anthony Gregory
Oh? (5.00 / 2) (#134)
by carbon on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:08:59 PM EST

Even if you disagree with his opinions, you have to at least respect the amount of historical research that obviously went into this. That is, unless you can show evidence that it's faked or something like that...


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Simplistic, simplistic, simplistic (4.25 / 4) (#198)
by thebrix on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:28:18 AM EST

What always surprises me about a lot of political commentary by Americans is the Manichaean view: 'leftwing' versus 'rightwing', 'liberal' versus 'conservative'.

Life is more complex than that and such tags cheapen the argument, especially as they're often applied indiscriminately ...

[ Parent ]

If you say so (4.00 / 1) (#245)
by jolly st nick on Sat May 18, 2002 at 03:20:52 PM EST

But I put my argument out there honestly so that anyone can take issue with it. Where's yours?

If being up front with my point of view makes me a "Wannabe intellectual", well, so be it.

Also, I believe I can call any of the fair minded gun advocates who've participated in this discussion to vouch that I don't believe "Freedom is wrong." I've tried to treat their positions with respect and fair consideration, and by in large have received the same treatment from them.

So there for the doubters who say we can't have a mature discussion about this topic. Although it may be fair to say that you can't have a mature discussion without some idiots showing up.

[ Parent ]

Gun ownership.. (4.25 / 4) (#126)
by Sc00tz on Fri May 17, 2002 at 09:37:39 PM EST

Well, growing up in a family of people that like to hunt, and having a friend who's dad was a gunsmith I have an interesting view. Plus with the age difference between me and my brothers (11 years) I've seen the biggest changes.

When my brother was in highschool it was VERY common for them to have pickups with gunracks and go hunting after school.. this would NEVER EVER fly today. Just in those past 11 years there has been so much of a change it's amazing.

Do I currently own a gun? no. Will I, probably...

Being one that's grown up with guns sitting in a den that is very easily accessable may seem scary to some of you, but I always knew that they were not toys. Sure, I had toy guns, but I knew the difference. When I got older I had a bb gun, then got a 22, and a shotgun, I was taught to use them and respect them.

I want to take a gun training class and get a licence to carry. Will I ever carry concieled? Probably not, but having the license would be nice in case I ever felt the need.

The thing is right now there are TONS of guns in the US, and the US government, even if they wanted to get rid of them all never would be able to. I know plenty of people that have hand guns and rifles long before anybody ever kept a record of such a thing. Between that and private sales it would be next to impossible to get them all..

I strongly feel that there should be licensing for firearms. ANY kind, be it hand gun, rifle, for hunting, sport, or home protection. But I feel that I should be able to get a gun.
-- http://scootz.net/~travis

WHY? (1.40 / 5) (#155)
by Demiurge on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:13:29 AM EST

Your little anecdotes have sure warmed my heart, but WHY do you think we should be able to acquire guns?

[ Parent ]
why? (none / 0) (#171)
by Greyshade on Sat May 18, 2002 at 05:06:59 AM EST

Why should you be able to aquire a knife, bat, pole, bow, car, airplane, etc? You have given no basis for your apparent belief that people should not be able to aquire guns. I can only assume it is because 'guns kill people' or 'guns are weapons'. The day you show me a gun that can kill a person with no outside intervention, I will step behind you and call for regulation of that device. You are still required to aquire the gun, aquire ammunition, load the gun with the ammunition, disengage the safety mechanism, point the gun at a person, and operate the firing mechanism. That's a good deal of preparation to commit a crime. (assuming you have no legally substantial reason for firing a gun at said person)

[ Parent ]
Guns kill over 30,000 people a year. (none / 0) (#254)
by Demiurge on Sat May 18, 2002 at 04:41:46 PM EST

How many deaths can be attributed to knives, or bows?

[ Parent ]
thats a good question. (5.00 / 1) (#272)
by rebelcool on Sat May 18, 2002 at 06:58:36 PM EST

why dont you do some research about how many stabbing deaths occur?

Be sure to exclude things like self-defense.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

re: why? (none / 0) (#286)
by paelon on Sat May 18, 2002 at 09:46:38 PM EST

what possible function can a gun serve -except- for killing things, or injuring them? theres the difference between a gun and most of the things you list.

[ Parent ]
I repeat.... (none / 0) (#323)
by Greyshade on Sun May 19, 2002 at 03:21:08 AM EST

The crux of your arguement is 'guns kill people'. However the gun is only a tool, it must be USED to kill a person.

How does my not owning a gun stop people from getting killed, and what stops me from using some other means to kill someone if I don't happen to have a gun?

[ Parent ]

a bomb... (none / 0) (#790)
by paelon on Wed May 22, 2002 at 02:52:36 PM EST

is a tool in much the same way as a gun is a tool. Bombs must be USED to kill someone, so why aren't they legal?

I was merely answering your incredibly fascetious question. And an accurate quote of what I said would be 'guns have no use other than to kill/injure things', not 'guns kill people'. Please don't put words in my mouth.

If you couldn't own a gun, how would you go about killing someone? Would you stab them? Would you bash their head in with a baseball bat? I'd say a large percentage of people could not bring themselves to kill someone with a bat or a knife, but could easily do it (either on purpose, or by accident) with a gun.

Inability to dissasociate yourself from murder is what stops you from using other means to kill someone.

[ Parent ]

Personal Defense (none / 0) (#610)
by mmealman on Mon May 20, 2002 at 05:05:42 PM EST

Why should a cop be allowed to carry a gun?

Or, why should women be limited by their physical strength to defend themselves?

[ Parent ]
Guns elsewhere. (4.55 / 9) (#128)
by arcus on Fri May 17, 2002 at 09:45:06 PM EST

I come from a country which has a very high incidence of gun ownership, but a very low incidence of gun related deaths. One might want to conclude that this is proof of the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" maxim, but such a conclusion would be simplistic. The essential differences between New Zealand and the States I think would be as follows.

Firstly, and I think most importantly, the attitude towards guns is completely different. Guns are used for sports -- hunting and target shooting -- or for pest control. They are not considered tools of personal defence . That's what the police is there for. As a result, in the case of city folk at any rate, guns are stowed (by law, and I think this is generally adhered to) in a locked cabinet in the attic, not under the bed or under the counter.

Secondly, handguns are quite illegal. This helps maintain the first point.

Thirdly, the licensing laws are resonably strict, sticter than most parts of the States I understand.

The result of all this is that guns are very uncommon on the streets, and the police can afford to treat gun-related incidents as very serious.

I think the States has a very unfortunate circumstance with regard to guns. Even if there weren't scores of people treating it as a God-given right to own whatever weaponry they could physically carry with less inconvenience than is normally accrued by people wishing to own dogs or cars, there still remains the fact that there are just many people armed in America... which makes others feel like they also need to be armed.

I don't envy your situation at all.

Are you sure? (5.00 / 1) (#220)
by Bad Mojo on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:48:58 PM EST

"[Guns] are not considered tools of personal defence . That's what the police is there for."

Does this mean that in your country, I can sue the police if something happens to me and they did not protect me? From your statement, it seems that people in your country rely soley on any protection to come from the police.

In the US, police are not held responsible for the personal defense of every person inside the country. Sure, the police try very hard to keep criminals from causing personal harm, but they can't be everywhere all the time. Hence the need for individuals to protect themselves from criminals.

No matter what stance you take on guns in society, it is WRONG to deny any FREE individual the right to defend themselves.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]

English situation (4.50 / 2) (#228)
by thebrix on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:02:36 PM EST

(The same argument almost certainly applies to Scotland)

This is a periodically controversial issue, particularly the notion of 'proportionate defence'. What is crystal clear is that there is no absolute right to self-defence; an excellent summary explains the law better than I could.

As ever with English law the current situation is built up by precedent (an accumulation of judgements in previous cases). The rationale, I presume, is that, if there was an absolute right to self-defence, the criminal would carefully pick his chances and get in first to make sure there was no possibility of self-defence at all ...

[ Parent ]

Self Defense (5.00 / 2) (#233)
by Bad Mojo on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:17:36 PM EST

The link you provided actually lists the same three rules used in my state in the US for self defense. The third rule for defining self defense is a proportionate response. An individual who intends to defend himself but is deprived the right to wield a proportionate defense against a gun-toting robber is essentially denied self defense by the law.

If you are threatened, the rules that determine what you can do are perfectly required, in my opinion. But, when your legal system denies an individual with the right to respond proportionatly to a threat by limiting your responses, the third rule of self defense is toothless.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]

self defense... (5.00 / 1) (#248)
by arcus on Sat May 18, 2002 at 03:44:29 PM EST

Firstly, when I said "guns aren't considered tools of personal defense" that not only represents the legal situation, but the common attitude towards them. Most New Zealanders (and, I believe, most members of developed nations apart from the States) would never even think of getting a gun for personal defence.

Also, I think you have to see this in terms of what's best in general. What's best for you for personal defense is to be the only person carrying a gun in the entire country. Obviously, that's not going to happen, because if you can get a gun so can everyone else, likely as not.

The second best thing is to not have a gun in a society where no-one has guns. That way, you run the risk of getting knived, perhaps, but not shot. It's easier to run from knives and people than it is from bullets.

This is the situation that the commonwealth countries try and enforce and provide. The idea is that there just aren't any "gun-toting robbers", so you don't have the right to defend yourself against them. It's not perfect, of course, as sometimes people do get hold of handguns or use their longarms for illitimate perfect, but I think the figures speak for themselves. Here, for example, cites the US as having 14.24 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people, NZ as having 2.38, and England and Wales 0.41. This was in 1994. I gather it's kinda rare for robbers or whatever to actually cary firearms. There's not much point, as whoever you're robbing is unlikely to have them, and you just get into ever so much more trouble with the police.

The third option, of course, is to be in a situation where everyone , more or less, has guns. Then, as I said before, you have a difficult situation on your hands.

I personally think it's preferable to forgo any 'right' I may have to bear deadly weaponry knowing that it's much less likely I'd ever be in a situation where I'd ever need it. It's not as if having a gun makes me immune from bullets... better to just avoid the situation altogether.

[ Parent ]

Re: Self Defense (4.50 / 2) (#281)
by Bad Mojo on Sat May 18, 2002 at 09:18:44 PM EST

"Also, I think you have to see this in terms of what's best in general. What's best for you for personal defense is to be the only person carrying a gun in the entire country."

This is true. And obviously, we can't each be the one person with all the power. Being equals is important.

"The second best thing is to not have a gun in a society where no-one has guns. That way, you run the risk of getting knived, perhaps, but not shot. It's easier to run from knives and people than it is from bullets."

But you can't have a society without guns. So this is idealic and not realistic.

"The third option, of course, is to be in a situation where  everyone , more or less, has guns. Then, as I said before, you have a difficult situation on your hands."

No different than everyone having knives, swords, blowguns, crossbows, bows, or throwing knives. If you're going to legally give individuals the right to defend themselves with proportional force, you can not deny them that right by not allowing them to equip themselves with what criminals might threaten their life with.

(And, while I'm at it, I'll point out that no specific numbers you provide will do anything. They are useless in an argument of this sort. There are hundreds of reports out there on gun related issues and their numbers are often used in a thousand different ways to prove a wide variety of points.)

The net result here is that criminals will have guns. Individuals should be able to respond as a last resort in equal measure to threats on their life. Therefore, individuals must have the right to own guns. It's that simple.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]

Re: Self Defense (4.00 / 1) (#285)
by paelon on Sat May 18, 2002 at 09:36:43 PM EST

If you're going to legally give individuals the right to defend themselves with proportional force, you can not deny them that right by not allowing them to equip themselves with what criminals might threaten their life with.

Criminals might threaten your life with -anything-. They might use handguns, a concealed knife, or a syringe filled with tainted blood. This leads to the conclusion that you should be allowed to equip yourself with anything, which is clearly not the case, even in the states.

The net result here is that criminals will have guns. Individuals should be able to respond as a last resort in equal measure to threats on their life. Therefore, individuals must have the right to own guns. It's that simple.

In an anal sort of way, your conclusion is not the net result of what you stated before it. To play the devils advocate, from the criminals perspective, if it can be assumed that someone you are robbing will have a firearm, you would be stupid to attempt to rob them without a gun. Therefore, if you commit a crime you must bring a gun. It's a vicious cycle, which feeds on itself.

I should note however, that I really believe there is no easy answer to the firearms problem. Theres something to be said about the fact that everybody in Switzerland has guns, but the US has the highest rate of gun related crime. (blah blah blah statistics are useless blah blah blah)

[ Parent ]

True. (none / 0) (#311)
by Bad Mojo on Sun May 19, 2002 at 01:17:29 AM EST

I'll admit that some items are certainly off limits. Especially items that a typical person could not properly take care of or responsibly use decisivly (nuclear weapons for example). But, I see no problem with allowing citizens to equip themselves with any kind of weapon that may reasonably be used against them in a criminal manor. Obviously my wording leaves room for judgement based on the situation and the fact that I realize that the definition of a weapon (lethal or not) will change over time.

As for the cycle you refered to, there are other variables that intervene. Just because law abiding citizens are allowed to carry guns, does not mean that all of them will. Obviously, law enforcement does still try to eleminate illegal gun sales and ownership. And carrying a concealed weapon legally in every US state I know of requires that you not be a convicted felon, sane, fingerprinted, background checked, etc. Just because you allow individuals to carry weapons and defend themselves doesn't mean you have to up and let guns fall from the sky like rain into the hands of willing criminals.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]

granting the right to bear arms (4.00 / 1) (#314)
by arcus on Sun May 19, 2002 at 01:59:56 AM EST

Quite frankly, I think the rest of the developed world would be idiots to follow your advice. Why in the world, in a country like New Zealand where guns are common --- my own family has two or three, IIRC --- and gun related deaths are rare because of features I've mentioned earlier, would we want to jeapodize that situation by saying "OK, some tiny percentage of criminals which you will probably never see have concealed hand guns, so now you can have them too."?

As paleon pointed out, assuming people actually excercised their right, this would have the inevitable consequence of all criminals being armed, rather than few of them which is the case currently. Both because they'd have to assume that their intended victims were armed, and because handguns would be much more easily obtained and posession would not be a prosecutable offence.

I wouldn't grant people a right that they currently don't possess with strong suspicions that it would just result in more people getting shot.

[ Parent ]

Heh. (none / 0) (#382)
by Bad Mojo on Sun May 19, 2002 at 10:14:37 AM EST

If you've read all the past discussion and still arrive at this conclusion ... oh well.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]
but... (none / 0) (#791)
by paelon on Wed May 22, 2002 at 02:59:07 PM EST

But, I see no problem with allowing citizens to equip themselves with any kind of weapon that may reasonably be used against them in a criminal manor.

Brass knuckles? Butterfly knives? Switchblades? You see no problem with allowing citizens to equip themselves with these weapons? Somehow the idea of 250million people all carrying around spring loaded knives doesn't strike me as safe.

[ Parent ]

Heheh... (none / 0) (#801)
by beergut on Wed May 22, 2002 at 03:49:29 PM EST

Well, since these things are already banned in most places, criminals don't have them either, right?

Oops.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Oops? (none / 0) (#873)
by paelon on Mon May 27, 2002 at 08:43:17 AM EST

My comment was about the stupidity of justifying gun ownership because of proportional retribution. It seems as though you may have missed some of my points, or misinterpreted what I've written. Please read comments more carefully before replying to them.

[ Parent ]
Self defence against what? (none / 0) (#464)
by Pseudonym on Sun May 19, 2002 at 10:00:22 PM EST

If you're going to legally give individuals the right to defend themselves with proportional force, you can not deny them that right by not allowing them to equip themselves with what criminals might threaten their life with.

To understand the reductio ad absurdum problem here, ask yourself how you'd defend yourself against a criminal with a hijacked plane aimed at your building.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
It would be nice if... (none / 0) (#473)
by beergut on Mon May 20, 2002 at 12:12:15 AM EST

... citizens were armed with, say, 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistols with frangible ammo when boarding a plane.

Now, there is nobody pointing a plane at your building.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

You're right... (none / 0) (#475)
by Pseudonym on Mon May 20, 2002 at 01:21:33 AM EST

Instead, all four planes are in pieces and on fire on the ground. If you're lucky, they're in unpopulated fields. So are many other planes which were not hijacked.

Still, it doesn't address the main point which is: there is no proportional response for an average citizen faced with a plane aimed at your building.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Sure there is ... (none / 0) (#514)
by Bad Mojo on Mon May 20, 2002 at 09:33:34 AM EST

"Still, it doesn't address the main point which is: there is no proportional response for an average citizen faced with a plane aimed at your building."

Yes, there is. Anti-aircraft guns, surface-to-air missiles, etc. Is that not proportional?

http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2002/5/17/134724/165/311#311

-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]

Crystal Clear? (none / 0) (#609)
by mmealman on Mon May 20, 2002 at 05:02:45 PM EST

No laws about self defense can be crystal clear.

In fact, many states in the US have similar 'proportionate defence' laws, but that law has nothing to do with firearms. And firearms aren't about absolute rights, they're about reasonable rights.

Is it reasonable for a private citizen to own a gun for defense? There are valid arguements on both sides. Because current non-lethal defense technology is unrealiable, I tend to side with gun ownership.

[ Parent ]
A Commonwealth commonality (4.00 / 1) (#222)
by thebrix on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:50:46 PM EST

Don't know about Canada, but it would seem from comments that Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have similar approaches.

On gun-related incidents being rare and treated as 'very serious', if someone here is suspected of having committed a gun-related crime the secondary offence of carrying a (invariably unlicenced or stolen) firearm is proving useful if there's not enough evidence to prosecute the primary offence (usually murder); the sentences have been enormously increased in the past few years.

There has been considerable fuss in the past couple of years over 'black-on-black' crime with all sorts of ramifications such as someone being sent for from the West Indies to kill someone in the United Kingdom. From reports, it seems that the authorities are gradually getting on top of the problem through surveillance, getting those suspected convicted and put in prison for 10 or 12 years for carrying a firearm then deporting them at the end of their sentence. Proving murder is much more difficult as witnesses and other people in the know tend to stay silent.

(I'm talking of a few dozen cases a year; these are the only really significant gun crimes in the United Kingdom at the moment).

[ Parent ]

Guns don't kill people, cities do (4.11 / 9) (#142)
by Pseudoephedrine on Fri May 17, 2002 at 10:37:14 PM EST

It's a hypothesis of mine I've been toying with lately that the number of gun-deaths in any particular area of the earth is correlates more closely to population density than to gun-control laws. The anecdotal American examples I can give of this are pre-Giuliani New York and modern Los Angeles. Both states (California and New York, respectively) have very strict gun-control laws, but between them, supply a disproportionately large percentage of all murders in the U.S., not to mention amongst their home states. High population density in those cities, strong gun-control, high gun-death totals.

On the other hand, the Swiss, as the infamous counter-example of low gun deaths to gun ownership, have a very low population density, mandate that every male of conscription age own a gun, and have a very low rate of gun-death.

In fact, until the first third of the 20th century, America also had a very low gun-death count. Dodge City, the infamous outpost of the wild west, where one would expect gun-fights left and right if one believed westerns, had an average murder count of _2_ per year. This began to change as America urbanised after world war one, changing from what had previously been a primarily agricultural nation into a fully industrialised modern state.

As another example of a metropolis with high murder rates is London, where guns are banned, leaving local criminals to rely upon knives, hot irons, baseball bats and anything else they can get their hands on. Interestingly enough, you're more likely to be assaulted or strangled to death in England than in America.

The founding fathers of the constitution came from a primarily agricultural society, with a very low population density and plenty of room for everyone to live in relative peace and harmony.

A concurrent hypothesis I'm throwing around is also that urbanised/densely populated nations tend to (need to?) limit the freedoms of their citizens moreso than less populated ones. But, I'm still gathering evidence on that one, though it seems fairly obvious to some extent.

Oh, and on a totally unrelated sidenote, pikes were still a weapon of war for miltias and armies into the mid 19th century. British sergeants during the War of 1812 carried them as an insignia of rank, and also to ward off charging units of riflemen. The short-lived rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada was armed with a mixture of pikes and rifles and whatever else. The Polish cavalry units in World War 1 still used lances.

And of course, cutlasses and sabres live on into the modern day, being wielded by naval officers as insignia of rank, but with a keen enough blade to still do some serious damage if hit with one.
"We who have passed through their hands feel suffocated when we think of that legion, which is stripped bare of human ideals" -Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Density and murders (3.00 / 3) (#173)
by Betcour on Sat May 18, 2002 at 05:27:52 AM EST

While I think density is indeed linked to crime rate (at least because to kill someone you need to find someone to kill first...) it is not always true : Japan has very high density, yet low crime rate. There are other factors to crime rate : poverty (if you have what you want and need, then no need to rob anybody), social structures (broken families, loose control of kids, and you can probably throw TV violence as well in the mix) etc.

[ Parent ]
Check out this Essay (none / 0) (#211)
by dasunt on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:55:13 PM EST

"O Rotten Gotham - Sliding Down Into the Behavioral Sink" by Tom Wolfe

[ Parent ]
History (4.16 / 6) (#154)
by n8f8 on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:01:37 AM EST

How many times do we need to see history repeating itself before we learn?
"Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end...liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition...The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to to govern. Every class is unfit to govern...Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Lord Acton (1834-1902)

If you take this for truth, then the logical solution is to divide power among the populace as much as possible.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)

The Realities of the US (4.50 / 22) (#159)
by DarkZero on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:36:55 AM EST

I've seen a lot of people here, as well as in other K5 discussions that have mentioned guns, say things like "Guns aren't for personal defense; that's what police are for" or mention the crime statistics of densely populated countries like Japan. I must conclude that these people are either not from the United States or are from densely populated areas of the United States, such as cities and suburbs. I know this may come as a shock to some people, but not everywhere in the United States has a large, active, well equipped police force that can protect the populace whenever necessary.

Try going out to the more rural areas of the United States some time. Y'know, the ones you brush aside when you pepper your gun control argument with jokes about "gun nuts", "rednecks", and "inbreds". In these sorts of places where Second Amendment rights are cherished and fiercely protected, they're not just protected because of some sort of religious fanaticism about guns. In these places, guns are a serious requirement for defense.

Every year, I vacation in an area of Maine that's not the sort of resort town, vacation spot, or amusement park that most Americans choose to vacation to. It's a fairly quiet area that's adequately populated, but lacks any kind of police force. The closest "police force" (term used loosely) is one police car that is usually either an hour or an hour and a half away from the town, depending on what side of the large area he usually patrols he is in. In the event of being attacked in these places, dialing 911 will get a coroner in a few hours, but little more than that. The police aren't going to get the call, drive a couple of blocks, and be at your home in time to save you. And it gets even worse than that in the winter. In the winter, there simply aren't any police at all. The single cop in the area MIGHT be able to get across the bridge in a week or so if the snow lets up, but it often doesn't, and several towns are left without any kind of formal law enforcement for about three to four months out of the year.

In these places, the Second Amendment isn't a "holdover from colonialism". It's not outdated, it's not pointless, and isn't the product of uneducated fanatics. It's an essential right that allows people to protect themselves, as well as offering them the somewhat frivolous joys of hunting, sport shooting, and the like. Many of the people here, as well as in almost all discussions about gun control in the United States, assume that the United States is an urbanized, over-populated country like Japan, where the police are swarms of armed men that can respond to any call within a minute. That assumption is absolutely false. There are many extremely rural areas of the United States across the country, from New England to parts of Pennsylvania and into very large parts of the south, which has a much lower population than the Northeast to begin with. I don't think I even have to spend time describing the Midwest, as it is well known that many parts of it are large stretches of farmland.

The police are answer to almost any violent conflict in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and other large cities. However, large cities are the majority of the United States. They're rare things that pop up, at most, once in each state. When you're talking about federal laws that will effect everyone within all fifty states in the US, you really have to include the rural areas in the debate.

Similar to what I was talking about (4.50 / 8) (#160)
by Pseudoephedrine on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:55:04 AM EST

It's fairly well-established now that the majority of liberals are urbanites, or from densely populated areas such as Europe, Japan and the North-eastern seaboard of the US. In fact, if one takes that infamous 'blue-red' map of the US and breaks it down to voting districts, you see that in fact, what Gore got was not even the geographic majority of any particular state, but the majority of major cities in the US.

As I mentioned below, it's a hypothesis I'm working through right now that people in large cities and densely populated areas want more government regulation concerning human interaction because they are forced to interact more with other people unwillingly. Out in the country, if I wish to smoke marijuana while buggering my brother with a machine-gun (somehow I know this is going to end up quoted out of context in someone's sig), there's no one for ten or twenty miles around to bother by it. I only _have_ to associate regularly with people I agree with, fellow incestuous pothead machinegun-wielding pederasts. By contrast, in a city, I am forced to walk on a street where I am accosted by vagrants, pestered by advertisers and their handiwork, am barely able to control my own movements (try telling me you're free to walk where you want and then stepping out onto a high-way or subway track).

Humans gain a certain amount of comfort from being able to control their psychological and physical environment, and a certain amount of rage and frustration from being unable to. When population density is low, it's easier to control those environments because competition with other people is less common, and less heated. When population density is high, it's harder to do both, and as a result of the struggle to control that space, competition is more heated and common.

In short, people in cities get more pissed off. As a result, they're less able to act in a reasonable manner towards their fellow man (the politeness of countryfolk is well-documented, as is the rudeness of say, New Yorkers).

To put it another way (as I probably should have in the first place, saving you all reading this long rant), people in cities are probably too emotionally unstable to be trusted with weapons, while people out in the country are stable enough to be able to act responsibily with them - admitting that these are rough generalisations in both cases.

-Seraph
"We who have passed through their hands feel suffocated when we think of that legion, which is stripped bare of human ideals" -Alexander Solzhenitsyn
[ Parent ]

out of context sigs (none / 0) (#183)
by wiredog on Sat May 18, 2002 at 08:35:23 AM EST

Like mine...

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
Well then (1.33 / 6) (#188)
by mami on Sat May 18, 2002 at 09:23:53 AM EST

In these places, the Second Amendment isn't a "holdover from colonialism". It's not outdated, it's not pointless, and isn't the product of uneducated fanatics. It's an essential right that allows people to protect themselves, as well as offering them the somewhat frivolous joys of hunting, sport shooting, and the like. Many of the people here, as well as in almost all discussions about gun control in the United States, assume that the United States is an urbanized, over-populated country like Japan, where the police are swarms of armed men that can respond to any call within a minute. That assumption is absolutely false. There are many extremely rural areas of the United States across the country, from New England to parts of Pennsylvania and into very large parts of the south, which has a much lower population than the Northeast to begin with. I don't think I even have to spend time describing the Midwest, as it is well known that many parts of it are large stretches of farmland.

If that kind of argument is a justification for the continuous support of the second amendment, I would answer like this way: The same people, who are so emphatically protect their gun rights, should as emphatically admit that the US is no superpower at all.

If you can't even protect your own population in rural areas from being completely neglected if not abused, why should we international urbanites believe the US is such a competent super power to begin with?

[ Parent ]

Superpower? (4.50 / 2) (#194)
by DarkZero on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:16:32 AM EST

The government and the military are what people are referring to when they call the United States a "superpower", and with the political, economic, and military power that they have, they probably deserve the title. However, they have relatively little to do with state and town governments that put other priorities ahead of law enforcement. The micro-management of law enforcement is a local government matter in all cases but martial law.

And besides, in the sort of places I'm talking about, the current system is WORKING. There's extremely little crime and even less successful crime, probably due to the fact that almost everyone has a gun. Large cities have to continually pump up their law enforcement budgets because of their crime problems, dense populations, and the ghettoes that inevitably surround any heavily populated area. Small towns, which do not have the same sorts of problems or the same sorts of people (read: unarmed citizens that rely entirely on the local government), would rather spend a few thousand dollars on forest restoration, education, or budget surpluses for economic emergencies instead of law enforcement.

[ Parent ]

hmm (2.00 / 2) (#217)
by mami on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:34:00 PM EST

where I am living it doesn't feel like it is working. I am close to two cities that have extremely high rates of crimes. In between them there are rural areas, which are not at all densely populated and by no means as economically depressed as many rural areas in the Carolinas or the Mid-West might be.

The activists, who engage in politically motivated hate crimes, are more prevalent in the rural and suburban areas than in the city ghetto areas. Drug related crimes are more prevalent in the city ghetto areas.

Domestic violence crimes (men who shoot their (ex)-wives/lovers and their children) and what I would call "snapping out"-crimes of people, who just can't bear their lives anymore (random shootings of people who lost their jobs and go back to kill their employers etc.) are not clearly attached to a certain rural or urban area. They happen anywhere.

Where I live people are as afraid of the police as they are of criminals. The police is dangerous because they are overly anxious and aggressive and shooting too fast (because they are scared to death themselves about the arms the criminals might have). The criminals are dangerous, as their shootings are randomly and uncalculable, be it that they are related to hate, drug, theft or rape crimes.

On my campus, women don't walk alone anymore to their cars on parking lots after six o'clock and avoid it as much as they can during day-time hours, women don't jog alone through parks.

Neighborhood watch programs don't work. You can't protect yourself from people who engage in crimes, because they are emotionally unstable. The people, who are unstable, are your neighbors themselves or your own family members.

So, if I want my peace, where do you suggest I should live? In Montana? Why would you need a gun in Montana, if it would be so safe?

I lived in Italy. I can go out twelve o'clock at night, walk through any neighborhood and not fear to be shot or raped. I didn't need a gun there. Italy (in the American mind set) is a much poorer country than the US, so the Americans would logically expect to have higher crime rates there, right?

So, explain to me, why this logic doesn't add up. I can't have the same freedom of walking around without fear in the US like the freedoms I enjoyed in Italy. Ever thought about why that might be?

[ Parent ]

point by point (4.50 / 2) (#221)
by rebelcool on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:49:15 PM EST

First of all, while lower socioeconomic status tends to have higher crime rates, it tends to be against those of higher status. If you have a group of poor people, they're about as likely to commit a crime against each other as a group of wealthier people are against each other. The type of crime also varies based on status (as you can imagine, its more white-collar the higher you go) In the poor appalachian areas, its almost universal poverty. But they also have stronger family and neighbor ties.

However the highest factor in crime is by far alienation. Besides the urban alienation that the every city in the world deals with, the US still has remnants of racial alienation. (You may recall the inner-city were ghettoized following WWII by the 'white flight' into the suburbs. It was another 20 years before civil rights would make the resulting racism against these areas illegal) These are on the decline however, and so is the violent crime rate.

The rest of world, particularly europe, has a much more homogenized culture in its urban locales. Perhaps its no surprise that many cities in Europe are beginning to face similar issues, for example, with Turks in germany or asian race riots in the UK.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

to the point (none / 0) (#247)
by mami on Sat May 18, 2002 at 03:33:53 PM EST

In the poor appalachian areas, its almost universal poverty. But they also have stronger family and neighbor ties.

So, what happens, if you put two impoverished, but ethnically different populations together? In the Appalachian areas do you have white and black poor people living side by side without getting against each other?

(You may recall the inner-city were ghettoized following WWII by the 'white flight' into the suburbs. It was another 20 years before civil rights would make the resulting racism against these areas illegal) These are on the decline however, and so is the violent crime rate.

I am getting confused here. The civil rights movement made which kind of racism against what kind of areas illegal? The crimes in the inner city (left-over from 'white flight' and burned down inner city quarters during the civil rights movement) areas are almost completely drug, gang and domestic violence related, and are not anymore racially motivated.

Aryan nation kind of types don't come into these inner city areas and kill blacks. If there are ethnically motivated crimes in those areas, they are between new immigrants, Asian and Latin American gangs, and Afro-Americans, drug and theft related. I don't see these crimes going down, do you?

Now, in these recent days, suburbia is full of immigrant and afro-american folks, and the inner cities' ghettoes are being 'revitalized', block by block, one at a time. Thus the remaining old ghetto poor population is driven out of those areas as well.

I have no idea, where they are going to live, because suburbia is too expensive for them and they are not welcomed in white rural areas. I don't see where they will go to and where they would find work. So, I don't see any decline of upcoming "mental health"-related crimes either.

Perhaps it's no surprise that many cities in Europe are beginning to face similar issues, for example, with Turks in germany or asian race riots in the UK.

Sure, but usually we wouldn't want those potential social and ethnical hot spots 'cure' by feeding the wrong emotions among the neo-nazi youth and allowing them to arm themselves. They are the onew, who incite unrest in those areas. The last thing you would want is to arm them on purpose. You gotta be kidding.

AFAI remember the Turks, among themselves, (aside from clear isolated political assassinations among their own political fractions on German soil) never murder or attack any Germans. They also don't kill themselves because of poverty related issues. They simply work and go after their business in their living quarters and send their money home to their extended families or they save to open up a business in their homeland. Actually, the Germans have nice new food markets because of them, I wouldn't want to miss them.

[ Parent ]

study your sociology. (none / 0) (#269)
by rebelcool on Sat May 18, 2002 at 06:47:16 PM EST

So, what happens, if you put two impoverished, but ethnically different populations together? In the Appalachian areas do you have white and black poor people living side by side without getting against each other?

Hooray, you're beginning to see my point. Strife is caused by diversity. However, as diversity becomes more common and racism wanes (no, its not gone yet. but compared to 50 years ago, much improvement has been made), so will violent crime. In fact, thats been the pattern for the past couple of decades.

The civil rights movement made which kind of racism against what kind of areas illegal? The crimes in the inner city (left-over from 'white flight' and burned down inner city quarters during the civil rights movement) areas are almost completely drug, gang and domestic violence related, and are not anymore racially motivated.

You are looking at the surface. Following the white flight, racist politicians had little regard for improving the education and economic opportunities for the inner cities. It is the legacy of ignoring and forgetting these parts (coupled with the initial poverty there brought on by racism) that has led to a vicious cycle of poverty and violence. Following civil rights movement, it was no longer legal to do so, and nowadays racist rhetoric is no longer acceptable in the mainstream. It is a long road out of hell, but considerable improvement has been made. Today, inner city children face far more opportunity than in the past. There is a lot of work that remains though.


COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

ok (none / 0) (#273)
by mami on Sat May 18, 2002 at 07:02:09 PM EST

It is a long road out of hell, but considerable improvement has been made.

Apparently I didn't know how long that road must have been, because what you see as improvement, I see as stagnation. I am trying to see that more optimistically next time I think about it.

[ Parent ]

This makes no sense. (5.00 / 1) (#219)
by rebelcool on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:38:59 PM EST

First of all, its not an issue of governance. It's an issue of the united states having vastly more land than people to fill it. It's not physically possible to officially police every acre. Especially when you get in the rural areas where there are thousands of acres where not a soul dwells. Instead you have small groups of people, whom from time to time must protect themselves against whatever misfortune happens upon them.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Not only that, (none / 0) (#349)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:25:57 AM EST

but many of us would have it no other way.

I, personally, after having lived in da 'hood for a while, find living in the country so much more peaceful that it's almost made me giddy from time to time.

If I were forced to live in a place where governance was so tight that police could be there to stop a crime as it happened, I would probably be a criminal, having shot, stabbed, hanged, drawn, quartered, burned at the stake, beaten to death, disemboweled and eaten my neighbors because they drove me nuckin' futs.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

allergic to police officers? (none / 0) (#418)
by mami on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:26:58 PM EST

If I were forced to live in a place where governance was so tight that police could be there to stop a crime as it happened, I would probably be a criminal, having shot, stabbed, hanged, drawn, quartered, burned at the stake, beaten to death, disemboweled and eaten my neighbors because they drove me nuckin' futs.

Are you allergic to police officers doing their job? They cause you to be a criminal? Where did you get your clearance to carry a gun around? It's very reassuring to know how well the "personal background checks" work to let only emotionally balanced people carry a gun.

I advise you to get a nice dog. First of all he will be your best friend and one always need one. You can teach him to sniff explosives. That way you could help your neighborhood to watch out for kids, who feel it's necessary to stuff rural area's mailboxes with pipe-bombs. See, you don't need a gun to really protect your family from kiddie-lunatics. Using a bit of brain tissue does do the job quite nicely and it's considered much cooler (by the ladies if you know what I mean).

[ Parent ]

Hardly. (none / 0) (#438)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:43:20 PM EST

When I lived in the inner city ghetto, the cops I talked to were pretty damned good people. They advised me, among other things, "If you have to pop someone on the street, drag him in your house and put a knife in his hands." Another friend was advised, "If someone breaks in, put two slugs in him, and one in the ceiling."

The cops there were all for private gun ownership. They knew that people would use these things to defend themselves when the police could not be there. The cops there were on the ball, and had to put up with a lot of bullshit in their line of work. They were genuinely pleased when someone actually took the time to talk to them and show them some basic human respect. One of them I showed my little shotgun to was keen on getting one like it for himself.

Think of this, though: A cop might be able to reach the scene of a crime (assault, robbery, whatever) in five minutes. A bullet can arrive on the scene, and solve the whole problem, in .002 seconds. Which is more likely to help you out when you really need it?

I have a nice dog, and he was my primary line of home defense when I lived in the city. Nobody broke into my house, because my dog liked to stand in the window and watch the neighborhood. He's much happier living in the country, by the way.

My problem living in the city was the constant barrage of bullshit, not from the cops, who I have already said were decent enough, but from the stupid neighborhood "thugstas".

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Got it. (none / 0) (#468)
by mami on Sun May 19, 2002 at 10:29:26 PM EST

I guess you can't turn back the wheels, when it comes to guns in US neighborhoods.

Peace, no more gun talk for the day. I am already half dead, too much shooting going on here on K5.

[ Parent ]

Interesting issues (4.25 / 4) (#199)
by thebrix on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:38:24 AM EST

'Can the police police everywhere?' has recently become a topic of debate in the United Kingdom, particularly after a notorious case in which a farmer, in an isolated house, shot two burglars, killing one.

One of the arguments put forward by the defence was that he was obliged to defend himself because policing was inadequate; it failed although his conviction was eventually reduced to manslaughter on appeal (on psychiatric grounds).

It appears that more police have now been assigned to rural areas in this country, and the Martin incident was very unusual, but what happens when the police physically cannot and never could patrol a large underpopulated area is an interesting question. (As has become clear over the past few months there are large areas of even reasonably developed countries, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, where government and the law have never reached).

[ Parent ]

Manslaughter (3.00 / 1) (#262)
by DarkZero on Sat May 18, 2002 at 05:47:25 PM EST

He's actually getting MANSLAUGHTER for shooting two men that invaded his home and killing one of them? That's just insane. What were the courts expecting, that he wait until he has a bullet in his chest or a knife sticking out of his back to defend himself? Or beyond that, if they weren't going to attack him, should he have just stood there and done nothing while two men stole from him? Should he maybe have pointed out his valuables to make their theft quicker and easier on them?

[ Parent ]
Circumstances (4.00 / 1) (#340)
by thebrix on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:24:08 AM EST

The English legal position is as I quoted elsewhere; there's no absolute right to self-defence and any response must be 'proportionate'.

In this case the burglars were not armed, the plaintiff was, and (as I remember) he fired without warning from the top of a staircase that would probably have collapsed if both burglars got on it, so it was doubtful that he could even have been reached. The house was in very poor repair and appears to have had nothing worth stealing.

Thus it was decided that the response was not proportionate, and he was convicted of murder. On appeal, he was found to be mentally incapable and the conviction was reduced to manslaughter.

[ Parent ]

That is the difference ... (2.66 / 3) (#348)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:21:49 AM EST

between status of "citizen" and that of "subject".

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

*sigh* (4.50 / 2) (#229)
by Bad Mojo on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:08:46 PM EST

This has NOTHING to do with wether the police CAN protect you. It has to do with the fact that if we hold the police responsible to protect citizens from harm, even in downtown New York city, they will be held liable for every US citizen who is shot, hurt, injured, stolen from, or victimized in some way.

When someone's purse is stolen, who is responsible? The police? Do you sue the police because they didn't protect you? NO. You go after the criminal. If someone shoots you in a parking lot and the police weren't there to take the bullet, should we then crucify the police for not being super-men?

You could hold the police responsible for defending every person inside the US and then not allow them to be legally prosecuted for any failure. But what good would that do? People allready want to make the ASSUMPTION that the police ARE responsible for their safety. The only thing that keeps them from suing the police based on this FALSE belief is that the law realizes that protecting an individual is not the job of the police.

The police are the enforcement of the law. They are NOT the protectors of individuals. As a matter of fact, if you want to be safe in the US, only you can protect yourself. The moment people are denied that ability, there is NO ONE protecting that person. If anything, the second ammendment is a good start on establishing the freedom to protect your person from harm. Removing it isn't the solution. Adding to it with clear laws is.


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]

Why not? (none / 0) (#239)
by khallow on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:38:00 PM EST

When someone's purse is stolen, who is responsible? The police? Do you sue the police because they didn't protect you? NO. You go after the criminal. If someone shoots you in a parking lot and the police weren't there to take the bullet, should we then crucify the police for not being super-men?

What happens if no one tries to catch the criminal? Is it just a "that's too bad"?

For a number of decades (particularly 60's thourgh 80's), urban law enforcement has been extremely deliquent (or perhaps selective) in catching certain categories of crime (theft mostly).

The point is that government (or whoever maintains the police force) should be accountable for crime committed in their region. It's really simple. You pay taxes on what you want protected (your life and earning potential, property, etc), and in turn the police owners compensate you when you suffer a loss due to crime. Ie, they become insurers who can proactively reduce their risks by arresting criminals.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Law enforcement (none / 0) (#261)
by DarkZero on Sat May 18, 2002 at 05:42:33 PM EST

The police are meant to enforce laws. Primarily, this means that they go after thieves after they've stolen from you, murderers after they've killed you, etc. Stopping crime as it happens will be nothing but an occasional bonus to their primary duty until we live in a police state that has ten police officers on every block and cameras watching everything we do.

Bad Mojo is right. People seem to think that police are magical supermen that can stop all crimes as they happen. That all people have to do is yell "Help, Superman! Help!" and they'll fly through a window and into your house faster than a speeding bullet. They're simply not equipped to do that. In fact, the freedoms given to us by the Constitution and the other laws of the United States prohibit them from having the omniscient surveillance required to be equipped to do that.

I didn't go into the natural inadequacy of law enforcement in the US because that would have made my post a very, very long one, as well as a pretty schizophrenic one. Thankfully, Bad Mojo covered it for me. He didn't put my beliefs into words perfectly, but he got the gist ofit.

[ Parent ]

Law Enforcement (none / 0) (#283)
by Bad Mojo on Sat May 18, 2002 at 09:28:18 PM EST

"What happens if no one tries to catch the criminal? Is it just a "that's too bad"?"

This is law enforcement. That *IS* the job of police (if the police want to keep their jobs). In your particular example, the police are supposed to catch the criminal, right the wrong (if possible), and make the criminal stand trial. This does not mean they are to be held responsible for pretecting the rights of every citizen in their jurisdiction from being violated by a criminal.

Now, in the larger picture of crime management, I'll agree that the local government should be judged by the general public on how well they limit and curtail crime. This is why voting for local office holders is important. But that has little to do with the discussion of the role of the police officer with repsect to protecting individuals.

"You pay taxes on what you want protected"

You do NOT pay taxes on what you want protected! Do I pay taxes on life? Liberty? Happiness? NO! I pay taxes to fund the operation of my local, state, and federal governments. As part of their job, they enforce the laws of my town, state and country. They do not PROTECT me or my property from being victimized!

Is it so hard to understand the difference between enforcment and protection?


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]

if you want it, you should pay for it (none / 0) (#294)
by khallow on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:27:53 PM EST

You do NOT pay taxes on what you want protected! Do I pay taxes on life? Liberty? Happiness? NO! I pay taxes to fund the operation of my local, state, and federal governments. As part of their job, they enforce the laws of my town, state and country. They do not PROTECT me or my property from being victimized!

Is it so hard to understand the difference between enforcment and protection?

My post must not be sufficiently clear (given that there are two replies saying the same thing). I realize that law enforcement has nothing to do with protection. That was my point. Protection should be the primary function of the police (and of the laws that police enforce) up to full compensation for victims (crime insurance just like fire insurance, auto insurance). An obvious and fair way to fund protection is via a tax on what can be lost through crime. Ie, I have a fancy house, pay crime insurance on house to local police, earn lots of money - pay insurance (or more likely my health insurance company would) to protect myself against losing income (say because I'm recovering from getting mugged).

The police department now has a direct strong financial incentive to find those repeat offenders and to reduce crime where people are hurt or property stolen or vadalized.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

You don't get it. (none / 0) (#309)
by Bad Mojo on Sun May 19, 2002 at 01:02:29 AM EST

"Protection should be the primary function of the police ..."

This allready exists. It's called hiring a bodyguard.

There is NO way for any insitution or service industry to provide protection for the entire population of the US. Even the phone company does not yet provide every single person in the US with phone service, and those it does service do not get flawless service.

I'm not even going to go into the concept of placing a value on a human life or my happiness. Things that you suggest the police should protect for a sum of money.

And what of the taxes? Or when people can't afford it? Are the police going to look the other way when a homeless man is killed because they don't lose any money over it?


-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]

What does the 2nd have to do with personal safety? (3.50 / 2) (#246)
by hoggy on Sat May 18, 2002 at 03:22:19 PM EST

In these sorts of places where Second Amendment rights are cherished and fiercely protected, they're not just protected because of some sort of religious fanaticism about guns. In these places, guns are a serious requirement for defense.

I just don't get this. The 2nd amendment reads:

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

The right to "keep and bear arms" is related to the "security of a free state", not the security of the person. It was designed to protect the populace from the state not each other.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't have a gun for personal defence (at least not in this post), but  citing the 2nd as reason why you should is just plain rubbish.


[ Parent ]

Second Amendment (none / 0) (#260)
by DarkZero on Sat May 18, 2002 at 05:33:42 PM EST

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

I know that the government part is implied from what we know of history, but where in that statement does it specifically mention that guns are solely for resisting attacks from a federal government that has become tyrannical? All I see is "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State", which, in a time when militias were the only real local law enforcement, could easily be construed as also intending that people use guns to defend themselves and to enforce the laws in places where the government hasn't placed formal law enforcement.

[ Parent ]
RE: Second Amendment (none / 0) (#275)
by Caffinated on Sat May 18, 2002 at 07:12:42 PM EST

It does not specifically mention defending against a tyrannical government, but it does mention the purpose of the amendment the security of a free State. It was yet another compromise beween a strong federal government and state autonomy.

Even today the reminant of the early militia, the National Guard, have their officers appointed by the states. This was meant as a balance against the stronger federal government which was still very much a matter of concern at the time (note the failed Articles of Confederation attempt at a national government after the revolution). There is no language in the amendment which would seem to indicate that this was meant as an individual right. The framers generally were a well educated lot and I have no doubt that they could have indicated such a right clearly if that was in fact their intent.

[ Parent ]

Try again. (none / 0) (#345)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:11:21 AM EST

According to SCOTUS, in Presser v. State of Illinois, 1886, the National Guard is not militia.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

You should actually read the court opinion before (5.00 / 2) (#419)
by Caffinated on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:41:33 PM EST

In this case, the group chartered as the "Illinois National Guard" did not adhere to the act of Congress laying out the requirements of a recognized militia. Their chain of command never extended outside of the state which was in violation of the Uniform Militia act which was in force at the time. Thus in this particular instance, this group was not found to be a militia as defined by the appropriate act of Congress. This does not in any way mean that the state National Guard in the general sense is not militia.

There are two points which are not raised when brought up in this manner:

1) The Uniform Militia act of 1792 did indeed state: "That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia,..." but the devil is in the details. It is this (except as is herein after excepted) which is the quite a loophole. The specific section states ...and all persons who now are or may be hereafter exempted by the laws of the respective states, shall be and are hereby exempted from militia duty". The states had no interest in maintaining a large militia and thus in practice exempted most all of the larger demographic, pretty much limiting this to those who were voluntarily enrolled in the recognized state militia.

2) This was all defined by an act of Congress, not as a Constitutional amendment and thus could be changed in through the standard legal avenues available. Not suprisingly, it was in 1903 superceded by the Dick act. This act created the modern National Guard as the "organized militia" and defined the rights and responsibilities of these militias (regular army pay, minimum number of drills per year). It also created the "unorganized militia" which was the remaining populus which fit into the minimum requirements for possible enrollment in the National Guard if was deemed necessary. In effect it defines the pool from which the militia could recruit (or draft) if the need arose. It was deliberate that this remaining group defined as "unorganized militia" does not meet the second amendment Constitutional requirement of "A well regulated militia, " This "unorganized militia" has no responsibilies nor rights which differentiate it from the rest of the population. Being part of the "unorganized militia" doesn't have any real meaning Constitutionally. It just means that you are eligble to be called up into the National Guard if needed.

[ Parent ]

Oh, and another thing... (none / 0) (#346)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:14:18 AM EST

There is no language in the amendment which would seem to indicate that this was meant as an individual right.

Hmm... so you're saying that, "the right of the People to keep and bear arms" does not pertain to the "People", but rather to ... whom?

By that token, then, the "right of the People to peaceably assemble", the "right of the People to be secure in their persons ...", and all that are not actual individual rights secured to the "people", either.

Glad to know it. Thanks.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Nope. (none / 0) (#398)
by Caffinated on Sun May 19, 2002 at 01:47:59 PM EST

If the amendments in question were prefaced with "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, ", I would have to suppose that they might not be applicable to the populus at large. Seeing as they have no such limiting preface, It looks as if they mean what they say.

It always comes back to that inconvienient preface.

[ Parent ]

However, (none / 0) (#427)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:05:45 PM EST

In order for me to be able to fulfill my duties as a member of an unorganized militia, I would have to remain alive, to the best of my ability.

I am, therefore, responsible for keeping myself safe and alive should it be necessary for me to render service to my country at need.

That makes it necessary for me to defend myself, and by extension my sons, who would be of the proper age for militia duty if they are defended. Therefore, I should pop a cap in the guy's ass when he tumbles through my window. If he's there, it ain't to bring me a dozen roses, after all.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Unorganized militia (none / 0) (#433)
by Caffinated on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:18:37 PM EST

You have no duties as a member of the "Unorganized Militia". You derive no benefits either. All that it entails is that you are eligable to be recruited (or drafted) into the National Guard if the need arose.

You are under no obligation to live safely in expectation of a draft. You are free to white water raft, jump out of planes, bungee jump or any other legal activity which catches your fancy. If the draft comes and you are still in one piece, so much the better.

[ Parent ]

Missing the point (4.00 / 1) (#405)
by hoggy on Sun May 19, 2002 at 03:48:11 PM EST

The point I was making, and that the person you quote was (I think) agreeing with, is that the 2nd amendment doesn't give you the right to defend your person against someone else burgling your house, or robbing you on the street, or any other crime against the person.

I didn't argue that you shouldn't be allowed to have a gun, or that the 2nd amendment doesn't apply to you, or any similar statement. My point was simply that it doesn't entitle you to defend your person. It entitles you to defend a free state.

The 2nd was a check to stop the federal government oppressing the people. To argue that it allows you to pop a cap in the guy coming in through your window is completely ridiculous.


[ Parent ]

Ridiculous (1.00 / 1) (#253)
by Demiurge on Sat May 18, 2002 at 04:33:29 PM EST

So, what are you going to do when your home is burglarized by a gun-toting thief? When you see he's pointing a gun at you, what are you going to do, pretend you're in a John Woo(or Wayne) movie, and quick draw your revolvers before shooting him right between the eyes? No, you're going to get shot in the back, because the robber has a gun, because it's ridiculously easy for almost anyone in the United States to acquire a gun.

[ Parent ]
Gun vs. Gun (none / 0) (#258)
by DarkZero on Sat May 18, 2002 at 05:22:08 PM EST

Isn't a situation where you at least have the chance to get your gun and shoot an attacker better than just standing around helplessly as he shoots you? I fail to see your point of how a gun failing to do its job is better than not having a gun and thus not doing the job at all.

Also, you're pointing out a single hypothetical situation. I have another one for you. In the last couple of months, two different police officers (who would still have guns even if guns were outlawed for civilians) on two different occasions in the towns around mine stormed into people's homes and shot them. One of them even went on a little killing spree across the town, driving around in his car and going between the houses of the various people he had a grudge with. All six of the people that he attacked were unarmed, with about five of them definitely not having any kind of weaponry in their houses, either. Five of them died, the other was seriously wounded. Personally, I think the situation could've turned out differently if at least one of these people had a form of personal defense other than screaming, "Help! Help! He's going to shoot me!" and trying to run from a trained marksman. Also worth mentioning is that some of these people had ample time to get to a gun if they had one, because the sound of shots being fired and then the sound of someone trying to break into their house around nine o'clock at night gave them ample time to call the police, but not enough time for the police to save them. In that space of about two minutes, someone could've easily gotten a shotgun and killed the psychopath that was trying to break down their front door.

Two legal gun carriers that would still have guns if they were outlawed, and roughly eight people dead (one killed five, I believe the other killed between two and four), all of which had no kind of defense for themselves and their families.

[ Parent ]

So you're telling me.... (none / 0) (#310)
by VitaminSupplementarian on Sun May 19, 2002 at 01:07:48 AM EST

that criminals have a monopoly on fast reflexes, gun training and walk around brandishing firearms for the hell of it, knowing that that is a dead giveaway that they are doing something illegal? Unless a criminal is intending to rape or murder, the likelihood that he is going to be brandishing a firearm is not good. It occupies one hand which makes him less able to carry out the crime, which is especially true in burglaries. Plus in the event that he gets caught by the police, actually brandishing the firearm will make the jury less sympathetic. It is one thing to just have it on him, but by having it out he gives the impression he planned to use it and that impression is virtually impossible to get out a juror's mind. Most criminals don't think that deeply, but the basic logic is in the back of their mind: "if I pull it out when I don't need to, the police are more likely to fuck me and get me really busted."

The average burglar does NOT want the people in the house to find out that they are in the house during the commission of the crime. They would prefer them to remain asleep and blissfully ignorant. A violent confrontation is a very, very bad thing. If the owner of the house walks down stairs with a loaded gun, they have the advantage because they are armed, they know the lay of the land and their senses are geared primarily toward fight not flight. If the burglar fucks up at all and wakes them up while walking down the hall, he has just increased his chances of getting shot very much.

Like most anti-gun nuts you seem to think that the average person is a dimwitted sheep that has reflexes more befitting a sloth than a human being. It isn't that hard to duck out of the way of someone carrying a gun and hide around a corner where you can draw your own weapon.
"A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy" --F.A. Hayek
[ Parent ]

A question... (none / 0) (#315)
by Demiurge on Sun May 19, 2002 at 02:01:33 AM EST

Do you support the death penalty for any burglary?

According to the ATF, loose concealed carry laws are used by straw buyers to get more guns into the criminal market. Stricter gun laws, far less guns in the hands of criminals. If you don't need to worry about a robber having a gun, you don't need one to defend yourself.

[ Parent ]
Oh really (5.00 / 1) (#356)
by Dr Device on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:00:18 AM EST

If you don't need to worry about a robber having a gun, you don't need one to defend yourself.

So you wouldn't mind defending yourself against a man with a knife with your bare hands, then? How about facing a criminal twice your size who has no qualms about injuring, maybe even killing you? If you're willing to take the risk, what about your family? Would you be willing to put them at risk because you won't turn to an obvious and safe(If handled correctly) way of defending them? Anyone who would do so is irresponsible, at the very least.

By supporting gun control, all you do is remove a way for citizens to protect themselves and their loved ones from people who would hurt them. Removing guns from the hands of responsible citizens will only result in more danger to the same people that you claim you're protecting.

[ Parent ]

hmmm... (4.00 / 1) (#614)
by Shren on Mon May 20, 2002 at 05:35:38 PM EST

Anyone reading here among this rural minority? What's it like? What do you do for a living? Do you have a gun? Have you ever needed said gun if you have one?

[ Parent ]

Constitution invalid in some US cities? (3.80 / 5) (#166)
by cooldev on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:06:00 AM EST

I have no idea who this guy is and I don't support him or his party, but I found this tidbit interesting: City Attorney: Constitution of U.S. and Colorado null and void in Denver since 1906.

From the "article":

"As I understand it," stated Bryant, "Judge Patterson just said that because I live in Denver, the Bill of Rights, and the constitution of Colorado, Article II, do not protect any of my rights from the government of Denver. Is that your understanding, also?" Bryant asked. "Is the city government free to deny all the rights secured to me by the Constitution of the United States, and the constitution of Colorado, so long as they only do it here, in Denver?" Bryant questioned further.

"Yes," said the city's attorney. "The Constitution has no force or effect in Denver, because this is a home rule city."

Bryant then stated to the attorney that he would do everything in his power to alert the citizens of Denver to this travesty and he would take this issue directly to the voters.

The attorney replied that that's fine with him, but until the law is changed he will enforce it as written. He stated that as things stood right now, the Constitution has no force or effect in this city, and it's been that way since 1906.



an amusing legality. (none / 0) (#216)
by rebelcool on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:31:02 PM EST

I recall a few years back someone (maybe it was michael moore?) discovered that mississippi never ratified the amendment ending slavery, thus making slavery (still) legal there. So he put an ad in the paper for slaves and walked around the capitol with them chained up and had them doing various things.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Erm... (5.00 / 3) (#225)
by F8alist on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:58:23 PM EST

A state doesn't have to ratify an amendment for it to be binding on that state.

Libertarianism: The absurd notion that an individual is capable of running his own life, and that the government has anything but his best interests at heart
[ Parent ]

and.. (none / 0) (#257)
by rebelcool on Sat May 18, 2002 at 05:10:00 PM EST

a city doesnt have to say it abides by the constitution for the constitution to apply. Like I said, silly legality.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

English Bill of Rights (4.50 / 6) (#169)
by pchown on Sat May 18, 2002 at 04:43:36 AM EST

Excellent article. As a Brit, I thought I would post a clarification about our Bill of Rights. You may be wondering why (assuming I was a Protestant) I don't have the right to carry a gun in the UK.

The point is that our Bill of Rights was a settlement between Parliament and the Monarchy. Parliament put forward certain terms under which it would accept William and Mary as (joint) monarch. Parliament's terms bind Queen Elizabeth just as they bound William and Mary.

However, the Bill of Rights sets out Parliament's rights against the Crown, not "the people's". Parliament doesn't have to keep insisting on things that it insisted on in the past. This means that it can amend the Bill of Rights by ordinary legislation.

The rights of "the people" are set out in the Human Rights Act 1988. In the modern European tradition, this Act does not contain any right to bear arms.



Articles 5 and 8 (5.00 / 2) (#235)
by thebrix on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:21:24 PM EST

There's nothing about the right to bear arms, but I think a transplanted American might have fun with these:

Part I Article 5

'Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.'

(get-outs snipped; curiously, they are all relevant to 'liberty' AFAICS).

Part I Article 8

'Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.'

There is a get-out ('public safety' amongst some other vaguely-specified clauses) in Article 8 (and a considerable number of other Articles), but Article 5 has no such get-out.

Any ideas what the European Court would say if someone took an appropriate case to them (that they wanted to carry a gun around with them at all times, were deprived of doing so by English law, and quoted Article 5 regarding 'security of person')?

[ Parent ]

They'd Ignore It (none / 0) (#263)
by jagg on Sat May 18, 2002 at 06:00:16 PM EST

Excluding the UK, Other European systems of law are NOT based on precedent but on a central court authority that essentially makes it up as they go along. This has the advantage of being able to remove obsolete portions of the law swiftly and cleanly, but apparently "obsolete" for Europe includes minimal government, self-protection, and other concepts, which I personally do not believe, are obsolete.


--
A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. --James Madison
[ Parent ]
You missed his very good point (none / 0) (#703)
by jolly st nick on Tue May 21, 2002 at 08:53:47 AM EST

Which is that the English Bill of Rights spells out the rights of Parliament against the Crown. As such the king was enjoined from doing anything which violated these rights. Parliament was not so enjoined, because being a popular institution presumably could be trusted to do a responsible job balancing the public good against private liberties.

Of course, modern democracies are plagued by the power of narrow financial interests, but that's grist for a new story.

[ Parent ]

Because You Are All Slaves (1.00 / 2) (#643)
by thelizman on Mon May 20, 2002 at 07:01:49 PM EST

...or "subjects of the crown", or serfs, and so on. The issue of ownership of arms has always been about the power of the government over the people. English lords forbade their subjects from having firearms because it meant more for them to hunt, and it also meant they did'nt have to fear the populations they were free to oppress.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
And besides ... (none / 0) (#674)
by beergut on Tue May 21, 2002 at 12:41:05 AM EST

"All your base are belong to us!"

Heheheh...

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

You don't do your position very good service (none / 0) (#705)
by jolly st nick on Tue May 21, 2002 at 09:04:04 AM EST

by gratuitously insulting people who are being polite and informative. Especially since we've seen elsewhere that you can do better.

Yes, British people are subjects of the crown; however the English crown has never had the absolute power that, for example, the French monarchs had. Not coincidentally, the British monarchy proved a much more enduring institution than the French. British freemen have always (or at least since the Magna Carta) been understood to have certain rights that the crown could not invade.

I am not a big fan of the British constitution as it now stands. I would rather see Britain a republic with a written constitution with explicit guarantees of the rights of the people and individuals against the excesses of popular institutions. However, that's their business. There can be no doubt that Britain is a democratic society and Britons are, largely, a free people.



[ Parent ]

I have yet to insult you (1.00 / 1) (#734)
by thelizman on Tue May 21, 2002 at 12:11:09 PM EST

by gratuitously insulting people
Oh dry up. I'm not going to pamper your ego with false euphemisms. The entire lot of European social structure is predicated on a few people of "noble" birth ruling the "commoners". Any other word for this is slavery, and even if your social structure is no longer officially reflective of feudelism, your society is still underpinned both in law and in psyche by it. It is also one of the fundamental reasons why Europeans consistantly fail to grasp "the American Way".
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
The funny thing is... (3.25 / 4) (#172)
by Betcour on Sat May 18, 2002 at 05:22:31 AM EST

The same right wing politicians who claim the second amendment is so important and must be protected, are the same who want to burry separation of church and state and bring back creationism and prayer in schools.

When I think of Ashcroft I think of the emperor Palpatine in Star Wars : this guy is very much into the dark side and you can expect that everything he does or say is taking us a bit closer to the dark ages of the Spanish Inquisition.

So what color is his light saber?(nt) (none / 0) (#234)
by khallow on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:20:05 PM EST


Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Red of course (nt) (none / 0) (#668)
by blablablastuff on Mon May 20, 2002 at 11:26:33 PM EST



[ Parent ]
"Burry" what separation? (none / 0) (#265)
by directed ascent on Sat May 18, 2002 at 06:17:46 PM EST

There's nothing hypocritical about supporting the second ammendment while opposing recent interpretations of the "separation of church and state." In case the this tiny distinction had escaped your attention, one is a constitutional ammendment, the other is an entry from a retired politician's diary which has been mistaken for a legal construct. I can't tell for sure, but I would infer from your civil behavior and synonmous use of "right wing" and "dark side" that you probably occupy the "left wing". And what a wonderful example you are! How nice to see the world in such subtle shades of morality: John Ashcoft = Evil. Of course, you yourself would never engage in such nefarious practices as name calling, ad homen argument, hypocracy (heavens no!), or judging others.

[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#338)
by Betcour on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:20:40 AM EST

The separation of church and state is not "an entry from a retired politicians diary". The founding fathers where pretty clear that religion and the state had to never be mixed.

In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to Liberty. (Thomas Jefferson)

If this kind of declaration is not clear enough for you then you need to put your glasses on. Besides, there's no freedom of religion without the separation of church and state. How can you be free to be a Jewish or a Muslim if the state enforce the practice of Christianity ? There are no valid reasons for the state to do religion, and every opponent of the separation of church & state has failed to give any (besides the "that's God will" which is everything but an argument)

As for John Ashcroft, this guy is against everything, including civil liberties, sex, abortion, darwinism etc. If he could organise witch burning every saturday, you would bet he would. If turning as back to the dark age is not evil, then what is evil ?

[ Parent ]
This is why ... (none / 0) (#354)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:46:41 AM EST

... they did not set up a theocracy.
... they did not set up an official state religion.

Notice, however, that they included the clause "nor the free exercise thereof", meaning that you could practice your religion as you saw fit, without interference from some meddling government dipshit. Even if you're a public official, or on the high school football team.

This means that children, should they choose to do so, should be allowed to pray before meals in school.

Oh, but not if they're Christian. I see.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Freedom of religion (none / 0) (#365)
by Betcour on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:44:11 AM EST

Stop the lies : it's not about stoping individual people from praying before their lunch in a public school. Everyone is free of practicing his religion as long as its a private activity. The problem is about using taxes to fund religious activies. I don't see why the taxes of Mulsim, Jewish, Atheist, etc... should be spent to organise Christian praying sessions and proselytism. It's as simple as that : public schools are funded by everybody, end they shouldn't be used for the profit of a religion (no matter which one it is).

Oh, but not if they're Christian. I see.

I've no preference for any religion. I just think my taxes shouldn't be considered as a donation to a church. On the other I'd be curious to see how you'd like it if in every American public school there was 15 min Muslim prayer in the caferia, and one before every football match (but no other religion would be allowed to speak)

[ Parent ]
To that, I say ... (none / 0) (#371)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 07:30:05 AM EST

"Depends on the community in question."

If a town wants/likes/doesn't-mind/doesn't-care if its local high school football team prays before each game, be that an invocation to Allah in the name of the Prophet, or a prayer to Shiva, or asking a blessing from Christ, then they should be able to do so.

Having the government carte blanche come into a community and say, "no, you can't do that any more" seems to me to be the wrong way to go about things.

And yes, it really is about the piddling little bullshit like not letting a little girl read a bible in class during her breaks, because that's an obvious infringement on her rights, and it is not for the school to make those judgments.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Minorities (none / 0) (#377)
by Betcour on Sun May 19, 2002 at 09:37:33 AM EST

If a town wants/likes/doesn't-mind/doesn't-care if its local high school football team prays before each game, be that an invocation to Allah in the name of the Prophet, or a prayer to Shiva, or asking a blessing from Christ, then they should be able to do so.

Precisely not. The governement money should never, under any circonstances, be used to support one religion or another. It is like if the governement funded the RIAA, or the Communist Party of America, etc... Even if the inhabitants of "Smalltown" don't object that the municipaly funding the meetings of the Communist Party of America, it still is not a right thing. There's no freedom of religion if the governement favor one religion or another. And there's no freedom without freedom of religion.

Having the government carte blanche come into a community and say, "no, you can't do that any more" seems to me to be the wrong way to go about things.

I remember that the governement (thru the FBI) once came into small closed southern communities and said "no, you can't beat to death people just because they are black". Because a community is fine with something illegal doesn't make it any legal. The Mormons pratice polygammy and marry (and have sex) with underage girls, and eventhough their community is fine with it, it is not right either.

[ Parent ]
Heheh... (none / 0) (#424)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:57:52 PM EST

I didn't know beating black folks to death was a Constitutionally-protected right. And diddling underaged girls, too? Wow. Mebbe I ought to move to the U.S. ;-)

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Regarding "Right" and "Wrong" (none / 0) (#426)
by directed ascent on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:04:49 PM EST

Betcour, you seem obsessed with morality. I congratulate you on your high moral sensitivity, but remind you that morality is relative, not absolute.

Clearly, a few of the things you mention are "illegal": Marrying underage girls is illegal, so are situations where one consenting participant is 18 and one is 15. But its not the "legality" that amuses me, its your appeal to "right" and "wrong."

For example, we learn from your posting that its "wrong" for someone to marry more than one wife. It is it wrong because its illegal? So right and wrong are defined by law? E.g. if something is illegal, its wrong, if its legal, its right? (I guess we would then conclude we could never have a "wrong" law!)

Or perhaps you meant it the other way: Marrying a minor is wrong, and its also illegal because its wrong, e.g. immoral.

Okay, if its immoral, then why? If three consenting adults want to pledge to spend their lives in matrimony, why is this immoral? Likewise, you argue sex with minors is immoral. Great, but why? Its immoral because Bencour things so? Because he's the ultimate abiter of morals?

I mean, its great to go around calling people "good" and "evil" like you do, and randomly prouncing some actions "right" (moral) and others "wrong" (immoral), but gosh, why should anyone believe you? These are just your personal opinions, and have no more weight that than. They're "true" only because you deeply feel they're true.

Gosh, I'm convinced.
Guess that makes you an authority.

[ Parent ]

Morality and law (none / 0) (#493)
by Betcour on Mon May 20, 2002 at 04:26:15 AM EST

I'm affraid you missed my point : the law is the law. The law says church and state are to be separated. That's the law. No tolerance is possible even if a local community think the law is wrong, because that's the law. Same for polygamy : you want to have 2 wives ? I'm glad for you (hmmm threesome ;-). But if the judge knows about it, then I won't cry for you : that's the law, you know it and you have to take your responsabilities and not hide behind "everyone does it" or "it's ok, my neighbours don't object to it" or even "I'm not harming anyone".

Or to quote someone who has his own holidays :
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
Well it's the same thing for church and state separation. There cannot be any "tolerance". Or we are getting into theocracy (and I don't need to point you out how bad this is)

[ Parent ]
The problem with that .. (1.00 / 1) (#531)
by gbd on Mon May 20, 2002 at 11:50:06 AM EST

.. is that the majority does not rule in a constitutional republic if the will of the majority goes against the Constitution.  There's a famous example that involved a small city in the Deep South (sorry, but I can't remember the city's name off the top of my head) that was having a real problem with prostitution in the downtown area. The solution that the city came up with was to make it illegal for women to wear shorts after 6:00 PM (apparently, any woman who would do such a thing is a slut.)  This proposed law was placed on the ballot, and it passed with a majority of the vote.

Now, you and I would (I hope) agree that this is a ridiculous law, and it was subsequently thrown out on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.  But the point of this is that you're walking on pretty shaky ground when you start suggesting that sticky issues like this be resolved in the way that "the town likes it" or "the town wants it", because you are (implicitly) suggesting that "the town" is of one mind, which is virtually never the case.  The beauty of the United States Constitution is that it prevents "the tyranny of the majority" from trampling on the rights of the minority.  Often, this breeds feelings of anger and hostility from those who happen to be members of the majority, but the Constitution was not written to protect just them.

And yes, it really is about the piddling little bullshit like not letting a little girl read a bible in class during her breaks, because that's an obvious infringement on her rights, and it is not for the school to make those judgments.

I agree, and any school that does such a thing is way out of line. But that's not what we're talking about here.  We're talking about cases where schoolteachers preach from the Bible or any other religious text in front of the entire class or when announcers do the same over a public-address system at a sporting event (both captive audiences.)  Any school which would attempt to infringe a student's right to read religious texts, pray, or engage in similar activities in their free time is way over the line... as much over the line as a school that includes readings from the book of Genesis as part of the standard biology curriculum.

This is as it should be; students are free to exercise whatever private religious expression that they want and at the same time are not required to participate in mandatory, school-sponsored religious activities that they may not agree with.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

In the case of teaching and preaching, maybe ... (none / 0) (#553)
by beergut on Mon May 20, 2002 at 01:39:25 PM EST

... but in what way is voluntary attendance at a high school football game, or graduation (as opposed to compulsory attendence at a public high school in lieu of a private school, or home school, which is another alternative) a "captive audience"?

If I'm offended at a prayer at a football game, well, I leave. Simple.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Captivity really isn't the issue .. (none / 0) (#586)
by gbd on Mon May 20, 2002 at 03:55:45 PM EST

.. but there certainly are lots of people who are present at football games (and similar events) because they have to be, not the least of which are the players, the coaching staff, the marching band, the cheerleaders, the custodial crew, etc.  But the idea of a captive audience is not nearly as important as the idea of school sponsorship.  If a girl sits on the playground and reads the Bible during recess, it's pretty difficult to claim that her school is somehow sponsoring Christianity.  The same would be true of a group of students who meet in an unused classroom after normal school hours to study their particular religious texts (some would have a problem with this, though I've never been sure of why this is, as long as there is equal access for other groups.)

It's a different story when a biology teacher preaches from the book of Genesis or when a paid representative of a taxpayer-funded school gets up in front of a large crowd and belts out select verses from the Book of Mormon on a public-address system.   That constitutes sponsorship, and even if the majority of people in attendance agree with the message, the Constitution prevents "there's more of us than them, and we don't care what they think" from being a valid defense.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

No. (none / 0) (#603)
by beergut on Mon May 20, 2002 at 04:44:13 PM EST

There is no requirement that any of these people attend a football game.

Don't like the prayers? Don't play football.
Don't like the prayers? Don't coach the football team.
Don't like the prayers? Don't play in the band.
Don't like the prayers? Don't join the cheerleading squad.
Don't like the prayers? Don't clean up at the football field.

The point is, while the intent of these "separation of church and state" promoters might be good in that a truly captive audience can't have this stuff forced on them, their methods see little girls suspended for reading bibles, Boy Scout troops unable to hold their functions in a school, and the very name of God unable to be spoken by the students, faculty, and staff.

"Don't teach creationism" may be a fine goal, but there are people who say that Darwinism is itself a religion, and they don't want that taught to their children, either.

Who is right?

Note: I'm not some kind of bible-banger, just disgusted with the utter lack of moral and intellectual honesty displayed by so much of the left, and the lack of guts, wits, and rationality displayed by those on the right.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Well (5.00 / 1) (#611)
by gbd on Mon May 20, 2002 at 05:16:42 PM EST

As I said, the issue of a captive audience is not nearly as important as the issue of using taxpayer-funded institutions to promote one religion over all others, which is illegal. I don't know what else can be said. This whole notion of "if you don't like the prayers, then stay away" is really nothing more than a quick and dirty way to exclude all non-Christians (or whatever the religion happens to be) from activities, which is unfortunately what a lot of these people want.  Fortunately, this would require the abolishment of the First Amendment, which would require the assent of the Congress and three quarters of the states, and is unlikely at any time in the near future.

their methods see little girls suspended for reading bibles

Where has this happened?  Suspending a girl simply for reading a Bible is illegal as hell and is a gross violation of civil liberties.  Please don't take an extreme example such as this and claim that it represents the opinions of proponents of the First Amendment in general, because I can assure you that it doesn't.

Boy Scout troops unable to hold their functions in a school

Examples?  Schools have the right to make rules about how outside organizations make use of their facilities, and as long as said rules are enforced evenly and specific groups aren't denied access for purely religious reasons, I don't have a problem with this.  Most schools have no problems availing themselves to the Boy Scouts, the astronomy club, etc.

the very name of God unable to be spoken by the students, faculty, and staff.

This one gets tricker.  If one believes "the very name of God" refers to "the Hebrew wind god Yahweh as described by the King James Version of the Holy Bible without all of those extra fake books that the incense-huffing, rosary-swinging Vaticanites believe in", you might run into problems.  Lots of parents would be furious to learn that their children had been taught about Allah and his prophet Muhammad.

"Don't teach creationism" may be a fine goal, but there are people who say that Darwinism is itself a religion, and they don't want that taught to their children, either.

"Evolution is a religion" is pure rhetoric.  Science has no Scriptures, no deities, no prophets, and no houses of worship.  It is completely neutral to religion, despite what these fundamentalists would have you believe.  If these people want to make science a religion, then I demand a tax exemption on my house, which contains several books on biology, cosmology, and astrophysics.  If these people do not want their children exposed to science, then I support their ability to take their children out of class when they are taught about biology, astronomy, geology, chemistry, and (in general) anything that can be used to demonstrate that the Universe is more than a few thousand years old.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

Au contraire, Betcour (none / 0) (#420)
by directed ascent on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:46:01 PM EST

I think you miss the point: What some conservatives have becomes alarmed about it that is very much is about stopping individuals from practing their beliefs. I understand your concern about not having the school officially sponsor a prayer. And I agree with you: Our taxes should not be (directly) dontated to some established religion.

You yourself are a perfect case in point. To quote Betcour, "Everyone is free of practicing his religion as long as its a private activity." From your words it appears feel it is not okay for a "religous" person (about 80% of the country) to state or practice their beliefs in public. In other words, such a person should have both their constitutional "right to speech" and "right to practice religions freely" limited.

This sort of oppressive, intolerant, censorial worldview is exactly what so many modern conservatives are alarmed at.

One of the problems in desiring a large government to do everything for you is that a lot of money goes to a lot of people. And some of those people, who receive benefits from that government, might have beliefs that you could feel threated by. For example, you might fund school lunches through your local property taxes. (In fact, you probably do.) Those taxes may go to a school, which might build a cafetria and provide lunches. And some students, free individuals within that school, may decide -- quite threateningly to you, apparently -- to join hands and audibly thank the creator they believe ultimately provided those lunches. Or use the rear bumper of their car to advertise for "God" while driving on government-funded roads.

There are indeed some, like yourself, who would say when private individuals act thus that government is "donating" to "a church". In this worldview, the only logical conclusion is to make sure that not a single taxpayer dollar could ever by used, by any individual, to forward some concept construed by some authority (presumably yourself or someone of similar belief) as "religious" in nature.

The character of the resulting situation is obvious: No foodstamps should be used for meals at which prayers are said (their purpose being to indoctrinate the children at the table), no Christian, Jew or Muslim should be able to speak any beliefs which derive from religious origin in school, government, or any government-owned or -funded property. If the government kept an individual alive though donated medicine or food, we would have to ensure that the remainer of that life was not used to further some particular religion, lest taxpayers dollars go there. You may not like what I am saying, but each of these are situations where taxpayer dollars are being used to forward religious belief.

Its a good thing that your views are incorrect. An "established religion" is just that: A specific incorporated religious body. Think "Baptist". "Believing in God" is not an established religion. Neither is a person who believes in God.

Furthermore, the public expression of religious beliefs by individuals, in private, public, and governmental settings, has not historically been understood to be a violation of the first ammendment. The founding fathers you so thoughtlessly invoke held a joint prayer session (led by Benjamin Franklin) before the signing of the Constitution. Our elected bodies open with words of prayer, and always have. National days of prayer and supplication to God have been declared by both the executive and legislative branches of government throughout this Nations history. It is therefore historically infeasible to argue that the founding fathers intended to squelch such public displays, even corporate, by willing individuals.

Yes, you're right: No one should be compelled to join in. How would I feel if a person I disagree with wanted to speak or pray at some function I had funded? I would hope I would be given the exact same rights to express my (contradicting) beliefs as they had to express theirs -- but I wouldn't try to deny them theirs!

That's the difference between a totalitarian state and one which protects an individual's freedoms.

And you said John Ashcroft was opposed to liberty!

[ Parent ]

Extremes (none / 0) (#509)
by Betcour on Mon May 20, 2002 at 08:23:24 AM EST

First I'm not the extremist you think I am. It's always easy to attack people by painting them them as extremist, then making fun of such extremism (which is obviously easy as well). The right-wing likes to paint suporters of separation of church and state as opposed to religious freedom and rabid anti-American commies etc...

This sort of oppressive, intolerant, censorial worldview is exactly what so many modern conservatives are alarmed at.

Nobody said that you were not allowed to hold public meetings, organise charities, edit newspapers etc. around your religious views. A teacher is not allowed to express his political views in a school. Why should he be allowed to express his religious views in a public school then ? There are some place where freedom of speech has to be limited. That doesn't mean it is removed from you.

And some students, free individuals within that school, may decide -- quite threateningly to you, apparently -- to join hands and audibly thank the creator they believe ultimately provided those lunches

I've no problem with that except for the word "audibly". Other students should be able to enjoy their meals without being forced to listen to the prayer. If you insist on having it outloud, then I guess every student could also pray his other God(s) or read atheist philosophy outloud. Of course this is not practical (too much noise, too much tension arising, etc.)

"Believing in God" is not an established religion.

It is by elimination. That puts all polytheists and atheists out the game. And when the president swears on the bible, there's no doubt about which God he is talking about. When the city council use my tax money to put a 10 commendment stone in front of the townhall, you've to wonder whether this is a democracy or a theocracy...

[ Parent ]
Prayer in Schools (none / 0) (#409)
by pongle on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:33:48 PM EST

Having moved from the US to the UK while I was still at school. I felt offended when we were asked to bow our heads in prayer during assemblies (it didn't happen every day, but still...) Though I would actually equate this to having to say the Pledge of Alegance every morning (I'm British, so this also offends me).
It would be interesting to compare US culture involving it's creation with religion. Constitution/Bill of Rights = Bible. Pledge of Alegance = Prayer, Flag = Cross
Offended is probably to strong a term, more like a questioning as to why I was forced to waste my time with this.

[ Parent ]
Sex, John Ashcroft, and Jeffersonian Confusion (none / 0) (#414)
by directed ascent on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:59:08 PM EST

The problem we're having here is not one of my reading clearly, it appears to be one of your not thinking clearly. Its certainly very nice that you can quote Mr. Jefferson. But you keep confusing quotes from Mr. Jefferson with the constitution and its ammendments.

Mr. Jefferson was indeed one the founding fathers. But please note that Mr. Jefferson was one of the founding fathers. And quotes from his personal letters and writings, such as the one you supply above, including the phrase "separation of church and state" do not constitute law. You may agree with Jefferson's personal feelings, or not, but they are not the same as law -- or even the ultimate interpretation of that law.

The US Constitution was signed by forty men, none of whom were Jefferson. The first ammendment, as well as the rest of the Bill of Rights, was ratified in 1789, and I believe Jefferson was in Europe at the time. While Mr. Jefferson is indeed welcomed to his opinion, it should not be confused with a document written and ratified by a host of other men, and the exact text and conditions that they all agreed to.

This text, since you seem unfamilliar with its content, reads like this: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free excercise thereof."

In other words, Congress may not, by law, decree an official US federal religion, nor prohibit those with religous beliefs from expressing or acting upon them. Its also important to note that this did not mean a city, state, or other local goverment couldn't establish an official church: in fact several states continued to have "official" religions for some time, and did so with the full blessing of the tenth ammendment.

The recent doctrine of "separation of church and state" on the other hand, says that a "wall of separation" exists between religious beliefs and governmental functions. In application, it is usually focused toward limiting the freedoms of those with relgion. For example, under this doctrine, a validictorian at a state- (not federally-)funded high, standing at the microphone at a graduation ceremony, is currently limited from expression any religious sentiments or uttering a prayer. She may compose any other address to her peers, but on this topic, she must remain mute.

This is an obvious contradiction of her right to "the free excercise thereof" (religion) which the congress and president (George Washington) ratified within the Bill of Rights. However, it is, apparently, acceptable within the doctrine of "separation of church and state".

In terms of your near-manic fixation on Mr. Ashcroft: I find it amusing. Often such fixations say far more about the holder than the object of their fixations.

I am puzzled about as your wide-ranging list of allegations against our current attorney general. Many seem the stuff of fantasy, since the simplest, most shallow inspection of reality (not to mention any deeper analyses) contradicts most of your assertions.

Sex: Yes, of course John Ashcroft is opposed to sex. That's why he remains ummarried and without children. Liberty: Oh yes, I'm sure he's complete opposed to that too. I'm sure he never goes to church, speaks his thoughts publicly, engages in trade.

In terms of darwinism and abortion, I suspect you're right in that he probably personally disagrees with both. But as a resident of the state of Missouri, where John Ashcroft served as attorney general, it was my experience that he enforced all the laws regarding gambling and protecting abortion, regardless of his personal sentiments.

Quite the embodiment of evil, I'd say. But I guess it appears we're defining evil here as "anyone who holds views you disagree with."

Again, you demonstrate your amazing tolerance. If you'd like a model for an oppressive worldview, I'd gently try to point you towards your own (apparent, I can't really tell, I admit) behavior of demonizing, with the most extreme sorts of allegations, anyone who dares disagree with you.

I honestly fear what an individual who speaks as you do would do if put into a position of authority. Would you fairly enforce laws you deeply disagree with? Do you have that kind of character? I wonder.

Lastly, I made an error, you were indeed correct: those words were not from a retired politician's diary. He held office at the time (more than a decade after the passage of the Bill of Rights) and it was from one of his letters. Mea culpa.

To a Baptist Minister:
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessings of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem. (Thomas Jefferson)

[ Parent ]

Well, Ashcroft /is/ Evil [tm]. (none / 0) (#450)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 08:32:43 PM EST

Heheh...

It's outlooks like his, when enforced as public policy, that would be just as bad as outlooks like the parent poster's.

Ashcroft, for instance, proposed the USA-PATRIOT legislation. He, 500+ congressmen, and the POTUS are responsible for its being enacted, and it is his office that will enforce it.

On the whole, I have no problem with Ashcroft. It's just that he's a Nazi. :-)

His anti-liberty, pro-police-state crap is exactly the sort of thing I was afraid of when he was appointed. It didn't take long for it to come to the fore after a national tragedy.

His affirmation of the meaning of the Second Amendment is refreshing, but in the context in which it was made, is slightly more sinister. You see, the SCOTUS needs to consider whether or not to take the Emerson case on appeal. Ashcroft's recommendation is that they not take it, because "the government thinks the Second is an individual liberty issue". This keeps us from having a real, clear, concrete ruling by the high court as to the scope of the Second Amendment, and keeps ambiguous crap like Miller, and the myths surrounding it promoted by organizations like HCI, in circulation.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Like, WHAT-EVERRRR! (none / 0) (#641)
by thelizman on Mon May 20, 2002 at 06:59:51 PM EST

The same right wing politicians who claim the second amendment is so important and must be protected, are the same who want to burry separation of church and state and bring back creationism and prayer in schools.
Perhaps you'd like to name some names? Who among the "right wing politicians" are advocating the "burry"ing of separation of church and state (a principle that does not exist in the Constitution, by the way).
When I think of Ashcroft I think of the emperor Palpatine in Star Wars : this guy is very much into the dark side and you can expect that everything he does or say is taking us a bit closer to the dark ages of the Spanish Inquisition.
Again, maybe you'd like to explain how this is so? Or perhaps, you should just admit that you're full of shit, and all of your ideas are spoon fed to you buy the popular media ala MTV.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Maybe the 2nd Amendment is just wrong (3.90 / 10) (#178)
by wicknight on Sat May 18, 2002 at 08:00:04 AM EST

To me the debate over the second amendment seems quite redundant. Neither side understands the point of the amendment, because the point of the amendment became irrelevant some 100 years ago. My interpretation of the amendment (note I am not American) is basically `You the people are responsible for defending the security of the state, from even your own government, and you are to never let anyone remove firearms that would allow you to defend the state.' Has it ever occurred to people that this was a perfectly good amendment at the time but is a completely stupid constitutional article when it is held up to modern standards?

The gun control people keep trying to say in relation to personal gun ownership `but that is not what the writers meant.' What if it was what the writer meant? Most people who owned guns owned slaves. Because a situation is acceptable at one time, does not mean it is going to be always acceptable. Because they wrote it 200 years ago doesn't mean that it is correct now. Maybe the founding father would all be NRA members if they were alive today! Instead of trying to fit around the amendment, people should have the guts to simply say it is wrong!

Firstly, if you accept this amendment, you must also accept that the people of the U.S.A have the right to violently `defend' themselves against their own government. In this modern age it is no longer acceptable for the people to violently revolt against the government. The US has one of the most corrupt political systems in the Western world, but how many people would support the populous rising up to violently destroy the DMCA, or the to reinstate the Kyoto Agreement (or even to fight the election of Bush instead of Gore). Not only would this seem crazy, but it would also be suicide. The US army is so far advanced what a local militia could hope to be, that even if the government turning into the new Nazi state the general populous would be powerless to stop it by force.

Secondly personal gun ownership is not acceptable either. Every gun ownership advocate I have heard lately makes the mistake of assuming that gun control will only remove his or her defensive ability. The idea that "they will have a gun so I must have a gun" completely misses the point of gun control. The idea is to remove `their' guns, not your guns. It has always amazed me that the NRA campaigns for the right to carry guns of the people who will probably be robbing your house tonight. I am from Ireland and I know that if I walk down the street the vast majority of people I pass cannot own a gun. They would have neither the need nor the ability to purchase a gun. I also know that the man who robbed my house a few years ago did not have a gun. He was a petty criminal, stealing for drugs. He was a normal man, driven to extremes because of drug abuse. In the States he could have easily purchased a gun to `defend' himself while robbing my house. Instead of defending my 'rights' to own a gun to protect myself against a robber I would feel much save if i knew that the robber could not have a gun in the first place.

At least you got one point right... (5.00 / 2) (#186)
by garbanzo on Sat May 18, 2002 at 08:47:00 AM EST

Correct. You are not an American. The rest of this comment is pretty much wrong. I will cut you some slack because "you ain't from around heah."

"Most people who owned guns owned slaves."

Bzzt. The inverse is probably true, that most people who owned slaves owned guns. There were a lot more gun owners than slave owners.

"Firstly, if you accept this amendment, you must also accept that the people of the U.S.A have the right to violently `defend' themselves against their own government. "

Uh, yeah. Actually a lot of Americans do accept that point. You are making it as though it is just plain ridiculous, but it is not. Ask yourself if South African blacks had a right to defend themselves against the apartheid government. If it was true for them, why would it be false for anyone else? There is no age, modern or otherwise, in which people lose the right to resist oppression by any means necessary.

The rest of that paragraph cracks me up. The idea of an armed anti-DMCA militia is hilarious. No, the US government is not even close to being the most corrupt in the world. You need to get around more. Visit India.

Your final paragraph works only if you are in a place that is not already liberally supplied with guns and gun advocates. Here in the US, we have passed the critical number on both counts. Zero guns is just not possible anymore. Not until everyone voluntarily gives them up. It's the one issue that would most likely spark civil revolt. It's also just plain unrealistic here. In Ireland, this might work--small country, small number fo places for illegal gun factories, small border to guard against gun runners. It's simply not do-able in North America, from a practical perspective. Too many places to hide, too much border to guard. We can't manage get rid of crystal meth labs. What on earth makes you thinks we could get rid of guns?

So. Got plenty of guns, check. Got plenty of guys who will fire them, check. The question is: do you want the be the unarmed man if a firefight starts? Particularly if it starts in your house?



sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

[ Parent ]
...and you got some wrong... (2.33 / 3) (#191)
by dagsverre on Sat May 18, 2002 at 09:42:46 AM EST

Sorry I'm weak for logical breaches with people that try to show them on others.

No, the US government is not even close to being the most corrupt in the world.

Western world he said...

Also, you state that his entire post is false (well, except for him not being an American), though you only attack his arguments against guns. His arguments against guns were just to demonstrate that it should be possible to change the constitution of a country in later times, it would have been interesting to see your attacks on his goal rather than his tool.

Disclaimer: I'm not an American either...

[ Parent ]

To bad we can't be more like... (none / 0) (#209)
by dasunt on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:38:52 PM EST

...the uncorruptable government of Mexico.

Or are they no longer part of Western Civilization?



[ Parent ]
two points in response (none / 0) (#212)
by garbanzo on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:05:00 PM EST

I'll stand by my point that the US government is not the most corrupt until I see "Western" defined and some damning evidence. Doing things that piss off the neighbors is not the same as corruption. I don't find the US gov to be more corrupt than its hemisphere neighbors, nor its peers in the EU and G7.

As to the goal of his post, if it is to point out that the US can change its constitution, I'd argue that it does so. Voting rights history is a good example of that. The headline of the parent comment suggests his point is that the 2nd amendment is wrongheaded and I respectfully disagree. I think Americans reserve the right to bear arms against an oppressive government (and it does oppress us on occasion) and I think as a practical matter that real, complete gun control (collect all guns) is a short path to a change of government or civil war. And is impractical, given the breadth of country and border you would need to police. Anything short of collecting all guns simply disarms those who respect the law in favor of those who don't. The police help somewhat, but they generally arrive late and they are overworked regardless.



sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

[ Parent ]
differing about the differing (none / 0) (#232)
by khallow on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:15:45 PM EST

Sorry I'm weak for logical breaches with people that try to show them on others.

Same here...

Western world he said...

Still an easy target. The US, for example, has the most rigorous accounting rules for publically held corporations anywhere in the world (which I might add includes Canada, Europe, and Japan).

Also, you state that his entire post is false (well, except for him not being an American), though you only attack his arguments against guns. His arguments against guns were just to demonstrate that it should be possible to change the constitution of a country in later times, it would have been interesting to see your attacks on his goal rather than his tool.

I reread his original post, and it looks to to me like his primary argument was gun prohibition not constitution reform. Incidentally, I'm a firm believer in the truism that you deserve the government you get.

A final remark on militia versus modern military. Historically, the militia has performed surprisingly well. Consider for example, the Revolutionary War in the US or the Boer War in South Africa.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

clarification on a number of points (4.00 / 1) (#249)
by wicknight on Sat May 18, 2002 at 03:59:33 PM EST

firstly both exams of the militia versus modern military are over 100 years old, so I don't think 'modern' is the correct word for describing the military in those conflicts. Show me a group of gun owners from 'Smallville' USA who could defend a paper bag against the US Air Force.

Secondly it is painfully clear from outside your country looking in that big business owns the American government. The US government does not act in the best interests of the American people. Because this is tolerated does not mean it is not corrupt. The Irish system is not perfect, and right now there are a number of high profile tribunals looking into government corruption in the early 90s. But most of what would be considered illegally and corrupt by Irish standards is considered normal business in Washington. We go after our bad politicians, you elect them president. Don't believe me? Count how many recent bills pasted were for big business and how many were against it. Look at Clinton's health care ideas. How in the world would health care be a bad idea. Yet it nearly destroyed his presidency.

Thirdly, my overall point was that it is not necessary to hold the 2nd Amendment up as the word of God. It was an idea expressed 200 years ago, and it does not hold as a valid idea in this day and age.

I just do not except that everyone owning a gun makes thinks safer. I can't quote a reference, but i remember hearing or reading a while back (might not be still relevant) that most people shot in robberies of their homes are shot with their own weapons. And don't forget that most school shoting are carried out with legally owned guns. All countries have distrubed teenagers, but American arms them, and then defends their rights to own guns. Explain the logic behind that.

[ Parent ]

America is a democracy... (none / 0) (#274)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat May 18, 2002 at 07:12:19 PM EST

And the policies enacted (or nor not enacted) do, on balance, represent pretty closely the majority of Americans. This includes such things as corporate influence in our political system. Your characterization that "big business owns the American government" is just that, a characterization. I hate to tell you this, but most Americans feel much as I do: somewhat concerned about specific issues related to undue corporate influence, but, on the whole, not at all hostile to the interests of corporations.

I actually want energy company executives to be very closely involved in the process of crafting a national energy policy -- my only concern is that one company might use its influence to advantage itself against its competition -- as do the overwhelming majority of those who voted for Bush and many of those who voted for Gore. People trot out the connections of the Bush administration to the Oil industry as though they were revealing some hidden conspiracy. Guess what? It's no surprise to anyone. And overwhelmingly Americans do not consider it corruption.

Of course you're free keep calling it corruption if you wish, but don't be surprised by the fact that a majority of Americans are going to blow you off. Ralph Nader's anti-corporate presidential campaign failed abysmally not because of some media cabal which conspired to keep him unknown, but because his ideas hold little appeal for most Americans.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
A democracy run by the People for the Corporations (none / 0) (#280)
by wicknight on Sat May 18, 2002 at 09:07:12 PM EST

Firstly the majority of Americans did not support Bush. Even if you forget the popular vote, 51% is not `the majority.' Right now you have a president that nearly (or even more than) half the country does not want in power. And Nader wasn't elected because the presidential race is, and from the looks of it always will be, a two horse race. It is not exactly a shining example of democracy.

Secondly, if you support corporations as social guardians or an extension of the government you are asking for disaster. Why on earth would you want energy company executives to be closely involved in national energy policy? Do you honestly believe that they would suggest policy that would be in your best interest, if your best interest conflicted with theirs (i.e. profit)? Of course not! There is not a corporation in America (or the world) that would, and rightly so. Companies are not (and should not be) looking out for the population of America, they are looking out for their shareholders. It is supposed to be the role of government to look out for your interests. Put it this way, if Bush had to decide between putting oil pipelines through your back garden, or run the risk of pissing of one of his major backers, which do you think he would choose?

I am not anti-corporation ... I have eat at McDonalds like everyone else. But I don't want McDonalds being involved in food health laws, or Ford being involved in car safety legislation, or the music industry influencing copyright law.

But hey, like I said before I am Irish, so who am I to tell the `majority' of Americans that their political system sucks. They know that already.

[ Parent ]

point by point (none / 0) (#289)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat May 18, 2002 at 09:52:58 PM EST

Firstly the majority of Americans did not support Bush.

I never claimed that he did. The last president to recieve a majority vote was his father.

Even if you forget the popular vote, 51% is not `the majority.'

51% is, by definition a majority. As for "The Majority" I dunno.

Right now you have a president that nearly (or even more than) half the country does not want in power.

Actually, recent polling puts it at around 70%.

And Nader wasn't elected because the presidential race is, and from the looks of it always will be, a two horse race. It is not exactly a shining example of democracy.

I'd prefer a little more variety in the American political system, but even if America had 5 or 6 major parties Ralph Nader wouldn't be heading any of them. His views, despite his continual insistence otherwise, lie far outside the political mainstream.

Secondly, if you support corporations as social guardians or an extension of the government you are asking for disaster. Why on earth would you want energy company executives to be closely involved in national energy policy? Do you honestly believe that they would suggest policy that would be in your best interest, if your best interest conflicted with theirs (i.e. profit)? Of course not!

I don't want energy companies acting as "social guardians." I want healthy and competitive energy markets because it provides the the most effective and efficient means of allocating those resources.

Do you honestly believe that they would suggest policy that would be in your best interest, if your best interest conflicted with theirs (i.e. profit)? Of course not! There is not a corporation in America (or the world) that would, and rightly so.

Ever hear of competition? It's what prohibits companies from charging whatever they please. The stronger the competition, the more efficient the distribution system becomes and the cheaper the comodity good becomes for the consumer.

It is supposed to be the role of government to look out for your interests.

Yep, and I believe the best way they can do this is to foster strong competitive markets.

Put it this way, if Bush had to decide between putting oil pipelines through your back garden, or run the risk of pissing of one of his major backers, which do you think he would choose?

Well, contingent upon on a large number of factors you've left out of your hypothetical, a decision should be made as to the net value of the pipeline to the overall condition of the economy and furtherance of energy policy. If it is a net gain to build the pipeline, then by all means, compensate me fairly for my backyard and build the thing.

I am not anti-corporation ... I have eat at McDonalds like everyone else. But I don't want McDonalds being involved in food health laws, or Ford being involved in car safety legislation, or the music industry influencing copyright law.

In each of the above situations I don't advocate placing an industry in charge of its regulation, but I do think their perspective is invaluable when crafting such regulations.

But hey, like I said before I am Irish, so who am I to tell the `majority' of Americans that their political system sucks. They know that already.

You can say it sucks all you want. Depending on the issue at hand I might even join you. I, for one, find the DMCA to a terrible and short sighted piece of legislation. But the overall political system here isn't, by my definition, intractably corrupt.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Decision making in democracies (none / 0) (#300)
by khallow on Sat May 18, 2002 at 11:00:34 PM EST

Secondly, if you support corporations as social guardians or an extension of the government you are asking for disaster. Why on earth would you want energy company executives to be closely involved in national energy policy? Do you honestly believe that they would suggest policy that would be in your best interest, if your best interest conflicted with theirs (i.e. profit)? Of course not! There is not a corporation in America (or the world) that would, and rightly so. Companies are not (and should not be) looking out for the population of America, they are looking out for their shareholders. It is supposed to be the role of government to look out for your interests. Put it this way, if Bush had to decide between putting oil pipelines through your back garden, or run the risk of pissing of one of his major backers, which do you think he would choose?

Depends on how many votes he loses too. He better compensate me fairly for the loss of my backyard. Campaign donations can only get you so far.

I am not anti-corporation ... I have eat at McDonalds like everyone else. But I don't want McDonalds being involved in food health laws, or Ford being involved in car safety legislation, or the music industry influencing copyright law.

Why not? My experience with virtually all democracies is that decisions are made by those who have an interest. So national energy policy should (and in practice does) involve input from those who produce the energy and deliver it particular as they are the ones in society who have active knowledge of how to do it in an efficient manner.

Who is going to influence decision making if we cut out a party that has something at stake. Hint, it won't be a mythical unbiased technocrat who weighs the issues. Instead, the other interested parties will make the decisions. You're just unfairly handicapping one side.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

statistics. (1.00 / 1) (#517)
by Vermifax on Mon May 20, 2002 at 09:40:01 AM EST

"Right now you have a president that nearly (or even more than) half the country does not want in power."

Excuse me?  Perhaps you missed his approval rating lately.  Not withstanding the fact you don't have the numbers even from the election to assume that more than half didn't want Bush in the office.  Wanting someone else is not equal to wanting someone out.
- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]

approval rating?? (none / 0) (#644)
by wicknight on Mon May 20, 2002 at 07:23:26 PM EST

Gore won the popular vote i.e more people voted for him i.e more people wanted Gore in power than Bush i.e they wanted Gore in power over Bush ... clear enough for you.

The approval rating simply tells you how many people approve of what Bush is doing, it is nothing to do with whether they would perfer Gore in power or not.

If you vote for the other guy it is pretty clear you want the person in power. I don't see what point is unclear

[ Parent ]

Evidence? (none / 0) (#673)
by beergut on Tue May 21, 2002 at 12:38:41 AM EST

Not just some wishy-washy mumbo-jumbo "I want this to be true - neener neener neener" bulshit, either.

IIRC, several independent firms, and several media outlets, have counted and recounted those Florida ballots seven ways from Sunday, and have found Bush to be the winner of the popular vote.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

popular vote vs electoral vote (none / 0) (#723)
by wicknight on Tue May 21, 2002 at 10:57:55 AM EST

i am assuming you don't understand what the 'popular' vote is.

More people actually voted for Bush, but because of the weight system you have he was elected (i think that is how it works, correct me if i am wrong)

Bush is the first US president in nearly a hundred years to win the presidency but lose the popular vote.

[ Parent ]

You assume wrong. (none / 0) (#741)
by beergut on Tue May 21, 2002 at 02:22:36 PM EST

I am well aware of the function of the electoral college.

I asked, "Are you sure that Gore won the popular vote?"

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

enlighten me.. (none / 0) (#744)
by wicknight on Tue May 21, 2002 at 04:05:33 PM EST

well i can find about 100 articles and news reports that says he did (including numerous ones from Republican sources) and zero that says he didn't so please, enlighten me...

[ Parent ]
You enlighten /me/. (none / 0) (#751)
by beergut on Tue May 21, 2002 at 05:19:03 PM EST

It was your claim, after all, that Gore won the popular vote.

Prove it.

No, Indymedia doesn't count.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

oh come on! (none / 0) (#755)
by wicknight on Tue May 21, 2002 at 07:07:20 PM EST

fair enought ... prepare to be enlightened -

"Gore won the popular vote"
Triton Republicans

"Gore won the national popular vote by more than 300,000 ballots"
CNN

"Like Mr. Gore, both of them [Andrew Jackson and Grover Cleveland] won the popular vote but lost the presidency"
CSM

"When it looked like Mr. Bush might win the popular vote and Mr. Gore would win the most electoral votes, the Gore campaign touted the Electoral College. But when the actual outcome was the opposite, the Gore people sought to de-legitimize the Electoral College.."
Ashbrook Center

"Gore won the popular vote by nearly 540,000 votes out of more than 100 million cast, according to a count of the final state tallies by The Associated Press"
Evote.com

National Popular Vote for Gore 50,996,116
National Popular Vote for Bush 50,456,169
Villanova University College Republicans

As fun as it is pointing out how wrong you are about something that is so obvious to anyone who reads a newspaper (I don't even live in your country!), typing in all the links is a bit boring so I think I will leave it at that. After all I trust the Villanova University College Republicans. Unless they are part of the liberal conspiracy.

I await your 'Bush-won-both-popular-and-electoral-votes' links with giddy excitement.

[ Parent ]

Thanks. I concede. (none / 0) (#760)
by beergut on Tue May 21, 2002 at 09:57:27 PM EST

Congratulations. :-)

At least you were able to provide evidence.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Right on the spot (3.00 / 7) (#187)
by Betcour on Sat May 18, 2002 at 09:15:31 AM EST

Actually some US founding fathers owned slaves, and apparently some used them for sex as well. I don't see the NRA going around saying we ought to make slavery legal again because that's what the founding fathers believed in... The founding fathers were not perfect, their consitution is not perfect and it's not the repository of ultimate and timeless truth. Other democratic countries have no problem updating their constitution when the need arise, and as far as I know this is not a problem.

And anyway a piece of paper has never stopped an Hitler or a Staline to take control of a country, so don't count on it being a protection against dictatorship.

[ Parent ]
exactly (2.00 / 2) (#210)
by disney on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:42:01 PM EST

The rule of law is only as strong as the citizens' need to live under it. Whenever rights such as those ennumerated in the second amendment are 'bestowed', people should realize that there is always an asterisk next to it, meaning that whenever it becomes inconvenient to allow those rights they will be revoked for security reasons.

I'd rather be safe than free, so I hope that all of these libertarian bigots start to recognize that the survival of the human species takes precedent over their emotional and romantic notions.

[ Parent ]

Better Safe than Free? (5.00 / 1) (#268)
by Kintanon on Sat May 18, 2002 at 06:30:41 PM EST

Hey, fuck you. You can live in chains in a little box as Safe as you can imagine yourself to be. I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees. Regardless of the idea of gun control, if you are willing to trade your liberty for the illusion of safety then you deserve everything you get in the exchange, including rigorous controls over your daily life.

Kintanon
BTW: Pro-Gun. Anti-Idiot. If you need a license for a Car, you should have a license for a Gun, and the testing should be more difficult.


[ Parent ]

Suck on this one (5.00 / 1) (#358)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:10:28 AM EST

"... In a state of tranquillity, wealth, and luxury, our descendants would forget the arts of war and the noble activity and zeal which made their ancestors invincible. Every art of corruption would be employed to loosen the bond of union which renders our resistance formidable. When the spirit of liberty which now animates our hearts and gives success to our arms is extinct, our numbers will accelerate our ruin and render us easier victims to tyranny. Ye abandoned minions of an infatuated ministry, if peradventure any should yet remain among us, remember that a Warren and Montgomery are numbered among the dead. Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, What should be the reward of such sacrifices? Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, - go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"
-- Samuel Adams, 1 August, 1776.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Benjamin Franklin (4.00 / 1) (#555)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon May 20, 2002 at 01:42:11 PM EST

"Those who would trade their liberty for a small amount of personal security deserve neither."

 Quote aside, the arguments for gun control legislation tend to be illogical and not supported by relevant statistics.

 If you'd rather be safe than free, lock yourself in your house and do all of your commerce, both shopping and earning income, over the Internet, and let those of us who want to be safe and free live our lives in peace.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

Um... that's the point. (none / 0) (#292)
by Skywise on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:10:30 PM EST

"And anyway a piece of paper has never stopped an Hitler or a Staline to take control of a country, so don't count on it being a protection against dictatorship."

And that's the reason for the 2nd Amendment.

[ Parent ]

Duh (4.00 / 1) (#332)
by Betcour on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:05:50 AM EST

In the middle of the 20th century almost every european home had at least a hunting gun. That never stopped Hitler nor Staline. If the bunch of idiots at the NRA think they can stand up to a modern army they are really even more stupid than they look. Even an M16 is of little use nowadays when a cruise missile is heading your way.

[ Parent ]
Yes and... (none / 0) (#351)
by Skywise on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:40:31 AM EST

Some European Countries surrendered and forced their citizens to turn their arms over voluntarily.  Those that were overrun (and those that surrendered) also had their own armed resistance groups.

A State run military will always have more firepower than its populace.  That goes without saying.

It's a distribution of politics and power.  One man, can do more harm with a pencil than a gun against the State.  A relatively small percentage of people against the State can hold out in the short term but the State will still be able to concentrate forces.  But a majority of the populace, even lightly armed, should be able to take on the State because, inevitably, some of the army will split.

Take the Beijing Massacre for instance, that would've turned out MUCH differently had the students all had just handguns.

Look at what Al Quaeda can do with small arms.

Regardless of what you see today... the 2nd amandment is there as the ultimate check and balance against the State.  It's seldom used (See the Whiskey Rebellion) and there's very little talk about it because once the populace takes action on that clause... well, the State will cease to be and all documents turn to paper.

[ Parent ]

Fallacies (3.66 / 3) (#363)
by Betcour on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:30:01 AM EST

Some European Countries surrendered and forced their citizens to turn their arms over voluntarily. Those that were overrun (and those that surrendered) also had their own armed resistance groups.

The resistance movements in Europe didn't really used hunting guns, they had light military/police guns from various origin (smuggling, stealing from state arsenal or taken to the enemy). The resistance work was mostly underground and would have been useless without the allied support who did the bulk of the work. Planes, tanks and artilleries are what defeated hitlers. Privately owned guns didn't. You can't stop a panzer division with a riffle.

One man, can do more harm with a pencil than a gun against the State.

I've nothing against the private ownership of pencils. You can own as much as you want.

But a majority of the populace, even lightly armed, should be able to take on the State because, inevitably, some of the army will split.

Well that doesn't really support your point of view : it only work IF the army splits. The army here is the decisive force. The well-regulated militia amount to nothing here.

Take the Beijing Massacre for instance, that would've turned out MUCH differently had the students all had just handguns.

Except the Chinese sent a tank division here. Had the student owned handguns, more of them would have died for nothing. The army would have gotten one more reason to shoot. The handguns would have been useless against tanks. Once again a billion G-locks are useless against a single tank.

Look at what Al Quaeda can do with small arms.

Exactly ! They can do nothing. They can bother the army here and there in some desertic mountains, but I've to remind you that they were wiped out in a record time. Al Quaeda lost the Afghan war quite clearly.

the 2nd amandment is there as the ultimate check and balance against the State

200 million US citizen (assuming a 100% of the population old enough to carry a gun would revolt, which can never be the case) armed with M16 is useless against the US army. A well regulated militia could compete with a regular army during the time the 2nd amendment was written. A well regulated militia (which doesn't exists anymore BTW) is totally useless against a modern army. When a neutron-bomb wipes out the place, your militia is just a bunch of idiots with a toy in their hand. The 2nd amendment was probably a good idea at the time it was written (it made sense), but it doesn't made sense today. The founding fathers couldn't imagine what weapons are today. And if they did, they probably thought that people would be smart enough to reform that amendment to something reasonable when the time would come.

Maybe having a gun at your place makes you feel safer, but don't believe this false sense of security. If Bush the Second declare himself "dictator in chief" and sends a tank to run over your house, it won't be of any use.

[ Parent ]
Umm... (1.00 / 1) (#374)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 07:43:42 AM EST

If the army were to use nuclear and neutron weapons to defeat the 80 million or so gun owners in the United States, they'd have very little left to show for their efforts. You don't win a war for control of your own territory by destroying it.

God, but you are a dumbfuck.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Ignorance is bliss... (none / 0) (#379)
by Betcour on Sun May 19, 2002 at 09:48:02 AM EST

Go read up what is a neutron bomb first and learn something today. I'll save you some time with a quote from someone who knew what is a neutron bomb :

This, in effect, is what the neutron bomb is... a bomb by means of which it would be possible to kill people but to preserve all riches - here it is, the bestial ethics of the most aggressive representatives of imperialism.
Nikita Khrushchev, in a speech to the Rumanian Party Congress, 1961.

In short, a neutron bomb kills people and lifeforms, but keep the buildings, factory, weapons and materials intact.

In your own words :
God, but you are a dumbfuck.

[ Parent ]
A followup question... (none / 0) (#422)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:52:07 PM EST

Whom, in your opinion, would man these factories if fully a third of our most capable (physically, mentally) citizens were destroyed?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Easy (none / 0) (#485)
by Betcour on Mon May 20, 2002 at 03:24:07 AM EST

The neutron bomb doesn't kill "the most capable citizens", it kills lifeforms without discrimination. Workers, slackers, kids, dogs, plants etc. It kills top scientist the same way it kills fast food workers (who happen to be in much higher density in the US population). 2/3 of the population is enough for a war economy (close all the McDonalds and other fast food, and you get millions of factory workers)



[ Parent ]
Except... (none / 0) (#501)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon May 20, 2002 at 05:08:02 AM EST

That if the government/military turned a neutron bomb against the populace, armament no longer matters because there is no way in hell the people will ever support that government again.

A government that turns a weapon of mass destruction against its own people commits suicide.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

History disagree (none / 0) (#507)
by Betcour on Mon May 20, 2002 at 06:44:43 AM EST

A government that turns a weapon of mass destruction against its own people commits suicide.

Hitler, Pol-Pot, Staline etc... they killed millions of their owns. Hitler had the massive support of his own people. Nobody dared oppose Staline or Pol-Pot, and those who did payed a hefty price. Why would things go any different in the US ? Given the choice between oppression and death, over 95% of people choose oppression. The 5% tend to unfortunately have a higher death rate under despotism.

[ Parent ]
Which conveniently ignores ... (none / 0) (#524)
by beergut on Mon May 20, 2002 at 10:08:38 AM EST

... what he said.

He said: "A government which turns weapons of mass destruction on its own populace commits suicide".

You would have done better to invoke Saddam Hussein, who gassed the Kurds in Northern Iraq.

It was also very easy (or at least possible) for Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot to cover up, to some extent, the truth of what they were doing.

Why would things go any different in the US ? Given the choice between oppression and death, over 95% of people choose oppression. The 5% tend to unfortunately have a higher death rate under despotism.

And here, you make my argument for me. Thanks!

Better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Iraqi Kurds (none / 0) (#561)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon May 20, 2002 at 01:59:15 PM EST

 Hussein can get away with gassing Kurds because they are an unwanted ethnic minority in Iraq. Similarly, Hitler could oppress Jews, seize their property, and deport them because they were an unwanted ethnic minority.

 And, for the record, the death camps and the vast majority of other atrocities were committed outside Germany-- because even Hitler realized that there were limits to what the German people would tolerate. Had he tried to build Auschwitz on the outskirts of Berlin, I don't think he would have had to wait for the Allies to come to him.

 However, this is beside the point. A neutron bomb, as the original point went, will not limit itself to ethnic minorities. Even targetting ethnic neighborhoods will not work-- the neutron bomb has a pretty considerable radius, from my understanding.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

No. (3.50 / 2) (#205)
by espo812 on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:11:34 PM EST

Has it ever occurred to people that this was a perfectly good amendment at the time but is a completely stupid constitutional article when it is held up to modern standards?
First, I disagree. Second, it is still in the Constitution and this point has not been amended. Therefore, it is still the supreme law of the land. People and the government cannot simply ignore it because some or most people think it is irrelevant. (If you really want an irrelevant amendment, look at the Third - which has never been challenged in court.)
The idea is to remove `their' guns, not your guns.
True. How do you purpose making a person that won't think twice to murder you and your family register or surrender his gun? Criminals arn't going to bother following laws - because they are criminals! So gun control just keeps non-criminals from obtaining and using weapons that they want or need.

espo
--
Censorship is un-American.
[ Parent ]
well... (none / 0) (#645)
by wicknight on Mon May 20, 2002 at 07:27:49 PM EST

how about not selling them a gun in the first place.

I don't think a Constitution should ever be ignored.. but it can be changed.

[ Parent ]

doesn't work (none / 0) (#667)
by blablablastuff on Mon May 20, 2002 at 11:02:12 PM EST

Because the CRIMINALS would still be able to buy illegal guns from the same places they get them now. OTHER CRIMINALS
cheap weapons from china imported to inner city gangs.
drug smugglers from south america bringing in weapons to support their operations
And i'm sure the mafia has all it's people going through 5 day waiting periods.
it might be harder to smuggle in a chinese knock-off of the AK47 than it is to bring a condom of cocaine shoved up your ass past the border patrol, but this country still has huge porous borders through which criminals would import weapons for sale to criminals.

[ Parent ]
anti-gun countries (none / 0) (#746)
by wicknight on Tue May 21, 2002 at 04:33:36 PM EST

but exactly the same thing is possible in countries that don't allow legal guns, and they seem to be doing just fine.

How many crimes are committed with legally bought guns?

[ Parent ]

Gun crimes (none / 0) (#878)
by Cro Magnon on Tue May 28, 2002 at 04:43:19 PM EST

How many crimes are committed with legally bought guns?
Doubtless fewer than the crimes commited with illegal guns.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
This points to a mistake by gun advocates. (5.00 / 1) (#242)
by jolly st nick on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:47:27 PM EST

Secondly personal gun ownership is not acceptable either. Every gun ownership advocate I have heard lately makes the mistake of assuming that gun control will only remove his or her defensive ability.

I think one of the problems with gun advocates is that they often put what is their least persuasive arguments first: that if everyone has guns then the populace would be safer, or that a local band of farmers is going to fend off the US army if it steps over the line.

Now I don't want to get into an argument about either of these propositions here, but to point out that in a sense these are self contained propositions: you either believe them or you don't. No matter what side you are on, you can argue until you're blue in the face, but unless a person is inclined to agree with you at the outset, all you will do is convince the other person that you are a fanatic.

Now, how about this argument. For many, perhaps most gun owners, the benefit they receive most regularly is the pleasure of target shooting. It's a perfectly unobjectionable and innocent pleasure. It takes much more skill than most non-shooters realize; it is a discipline of concentration, control and consistency. It is also tremendous fun. Men and women can do it together, old and young. Almost all of these people are respectable, decent, ordinary folk who, though they might in an extreme situation shoot at somebody, fervently wish they will never have to, and frankly, don't spend much time thinking about it. (I believe this is more the norm for the gun owners that I know)

Now, there are the people who do bad things with guns. I won't minimize the impact of this misuse of guns at all -- it's terrible. But these are a tiny minority of people with guns.

Now, here's the proposition. Do we want a government that takes away the innocent and healthy pleasure of many, many people because of the abuses of a few? Where does this logic take us as a society?

This is why I think that a ninth amendment position on gun rights is more persuasive than a second amendment one.

[ Parent ]

It really isn't about the big mean government taki (none / 0) (#270)
by Caffinated on Sat May 18, 2002 at 06:47:16 PM EST

Do we want a government that takes away the innocent and healthy pleasure of many, many people because of the abuses of a few? Where does this logic take us as a society?

This question totally avoids the issue at hand. If it were simply a matter of the government taking away our toys with no larger rationale this would be a valid question to ask, but in the instance of private ownership of arms (the amendment does not limit itself to personal firearms as noted in the above article) we've already established that there are limits. Like all others, it is not an absolute right of any sort. Just because an individual (even many) can derive pleasure from an activity does not in any way mean that the activity in question is not harmful or destructive.

As an (extreme) example: If one of the favorite family activities in America today happened to be the collection and detenation of personal nuclear weapons the fact that fathers and daughters everywhere were deriving immense pleasure would be irrelevant. That a few 'bad apples' could at a whim vaporize a couple of million people would really seem to be the point upon which the issue would be decided.

I'm not equating private firearm ownership with private ownership of weapons of mass destruction here, but the rationale behind limiting and regulating their private ownership is largely the same. It all comes down to a benefit/cost based decision between public vs. individual good. It's not a decision as to whether or not there is a line, it is all a matter of where we draw it.

[ Parent ]

Without complete information, though... (none / 0) (#355)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:58:45 AM EST

How do you make the assessment of benefit vs. cost?

You might assume that even one gun death is bad (m'kay?), but does that necessarily mean that the thousands of people who used guns to defend themselves should be sacrificed?

We never get to hear stories about "Maude Harkin, 62, drew her .22 calibre pistol and scared away an intruder without firing a shot ..." on the nightly news. We do hear about "Jack Miov, store owner, was shot by an as-yet unknown assailant today during a robbery ..."

Like anything else, it's about dollars for the media. "If it bleeds, it leads. If it burns, it earns." Add to that an obvious political agenda and an elitist mindset prevalent among them, and it's little wonder we never hear about the many Maude Harkins.

The most conservative estimate I've heard to date regarding people who defended themselves with a gun places the number at over 60,000 per year. I've heard estimates that go as high as 2.5 million, but even I, a gun nut, have a hard time believing that. I'll split the difference in favor of the conservative estimate, and say 1 million.

30,000 deaths, while a tragically high number, seems rather a good tradeoff, especially when you consider the nature of these deaths, i.e., predominantly suicide and gang violence.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Benifit vs Cost (4.00 / 1) (#431)
by Caffinated on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:12:31 PM EST

The answer is that I don't, we do. I doubt that you would agree with my priorities, and I yours. We as a society need to take a look at this without the ideological lenses (if that were possible) and attempt to make a decision in the common good.

That said, I agree with you in that like any technology firearms are not good nor evil, they are just a tool. As such they are capable of being used in ways that save lives as well as take them. What firearms do is lower the initiation barrier and the difficulty involved in killing another. Someone could massacre dozens of people at a suburban McDonalds with a dull pencil if so inclined, but it would be quite a feat of luck and physical prowess. Doing this with a modern firearm requires little more than intent and some ammunition. I'd rather take my chances with the former.

The argument that you are laying out is that we all need guns to defend ourselves from others with guns. I'm sure that the gun manufacturers and the NRA would love such an environment, but the costs and dangers entailed by such a policy have no corresponding upside. This would have the effect of raising the level of danger rather than lowering it. If an attacker could be reasonably certain that the prey were armed, it would make more sense to proactivly disable them before the element of suprise were lost. That would mean that you would have much less of a chance to react and a much higher chance of loosing much more than your wallet in a robbery.

If handguns were removed from circulation and the penalties for using one in a crime really had teeth violent crime would not necessarily decrease as the causes of crime are largely independant of the tools used, but the incidence of fatalities from such crimes (burglaries, assault) would be decreased. Statistics have not shown any real correleation between gun ownership and crime rates, the most cited figures tout that the states which have implemented a concealed carry law have seen a decrease in crime. This is true, but the bigger picture is that the crime rates in states which did not create these laws also had decreases in crime (actually a slightly larger decrease than those with the law, but I doubt that the law can account for the difference). The crimes will happen regardless, but they will be less deadly. I think that is a decided benefit.

[ Parent ]

Differences of opinion. (none / 0) (#449)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 08:21:29 PM EST

What firearms do is lower the initiation barrier and the difficulty involved in killing another.

They also make it possible for a 100lb. woman to defend herself against a 220lb. potential rapist. Not just easier (which can't be a bad thing,) but possible. Don't be too hasty to discount that fact.

Someone could massacre dozens of people at a suburban McDonalds with a dull pencil if so inclined, but it would be quite a feat of luck and physical prowess.

So, by that token, we should outlaw pencils?

What if someone in that McDonald's had a handgun? I doubt the pencil-wielder would get very far.

Doing this with a modern firearm requires little more than intent and some ammunition. I'd rather take my chances with the former.

Fine. You find a magical utopia where the only dangers involve psychopaths with pencils. Live there. I'll be happy for you. Really. And when they bring your medications, be sure to take them.

The argument that you are laying out is that we all need guns to defend ourselves from others with guns.

As opposed to using dull pencils to protect ourselves from others with guns? Yes. I'm sure that the gun solution would be more efficacious.

I'm sure that the gun manufacturers and the NRA would love such an environment, but the costs and dangers entailed by such a policy have no corresponding upside.

I really rather doubt that you know what you're talking about, given this statement.

You see, from the NRA's perspective, they like having "members", which helps to fund their political and social activities. You can't derive membership dues from dead people.

Gun manufacturers would also like to "sell" guns. You can't very well sell guns to dead people.

This would have the effect of raising the level of danger rather than lowering it. If an attacker could be reasonably certain that the prey were armed, it would make more sense to proactivly disable them before the element of suprise were lost.

You assume a couple of things here:

  • You assume that criminals are intelligent enough to make this connection. I assure you that the run-of-the-mill purse-snatcher isn't. He's more likely to attack a person who doesn't know where she's going (or appears to have that characteristic,) or someone unaware or distracted. He's not looking to become a "death by cowboy" statistic. He's looking for his next hit of crack or smack or something.
  • You assume that your average street thug is not already armed. This is blatantly, and patently false. Hence, the abundance of crime statistics involving shooting deaths between members of rival gangs. These people are already armed. Illegally. If he is already to the point of flouting laws, why wouldn't he shoot to disable first, anyway?
  • You assume that a criminal would be brazen enough to attack someone who might be armed. Ever talk to a criminal? I have. They don't want to unnecessarily endanger themselves, choosing instead to attack someone they know would be weaker, even if they themselves are armed.
The point is that, yes, widespread concealed carry does raise the level of danger, but for the attacker. He is already armed, so it is already a very precarious situation for the attackee. If the attacker is already bent on doing violence, it is in the interest of the victim to be armed. If the attacker just wants a clean getaway (the vast, huge, overwhelming majority,) it does not behoove them to bring a gun into play. When the victim might be armed, it makes it more likely that the attacker will simply not attack, for fear of coming up with holes in his hide if something goes awry. See this article for a brief summary.

That would mean that you would have much less of a chance to react and a much higher chance of loosing much more than your wallet in a robbery.

That would also mean that a potential attacker has more to lose. Remember - he's already armed, in either case.

Personally, I want to have the ability to defend myself against attack, should it be necessary. The chances of that happening are remote, the fondest ideas of Europeans and other leftists notwithstanding, but I would like to be prepared against just such an eventuality, rather than standing there with my jaw slack, begging "please, Mr. Attacker, don't hurt me or my wife or my kids."

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Your example makes my point (none / 0) (#437)
by jolly st nick on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:40:41 PM EST

We don't allow people to mess with nuclear arms, for the very reason you cite. However, it is not true that if ordinary people have access to, say, handgungs, that society will fall apart. They do and it hasn't.

Now, this is not to say that society does not pay a severe cost due to the right people have to own handguns (gun advocates please note -- I am deliberately not considering self-defense issues here because I don't think they are necessary to make my point). If it were a matter of counting the cost to me as a member of society vs. the benefit, I as a non-handgun owner would say fine, ban them. On the other hand, I think it is important to realize that there is a greater issue at stake that affects me even if I don't own a handgun. The issue is whether we wish to live in a society which is relatively more free, or relatively more protective; it is not just the freedom to own handguns, but to own any thing or pursue any avocation that might.

Personally, I don't want to live in a society that is utterly paternalistic on one hand, nor in one that is utterly unresponsive to issues of the public welfare. We in particular must look long and hard before abridging long held freedoms, because it is difficult to credibly argue that such freedoms are are so destructive of our welfare that they must be abolished.

[ Parent ]

100 Years Ago My Ass (none / 0) (#640)
by thelizman on Mon May 20, 2002 at 06:56:51 PM EST

the amendment became irrelevant some 100 years ago...Has it ever occurred to people that this was a perfectly good amendment at the time but is a completely stupid constitutional article when it is held up to modern standards?
Look around buddy, it's never been irrelevent, especially in modern standards. Maybe you're familiar with the US Mexico border - The US Government has recently had to admit it has done a piss poor job of protecting ranchers and citizens along that stretch from incursions by the Mexican army (granted they weren't invading, more or less just got lost while escorting...er...chasing drug smugglers), outlaws, and illegal immigrants (not all of whom are the simple hardworking folk yearning to be free). If you're expecting the state to protect you, you are first in line towards being a victim.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
immigrants? (none / 0) (#647)
by wicknight on Mon May 20, 2002 at 07:30:59 PM EST

the 2nd Amendment is not irrelivant because America is about to be invaded by illegal immigrants??

[ Parent ]
selective reading (none / 0) (#652)
by thelizman on Mon May 20, 2002 at 07:47:31 PM EST

What part about the open border did you not read moron? The number of crimes committed against persons and property along the US/Mexico border is higher then in the first 5 major population centers of the united states. There are killing, assaults, robberies, and even a couple rapes committed on a regular basis. The border is a hotbed of illegal activity, and if you think smugglers of drugs and illegals are gentlemanly sorts who easily let bygones be bygones, then you need to read up on some rather large mass graves containing American citizens that were found down there a few years back.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
if it's unclear, rewrite it (4.00 / 4) (#184)
by boxed on Sat May 18, 2002 at 08:37:06 AM EST

US law is about interpreting ancient laws that are obsolete, and about ignoring the laws that are still in effect. In Europe we remove irrelevant laws and change those that are unclear or just wrong. The US just adds more and more and more text, fixing the symptoms instead of the disease.

Ahh yes, Europe's excellent track record. (1.75 / 4) (#195)
by Your Moms Cock on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:20:48 AM EST

Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Franco, all masters of removing "obsolete" laws and replacing them with laws closer to The Final Solution (see: disease erradication.)


--
Mountain Dew cans. Cat hair. Comic book posters. Living with the folks. Are these our future leaders, our intellectual supermen?

[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 0) (#201)
by boxed on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:53:18 AM EST

Europe has an excelent track record of following its laws, as you pointed out with those silly troll examples. In the US deceit and subterfuge is the norm, where laws are ignored constantly. "All men are created equal" the constitution says, yet somehow slavery was abundant, native americans where slaughtered and lawlessness was/is a way of life. I for one like an evil man that is honest more than an evil man that doesn't show his true colors.

[ Parent ]
Not Quite (none / 0) (#237)
by REOKid70 on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:25:12 PM EST

"All men are created equal" is from the Declaration of Independance, not the Constitution.

[ Parent ]
too bad (none / 0) (#241)
by mami on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:46:19 PM EST

isn't it?

[ Parent ]
reminds me of (none / 0) (#240)
by mami on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:45:19 PM EST

something my husband used to tell me. He prefers German racists to other countries' racists (at that time he was thinking of France), because the Germans are so honest about it. :-) American racists are special case, because I think their racism is located in their legal system and not so much in their hearts. But somehow I think they don't realize that.

[ Parent ]
bah, ignorance. (none / 0) (#271)
by rebelcool on Sat May 18, 2002 at 06:54:52 PM EST

Without the 3/5ths compromise, the constitution would never have been ratified, and the world would be a vastly difference place today.

Since you probably don't know what that is, it states that slaves count as 3/5ths of a man when it comes to determining house representation (which is determined by state population). The northern states (which had no slaves) didnt want them counted because they were property who couldn't vote anyway (nevermind the fact women couldnt vote, either), but the southern states wanted slaves to count because the increases their house representation (and thus, their power).

There was also a part in there about congress not touching slavery for 20 years following ratification (slavery was a HUGE debate from ratification of the constitution on till the civil war...nothing since then has compared)

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

I am impressed.. (none / 0) (#362)
by techwolf on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:29:35 AM EST

you have done your research or you have read the constitution. and you are too right about slavery being such a MASSIVE issue that nothing has compared to it since. and for all others, slavery is PROTECTED by the constitution, only outlawed after an amendment.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

It had to be (none / 0) (#385)
by rebelcool on Sun May 19, 2002 at 11:55:27 AM EST

They needed the support of the southern colonies for it to be ratified.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

how many pages are your tax forms? (none / 0) (#213)
by khallow on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:26:40 PM EST

When I was a student, I ended up filling out two pages of tax forms per year (one state and one federal). Last tax season, I filled out 5 pages (2 state and 3 federal) of tax forms per year (including some minor stock and option income but not itemized deductions). It took me about ten hours to assemble my stuff and fill out the forms. Seems to me, we have a proper measurement (average time and money an inhabitant requires to pay taxes) of how complicated a legal system resides in a particular location.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

This Ain't Europe, You Ain't No Scholar (none / 0) (#639)
by thelizman on Mon May 20, 2002 at 06:56:23 PM EST

US law is about interpreting ancient laws that are obsolete
No it isn't, and whoever told you that rediculous piece of rubbish is asking to be shot (yes, I'm being sarcastic). All laws in the US are subordinate to the Constitution. Those first Ten amendments are immutable, and cannot be rescinded precisely because, as the preamble states, those amendments are the only means by which all states would accept the Constitution. If you repealed the 2nd amendment, it would be grounds for the dissolution of the United States. While I don't practically expect that to happen, you don't want to open the pandoras box of seccession again.


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Guns are the great equalizer. (1.83 / 6) (#185)
by Your Moms Cock on Sat May 18, 2002 at 08:40:53 AM EST

That is all.


--
Mountain Dew cans. Cat hair. Comic book posters. Living with the folks. Are these our future leaders, our intellectual supermen?

OK then... (none / 0) (#200)
by MrMikey on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:40:52 AM EST

Is it still an "equalizer" if you have a .356 and the "other guy" has a cruise missile? The whole "we need guns to protect against the government" argument is just silly. Wake up! We are the government! Us! Remember "We the people"? Hell, do you even vote?

[ Parent ]
Equality (none / 0) (#206)
by prometheus on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:17:27 PM EST

It could also mean that a .356 could make a 5 ft 85 lb woman the equal to a 6 ft 250 lb rapist.

--
<omnifarad> We've got a guy killing people in DC without regard for his astro van's horrible fuel economy
[ Parent ]
Conversely, (4.00 / 4) (#207)
by MrMikey on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:33:46 PM EST

It could also mean that a .357 could give a 6 ft 250 lb rapist a greater advantage over a 5 ft 85 lb woman. Besides, that .357 will only help that woman if she knows how to use it, has it where she can get to it faster than the rapist can get to her (note that the vast majority of rapes are perpetrated by someone the woman knows), and has the focus needed to get it and aim it while under very stressful conditions. This can all be done, but, please, let's not pretend that guns are magic talismans that will protect us from harm.

I'm all for self defense. I'm all for responsible gun ownership and use. What pisses me off are those who use some deeply mythical (for us in the 21st century United States) "it prevents tyranny" argument, or those who talk about their guns as if they were magic wands, or those knuckle-draggers who talk about their guns and sound like they are talking about their penises.

[ Parent ]

Exactly (1.00 / 1) (#208)
by prometheus on Sat May 18, 2002 at 12:36:49 PM EST

That is exactly correct.  It would be foolish to own a gun and not know how to use it.  Sort of like expecting owning a car to magically enable you to travel faster without knowing how to use it.

--
<omnifarad> We've got a guy killing people in DC without regard for his astro van's horrible fuel economy
[ Parent ]
Gun Competence (5.00 / 1) (#299)
by SporranBoy on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:54:28 PM EST

I have handled some handguns on a few occasions. They are scary stuff, 100% concentration required at all times.

Ownership of a firearm is a serious undertaking, especially if it is purchased for protection. I considered it when I lived in Latin America, but I decided I was more likely to kill one of the kids than an intruder.

Most people are just too lazy, distracted and undisciplined to be suitable candidates for gun ownership. Look at how people drive cars ( I include myself here ) - one hand on the wheel, coffee in the cupholder, cellular in the ear, no turn signals, automatic transmission because shifting is too much trouble.

I would like to see anyone who thinks they are hot enough shit to own a handgun take a proficiency test and spend minimum hours on the range every year in much the same way as a cop has to.

[ Parent ]

I agree 100% (none / 0) (#328)
by Greyshade on Sun May 19, 2002 at 03:48:36 AM EST

The problem here is people that are too lazy to care about learning to handle and use a firearm would rather that they all just disappear because it makes their life too difficult. This is the part I don't understand.

  • If you are too lazy to be politically informed and active, you can personally forfeit your vote.
  • If you are too lazy or cowardly to voice your opinion, you can choose to forfeit your freedom of speech.
  • If you are too unconcerned about your personal safety to educate yourself to a degree that you are comfortable handling a firearm, you can forfeit your right to bear arms.

I take great exception with you trying to tell me that since you choose to forfeit your rights, that I must give up mine as well.

[ Parent ]

You agree with something no one said... (none / 0) (#383)
by MrMikey on Sun May 19, 2002 at 10:55:43 AM EST

The problem here is people that are too lazy to care about learning to handle and use a firearm would rather that they all just disappear because it makes their life too difficult. This is the part I don't understand.
Allow me to explain: it's not that the people who are "too lazy to care about learning to handle and use a firearm" want guns to go away... it's that those people go out and buy guns, in the mistaken belief that owning a gun acts as a magical protection from harm, while granting one super powers with which to "stop bad guys." This is not to say, however, that there aren't competent gun owners out there, or that there aren't lazy people out there. It's the ones who buy guns, but don't develop the skills and responsible attitude that concern us.
If you are too lazy to be politically informed and active, you can personally forfeit your vote.
Citizens living in a representative democracy and being active, informed voters are our defense against tyranny (and, IMO, guns certainly aren't).
If you are too lazy or cowardly to voice your opinion, you can choose to forfeit your freedom of speech.
To be silent is also a right.
If you are too unconcerned about your personal safety to educate yourself to a degree that you are comfortable handling a firearm, you can forfeit your right to bear arms.
See the top of this post.
I take great exception with you trying to tell me that since you choose to forfeit your rights, that I must give up mine as well.
Good thing no one here is telling you this... you apparently misread.

[ Parent ]
errr... (none / 0) (#329)
by Greyshade on Sun May 19, 2002 at 03:51:49 AM EST

Just to clarify; I ment 'you' to be impersonal-plural, not 'you' SporranBoy. I was actually trying to agree with and expound upon your point in my previous post.

=)

[ Parent ]

ok then (none / 0) (#361)
by techwolf on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:23:41 AM EST

I would like to see anyone who thinks they are hot enough shit to own a handgun take a proficiency test and spend minimum hours on the range every year in much the same way as a cop has to.

when and where shold me meet? :) I can almost garentee that I personaly spend as much or more time then most cops on the range. please notice that I said PERSONALY, this does not include anyone esle only myself.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Rapes by people she knows... (5.00 / 1) (#483)
by gnovos on Mon May 20, 2002 at 03:11:22 AM EST

Pity that, becuase maybe those "friends" of hers wouldn't feel so keen about raping her if they know that a) She knows where he lives b) She has a big fucking gun c) She's mentioned many times that if she were ever in one of those "friendly rape" situations, she would not resist, but later that night she would sneak into the rapist's house and remove his kneecaps, genitalia, fingers and left half of his face with repeated thwacks from her assault rifle on "full automatic".

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
what if you can't hold a gun due to a disability? (none / 0) (#202)
by boxed on Sat May 18, 2002 at 11:00:31 AM EST

Arming everybody that can carry a gun makes it easier to hurt, it doen't make it harder to get hurt. This is the first basic flaw of the american system. The second is that not all "equal men" can even use guns.

[ Parent ]
Ah but the beauty of capitalism... (none / 0) (#214)
by rebelcool on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:28:57 PM EST

one could conceive a device which would allow that. After all, there are cars out there one can control with hand pedals if you have no legs, mouth powered wheel chairs..you name it.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

the error of capitalism (5.00 / 1) (#343)
by boxed on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:47:15 AM EST

Noone will develop such a device for a too small market, and this is exactly the case with a whole slew of disabilities.

[ Parent ]
I would imagine ... (2.00 / 1) (#364)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:34:42 AM EST

... that there is not a huge market for mouth-controlled wheelchairs, as a portion of the population.

Funny, that. They exist. Some capitalist or another thought it up and began producing it, and whaddya know? He found a niche.

Same thing with a disabled-defender gun device. If someone thinks up a way to do it inexpensively (relatively) and effectively (otherwise, what's the point?), it'll get devised, and there will be a small, niche market for it.

Why don't you just admit that your problem is actually with the ideas and ideals of capitalism, and stop being such a little cowardly dipshit, hurling stones from behind a red flag, at people who might just shoot you? >:-)

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

you misunderstood what I was saying (none / 0) (#370)
by boxed on Sun May 19, 2002 at 07:27:57 AM EST

In the case of mouth-controlled wheelchairs there is a market yes, and capitalism is great when it comes to filling needs. But to think that capitalism is the end-all solution to everything is just ignoring reality. First of all capitalism has to be regulated strictly by a state. USA fails to do this properly, as can be seen in the medical business where treating of disease is more profitable than treating the cause. Pure capitalism leads to a statilesche communism through monopoly. Capitalism with the combination of a small amount of socialism and a big dose of democracy is the only way to run a society. There is not a single stable fully industrialized country in the world that doesn't follow this pattern.

And btw, voting 1 on comments is for comments that are spam, not comments that you do not agree with.

[ Parent ]

To my knowledge, (2.00 / 1) (#373)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 07:38:34 AM EST

I have done that once, in this thread, and followed it up with a reply.

In short, on that "voting 1" comment, bite my browneye.

As to capitalism and the medical profession, it couldn't be HMOs and government interference, Medicare and that kind of shit, or the desperate need for tort reforms, that has caused, for instance, the price of delivering a baby to go from approximately $500 in 1972 to nearly $10,000 today?

Seems I heard of a doctor in New Mexico that was going out of business with the current "standard medical practice" model. He couldn't keep up with paperwork, insurance, and all the big loads of government and HMO crap. So, he pulled down his shingle and was packing it in.

The local townsfolk, who would then be without a doctor, fixed him up an office and agreed to sign waivers and pay cash. Now, he is providing better service to more people for less money than before.

Capitalism. It's a wonderful thing. The choice of a new generation.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Blind guy with a gun (none / 0) (#297)
by SporranBoy on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:41:20 PM EST

I rememember reading an article in one of the gun rags about a blind guy who used a firearm to defend himself against an intruder in his apartment.

Hope nobody was expecting to follow this with some insightful arguments in pro or contra.

[ Parent ]

this may seem funny but (none / 0) (#360)
by techwolf on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:17:45 AM EST

One of my best friends when i was growing up was blind. He went out shooting with his dad and friends all the time. you know what else? he could really hit stuff, just from hearing it move of the wind on branches, using the force, ect... he wasn't as good as a sighted person but he could still hit stuff. I was also impressed with him and his ability.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Unfortunately... (1.00 / 1) (#296)
by SporranBoy on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:33:16 PM EST

you are going to need a lot of ammo to eliminate everyone who is smarter than you

[ Parent ]
Guardian article (Charlton Heston walks out) (3.40 / 5) (#189)
by thebrix on Sat May 18, 2002 at 09:25:46 AM EST

First of all, this is one of the best K5 articles I've seen in ages as it explains a lot of things which, to someone in the United Kingdom, were previously incomprehensible. In particular, I had previously noted the Ashcroft statement and was always curious about the interpretation of 'militia' and how individual rights could be derived with such an inconvenient word in place ...

But Michael Moore is tweaking tails again, as this Guardian article shows: whatever you think of him he certainly doesn't lack intellectual courage. As someone who grew up a dozen miles from Dunblane - he grew up a dozen miles from Columbine - I understand what he's saying; being able to buy ammunition in a supermarket or being handed a gun gratis on opening a bank account just flabbergasts me.

On Dunblane, my late mother ran the Girl Guides in the area at the time and heard chapter and verse about what happened; it seems pretty likely that the perpetrator would have done something drastic at the time no matter what weapons he did, or did not, have access to. He was known to the police, and had been the subject of hundreds of complaints, but had never committed an offence. Although it's easy to be wise after the event I often wonder whether the massacre would've happened had the police become tired of the complaints and decided to falsely accuse him of an offence (now there's a moral dilemma if ever there was one!)

fighting the demons within (1.36 / 11) (#192)
by mami on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:00:19 AM EST

Why, he asks, do so many Americans kill each other with guns and why do so many of them feel they need to be armed? "We have a history of violence," replies Heston, "perhaps more than most other countries." When Moore retorts that Germany and Britain have violent histories, too, but currently a relatively tiny number of gun-related killings, Heston walks out.

Heston should be considered for psychiatric treatment. His mental health status is to be questioned carefully. I think he is still living in his phantasy movie settings of "Ben Hur" and has lost "it" a long time ago.

Matter of factly the NRA has undermined the US democracy so successfully that no citizen in the US in his right mind still dares to question the second amendment. Citizens are simply afraid to get shot for any kind of reasonable political opposition to current gun legislation and the second amendment.

Just watch the half-baked opposition of the "million moms" in the US. If they were not scared to their bones, they would have organized true political opposition and brought about true legislative amendment to the gun ownership rights of individuals. They didn't and that for one reason only: plain and pure fear.

It's not true that people have to fear so much their own government (as long they are not infiltrated and bought by NRA supporters, which right now the government is), they have to fear the NRA supporters. It's support for legalized anarchy of gun owners within the lowest level of social organization: the families and the cities' neighborhoods and communities.

Nowhere you can observe such an amount of hypocricy and denial amongst Americans as when you listen to them boasting their "quality of life". Fear is accompanying every move and step of their private lives. They can't admit it, because they are ashamed for their failure to overcome their own lack of trust towards their own neighbors. Their zealous search for enemies outside the US (communism, terrorists, "them, who hate the US" etc) is a direct result of their own internal, oppressed fears. It's an issue within the US, which has to be cured and solved from the inside out. They will never accept any outside well meant criticism or offers of well meant political, legal solutions. They have to fight their own demons, no way around that one.

[ Parent ]

What a load of crap (4.50 / 2) (#317)
by BeBoxer on Sun May 19, 2002 at 02:12:47 AM EST

Citizens are simply afraid to get shot for any kind of reasonable political opposition to current gun legislation and the second amendment.

What the hell is this? You think NRA members just go out and kill anybody who opposes the 2nd amendment? That's just utter and total lunacy. Can you point to a single example of this happening?

[ Parent ]

I doubt he could (NT) (none / 0) (#359)
by techwolf on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:14:02 AM EST


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]
Well... (1.00 / 1) (#391)
by mami on Sun May 19, 2002 at 12:56:18 PM EST

she can't, but let's see. Assume your SO, wife, girlfriend, fiancee or whatever is clearly opposed to individual gun ownership, and you are clearly a supporter and would never allow anybody to take the right to carry a gun around to take away from you, what is going to happen?

Is your SO giving in, because she has no way to oppose your views and convince you, or is she able to oppose your views and still be able to live with you together?

What do you do, if the availability of guns in your household is a matter of life and death, or let's say, staying married or getting a divorce? Who do you think will decide the outcome of such a disagreement, your wife not having a gun or you having one?

[ Parent ]

thats a bit much. (none / 0) (#410)
by techwolf on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:35:21 PM EST

you are assuming quite a bit there. First off my SO enjoys target shooting as well, not as much as I do but still enough to understand why i feel like I do. second let us assumed she was against those rights to keep and bear arms. Ok, fine. would I leave, get a divorce? your answer is Yes, but it is not for the reasons that you put forth. If she was against those rights I would find it hard t be qith her becaus ethat would mean that there are quite a few other differences between us because of the shear type of person that I am. It comes back to the fact that the attitude is ingrained in life and who I am, so if she was not for those rights chances are she wouldn't be for a whole lot of other things that I enjoy doing/ belive in. If that were the case I would find it annoying at best to be around her.

no lets get back to reality shall we? that is not the case and shedoes belive in many of the same things I do so it is a moot point that you are trying to make.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

sorry, I didn't really want you (1.00 / 1) (#415)
by mami on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:06:21 PM EST

to take this personally and answer for your own personal situation (I thought that goes without saying, sorry not to have clearly said so before). It's an everyday situation any couple can be in. I wanted to get your opinion about how much "freedom" a partner of someone, who supports and practices his right of gun ownership, really has, if that person doesn't feel comfortable with his partner's opinion.

It doesn't take much phantasy to imagine a couple living ten miles away of the next neighbor, no police 911 call would be answered on time, wife has little money, no car to drive away, may be kids to protect, and she gets in a serious problem with her husband. You don't want to suggest that the gun in the hands of the man settles all questions of "freedom" of the wife once and for all, do you?

Me, back to reality? I can't, I never left it.

[ Parent ]

Uhh... (none / 0) (#421)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:47:28 PM EST

Why is it necessary, in your pea-sized brain, to assume that the woman will not have, and know how to use, a firearm?

Many women, this man's wife in particular, own and know how to use firearms. It is quite reasonable to think that she may have a pistol stashed for just such an eventuality, if she feels that afraid of the man.

And besides, why is she with him, if she is that afraid of him? How and why did she get involved, in the first place?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Ooh (1.00 / 1) (#432)
by mami on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:12:50 PM EST

I guess your pie-size brain read some something I didn't write. Apparently you can't imagine that I am against private gun ownership, but nevertheless know women, who know how to use a gun? Where did you get this impression?

Now, I suggest you become a police officer and be a protective citizens especially to those 911 calls to domestic violence calls, where men, gotten sick of their wives, are a little bit too fast with their fingers on the trigger. Just to give you an idea that "the honeymoon" doesn't last for ever evidently, if that might have slipped your attention.

[ Parent ]

No, I can't point specifically to a NRA member (1.00 / 3) (#390)
by mami on Sun May 19, 2002 at 12:49:00 PM EST

But the way people, who oppose the second amendment are scared and bullied around, is enough to scare many to take more courageous efforts to bring about a change in attitude towards legal changes, especially women.

It's one thing to point to the amendment process, it's another thing to deny obfuscation, because there is no way that such an amendment process will ever come through as Congress representatives are too dependent on the NRA.

Why do you deny that supporters of individual gun ownership rights have the power to scare their opponents into silence, right in their hands in form of guns? It's a very simple observation. All you are trying to do is pressuring me into denial of an obvious and clearly visible fact.

Individual gun ownership in the hands of drug dependant teenagers, out-of-control men,, hysterical rage-roaders and more, have caused hundreds of self-help groups dealing with the silent and hidden threats parents, women, teachers, employers and special interest groups are exposed to. It's simply a matter of denial to not admit that the availability of guns to individuals has a deterioriating effect on communities and families in the US.

You can bark as much as you want, if you don't want to see it, so be it. I am not going into a fistfight with you about it.

[ Parent ]

I am an NRA member... (5.00 / 1) (#466)
by Skywise on Sun May 19, 2002 at 10:10:33 PM EST

So point to me...

We're not FOR drug violence, gang wars, or wanton shooting our guns into the air on any holiday, and I resent the implication that somehow because we're FOR guns, that we're against women and children.

What we are saying is that taking away the guns only stops the SYMPTOM of drug-violence and turf wars.  
Drug violence and turf-wars will continue.  Human ingenuity is smart enough to overcome and will find a way to do violence.  So every legitimate use of gun ownership; home defense, hunting, target shooting (an olympic sport), will be outlawed and drug violence and gang turf wars will continue.  But the women will feel better because their children are only being shanked instead of shot, I guess...

[ Parent ]

You don't even make sense. (none / 0) (#472)
by BeBoxer on Sun May 19, 2002 at 11:22:18 PM EST

First you said:

Citizens are simply afraid to get shot for any kind of reasonable political opposition to current gun legislation and the second amendment.

Then you said:

But the way people, who oppose the second amendment are scared and bullied around, is enough to scare many to take more courageous efforts to bring about a change in attitude towards legal changes, especially women.

So which is it? Are people afraid to oppose gun ownership? Or are they making courageous efforts to oppose it?

Why do you deny that supporters of individual gun ownership rights have the power to scare their opponents into silence, right in their hands in form of guns? It's a very simple observation. All you are trying to do is pressuring me into denial of an obvious and clearly visible fact.

Well, you're sure talking a lot for someone who is supposed to be scared into silence. And Sarah Brady sure seems to talk a lot for someone who is scared into silence. And HCI sure doesn't seem to have a hard time finding congressmen who are willing to introduce gun control bills. I also seem to read a lot of articles and editorials in the paper supporting gun control. Weird if the opposition is so scared into silence.

You can bark as much as you want, if you don't want to see it, so be it. I am not going into a fistfight with you about it

What? Did I threaten to come over and kick your ass or something? Good lord. Your views might be interesting if they weren't so clearly delusional.

[ Parent ]

guns and force (none / 0) (#605)
by Shren on Mon May 20, 2002 at 04:48:51 PM EST

Why do you deny that supporters of individual gun ownership rights have the power to scare their opponents into silence, right in their hands in form of guns? It's a very simple observation. All you are trying to do is pressuring me into denial of an obvious and clearly visible fact.

Individual gun ownership in the hands of drug dependant teenagers, out-of-control men,, hysterical rage-roaders and more, have caused hundreds of self-help groups dealing with the silent and hidden threats parents, women, teachers, employers and special interest groups are exposed to. It's simply a matter of denial to not admit that the availability of guns to individuals has a deterioriating effect on communities and families in the US.

If there's even the remotest grain of truth to this, then nobody would ever protest against the government for anything - civil rights, slavery, globalization - none of those protests would have ever occured, as the government agents have both a hell of a lot of guns and a reputation for sometimes using them without just cause. A lot of the upset in Cincinnati recently, and earlier in LA, hinged entirely around the fact that the police had guns and a lot of the population had lost faith in the police to use them correctly.

Guns are scary, but people have a lot more spunk than you give them credit for. They can be surrounded by guns and tanks and know that they can easily be executed by the state for standing up - yet they do it anyway, because of what they believe is right.

[ Parent ]

The United Kingdom (obverse) position (4.75 / 4) (#190)
by thebrix on Sat May 18, 2002 at 09:38:31 AM EST

The Firearms - Home Office site tells you all you need to know.

Most interesting is the Police Guidance document [900KB Acrobat file]. Quotes (my emphasis):

13.4 Apart from having a 'good reason' in principle, an applicant's reasons for owning firearms should be genuine and substantial. Chief officers of police should exercise caution in dealing with cases where the applicant presents a nominal reason for possessing firearms but may have ulterior motives.

13.6 'Good reason' should neither be confined to need nor equated to desire ... a simple wish to own a particular sort of firearm is not in itself 'good reason' without further supporting evidence of intentions.

13.72 Applications for the grant of a firearm certificate for the applicant's, or another's, protection, or that of premises, should be refused on the grounds that firearms are not an acceptable means of protection in Great Britain. It has been the view of successive Governments for many years that the private possession and carriage of firearms for personal protection is likely to lead to an increase in levels of violence. This principle should be maintained in the case of applications from representatives of banks and firms protecting valuables or large quantities of money, or from private security guards and bodyguards.

This is completely the reverse of the American position, it would seem.

That's hilarious... (2.50 / 2) (#284)
by Skywise on Sat May 18, 2002 at 09:32:28 PM EST

Read that last section again carefully... To paraphrase; "It's okay to get a gun if you need to protect something valuable."

Ergo... The basic populace is *not* valuable.  Only those valuable to the state (Banks, government security forces, and those important enough to the state that can have bodyguards) can have guns...

But yes, I'm certainly sure it was all to stop the violence...

[ Parent ]

safer country, US or UK? (none / 0) (#288)
by wicknight on Sat May 18, 2002 at 09:51:08 PM EST

Yeah and everyone is really safe in America. When i was over there i never was worried that i might be shot, cause i knew that as soon as someone drew a gun, someone else would blow his head off. With that kind of protection watching over me I never felt more valuable.

The idea is exactly that the basic populace is not valuable, and therefore no criminal is going to spend the time and money to acquire an illegal fire arm to blow away some random man or woman. Therefore it is not justifiable that the average man or woman carries a fire arm.

[ Parent ]

Read the actual words (5.00 / 1) (#295)
by SporranBoy on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:30:33 PM EST

Read it again dude.

Seems to me that it is saying that NOT EVEN banks or security companies will be granted firearms licenses. The only armed people I have seen in the UK are soldiers and airport cops.

[ Parent ]

My bad... (3.50 / 2) (#298)
by Skywise on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:46:37 PM EST

I read it that way the first time, and was so completely flabbergasted that I just assumed I was wrong and it meant that banks could be permitted armed guards.

Because, gosh even the valuable crown jewels are protected by armed guards...  So the State would surely deem the commoners valuables as just as worthy as the State's...

But I guess I'm wrong...


[ Parent ]

Correct (4.00 / 1) (#337)
by thebrix on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:15:01 AM EST

It's a misreading; in the United Kingdom security guards and the like do not carry guns at all.

I've never seen one, but I believe the only officials who carry guns routinely are police who defend airports and Ministry of Defence police who defend nuclear installations. The regular police do not carry guns routinely but, as I remember, can be armed on the authorisation of a named senior officer.

(There have been very occasional instances where police have been routinely armed; this has been through a senior officer acting on their own initiative and, when the information leaks out, the subsequent row invariably puts a stop to it).

[ Parent ]

I have seen them... (5.00 / 1) (#520)
by DodgyGeezer on Mon May 20, 2002 at 09:50:48 AM EST

... but the circumstances were a bit specific:

One Christmas Eve we convinced the pub to have a lock-in so that we could see-in Christmas Day.  We stumbled out of the King and Queen on the London Rd in a small village called Wendover, rather worse for wear.  The local bobby decided it was too much and called for support.  In the past (and since), they'd come from Aylesbury.  This time, the closest support was Chequers, and the PM was in residence.  Thus the police who turned up in their bloody great Land Rover had sub-machines. (Aside: this was the cue for one of my friends to start rolling around in the middle of the road pretending to be a Marine and pretending to shoot at them.  They looked suitably unimpressed, but didn't get involved.  I can't imagine how the US police would react to this situation.)

[ Parent ]

Those crazy Brits (none / 0) (#393)
by jw4539 on Sun May 19, 2002 at 01:08:34 PM EST

Take a look at this story for an amusing read about our UK pals.

The thing that shocked me the most was the figure that only 49% of those surveyed would kill to protect their family. I really wonder what the majority would do. Ask nicely for the man to leave? Offer to make him some tea?

This is of course the same country that jails people who use weapons in clear self defense. Though I'm not certain the US is any better as we put people in jail for possession of a plant but that's a whole other article.

[ Parent ]

I wonder ... (4.00 / 1) (#403)
by thebrix on Sun May 19, 2002 at 03:24:41 PM EST

... how many of the people who kept knuckle-dusters, knives, baseball bats, depleted uranium etc. under the bed either had been, or would ever, find someone in their house not of their acquaintance?

I suspect a tiny proportion; as usual, the fear of crime is out of all proportion to the actual incidence thereof.

Usually burglars burgle when people are not there, with the exception being distraction burglaries (people pass themselves off as meter-readers or gas or electrical engineers and snatch a purse or wallet when the householder is distracted). The second type usually affects old people who are more likely to have cash around the house and, in any case, would be less physically able to defend themselves.

(There was a fascinating BBC program some time ago about the methods which burglars use to determine when people are out of the house; there are obvious ones, such as delivered mail stuck in the letterbox, and a lot of less obvious ones, such as the cover for a keyhole being displaced; apparently, when people go back into a house, they usually - unconsciously - make sure the cover is down ...).

[ Parent ]

That's nice (none / 0) (#595)
by trhurler on Mon May 20, 2002 at 04:27:05 PM EST

If you think people protecting large sums of money in the UK aren't carrying guns, you're obviously either stupid or stupid. Why? Because anyone trying to seize that money WILL HAVE GUNS. Of course, you can eliminate this problem by simply not transporting cash equivalents, but this is not particularly practical. Insurance will protect you against losses, but seeing as the easiest way to get away with stealing several million or more is to kill every witness and flee the country, I doubt many people would take that courier job without a gun. In the movies, stealing tens of millions of dollars(pounds, whatever,) is much less a big deal than murder, so the guards get to live, but in reality, governments will much more zealously pursue you for stealing such a quantity than they will for the murder of a dozen people, much less two or three.

The public story may be that they're unarmed. If the public buys that, I've got some oceanfront property in Montana they might like...

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

[ Parent ]
No further argument (none / 0) (#706)
by thebrix on Tue May 21, 2002 at 09:04:35 AM EST

If you believe that, when someone says they do A, they do B behind their back without letting on in the hope they get away with it, you're entitled to your belief.

However, a world based on continuous deceit would not be a world worth living in.

[ Parent ]

The Historical Context (3.75 / 4) (#203)
by Maclir on Sat May 18, 2002 at 11:05:45 AM EST

One should look at the immediate history in the US prior to the Bill of Rights being framed. The thirteen colonies were at war with Great Britain which resulted in independance for those colonies. Much of what is in the Bill of Rights was placed there as a reaction to what the UK government imposed on the people in the colonies.

For example, the first amendment - freedom of the press - was a reaction to the strict censorship and other controls on the press. (As a side issue, a number of the Founding Fathers were printers) Look at the controls on searching peivate property, trial by jury, and so on. During the revolutionary war, the English army would use the possession of a firearm by a private individual as prima facie evidence of that person being a member of the militia, and therefore a rebel.

As in many constutional and bill of rights documents, the wording is ambiguous, or refers to a historical context that is either forgotten or rendered irrelevant by the passage of time. And, sadly, the US Bill of Rights is not complemented by a "Bill of Responsibilities".

Missing poll option (3.00 / 1) (#204)
by sab39 on Sat May 18, 2002 at 11:24:35 AM EST

"The second amendment is flawed and obsolete, and should be re-amended out of existence just like the Prohibition amendment was"

I'd support that decision even if a replacement amendment that still enforced a "right to bear arms" was added instead, so long as the replacement amendment drew a clear line on what was acceptable and what wasn't, so that we could end these stupid arguments about what the constitution "originally meant" and debate what it should say instead.
--
"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Am閘ie

I agree - the US constitution is not sacred (none / 0) (#224)
by 8ctavIan on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:56:51 PM EST

I think that one of the major problems is that US citizens (myself included sometimes) see the constitution as a sacred document. It is not really. The founding fathers being a practical group essentially created a practical document. That means it can be changed as the need arises.

I think that another major problem (possibly more than the constitutional issue) is the glorification of guns and their use as 'problem solvers'. There needs to be a change of attitude to go along with any restriction in the use of firearms or the issue will continue to be a hot one perpetually.


Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice. -- H.L. Mencken
[ Parent ]

Change attitude, laws, and finally ... (4.00 / 1) (#366)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:49:49 AM EST

If you're itching so badly for a Constitutional amendment, well, go right ahead.

The process is all laid out for you. Just go and change it. It's spelled out for you how to go about doing so right there in the fucking document. Use it.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Well said. (none / 0) (#702)
by jolly st nick on Tue May 21, 2002 at 08:48:46 AM EST

But I wouldn't be too harsh; Before any such effort is launched, there has to be discussion as to what the constitutional principles it embodies should be. People need to be inoculated agains the hailstorm of propaganda that each side will unleash. Remember the Equal Right Amendment; people were going around saying stupid things like separate sex bathrooms would be abolished.

[ Parent ]
Well, (none / 0) (#710)
by beergut on Tue May 21, 2002 at 09:35:08 AM EST

I hear all this "the Second Amendment is an irrelevant artifact", and "people shouldn't have guns", and all that stuff, and I think, "well, these people must have actually thought of what they wanted instead, so let them put forward a proposal to amend the Constitution, and then we can have it done."

Oddly enough, none of them seem to have the courage to do that.

Wonder why?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

I Agree (none / 0) (#407)
by pongle on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:05:00 PM EST

I personally believe that the US Constitution should be a guide for law creation and the judicial system. And the differences between when the document was written and today should be taken into account.
Just my 2c.

[ Parent ]
Sausages and Laws... (5.00 / 1) (#267)
by directed ascent on Sat May 18, 2002 at 06:26:59 PM EST

Those who love 'em shouldn't look too closely into how they're made.

If we tried to replace the second ammendment, we'd get (a) new subsidies for midwestern milk producers, (b) fifteen new pages of tax regulations regarding tax-increment financing, (c) funding for research into alternate uses for mulch at UC Irvine, and (d) an even more poorly-drafted, vague regulation saying something about guns which would keep the trial lawyers of the US gainfully employed for decades to come, and (e) a few more orders for unnecessary battleships from Newport News shipyards.

Politians are least dangerous when they filibuster. :-)

[ Parent ]

Maybe We Need Some Alternatives... (none / 0) (#401)
by czolgosz on Sun May 19, 2002 at 02:48:08 PM EST

I'd support that decision even if a replacement amendment that still enforced a "right to bear arms" was added instead.

Not me. I'd prefer the replacement amendment (if any) to have wording that makes it clear that the States have the right to form, arm and regulate militias, and leaves it to the States to regulate individual gun ownership and use as they see fit.

In these times, individuals with rifles and handguns have no chance against the power of the state, so the argument about resisting oppression is just a delusion. Think about the recent experrience of the Taliban versus the US military as an example of what such resistance would be like in practice. The remaining arguments in favor of gun ownership are rooted in individuals' sense of powerlessness, in the notion that personal adequacy comes from the barrel of a revolver, and the idea that game hunting has a place in a developed society. None of these are fit principles on which to base a political system. Let each state balance the interests of hunters against those of urban residents, without interference from the Feds. We should abandon the fiction that this is still a nation of musket-toting yeoman farmers. Perhaps in doing so, we can also finally rid ourselves of our abnormally high homicide rate.
Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
[ Parent ]
Not sure I agree. (none / 0) (#559)
by cms on Mon May 20, 2002 at 01:55:11 PM EST

Prohibition was not a framing amendment to the constitution. It was added much, much, much later. I don't quite see how repealing an amendment that was added as a way to control the social lives of the American people makes it okay to do the same to an amendment that was written to protect the American people. I am slightly frightened by people taking fundamental changes to the Constitution (which framed the development of our country as a free nation) so lightly.

[ Parent ]
Maybe I'm crazy (3.14 / 7) (#218)
by Christian Roberts on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:34:05 PM EST

But I think we should all just not kill each other.  Sounds simple enough, right?

Comment of the Day. (5.00 / 1) (#226)
by lazerus on Sat May 18, 2002 at 01:58:49 PM EST

Must be that one, Christian. Congrats.

[ Parent ]
Hehe (1.50 / 2) (#231)
by Christian Roberts on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:12:40 PM EST

Thanks :-)

[ Parent ]
Don't stereotype gun enthusiasts (none / 0) (#230)
by jolly st nick on Sat May 18, 2002 at 02:11:16 PM EST

as slavering ideologues who fantasize about ways to kill people. I think you can also see from the reaction to this article that many people who suppport gun rights on ideological grounds are not simply red meat fanatics, but some have some well informed opinions, which you or I may disagree with.

Also don't forget the sport aspect of shooting. It's not my cup of tea, but I can understand its attraction. I myself have always been attracted to sports of skill, control and discipline rather than brute strength.

[ Parent ]

Naaah. Let 'em have it. (4.75 / 4) (#250)
by caffeine1 on Sat May 18, 2002 at 04:21:40 PM EST

Made you look. =-)

Seriously folks: most gun owners I know in the USA, even those who aren't undereducated, swallow Chuck Heston's propaganda with little or no debate whatsoever. If only some of them had opinions as sophisticated as the ones in this article..

Oddly enough, I have no problem with the concept of private firearm ownership at all. (In fact, I'd go so far as to say that if you're gay, you probably should carry.)

Two points espoused by the average NRA member, however, drive me up the wall:

  1. They honestly believe they're protecting the freedoms of The Rest Of Us from a hostile government; and
  2. they're convinced that the Second Amendment is the most important one.
My rebuttals are simple, for those who actually believe the above (especially to the idiot out there who actually once told me that gun ownership is the difference between being a citizen and being a subject):

First, stop watching Bonanza reruns and take a good hard look at what constitutes a civil society. Without, say, freedom of speech, or of the press, or from unlawful search and seizure, my right to gun ownership doesn't mean diddly -- except that I could get the privilege of getting shot at by the agents of a bona-fide police state. There's no such thing as a '"first freedom", it's all or nothing.

Second, your Smith and Wesson doesn't mean dick against an Abrams tank or Tomahawk cruise missile. Or against many other armaments owned by your Gummint. Just ask David Koresh or Randy Weaver.

Now go be a good little boy, don't make waves, trust your president, and you'll always get to play with your toys... 'kay?

[ Parent ]

Two things. (5.00 / 1) (#316)
by BeBoxer on Sun May 19, 2002 at 02:05:32 AM EST

Second, your Smith and Wesson doesn't mean dick against an Abrams tank or Tomahawk cruise missile. Or against many other armaments owned by your Gummint. Just ask David Koresh or Randy Weaver.

First, what would Koresh or Weaver know about tanks and missles? Weavers family was killed by sniper fire. And Koresh's friends were killed by handguns and other small arms (cautiously avoiding the topic of what started the fatal fire)

Second, why do oppresive governments ban private gun ownership? If S&W's "don't mean dick", what's the point? Maybe oppresive governments know something about the subject you don't?

[ Parent ]

One of two things (none / 0) (#416)
by caffeine1 on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:10:20 PM EST

Maybe oppresive governments know something about the subject you don't? First, what would Koresh or Weaver know about tanks and missles?

The point being (ready?): the government will have far more firepower than you ever will, periI

[ Parent ]

One of two things, reposted (grrrr....) (none / 0) (#417)
by caffeine1 on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:15:07 PM EST

First, what would Koresh or Weaver know about tanks and missles?

The point being (ready?): the government will have far more firepower than you ever will, period. (If this was in danger of becoming untrue, trust me, your government would take every step to maintain its sovereignty, hopefully without too much bad publicity. Remember those wacky Montana Freemen?)

Want to go down with all guns blazing? No big deal. You'll still go down. If they want to take you out, and think they have the legal imperative to do so, they'll do it.

Maybe oppresive governments know something about the subject you don't?

Oppresive [sic] governments ban firearm ownership for all of the reasons stated, sure, but not all governments with such bans are oppressive. (See the UK, Canada, and Australia, two of which at least have better human rights records than the good ol' USA. And their democracies seem to be in better shape too.) I'd probably go so far as to say that only the dictators of very impoverished nations need the ban in the first place. (You think Saddam, for example, has trouble keeping the Iraqi populace in line? Or the Assad family in Syria?)

Besides, let's get real: if you live in America, there are far more effective ways for your government to ruin your life, all of which are perfectly legal, and don't require the firing of a single shot. Tax audits. Prosecution under the RICO statute. Or just a good old fashioned smear campaign in the press. Soon after, you might lose your job, your spouse may leave you, the stress levels make you seriously ponder Very Stupid Things. In due time, you'll either be using your weapons for such things, or you'll be pawning them in favor of other pursuits, like food. You're effectively marginalized by that point anyway.

[ Parent ]

You're missing the point (5.00 / 1) (#470)
by BeBoxer on Sun May 19, 2002 at 11:07:30 PM EST

Of course the government will have more firepower available than any individual. Or even any small groups of individuals. But that's not the point. If the government ever got so bad that there would be a need to take up arms, it wouldn't be one person. Or a hundred. It would be thousands, or even millions. A million people is a very small percentage of gun owners in the US.

You also need to realize that a lot of the firepower our armed forces have is not appropriate for use against civlians. It's one thing for us to send the B-52s over Iraq. that can be accomplished with very little uproar from the American populace. But carpet bombing a major American city would be very very unpopular to say the least. Dotting the US with landmines would also be quite unpopular, even though few Americans mind us mining other countries. Tactics which are politically viable against a faceless population half way around the globe won't necessarily fly over here. By your own examples, witness the backlash against the Waco debacle. Note how carefully the FBI handled the later Freeman standoff.

Oppresive [sic] governments ban firearm ownership for all of the reasons stated, sure, but not all governments with such bans are oppressive.

I never claimed that all governments which ban firearm ownership are oppresive. And the existence of such countries in now way disproves my belief that banning private firearm ownership is a necessary condition for an oppresive government. Necessary, but not sufficient as shown by your examples. As a necessary precondition, private firearm ownership should prevent an oppresive government. Feel free to provide an example of an oppresive government which didn't bother to ban firearm ownership.

[ Parent ]

baloney (none / 0) (#508)
by mami on Mon May 20, 2002 at 07:59:36 AM EST

If the government ever got so bad that there would be a need to take up arms, it wouldn't be one person. Or a hundred. It would be thousands, or even millions. A million people is a very small percentage of gun owners in the US.

This whole argument that individual citizens need to be armed to defend themselves against their own potentially abusive government is baloney, if you would apply it to the US.

The NRA has tightly the legislative process in control in Congress, because there is almost no representative capable to not cave in to the requests of gun-supporting citizens.

So, the NRA represents governmental power and is therefore exactly the power the individual pro-gun supporting citizen would want to defend against, if I buy into your argument. The NRA doesn't defend your individual power to fight an abusive government power, because the NRA itself represents governmental power. Is there any reason, why you believe the NRA's power is not an absolute one and could easily be an abusive one? Apparently something is not quite logic here.

Currently the most powerful government of the US is brought into its knees, because it can't fight box-cutters with B22, nor can it fight random bombing terrorist's attacks with guns. The fact that the US citizens started to buy guns after 9/11 just shows the helplessness of their logic. Since when do you stop a needle in the heystack to blow up citizens randomly somewhere in the US by buying a handgun?

AFAIK the most successful resistance to abusive governmental power was achieved by people, who had the courage to resist unarmed. It is much more convincing to let an abuser kill you, when you resist him unarmed, because his abuse is demonstrated unquestionably clear. If you want to fight an abuser, don't buy into his methods for fighting him.

[ Parent ]

A few points (none / 0) (#357)
by techwolf on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:07:29 AM EST

1) some of us believe that we are protecting ourselves from a Potential hostile government or criminal. this is not to say that the government WILL ever become hostile or that I WILL ever be accousted by a criminal only that it COULD happen, and if it did happen I would want something to protect myself with.

2) "they're convinced that the Second Amendment is the most important one" No I am not. however it happens to be on that is under represented and one that I feel strongly about. To say which is the most important would be another discussion altogether.

3) "your Smith and Wesson doesn't mean dick against an Abrams tank or Tomahawk cruise missile." You are a little off base on this one. You are right it doesn't DIRECTLY mean anything, However they A)they have to find me before they can shoot missles at me and B) have to dodge both me and my gun carrying friends from finding them first.

4) as for the tanks thing, no you are right small arms fire won't do shit against them, but a homemade bomb blowing the treds off will. Not to mention they have to come out sometime and we could be waiting there for them with our hunting rifles and scopes... there are always more than one way to stop heavy weapons like those.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Counterpoint (5.00 / 2) (#293)
by SporranBoy on Sat May 18, 2002 at 10:19:31 PM EST

I once worked for a company which represented Smith & Wesson and others in a Latin American country ( it was that or work for $400 a month and I am nothing if not unprincipled ).

I felt it was my professional duty to read some of the gun press. My conclusion was that there are plenty of sick puppies out there.

I suppose I'm a sentimental pansy because I think it's pretty sick to set up with telescopic or holographic sight and a bipod in order to pass an pleasant morning with some like minded meat eaters slaughtering gophers. It's the adult equivalent of frying ants with the magnifying glass. I have a real problem with the knowledge that there are people out there who think that's a good hobby.

There were also the articles about shooting big game in africa - water buffalo was a popular choice. I kept checking the date on the magazines to see if they hadn't sent me a reprint of the 1956 issue.

Then you had the 2nd amendment bollocks which was about as objective and truthful as what you'll hear from a Miami Cuban about the good old Batista days.

Finally you had your articles from Masood Ayoob, the vigilante king, stuff for guys who tape a flashlight to their head at bedtime and pray for an unwitting criminal to wander into their spider's web of weapons.

Obviously there are some non-dangerous gun owners in the US but I wish they could find another hobby and I definitely don't want to be saved by one

[ Parent ]

So, what about the hunters and target shooters? (none / 0) (#440)
by jolly st nick on Sun May 19, 2002 at 06:54:46 PM EST

I'd really be interested if there were some kind of marketing or demographic information about gun owners. I hardly think it is fair to judge people as a class because of some extreme literature. Consider this: whichever political stripe you have, would you want to be stereotyped by the worst of it?

Very few people ever go on hunting safaris.

Also, hunters play an important part in conservation efforts, as well as taking over the top level predator niche necessary to keep deer in check.

[ Parent ]

Neither do I (none / 0) (#308)
by VitaminSupplementarian on Sun May 19, 2002 at 12:49:02 AM EST

that's why I believe in private gun ownership. There are people that if they got control of the government would kill you and I, and by you and I being able to own firearms we remind them that actions have consequences. Eventually you have to take your fight to the street if the government is too corrupt. If the USSC ruled concentration camps to be constitutional and your neighbors were being loaded on a truck across the street, would you rather try to convince Mr. Gestapo Stormtrooper that he's making a mistake or stick the barrel of your 30.06/AK-47/M-16 in his face and tell him to get the fuck out of your neighborhood or you'll kill him?
"A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy" --F.A. Hayek
[ Parent ]
If Only... (none / 0) (#313)
by BeBoxer on Sun May 19, 2002 at 01:58:45 AM EST

It might be a bit much to stop the occasional psychotic from killing people, a good first step would be to get governments to stop killing people. Because lets be honest, most violent deaths in the past century were at the behest of a government. Find a way to fix that problem first, and then we can deal with the occasional lunatic who goes off the deep end.

[ Parent ]
If we were well armed! (4.75 / 8) (#256)
by Skapare on Sat May 18, 2002 at 05:05:39 PM EST

If every single person ... or even just all the able bodied individuals, were armed on those four airplanes, I do believe we would still be seeing the famous New York City skyline today.

I don't agree with the notion of handgun registration being a reasonable measure of regulation. I don't see how the registration makes for a safer nation. Someone who should not have one (a convicted felon), isn't going to register theirs. So all the registration database can reliably tell you is here is a subset of people who can legally possess a firearm, and probably do. When police proceed to someone's home to arrest them on a warrant, they don't check the registration data ... they assume the bad guy is armed and proceed accordingly. And they so often are, the police aren't likely to get lax in that area of preparedness, either. The only thing I can see registration data being used for is by the government itself, when taken over by someone who is opposed to the rights of the public to own and possess firearms, to come round them up.

What I would like to see is a good firearms training program that teaches gun safety extensively, as well as marksmanship (e.g. hit the perp), which when passed (along with a thorough criminal background check), leads to the issuance of a nationwide gun carry permit (both open and concealed, handguns and long guns). Then what you have is a database of people, not guns, who are qualified to handle firearms safely and accurately. I would be willing to accept that form of "registration". Whether I want to carry a Colt Python .357 magnum, or a Glock 20 10mm semi-auto, is my business.



As long as we're going to extremes (3.00 / 1) (#266)
by ghjm on Sat May 18, 2002 at 06:20:37 PM EST

How about we implement all your suggestions, plus one more: anyone convicted of a crime involving a gun is given a mandatory sentence of death by being shot. The way I figure it, this should result in the society I want, after about 20 years.

[ Parent ]
you say that is exterme? (2.33 / 3) (#353)
by techwolf on Sun May 19, 2002 at 05:45:54 AM EST

I say not. I happen to think that is a great Idea. the ol` eye for an eye. shoot someone and get shot. many of the shootings in this country (US) are done by repeat offenders. shoot one and stop several down the line. Or just let everyone be armed then people that do drive-bys would be too scared of being turned into swiss cheese by everyone's brother, uncle, mother and cousin on the street.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Hmm... (2.00 / 1) (#368)
by beergut on Sun May 19, 2002 at 07:02:21 AM EST

Would this include BATF paperwork fuckups? Those, technically, are "gun crimes" (though nothing illegal may have taken place, just that BATF forgot where they put some poor schmuck's paperwork.)

Oops.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

it would best be (2.00 / 1) (#412)
by techwolf on Sun May 19, 2002 at 04:46:58 PM EST

limited to those that have been proven to have shot someone, and not in self defence. i belive that would eliminate those "fuckups".


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

I'm opposed to the death penalty (3.00 / 1) (