Monday, 17 December 2012

gun lobby are not thinking straight

It's quite incredible how the USA is so religious about their 2nd amendment, viz the right to bear arms. It was written in a time where they'd just broken free of the oppression of the British Empire. They needed weapons in order to preserve their freedom. What, pray tell, are a few handguns in the hands of fat, untrained, macdonalds-scoffing couch potatoes going to do against special ops, Marines, nuclear weapons, drones, black hawks, etc.? Nothing. If the US govt wanted to decimate their own population, they could, whether or not that population was armed. Witness Iraq. 150 000 or so Iraqi deaths to 4000 or so American. That's a kill rate of 37:1. The US population would also not be attacked by their own soldiers because their own soldiers would simply not attack their own families. It's paranoid and idiotic.

The USA, as usual, is not looking at what the rest of the world is doing. As usual, they are sociopolitically about 50 years behind the rest of the west. Guns are banned everywhere else, more or less, except Canada. But that's because Canadians have higher education levels and social compliance levels than USA. US citizens still seem to be chest-beating macho types. "Out of my cold dead hands", as the NRA says. It's insane. The mass shootings elsewhere are few and far between. Why? Because it's hard to get hold of guns.

1. Just because I'm "allowed" to have a gun, it doesn't mean I ought to have one, or just anyone ought to have one. We do not give guns to mentally challenged persons or children or known psychopaths or people with criminal histories, for good reasons.

2. Just because I'm "allowed" to have a gun, doesn't say what kind. Where do we draw the line? I mean Uzis? What about AK47s? What about bazookas? Tanks? Nuclear weapons? What defines the reasonable limit as to what I should be allowed to have? "The people"? "The government"? Surely there are some reasonable limits on the kinds of weapons we should all have?

If you grant (1) you have to grant (2), because (2) follows from (1), in that not everyone is capable of reasonably handling, say, nuclear weapons, or AK47s.

Where do we draw the line? Start with repeating guns of any type. Allowed/not? Then ammo. Plain lead? Armour piercing? Hollow points? Etc. Where do you draw the line between military and civilian use? Or do you draw it at all?

My proposed solution: 

a. Ban all military-grade weapons, cartridges and ammunition. Possession = imprisonment.

b. Make licensing onerous and complicated, requiring psychiatric evaluation, competency testing, background checks including requirements of no affiliation to right-wing or other terrorist type organisations suck as KKK, Al-Qaeda, etc.

c. Make possession of an unlicensed weapon (for criminals etc) an imprisonable offence.

d. Make ammunition extremely expensive, e.g. $ 100 per bullet.

e. Make it illegal to give away a gun, or sell it, without the purchaser going through proper licensing procedures.

There. I fixed it.

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Some links that I like:

http://www.salon.com/2012/07/22/jason_alexanders_amazing_gun_rant/

http://ideas.time.com/2012/12/18/the-myth-of-second-amendment-exceptionalism/

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2012/12/data-helps-rebut-the-violent-video-games-cause-shootings-argument/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gun-science-proves-arming-untrained-citizens-bad-idea

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QjZY3WiO9s

http://www.theonion.com/articles/everyone-at-office-planning-shooting-spree-for-sam,30793/

http://www.theonion.com/articles/gorilla-sales-skyrocket-after-latest-gorilla-attac,30860/

Sam Harris' idiotic argument

I've heard the arguments, even from Sam Harris, about "protecting" people and people wanting to hunt. Hunting (like eating meat) is immoral. It's less immoral than buying meat at a grocery store, because you didn't take responsibility for that animal's death. But it's still murder. 

http://richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2013/1/4/sam-harris-neglects-the-most-important-evidence-about-gun

As for 'self protection', it's more likely that you will harm your own family. Most family murders in South Africa are gun crimes, perpetrated by drunk and or angry patriarchs. The American mentality has a very similar machismo to it. Guns, hunting, outdoors, fishing, contact sports, right-wing. That profile is exactly the same as our right-wingers, who typically take it out on their families.

All of these conversations amongst Americans keep ignoring the following facts:

- Europe, despite having guns, does not have this problem,

therefore

- either Europeans are more educated, or socially supported, or civilised, OR

- gun bans work.

I am not interested in the usual responses about "self protection" and "what if the Sandy Hook teachers had been armed" etc. I want an American to answer the stats:

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