Poll

What is your personal position with the recreational/hunting/concealed carry use of firearms?

Support and partake in one or all of the mentioned uses of firearms.
21 (41.2%)
Support the use of firearms, but do not partake in it.
19 (37.3%)
Neither support, nor use any form of firearm.
11 (21.6%)

Total Members Voted: 51

Author Topic: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage  (Read 14597 times)

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Offline Str82Hell

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2010, 04:20:22 PM »
I've never understood American gun laws. Americans claim that it is their right to protect their safety and their family's safety, but they would be much safer if nobody had a gun. I'm opposing similar gun laws in the European Union, but I understand that it is impossible to ban them in America. If the US would decide to ban guns tomorrow, most people would keep their guns in a drawer and if they're needed to kill other people, they would still be there. I even think that some Americans would use their guns to enforce their right to possess guns.
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2010, 04:47:11 PM »
Except criminals do not have legal means to get guns.  Criminals are not legally allowed to own them.  How about we enforce more strongly the existing laws we have, before we make up new ones that punish law-abiding citizens?

Unless those criminals haven't been caught or convicted of anything yet. A better idea would be to fix the countries huge social problems that lead to criminal activity. But guns are much easier.
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #31 on: October 02, 2010, 05:30:42 PM »
I've noticed in discussions around here, it's rarely the Americans criticizing other countries for their gun laws.  Rather, it's typically people from other countries complaining about ours.  I'm not sure why our affairs are of so much interest to others.  I certainly wouldn't want to impose an American system on anyone who doesn't want it.  We see how well that's working out in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #32 on: October 02, 2010, 05:40:00 PM »
Unless those criminals haven't been caught or convicted of anything yet

Then they're not criminals yet, according to US law.

Quote
A better idea would be to fix the countries huge social problems that lead to criminal activity.

In project management, that's called scope creep.  It's a great idea, but poorly defined and to nail it down would require a completely separate project.  I don't think we should shelve prosecuting criminals for gun crimes until we figure out how to solve all our social problems.  That might take forever.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #33 on: October 02, 2010, 06:02:12 PM »
A better idea would be to fix the countries huge social problems that lead to criminal activity.
...That might take forever.

Oof, yeah. No shit.  I don't think there is a single country that can claim to be able to do that at all.

The chart link that Alzael provided is very interesting.  I was surprised that non-firearm homicide is roughly equivalent between England and the US .. and surprised that Finland is actually worse.  Even then, it is splitting hairs, as most of the countries on that chart are under 5 per 100,000.  It IS a shame that the total homicide rate in the US is *just* under 5 per 100,000.  But still, from a statistics point of view, the US is not much different in total homicides from others in the midsection of the list, where Germany, Denmark and England have impressive stats.  However, the US's score is still a FAR distance, statistically, from the countries at the hight end. 

Even those bastions of civic peace, like Denmark, seem unable to erase the effect of criminal behavior.  Guns or no guns.  And where guns are not common, knifes and clubs are.  It is clear that murder does not magically go away at all when guns go away.  Note Bulgaria, where only 19% of all murders involve a firearm, still has an overall murder rate that is comparable to the US.  Poland even has fewer gun homicides, yet a slightly higher overall murder rate.
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Offline Str82Hell

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #34 on: October 02, 2010, 06:36:06 PM »
I think you should be careful to compare the US to countries such as Poland or Slovakia. Even though these countries have made great progress during the last few decades, they still have huge problems with poverty and many people are not as high on the social ladder.

I think you should compare the US with western European and Mediterranean countries such as Denmark, UK, Netherlands, Portugal and Italy. When these countries show the same no-guns-involved murder rate, than the difference in overall murder rate is because of guns.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #35 on: October 02, 2010, 07:35:20 PM »
Str8:
Most of the countries on the list are (likely) overlapping error bars, tho' Qatar is probably out of everyone's error bars.  Portugal is statistically in the running with the US murder rate.  So's the UK, frankly -- just a few smidgens' of a percent off our murder rate, UK: 0.00145% killed populace, US: 0.00455% killed populace, Portugal: 0.00331%.

That said, the US is ahead of its peers in killed people per 100k. Most of the difference appears to be guns.  However, I don't think that removal of the guns would suddenly mean a permanent, precipitous drop in murder rate to 1.5 per 100k.  I think it would rise back up to be close to the current total murder rate. 

Other interesting musings over stats:
When one looks at the CDC stats on death in the US, suicide, not homicide, is the bigger problem.  Falling, as well.  Outlaw ladders, maybe.
Or it can be seen this way: when it comes to murder, young men are the problem.  They commit most of it.
Tell me: what might explain the fact that Swiss or Finnish citizens are bigger murderers than Singaporeans or Hong Kongers?
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #36 on: October 02, 2010, 11:20:28 PM »
I've noticed in discussions around here, it's rarely the Americans criticizing other countries for their gun laws.  Rather, it's typically people from other countries complaining about ours.  I'm not sure why our affairs are of so much interest to others.  I certainly wouldn't want to impose an American system on anyone who doesn't want it.  We see how well that's working out in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So just to be clear, from this statement you're saying that criticizing something is tantamount to an attempt to impose one's values on others? And isn't it surprising that in a thread that was started about guns in America, people are actually talking about guns in America?

And I never said that gun crimes shouldn't be dealt with. I said that both sides in the gun control debate focus too much on guns as a cause/solution to things like crime, to the point that the real problem becomes ignored or overshadowed.
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #37 on: October 02, 2010, 11:27:08 PM »
So just to be clear, from this statement you're saying that criticizing something is tantamount to an attempt to impose one's values on others?

No, I simply said I don't want to impose my values on others.  What you do is your business.

Quote
And isn't it surprising that in a thread that was started about guns in America, people are actually talking about guns in America?

The title of the thread isn't about guns in America.  But now I see that the OP does mention the First Amendment and several American institutions, so I can see how the conversation would have naturally turned the way it did.  Still, my observation on the asymmetry stands.
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #38 on: October 03, 2010, 12:40:47 AM »
So just to be clear, from this statement you're saying that criticizing something is tantamount to an attempt to impose one's values on others?

No, I simply said I don't want to impose my values on others.  What you do is your business.

Quote
And isn't it surprising that in a thread that was started about guns in America, people are actually talking about guns in America?

The title of the thread isn't about guns in America.  But now I see that the OP does mention the First Amendment and several American institutions, so I can see how the conversation would have naturally turned the way it did.  Still, my observation on the asymmetry stands.


I can't say about this site, but Americans complaining about other countries and guns actually comes up pretty often. For example this just came up on another forum I visit occasionally a few days ago. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.235579-How-can-you-UK-citizens-live-without-firearms#8372462

My first time in America I had more than one person bring up the gun laws in Canada. Mostly I got questions or comments along the line of, "I could never feel safe at home if I didn't have a gun. What's wrong with you people?"

Edit: Interestingly enough, here's one about gun control in Sweden. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.235797-Crimes-Guns-Sweden#8386060
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Offline Jim

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #39 on: October 03, 2010, 12:41:49 AM »
The title of the thread isn't about guns in America.

Did you know that Finland and Switzerland are among the most heavily armed populaces on the planet?  Shit, if they just got rid of their guns, they'd see a ... tiny drop in their murder rate.

Still, they're murderous thugs compared to the peaceful Singaporeans!
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #40 on: October 03, 2010, 03:53:50 AM »
Quote from: xphobe
I've noticed in discussions around here, it's rarely the Americans criticizing other countries for their gun laws.  Rather, it's typically people from other countries complaining about ours.  I'm not sure why our affairs are of so much interest to others.  I certainly wouldn't want to impose an American system on anyone who doesn't want it.  We see how well that's working out in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sometimes I come across Americans who think your gun laws would be beneficial on a universal scale, but I am glad that you said that, because it's difficult for any of us to fully understand a society we have very little experience of. Each society is different, their problems are different and therefore their solutions are different. The UK might suffer under the legalisation of firearms, whereas in the US it wouldn't be wise of them to just drop the 2nd Amendment, at least this is what I understand from previous gun law discussions. It'd be nice to be able to solve some of these social problems and we can kind of work towards it, even if it is a big job (a society in general should aim to solve social problems anyway). Maybe one day America won't need the second amendment, maybe our two societies can become as peaceful as Iceland, but even as an optimist, I'm doubtful of that.  :P
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Offline Jim

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #41 on: October 03, 2010, 07:49:54 AM »
Quote from: xphobe
I've noticed in discussions around here, it's rarely the Americans criticizing other countries for their gun laws.  Rather, it's typically people from other countries complaining about ours.  I'm not sure why our affairs are of so much interest to others.  I certainly wouldn't want to impose an American system on anyone who doesn't want it.  We see how well that's working out in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sometimes I come across Americans who think your gun laws would be beneficial on a universal scale, but I am glad that you said that, because it's difficult for any of us to fully understand a society we have very little experience of. Each society is different, their problems are different and therefore their solutions are different. The UK might suffer under the legalisation of firearms, whereas in the US it wouldn't be wise of them to just drop the 2nd Amendment, at least this is what I understand from previous gun law discussions. It'd be nice to be able to solve some of these social problems and we can kind of work towards it, even if it is a big job (a society in general should aim to solve social problems anyway). Maybe one day America won't need the second amendment, maybe our two societies can become as peaceful as Iceland, but even as an optimist, I'm doubtful of that.  :P

As peaceful as Iceland?  By what measure?  Surely not by homicide.  According to the same source that Azael's wiki doc draws from, Iceland has a murder rate comparable to most European nations.  And, as I mentioned, the murderous, gun loving Finns and Swiss (and let's not forget the French!) are out of control -- for "peaceful", you must look to the nations of Qatar, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.  Compared to the aforementioned, UK citizens are just as murderous as any other European nation, but they like to do it with their hands and knives as guns are not readily available.

While we're dropping the rights of citizens, perhaps it would be wise to just drop the right to free speech, as well.  No one likes an American to speak, do they?
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Offline koberulz

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #42 on: October 03, 2010, 08:23:14 AM »
You really can't make something illegal just because it might be used to commit a crime. That mentality leads to this sort of stupidity.

Offline Jim

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #43 on: October 03, 2010, 08:33:57 AM »
Toilet paper could be used to suffocate someone.  Ban it!

Chewing gum can mar the streets with gunk.  Ban it!  <-- already an effective law in Singapore.  S$ 2000 fine for lawbreakers who chew.
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #44 on: October 03, 2010, 09:39:34 AM »
Quote from: Jim
As peaceful as Iceland?  By what measure?  Surely not by homicide.

My bad - when looking at my source - I couldn't find Iceland and assumed they were lower than the lowest, combined with their figure of '0' for firearm related murders. I checked again, I must have missed it - Iceland is higher than the UK per capita. Whoops.

Quote from: Jim
Compared to the aforementioned, UK citizens are just as murderous as any other European nation, but they like to do it with their hands and knives as guns are not readily available.

But not as murderous as gun wielding Americans or South Africans.


Quote from: koberulz
You really can't make something illegal just because it might be used to commit a crime.

And I don't see that logic being used. It's a question of getting worthwhile results, in the US, I doubt it'd have a worthwhile effect, you might even suggest it'd have a negative effect, in fact, you showed cases in the previous thread where in America it has had a negative effect - at least in terms of statistics. But that doesn't mean every nation suffers the same problems as the US to warrant gun legalisation, with out firearm related murders so low, I think it suggests that firearms aren't as much of a threat, with other violent crime states lower (other than assault, which is roughly the same as the US), it suggests to me that yes, it's a good that guns are illegal over here.
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Offline koberulz

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #45 on: October 03, 2010, 10:31:33 AM »
Quote from: koberulz
You really can't make something illegal just because it might be used to commit a crime.

And I don't see that logic being used.
Really? Is there any other logic by which one can make guns illegal?

Offline Jim

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #46 on: October 03, 2010, 11:02:37 AM »
Quote from: Jim
Compared to the aforementioned, UK citizens are just as murderous as any other European nation, but they like to do it with their hands and knives as guns are not readily available.

But not as murderous as gun wielding Americans or South Africans.

Nigerians are much more murderous, but they have very few guns.  They like personalized murder, up close and bloody.  Knife wielding Brits are much more murderous than knife wielding Japanese.  But, overall, Brits are on par with Germans and Swedes, murder-rate wise, even though Germans and Swedes have more guns.  A statistical dead-heat.  Generally, Europeans, no matter what tool they use, murder themselves at a rate of 1.5 per 100k.  Removing guns from the populace does no good.

However, I have read some very good statistical work showing that the number one reducing agent to crime is more police, period.  That's it.  More police to catch criminals and deter would-be's.  You can have all the bans you want, all kinds of complex legislation, it doesn't add much at all.  You can have all the personal firearms for protection that you want, too, and it won't matter.  The US has many guns (both legal and illegal) in circulation.  It also has some very tough anti-gun laws on the books.  But, between two cities with tough gun laws, the one with lots of police has much lower crime rates, hands down.  (You could mirror this in Britain -- lots of knives in circulation, those large cities with better police protection will have less overall crime and fewer homicides, I'd bet.)

From this, I guess that removal of guns from the American populace would not reduce the murder rate significantly.  But putting more police in "hot spots" would.

And, suicides are a much larger problem than homicides in almost every country in Europe and North America.  From a public health perspective, it is a horror show compared to homicide even though homicide seems to be the flag that everyone raises.  Again, in this case, the tool does not matter.  If there are no guns, people with jump, slash themselves, poison, or whatever else they can do. 

An even bigger public health and safety nightmare, by orders of magnitude over even suicide, are auto accidents.  There are more people maimed and killed, more money spent on hospitalization, etc for auto accidents than for homicide.  No one would even think about banning cars, though.  Even in Europe, people laugh at the idea of banning cars and enforcing excellent public transport that would be much more cost effective by many measures, and safer.

Yet, many Europeans are completely freaked out by the "US gun culture," and banning is the first thing touted as the cure.  When the peaceful Swiss or Brits find the magic method to reducing their homicide rate to Japanese levels, I'll be impressed enough to listen to the advice they give.  And, we'd all do well to concentrate on finding ways to reduce death and injury from cars and suicides before getting distracted with the much smaller problem of homicide, or the "evil of guns."
« Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 11:05:21 AM by Jim »
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #47 on: October 03, 2010, 12:20:26 PM »
Quote from: Jim
Nigerians are much more murderous, but they have very few guns.  They like personalized murder, up close and bloody.  Knife wielding Brits are much more murderous than knife wielding Japanese.  But, overall, Brits are on par with Germans and Swedes, murder-rate wise, even though Germans and Swedes have more guns.  A statistical dead-heat.  Generally, Europeans, no matter what tool they use, murder themselves at a rate of 1.5 per 100k.  Removing guns from the populace does no good.

And this is why I've argued that the problem is different per country, it's neither guns are good or guns are bad, they're good or bad dependent on the effect it has on a particular society.

Quote from: Jim
From this, I guess that removal of guns from the American populace would not reduce the murder rate significantly.  But putting more police in "hot spots" would.

This is a statement I completely agree with. I'm not trying to argue Americans should get rid of their guns, I'm arguing why Brits don't need them - spurred from previous debate with koberulz where he seems to think gun ownership is a civil liberty that keeps crime down and protects civilians, which isn't necessarily always the case.

Quote from: koberulz
Really? Is there any other logic by which one can make guns illegal?
Your logic understates the issue. If I were to say, "yes, that's the logic being used" then you'd have to take my keyboard away because I could beat you to death with it. There's a lot more to factor than that, I thought that much has already been made clear. You argued on your blog that we should ban cameras and stop them from being manufactured in an attempt to combat paedophelia, if that is an attempt to show a flaw in the non-legalisation of guns, then it's a strawman argument. Would banning cameras be worthwhile? I'd argue, not. Banning of guns in the US, same, legalisation of guns in the UK, same.

From looking at the data, it would appear that the UK wouldn't benefit from the legalisation of firearms and the US wouldn't benefit from banning them, it seems also from the data, it's more likely to do damage than good on both sides, therefore, our efforts should be drawn to other means of reducing crime, like, as Jim highlighted, policing.
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Offline penfold

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #48 on: October 03, 2010, 12:35:28 PM »
I live in London; and grew up with a sense of deep puzzlement at the US gun laws. However, spending time travelling through the states, what struck me most was the diversity of contexts.

Most of the time I was in the heartlands, and there guns seem fairly benign. I went on a deer hunt in PA which was amazing (though we did not see, let alone kill, any deer). Also had a very happy night outside Tulsa in a field, drinking and shooting beer bottles with a range of handguns.

I then spent a week in New York. Stayed in a lovely hostel called Jazz on the Villa in Harlem. While I was there two young men were shot not a block from where I was staying. One of them was 19 years old.

In my, admittedly inexpert, opinion; it seems as though what works for a tight-knit rural community may not work in a urban community; especially those suffering from high unemployment and attracting large narcotic trades. What I think is unhelpful is the weird, deeply polarised; manner in which the gun control issue is discussed in the States.

The OP was about 'atheists' and handguns. I'm not sure 'atheists' can play a role, however I do think a secular mindset can. If the gun debate is taken out of the black/white world view of the religious politicians then maybe real regulatory and educational progress can be made. I will still be able to visit with the generous folk of PA and fail to shoot deer, while the dispossessed souls of the inner cities can live in greater safety.

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Offline Jim

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #49 on: October 03, 2010, 12:39:37 PM »
I'm not trying to argue Americans should get rid of their guns, I'm arguing why Brits don't need them - spurred from previous debate with koberulz where he seems to think gun ownership is a civil liberty that keeps crime down and protects civilians, which isn't necessarily always the case.

The Supreme Court of the US has ruled on this.  Articles are in wikipedia about it for you to review, if you wish.  But, suffice it to say:
- Gun ownership is a right and a civil liberty in the US.  This is not a matter of opinion, whether Koberulz', yours, or mine own.
- The major purpose of the constitutional amendment is twofold (as I understand it): to defend against outside aggression, and to defend against the tyranny of the US government itself, if needed.  Both of these reasons are thanks to the Brits, by the way.  The Brits saw the error of their ways, after the little spat with us, and banned guns from their other colonies ... the UK gun laws have nothing to do with the safety of the populace.  At least, the origin of the laws don't.
- In no way is the amendment meant to keep crime down, or even for "personal protection" in the civil sense that is common today.  It is about freedom.  Liberté!

Regarding "keeping crime down":
From a statistical perspective, guns are rarely used in self defense situations.  If one examines the FBI's crime statistics, "justifiable" discharge of a firearm is used minimally, even when adding together police and civilian incidents.  I think it is about 5% of all cases of discharged weapon.  Looking at the FBI's compiled uses of firearms, they are mostly used half and half (roughly) for suicides or resolving arguments.  The remaining uses are minimal or unclassifiable due to the nature of the circumstances.  Mind you, this is discharged weapons, not necessarily murders, and I am generalizing what I read.  The statistics are available online for you to read.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 12:43:19 PM by Jim »
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Offline RaymondKHessel

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #50 on: October 03, 2010, 12:56:07 PM »
I have several guns.

As an American, I of course love them. Literally. I name them and take them to bed at night. I use nitro solvent as lube during sexual encounters. All day long I'm thinking about my guns and how powerfull they make me, and I just can't stop daydreaming about different situations in which I'd get the opportunity to blow somebody away.

I saw Die-Hard and Rambo when I was a kid, and it really opened my eyes to the way the world is you know? I mean, if Hollywood can't be trusted to accurately portray the way American Culture should be, WHO CAN!?

So now I walk the streets of my city WISHING somebody gives me an excuse to fill them full of hot teflon. Can't help it! Guns guns guns guns bullets... All day long. And at any moment, I'm just one inch away from snapping and killing everybody in the room with me. I wish I could carry my guns in holsters on my hip, like a cowboy. That'd be keen. It's common knowledge that owning guns makes you completely irrational and prone to murder, but that's just the price we have to pay I guess. I mean, how else can we satisfy our national urge to kill? With a KNIFE!? A bus!? Pffft.  :'(

It's crazy that some people think Americans actually think this way. In the 10 years or so I've had a handgun, it never even crosses my mind. Hell, I've been in fistfights when I've had a gun on me and it never occured to me to pull it. Not once. And I'm willing to bet that my lifestyle has a higher frequency of violent and/or potentially life threatening situations in it than most people's. And I know for a fact that I'm more of a violent person than many. I'm not PROUD of that, it just is what it is. That doesn't mean I don't have an understanding of the consequences of SHOOTING SOMEBODY.

I've said it once, I'll say it a thousand times more. Owning a gun is like owning a fire extinguisher. You buy it hoping you'll never have to use it, but fires DO happen. And at the same time, you don't go walking around every day fantasizing about fires or looking for infernos to put out or starting fires just so you can use your big shiney extinguisher. You don't even think about it. It's a tool, an insurance policy, and an equalizer. That's about it.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 01:01:18 PM by RaymondKHessel »
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Offline koberulz

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #51 on: October 03, 2010, 01:05:16 PM »
Your logic understates the issue. If I were to say, "yes, that's the logic being used" then you'd have to take my keyboard away because I could beat you to death with it. There's a lot more to factor than that, I thought that much has already been made clear. You argued on your blog that we should ban cameras and stop them from being manufactured in an attempt to combat paedophelia, if that is an attempt to show a flaw in the non-legalisation of guns, then it's a strawman argument. Would banning cameras be worthwhile? I'd argue, not. Banning of guns in the US, same, legalisation of guns in the UK, same.
However, it remains that the sole reason for making guns illegal is their propensity for being involved in murders. And my argument about banning cameras isn't really all that far-fetched - I link in that blog to a news article that mentions it being illegal in Australia to record children's sporting events because "you might be a paedophile". So yes, once you allow 'someone might commit a crime' to be a reasonable excuse for passing a law, it will be abused.

Regarding "keeping crime down":
From a statistical perspective, guns are rarely used in self defense situations.  If one examines the FBI's crime statistics, "justifiable" discharge of a firearm is used minimally, even when adding together police and civilian incidents.  I think it is about 5% of all cases of discharged weapon.  Looking at the FBI's compiled uses of firearms, they are mostly used half and half (roughly) for suicides or resolving arguments.  The remaining uses are minimal or unclassifiable due to the nature of the circumstances.  Mind you, this is discharged weapons, not necessarily murders, and I am generalizing what I read.  The statistics are available online for you to read.
That doesn't take into account the number of times merely pulling out a gun defuses whatever situtation you happen to be in. If I feel like beating you up and you pull out a gun, I'm sure as shit not going to wait until you pull the trigger before I rethink things.

Offline RaymondKHessel

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #52 on: October 03, 2010, 01:16:53 PM »
That doesn't take into account the number of times merely pulling out a gun defuses whatever situtation you happen to be in. If I feel like beating you up and you pull out a gun, I'm sure as s**t not going to wait until you pull the trigger before I rethink things.

I'm not a big fan of that line of thinking. You should never pull a gun on somebody unless you mean to shoot, and you shouldn't shoot unless you mean to kill.

If someone's just going to beat you up, let them. Or fight fair. Otherwise they'll take your gun away from you and stick it up your ass. When you introduce a gun into a situation, it's a game changer. The guy looking to kick your ass is going to go from just wanting to slap you around a little, to feeling his LIFE threatend. Which means if he DOESN'T back down, you've just escalated the situation to one in which one of you might not be getting out of it alive.

Sean Penn's character in Carlito's Way, when he pulled a .38 on some guys in the nightclub because they were assholes, is a perfect example of what NOT to do.

Someone who goes around pulling a strap willy-nilly has a very short life expectancy. Darwin usually takes care of them in pretty short order.

Edit: I should add, I've had a gun in my face 3 seperate times in my life. Once was a robbery, once was a client on Meth who didn't want to pay his bill, and the other time was a personal conflict. Each time, I backed down, even when I was armed (the personal conflct). Even so, every part of my being was screaming to KILL the person with the gun for threatening my life. It was instinctual, and that combination of rage and fear is a horrible thing to experience.  If I had had the opportunity, with emotions and adrenaline pounding, I probably would have, even if I had to shoot them in the back while they were leaving. Like I said though, twice I was unarmed, and the personal conflict resolved itself in such a way that I had time to cool down, and it wasn't an option anyways - the guy had a lot of friends with him.

What I'm saying is, unless you're planning on using it, pulling a gun is usually more dangerous for the person pulling it, because I'd say there's at least a 50/50 chance that you just made the other guy want you dead, maybe for the rest of their life. Having somebody pull a gun on you and threaten you with it is something that's hard to forget. You're completely helpless. You feel violated in a way. It sticks with you for years, and makes your blood boil every time you think about it.

I sincerely hope none of you ever have to experience such a thing.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 01:34:40 PM by RaymondKHessel »
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Offline Jim

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #53 on: October 03, 2010, 01:48:38 PM »
Regarding "keeping crime down":
From a statistical perspective, guns are rarely used in self defense situations.  If one examines the FBI's crime statistics, "justifiable" discharge of a firearm is used minimally, even when adding together police and civilian incidents.  I think it is about 5% of all cases of discharged weapon.  Looking at the FBI's compiled uses of firearms, they are mostly used half and half (roughly) for suicides or resolving arguments.  The remaining uses are minimal or unclassifiable due to the nature of the circumstances.  Mind you, this is discharged weapons, not necessarily murders, and I am generalizing what I read.  The statistics are available online for you to read.
That doesn't take into account the number of times merely pulling out a gun defuses whatever situtation you happen to be in. If I feel like beating you up and you pull out a gun, I'm sure as shit not going to wait until you pull the trigger before I rethink things.

My stats beat your conjecture any day.  I could further conjecture -- with a good chance that I'm right -- that the number of uncounted self defense incidents is proportional to all other incidents, and it keeps its 5% max.

Also, if you look at the FBI stats, the number of police incidents far outweighs civilian justified use.  The number of these incidents is simply not that important.

Besides, what is wrong with simply stating that, more than anything else, there is constitutional grounds for having a weapon?  And a further side effect is being able to use it defensively if it comes to it?

And I agree with Ray.  Never present a gun unless you are willing to die by a faster draw.  Simple rule.
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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #54 on: October 03, 2010, 02:32:36 PM »
Quote from: Jim
The Supreme Court of the US has ruled on this.  Articles are in wikipedia about it for you to review, if you wish.  But, suffice it to say:
- Gun ownership is a right and a civil liberty in the US.  This is not a matter of opinion, whether Koberulz', yours, or mine own.
- The major purpose of the constitutional amendment is twofold (as I understand it): to defend against outside aggression, and to defend against the tyranny of the US government itself, if needed.  Both of these reasons are thanks to the Brits, by the way.  The Brits saw the error of their ways, after the little spat with us, and banned guns from their other colonies ... the UK gun laws have nothing to do with the safety of the populace.  At least, the origin of the laws don't.
- In no way is the amendment meant to keep crime down, or even for "personal protection" in the civil sense that is common today.  It is about freedom.  Liberté!

Freedom and liberty comes from the strong patriotic nature that surrounds the US constitution, in reality, we don't live in free societies and true freedom is anarchy, which is not to be desired. After all, with true freedom you don't need to pay those taxes which help to protect your family, instead you have to do it yourself, if somebody wants to rape a loved one, you best hope you're strong enough to stop them, because there's no laws to tell them not to do it, no punishments to deter them and no police to catch them. You may be poverty stricken fighting amongst others to find food to support your family, but at least you'd have your liberty. This is the hypocrisy I find behind the notion of those who sing to their hearts content about their liberty. Yes we should defend democracy, yes there are civil liberties that we ought to protect, but at the end of the day a line has to be drawn.

And yes, it maybe a constitutional right in the US to own a gun, but that doesn't mean the constitution is right, after all, it was written to deal with the problems perceived at the time it was written - personally, I don't think the 2nd amendment ought to be changed because it won't solve anything concerning America's problems, but I'm not going to assume that the American constitution is a flawless doctrine to living in a society with the perfect balance for freedom.


Quote from: koberulz
That doesn't take into account the number of times merely pulling out a gun defuses whatever situtation you happen to be in. If I feel like beating you up and you pull out a gun, I'm sure as s**t not going to wait until you pull the trigger before I rethink things.

And if means more people are being murdered as a result, no biggy. As Raymond highlights, waving that gun can escalate the situation - the person beating you up doesn't deserve to die and well, what if he has a gun and decides to retaliate? You might not have been willing to pull the trigger, but it's gone from defending yourself from getting your arse kicked to fighting for your life. You don't know what a person has concealed in their pants, so I think it can happen two ways.

Quote from: koberulz
However, it remains that the sole reason for making guns illegal is their propensity for being involved in murders. And my argument about banning cameras isn't really all that far-fetched - I link in that blog to a news article that mentions it being illegal in Australia to record children's sporting events because "you might be a paedophile". So yes, once you allow 'someone might commit a crime' to be a reasonable excuse for passing a law, it will be abused.

It's also illegal in the UK and Portugal too - I remember reading not too long ago an article on a guy (from the UK) who was taking pictures of young boys on a beach in Portugal because he worked for a clothing company and when on holiday there he liked the designs he saw kids wearing and thought his company could sell something similar. Portugal's courts from what I read were still going to charge him because it's against the law, it would have been allowed if he got permission off of the parents first.

But again, you're understating it. Like I said, if the logic abides to how you're stating it, then you're welcome to petition for keyboards to be illegal - I'm fairly certain I could use mine to kill a man - the cable ought to be able to strangle man quite easily. It's a question of what works as a solution to a problem and avoiding making it worse. Is banning cameras going to work as a solution? Maybe banning them at a children's sporting event does? I don't know, I mean, I'm not sure if it has reduced threats from paedophiles or has just worked out to be an unnecessary measure. Who's to say the government was right to ban cameras at such sporting events in the first place? I see no reason to suggest that banning cameras will keep kids safe from paedophiles - out of measures to protect kids I imagine banning cameras is pretty low on the list.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 02:35:53 PM by Seppuku »
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Offline koberulz

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #55 on: October 03, 2010, 03:13:08 PM »
Freedom and liberty comes from the strong patriotic nature that surrounds the US constitution, in reality, we don't live in free societies and true freedom is anarchy, which is not to be desired. After all, with true freedom you don't need to pay those taxes which help to protect your family, instead you have to do it yourself, if somebody wants to rape a loved one, you best hope you're strong enough to stop them, because there's no laws to tell them not to do it, no punishments to deter them and no police to catch them. You may be poverty stricken fighting amongst others to find food to support your family, but at least you'd have your liberty. This is the hypocrisy I find behind the notion of those who sing to their hearts content about their liberty. Yes we should defend democracy, yes there are civil liberties that we ought to protect, but at the end of the day a line has to be drawn.
Hypocrisy? Really? Obviously a line has to be drawn, and that line is the difference between a libertarian and an anarchist. The role of government is to protect our freedoms and nothing more.

Quote
And if means more people are being murdered as a result, no biggy. As Raymond highlights, waving that gun can escalate the situation - the person beating you up doesn't deserve to die and well, what if he has a gun and decides to retaliate? You might not have been willing to pull the trigger, but it's gone from defending yourself from getting your arse kicked to fighting for your life. You don't know what a person has concealed in their pants, so I think it can happen two ways.
The other guy was pulling a gun in my example, not me. And sorry, but if someone decides that they're going to hurt me, they deserve whatever the fuck happens to them. If that's death, so be it. You want to stay alive, you should try not assaulting people.

Quote
keyboards to be illegal - I'm fairly certain I could use mine to kill a man - the cable ought to be able to strangle man quite easily.
You have a cable on your keyboard? The 90s were over ten years ago.

Quote
Who's to say the government was right to ban cameras at such sporting events in the first place? I see no reason to suggest that banning cameras will keep kids safe from paedophiles - out of measures to protect kids I imagine banning cameras is pretty low on the list.
This is exactly my point.

Offline Jim

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #56 on: October 03, 2010, 03:19:41 PM »
...This is the hypocrisy I find behind the notion of those who sing to their hearts content about their liberty. Yes we should defend democracy, yes there are civil liberties that we ought to protect, but at the end of the day a line has to be drawn.

And yes, it maybe a constitutional right in the US to own a gun, but that doesn't mean the constitution is right, after all, it was written to deal with the problems perceived at the time it was written....

Consider: the UK gun laws have nothing to do with personal safety.  They were designed to prevent the populace from retaliating against the monarchy.  They were not designed with your well being in mind at all.  Sure, there are a lot of "Liberty!" chanting fools out there (and I agree with your assessment of those particular fools who stretch it to far limits, thinking that a lack of government is good.)  But, your laws are specifically designed to keep you from complaining too much, and to keep you and your fellow citizens in line.

One could always reasonably ask why you in the UK, as a citizen in good standing, should not be able to defend yourself against a knife attacker with a gun.  Why not?  He would be out to kill you, after all.  It's not like you live in Japan, where it is safe and you don't need a weapon.  It is a fair argument for me to pose, saying that your government has decreed that it is far better for you to die from criminal attack, than for you to own a weapon to use.

What use liberty, indeed?

My personal feeling is that democracy needs no defense.  That's sooo cold war.  Democracy needs to be exercised.  Freedoms -- any freedom -- goes away if not exercised.

Now, as I said before, homicide and gun use are such a small thing, really.  The stats show it.  The real tasks that both our countries should be focused on are stemming suicide and automobile deaths and accidents.  Those issues are far more pressing.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 03:22:26 PM by Jim »
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Atheists and Gun Ownership/Usage
« Reply #57 on: October 03, 2010, 04:48:12 PM »
The US is one of the few countries in the world where people rationally argue that NOT having a deadly weapon makes them feel vulnerable. Like you need a gun just to feel a baseline level of safety. I think it is sadly ironic that gun ownership is a right in the US, but health care is not. Says someting about our priorities....

As Raymond says, if you have a gun, you have to be willing to pull it out, and you have to be willing and ready to make someone dead. Even a nutty 14 year old who [you think] is trying to grab your wallet, or an innocent bystander. I don't think most of us in the US are prepared for that reality.

I know a lot of crazy people. Not locked up, card-carrying crazy, so these folks are allowed in the US to legally own a deadly weapon. That makes me way more nervous than the threat of crime. It seems that people kill people they know (after a few too many drinks or an argument) way more often than they kill random bad guys who break in at night. Not to mention the kids who die playing with their relatives' guns.

It is not that I am a pollyanna. I have been sexually assaulted and a gun would not have made a bit of  difference-- the a$$hole was a wealthy, powerful person with bodyguards and a limo, not a street thug. I have lived in very dangerous areas with gang bangers standing on every street corner. I worked as a social worker in one of the most dangerous housing projects in the US.

When I had to walk from a dark bus stop after work, I carried a knife in my pocket. If someone got close enough to me and was threatening enough for me to stick them with my knife, they damn well deserved it.  But with a gun you can kill someone by accident, by mistake or because you misjudged someone's intentions when they were far away.

Life is not like TV. I don't want to teach at a campus where the students are all walking around armed in case somebody goes postal. You [think you] hear shots in the hallway and run out with your gun. You see a guy with a gun. Do you shoot him? He might be another student who ran out because he heard the shots. And he shoots you. The real shooter has discarded his gun in the bathroom or is on another floor, or it was a car backfiring. 

I have had to break up fights at my college more than once. It is common for the kids to threaten to "go home and get my gun" after they are separated.  The fight was over some stupid boy-girl thing and they are acting like they are in a Clint Eastwood movie.

I never want to have a gun. Because I have a depressive disorder and a temper. Because I have a teen daughter who may sneak out of the house someday and sneak back in after dark, scaring me into thinking it is a burglar. Because my brother is a developmetally delayed black man who does erratic things sometimes and could be [mistakenly] perceived as a threat.  Because I don't want to kill a nutty 14-year old who [I think] is trying to grab my wallet.

As an atheist, I know we only have one life-- I don't want to live it as a killer who took that life from someone else by accident or mistake. As a bleeding heart commie, I would rather pay for a program that helps keep that kid from grabbing my wallet.
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