1/03/2013 6:41am, #1
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
- SarfLondon UK
Guns,guns,guns..Sam Harris's Opinion Piece
Here is an opinion piece by Sam Harris who I find is sensible with almost dusturbing regularity ( is he an AI or some Culture 'Mind'? ).
As he says Guns are an 'emotive issue' (even here in Blighty) and I myself find it hard to see it clearly, not least because its not a part of our historical culture in the same way as in the USA.
Here's the article: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/t...dle-of-the-gun
For me this is the sanest 'apolitical' writing on the subject I've read yet.
Post other articles and opinions here if you want.
Hope its of interest and please move to a more suitable place if needed.
1/03/2013 8:24am, #2
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
- Baltimore, MD
If the discussion on firearms was less Feinstein and LaPierre, and more Harris, it might get somewhere. But because Feinstein exists, I will continue to stand closer to LaPierre.
1/03/2013 8:34am, #3
Mixed bag. He has drunk the gun control kool aid to some degree, and it taints his logic.
"In fact, it can be easily argued that original intent of the Second Amendment had nothing to do with the right of self-defense—which remains the ethical case to be made for owning a firearm. The amendment seems to have been written to allow the states to check the power of the federal government by maintaining their militias. "
The intent can be argued, unless, you know, you read what the men who wrote and voted in the amendment had to say.
"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; …"
"... who are the militia, if they be not the people of this country...? I ask, who are the militia? They consist of now of the whole people, except a few public officers."
"… the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms"
Philadelphia Federal Gazette
June 18, 1789, Pg. 2, Col. 2
Article on the Bill of Rights
"Are we at last brought to such an humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms under our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?"
-- Patrick Henry
"... of the liberty of conscience in matters of religious faith, of speech and of the press; of the trail by jury of the vicinage in civil and criminal cases; of the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus; of the right to keep and bear arms.... If these rights are well defined, and secured against encroachment, it is impossible that government should ever degenerate into tyranny."
-- James Monroe
ETC ETC ETC
There is no argument that the second amendment did not confer an individual right of firearm ownership, other than one generated from whole cloth as wish fulfillment.
The original federal gun legislation was the 1934 GCA. It passed constitutional muster on the argument that the guns banned (sawed off shotguns and rifles, a ref others) had no military application, and as such, were not required for a militiaman, and, therefore, outside the scope of the amendment.
Somehow, 30 years later, a totally fallacious "sporting purposes" test was fabricated by a liberal court, intent on legislating from the bench, and the discussion plummeted into bickering between people who like guns, and people who dislike guns.
Otherwise, he constantly allows himself to suffer the same, emotional, reflexive fallacious thinking that he simultaneously decries. How many times does he mention how frightening it is that, for example, private citizens may resell firearms to one another, even as he then admits that further regulating those sales would do little or nothing to limit crimes committed with guns.
To argue about gun control is to miss the point. Crimes are committed by people with a motive to do so, who have an opportunity to do so, who judge that the reward of the crime outweighs the potential of being caught and punished. The tools required are a tertiary issue at best. Note: from his article, 6% of murders are committed without weapons, compare to the sub-2% rate committed with so-called "assault weapons, (which we will waste untold time and political capital on in the coming months).
We can reduce the usage of guns in crime quite easily. Increase the penalties for illegal possession, dramatically. Increase the penalties for illegal sales, dramatically. Increase the penalties for commission of crimes while in possession of a firearm, dramatically. None of these things bother a law abiding person in the least, but act as a substantial tool separating violent criminals from firearms, immediately upon passage.
In cities as dissimilar as Richmond Virginia and Boston Massachusetts, a pilot program that simply enforced existing federal firearm laws on criminals accused of gang related crime reduced murders by 40% in a year. The feds complained that they didn't want to be in the warehousing of street criminals business, and the pilot was abandoned.
50% of all US murder revolves around the drug trade. A solution is obvious. Legalized drugs, or at a very minimum, marijuana. Defer the personnel and funding of the DEA to the ATF. Prosecute the bejeezus out of anybody carrying illegally.
Result: motive behind 50% of all murders is gone. Street criminals either disarm themselves, or go to prison until they are retirement age. The resulting massive reduction in violent crime affects the change in attitudes towards violence the author of the article wishes to see.
Yet, not a single law abiding citizen loses a single thing.
But, you know, "who would want a gun that looks like that?" and "won't anyone think of the children?" are way easier arguments to make. So screw gun owners.
1/03/2013 9:21am, #4
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
I'll give him a grade of C. It didn't leave me wanting to kick his face in, but there are still some holes in his thinking.
This is one hole: "Given the changes that have occurred in our military, and even in our politics, the idea that a few pistols and an AR 15 in every home constitutes a necessary bulwark against totalitarianism is fairly ridiculous. If you believe that the armed forces of the United States might one day come for you—and you think your cache of small arms will suffice to defend you if they do—I’ve got a black helicopter to sell you."
I'll explain why this line of thinking is incorrect. It is very likely that in a situation where a large portion of the population feels the need to take up arms against the government that the military would already be in a weakened state. The military is made up of people, after all. If their friends and families feel things are so dire they're prepared to risk death to make change, then many, many members of the military probably feel the same way. When those people leave, the government's military might is compromised.
It is definitely feasible that a well armed populace could effectively fight a government's military, especially a weakened one. Guerrilla warfare has been effective many times throughout history. Remember the Viet Cong?
I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION of the United States against all enemies, foreign AND DOMESTIC
Last edited by Devil; 1/03/2013 9:44am at .
1/03/2013 11:27am, #5
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
Question for OP (and other Brits). This is a serious question and not intended to be smartass. I'm genuinely curious.
It seems like we constantly have Brits chiming in on discussions about gun control in the U.S. Even starting threads like yourself. Often, they'll argue the issue quite passionately. Why does this subject interest you?
I can say without hesitation that I don't give one iota about politics in the UK, unless perhaps it's something related to foreign policy that could have a direct impact on the U.S. The gun control debate is clearly a domestic issue and has zero impact on British folk. Why do you care at all? I really would like to understand.
1/03/2013 11:56am, #6
You need someway of creating alterity between the political elite, military and civilian population religious or ethnic differences are best e.g Syria where the ruling elite are from the minority Alawite group and the majority of the army and air force are staffed with Alawites. So they both have a stake in keeping each other in power and have a sense of alterity from the majority civilian population.
When you should get worried is when you have a significant and historically oppressed minority group dominant in the armed forces and holding key positions in the political elite. Like, say, if you had a President from a minority group elected on a radical platform for unspecified 'change'...
1/03/2013 11:57am, #7
1/03/2013 12:22pm, #8
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
1/03/2013 12:26pm, #9
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
1/03/2013 1:19pm, #10