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Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re Newtown on 12/19/2012 11:13:40 MST Print View

You've got me thinking Doug.
Something i find difficult to understand as a non US citizen
I get the 'land of the free' thing. Everyone has personal freedom, with as little government interference as possible, yeah?
So some folks think they can own as many guns as they want. The gun folk seem to be mostly Republican (looking from the outside), yet at the same time they demand the personal freedom to carry guns, they want to deny that freedom to folk who want to have an abortion, or have gay rights?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Two sides on 12/19/2012 11:27:33 MST Print View

Jeffery and Brad are calmly discussing their different urban and rural perspectives. As a fifth-generation San Francisco living in small-town Alaska for the last 15 years, I've experienced both sides of that.

I knew respectable gun owners in the city. They tended to be quieter about it, had fewer bumper stickers, and of course had to go to a range or hunting to shoot. I also had friends held up while working as teenagers in drive-throughs, a father of a classmate was wounded with a rifle when racist, local teens were roughing him up, and - the biggest driver for most people - there were all the headlines and news reports of inner-city and domestic-violence deaths involving guns. I understand how urban dwellers see guns as a problem and I note that where things are the worst (DC), the locals are most adamant about controlling guns.

In a small Alaskan town, most men have guns and while we were looking at day-care options for the our toddler, we didn't ask IF they had guns in the house, but WHERE the guns were stored - "the nightstand" being the wrong answer and "locked in the gun cabinet and ammo is kept in the basement" being a good answer. I know many more hunters up here, perhaps because there are a lot more tasty critters. For reasons of marital harmony, I don't hunt myself, but being a strong hiker, willing to carry multiple loads of meat out and being an above-average camp cook, make me a popular guy to have on a trip and earns an equal share of the bear/elk/caribou.

So I hope I straddle the line a bit - I certainly can have civil conversations with folks on both sides. A few points:

Gun control, as anyone seriously suggests it, doesn't restrict hunting or home defense at all. A 12-gauge and/or a 30/06 rifle will handle any hunting outside of Alaska and will drop a burglar far quicker than any handgun.

Rural, well-armed areas DO have lower crime rates. Some of that is probably fear of confronting an armed citizen, but there are many other factors. Making drugs illegal and therefore profitable not only causes gangs to fight for turf, but causes user to steal for their habit. And whether it is the worst part of Oakland or the most scenic, roadless, native village in Alaska; hopelessness breeds escapist behaviors be they drug use or suicide. Guns didn't create the hopelessness, but an armed desperate person often has a worse outcome.

Also, in a small town, you know most everyone. Sure, stuff happens, but more fingers are pointed and crimes get solved because all actions are less anonymous. Maybe more importantly, there aren't "too many rats in the cage" - I don't think we evolved as a species in 1,000,000-person villages. Small towns and small schools avoid many of the clique-ish and gang-like behaviors of bigger settings.

No despots have ever been overthrown in the US with guns. Reagan was a little extreme (and far too anti-wilderness) for my tastes, but he survived Hinckley's attack. Nixon would have been the clearest potential threat and he resigned. I just don't see paranoid hillbillies, even with guns converted to full-auto, standing up to federal or military forces and I think Ruby Ridge, Waco, etc, bear that out. "Red Dawn" (the old one and the new one) was a fantasy, not a documentary.

The gun owners want the gun-control crowd to have perspective: 10,000 gun deaths are less than 25,000 auto deaths. A lot of those deaths were gang bangers or victims or domestic violence. And they trot out their poster-child cases of someone defending themselves from a stranger.

And the gun controllers want the gun owners to have perspective: No one is going to take away sporting guns. A gun in your house is more likely to be used against a household member than a stranger. And they trot out their horror stories of school shootings, etc.

And the most fearful on each side drive the debate. Gang members and paranoid whackos are scary to many people, very much so to a few. Violence by strangers IS a possibility but some people seize on that way out of proportion to the risk.

I react to the start of such fears in myself by looking at the stats and the risks. The unknown is scary but the unknown is also very uncommon. I fly a lot and an airplane malfunction would be out of my control, but so unlikely, I dismiss it (except in small planes up here). But some people are incapacitated by their fear of flying. Yet they drive everyday which is FAR riskier.

If you want to live a long time then eat less, exercise more, don't smoke, and wear your seat belt. Your anxiety about guns will shorten the average life more than bullets would.

If you fear your neighbors, move where you don't have any (and join the paranoid, cabin-dweeling North Roaders in my area). If you fear the government, then don't break the law - problem solved.

There is common ground. Not on where the end point should be, but on small steps in that direction. Stricter enforcement of existing gun laws. Evidence-based programs to reduce inner-city hopelessness, joblessness, and violence. Better mental-health and substance-abuse programs. No one suite of policies will make everyone safe. But small steps DO help (driving deaths have been halved in a few decades, per-mile deaths are down far more in my lifetime). And small steps are politically possible.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Two sides on 12/19/2012 11:45:19 MST Print View

Great post David.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Schizophrenic Americans on 12/19/2012 12:18:32 MST Print View


"So some folks think they can own as many guns as they want. The gun folk seem to be mostly Republican (looking from the outside), yet at the same time they demand the personal freedom to carry guns, they want to deny that freedom to folk who want to have an abortion, or have gay rights?"

The extremists on both sides want their rules to apply to everyone. In big cities, where most of the gun problems are, the majority favor more gun control but often want it applied nationwide. In rural areas where jobs are in short supply, resource-development is popular and the extremists (Cheney was from Wyoming) want drill rigs everywhere including coastal states that don't want them.

(Interestingly, suicide by gun - a larger number of deaths than homicide by gun - happens MUCH more often with rural, old, white males. Inner city blacks, on average, shoot each other more often, but they have the lowest rates of shooting themselves.)

In my small town, a few Democrats have no guns. More commonly, they have some (reasonable in my mind) small selection of firearms as functional tools. The only people I know with 10-100 firearms vote with the NRA and the Republican party.

When a person or a church cherry-picks a passage from Leviticus to decide whose rights to deny, it does seem bizarre given that they invariably eat cheeseburgers, shellfish, wear mixed fibers and didn't stone their wife for not being a virgin on her wedding day - all of which are all also clearly dictated in the Bible.

I find not logic but predictability if I expect people to fear the unknown. Denying rights to blacks, immigrants, gays, etc correlates hugely with not having friends, family and co-workers from those groups. Non-gun owners fear guns much more than sportsmen do.

There's this weird tendency to adopt all of a party's platform as your own. The "pro-life" party wants to kill more prisoners. The "pro-choice" party denies that more people might choice not to work if jobless benefits were higher.

And then there are total disconnects - Republicans want "traditional family values" but when their VP candidate's daughter (our Governor until she quit) gets knocked up out of wedlock, she's only praised for keeping the pregnancy. And not pillared for her subsequent divorce (and now the son's). Democrats say they are pro-education, but won't admit or act on the plain and obvious fact that some teachers are better than others, and the best teachers make a huge difference in a child's life.

Again, I think small steps can often be agreed on. I wish more of that process was evidence-based instead of fighting over each other's beliefs.

re on 12/19/2012 13:12:11 MST Print View

Jeffrey says:
Several times a year in Oakland and Richmond there's another particularly sad killing, usually involving a kid caught in crossfire, that prompts hundreds of locals to march to take back our streets. These are the local parents and workers, church goers most often. They all want guns off the streets. All of them. So do the police. That's why their marching.

Gee, are all of these thousands of people supposed to quit their jobs and move? In Chicago, NY, etc. too? Are we to give up the streets to the punks with guns and all have to move out? Can well all come stay with you, MB? will you have jobs for us?

But god forbid that gun owners should be inconvenienced."

If you want to be safe. Yes. Leave. Its that simple.

History shows us the solution to your problem has to be with the residents, not the police.

When our founding fathers set down the bill of rights, they couldnt foresee the future and the problems we would have. The interpretation of some rights by a liberal judicial system is responsible for the difficulty in enforcing laws, and getting rid of crime. Today an convicted murderer can be on death row for 20+ yrs.

They used to hang the next day.

I am willing to sacrifice the rights necessary to allow swift and proper punishment to be applied, and criminals to be rounded up. Much stiffer mandatory sentences for drug users, as well as sellers, and anyone using guns to commit crimes, including automatic death.

What are you willing to sacrifice? Nothing?

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Sacrifice on 12/19/2012 13:19:01 MST Print View

How about sacrificing the right to carry a gun?
10 years in jail for carrying. Life the second time?

sacrifice on 12/19/2012 13:26:15 MST Print View


There is nothing wrong with carrying a gun.

You have a god given right to defend yourself from bodily harm. Period.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Newtown on 12/19/2012 14:12:04 MST Print View

The gun folk seem to be mostly Republican (looking from the outside), yet at the same time they demand the personal freedom to carry guns, they want to deny that freedom to folk who want to have an abortion, or have gay rights?

And to those who want to use drugs?

Gun sales almost always go up after these shootings, as gun control scaremongering reaches fever pitch.

I just hope that something positive can come out of this terrible tragedy, but views seem so polarised that you have to wonder.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Sacrifice on 12/19/2012 14:23:54 MST Print View

"How about sacrificing the right to carry a gun?"

What does that accomplish? It's extreme comments like that that prevent us from ever making progress. Just like the other side saying we should be able to buy any gun we want without any restrictions. How about something more reasonable that addresses the problem.

FYI, To carry a gun in my state you have to obtain a concealed handgun permit. This includes attending a Firearm Safety Class and obtaining a different permit than just a handgun permit. The permits also have to be renewed every 5 years. You also have a 42 page manual to read that outlines the laws. ( They don't just give them out and you can't carry guns just anywhere you like. Most would be surprised at the requirements and limitations. The appendix in the back will give you a quick rundown on those.

How many murders are actually committed by people that legally carry a concealed weapon? The vast majority of the murders are committed by criminals, gangs, drug trade and domestic violence. I don't see how sacrificing the right to carry prevents these murders. How is a 10 year jail term going to influence someone willing to spend life in prison or death penalty for murder.

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re: Newtown on 12/19/2012 14:37:59 MST Print View

I am very saddened by the Newtown massacre, my heart goes out to the family and friends if the victims.

I do not want to get involve in US politics or tell the people in the US what they should do with guns, for that is up to them, but I though I would tell the story of recent tougher gun control laws in Australia.

In 1996 Australia sadly experienced the Port Arthur massacre which remains one of the deadliest shootings worldwide committed by a single person, 35 innocent people where murdered and 21 people injured.

Gun control laws in Australia, which had been relatively lenient before the Port Arthur massacre, were reviewed and tightened significantly after the incident.

The Australian Government banned and heavily restricted the legal ownership and use of self-loading rifles, self-loading and pump-action shotguns, and heavily tightened controls on their legal use. The government also initiated a "buy-back" scheme where some 643,000 firearms where removed and destroyed.

Since 1996, anyone wishing to possess or use a firearm must have a Firearms Licence and, with some exceptions, be over the age of 18. Owners must have secure storage for their firearms. Before someone can buy a firearm, he or she must obtain a Permit To Acquire. The first permit has a mandatory 28-day delay before it is first issued.

For each firearm a "Genuine Reason" must be given, relating to pest control, hunting, target shooting, or collecting. Self-defence is not accepted as a reason for issuing a license, even though it may be legal under certain circumstances to use a legally held firearm for self-defence. Each firearm in Australia must be registered to the owner by serial number.

It is illegal to own, use and possess a handgun in Australia without a licence to do so.

During the post Port Arthur Massacre debate the gun lobby put forward many of the same pro gun arguments that I am reading here on this thread, historical rights to own guns, self defence, it will not be safe to walk the streets, we will not be safe in our homes etc, in Australia we do not have a bill of rights.

Besides the Gun Lobby “the world will end” predictions the results of the post 1996 gun laws tell their own story.

In the 18 years leading up to the Port Arthur Massacre, there were some 13 mass murders involving guns in Australia, in the 16 years since 1996 there have been no mass murders involving guns.

The number of firearm-related deaths in Australia has declined to around 50% of the long-term pre 1996 levels.

The Gun Lobby in Australia is still working to have the 1996 gun laws overturned.


PS. I visited the Port Arthur Massacre site about 10 years ago and I still feel the deep sadness in my heart.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Packing heat on 12/19/2012 14:49:58 MST Print View

Rules are quite different here, Brad. You can carry your pistol on your belt like Yosemite Sam. We like our guns here in Kentucky.

Not long ago there was a political rally near my office(Main Street,small town Kentucky) It's near the square. We have a fair sized parking lot and lots of people were parking in it because of the rally. There is excitement about the political rally. A guy is organizing people for the rally in my parking lot while wearing pistols on his belt. I wasn't crazy about this, but what can I do? Walk out there with a gun of my own? Bad idea. Walk out there without a gun? Not ideal either.

I think the homicides are part of the gun issue, but the other part is that they allow intimidation. They give power to people who might have no particular reason for that power than their willingness to intimidate by carrying a firearm. No one was killed, but it just feels bad and helpless when someone gets what they want because they are carrying a gun. This hasn't happened often, but I certainly don't want it to happen MORE often.

I think its different than being out on a hunting trip. There, you probably know everybody and you probably wouldn't hunt with someone you thought was irresponsible. But with complete strangers on the streets, even on my property, I simply don't like dealing with armed people on a regular basis.

Does this aspect ever trouble others? Or are gun-toting strangers in a town setting completely foreign to most of you?

Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Sacrifice on 12/19/2012 14:54:00 MST Print View


I think a significant problem is identifying criminals. Dropping a jeweler in prison because a carries a revolver to protect his shop/life may get a gun off the street, but it's not targeting the thugs that are doing most of the shooting in Oakland. (Note that programs that attempt to stop people on the street or search public housing blocks looking for guns will probably get stopped by civil rights lawsuits.)

I live across the bay and don't make it into Oakland too often, so most of what I hear is colored by the media. The image that gets presented is one where residents follow the "snitches get stitches" philosophy and the only time they pour into the streets is when a police officer has done the shooting (e.g. Mixon/Grant). To be fair, the two girls that were shot recently did receive an article in SFgate, but there seemed little mention of protest marches beyond small vigils.

That said, what makes the news can easily misrepresent the actual situation on the ground, so it's good to hear from someone actually there. Oakland's police force is woefully outnumbered; I think they have something like 666 officers in a city that needs a few thousand and they've announced that they will no longer respond to a number of crimes, including burglary, grand theft, etc. (You're supposed to fill out a report online.) I think the California Highway Patrol has taken over some traffic duties there, but at this time the police force appears essentially out of the picture.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Sacrifice on 12/19/2012 15:01:42 MST Print View

It's extreme comments like that that prevent us from ever making progress.

Brad, but that's just it. Outside the States, that is not an extreme comment at all; it is self evident. Why not then make bombs, nerve gas, cyanide, sarin, tanks, and bazookas legal, too, then? After all, bombs don't kill people, people do.

list on 12/19/2012 15:29:26 MST Print View

You have the right to use force equal to the force you might reasonably be assaulted with. That means a firearm.

You should not have to put yourself at risk to defend yourself, that is why a firearm is acceptable for defense against a knife, or baseball bat. Deadly force, is deadly force.

Not too many people being killed by the items you listed. Those are implements of mass destruction and war.

Just another example of insane reasoning.

Edited by livingontheroad on 12/19/2012 15:34:46 MST.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Packing heat on 12/19/2012 15:36:30 MST Print View


I agree that event was not appropriate for carrying a handgun. Really just nonsense.

In NC you can carry your handgun like Yosemite Sam if you like, but we have heavy restrictions on where. Examples of places prohibited in NC:
- Any space occupied by federal and state employees
- Any premises where the controller of the property has posted a sign saying concealed guns not prohibited
- Educational property
- Areas of assemblies, parades, funerals or demonstrations (This would have covered your political event)
- All place that sales and consumes alcohol
- Any area prohibited by federal law

As you can see not a lot of places for people to actually carry. Most people I know actually have them to carry in their car in case of an emergency. Very few people actually wear them like Yosemite Sam. I think we have laws that work by restricting areas and we don't need to take a radical approach and say no concealed handgun permits.

You bring up an interesting point about intimidation. I shared a story in an earlier post about my dad. He was a truck driver and had to make deliveries at night. One time he was unloading his truck at a grocery store when 3 guys approached him. Once they saw the gun on his hip they said lets get out of here he has a gun. Would it have been better for him to be intimidated and possibly injured/murdered in that situation or have them intimidated. BTW several weeks before that another driver for his company had been shot while unloading. As you can see the issue is a little personal to me. Many people have jobs that put them in potentially dangerous situation and a gun can be a good deterrent. Should everyone carry a gun on the job--absolutely not. Schools, office building, etc should have security systems.

I also think the reporter in Michigan felt a little intimidated when he was punch by the demonstrator. Should he have been able to carry a gun-NO. Should the demonstrator have been arrested yes.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: list on 12/19/2012 15:44:43 MST Print View

Insane reasoning is walking around with a gun because you are afraid that someone else with a gun might assault you.

Why is everyone assaulting each other? Is it because the law permits unstable people access to guns?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Packing heat on 12/19/2012 15:51:33 MST Print View

"Examples of places prohibited in NC:
- Any space occupied by federal and state employees
- Any premises where the controller of the property has posted a sign saying concealed guns not prohibited"

Well, that certainly explains a few things to me. Not.


Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Re: Sacrifice on 12/19/2012 15:53:00 MST Print View


Please understand I mean this with no disrespect and I appreciate your insight. Why does it matter what people outside the US think? Just because other countries don't consider it extreme doesn't mean that it isn't extreme within the US. What if your government said they were going to make it illegal to manufacture and own a samurai sword. How do you think your country would respond? I wouldn't think it is extreme, but I have a feeling your citizens would.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Packing heat on 12/19/2012 15:54:51 MST Print View

You guys have a very different set of rules there, Brad. We can get a conceal-carry license pretty easy. But you don't need it if you're willing to carry them Yosemite Sam style.

Also, here in Kentucky, you can carry a gun almost anywhere. I can walk into the capitol during legislative session with a gun looking down on the legislators.

My dad had a similar story, Brad. He was a WWII vet but never carried a gun after the war. I know of at least one occasion where he was threatened with a gun in his work. He was making a call at a farm. He worked it out. But his response was different. He still didn't want to carry a gun. I suspect most everyone in our small town knew he didn't carry a gun.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Packing heat on 12/19/2012 15:56:00 MST Print View

"- Any premises where the controller of the property has posted a sign saying concealed guns not prohibited""

Any premises where the controller (owner) of the property has posted a sign saying concealed guns prohibited. In other words if the owner of a business says no guns allowed you can't bring them on the property even if you have a concealed permit.