‘Daily News’ provokes with cover on Calif. shooting: ‘God isn’t fixing this’

Dec 3, 2015

by Jessica Durando

The front cover of the New York Daily News for Thursday takes a strong stance against how some politicians are reacting to the San Bernardino shooting with calls for prayer instead of tighter gun control laws.

The headline says, “God Isn’t Fixing This.”

“As latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes,” the cover reads.


Read more by clicking on the name of the source below.

 

264 comments on “‘Daily News’ provokes with cover on Calif. shooting: ‘God isn’t fixing this’

  • @ OP – The front cover of the New York Daily News for Thursday takes a strong stance against how some politicians are reacting to the San Bernardino shooting with calls for prayer instead of tighter gun control laws.

    Yep!
    The same muppets who opposed gun regulation, are calling for prayers, under the pretence that they should be perceived as doing something useful, and that god will do it for them, regardless of how perverse their opposition to real solutions may be!



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  • I appreciate the anti-religious message of this cover page. It’s cleverly done.

    I’m puzzled, however, by its gun control agenda. The rifles and magazines used in yesterday’s shootings, I believe, are already ILLEGAL here in California. Stricter gun control measures are NOT going to stop or prevent mass killings. As a country, we need to focus more on the evildoers themselves, and focus less on the MEANS they use to enact their violent plans.

    I’m all for responsible gun control measures such as in-depth background checks, mandatory training, licensing, etc. But the general consensus that disarming law-abiding citizens is an effective solution to violence is profoundly troubling. This consensus, while understandable, is rooted in ignorance, wishful thinking, and knee-jerk reaction.

    In short, let’s stop blaming the guns. Let’s blame the minds in control of the guns. In doing so, we might actually learn something useful about violent human behavior.



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I appreciate the anti-religious message of this cover page. It’s cleverly done.

    I’m puzzled, however, by its gun control agenda. The rifles and magazines used in yesterday’s shootings, I believe, are already ILLEGAL here in California.

    From what I hear on the news, two of them were legal, others were not.

    Stricter gun control measures are NOT going to stop or prevent mass killings. As a country, we need to focus more on the evildoers themselves, and focus less on the MEANS they use to enact their violent plans.

    These objectives are not mutually exclusive. An attacker with less powerful weapons is a less effective attacker, and more easily overpowered.

    I’m all for responsible gun control measures such as in-depth background checks, mandatory training, licensing, etc. But the general consensus that disarming law-abiding citizens is an effective solution to violence is profoundly troubling.

    It is not “troubling” in other countries which do not have a US style gun lobby, regularly making media noise.
    The problem comes down to how much the police can be relied on to enforce the law – and THAT is a US problem with police chiefs being political appointees, who can be changed at elections.
    In the UK any criminal carrying a gun, can expect a heavier sentence when caught, just for carrying a gun, and has the prospect of being arrested by a swat team rather than by the regular police.

    This consensus, while understandable, is rooted in ignorance, wishful thinking, and knee-jerk reaction.

    Not at all! As Obama pointed out, other countries with less guns and less accessibility to guns, do not have such frequent massacres.

    In short, let’s stop blaming the guns. Let’s blame the minds in control of the guns. In doing so, we might actually learn something useful about violent human behavior.

    There is no doubt, that the glorification of Hollywood and TV gun-toting macho-“heroes”, sets the wrong image to the mentally disturbed and to young people.
    A big gun does not compensate for a small brain or a weak intellect, just as in politics brute-force and stupidity, does not substitute for well thought out policy!



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  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-34987697

    President Barack Obama has responded to the shooting.

    “One thing we do know is that we have a pattern of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere in the world,” he said.

    “There are some steps that we could take, not to eliminate all incidents, but to make sure they happen less frequently.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-us-canada-34967929

    Police are still clearing the building – as one suspicious package is believed to be an explosive device.

    Two suspects dead at the scene, a man and a woman.

    They were dressed in assault-style clothing – armed with assault-style rifles and handguns, says the chief of police.

    “Investigators believe there were three gunmen and one of them had worked at the facility and recently had a dispute with fellow employees, according to law enforcement officials,” the New York Times reports, adding a witness said despite a face covering, one sounded and appeared very similar to employee who had left earlier.



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I’m puzzled, however, by its gun control agenda. The rifles and magazines used in yesterday’s shootings, I believe, are already ILLEGAL here in California.

    I think it is fairly clear, that no ordinary citizen needs this sort of armament for legitimate hunting or pest control.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-35000998

    The attackers who killed 14 people and wounded 21 at a social services centre in California had an arsenal of weaponry in their home, police said.

    Bomb equipment, weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition were found by police in a raid after a shootout that killed the two suspects.

    Police said the attack indicated there had been “some degree of planning”.

    San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said it appeared that the duo was prepared to carry out another attack.

    “`There was obviously a mission here. We know that. We do not know why. We don’t know if this was the intended target or if there was something that triggered him to do this immediately,” said David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office.

    In the shootout with police, Farook and Malik fired 76 rounds of ammunition at the officers and the officers fired 380 rounds back.

    Two police officers were injured during the pursuit.

    It marks the deadliest mass shooting in the US since 26 people were killed at a school in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.



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  • Stricter gun control measures are NOT going to stop or prevent mass killings. As a country, we need to focus more on the evildoers themselves, and focus less on the MEANS they use to enact their violent plans.

    Its the residuum of guns and the leakage across state lines that cause the problem, that and the mad as weasels NRA led zeitgeist. Only a nationwide program will work and it will get worse before it gets better until many cycles of gun amnesty and rewarded gun amnesty start to drain the swamp. Let out the jailed druggies into much cheaper and more effective rehabilitation programs and use the space for illegal gun owners.



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  • Doesn’t the 2nd Amendment talk about a “properly regulated militia” having the right to bear arms ? It seems to me that nutters with assault weapons hardly qualify. Even Dirty Harry gave his victims a chance to surrender before blasting them with his Magnum 45. But then that was the early 1970s.
    No doubt the NRA will argue that if residents of the home could fight back then there would have been a better outcome. I am sceptical.

    Oh and yes, as usual, God,/ Jesus,/ Holy Ghost, does nothing, so busy are they admiring each other in heaven. The headline has it right.



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  • Alan4discussion,

    As a U.S. citizen residing in California, with no criminal background, I cannot purchase a semi-automatic rifle with a quick-release button for fast magazine changes. Nor can I purchase or own a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds (it might be 8 rounds now, lol).

    These attackers did NOT show up to the party with slow-release rifles and small magazines. They came with ILLEGAL rifles and magazines with respect to California law.

    My underlying point is that the law CANNOT prevent hate-filled criminals of this caliber from obtaining the guns they seek. This point, which absolutely stands, demonstrates the colossal ignorance with which the average person regards Obama’s typical gun control response to this shooting and others. In my opinion, his dancing in the warm blood of innocents to further his gun control agenda is disgusting.

    As for Obama’s position that gun control is the culprit of more mass shootings in this country as compared with others, I await supporting correlation data…and lots of it. Until then, it’s HOOEY!

    It seems we’re actually dealing with a terrorist attack here. These individuals apparently had a very large arsenal of ammunition, in addition to homemade pipe bombs and a remote-detonation bomb. If you think gun laws could have prevented them from obtaining their firearms and committing mass murder yesterday, you’re likely biased towards gun ownership and therefore aren’t thinking clearly on the matter.



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  • They came with ILLEGAL rifles and magazines with respect to California law.

    I think the point is that state-by-state gun control laws are useless as long as somebody can freely leave a state with strict laws, travel to a state with laxer laws, pick up whatever they want at a gun show, and then return home. Which is why President Obama and other Democrats are pushing for national gun control laws. True, unless you start confiscating existing weapons the problem isn’t likely to go away any time soon, but making it harder for EVERYBODY nationwide to purchase assault weapons will certainly have better effect than simply moving to a state with strict gun control laws.



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 3, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    As far as I know nobody in my neighbourhood has guns, apart from some farmers with shotguns.
    Guns are unnecessary unless there is something you plan to shoot!
    We did have a murder in the village a few years ago but the killer used a knife!



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 3, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    As for Obama’s position that gun control is the culprit of more mass shootings in this country as compared with others, I await supporting correlation data…and lots of it. Until then, it’s HOOEY!

    Those who don’t have guns don’t shoot!

    http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2015/12/02/list-more-mass-shootings-occurred-in-u-s-in-2015-than-there-are-calendar-days-in-the-year/

    List: More Mass Shootings Occurred In U.S. In 2015 Than There Are Calendar Days In The Year



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  • 16
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    @op:

    “As latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes”

    Finally! Somebody in the mainstream media dares to take a stand against these Republican sellouts!! The worst part of all this is that surveys show that 90% of the American public is in favor of tighter background checks.

    And of course, the legislation needs to be nation-wide. It’s the only way to close the gaping gun show loophole. How hard is it for someone in California to drive to neighboring Nevada or Arizona where all manners of handguns and assault rifles are easier to find than cilantro.



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  • Alan4discussion,

    I don’t see any CORRELATION data indicating we’d have less mass shootings here in the U.S. if we tightened our gun control laws. As for your anti-gun statistics, I think you should print them out until you have a hefty ream of paper. You can hurl it at a would-be assailant and buy yourself some time to call the police and hope they get there in time.

    Just to restate my position, and clarify it some, I’m all for responsible gun control. When it comes to self-defense, I firmly believe in self-sufficiency. Civilization is a very thin layer that can dissolve in a moment’s notice. I’ve witnessed this firsthand. I wouldn’t, however, argue that I need a fully automatic weapon and a 100 round magazine to achieve this though. My concern here is the all-too-common misimpression that eliminating guns will eliminate mass murders.

    Suppose the couple in the San Bernardino shooting couldn’t acquire guns. Would this have stopped them from committing mass murder yesterday? What would the 12/03 cover of Daily News have read? Bomb control laws? Would car control laws be advocated had the couple plowed into a crowd with their SUV?



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  • Michael, thanks for your contribution here.

    I noticed you said the weapons used in this attack can’t be legally obtained in California, but do you know if they can be legally obtained in some other state? I may need to stock up before they get restricted, or sold out.



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  • Suppose the couple in the San Bernardino shooting couldn’t acquire guns

    Excellent question, and one that goes right to the core of the whole gun debate. It would certainly have been much harder work to kill 14 and injure 21 more using just an SUV, legally acquired or otherwise. And even harder work with just knives or machetes, and might even have taken so long that armed police would have time to show up and put a stop to them before they’d finished. As for the bombs, well, that seems to require a level of expertise these killers lacked, as theirs didn’t go off.

    Do you really want to make it easier for these people intent on carnage to achieve their vile purpose? Do you support terrorists, that you want to make it easy for them? Like GWB said, if you’re not with us, you’re with the terrorists.
    Tough choice?



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  • Olgun,

    I take all statistics with a grain of salt, as we all should. You should be aware that anti-gun statistics include suicide cases any time doing so will bolster their numbers. That aside, if we’re going to reduce this discussion to the trading of crime metrics published on the internet, then I think we should consider the 2013 CDC study on firearm violence funded by the Obama administration:

    Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence

    I found a Slate article which summarizes the results of this study into 10 prominent conclusions:

    1 – The United States has an indisputable gun violence problem.

    2 – Most indices of crime and gun violence are getting better, not worse.

    3 – We have 300 million firearms, but only 100 million are handguns.

    4 – Handguns are the problem.

    5 – Mass shootings aren’t the problem.

    6 – Gun suicide is a bigger killer than gun homicide.

    7 – Guns are used for self-defense often and effectively.

    8 – Carrying guns for self-defense is an arms race.

    9 – Denying guns to people under restraining orders saves lives.

    10 – It isn’t true that most gun acquisitions by criminals can be blamed on a few bad dealers.

    Continued in my next response…



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  • Here’s a link to the Slate article:

    Rethinking Gun Control

    Obviously not all of the conclusions argue for gun ownership, but I strongly sympathize with points #2, 6, 7, and 10. I’m convinced that the average person would feel differently about guns if successful cases of self-defense involving guns made viral-prone headlines.



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  • Michale Roede

    This argument is delusional. No where else in the world do these mass shootings occur so regularly. The only factor in the equation that is different in America to the rest of the world is ready access to guns. It matters not whether the guns are legal or illegal. There is no justification for anyone to own an assault rifle in America. They’re no good for hunting, or vermin control. They have no valid use, except to perform armed assaults. WTF is in the water in America. You need to have a good hard look at yourselves in the mirror, because it is there you will see the problem, and the solution.

    No one is going to invade America. It’s an island continent. The Canadians are a peaceful folk who number 40 million (guess) The Mexicans just want to earn a few bucks flipping burgers. Do you think a large enough amphibious invasion fleet to invade America could slip across the Atlantic or the Pacific unseen. Your government is not going to put you all in concentration camps. The UN is not going to take over the world. There is not one rational argument that can be put forward in support of gun ownership by citizens in America.

    This is a local headline.

    As a result of the nation’s controversial and oppressive gun restrictions, no one has died as a result of a mass-shooting on Australian soil today, for the 7158th day in a row.

    Local cinema attendant, Christina Upton can’t believe it has been a whole 19 years and 7 months since a heavily armed white Australian male decided to shoot at a crowd of unsuspecting Australian civilians for no reason.

    I commend the full article to the readers. Tongue firmly in cheek.

    http://www.betootaadvocate.com/uncategorized/australia-enjoys-another-peaceful-day-under-oppressive-gun-control-regime/



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  • David R Allen,

    I see you posted a few headlines about the aftermath of the 1996 Australian gun ban.

    Have crime and murder rates dropped dramatically in that country since?

    As for your absurd claim there isn’t one rational argument for gun ownership, refer to point #7 from the 2013 CDC study.



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  • 26
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    3 – We have 300 million firearms, but only 100 million are handguns.

    4 – Handguns are the problem.

    So handguns are the problem but there’s only 100 million of them??…. Hmmm. In the US, over 128,000 guns were sold just in the week following Thanksgiving. Gives a whole new meaning to Black Friday…

    Gun ownership per capita in the US in 2014 was 112.6 per 100 residents in 2014, the highest in the world. Almost twice as many as Serbia, in second place with 69.7

    Too.many.damm.guns….

    And the sales keep going up.



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  • I know you don’t support assault rifles. Quite clear. However this is where you fail.

    My underlying point is that the law CANNOT prevent hate-filled criminals of this caliber from obtaining the guns they seek.

    Yes you can. We did it in Australia. In 31 years of law enforcement up against organized crime, carrying a gun all the time, not once did I draw that weapon. Not once. Wouldn’t you rather strive for an America like this, or another weekly headline with another mass shooting. Yes, we have criminals with guns. They shoot each other, mostly. Yes we have the mentally deranged. But they can’t get guns. By having gun control, it has made guns so rare across the whole community, that it is very, very hard to obtain a legal one, let alone dive into the dark back streets to try and obtain an illegal one.

    And this is just crazy ideology. Evidence, always trumps ideology.

    In my opinion, his dancing in the warm blood of innocents to further
    his gun control agenda is disgusting.

    Because America has had this stupidity for so long, and there are X Millions of guns, it would take you 30 years or more, to slowly sterilize your community of guns. And yes, during that time, criminals would still have guns, but they would be reduced.

    The only people in Australia who can carry a gun are the police. Trained and accredited security guards on the armoured car run. Farmers. Active licenced sports shooters. Olympics and stuff. Vermin control officers, usually Govt contractors. Did you know we have more camels in Australia than the Middle East.

    The Republicans and the Democrats need to unite on this issue. Sideline the NRA. Do an Australian gun buy back. Turn the rifles into plough shares. Let your citizens exhale for once.



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  • As for your absurd claim there isn’t one rational argument for gun ownership, refer to point #7 from the 2013 CDC study.

    7 Guns are used for self-defense often and effectively.

    Why is this true, only for America? Because everyone carries guns. That stat does not apply in Australia or the rest of the world, because no one has guns. It is evidence of nothing. You are advocating Hollywood Movie style shoot outs as a solutions to a simple problem. Stray bullets whizzing around the mall and the playground. Mom’s with kids pulling out their Glock 9s and going toe to toe with assault rifles. My polite response is you are crazy.

    Murder rates. Mass killings like this one in America have dropped to Zero. It feels like I am talking to a religious fundamentalist. There is nothing anyone in this forum can put before you that will change you mind. Confirmation Bias on display.



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  • That’s definitely an interesting story and background you have. I certainly didn’t know that about camels. I’d have lost a wager on that point!

    The widespread proliferation of guns in the U.S., both legal and illegal, is the very reason I think the law cannot stop hate-filled criminals from obtaining guns here. It’s just too late. Even if the authorities tried, I think they’d fail.

    I cannot find any data suggesting the 1996 Australian gun ban, which apparently cost taxpayers $500M, has dramatically reduced the crime and murder rate there.

    While I’m not the type of person that would turn my gun on authorities should they come to collect it (it’d obviously be a short battle), I would be profoundly disturbed if they did so because it would render me incapable of defending my home and family should the need unfortunately arise.



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  • I am not advocating shootouts!

    Nor are we dealing with a simple problem here!

    If guns aren’t an effective means of self-defense, then why do your police still carry them?

    You’re not being honest about post-ban crime and murder rates in Australia.



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  • Michael

    This is my industry you are talking about. Yep. 31 years carrying a badge. Murder rates have remained the same. Most murders are committed using knife attacks, physical bashing and strangulation. Most victims are inter family. Domestic violence.

    The report by two Australian academics, published in the British Journal of Criminology, said statistics gathered in the decade since Port Arthur showed gun deaths had been declining well before 1996 and the buyback of more than 600,000 mainly semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns had made no difference in the rate of decline.

    I invite you to study the two graphs in this link.

    http://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/homicide/weapon.html

    Did you deliberately misquote me, or was it a mistake. The gun buy back has stopped the weekly mass killings America experiences. That is my point. Not murder rates. Are we clear now. You’re insinuation as to my honesty needs redress. Those that know me in this forum may find that comment has gone too far.

    The universal equation of mass killings has many factors. But the only factor that is unique compared to the rest of the world, in the only country that has weekly mass killings, is the availability of massively powerful guns in America. What are they for. Shooting cans. Hunting a deer. Poor things. That is it. Remove the guns. Stop the mass killings. No where else in the world. Trying to argue that widespread possession of guns and ready availability is not a factor has as much credibility as a pedophile arguing that it is just true love with children.

    In a modern western democracy, no one should possess a gun, without strong legal justification. If I wanted to buy a gun to shoot rabbits, I could have a 22 bolt action repeater with one 8 shot magazine. The firearms must be stored in an approved safe, which is inspected by the police, and the ammunition must be stored in a separate safe, not in the same building. You can’t in a fit of anger, grab a gun and shoot someone immediately. If you have to go through the process of retrieving the gun and the ammunition, your victim has dialed 000 and fled. You can’t commit mass killings with that level of weaponry.



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  • Michael Rohde. Do you own a gun. If so what type, number and why.

    Above you made this comment. Can you expand on what you mean.

    I would be profoundly disturbed if they did so because it would render me incapable of defending my home and family should the need unfortunately arise.

    Do you envisage a situation in which a US government agency is going to come to your house to commit an illegal act, which would require you to use a firearm to defend your family from lethal force and your property. If you are a law abiding citizen, why would they do that. If they did, are your courts so corrupt that you could not seek redress through the legal process.



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  • Okay, I thought you meant that murder rates in Australia have dramatically declined since the 1996 ban. I’m not surprised that gun crimes have decreased, given the drastic reduction of firearms available. But given that murder rates haven’t changed much, and according to information I’ve found on the internet, occurrences of non-lethal crimes are actually up (maybe you can confirm or deny this?), I’m a bit perplexed you’d refer to the 1996 gun ban as successful. The same amount of people are still dying, and perhaps in much more painful manners.

    You didn’t answer this question:
    If guns aren’t an effective means of self-defense, then why do your police officers still carry them?



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  • We don’t have mass killings. That was achieved by the gun buy back. End of story.

    I will answer your obvious question. Yes they are a means of self defense, but that doesn’t translate to a means of self defense for the entire community. A personal hand gun is suitably, only in certain circumstances. I carried a Smith and Wesson 6 shot revolver early on, later replaced by a Glock 19.

    I would invite anyone to try and hit a person from greater than 5 metres with a S & W. A long trigger pull. Rotating barrel. We had to qualify every year. It took some people 5 re-shoots before they go through. The Glock was an improvement, but again, anything over five metres had limited chance of an accurate shot in a quick fire situation. That is what self defence is. Oh Damn. Draw. Bang bang. We’re not resting the gun on a sand bag and breathing out two thirds and holding our breath.

    To argue that every citizen should carry a next to useless hand gun is ludicrous. Have you ever shot a hand gun. And hand gun versus assault rifle is just committing suicide.

    The point i make is that hand guns are next to useless as a method of self defence. If you come across a situation where self defence is required, your first instruction is withdraw and cordon. Pulling a trigger is the very last resort. A strong pepper spray is quicker, safer, non lethal and more reliable.

    As to the crime rates in Australia, come on down. In all my life, including my police career, I have never had a situation where I didn’t feel safe. You can walk the streets here. You can sleep at night. When I toured America for 3 weeks, there were a number of occasions when my police radar went to high alert. You guys have got no idea what it feels like to be safe. No one is going to drive by and kill you, like they did to our Australian baseball student studying in America. This only happens in America, and it only happens because of the availability of guns.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-18/chancey-luna-found-guilty-of-murdering-baseballer-chris-lane/6402738



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  • I own a Mossberg Blackwater 930SPX shotgun (legally acquired and registered), which I keep loaded with 7 rounds of bird shot (it can hold 8 rounds, but I’m not comfortable with a round in the chamber). Bird shot ammunition is the reason I chose this gun. It increases my odds of hitting and downing a potential intruder, while eliminating the possibility of taking out my neighbors in the process. During the day, this gun is chamber locked and hidden (I don’t have a gun safe yet). During the night, it’s religiously unlocked and by my bedside, albeit without a round in the chamber, and the safety on. There are no children in my household. Otherwise, I’d obviously have to revise my strategy.

    I hope never to raise my gun in defense of my family, but I’m certainly prepared to do so should an intruder break into my house during the night. In such an event, I prefer to think an intruder would turn around and exit my home after learning or seeing I’m armed and prepared.

    I don’t envision gun confiscation by government force, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Either way, I’d purse legal recourse as opposed to a deadly shootout.



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  • 38
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    Did you know that handguns are very easy to conceal, whereas rifles are not?

    Since the irony of #3 seems to have been lost on you, let me dot the i’s and cross the t’s here….

    Did you know that 100 million handguns is a whooping shitload of handguns?

    Has it crossed your mind that saying there’s ONLY 100 million of them in circulation sounds absolutely bat-shit crazy? ( (even though 100 million is only one third of the total number of guns – which incidentally only re-enforces my point).

    Did you know that having 100 million handguns (and rising) in circulation in a country replete with Christian fundamentalist crackpots, white supremacists and ignorant hillbillies who’s idea of keeping their handgun away from their kids is placing it on top of the fridge…. is a recipe for disaster?

    (lol) <—- uhhh… not really.



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  • David R Allen,

    I hear you loud and clear about the difficulty of hitting a mobile target from a short distance with a handgun, especially with a long-pull trigger. I do have a moderate amount of shooting experience with such handguns, and was in fact surprised at how difficult it is to hit a stationary target from a short distance.

    I also agree that it’s not feasible for ordinary citizens to carry handguns.

    If you’re arguing that disarming criminals will prevent their criminal behavior, I’m just not buying it.



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  • This is a sad indictment on the USA, that you feel you need to go to these lengths to feel safe. On a hot night, I sleep with every window in the house fully open and sleep soundly. Yeah we have break ins. But they’re not there carrying a gun, because they know that you will be carrying a gun, because you know that they will be carrying a gun….. What’s the mathematical term. Infinite regression. Or should that be infinite aggression. I feel sorry for America sometimes.

    I think the school report would read something like. “America. It could have been the greatest nation on earth, but failed because they substituted ideology for evidence.



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  • If you’re arguing that disarming criminals will prevent their criminal behavior, I’m just not buying it.

    I agree. It won’t stop criminal behaviour. You don’t solve crime in the electric chair. You solve it in the high chair. Every civilized western democracy has universal health care. In America, that’s communism. Something is wrong with the way Americans think. On my tours of the world, only Americans have this aberration. The rest of us scratch our heads and wonder why. We can’t come up with an explanation.

    Somewhere after WW2, American lost its way. I speculate without evidence that America, because of its supremely powerful position, didn’t need to care about what was happening with the rest of the world. America is still stuck back in the 1950’s compared to the rest of the civilized world. We’ve all moved on. You guys are still fighting the cold war. It’s over. There are no communist nations left on earth.

    There is nothing you can do about crime rates. You will always have crime. What you must do is limit the level and impact of the crime. The crazy war on drugs was a huge mistake. That single handedly created your crime epidemic. The Christian imperative to tell everyone else what they can and can’t do. Big mistake. Your social welfare is pathetic. Education. Employment. Security. Retirement. All of these things are common to the rest of the world but are communism, again in America. The free market solving everything is just as big a myth as the American Dream.

    If you take away the need to commit crime, you make a huge steep in limiting its impact.



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  • You are probably the only person in here in favour of gun ownership. This is a forum guide by rational assessment of available evidence. See the title above. Arguments in support of gun ownership are not rational, or supported by evidence.



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  • This is a good post.

    I strongly agree with you about the war on drugs. I don’t know enough of history, but I’m inclined to agree with your other assessments. Our education, on average, is abysmal. On the matter of healthcare, we definitely disagree. But I’m not informed to the point where I care to debate that matter. The same goes for your free market statement.



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  • A true skeptic, the sort that inhabits these dark and dusty forums, would ask the question, “What if its wrong.”

    2013 CDC study is all the evidence I need to be in favor of gun ownership.

    The skeptic would ask, why is it just in America. What is different about America, compared to similar societies world wide. I haven’t read the CDC gun report. Do you have a link. But if it doesn’t answer the above questions, then it is not a complete report and thus, the skeptic must keep it on the shelf, until all of the evidence is in.



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  • Alan4discussion,

    I don’t regard Fox News as a good source of information, but if this fact is true, then Obama’s statement about the U.S. having the highest frequency of mass shootings is blatantly false:

    In just 2015, France suffered more casualties – killings and injuries – from mass public shootings than the U.S. has suffered during Obama’s entire presidency (508 to 424). This number includes the San Bernardino massacre on Wednesday.

    Here’s a link to the article:

    12/03/2015 – The facts shoot holes in Obama’s claim that US is only host to mass killings



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  • Both sides (gun control and pro-gun) have valid arguments (from a limited perspective).

    When gun laws are lax (or laxly enforced) and firearms are so prevalent that almost everyone has one, it is not unreasonable to say that things would be safer if more people had firearms (i.e. arm all adult citizens excluding felons etc.). What this point of view realises, correctly, is it’s going to be safer if more people are armed and if there are fewer areas where firearms are excluded; because naturally, lunatics, criminals and terrorists aren’t going to worry about the gun laws, so the more armed honest citizens the better. The point of view strives towards a “local optimum” that seems all too reasonable (and achievable).

    What many in the pro-gun faction fail to realise, or just ignore, is that (some) countries such as Australia where almost no citizen is armed are not more violent/dangerous than the US but less so – by a couple of orders of magnitude. This is because these countries have found another “local optimum”, which is actually better (empirically speaking).

    By “local optimum” I mean that small divergences from the optimum make things worse. So in the US, where the nearest optimum is that everybody is armed, if you move slightly further away from this optimum (disarming citizens, tightening up gun control) it actually makes things less safe. Whereas in Australia, where the nearest optimum is that no private citizen is armed, if you move further away from this optimum (making guns more available) it also makes things less safe. In both cases you have to move very far away from the optimum before you realise the benefits of the optimum at the other end of the spectrum. So far away that it’s impossible for most to see the view from the other end of the spectrum.

    The above analysis focuses only on “honest citizenry” versus “lunatics/criminals/terrorists”. Moving from nearly-everybody-armed to nearly-nobody-armed would be a reasonable objective under this frame of reference, and the only objections would be practical – it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

    There is of course another objection that is commonly made by the pro-gun lobby. It’s not so much the lunatics/criminals/terrorists that they want to be armed to resist, and they may even acknowledge the sense behind the “other optimum” in this regard; it’s the US government itself that these pro-gun proponents wish to be armed against to resist. To which I say, let’s assume the day comes, and the US government goes to war with elements of its own citizenry. Who do you think is going to win, seriously, whether the rebellious citizenry have automatic rifles or not? It isn’t 1776 any more, and survivalists with automatic rifles and pipe bombs aren’t going to stand a chance; the other side’s got satellites and nukes ferchrissakes.



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  • David R Allen: You will always have crime.

    If everyone wearing the badge, or administering the law, had the wisdom, insight and clarity of David R, then there would be no crime, well, much less anyhow.



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  • Sadly the US sit something like 20th in healthcare provision of the top nations paying twice as much for the privilege. Dutch healthcare amongst the best is substantially free market in make up and half the cost. The difference is government mandated performance and coverage requirements. Freer markets in some must-have services can be gamed with inadequate supervision using up money ineffectively.

    The concept of the maximally free individual has created a maximally creative if unequal economy. Inequality in the USA is substantially worse than other developed countries and yet the 1% are admired by most of the 99%. The feeling of particular entitlement for your achievements makes sense amongst such inequality, also the distaste for government taking and using your tax dollars to help others less fortunate, less successful, the fear that people will want to climb in through your window and take whats yours…

    I think the American rather paranoid psychology is the price paid for your spectacular but notably unequal success.



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  • Hi Michael

    Two blocks from my house, there was a 62-year-old woman attacked with a hammer in her home and a drug dealing father and son team got into a shoot out with each other. Both incidents in the last 24 hours. My strategy is a big ol’ rottweiler. I have a gate at the foot of my steps so he has to stay downstairs at night.

    One time the cops came to my door, investigating a break-in up the street from me. My rott usually likes to “answer” the door; the reactions are always entertaining. Even the cop said it looked like I didn’t have anything to worry about. And there’s the added bonus of undying love and devotion, not to mention Jehovah’s Witnesses rarely knock on my door. 🙂



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  • Australia is taking in refugees who live in countries where they fear for their lives. I’d be happy to give you two a RD Foundation for Reason and Science reference if you wish to apply.



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 4, 2015 at 2:47 am

    I don’t regard Fox News as a good source of information, but if this fact is true, then Obama’s statement about the U.S. having the highest frequency of mass shootings is blatantly false:

    This is just Faux news adding large numbers from Islamic terrorist attacks by foreigners to the figures, to cloud the issue of American home grown gun incidents.

    In just 2015, France suffered more casualties – killings and injuries – from mass public shootings than the U.S. has suffered during Obama’s entire presidency (508 to 424).

    If we wanted to play silly games with numbers, we could add in the World Trade Centre 9/11 figures, or the numbers shot in Iraq and Syria, but that would similarly be muddying the waters to duck the real issues of home grown gun attacks and shoot outs.

    @ your link – The French have witnessed three mass public shootings this year. January saw two attacks, one on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and another on a Paris supermarket.

    As I linked here, – USA has been averaging more than one a day! https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/12/daily-news-provokes-with-cover-on-calif-shooting-god-isnt-fixing-this/#li-comment-191755

    One of America’s problems in having its people understand the workings of the real world, is the constant misleading drivel fed to them by the likes of Faux News!



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 4, 2015 at 2:33 am

    Every civilized western democracy has universal health care. In America, that’s communism. Something is wrong with the way Americans think.

    On the matter of healthcare, we definitely disagree. But I’m not informed to the point where I care to debate that matter.

    Perhaps this comparative graph of healthcare services by OECD countries, will make you better informed.

    http://thesocietypages.org/graphicsociology/2011/04/26/cost-of-health-care-by-country-national-geographic/

    If you are looking for the price Americans pay – follow the red line off the top of the graph!

    Citizens in the US pay twice as much as most other developed countries, for a below average service. Naturally the corporate interests and their media stooges keep the American public dis-informed!



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 4, 2015 at 1:30 am

    I own a Mossberg Blackwater 930SPX shotgun (legally acquired and registered), which I keep loaded with 7 rounds of bird shot (it can hold 8 rounds, but I’m not comfortable with a round in the chamber). Bird shot ammunition is the reason I chose this gun.

    I have no guns, and one of my neighbours does not even lock his doors during the daytime.

    If I did encounter an armed intruder, I would weigh the odds of safely tackling them at close quarters. – There are plenty of tools around which could be used as improvised weapons. – Hammers – axes, garden forks, screwdrivers etc.

    It increases my odds of hitting and downing a potential intruder, while eliminating the possibility of taking out my neighbors in the process.

    I did encounter an intruder about 20 yeasts ago, but we were both unarmed.
    I overpowered him and pinned him down until the police arrived to take him away about 15 minutes later.
    He spent the first half of that time whingeing, claiming I was choking him with my grip on his collar, and breaking his arm. I explained that if I had wished to choke him he would now be dead, and that I could break his arm any time I wished to if he decided to struggle. He waited quietly after that!



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  • I had two options to pick which one scared me the most but the quote below wins hands down.

    Civilization is a very thin layer that can dissolve in a moment’s
    notice.

    The thought that when/if civilisation dissolves, you will be left with 300 million fire arms in the publics hands and that you think you will be able to defend yourself with a couple or even a cellar full and not add to the mayhem shows the mentality needed, which is the scariest of all. It’s true guns don’t kill, people kill. People with the wrong perception of life. You have elected a government. Let them deal with it and if they don’t adequately then hold them to account. And please don’t come back with, ‘I need to protect my family until they do’, because from what I have read you have not had to use that gun of yours so the threat is much bigger in your mind than in reality. Obama is now telling you he can make it even safer by banning guns in public hands, which can change laws to have higher penalties for people even carrying guns, and you can sleep tight with a cuddly dog at the foot of your bed. Dog lovers are nice people I have heard and very sociable down at the park.



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  • In my ground floor North London flat some thirty years ago I would often leave the bedroom windows open at night especially in summer.

    In the small hours I had a stranger break in and some sort of struggle ensued. A few years later I married her…



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  • In 2010, according to the most recent data on justifiable homicides
    from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, there were 230
    justifiable homicides involving a private citizen using a firearm in
    self-defense during either an attempted or a completed crime. In the
    same year, there were 8,275 firearm homicides. This means that, for
    every one justifiable firearm homicide, there were 36 criminal
    homicides.
    Contrary to the gun lobby’s claim that, between 2007 and
    2011, guns were used 12.5 million times in self-defense, the most
    reliable data on this question clearly show that firearms were used
    only 338,700 times in self-defense, and this includes off-duty police.
    Clearly, then, despite living in a country with 300 million guns, the
    use of firearms in self-defense appears to be an exceedingly rare
    phenomenon.

    http://www.armedwithreason.com/less-guns-less-crime-debunking-the-self-defense-myth/



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  • Great analysis.

    I think we can add in the power of the pro-gun zeitgeist. Guns need to be rehearsed with and scenarios imagined for their use. Every person, in a maximally tooled up populace, must imagine for themselves when and how they use their gun and regard it as a policing activity (at least in their own defence) where ever they are. This seems a deeply primitive mode of thinking for the population to have to go back to. I see it as utterly corrosive of the civilising drive to live more mutually, with this need of planning where and how to kill. And without such mental rehearsals the gun in the glove compartment becomes a greater liability.



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  • Well Michael – If I lived in a place where I felt I had to have a Mossberg Blackwater 930SPX shotgun with bird shot, near at hand at night to protect my family – I would certainly consider moving to a place where guns are illegal – and you can sleep safely – knowing that a worse case scenario is someone breaking into your house and nicking your stuff (covered well by insurance) – and even that has never happened to me in 50 years……
    Oh – well there was a geezer shot dead outside his home this year (about a mile from where I live) – in a gangland hit – Mr Big had himself predicted he was going to die in such a manner – and such crimes are so rare that my death by shooting would be far less likely than my falling over whilst putting on my undies and smashing my skull in the process…..Have a nice day y’alll….



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 4, 2015 at 1:04 am

    If guns aren’t an effective means of self-defense, then why do your police officers still carry them?

    In England they don’t.
    They carry batons, and pepper spray, while some carry tasers, with a limited number of “armed response teams”, who have guns in locked compartments in their cars on call.

    http://findlaw.co.uk/law/government/public_services/police/500497.html

    Any criminals actually using guns, or seem carrying guns, will be dealt with and hunted down by a specialist SWAT team.

    They know this is a poor option which is best avoided!



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 4, 2015 at 1:57 am

    I hear you loud and clear about the difficulty of hitting a mobile target from a short distance with a handgun, especially with a long-pull trigger.

    If anyone wants to play at cowboys, shooting at moving targets, they get dressed up in protective clothing and can go paint-balling, as one of my sons did.



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  • Question for the non-Americans here, do your police officers carry guns? We hear (in US) that they don’t. I’ve spent plenty of time in Europe strolling around but never noticed a strong police presence on the streets and when I’ve seen police patrolling the streets I never took notice of the gun thing. Ours are armed to the teeth of course. After 9/11 they have military vehicles and response tactics that are ramped up beyond my understanding.



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  • Normal street police in the UK don’t Laurie but there are armed police at airports and around westminster. They are special trained officers. It is still something that does not look right in the UK but understandable.



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  • Right, interesting. So what would happen if there was a public shooting incident there? Would the army take over? Is that what happened in Paris? Watching that from an American perspective I just assumed it was the regular police force that handled that situation. Maybe the regular police just backed off and let the French army special forces move in and deal with it.



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  • I think body language helps Phil. In Barcelona recently, walking around the parks as one of their festivals was going on, I noticed the guns strapped to the police officers sides, they did not look threatening but were part of the festivities sweating along with everyone else and having something to eat and drink. Our police at the airports and westminster have their fingers on the safety catch and are ready to react and look threatening. One way says we will deal with it when it happens but we don’t want to put people on edge and the other seems to see everyone as suspects. The way some police react in America may be because they are on high alert for….jaywalking!!



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  • We had a particularly disturbing news segment here last night. It seems that one of the male office workers in the San Bernardino incident was in the bathroom when all hell broke loose. He said on the clip that he blocked the door with his feet etc. After that a security specialist of some kind came on and gave a demonstration (on national news) of how office workers can defend themselves if they are working at their desks and someone comes into their office room with a gun held out and aiming at them. At this point my husband and I look at each other with expression of – are you serious? o_O. The specialist went on to use a female in professional clothing to show how she should grab something from her desk (she chose some office scissors) and rush the guy with scissors out front ready to go. At this point she said, “but where should I stab him?” – meaning what body part to aim for. Again – o_O and guess what she chose- his arm. Wow. Great. My husband said, “So naive.”

    I now predict that there will be enthusiastic entrepreneurs in the American Capitalist style who propose to give all sorts of cutting edge seminars for the corporate bunch on how to defeat terrorism with office scissors and letter openers because America is the best country!! and They hate us for our freedom!!



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  • 88
    bonnie says:

    thin layer of civilization

    Once took a walk with a rational, intelligent in-law who always wears a sheathed knife on his belt. For some reason he got a bad vibe from chit-chat with a stranger and pulled his knife with a threatening posture. I think it was to protect me, and the dog he was walking. He now has a concealed legal handgun in his truck’s glove box, which he takes to state park camp sites (isolation and theft worry).

    Hunting accidents (this is deer season), especially with children (pink Daisy ‘my first rifle’), is a seasonal concern. Wear orange, and keep the safety on!



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  • bonnie

    I remember seeing those pink Daisy rifles for girls. Remember a while back when a girl shot the adult guy (father or instructor?) while learning to shoot a gun? It wasn’t a daisy rifle she had there. It was a semi automatic rifle and the kickback from the spray of bullets was too much for her to control. As I remember it, the force caused the gun to circle up around and killed the guy/instructor who was standing next to her.

    The kind of childhood memory that a lifetime of therapy with a supershrink could never fix.



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  • bonnie
    Dec 4, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Once took a walk with a rational, intelligent in-law who always wears a sheathed knife on his belt. For some reason he got a bad vibe from chit-chat with a stranger and pulled his knife with a threatening posture. I think it was to protect me, and the dog he was walking. He now has a concealed legal handgun in his truck’s glove box,

    In England, he would be arrested for carrying an offensive weapon – especially if he pulled out a knife in a threatening posture.



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  • Correct me (anybody) if I’m wrong:

    The girl’s family went to a new tourist trap – a kind of Wally World for gun enthusiasts. Don’t know if the girl had previous gun experience, but the instructor! He should’ve f*ucking known better. Not to mention the parent OK’d it!



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  • Oh I don’t think they get as far as “should have known better”. They get stuck at the part that says “My little girl can really handle herself with that AK-47 alright!!” -beaming with pride- “Obama’s not taking our effing guns away! Not while my little Ashley’s on the case!”



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  • phil rimmer
    Dec 4, 2015 at 7:24 am

    This seems a deeply primitive mode of thinking for the population to have to go back to. I see it as utterly corrosive of the civilising drive to live more mutually, with this need of planning where and how to kill.

    One of the most dangerous things likely to escalate violence, is an insecure nervous person hiding behind a gun, and without any plan B if their attacker retaliates, or tries to take the gun from them!

    This applies to both householders and intruders!



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  • David R Allen
    Dec 4, 2015 at 6:36 am

    There was another incident where a teen hooligan was stealing stuff from my garden.
    I quietly approached out of sight, and then suddenly surprised him and chased him down to the bottom of the garden, where he escaped by diving through the shrub-hedge; – but only after some cursing, swearing, and ripping, as he fought his way through the barbed wire he had not noticed in the bushes!



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  • Once took a walk with a rational, intelligent in-law…

    Ah yes, and once upon a time in a weird, weird place called Tennessee in the US of A, me and a bunch of redneck cousins I have “down there” went strolling out on a stifling hot summer night under a sky chock full of stars, on an old country road. The cousins stopped in the road at one point, said, “This is frog’s house”. “Who’s that?” said I. They explained, “He’s an old n*****. We throw rocks at his tin roof when we go by here.” “Oh. Ok. Sounds reasonable.”

    Everyone picks up rocks and whips them at Frog’s tin roof in the complete darkness. Once in a while we hear a loud metallic CLANG and we all cheer because someone’s rock made contact with the tin.

    Frog was used to this apparently, because the next sound was explosive gun fire which caused me to panic. I couldn’t see the gun and had no idea where it was aiming. The Tennessee cousins took off running and I barely kept up with them.

    This story is cringeworthy on several levels. The Tennessee cousins still think it’s a hilarious riot. Poor Frog. If he was still alive I’d be happy to make amends, but it was my first lesson on how common it must be in this country to get shot at if someone’s annoyance level rises above a certain threshold.



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  • I happened to be in Los Angeles in 1992 when the infamous Rodney King riot started. I made the mistake of being a white male at the time, and therefore qualified as an ideal target of several enraged mobs. While I thankfully escaped unharmed, that experience made it abundantly clear that civilization is not a guarantee as you prefer to argue and think.

    I often consider a hypothetical scenario of being in the thick of the Los Angeles riots along side a white anti-gunner with a utopian mindset. I try to imagine the means by which that person will preserve their life. Will he or she hurl well-formed arguments at the enraged attackers? Will that person make a phone call to police (lol)? Or perhaps file a complaint with some government agency? Supposing a rifle was available for protection, would that person express anti-gun arguments or perhaps pick it up?

    I would absolutely LOVE to see how someone with your mindset would behave.

    You’d be forced to get a grip and grow up…fast.



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  • What is a Christian to do?
    1. claim that god is in control by definition.
    2. claim that god wants civilians to be killed to punish them for violating the rules of some fundamentalist sect.
    3. claim that the power of prayer never fails, so Cruz is a mighty protector.

    I am glad to see someone challenging this BS.



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  • I definitely like his style, and enjoyed a few good laughs.

    I’m wondering why he didn’t mention that the same number of people are still being murdered in the years following the $500M 1996 gun ban. Oh wait…that wouldn’t be funny.



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 4, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    I happened to be in Los Angeles in 1992 when the infamous Rodney King riot started. I made the mistake of being a white male at the time, and therefore qualified as an ideal target of several enraged mobs.

    Your argument seems to be: – that if you live in a country where law and order has broken down, and the state does not offer its citizens effective protection, they need to arm themselves and defend themselves.

    While this is true, it is not a reason to advocate these conditions, or participate in shoot-outs on the streets.

    Supposing a rifle was available for protection, would that person express anti-gun arguments or perhaps pick it up?

    Attacking an angry mob with a rife gives you protection???? Pleeeeeese!!!! think it through!

    The root of the problem seems to be that in some parts of America various groups of citizens do not trust the police and courts to do their jobs in a fair and just manner – so that should be the first priority to fix!



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  • Alan4discussion,

    The 9/11 attacks don’t qualify as a mass shooting (lol).

    Why are you focusing on the number of mass shootings rather than the total death count?

    Shouldn’t we be more concerned about the total number of shooting casualties?



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  • Live your life in movies, why don’t you…

    This is as meaningful an argument for the mad axeman bearing down on my wife and kids and you have the chance to thrust a gun in my hand.

    Shit happens. I’ll throw my efforts into improving civil society and mental health as my pre-emptive effort, not training up to save myself from the weirdly unlikely.

    I put you in the scenario of a raving man bursting into your home running upstairs to where your kids are asleep. Why wouldn’t you, as I pop a Glock into your hand, not take him out?

    Of course he is being chased by some young thugs who stopped a while back.

    You, unlike the movies are fixated by his brains flopping down the staircase wall and you after the movie ends become a palimpsest of your former self for the next few decades scrawled over by PTSD.

    No need to thank me.



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  • What boggles me everytime is the stunning self-centredness of these kind of arguments. Concerns for the quality of civil society come an order of magnitude lower than concerns for oneself. “On the Run” by Alice Goffman is a fantastic study of how young blacks become coralled into a life of crime from over dilligent policing of the very young and the subsequent ready availability of guns….that perfect solution to their now drastically reduced options in life solve their problems.

    Its the selfishness of the thinking that strikes me time after time.



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  • Actually, Michael, I have some family members who dearly love their guns; I’ve attended shooting parties where there is a fishbowl of earplugs, a 5-gallon bucket for shells, an 8-foot table set up for sighting with rifles, and plenty of targets–including pumpkins–for shooting. There is even a section for the kids to shoot. It’s BYOG, but one (or more) will be provided if desired. While I’ve never partaken, I am never worried for my safety. The host, my brother-in-law, is straight out of the hills of Tennessee where owning a rifle was the norm when he was growing up. When the issue of gun rights comes up, I’m pretty torn. For legitimate gun-owners, it seems there are two types: ones like my BIL who grew up in a home where it was not unusual for a rifle to be leaning beside the front door, and the ones who purchase a gun “for defense.” I tend to side with much stricter gun laws, yet I know it is a terrible slap in the face for people like my BIL.



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  • Alan4discussion,

    Why do your unarmed police require a specialist SWAT team on call with guns?

    This is because guns are an effective means of self-defense, however much you dislike them.

    At the end of the day, there’s always someone on call with a gun, in case the shit hits the fan.



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 4, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Why are you focusing on the number of mass shootings rather than the total death count?

    The indicator of the extent of gun abuse is the number of shooters rather than the number of victims in big incidents.

    Shouldn’t we be more concerned about the total number of shooting casualties?

    The total number is important, but the Faux News cherry-picking of one-off Charlie Hebo big killings in France, ignores the other European countries where these regular mass shootings do not happen.



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  • Alan4discussion,

    You can set up straw men all you want. I didn’t make an argument. The Los Angeles riots actually happened. And I very well could have lost my life.

    Merely possessing a rifle would likely convince enraged attackers to move onto different targets. Firing at a would-be assailant would certainly get his or her attention.

    As for calling the police for protection, do you not understand that no police officers would be available to protect you? Police officers aren’t an infinite resource.

    Perhaps you are the one who needs to think this through.



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  • phil rimmer,

    The Los Angeles riots actually occurred, and my life really was at stake, so I’m not understanding or appreciating your reference to living my life in some movie.

    The innate instinct to preserve one’s life is a very good form of selfishness.



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  • Olgun,

    The CDC found that guns are successfully used in self-defense at least as often as they’re used in a crime, hence point #7. If you want to twist the figures to only include justifiable HOMICIDES, then you’re only fooling yourself.



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  • Michael,

    The Europeans here can correct me if I’m wrong, but when I’m there, including three years living in Brussels and weeks and months I’ve spent in France, the cops there just mind their business if there’s nothing serious going on. I rarely notice them around in the first place and they just don’t bust people for many things that cause that to happen here in the States.

    We are always surprised to see Europeans drinking in public. Once we saw a drunk stagger across the street with a big bottle of something in his hand. Cops noticed and helped him get to a safe place. Here he would be arrested for open carry. I’ve told the story here before of my son getting in bar fights and the cops showing up and breaking it up after it went on too long. No arrest for assault and battery. I now see the European cops as guys going around and making sure everyone is doing fine and safe. Not like here where when I come around the corner and see a cop I feel a jolt of fear and hope everything is in order. In a car I am always fearful that an interaction with a cop will go bad. I was hit in the head by one years ago when my car broke down in a busy construction zone. He was irate that I added more confusion to his busy day. I’ve warned all of my kids to never have anything wrong with their cars that would give a cop a reason to pull them over. We can’t trust them to be advocates. They just want to arrest someone, or worse. All this is from a middle class white lady who has no reason to worry about any of this. I’m telling you that police work in Europe is different than it is here.



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 4, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Why do your unarmed police require a specialist SWAT team on call with guns?

    That is because a small number of criminals use guns.

    This is because guns are an effective means of self-defense, however much you dislike them.

    No! It is because an armed force is needed to be called in by police, to arrest the small percentage of criminals who are armed. The majority of criminals in the UK do not carry guns.
    They know they will incur stiffer penalties, and be hunted down more forcefully if they do.

    The police have around 31,000 officers in London, and three SWAT teams.

    At the end of the day, there’s always someone on call with a gun, in case the shit hits the fan.

    That is a last resort, not a first call, in places where laws are respected, and work for everyone.
    There is a small force of SWAT specialists – and of course the army bomb squads, if dealing with organised terrorists.

    As of 2005, around 7% of officers in London are trained in the use of firearms. – They also use Tasers to avoid fatalities.

    Use of brute force does not equate with effective security or effective policing.



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  • Michael, I had hoped Jefferies might have persuaded you to adopt a more reasonable approach to your national fetish. I wonder if you support climate science, if you don’t mind my asking.

    Jim Jefferies is an atheist too, and he has some very funny skits about Christians if anyone is interested.

    Here is Part 2 of Gun Control, although I doubt you’ll be impressed –
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9UFyNy-rw4

    On Religion –
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4prBWqOGdM



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  • I’ll admit that I was caught off guard when I found out it was an act of Muslim fundamentalists. As the info started coming in that night I speculated that it was an American gun nut either acting alone or with members of their militia. We heard that it was three guys in the beginning and that they were wearing military clothing. The part that had me stumped was that it was a government office that services the disabled. Then I remembered how many times I’ve heard the FOX news bunch screeching about how disability payments have to be stopped along with welfare payments because the whole thing is one big scam on hardworking taxpayers such as themselves.

    So I got it wrong this time and I concede on that point but don’t worry, the conversation has come back around to Muslims and foreigner terrorism on every single news channel 24/7.



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  • Len Walsh,

    In response to your deleted post, spending $500M on behalf of taxpayer funds to achieve no change in murder rates doesn’t qualify as reasonable to me.

    I’ll stick with my “national fetish” of owning one shotgun for the sake of home defense.

    I’m going to skip part 2 of Jim Jefferies’ skit, if you don’t mind.



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  • I remember the British police going through a dodgy period in the seventies when TV programes portrayed them as violent. Guns were frequently in evidence. In subsequent decades after much complaint and a re-establishment of internal discipline in the force and more realistic scenarios on TV for them to emulate (a 27 year long police “soap” The Bill) things are restored and possibly better.

    Riot behaviour still needed a little improvement. Dangerously containing rioters by “kettling” which put individuals at risk has been dealt with.

    I generally now feel much safer with police than as an older teen. (That might not be saying much…)



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 4, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    The CDC found that guns are successfully used in self-defense at least as often as they’re used in a crime,

    The point of restriction and regulation, is that if we get rid of the guns, they are rarely used in either crime of self defence – and don’t injure bystanders or cause accidental shootings either!

    The absence of guns simply makes confrontations less dangerous to all concerned.



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  • I’m going to skip part 2 of Jim Jefferies’ skit, if you don’t mind.

    Michael, I didn’t delete my last post. I suspect it’s awaiting approval by the moderators because I included two links. One link was to Part 2 of Gun Control, which I’m quite certain wouldn’t impress you, and the second was a skit about Christians or religion, again by Jim Jefferies.

    I posted them for the benefit of others who may appreciate them, having liked the first one.

    I also asked if you supported climate science because I suspect you may not do. Do you?



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  • And you will live your life in preparation for the next one.

    The point is you proposed a once in several lifetimes’ unfortunate experience as relevant to personal planning for the future.

    I note also you escaped unharmed. Maybe not so with a gun. Who knows? Scared shitless you might not have Dirty Harry’s sang froid.



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  • 125
    Olgun says:

    So let me get this right, you escaped a mob and are thankful to something or another but would still liked to have had a gun with which you would have braved it out and maybe gotten yourself and a few others killed. It’s your ego that is taking a bashing here isn’t it. You lose sleep because you had to maybe hide or give way to some blacks. You would rather have gone down fighting rather than look to practical intelligent ways of getting yourself out of a bad situation. I personally have saved quite a few of my macho friends from getting themselves badly hurt or hurting others but then I don’t beat myself up because I didn’t fight some unthinking unruly crowd. I used my head and kept safe and out of jail and I sleep well at nights.



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  • 126
    Olgun says:

    I am an electrician and people who do not fully understand electrics should not wire their own homes or others. It puts them and their families at risk. Leave it to the professionals. If guns are to be used then I don’t want them in the hands of people who go down the gun club once or twice a week.



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  • 127
    Olgun says:

    It is still related Laurie though I know you know that. 300 million guns means a lot of them can go missing or smuggled in with all the other legal ones.



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  • Len Walsh,

    Thanks for clarifying why your post went away for awhile.

    On the matter of climate change, I’ve seen a number of articles on this site throughout the years referencing studies and collected data giving me the overall impression that the climate is absolutely changing in alarming ways. I’ve also gathered that humankind is certainly a factor, and can still do something about it. Either way, I’m not educated enough on the subject of Earth’s climate and its dynamics to validate or invalidate the information I’m exposed to. I have no choice but to defer to the scientists and experts that do.

    The bottom line for me is that we should stop worrying about whether humankind is responsible for climate change. If the climate is changing, we need to focus on doing something about it. Placing blame doesn’t accomplish too much.



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  • 129
    Olgun says:

    And for a man who started off by saying he took statistics with a little pinch of something….. You aint half throwing around a lot of statistics.



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  • None of our discussions have been about the specific incident but the general and growing class of such incidents. We can of course hold off our discussions until the next “proper” one comes along. The Reddit data shows a modest one (five or six) is due any moment.



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  • 131
    Olgun says:

    In response to your deleted post, spending $500M on behalf of taxpayer
    funds to achieve no change in murder rates doesn’t qualify as
    reasonable to me.

    500M to achieve much much less murder by the gun. Fixed….Now lets move on and see what else we can fix..Poverty? Jobs? Education?



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 4, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    The bottom line for me is that we should stop worrying about whether humankind is responsible for climate change. If the climate is changing, we need to focus on doing something about it.

    We need to make adaptations to deal with the altered geography, but stopping worrying about the human causes of the problems, would be a head-in-the sand approach.

    Placing blame doesn’t accomplish too much.

    It is more about identifying the causes and and those responsible for the human activities (such as burning billions of tons of carbon per year) which have caused, and are now escalating, the problems.
    That way activities which must be changed, can be changed.

    This is however a discussion for another thread!

    Such as this one:-
    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/11/two-billion-people-rely-on-snow-for-drinking-water-and-supplies-are-melting/



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 4, 2015 at 2:08 am

    What would we be discussing here if yesterday’s mass killing was achieved with explosives?

    If these people also had explosives, we would also be discussing accessibility to explosives, but it seems they had made fake bombs to scare people and delay pursuit and investigations.



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  • Sorry Michael. Loosing patience a bit. This is just plain silly.

    This conversation should be focused on ISIS. But since it happened in the U.S., we’re busy blaming U.S. gun laws.

    They got the guns from gun stores in the US. Terrorists must love the Good’Ol. You don’t have the risk of passing through a border with your weapons. No Customs search. No container. No concealment in grandmas furniture. You just waltz down to your local gun show and pick up what you want. Terrorism made easy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIPCn-aYMoM



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 4, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    This is because guns are an effective means of self-defense, however much you dislike them.

    I really don’t see how, when I tackled this intruder years ago, the outcome would have been better, or how I would have been better defended, if we had both had guns!

    (BTW: I can hit a 6 inch moving target at 20 feet with a handgun – or at least I could when I was a teenager!)

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/12/daily-news-provokes-with-cover-on-calif-shooting-god-isnt-fixing-this/#li-comment-191835
    Alan4discussion — Dec 4, 2015 at 6:18 am
    I did encounter an intruder about 20 yeasts ago, but we were both unarmed. I overpowered him and pinned him down until the police arrived to take him away about 15 minutes later.
    He spent the first half of that time whingeing, claiming I was choking him with my grip on his collar, and breaking his arm. I explained that if I had wished to choke him he would now be dead, and that I could break his arm any time I wished to, if he decided to struggle. He waited quietly after that!



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  • It is a measure of the rational mind that when presented with contrary evidence, the skeptic will change their position.

    I wake in Australia this morning and what do I find. Michael Roede continues to point to “Murder Rates” in Australia, as his killer argument that the gun buy back had no effect. I’ve supplied Michael with graphs of Methods of Murder in Australia, that show a continuing decline in the use of guns as a murder weapon. I’ve repeatedly informed Michael that the purpose of the gun buy back was to prevent mass killings, for which it has been an outstanding success and he ignores this. Zero mass shootings since 1996. How would Americans feel if they could live this safely. I wake up this morning, and Michael is still putting up the lack in fall of murder rates in Australia as his argument. The fact that Michael can’t or won’t change his position is something that denizens of this forum see often in people who hold to an ideology, despite lack of evidence, or contrary to evidence. They’re religious fundamentalists.

    http://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/homicide/weapon.html



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  • From a press release by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:

    An earlier department report indicated that some on the Terrorist Watch List appeared to be making multiple attempts to purchase guns. Some 1,228 purchase attempts through February 2010 were by just 650 individuals. Nearly 70 percent of the individuals (450 of 650) were involved in multiple transactions and six were involved in 10 or more transactions.

    In June, a month after the House Judiciary Committee rejected closing the terror gap in federal gun laws, one of al Qaeda’s terrorist recruiters – American-born Adam Gadahn – explained how easy it is to acquire assault weapons in the United States:

    “America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?” [see video in this post]

    The NRA has twice fought for, and won, the right for potential terrorists on this list to continue legally purchasing guns.

    http://newtrajectory.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/putting-911-and-gun-related-deaths-in.html



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  • “The Obama administration is trying to revive a law originally proposed by Bush, which would prevent people on the terror watch list—the people we don’t allow to get on airplanes—from buying guns or explosives. Seemed logical enough to Mike Bloomberg, New York’s mayor, who took a break from the Times Square bomber drama to testify in favor it. But not to the NRA, which argued that some people on the list might be innocent, and we wouldn’t want to deprive them of their rights. Besides, they said, it’s a conspiracy from “politicians who hate the Second Amendment” and secretly want to put everyone on the watch list.”

    http://www.newser.com/story/87964/the-nra-fights-for-terror-suspects-gun-rights.html



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  • Olgun

    The text in Phil’s comment above is true. Anyone can obtain any kind of gun they want if they have the money for it. The waiting periods and background checks are a sad joke.



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  • phil rimmer
    Dec 4, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I remember the British police going through a dodgy period in the seventies

    The age of the proliferation of camera phones has discouraged malpractices.

    The days when cameras could be destroyed by police for recording incriminating evidence, and photographers arrested on trumped up charges, are gone – in some countries at least!



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  • At least the record for lethal gun shootings by toddlers (15 deaths, mainly their own) is at last bested by the terrrorists, now up from 5 (Chattanooga) to 19, so far in 2015, though the toddler shootings will be an underestimate.



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  • 142
    Olgun says:

    I have no problem with that Laurie but the report on this last shooting was that only one of the guns was registered and legal. Maybe that has changed?



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  • Dan
    Dec 4, 2015 at 12:48 am

    We don’t form militias anymore!!

    Last time I was in New York, they had police accompanied by a marine with an automatic weapon patrolling Grand Central Station.
    Do they still do this?
    Many years earlier when I was in France, it struck me as potentially very dangerous that when security trucks were making cash deliveries to banks, there were gendarmes with machine pistols standing guard in the street.

    It seems to me that discharging any such weapon in a public place would be potentially dangerous to any passers by!



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  • 145
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    @LaurieB

    Dec 4, 2015 at 9:22 am

    At this point she said, “but where should I stab him?” – meaning what body part to aim for….

    Just make sure you don’t aim for the belt… in case he has one of those magic Ben Carson “Jesus belt buckles™”



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  • LaurieB
    Dec 4, 2015 at 9:22 am

    The specialist went on to use a female in professional clothing to show how she should grab something from her desk (she chose some office scissors) and rush the guy with scissors out front ready to go. At this point she said, “but where should I stab him?” – meaning what body part to aim for. Again – o_O and guess what she chose- his arm. Wow. Great. My husband said, “So naive.”

    Probably the right target but the wrong tool!
    If some intruder with a handgun or a knife threatened me and I was within reach of my axe – the one which will take off a wrist- thickness branch of a tree with one blow – he would definitely be chancing his arm!



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  • I’m wondering why he didn’t mention that the same number of people are
    still being murdered in the years following the $500M 1996 gun ban. Oh
    wait…that wouldn’t be funny.

    Irrelevant to the argument Michael, so it certainly wouldn’t be funny. I can’t imagine where you got the idea that banning guns was intended to modify our murder rate. It was to curtail mass killings.

    Jim Jefferies is similar to most Aussies and it isn’t that we’re necessarily more courageous than you. We simply lack your paranoid ideations, that’s all. Perhaps you envy our freedom from fear, but most Aussies don’t spend their time shitting themselves about imaginary evil-doers intent on murdering them.

    I’ve lived in our second biggest city all my life and have never bothered locking the door when I’m at home, just like most Aussies. We recognise that we’re more likely to die from a rogue spacecraft or a spider bite than at the hands of some evil-doer. Murder is a very rare occurrence here, both before and subsequent to Port Arthur.

    spending $500M on behalf of taxpayer funds to achieve no change in
    murder rates doesn’t qualify as reasonable to me.

    With killing so rare, we never expected any change to our murder rate. Our goal was to prevent the massacres that characterize your culture. I consider your paranoid psychoticism to be unreasonable. You don’t need guns. You simply imagine that you do, to protect yourselves when the government dispatches drones to kill you. You’d be better off with an electronic scrambler to fuck up those drones. Or some therapy perhaps, to help you cope with the fear.

    I’ll stick with my “national fetish” of owning one shotgun for the
    sake of home defence.

    OK, but you need a short range missile shield I reckon.



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  • 149
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    @LaurieB

    Dec 4, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Remember a while back when a girl shot the adult guy (father or instructor?) while learning to shoot a gun?… It wasn’t a daisy rifle she had there. It was a semi automatic rifle…

    It was a 9 year old girl and the gun was a full-automatic Mini UZI submachinegun. The man who got shot was the shooting range instructor:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/09/02/girl-who-accidentally-shot-her-instructor-with-an-uzi-said-the-gun-was-too-much-for-her/

    This is yet another reason why gun laws need to be tightened. Most people wouldn’t even think of putting a chainsaw in the hands of a 9 year old. How much of a moron do you have to be to think that a fully automatic UZI is some kind of toy suitable for small children?

    Un-friggin-believable!!



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  • Silly?

    Are guns the ROOT problem of the San Bernardino shooting?

    ISIS shoots 128 people in France, and the topic of discussion is ISIS.

    ISIS shoots 8 people in the U.S., and the topic of discussion is gun laws.

    Makes sense.



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  • What’s the incentive behind curtailing mass murder? Is it to prevent people from dying -OR- is it to make sure murder is evenly distributed throughout the land?

    The murder rate is INDEED relevant.



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  • Alan4discussion

    If some intruder with a handgun or a knife threatened me and I was within reach of my axe –

    Your AXE?!

    Begging your pardon but is that standard office supply issue where you come from? Well I tell you what, if I’m at my office desk and some bastard comes waltzing in with a big gun aimed at me I’m gonna open my desk drawer, pull out my chainsaw and cleave his damn arm off!!! How do you like them apples?

    ~blatant one-uppmanship~



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  • David R Allen,

    I apologize for your frustration with me.

    Me finding little value in the Australian 1996 gun ban in lieu of an unaffected murder rate is a matter of perspective and opinion. This isn’t a position that’s in direct conflict with evidence. Ranking me with religious fundamentalists on this matter is therefore quite a stretch.

    If the express intent of this gun ban was to end mass shootings, then the ban was absolutely successful with respect this goal.

    Being that the same number of people are still being killed in Australia, I’m led to believe murderers simply resorted to other methods and means. This speaks to my point about the San Bernardino shooters still being capable of mass murder, were they unable to acquire their guns. It also calls into question the value and effectiveness of gun bans in regard to keeping citizens alive.



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  • Just to clarify, I’m not suggesting that gun laws aren’t relevant to the San Bernardino incident. What I’m getting at is ISIS is the bigger problem within the context of that shooting. I say this because preventing terrorists of this caliber from getting to guns isn’t going to stop them from carrying out their evil deeds.

    What aspect of common sense am I failing to grasp here?



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  • I agree with David too, and I think the American fetish for guns is comparable to religious convictions. Michael Rohde seems like an intelligent, articulate bloke who can’t see the sense of what others have tried to explain. I’m reminded of Sam Harris who is also a true believer and also religiously resisted efforts by others to school him about guns.



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  • MSNBC channel just reported that the two handguns were legally purchased and registered to the shooter. He had bought them before he went off and got married. The two rifles were legally bought by someone else and given to the shooter. They aren’t saying who the rifle buyer is yet. I imagine they’re on the chase after him/her.



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  • You are pointing at two evils, but finding a solution to just one. Both evils can be fixed……. at the same time.

    What aspect of common sense am I failing to grasp here?

    The comment referred to Phil’s chilling summary of attempts to bring some order to the American gun market, and the reasons given for not acting. That is the breach of commonsense. If you support this…

    But not to the NRA, which argued that some people on the list might be
    innocent, and we wouldn’t want to deprive them of their rights.

    Or this…

    At least the record for lethal gun shootings by toddlers (15 deaths,
    mainly their own)

    Then your commonsense is likewise condemned.



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  • If the express intent of this gun ban was to end mass shootings, then the ban was absolutely successful with respect this goal.

    Thank you. How long did that take.

    As to the rest, what is America’s murder rate. What is Australia. Why the difference.



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  • Alan4discussion,

    Concerning our disagreement over the effectiveness of guns as a mechanism of self-defense, I’ll share another personal story.

    When I was about 8 years old, a large intruder entered our house with the intent of stealing valuables. Only my mother and I were home, and we were both asleep. This man forced his way into my mother’s bedroom, making quite a ruckus in the process, thankfully. Once this man got to his feet and took in his bearings, he realized my mother was in the room with a .38 Special handgun aimed his way. My mother told him to go right back out the way he came in. And he did. Then she called the police.

    Despite this man being large enough to easily overpower my mother and I, he was forced to leave without anyone getting hurt. If my mother didn’t have a gun, I’d be describing a different story here. One that is likely much darker.

    In your opinion, should my mother have taken a different action? Was the gun not highly effective in this case, being that no one got injured? If the gun was unloaded, which it wasn’t, it still would have been just as effective.

    phil rimmer,

    Did my mother behave too selfishly here?

    Perhaps her and I have seen too many Hollywood movies?



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  • Aack, I haven’t posted here for years and inadvertently/accidentally touched off the report toggle rather than the reply.

    Mods, please disregard my flag

    All I wanted to say, Phil, is that you won the internet today with that post.

    Cheers,

    Mike, faith-free



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  • Am I really the only atheist here in favor of gun ownership?

    Depends on what you mean by gun ownership. I’m an atheist, an American (Alaskan) who would take no issue with the debate Outside (our term for Down South) if everyone behaved as I do. That’s delusional though. I view voluntary restriction laws (remember We The People are the Govt.) akin to herd health vaccination campaigns. It’s my civic duty to get a flu shot (jab for Commonwealth readers) and I believe it is my civic duty to put reducing mass shootings above my own desire to be prepared for the bears who plod through my yard a few times a year.

    What I would like to see, just once, is the NRA bravely admit that they are essentially OK with mass shootings. I see it that way because their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment trumps all discussions in their favor. All. As it stands they do not acknowledge this. Why not?

    Mike, faith-free



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  • 167
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    Once this man got to his feet and took in his bearings, he realized my mother was in the room with a .38 Special handgun aimed his way. My mother told him to go right back out the way he came in. And he did. Then she called the police.

    Interesting story. In the light of it, your stance on guns for self-defense is quite understandable. It actually makes it crystal clear why you are going to sleep every night with a shotgun beside your bed. I’ll be honest, if I had been through the same experience, I might be inclined to do the same.

    Fortunately, your mom displayed poise and bravery in the circumstances, gun or no gun. Nobody got hurt and that’s the main thing.

    A gun can in theory provide protection in such situations but the reality is that very many casual gun owners don’t know how to handle guns properly or handle themselves in stressful or life-threatening confrontational situations. Unless one has had some significant firearm handling and conflict management training, the odds are that the handgun will end up being used against its owner or turn into extra bounty for the robber: another gun on the black market.

    And that‘s what worries me about the self-defense argument for handgun ownership. Shooting at paper targets and shooting at living breathing human beings are two very different things. Many people cherish this fantasy that owning a gun will make them strong and brave. But neither strength or bravery come from a gun.



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  • A couple of observations. Normal run of the mill citizens will rarely shoot. Mostly its bluff. In both world wars, they struggled to get trained soldiers to shoot and kill the enemy.

    Second, you can point a gun at me and I have the training and skills to take it away from you. I’m sure the bad guys know these moves as well. Sadly in crime ridden America, I’d opt for defence in depth. Layer the defences, to slow the approach, to give decent reaction time. Alarms. Bars. Strong doors. Video. Motion sensing lights. Lots of stuff. Statistically, owning a dog in Australia halves your break in rate. I don’t know about America.



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  • I have the training and skills to take it away from you.

    I should add, that this is a move of last resort. You shouldn’t arrive in this situation. The 6 P’s applies. Piss Poor Planning Promotes Pitiful Performance. If a situation was considered a risk, you didn’t go in. End of story. They’ll be there tomorrow down at the Deli getting the milk when you can have the advantage. This move is a live or die move. You’ve got no other options left. BTW, if the bad guy is going to shoot, he will do it straight away. If he is using the weapon to control you and wants something, then you have a chance to execute the move. In training, even though the training partner who knew the move and knew it was coming, the victim could act faster than the villain could pull the trigger. Don’t try this at home.

    Also the stories I hear from our American contributors in this forum are shocking. To have to live in neighbourhoods where you have these fears, is appalling. What has become of America, that it has descended to this. Civilized? My heart goes out to you.



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  • I would say “more than likely.” Good one. There has to be campaign finance reform. Not likely to happen anytime soon.

    This is so wrong. In Jack London’s dystopian novel The Iron Heel, lobbying is given its proper name: bribery. And that is all it is.

    Unlimited contribution by individuals and through super-pacs is placing this nation is danger of going to hell. (The word is part of our culture.) We may be at its door already.

    (Mayor Bloomberg spent 102 million of his own money on his re-election campaign. That’s sick.)



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  • Alan4discussion Dec 4, 2015 at 5:51 pm
    Do they still do this?

    Yes, they still do this. I think it’s worse. Every once in a while I see groups of heavily armed…I don’t know what they’re called…officers, soldiers. Usually at Port Authority, Grand Central, or outside various subway stations. You see these guys holding machine guns, waiting, looking around. Never saw that when I was a kid.

    Next time you’re in town look me up!

    Btw, I meant civilians don’t form militias anymore. The 2nd Amendment should be gotten rid of or revised. It’s out-of-date and causing too many problems and too much confusion.



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  • Hi Dan,

    It is my understanding that the National Guard units formed by States and the Federal Government (incl. the Naval Militia) are, legally speaking, the only properly constituted militias?

    The 2A USC seems to me to have been written with the idea that a militia is an ad hoc organization which may be formed at any time from free, and armed, citizens. Like a Posey in a Western, such a militia would still require State or Federal leadership to be “well regulated”.

    As a non-US citizen I have always been confused as to why the sale of arms to US citizens is so unrestricted, given that I’m right above, which I may not be.

    SCOTUS has ruled that the sale of arms to citizens can be regulated. Which only leaves the question: Why, then, is that not happening?

    The only answer appears to be that there is political resistance from some and a lack of political will from others. The political resistance appears to come from a special interest group who apply a lot of rhetorical special pleading, and a lot of lying about statistics and research. The rest have lacked the will to act up to now because they had more important concerns.

    Offering prayers at any time is an exercise in avoiding responsibility and being lazy. The fact that people running for President think this says something positive about them really does say something – but I can’t see how any voter would put inaction at the current levels of horrendous blood-letting down as a plus?

    Peace (if such a thing can exist in the US).



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  • Dan
    Dec 5, 2015 at 2:20 am

    Alan4discussion Dec 4, 2015 at 5:51 pm
    Do they still do this?

    Yes, they still do this. I think it’s worse. Every once in a while I see groups of heavily armed…I don’t know what they’re called…officers, soldiers. Usually at Port Authority, Grand Central, or outside various subway stations.

    I live in a different largely gun-free world in NE England. Most of our underground/ metro stations are unmanned with CCTV cameras and automated ticket machines and announcements. They do not even have station staff (apart from part-time cleaners). The trains have drivers and some ticket inspectors.
    There are some police when there are tens of thousands at football matches, but hooligans are identified on CCTV and banned from the football stadia.
    Our area uses organised security systems rather than threats of violence.
    Newcastle is known for its large student population, night-clubs, party atmosphere, and major sporting events.

    Mainline rail stations have staff and some not very visible regular police.
    You never see guns in a public place.
    Anyone carrying one would be arrested.



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  • Michael Rohde
    Dec 4, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Concerning our disagreement over the effectiveness of guns as a mechanism of self-defense, I’ll share another personal story.

    When I was about 8 years old, a large intruder entered our house with the intent of stealing valuables. Only my mother and I were home, and we were both asleep. This man forced his way into my mother’s bedroom, making quite a ruckus in the process, thankfully. Once this man got to his feet and took in his bearings, he realized my mother was in the room with a .38 Special handgun aimed his way.

    There will always be situations where a weaker party can use some weapon or escalation of threat of force, to face down a stronger individual.

    This only works until criminals or disputants up their own weaponry to compensate.
    Intruders who know they risk the threat of weapons will arm themselves to “as you put it – to protect themselves”! As David explained, those regularly involved in fights, or with training in unarmed combat, are likely to take a weapon from an inexperienced person.
    For each citizen who successfully gets an intruder to back off by using a weapon, there are others who lose an armed fight rather than an unarmed fight, resulting in much more serious injuries, because the level of violont threat was escalated. The same applies to police confronting offenders.
    Some will win fights and some will lose. Injuries from losing a gun-fight are usually much worse than losing a fist-fight or a wrestled confrontation.

    My mother told him to go right back out the way he came in. And he did. Then she called the police.

    Despite this man being large enough to easily overpower my mother and I, he was forced to leave without anyone getting hurt. If my mother didn’t have a gun, I’d be describing a different story here. One that is likely much darker.

    On this occasion the intruder backed off, and perhaps escaped without being apprehended.
    But if the intruder had been armed, had been painfully wounded and enraged in a struggle, or had taken her gun from her, there could have been serious injuries, rather than just a loss of property.
    She won the gamble on that occasion!



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  • The Republicans are owned by the NRA and others that bribe the fucking shit out of those assholes. The 2nd A is anachronistic. I hate this country sometimes. We did create Jazz, however. And we have the best movies by in large.
    (I don’t see what’s so great about guns. Go read a book, go hiking, reach out to someone, be kind, listen to music, cultivate and educate yourself, gun loving fools. You want to feel macho? Good. Get some therapy, and stop killing animals and shut the fuck up about your guns and your safety, cowards. Call me what you want. I’m sick of it all, sick of violence, sick of hate, sick of guns, sick of ignorance.)
    I heard about the intense and pervasive surveillance in London. I hope that doesn’t extend into people’s homes at some point. That wouldn’t be good. Short of that. I guess it’s okay.
    (I’m in a foul mood. Talk to you later, Stephen. Hope you’re well.)



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  • NearlyNakedApe
    Dec 4, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    Many people cherish this fantasy that owning a gun will make them strong and brave. But neither strength or bravery come from a gun.

    There is a similar macho-delusion, that possessing a high-powered car will make them a good driver!



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  • Cheers, Mike.

    (Good to see you here. This place seems to have left its windows open. Its a little less Catholic hot-house and intense.)

    Subsequently my wife always insisted on having the windows locked in the house at night.



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  • LaurieB
    Dec 4, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Your AXE?!

    There would probably be no suitable improvised weapon in an office, but I do have 2 saws, and a hatchet on a shelf, and garden forks, next to the door to my back garden where the large trees are.
    I also have three hammers and various other tools in the utility wash area.

    Tackling a stronger armed opponent, is a serious decision, but if done, disabling the hand holding the weapon is a good option.



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  • An interesting story indeed. And I’m sure that positive personal annecdotes may have a Darwinian advantage over the more negative annecdotes that might have been told. I won’t trot out the statistic of who gets to die more if there is a gun in the house.

    I can entirely see how it would affect your personal thinking, and good on your mum in those given circumstances. She was lucky though, and might well not have done the best, safest, thing.

    What grieves me more than anything is the self-centred reaction of the US populace. Why is policing individual safety just about me and mine and not about everyone? In demanding safety for your own selves with ready gun access you put everyone else around you at slightly greater risk. With studies like those in “On the Run” you can see how underprivileged adolescents have misdemeanors tricked up into petty crimes by over diligent policing, destroying prospects that can only be restored by the transformative power of cheap guns. This gun thing is not about you, it is about the quality and health of your society. Not living your life in fear.

    Going to bed every night with a gun just there! Don’t you feel something has already gone very badly wrong? You would risk the very frequent post traumatic stress disorder of making a bloody mess of someone against the safer “Just take it, Dude.”? I know you know what to do. You plan and practice for it everyday. The psychic investment must be considerable. All the ways the scenario can go badly wrong. How dead am I if he has a gun and I am clearly a lethal threat? You must run through this stuff instead of living a bit more. In every adult head in the land? How corrosive to culture is that?

    The Wild West didn’t just last a few decades. Its a tragedy that a young county’s unfortunate experiences still hold sway over its adult life.



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  • 183
    Olgun says:

    In the people’s homes I worked in, and they number thousands, I have seen; huge knives under beds, sticks with nails in, baseball and cricket bats. Some of these have been by the front door. Most have been with the young who are involved with drugs. Some are with people who are genuinely afraid of what is going on on their estates. The most worrying is the bat by the door of a 60 something man, living alone, who still thinks he is a bit of a lad and would rather open the door and confront rather than stay safe behind it.



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  • Hah, when I first arrived in San Francisco via Greyhound bus some years ago, no bloody Golden Gate Bridge to greet me, instead, a rather sinister looking Wells Fargo van evidently loading or off loading cash. There were at least 2 security guards with shotguns on high alert ! I kept well clear, and am still here. A rookie from Britain, not used to seeing guns in public places. Still pretty much the same here, but you do see armed police at airports and stations.



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  • Dan:

    I heard about the intense and pervasive surveillance in London. I hope that doesn’t extend into people’s homes at some point.

    Dan, the guys watching the screens, in my case, would be so bloody bored, they would fall asleep or learn to play chess. Big Brother can spy on me as much as he wants. Every effing time time I walk down the high street, or go into a bank or supermarket, fill my car with fuel, use a credit card, I know Big Brother has a record. Yes even every time I go into my gym the bastards are watching me ! Every bus ride, every tube journey, every effing movement recorded on CCTV, but what the hell ? We’re only here once. Give the bastards a wee bit of joy in voyeurism ?



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  • Hi Dan. Was it Clint Eastwood who said that America had contributed 3 things to the world, jazz, the western movie and hamburgers ? I realise it was a tongue in cheek answer to some interview a few years ago. Dirty Harry evidently left out the Magnum 45 ?



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  • Dan
    Dec 5, 2015 at 3:57 am

    I heard about the intense and pervasive surveillance in London.

    It can work for the benefit of the ordinary honest citizen.

    When there is road accident, a fight in the street, or shop-lifting, the police look up the CCTV footage to see who is lying!



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  • I like and admire your attitude, Mr DArcy; it’s just the right balance of resignation and indignation. (No sarcasm intended.)
    Just curious; when did that all start?
    As for Clint (who I admire as a director and actor) we produced some great visionary writers too. (Dos Passos, Fitzgerald, Henry Miller, Mailer, Jack London, Nathaniel West, etc.) But that was a different time – and no one listened.
    And Greenwich Village was a great place in the fifties from what I gather.



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  • I invented at least in concept a business to make more use of cctv feeds. I called it “Lace Curtain”.

    In essence the problem is no-one is available to watch cctv feeds. Another problem is old people. They have nothing to do that makes them feel useful.

    Lace Curtain would link local CCTV feeds of streets and malls into old folks’ homes as a set of TV channels. Their favourite pastime becomes their job. They can tut to their hearts’ content over the behaviour the the local youth and, given a big red button to to push when tutting is insufficient, a press of which could alert the big red button room to the various misdemeanors and overly skimpy attire (“She’ll catch ‘er death.”). A peuce button might actually be connected to security staff for real crimes. This is surely the perfect engagement for our senior citizens in our local community, carrying on their tireless work?



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  • Dan

    I’m with you Dan on the stupid 2nd A. I hate it. It’s killing us (literally). I also hate hunting and don’t feel one single molecule of sympathy for these rednecks who blast animals to death for a sick in the head hobby. Get a better hobby!



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  • The New York Times for the first time since 1920 has run a front page editorial on gun control. When right wing Murdoch media are championing this cause, there is little left for pro gun arguments. It’s over.

    It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/05/opinion/end-the-gun-epidemic-in-america.html?mtrref=undefined&gwh=BFD3CF4FC643E5D4660A8147D8140575&gwt=pay&assetType=opinion&_r=0



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  • blast animals to death….

    LaurieB. In the circumstance of feral animals, I think that vermin control officer hunting is ok. Because Australia was an island, when europeans arrived and brought, cats, rats, foxes, starlings, sparrows, pigs, goats… All of which, with no indigenous predator wrought havoc with our dear small native marsupials and unique plants. We lost hundreds of small species.

    Did you know we have more feral camels in outback Australia than all of the camels in the middle east. We export pure bred racing camels to the UAE. And they devastate our native vegetation. Same with goats. Goats are really smart. Very mountainous terrain. Don’t take baits. They use snipers in helicopters to keep the numbers down. Hideously expensive. Our local swat team for training have to trek into the mountains in camouflage and hunt down the goat herds. I talked to a few of these guys. Very hard work. They might only get a dozen goats in a week.

    There is a minuscule hunting culture in Australia, but they go after these feral species. I don’t have a problem with that. They are licenced and audited. No adverse criminal, mental health or intelligence assessments. 5 shot repeater is all they are allowed. You can’t do a mass killing with a repeater. You need assault rifles.

    But heads on walls… With apologies to Family Camelidae, they’re not the most beautiful faces. A camel’s head with rubber lips would not be a glamour trophy to an America who is living the “Traditional Culture of Hunting” their forefathers established. Total crap.



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  • Notice how crowd control was a problem at the end. Put yourselves in the minds of the police… They are scanning, on alert. Pumped full of Adrenalin. Flight of fight. Who else? Is he alone. Rubber neckers getting in the way that won’t follow instructions. If you are involved, follow instructions. Do not interfere. Do not present as a threat, or a belligerent. If you have an issue, wait until the scene is contained and controlled. Then notify someone of your concerns. Unless, you possess information about further imminent threats. “He planted a back pack. ” “He’s with that guy in the red.” Tell someone without shouting.



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  • I can’t imagine where you got the idea that banning guns was intended to modify our murder rate. It was to curtail mass killings.

    If curtailing mass killings doesn’t modify the murder rate, then what’s the point?



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  • If curtailing mass killings doesn’t modify the murder rate, then what’s the point?

    The San Bernardino shooting and hundreds of similar events in the US this year alone. Plus Sandy Hook, Columbine and thousands of similar events in recent years.

    In contrast there have been NO such occurrences in Australia Doug, since assault rifles were banned. Quite simple really.



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  • No meaningful, rational conclusions can be drawn from these numbers.

    Doug, many years ago a child called Susie lost the sight in one of her eyes because she was running with scissors. We rationally concluded it wasn’t safe for kids to run with scissors and henceforth have warned kids successfully against doing so, resulting in hardly any children replicating Susie’s folly.

    The US experiment with guns teaches us a poignantly similar lesson. Humans can’t reliably be allowed to own guns.



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  • As I watch the exchanges above I’m reminded of the saying that America and the UK are two nations separated by a common language i.e. don’t be fooled by the fact that they speak somewhat like us because in fact they’re completely different. There’s a streak of paranoia that runs deep in the American psyche. Where it comes from I’m not absolutely sure but I suspect that long established cultural influences that simply don’t exist elsewhere are largely to blame. The American Dream is that anyone can achieve anything if they work hard enough and keep their nose clean. There’s a problem though. Everyone else thinks they can achieve the same dream and there’s only a limited number of places to aim for. Only one person at a time can be President. There aren’t enough CEO positions for everyone to become one. Someone lucky gets to run the car company and lots of others have to screw the wheel nuts on for a daily pittance.

    So no matter how hard you work and how clean your nose is kept there’s always someone else trying that bit harder who’s going to take it all away from you. Dog eat dog. And if you do fall, or fail, the state isn’t going to do much for you. The most insane health care system in the world can bankrupt you or make you choose which of the fingers you cut off you want sewing back on because there isn’t enough money in the pot to do all of them. Social security might just about prevent you starving to death but not much more. So look out for number one because no one else is going to look out for you.

    In countries with more state safety nets, better and free healthcare and less income inequality this sort of mentality doesn’t seem to exist, or at least not as much. On a national level this paranoia has expressed itself similarly over the years. In the 50s it was McCarthyism and fear of the jews, then it was communism, reds under the bed, Russia which morphed eventually into China, now it’s Muslims. On a personal level the paranoia is losing one’s job, becoming ill, home invasion and bad guys with guns. The Dunning – Kruger effect means that people tend to vastly over rate their own ability to do things well. The NRA keeps trumpeting that the only thing that can stop bad guys with guns is good guys with them. Sadly the average person carrying a weapon they rarely if ever use is going to be so afraid, shaking so much and so totally consumed by adrenalin if a bad guy with a gun does actually materialise that they’re far more likely to shoot themselves, the scenery or innocent bystanders than any of the bad guys. The fantasy that you’re going to pull your concealed carry permit weapon, blast the bad guys, coolly blow the smoke from the end of the barrel and stroll casually off into the distance to the applause of the crowd is utter nonsense. You’re more likely to piss your pants and shoot yourself in the foot trying to draw the weapon.

    So the paranoia escalates. There are so many guns that there is a non trivial probability of encountering someone with one. The police are paranoid and shoot first, ask questions later. The public are paranoid and think the cure is having their own gun. The politicians are paranoid about losing their electorate and in any case care much less about the issues than simply staying in office. Combine all this with a corrupt and broken political system and there’s a very slim chance of anything constructive happening.

    It’s always been curious to me how nations acquire a personality. The stoical Brits, the excitable Italians, laconic French. America strikes me as an adolescent teenager. In the grip of hormones it hasn’t yet learned how to control, over reacting to every little stimulus, oscillating between exuberance and gloom. I’m hoping one day it’ll grow up but it won’t be in my lifetime. Getting rid of its toys, its guns, might be the first sign of that incipient maturity.

    It’s rather perverse that the childish ones in America are actually the oldest. The paranoid old white guys without passports who were nurtured on the American Dream, the 3 bed, two bathroom house with the white picket fence, a car in every driveway, non existent American exceptionalism, very little clue about the rest of the world except the bits their peers have bombed and still not much chance of being able to point to even those places on a map.

    As a less insular, less religious, more tolerant, more traveled internet generation grows up and takes over the reigns of power I think we’ll see change starting to happen faster.



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  • 208
    Olgun says:

    If the American dream/disease doesn’t get here first. There are many infections already and because it has infected our politicians and muddled their brains, immunisation is not a top priority. Jeremy Corbyn seems to have some resistance to it but because the infection is spread by touching infected print the public are coming down with it too.



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  • Those are pretty much my working assumptions for the situation, Arkrid.

    The good news, looking passed the old white conservative last stand, to the kids coming through is pretty good. Internet companies (for all their risks) are global and social of necessity. They are developed not in the old steeply heirarchical companies of old, people siloed into a substitutable function, but in flat collegiate and mutually creative entities that are rewarding in themselves. At many levels I think American youth are rediscovering mutuality, more importantly a mutuality not hinged upon religion with its weird dogma and social divisions.

    The USA particularly and the Americas in general are the great European colonial success story. Everything we stole elsewhere we eventually had to give back. The USA, though, was for keeps and constituted incredible wealth gifted to those who would come and and help take it. Look slaves to help you pick it up off the ground. This incredible wealth facilitated a much higher level of isolation and internal investment than elsewhere. This was a very rapid and mostly unregulated inflation period for wealth.

    Money distorts its local environment in similar fashion to matter sitting in spacetime. Money clumps making it easier to attract more money. (In the 1980’s mathematicians demonstrated how larger investment quantities distorted the market to get those returns rolling in.) Soon whole galaxies are formed sweeping up its surroundings. Black holes disappear money from use altogether. Anti-monopoly legislation caught the most egregious hoovering up, but simply drove the processes wider just under the threshold.

    Most Americans think the economic playing field is flat. Libertarians tell them this. But ecomonic equality in the USA far from being the norm as a flat (historically rich) playing field would suggest, is found nowhere. The USA is the most unequal modern country in the world.

    But most Americans believe the playing field is flat. So why the horribly obvious inequality? Just desserts, fueled by high octane religion. People are rewarded in the measure of their effort, or so they think. I’m richer I deserve it. They want it. They’ll take it if I don’t stop them. At a certain point this is a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    I’m an enthusiastic capitalist, if rather of the Dolly Levi persuasion, “Money, if you’ll pardon the expression, is like manure. It won’t do much until you spread it around a little.”

    Inequality is the root of these last of the USA’s ills. Tackle that with all seriousness and EVERYTHING gets better, and capitalists get the best markets possible. Only gun sales will disappoint.



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  • 210
    bonnie says:

    @ Olgun

    Wouldn’t this be a better use?

    Equally good, just different 🙂 – Operation ‘lace curtain’ one day, ‘children visit’ another,…

    Mutual benefit per older folks and wee ones > it emulates whole families of yesteryear, residing under one roof.



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  • Olgun
    Dec 5, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    We have another madman in Leytonstone Tube station just a few stops from me. Tasered! Stick a gun in his hands.

    It does provide a contrast with the gun-loaded American situation.
    Here is a BBC written report and video:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35018789

    A stabbing at a Tube station in east London is being treated as a “terrorist incident”, the Met Police has said.

    Police were called to reports of people being attacked at Leytonstone around 19:00 GMT on Saturday. The knifeman reportedly shouted “this is for Syria”.

    A man was arrested after being Tasered by police. One man suffered serious knife injuries while two others received minor injuries.

    They said the most seriously-hurt victim’s injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.



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  • In contrast there have been NO such occurrences in Australia Doug, since assault rifles were banned. Quite simple really.

    It’s not “simple” in any sense of the word. If what you say is true, then it’s actually quite complex and it’s understandable that there is much disagreement. If banning assault rifles succeeds only in “curtailing mass shootings” while leaving the murder rate unchanged, then CLEARLY the ban achieved no real benefit to society. What some see as a (the?) solution is actually an illusion.

    From the data presented, it appears that a more reasonable conclusion is that banning assault rifles does not solve the real problem, which is to reduce the killing of innocent people. Apparently, all it does is force the killers to use other means to produce the same outcome.



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  • I was referring specifically to the numbers appearing in the image at the link above. They do not tell the whole story. They mislead. Thus, it is irresponsible not only to draw conclusions from them but also to disseminate them.

    …running with scissors…

    I was taught as a child that whenever carrying scissors (preferably while walking, but with an understanding that running was a real possibility when children are involved) I should hold them with my hand wrapped around the closed blades, with the handles toward my thumb, so that, if I were to fall or run into another person while carrying them, the likelihood of injury to myself or others was minimized. By demonstrating an ability to follow these rules I was given (I earned) the privilege of using and carrying scissors. Those who would not/could not were not allowed to use scissors until they were able to demonstrate that they were willing and able to use them safely.

    Humans can’t reliably be allowed to own guns.

    This is “simply” not true.



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  • Come on Doug….You might as well have…

    If that’s how you interpreted my comments, then you have misunderstood me. I’m not saying “go ahead and allow unrestricted use of guns, because people are going to kill each other anyway”. I’m saying “people are still killing each other at the same rate, despite the purported “solution”. Let’s deal with the problem of people killing each other (whatever the rate may be)! If the “solution” has no effect on that problem, then it’s not a solution, and a different approach is needed.



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  • 221
    Olgun says:

    As I said somewhere else on this thread Doug, get rid of the guns and then do whatever comes next to solve the problem. Poverty? Mental health? etc..

    You can do that with cigarettes as well. People are dying anyway so lets eliminate the problems one by one. People stop dying from smoking and then…..



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  • …get rid of the guns and then do whatever comes next to solve the problem.

    A gun, like a cigarette, is a product created by clever and enterprising people to satisfy a need or desire on the part of consumers with the willingness and means to adequately compensate them for their efforts. (The comparison is strained, however, by the fact that whereas guns have certain “legitimate” uses that don’t involve harm to humans – and that may be the primary complicator here – cigarettes really don’t.) Clearly, a gun is just one (very effective) tool of many possible tools used by people who mean to do harm to others (or themselves, which frankly I don’t have a problem with). It may be possible (with willing participants – where does willingness come from?) to ban some or even all guns and this may reduce or eliminate certain kinds of heinous acts committed with these tools. But if we don’t address and resolve the reasons underlying the “need or desire” (attitudes, motivations) to acquire and use these tools in such ways, those acts will just be committed with other tools, some existing, others yet to be invented (and the aforementioned data seems to support that). The most effective way to eliminate the product is to eliminate the need or desire. For both of these products, this is most effectively done through education. Any other strategy is doomed to failure, some sooner than others.

    You can do that with cigarettes as well.

    The way smoking of cigarettes will be (is being, arguably) eliminated is by aggressively educating the populace (including current and future users) about its effects on individuals and society, reducing exposure to marketing materials, and by promoting alternatives to smoking that can address the need/desire to smoke.

    http://betobaccofree.hhs.gov/laws/

    Tobacco control programs aim to reduce disease, disability, and death related to tobacco use. A comprehensive approach—one that includes educational, clinical, regulatory, economic, and social strategies—has been established as the best way to eliminate the negative health and economic effects of tobacco use.

    I am suggesting a similar strategy with guns – illustrating and emphasizing not only the dangers of guns but also offering alternative ways of dealing with the issues of life for which guns are seen as a solution – would be more effective than banning assault weapons while doing nothing to address the reasons for their existence and misuse.

    In the US, the second amendment (and its misinterpreters) is the major impediment to implementing any truly effective strategy.



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  • 223
    Olgun says:

    Doug, we are going over the same ground here I know but I think it’s worth saying again. I already said all avenues to eliminate the problem have to be explored but by removing guns first you have taken away the ability of a young mentality I’ll person killing his classmates. You have made it harder for lone wolves to get their hands on weapons to mass murder so two things have been partially solved. Then you can look at other ways with people’s mentality changing quicker because guns are not around. Have you seen the video somewhere near the bottoms I posted? If that man had a gun then those three he stabbed would be dead for starters. Then you can educate with conviction because you have committed to having gun control and only those who have proved they really need one has one and is properly trained and the gun is kept me in a safe place. Shooting a squirrel in your back yard is not adequate reason.

    Only reasonable people have stopped smoking. It has needed laws to stop some mothers from smoking in the car with their children on board. Reasonable people have had to have laws passed in order not to have to inhale other people’s smoke.

    As to your last paragraph, see above. Education alone has not worked and the law has to step in. Just being old enough to have a gun is not adequate control.



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  • Olgun
    Dec 6, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Have you seen the video somewhere near the bottom I posted? If that man had a gun then those three he stabbed would be dead for starters.

    It should be fairly obvious that if he had been armed with a gun rather than a knife, the three attacked would be dead or seriously injured, plus possibly some other passing members of the public, and the attacker would probably have then been shot by the police.



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  • …by removing guns first…

    The only reason you and others believe it’s necessary to remove guns (first, or otherwise) is because of the failures that I spoke of earlier. All of this shit we are in can be traced back to failures. Let’s work on the failures! If we don’t resolve the failures first, anything else we do will be futile – we are doomed to repeat this process over and over and over…

    …you have taken away the ability of a young mental[l]y [il]l person killing his classmates.

    No. If the mental illness is not handled correctly, alternatives to guns are still available. Let’s work on effectively preventing or handling mental illness.

    You have made it harder for lone wolves to get their hands on weapons to mass murder so two things have been partially solved.

    No. If the lone wolf is out there, alternatives are still available. Let’s work on effectively preventing or handling lone wolves.

    Then you can look at other ways with people’s mentality changing quicker because guns are not around.

    B.S! What is going to cause people’s mentality to change?! The existing mentality is a reflection of the environment in which it exists, which involves prior failures. Let’s work on fixing the environment that produced mentalities that require changing.

    Have you seen the video somewhere near the bottoms I posted? If that man had a gun then those three he stabbed would be dead for starters.

    If that man had been raised and educated correctly, or evaluated properly, or treated, or confined, or whatever could/should have been done to prevent his being there in the first place… Let’s work on doing those things effectively.

    Then you can educate with conviction because you have committed to having gun control and only those who have proved they really need one has one and is properly trained and the gun is kept me in a safe place.

    Hah! We don’t need to be committed to having gun control. We need to be committed to educating, with conviction, to prevent the need or desire to have guns for anything other than “benign” purposes (example below). Let’s work on that.

    Shooting a squirrel in your back yard is not adequate reason.

    But it could be… Where squirrels present a problem, a gun can be an effective solution (without necessarily being a danger to society). I would suggest that there are lots of other options, some safer, some dangerous in different ways, but in the right hands (connected to a properly educated human mind) possessing a gun to shoot squirrels in your back yard shouldn’t be a problem.

    Only reasonable people have stopped smoking.

    There are more “reasonable people” who have never started smoking (or chose not to continue after a brief experimental phase) than there are people (reasonable or otherwise) who have quit smoking. Where did that reasonableness come from? If being unreasonable is the problem that produces smokers, then let’s figure that out and exploit that knowledge to produce more reasonableness. Isn’t that one of the goals of this website?

    It has needed laws to stop some mothers from smoking in the car with their children on board.

    Necessitated by prior failures. (Refer to my previous comments regarding your man with the knife.) Let’s work on correcting the failures.

    Reasonable people have had to have laws passed in order not to have to inhale other people’s smoke.

    See above.

    As to your last paragraph, see above. Education alone has not worked and the law has to step in.

    I would suggest that “education alone has not worked” due to failures of the education/educator, the “educatee”, or both. Effective education is possible for the vast majority of people. Some people are and will be uneducatable in certain ways. Obviously, they will have to be dealt with differently in many aspects of their lives.

    Just being old enough to have a gun is not adequate control.

    Agreed. (And I’ve never suggested it is or should be.) “Educated enough” is the correct criterion.



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  • Michael, I find myself agreeing with you (despite your calling my perfectly reasonable questions a “tirade” earlier).

    In Paris, yes, it was an obvious act of war against the civilian population by suicidal fanatics of the death-cult Daesh. I refuse to acknowledge their claim to be either Islamic or a State, so won’t use the name they prefer – and I see more and more the Daesh name is starting to be used, even if the news outlets need to subtitle it as “the arabic name for…”

    In SB, it was at first hard to tell if it wasn’t just another typical week in the USA, as some disgruntled employee “went postal”.

    So the discussion of the SB event has taken two directions, what to do about that death-cult, and what to do about the general level of mass shootings in the USA.

    Both are issues worthy of debate, but it might be less confusing if we kept them apart.

    Michael, I for one welcome your presence here, as you’re voicing an opinion that I haven’t seen before on this forum, which can become a bit of an echo chamber – preaching to the choir, if you like. To have a contributor who can eloquently present another viewpoint is a good thing, and it would be a loss to this forum if you were put off by antagonistic responses.

    ps I note that my original cynical comment, about wanting to stock up, has been vindicated, unfortunately, as I now see reports that gun sales are way up since SB, as they are, it seems, after every report of mass-murder-by-gun.

    My cynical side wonders if it isn’t the gunmakers who are behind all these mass shootings, since they seem to be such an effective marketing tool. My other side hopes for proof it isn’t so.



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  • I don’t know who you’re addressing. If it’s me, yes. I love Borge. But why bring him up? From Mailer to Borge? I like Jonathan Winters too, and Jackie Gleason.



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  • Phil, David, Akrid et al,

    Well I didn’t think Akrid’s comments were so hot. America is an enormously complex country, with a rich and fascinating history. America in the Twenties, for example. —From what I’ve read, there was nothing like it. And so many great artists, musicians, writers, film makers, scientists.
    You Europeans are right, but only, I would say, 70 percent right. That’s not good enough. You don’t know America. Read Mailer! You’re always telling me (Phil) to read more science, well I’m telling you to read more American writers like Mailer, to get an idea how fascinating and complex (and yes, diseased) this country is.
    (And we massacred an indigenous people and we had slavery; yes, I know. But the sixties were an incredible time. Civil Rights, the Anti-Vietnam war movement. America today is fucked up. Believe me, I get it.)



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  • Doug and all the others.

    You can walk and chew gum. The solutions you all offer are not either / or. They can all be implemented simultaneously. Gun control. Mental health. Education. Voting for rational politicians. Cooperation to side line the NRA… on and on.

    So I can’t see the point in arguing that one solution is better than another. America is nearly terminal with gun violence. If we started today, it would take 30 plus years of slow, painstaking persistence across all solutions to get America to where Australia is today, and the citizens don’t have to sleep with loaded firearms.



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  • Doug wrote:

    In the US, the second amendment (and its misinterpreters) is the major impediment to implementing any truly effective strategy.

    Easily fixed Doug. Change it. That amendment was written about muskets, not assault rifles. Time to update and allow civilization to develop, as has happened in other countries. You’re not in the wild west now.

    The US experiment illuminates the fact that people can’t be trusted with guns. Most of the perpetrators aren’t mentally ill or lacking in education. They lacked the opportunity to cool down while loading their musket.



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  • Easily fixed Doug. Change it.

    Changing it is clearly the first thing that must be done to fix it, Len, and I would certainly support any efforts to do so, but it is far from “easy”. Amending (or un-amending, in this case) the US Constitution is apparently, and by design, one of the most difficult things to do in America.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/view_from_chicago/2014/05/amending_the_constitution_is_much_too_hard_blame_the_founders.html



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  • A bit harsh Doug. I did preface the link with:-

    Don’t know if this is true… but it is indicative.

    Indicative is about as strong as suggestive. It’s not something you are going to act on, but it might lead you to research for more accurate figures….



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  • So I can’t see the point in arguing that one solution is better than another.

    The point in the arguing is not just that there are solutions that are better than others, but that there are also purported “solutions” that have not actually solved the real problem. Mass killings are just one small, gruesome piece of a very large and messy pie of people killing people. Let’s get back to first principles and deal with the causes.



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  • Rational. No. Indicative. Yes.

    As to the top 10 causes of death in the US, I suspect they would be very similar to Australia. Looks a fairly standard for a western country. The first three are mostly age related. Not surprising. 5, 6 and 7 ditto. A bit surprised about the accidents. Road crashes?

    But I wouldn’t class any of them as stupid, or easily preventable. This is stupid though.

    In Chicago more than 2500 people were shot last year – one every three hours. Most were black;

    http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2015/s4365288.htm

    One every three hours??? WT…

    I guess the usual public health measures would be promoted to cure the top ten, just like in Australia. Nothing appears to be happening for the stupid preventable one though. NRA frothing at the mouth at Obama’s suggestion that suspected terrorists should be prevented from buying assault rifles.



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  • Indeed, it’s not hard to figure out that limiting access to guns should reduce these murders to nearly zero.

    Perhaps I should have just said that I sleep with the windows open, or that I don’t always lock the door when I leave the house. -dunno-



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  • Right now I am having trouble with my health insurance. I agree with you, David.

    the USA’s clocks always run 30 years behind what the rest of the
    world considers a civilized norm.

    Damned right. Those assholes (the insurance people I’ve been dealing with) have been making false claims and lying to me. I’ll sue the bastards.



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  • How curious?

    What makes you think I haven’t read most major American writers and playwrights or that I’m not steeped in American culture?

    I worked for a time in LA late eighties, then for the auto majors in Detroit in the nineties then two and a half major lighting companies in Chicago. America was the shiniest of prospects in the sixties and seventies and much of the theatre company I worked with moved to LA to write, act and direct. We loved the place. It was aspirational for us. That is exactly why I talk of its pre-eminent creativity.

    I believe I know exactly what is fantastic about the US, what its potentialities are. This is the pain of the shortfall. If I didn’t care, why would I beef so?

    I feel European as often as I feel variously English/British.

    The Europeans were the colonists and the driver of much of the bad, as I pointed out.



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  • Dan
    Dec 7, 2015 at 12:46 am

    Right now I am having trouble with my health insurance. I agree with you, David.

    Later this morning I am having a check-up involving a CT scan. It is provided as part of the UK National health service / National Insurance Scheme, at no charge. and no commissions to any insurance salesmen.



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  • 246
    Olgun says:

    What about the causes that those who live in countries where the gun is not really available are telling you? One that says having no guns floating around makes us feel safer and allows us to get on with the task of making things better, which will never hit a high enough scale to allow guns on the street at the levelThey are in America. Lets make things better, in your terms makes it sound as if there will be a time and is achievable and is a false assumption.



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  • 247
    bonnie says:

    feel sorry for America

    I feel sorry for the little boy (front row) in Michele Fiore’s (R-Nev) / 2015 Christmas card /.

    Gauging by another photo of him, playing checkers and fishing for minnows would be his druthers.



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  • @OP – “As latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes,” the cover reads.

    Meanwhile with heavier weapons, an uninvited air-force seems to have massacred a village!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35031531

    Syria air strikes ‘kill 26 civilians’

    Syrian activists say at least 26 civilians, including children, have been killed in the north-east of the country by air strikes possibly carried out by the US-led coalition.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, says the village of al-Khan, near al-Hawl in Hasakah province, was hit.

    The coalition has been targeting IS militants in Syria since September 2014, and does not co-ordinate its raids with the authorities in Damascus.

    I wonder what the US or UK reaction would be, if an uninvited foreign air-force bombed a village and killed 26 people in their countries?

    Russia has also been bombing IS and other opponents of President Bashar al-Assad since late September.

    At the request and with the co-operation of the Syrian government.



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  • Nothing appears to be happening for the stupid preventable one though. NRA frothing at the mouth at Obama’s suggestion that suspected terrorists should be prevented from buying assault rifles.

    The NRA has transformed the 2nd Amendment into profit and is wrapped comfortably in its protective, misguided, and misinterpreted words which are effectively an extension of the Ten Commandments, written in stone for those committed to the sanctity of the almighty US Constitution. I’m afraid nothing short of civil war or revolution will rectify the situation. This is just another example of how past failures (in this case by our founding “saints”) complicate the present and the future. But, who could have known?

    (Sorry for being harsh. It’s one of my failings. Hope is doesn’t complicate things too much.)



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  • If I need a slap…. Slap away. If I say something ridiculous, then employ ridicule to dispatch it. In the free market of ideas, one lives of dies on the quality of supporting evidence and argument. Ask the global warming deniers on FB that feel the lash on my evidentiary QWERTY.

    I can’t see a solution to the 2nd Amendment. The Supreme Court is a political animal and won’t rule on what the words obvious were intended to mean. How does it work in America? If you can amend the constitution to insert the 2nd amendment, can you have a referendum and remove the 2nd amendment? I’ve just read up on the Wikipedia explanation. Seems the yanks are stuck with it.

    At the time the amendment was passed, given the war of independence, it was a reasonable proposal. The newly independent country of America is looking over it’s shoulder at all sorts of threats. So:- “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.” was probably sound policy.

    While the 2nd amendment was appropriate to its time, I would argue that the threat of a foreign power taking over America is virtually zero, and the need for a “Well Ordered Militia” is non existent. I know it’s just me dreaming, but I wonder what the polling would be if such a proposal was put forward.

    And as an aside on a legal question, could it be argued that you are required to be a member of a “Well Ordered Militia” before you could own a firearm. Is that implied in the text. And what if the Militia was not “Well Ordered” and was in fact just a South Chicago street gang. Would this mean that they couldn’t own guns. Also, the amendment seems to say that the possession of the firearm is for the purpose of ” necessary to the security of a free state” So if your possession of a firearm was not in active support of the “Security of a Free State”, just shooting rabbits, are you in breech of the constitution?

    America. So much potential. So little progress.



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  • Alan4discussion Dec 7, 2015 at 4:40 am

    I wasn’t sure, so erred on the side of safety, as it were. Recently, Dawkins corrected deGrasse Tyson about that during a discussion. Prior to that I had always thought that the UK was part of Europe.
    Anyway, that was my source. Dawkins seemed sensitive on that point, so I didn’t want to offend anyone here.



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  • The primary fear was not of foreign takeover, but domestic, by the government’s standing army.

    So much discussed this has been. (Apologies to Yoda.)

    http://www.lectlaw.com/files/gun01.htm

    Understanding what is meant by “well regulated militia” is crucial.

    …the Framers were not referring to any particular well regulated militia but, instead, only to the concept that well regulated militias, made up of citizens bearing arms, were necessary to secure a free State. Thus, the Framers chose not to explicitly define who, or what, would regulate the militias, nor what such regulation would consist of, nor how the regulation was to be accomplished.

    What good is a militia without arms? Any attempt to make any change to the right to bear arms is immediately resisted as an attempt to make “we the people” less than free to control their own destinies. I guess as long as “we the people” are willing to endure the costs of that sacred freedom, this Constitutional right will not change.

    Thankfully it’s not the only possible solution.



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  • Have there been any recent referendums that successfully amended the constitution. Australia has successfully amended its constitution on quite a few occasions, especially when there is bipartisan support. We’re about to amend it again to recognize the pre-existing native population.

    Would an amendment to the 2nd be possible in US



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  • phil rimmer
    Dec 7, 2015 at 2:30 am

    Okay. Sorry. As you can see it was just before 7: pm; hadn’t yet eaten, was irritable. (Is the time given for postings the same in England or wherever you are? Just curious. How does that work? This post says 2:48 am; what does it say on your screen?)
    Point well taken. ‘
    (Theater company? I’m working on a play now, have 90 pages.)
    Sorry for my mistake. I was responding to an emotion, had the impression that “everyone” had one-sided, negative view of America.
    (I am deeply pessimistic and concerned and angry myself about this abysmal country.)
    Sorry, Phil, the last thing I’d want to do is offend you – not after all that time and energy you put into responding to my comments.
    Take care. Talk to you soon.



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  • P.S. Your post above says 2:30 am. Is that your time or mine? I suddenly find myself perplexed. Two or more different time zones. How does the site choose, and have, one time-zone – in order for members to refer to a given comment they made by indicating the time it was posted?



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  • I’m not certain, but I think your browser/operating system adjusts the time displayed to you based on the time zone you have set on your computer. So we all should see the time as it would have been on our clocks when the comment was posted. (Seems like magic, doesn’t it?)
    If you wish to refer to a specific comment, you can copy and paste the date/time (it’s a link to the comment) into your comment or reply. For example, here’s yours.
    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/12/daily-news-provokes-with-cover-on-calif-shooting-god-isnt-fixing-this/#li-comment-192244



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  • Dan

    Those assholes (the insurance people

    Life in the US of A means dealing with this stupid problem. The insurance assholes collect boatloads of cash (we pay 800+ per month for three people) and then when the going gets rough they prefer that you will just go off and die. Good luck with it.



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  • One of the woo-deluded has pleaded guilty to the Colorado shooting at the family planning clinic.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-35056754
    The man accused of killing three at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado has said in court that he is guilty and a “warrior for the babies”.

    I am guilty. There will be no trial. I am a warrior for the babies,” he said during a court hearing where prosecutors announced his charges.

    Robert Dear, 57, faces 179 charges for the attack that killed two civilians and a police officer, and wounded nine.

    During the hearing, he was formally charged with first-degree murder.

    The Planned Parenthood group has drawn anti-abortion protests in the past.

    Dear said something about “no more baby parts” during his arrest and had asked for directions to the clinic prior to the attack.

    You’ll never know what I saw in that clinic. Atrocities. The babies. That’s what they want to seal,” Dear said during the hearing.

    *Those who were killed in the attack include police officer Garrett Swasey, 44, Iraq War veteran Ke’Arre Stewart, 29, and Jennifer Markovsky, 35, who was taking a friend to the clinic*.



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  • David Cameron is suggesting the EU takes a firm line to restrict illegal and high powered guns.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35086934
    The EU should crack down on the illegal gun trade, the prime minister will urge in the wake of the Paris attacks.

    At this week’s European Council, David Cameron will call for “greater co-operation” and a halt to the traffic in “guns from the western Balkans”.

    Mr Cameron will also propose a “new EU-wide ban on all high-powered semi-automatic weapons”.

    The EU’s response to the Paris attacks will be discussed at the meeting, which begins on Thursday in Brussels.

    Number 10 said that alongside a ban, measures would include greater sharing of ballistics data, a plan to improve intelligence about firearms in the western Balkans, action to take firearms out of circulation and a “clear implementation” plan for all member states.



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