Gun Control

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Gun Control

Postby elfprince13 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:10 am

I don't understand how the NRA has made such cowards of everyone. A baby was shot. Children were shot. And you know they're going to just double down and quash any attempt to have a conversation about reasonable gun control.
"Reasonable gun control" is never going to prevent psychopaths from getting weapons to kill people. What it will prevent is normal people from being able to shoot a psychopath down as soon as something insane like this starts to happen. What do you think would have happened if every person in that theater had been packing and trained to use a gun? I live in a state with the lowest (or second lowest, depending on the year) crimerate in the country, and we have NO gun control laws. Concealed carry is allowed without a permit. A significant percentage of the population are hunters (or grew up hunting) and are well trained in gun safety. Ironically, we also happen to be one of the most liberal/progressive states in the country

Unfortunately, we have Massachussetts to our south, with it's absolutely over-the-top nutso gun control, so that when my cousin needed to fly out of Boston airport to go home to Alaska, he had to leave all his guns with us because his car was designed for rural utility and not suburban lookniceitude (they don't allow the transportation of guns in a vehicle whose trunk can be accessed from inside the car).


[MOD EDIT: I've split these posts off from the "Things I Don't Understand" thread - the original quote is there]
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Re: Things I Don't Understand

Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:51 am

I'm curious what "reasonable gun control" actually entails.

Gun control laws are always billed as "reasonable," of course. Despite the fact they have a very ugly history. They originated in America as a way to oppress minorities. America's first gun control laws, passed in Virginia in the 1600s, were designed solely to disarm free blacks. These laws were strengthened following the Civil War, with the intent of preventing free blacks from defending themselves against terrorism by ugly groups like the Klan. But that was a long time ago, right? Surely modern gun control laws aren't founded on such a morally bankrupt foundation.

Except, well, they are. The entire fabric of modern gun control was created in the late 1960s. Why? To disarm "extremist" blacks. Written by Sen. Dodd, after the Library of Congress provided him with a translated copy of the regulations Nazis used to disarm the Jews.

EDIT: Plus, you know, all the things elf said. (I'll just add that Chicago, which had some of the strictest gun controls in the nation, saw gun violence and crime worsen after instituting the controls, relative to itself before the laws, relative to similarly-sized cities, relative to neighboring cities and counties, relative to the state, and relative to the nation. And since the Supreme Court struck down the city's unconstitutional gun controls, for what it's worth, the crime rates and homicides have dropped, and dropped faster relative to those other groups.)
Last edited by Syphon the Sun on Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Things I Don't Understand

Postby starlooker » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:54 am

That is EXACTLY the type of BULLSHIT I'm talking about.
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Re: Things I Don't Understand

Postby buckshot » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:04 am

The "rabid" gun control freaks scare me more at times as this than the violence itself! No gun control wishes I have seen so far would keep someone from ordering the parts if not the complete kits to easily assemble even fully auto guns over the internet. Hell at least one of us buys Cuban cigars online routed through another country and never have had said shipment held up or confiscated.

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Re: Things I Don't Understand

Postby elfprince13 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:11 am

That is EXACTLY the type of BULLSHIT I'm talking about.

Which part, exactly? Syphon's historical perspective, or my discussion of VT? Or both? And if it is bullshit, do you have evidence to support that? I understand that guns are scary, and that shootings stir up a lot of dark emotions related to that fear and a desire to protect other people from the same sort of tragedy, but our legal system can't be based purely on emotional responses, because those most often obscure an issue, rather than promote a level-headed analysis. I don't want to come across as belittling your response, because an event like this does reveal that there is an awful, awful problem of some kind, but I do want to encourage you to support or refine your feelings on the issue with an evidence-based discussion. We both responded to your frustration over "squashed attempts to have a conversation" by starting a conversation, and your response to us was cursing.

To continue the conversation, I (or anyone else with a highschool+Internet supplemented knowledge of physics, chemistry, and engineering) can go to the hardware store, and purchase everything I need to create weapons that would have killed a significantly larger number of people than were killed by the gunfire. Should we also restrict who buys PVC piping, steel wool, bleach, batteries, styrofoam, gasoline, or an etch-a-sketch?


Also, it said children were injured, but do we know for sure that they were shot? or was it just injury due to the tear gas that was released? Both are horrible, but I haven't read anything one way or the other yet except to say that children were among the ones hospitalized (and that some of the people hospitalized were for treatment for exposure to tear gas).
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Jayelle » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:29 am

I'm spliting this off into a new topic. If you guys want to discuss gun control or lack thereof, discuss it in it's own topic.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby elfprince13 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:51 am

I'm spliting this off into a new topic. If you guys want to discuss gun control or lack thereof, discuss it in it's own topic.
Thanks Jayelle. :)
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Dr. Mobius » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:47 pm

What do you think would have happened if every person in that theater had been packing and trained to use a gun?
The death toll would've been much higher in the crossfire. There's a big difference between knowing how to use a gun and having the police or military training to act effectively in a chaotic situation.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby elfprince13 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:58 pm

The death toll would've been much higher in the crossfire. There's a big difference between knowing how to use a gun and having the police or military training to act effectively in a chaotic situation.
There's a big difference between knowing how to take off a safety and indiscriminately pull a trigger and "knowing how to use a gun".
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Re: Things I Don't Understand

Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:03 pm

Also, it said children were injured, but do we know for sure that they were shot?
At least a little good news from the Twitterverse. I'm glad the baby is fine.

@johnNBCLA: Reports of 3 month old victim UPDATE: baby was not shot, taken to hospital as precaution; family tells @9NEWS baby is fine
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Dr. Mobius » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:10 pm

You already have one stranger with a gun. Add a few more or dozens as you suggest in a stressful situation with no easy way to know which gunmen are good or bad. Even assuming they can avoid hitting unarmed bystanders, they're likely to end up shooting at each other in the confusion.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby elfprince13 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:31 pm

You already have one stranger with a gun. Add a few more or dozens as you suggest in a stressful situation with no easy way to know which gunmen are good or bad. Even assuming they can avoid hitting unarmed bystanders, they're likely to end up shooting at each other in the confusion.

The smoke/tear-gas grenades actually should have made it much easier for handgun owners with laser sights since it would have been very clear who was aiming at the guy walking up the stairs and who was waving a gun all around the theater. Though admittedly, the body army he was wearing was less of a stand-out feature at the opening night of batman than it would have been for most other events.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby neo-dragon » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:06 pm

I don't have answers on what to do about gun control laws, but I agree with Josh. More civilians carrying guns in that situation would almost certainly have resulted in more casualties, not less. Panic, poor lighting, and a lot of people packed into a room filling with tear gas and few exits. Yeah, that's a scenario that needs frightened people with guns.

Elf, I think you vastly overestimate most people's ability to function in that kind of crisis without extensive training.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:40 pm

I hear the words "almost certainly" thrown around with a lot of predictions these days. But they're never actually followed up with evidence of why those predictions would "almost certainly" happen. If you have instances of that actually happening in other scenarios, cool. That would lead to a productive discussion. But just making a blanket statement about what would "almost certainly" happen, not based on experience or evidence? Not so much. That goes for both sides.

That doesn't mean there aren't examples of what you're talking about. It means that those examples are helpful to the discussion. Mere assertions are not.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby neo-dragon » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:01 pm

In the interest of being more reasonable I will downgrade my "almost certainly" to a "very likely", but I stand by my assertion that most people are useless in a panic, and arming them with a deadly weapon no matter how competent they are using it on a firing range will "very likely" make them worse than useless.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby elfprince13 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:04 pm

I will only point out that I specifically used the word "trained" in my initial statement regarding the helpfulness of having armed citizens present in the theater. And point out that a various times in our history, we had such laws as to make it illegal to (for example) attend church without a gun.

To move away from hypothetical situations towards something which is well studied, I think it would be helpful to discuss the parallels between gun-control laws and anti-drug or anti-prostitution laws, in terms of the economics of black markets and the added impetus for organized (and violent) crime in such markets. I think there also clear parallels to be drawn in terms of similarities between "homebrew"/"synthetic" options and the impracticality of controlling those.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby neo-dragon » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:12 pm

I will only point out that I specifically used the word "trained" in my initial statement regarding the helpfulness of having armed citizens present in the theater.
So... police? Or just armed civilians with police training and none of the support and oversight?
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:17 pm

I stand by my assertion
And right here is why I don't think this discussion is going to be helpful.

My point wasn't that your assertion of a predicted outcome was too certain ("almost certainly" vs. "very likely"). I don't care where you put the odds. My point was that you were making an assertion of a predicted outcome without offering evidence or examples to support your assertion.

I'm glad you stand by your assertion. I didn't want you to abandon it. I wanted you to support it.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Rei » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:18 pm

I agree that it is dangerous to make reactionary laws.

I do not and cannot ever see myself agreeing to this absurd and insidious notion of right to carry murderous weapons in public. It is disgusting. There is almost no use to carrying a handgun EXCEPT to shoot people, and that is not acceptable in any society that wishes to count itself part of the first world. And if you see someone carrying a rifle in the city, the first response should be to call the police, because there is very little reason to do so except to kill people. And none of this s*** about free will or rights or whatever you want to call it holds water with ordered reason.

No, laws should not be made because of this one incident. That said, laws should be made to reduce the litany of such incidents that have happened and that will continue to happen so long as people clamour to have guns in the hands of anyone who wants them for whatever purpose they want them. The failure to have such laws reduces any claim a country has to calling themselves civilised.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby neo-dragon » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:21 pm

This isn't a formal debate or an essay. I'm here to speak my mind. I have no desire or obligation to support my assertion.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:38 pm

There is almost no use to carrying a handgun EXCEPT to shoot people, and that is not acceptable in any society that wishes to count itself part of the first world.
It's not acceptable to defend yourself from violence, from terrorism, from genocide? Even when the government fails to protect you? Even when the government itself is complicit in (or even perpetrates) the act?
This isn't a formal debate or an essay. I'm here to speak my mind. I have no desire or obligation to support my assertion.
That's fine. It's just not productive to actually having a meaningful discussion.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Rei » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:43 pm

There is almost no use to carrying a handgun EXCEPT to shoot people, and that is not acceptable in any society that wishes to count itself part of the first world.
It's not acceptable to defend yourself from violence, from terrorism, from genocide? Even when the government fails to protect you? Even when the government itself is complicit in the act?
I was unaware that the American government is waging a violent war on its own people. It must be a scary place to live. Sounds like Syria. The government has been failing to protect you, though, I agree. Its failure is letting everyone and their dog carry a gun.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby neo-dragon » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:49 pm

This isn't a formal debate or an essay. I'm here to speak my mind. I have no desire or obligation to support my assertion.
That's fine. It's just not productive to actually having a meaningful discussion.
When you converse with your friends in real life do you actually insist on them providing citations and support for every statement? That sounds rather insufferable.
I was unaware that the American government is waging a violent war on its own people. It must be a scary place to live. Sounds like Syria. The government has been failing to protect you, though, I agree. Its failure is letting everyone and their dog carry a gun.
History, politics, and even psychology are not my areas of expertise, but I have a theory (or maybe more of a suspicion) that Syphon's attitude, which I've heard from many Americans, is some kind of cultural remnant from having had to fight a war to win their country's independence. We Canadians just don't get it.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:01 pm

I was unaware that the American government is waging a violent war on its own people.
Good call on completely avoiding the question I actually asked and trying to make a joke. Of course, I'd probably sidestep the question, too, if I thought it was okay for the government to disarm politically-weak groups so that the disarmed people would have no way to defend themselves against acts of terrorism or genocide.

Gun control was used in America to disarm blacks, American Indians, Catholics and immigrants, for hundreds of years. From the slave codes, to Jim Crow, to the modern gun control laws. It was used in Germany to disarm the Jews, the gypsies, and other politically disfavored groups. It's still being used in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea to disarm would-be victims of genocide. See also the genocides of the Armenians, the Kulaks, the natives in Guatemala, the Ugandans, and the Cambodians.

So, I ask again: is it not acceptable to defend yourself from violence, from terrorism, from genocide? Even when the government fails to protect you? Even when the government itself is complicit in the act?

ETA: I realized this came off a little harsher than I intended. Tried to bring it down a bit.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:06 pm

When you converse with your friends in real life do you actually insist on them providing citations and support for every statement?
If we're having a meaningful discussion about a topic and they make bold, unsubstantiated assertions: you betcha. There's no real value-add to having a discussion if it's nothing but made-up facts and assertions.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby neo-dragon » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:07 pm

You probably don't realize how paranoid that sounds to some of us. (The other post, I mean. Not the response to me).
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:15 pm

You probably don't realize how paranoid that sounds to some of us.
Given the fact that governments are currently disarming politically-weak groups of people so that those groups cannot defend themselves against acts of violence, oppression and genocide, I'm not sure why asking whether it's acceptable for those people to defend themselves is "paranoid."

These aren't abstract hypotheticals. They aren't baseless fears. They're things that are happening, in real life.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Rei » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:25 pm

Ad hominem for the win! Stickin' it to the man!

Syphon, I'm not suggesting the American government should disarm politically weak groups. I'm not saying the government has never done used gun control to suppress minorities it fears. I am saying that gun control should apply to everyone. Yes, there are cases where handguns are legitimate, but outside of the police (who, at least in Canada, have a TON of paperwork to deal with if they even pull out the gun, nevermind use it), they should be VERY restricted for EVERYONE. Not just for blacks, or hispanics, or natives, or homosexuals, or people who like the colour blue. This is not the government waging war on the people: this is the government seeking to protect the people. Even if you carry a gun for protection, that implies that you are willing to point it at someone if you think it appropriate and you are willing to shoot and possibly kill them. You can attempt to justify it however you like, but most of those justifications do not hold up, especially when compared to countries which do have stricter gun control laws that are not designed to oppress specific demographics.

Yes, there are governments who today are waging war on their own people and who are disarming weak demographics with the goal to subjugate them and make them lesser citizens, or possibly not even that. I am not speaking about those governments. I am speaking about the States, which generally seek to hold themselves up as a model of civilisation for the world.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby elfprince13 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:35 pm

So... police? Or just armed civilians with police training and none of the support and oversight?
Citizens who are trained enough to be confident that their contribution to the situation will not result in a jail sentence when the police show up.


There is almost no use to carrying a handgun EXCEPT to shoot people, and that is not acceptable in any society that wishes to count itself part of the first world.
I mostly use them to shoot rotten pumpkins at Thanksgiving. ;) But more seriously, you're exactly right up to the comma. If someone breaks into my house and threatens my family, I want to be able to defend them, and not rely on police showing up sometime in the next couple of hours. If someone tried to mug or rape me, I want to be able to defend myself with minimal risk.
No, laws should not be made because of this one incident. That said, laws should be made to reduce the litany of such incidents that have happened and that will continue to happen so long as people clamour to have guns in the hands of anyone who wants them for whatever purpose they want them. The failure to have such laws reduces any claim a country has to calling themselves civilised.
To move away from hypothetical situations towards something which is well studied, I think it would be helpful to discuss the parallels between gun-control laws and anti-drug or anti-prostitution laws, in terms of the economics of black markets and the added impetus for organized (and violent) crime in such markets. I think there also clear parallels to be drawn in terms of similarities between "homebrew"/"synthetic" options and the impracticality of controlling those.
If guns are illegal, then the only people with them will be gun runners and criminals looking to use them violently. On the other hand,
I live in a state with the lowest (or second lowest, depending on the year) crimerate in the country, and we have NO gun control laws. Concealed carry is allowed without a permit. A significant percentage of the population are hunters (or grew up hunting) and are well trained in gun safety. Ironically, we also happen to be one of the most liberal/progressive states in the country
Additionally, Chicago long had the strictest gun control in the nation. Look how that did them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_C ... lent_crime" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If we're having a meaningful discussion about a topic and they make bold, unsubstantiated assertions: you betcha. There's no real value-add to having a discussion if it's nothing but made-up facts and assertions.
QFT.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:57 pm

Yes, there are governments who today are waging war on their own people and who are disarming weak demographics with the goal to subjugate them and make them lesser citizens, or possibly not even that. I am not speaking about those governments. I am speaking about the States, which generally seek to hold themselves up as a model of civilisation for the world.
You're not talking about that because...? Why? This is a discussion about gun control, not necessarily American gun control, right? I never made it about what the United States government should do. And when did you decide that's what you're talking about? Your first post was broad, like mine (and the rest of the discussion) had been.
I am saying that gun control should apply to everyone.
Including government actors? Police, military?
This is not the government waging war on the people: this is the government seeking to protect the people.
Even if we're talking just about America, or the UK, or wherever, how is it "protecting people" to make it harder for them to defend themselves? Can the government fill that role and protect them from wanton acts of violence? They certainly haven't done a good job of it in countries with strict gun control laws. That's not really protecting them. That's endangering them.
Even if you carry a gun for protection, that implies that you are willing to point it at someone if you think it appropriate and you are willing to shoot and possibly kill them.
In most cases: yes, it does.
You can attempt to justify it however you like, but most of those justifications do not hold up
You keep saying this. And not answering my question: is it acceptable to defend yourself from violence?
when compared to countries which do have stricter gun control laws that are not designed to oppress specific demographics.
Yeah, universal oppression is so much better!
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Dr. Mobius » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:12 pm

I like the parts where Syphon demands sources from others yet doesn't provide any to back up his own claims.

ETA: Also, why the f*** would John Q. Public need a laser sight on a handgun?
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Re: Gun Control

Postby elfprince13 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:18 pm

I like the parts where Syphon demands sources from others yet doesn't provide any to back up his own claims.

ETA: Also, why the f*** would John Q. Public need a laser sight on a handgun?
This is about to get super entertaining with Syphon smacking sources around.


And because a laser sight is what would allow John Q. Public to effectively use a hand gun while standing at a distance similar to the length of most movie theaters. Have you fired a gun in your life?
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:27 pm

I like the parts where Syphon demands sources from others yet doesn't provide any to back up his own claims.
I'd be happy to provide you, or anyone else, with sources for anything I've said. I always am. What specifically do you want?
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Rei » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:31 pm

I am focusing on the States because it is the States which is so gun crazy. And by and large, we don't have nearly so much in the way of wanton acts of violence in Canada.

I am okay with self-defence, but I fail to see why a gun is so necessary for that. It is a mark of either a wildly dangerous society (which I contend the States is not) or a person devoured by fear that they think they need to keep a lethal weapon on their person in order to be safe from any potential threat. If people are so concerned about defending themselves, probably they should take up a martial art or the like which would be more constructive and less likely to result in unexpected injuries, damages, or death. Even better, there is often a strong focus on self-control in martial arts which would help people to discern an appropriate level of force if they feel threatened. Something like this lends to a safer and better defended society and individual than a nervous person who likely doesn't have much martial training pointing a lethal weapon at a perceived threat.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:57 pm

You're full of conclusions, Rei. It's a shame you won't take the time to actually walk us through how you came to those conclusions and insist that we just be satisfied with your decree.

Are your observations about gun control only applicable to the United States? Do you believe that the oppressed people in other nations should be able to keep and bear arms to protect themselves against tyranny, terrorism and genocide? (Will I ever get an answer to that?)
I am focusing on the States because it is the States which is so gun crazy.
How do you define "gun crazy?" I mean, you can label the U.S. "Petey" and paint it red, but if you're not explaining your methodology of selection, it's hard to really know what the heck you're arguing. Is it just high rates of firearm ownership? If so, what's the threshold for a "high rate" of ownership? Are we excluding other nations with similar rates of gun ownership? If so, why?
And by and large, we don't have nearly so much in the way of wanton acts of violence in Canada.
How are you defining "wanton acts of violence?" Is it a particular kind of violent crime? All violent crime? A specific year? A long-term trend? Officially recorded crimes? Victims surveyed, for reported but not recorded crimes? Have you seen the graph below, or similar data, before? What data sources are you using?

Image
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I am okay with self-defence, but I fail to see why a gun is so necessary for that.
This takes a lot of unpacking, which means we have a lot of premises to break down, here. Do you believe that gun control laws keep guns out of the hands of criminals? If so, why? Do you have data to support that premise? If not, do you believe that criminals are deterred by knowing or suspecting that their would-be victims are armed? What if survey data from criminal actors found that to be one of the largest deterrents? Do you believe that an unarmed person has a better or worse chance of defending him or herself from an armed assailant? Does it matter if an assailant is larger and more powerful than the would-be victim? What if there were research that shows resistance with a firearm to have one of the strongest effects in reducing the risk of injury to a would-be victim?
If people are so concerned about defending themselves, probably they should take up a martial art or the like which would be more constructive and less likely to result in unexpected injuries, damages, or death.
And people who are physically weak, small, or disabled? Those who lack the sufficient time to devote to keeping their martial arts skills and physical fitness in perfect condition? And do you really think knowing martial arts will protect someone just as well when they're assaulted with a deadly weapon? Why is that? Part of this goes back to the earlier questions, as well.
Last edited by Syphon the Sun on Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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