Atheists are a small minority in the U.S. Advocates of gun control might be a minority in America as well. In light of the recent shootings in Aurora I am curious as to how atheists in this network view the lack of gun restrictions. There are probably divergent views.
I have trouble believing that both presidential candidates are steering away from any call for reform after the horrific mass shooting. In my opinion it is insane to allow citizens access to assault weapons that can kill scores of people in a few minutes. It was even more shocking to hear on a news show that a family had to raise money to pay for the immense hospital bills for one of the victims while they were already crippled with medical bills from the mothers fight with breast cancer.
As a Canadian I came to stand with my U.S brothers for the reason rally and freedom from religion. I would be willing to come down to the capitol and march for two other important causes. Gun control and universal health care.
We could ban all guns in a military base, we could ban all Muslims from the military, or we could do the sensible thing, which is to monitor mental health of personnel on base.
Jonathan, we have Mark Lepine in Canada who killed a lot of women at a University and there is that Norway monster - Anders Breivik. When these horrific events occur it just gets some of us thinking about guns. I like Alan's point in this discussion - "The US accounts for 80% of all gun deaths in the 30 richest countries (combined!). "
Just like there is a divide between atheists and the religious on god, there is a divide between the Canadian and American cultures about guns and I don't get it - I may be wrong just like I may be wrong about the existence of god, but just like religion always never felt right to me, carrying guns around also feels like the wrong way. It is a long frustrating argument that won't sway either society.
Here is some more on that cultural divide by an American who thanks God she lives in Canada
(I accidentally say thank God sometimes but would never write it.)
I'm not sure what's right. I don't know anybody that carries guns around either, the the subject is a little bit more complicated than at first glance. A lot of people will be quick to condemn the availability of guns following a massacre such as this, but can we really say that this will be solved with gun control?
Guns will exist. Especially in countries with such divergent communities such as America.
People who want one will find it, but I think tighter regulations will make sure they get into the hands of the right people, or at least people who show no signs of mental illness. I think people who want to carry guns should have to submit to psychiatric examinations every year or some period of time.
Even so, the government would have to spend incredible amounts of money to root out black markets for guns, drugs, prostitution, or whatever, and it's ironically a self-defeating exercise, because the more money you spend to crack something down, the more someone will be willing to spend to get it -- more importantly, the more incentive there is for people to profit from the situation.
Our 2nd Amendment is certainly a cog in the wheel...
I think the best "atheist reasoning" on this topic would be evidence based. Examples would be correlation, such as correlation of prevalence of guns with prevalence of violence. I don't have that evidence, and correlation vs. causation are not the same thing. But it's often the best that we have.
I work at a medical clinic that serves many thousands of people. It's a wide cross section of society. I have been physically assaulted 4 times, or about once every other year. I"m a big guy, and maybe you'd have to be crazy to assault me - but that's kind of the point. There are crazy people around. In addition, I've been threatened to the point that security guards are called, about once a year. That usually involves someone who discovers that their path to a narcotic prescription is through me, but there is no medical reason to give it, and plenty of medical and legal reasons not to. I've been verbally abused, threatened, lied to, and lied about, when I refuse such a prescription. I've had people say, "wait till you leave work, asshole." (Note, I do prescribe narcotics, to multi people per day. It's a big societal and medical issue).
Thinking about it, if people could freely carry guns here, I'd probably be dead now. I'm not a fast draw. I'm often in a room alone with these people. Or they see me going out to the parking lot. Or at the grocery store. I guess this doesn't happen in Colorado, good for them. But I honestly think I'd have to give up my career. Anyone who doesn't think this through, I think, Jesus, what planet are they on?
Then add to that, the zillion altercations that people get into . A crowded subway. Suburban commuting. Road rage. A drug store. A neighborhood dispute. Walking across a neighborhood with a package of skittles, while black.
OK, I'd like to see evidence, but the idea of people carrying guns freely in society, and especially in my workplace, would scare the shit out of me. I prefer for this kind of threat to be minimized. I absolutely do not think having guns in the hands of most people, when a significant fraction of people are either crazy, have attitude problems, are overworked and stressed, or are opportunistic, or something pisses them off, is a good thing.
America is a nation living in fear. Canadians (at least most of them) welcome diversity, while down south, it is often greeted with suspicion and distrust. With the exception of the war between the colonials (white settlers) and the British, Americans are constantly in conflict with people of other races. First it was the natives, whose land were taken by force, then you have the Negroes, who were forced into slavery. The Civil War created hurt feelings between northern and southern states; a sentiment that is still around in some states. The United States' involvement with Middle East conflict brought about this latest hatred of Americans and Western culture in general, by Arabs and other Muslim people. Lastly, you have the homegrown lunatics who are armed to the teeth, thanks to the 2nd Amendment. Americans see threats everywhere. Is it surprising that right after the Colorado shooting, the sale of guns actually shoots up?
Oscar: "Americans see threats everywhere."
Seeing threat is a rational response to our "To hell with the hindmost" sociopath-owned capitalism.
VERY slowly, employees are becoming owners of their workplaces. Such workplaces are more humane.
That is so untrue, we Canadians live in more fear than the USA and it is reflected in our over-bearing government and the fact that we have lost the right to free assembly more than a decade ago and people don't even care. Canada is a nation of sheeps, and we have no separation of church and state, legally we have not a leg to stand on. I say this from the perspective of a trinlingual Canadian who has lived 10 of my 47 years in the USA. On a daily basis, there is much more freedom and diversity in the USA than in Canada. As for "natives", Canadians have been more genocidal than the USA. Canada multinational corporations are destroying many countries in Africa and South America, on a per capita basis, more so than the USA. The USA may send planes to subdue countries, Canada sends corporations to impoverish those peoples, I honestly don't prefer our method. Sales trends in Canada are practically identical to sales trends in the USA. Daily I have this conversation with fellow Canadians, I've lived in four provinces and one territory, most (not all certainly) Canadians who think like you have never lived or at best did a modicum of travel in the USA. Most Canadians assess the USA by the biased words from our nearly single-owned media.
"We Canadians live in more fear than the USA" That sounds anecdotal. What group of Canadians do you hang out with - because the majority of the ones I associate with here in Toronto feel quite safe and may have an over reaction to the news from the U.S. and don't feel safe about visiting there. I was just in Quebec City last week and heard the same thing. But, that is anecdotal as well.
I have different groups of friends and one group who is I see monthly at a "wing night" are staunchly conservative, don't believe in Climate change, and are religious. They believe in owning a gun for hunting. I brought up our discussion and thought they would side with little or no controls on guns and was surprised by their answer. They thought the U.S. was out of control with weaponry and were convinced that change will finally come in the U.S.
Based on what I have been hearing here I'm not so sure of that - so we as always were arguing from the opposite side over wings and beer.
Being that we're in a totally anecdotal conversation, I'd propose to you that the anecdotes provided by people basing their opinions on hearsay and biased media have less weight than the anecdotes provided by someone who's lived and worked many years in each of these places. But if you view all anecdotes as having the exact same weight, then there's really no point in anyone expressing an opinion right? In the world of facts, Canada is a stronger "Big Brother" nation than the USA. We regulate every single little aspect of life, and our police presence is much stronger than in the USA. Frankly, any time I hear Canadians put down USA'ers without having lived there it sends a vibe of "useless" up my spine... and I've encountered this attitude lots, all across Canada. Remember that little Simpsons film... remember that little joke: Moms against Canadians? That film portrayed quite accurately my view of Big Brother Canadiana. From cats on leaches, to lawn heights, to helmets laws on safe activities, to peer pressure dress codes.
I miss the USA dearly, my work there is finished, and there is not another similar opportunity on the present horizon, but I'd move back there in an instant if it were in feasible, and so it is with all other nationalities I've met in the USA. That doesn't mean I did not get the jitters when my best friend down there took her lady pistol out of her safe. Guns scare me and I've never owned any. But legislation is not the answer.
Here in NH guns are a way of life. That's what the state motto (:live froo or die") really means - don't try to take away my guns.
The problem with gun control is that criminals don't obey laws. And while the argument that the founding fathers couldn't have foreseen today's modern weapons is a good one, we still have to deal with the fact that these weapons exist and can be obtained illegally whenever someone really wants one. I think Atheists, the voice of reason, should instead advocate gun education. Using the weapons responsibly from an early age can teach a respect for handling weapons and ending accidental child deaths.
I've taken a gun safety class which covered gun laws and taking the test to purchase a gun. I found them quite informative and they are taught by law enforcement.
I also would like to point out, it's better to have a gun and not need it, than need it and not have it. In a life and death situation, you'll be glad you have access to one rather than sitting in a locked bedroom waiting for the police to arrive.
A man I once worked with told me the most sensible words I've ever heard on guns.
He did not allow his children to play with toy guns, but early on and with real guns he taught them gun safety.