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.
Forgive me if this has already been cross-referenced: I find that this is the very first time I stand wholly behind Sam Harris on something important:
Sam Harris Blog: The Riddle of the Gun
Listen to this morning's Day 6 (politically correct CBC radio)
Sam Harris on The Riddle of The Gun, RIGHT NOW!
Interesting article. Happy to see this quote from Sam Harris in the piece:
We could do many things to ensure that only fully vetted people could get a licensed firearm. The fact that guns in the U.S. can be legally purchased from private sellers without background checks on the buyers (the so-called “gun show loophole”) is terrifying. Getting a gun license could be made as difficult as getting a license to fly an airplane, requiring dozens of hours of training. I would certainly be happy to see policy changes like this. In that respect, I support much stricter gun laws.
Also it was a little ironic to see gun rallys backfire a little at gun shows across the U.S.
I struggle with the gun control issue. I mean, you can ban all guns but with millions of them already out there, how sensible is that and what would it achieve. Same is true for assault weapons. It appears to me regulating the use of guns is very unlikely to be successful. Maybe our time and money would be better spent on educating children and adults about how to recognize a person who may need help. Focus on mental health issues. Put mental health professionals in schools. Educate the public on how, when, why and where to report suspicious activities or behavior. Gun control may not be the best way to stop these tragedies.
On the issue of weaponry I'm mostly for unregulated ownership.
back round checks, continual education and registration with the city are practical and necessary.
anything beyond that is going overboard.
guns are and will be for a time to come the standard weapon for defense. like it or not governments can go crazy and when that day comes it would be good to be armed. I'm not saying that our gov is crazy. I'm saying that it's happened to every country in the entire world several times over that some people abuse power. the bottom line is the less armed the populace is the more vulnerable they are.
i don't think it's that big a deal whether it's regulated heavily or not considering we have more urgent matters to attend to like our economy, education standards, transportation problems and the NDAA that still exists for some reason.
The NRA has long plumped the idea that guns are required to keep a government afraid of its people.
Do you really think with the most powerful weapons on the planet, our government is afraid of a few wingnuts with peashooters?
And for self-defence they also plump. Let's see: it's dark, there is rummaging around in the front of your house, you decide to get a gun to scare away/shoot an intruder.
Do you turn on the light so you can see? Intruder sees you, he is already ready to fire, you're dead.
You fire in the dark. Pow. You hit your neighbour who came to check on you, or the cop who is after the intruder. Or your teenage son sneaking in after a hot date.
You know why you almost never read about anyone defending their home against an intruder in the paper? Because it is so rare it is national news. Likewise, the reason they never print articles (except locally) about intruders in homes is because it is so common.
If guns were an effective deterrent against crimes in homes, there would be no crimes in homes.
I think we might, hopefully, be seeing the beginning of a shift in American culture wherein we grapple with yet another social illness, and our civilized nature, over time, again wins out.
I’m thinking about how we eventually got tired of smokers blowing smoke in our faces, how first there were “smoke free zones” established in public places, and eventually, when the political will reached the tipping point, it resulted in the legislation we have today. We now see the smokers huddled outside, banned and ostracized from the majority of the non smoking public. I am of the notion that it will take a while, but gun toters will be similarly banned from ordinary civilized life in America.
Sure, you can still buy cigarettes, but you can’t smoke them anywhere you wish. Eventually there will be fewer and fewer smokers as smoking increasingly becomes a stigma that is simply socially unacceptable. And so it will be with guns. As we apply to malls, theaters, stadiums and other civil venues, LaPierre’s advocacy of keeping gun carriers out of our schools, gunners will become like the most severely addicted cigarette smokers among us . . . social pariahs, they and their stench unwelcome anywhere. The number of the gun addicted will plummet, and “concealed carry” will become a silly issue of our dark past. There is no other direction for social evolution to take, dystopian gun fantasies not withstanding. Social evolution happens, whether you like it or not. All the guns in the world won’t prevent it.
If we did reach that tipping point on December 14th, I don’t expect to see us accomplish the ultimate, logical outcome in my lifetime. (I’m a pretty old geezer). Then again, I never expected living long enough to see racism decline to such an extent that America would elect a person of color as our President.
We will, in the future, see society elevated out of the sewer of violence and obsessive weaponry, the gun toters and the arsenal accumulators become dinosaurs of the past, and American “exceptionalism” will no longer be measured by body counts, but by the life values we Americans share through our common human decency.
Yikes, all bold, that's hard on the eyes.
Nothwithstanding, your over bolding, and my non gun ownership, I view a gunless world as dystopian. I see peoples who are serfs to their governments, with absolutely no means to do anything about it. In Canada, we're not even allowed to gather freely in public places any more.
A gunless society is 1984, it is Equilibrium, it is Handmaid's Tale, it is Farenheit 451, all wrapped into one. Our democracies are a joke, and when the government starts closing in on you for doing things that should be legal in democratic societies. à
I'd take a free violent society over a Big Brother safe society any day. Big Brother societies are built slowly, like slowly boiling a frog, many Canadians do not notice when our freedoms disappear. We Canadians no longer live in a true democracy... remember that when you make laws which uselessly suppress freedom.
"Evolution" is not the appropriate word in this conversation. Evolution should never equate Big Brother.
That's the way I see it also, and so far the arguments for getting rid of our guns are not convincing to me.
If the US became enough of a dictatorship that the people revolted, causing the government to send soldiers to quell the rebellion, I think the soldiers would be greatly outnumbered, thus overriding their superior weapons advantage.
I also think many of the soldiers would be on the side of the people and many of the rest would probably feel sorry for those they were killing and stop after a time.
Idaho - I think your last sentence "I also think many of the soldiers would be on the side of the people" is essentially why there should be less guns in society. We don't need guns to defend ourselves from a dictatorship because of the attitude of the people is essential in whether there is a dictatorship or there is not one.
If the push comes from another country - you have the army for defense. If the push comes from within, soldiers and policemen who have grown up with the ideals of liberty would not allow a minority to dictate to the majority.
The only problem would be if the majority in the country decided to dictate to a minority. For example all religious people decided that atheists should be stripped of all their rights. If everyone carried assault rifles and atheists used theirs to win back rights, they would be outgunned. If only the army carried guns and atheists tried to fight back - they would also be outgunned.
Liberty, education and freedoms are the values that should move a society forward. If the people buy into those ideas (and they basically do in the U.S), you don't have to arm them with assault rifles. Your neighbor the cop or the marine won't stand for a takeover by a dictator.
Russell, you make some good points and I'm considering them, as I have with all posts here that weren't dogmatic or used name calling.
If I eventually decide you're right, that still leaves me with the desire to be able to defend myself against individuals or groups that attack me, especially those that break into my home. That's one thing that will take much more convincing to get me to change my mind.
I apologize for the “all bold”. My eyesight is not so good, and it helps me see. Normally sites do not recognize my choice of “text style”, and default to their own font, but I have found that A/N does not.
Again, I apologize, and do not intend to post in “all bold”. I will make an effort to see that it does not happen again.
That being said, I think "evolution" is a perfectly appropriate word, as civilization evolves just as organisms have and will continue to evolve.
I do not share your jaundiced view of government, nor do I share your (or Idaho Spud's) paranoia about the future. (as there are simply no "arguments for getting rid of our guns" being made)
“I'd take a free violent society over a Big Brother safe society any day.” is a perfect example of a false choice.
Your personal freedoms do not transcend the common good. In reality it is the common good that protects and enhances your individual freedoms.
The gun argument in the U.S. is a result of the impression that the freedom of unrestricted access to weapons has turned against the common good.
I can’t speak for Canada, but here in the U.S. the Constitution is a document that allows the continuing balancing act between personal freedoms and the common good to occur, and for us to argue about it.
Tell me this, what dystopian novels/essays have you read, and do you find their outcomes to be desirable? Do you really think 1984 or Equilibrium are desirable lifestyles????? There is practically no difference between N.American democracies and "1984". The Equilibrium version is under way... the percentage of permanently medicated humans is nearing 30% in some areas and will soon reach a majority of society.
So no, I do not have 'paranoia' about the future... I have dislike of the present directions of politics in N.America, present... And no, the good of all is not always better than individuality. And I'm saying this as a leftist!!! Much (not all) of the proposed anti-gun legislation favour power structures/institutions over people. Western society has nearly erased the individual in order to satisfy the resource consistency needs of our oligarchy.
Remember that we are apes, we are not ants, we are not sardines, we are not bees, nor are we meerkats. Though we're a sociable species, we are NOT biologically EVOLVED to live in these over-crowded, no individuality environments. Our biological engines know not how to handle this ridiculous lifestyle we have chosen.
Your world view will eventually lead us to a bubble wrapped life, the only danger in that type of society is severe depression (which is already started, depression is becoming the number one healthcare cost in Western societies).
Bubble wrapped, in the name of survival at all costs. That's not living. No thank you. Life is not precious. We live we die, the point is, if there is one, to make the best of the time in between.