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.
James, what follows are my conclusions and opinions. You need not agree.
Political idealism and cynicism differ from the philosophical idealism and cynicism I studied in college.
A political idealist needs the world to be better than it is; a political cynic needs the world to be worse than it is.
A political realist deals with the world as it is. Henry Kissinger used the German "real politik".
Politics is about power and four years in hardball politics, during which six men lost their jobs and one man lost his life, changed my perspective. My political idealism became political cynicism, until my opponents gave me a compliment; they'd recognized my power.
You predicted, "...the NRA and its gun dealers will not be prosecuted...." A prediction might be accurate; it is neither true not false.
Your prediction expressed pessimism about the future.
Your "follow the money" identified a motive, and a pessimistic view became a cynical view.
You predicted failure, powerlessness. I would have said it's for someone to prosecute, keeping my power.
James, you're free to reject my conclusions and opinions; your choice will affect your future, not mine.
Tom you are focusing on James predicting failure and powerlessness. Isn't the person who needs guns predicting failure of government or failure of law enforcement. You might reply that you are being a realist with that approach. But, a realist should also have to acknowledge those approaches are working in other countries and the numbers coming in from those countries back that up.
In fairness, I'm not sure Tom is making any claims whatsoever about guns. I emphatically disagree with TNT's position that there are no relevant stats on gun control, though. It could be true that we can't make a totally precise prediction on what will happen in America, in response to what James said about using the rest of the western world as a template, but nor could we state outright that we could have known seat belts would be a successful mechanism just because they worked in other countries - some things should just be much more apparent than others. The thing is: this conversation simply is NOT about opinions and anecdotal nonsense, and I refuse to accept any as having more value to what's being discussed than the fact that we have MORE than enough evidence to suggest that stricter legislation on firearms in the United States is very likely to yield less deaths due to firearms. TNT, I'm frazzled beyond belief that you can't accept this, especially since you identified yourself as a scientist. Proper methodology is: make an observation (US has higher murder rate due to guns than Canada, Canada has stricter gun laws), make a hypothesis (stricter gun laws in US can lead to lower murder rate due to firearms), then begin testing, just as you've stated above. I think you've actually cited a fairly efficient methodology above, ie testing different states in different ways, but the fact that you're even WILLING to begin looking for a conclusion, seems to indicate that you yourself have accepted the search for a hypothesis, but are rejecting the data outright that has caused you to accept that hypothesis. I don't know how you can look at crime rates from the FBI, CSIS, and other comparable organizations from all over Europe and call those stats opinionated, amped up, media drivel? They have the info, neatly organized, per capita, just the same as all the others. If that isn't data, I truly have no idea whatsoever you consider data.
I think it's great TNT that you've travelled the world, have been to university, consider yourself informed, etc, etc, etc - but it's of no value to me whatsoever in this conversation, and you seem to keep telling me that it should matter (I don't understand why). The crime reports from the national bureaus of each country you've visited are of infinite more concern to me than your observations, and to negate the stats they provide as nothing more than a thought experiment which builds no stronger a case than your observations is just being negligent, sorry.
Mathew, most of this we've done/said here enough that I don't feel like going over it again. But on seatbelts, no, it's a totally different math altogether. Seatbelts were fully tested before they were mandated. Thousands of test dummies were put through the wringer (unlike light-weight helmets in sports) and were amply demonstrated to EFFECTIVELY RESTRAIN PEOPLE IN THEIR SEAT. Since being thrown from the vehicle was a major cause of serious injury and death, keeping the person in their seat was demonstrated, beyond the shadow of a doubt, to save many lives. They do what they are meant to do, it was demonstrated with solid statistical analysis before laws were passed. That was a correct procedure to follow.
Numbers from other countries are just numbers in a void. There is no indication whatsoever that they provide insight on the efficacy of anti-gun legislation. You're focusing all your math inquiry into a social snapshot instead of looking at long term trends. That simply does not stand up to scrutiny.
And I'm sorry to inform you, but your example of "scientific" procedure is simply misinformed. In order to test whether anti-gun laws are effective, if you refuse to actually run a proper experimental model, and desire against rationality to rely strictly on demographic data, then, as I've indicated to Russel several times, your graphs must accomplish this: demonstrate a STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT difference between the "before" trend and the "after" trend. Without a conclusive demonstration of CAUSALITY, any data purporting to be "scientific" is just hot air. Comparing Canada and USA has no scientific credibility. We have different population density, different wealth disparity, different demographics (Canada's violence is incredibly unequal across the country), different drinking ages, different gun manufacturing industries, different educational attitudes and different healthcare. Comparing Australia to Canada would make a little more sense...
If personal knowledge is worth nothing in a conversation my dear, then acquiring that personal knowledge is worth nothing... then the entire debate on educating people to reduce social problems must be in vain too.
TNT, you're right about statistical significance. There once was a time when researchers could ignore it and get their work published. Not now.
Literacy in statistical analysis may well be the single most important tool of knowledge to have in these decades of false internet debates. Armchair science indeed just does not cut it. The number of irrelevant numbers that have been thrown around this discussion is depressing. :(
"Isn't the person who needs guns predicting failure of government or failure of law enforcement."
1. I don't know what the person who needs guns is predicting, or if he's predicting anything.
2. What do your "failure of government" and "failure of law enforcement" include and exclude?
Define your terms and discussion is possible.
A realist knows that violence has many causes and complex correlations.
I'll name a form of violence in America that few people consider.
If you followed the recent presidential campaign, you heard Republicans charge that Democrats want to bring European socialism to America.
Set aside the emotions the word "socialism" stirs up and look at the reality: European forms of capitalism and their more generous "entitlement" programs.
Compare European and American forms of capitalism and you will not escape the conclusion that "survival of the most fit" (or survival of those who bribe those who govern) describes American capitalism well.
Economic violence is epidemic in the US of A. Here are two considerations.
1) Some forms of economic violence have decreased during our lifetimes: labor-management law, consumer protection law, even store return policies.
2) Some forms have not decreased: mediation/arbitration does not exist or has been denied for employment-related conflict and "disgruntled former employees" use guns to settle scores.
People here who cite the gun laws in various nations as if they account for high or low rates of gun violence are providing far too little usable evidence.
Instead of hurling opinions at each other, we might set out to identify the many forms that violence takes in the US of A.
Let us then recognize the truth the ancient Roman Seneca expressed when he said violence arises from powerlessness.
Do that and we can start identifying the many ways that power is denied to people in the US of A and compare these ways with those in nations with differing rates of gun violence.
Or we can emote.
That sentence you quoted from me was a response to the two basic arguments I hear in this debate. Guns are necessary to overthrow a bad government and guns are required to save your life when the criminal comes to your home to do horrible things to you.
This is a fear mentality and a lot of horrible things have been done in the name of fear by countries and people individually. Fear does have a purpose in our survival, but it is like our appetites. When there is a plentiful food supply there is an obesity epidemic - we can overdo things with our primal instincts.
Your emote comment is a tricky one. I sound over emotional to you when making a case and I get that sense sometimes from your side. I wasn't going to post a video where a commentator makes fun of some of the NRA arguments because of the emotional baggage we can't seem to avoid in this discussion, but what the heck. People are welcome to include a video or tract that makes fun of the way I feel about gun control.
Excellent points are made, but it is long - the most eloquent point starts at 7:41, so if you don't have 8 minutes to waste drag the cursor to that time.
Here it is:
Classic Stewart. What a great episode that was.
"[...hand grenades or anti-aircraft surface-to-air missiles] are arms. The II Amendment does not specify which kind of arms."
1. Google "SCOTUS Heller" and you can download the ruling. Read the part that denies II Amendment protection to certain kinds of weapons and some of your words above don't strengthen your case.
2. I ask, "In 1787, which kinds of arms would the II Amendment have specified?" and the rest of your words above don't strengthen your case.
Hurling what seem like randomly chosen sentences weaken your case.
Just came from the Comedy forum and got all inspired to inject a bit of humor into this topic
How many NRA members does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
I don’t know, how many?
The NRA who?
Thank you, Asa. Please visit again soon.