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.
An article I wrote for a user magazine a couple of years ago shows my not so heroic association with dealing with the possibility of guns in the schoolroom.
I hesitate to add yet another element to the discussion, but . . .
I’ve noticed one justification for people embracing guns is the fear that a tyrant will come and take their guns. Others, who have no guns, do not share that fear.
so . . .this little essay:
When one is trying to quit smoking, most people agree that it is a good plan to remove cigarettes from your presence . . . get them out of your home. This is because of the effect of the visual stimulus . . . the simple presence of a pack of cigarettes.
It has been my observation over many years, that the simple presence of a gun changes the dynamics and affects the nature of any social encounter.
I am in no way insinuating that people who own a firearm for personal protection, own it because they are paranoid.
What I am saying, rather, is that the continuing presence of weaponry can make you paranoid, or, to put it more politely, the possession of a firearm can, and does, profoundly affect your interaction with the rest of the world. The very presence of a firearm affects how you view and deal with social experiences, and your perceptions of the world.
I am of the notion that much of the passionate gun advocacy is more a product of the actual possession of weaponry and not necessarily any fear or paranoia about one’s immediate safety, or commitment to the Second Amendment.
Finally, a study that confirms some of my observation:
The actual experiment itself:
Interesting study Asa Watcher. Regardless of the validity of the pro or con stance in this discussion I can attest to the way people I meet with here in Canada react to the gun debate. We basically shake our heads and say the pro gun anti control stuff we hear coming from the South sounds insane. That may be because a lot of us don't own weapons. Maybe the people down their owning a lot of weaponry shake their heads at us North of the border and wonder about a hopelessly naive country.
That ties in with a book I listened to from Audible.com "You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself" by David McRaney. There are some powerful studies where people are first primed and then come out with passionate logical reasons for why they take a particular primed stance. It turns out we can be subtly moved in a particular direction by outside factors - much like your reference to the study on gun ownership affecting attitudes.
I liked the book so much I wrote a review on the audible website (all members can do this)
This is what I said:
It doesn't hurt to be humbled occasionally. As we listen to those confident so called experts who confirm our political biases during an election cycle, knowing the information from this book could help us take a step backwards and reevaluate.
I recommended this to my daughter and we had a great discussion about how people can be manipulated and how difficult it is to really have an open mind on some of the topics we supposedly have solved and take for granted.
I may not ultimately have budged from some of my biases, but my conceit about being right has taken a blow and that is a good thing.
Russell... your "we in Canada" is a bit of a misrepresentation. "We" have just scrapped the gun registry and "we" do not have anywhere near the gun manufacturing industry that exists in the USA.
I am a Canadian who's lived in half our prov/territories, teaches in both our languages, who's never owned a gun, but I totally agree with the intent of the 2nd amendment, that the citizenry be sufficiently armed to protect against a despotic government.
You consistently present this discussion as two sided when it isn't. I don't even feel any "urges" to change legislation... cuz frankly, the "problem" is way overstated.
TNT I stand by my "we" in Canada. I don't run into many people with your viewpoint in Ontario. I also have relatives out in Western Canada in media who don't run into many people with your perspective.
Unfortunately there is a Conservative government in place that got in by a split of the Liberal and NDP vote and the gun registry got scrapped.
You can look in the west to the article I posted about the American lawman who felt threatened and wanted to pack a gun while visiting. I don't remember a lot of people clamoring for his right to carry a weapon.
Along with my Liberal friends I have a lot of Conservative friends who openly voice their dismay at a country allowing easy access to assault weapons.
But that still is anecdotal.
Just watch our news programs and read our newspapers and tell me about all the outlets defending the right of people to carry assault weapons. Also let me know any major media outlet in Canada that promotes the idea that our government may need to be overthrown by an armed citizenry.
You are not going to find much.
No, you won't much, that's true... because most people simply don't give a hoot. The one group of people I don't generally hang out with are liberals and conservatives, NDP, meh, so so. I'm part of the near 50% of Canada's political landscape who dislike all three main parties.
I remember this one huge bear attack in Yukon, where in the end 4 people were mauled of which 2 died. The bear attack was two bears, it was at a hot spring where people had towels and bathing suits for weapons. The parking is a km away. A USA tourist ran to his vehicle, ran back, shot one bear, both bears ran off, though the shot one was later caught. The 2-bear mauling was ongoing, and was interrupted in the full of its force by this USA guy with a illegally, which was illegal in Canada. Of course he was not charged for his gun possession crime, as he'd saved 2 more lives.
People who experience such encounters are not anti-gun... and that's a lot of folks in Canada, probably somewhere near 30-40% range. Many politicians lost their constituency on the gun registration. "We" are in no way "united" on this issue... a simple majority, yes certainly, but united no, there's a difference.
A horrific attack with a knife in Canada. Seven victims. I think at least one did not make it.
What would the casualty rate have been if this person had easy access to a gun? What would the casualty rate have been if this person had easy access to an assault rifle?
I'm glad to be living in a country where the access to those types of weapons is more restricted.
We could become more like the States with gun access laws or more like England and Japan with restrictions on guns. The repeal of the long gun registry was a move in the wrong direction and a lot of Canadians wring their hands about this - including our police force. This letter from Tim Shields eloquently states this:
You know what, it really doesn't matter which weapon it is, death happens, you simply won't legislate death away. Breath, take a deep breath, let it go.
Legislation can, however, do something to reduce the number of deaths from firearms by restricting access in reasonable ways. It is a mistake to argue that nothing can be done.
Hot air, there is no evidence that legislation achieves that. It's global societal historical choices that achieve different levels of overall violence. If you really cared about untimely death, you would place your focus on societal issues that have been demonstrated to reduce general rates of violence.
Not at all. It is not legislation per se that is effective, but laws combined with good enforcement. The experience of other countries with more restrictive laws is both relevant and convincing. The sources of violence are hard to root out, but limiting the means available is certainly one way that appears to be effective in reducing it.
"Reasonable." Therein lies the problem.
Arguing that nothing can be done is more than a mistake; it's evidence of feelings of powerlessness.
BTW, feelings of powerlessness are fatal to democracy.
They are not fatal in the US of A because the US of A is not, and has never been, a democracy.
In your preferred major dictionary, look up the words "oligarchy" and "plutocracy".