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.
Our democracy is a joke, well if you don't see it you simply have not been looking at any numbers for the past 30 years in North America anyway, generally, and the last decade specifically, very visible with the squashing of demonstrations. You realise the reason you see less demonstrating in N.America is because our law and order shuts them down before they get anywhere. Agents provocateurs have been denounced in all major events, having been used as law enforcement excuses to bring in the heavy hand.
As for defending against government, indeed, drones flying up camels' asses are a great demonstration of how minute the power of guns are in society. Death by gun on innocents is rare, sufficiently rare, for it not to bother me. But if it really came down to our drones used by our military on us... and we're real close to that when you look at the technology now used to squash people here, at least having a gun you could possibly stop the person controlling the drone. It's better than nothing.
Dystopian novels are a favourite genre of mine, dystopias in print are generally the result of powerless and medicated civilians. There are a couple of exceptions of course, but I'm speaking generally. Many events in human history have also evidenced that the easiest way to overthrow a people is to de-weapon them. It's really no secret. Not just physical weapons, organisational tools also. For example in France and Italy, coffee was originally prohibited because it got the masses riled up and talking politics and threatening to overthrow power. I am in favour of any tool that can be used to overthrow power, it is the only way that the government does not become a dictatorship owned by money... but we're already on our way there. Democracy was developed in restricted groups of people of similar cultures. Democracy is not adapted to rule giant masses of heterogeneous humans. Then it just becomes domination of a majority over various minorities, and occasionally, the rule of minorities over disenfranchised people.
Matthew, the term "our democracy" is a lie.
The truth? Our oligarchy, a nation ruled by a few.
If the few, the Congress especially, were our best, America would be an aristocracy. They are not our best.
America is a democracy only on the days we vote for those who will become our oligarchs.
I hate violence and long for a peaceful society, where I don't need alarms, locks, fences or guns. But I'm not giving up my guns until it becomes clear that there is no more chance of this country becoming a dictatorship. History is replete with examples of those that want to control others, and I don't see it changing much so far. It does appear that things are changing for the better, but I don't expect a peaceful society for a long time.
The statistically proven to reduce social violence is to reduce economic disparity and improve infant education.
Yet, we're obsessed with knee-jerk political reactions to small events. Yes. This most recent shooting is but a small event and should not affect the our thinking in the larger picture. Guns are really irrelevant to the conversation on violence. That raped lady in India was not at the end of a gun, most people who die violently do not do so because of guns.
As a lefty, I am more and more depressed at the crying liberal attitude I see. The trouble with the crying liberal methodology is it's constantly about applying little teensy bandages to fix non relevant problems, while we let the real big time criminals get away with all sorts of crimes. Reducing clip size and banning certain uglier looking guns is a useless endeavour.
It's social paradigm shift that is needed, and this paradigm shift should be much more evident in a growing atheist crowd. Unfortunately, people cling to Christian values, even when deleting God ideas.
The only way to achieve a peaceful society is dictatorship and cultural homogeneity. Look at history books, take a good look at history books, all the "safe" periods in various countries (safe for the majority, but lethal for the few/several shit disturbers) point to that.
The grand ole dream of "PEACE on Earth" is a 20th century delusion. It is impossible to achieve at a grand or polite scale.
I didn't say "homicide" I said "violently". Violently is anything that is not natural. Even dying of emphysema is violent, try it, I have relatives who died that way, and it was a daily physical violence. I am un-preoccupied by homicide rates, and much more preoccupied by quality of life, while we're alive. Once someone is dead there's no pain, they cease to exist, so I don't have much issue with it, now if it's done slowly and painfully, that concerns me more, so given the choice, I'd prefer a crazy person with a gun than with a knife.
Now if we, as a society, are really concerned with reducing deaths, we should focus our energy on where it will really make a difference and stop wasting our time with trivialities. To me, guns are trivialities. There is much worse in society.
Caucasians are just less in jail because they receive better treatment from the legal system, that is an entirely other debate. Also us whities have learned that corporate crimes pays much higher dividends, sufficient to stave off the law in a vast majority of cases. Now that's the way to go.
This conversation is not about "evidence", the anti-gun folks do not have better statistics than the pro-gun folks, though the NRA's points surpass the anti-gun folks in stupidity by a large margin.
The point is, when it comes to the true effect of guns on society, it's all rhetoric. And though yes, my life experience is anecdotal, it encompasses a half century of living/working in 12 countries, in 4 languages, and 11 years in university, mostly science... so I do consider my opinion to tilt on the side of "informed". So in a discussion which is supposed to be an "atheist's" perspective on gun control, the most rational position is that the gun debate is a ridiculous one, amped up by media. And that the entire content is really us debating the merits of ideas... since there is no evidence.
As for the state of our democracy, as I said, it's not just the past decade, it's been a long time in the making. I don't see Harper as worse than Mulroney really, or any NDP or Liberal (Canadian pop-politics for the non-Canadians reading this). You're allowed to think that Canada is doing a fine job of running things, but I'll disagree with that point til you demonstrate to me that Canadians are better off than in the past. Mental health is going down everywhere in Canada, it will soon be the number one cost in healthcare. That is the ultimate sign of a failed social policy.
So I really don't give a hoot about gun crime specifically. I don't own a gun and don't plan on one in the near future, but I also don't give-in to social hysteria, which is all this gun debate is about.
Put an end to the Alberta Tar Sands party, end back-to-work legislation, freeze tuition fees, institute proper living wages, cap CEO salaries at 10x the bottom salary in businesses, remove person-hood from corporations and give it to ecosystemic components, then we'll be on our way to less violent deaths, guns... meh... pointless debate. As a female in N.America, if I die violently, 9/10 times it's at the hand of the male who's my loved-one, that concerns me a hell of a lot more.
TNT If you think the gun debate is ridiculous and "amped up by the media" Then why is a President going out on a limb to the displeasure of a powerful lobby. Why would a former California Republican Governor (Arnold Schwarzenegger) break from the party line and support an assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole. (just read Total Recall autobiography and had to put in a reference)
Also your anecdotal opinion does not magically pick up credibility by associating with science in university.
Finally, i think your displeasure with Canadian democracy belongs in another thread and has nothing to do with gun control. If you start one, I would love to debate you there. I'm pissed off about a some things too, but it ain't near as bad as you are painting it.
Media amp up = presidential reaction
Completely logical... the NRA are being out-media'd, they've won many... they may lose this one...
Indeed, when discussing FACTS, opinions are but anecdotal, but since there are no good stats in this gun debate, we are left with opinions, therefore we are all anecdotal. So... we chose which anecdotal accounts we consider most informed. I'm sure you do the same in your life, maybe you just don't admit to it? I for one usually look at a person's intro to check out their creds when I converse with them, some people are worth the time, others aren't. If you think education and life experiences are completely irrelevant in a discussion of opinions... then we have nothing to discuss yes? And if education and life experiences are irrelevant to ideas, then we might as well not get educated or travel yes?
Mathew, no need to create one, it's existed for a long time, but it's terrible inactive.
Here are a couple of tweets from Richard Dawkins about gun control:
"Guns don't kill people, crazy people kill people." Can you believe anyone could be so STUPID as to trot that out, yet again?
"In every country, there are narcissistic, inadequate, fame-hungry losers who want to kill someone. In most countries they don’t have guns."
Here is a posted reply considering his scientific credibility:
‘Why can’t this limey bastard understand that high-powered murder weapons actually save lives?’
Because he studies statistics? That’s what Professors do apparently. They consider the facts, like gun homicide rates, gun violence rates, etc.,
In 2000 England and Wales had a 8% firearm homicide rate while the US was 65%.
That might be why Dawkins has the opinions he has about guns.
Just a guess on my part though. Perhaps he cares more about people in modern societies than the US Constitution and it’s unquestionable right to let the populace arm itself.
He's not using numbers, he's using ideas, just as we're doing here. In fact Dawkins often argues from an ideological perspective and not facts. It's of course his right, specially in circumstances where no good statistics are available. Dawkins is no god, and his word need not always be adulated. Adulation is a suspicious behaviour. For an entire population of "free-thinkers" so spend so much time quoting just a couple of pop figures is more than depressing to me. Thankfully, Dawkins has not been over quoted in this conversation! or else I'd have left before. As a fellow biologist and teacher, we are allowed to have debates and disagree yes? This is the type of thing which happens when faced with a lack of real facts. People disagree and must debate ideas instead.
Now what would be a true atheist position, or an improved one would be this: Given the lack of experimental evidence regarding the efficacy of random anti-gun legislation... we should conduct an experiment. In the USA, chose a few states of similar economic disparity and wealth, and test various versions of anti-gun legislation. Let this run for a decade, then draw some real conclusions from at least relevant studies.
I support psychological help and education and finances to test and train public school facilities to prevent entry by terrorism. Social discussions on styles and functions of different guns can certainly be debated and challenged. The focus of safety in perspective of time should be afforded to the immediate needs of school safety and health, as well as other public areas.