The Wild West

The Florida House recently approved a law allowing citizens to use “deadly force” when feeling threatened. Until now the use of deadly force was reserved for use in your own house.

Source: Critics Say Law Would Make Florida ‘Wild, Wild West’

In the words of Rep. Dan Gelber of Miami:

“It legalizes dueling,”

Unfortunately, this is not an Aprils fools joke. President of the NRA, Marion Hammer, responded:

“Right now the law favors criminals. It tells law-abiding people you have to run away from criminals. It tells law abiding people that you can be sued by criminals if you hurt them when they attack you.”

So what really did happen to the Second Amendment?

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Fear, paranoia, helplessness and gun lobbyism is a scary combination. The Second Amendment is basically an archaic, obsolete law allowing settlers of the New World to protect themselves against oppressors. But where are the settlers? What do we need the militia for? Who are the real oppressors today?

48 thoughts on “The Wild West”

  1. Jonas Rabbe says:

    That is scary beyond belief. I guess I won’t be going to Florida anytime soon, at least not until everyone has killed each other and it becomes a barren wasteland with beautiful beaches.

    Baxley, who is the bill’s sponsor, says the law will also prevent some child from being abducted and some murder from happening

    What the hell is wrong with these people? Do they want kids to carry guns too? Is it not murder in the eyes of God if you kill someone just because you felt threatened? If the gang member approaching you simply wanted to ask you the time and you feel threatened, is killing him self defence? Does having your beer spilled count as a threat?

    I can for the life of me not understand these people.

    On the subject of the NRA, it’s very telling that their headquarters simple have

    the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    above the door. You’d think they had enough money to put the whole thing up.

  2. the worst part about the 2nd ammendment is that it should be abolished, but there is absolutely no way it will ever be now, because of all the special interest groups and lobbyists.

  3. Chris says:

    Resident American here, funny that you would post about this Joen. I saw the same article the other day and just laughed it off and groaned. Legislation like this just washes over me at this point. If you really think this is the most insane we could possibly get you should start reading the agendas for most State legislatures.

    What consistently baffles me is that they actually think measures like this will ever change anything. The usual argument, for things like concealed carry laws (a regular citizen carrying a hidden weapon) is that if crooks can’t be sure if grandma’s packing they’ll think twice before attacking.

    This of course is the dumbest argument ever made. Same goes for this “that man looked at me funny so I blew him away Dirty Harry style” law. The idea that anyone dumb enough to attempt a violent crime is actually thinking about the possibility of the victim packing heat is absurd.

    As for revoking the Second Amendment. It will never happen, at least not in my life time. Even if in some crazy Bizarro version of the US the second amendment was revoked it wouldn’t affect anything. The US gun culture is ingrained even more so than racism was at the dawn of the last century. Outlawing guns in America would be tantamount to outlawing the automobile. Just not gonna happen.

    As for the argument, frequently made, that US gun culture is based on some sort pioneer ethic, that’s just a historical fallacy. The notion that every frontiersman carried a rifle is patently false. In fact, the rise in US gun ownership is a child of late 18th century life mostly spurred on by the creation of the NRA.

    Lastly, (I’m long winded on my blog and yours) the reason we ever had a Second Amendment stems from the anxiety many felt about any government following the Revolution. The real purpose of the Second was to guarantee that at any time the people would have a way to overthrow their government (violently if need be). It just ended up that we overthrow our government every four years and folks ended up being fine with that method.

    All of this culminates in three gun factions in the US. Those who want guns for Protection, Sport, and hypothetical governmental overthrow. I don’t subscribe to any of these as they’re patent nonsense but the three of them, while hardly ever in agreement with one another make up a majority that keeps the Second alive despite the fact that is hasn’t been used as written since George Washington stamped out the Whiskey Rebellion.

    US gun culture can’t be attacked with logic. That’s just a non-starter. If logic were ever a cause for social change I can’t think of when that was. Just count your blessings that you live in a nice enough country that isn’t completely nuts. And keep in mind that not every American is packing heat.

  4. brian says:

    The second amendment is not archaic. Take away the ability for people to defend themselves and the government will grow even larger and more ridiculous and crime would increase. In my book every citizen should have at least one firearm and be trained to use it. Bearing in mind stringent personal gun safety, keeping it locked/hidden, away from kids etc. It?s utterly absurd when a criminal can break into your house attempt to steal your things, you try to defend yourself and your home and shoot him, and the criminal wins a lawsuit against YOU. THAT is what is completely nuts. What should we do just let them walk all over us and sit back as the lawyers play their game of eroding the constitution. Call me what you will.

  5. Chris says:

    Take away the ability for people to defend themselves and the government will grow even larger and more ridiculous and crime would increase.

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the government is already gargantuan and crime is rampant. How has gun ownership done anything to stem that?

    Plus, the idea that you can’t have a happy, peaceful, well-governed society without gun ownership just sounds ridiculous. I can think of about 50 countries that don’t allow or severely limit private gun ownership that are democratic, peaceful, low-crime, and happy.

  6. Jens says:

    If anyone is being threatening to a point where I fear for the lives of myself or my children, of course I will kill them if need be.

    Wouldn’t you?

  7. Chris says:

    If anyone is being threatening to a point where I fear for the lives of myself or my children, of course I will kill them if need be.

    Wouldn?t you?

    Of course, I would. Of course, anyone would. But, this law isn’t about self-defense. There are already laws regarding self-defense. This is about a threat. Now, a threat doesn’t need to be overt. There is someone putting a gun to my head. Then, there’s someone saying, “I’m gonna get you”.

    If someone has a gun to head or a knife to my belly self-defense laws already cover that, imminent danger and the like. But, a threat can be anything I perceive it to be. And, who’s to say I’m wrong? The court? That doesn’t really matter. At my trial all I have to do is show that I felt threatened. And, it doesn’t matter if my standard for what constitutes a threat is the same as yours. What matters is my state of mind regarding the threat.

    Pick a common enough situation. I’m driving down the road and accidentally cut someone off in traffic. The person I cut off pulls up next to me and flips me off or raises their fist and shakes it at me. Is that a threat? It certainly may constitute a threatening gesture but personally I don’t feel that I’m in danger. but, under this law someone might perceive that as a threat rather than as someone showing their anger and letting me know I’m a jackass.

    So, now I have the right to pull out my .38 and take shots at them? Because I’m a wuss?

  8. Jens says:

    Chris said:

    But, this law isn?t about self-defense. There are already laws regarding self-defense. This is about a threat.

    Nope, it’s not about a threat.

    Reading the bill in question seems to remove most of the hype. Allow me to sum it up:

    The “Castle Doctrine”, which is as old as the Roman empire, states that in your own home – your castle – you cannot escape anywhere, so you have the right to “Stand Your Ground” and use deadly force against an intruder. Anywhere else (such as in your car or in a bar) you have the obligation to try and flee. Only if you are locked up in a corner, may you use deadly force.

    The new bill hammers the point of the “Castle Doctrine”, which had been fuzzy in Florida, so now there is no doubt about it. Additionally it expands the definition of “castle” to also include: your car, your place of work and any public place your person might be. The difference is simply that you don’t hold the obligation to flee when faced with a threat. You may “Stand Your Ground” and use deadly force.

    That’s what this bill is about.

    It is not enough to simply “feel threatened”, you still have to demonstrate that you had a “reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm”. Someone raising their fist at you won’t fit into this category.

    On another note, I don’t see why the Second Amendment and gun control are brought up – it’s simply not the issue. “Deadly force” can be with a gun, but also with a knife or your bare hands.

  9. Anders Rask says:

    I am most definitely against the concept that civilians should be equipped with easy-use deadly force. I believe that it is the chief responsibility of a government to restrict its citizens from hurting others, and this includes allowing maniacs to carry the ability to blow my brains out easily, quickly and from a distance. A more concrete example is the terrible Minnesota shooting.

    However, I have to agree with Jens. The mentioned bill is not about the second amendment. I am not sure what to think about it, yet, but I am sympethetical towards what I see as the central principle of the bill.

    The notion that this bill should allow killing people who spill beer on you is plainly stupid. Apart from that I agree with what Chris says about the 2nd amendment.

  10. Mark Michon says:

    Quite a few topics here that I would like to comment on. Let me preface by saying I am a Floridian, so there is no “hanging chad” bias here.

    Quick anecdote to rationalize things a bit:

    When I was in high school, it was not permitted to fight back. This meant if you were attacked by a fellow student, you were forced to either “block” their blows, run, or sit there and take the beating. Anyone who has been in a fight knows that if you cannot defend yourself with some form a force(throws for example) this becomes incredibly unfair. Not to mention the fact that kids these days don’t fight one on one, they all have their little gangs.

    Obviously a variation of the law in discussion was needed for public life, however the standard political bullshit got incorporated and turned this into something much more. The original law, as Jens discussed, was basically that you were only permitted to defend yourself with lethal force while inside your home.

    Thus someone standing in your front yard, doing damage to your property and possibly endangering you and your family, could then sue you if you were to injure them in an act of self defense. Obviously a major loophole existed, and there were countless suits by potential burglars for everything from self defense to tripping over sprinklers.

    Unfortunately, instead of modifying things, lawmakers elected by an easily influenced group of citizens(don’t get me started…), crossed the line.

    To comment on the guns and their “importance” in modern society, citizens have no need for them. We have supermarkets, we have organized law enforcement, and until animals learn to use weapons to fight back hunting is not a sport.

    If someone wishes to stand by the second amendment, then anyone should be permitted to commit treason without punishment. The constitution itself was an act of treason by the founding fathers, so anyone who wants to get “technical” can assume to throw all rules of what is right and wrong out the window.

    After all:

    ..whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…

    Of course “the people” are unfortunately the electorate, and these things are not always left for midterm elections.

    All that being said, Chris is correct. Even if steps were made to control gun ownership, the situation is as futile is drug control. We can only hope, on this subject atleast, that people come to their senses and modify this new legislation. Unfortunately everything from traffic lights to court rulings require bloodshed before anything is done.

  11. AkaXakA says:

    I’d like the bankacount with the gun please.

    I’m with Chris and Joen on this one. I hope everyone in the USA realises they’re the only ones in the western world that allow citizens to bare arms.

  12. Jonas Rabbe says:

    that allow citizens to bare arms.

    I hope you mean bear arms, since we are allowed to wear our arms bare here in Denmark too. 😉

    Sorry for the jib, but it was too easy.

  13. Chris says:

    Well, we’re certainly not going to arm our bears.

  14. Jonas Rabbe says:

    Well, we?re certainly not going to arm our bears.

    Well maybe you should ask answers.com to clear up any confusion 😛

  15. Jens says:

    AkaXakA said:

    I hope everyone in the USA realises they?re the only ones in the western world that allow citizens to bare arms.

    A: If this were true, so what?

    B: It isn’t true (e.g Switzerland, Israel…).

  16. AkaXakA says:

    Jonas: Whoops..typo.

    Jens: Switzerland is in a completely different situation. It has a very small army so it needs a large civilian back-up. Secondly, the state is organised completely differently. Due to their history and geography, the goverment is not in a position it can claim ‘right of violence’, as other europian countries have.

    Israel on the other hand is, debatebly, an american colony and in a permanant state of war.

    Also, in both countries you would not get that bankaccount with a gun.

  17. Jens says:

    AkaXakA:

    A: I was pointing to your argument being a logical fallacy (argumentum ad populum) – “everybody else disagrees with the States, so they must be right” – but since you didn’t answer my question, I can’t say. This is an oft used (and invalid) argument when discussing US politics.

    B: Your comments on Switzerland and Israel are irrelevant to your original statement – voil?, an ignoratio elenchi. (Your refutal didn’t convince me, but maybe my adding Finland to the list will convince you.)

  18. Chris says:

    Joen, the IQ requirements for your blog just went up. I’ll be back when I have my masters. 🙂

  19. Anders Rask says:

    Chris, I am not really sure what you are saying here? Surely those of us without a masters degree are just as capable of clear thinking as those with?

    AkaXakA, how in the world did you come up with the idea that Israel is an American colony? And who is it that the swiss are carrying firearms to protect themselves against, and is it to be understood that you believe a small army justifies civilians carrying firearms?

  20. Chris says:

    Chris, I am not really sure what you are saying here? Surely those of us without a masters degree are just as capable of clear thinking as those with?

    I meant no offense, merely a joke. If it comforts you, of anyone here I’m probably the least educated. I was merely making a jest about the philosophical citations that were made. I simply thought it amusing that when I read and post to noscope it helps to be aware that other readers here are of a brighter sort.

    Or haven’t you noticed that most posters don’t use latin and that even more readers don’t understand it most places one might go.

  21. Eurisko97 says:

    I really did not mean to leave a comment on this blog, realizing my current place in the blogosphere of a lowly moocher on a pathetic bloging service known as Livejournal, but I simply could not allow Anders Rask to get away with his comment.

    Regardless of where anyone stands on the issue of gun control, I want to make on thing clear: The Minnesota school shooting cannot be understood in the context of a “school shooting.” To do so is a delibrate deciet of the truth.

    No, what happened in Minnesota is evidence of person within a culture (This school was on an Indian Reservation.) realizing that the culture was dying, that the tools to perpetuate and support that culture were nonexistant or heavily impaired, and therby symbolically chose to kill that culture, and himself, in the process.

    Allow me to make what will probably be a controversial statement: There is no more disadvanteged and oppressed group in the United States, then the survivors of the Native Americans on the Indian Reservation. Not even blacks, not even gays. And the issue of that shooting isn’t gun control. It’s about a group that has been oppressed so badly, and robbed of a future so completley, that its members are beginning to no longer have any will to survive.

  22. Chris says:

    Eurisko, you shouldn’t hold back based on what you belive is your status as a blogger. It’s not where you post. It’s what you post.

    As for the meat of your comment, there’s no disputing the plight of those left to waste away on the Res. I’m not up to date on the particulars of the shooting.

    However, you do bring to mind something I hadn’t put together till now. I think one thing our European friends are missing about American violence are the big differences between us. For all the claims of a “Western World” the U.S. and Europe are two vastly different cultures. If a society can have a genetic makeup then I think it can be said that there is a genetic mutation (for good or ill) that separates the U.S. from Europe.

    Make no mistake, I have never felt violence was a solution. It may be a short-term stop-gap but never a solution. Real problems require well thought out negotiation, compromise and empathy. That being said, I don’t think there will ever be a gun control law that will stop the violence in the U.S. until the underlying problems that lead to this violence are dealt with (namely poverty, addiction, intolerance).

    For too long we have looked at violence as merely a crime. It is but it is also much more than that. The death of any one person isn’t merely a crime. It’s a crime against humanity. Violence isn’t an isolated incident. We shouldn’t treat it as just “The State vs. Jones” but also as “The Society vs. the disease”.

    Apologies if the above is somewhat muddled but I’ve been drinking.

  23. greymullet says:

    Anders Rask said:

    AkaXakA, how in the world did you come up with the idea that Israel is an American colony? And who is it that the swiss are carrying firearms to protect themselves against, and is it to be understood that you believe a small army justifies civilians carrying firearm

    Ok, so the question wasn’t adressed to me, but I feel I’m in a position to at least answer some of the points.

    Firstly, the Swiss. To the best of my knowledge, Switzerland has no army as such. Instead every male over a certain age is conscripted, and given a gun and ammunition. So if the civilians had no weapons then the Swiss would have next to no army.

    As for Israel: the fact that the USA have been funding Israel for all this time, and are heavily involved in Israeli poilitics , leads some to call it ‘an American colony’, even though that’s not technically the case.

  24. Anders Rask says:

    The Armed Forces of Switzerland are equipped with modern, sophisticated, and well-maintained weapons systems and equipment. In 1993, the Swiss government ordered 34 FA-18 fighter jets from the United States of America.” (source)

    Guys, we’re getting deeper and deeper in muddled waters here! The questions I posed to AkaXakA relating to Switzerland were these two:

    1) Who the hell is the enemy (of the swiss)?

    2) Does the swiss situation make it OK for swiss civilians to carry arms?

    Neither of these questions was answered by greymullet! Actually the swiss has a army organization that in many aspects are close to the danish one, also members of the Danish Home Guard used to be allowed to have a weapon at home. However, these people are no longer civilians, but it is still an extremely bad idea to give them weapons for the home. Why? Because they tend to use them for ‘civilian purposes’, e.g. shooting the wife, passer bys, and night club security personnel. This is exactly why members of the Danish Home Guard no longer is allowed to have the weapon at home. Also the danes were smart enough (but slow) to ask themselves the very relevant question: “Who is it that might come invade us in the middle of the night all of a sudden?”

  25. greymullet says:

    I was answering your question on “Does the swiss situation make it OK for swiss civilians to carry arms?” I’ve now read through that wikipedia page that you linked to, and it confirmed much of what I’d been led to believe, namely that “All able-bodied males are conscripted to the armed forces” and “members of the armed forces keep their rifles and uniforms in their house for immediate mobilization.”

    So having a small army does (to the Swiss at least) justify conscription, and iit obviously seems sensible to them to give the conscripts weapons.

    I wasn’t saying that I thought it was a good idea, of course some of those guns get used for crime, and I abhor violence.

    The Swiss are protecting themselves when need be. They weren’t actively involved in either World War, yet, according to that page that you so kindly linked to, their military was active during both World Wars in case of invasion.

  26. Joen says:

    Sorry for not jumping in to this sooner. It was not my intention to leave this discussion on it’s own.

    I have had a few days off, and due to bad luck, with no internet connection.

    Seeing as this is a fairly intelligent discussion as well, I will hold off responding until I can do so in depth. Thanks for your comments so far.

  27. AkaXakA says:

    greymullet: You indeed explained my comments properly.

    Anders Rask: See greymullet’s comments.

    Jens: Thanks for reminding me of my Latin classes.

    As to actually answering your questions:

    #1: Given that gun-related crimes are higher in the US than, generally, other western countries, seems to be related to the availibility of guns. I can’t really think of any high-school shootings in the UK for example. Given that it’s relatively easy to get hold of a gun in, say, London, I think the gun-culture has much more effect on this. Either that or your high-schools are seriously fucked up.

    So, in my view, either the whole gun-culture (meaning how ingraned guns are in society and how people deal with them) needs to change dramaticaly, or guns shouldn’t be allowed in homes.1

    #2: All (3 orso?) those other countries have completely different societies from the US. The gun culture there has had time to develop and evolve over a longer2 than in the US.

    [1] I’d also like to note that this has nothing to do with shooting for sport. In that case you can just leave your gun at the club in a safe. This works well in europian countries, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t in the US.

    And just to keep ahead of the ‘protect-myself-against-burglars_gotta-save-the-kids’ argument:

    Guns are generally useless when dealing with a burglar, get a baseballbat. Numerous studies have found this to be true. Also, there have been quite some accidents with kids finding guns and shooting themselves or others. “Daddy, what happens if I pull this?”

    [2] or shorter, in Isreals case, but Isreal isn’t really a Europian country, they’re just in the UEFA because arabs refused to have them in their football leagues.

  28. brian says:

    Sorry I?m arriving back to this post late and it looks like my comment stirred some heated emotions. I won?t try to address the differing viewpoints since it?s basically an effort in futility but I would like to add a point concerning the relationship between European and US violence and its cause. It was mentioned earlier that the US’s increase in gun violence is directly an effect of the “gun-culture” whatever that is, as if we all run around worshiping guns and toting them with us everywhere we go like some ‘wild western’.

    My point is this:

    Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than these people are to be free. Establish the law for educating the common people. This it is the business of the state to effect and on a general plan.

    – Thomas Jefferson

    This is the cause of gun violence. Uneducated people commit crime. “Guns do not kill people, people kill people.” A gun is simply a tool that effects the will of a person, whether that is a bank robber, or a police officer. While I see points made by many of the participants in this discussion it seems we are missing the big picture here.

    It is the breakdown of the family, morality, and education that spurs the increase in all violence not just gun violence. Gun control or even gun elimination will not solve the problem it will only make law abiding citizens more at risk than they already are.

    My Dad has a wonderful quote that has taught me much about the nature of people:

    Locks only keep out honest people.

    If someone intends to break through your locks you have, they will. Locks only show people who intend to not break them that ?this is off limits?.

    Locks and laws don?t stop criminals, even guns or gun control won?t stop criminals, the root of the problem is that people when uneducated and allowed to their own vices are brutish, impulsive, selfish, and criminalistic. People must choose to do right and the family combined with education is the incubator for morality, when the family begins to break down the society is soon to follow; no amount of law-making or gun control will turn the hearts of people toward good choices. Relationship and community involvement is the most efficient way to curb a deteriorating society.

    Sorry this is kind of scattered thoughts.

  29. Jens says:

    Brian, you make several bold (and inconsistent) claims. Can you back any of it up with sources?

  30. Joen says:

    Okay, it’s time I dive in to this.

    Jens,

    On another note, I don’t see why the Second Amendment and gun control are brought up – it’s simply not the issue. “Deadly force” can be with a gun, but also with a knife or your bare hands.

    Quite right you are. I completely missed that one. Still, the law will cause an increase in gun sales, and the fact that “deadly force” means anything doesn’t make the law any better.

    Eurisko97,

    I really did not mean to leave a comment on this blog, realizing my current place in the blogosphere of a lowly moocher on a pathetic bloging service known as Livejournal, but I simply could not allow Anders Rask to get away with his comment.

    You’re always welcome to comment. I have nothing against LiveJournal, and I’ll second Chris that it’s what’s written, not how it is written or presented that matters. This is also evident in your well-written comment.

    I completely agree that native Americans is the most oppressed group. There’s no defending the manifest destiny — it is one of those dark chapters that I’m afraid all nations have in their past.

    You might also be right that gun control was not the issue in that particular shooting, but do you not agree it might have prevented it? Sure it would probably not be the solution to the deeper lying problem, but still?`

    On a general note,

    I am unchanged in the opinion that every government should disallow their citizens to carry guns. IMHO, guns and rifles should be reserved for the military, and educated hunters.

    Basically it’s a matter of sacrificing a little freedom in order to have a higher probability of a well functioning society. It is a matter of law and order vs. anarchy. The law says “thou shalt not kill”: if you do it anyway, you’ll be punished. The real question is where to set the limit: how much should the government control?

    The nature of my stance on this is based on how it works in the culture I live in: Denmark. It works here, and we’re not allowed to carry guns… why shouldn’t it work in the US?

  31. greymullet says:

    bq. Guns don’t kill people, rappers do.

    Sorry, couldn’t help myself. If you haven’t been subjected to that song then I envy you.

    On a more serious note, I find it intriguing that Canada, a country with a rich tradition of hunting, where gun ownership is, compared to most European countries, pretty high, still has a gun crime rate a fraction of that in the US.

  32. Chris says:

    On a more serious note, I find it intriguing that Canada, a country with a rich tradition of hunting, where gun ownership is, compared to most European countries, pretty high, still has a gun crime rate a fraction of that in the US.

    Canada also has a population that is a fraction of the U.S. Canada is also colder. Canada is also less diverse ethnically and culturally. Canada also has a heck of a welfare system.

    You can’t compare the U.S. and Canada just cause we’re on the same continent.

  33. Jonas Rabbe says:

    Canada also has a population that is a fraction of the U.S.

    The percentage of Canadians that commit gun crime is much lower than the percentage of Americans who do, that number should be population independent (it isn’t of course, but I can’t go into details on the true nature of statistics as I barely passed that course 😉

    You can?t compare the U.S. and Canada just cause we?re on the same continent.

    Ain’t that the thruth. I’ve only recently experienced Canada, while I’ve lived on both the east and west coasts of America. From my brief experience with Canada I’ll agree that any comparison with the U.S. is moot. Canada seems much more European than its southern neighbor. Whether it’s the welfare system or the base of the culture itself I don’t know, and can’t tell. I guess I’ll ask my sister, she’s a social-anthropologist living in Canada.

  34. Chris says:

    I guess I?ll ask my sister, she?s a social-anthropologist living in Canada.

    LOL, Ok, well I only spent a month in Canada a few years ago so I’d definetly bow out to any information an anthropologist can provide.

    My point of course was that the two countries are apples and oranges. On further thinking though I think the population factor might actually have an effect. Of course percentages are percentages but you have to think that Canada just isn’t as crowded as the States.

    Personally, I think the biggest difference between Canada and the US are the coke bottles. They get 2ml more Coke in their bottles than we do. This injustice can not continue. Invade Canada!

  35. greymullet says:

    Canada also has a population that is a fraction of the U.S. Canada is also colder. Canada is also less diverse ethnically and culturally. Canada also has a heck of a welfare system.

    When I mentioned the gun crime level, I was speaking ‘per head’. I’d like clarification as to what cultural or ethnic diversity has to do with gun crime.

    You can?t compare the U.S. and Canada just cause we?re on the same continent.

    I didn’t, I compared the two because Canadians also hunt, and there are also a lot of guns in Canada. It’s a better comparison than, for example, the U.K. and U.S., since in the U.K. there are a lot less guns and hunting (with guns) isn’t such a large part of our culture.

  36. Chris says:

    I?d like clarification as to what cultural or ethnic diversity has to do with gun crime.

    I thought that was obvious. The more different a group of people are the more likely to get in a tussle they are. If you think that’s not true then you should really come hang out around here sometime. America is so fractioned and factioned its a wonder any of us get along at all. This breaks out in the worst way when violence erupts. Ever have a riot in your high school?

    As for the amount of weapons in Canada. I once went hunting with some Canadians. Real Canadians, treaty people that are allowed to subsitence hunt whenever they like. The night before I and my friend went on a goose-chase looking for a rifle. It took all night. Finally ended up receiving a rifle only after having drank copious amounts of alcohol at the behest of our benefactor.

    In the US, if I wanted a weapon it wouldn’t take that long to get one bought, borrowed or stolen. There might be a lot of guns in Canada from your perspective but from mine there are hardly any at all.

  37. Jonas Rabbe says:

    Finally ended up receiving a rifle only after having drank copious amounts of alcohol at the behest of our benefactor.

    Sounds comforting 😛

    Seriously though, one thing I’ve noticed about Americans, and especially the rhetoric in American politics is the fear. It may pulled out more with Bush and his mentioning 9.11 an insane number of times during his latest state of the union, but it seems it has “always” been a part of American culture. It is why more than half of all cars in southern California has a gun in its glove compartment, and why (as Michael Moore pointed out ? like him or not) Americans lock their doors when they’re home, while Canadians (and from personal experience, Europeans) leave their doors unlocked.

    One thing I have noticed lately, however, is the same rhetoric taking hold in Europe. You just have to listen to Pia Kj?rsgaard (leader of the Danish nationalist party) for 5 minutes to hear how she exploits fear in the population to gain the influence her party has now. The same is also the case with other politicians throughout Europe. I may just be an idealist with short memory, but I can’t remember this rhetoric 5-10 years ago.

    5-10 years ago Europe was scared of “far away” things like nuclear war or the ozon layer getting up and leaving. Now, and I think this is both tied to the enemy image built from 9.11 and the rhetoric in politics, we are afraid that the immigrant boys we pass on the street will mug, kill, or suicide-bomb us.

    I may be totally of base here since the reason I’ve noticed during the past few years might also be tied to my rise in maturity.

  38. Chris says:

    Holy shit this is a long fucking comment. Joen, if you want just delete it.

    Finally ended up receiving a rifle only after having drank copious amounts of alcohol at the behest of our benefactor.

    Sounds comforting 😛

    LOL, I read that twice before I clicked post and didn’t realize how funny it sounds. The order this all took place in, drink booze, get guns, go home, sleep, wake up, seek out moose.

    Incidentally, being a foreigner, even an American in a small Canadian mining town means you will be offered many drinks. I swear, for three weeks I thought my name was “Chris from Virginia” every time some one introduced me.

    You’re probably right about the fear rhetoric. I think we got it in earnest in the 60s. Fear of Communism. Fear of blacks. Fear of Jack Bundy. Then Reagan came along and everyone always calls him the great optimist because of speeches like his “shining city on the hill” vision of America. But, what he was insinuating in those speeches of optimisim was that things were bad now. Things might get good someday but right now they’re bad.

    To punctuate all the news about those great optimisms news broadcasters started to focus on “real people” stories. Rather than big pictures stories we started hearing instead about little kids being kidnapped. Rather than tell us what’s going on in Denmark we close the foreign bureaus to focus on a murder trial (that isn’t something we started with O.J. it was just the biggest trial).

    So, then we’re not covering the world. We’re covering ourselves. We get dumber about our allies and our enemies and start navel gazing. And all we hear about are these horrible “if it bleeds it leads” stories. The stories might have happened miles away and be so unlikely to happen again but we hear two of them and it’s a trend.

    So, lock your doors. Carry your keys with you in your hand. Get caller ID. Get a keyless enty for your car. Get a home security system. Move into a gated community.

    And then? Then we find out the trouble is our kids. They’re shooting up the schools. So, get metal detectors. Take away the violent games. Curtail their rights.

    And finally we’re under attack from terrorists that hate us because we have freedom? Watch out for Arabs, report your neighbors!

    And all of that has lead to a nation afraid to look at itself, afraid to talk to itself. Quiet elevators full of wary strangers.

    I promise you though. Despite the paranoia. Despite the detective shows. America really isn’t that bad a place and the people are good on the whole. That paranoia breeds distrust which leads to misunderstanding which leads to fear which leads to violence which leads to more paranoia. I must sound like Yoda.

    And instead of confidence trickling down from our leaders (either party) it is fear and aggresion moving up the chain.

    But, I promise you. It is not as bad as we think it is. Our streets are actually pretty safe. Why? Even the crooks are afraid to go out at night.

    Here’s a more pertinent Canada story that points this up. While I was there, walking around the neighborhood, a total stranger in a strange land, people would say hello to me. They would actually make eye contact. It freaked me out. Americans just don’t do that anymore.

    My first encounter in Canada was at a rest stop/visitor center. A Canadian woman, alone, was driving across the country. In the parking lot she offered me an apple she’d gotten in one of the other provinces that apparently are where the best darn apples come from. She was right. It was a damn good apple. It tasted better because she’d offered it from her stash. And I felt safe taking it.

    I would never do that in America. And no one in their right mind would approach a stranger in a rest stop parking lot and offer me an apple. I drove two days across my country to get to that apple. That Canadian woman was the first person I spoke to that wasn’t a gas station cashier or a customs official depsite the fact that I saw hundreds of people at possibly 20 rest areas along the way.

    You see, it doesn’t matter how many guns there are in Canada. The people are different. Americans are just different and we’re afraid and we’ve got guns. So watch out.

  39. Jens says:

    Some concluding thoughts

    I like to squeeze proponents of gun control on faulty logic, but I am not against gun control. I’m undecided. The problem I often have with proponents, in and outside this thread, are their wild assumptions which may appear logical, but are never backed by the hard evidence which is available – and rarely appeal to anything but emotion. A lover of Truth should recognize when an opinion is presented as fact and generalizations are pulled out of the rectum of the author. Yuk!

    There is plenty of research done into gun control in general and in the US specifically. Use it!

    This thread sports its share of factoids. E.g.:

    1. “[Poor education] is the cause of gun violence. Uneducated people commit crime.”
    2. “The idea that anyone dumb enough to attempt a violent crime is actually thinking about the possibility of the victim packing heat is absurd.”
    3. “Given that gun-related crimes are higher in the US than, generally, other western countries, seems to be related to the availibility of guns.” (I accept that “seems” does imply opinion)

    In none of these cases were the statements backed up with sources. All appeal to “common sense” and without any further investigation I might have accepted them. And maybe they are true. But its opinion.

    However! – a little googling will reveal some serious sources contesting the above statements.

    Anyway, it was fun. One day I might actually make up my mind about this stuff.

  40. Chris says:

    In none of these cases were the statements backed up with sources.

    You’re right. As far as my own comments go they’re based, for the most part, on my own experience or understanding of a thing. But, emotion is all we have.

    And again I’m sure you’re right that there are sources to contest everything we’ve said. I’ll accept that. However, it’s just as likely there are other sources to contest those sources. And it goes on and on.

    I won’t contest that we base our stances on how we feel about certain things as opposed to what the facts say. That’s what humans do. All I can suggest is that we take all the opinion and all the facts and do our level best to make up our own minds.

    You’re also right about your last point. This is fun.

  41. greymullet says:

    Chris: I’d heard about how different Canada was, but hearing it from an American in such detail hammers it home. Why is it that Canada’s so different? Can anyone answer?

    Going back to gun control, I always think of Michael Moore interviewing the 3rd man involved in the Oklahoma City bombings (his name escapes me). This guy was going on about the right to bear arms, and was anti gun-control. So Moore asked whether he should be allowed a nuclear weapon. The reply was something along the lines of “Well, of course there should be some control.”

    Touch

  42. brian says:

    I think this’ll be my last comment filed in the politics category, I feel swamped. I would like to respond but it would be futile to try and respond to all these comments which seem to be ambiguously directed at my two previous comments. It?s frustrating to try and share my views but we obviously believe completely differently on pretty much everything, and that wont be changing. Which is fine and I?m cool with that but I?m just too busy lately with a new design job to try and keep up since I can usually only get around to checking the blogs I like to read about thrice a week.

    I?ll definitely keep up with the installments and posts on design though, that?s why I first came here and that?s what I like, I?ll just not participate in the posts filed in ‘politics’. Please don?t take this as an insult because it really isn?t, I just got in over my head trying to say something that was better left unsaid.

    Best of luck in the future though, the comment counts are slowly but steadily increasing so you?re obviously tickling someone?s ears. 🙂

  43. Chris says:

    Brian, I certainly hope you don’t view some of the responses you’ve seen here as being a sort of attack on you personally.

    As for whether your comments were better left unsaid, I highly disagree. I welcome the opposing viewpoint. I’m eager to hear it. There’s no problem with disagreeing. I’d much rather engage in an open argument than be left to assumptions.

    I hope in the future you’ll find more time to return to a discussion like this in earnest. I think next on the agenda is a less controversial topic like… religion. 🙂

  44. brian says:

    Haha, no I know they weren’t personal, I understand that, it’s just that it’s sort of overwhelming. Id much rather take the time to write out a point/counter point discussion over a period of days via email than just try to wing it and then be misunderstood and discredited publicly, but right now I just don’t have the time maybe in a few months though. Funny you mention that religion will actually be one of my subjects I write on my own blog after May 1st.

    :shudders: I hope it doesn’t get ugly because I’m really looking forward to becoming a so called ‘full fledged’ member of the blogosphere.

    Thanks for your concern 🙂

  45. Shane says:

    Hey Joen,

    The reasoning behind the second amendment is to secure our nation from a hostile government taking away our liberty for example Iraq or the hunger plight in Africa which is due to warlords and people and government higher ups taking the money for themselves and not taking care of the people same goes for the people in Mexico why do they come to the USA illegally? It?s because their leaders don?t take care of the people?s best interest they just take.

    Now we all may argue that the world is in a better place then it was 200 years ago but who knows I?d rather know that I?m able to defend my family and rise up against aggression and the only way to do that is through greater or equal force because when they come to my door they won?t be sitting me down and asking me if it?s ok to take my land and so on.

    It?s very disturbing the way my country the USA is handling our issues and one day probably after I?m gone off this earth their will be major issues to deal with that we may need to stand up and fight for our freedom.

    Thanks for letting me vent and admire your work and can?t wait for the new Turtle Shell.

    Take care Joen.

  46. Joen says:

    Hi Shane,

    Thanks for your comment. I always enjoy well-written responses, even though I do not always agree with them.

    In this case, I understand what the second amendmant is for, but I do not agree that it is still relevant. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be allowed to protect your family. The thing is, if it ever came to that — being attacked by aggressors wanting to take your land — I do not think being allowed to carry guns would help much. Fact is, if Iraq had ever been capable of attacking the US, and intent on it, a gun wouldn’t have helped.

    The gist of it is this: todays world is different from what it was 200 years ago. Back then, a gun might help keep the enemy at bay, but I can’t imagine it would today.

    I appreciate your response, and I can understand and accept if you won’t agree with me on this 🙂

  47. chperret says:

    Coming back to Anders Rask question

    1/ since the end of USSR Switzerland has no “ennemy”, but swiss micro-technics and micro-electroincs conglomerate is the first occidental provider. We did the hardware laser system for the FA-18 and then, as an exchange, we bouht lots of them. Not that as Swiss as I’m pround of it – on the opposite. Swiss army is then, against 40% of the pouplation, given as a necessity to test our production. Based on milice system (each male cititzen has to give 300 days for active service, between 20 and 35 years), this army tends to proove that non-professional soldiers can use Swiss-armed-system (logitec, nagra, oerlikon burle, abb and other well-known industries provide them).

    2. each Swiss male between 20 and 35 has to do 2 or 3 weeks army a year and his supposed to be ready to join at the minute – therefore all personnal material, including weapons and bullets, are at home. Switzerland knows the highest suicide rate from all western countries, and more than 30% of them are realized with theses arms. Add lot of other cases (including zug massacre, when somebody shot 5 or 10 politicians inside a local parliament) (or a well-known officier who shot his wife and all family a year ago in Valais). This is actually a main political issue, but arm lobby is watching…

  48. kmorgan says:

    One only has to look at the drop in crime in florida when concealed carry laws were relaxed to show that the fear of being shot is the best deterrant to crime.

Comments are closed.