Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » Disproved: Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People

Disproved: Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter1Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

By now we’ve all heard about what happened in Newtown, Connecticut: yet another mass shooting not unlike what has happened so many times over the years, only this time it was 20 murdered children and six murdered adults. There’s no need to go into the details now, we’re all going to hear it ad nauseum for the next couple weeks. It’s easy to foretell how the national conversation will go: there will be a hue and cry for better and more effective (and more effectively enforced) gun control laws (Mayor Bloomberg is already raising the gun-control flag), and as soon as we all finish recoiling in shock and horror, gun-rights advocates and the NRA (in a repeat of what they did after the massacres at Columbine, the Gabby Giffords rally, and in a theater at Aurora, Colorado) will release statements that go along the line of “We are deeply sympathetic to the victims and the bereaved families, but in this time of sorrow we should not allow ourselves to overreact and take guns away from law-abiding citizens”.

Their logic goes along the line of the old conservative saw that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, that guns cannot in and of themselves be a significant factor in our nation’s shameful homicide rate; indeed, most conservatives seem to think that “An armed society is a polite society”, never mind that there is precisely zero evidence that crime somehow becomes less of a problem if everyone carries their own guns. In fact, the homicide rates of the South show quite the opposite when compared to that of the rest of the nation.

But something else happened today, something that shows indisputably the difference between a supposedly polite armed society, and one where firearms owners are very much the exception to the rule. Today a man in China’s Henang Province attacked a schoolteacher and students with a knife. The teacher and 22 students were wounded, some critically, but none died.

The difference is painfully clear: here in freedom-loving America, a man took a gun and killed 20 children and six adults, while in communist China, a man who was apparently every bit as deranged as his comrade-in-madness in Connecticut was not able to get a gun, and so used a knife; and no one died. His actions are still shocking and inexcusable, but 22 children there are still alive today, whereas 20 children here in America are dead. The only difference of note was that one man had easy access to firearms, and the other did not.

Anyone who supports getting rid of all guns is living in a fantasy land; gun-totin’ Pandora is out of her box and she’s never getting back in. But we can try to minimize the violence and mitigate the damage done by those who seem to hold guns to be some sort of holy religious icon. All firearms must be registered, all owners must be licensed, and all owners must be responsible for what happens with their firearms. All of these already apply to vehicle ownership anyway, but we can safely assume that nothing’s going to happen; the gun lobby in Washington is still too powerful, too strong. And so we will learn nothing as a nation, and more innocent people will die.

It’s as if Thomas Jefferson’s quote is incomplete and needs to be rewritten: “The tree of Second Amendment liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants and innocent children,” for if tragedies such as those that happened today cannot serve as object lessons that easy access to firearms is nothing more than a recipe for horror and grave injustice, then what indeed is the meaning of the blood shed by those 20 innocent children in that elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut?

Powered by

About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • troll

    …your source tells of a recent school knife attack in China (a trending phenomenon) in which eight were killed somewhat undermining your argument

  • Dung Honter

    As a comparison, 350-400 people in the US drown in bathtubs every year, many of them small children. That’s much more of a child killer than school shootings. What is giving up baths for showers if it means the life of a child? Let’s ban bathtubs and mandate shower only with no drain stop.

    In fact, if we gave away all freedoms to the government they could make us much safer, government mandated healthy food, eliminating tubs, pools, even restricting beach access, outlawing or taxing into oblivion cigarettes, alcohol, and weed, the list goes on forever.

    But I don’t need to tell you that, you’re a liberal, you already plan to dictate everyone’s lives by your arbitrary values. Who cares if we can all live to be 100 as good government worker bees if we have no freedoms, no joys, no choice?

  • Dung Honter

    What’s up with the site anyways. I have to go anonymous proxy and not use my normal handle or my comment gets blocked ‘because of who we believe you are’, that’s when it even works at all. Is this something everyone experiences lately or have I been singled out. (wouldn’t be the first time my IP was blacklisted)

  • troll

    Doug – looks to me like the site is under a pretty intense spam attack and somebody destabilized the platform while fighting it

  • troll

    oddly I’m having no trouble posting comments using ‘troll’ while others complain of having to use proxies

  • Clavos

    Troll’s right insofar as we have had serious instability problems with the site for several days now. I’m told that the tech gurus are feverishly working on it and expect to have it resolved soon.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    your source tells of a recent school knife attack in China (a trending phenomenon) in which eight were killed somewhat undermining your argument

    And how many more could that knife-wielder have killed if he’d had guns? And in the attacks at Columbine, Aurora, Arizona, and Newtown, could the attackers have killed so many if they hadn’t had guns?

    No, troll, you didn’t disprove my argument at all.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    In fact, if we gave away all freedoms to the government they could make us much safer, government mandated healthy food, eliminating tubs, pools, even restricting beach access, outlawing or taxing into oblivion cigarettes, alcohol, and weed, the list goes on forever.

    Well, fine, then let’s get rid of seat belts and airbags, and bike helmets and vaccines, too!

    Doug, it makes zero sense to ignore one needless source of danger just because there are other sources of danger. All you’re doing is building a strawman.

  • Cindy

    I think if you want to stop people shooting each other, probably better get started replicating something other than a society that produces pathology in people.

    (Not that I think that’s gonna happen any time soon. I’ll wager on human extinction, first.)

  • Cindy

    I had to use my VPN to be able to post.

  • troll

    No, troll, you didn’t disprove my argument at all.

    …didn’t say I had or that I was even trying to – only pointed out some conflicting evidence…if you think gun control is the answer knock yourself out

    but perhaps you will acknowledge that intent could have some impact on the number of deaths in any attack in addition to the availability of various kinds of weapons indicating that the problem is complex

    I’d like to understand more about how we’re producing that intension

    and remember: clubs don’t kill people – people kill people

  • Igor

    About guns: here’s what the constitution says in it’s famous 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.”

    It seems clear that the founders wanted a militia that could be quickly assembled to fight off an indian attack or a marauding grizzly bear, or a bunch of British Loyalists, NOT that each citizen be sufficiently armed to settle personal problems with weapons. After all, the USA was a creature of The Enlightenment, where people were to settle arguments with Courts and Judges, not duels.

    Most of us know what a militia is, a sort of National Guard unit for local use. Just as the NG is often called out to help stack sandbags in case of flood, and direct traffic, etc.

    These days we seldom have indian attacks (not as many as we deserve, I daresay) and grizzlies have almost disappeared. Sometimes we have an occasional cougar that wanders into the suburbs, usually a starving under-weight male chased from the tribe as a population control measure, but then a Specialist is called in with a dart gun.

    It’s hard to see the place of an armed militia in modern society.

  • troll

    (Glenn – if I look for something to propose for debate here it’d be that your argument from numbers is offensive…what of us anti-aggregationists who live in a world where the notion that ‘to kill one is to destroy the universe entire’ is paradigmatic?)

  • Baronius

    I just want to mourn today. I want to crawl under the covers and weep. I hate that I have to write something pro-gun on a day like this.

    Then I think: this is the price of democracy, having to defend your beliefs every day. Glenn’s right to make his argument. It’d be unfair to ask him not to, because he truly believes that this is the best time to take steps to avert another tragedy.

    Then I catch myself. If I thought that gun laws would prevent a tragedy like this, I’d be out marching side-by-side with Glenn. I don’t. I don’t believe they will. Does Glenn think I wouldn’t want to protect the children? That I’m holding to a position just because of politics, a position that I know to be wrong? I’m back to being disgusted.

    The best I can come up with today is the belief that the people on both sides of this issue have good intentions.

  • http://danmillerinpanama.wordpress.com Dan(Miller)

    Glen,

    I have seen many demands for more gun control laws, but I have seen no specific proposals that might have prevented the current tragedy or others like it. I have also heard that Connecticut has very strict gun control laws.

    How, specifically, would you structure new gun control laws for Connecticut?

  • Cindy

    There once was a man with no legs, he wanted to go out and buy a gun to kill some people. But he couldn’t walk. So, the people lived. Thus, guns don’t kill people, legs kill people.

  • Clavos

    Well, fine, then let’s get rid of seat belts and airbags, and bike helmets and vaccines, too!

    No need to get rid of ‘em, just make ‘em optional; them that wants, gets, them that don’t…

  • panda

    These mass shootings are a recent phenomenon; the fact is that guns have been around since the founding of our nation. The root cause of all of these current incidents is social conditioning. If you are looking for something to place blame on, you can blame our current culture of violence. Children are introduced to killing and death at a very young age from TV shows, movies, and video games. They see violence everywhere and become desensitized to it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    It would be REALLY nice if technorati would stop blocking me so I can use something other than this iPhone….

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, try deleting your Blogcritics cookies and emptying your browser cache.

    If that doesn’t work, please email me including the article url, the rejection message, the date and time and your computer’s IP address and I will take it up with the tech team tomorrow.

    As to the topic of this post, there is a clear distinction between pistols and the kind of assault weapon used in this latest atrocity.

    I wouldn’t support a blanket ban on all guns, which would be absurd, but it is hard to imagine why people need to own assault rifles.

    The other measure which could be introduced is to keep forensic records of all weapons in the USA and making their registered owners responsible for their safety and use.

  • Baronius

    Panda has a point. I remember when violent video games started, they were a novelty. They were popular for the shock value. You had an Atari-type pixel guy who ran around shooting yellow dots at badly-animated heads, and there’d be a spray of red dots if you hit’em. We’ve arrived at the point where people spend hours sitting in front of a screen pulling a trigger over and over again, watching some very realistic dehumanizing images. They’re basically spree-killer simulations.

    Now, it’s true, boys will be boys. We’ll point crayons at each other and make shooting sounds. “Pchoo! Pchoo!” But even then we’ll set up some moral context with good guys and bad guys. Video game violence is all about killing as many people as quickly as possible.

  • Cindy

    Now, it’s true, boys will be boys. We’ll point crayons at each other and make shooting sounds. “Pchoo! Pchoo!” But even then we’ll set up some moral context with good guys and bad guys. Video game violence is all about killing as many people as quickly as possible.

    Why is it true that “boys will be boys”? Have you considered that? Are boys inherently born to act that way?

    What if the video violence you are seeing now is merely the outcome of what the Capitalistic market does with an already learned gender expression.

    Are there cultures where boys might express their boyness differently? Alternately, are there any boys that could still be boys and express a pacifistic nature?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Truly nutty, Glenn. The fact that the shooter displayed all the characteristics of the kind of adjustment disorder which is typical in these shootings makes it very clear that mental illness was the problem, not guns.

    Dave

  • http://www.lunch.com/JSMaresca-Reviews-1-1.html Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

    We need more rigorous registration requirements for guns-particularly those sold across interstate lines.
    In addition, registrants should undergo background checks, as well as basic licensing exams just like we
    have with automobiles. I think that Washington, as well as big city mayors have issues with the loose
    or non-existent registration requirements in some jurisdictions. Perhaps, a national registration law
    is required so that the process can be simplified and standardized.

    There are disparate constituencies of users involved. Some holders need guns for their jobs. i.e. police
    Others require a gun because they live in a jurisdiction where police are miles away. i.e. upstate
    counties of New York People who live far from police protection have a right to demand guns
    to protect against roaming wild animals, as well as criminals during robbery attempts and major assaults.

  • Baronius

    Cindy, no economic system has yet proven to change human nature. The whole idea that an economic system would provide salvation, fill that hole in the human heart, has always struck me as ludicrous. I’m a big fan of capitalism – nothing’s proven better to provide physical sustenance for billions – but for spiritual problems you should seek spiritual solutions. And I wonder what economic system you think either has or would change the perennial patterns of human weakness. If communism or mercantilism or something had ever cured us of our violence, I think you’d have mentioned it. The biggest contribution the anarcho-occupy guys have given to the culture is the coining of the term “rape tent”. Until your critique of capitalism gets fleshed out with some real-world counterexamples, I’m going to remain unpersuaded.

  • Cindy

    Baronius,

    no economic system has yet proven to change human nature. The whole idea that an economic system would provide salvation, fill that hole in the human heart, has always struck me as ludicrous

    I’m not making an argument anything like that.

    “What if the video violence you are seeing now is merely the outcome of what the Capitalistic market does with gender expression?”

    Okay, I modified that so it will work even if you believe that gender roles are ‘natural’. Is my point any clearer now?

  • Maurice

    The mother is to blame. She owned registered guns that she left around even though she knew her son was not right in the head. I have no problem with gun registration but it won’t help if people leave their guns laying around. And Igor your idea of the second amendment is wrong. The idea of a citizen militia was to over throw the government. “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms…” Richard Henry Lee, 1788, Member of the First U.S. Senate.

  • Baronius

    Cindy, I’d point to ruffian pirates, ruffian Mongol hordes, the ruffian Red Army, and every other outlet of masculine aggression since time began, and ask what economic systems have to do with this.

  • troll

    …you are what you make (materialistically speaking)

  • Dr Dreadful

    Igor @ #12:

    It seems clear that the founders wanted a militia that could be quickly assembled to fight off an indian attack or a marauding grizzly bear, or a bunch of British Loyalists, NOT that each citizen be sufficiently armed to settle personal problems with weapons.

    Apparently Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr didn’t get that memo.

  • Igor

    And what was the result? Death and infamy.

  • AC

    Firearms are resposible for mass shootings, in the same manner that passenger aircraft are responsible for 9/11.

  • Cindy

    Baronius,

    I think we are in agreement that aggression is a facet of human nature, Baronius. I believe it is human nature to rape, pillage, plunder, love, comfort, and nurture.

    Before I continue, I wonder if we can agree on a two more things.

    1) Would you say, human nature being what it is, children will learn different things if they are exposed to different things?

    Example: Might these games effect children and/or would you want to expose your children to a steady diet of such games as Postal 2, which allow you to: drop-kick grenades and whip scythes at unsuspecting civilians if they refuse to participate in your everyday life story (which is, after all, the plot behind the game). Of course, this includes using cat carcasses as silencers on your gun, hitting people with anthrax-laden cow heads and playing “fetch” with dogs using the severed heads of your dismembered victims. or Grand Theft Auto which features things like barbecuing prostitutes with flamethrowers and where nothing is too vile or unrealistic in the face of death, blood and mayhem.

    2) We all have appetites. This is part of being human, yes? Still, do you have an appetite for spiders dipped in chicken soup mix and deep fried? How about huge white grubs?

    I have heard that some people who eat huge white grubs are disgusted at our consumption of chicken eggs?

    3) To reiterate question #1, would you say, what we witness and are exposed to can effect us?

    4) To reiterate question #2, would you say that we have learned likes and dislikes? That is despite our human nature, which includes aggression–not all 20 year olds take rifles to grammar schools. Not all people like huge white grubs or eggs depending on what they are exposed to?

    Are we in agreement at all on these two points?

    (removed all reference links, because comment would not post with them)

  • Dr Dreadful

    Igor, the militia clause of the Second Amendment is a justification for, not a restriction on, the practice of owning and carrying firearms.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/braden Braden

    I was half-expecting an article on unmanned drones or cyborg warfare, the only two explanations I’m aware of for claiming that guns themselves kill people instead of human beings. Unfortunately, the premise of this article is undermined by the deadliest murder in a school in U.S. history: The Bath School disaster in Bath Township, Michigan. The primary weapon of choice in that tragedy was a series of bombs. In the incident in Connecticut, the gunman stole the guns from his mother after failing to purchase one for himself. Furthermore, Connecticut is among the top 10 states in the nation with the strictest gun control laws. The point is, gun control can’t truly deter mankind’s capacity for evil. It never has in the history of mankind and it never will. In Switzerland, nearly 50% of households own a firearm and yet they have one of the lowest gun-related crime rates in the world. So yes, perhaps America has a gun problem: we don’t educate our citizens on how to properly use them.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Does anyone else find it strange that a very well off woman living in a million dollar house in a very nice, un-threatening town feel the need to own five guns, including an assault rifle, for her own safety?

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    Read Gun_politics_in_Switzerland on wikipedia for a more complete version of the story

  • Baronius

    Cindy, I could go along with that so far. I’d say that “what we witness and are exposed to can” AFFECT us, not EFFECT us. Something that affects us influences us. Something that effects us creates us.

  • Crake

    Guns and the Internet are not unlike. Both were heavily used by governments to wage wars. Both are inherently powerful, and both are neutral when left static. When a person or persons uses both technologies, lives can be saved, governments over thrown and rebels defeated. When any tool is used for I’ll, it’s because a person wanted to use it for I’ll. The problem isn’t less Internet or less guns. The solution is less violence, better mental health, and healthy relationships; prohibition and more regulation is just missing the point!

  • Crake

    Christopher, ownership of an “assault” rifle is no different than owning a rock crawler, sports car, jet boat etc… It’s just another thing that you can get into and enjoy as a hobby. If she felt she needed it for defense, that’s fine and it’s her choice. It’s her money and her life, so long as she doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s really none of your business what she owns and for what reasons.

  • Igor

    @25-Baronius: It seems to be impossible for humans to separate economics from morality, which is the refutation of your argument that: “…capitalism – nothing’s proven better to provide physical sustenance for billions – but for spiritual problems you should seek spiritual solutions.”.

    Successful capitalists never tire of saying that poor people are poor because they are lazy, and so poverty is a judgement on their laziness.

  • Igor

    @27-Maurice: but your idea is NOT in the constitution, and politicians say all kinds of things that are not constitutional:

    “…And Igor your idea of the second amendment is wrong. The idea of a citizen militia was to over throw the government. “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms…” Richard Henry Lee, 1788, Member of the First U.S. Senate.”

  • Igor

    @30-DD: I might also point out that the infamous Burr-Hamilton duel snuffed out, prematurely, the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the USAs greatest founders, and, in fact, the sponsor of most of our financial success over the years, by creating a “full faith and credit” treasury system (which, apparently, the current crop of nitwit republican politicians seem willing to throw over at the slightest suggestion).

  • Igor

    @#34 – Dr Dreadful: No. The militia clause is THE justification for guns, not merely A justification.

    “Igor, the militia clause of the Second Amendment is a justification for, not a restriction on, the practice of owning and carrying firearms.”

  • Igor

    @#36 – Christopher Rose: Very insightful. Maybe this will reveal that the mother was nuts and infested her son with her nuttiness, and provided the weapons.

    Does anyone else find it strange that a very well off woman living in a million dollar house in a very nice, un-threatening town feel the need to own five guns, including an assault rifle, for her own safety?

  • Crake

    Well let’s just ignore the elephant in the room; our cultures entertainment is immersed in violent movies, video games and polarizing comedy. On top of that, parents often divorce and when together, both are working parents. On top of having broken families, the children spend the majority of their waking hours in public schools, learning to cope with extreme social pressures. Some of these children have broken families, and struggle in school, feeling lost and non efficacious, they lash out. Unfortunately, these children have chosen to copy what the media has made into a frenzy of attention. I believe the attention, and the act, fill the child’s “need” to lash out and achieve effication in one swoop.

    Now, given the amount of premeditation that has gone onto some of these events, I present to you the hard reality that murder is already illegal, so is a minors possession of a firearm. The law failed in all respects, and no future law can prevent an ambitious, desperate person willing to plan.

    Banning guns will do nothing more than make life difficult for homest people.

    I say, if you going to restrict anything, let’s start with the first amendment, and work our way up one at a time… The Internet (the first amendment) is far more powerful than any firearm. And isn’t center stage in any of these cases because the “majority” don’t want to change their own lives… And thats the tragedy of mob rule..

  • Baronius

    Igor –

    “It seems to be impossible for humans to separate economics from morality”

    Yes, in the sense that any action has a moral element to it. No, in the sense of economic determinism, which is what I think is behind Cindy’s comments (based on previous threads).

    “Successful capitalists never tire of saying that poor people are poor because they are lazy, and so poverty is a judgement on their laziness.”

    That’s a caricature. It’s not even a caricature of capitalism – maybe a caricature of Calvinism. Now, the internet being what it is, you can probably find a few people who would fit that caricature, but the real-world capitalist would probably attribute his success to hard work, a good idea, and eventual luck. But this hearkens back to our last thread, where you believed that liberal capitalists are secret rightists. Maybe Clavos is onto something. You do know that businessmen are normal dudes, right?

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Crake, so owning tactical nuclear weapons or biological warfare material is ok too? Don’t talk utter bollocks.

    If someone in a safe, affluent middle class community feels the need to own five weapons for their “safety”, something is clearly wrong somewhere.

  • crake

    Jump to: navigation, search

    Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: “reduction to absurdity”) is a common form of argument which seeks to demonstrate that a statement is true by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its denial,[1][2] or in turn to demonstrate that a statement is false by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its acceptance. First appearing in classical Greek philosophy (the Latin term derives from the Greek ? ??? ?????? ??????? or he eis atopon apagoge, “reduction to the impossible”, for example in Aristotle’s Prior Analytics[1]), this technique has been used throughout history in both formal mathematical and philosophical reasoning, as well as informal debate.

  • crake

    Nice try Christopher, but I’m afraid your being manipulative.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Firstly, it’s “you’re” not your, so please don’t lecture me.

    Secondly, you are the one doing the manipulating, as is clearly proven in that you have not so far responded to my simple point that there is clearly something wrong somewhere if someone in that kind of environment feels that way.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Igor @ #44:

    My point remains. Like it or not (and I don’t think I do, particularly), I can’t read the 2nd in any way that makes the guaranteed right not absolute and perpetual.

    Were it to be written today, it might read: “Because a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    I don’t feel I can conclude from this that the evolution of a set of social conditions rendering a “militia”, as the Founders understood the term, obsolete, removes that right. The second clause is as emphatic when it is uncoupled from the first clause as when it is joined.

    And it can’t be assumed that because militias aren’t needed today this will always be the case.

    One might wonder, then, why the right to bear arms is the only one in the Bill of Rights that the Founders saw the need to tack a justification onto. I think the reason is that it anticipated some potential alarm at the idea of everyone from George Washington down to Smelly McFunguscrotch the hobo by the creek being able to own a gun: “Yeah, yeah, liberty, property, trial by jury, all great ideas, but wait a second, what’s this one… you want to guarantee what to whom?”

    Remember that the fledgling United States had just rid itself of what it saw as an occupying army, and the success of any occupation depends in large measure on the incapacity of those occupied to fight back. If it were to be invaded again, it would need everyone it could get, old Smelly included.

  • crake

    Now you’re attempting to poison the well with nitpicky corrections. That’s ok, you haven’t changed strategy.

    And you know for a fact that the women had no stalkers, abusive husband, perhaps been robbed in the past? Do you know about her childhood?

    Another thing, let’s say she had a legitimate reason to feel afraid. Maybe it wasn’t her neighborhood. Maybe it was her past… Now let’s say, she had a legitimate reason to fear for her life. Should she begin working out, and taking karate lessons? Will she ever increase her muscle mass to the point that she’s fit to fight a man, or several men?
    At which point is it rational for a person to “level the playing field”? When it comes to the second amendment, property rights and self-defense laws, do you even have a right to tell the women she can’t defend herself with a firearm?

    There are reasons people do things, Chris.

    I did answer your question. I took a property rights stance. Granted it was written implicitly rather than explicitly. What I should have said was… She can have any hobby she wants…insert implicit message…even a hobby that has the added benefit of making her feel safe…

  • Baronius

    Chris keeps using a particular wording. He says that she “felt” like she needed them, not that she needed them. Those are two completely different things. Now, I’ve been avoiding the news coverage as much as I can, but hasn’t there been something questioning her mental balance? She may have felt like she needed tin foil to keep the aliens away, but that doesn’t mean that she did need it.

  • Igor

    @52-DD: if the founders had in mind an unqualified right to bear arms they wouldn’t have prefaced it with a qualifier.

  • troll

    Held:
    1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
    Pp. 2-53.
    (a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2-22.
    (b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause.

    DC vrs Heller 2008

  • Wizzy

    Nuclear bombs also don’t kill people. Everybody should have some.

  • Crake

    That’s kind of a reductio ad absurdum and a straw man packed into one… Granted, for thought experiments sake reductio ad absurdum is a useful tool, as is slippery slope. But, I wouldn’t use either of those as evidence for a claim. They are effective, for obvious reasons I’d say, and there ability to leverage a counter argument without evidence is what makes them manipulative…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    “right to keep and bear arms” does NOT equate to “right to keep and bear military-grade assault rifles”

    The claim that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, the argument that guns are but tools, is like saying that if young men are able to easily get Lamborghinis and Maseratis, they won’t be likely to drive any faster than if they only had Fords and Kias.

    I just wish our resident conservatives would realize that the right of our children to safety is infinitely more important than the ‘right’ of young, stupid men to have easy access to high-powered, high-capacity firearms.

  • Crake

    So, are Chinese children safer because gun ownership is heavily restricted? Is surviving a near fatal stabbing more desirable than surviving a near fatal shooting?

    I would like to add, the only reason investigators look for murder weapons, is so they can trace the weapon back to an individual. Individuals commit crimes, and tools help them do it. Reducing the power of an aggregate (gun control), to reduce the power of a criminal, will only harm people who care to follow the law.

    I think there are a lot of people who have never liked guns, and are using this recent tragedy as an ideological winch… You know, to pull those racist rednecks away from their guns and religion…thing…

    What’s funny is, “liberals” impose their world view through the state, and “conservatives” impose their world view through religion. Both are collective institutions :)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Crake –

    So, are Chinese children safer because gun ownership is heavily restricted? Is surviving a near fatal stabbing more desirable than surviving a near fatal shooting?

    Last I checked, a near-fatal stabbing is infinitely preferable to a FATAL shooting.

  • Crake

    So being stabbed in the heart is preferable to being shot in the heart? Let’s compare like things, instead of building a straw man, then knocking it over.

    People choose guns over knives because they are effective at what they do. Guns put distance between you and your target. This is true of whomever is shootig it. It could be you, me, a cop, a grandfather and his grandson, a women defending herself or a criminal. The difference is, the vast majority of the time, the ~ 55 million gun owners of America are harming no one! This is a mental health issue, not a hardware issue!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    If you’ll READ my article and check the references, Crake, you’ll see that in Newtown, 20 children died who were SHOT, while in China there were 22 children who lived who were STABBED.

    In America, 20 children DIED in one incident. In China, 22 children LIVED in that one incident. The ONLY difference is that one had guns, the other had a knife.

    YES, people choose guns because they are more effective – and the bad people know that, too. That’s why there are FAR more people murdered than there are instances of successful self defense.

    You know why that is, Crake? Because it doesn’t matter how many guns you have or how good those guns are – if that bad guy has the drop on you, he’ll shoot you dead with one freaking bullet from a .22 Saturday Night Special…and all those guns won’t have done you one whit of good. That’s why the key, sir, isn’t to arm ourselves to the teeth – it’s to keep the weapons out of the hands of the bad people to begin with.

    Think about it, Crake – if you really, truly wanted to kill me, do you really think I’d be able to stop you regardless of what I’m carrying? No, I couldn’t – you’d just wait until my guard is down or use some other tactic and then you’d kill me. Likewise, I can promise you that it doesn’t matter what anyone carries – if I really, truly wanted to kill someone, that person’s a dead man walking. But like you, I have no desire to do so and I pray that I never, ever will…

    …and the point is, if a bad person has guns, it usually doesn’t matter what weapons their target has – that target is going to get dead – just ask the three cops that have died since this past Friday. They were armed, trained, and alert…and they still got dead. The KEY, then, is to keep the guns out of the hands of bad people.

    And FYI, I’m retired Navy – I got my quals and carried my share of weapons. There’s millions of men and women who’ve done more than I have with weapons, but I do have somewhat of a clue.

  • Crake

    So, you’re saying if someone wants to kill someone else, there’s nothing anybody can do about it… Got it…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Crake –

    Again, if you really, truly wanted to shoot me dead, is there anything I could do about it? is there?

    However, if you don’t have a gun, it becomes a bit more problematic, doesn’t it? All of a sudden it isn’t so easy anymore. It’s a lot harder to kill someone face-to-face than it is to kill someone you see in a scope.

    Really, guy, do you think the massacres we’ve seen could’ve happened without the high-powered/large-magazine weapons available to everyone now? Do you? At the massacre where the congresswoman was shot in Arizona, the gunman was only tackled when he stopped to reload.

    There’s no NEED for everyone to have access to assault rifles. There’s no NEED for everyone to have access to high-capacity magazines. There IS a need for sensible gun regulation…

    …which is why the rest of the industrialized world has FAR lower homicide rates than America does.

    But I guess the tree of American-style Second-Amendment liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of innocent children….

  • Igor

    @56-troll: I surmise that you’re quoting the Roberts court on the DC gun law case, right?

    I disagree because I think it’s a tortured argument, maybe even just a tautology.

    And as many have done before me, I take exception to the SCOTUS interpretation and view it as ‘legislating from the bench’ to favor a political ally.

  • troll

    …understood Igor – I was only pointing out the SCOTUS interpretation of the amendment’s wording that underlies what is presently the law of the land

    your dissenting opinion along with Stevens’ et al won’t go far until you can take political control of the court

  • crake

    If that’s what you think American liberty brings, what the hell would American despotism look like?

    I think the issue is much deeper than guns. But, if you believe it’s that shallow – and given your passion – there is nothing I can say that will change your mind. You want to control my guns, my property, and you’ll likely win.

    The reason I’m speaking out is I know where “sensible” will likely end… I’ve learned in my life, that when I see a euphemism, be on red alert. Just as an example: Neutralize… Water boarding… Patriot act…

    I just want to be left alone, is that really so much to ask…?

    Peace :)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Crake –

    YOUR freedom ends where mine begins, and vice versa. Too much of anything – including freedom – is every bit as bad as too little.

  • Cindy

    Baronius,

    (sorry for the late reply, been tied up)

    I tried a bunch of times to post my reply but I can’t, even with my VPN. I will come back tomorrow to check which words I have to change.

  • crake

    Your freedom ends where my NOSE begins, and vice versa.

    Its a little less abstract when you give a place, like the nose, rather than a concept like freedom boundaries.

  • Cindy

    Baronius,

    Okay, I wouldn’t argue with your position. Let’s go with affect not effect.

    So, I think we are in agreement substantially, that:

    1) human nature can be influenced by exposure to a variety of ideas, beliefs, and experiences, and

    2) we would prefer to expose children to more ‘wholesome’ things.

    So back to my query: What if the video violence you are seeing now is merely the outcome of what the Capitalistic market does with an already learned gender expression.

    My position is that it is no secret that Capitalism requires newer and better markets all the time. How does it achieve this? It creates them. Not so bad if the market is for a new flavor of ice cream. Pretty bad if you are appealing to what you are calling the ‘nature’ of boys. (and girls)

    We differ in one way I think, but it does not matter as far as what I am trying to say. I believe that gender differences are learned, you believe they are innate (as I understand).

    In either case Capitalist market creates more and more vulgar appetites to sell into. One can barely find a game that isn’t filled with over-the-top violence. a boy today will be enticed into poarnnogrphy, not by Pl-yb-y, but free images of women being torrtured and gang-rped. (I did a test to discover what is out there and that is what I found in 5 minutes for free using a very mild language inquiry. You likely do not want to hear the things I found. Let’s just say I am not very shockable anymore as far as how pornographers are creating markets that sxualze the the most degrading treatment of women imaginable. Not markets for perverts, but markets for 12 year old boys who are sxually curious.)

    Capitalism will also convince your daughter there is something wrong with her body and she should turn herself into a sexually appealing object for male attention. It does this with nothing harsher than children’s commercials, Disney movies and typical storybooks.

    Thus, the outcome of a Capitalistic market will take every appetite and explore every facet of it searching for a market, no matter how extreme or even deranged. It is the nature of profit to keep creating novelty, regardless of ethics or affects on people–often young people with little experience. Those young people become the next generation and so it goes from bobby socks to poarnn-star wear.

  • Baronius

    Yeah, Cindy, this site’s a mess right now. I just lost a lengthy reply to your comments.

    I had a problem with this: “human nature can be influenced by exposure to a variety of ideas, beliefs, and experiences”. I’d say, rather, that a person’s thinking and behavior can be influenced by exposure to a variety of ideas, beliefs, and experiences. Human nature is a universal. That’s important because, among other reasons, it’s next to impossible to talk about human rights without it.

    One of the features of our nature is that given a choice between less and more, we usually choose more. Given a choice between less variety and more variety, we usually choose more variety. There are important caveats to that, and if this post survives I may get to address them. One of them is the law of diminishing returns. The first orange is going to give me greater joy than the fifth orange. The orange with a banana and an apple is going to give me greater joy than the orange with a banana, apple, tangerine, grapes, and cherries.

  • Baronius

    So, by my thinking, capitalism doesn’t really create demands. It may provide goods that satisfy low-priority demands, but that’s an important distinction. A thirteenth-century French farmer would want an ipod, and he’d rather have a video ipod. He’d much prefer to have the sore on his foot stop producing pus, but he’d like to hear his favorite tunes too.

    The reason I keep citing feudalism, or mercantilism, or any of the other systems we’ve used is because I believe that human nature was the same through all of them. We were potentially wicked, selfish, noble, flighty, and everything else, and we acted that way all the time. If capitalism made guys interested in cute young women, a lot of guys were faking it during the first twelve millenia of human history.

  • Baronius

    Taking this a step further, getting what we want doesn’t make us better people. And by the Aristotelian definition of happiness, the good life led by the good person, getting what we want doesn’t make us happier. As human beings, we have infinite desires, so we can only be fulfilled by an infinite God bestowing infinite graces on us forever, with us being oriented toward receiving them.

    So I find something good in capitalism: its ability to satisfy the necessities of countless people and even a few sprinkles on top. And that’s something I’m reluctant to limit. But it’s not ultimately fulfilling.

  • Cindy

    Baronius,

    We are still in agreement here, so far as “human nature” goes. My definition of human nature is roughly: any sort form or example of thinking or behavior of which, a human being is capable.

    I will be happy to change my wording above to ‘influence of thoughts and behavior’ rather than ‘human nature’as I used it.

    As for the rest, are you saying that advertising influences no one? How do you account for the fact that children, these days, want the toys they see on TV, the styles worn on TV, they dress and dance like the people on MTV?

    Why is there not all body shapes and sizes represented as ideal in advertising if people want variety?

    How do you account for all of the billions spent on marketing and shaping desire by businesses? Why does it work?

    Are you really saying that businesses do not knowingly attempt to create new markets by influencing what people think and do? That does not seem to be in accord about what business says about itself.

  • troll

    Cindy – I appreciate the approach you’ve taken here on the ‘human nature’ problem…beats the hell out of arguing over the nature of change rather than seeking some general agreements

  • Baronius

    Cindy – I’m having trouble with the site, and anyway I’m going to be on the road for most of the next week. So I doubt that we’re going to reach any conclusions.

    I do agree that some companies have tried, often successfully, to influence people to bad decisions.

  • Baronius

    That doesn’t suggest to me that capitalism is necessarily corrupt, though. To the extent that human nature is prone to bad actions, you could say that every institution is corrupt. Some institutions can magnify that corruption; some can help diffuse it.

  • Baronius

    Most do a little of both depending on the particular vice. There are very few unqualified wins in the world. I think that capitalism, on net, fosters generosity. (It’s easier to give something when you have something.) I think that it encourages stability, because everyone involved has a stake in its continued success. I doubt that you’d agree with either of those thoughts. There’ve been many moral failings on its watch, as well. Thinking of Aristotle again, we find virtue in the middle ground, balancing the inclinations and leanings of both ourselves and our institutions.

  • Baronius

    Hey, breaking up longer posts seems to work.

  • Cindy

    Yes, I think it does! talk to you soon!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Scientific article about evidence for compassionate cavemen who cared for disabled children through adulthood.

    (Next they’ll be finding evidence of compassionate capitalist cavemen, mark it down.)

    Human nature has run the gamut for quite awhile, anyway. And that is good news this week.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    (Sorry for the lack of HTML. I couldn’t post the comment with a hyperlink.) Merry Christmas BC.

  • cindy

    troll,

    ty for your appreciation. I wonder if my assessment is a cheat and how it holds up philosophically and if you can enlighten me on that. Although I really have come to think that it would be absurd not to count every human thing as human nature, I still reserve that there is an ideal or a nature of need/expectation, which when met culturally, results in a society having no need for prozac.

  • cindy

    Irene,

    I would never have though LESS of cavefolks than that they would love and care for the disabled. That they would not is a myth created by Capitalists to sell us on competition being godlike. ;-)

    Happy Christmas and other holidays, everyone.

  • troll

    dunno Cindy…maybe we really can, “…tell the queen of diamonds by the way she shines”

    I suspect it’s all in the luck of the draw though

    as for your approach with Baronius – philosophical problems can be seen as occurring on the margins so to speak (not unlike Roger’s ‘strategic move’ in his latest I think) and need not interfere…maybe…I guess

  • Roman

    “never mind that there is precisely zero evidence that crime somehow becomes less of a problem if everyone carries their own guns. In fact, the homicide rates of the South show quite the opposite when compared to that of the rest of the nation.”

    Please do not blog about things that you have absolutely no education in.

  • William Whistler

    @ troll…Yeah, China does have a trend of school attacks, but the story which was used as reference was used without changing the facts; no one died in that attack. It was an altogether separate incident of which there were 4 in 2010 in which 18 children total were killed. In 2011 there is 1 report of a child getting killed.

  • JD

    4 of the top 5 highest murder rates are in northern cities

  • Shojib Ashrafi Na Ashrafi

    I would sooner trust a restored Limo made prior to the 70’s than any newer one! And htey are cooler, like a 54′ Caddy limo I once rode in! Not as much electronic junk,sensors and PCM’s to short out or send fuel the other way like what happened several years ago in a car fire, I think it was also a Limo, made in the 80’s. Glad the women got out ok! What a scare!