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The Best Kind of Gun Control

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I was born and raised in New York City. All throughout my childhood I wanted a gun. When I was very little, I had a cowboy gun that shot caps. As I got a little older, I graduated to BB guns, and eventually paint ball.

I finally decided to go through the process of applying for a firearms permit. This process involved meeting with my local police department, going through a background check, psych check, getting fingerprinted, etc and so on. Months later, the Police called me and told me I could pick up my license.

I went from the police station to the gun store and immediately purchased 2 beautiful hand guns. One is a Kimber Gold Match II 1911 45 ACP, the other is a SIG P232 .380, both in shiny stainless steel. These are not just guns, these are highly refined machines, works of art.

The Kimber Gold Match

I was nervous my first time at the range, especially because someone near me was shooting a magnum which is really loud. Each time it would go off, I would jump. But I calmed down and after pumping out 300 rounds between my two guns I started to feel more comfortable.

Since obtaining my license and guns, I am starting to become aware of the many gun control laws that exist, as well as those they are trying to now pass. While there are many rights afforded to Americans in the Bill of Rights, it seems that the second amendment is the one right that isn’t quite a right.

Imagine if the media needed to go through a background check in order to publish the news? Or if to celebrate Christmas, you needed to first obtain a permit from your local police captain. Would it really be a “right” against illegal search and seizure if in order to qualify, you must never have been in a psychiatric hospital?

However, the second amendment in no uncertain terms guarantees the people of this great country the right to keep and bear arms, yet this “right” is subject to substantive regulation by the government. Further, it is the target of ever increasing regulation by the gun control lobby.

As I stated earlier, I grew up in New York City. I bring this up for two reasons: It is a city with some of the strictest gun control laws in the entire country, possibly the world. Secondly, it is a city with a great many people hurt or killed by guns each year.

Throughout my life, I was told that it’s near impossible to get a license for a gun, and a CCW (carry license), is impossible unless you are a cop. Yet growing up on the gritty city streets, many of my friends had obtained guns, all illegally. One friend would carry a Tec-9 (a type of machine gun) disassembled in his hipsack. Another sold guns illegally, and had brought with him to work on occasion a 45 semi, .380, and a Tec-22 (similar to the Tec-9 but shooting 22 caliber – smaller and quieter). I’ve been around people shooting 25 caliber semis in the basements of apartment buildings for target practice, and I’ve even been shot at once in Bushwick Brooklyn (thankfully they missed).

I could have bought my guns illegally via one of the many channels that are readily available to anyone so inclined. However, I am an upstanding citizen, and I want to abide by the laws. But when it comes to gun laws, I really have to start wondering who the target of those laws are?

In any given state at this moment, there are attempts to limit the number of guns that you can buy or to classify more guns as assault weapons, or to reduce the bullet capacity of magazines even further. Interestingly, none of the friends from my old neighborhood care about the enactment of any such laws, nor will they be affected by them.

My guns came with spent shell casings, which are on file with the government. Should my gun ever be used in a crime, the police can pretty quickly identify where the bullet came from. My fingerprints are on file, as is my picture, address, etc. I keep my guns locked up and safe, and when I take them out, I follow all of the safety rules, NRA, range rules, etc. Many of my gun toting friends from the old hood slept with guns under their pillow. Ask them about NRA Rules and they might ask back, “What are those?”

Does it help the average citizen to face such impediments to owning a gun, even though criminals have absolutely no problem obtaining one for themselves? Did the teens who murdered those four students in Newark, NJ earlier this summer go through the process of obtaining a license for the murder weapons they used? And might those NJ teens still be alive if just one of them happened to have a gun?

Independent studies repeatedly show that victims who are armed and resist crime fair better both in terms of harm received and property lost than victims who are unarmed and do not resist. Is that really a surprise? Anti-Gun nuts (my term for people who think I am a “gun nut” for owning a gun) widely cite the census bureau NCVS study, which is at odds with these numbers. But who is seriously testifying to a government employee, with the ability to arrest you, that you used your gun to resist a crime?

Some say that the idea of a militia has come and gone, and that the power of the American military renders the second amendment obsolete. Without getting into the word game that seems to dominate much anti-gun rhetoric, let me say that the second amendment mentions both Militias (which at the time was meant to empower everyday citizens), and The People (which means all Americans, i.e. We the People…).

Others are quick to point out that were the government to let loose the dogs of war against the American people, we wouldn’t stand a chance against them. As evidenced by our current Iraq imbroglio, an armed populace isn’t so easy for an all powerful military to contain, at least without a full on massacre. Although I don’t expect the next Tienanmen Square to happen here in the US, I have to wonder whether it would have occurred at all in China were the people there armed.

Sure, we would all prefer to live in a world without guns, but we live on Earth. The framers of our constitution did not make the decision to add the second amendment in haste. They did so based on a history of weapon control in Europe, which was almost always succeeded by a government power grab and tyranny. As such, our forefathers explicitly guaranteed the citizens of this great land the right to bear arms. We can continue to disarm the people in violation of the 2nd Amendment, but be clear that criminals will always get guns one way or another. In my opinion, the best kind of gun control is when you use both hands.

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About The Obnoxious American

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Obnoxious American – I am Deeply Offended by this article. Your concern for mere reason and the US Constitution are obviously proof that you don’t care about The Children. We have to ban guns, because children sometimes get killed with them. But you don’t care about that, do you? Shame on you!

  • Dr Dreadful

    So where is everybody?

    I imagine they’re all still savaging one another on the other gun thread (Mark Schannon’s).

    Don’t worry, they’ll be by shortly.

    :-)

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

    Nice job personalizing the issue. I wonder if the gun-grabbers will actually be able to say much in response to this.

    Dave

  • bliffle

    I just wonder why anyone wants a pistol made out of Stainless Steel. US grade SS, 18/8, is so defined for the benefit of milking equipment by the USDA and is generally a poor material for all but some specialty uses. In particular it’s poor for razor blades, knives and deck screws. Hard to machine and form, doesn’t hold an edge, ruptures precipitously, hard to weld, but it is good for some high temperature applications and corrosion resistance. Better, I would think, is the European “inoxidable” metal which is non-corrosive, easier to machine and with a satin finish rather than the gleam of 18/8.

  • Clavos

    18/8 can be had with any finish, it doesn’t need to be shiny.

    18/8 is just one of many grades of stainless. From Wikipedia:

    “Stainless steel’s resistance to corrosion and staining, low maintenance, relative inexpense, and familiar luster make it an ideal base material for a host of commercial applications. There are over 150 grades of stainless steel, of which fifteen are most common. The alloy is milled into sheets, plates, bars, wire, and tubing to be used in cookware, cutlery, hardware, surgical instruments, major appliances, industrial equipment, a structural alloy in automotive and aerospace assembly and building material in skyscrapers and other large buildings.

    Stainless steel is also used for jewelry and watches. The most common stainless steel alloy used for jewelry is 316L. It can be re-finished by any jeweler and unlike silver will not oxidize and turn black.

    Stainless steel is 100% recyclable. In fact, an average stainless steel object is composed of about 60% recycled material, 25% originating from end-of-life products and 35% coming from manufacturing processes.”

    The European “inox” (short form) is also stainless, and is often 18/8 (particularly in tableware) also.

    One group with which I am familiar that buys stainless weapons almost exclusively is boat owners, for obvious reasons.

  • The Spin

    Al Barger’s post was most likely meant as sarcasm. But I am serious. It takes A Village to raise The Children. We are and must be The World. All those guns unnecessarily being used at gun ranges are contributing to Global Warming. And what about the Polar Bears ?? Some Crazy Gun Nuts are saying that the answer to the government having such overwhelming superiority is that Citizens should have the right to even more powerful weapons, that when organized into militias they should have automatic weapons, grenade launchers, stinger missiles, armored vehicles, etc depending on the size of the militia. WHAAAAA!!!???

  • gonzo marx

    “well regulated Militia”…there’s the part to discuss

    nuff said…

    why all the sudden distraction from current real issues to this well beaten horse of a topic?

    curiouser and curiouser…

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    I think the first article (the theme of which which is somewhat of a perennial, no?) bred this one, as a response, gonzo.

  • gonzo marx

    i hear ya, Clovos..but ya know lil ole me..always suspicious

    on topic…best kind of gun control is using two hands, IMO

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    Gotcha, and roger that, gonzo….(4)

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

    gonzo, we only have the articles which we are given to comment on. If you want something else covered, write an article on it or at least suggest it to one of the more active writers.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    @ #11 – since my system was just repaired and back online as of yesterday, after a two week hiatus you can well expect more of my weird keyboard peckings

    and i wasn’t talking about BC…but a more general overview of pundits from the GOP side of the aisle across a host of media…curious if there is some direction to the shift in the curve, is all..NOT hypothesizing, just mentioning

    no need for the guilty conscience there, Vox..if i wanna yank your chain, you will most definitely know it without Question…as always

    Excelsior?

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

    Well, the gun debate was brought up here not by anyone from the GOP, but by our resident lefty Mark Schannon. And as I pointed out on that thread, I don’t think there’s anything left to debate on the subject.

    The question for you is what you think republican posters would be trying to distract from? What major issue are we neglecting?

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    /sigh

    i know Mark wrote the first article, and as i have stated..it wasn’t a BC phenomena i was referring to

    just…doesn’t…matter…

    i’ll put up what i think in the coming days/weeks

    Excelsior?

  • SonnyD

    #10 Clavos, that sentence only needed one.

    ….Ducks and runs….

  • Dr Dreadful

    Looking forward to your thoughts, gonzo.

    As I posted on the other thread but never got an impartial answer to, why is it this particular issue which brings the gun lobby descending like a pack of hyenas (and not just to BC, as you said)?

    Why guns? Why not the anti-(or pro-)abortion lobby? Why not the “save marriage” crowd? Why not illegal immigration? These are all very emotive topics and we do get a lot of people expressing strong opinions about them, but just not in the same way/pattern.

  • moonraven

    That OS would have a gun is enough reason to ban all guns forever.

    Incidentally, if you can demonstrate that you know what you are doing with a gun, you can get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

    I had one when I was an undergraduate–although I never took the .38 derringer out of the drawer of the bedside table.

    When my daughter was born I got rid of my two pistols, a rifle and my husband’s shotgun.

    My brother didn’t do that. He kept his guns and when his son was 14 an ll-year old neighbor got ahold of one of them and shot my nephew.

    He survived, but he still has the bullet lodged in his spine.

  • moonraven

    Soory about the typo: OA.

  • Clavos

    Touché, Sonny.

    (slinks away to lick wound)

  • sr

    Obnoxious well stated. Your Kimber Gold Match is finer then a beautiful women. Doc everybody went with MJ to Never Land. Clavos, are we now into metallurgy?

  • Clavos

    “Clavos, are we now into metallurgy?”

    No, not at all, sr.

    But I do know a little about stainless (in various grades, according to application), because it’s used extensively on boats.

  • Ms Gunner

    How absurd! Your nephew got shot therefore 300 million Americans need to forfeit their constitutional rights. What a crock! Well my nice got killed by a car therefore we need to get rid of all cars. And my best friend’s son drowned in a swimming pool, and therefore we must get rid of all swimming pools. Those who put their emotions before their country’s constitution are doomed, and would prefer to doom their fellow Americans as well.

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

    It’s not openly stated, but everything she posts and her hostility towards all men suggests that he eventually got his shit together and got his freedom. He’s probably with a younger woman who has a more sensible attitude about guns now.

    Dave

  • REMF

    ^ Nalle’s above comment reminds me of the typical gossipy old busy-body woman who doesn’t have anything better to do than try and manipulate people against anyone she doesn’t like.

  • sr

    REMF. Seems to me your trying to do the samething, however without much success.

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

    Well it should, Emmy, that’s who I’m talking about, after all.

    Dave

  • bliffle

    This is very boring.

  • Catey

    … my hyena..

    #16, maybe when you get some on the left, then some on the right, they organize and arrange to meet in da middle of (what you think is)your own private conversation here…

    …and by virtue of the fact that it is one of those issues that can so rarely draw both sides of the political spectrum into something that resembles solidarity on a major hot topic.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    I chose guns as a topic in the other thread after considering abortion, gay marriages, immigration, etc. and decided (stupidly) that guns might generate the least hysteria. As I tried to say in the comments, the article is less about guns than about how people reach opinions, the power of emotion and values to distort are so-called ability to “reason,” and is it possible to overcome those and find some degree of compromise on these never-ending circular issues.

    I fear the answer, at least based on the posts that never seem to end on my article, is no. Alas.

    But, we’ll always have (or soon have again, I hope)

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Catey

    …”decided (stupidly) that guns might generate the least hysteria”

    Oops! guessed wrong eh Mark? :)

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    You tried, Mark, and I applaud you for that. People never read past the word “guns.” That in itself speaks volumes about the state of society.

  • moonraven

    Ms. Gunsight:

    All folks do not have to give up their guns because my nephew (for your info, lardbrain, we are an NRA family) got shot.

    All folks have to give up their guns because completely irresponsible morons like yourself think they should have them.

    Enough said. Guns are only for killing folks.

  • sr

    Your an NRA family. If you say so my dear.

  • moonraven

    Check my post on the other thread, my not-so-dear.

    I am not repeating my NRA history here just because you are too fucking lazy to read both threads.

  • REAL soldier…

    My God! I’m am absolutely sickened by the mindless, thoughless comments of the anti-gun nuts responding to this blog.

    “Don’t you care about the children?” “We are an NRA family..” PLEASE!

    Get a clue. “The Obnoxious American’s” blog is excellent, articulate and well-thought-out.

    He speaks the truth here. The problem with most of you anti-gun idiots is that you’ve never set foot outside of your air conditioned shopping malls and guided excursions to “exotic locales” to see what the world is really like. I’ve been there. I’ve been to places in the world that would haunt you forever and you know what links most of the dictator-ruled hellholes together more than anything else? Gun control. Absolute government power begins by taking any ability for self-defense from the LAW ABIDING public. Of course this never stops the criminals. No matter how “locked down” the country may be the criminals will still get guns (and explosives and whatever else they want) and they will victimize the now defensless law abiding folks who’ve given up their right to self defense in the hopes that the government will protect them.

    Get a clue. I hope you all appreciate the cushy, privledged life that the few of us who’ve served have given you. While you’re sipping your next latte at the mall think of those of us out there who’ve put our lives on the line for you…the soldiers and the cops who do it every day. The majority of us are PRO GUN because we understand human nature. We understand what the founding fathers intended when they wrote the 2nd Amendment to our constitution….and we’ve sworn an oath to support and defend it.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    And so it begins. . . yet again.

  • Clavos

    Doc,

    Get the beach chairs and cooler.

    I’ll be back in a few minutes with the beer.

    Care to join us, Ray?

  • sr

    MR I just love it when you talk dirty to me. Please tell me more my dear. Im sitting hear naked with my six guns strapped on waiting for you.

  • moonraven

    Unfortunately, you don’t have anything that I would be interested in.

    I only accept men who don’t need anything to bolster their virility.

    And they must be 40 or less.

  • sr

    Well I tried my sweet little wallflower.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    40 or less? That leaves me out.

  • moonraven

    REAL soldier:

    You have never been out of your dad’s house.

    The only “gun” you have held is your metaphorical one.

    Thirteen-year-old gun freaks: Columbine all over again.

    So fucking glad I don’t live in the US.

    Here in Mexico nobody tries to justify running around with illegal guns (only police and military are allowed to have them legally). They just have the illegal guns and the hell with it.

    You mealy-mouthed excuse makers make me want to puke.

  • Harold

    moonraven: “Guns are only for killing folks.”

    Unfortunately, “some people need killing”, or rather stopping, the only proven method known being the application of (hopefully legal) lethal force upon them.

    If you are ever faced with someone intent on killing or raping you or yours, would you call the police to stop them? Wouldn’t seem to be moral in your calculus, seeing as how they use guns, which you assure us are only for killing.

    (In the US, neither civilians nor the police are allowed to use guns to kill per se, only to stop.)

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Nice speech, Harold. Ridiculous, but nice.

    People in the US are allowed to kill– deadly force is perfectly legal in Texas. I don’t think there are any laws anywhere in the US that say you can’t kill an adversary, but you can wing ‘em.

    I also wonder why you guys always use a rape scenario to justify using a gun. That’s all well and fine, but these scenarios always seem to imply that you come bursting through the door just in time to stop the rape.

    Fantasy lives abound, don’t they?

  • Clavos

    “Here in Mexico nobody tries to justify running around with illegal guns (only police and military are allowed to have them legally)”

    You are obviously unaware of the thriving industry of organized hunts for foreign (primarily gringo) hunters, who have the option of either using the operator’s guns or of obtaining permits to bring their own guns with them.

    In either case, the guns are legal and not owned by either police or the military.

    FYI, my father and I both legally owned numerous guns (including handguns) in Mexico for decades.

  • http://constitutionalamerica.blopspot.com David

    This is supposed to be a free country. We are the closest country to it.

    First, the all powerfull US Military does not nullify the second amendment, it reinforces it’s necessity.

    Second, this is a free country, if I want to own and use a firearm and I am not causing someone else harm, those who just don’t like guns, or just don’t like me enjoying shooting can bite me.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    David, what the hell are you talking about?? Are you planning an all out assault against the US military? And do you always repeat yourself?

  • Clavos

    Having been a member of the US military and an active participant in one of its decidedly unstellar endeavors, the invasion of Vietnam, I can tell you unequivocally that the US military is anything BUT “all powerful.”

    For more contemporaneous evidence of my point, witness the mess in Iraq, where OBL and his merry band of cave dwellers are refusing to succumb to the “all powerful US military.”

  • REAL soldier…

    LOL….Classic! Now we have folks in Mexico (and God knows where else) jumping in on a US constitutional debate!

    Awesome! Let’s talk about gun rights…or CRIME and crimial use of guns in Mexico shall we? :)

    That’s frigging beautiful! Haven’t you heard the one about people who live in glass houses?

    Back to the topic here. The blog is an excellent one and, since it’s written by an NYC native, it presents a perspective on gun control that we don’t often hear. Usually we only here from Bloomberg and his ilk with their $billions.

    I grew up in very different circumstances from the blogger. I was raised in the Midwest – around guns. I don’t evern remember the first time I actually fired a gun. They were always there…like shovels, rakes or cars. But I DO remember my father and grandfather teaching me how to use the tool responsibly…our blogger didn’t have this benefit but my hat is off to him for educating himself. You know, in over 40 years around guns I cannot personally think of anyone I know having used one to kill a friend, loved one or ANYONE who wasn’t a combatant or criminal. Interesting.

    Go ahead and have your debate with the vast number of clueless. At the end of the day you should take a look around you and see how it really is. Or better yet….get out there and actally do somthing about it. Rather than just ranting on-line.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Why don’t we not have this debate, Real? I’m from Texas,and we’re pretty well versed in guns, too. We also know when somebody is blowing smoke. Say something meaningful, or shut up. There’s no debate here– you’re just ranting.

  • REAL soldier…

    You’re not making any sense Ray… or at least I’m not following.

    Are you for or against private gun ownership in the US? (in case you missed it..I’m FOR)

    Are you an advocate of people OUTSIDE the US meddling in discussions on our our constitutional issues?

    Not sure why you seem to be attacking me here or what your line about “something meaningful” is referring to.

    I don’t see much “meaningful discussion” going on here at all.

  • REMF

    Re #46;
    David, just for the record, which branch of the military did you serve in? Where and when?

  • Clavos

    “LOL….Classic! Now we have folks in Mexico (and God knows where else) jumping in on a US constitutional debate!”

    Just for the record:

    I live in Miami.

    I am a US citizen.

    And, I am a Mexican citizen.

    And, I am a combat veteran of the Vietnam debacle.

    Do I have your permission to “jump in” on your us constitutional debate, realsoldier??

    Just curious.

  • REAL soldier…

    Clavos…I think you missed the point. You said “US Citizen” that is the key.

    Did you take this as some sort of racist, anti-Mexican tirade? If so you are dead wrong.

    If you are a US Citizen (or a resident alien) and you are subject to the laws of the nation, and PROTECTED BY THE CONSTITUTION, you are certainly welcome in the debate….in fact you’d better actually read what’s going on and vote intelligently. It’s your duty as a citizen to pay attention. You swore an oath to that at one time if you’re a Vietnam Vet…

    This isn’t about race or country of origin. The US is a nation of imigrants. But, if you’re not a citizen, or even if you are a citizen and you CHOOSE not to live here, then butt out.

    Did you actually read what I was saying? Or did you jump to some conclusion about me?

    As for the BLOG and the discussion…it’s about GUN CONTROL, remember?

    Thanks for your service to this great nation.

  • Clavos

    I didn’t miss any point, you did.

    You wrote:

    “”LOL….Classic! Now we have folks in Mexico (and God knows where else) jumping in on a US constitutional debate!”

    You jumped to the conclusion that, because moonraven lives in Mexico, and my moniker is in Spanish, PLUS I commented about owning guns in Mexico, that neither she nor I should be commenting in a debate about the us constitution.

    moonraven has posted in the past, here on BC, that she is a us citizen.

    I was pointing out to you that you’re off base with the above comment, and you proved it with this remark in your next comment:

    “…even if you are a citizen and you CHOOSE not to live here, then butt out.”

    ANY us citizen ANYWHERE pays us taxes, which reason ALONE (Not to mention the bill of rights) entitles them to comment on ANY us issue.

    BTW, though born in Mexico, I was born with both my citizenships, and still am a citizen of both nations.

    I will comment (and live) where I want, when I want.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    I was busy, Real. Did you say something?

    It’s not a question of my being for or against private gun ownership. But I am foursquare opposed to reactionaries like yourself owning so much as a pellet gun.

    Since we are part of a global community, and since we don’t have any problem with dealing in other countries’ affairs, I have no issue with them asking questions about how we conduct our affairs.

    I saw nothing meaningful in your comments, and thus, I don’t see what you’re bringing to the table. Your hyperbole just doen’t give me a good feeling.

    I trust that answers your questions.

  • STM

    Besides which, and because Americans love to think of themselves as leaders of the free world, why the fu.k shouldn’t the rest of the free world be able to tell Americans what we think of a ridiculous set of gun laws that were designed to keep a standing militia during the late 18th century in the lead up to the second war with the British. I’d wager the founding fathers would be turning in their graves and feverishly rewriting the 2nd amendment if they could see what it’s become: carte blanche for every second lunatic in America to pack a gatt. Do you really think that’s what they had in mind?

    To be so deluded as to believe that the proliferation of guns in the United States doesn’t add up to the real reason behind the developed world’s highest rate of gun homicide (nearly four times that of New Zealand, which comes in second and is also a violent place in parts) smacks of supreme arrogance and not a little ignorance.

    I don’t oppose gun ownership, and grew up around them and have used them. But I do support some form of control, particularly in regard to quick-firing weapons that can be used for mass murder (and are, as we’ve all seen too many times).

    I love that NRA rationalistion: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people – people with guns, though, mostly. It’s your country, true, but it’s not as civilised or as free as you’d like to think. Any time I visit, it’s on my mind and it’s something I don’t think about normally. It must be on the minds of many law-abiding, gun-owning Americans, because protection is often the catch-cry for their need for gun ownership.

    As for realsoldier’s position in regard to people outside the US not having the right to an opinion on this issue, a) why the fu.k not (it’s a free country and so is mine) and b) this is not an American website – it’s an international one, by the publisher’s own admission, and any opinion or position is therefore open to discussion by anyone from anywhere with an opinion or a discussion.

    Lastly, I’d wager London to a brick that anyone who feels the need to call themselves REALsoldier probably isn’t or wasn’t.

  • REMF

    “Lastly, I’d wager London to a brick that anyone who feels the need to call themselves REALsoldier probably isn’t or wasn’t.”

    Dittos.

  • Clavos

    SS,

    You’re back!! How goes it, my friend? Tudo bem?

    I take it you’re back home in SYD; you’re feisty as ever.

    Good to “hear” from you.

  • STM

    Mate, I had a wonderful time over there. The Portugese are a lot like Aussies: laid-back, relaxed, love a beer and a bit of bullshit and most speak a bit of English :) The weather’s virtually identical too, so a few times I was walking around and forgot I was somewhere else.

    I never got to Cascais because of the limited time in Lisbon and the tourism mob suggested Sintra instead. I was planning on taking a cab from Sintra to Cascais as it’s not that far and then the train back to Lisbon from there but just ran out of time. Still, Sintra and the old palace at Queluz (the Portugese Versailles) are pretty amazing. No doubt about where I was there.

    I got stranded in Frankfurt by Qantas on the way home after they blew an engine on the run up from Singapore and subsequently had to fly another one up from Sydney. I couldn’t work out why they couldn’t use that plane to fly us all home and then fix the engine on their own time, not ours. As a result of the overnight landing and take-off curfew at Sydney airport, we were also stranded in Singapore so the trip took four days all up and I arrived home yesterday morning (Sunday).

    And, yeah, I’m still feisty – especially with people who want to suggest that I can’t have a say on the constitution when my right to do so is actually protected by the constitution, US citizen or not.

    I still love America though.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Sounds like you missed all the excitement back home then, mate, or it would be interesting to get your take on the APEC summit. From what I’ve heard, most Sydneysiders are livid as hell that the CBD got turned into Stalag 17 just to keep a few protesters away from Bush.

    His classic performance at the Opera House was a good laugh, though.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clav,

    Good beer choice this time. I think I need a cushion for the beach chair though. This is going to be a long one.

  • STM

    I had Portugese TV on in the background one evening, and then heard “John Howard”, “Sydney, Australia” and “APEC”.

    I rushed out from the loo, and Howard was on – still not risking a second facial expression and droning on about the “Australian people”. What would he know about the Australian people? He’s not one of us anymore – he’s now just a garden gnome with eyebrows that reach the front door half an hour before he does, and is just masquerading as a Prime Minister.

    He’s a goner, smells like a goner, is even more unpopular after APEC because Aussies hate tall poppies who disrupt their lives to big-note themselves, and on that Portugese TV news report, I still didn’t see his top lip move.

    They also fenced off Bondi Beach. That is, really, just political suicide.

  • Dr Dreadful

    They FENCED OFF BONDI???!!! Shit – why didn’t they just paint a giant American flag on Uluru while they were about it? Fill all the pub cellars with Bud Light?? Close the SCG and reopen it with an NFL franchise??? Make you all drive on the wrong side of the road???? Remove the Union Jack from your flag and add another 43 stars????? Make a crassly obvious Hollywood rip-off version of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert?????? (Oh wait, they already did that.)

    Sorry… genuinely-shocked rant over.

    Mr Howard [thinks]: “Hmm, let me see. What damn fool stunt can I pull to absolutely guarantee losing not only the election but my own seat as well? I know…”

    Really over now.

    I love Australia and the kind of shit that happened to your city this week truly offends.

  • STM

    It’s not a problem to have APEC in Australia or foreign heads of state visiting, including George W. Bush. Problem was, Howard wanted to show off Sydney and his big house on the harbour and it’s not the capital of Australia. That’s what Canberra’s for (and why it’s away from the rest of us).

    It was, however, extremely disruptive (and they even had to have a special law enacted in the NSW Parliament to change the gun laws so the Secret Service men could guard Bush (in Australia, even American agents are foreigners, and foreigners can’t have guns).

    They should have had the stupid thing down in Canberra, where the only process that would have been disrupted was the production of vast quantities of hot air and wind.

  • Clavos

    “They should have had the stupid thing down in Canberra, where the only process that would have been disrupted was the production of vast quantities of hot air and wind.”

    Which, in all likelihood, would have been enhanced, rather than disrupted.

    GW would certainly have done his part, without even being aware that he was doing so.

  • Henry Bowman

    You mention the gun-banners dragging out the NCVS. Next time, shut them down by telling them why the NCVS is irrelevant. The NCVS is not primarily designed to measure the success of self-defense. For example, they only proceed to question people about with-gun self-defense if they answer yes to the question, “Have you ever been the victim of a person-on-person crime?” The catch is that people who successfully defended themselves tend not to consider themselves victims,m so they are never asked about their success. The survey ends up polling only those resisters who were unsuccessful. The NCVS is by far the outlier among over dozens of polls which are set up in a more objective fashion to measure with-gun self-defense.

  • moonraven

    Real Soldier:

    I suggest you bring along a roll of toilet paper when you visit this site: to wipe the shit off your face.

    case in point: I am a US citizen. Ergo, I will jump in on any fucking US debate I choose to.

    You aren’t even old enough to vote.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Henry Bowman:

    You’re right, and the link where I talk about that has much more detail on why the NVCS is invalid, which talks about all of the points you touched on. But you are absolutely right.

    STM:

    As I intoned in the article, when you are in the US, you should be worried about people who have the illegal, unregistered guns, not normal citizens who have their license. Trust me, there are plenty of the former out there and they are the perps in the vast majority of crime.

    MR:
    States tend to have three positions on CCW licenses:

    No issue: Under no circumstances will a state issue a ccw license to someone out of law enforcement

    May Issue: If the local municipality decides to allow you a CCW permit they “May” issue you one. This is entirely up to the DA and usually only for retired/off duty cops, DA’s etc.

    Shall Issue: So long as you have no criminal record or phsych issue, you will get a CCW permit.

    In the NY tri state area, even if you get a CCW in NJ, you can’t bring your weapon to NY or CT, and NJ is a may issue state, it’s basically impossible for someone like me to get a CCW.

    To the person talking about the children:

    I see lots of children at the range learning how to be responsible with guns. That’s the approach I favor over making them ignorant about guns (and possibly desiring one like I did to the point of obsession when I was a child).

  • moonraven

    As I indicated on the other thread, I grew up shooting rifles and pistols of many kinds, and I also taught teenagers firearms safety and shooting when I myself was a teenager.

    The problem of guns–and the reason why I got rid of mine when my daughter was born instead of keeping them to instruct her in their use–is that you have to teach EVERYBODY how to use them and keep them safely or you might aswell not instruct anybody.

    One person who has NOT been instructed is all it takes to get hold of a gun and kill or seriously wound another person. The case of my nephew, which some asshole crassly pooh-poohed, is not an unusal one at all. Every day several accidenst exactly like what happened with one of my brother’s rifles take place in the US.

    It makes more sense to get rid of guns than to instruct 300,000,000 plus folks in the US.

  • sigfried and roy

    the problem is not all 300 million will get rid of the guns, and so long as criminals have guns, so should the law abiding citizenry for self defense. more, if other countries have guns (especially all those illegally packing mexicans on our border that you mentioned) than thats even more of a reason for americans to have guns. untill all people have no access to guns, i am still going to want mine.

    good article obnoxious

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Good to see that wholesale racism is alive and well in America. I guess brown really is the new black.

  • Clavos

    “I guess brown really is the new black.”

    Dead on, Ray.

  • sigfried and roy

    uhhh, i wasn’t making a racist comment, merely taking what moonraven said – “Here in Mexico nobody tries to justify running around with illegal guns (only police and military are allowed to have them legally). They just have the illegal guns and the hell with it.” – well if they have illegal guns and they are coming ovr the boarder, thats just another reason we should also have guns. I like mexican people especially the women

  • moonraven

    Siegfried,

    That was just complete bullshit–trying to cover your naked ass.

    Mexicans don’t need to take their guns across the border. One by one they are taking back what used to be part of Mexico.

    Learn Spanish [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • Arms Instructor

    “One friend would carry a Tec-9 (a type of machine gun) disassembled in his hipsack.”

    Incorrect. A TEC-9 (including the TEC-DC9 and AB-10) is a semi-auto only 9mm firearm. Machine guns are full-auto firearms. Despite the hoopla, a TEC-9 is no more dangerous any semi-auto 9mm made be Glock, S&W, Walther, Beretta, Sig, etc.

  • The Obnoxious American

    You’re right but he modified it to be fully automatic, which was a pretty easy change to make and is why the tec9 used to be a weapon of choice. Incidentally, they don’t sell tec9’s anymore due to the assault weapons ban, you can obtain an AB9, (ab = after ban), this is harder to turn into a full auto than the tec9s.

    That said, who cares? Whether a gun is a full auto, semi, revolver, it’s still pretty easy to pull the trigger a bunch of times on any gun with a few bullets in it. And at the end of the day, it’s the person weilding the gun that is of most concern. Yet we highly regulate innocent civilians in spite of the second amendment, but you can be sure that criminals will purchase weapons illegally at will.

  • Maurice

    Semiauto weapons are much more accurate than fully automatic.

    Here in Idaho we all have guns and it seems normal. Boise is a very safe town.

    This discussion seems weird…

  • moonraven

    In Idaho you are either a skinhead survivalist or a Mormon.

    I think it’s YOU that’s weird.

  • Maurice

    #79 very naive and xenophobic of you! Might want to get out a little more.

    Maybe you should look at some Idaho demographics before stereotyping.

    Are you implying Mormons are undesirable?

    BTW Richard Butler is dead.

    I love living here..

  • moonraven

    How, precisely, is my statement xenophobic when I live in Mexico?

    I was born, however, in Eastern Washington and just got back from there. We made 5 trips from Spokane to the galleries in CDA. You can have the rest of the state of Idaho with its TERRIBLE FOOD and shitkicking mentality–except for the Pez Perce reservation.

    I have nothing against Mormons–even worked for a Mormon family 30 years ago.

  • Dr Dreadful

    The Pez Perce?

    Didn’t they have a chief name Joseph whose most famous quote was “From where the sun now stands I will dispense no more forever”?

  • Clavos

    “I have nothing against Mormons–even worked for a Mormon family 30 years ago.”

    Were you the cook, or the laundress?

    LOL, Doc.

    Nez was always one of my favorite candies.

  • Dr Dreadful

    The Nez Perce were and are certainly an intriguing people. There are a lot of myths about them and particularly Joseph, but their real history is just as fascinating. If you’re interested in that period, I highly recommend the book Chief Joseph and the Flight of the Nez Perce, by Kent Nerburn, which tells the story of their cat-and-mouse game with, and ultimate surrender to, the US Army, as well as what happened to them afterwards.

  • Maurice

    #82 Funny as hell!

    xenophobe
    One entry found for xenophobe.

    Main Entry: xe·no·phobe
    Pronunciation: ‘ze-n&-“fOb, ‘zE-
    Function: noun
    Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary
    : one unduly fearful of what is foreign and especially of people of foreign origin

    Making the claim that all Idahoans are “skinhead survivalists or Mormon” makes you sound like you fear these strange people from Idaho.

  • Bapa

    Just found this blog and had to add a comment. To Ray,
    Here in PA it is the Law that you don’t shoot to kill, you employ deadly force when warrented to “stop” the person. If they die, then so be it but you don’t shoot to kill, once the threat that justified deadly force no longer exists, you must stop using deadly force even if they are still alive.

    As for the people here in the US and abroad that think guns should be controlled I ask you this; How can anyone ever believe we all are safer if guns are removed from ordinary citizens? If I am not allowed to carry my conceled handgun, how am I going to defend myself when attacked by a mentally deranged person intent on killing me? (ie…Virginia Tech) How can I protect my home from intruders intent on stealing what I’ve worked hard to aquire? The answer is to shoot them!

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    I understand what you’re saying, Bapa. However, deadly force is deadly force. That’s why it’s best to go for a chest shot–bigger target, for one. Obviously, once the other guy’s down, you don’t keep plugging them–not even here in Texas.

    What you (and a lot of other perople) don’t get, though, is if you’re attacked “by a mentally deranged person,” he’s probably already got the drop on you. We can argue back and forth on this all day, and it’s not going to change anybody’s mind. I have found keeping a baseball bat at the ready profoundly deters intruders. I’ve used mine before, with more than satisfactory results. The gunman didn’t think some of us are crazier than him. Was I lucky? Of course. But at least I didn’t shoot him.

  • Frank

    Wouldn’t we be better off controlling the criminals rather that the gun. They are the ones committing the crimes and killing?

  • Frank

    I forgot something. Lets get off the bull with the politics and stay with the subjects (GUNS) not Republicans or Democrats although the democrats are mostly all anti-gun.

  • Clavos

    Your appeal to stay off politics might have had more strength had you yourself not succumbed into the same quagmire by making a politically provocative point in the same breath:

    “although the democrats are mostly all anti-gun.”

    You should think about where you stow your thrones.

  • moonraven

    Sorry about the typo on Nez Perce. As a Native American born less than 100 miles from the site where Chief Joseph was buried, I have had extensive experience with the group–as well as have written a theater piece based on the Nez Perce War which focuses on Chief Looking Glass.

    As a Native American, I suppose you COULD say I am xenophobic: Get the fuck off my land!

  • moonraven

    Are you through jerking off yet?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    ya will know when ya have to clean up yer feathers, mr

    Excelsior?

  • moonraven

    Wrong again, gonz. I already indicated to you that my feathers, like the rest of me, are always pristine.

  • Damon

    That’s right! Ban guns!!!our kids get killed by them! BUT YET ITS OUR KIDS WHO CARRY THEM!!!

  • deputy dawg

    After being a lawenforcement officer for more than forty years, I’ve had a lot of experience with guns and people.Not only these experiences but a lot of study and thought have formed my belief that the framers of our contitution had it right in the beginning , that it was impotant enough to specify that each citizen had a “right”to”keep and bear arms”.It’s almost like they could see into the future.Could they have seen Nazi germany,russia,or the other opressive government of the future. Or the so called civilized countries like Britian,Australia,and New Zealand who have chosen to dissarm their people.If we could go back in time to any of these groups of “citizens” do you think they would have some strong feelings against “gun control”. If not before it became affective,how about after.Or should we ask the MILLIONS who died because they and their neighbors were unable to defend themselves or others from governments,criminals or even animals. These days it gets more and more difficult to tell the difference between the three aforementioned groups. As You can tell I’m totally against government encroachment on all Citizen’s rights.We should all consider paying more attention to history and less to the “touchie feelie” amoungst us.

  • http://www.my-virtual-income.com Christopher Rose

    That’s cool. I hate people who use cartoon character’s names when making comments so me and my AK are coming for you.

    *Sings* “I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy.”

    Oh, wait, I did!

  • Ace

    I believe we need to ban guns to save our society. Once we ban guns, then there will be no more crime. Paul Helmke and Josh Sugarmann told me so.

    Just look at D.C. They banned private ownership of guns and look at the paradise it’s become. Same with England. No guns. No crime.

    See? It works!

    (BTW, Obnoxious, excellent article.)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ace,

    Go to college? Remember that critical thinking class? Remember those logical fallacies they had you learn?

    Remember ‘correlation does not equal causation’?

    …No, I guess not.

  • Silver Surfer

    Dear Deputy Dawg,

    You are talking through your arse.

    It’s always good to know the facts. I’m Australian. The government introduced restrictions on gun ownership after a series of massacres of innocent people by people best described as lunatics.

    What the federal government did in Australia was make it near-impossible to get yourself an assault-style semi-automatic or automatic weapon, or a handgun that is not solely for use with a gun club. You can still own a gun (I saw working WWII era Lee-Enfield .303s for sale in a disposal store the other day), and there are exemptions for rural areas.

    The thing is, a government that was elected on a very slim minority decided to do it.

    And we voted them back in afterwards in a near landslide, which I guess probably goes to show that the democratic process works just fine in this country. It’s not the government’s choice ultimately – if we didn’t like it, we wouldn’t have endorsed their decision by voting for them.

    And whaddya know?? Since the ban on assault-style weapons, there hasn’t been a single mass shooting. They used to be common, and now they aren’t.

    Don’t try to twist what goes on this free society and try to turn it into a justification for the rubbish that goes on in America in the name of so-called “freedom”.

    If Americans are more free than we are, or even as free, I’ll eat my hat. Most of you are totally deluded on this score.

    Governments should only ever reflect the hopes and aspirations of their citizens, as the country belongs to us, not to them.

    Which IS what happens here.

    In the US, the real voice behind governments is big money, big business and powerful lobby groups.

    If you think you have any kind of real voice anymore as a US citizen, or any say in what your government does, you are seriously kidding yourself.

    Here’s the telling factor: one of the reasons I often hear quoted by Americans as a reason to keep gun laws the way they are is that you might need them to oppose a repressive government.

    I think that’s nonsense. And here, we don’t have any mistrust of the government apart from the usual cynicism reserved for politicians.

    The mark of a truly free society is measured by the level of fear of its citizens. There seems to be a lot of frightened people in America.

    The fear factor in Australia in regard to what the government might do – zero.

    New Zealand’s gun laws are pretty relaxed by the way. It has a very high rate of legal firearms ownership, including assault-style weapons and handguns. The fear factor in New Zealand in regard to what the government might do to its people – less than zero. But you didn’t know any of that did you, ’cause you’re talking through your bum.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    In all fairness, Stan, being oppressed by the government of New Zealand would be a bit like being whacked over the head with a wet bog roll.

  • Silver Surfer

    Lol! I’d heartily agree with that sentiment Doc!

    They do have one thing going for them though … the indigenous inhabitants, the Maori, who are in fact identical people to the Tahitians and the Hawaiians, brokered a treaty to end their warfare with the British.

    The Treaty of Waitangi is a fairly significant document in that it guaranteed the rights of the Maori full – at the time – and identical rights to that of an Englishman.

    We know these things don’t always work out perfectly in practice, but for the most part, New Zealand, until the full scale immigration by Pacific Islanders of various nationalities, was as close to being the harmonious multicultural society as is possible for two peoples of such vastly different backgrounds and attitudes.

  • Ace

    Ace,

    Go to college? Remember that critical thinking class? Remember those logical fallacies they had you learn?

    Remember ‘correlation does not equal causation’?

    …No, I guess not.
    No, really. Banning guns means no more crime. Just look at England. They banned guns and look–no more crime. It’s really an amazing thing.

    What’s horrible is the assault weapons ban sunsetting. The result? Blood in the streets. Why, assault weapons came back to D.C. and now the populace has been rubbed out. Ghost town. Millions of bodies in the streets of the capitol, shot by assault weapon 30-round hi-capacity magazines, just lying there.

    It’s true. Paul Helmke and Sarah Brady told me so.

    That’s why we need to ban guns. Ban guns, no more crime.

    Then later, we ban light bulbs, porn movies, cigarettes, alcohol…hell, we need to go police state and just do away with America.

    Then Paul Helmke and Friends will be happy.

    Oh yeah–

    /sarcasm

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ace, I got that you were being sarcastic. I also got your point. You think private gun ownership helps prevent crime.

    It is true that, in the case of Britain and also of Silver Surfer’s example of the assault weapons ban in Australia, there haven’t been any Columbine-style massacres since the bans came into effect.

    Causation or just correlation? Have Britain and Australia just got lucky, or does keeping guns out of the hands of maniacs prevent them from slaughtering people? We’ll never know for sure.

  • Ace

    does keeping guns out of the hands of maniacs prevent them from slaughtering people

    I completely agree that “maniacs” should be barred from legally getting guns.

    But gun control proponents always imply that all gun owners, simply by having a gun, are bad guys.

    Are they all bad guys?

    As for England and Australia’s gun bans, let me ask the following. Has banning guns prevented gun crime? Has banning guns prevented all crime? Has banning guns gotten rid of criminals? I ask this because the gun control camp continues to imply that banning guns solves all crime and they hold England as the standard of gun control.

  • STM

    Ace: No, banning certain types of guns hasn’t resulted in a lowering of the crime rate in Australia, nor most likely most of the other things you mention. I can’t speak for what happens in the UK except that it has a very low rate of gun homicide and homicide generally compared to the US, although it is on the rise.

    Bear in mind too that the gun homicide rate and the homicide rate in general in Australia is now at the lower end of the scale for a western democracy, as opposed to that of the US, which has the dubious honour of being the highest. The gun figure is about four times higher – at least -in the US than it is here, off the top of my head.

    There’s no doubt the proliferation of guns in America is the main reason behind that, as the majority of killings in the US are carried out with guns.

    I don’t advocate a total ban on firearms, just a tightening of the laws – which we have, so it’s a moot point. You obviously do what you like in your own country, although as a visitor to the US I do find it disconcerting that there are an estimated 300 million legal firearms alone floating around the community.

    From our point of view, I just don’t see why anyone living in the city needs a pump-action shottie stashed in the cupboard or a semi-auto of large calibre unless they have a country property and are shooting kangaroos, which need to be culled.

    I still like the idea that if I’m living in a rural area, I could have a gun if I needed one. But I don’t, and basically couldn’t care less.

    As you and I both know, and there’s no getting around it, a lot of illegal firearms in the US were once legal firearms. You want a gun but can’t get one in NYC because of all the checks and balances. No problem … just drive down to Georgia, buy a sh.tload and run them back and sell them illegally.

    It’s that kind of thing the federal government was seeking to stop in Australia. You can still own a gun, but it’s a lot harder to get the licence now, and takes longer.

    And like I say, the main reason it was done was to stop mass shootings and prevent easy access to high-powered weapons by people who shouldn’t have them. The final straw was Martin Bryant’s escape at Port Arthur, where he cold-bloddedly and mostly at point-blank range killed 35 people, including two little kids who had hidden behind a tree with their mother (who got as well), and wounded another 37.

    Since the ban came into effect, there haven’t been any shootings of that kind .. and once upon a time, they were as commonplace here as they were in the US.

    Possibly one day there will be, but it’s been 12 years since it happened and so it’s very likely those laws have meant a lot of lives saved.

    It’s hard to know what effect it has had in other areas, as there have been a number of gangland shootings – crims shooting crims.

    But the gun homicide rate in Australia was declining prior to the ban, and has continued to fall after it.

    The other thing is: we never really had a gun culture here. Most of us don’t care about guns, although a lot of us have grown up using them.

    So there are big differences between how this issue should be viewed according to the diverse cultutral mores of Australia and the US.

    Do I believe Americans have the right to bear arms. Yes. Do I believe America needs 300 million legal firearms of all shapes and sizes and god knows how many illegal ones? No way.

    It’s a crock and a self-delusion, but as people keep pointing out to me here I’m a foreigner and it’s only my view of one aspect of American society I find really bizarre.

  • Cannonshop

    STM: to quote Archie Bunker: “Would ya rather they was pushed outa windahs?” Banning guns won’t ban murder, though it will isolate it to murder by the physically strong or particularly clever/ruthless or criminal. In other words, the exact sort of people one would purchase a handgun to ‘stop’. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I know that “I” would have a hard time stopping some guy who’s just spent the last fifteen in the penitentiary lifting weights if all I have for self-defense is a bat, knife, or cell-phone, and I’m not exactly a particularly small gent.

    Guns don’t make people violent, or make them killers-they DO make a small person as powerful as a large thug in the area of competition that matters to large thugs.

    And for consideration- Americans aren’t violent because of devices, they’re violent because of that weird mixture of ancestral stock and popular culture- the U.S. is mostly composed of folk descended from religious and political fanatics, self-styled (and short-tempered) “adventurers”, ruthless sociopaths, criminals, dissident peasants, etc. etc.-the folk that the rest of the world wanted rid of, in other words. We’re violent by our NATURE, and in places where small and weak Americans come into conflict with Large and Aggressive americans without benefit of a cop RIGHT THERE, or benefit of another form of equalizer, the small ones tend to come to a bad end. Why do serial rapists/killers prey on women and children? because they don’t fight back. Why do strong-arm and home-invasion robbers focus on old people? because they’re unlikely to be able to fight back, or fight back effectively. This is also why if you’re not Bruce Lee, there are some bars you dom’t visit, some neighbourhoods where if you’re the wrong colour, you don’t go, and why if you’re female and single, you don’t walk in some areas at night without an escort.

    NONE of that changes with gun-control legislation, look to D.C. or NYC, or Los Angeles. It isn’t the people inclined to obey the law and keep the peace that are murdering folks, it’s the ones that are NOT.

    Those folk will STILL BE HERE no matter what laws are passed, the only difference is the level of risk they face and the size of the prospective pool of victims. Lowering the risk and increasing the victim pool is, quite simply, the wrong way to go for the U.S.

  • Silver Surfer

    OK cannon … there’s some sense to your post, and there’s some nonsense too.

    Most shootings of other (unarmed) people in the US are committed in the home, or by a person if not either family or well-known to the victim, at least known. These kinds of shootings are generally carried out with legal firearms. They are, as a rule, not done by people protecting themselves against other people with illegal guns. Like criminals, for instance.

    It just isn’t happening.

    The situation you describe regarding American society isn’t that different to Australia, or many other places for that matter – this country was settled by the convict dregs and (as moonraven describes them) the violent scum of the British empire and a very, very large crowd of rowdy and angry authority-hating fenian-inclined Irishmen. That’s a fairly lethal mix I’d say by anyone’s standards.

    This too had been a country built to a large extent on violence and lawlessness (which is probably why it is still the country that most resembles the US and still has a pioneering spirit).

    We had a wild west-era that was probably even wilder than that of the US. Most Aussies of my generation have grown up around guns, have used them and many have owned them. Once upon a time, it was just a normal part of the landscape – but we never had the culture of gun ownership.

    All that aside, what we saw no sense in a decade ago was having as near as possible unrestricted access to very powerful firearms. Sure, the crims still have them. But the kind of people who might have no criminal convictions, seemed to have led ordinary lives as far as the wider community could tell but who might have ruminated on mass murder.

    Then there were the ones who snapped – they just grabbed the pump-action shottie out of the cupboard and went out and killed the ex-girlfriend, her sisters and friend dead (yep, happened). We couldn’t see any sense in that stuff happening either.

    It happened – a lot. Then there were the biker gangs who had a shootout in broad daylight in Sydney pub carpark, and killed many of their own and a teenage girl caught in the crossfire.

    And so on and so forth. I can give you a dozen of them at least, and because of the nature of my work, I saw the results of some of them first hand. Not pretty, believe me.

    Of course there is still violent crime here. There always will be.

    But it’s lunacy to suggest that increasing the number of guns in the community brings gun crime down, rather than the other way around.

    Ask any cop in New York, London or Sydney whether they think more guns on the street is the answer. Their answer will be a resounding no.

    And as I said in my earlier post, the restrictions on gun ownership in Australia don’t stop you from owning a firearm, they severely restrict you and make it a hard process. Plenty of people still have gun licences (one for each firearm now), and getting them requires numerous background checks and meeting of criteria.

    I also pointed out that the new laws introduced in the late ’90s were designed to stop lunatics committing mass murder. So far, it seems to have worked.

    Which must be some kind of a bonus.

    And you’ll also find thatmost Aussies aren’t or were never that overly interested in gun ownership in the first place, even though we had access to them.

    Which is why I say that what happens in Australia can’t be compared to the gun culture of the US. I was merely originally answering a post by someone who thought we weren’t free because we couldn’t go into any second shop and buy a gun.

    But I still think you are seriously deluding yourselves if you think there is no correlation between the high US rate of gun homicide (the highest of any western democracy), and the proliferation of guns.

    It’s so obvious to everyone else, why not you?

    And just for the record, I’ve been to the US quite a few times for extended periods and I can tell you it’s generally no more violent on the streets or bars there than anywhere else. There are places I wouldn’t go here, either.

    It’s the shootings with legally owned firearms that ups the ante when it comes to gun crime in the US, and that’s the essential difference.

    I realise the right to bear arms is protected by the second amendment and it’s America’s business, but I ask you this: do you think the founding fathers had any idea that 200 years on it wouldn’t be 100,000 single-shot, muzzle-loading muskets they were referring to but 300 million mostly high-powered modern weapons shoved in cupboards and down the pants of every second Joe Blow in America?

    I think not, and I also suspect that if they’d had any inkling of where it was going to go, they might have been a bit more specific with the wording.

    Besides which, gun control doesn’t infringe you second-amendment rights to bear. It just stipulates who can have one (ie, no criminal records, no psych patients, etc), and limits the type of firearm.

    The way it stands at the moment in the US, you can have a bazooka if you like under the courts’ current interpretation of the second amendent.

    If that’s not insanity in a country that in every other way counts itself as civilised, what is? Seriously?

  • Ace

    The other thing is: we never really had a gun culture here. Most of us don’t care about guns, although a lot of us have grown up using them.

    So there are big differences between how this issue should be viewed according to the diverse cultutral mores of Australia and the US.

    STM: Perhaps this is the meat of the issue: the culture. As you say, you’ve never really had a gun culture there. Here, though, there is one and that’s why I think the gun rights folks react so strongly to attempts to ban guns.

    As Silver Surfer points out: “you’ll also find thatmost Aussies aren’t or were never that overly interested in gun ownership in the first place, even though we had access to them.”

    I’m going to guess that’s where views in the U.S. and views in Australia may differ. Again, due to the cultural differences with respect to guns and gun ownership.

    Besides which, gun control doesn’t infringe you second-amendment rights to bear. It just stipulates who can have one (ie, no criminal records, no psych patients, etc), and limits the type of firearm.

    Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. The gun control advocates are pushing for an outright ban on civilian ownership of guns. Any gun. And they will use any tactic to do so, including misdirection (e.g. implying that semi-automatic fire is the same as fully automatic fire). To them, only the military and the police should have guns. And they continue to tell us: “When you are attacked by a gun-wielding criminal, call the police.”

    And, as we know, the police will show up after the fact–but that’s another topic.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. The gun control advocates are pushing for an outright ban on civilian ownership of guns. Any gun.

    You’re right, Ace. It’s not as simple as that.

    Most people are in favor of some degree of gun control – but how many actually support an outright ban?

    I’m calling straw man unless you can show me that the gun control movement really is ‘all or nothing’.

  • Ace

    I’m calling straw man unless you can show me that the gun control movement really is ‘all or nothing’.

    Sure thing.

    –Pete Shields, president of Handgun Control Inc (the previous incarnation of the Brady Campaign): “Our ultimate goal — total control of handguns in the United States — is going to take time. My estimate is from seven to ten years. The problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns sold in this country. The second problem is to get them all registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition — except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors — totally illegal.”

    –Josh Sugarmann, of the Violence Policy Center, in his book Every Handgun is Aimed at You: The Case For Banning Handguns, writes: “The gun-control movement is at a crossroads. It can either continue down a course defined by polling, politics, and the lowest common denominator–the ‘common sense’ approach embodied in ‘gun safety.’ Or it can adopt an agenda shaped by the reality of gun violence in America that truly represents the public interest: banning handguns. Handguns can be banned.”

    In the afterword of the same book, Sugarmann outlines strategies for people to take. One of them, #10, is “Ban handguns locally.”

    –Bryan Miller, blogging at NJ.com, responded to a comment in his 13 January entry by saying that Ceasefire NJ (among others) does not call for a handgun ban. He then writes the following clarification: “I should clarify, since I made a factual error, which I regret. What I know is that Ceasefire NJ does not currently support a New Jersey state handgun ban.”

    Does not currently support a state handgun ban. I interpret that to mean that they may change their position on the matter. Not right at the moment. Maybe later.

    –The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, in its FAQ, says it is not a “gun ban” organization. Specifically, it says “Brady believes that a safer America can be achieved without banning guns.”

    Yet Brady supports the D.C. gun ban.

    I interpret that as “say one thing, mean another.”

    –The gun control group The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence was originally known as The National Coalition to Ban Handguns.

    Of course, this is merely my understanding of what I’ve read.

    I could be completely off the mark.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Nice try, Ace. But do these people and groups really represent the whole of the gun control lobby?

    As this analysis explains, “Some seek broad policy changes such as near-prohibition of non-police handgun ownership or the registration of all firearm owners or firearms […] Others advocate less comprehensive policies that they maintain would not impede ownership and legitimate firearm transfers.”

    Really, there are almost as many different opinions on this issue as there are actual guns. You’re just focusing on the most shrill.

  • Cannonshop

    Dr. Dreadful: um, nice analysis, however, in politics, power is measured by exposure and influence OUTSIDE of a community. (kind of like Public Relations) and in sheer terms of coverage, money, and the ability to buy congresscritters, those groups DO represent the most POLITICALLY POWERFUL, and therefore, DOMINANT section of the gun-control Lobby. Whom does the self-described mainstream media consult when a gun crime goes down or a bill comes up?

    Yup. VPC (or whatever they’re calling themselves now).

    Power Plus MONEY equals Mainstream for any political movement. These are the guys that ABC, CNN, NBC, CBS, and affiliates consult, They’re the ones Associated Press looks to to get the story, they’re the guys Reuters trust, and the ones that can get and hold the ear of elected officials in the Democratic Party. They do this by being major contributors in terms of cash and manpower, much the way that Fallwellite “KuhRischuns” are very much the influential (and politically involved) “Mainstream” of christian conservatism.

    “Nuances” really don’t work on a National scale on a topic like this one- instead, you have gradualism and persistence combined with massive infusions of cash at strategic moments and occasional waving of the bloody shirt-it’s tactical, and the objective of the tactics, the ‘strategy’ IS total disarmament of civilians, if it were not, Brady II would not have made it onto the committee, much less the floor.

    do more laws work? they aren’t working in New York, D.C., Seattle, Los Angeles, Detroit, or any other place they have been enacted. They also quite apparently didn’t work in Cuba (under Somoza), Nicaragua under Batista, in South Vietnam, Kabul under the Soviets…or Bosnia/Kosovo/etc. etc.

    For a law to be effective, it has to be two things:
    1. Enforceable-the means must be present to apply the power of the law on those disinclined to obey it.

    2. Enforced. the WILL to enforce existing laws must be present. That is, the enforcing authority must have the political will to carry out its threats, and it must have the physical means to carry out its threats, apply penalties, and make the penalties stick.

    In the case of the “Gun Control” presented to us laymen (as opposed to university sociologists), this means the government must first have the means to ban/confiscate hundereds of millions of firearms. It must also have the WILL to do whatever is necessary to enforce that action. As this would by necessity involve several things, including suspension of Habeas Corpus, blanket searches of private residences, heavy-duty surveillance of over three hundered million citizens, along with (likely) random checkpoint stops to search for contraband, how many OTHER amendments do you have to violate or suspend to actually achieve “Control”?

    This is the problem in D.C. where handguns are illegal, and commonly in use by Criminals in spite of that prohibition.

    And as for “accidental” shootings-there is no such thing as an ACCIDENT. There IS a such thing as NEGLIGENCE. hundereds of thousands of Americans die daily on the highway due to some form of negligent behaviour-usually their own. that something similar (but vastly smaller scale) occurs with firearms has more to do with the likelihood of someone being an irresponsible prat with a dangerous machine. You can’t outlaw stupidity, and making the world safer for idiots is contrary to the survival and adaptability of the species as a whole, and the continuation of civility on the societal level.

    As for asking about the founding fathers and repeating firearms? There were a number of them that were engaged in trying to invent that very thing, including Mr. Franklin, and large-capacity weapons, even in the seventeen hundereds, were not unheard of. “Volley guns”, self-contained cartridges, etc. etc. were all desperately pursued by generations before, and after them. The reason the Musket dominated the Battlefield until the invention of the Minie ball (Sometime in the 1830’s) was precisely because it WAS a rapid-fire weapon, rifling was old-hat by the 1690’s.

    They imagined it, indeed, they tried again and again to achieve it, including the adoption prior to eighteen twelve of the Hall Carbine, and a little device called the Pepperbox pistol, which predated the single-barrel revolver by a number of years and looks rather intimidating with its cluster of bores.

    Silver Surfer: Your nation mostly derived from only a couple of ethnic groups, when referring to the U.S., you have to account for no’count bastards like the Spanish, French, every-shade-and-shape of European, plus whoever was politically unpopular with the other villagers in Africa, and the ones that lost intertribal genocidal wars in africa, plus an indigenous population that was every inch as warlike and violent as the worst Europeans(and only restrained by lack of access to equal technologies.) Tied all together in a bundle of warlike psychosis that makes your lot look tame by comparison-which population has not been winnowed out by an ecology that is designed to kill people who don’t learn from their mistakes as it does down-under (where nearly everything is poisonous and most of it is lethal-at least, if “animal planet” is to be believed, and everything that isn’t trying to eat you will sting, bite, scratch, whatever some new and exciting brew of toxin into you if you aren’t paying attention… or just kick you to death for the hell of it.)
    A couple bits of ‘americana’ for you to chew on-you mentioned New York policeman… New York cops are notorious in the states for their corruption, just as their city is notorious for its corruption, organized crime, etc. etc. A similar condition exists in a city known as ‘Detroit’, and Chicago. Another thing to understand, is that your comment about U.S. Judicial standards reflects an interesting gap in your knowledge- NO, you can’t own a Bazooka just ’cause you want one. You have to be rich enough to buy the right politicians, along with something called a “Class Three” firearms license- Class Threes are hard to obtain, difficult to pay for, and subject their holders to a number of restrictions on their civil rights, up to and including warrantless searches of their private premises, violations of their ephemeral rights to privacy, etc. etc. (actually, ALL gun-dealers who work legally are subject to such things, see the Lawmaster incident in Texas for a particularly infamous example.)
    Aussie cops are not internationally famous for being crooked, bent, corrupt… they haven’t yet violated the trust of the public in ways that American agencies have, and likely will, again if they are allowed to do so.

    At this point, for many of us in the ‘gun culture’ gun-control is more or less acknowledged to be present-anyone that has honestly signed a 4473 knows this.

    The gun-issue isn’t, in this country, as much about possible rebellion (unlikely), it’s about canaries in the coal mine-when the POLITICAL WILL is mated to PHYSICAL MEANS, it means the other rights have been converted to toilet paper by the very people who held up their hand to swear to uphold them. For many of the more extreme gun-rights people out here in the U.S., it’s become a ‘litmus test’ in that to achieve ‘gun control’, all other rights can, will, and must be sacrificed. (Will+Means) to achieve it-and with that, comes political and enforcement that is questionable-at-best in terms of their (for wont of a better term) “Cleanliness” with regards to ethics and legality. Unlike Australia, we’ve SEEN our cops and Feds violate both with impunity and immunity-to-prosecution.

    On a local level, there’s also this: The Police don’t protect you, the citizen, from anything. They protect THE STATE. Physically, they can’t protect you, but more to the point, legally they are NOT REQUIRED to protect you, the citizen, from the scum of humanity. The Police are not even required to enforce “Protective orders” in abuse cases, or victims of stalkers. They’ll try, but it’s in the manner of an as-convenient basis. Further, they’re not even really required to maintain public order- ask the folks in Los Angeles after the riots. The police stepped back, and let the city burn-with zero consequences to themselves or their agency, likewise New Orleans after Katrina-more cops fled the city than stayed, and none of the ones that fled (or participated in looting) faced charges or dismissal. Those are only two examples, but they’re recent, so they’re useful.

    Most police aren’t dirty, corrupt, or cowards, but there are enough, and the ones remaining are ineffective enough, that in the U.S., disarming only the law-abiding is a great way to divide everyone into clients for whoever holds sufficient public office and victims of whoever is ruthless enough to violate the law and use aggression.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Doc,

    I have to agree with Ace that the gun control lobby does say one thing and mean another – no question they would only be happy once all guns are out of the hands of the people. This is the same nanny state perspective that brought us the ban on trans fats (so we are now eating more sat fats than ever), the ban on smoking (because second hand smoke is oh so dangerous).

    There is no question that a large section of the left feels that they know what is best for the rest of America and they will use every ounce of American freedom to take away our rights. What I and others call “Nanny staters.”

    How else can you explain the assault weapons ban? Bear in mind, fully auto rifles were already banned. A semi automatic AK may look scary, but I can accomplish the same thing with my 45 as with the AK if I were so inclined. Hi cap magazines? Please, I own 4 mags that can carry 8 bullets each, and I can promise you, popping in a new magazine only takes but a second. And it would be MUCH easier for me to bring a 45 into a mall than an AK for that matter. So why an assault weapons ban? I won’t even get into the reality that since the sunset on the ban, crime has not risen.

    I am all for making sure we give guns to law abiding, sane citizenry. And by law abiding, I also include those who would not sell their guns to criminals.

    But once we’ve established that the citizen is law abiding and sane, who cares what kind of stock his or her rifle has, or whether it holds 10 or 15 bullets. To reiterate the main point in the article as well as comments by many here like Ace and CannonShop, any laws that regulate the citizenry’s access to guns only serves to enable criminals. Plain and simple.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Obnox,

    I was taking issue with Ace’s hyperbolic characterization of the gun control lobby. Sure, there are some very shrill voices there, just as there are on the opposing side. My point is that it doesn’t help the debate any to demonize. Neither does contorted reasoning like your “they will use every ounce of American freedom to take away our rights”. That just makes no sense.

    I agree with you that the assault weapons ban as it stood was pretty ludicrous and probably had more to do with Hollywood than it did with reality. I personally can’t see why anyone would need an AK-47 unless their day job entails yomping around Iraq, but then again, I don’t need my iPod either.

    My personal feeling, as an immigrant from a non-gun culture, is that while I’d prefer an America not bristling with personal armaments – I enjoy firing them but consider that their proper place is on the range – I have to recognize that the right to own them was specifically given to you by your Constitution. Which just leaves the question of exactly what type of ‘arms’ you’re entitled to ‘keep and bear’. I think any reasonable person would agree that the right doesn’t extend to having a fully-primed tactical nuke squatting in your gun safe or a howitzer mounted on your garage roof, but anything smaller than that and you get into the gray area.

    Finally, legitimate gun ownership may indeed help to combat crime, but there is more than one way to skin a cat, as the man said. And I have to agree with STM, who has one more than one occasion pointed out the correlation between the ridiculously high rate of gun-related deaths in the US and the number of available guns. This is really something it’s hard for the pro-gun lobby to get away from.

  • Ace

    Thanks, Doc. I enjoy a good hyperbolic characterization. ;P

    I do agree that there are shrill voices on either side of the debate.

    At the same time, when you read or hear a story on the news related to the prevalance of gun violence, who does the press turn to for its “facts”?

    The Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center.

    I don’t see this as demonizing anyone. The Bradys and the VPC are the biggest proponents of gun control. Though they don’t say it publicly, read any of their materials and you will see a movement toward banning private ownership of guns.

    Based on that, I believe gun control groups are in favor of banning private ownership of guns.

    If you still regard this as hyperbole, then you may regard this as hyperbole. I have no problem with that.

    We are, after all, free to disagree.

    If you require further examples, I’d be happy to take time to dig up some info.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Just like many people say that I am not that obnoxious, usually dread is the last thing that comes to mind when I read your posts. And I agree with what you said.

    The only area where I’d argue is on the issue of the correlation between high gun deaths in the US. I’ll remind about Twain’s lies, damn lies and statistics. I think any true analysis of the numbers shows that murder rates tend to be high in urban areas where gun controls also tend to be stronger. NYC, LA, etc to wit.

    Sure, gun deaths are high, and this country has a second ammendment. And if one considers only those two factors as a basis for supporting gun control, then they might be as good of a director as michael moore, and might find a home in the DNC, but thats aobut it. The fact is that real crime happens, and it’s not always the husband (or wife or relative) carrying it out. And the bottom line is that it’s a lot easier to protect yourself with a gun than with a cellphone.

    If the fact that access to guns directly related to the higher murder rate in the states, then why is it most crimes are committed by criminals and not gun store owners and people who go to the range like myself?

    At the end of the day, such discussions about murder rates and access to guns do not really get to the heart of the issue. It’s more of a straw man argument than any discussed on these boards.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I’ll agree with you, Obnox, about correlation not equalling causation, which is about the first thing one learns in a critical thinking course*.

    To respond to some of your points, however:
    1. Crime rates are higher in urban areas anyway.
    2. Where guns are widely available, they are much easier to obtain and more attractive to criminals for use in committing crimes.
    3. If the wide availability of guns is not a major factor in the high rate of gun crime, what is?

    * I sometimes think that at least a C grade in such a course should be a prerequisite for commenting on BC…

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    you could always get a dog……

  • The Obnoxious American

    “3. If the wide availability of guns is not a major factor in the high rate of gun crime, what is?”

    Crime. No, seriously, to trott out the old standard, “guns don’t kill people…”

    It’s true. We need to fix the issues in society that cause people to kill. We need to address the issues that drive people to crime.

    Not to sound like a stereotypical republican, but with rights come responsibilities. We need to get to a place where common sense is not replaced with lawsuits and where people understand the value of life, especially the lives of others. I think that there are a myriad of ways to get there without taking away my rights as an American.

    This is the problem I have with Democrats – the entire democratic platform is based on the concept of telling us how to behave, rather than encouraging and teaching us to do the right thing. From gun control to universal healthcare, Dems favor legislating behaviors. The right is guilty of this too to a lesser extent in terms of moral issues (gay rights, abortion, etc) and it’s precisely on those issues where I differ from the GOP as well.

    Ultimately this country will fail if we are reduced to decisionless automatons who look for guidance (from politicians no less) on the very questions of how to behave. And gun control is one of the many areas where this battle of freedoms is being fought. Taking away my rights because of a small minority of Americans use their guns to commit crimes isn’t the answer. Actually fighting and prosecuting crimes on the other hand is.

  • STM

    Cannonshop: “Aussie cops are not internationally famous for being crooked, bent, corrupt… they haven’t yet violated the trust of the public”.

    Are you serious mate? This country was settled by convicts and Irishmen. The crims are still among the most violent on the planet, and a succession of royal commissions into police forces on this continent have found them to be among the most corrupt in the world.

    The New South Wales police force was ripped apart by a royal commission into police corruption in the mid-90s. Possibly, it was one of the most stunning uncoverings of police corruption ever seen, anywhere.

    As for not having a mixture of peoples in Australia, that’s another fallacy. This is the most multi-ethnic, multicultural of societies – even more son than the US, per head of population beilieve it or not.

    Even now, one in four Australians was born somewhere else – Asia, the mid-east, Africa, the Balkans, southern Europe, norther Europ,e. We’ve even got our fair share of Americans who’ve jumped ship in recent years.

    All I’m saying about the gun laws here is that rather than cave in to a small number of people who wanted them unchanged, the rest of us decided that if such laws could stop the kinds of massacres that seem to happen every week in the US and were happening here too with alarming regularity, we’d support a (very right-wing, conservative) government that one day just said, “OK, enough’s enough. Time to act”.

    We’re happy with it, we voted them back in and we wouldn’t if that wasn’t the case, but then Australia is not America.

    One big difference between the two is that there is a greater sense of community in Australia, and that extends very much beyond what in the US can often be a very selfish individualism.

    It’s also why you don’t have to be a socialist in Australia to love the universal health care system we have.

    You can’t compare the two countries except, I believe, in the overall lifestyle of the citizens and the pioneering spirit that remains in the national psyche of both countries.

  • STM

    Obnoxious: “Guns don’t kill people …”

    Yeah, nice one. Nice try. Apart from the fact that it’s the biggest load of bollocks I’ve ever heard. I love the self-delusions perpetuated by the gun lobby in the US, and that self-delusion in particular.

    Bombs don’t kill people either …

    If you want to keep your shooters, all well and good and it’s your right under your constitution. It’s your business, and we are just ioffering another, equally valid viewpoint from the prespective of interested outsiders. But please, don’t insult our intelligence by trying to dress up bullsh.t as fact.

    Truth is, you’ll be struggling for the next 10 centuries in America to address the issues that lead people to kill people, and just like every other society on this planet, you won’t solve it.

    Of course, one of the problems here when you are talking gun crime is that it does often involve those on the fringes of society, and in America, the same people who support availability of guns are often those who don’t support social measures designed to alleviate poverty and lift people off the lower socio-economic rungs of society. We know in theory everyone is equal in the US, but it hardly ever works in reality because in the US, money talks loudest. So the problem goes on like a dog chasing its own tail.

    So until you either regulate the availability of certain types of guns or do something to share the wealth (lifting a disgraceful minimum wage to something people can actually live on might be a good start), nothing will change and you’ll continue to have the highest rate of gun homicide in the civilised world.

    I just wonder sometimes how many Americans actually understand how they are viewed as a laughing stock over this type of argument by the rest of the civilised world, or indeed whether they really care.

    Like I say, too much of what happens in the US is selfish individualism dressed up as “rights” simply because it suits the purpose of those making that call.

    It is one reason, among many, that when trying to decide years ago whether to settle permanently in the US, I chose Australia for its sense of community, which in the US would have me labelled a socialist but in Oz can have me very firmly in the centre and loving it that way.

    I prefer the Down Under concept of society (“a fair go for everyone”), rather than “I’m all right Jack, we’re all on our own (and bugger you)” which seems often to drive the political choice in the US.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    The chick from Grindhouse was kind of a gun.

  • The Obnoxious American

    STM,

    Had you read my article you’d know that there was much more to the creation of the right to bear arms in this country than some overblown sense of individual (and selfish) rights. If I felt you’d actually try and educate yourself, I’d advise you to read the last paragraph in the article, and follow the link that talks about the history of gun control in europe, and why our framers decided explicitly to garuntee that right. Instead, I am hoping that anyone who might read your comments as anymore more than blather reads the last paragraph.

    Furthermore your extremely negative view of the US and it’s inhavitants is not just rude, it’s wrong. Here is where you go off the deep end:

    “…the rest of us decided that if such laws could stop the kinds of massacres that seem to happen every week in the US and were happening here too with alarming regularity…”

    Last I checked, there wasn’t a columbine style massacre happening every week. In fact, if it consistently happened more than once a year I’d be surprised.

    And moreover, the crime rates in the US have been dropping as a whole, and this is while as a country our gun control laws have become more lax. The AWB sunset, and the increased number of “shall issue” CCW states to wit.

    As far as your false choice of having gun control along with wealth redistribution programs, are you suggesting that if poor people are not given handouts by the rich, they have an excuse for breaking the law? This is the biggest set of hogwash I’ve ever heard. I was poor when I was growing up. I didn’t need to rob, murder or steal, I worked my way up the ladder as is the norm in a capitalist country. You see, we have opportunity instead of hand outs. People who want better for themselves have to work to get those opportunities, not pick up a gun and hold the rest of society hostage as you would suggest.

    Your spouting is just that, fear based innuendo with no real facts to back it up, and a dose of anti americanism thrown in for good measure. Other countries think we are the laughing stock, do they? And this is because of our gun laws you say? That’s all fine and well. Our supposed laughing stock status has not seemed to reduce the number of people who would love to become American citizens, not has it seemed to hurt the spread of Americanized culture in the rest of the world. It must really burn you up to live so far away from the hated US, and yet still have a government so willing to support US policy.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Last I checked, there wasn’t a columbine style massacre happening every week. In fact, if it consistently happened more than once a year I’d be surprised.

    Obnox, Stan was employing hyperbole to make a point.

    And I must say, your challenge is kind of ironic considering the incident in St Louis yesterday…

  • The Obnoxious American

    Doc,

    Irony sounds good on a blog post, but it does not change the reality that these attacks are extremely rare.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Compared to most other countries, they’re not that rare…

    However, I was simply remarking on the timing.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Really? What kind of statistics to back that up?

    But I’ve once again fallen into the trap of arguing guns versus people. Let me remind you, I own guns, I plan on buying more. But this would not make me any more inclined to kill anyone. In fact the idea of actually shooting a person, knowing what I know about the destructiveness of guns has made me less likely to use it on someone, unless my life actually depended on it.

    Moreover, given that my country has trusted me with the right to bear arms, I am actually more law abiding, because I want to be worthy of that trust, and I don’t want to break a law that would take away my rights.

    This sentiment isn’t specific to me. STM may have boiled all of us gun toting Americans into charicatures, but I go to the ranges and gun shops, I know other gun owners. These people feel the same way I do. They hate criminals and hate crime. They aren’t about to step into a mall and kill a bunch of innocent people. But if they witnessed such an event and had a gun handy, you could be sure that they would do everything in their power to stop it.

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    Yes BUT…..

    When you have a society with relatively easy access to cheap high-powered firearms + a high level of income disparity it makes it more likely that you will get a higher level of gun-related crimes.

    So you have several choices – reduce income and social disparity through programs and services (maybe monetary-related or maybe educational/work), thus alleviating somewhat (not altogether) the likelihood of criminal activity or limit the access to high powered weaponry. Or do both in sync, which would seem to be the most sensible. Obviously in the US this won’t happen.

    I’ll note that there certainly isn’t any program that will eliminate crime altogether – no matter the income disparity you will always have some level of criminal activity – however you can reduce the level and likelihood of criminal activity by providing economic and educational alternatives to hanging around the corner selling drugs and popping a cap in somebody’s ass.

    I think this debate is a relatively pointless one as I can’t see America giving up it’s bang-bang anytime soon, it is ingrained into the popular culture and embedded into the political infrastructure with such depth that for the most part it can’t even be debated on its pros and cons in a remotely sensible manner (as evidenced by much of this thread). Guns are now the “third rail” of American politics (i.e. the rail that electrocutes you if you touch it).

  • The Obnoxious American

    “So you have several choices – reduce income and social disparity through programs and services (maybe monetary-related or maybe educational/work), thus alleviating somewhat (not altogether) the likelihood of criminal activity or limit the access to high powered weaponry.”

    Maybe I should hold a primer on America, “America 101″ Oh, wait I write this column…

    Let’s get something perfectly clear here. Government cannot fix social disparity problems, nor should it. Believe it or not, the US is already brimming with many government programs that help with work training as well as well established programs that allow for access to education and funds for such. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you about pell grants and student aid loans that are available to all Americans based on their income and ability to pay for education. And I’m not even talking about other aid programs such as HEAP (heat and electicity), food stamps, welfare, etc etc.

    Deano, for you to suggest that “Obviously in the US this won’t happen” shows an absolute lack of knowledge about what happens here in this country. It’s just so off base and completely false that I cannot believe you would suggest such a thing.

    Moreover, your premise amounts to a form of social ransom. You are tacitly approving of crime if the criminal happens to come from poor origins. That is very anti american, anti capitalist, anti society. Take a look at the relvatism of the French and how this type of mindset has been working out for them and their economy.

    As I’ve said before I grew up poor. It instilled in me values of hard work and a drive to make something better for myself. No government programs could have done for me what I did for myself. And as has been proven by what Clinton did for welfare during his presidency, government programs are better when the focus is to get people OFF of them.

    I can suggest a program for eliminating or greatly reducing crime altogether. Better parenting, teaching kids basic moral values and giving them a good education, and good law enforcement. Giving the law abiding citizenry guns won’t hurt either.

    And your last paragraph is just so nuts and baseless, I can’t even respond other than to say that considering that I needed to write this article is just further testament that you do not know what you are talking about.

  • zingzing

    “Last I checked, there wasn’t a columbine style massacre happening every week. In fact, if it consistently happened more than once a year I’d be surprised.”

    ok, so st. louis yesterday, baton rouge today…

  • zingzing

    “And your last paragraph is just so nuts and baseless, I can’t even respond other than to say that considering that I needed to write this article is just further testament that you do not know what you are talking about.”

    ha! oh my. that’s a good one. this article has been written 100 times on blogcritics, and it always produces the same pointless, cyclical argument. gun nuts like their guns too much. anti-gun nuts hate guns too much.

    just so you know, as proved by the “debate” growing like a cresting turd from the sphincter of your pointless article, deano is absolutely right: this article has been written before, it will be written again; this argument has been had before, and it will be had again. it’s so pointless. deano’s also right that guns are a part of our culture, like it or not. and gun control is a hot button political and social issue.

  • The Obnoxious American

    I never claimed to have written the first and only ever article on gun rights. Nor do I understand why that would matter. I hope that perhaps this article states the argument in a way that might help people see the other side of the argument.

    I agree completely that guns are a part of our culture – I will take it a step further and say that it’s a part of our culture we should learn to celebrate rather than admonish. Our 2nd ammendment rights are one of the clearest examples of the freedoms of living in America. It is a form of oppression to suggest that because of the acts of a few mentally troubled people, I should have to give up those rights.

  • STM

    You have completely missed the point of my posts, OA.

    No, I don’t hate America … far from it. I’ve been there many times, had the opportunity to live there, and have friends there. So I wouldn’t say my views are coloured by anything more than personal observations made over a period of time.

    But that said, I don’t have to like every bit of bullsh.t that comes out of the place – and there IS a fair bit.

    If you can’t see that your arguments on gun rights/gun control are tantamount to hogwash, there’s no point in me bashing my head against a brick wall trying to convince you.

    I don’t advocate a gun ban anyway. I grew up around firearms, like most Australians of my generation, and think they fulfil a need and have their place. But need and want are two different things.

    And mate, there ARE mass shootings regularly in the US, whether you want to admit it or not. Do the homework. Most of these are committed by people who acquired their firearms through legal channels.

    All I’m saying is that since the assault-style weapons ban was implemented here, there haven’t been any of those shootings. And mate, seriously, Columbine wasn’t the last mass shooting in the US. Maybe not on that scale, but there have been dozens since then.

    As for the laws in the US, I don’t really give a rat’s except from the point of view of an intersted outsider who thinks it’s insane and indicative of the mad stuff that goes on in the US and by which the US judged around the world.

  • STM

    Although I must say, I don’t like OBNOXIOUS Americans. Or obnoxious anyones for that matter, including Australians.

    I think what pisses me off most about blokes like you, with respect of course, is that you are willing to argue the toss on this stuff when you just don’t know much about anywhere else (pointing to articles on the internet isn’t knowing). Which is why I have said repeatedly on this thread that there’s no point making comparisons.

    But no it doesn’t burn me up to have a government that supports US policy, as I agree with most of it. It’s just the (at least) 300 million legal guns floating around in an otherwise civilised community I don’t agree with, and a minimum wage people can’t survive on, let alone live on (both of which might be a bit of pointer to reasons behind the huge crime rate of the US).

    It’d be absurd to think the US is perfect. It ain’t. And it’d also be unbelievably arrogant to think it doesn’t have anything to learn from anyone else, while it’s so willing to export its brand of learning to everyone else.

  • Clavos

    “I’ll note that there certainly isn’t any program that will eliminate crime altogether – no matter the income disparity you will always have some level of criminal activity – however you can reduce the level and likelihood of criminal activity by providing economic and educational alternatives to hanging around the corner selling drugs and popping a cap in somebody’s ass.”

    You could make every American a billionaire and ensure that they would never want for anything; eliminate every gun in the country and still people would find reasons to kill each other (jealousy, rages, adultery, etc.), AND they would still embezzle, cheat each other, steal and rob; rape would still be a problem, as would be assaults, white collar crime; in short every crime the inherently larcenous and evil mind of humanity (not just Americans) can devise.

    The liberal dream of a peaceful, crime-free world where everyone prospers and lives in harmony is just that; a dream. It fails to take into account that humanity as a whole is NOT good, however good any given individual may be (and there are tens of millions who are, all over the world), there are also a great number of inherently evil people in the world who are sociopaths.

    These people will always be among us, and will always prey on the weak and unwary.

    We have only to look to history for proof.

  • Clavos

    “a minimum wage people can’t survive on, let alone live on (both of which might be a bit of pointer to reasons behind the huge crime rate of the US).”

    Except Stan, as has been pointed out on these threads numerous times by me and others, practically no one outside of a very few entry level, short term jobs is actually paid the minimum wage. Even burger flippers at Mickey D’s are paid more, as are the teenage baby sitters my sister hires to mind her kids when she and her husband go out at night.

    Even most of the illegals make more than minimum wage.

  • STM

    Still, Clav, it doesn’t look good when you see it on paper. It has barely been increased I believe for about 9 years … is that right? The lastest interest is just marginal if I’m not mistaken.

    It just doesn’t seem right that in a country as wealthy as the US, you can have a minimum wage of $5.85 an hour, and the highest set by a state is around $8 an hour.

    I thought ours was bad at around $14 an hour. I know a couple of young people earning that (actually they are getting $15) and they really are struggling. You know my position on this politically though Clav … I am a believer in a slightly more equitable distribution of wealth as part of what I regard as community, rather than socialism, which is a much more radical thing.

    No doubts I’d be voting for the Democrats if I lived over there :)

  • Clavos

    Point taken, Stan.

    Because most make more is, I suppose, reason enough to raise it, though I think to do so would be mostly symbolic.

  • troll

    get government out of the way and let ‘class struggle’ establish the division of wealth…have a little faith in a real ‘free market’

  • STM

    It hasn’t worked up to this point troll…

  • troll

    mere market distortions – no big deal

    as I’ve said before: all that’s required is a birth of wonder and good will…simple

  • STM

    Now mate, that IS going to be a tough ask

  • troll

    yes and no…(while it appears unrealistic to place ultimate and real world responsibility on individuals) exploitation like corruption war and other criminal behavior is a matter of free choice – we can each ‘just say no’ at any time

  • STM

    And OA, why would you assume that I don’t understand the reasons Americans were allowed to bear arms under their constitutuion. I understand perfectly well.

    I just don’t believe it applies 200 years later. It’s a piece of legislation that seemed like a good idea at the time, but over the years has seen America descend into a sad parody of a shooting gallery with human beings as the targets.

    And no matter what you say, it IS the proliferation of guns in America that puts so many in the hands of criminals.

  • Ace

    And OA, why would you assume that I don’t understand the reasons Americans were allowed to bear arms under their constitutuion. I understand perfectly well.

    I just don’t believe it applies 200 years later. It’s a piece of legislation that seemed like a good idea at the time, but over the years has seen America descend into a sad parody of a shooting gallery with human beings as the targets.

    Wow. I hadn’t even considered that. It was a good idea at the time but no longer.

    STM is right. We should do away with the 2nd Amendment and come up with something better. Silly Founding Fathers.

    Anything else we should fix about America, STM?

  • bliffle

    Up here in the SF Bay Area, in Oakland, we have the sad case of a 10 yr. old kid at his piano lesson who was struck by a stray bullet from a holdup across the street at a gas station.

    He may be paralyzed and spend the rest of his days in a wheelchair. Sad, sad, sad.

    It’s sad that his negigent parents didn’t equip him with a proper weapon and training.

    And it’s his own fault for not carrying an AK47 to his piano lesson, just as any American is entitled to do. Then, at the first sign of gunfire he could have stepped out on the street and mowed down those miscreants before they could really get started.

    I blame his parents for not equipping the kid with his 2nd amendment rights and providing him with proper gun use training and a proper weapon.

    And what’s this ‘piano’ stuff? Everybody knows that you should play a violin because you can carry a Thompson sub-machine gun in the case!

    Shirkers!

    Some people!

  • Ace

    Well put, bliffle.

    Again, things I didn’t consider.

    In hindsight, why did we even come up with the 2nd Amendment?

    If British gun control laws have made that country safe from gun violence, why did WE even fight the Revolutionary War? Why did we even bother becoming our own country when, under British rule, we would now not have gun-toting persons shooting up schools and piano lessons?

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  • abraXXIous

    Lol, did you know that in an extensive sutdy carried out in the early 90’s (can be found on the ‘net) that the average IQ in Australia was 7 points higher than in the US. In around 2000 or so (again, its been a while since I read the article, so please feel free to look it up), this gap had widened to 9…

    Are we ‘getting smarter’ or are yanks just ‘getting dumber’ – if thats possible… :)

    The point I am attempting to make is thus – I have serious doubts about the intelligence of an Australian citizen who is actually ATTEMPTING to insinuate the ‘mighty US’ (lol) is anything from perfect…. to a yank! :)

    ‘There is nothing so stubborn, so ignorant, or so blinkard as a yank when in mindless patriotic mode.’

    You will NEVER convince ANY yank that there country is anything put the pinnacle (again, lol) of the planet. So why bother? I lived there for 6 years, but found my tolerance for their brand of yankie doo dah crap had worn so thin, that it was either move to a more civilised country, or go on a shooting spree myself.

    Just be sure to appreciate the wonderful country you live in and thank the lord you dont wake up every morning in a country where the average IQ is less than a glass of water…

    P.S. – I am a licenced gun owner with 27 REGISTERED firearms. Why so many? I enjoy collecting them. I dont carry them, rarely use them, and they are kept under lock and key at all times.

    The guns laws didnt stop me owning as many guns as a want (including semi automatics, pummp action shotguns and hand guns), but I guess thats because Im not a crim…

  • Chrissy

    You are an idiot to compare Christmas and publishing news to carrying firearms. Celebrating Christmas and publishing news isn’t going to kill anyone. Guns kill people- Big difference!

  • The Obnoxious American

    Chrissy,

    I’ve never seen a gun kill anyone. I’ve seen people weilding guns who have killed people. But I’m sure you’d blame the Pre-traumatic stress syndrome caused by the gun on the gun-owner’s actions. BTW, thanks for calling me an idiot.

    Regards

    OA

  • zingzing

    oa–that’s like saying you’ve never seen heroin kill anyone.

    and you’ve seen people killed? (i have as well… well, one. wasn’t pretty.)

  • STM

    I forgot about this thread … this is where OA and I first butted heads.

    What OA didn’t understyand at the time is that I don’t believe in banning guns.

    I believe in licensing and control, neither of which appear to breach anything mentioned in the 2nd amendment, which also doesn’t mention that America, 200 years from now, will have the developed world’s highest rate of gun crime and will become a giant shooting gallery.

    There’s a big difference between ban and control.

    As for Ace’s question: “Anything else we should fix about America, STM?”

    Where do I start, ace??

    Mate, we’d be here forever …

    There’s a big difference.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    Poor choice of words on my part. I’ve seen someone die but not from a gunshot (and I agree that it’s not fun).

    But you get my point. Even heroin does not kill anyone. It’s the person’s choice to shoot that junk in their veins. Heroin addicts are killing themselves – it’s not the substance or the needle or anything like that. It’s slightly different than the guns don’t kill people cliche, because heroin addicts, but who shoots heroin without knowing that?

    This is a fundamental difference between the right or the left. The left believes in regulating things. They don’t get that there is free will at play, and if you really want to solve a problem you have to address the underlying thought process. I guess in some respects, the right is guilty of this too (notably the war on drugs). In either case, it’s wrong headed. Deal with the mentality, not the inatimate object.

    STM,

    I don’t totally disagree with common sense regulations, problem is as I mentioned in my latest article “On Guns and Balls” we’ve seen first hand the types of regulations the left is after in states like Chicago and California to name a few. These are states run almost exclusively by the left, and they do not have common sense gun laws. What they have is an incredibly burdensome set of rules designed to keep law abiding Americans from getting guns at all. Of course criminals in these states have guns – these laws don’t seem to matter to them. So in the few cases where the left has reign, they’ve basically stopped gun ownership in their tracks. It’s hard to bargain your rights with a party who basically wants you to not even have those rights.

  • zingzing

    oa: “But you get my point. Even heroin does not kill anyone. It’s the person’s choice to shoot that junk in their veins.”

    heroin leads to addiction, which is a lack of choice. so it isn’t their choice to kill themselves. they don’t want to, most of the time. nobody even wants to get addicted. so that’s not a choice either.

    “I guess in some respects, the right is guilty of this too (notably the war on drugs). In either case, it’s wrong headed.”

    yeah, it’s the wrong idea. but, unfortunately, heroin shouldn’t be legal. or at least i, personally, wouldn’t last long if it were. some things are more complex than you let on.

    shooting heroin doesn’t mean you’re going to die. by that same token, owning a gun doesn’t mean someone is going to die, but it’s a damn good start.

    “Deal with the mentality, not the inatimate object.”

    if you can do that, then do it. but we’re not. or at least what we’re doing obviously isn’t working.

  • STM

    Have they really introduced laws that stop law-abiding citizens owning guns OA?

    I thought gun ownership was protected by the constitution.

    If that’s the case, do they really have a hope in hell of stopping that.

    Like I say, though, controls aren’t bands … and IMO, in a modern society, it’s not unreasonable for governments to want to regulate gun ownership, at the very least.

    Licensing and registration don’t equate to bans.

    If I want a gun here, I can get one. The government won’t stop me, but it won’t allow unfettered ownership of assault-style weapons or handguns.

    The only thing is, I have to apply for a licence, register the firearm, comply with the “cooling-off” period and abide by the law if I want to keep it.

    Sounds simple to me … just like having a driver’s licence.

    You obey the law you get to drive, you don’t, you lose that right.

    How hard can it be??

  • The Obnoxious American

    STM,

    Read up on the laws in California and Chicago. Close runners up New York, New Jersey. Bastions of democratic rule all. With more legislation on the way.

    I wouldn’t be against a drivers license for guns, but as I said, you don’t negotiate with terrorists. And when you look at what happened in these states it’s clear the left is operating on an by-any-means-necessary mindset. Sorry but it’s just a fact.