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Hand gun control

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Postby Kasper » Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:36 am

ioel wrote:I disagree with your understanding of rights. I think it is far more objective than you think. For example, the reason why you don't have a right to a million dollars is because wealth must be earned--this is a fact of reality; someone must pay the cost to produce that wealth. So it can't coherently be considered a right (to have it provided to you).


Yes I think this a philosophical disagreement that will be hard to resolve. I don’t believe that there are objective rights; you believe there are. I cannot think of an argument to counter your belief other than that which I raised above, i.e. that rights are non-existent until they are recognised, and when their recognition disappears so does the right. I expect we will continue to disagree on this point.

As far as the right to bear arms is concerned, I would insist that there is no such natural right, although it may be culturally recognised. With culturally recognised I mean a majority vote in favour of the right.
The point is then that to insist on a right to bear arms must be dependent on majority vote. It would follow that an insistence on a right to bear arms cannot be maintained where 51% of people deny it.

As an aside, I don’t think your position that wealth must be earned before one has an entitlement to it is correct however. Lotteries and legacies for example seem to oppose it. I do agree that when one exerts effort he ought to receive the benefit of his effort, and as such should have a right to the wealth it creates. Nevertheless, I do not see this as an inherent right but as a right that may (I think should) or may not be culturally recognised.

You are mixing terms here. No one has a right to do absolutely whatever they want. When I speak of "freedom" as a positive good, I tend to mean "freedom to do as you will within your rights." To use one's abilities outside of one's rights is a wrong.

The point is that rights are the legitimate (and only) criterion by which to limit someone's actions. Yes, such limits are a restriction of freedom in an absolute sense, but not a restriction of freedom as a good. Maybe we can use the term "liberty" to refer to the latter meaning, as opposed to the former.

Inspiring cries and fights for freedom are not about gaining the freedom to commit theft with impunity. That's not what those people mean by freedom. Rather they mean what I have suggested we call "liberty."


Okay, so we are talking about freedom within one’s rights, and have agreed that one’s rights are limited by those of another. This we shall call ‘liberty’.

In this respect it is interesting that you refer to theft. Clearly, to unlawfully take property from another person infringes another person’s right to property. So too does any form of assault, whether by gun, knife or car, interfere with another person’s right to his physical integrity. [I expect you will agree that one has the right to physical integrity, taking into the account the exclusions provided by law (e.g. police powers).]

We must not confuse the right to bear arms, however, with the right to assault at another person. Although bearing arms may not directly infringe upon another’s rights, shooting at another person does – his right to physical integrity.

Referring to one of your posts before I entered the discussion, I think this questions any argument based on the correlation between self-defence (a form of assault) and the right to bear arms. My right to self-defence is, at law, a limited defence (e.g. proportionality between the threat and the response) and certainly not a licence-to-kill anyone who I feel infringes my rights. My liberty (as we have agreed to use the term) to use force is restricted by another’s right to physical integrity. To say that I have the right to bear arms because I have the right to defend myself is therefore a non-sequitur. They are separate rights that are not dependent on each other.

As such, I would argue that 1) the right to bear arms at all is wholly dependent on majority support of such right, as expressed by legislation; and 2) the right to self-defence is irrelevant to the right to bear arms.

I don't mean to say however that there should be no right to bear arms. It may be necessary and simply too late in the day to deny the right in the US. I do object however to any assertion that the right to bear arms is some sort of natural or inherent human right.

Interesting. I suspect you may be using the negative sense of "freedom" here. Because as far as I can see, order is useful only insofar as it promotes liberty.


Yes. Well… liberty, prosperity, security, etc.

I don't know; it is possible to do a lot of damage with a car. But still, I don't see this as a matter of degrees. It is the principle of the thing.


Sorry, what is the relevant principle here?
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Postby πετÏ￾ης » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:33 am

Being fairly liberal, I used to be anti-gun as far as civilians go. But I worry about the day, here in the US, when the only thing between a federal government gone wild and you is a pump-action Remington 870. I don't own one but I wouldn't want to keep a law abiding citizen from owning one.

I am not a survivalist or a "right winger." I am a realist.
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Postby edonnelly » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:04 pm

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Postby ioel » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:57 pm

Kasper wrote:Yes I think this a philosophical disagreement that will be hard to resolve. I don’t believe that there are objective rights; you believe there are. I cannot think of an argument to counter your belief other than that which I raised above, i.e. that rights are non-existent until they are recognised, and when their recognition disappears so does the right. I expect we will continue to disagree on this point.

Perhaps we will. I see principles in reality that dictate what is and is not a right. For example, Man in reality is a rational being, and it is right for a rational being to be rational. It is therefore a wrong to prevent (by force) a rational being from being rational. Because it is a wrong, one has an obligation not to do so, and therefore the rational being has a right to not be prevented by force from being rational.

Other things are more obvious. If I voluntarily put myself into an obligation to you, then you have a right to whatever it is I owe you.

It's also obvious, from reality, that there do not exist any universal positive rights. (E.g., if everyone had a right to $100 from everyone else, then after everyone was paid up, we would be back where we started, so such a right would be meaningless.)

You see what I'm getting at? That there are principles in reality that determines these things?

With culturally recognised I mean a majority vote in favour of the right.

But it is possible for the majority to be wrong! A majority can enslave a minority, thus violating the rights of the minority.

As an aside, I don’t think your position that wealth must be earned before one has an entitlement to it is correct however. Lotteries and legacies for example seem to oppose it.

Those are examples where it is contractually obligatory for it to be transferred to you. The contract was entered voluntarily by the rightful owner of it. The original rightful owner of the wealth is the one who originally created it (paid the cost to bring it to being--that is, earned it). The original rightful owner, then has exclusive right to what will be done with it. If someone voluntarily gives you wealth or enters into a contract that results in the same, then they do so because they believe it is worth it--e.g., that you are worth it.

So either you earned it, or it was conferred to you (by right) by the one who earned it (with possibly a longer chain of people going backwards). (The exception being if there was a theft involved, in which case it's not actually your property.)

Okay, so we are talking about freedom within one’s rights, and have agreed that one’s rights are limited by those of another.

The first part, yes. The second part, I have a small technical disagreement. One's rights are not limited by the rights of another. Rights simply do not conflict. Someone's right not to be murdered by you does not limit your right to murder him. On the contrary, you never had any right to murder him. But in the general sense, you are correct, in that one does not have the right to violate the rights of others.

In this respect it is interesting that you refer to theft. Clearly, to unlawfully take property from another person infringes another person’s right to property. So too does any form of assault, whether by gun, knife or car, interfere with another person’s right to his physical integrity. [I expect you will agree that one has the right to physical integrity, taking into the account the exclusions provided by law (e.g. police powers).]

We must not confuse the right to bear arms, however, with the right to assault at another person. Although bearing arms may not directly infringe upon another’s rights, shooting at another person does – his right to physical integrity.

Referring to one of your posts before I entered the discussion, I think this questions any argument based on the correlation between self-defence (a form of assault) and the right to bear arms. My right to self-defence is, at law, a limited defence (e.g. proportionality between the threat and the response) and certainly not a licence-to-kill anyone who I feel infringes my rights. My liberty (as we have agreed to use the term) to use force is restricted by another’s right to physical integrity. To say that I have the right to bear arms because I have the right to defend myself is therefore a non-sequitur. They are separate rights that are not dependent on each other.

They are related. In making a rights-based argument for the right to bear arms, I think the foundation is the right to property. If I create or own a gun, I have a right to it. Secondly I would argue for the people's right to provide themselves a last line of defense against the possibility that their government might become tyrannic. Thirdly, I would argue for the right to defend your life (in an emergency) from those who would try to take it.
(I don't think any of those three factors has anything whatsoever to do with majority opinion.)

Now, as far as the discussion about the use of force, there are just (within one's rights) and unjust (not within one's rights) uses of force. The initiation of force against someone who is not using force is always wrong. There is never a rational reason for it (it is always unjust). The use of force in proportional response (defense and judicial retribution) is warranted and just, however. (Keeping in mind that the personal use of force in defense needs to be restricted to emergencies and not exceed what is necessary, and whenever possible one must go through the proper channels including due process of the law.)

the right to self-defence is irrelevant to the right to bear arms.

I wouldn't say irrelevant. But I do agree with you that the latter is not the former (or is not a subset of the former).
Instead perhaps we should say that bearing arms is a means for defense (of the rights of yourself and others).
As I said above, the primary source of the right to bear arms is the right to property (which, in turn, derives from the right to one's self).
The right to defense is correlated in that it would be unjust to forcibly restrict someone's means of defense in the case of emergency.

Because as far as I can see, order is useful only insofar as it promotes liberty.

Yes. Well… liberty, prosperity, security, etc.

Well, I say that prosperity is impossible without liberty. And that security is of no benefit if one cannot use it (i.e., by liberty). Someone forcibly confined in a small space may be secure, but lacks liberty. That person would almost certainly want to give up some of his security in exchange for liberty.

Sorry, what is the relevant principle here?

The right to one's self. In particular, that if person A (or group of persons) forcibly takes the guns (or any property) of person B, where B is not infringing the rights of others, then A is committing an act of aggression against B. All acts of aggression reduce (to some degree) the victim's ability to survive and prosper, and can be considered injury or violence, and should be punished forcibly (through the due process of law).
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Postby πετÏ￾ης » Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:32 pm

edonnelly wrote:The risk is more than just that of a federal government gone wild. I heard at least two if not three first-hand accounts of guns being seized by the New Orleans police in the post-Katrina aftermath, and I think it was a fairly well-organized effort. It left these disarmed citizens at quite a disadvantage to the well-armed violent criminals and the overwhelmed police force (which couldn't even respond to 911 calls) could offer very little practical protection.


Great point.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Ibn Taymiyyah » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:36 pm

ioel wrote:What exactly are you saying is a myth?

Are there statistics which show hand guns being used for protecting individual rights frequently enough for it to be the premise of an argument?
Are there statistics which show that a rifle could not be used for protecting individual rights?
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby ioel » Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:15 pm

Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:
ioel wrote:What exactly are you saying is a myth?

Are there statistics which show hand guns being used for protecting individual rights frequently enough for it to be the premise of an argument?
Are there statistics which show that a rifle could not be used for protecting individual rights?

I don't see the relevance of this. The fact is that hand guns can be used in the protection of individual rights. This is one of multiple possible good and just uses for a hand gun. Therefore hand guns are not inherently unjust and neither is the possession nor use of hand guns inherently unjust. It is the unjust uses of hand guns that should be (and are!) illegal, not possession or use in general. We must differentiate intelligently.

(And of course a rifle is also usable for protection. Different kinds of guns are different tools that have strengths in different situations, as well as appealing to varying preferences. Otherwise such a variety would not be manufactured. E.g.: A hand gun is easily carried and handled, and can be carried concealed. On the other hand, rifles are, in most circumstances, more accurate and usually more powerful.)
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Bert » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:05 am

Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:
ioel wrote:What exactly are you saying is a myth?

Are there statistics which show hand guns being used for protecting individual rights frequently enough for it to be the premise of an argument?
....

I read an article once that listed several crimes that were prevented by the would be victim because (s)he had a gun. For each of these, the article quoted the write-up from the newspaper: There it was not mentioned how the crime was prevented. Not a very popular thing to mention so it is left unmentioned.
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Postby edonnelly » Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:53 pm

edonnelly wrote:
Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:Also significant: A number of cities, including Washington, D.C., have at various times banned handgun ownership. The relevant federal circuit court has always found these policies to be constitutional, and the Supreme Court has consistently refused to review such cases on appeal.


I think your data is a little old there. You should read the case files on Parker v. District of Columbia (http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/docs/com ... -7041a.pdf), where the DC law was in fact struck down by a federal court as unconstitutional and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear this case (probably early spring 2008 with a ruling mid summer). That federal court decision is quite an interesting read if you are interested in the history of the meaning and interpretation of the Second Amendment.

EDIT: I should add, though, that I think discussion of the 2nd Am. is only of secondary importance (at best) to the original question posed, since the real question is should handguns be prohibited -- thus, the current law is immaterial, in my opinion. If what the law should be conflicts with what it actually is, then it is the law that should be changed; clearly it is the former issue that needs to be addressed first.


Update -- the Supreme Court has now upheld the federal court ruling that struck down the DC gun law:

High court affirms gun rights in historic decision

Associated Press wrote:The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handguns and imperiled similar prohibitions in other cities, Chicago and San Francisco among them. Federal gun restrictions, however, were expected to remain largely intact.


It will be very interesting to see what the fallout is from this decision.
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Postby annis » Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:20 pm

edonnelly wrote:It will be very interesting to see what the fallout is from this decision.


I'm sure lots of advocacy organizations are lawyerin' up.
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Postby edonnelly » Sat Jun 28, 2008 12:34 am

annis wrote:
edonnelly wrote:It will be very interesting to see what the fallout is from this decision.


I'm sure lots of advocacy organizations are lawyerin' up.


On both side, I'm sure. It's a lawyer's dream come true.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby BillD » Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:42 am

I'm bumping this thread because it's an issue that's about to heat up.

Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:Are there statistics which show hand guns being used for protecting individual rights frequently enough for it to be the premise of an argument?

There was a study conducted by the State of North Carolina in 1994 which determined that guns are used approximately 2.5 million times annually to defend victims against criminals in the U.S. In 92% of those cases, the gun was not fired. Merely brandishing or aiming the weapon was enough to stop the assault. The number of serious crimes prevented by armed victims exceeded the number of recorded gun deaths by more than eighty times. On a related topic, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms found in a 1998 study that 90% of violent crimes do not involve firearms. Of the approximately 30,000 people killed by guns annually in the US*, 54% are suicides. Interestingly, the overall suicide rate is not affected by the presence or absence of firearms**.


Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:Are there statistics which show that a rifle could not be used for protecting individual rights?

This is a matter of ballistics, not statistics. A rifle is generally way too powerful to be used for home defense. The .45 caliber automatic pistol is a fairly common home defense weapon. In its most common form, it fires a large projectile at a muzzle velocity of about 850 ft/sec. The .30-06--a very common hunting rifle--fires a somewhat smaller projectile at something like 3,200 ft/sec. Why does this matter? The bullet from a .45 (and most other handguns) will typically have enough energy to penetrate an attacker's body but will not exit the other side. Even if it does pass completely through the attacker, the bullet's energy will be mostly spent and the bullet will almost certainly not penetrate the furniture, wall, etc. behind the attacker.

On the other hand, a bullet fired by a .30-06 rifle will likely go straight through an attacker, the wall or door behind him, your neighbor's wall, and will still have enough energy to be lethal to anyone in its path. A rifle is simply not safe to use as a home defense tool, at least in an urbanized environment.

* National Center for Health Statistics, average annual rate for 1981-2003.
** FBI Uniform Crime Statistics
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Bert » Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:51 am

BillD wrote:I'm bumping this thread because it's an issue that's about to heat up.

Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:Are there statistics which show hand guns being used for protecting individual rights frequently enough for it to be the premise of an argument?

There was a study conducted by the State of North Carolina in 1994 which determined that guns are used approximately 2.5 million times annually to defend victims against criminals in the U.S. In 92% of those cases, the gun was not fired. Merely brandishing or aiming the weapon was enough to stop the assault. The number of serious crimes prevented by armed victims exceeded the number of recorded gun deaths by more than eighty times. On a related topic, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms found in a 1998 study that 90% of violent crimes do not involve firearms. Of the approximately 30,000 people killed by guns annually in the US*, 54% are suicides. Interestingly, the overall suicide rate is not affected by the presence or absence of firearms**.


Way back when this thread started, I wrote:

I would love to see statistics on how many crimes are STOPPED because of hand guns. I doubt that such a statistic is available because it could be used as an argument in favour of guns and that would not be very popular.
I guess I was wrong; there is such a statistic. Thanks Bill, for bringing this to our attention.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby grdSavant » Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:38 am

It is sad to me that so many people are so eagerly willing to shoot someone, and possibly kill them, to defend themselves against a bandit who might want to deprive them of a few baubles and trinkets. Kill someone? in exchange for a television. That boggles my mind. Today we don't even let the police shoot people who are caught in the act of petty crimes. In this country we profess a great value on the sanctity of life. Don't you see a slight contradiction in that? if you're willing to kill a thief.

So we kill about 35,000 a year on the highways and 30,000 people are shot to death in murders, accidents, and suicides (2001). 12,000 of these are murders. (btw, an extremely small, tiny number of police get killed. about as dangerous as working in a liquor store.) Another 65,000 suffer from gun injuries. We are a not-so-nice, vicious people.

Every two years we kill more people with guns than our soldiers who died in the 10 year Vietnam War. a bloody war for Pete's sake!

It seems to me that what we ought to be doing with guns is to protect ourselves from all those killers on the highway, not shooting poor pathetic drug addicts who need a few bucks for a fix.

So here's a scenario. Would you not give somone $50 rather than have to kill them?
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby edonnelly » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:41 pm

grdSavant wrote:So here's a scenario. Would you not give somone $50 rather than have to kill them?


It's already illegal to use deadly force unless your life, the life of someone in your family or someone around you is in imminent danger.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Lex » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:13 pm

grdSavant wrote:So here's a scenario. Would you not give somone $50 rather than have to kill them?


In short, no.

Longer answer; it would depend on whether I thought I could get away with it. After all, it is illegal to use deadly force in such a case, although I don't think it should be.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby edonnelly » Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:50 pm

grdSavant wrote:So here's a scenario. Would you not give somone $50 rather than have to kill them?


And, I hate to just think the worst of people, but the truth is that if everyone just handed over $50 every time a robber asked for money, there would be a lot more robbers out there asking for the money in the first place. So, people don't just hand over the money. Knowing this, the robbers then threaten bodily harm. Now, if robbers just threatened bodily harm and didn't actually deliver, people still wouldn't hand over the money, so they often do, in fact, harm their victims. Not only that, but they often harm or even kill the victims even after the money is handed over, rendering that form of self-defense fairly useless.

Also, keep in mind that not every case of a self-defense shooting is related to robbery. Sometimes people just want to hurt you and really don't care at all about your money. There have even been cases where road rage led to physical violence when, after the cars get stuck in traffic and stop moving, one driver gets out and physically assaults and seriously injures or kills the other, innocent, driver. You can't appease that kind of lunatic by just handing over money.

Don't get me wrong, I wish we did live in a world where you could pass a law and all the bad guys would follow it and I would be safe all the time. But the truth is that there are people out there who want to harm you and no amount of law-writing will change that. Also, don't forget that the Supreme Court has ruled (Warren v. D.C., among others) that the police do not even have a duty to protect you -- so who or what is out there to protect the innocent from the bad people of the world? $50 bills?
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Lex » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:43 pm

edonnelly wrote:Also, don't forget that the Supreme Court has ruled (Warren v. D.C., among others) that the police do not even have a duty to protect you -- so who or what is out there to protect the innocent from the bad people of the world?


And if you have a right to life, liberty and property, but don't have the right to defend said life, liberty and property (with violence if necessary), do you really have a right to said life, liberty and property? Or is it a right in name only? It's cliche as all hell, but it's true that the right to keep and bear arms is the guarantee of all our other rights.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Bert » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:28 pm

grdSavant wrote:It is sad to me that so many people are so eagerly willing to shoot someone, and possibly kill them, to defend themselves against a bandit who might want to deprive them of a few baubles and trinkets.

I don't think anyone suggested they were willing to kill to prevent being deprived of a few baubles and trinkets.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby BillD » Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:00 pm

grdSavant wrote:It is sad to me that so many people are so eagerly willing to shoot someone, and possibly kill them, to defend themselves against a bandit who might want to deprive them of a few baubles and trinkets.


Logically, Your post is a mess. Let's start at the beginning. Your opening statement contains at least two strawmen, neither of which will stand up. First, I am not "eagerly willing to shoot someone, and possibly kill them..." for whatever reason. You are assuming a state of mind on my part that simply doesn't exist. I will defend my home and family out of necessity, but certainly not eagerly. Secondly, you seem to assume that anyone who enters my home illegally is merely trying to "deprive me of a few baubles and trinkets." For the sake of myself and my family, I have no right to make this assumption, In fact, doing so could easily cost us our lives. None of us who haven't been there can tell how we will react in an extremely stressful situation. But the fact that the vast majority of crimes that are prevented by guns do not involve firing the weapon (see my post above) eviscerates your point. Nearly all people who use firearms to defend their persons or property don't shoot the bad guy. Rather than address the issue in a straightforward manner, you deliberately trivialize a very real threat. In my view, this is fatal to your argument.

grdSavant wrote:So we kill about 35,000 a year on the highways and 30,000 people are shot to death in murders, accidents, and suicides (2001). 12,000 of these are murders. (btw, an extremely small, tiny number of police get killed. about as dangerous as working in a liquor store.) Another 65,000 suffer from gun injuries. We are a not-so-nice, vicious people.

Every two years we kill more people with guns than our soldiers who died in the 10 year Vietnam War. a bloody war for Pete's sake!

Again, your logic escapes me. Should we make driving cars illegal? Given that there are 12,000 murders per year in a country of more than 300,000,000 people, that means the overall murder rate is something like 4/1,000 of one percent. When you consider that murder is far more common among those cohorts who are already involved in illegal activities (gangs, drug traffickers, etc.) the likelihood of the average American being murdered is smilar to that of winning the lottery. It happens but I wouldn't bet on it. When a citizen uses a gun to defend himself against a crime, both parties (citizen and perpetrator) are far more likely to walk away from the encounter unharmed than otherwise (again, reference my previous post). Given this, it is likely that criminal activity would be much worse if fewer people owned guns. The point that seems to be lost in these arguments is that most people are genuinely responsible for their own actions. I don't need my government to tell me when it is or isn't appropriate to take the steps necessary to protect my family and myself. Your point about the Viet Nam war is simply gratuitous. You are making a comparison that is based on a convenient (if slightly tortured) numerical coincidence.

grdSavant wrote:It seems to me that what we ought to be doing with guns is to protect ourselves from all those killers on the highway, not shooting poor pathetic drug addicts who need a few bucks for a fix.

Nonsense.

grdSavant wrote:So here's a scenario. Would you not give somone $50 rather than have to kill them?

There was a case in the UK last year wherein a man had seen his garden plot burglarized on multiple occasions. There was nothing of real value there. Nevertheless, his gardening tools were repeatedly stolen, his plants destroyed, and his shed vandalized. When the man took the prudent step of installing barbed wire along the top of his fence, he was taken to court by the local council. The court ordered the man to remove the barbed wire on the grounds that a vandal seeking entry to the man's garden plot was likely to be injured by it. My point is, we don't have to speculate on the absurd likely results of your "give the druggie 50 bucks" approach. We can already see it. The inmates gain control of the asylum. If you want more of something, subsidize it. This--in effect--is what you are advocating.

How about this scenario: I pay your bandit $50 and he puts a gun to my forehead demanding to know where the rest of it is. Then he ties me up, rapes and kills my wife, and finally puts me out of my misery. Is my scenario less likely thatn yours? I don't think so. Your willingness to impute pure motives to criminals is absurd and naive.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby grdSavant » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:13 am

BillD wrote:Logically, Your post is a mess.

A guy went fishing the other day. It was not so much that he expected to catch one since many times he does not, but he was hopeful and on that day he did.

If we limited ourselves to tight and flawless logic and if we did not throw in a bit of metaphor and poetry, with maybe a touch of magic or humor, our discussions would require too many words, and, given this typewritten forum, we would all end up with bloody little stubs for fingers. Also, our posts would be too long for others to read.

Given the nature of our need for speed and efficiency, we must allow your negative, but poetic, use of the word "mess", else it could have taken you an entire paragraph to have been courteous and to have said that my argument was less than logically consistent and convincing and satisfying. I will not point out the vagueness and peculiarities of your logic, but it does get wonderfully entertaining, which I am sure you are aware, but then we are all poets to our own degree.

BillD wrote:Let's start at the beginning. Your opening statement contains at least two strawmen, neither of which will stand up. First, I am not "eagerly willing to shoot someone, and possibly kill them..." for whatever reason. You are assuming a state of mind on my part that simply doesn't exist. I will defend my home and family out of necessity, but certainly not eagerly.

I had to look up "strawmen", which means fake, sham, mockery, counterfeit. Metaphorical, oui. But I say, au contraire! mon ami.

Bill, you failed to follow up your accusation with any substantiation. Of course I could have left out the adverb "eagerly" but then you might not have responded, and I would not have caught a fish. My sadness develops from your professed willingness to shoot and kill someone. No adverb this time. Just straight and raw. Socrates is my teacher.

In the community of those with and those without guns, one might say that there are those who have guns that are in fact "eager" to shoot someone. It would be difficult to say that about the subset who do not have a gun. We are, sometimes, adjudged by the company we keep. That is not to say that Bill is eager. We will get to "necessity", later, since your words belie that assertion, too.

BillD wrote:Secondly, you seem to assume that anyone who enters my home illegally is merely trying to "deprive me of a few baubles and trinkets." For the sake of myself and my family, I have no right to make this assumption, In fact, doing so could easily cost us our lives...the fact that the vast majority of crimes that are prevented by guns do not involve firing the weapon... Nearly all people who use firearms to defend their persons or property don't shoot the bad guy...you deliberately trivialize a very real threat.

Paranoia is treatable.
There are some people who are not so scared and who do not live in fear, even in these ostensibly, portentously dangerous times. As you so carefully point out below,

BillD wrote:Given that there are 12,000 murders per year in a country of more than 300,000,000 people, that means the overall murder rate is something like 4/1,000 of one percent. When you consider that murder is far more common among those cohorts who are already involved in illegal activities (gangs, drug traffickers, etc.) the likelihood of the average American being murdered is about as likely as winning the lottery. It happens but I wouldn't bet on it.

therefore, I can not imagine why someone would be so paranoid that they would consider it necessary to have a gun for protection.

Before you again go around asserting that we who have not suffered do not understand or know, y'all need to know that I have been burgled (the burglar got everything!), but I didn't feel any more threatened after it than I did before. I did feel sad for the burglar, and then I called my insurance agent. Once in a while I really miss my really fine and beautiful antique Hamilton gold wristwatch, but it is, after all, just a bauble. Oh, and my Audi was bashed and broken into three times. C'est la vie, doesn't scare me. Got brutally assaulted a couple years ago, but that was the price of admission to life (but there were two of 'em, else...).

It's all in the statistics and probability, folks. There are those of us who are not willing to shoot someone because, frankly, we think it's a bit cuckoo to live in fear, especially considering how unlikely it is that someone will kill us if we don't (see Bill's stats, above.) [Follow the poetry, the logic: if ya have a gun then ya must be willing to hold the gun, and if ya hold the gun ya might shoot the gun, and if ya shoot it ya might kill someone; which all results from the paranoia.]

Okay, maybe you can prevent a crime by brandishing a gun. But in my group of mis-guided souls, if ya have it in your hand, the logical conclusion is that you might have to use it, and that is not worth the risk of killing someone. We are, you see, those who believe in the sanctity of life (and who may also fear g-d's having pointed out that that is a no no). Our social contract is a mutual agreement that we will not harm one another, and killing is harm. So is an insult. Bill and I live in different worlds. I live with Pollyanna. He lives with Hannibal Lecter.

If one is really and truly fearful, then build a safe room where one can simply wait out the threat. But if one is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to shoot someone, then use a gun instead. A gun not is not a "necessity".

BillD wrote:How about this scenario: I pay your bandit $50 and he puts a gun to my forehead demanding to know where the rest of it is. Then he ties me up, rapes and kills my wife, and finally puts me out of my misery. Is my scenario less likely thatn yours? I don't think so. Your willingness to impute pure motives to criminals is absurd and naive.

Oh, Bill, I worry for you. In the theory of very large numbers, all things that you can imagine (and more) are possible, even if not probable. From that, in parallel universes there is a guy, me. In one of them he is typing his little fingers into nubs but is suddenly interrupted by a bandit, there in my home. And it fact I do indeed believe that what I have written about that scenario and the bandit is true. It just isn't probable here in my universe, in my home.

I had instead asked all people with guns to help guard me against the more real threat of danger on the highway, but you mocked me.
BillD wrote:Again, your logic escapes me. Should we make driving cars illegal?
Do you even know what you are saying? I doubt it. You are asserting that it is perfectly okay to expect 35,000 to die on the highway each and every year, while it is not okay for 3,000 people to die in 9/11 style deaths in a one-off incidence. Personally, I think something should be done about highway deaths, and by a factor of 10 I do not believe it is okay to spend a $trillion dollars killing and pillaging civilians while we chase a few criminals who happened to knock down a couple buildings; rather, we should spend that huge pile of money eliminating the greater threat...you got some 'splainin' to do before you ridicule my idea.

Would I defend myself? if I had the misfortune. I have often told myself yes (I was a star football jock and wartime Marine so I know how).

But there is a difference between misfortune and opportunity, yet still I have difficulty discerning the difference. The Teacher told us to turn the other cheek, from which I was severely affected in my youth.

In the final analysis, you gotta be willing to die for your convictions (freedom, liberty, yada yada), eh? We suffer and are caught in a bewildering vortex of push and pull, the cause and effect of violence in general, and in my naiveté I vote for breaking the cycle. Do not push back. That should be our word and bond. That may be what Christ and Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., were hoping to achieve.

Of course there are sociopaths. Maybe Bill is one. He has the gun after all. Maybe I am. Is the bandit in need of help, or deserving of injury? How do you know? I don't know.

At least those who do not have a gun will not be killing people with what they do not have, and their guns will not be stolen or otherwise used in crime, and they will not accidentally be fired resulting in injury or death.


I apologize for the interminable and excessive length of this thing, but I took ¾ of a sleeping pill last night and I needed something to help assuage the concomitant hangover which was the result thereof.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Lex » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:58 am

grdSavant wrote:In the community of those with and those without guns, one might say that there are those who have guns that are in fact "eager" to shoot someone. It would be difficult to say that about the subset who do not have a gun.


I could say that someone who does not have a gun is "eager" to get killed, since he is not in the possesion of the wherewithal necessary to defend himself. This would be every bit as (il)logical as what you say about people who own guns being eager to kill.

grdSavant wrote:...I can not imagine why someone would be so paranoid that they would consider it necessary to have a gun for protection.


Is a person paranoid because he keeps a fire extinguisher? What about a health insurance policy? After all, those are very rarely used. But they're real nice to have when you need 'em! One man's paranoia is another man's common-sense preparedness, I guess.

grdSavant wrote:It's all in the statistics and probability, folks. There are those of us who are not willing to shoot someone because, frankly, we think it's a bit cuckoo to live in fear, especially considering how unlikely it is that someone will kill us if we don't (see Bill's stats, above.) [Follow the poetry, the logic: if ya have a gun then ya must be willing to hold the gun, and if ya hold the gun ya might shoot the gun, and if ya shoot it ya might kill someone; which all results from the paranoia.]


So you'd rather be killed by some scumbag than kill said scumbag? If so, well... I think there's a screw loose in your brainpan somewheres, but hey, it's your life, and I'll let you live it as you please. Please do me the same courtesy and let me live my own way. After all, the chances of me shooting you are almost infinitesimal. :wink:

grdSavant wrote:Our social contract is a mutual agreement that we will not harm one another....


Yes, and once somebody tries to kill, rape, rob, etc., he has violated that contract. Hence it is null and void with respect to him. In other words, once he has broken the law, he is an outlaw; i.e. he has placed himself outside the law. Hence, the laws applicable to my behavior towards civilized men do not apply to him, and I can rightfully and justifiably shoot and kill him.

Anyway, my understanding of Judeo-Christian law is that the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" is a mistranslation of what should say "Thou shalt not commit murder"; murder being unjustifiable killing, while killing in self-defense is justifiable.

grdSavant wrote:.... Bill and I live in different worlds. I live with Pollyanna. He lives with Hannibal Lecter.


No, I suspect there are both fairy princesses and boogeymen in his world. It's just that the fairy princesses don't want to kill him!

grdSavant wrote:The Teacher told us to turn the other cheek, from which I was severely affected in my youth.


My condolences. Please have the courtesy not to push your neuroses on us, and we'll be sure to do likewise.

grdSavant wrote:At least those who do not have a gun will not be killing people with what they do not have, and their guns will not be stolen or otherwise used in crime, and they will not accidentally be fired resulting in injury or death.


The chances of those things happening are also very small. I've owned four guns for years. Never accidentally shot anyone or anything, never shot anybody on purpose either, and never had one stolen. Anyway, as Bill has already pointed out, you could also apply this same logic to cars. Cars can be stolen, can accidentally hurt people, or can purposefully hurt people. So I guess we should get rid of cars, too.

[edit] Are you a pacifist?
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby BillD » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:52 am

grdSavant wrote:...we must allow your negative, but poetic, use of the word "mess", else it could have taken you an entire paragraph to have been courteous and to have said that my argument was less than logically consistent and convincing and satisfying...

I apologize if my tone was snide. I did not intend it that way but on re-reading, that's how it sounded. Sorry.

grdSavant wrote:I had to look up "strawmen", which means fake, sham, mockery, counterfeit.

Not exactly correct. I don't have my Webster's handy but a Strawman is generally understood to be a logical fallacy wherein a premise is based on a misrepresentation of an opponent's position. The disputant then refutes this misrepresentation rather than the original argument. Again, you have no knowledge of my state of mind or my intent.

grdSavant wrote:Bill, you failed to follow up your accusation with any substantiation.

You seem to have missed my point based on a misunderstanding of "strawman." Or maybe I just didn't express my thoughts clearly enough. You based your argument on knowledge you cannot possibly possess.

grdSavant wrote:Paranoia is treatable.

Pure poetry, that.

grdSavant wrote:Okay, maybe you can prevent a crime by brandishing a gun. But in my group of mis-guided souls, if ya have it in your hand, the logical conclusion is that you might have to use it, and that is not worth the risk of killing someone. We are, you see, those who believe in the sanctity of life (and who may also fear g-d's having pointed out that that is a no no). Our social contract is a mutual agreement that we will not harm one another, and killing is harm. So is an insult. Bill and I live in different worlds. I live with Pollyanna. He lives with Hannibal Lecter.

You seem to be very fond of trying to use inflammatory labels to shut down debate. Bill is obviously paranoid. Therefore, Bill's position is untenable, QED. A social contract in which one party refuses to be bound by the terms is meaningless with respect to that party.

grdSavant wrote:Oh, Bill, I worry for you. In the theory of very large numbers, all things that you can imagine (and more) are possible, even if not probable. From that, in parallel universes there is a guy, me. In one of them he is typing his little fingers into nubs but is suddenly interrupted by a bandit, there in my home. And it fact I do indeed believe that what I have written about that scenario and the bandit is true. It just isn't probable here in my universe, in my home.

I appreciate your concern. I hope your world remains a sunny place.

grdSavant wrote:I had instead asked all people with guns to help guard me against the more real threat of danger on the highway, but you mocked me.
BillD wrote:Again, your logic escapes me. Should we make driving cars illegal?
Do you even know what you are saying? I doubt it. You are asserting that it is perfectly okay to expect 35,000 to die on the highway each and every year, while it is not okay for 3,000 people to die in 9/11 style deaths in a one-off incidence.

Don't be patronizing. I am asserting no such thing. I was merely trying to make the point that you were associating statistics that had absolutely nothing to do with the point in question. Your position on traffic fatalities may or may not be a valid and defensible one. It's irrelevant in this context. I was merely trying to tease the threads of logic from your argument.

grdSavant wrote:In the final analysis, you gotta be willing to die for your convictions (freedom, liberty, yada yada), eh? We suffer and are caught in a bewildering vortex of push and pull, the cause and effect of violence in general, and in my naiveté I vote for breaking the cycle. Do not push back. That should be our word and bond. That may be what Christ and Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., were hoping to achieve.

I understand your position and on some points, I admire it. However, I fundamentally disgree on a philosophical level.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby grdSavant » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:53 am

BillD wrote: It's irrelevant in this context. I was merely trying to tease the threads of logic from your argument.
I am sincerely impressed with the quality of the discussion and your willingness to go where it takes us, therefore I laud you. As noted, I am not so focused on the nuts and bolts as I am from where it may have come, and where it may go. There is a fairly good chance we have beaten this poor horse more severely than mercy would accomodate, but I'll see what I can see tomorrow. I am not nearly so quick on my feet as you are.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Kasper » Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:44 pm

Lex wrote: ... once somebody tries to kill, rape, rob, etc., he has violated that contract. Hence it is null and void with respect to him. In other words, once he has broken the law, he is an outlaw; i.e. he has placed himself outside the law. Hence, the laws applicable to my behavior towards civilized men do not apply to him, and I can rightfully and justifiably shoot and kill him.


Surely this is not correct Lex? Our society works because we respect the rule of law, and deny private citizens their 'right' to 'self-help'. We have police and courts to determine who has broken the social contract, and even when such a finding is made, they are not denied the protection of the law, that is, the social contract continues to apply.

This is the difficulty surely. On a personal and emotional level i completely understand and emphasise with the idea of 'i'll kill you before you kill me (so get off my lawn)', but on a higher and more philosophical level i understand that society will cease to function if this (admittedly fearful) position is adopted.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Lex » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:58 am

Kasper wrote:
Lex wrote: ... once somebody tries to kill, rape, rob, etc., he has violated that contract. Hence it is null and void with respect to him. In other words, once he has broken the law, he is an outlaw; i.e. he has placed himself outside the law. Hence, the laws applicable to my behavior towards civilized men do not apply to him, and I can rightfully and justifiably shoot and kill him.


Surely this is not correct Lex? Our society works because we respect the rule of law, and deny private citizens their 'right' to 'self-help'. We have police and courts to determine who has broken the social contract, and even when such a finding is made, they are not denied the protection of the law, that is, the social contract continues to apply.


Well, the problem with that, at least here in the USA, is that our Supreme Court has already ruled that the police are not obliged to protect people from criminals in particular cases. (I've heard of anecdotes regarding this; e.g. a man I know was stopped in Detroit on a traffic violation. As the cop was writing the ticket, a robbery started at the liquor store across the street. My acquaintance pointed this out to the cop, hoping to get out of the ticket. The cop said, "Somebody else'll take care of that." And according to US law, the cop was not in fact obliged to try to stop the robbery in progress right in front of him!) They are only obliged to maintain law and order in general, not in any given particular case.

I believe in practical rights. Rights that are only theoretical, and do me no good in the real world, are not rights in any real sense, IMHO. Now, if I cannot rely on police to protect my rights, and I cannot protect my rights myself, how can I be said to have any rights in any other than a purely theoretical sense? I cannot. And if I have the theoretical right to defend myself, but cannot in practice do so without the use of equalizing hardware that I do not have a right to own or carry, how can I be said to have any rights in any other than a purely theoretical sense? Again, I cannot. This, to me, constitutes a reductio ad adsurdum argument that proves that I have the right to protect my own rights, using appropriate hardware if necessary.

Kasper wrote:This is the difficulty surely. On a personal and emotional level i completely understand and emphasise with the idea of 'i'll kill you before you kill me (so get off my lawn)', but on a higher and more philosophical level i understand that society will cease to function if this (admittedly fearful) position is adopted.


The US has a distinction between may-issue and shall-issue states:

1) In a may-issue state, you can apply for a concealed-carry weapon (CCW) permit, and the state government may (or may not) issue it at its discretion/whim. In effect, this almost always means that you will not get a permit unless you are politically connected.

2) In a shall-issue state you can apply for a CCW permit, and if the state finds that you fulfill a set of objective criteria, they shall (i.e. must) issue the permit.

They thought that society would crumble here in Michigan when it changed from a may-issue state to a shall-issue state. The sky did not fall. There were no plagues of locusts. Lake Michigan did not turn the color of blood. Cats and dogs did not start living together. There was no mass hysteria... or mass slaughter of civilians, innocent or otherwise. In fact, things went on much as they always had. The presence of guns will not cause society to "cease to function".

The fact is, a well-armed society is a polite society. I've seen the evidence of that myself. I've been to gun shows here in Michigan. Let me tell you, gun shows are the only place you will ever see tooth-missing-Confederate-flag-waving-fake-Nazi-memorabilia-selling rednecks and gold-tooth-sporting-swaggering-flannel-shirt-buttoned-only-at-the-top-button-wearing blacks being polite to one another! Ah, only in America! It makes me all misty-eyed just thinking about it! :wink:
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Kasper » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:19 am

Lex wrote: Well, the problem with that, at least here in the USA, is that our Supreme Court has already ruled that the police are not obliged to protect people from criminals in particular cases.


Yes the same applies in almost every country. Police investigations are always discretionary. The police could not function if there was a legislative duty to investigate every alleged offence. Of course the robbery anecdote sounds somewhat ridiculous, but well, it is an anecdote.

I believe in practical rights. Rights that are only theoretical, and do me no good in the real world, are not rights in any real sense, IMHO. Now, if I cannot rely on police to protect my rights, and I cannot protect my rights myself, how can I be said to have any rights in any other than a purely theoretical sense? I cannot. And if I have the theoretical right to defend myself, but cannot in practice do so without the use of equalizing hardware that I do not have a right to own or carry, how can I be said to have any rights in any other than a purely theoretical sense? Again, I cannot. This, to me, constitutes a reductio ad adsurdum argument that proves that I have the right to protect my own rights, using appropriate hardware if necessary.


Like I said, on the one hand i fully appreciate this position, but still adhere to a more theoretical idea(l) that tit-for-tat is an unworkable system.

The presence of guns will not cause society to "cease to function".


Sorry, that's not what i meant to say. i meant that strike first or be struck mentality causes society to cease to function, or at least to do so in a civilised manner (ok... vague terminology) guns or no guns.

Ah, only in America!


Yes this is my problem, i have never lived in or even visited the US (nor do I feel particularly inclined to). I suppose that in other countries we get a rather distorted view of the US as a violent hypocrite greedy society based on racism and extremist christian views. Not the kind of society that most would regard as functional, although it does function in some way. Of course, this view is incorrect, or applicable only to very small segments of society, or many of you sensible people would not live there. For this reason i don't really express a view on whehter you should have a gun or not, i appreciate that it is viewed differently than it would be here in Australia or in the Netherlands where i grew up, and that it may even be necessary if everyone can (and shall) have one.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby edonnelly » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:24 am

Kasper wrote:This is the difficulty surely. On a personal and emotional level i completely understand and emphasise with the idea of 'i'll kill you before you kill me (so get off my lawn)', but on a higher and more philosophical level i understand that society will cease to function if this (admittedly fearful) position is adopted.


But that's the law everywhere in the US, even states that have prohibitions on gun laws. You are permitted to use deadly force (maybe you have a baseball bat in the closet or a knife sitting on the kitchen table) when your life or someone else's is in imminent danger. It has always been that way here.

Your example of 'get off the lawn' is not a good one, because that is not the law anywhere, as far as I know. A person on your property is not necessarily placing your life in imminent danger, and lethal force is not permitted unless there is some actual threat that is threatening your life (maybe he is brandishing a gun and stating he intends to use it)*. In any case, the law on self defense is completely separate from laws which allow or prohibit handgun ownership. Are you suggesting that the right to self defense will cause society to cease to function? If so, why has that not already happened (or has it)?


*[There's an interesting exception in my state, and others I assume, where an uninvited intruder in the "living space" (a precisely-defined legal term) of your home may legally be presumed to be a threat to your life regardless of what he or she is doing, but again that has nothing to do with whether gun ownership is allowed or not.]
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Kasper » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:45 am

edonnelly wrote:
Your example of 'get off the lawn' is not a good one, because that is not the law anywhere, as far as I know. A person on your property is not necessarily placing your life in imminent danger, and lethal force is not permitted unless there is some actual threat that is threatening your life (maybe he is brandishing a gun and stating he intends to use it)*. In any case, the law on self defense is completely separate from laws which allow or prohibit handgun ownership. Are you suggesting that the right to self defense will cause society to cease to function? If so, why has that not already happened (or has it)?


My apologies Ed, i have not expressed myself clearly.

Self-defence is a legal concept that raises a defence against a murder or assault charge. I have no problem with this defence, in fact I support it fully.

But we are not talking about law, but about rights. Lex seems to assert (please correct me if I have misunderstood) that irrespective of the law, he has a right to use a gun. The problem that i have with the position put forth by Bill and Lex is that they appear to argue that the right to use force, whether by use of guns or otherwise, arises when a trespass to their property or person is apprehended, or that it arises even where there is no such threat but the violation has already occurred. As Lex put it:

Lex wrote:if I cannot rely on police to protect my rights, and I cannot protect my rights myself, how can I be said to have any rights in any other than a purely theoretical sense? I cannot. And if I have the theoretical right to defend myself, but cannot in practice do so without the use of equalizing hardware that I do not have a right to own or carry, how can I be said to have any rights in any other than a purely theoretical sense? Again, I cannot. This, to me, constitutes a reductio ad adsurdum argument that proves that I have the right to protect my own rights, using appropriate hardware if necessary.


This general statement about 'rights' is what concerns me. What rights are we talking about? Can you pull a gun when someone prohibits you entry into a voting booth? Surely not. Can you pull a gun when someone walks over your lawn? Surely not. Can you pull a gun when someone walks over your lawn and steals your garden gnome? I highly doubt it. What if you replace it and they steal it again, and this happens 5 or 6 times, can you pull a gun then? etc.

My concern is that the boundary as to when it is appropriate to use force, and in particular the force of a gun, is very blurry. This uncertainty about the occasions on which force may be justified and what level of force may be justified seems to me to be a very unstable concept of society, and inhibits its functioning.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Lex » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:51 am

Kasper wrote:Yes the same applies in almost every country. Police investigations are always discretionary. The police could not function if there was a legislative duty to investigate every alleged offence. Of course the robbery anecdote sounds somewhat ridiculous, but well, it is an anecdote.


I am not talking about the investigation of crimes, I am talking about stopping (or at least attempting to stop) crimes in progress. And the person who told me that anecdote was a co-worker who I know is a very devout and rather rigid Christian; I doubt he would have made it up.

Kasper wrote:Like I said, on the one hand i fully appreciate this position, but still adhere to a more theoretical idea(l) that tit-for-tat is an unworkable system.


I hold to a theoretical ideal that being a pacifist is, practically speaking, a death wish. Besides, I am not talking about retribution here. I'm talking about the prevention of crimes in progress.

Kasper wrote:
The presence of guns will not cause society to "cease to function".


Sorry, that's not what i meant to say. i meant that strike first or be struck mentality causes society to cease to function, or at least to do so in a civilised manner (ok... vague terminology) guns or no guns.


You're either putting words in my mouth, or you're just plain confused. I am not advocating a preemptive strike philosophy. I wouldn't shoot someone unless I thought that a threat was imminent. And a tit-for-tat philosophy is not the same as a preemptive philosophy. To me, tit-for-tat simply means "Don't f*ck with me, and I won't f*ck with you."

Kasper wrote:
Ah, only in America!


Yes this is my problem, i have never lived in or even visited the US (nor do I feel particularly inclined to). I suppose that in other countries we get a rather distorted view of the US as a violent hypocrite greedy society based on racism and extremist christian views.


The view of America in Europe and Commonwealth nations is, in general, quite distorted. But I guess in the rest of the West today, anybody who still goes to church or believes in God at all (I don't do either, BTW) is considered an extremist Christian. And anybody who still believes that the concept of private property isn't entirely outmoded must be a greedy capitalist bastard. It's amazing how such a benighted country just elected a mulatto social democrat with a funny-sounding foreign name (part of which sounds disturbingly Muslim *brrrr*) for president, isn't it?

Kasper wrote:Not the kind of society that most would regard as functional, although it does function in some way.


Not only does it function, but is one of the predominant countries in the world today, and instead of building a wall to keep would-be emmigrants in (like the Soviet Union did) we are considering building one to keep would-be (illegal) immigrants out. Hmmm, strange.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Bert » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:03 am

grdSavant wrote:
Before you again go around asserting that we who have not suffered do not understand or know, y'all need to know that I have been burgled (the burglar got everything!), but I didn't feel any more threatened after it than I did before..... Oh, and my Audi was bashed and broken into three times. C'est la vie, doesn't scare me. Got brutally assaulted a couple years ago, but that was the price of admission to life (but there were two of 'em, else...).


If I had had those experiences, it would have an effect on how safe I feel now.

grdSavant wrote: The Teacher told us to turn the other cheek,
If he meant what you think he meant, I wonder why he didn't abide by his own direction.
Joh 18:22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, "Is that how you answer the high priest?"
Joh 18:23 Jesus answered him, "If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?"

grdSavant wrote:...but is suddenly interrupted by a bandit, there in my home. And it fact I do indeed believe that what I have written about that scenario and the bandit is true. It just isn't probable here in my universe, in my home.
Not in my neighbourhood! Crimes always happen elsewhere.
Lex wrote: Anyway, my understanding of Judeo-Christian law is that the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" is a mistranslation of what should say "Thou shalt not commit murder"; murder being unjustifiable killing, while killing in self-defense is justifiable.
That is my understanding as well.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Lex » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:04 am

Kasper wrote:Lex seems to assert (please correct me if I have misunderstood) that irrespective of the law, he has a right to use a gun.


You understand correctly. In my opinion, the state does not, and cannot, make rights. It simply ratifies as legal that which is already a person's right (to the extent that it is a just state), or does not (to the extent that it is not a just state). The fact that a state may be a democracy changes nothing. I do not determine right and wrong by counting noses.

I have a moral right to own a gun, whether I have a legal right to or not. I would make an an obvious analogy about the right to live, but then I would be violating Godwin's Law, which as we all know, I have no right to do. :wink:
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby grdSavant » Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:43 am

Kasper wrote:[note from grdSavant: nice going]
Please keep in mind that one of us is from Michigan and that is not California nor Massachusetts. We keep certain people there, and only there. I think there was reference to "tooth-missing-Confederate-flag-waving-fake-Nazi-memorabilia-selling rednecks," which, if you are not from the good ol' USofA, you might not understand. Oops, never mind. I see you are from Australia.

Lex wrote:I do not determine right and wrong by counting noses.
The predeterminate voice of right and wrong, good and evil. Perhaps you might have said, "...after careful examination of the social contract, and upon close collaboration with society, and study of the common morality in the land, and with reference to the law, ultimately I must examine my own soul for the definition of right and wrong. May the gods and goddesses have mercy on my soul." Other than that, your curt notice that you are the measure of all things might mislead some of us. It would be unfortunate for some to misjudge or misunderstand you.
Lex wrote:I have a moral right to own a gun
Yes, if you are indeed the measure and moral arbiter of all things, else, emphatically no. So, 1 vote yes, 1 vote no.

Lex wrote:
grdSavant wrote:...I can not imagine why someone would be so paranoid that they would consider it necessary to have a gun for protection.
Is a person paranoid because he keeps a fire extinguisher? What about a health insurance policy? After all, those are very rarely used. But they're real nice to have when you need 'em! One man's paranoia is another man's common-sense preparedness, I guess.
But as I perennially assert (which is becoming laborious and quite boring), since we are sentient and thinking entities, we apply rational processes to evaluate risk v. reward. Stealing is illegal, but most people have weighed the risk/reward equation and have stolen something at some time or another (oh, the shame!). If a person weighs the equation of the social agreement v. risking killing someone, it depends how seriously you take the commitment to the sanctity of life. If one's conclusion is that killing is some times okay, then at least in forums like this that person can be placed on the list of those who do not fully conform to the agreement; therefore, those who do not agree to it can be placed way down the equally protected list, down somewhere close to the bottom where they belong, certainly below the petty thief. Can you say, "bottom feeder?" The agreement says I'll help you if you help me, and killing isn't too helpful if your gun kills me or anyone I know or anyone I might have known.

As someone said above, individually we have not been allocated both the titles judge and jury. Those who have opted-out of the social contract say that they do not need the government to tell them when they need protection. Fine. Okay. Down to the bottom of the list they go. There are way too many at the top, anyway. We ought to have our 911 operators refer to a list of those who have opted-out so that they do not consume puplic resources for their private good.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Lex » Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:11 am

grdSavant wrote:
Lex wrote:I do not determine right and wrong by counting noses.
...Perhaps you might have said, "...after careful examination of the social contract, and upon close collaboration with society, and study of the common morality in the land, and with reference to the law, ultimately I must examine my own soul for the definition of right and wrong."


Yes, I could have said that, but then where would be the poetry? :wink:

grdSavant wrote:
Lex wrote:I have a moral right to own a gun

Yes, if you are indeed the measure and moral arbiter of all things....


But I must be my own moral arbiter, as must everybody else. Morality, like purpose in life, is not handed down from above, and even if it were, I would still have to apply my own faculty of moral judgment to verify it. (Wow, that Existentialism for Dummies book has paid off already! :lol: )

grdSavant wrote:....If one's conclusion is that killing is some times okay, then at least in forums like this that person can be placed on the list of those who do not fully conform to the agreement


But I do conform fully to the agreement, with others who do the same. In my mind, that is the agreement; "Don't mess with me, and I don't mess with you. Mess with me, and you have given me permission to mess with you." I don't think that most people would agree to any agreement that says that killing is never allowed, no matter what. That is not a social contract; it's a suicide pact.

grdSavant wrote:The agreement says I'll help you if you help me, and killing isn't too helpful if your gun kills me or anyone I know or anyone I might have known.


But my killing someone could help you. If I were to, say, kill a would-be murderer who's attempting to murder me, I have taken that person out of circulation, possibly preventing many murders in the future. Not to mention that the example might also deter other would-be murderers in the future.

In fact, this is why I think pacifism is actually immoral. A pacifist benefits from people like me, but is not willing to return the favor. He is like the crotchety old farmer who is not willing to chip in for his fair share of a levy, a public good, which he benefits from. He is, in short, a free-rider.

grdSavant wrote:Those who have opted-out of the social contract say that they do not need the government to tell them when they need protection.


I have not opted out of the social contract, as I understand it. I would never opt into a pacifistic suicide pact such as you posit in the first place.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby BillD » Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:34 am

grdSavant wrote:The predeterminate voice of right and wrong, good and evil. Perhaps you might have said, "...after careful examination of the social contract, and upon close collaboration with society, and study of the common morality in the land, and with reference to the law, ultimately I must examine my own soul for the definition of right and wrong. May the gods and goddesses have mercy on my soul." Other than that, your curt notice that you are the measure of all things might mislead some of us. It would be unfortunate for some to misjudge or misunderstand you.

Poetry (even if it were good poetry) is not a substitute for a cogent argument. As I have pointed out before, you are arguing against your own mischaracterization of Lex's argument rather than what he actually wrote. I'm going to have to buy a copy of Existentialism for Dummies now. :)

grdSavant wrote:
Lex wrote:I have a moral right to own a gun
Yes, if you are indeed the measure and moral arbiter of all things, else, emphatically no. So, 1 vote yes, 1 vote no.

I suspect (though I am not certain) that we can agree on one point. The men who founded this country were very thoughtful and did not put pen to paper without very carefully considering every article and amendment of our Constitution. As evidence of this we have the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers, and a host of other writings describing the thought processes behind virtually every every sentence that went into that document. They believed that the right to keep and bear arms was pre-existing. When Madison wrote the Second Amendment, he was merely codifying what they believed was a natural right necessary for the purposes of resistance and self-preservation.

In the Heller case, the Supreme Court affirmed this right. Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, said, "the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."

That's a lot of votes on Lex's side of the ledger. And these particular votes are dispositive. We can argue from here till doomsday about the philosophical point. The legal point is settled (for now). We have the right in the United States to possess firearms and to use them for self-defense.

grdSavant wrote:The [social] agreement says I'll help you if you help me, and killing isn't too helpful if your gun kills me or anyone I know or anyone I might have known.

Where does it say that? I can't find it in my copy.

grdSavant wrote:Those who have opted-out of the social contract say that they do not need the government to tell them when they need protection.

As this is a conflation of two separate (and unrelated) propositions I made in two different previous posts, I must assume you are referring to me. Again, I said nothing of the sort. I have not "opted out of the social contract." As I think was clear in my previous post, I believe that there are individuals who refuse to be bound by the social contract that most of us believe in to a greater or lesser degree. They generally engage in criminal or anti-social behavior. Often, they feel no compunction about killing, torturing, etc.

I have to assume one of four things here:
1. I did not make my meaning clear. This is entirely possible as I was tired and not thinking as clearly as I might have been.
2. You misunderstood my meaning. Again, this is a possibility.
3. You are merely trolling and have no desire to offer logical arguments. I haven't discounted this one yet.
4. You deliberately misrepresented my meaning. Given your tendency to substitute "poetry" and ad hominem attacks (see the various "paranoia" references in your earlier posts) for actual logical argument, as well as your seemingly deliberate distortion of the positions of others, this seems the most likely conclusion. Please correct me if I am mistaken.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Lex » Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:19 pm

BillD wrote:In the Heller case, the Supreme Court affirmed this right. Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, said, "the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."


Even this, though, soft-pedals the real intent of the Founders. They had just recently fought a war against the British, and though the Continental Army played the main part, militias consisting of private individuals with their own weapons certainly played a part. When they included the 2nd Amendment into the Constitution, they weren't thinking primarily about self-defense against common criminals, much less hunting. They were thinking of the right of the people to have the wherewithal necessary to "water the Tree of Liberty", should the need arise.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby BillD » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:57 pm

Lex wrote:
BillD wrote:In the Heller case, the Supreme Court affirmed this right. Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, said, "the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."


Even this, though, soft-pedals the real intent of the Founders. They had just recently fought a war against the British, and though the Continental Army played the main part, militias consisting of private individuals with their own weapons certainly played a part. When they included the 2nd Amendment into the Constitution, they weren't thinking primarily about self-defense against common criminals, much less hunting. They were thinking of the right of the people to have the wherewithal necessary to "water the Tree of Liberty", should the need arise.


You are, of course, correct. I was just trying to illustrate a slightly different point in this instance.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Kasper » Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:01 am

BillD wrote:
Lex wrote:
BillD wrote:In the Heller case, the Supreme Court affirmed this right. Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, said, "the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."


Even this, though, soft-pedals the real intent of the Founders. They had just recently fought a war against the British, and though the Continental Army played the main part, militias consisting of private individuals with their own weapons certainly played a part. When they included the 2nd Amendment into the Constitution, they weren't thinking primarily about self-defense against common criminals, much less hunting. They were thinking of the right of the people to have the wherewithal necessary to "water the Tree of Liberty", should the need arise.


You are, of course, correct. I was just trying to illustrate a slightly different point in this instance.


You two have left me confused (again, Lex might say). Your position seems to be unclear, do you have the right to own and use a gun because of a legal right or because of a moral right? I doubt anyone will argue against your current legal right (although maintaining a law because of a status quo that occurred 200 years ago seems very odd - and if the founders were so convinced of this need and right, why was there a need for amendment to get it into the Bill of Rights? why wasn't it there in the first place? (And why do I get the impresssion that the founding fathers presently occupy Mt Olympus in the US?)), but your moral right remains debatable. Then again, i've said about all i have to say about this and won't repeat my view, at least for the time being.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Lex » Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:42 am

Kasper wrote:...Your position seems to be unclear, do you have the right to own and use a gun because of a legal right or because of a moral right?


This is all just my own very humble opinion, of course. I would say that I have the right to keep and bear arms because of a moral right. The fact that my moral right is now encoded in law is nice, but I would still consider that I have the right without the recent Supreme Court decision.

Kasper wrote:... maintaining a law because of a status quo that occurred 200 years ago seems very odd


Well, the law is the law, until it is taken off the books, unless said law was enacted with an expiration date. And the Constitution is the most basic law of the land. And if enough people want to change it, there is a process for doing so.

Kasper wrote:and if the founders were so convinced of this need and right, why was there a need for amendment to get it into the Bill of Rights? why wasn't it there in the first place?


Some of the Founders were convinced that there were so many checks and balances in the Constitution already, and that the rights of the people were so obvious, that a written legal guarantee of said rights was superfluous. Others were, happily, wiser and warier, and the Bill of Rights was added to mollify these in order to get the Constitution rammed through. (After all, the Constitutional Convention was basically a bloodless coup. It was supposed to be just a meeting on revising the existing Articles of Confederation, not replacing them.)

Kasper wrote:(And why do I get the impresssion that the founding fathers presently occupy Mt Olympus in the US?)


Would that this were so. Nowadays, the Constitution, the most fundamental law of our country, is more honored in the breach than in practice. Most "liberals" (i.e. social democrats), especially, consider the Founders to be nothing more than dead white males; ancient history. And the Constitution is regularly considered an annoying obstable that should be ignored, or given an extremely broad or patently unplausible interpretation, whenever feasible. The only politician I know of who takes it seriously is Ron Paul, who is considered by the "pragmatic" politicians to be a dogmatist and a joke.

Kasper wrote:but your moral right remains debatable.


At least we seem to agree that the law does not determine what one's moral rights are.
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Re: Hand gun control

Postby Lex » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:00 am

Kasper wrote:...Your position seems to be unclear, do you have the right to own and use a gun because of a legal right or because of a moral right?


This is all just my own very humble opinion, of course. I would say that I have the right to keep and bear arms because of a moral right. The fact that my moral right is now encoded in law is nice, but I would still consider that I have the right without the recent Supreme Court decision.

Kasper wrote:... maintaining a law because of a status quo that occurred 200 years ago seems very odd


Well, the law is the law, until it is taken off the books, unless said law was enacted with an expiration date. And the Constitution is the most basic law of the land. And if enough people want to change it, there is a process for doing so.

Kasper wrote:and if the founders were so convinced of this need and right, why was there a need for amendment to get it into the Bill of Rights? why wasn't it there in the first place?


Some of the Founders were convinced that there were so many checks and balances in the Constitution already, and that the rights of the people were so obvious, that a written legal guarantee of said rights was superfluous. Others were, happily, wiser and warier, and the Bill of Rights was added to mollify these in order to get the Constitution rammed through. (After all, the Constitutional Convention was basically a bloodless coup. It was supposed to be just a meeting on revising the existing Articles of Confederation, not replacing them.)

Kasper wrote:(And why do I get the impresssion that the founding fathers presently occupy Mt Olympus in the US?)


Would that this were so. Nowadays, the Constitution, the most fundamental law of our country, is more honored in the breach than in practice. Most "liberals" (i.e. social democrats), especially, consider the Founders to be nothing more than dead white males; ancient history. And the Constitution is regularly considered an annoying obstable that should be ignored, or given an extremely broad or patently unplausible interpretation, whenever feasible. The only politician I know of who takes it seriously is Ron Paul, who is considered by the "pragmatic" politicians to be a dogmatist and a joke.

For instance, I heard today that there was a bill in the House considering making it so the citizens of the District of Columbia can have full representation in the House. (It was originally envisioned that the D. of C. would be a district for purely political purposes, and not anyone's residence.) Coincidentally, this bill was sponsored by the Democrats, and the population of the D. of C. is overwhelmingly black, and could be counted on to vote Democratic. The bill was then pulled by Nancy Pelosi, after the Republicans managed to get a rider attached guaranteeing the District's 2nd Amendment rights. The fact that this bill would be completely unconstitutional (the Constitution only gives the right of representation in the House to the states) was never considered important. If the bill had passed, it would almost assuredly have been signed into law by Obama. Then had anybody wished to fight it, it would have had to be contested in the Supreme Court, a time-consuming, costly, and unsure process. But no politician would have fought it, since that would be considered racist. And then the Dems wonder why conservatives and libertarians (i.e. true liberals) are so cynical about the government nowadays...

Kasper wrote:but your moral right remains debatable.


At least we seem to agree that the law does not determine what one's moral rights are.
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