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Author Topic: Guns  (Read 28716 times)

gonzo

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Guns
« on: May 03, 2013, 02:38:38 AM »
Tried to find the "What's in the water" thread, but the search function isn't very helpful.

I've been caned, and canned, on here before for "Anti-Americanism", as it was termed. Sounds like a crime. However, THIS little story made me wonder why people [i.e., Muricans] won't do anything serious about gun violence. Fuck the constitution, written 200 plus years ago with nasty Brits, Injuns, French, and mooses lurking.............you get the picture?

.A two-year-old girl has become the second child in the US to be shot dead by a sibling this week, after her five-year-old brother shot her with a rifle designed for children, officials revealed on Wednesday.
Officials in Kentucky say the five-year-old boy was playing with a rifle designed for children and given to him as a gift, when he accidentally shot his younger sister.
The two-year-old girl was pronounced dead after being rushed to a hospital following the shooting on Tuesday in rural Kentucky, police said.
The death follows a similar incident on Monday where a five-year-old girl in a remote Alaska community was reportedly shot and killed by her eight-year-old brother.
Cumberland County coroner Gary White identified the two-year-old Kentucky girl as Caroline Starks and said the children's mother was cleaning the house at the time and had stepped outside onto the porch.
"She said no more than three minutes had went by and she actually heard the rifle go off. She ran back in and found the little girl," Mr White said.
The .22 calibre rifle had been given to the boy last year and was kept in the corner of a room. The parents did not realise a shell had been left in it.
"It's a Crickett," Mr White told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "It's a little rifle for a kid ... the little boy's used to shooting the little gun."
The Crickett is just one of many child-sized rifles on the market and is sold with the tag line 'My First Rifle'.
It comes in a number of child-friendly barrel designs and colours, including hot pink for little girls.
A host of accessories are also available, like story books and a gun-toting beanie baby of the rifle's mascot, a cartoonish cricket.
An autopsy was set to be conducted but Mr White said he expects the shooting will be ruled accidental.
"Just one of those crazy accidents," Mr White said
.

"Just one of those crazy accidents", said Mr. White. Well he got one word right. Lucky it was a child-friendly rifle.
This is one fucked society.
RIP Phil Stephens.
No static at all.

Pashley

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Re: Guns
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2013, 03:08:28 AM »
Yes, but there are arguments the other way. Here's one of the few examples arguing for guns rights from a left-wing perspective.

http://www.thepolemicist.net/2013/01/the-rifle-on-wall-left-argument-for-gun.html

I'd say the guy has the right to call himself "the polemicist"; he argues well.
Who put a stop payment on my reality check?

The Local Dialect

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Re: Guns
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2013, 03:25:13 AM »
Fortunately for some, unfortunately for others, in America you can't just say "fuck the constitution." The process of amending it is incredibly difficult -- you don't just need a simple majority you need a supermajority. Here:
Quote
The United States Constitution is unusually difficult to amend.  As spelled out in Article V, the Constitution can be amended in one of two ways.  First, amendment can take place by a vote of two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate followed by a ratification of three-fourths of the various state legislatures (ratification by thirty-eight states would be required to ratify an amendment today).  This first method of amendment is the only one used to date.  Second, the Constitution might be amended by a Convention called for this purpose by two-thirds of the state legislatures, if the Convention's proposed amendments are later ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures.

Because any amendment can be blocked by a mere thirteen states withholding approval (in either of their two houses), amendments don't come easy.  In fact, only 27 amendments have been ratified since the Constitution became effective, and ten of those ratifications occurred almost immediately--as the Bill of Rights.
http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/articlev.htm

On the subject of gun control, there just isn't that kind of a consensus. An attempt to amend or abolish the 2nd amendment without following the law regarding constitutional amendments, and I am not even slightly kidding here, likely result in a Civil War, it is that serious.

I don't think it is easy for non-Americans to understand what a big deal the Bill of Rights is to Americans. Most people believe the slippery slope argument to be true -- that if you tamper with one amendment, it is only a short step from tampering with the rest of them.

I am for stricter gun control. I hate guns and never want to own one personally. I am sad that the 2nd amendment was included to begin with, but I realize that the answer is not as simple as "just abolish it" (and I am super left leaning, so that should tell you something). That won't ever happen in the United States and any non-American wishing to have an intelligent discussion about gun control in America needs to realize that the "why don't you people just do something" approach is not going to get you anywhere because even people who are in favor of gun control generally love the constitution and don't want to see it destroyed.

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: Guns
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2013, 04:02:02 AM »
Personally, I'm in favor of the right of law abiding citizens being able to own firearms, but would have ZERO issue with requiring all purchasers to undergo some basic safety training - we do it for cars, so why not with other things than can easily kill?

That being said, what flavor of crack cocaine do people have to be on to let a 5 year old have a fully functional 22 caliber rifle with ammunition and play with it unattended? mmmmmmmmmm llllllllll aqaqaqaqaq

Teach a young child (under CLOSE supervision) on a "child sized rifle" - Depends on the child, the parents, and a few other factors (but for the love of God, lock up the gun and ammo when not supervising its use).

I owned a .410 gauge shotgun at age 12 (a traditional 12th b-day present in my family) before getting a decent air rifle for target practice when I was 14 or 15.  Even so, I would hesitate turn a 5 year old loose with a low powered BB gun.

Letting a child that age run loose with an actual firearm?  bibibibibi aoaoaoaoao bibibibibi aoaoaoaoao bibibibibi aoaoaoaoao

Too bad he didn't shoot both of his parents before they can reproduce again.

« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 04:09:18 AM by Escaped Lunatic »
I'm pro-cloning and we vote!               Why isn't this card colored green?
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kitano

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Re: Guns
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2013, 05:30:47 AM »
The American Constitution has changed a lot and it has never been obeyed to the letter. Nothing against the document which is an incredibly ambitious and positive undertaking, but the anti-terrorist laws from the last decade override the 5th amendment, the 1st amendment likewise.
They had to amend the declaration to include women and non-white people at a later date etc

The famous 10 Amendments are all pretty general, "the right to bear arms" doesn't specify what kind of arms etc, a lot of weaponry is excluded from the 2nd amendment, you aren't allowed to buy nerve gas grenades etc
Of course it has to be interpreted rather than just treated as gospel.

gonzo

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Re: Guns
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2013, 05:44:09 AM »
It's not my country. If people want the right to shoot each other or, better still, let little kids shoot each other, go for it. Just don't expect non Muricans to regard you as sane.
Jeez, I used to get this sort of rhetoric from my old friend Phil, who I thought was highly intelligent and mostly sane!!
RIP Phil Stephens.
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CWL

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Re: Guns
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2013, 07:19:35 AM »
In the States I have a CHL and my guns were purchased according to the law with background checks.  Funny how the government permits me to carry a concealed weapon, yet there are some in the government that view me as some sort of terrorist.  Go figure...  Fuckers...


Stil

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Re: Guns
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2013, 09:55:30 AM »
Changing laws may not actually do much. Do we think that in this part of Kentucky anyone would follow the 'new' laws?

It's part of the culture and culture is not so quickly changed.

BrandeX

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Re: Guns
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2013, 11:10:10 AM »
The American Constitution has changed a lot and it has never been obeyed to the letter. Nothing against the document which is an incredibly ambitious and positive undertaking, but the anti-terrorist laws from the last decade override the 5th amendment, the 1st amendment likewise.
They had to amend the declaration to include women and non-white people at a later date etc

The famous 10 Amendments are all pretty general, "the right to bear arms" doesn't specify what kind of arms etc, a lot of weaponry is excluded from the 2nd amendment, you aren't allowed to buy nerve gas grenades etc
Of course it has to be interpreted rather than just treated as gospel.

Good point, you could ban all firearms - the smithys would love it if the Gov. indicated that people CAN "bear arms" (just not anything with a projectile) which includes swords and the like.

Guangzhou Writer

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Re: Guns
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2013, 01:29:55 PM »
There are no easy, generalized solutions to problems like this that exist on the extremes of good sense. People who demonize guns as the root of the problem and people who think guns are fundamental to their political survival can argue forever.

The article shows a common mistake on basic gun safety. The same things happen everyday with cars, electricity, etc. There is no way to avoid the individual learning curve or the risks of life.
Formerly gzwriter

A-Train

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Re: Guns
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2013, 01:42:57 PM »
Changing laws may not actually do much. Do we think that in this part of Kentucky anyone would follow the 'new' laws?

It's part of the culture and culture is not so quickly changed.

True, but real change does happen over time. Drunk driving used to be much more prevalent, but laws and enforcement have cut the death in half over the last 20 years or so.

I think the smoking rate in the U.S. is not much more than half of what it was 30 years ago. I think you can credit regulations and laws for much of that.

I can't find much sense in the assertion that passing laws can't change behavior. It seems like that's the whole basis for making change in the West.  In China?  That's a different story altogether.
"The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore attempt the impossible and achieve it, generation after generation.

Pearl S. Buck

Guangzhou Writer

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Re: Guns
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2013, 02:31:57 PM »
Sure, you can change behavior, they also did that very successfully in China as well. Remember the Great Leap Forward, the Great Cultural Revolution, etc?
Formerly gzwriter

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Re: Guns
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2013, 02:32:16 PM »
The American Constitution has changed a lot and it has never been obeyed to the letter. Nothing against the document which is an incredibly ambitious and positive undertaking, but the anti-terrorist laws from the last decade override the 5th amendment, the 1st amendment likewise.
They had to amend the declaration to include women and non-white people at a later date etc

The famous 10 Amendments are all pretty general, "the right to bear arms" doesn't specify what kind of arms etc, a lot of weaponry is excluded from the 2nd amendment, you aren't allowed to buy nerve gas grenades etc
Of course it has to be interpreted rather than just treated as gospel.


Big Ol' TL;DR here because I can get all history teacher geek in this thread and it is interesting to me. ;)

Actually, those amendments to the constitution are a good example of just how hard it is to change the dang thing.

The amendments which outlawed slavery, gave black people citizenship, and gave blacks the vote were only ratified after the Civil War, and basically the Southern states were forced to ratify them as one of the conditions of being readmitted to the union. Collectively they're called the "Reconstruction Amendments" because they were part of the plan that was imposed upon the South, as the losing party, after the Civil War. In the case of slavery, it took a civil war to change this part of the constitution.

And women? The 19th amendment wasn't ratified until 1919, and women had been agitating for voting rights since before the Civil War.

Importantly too, those amendments involved making additions to the Constitution, giving certain people additional rights, not taking away rights that Americans already had.

The Bill of Rights is basically inviolable to most Americans (anti-terrorist laws aside, because I actually agree with you about that, but many don't, and, importantly, no one has actually attempted to amend the constitution with those laws) -- even some of your most hardcore liberals will take issue with the idea of repealing the 2nd Amendment altogether, and it just isn't, at the moment, a realistic solution to the gun problem. As Stil points out, guns are as much a cultural problem as they are a legal one. When you propose disarming a population and a good percentage of that population believes wholeheartedly that it is their god-given right to bear arms, they're not going to give up those arms easily, and the conflict could easily be bloodier than any school shooting.

So we are probably stuck with the 2nd amendment, but it is mostly up to the Supreme Court to interpret it, and the SC has been called upon to interpret the 2nd amendment, and other amendments, many times. The constitution is NOT a document that has one strict interpretation and yes, there the SC has had to make exceptions -- the "fire in a crowded building" rule, various rulings about prayer in school, etc. The SC historically has tried to stick with what the founding fathers intended with their bill of rights, but since they are dead and we can't ask them, we are left trying to define what the spirit of the law is. With regards to the 2nd amendment, the SC has tended to side against stricter gun controls in recent years (since the 70s anyhow), due basically to the power of the NRA, but that wasn't always the case.

It is possible that we could go back to a different interpretation of the 2nd amendment, one that focused on the rights of states to form militias. It is also possible that we could see bans on certain types of weapons, enforced background checks, laws about storage of weapons, or other constraints.

Ultimately though, I think in order for there to be a big challenge to the way the 2nd amendment is currently interpreted, there would have to be a massive shift in American culture. Right now there is a lot of fear in America and not a lot of faith in the government. People aren't going to give up their guns in a time of uncertainty. Maybe if the economy turns around and we have a new era of peace and prosperity, people will feel less need for their firearms, but I just don't see it happening any time soon.

A-Train

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Re: Guns
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2013, 04:48:20 PM »
I think the prior post misses the point and, because of that, goes too far.  Over 90% of the population supported the background check law.  Even in Republican states like Montana and North Dakota support reached 90% yet those DEMOCRATIC senators voted against it.

Also, the bill lost by receiving the majority of votes, (54 - 46).  Yes, it garnered the majority vote.  The Democrats should have forced the Republicans to filibuster. Standing in the Senate well droning on for days about the evils of background checks, would have doomed their effort under the public scrutiny.

So, the problem at the moment, isn't cultural,it's political.  Two fundamental problems: i) The American Legislature greatly over-represents rural citizens who, naturally, are very pro-gun.  ii) Without reform in political financing, small, well-financed groups, (like the NRA), will always have fighting downhill and with much better weapons. (sorry for the pun).

Amending the Constitution IS very difficult.  But that doesn't have to be the answer; or even close. Reasonable laws within the confines of the 2nd Amendment can go most of the way toward eliminating the problem. Just talking about eliminating the 2nd Amendment damns the effort to failure. Any real gun control advocate shouldn't even mention it.
"The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore attempt the impossible and achieve it, generation after generation.

Pearl S. Buck

The Local Dialect

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Re: Guns
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2013, 05:21:31 PM »

Amending the Constitution IS very difficult.  But that doesn't have to be the answer; or even close. Reasonable laws within the confines of the 2nd Amendment can go most of the way toward eliminating the problem. Just talking about eliminating the 2nd Amendment damns the effort to failure. Any real gun control advocate shouldn't even mention it.

I'm kind of unclear as to how I missed the point, as I think we're basically on the same side.

If we're talking about enacting stronger gun control laws, then the problem is political.

If we're talking about abolishing the 2nd amendment and "taking away the guns" then the issue is definitely cultural/historical/emotional/political/legal. It would be a completely doomed undertaking. But if you're talking with non-Americans and point out that this will never happen and that the focus needs to be on working within the current framework you get the "fine, shoot each other for all we care" response.

I post on other boards and gun control is a big debate that comes up often, and one thing that non-Americans often really don't get is why we can't just change the constitution. So I was mostly addressing that.

I get the sense sometimes from non-Americans that they sort of feel like America has an "I've tried nothing and nothing works" attitude towards gun control, but the reality is that the problem is complicated and very polarizing, and sometimes even a bit counterintuitive (see Democratic senators voting against background checks).