Firearms

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Re: Firearms

Postby Shahriyar » Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:39 pm UTC

Where's the well-regulated militia and is it still necessary?
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Re: Firearms

Postby Fire Brns » Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:48 pm UTC

Many states still have organized militias set up, 23 last time I checked. Didn't you know that? It's simply that he havn't fough a domestic war in so long (147 years to be exact) that they are kind of forgotten and/or small.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Shahriyar » Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:50 pm UTC

So... are they necessary for the security of a Free State? Can they stand up to the military, should it be turned against them, under, say, charges of terrorism and treason?
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Re: Firearms

Postby Fire Brns » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:00 pm UTC

Should a government become too totalitarian, the state should it chose would suceed and the milita would defend it from simply being reoccupied as the british tried in the revolutionary war. Treason is dissidence to a government you belong to, sucession would counteract this charge(on paper).

If you are inmplying that our Founders never knew we would have tanks then that is a poor point for not having militia.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Shahriyar » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:49 pm UTC

Should a government become too totalitarian, the state should it chose would suceed and the milita would defend it from simply being reoccupied as the british tried in the revolutionary war.


Before continuing in that direction, I want a realistic assesment of how this one would go down. Suggestion: compare to Mexico, or any other American or African nation where the Government doesn't actually govern the entire place. Query: desirability of a situation where local powers are willing and able to threaten the central government with armed rebellion should it impose on them decisions they mislike enough.
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Re: Firearms

Postby stevey_frac » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:52 pm UTC

Shahriyar wrote:So... are they necessary for the security of a Free State? Can they stand up to the military, should it be turned against them, under, say, charges of terrorism and treason?


The Afganistan war was primarily against militia grade weapons. Crappy old rifles, and improvised explosives. Perhaps they didn't win... but they certainly were more effective then being completely passive.

Also, The majority of the people in Afganistan weren't terrorists, and weren't fighting NATO forces. But if every single man and woman over the age of 20, had had a rifle they intended to use at a moments notice... That war goes very differently if they're all against NATO...

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Re: Firearms

Postby Arrian » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:56 pm UTC

Fire Brns wrote:The federalist papers were great, there wer clauses to handle piracy on the high seas; we just didn't have taxation or any federal authority. Technically the Constitution was a second revolution.

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

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


Wasn't the definition of militia at the time basically every able bodied, free, white man? That's what it is now, (without the "white" qualifier) by federal law.

Militia Act of 1792 wrote:I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia...


Secondly, was the only use of the militia for fighting Indians, foreign nations and insurgents? Those are the reasons the federal government is allowed to call them up for, but would the states use them for things like what we would consider law enforcement work today? Isn't law and order another reading of "security of a free State?" If the Second Amendment is meant to preserve the right for the States to use the arms of militia for their purposes as well as, couldn't that line of reasoning be carried one more step down the ladder to it protecting the rights of individuals to use arms for their own purposes?

I don't know. I do know that the first clause of the Second Amendment is neither exclusive, nor is the second clause dependent on it, but there is reason to have put it there. Again, i haven't read the historical record around the amendment, but it really looks like it was added as a compromise.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Shahriyar » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:01 pm UTC

You know, the US Constitution always confuses me greatly. It was built at a specific time, for a specific purpose. Very advanced for its time, very far reaching, very ambitious.

But, I don't know, wouldn't it be time to change it for something that people can read in plain modern language without needing a lawyer to interpret it? I'm not even suggesting an entirely new thing with new rules, just the same old thing, but written in plain English, as-it-is-understood-today.

For some reason people get offended when I say that.
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Re: Firearms

Postby pizzazz » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:13 pm UTC

Shahriyar wrote:Where's the well-regulated militia and is it still necessary?


Fire Brns wrote:Many states still have organized militias set up, 23 last time I checked. Didn't you know that? It's simply that he havn't fough a domestic war in so long (147 years to be exact) that they are kind of forgotten and/or small.


A militia need not be a government organization to be "well-regulated." In the parlance of the time, that essentially just meant that the militia worked and practiced together and worked as intended.

Also, last I checked, every able-bodied male between 17 and 45 is a member of the United States militia.

edit:
ninja'd
Also,

Shahriyar wrote:You know, the US Constitution always confuses me greatly. It was built at a specific time, for a specific purpose. Very advanced for its time, very far reaching, very ambitious.

But, I don't know, wouldn't it be time to change it for something that people can read in plain modern language without needing a lawyer to interpret it? I'm not even suggesting an entirely new thing with new rules, just the same old thing, but written in plain English, as-it-is-understood-today.

For some reason people get offended when I say that.

The Constitution is not that narrow. It was designed to be and was very effective as the set-up of the US government for along time. It can be amended, and isn't very long. It's also not that hard to interpret if you just read it, but some people like to pretend that it really is complicated (or just ignore it by using popular fear), in an effort to justify their own agenda. I'd like to minimize rewriting as much as possible; maybe an annotated copy, explaining the changes in grammar and definitions.
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Re: Firearms

Postby quantumcat42 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:32 pm UTC

Shahriyar wrote:But, I don't know, wouldn't it be time to change it for something that people can read in plain modern language without needing a lawyer to interpret it? I'm not even suggesting an entirely new thing with new rules, just the same old thing, but written in plain English, as-it-is-understood-today.

The Constitution is far more readable that any legislation passed today. The "modern language" requires a lawyer to interpret, not the Constitution.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Fire Brns » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:36 pm UTC

17-45? Yay, I'm in a militia! or is it "I am a militia"?

[Offtopic]
I think Shariyar is confused by the wording considering it is an older form of English. The problem is that translation is open to interpretation. We would end up with a Bastardized constitution open to further interpretation. What happens if it is interpreted to justify one political ideaology over the other? But this discussion belongs in another thread.
[/Offtopic]
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Re: Firearms

Postby marky66 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:38 pm UTC

Fire Brns wrote:17-45? Yay, I'm in a militia! or is it "I am a militia"?

[Offtopic]
I think Shariyar is confused by the wording considering it is an older form of English. The problem is that translation is open to interpretation. We would end up with a Bastardized constitution open to further interpretation. What happens if it is interpreted to justify one political ideaology over the other? But this discussion belongs in another thread.
[/Offtopic]


I don't think that is off-topic at all. At least in the US, the 2nd Amendment and its (perceived?) ambiguity is very relevant to the debate over how/whether firearms should be regulated. Eliminating the ambiguity one way or the other changes the whole argument.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Fire Brns » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:20 pm UTC

I meant the constitution as a whole. But Ok. I see your point about that.

The main arguement I see against people carrying guns is the understanding of the word militia.
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Re: Firearms

Postby TranquilFury » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:01 pm UTC

Fire Brns wrote:I meant the constitution as a whole. But Ok. I see your point about that.

The main arguement I see against people carrying guns is the understanding of the word militia.

That sounds strange, the argument I see most often is the one that assumes violence is always bad and argues against guns by association, followed closely by the argument that if adults are allowed to have guns, children will get access to them by accident and hurt themselves or others.

But I don't think either of those arguments outweigh the cost of giving up firearms. Firearms aren't something we can uninvent, and because of human nature, if there is ever a power vacuum (most relevantly, one caused by a lack of combat capability) someone with power will be willing to fill that vacuum by force.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Fire Brns » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:02 am UTC

People use that arguement as justification then say that the wording of the constitution doesn't garuntee individuals the right to carry firearms.

And the sheer fact that someone can have a weapon doesn't mean they intend to use it. Heck, I wan't to build some things -for science of course- I would certainly get taken away in a black helicopter for because they are "deemed" as threat to the public.
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Re: Firearms

Postby lutzj » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:45 am UTC

Shahriyar wrote:So... are they necessary for the security of a Free State? Can they stand up to the military, should it be turned against them, under, say, charges of terrorism and treason?


Militia have proven themselves very effective at defending territory since ancient times. Between its size, high rate of gun ownership, and theoretically well-managed militias, the US would be almost impossible to conquer through conventional warfare even without its insanely huge regular forces.

More practically, state militias give governors some muscle to throw around in their home states.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Shahriyar » Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:26 pm UTC

Suppose America went Nazi, that a sizeable majority of the population supported that, and decided to kill the rest.

How does gun ownership factor, one way or the other?

More importantly, what about supplies?
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Re: Firearms

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:08 pm UTC

It's kind of ironic that you went there actually. I wonder how many people on the forums have grandparents or relatives who died in the Holocaust or in pogroms, potentially as a result of being unable to defend themselves. Since you Godwin'd it, I'll just say that I do. My grandfather is an enormous supporter of a citizens right to gun ownership because of what he witnessed in the scenario you just outlined (except, you know, not America, but in Nazi Germany)
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Re: Firearms

Postby Shahriyar » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:31 pm UTC

Well, Godwin, whatever, it doesn't need to be Nationalsocialism specifically, just any sort of groupism that makes the majority feel entitled if not outright obligated to exterminate or exile the minority. And my family suffered much more at the hands of the Quislings that supported the foreign colonists than at those of the colonists themselves, if you want to play the "whose ancestors suffered the most" game. I'm just asking if weapons would change anything for the minority, given that the majority would have them too. You have to think further than "I don't want to be helpless again".
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You know, I remember reading that story, there was this man, this old man, who had just caught a fatal disease. No-one knew, but him. He was in a bar, and a bunch of thugs started picking on him. He did his best to ignore them, but they went too far, so he stood up to them. From a dark corner, some guy threw a knife at his feet. He picked it up, reflexively... and then he realized, he couldn't back down anymore. It had become, without him noticing, a duel to the death. He carried it out, with grim joy, glad he could die a dignified death, rather than go through what the disease had in store for him.


All I'm saying is, depending on who you're fighting, you might be better off sheathing your sword or even not having a weapon in the first place.
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Re: Firearms

Postby stevey_frac » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:45 pm UTC

Just because there exists the situation in which it might be better off to not be armed, is not a logical nor defensible argument for the position 'The people should not be allowed to own guns'.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:14 pm UTC

The only thing you've done is pointed out that sometimes violence can escalate violence. I'm not, nor would I ever, dispute that. That is, however, not an argument for why we should remove the option of defending against violence in all situations. I can surely agree that in many situations, shooting someone dead isn't the right option. I cannot however agree, that that is true in all scenarios.

Firearms are an equalizer. There's a very good reason oppressed populations have historically been banned from owning weapons.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Shahriyar » Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:20 am UTC

They made up for it by inventing very effective unarmed styles. Such as Karate. Arguably, that's the entire point: why bother learning to fight without weapons when weapons are available (if expensive)? Lack of weapons correlates with a powerful State, unless the State itself isn't armed either, which is often the case. Access to weapons to everyone, access to weapons for no-one: they're both equalizers. However, notice that normal citizens don't have access to military-grade weapons in the USA, so I would question how useful they could be against a determined military. There are countries where they do, such as Mexico or Colombia: as a result, entire regions are practically independent from the federal government. It's just that the people are oppressed by random bullies rather than by the State. See, the problem with people being able to stand up to the State is that, well, they'll stand up to the State if the State does something they really don't like (which would be their own definition of "going tyrannical"). In the USA, where armed citizens are still practically harmless, there are always groups threatening to raise in arms against the Federation. In other countries, where they get the real weapons, they do a fair bit more than that.

So, having the means of violence can escalate violence. And you say that "access to means of violence should be forbidden to everyone" doesn't follow from that? Hm... I don't know. I know I'm not being convincing, but I'm not being convinced either. That stuff's just going to get you killed, is the way I see it. Yeah, I prefer talking my way out of trouble. Now, I never expected everyone else to make Strength their dump stat, and I can perfectly see how in some situations that's downright suicidal, so I'm not sure I can advise it as policy for everyone, everytime. I mean, I think it's a better policy for most people, most of the time. Ain't that enough? I mean, sure, there are times where having a grappling hook or a stun grenade might be useful, but they're so rare and far between, unless you're Batman or Sagara Sosuke, people will just look at your weird for carrying that dead weight around.

Let me add another factor to take in account: a person dies by gunshot, with a gun that ain't registered to its user... very hard to trace, half a dozen reason it could have happened. Person dies "by hand"? Blood is your friend here. Very hard to avoid, very hard to erase, wash or clean. Clingy stuff. It also makes it personal, which makes ir harder. And it makes it harder because you actually need to close in on the victim. With a gun, it doesn't matter if the victim is armed, so long as you sneak up on them just right. It can also be done with knives and such, but it's a bit trickier.

All I'm saying is, guns unavailable makes crime hard to commit, and makes criminals easier to catch. Does that mean going and banning the guns right now would help? Depends on the place and the time, I guess.
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Re: Firearms

Postby stevey_frac » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:34 am UTC

First of all, you are never going to convince 'The State' to give up it's weapons first. Which means that no one having weapons isn't a viable option. This means that the only valid, reasonable equalizer is for the population to also be armed. I will point out that even Ghandi believed that his people should have guns, as he said, and I quote "Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." -- Mahatma Gandhi". Basically.. the king of pacifists disagrees with you on this point.

And while it is true that armed citizens are not as effective mano-a-mano as trained and professionally equipped soldiers, we've pointed out numerous examples where they have been shown to be effective. I would like you to address them.

Also, your assumption that U.S. populations don't have 'military weapons' is kinda bullshit. They may not have full-auto guns, but they do have a wide range of high powered rifles, that are incredibly accurate, including rifles that can fire .50 BMG like the Barrett M82 (this is a sniper rifle with confirmed kills at over 2 km). I myself own a russian SKS assault rifle. Not sure how you don't translate that as a military weapon... seeing as it would have been issued to soldiers, and I fire surplus military ammo with it (7.62 x 39mm).

And while it is true that having the means of violence can escalate violence, failing to have the means of violence means you have to rely on those who have the means of violence to look out for you. And as the people of India, the native peoples of america, most of the middle east, and most of Africa can attest to... this really doesn't fucking work that well a lot of the time.

Finally, we can look at Britain which has much more restrictive gun laws, and many fewer firearms, and we can see that it's violent crime rate is much higher then damned near everyone else. So, your statement that 'guns unavailable makes crimes hard to commit' is observably false.

Basically... I claim you are making shit up.

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Re: Firearms

Postby pizzazz » Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:29 am UTC

Indeed, stevey_frac; I add one more example: The American Civil Rights movement

If the assumption is that the state will always have guns (and I'm not sure of any case in which this is false), then guns are a significant equalizer for any potentially oppressed groups. Completely equalizing, no, but significant nonetheless. Perhaps to help see why, just scale down to a few people. Say you are walking home at night in a dangerous neighborhood (or safe neighborhood, and get unlucky), and are attacked by 2 or 3 big guys (young men constitute the vast majorities of violent criminals). Or even just one, or a few smaller guys, especially if you are not large yourself. Now, you are already at a disadvantage here, but if one of them has any sort of a weapon (club, knife, bottle, etc.) you are either a damn good martial artist, or fucked.

But, now imagine that you have a gun! The fact that you might have a gun, at all, has been known to give violent criminals pause. And you, with a gun, versus them, with several guns, is at worst similarly to the way you were before, but potentially you can scare them away. People don't like dying; the author of the book I linked above stated that even the KKK wasn't really willing to die at the hands of blacks. It takes some pushing to get someone to commit to a potentially lethal situation.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Shahriyar » Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:00 pm UTC

Basically... I claim you are making shit up.


No need to be rude. I may have been mistaken. But, see, I'm not serving the argument that "guns are bad" or "guns are good". I'm fairly neutral either way (of course, I am scared of guns, but that's the point of them, isn't it? Not so much being killy as being scary.). My presenting arguments is mostly a way of testing what I think I know. Please don't think of me as a part of a "them" or an "us". I hate affiliations. Anyway, I'm not ashamed of expressing uninformed opinions and half-baked data, it's not like my ego was attached to them. I want to find out the truth, not write a bottom line and then just pile up arguments that favor the conclusion that I wish were true. So, if you find my ignorance and my flippancy irritating, I apologize in advance: I really don't mean to offend anyone.

So, testing what I think I know. And what I think I know has taken a serious blow thanks to that Daily Mail article. Seeing Sweden, Canada or Finland ranked so high, countries that are famous for being peaceful and safe, and seeing France being so far from the top when its riots and ghettoes are so often on top of the news, blows a hole in a lot of prejudice I have been holding. As it turns out, it's not the countries that have the most violence in media that have the most of it in Real Life. Maybe I should have expected that. But when you see films like Hot Fuzz, whose entire premise is "an action movie with cowboy cops in Britain is absurd and therefore funny because nothing exciting ever happens here, and our cops don't have guns anyway", well, you think "it must be true, otherwise the joke falls flat". Now, obviously, I was wrong, and so were they. Unless...

But criminologists say crime figures can be affected by many factors, including different criminal justice systems and differences in how crime is reported and measured.
New Home Secretary Alan Johnson is to make his first major speech on crime today

In Britain, an affray is considered a violent crime, while in other countries it will only be logged if a person is physically injured.

There are also degrees of violence. While the UK ranks above South Africa for all violent crime, South Africans suffer more than 20,000 murders each year - compared with Britain's 921 in 2007.

But Police Minister David Hanson said: 'These figures are misleading.
Levels of police recorded crime statistics from different countries are simply not comparable since they are affected by many factors, for example the recording of violent crime in other countries may not include behaviour that we would categorise as violent crime.


So, comparison of all violent crime VS comparison of murder. I think that's important. I mean, when I see Britain ranking over freaking South Africa, that sort of clashes with my media image of South Africa as a huge crime ridden rape camp (I'm being hyperboic). I'm like, "Britain can't possibly be more unsafe than freaking South Africa, now can it?"

So there is also this matter, perception of safety versus real safety. From where I stand, it seems like every shopkeeper in the USA has a shotgun under the counter, and there are neighborhoods where the police is afraid to come in (or perhaps they just don't care). It seems like a scary place. Then, in Britain, even the cops don't have guns, so when I went there on holiday I wasn't scared at all. Even the people there didn't seem so worried about safety.

And as the people of India, the native peoples of america, most of the middle east, and most of Africa can attest to... this really doesn't fucking work that wella lot ofsome of the time.

And while it is true that armed citizens are not as effective mano-a-mano as trained and professionally equipped soldiers, we've pointed out numerous examples where they have been shown to be effective. I would like you to address them.


Sorry I didn't address everything, I hope it wasn't because I was self-servingly not paying attention. Please don't hesitate to point it out when I do that, it's not a cool thing to do. Still, about calling the kettle black and everything: nobody cares about the matter of logistics in the case of an armed rebellion? I think it's a legitimate concern. I mean, it's one thing to rebel in Afghanistan or Vietnam, it's another to do that in, say the Great American Plains. Where you gonna hide? (I know there's, like, humongous forests and huge mountains and stuff, but a lot of the country is basically a huge plain, right?

I don't know, all you say there is that there have been uprisings. The Tunisians and Egyptians seem to have done fine without any fighting or threatening, as far as I could tell (and I followed those two pretty closely). At least until the leader was driven away. Now I'm not so sure how their revolutions are going along, but AFAIK guns don't play a significant role there. The Indians got rid of the British without firing a shot. The Native Americans getting weapons served only as one more excuse to slaughter them (again, grabbing a knife when the other guy has a bayonet). The citizens of the Colonized World had plenty of weapons, and the will to use them, and lost shamefully and bloodily every single time. The countries that lasted the most without getting invaded were the ones that played their enemies against each other and ran a tight game of diplomacy. Even then, they got protectorated at best, but they were still better off than those that were conquered by blood and iron. Afghanistan resisted the Soviets in the early eighties, but the soviets won, and left a fairly stable communist government that only fell down after the Soviet Union dissolved and stopped sending them aid. A repeat is taking place with the USA: as long as they support the current government, it'll hold. As for the American Revolution, by all accounts, I heard that if the British hadn't been so incompetent they could have won that, and in fact there wouldn't have been cause for a war in the first place. So was it good that the Americans got guns? Yeah, sure, good for them. Is it good that they have them now? I don't know.

Now, how about when it does work out? All those violent crime countries we talked about earlier, their citizens have no guns (except maybe for hunting). Often, their cops have no guns either. As far as I can tell, they don't miss them. In fact, the very idea of having them scares them. I once met this taxi driver who had a license for gun ownership, very rare thing, because he practiced Olympic marksmanship, or whatever it's called. I asked him "Do you keep one on your person?". He said "no way". I said "You're a taxi driver, chances are you're going to get robbed some day." He said "That's okay, I'll just give them whatever I have with me, it's not worth killing a man for that." "But they might kill you." "The law here says you ain't allowed to shoot unless you've been shot at first, so that makes the gun kinda useless. Anyway, I ain't having a dead man on my conscience, that's some grim business right there." And I was like "Suit yourself." I didn't say "It's your funeral", that'd have been rude.

Anyway, seems that attitude is pretty much the norm over there: they'd rather be confronted by higher chances violent crime that ain't likely to end up in homicide, than by rarer but more lethal violent crime. I suppose if you banned guns in the USA right now only criminals would still keep them, while if you allowed them in Europe only criminals would buy them. So banning or allowing or regulating are really context-sensitive, delicate moves. As far as I can tell, the USA are better off keeping it up the way they do.

Also, your assumption that U.S. populations don't have 'military weapons' is kinda bullshit.


I simply heard that American civilians weren't allowed to own "military-grade weapons". Without knowing what that means, I'd assume it would put them at a disadvantage against a military.

But see, the problem with an armed rebellion where civilians are pitted against the military, is that it's either the hopeless struggle of a minority against the rest of the nation, or a full-blown civil war. I mean, "the State against the People"? How does that even work? Who feeds them, who builds their weapons, sews their clothes, nails their boots, generates their electricity, purifies their water, carries their fuel etc. etc. ? As for the rest of your paragraph, you might as well have talked about microprocessor architecture: I barely understand a word, and wouldn't be able to issue an opinion either way.

And of course, the funny thing is, all deaths caused by either violent crimes or gun safety issues or all of them combined pale before deaths caused by car collisions. Heck, any given year, more people die in the USA because of vehicle collisions than because of terrorist actions or wars or anything violent like that. Maybe alcohol is much more dangerous than guns, after all. But someone tried banning that back in the day, and it doesn't seem to have worked out too well, right? You'd think staying alive would be everyone's top priority, but the existence of sports cars and base jumping and recreational drugs seems to point to the contrary. Maybe having fun is the top priority. Or looking cool. If either or both are true, then I can understand a lot better why people who are used to having guns care so much about keeping them.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:22 pm UTC

You're making a lot of claims that are fairly absurd, but I wanted to address this;
Shahriyar wrote:Yeah, I prefer talking my way out of trouble.

No. Absolutely not. This comes back to my last post; I have no problem with trying to 'talk your way out of trouble', I have a problem with telling ANYONE that that is their ONLY option in the face of violence. I can't even believe you would suggest 'talking your way out of trouble' as an OPTION given that YOU brought up Nazi Germany.

You claim that without weapons people invent 'very effective martial arts', which is, I think, a check in the face of supporting allowing citizens to bear arms; why on earth would you presuppose that in the face of violence, people painstakingly, with much trial and error, over long periods of time, inventing means to defend themselves is superior to simply allowing them to have means to defend themselves?
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Re: Firearms

Postby Shahriyar » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:24 pm UTC

I have a problem with telling ANYONE that that is their ONLY option in the face of violence. I can't even believe you would suggest 'talking your way out of trouble' as an OPTION given that YOU brought up Nazi Germany.


Well, Krav Magà (you know, the combat system developed by Imi Lichtenfeld, who made use of his training as a boxer and wrestler, as a means of defending the Jewish quarter against fascist groups in Bratislava in the mid-to-late 1930s, according to Wikipedia) in particular emphasizes "talking your way out of trouble" whenever possible, whether in the "actually get your adversary to give up on hurting you" sense or in the "make them lower their guard or get distracted or angry or whatever so you can get a nasty hit in". So, yeah, smooth-talking is always a useful skill, even as simply a stepladder for other skills. Should it be the only skill you're allowed to use? I don't think so. I mean, you can't expect everyone to be savvy enough to just Jack Sparrow their way out of problems, and you can't expect every aggressor to be nice enough to give them a chance to.

I brought up Nazi Germany because it's the clearest example, in my mind, of "damned if you do, damned if you don't", where people having access to weapons wouldn't have changed anything, as far as I can tell. You can delay them, you can kill a few of them, you might even survive if you hide well, but you can't win. The Resistance guerrillas never made any decisive victories against the Nazis, and were often violently and thoroughly squashed. Well, there were Jews that dealt with the Nazi, some that sold them weapons even, and survived the war [url](http://books.google.es/books?id=r-Xw_mw ... &q&f=false)[/url]. As for the communists, Stalin had that pact with Hitler about sharing Poland (although that didn't last). So, yeah, even the Nazis were not entirely impervious to negotiation and the like.

Oh, and there's also the case of the Spanish loyalist Militias against the Fascist Nationals, and we all know how that one went out. Everyone had weapons, but the organized military quelled the crap out of the spontaneous national militia. And, see, the more they resisted, the better they fought, the more bloody their inevitable demise was. Those who gave up, were spared (purges and trials might come later, if you didn't keep your peace). Those who stood up were killed. The entire brave city of Badajoz was practically exterminated (that's about four thousand people).

Now here's an example of how you can do both things. You know the Swiss? They've got obligatory military service for everyone, a bunker in every village, with ammo and food, plans to blow up infrastructures... Every Swiss is trained to defend their country. Once a journalist asked a Swiss representative (I'm paraphrasing here) "There's only one million of you, yet the Nazis could send a one-million army against you." He said "No biggie." The journalist: "What if they send two millions?" "Then we'll just have to shoot twice." And yet, they also dealt with the Nazis, kept their money, sold them stuff... They made an invasion a proposal that was both fearsome and inconvenient.

But that's all fine and dandy when you have a nation of small mountains and valleys, and the threat is foreign. But what dispositions do the Swiss have against "their government turning tyrannical"? In fact, what devices are there in any Western countries other than the US? What do they plan to do if it happens? This is not a rhetorical question, I really don't know. While the American approach to the problem seems a little vague and half-baked to me, it worries me that Europeans seem to have no backup plan at all.

So, in light of the Spanish and Nazi examples (I could also talk about Palestinians, Nazi, Afghani...)

I have a problem with telling ANYONE that that is their ONLY option in the face of violence.


Oh, I never said it was their only option. Their other option is to fight back, achieve nothing besides getting their enemy mad, and get massacred. If it was my call to ban weapons, I wouldn't, but I'd advise against them. If you think the odds are too strongly against you, you shouldn't fight at all: unless the opponent party has outright set to exterminate you, bending (the knee) is wiser than standing. If it has, though, standing still isn't the wise option, but I can totally see why one would do it out of spite, when cornered like that.

You're making a lot of claims that are fairly absurd.


I'd be thankful if you could point them out, otherwise I feel like that guy who's told he has a stain and keeps looking himself over and not finding it. It's disconcerting.

So, to sum things up, what I've understood so far:
*Having a weapon might get you killed, as your enemies preemptively aim to kill you before you kill them.
*Having a weapon might make your enemies fear being killed, giving them pause. Works on thugs and on armies from democratic countries (depending on the media, the leadership, etc.). Does not work very well on fascists, stalinists, or determined zealots of any kind.
*You might have to turn your weapons against your State. However, for things to go this far, the State must be in a position where they are either extremely determined to win or extremely powerful and certain to win. So it would seem like you having weapons deters the state from being too authoritarian, and that you not having them removes a useful safeguard, but were the state to go authoritarian anyway, you probably wouldn't stand a chance, and would be worse off than if you had no weapons at all.

Have I understood this right?

Oh, and I just remembered: someone mentioned Gandhi saying British gun control on the Raj was an evil thing. This is also the guy that said that, were the Nazis to take over Britain, the appropriate response to the too would be nonviolence. Something everyone seems to say was "going too far" and "just plain wrong", and saying the Indians were lucky to have an enemy as forgiving as the British Empire. Gandhi said some smart things, and some stupid things, and not everyone agrees on which is which.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:57 pm UTC

Shahriyar wrote:I brought up Nazi Germany because it's the clearest example, in my mind, of "damned if you do, damned if you don't", where people having access to weapons wouldn't have changed anything, as far as I can tell.

Oh I see, so, you're saying, in the face of insurmountable massacre, it's best to just say 'go quietly into the night' than 'try and defend yourself'. I assume you've never heard of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising? I assume you've never heard of Tuvia Bielski? I simply cannot disagree with your position on this enough; in the face of any hostility that is threatening to kill you, telling people to 'just talk it out' is absurd, ignorant and privileged.
Shahriyar wrote:You know the Swiss?

Yes, my guess is the Swiss government, if trying to oppress it's citizenry, would have a very difficult time, given how many of them are armed at any given moment. Conversely, the [any oppressive nation that removed weapons from people] had a very easy time squishing [weaponless people].
Shahriyar wrote: Krav Magà

Also strongly suggests grabbing a weapon (rock, keys, knife), and in lieu of being able to find one, disabling theirs. In fact, pretty much every martial art is a SUPPLEMENT to weapons, teaching you how to use a weapon, weaponize non-weapons, respond to weapons, or at very last resort, turn yourself into a weapon. I.e., weapons, not martial arts, are force equalizers that can prevent the oppressed from being oppressed.
Shahriyar wrote:If it was my call to ban weapons, I wouldn't, but I'd advise against them. If you think the odds are too strongly against you, you shouldn't fight at all: unless the opponent party has outright set to exterminate you, bending (the knee) is wiser than standing. If it has, though, standing still isn't the wise option, but I can totally see why one would do it out of spite, when cornered like that.

I cannot tell you how much that just infuriated me. I don't even know where to begin in describing how wrong I feel this is, especially the bolded. Again, in light of the fact that YOU brought up Nazi Germany, who did not begin with plans of extermination.
Shahriyar wrote:Have I understood this right?

You understand as concepts, but are making suppositions. Information in times of crisis is not like plugging into google "how many guns does my oppressive state own?", the end goals or aspirations of leaders are not openly or honestly stated to all people all the time, and issues of life and limb are not things that you can draw neat little boxes around.
Shahriyar wrote:Oh, and I just remembered: someone mentioned Gandhi saying British gun control on the Raj was an evil thing. This is also the guy that said that, were the Nazis to take over Britain, the appropriate response to the too would be nonviolence. Something everyone seems to say was "going too far" and "just plain wrong", and saying the Indians were lucky to have an enemy as forgiving as the British Empire. Gandhi said some smart things, and some stupid things, and not everyone agrees on which is which.

Yes, he did say some stupid things. Which, ironically, is the very position you are espousing.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Shahriyar » Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:27 pm UTC

in the face of insurmountable massacre, it's best to just say 'go quietly into the night' than 'try and defend yourself'

More like run away, hide, plead, beg, bargain, whatever it takes. Live.

I cannot tell you how much that just infuriated me. I don't even know where to begin in describing how wrong I feel this is, especially the bolded. Again, in light of the fact that YOU brought up Nazi Germany, who did not begin with plans of extermination.


I'm sorry that you feel that way. It's the way I was brought up. "Know when to fold them, so that you may live to fight another day". My grandparents stood up, and they died for nothing, their achievements moot. My parents' friends protested, and they were crushed, spend decades without seeing the light of day, tortured. Some of my friends are into this Arab Spring thing, made some witty tracts, showed up at the protests. Got arrested. Never saw them again. Warsaw Ghetto Uprising? Tuvia Bielski? Let me check Wikipedia.

The insurgency was launched against the Germans on January 18, 1943. The most significant portion of the rebellion took place from April 19 until May 16, 1943, and ended when the poorly armed and supplied resistance was crushed by the German troops under the direct command of Jürgen Stroop. It was the largest single revolt by the Jews during the Holocaust


Everyone died. You're saying their example should be followed? Maybe if they had held out a year, the Soviets would have liberated them (or finished them, I'm told the Red Army weren't the nicest of occupiers, no by a long shot... but they'd have lived one more year).

During World War II, Tuvia Bielski led a group of Jewish refugees. He saved more than 1,200 Jews by hiding them in forests. Although always hunted by Nazis, the numbers of the refugees continued to grow. In their camp, they built a school, a hospital, and a nursery. The refugees lived in the forests for more than two years. As leader of the Bielski partisans, his aim was not to attack railroads and roads that the German Nazis were using as supply routes,[citation needed] although there were some such attacks,[citation needed] but to save Jews, who were under persecution from the Nazis during the Holocaust.[citation needed]


So, it says right here, his main goal was to save Jews. I'd even go so far as saying that attacking the German infrastructures was irresponsibly attention-grabbing and could have jeopardized the entire operation if they had been enough of a nuisance that the Germans had bothered to respond seriously. Their defiance could have gotten everyone killed. I'm glad it turned out okay, though.

Information in times of crisis is not like plugging into google "how many guns does my oppressive state own?", the end goals or aspirations of leaders are not openly or honestly stated to all people all the time, and issues of life and limb are not things that you can draw neat little boxes around.


I'll admit to that without reserves. Obviously propaganda is your worst enemy in these circumstances. Your leaders will want you to think that you are winning, your enemies will try to have you believe there is no hope. At that point, all you can do is trust your leaders to push you in the right direction, you can't even ask them to tell you the truth, for fear of spies. Even the leaders have partial, incomplete data. Making decisions like that is a truly fearsome responsibility. Who should you trust, Denethor? What Gandalf tells you, or what the Palantir, that Sauron controls, shows?
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Re: Firearms

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:35 pm UTC

Shahriyar wrote:Making decisions like that is a truly fearsome responsibility. Who should you trust, Denethor? What Gandalf tells you, or what the Palantir, that Sauron controls, shows?

No easy answer, but according to your position, the Fellowship should have just headed straight to Mordor and asked Sauron to go easy on the world.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Shahriyar » Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:21 pm UTC

No easy answer, but according to your position, the Fellowship should have just headed straight to Mordor and asked Sauron to go easy on the world.


That's kind of a low blow, Orcs being Orcs and Sauron being Sauron... but let's Fan Wank a little...

No. You will not.

- Az


Spoiler:
You know it's a freaking miracle they managed to pull their plan off, they almost failed (are there any fics that explore this? the Wraiths getting the Ring before Gollum or Frodo fall, and Sauron triumphant?). And had it been purely a matter of military might, there would have been no discussion, and that was made abundantly clear. Heck, had Aragorn not had Anduril on him at the time, he'd have died in the Path Of The Dead, heirloom or no heirloom, and Minas Tirith would have been lost, and Sauron wouldn't have been distracted in the critical moment. What ultimately won the day wasn't the epic fighting and the daring plans and the dashing heroism, it was the sneaking of two quiet, humble, unambitious, determined little hobbitses: all the rest was basically amounted to a ploy to distract the Enemy, hold them off, do some damage control, and prepare the political aftermath. So, really, would it have made a difference if Gondor had gone to implore Sauron rather than defy him, so long as he was distracted? There's more ways of undermining your enemy than taking a Glorious Last Stand. Ask every cononized, every conquered people in the world how those went down. Now ask them about when they chose the alternative, what I like to call the "Let's Welcome Napoleon to Moscow" tactic.

Also, now you've made me wonder what LOTR would have been like if Aragorn had had the mind of Jack Sparrowa rogue rather than a ranger, but still with the intelligence and the willpower of a true Numenorean. Could he have talked Saruman and Sauron into exterminating each other? Or would they have corrupted him? MY MIND WANDERS.

Okay, guess which work this is from:

The colonel clenched his fists. He had served the army well, he was no coward. He was no moron either, to waste his own life on futile gestures. "So you would rather have millions suffer in the middle of a warzone than relinquish control? Do you know how all of this sounds?" He pointed at Wilfred. "This is insane! Do you know WHO you sound like?"
The young man snarled, and would have pulled the trigger right there. How dare he!


Yep, Hitler too was a fan of futile last stands. Of course, not everything that Hitler did was wrong. He was a fervent defender of animal rights, for instance. Wait, let me try this again...
Last edited by Shahriyar on Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:18 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Firearms

Postby stevey_frac » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:04 pm UTC

You will not make the world a better place by running away.

If you should decide to take up arms against the state, for a principle you believe in, you should do so knowing that you take your own life in your hands. You should not take this lightly. But if you, and enough of your brothers and sisters rise up in arms against an adversary, it will fall. We've seen this many times, and recently. Yes we've seen rebellions and revolutions fail.. but we've also seen them succeed. And for some individuals, who can believe in something greater then themselves, perhaps dying for what they believe in is better then living a coward. I think this, more then anything, is what you struggle with.
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Re: Firearms

Postby TranquilFury » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:14 pm UTC

stevey_frac wrote:You will not make the world a better place by running away.

If you should decide to take up arms against the state, for a principle you believe in, you should do so knowing that you take your own life in your hands. You should not take this lightly. But if you, and enough of your brothers and sisters rise up in arms against an adversary, it will fall. We've seen this many times, and recently. Yes we've seen rebellions and revolutions fail.. but we've also seen them succeed. And for some individuals, who can believe in something greater then themselves, perhaps dying for what they believe in is better then living a coward. I think this, more then anything, is what you struggle with.

Better for my health to convince other people to take up arms for my cause. It's not cowardly, just selfish. In the event it IS in by best interest to fight, I will.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:58 pm UTC

TranquilFury wrote:Better for my health to convince other people to take up arms for my cause. It's not cowardly, just selfish. In the event it IS in by best interest to fight, I will.

It also ignorantly assumes that someone will do so. And historically not the wisest move.
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Re: Firearms

Postby Shahriyar » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:03 pm UTC

You say "trippin'" four times in as many sentences below. Come back when you've regained full use of your faculties.

- Az


Spoiler:
Tell me about it. The main reason we've become so cowardly is that we've been defecting at the Prisoner's Dilemma so freaking often that we don't trust each other any longer. It's like that story where... In fact, let me share a delightful story with you.

See, once upon a time, the Sultan had acquired a white Elephant. His pride, how beautiful it was. However the beast kept escaping the Palace grounds, and trashing everyone's fields, so the farmers (don't ask me if they were aristocrats) got together to get an audicence and complain, and they chose the most honest, respected and eloquent among them, to go in front and speak. And so they were before before the Sultan, who frowned at them. The man gathered his courage, and started: "Our lord, about your Elephant, we have a complaint..." "Yes, what is it?" "We..." (and he turned around, and lo and behold, they had all left him alone before the Sultan!) "..." "Yes?" "... We think the Elephant is lonely all by himself, and you should get him a female!".

And that's the story of insurrections in my country. And no, I don't think what he had in mind when he pulled that move was "Maybe if that damn beast gets laid it'll stop going berserk so freaking often. This way I solve the problem without making the Sultan mad": that'd be giving him too much credit, don't you think?

So, there's lots of defection. That, and the oppressor has done a great job of systematically getting rid of anyone brilliant or charismatic enough to pose a threat: they didn't wait for mister honest, respected and eloquent to ask for an audience, they actively trolled from them and snagged them as soon as they dared show up. Soon no-one dared raise their heads. Sniping at the leaderships works. Instead, they've been systematically encouraging corruption, nepotism and yesmen, from the top Government and bourgeoisie to the last pencil-pusher and parking-log guard. The country is rotten to the core. Finally, the glorious leader has established such a personality cult that the few who would dare oppose him are part of a privileged minority that is completely alienated from the common populace, and have no political pull whatsoever. Maybe later on he'd discredit himself, but for now it's really really hopeless. So the oppressor wins? Yes, yes he does. But no need to get hasty.Those who win too much get high on power. They get high enough, they be trippin'. And when they trip and stumble, we'll be there, instead of in jail or six feet under because we were hotheads and got ahead of ourselves. Ben Ali was trippin' and lost sight of what's what. Mubarak was trippin' and lost touch with reality. The guy I fear ain't trippin' yet, ain't drunk enough on power. He'll weather this Arab Spring just fine. But it'll come, in time, and some'd rather be ready than dead or in a torture chamber.

Anyway, you tell me how guns'd improve this situation, besides making arms dealers rich, like they do in so many African countries where there are always rebels, and, we ain't addressed this before but it's important, they're no better than the governments they try to topple. How do you guarantee that the citizens that chose to take arms against the tyrannic government won't set themselves up as tyrants later? [Again, genuine not-rhetorical question: if there's a way, I'd really love to know about it]. Why would they show the same enlightenment as George Washington, instead of proclaiming themselves Great And Glorious Leaders, Presidents For Life (Just Not For Very Long) Appointed By The Will Of God On Earth? Maybe it'd work for US citizens because of how strong a precendent the Founding Fathers said: going against it would be nearly unthinkable. Maybe it'd work in countries such as Egypt or Tunis, with an extremely strong sense of national unity and pride, and a relatively high level of education and secularization. Once they went through all that trouble, I'm sure they wouldn't stand for anything less than a solid democracy. But what about artificially-drawn, recent countries that are so unused to freedom, it takes a tyrant to just keep them together, because they have no national consciousness, because they don't trust or believe in each other or in imported "democratic" institutions, but they will place their faith on a charismatic leader (which is what the term tyrant originally meant, being a Caligula is entirely optional). Heck, everyone is making fun of NATO now because Lybia's liberated electors have chosen people they don't like (Islamists). The exact same thing happened in Iran, why would Libya turn out any different? Sometimes the overwhelming majority chooses tyranny: should the freedom-loving minority take a stand (against the results of the ballot!) and die, so that the tyrannical majority may be free to rule as they please, over their dead bodies indeed? (That was rhetorical, but answers are still welcome).


Spoiler:
Now, this particular example is about opression by a foreign power rather than by domestic forces, but still, going back to the "sniping the aces" problem, I ask you: how many Muslims (even ones who are Muslim in name only and have privately relinquished their faith) would now dare to try to get a Master's Degree in Nuclear Engineering or Nuclear Physics, with the way things are right now? I used to dream on working on fusion power, but now that the opportunity has come for me to take that route, I just refuse to take it: why would I paint a target on my head? Plus, eolic is fine too. So the terrorists win? Yes, yes they do.

Oh, by the way, couldn't the logic of extending gun ownership to the average citizen (preventing violent crime) be extended, by analogy, to nuclear proliferation in poorer countries? Surely everyone potentially having nukes would give potential invaders, bullies and oppressors pause, would it not? Why should only the Superpowers be trusted with that sort of firepower, to the exception of everyone else? (I know I'm going offtopi here, but, well, nukes are more firearms than guns? Ah, this technicality won't save me...)
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Re: Firearms

Postby Azrael » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:41 pm UTC

Try pulling a LOTR-fan-fic-what-if once more in SB and see where it gets you, ok?

All of you get back to the topic, and in a fashion that suggests you have something meaningful and well thought-out to say.
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