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Yo, Gun Rights Advocates, Here's a Challenge

charleslb
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1/14/2012 3:31:23 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I've just completed a debate with a fellow who goes by the nom de forum of RebornPatriot on the topic of gun rights. He took the pro position, and I of course have attempted to adequately articulate and defend the con (anti-gun rights) point of view. Unfortunately, however, for whatever reason my philosophical foe in this forensic contest has been an absentee arguer, i.e. he hasn't posted any arguments! Well, as I have no desire to win by default I therefore propose the following. I propose that I take on all comers, that any and everyone who disagrees with my position, who is pro-gun rights posts his/her arguments and attempted refutations of my arguments in the comments section. And I propose that DDO citizens eligible to vote weigh my arguments against these contributions before doing so. This will make it a genuine and sporting debate, rather than a one-sided monologue, and therefore a good bit more intellectually engaging.

Here's the link, http://www.debate.org...
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Reasoning
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1/14/2012 5:39:48 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
http://mutualist.org...
"What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?" - Joseph Sobran
mongeese
Posts: 5,387
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1/14/2012 11:52:50 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Alternatively, you could challenge a gun rights advocate who will actually debate with you. Comment debating is unorganized and messy, and since there's only three days left of voting, lots of people will vote while one side may have finished with a point that the other side wants to counter and will, but hasn't yet; I don't see why you'd go through the hassle when we have an entire system just for actual organized debating.
DanT
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1/14/2012 3:32:27 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/14/2012 3:32:11 PM, DanT wrote:
I'll take this challenge

Let me first finish other debates
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
16kadams
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1/14/2012 7:47:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I have doesn't to many gun rights debates, and am trying to end my other one through a PM but liberalhowalawa wont accept my friend request so I can't message him. So in a few months I might interested again.
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https://rekonomics.wordpress.com...
"A trend is a trend, but the question is, will it bend? Will it alter its course through some unforeseen force and come to a premature end?" -- Alec Cairncross
Wnope
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1/14/2012 8:03:52 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Do you believe that all of the bill of rights is a sacred cow, or just the second amendment?

The eighteenth amendment did not establish alcohol as being related to rights. It just banned alcohol.

We're talking about a part of the bill of right, meaning the rights of Americans.

How can you talk about "gun rights" without reference to constitutional rights?

Communities can make any law they like about guns as long as there is a legitimate government interest, the law is tailored as narrowly as possible to achieve that interest, and there is no way other means of achieving the interest that does not infringe on rights.

That's strict scrutiny.

For instance, if you say "I want to make sure people don't shoot each other while drunk" then under strict scrutiny you've be overbroad to say "no one can have guns" but fine to say "it is illegal to carry a loaded gun while intoxicated."

There is no doubt that the second amendment was written by the founding fathers with an individual right, not collective militia right.

I have an old article on the subject I'll quote from:

The framers (minus several dissenters) and other Federalists vehemently argued that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary. The Anti-Federalists exploited this apparent weakness by methodically attacking nearly every clause in the Constitution as a tyrannical mandate subject to no constraints. In order to outmaneuver the Anti-Federalists at the ratifying conventions, the Federalists compiled a list of the least restrictive Anti-Federalist demands and promised to have them passed through the first Congress when the Constitution was ratified. The predecessor to Madison's Second Amendment came from dissenter George Mason's proposals at the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention. In Section 17 of the proposal, Mason combined, word for word, a portion of the Massachusetts' Declaration of Rights stating that the people have a right "to keep and to bear arms" with Article 13 from Virginia's Declaration of Rights (which he also helped write) concerning a well-regulated militia as the defense against a standing army.

These Anti-Federalist concerns were not simply theoretical; they were shaped by precedent, both from early England and, more importantly, from recent events. Standing armies, an army supplied by the government during a time of peace, were the main tool monarchs used to impose their will in 17th century England. In order to counter an uprising of armed men, Catholic King Charles II used the Militia Act of 1661 and the Game Act of 1671 to individually disarm his Protestant enemies. After King James II was overthrown in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the winners reacted to the Militia Act in the English Bill of Rights, specifically by enumerating the right "[t]hat the subjects which are Protestant may have arms for their defense suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law."

Conservatives tend to overreact to this superficially obvious analogue to the second amendment. In reality, the English Bill of Rights only protected individuals from the crown, not from the Parliament. The American conception of constitutional rights drastically differed from the English conception. For this reason, when Madison introduced the Bill of Rights in Congress, he specifically said the reasoning behind the English Bill of Rights is "inapplicable."

The founders did not need to look more than a decade back in order to find a much more relevant example of the danger of standing armies. On September 1st, 1774, General Thomas Gage had a secret military detail seize publicly owned gun powder in the Charlestown powder house. By October 19th, 1774, the British had halted all arms transportation through Boston. To put this in perspective, when the Governor of Virginia seized some public powder and had it placed on a British vessel, Patrick Henry lead a historic march to obtain possession or reimbursement. This explains why Massachusetts was the only state at the time whose declaration of rights included "keeping" as well as "bearing" arms. It also explains why Mason chose to borrow specifically from Massachusetts and not other states declarations with "bear arms" language.

The main misconception on the liberal side involves the difference between Anti-Federalist concerns with the federal militia power and Federalist concerns maintaining pre-existing natural rights. Anti-Federalists worried that Article 1, Section 8 gave the Federal government the ability the destroy state militias through lack of funding and disuse. George Mason debated this issue at the Virginia Ratifying Convention on June 14, 1788 and specifically asked that "in case the general government should neglect to arm and discipline the militia, there should be an express declaration that the state governments might arm and discipline them." Contrary to the arguments of many "collective right" advocates, Mason's solution for this was not Section 17 of the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention proposal. Mason's militia power amendment found voice in Virginia's proposed Constitutional Amendment 11, that "each state respectively shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining its own militia, whensoever Congress shall omit or neglect to provide for the same."

A second worry, which was debated heavily on June 16, was that because the Federal Constitution overruled State Constitutions, the Federal Constitution would also overrule the bill of rights passed by states. This was when Patrick Henry made several of his more famous witticisms, including saying that the Federalists "have a bill of rights [in Virginia] to defend [them] against the state government, which is bereaved of all power, and yet [they] have none against Congress, though in full and exclusive possession of all power." Henry opened the discussion by reading the eighth to thirteenth articles of Virginia's declaration of rights which were later incorporated as the first eight amendments of the U.S. Bill of Rights. Recall that the thirteenth article of the Virginia Declaration of Rights is Mason's writing on a well-regulated militia. While Anti-Federalist coalitions in only three of the ratifying conventions, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, proposed a militia powers amendment, every single ratifying convention contained a proposed right to keep arms.

The Anti-Federalists at the Pennsylvanian Ratifying Convention followed the same reasoning as those at the Virginia convention. Their minority bill of rights, later printed as "Reasons of Dissent," included "that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals." This immediately dispels the notion that "bear arms" refers only militia related action, a stance held by several amicus briefs in both Heller and its due process-based sequel, McDonald v. City of Chicago."
charleslb
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1/15/2012 1:36:53 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/14/2012 8:03:52 PM, Wnope wrote:
Do you believe that all of the bill of rights is a sacred cow, or just the second amendment?

Just the Second Amendment. And what, pray tell, is wrong with that? What's wrong with evaluating the amendments and provisions of the Constitution on their individual merit? Can't it be the case that some elements of that document are meritless sacred cows, while others have to do with genuine rights? Why must we go in for an all-or-nothing reverence of the Constitution and Bill of Rights?!

The eighteenth amendment did not establish alcohol as being related to rights. It just banned alcohol.

It had a distinct bearing on the right of individual adult citizens to make their own private decision about whether or not to consume alcohol. And it granted government the right/authority to paternalistically prohibit the production and consumption of alcoholic beverages. I would say that in a very real, if not technical sense, it had very much to do with rights.

We're talking about a part of the bill of right, meaning the rights of Americans.

Mm-hmm.

How can you talk about "gun rights" without reference to constitutional rights?

By understanding and treating it as a social and human-rights issue.

Communities can make any law they like about guns as long as there is a legitimate government interest, the law is tailored as narrowly as possible to achieve that interest, and there is no way other means of achieving the interest that does not infringe on rights.

Stricter and more effective gun control, including an outright ban, would be possible if the ole Second Amendment and the aberrant American notion of gun rights weren't standing in the way. This is the viewpoint that I'm arguing.

That's strict scrutiny.

For instance, if you say "I want to make sure people don't shoot each other while drunk" then under strict scrutiny you've be overbroad to say "no one can have guns" but fine to say "it is illegal to carry a loaded gun while intoxicated."

The concept of strict scrutiny is a legalistic one that opens the door for legalistic casuistry that I have no interest in.

There is no doubt that the second amendment was written by the founding fathers with an individual right, not collective militia right.

First of all, I for one am not a Constitution worshiper, so even if you're correct about the original intent of the authors of the document, so what? I ask you, are we to sequaciously conform our thinking to "original intent" rather than think for ourselves in terms of social and ethical considerations? If we had remained equally uncritical in our thinking about the reserved powers clause then the evil institution of slavery might have hung around longer than it did, with another generation or two of human beings of African descent being deprived of their human dignity!

Secondly, despite your self-assured pronouncement here, it's not such an open & shut conclusion in the minds of many legal thinkers and other intellectuals that the gunnik dismissal of the significance of the words "a well regulated militia being necessary ..." is on solid ground. And, if you've done your homework you're aware that until 1960 the conventional interpretation of the amendment in question was that it had to do with a collective, not an individual right. The modern, revisionist interpretation that the Second Amendment guarantees each of us the personal prerogative to pack an Uzi is rubbish, plain and simple. I respectfully suggest that you visit the web page below.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com...
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Wnope
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1/15/2012 2:45:39 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/15/2012 1:36:53 AM, charleslb wrote:
At 1/14/2012 8:03:52 PM, Wnope wrote:
Do you believe that all of the bill of rights is a sacred cow, or just the second amendment?

Just the Second Amendment. And what, pray tell, is wrong with that? What's wrong with evaluating the amendments and provisions of the Constitution on their individual merit? Can't it be the case that some elements of that document are meritless sacred cows, while others have to do with genuine rights? Why must we go in for an all-or-nothing reverence of the Constitution and Bill of Rights?!

The eighteenth amendment did not establish alcohol as being related to rights. It just banned alcohol.

It had a distinct bearing on the right of individual adult citizens to make their own private decision about whether or not to consume alcohol. And it granted government the right/authority to paternalistically prohibit the production and consumption of alcoholic beverages. I would say that in a very real, if not technical sense, it had very much to do with rights.


We're talking about a part of the bill of right, meaning the rights of Americans.

Mm-hmm.

How can you talk about "gun rights" without reference to constitutional rights?

By understanding and treating it as a social and human-rights issue.

Communities can make any law they like about guns as long as there is a legitimate government interest, the law is tailored as narrowly as possible to achieve that interest, and there is no way other means of achieving the interest that does not infringe on rights.

Stricter and more effective gun control, including an outright ban, would be possible if the ole Second Amendment and the aberrant American notion of gun rights weren't standing in the way. This is the viewpoint that I'm arguing.

That's strict scrutiny.

For instance, if you say "I want to make sure people don't shoot each other while drunk" then under strict scrutiny you've be overbroad to say "no one can have guns" but fine to say "it is illegal to carry a loaded gun while intoxicated."

The concept of strict scrutiny is a legalistic one that opens the door for legalistic casuistry that I have no interest in.

There is no doubt that the second amendment was written by the founding fathers with an individual right, not collective militia right.

First of all, I for one am not a Constitution worshiper, so even if you're correct about the original intent of the authors of the document, so what? I ask you, are we to sequaciously conform our thinking to "original intent" rather than think for ourselves in terms of social and ethical considerations? If we had remained equally uncritical in our thinking about the reserved powers clause then the evil institution of slavery might have hung around longer than it did, with another generation or two of human beings of African descent being deprived of their human dignity!

Secondly, despite your self-assured pronouncement here, it's not such an open & shut conclusion in the minds of many legal thinkers and other intellectuals that the gunnik dismissal of the significance of the words "a well regulated militia being necessary ..." is on solid ground. And, if you've done your homework you're aware that until 1960 the conventional interpretation of the amendment in question was that it had to do with a collective, not an individual right. The modern, revisionist interpretation that the Second Amendment guarantees each of us the personal prerogative to pack an Uzi is rubbish, plain and simple. I respectfully suggest that you visit the web page below.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com...

Why do you hold self-defense to be a sacred cow, but freedom of speech to not be one? What is your standard?

How exactly are you supposed talk about regulating guns if you refuse to acknowledge how our government makes laws and rules on cases?

The government will infringe on our rights, no matter what our rights are. You can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater and you can't yell "I'll pay a thousand dollars to anyone that kills the President."

The question is under what standard can the government infringe on our rights. That's why you have strict scrutiny.

Under strict scrutiny, we do not have a prerogative to pack an uzi. We also don't have a prerogative to disarm any citizen who doesn't want to go to the black market.

I always found the linguists attempts at explaining away state constitutions amusing. This is all just a rehash of the Heller amicus brief from linguists.

The Anti-Federalist "Reasons of Dissent" gives this precursor to the second amendment:

"that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals."

The article you linked tries to argue that "bear arms" in this case refers to militias and not individuals.

Here's another example where your article tries to say "bear arms" refers to a militia and not individuals: ""That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their ownstate, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game."" (Pennsylvania Minority Report of Anti-Federalists)

The second amendment is derived from Mason's combination of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights with Article 13 of Virginia's Declaration of Rights. It's essentially a copy and paste job.

Concerns about arming and disarming militias were addressed by Mason with a different proposed amendment.

Virginia's proposed Constitutional Amendment 11, that "each state respectively shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining its own militia, whensoever Congress shall omit or neglect to provide for the same."

Do you still agree with your source that in the above quotes with "bear arms" refers only to the funding, arming, and disarming of militias?

The "well-regulated" part of the second amendment comes from the thirteenth article of the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Militia powers were mentioned only in Virginia's proposed Amendment 11 "that each state respectively shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining its own militia, whensoever Congress shall omit or neglect to provide for the same."

You'll have to do better than some english professors.

And before you waste your time, I've read the Heller and McDonald amicus briefs. Christ, one of my old professors authored one of them (he unfortunately fell for the militia powers/individual rights equivocation due to Mason debating one issue on June 14 and another on June 16). My professor sadly pretended the two referred to the same issue. He was totally right on how f*cked up Scalia got things, though.
charleslb
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1/15/2012 4:34:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/15/2012 2:45:39 AM, Wnope wrote:

Why do you hold self-defense to be a sacred cow, but freedom of speech to not be one? What is your standard?

I consider both self-defense and freedom of expression to be unalienable natural rights, and I really have no idea what has given you the impression that I don't hold our right to free speech to be sacred.

How exactly are you supposed talk about regulating guns if you refuse to acknowledge how our government makes laws and rules on cases?

One can easily think and speak about the social and ethical questions relating to many an issue without focusing on legalities. And, I would add, law should adjust itself to social realities and ethical imperatives, not vice versa.

The government will infringe on our rights, no matter what our rights are. You can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater and you can't yell "I'll pay a thousand dollars to anyone that kills the President."

Even though speech is involved, soliciting the assassination of the president is not merely an exercise of speech; nor, I would add, is soliciting to kill anyone. An individual who solicits a murder will be charged with that offense, his/her right to utter the words "Kill so and so" aren't at issue, only the question of whether or not the criminal act of soliciting a homicide took place will be the issue of a criminal prosecution. And when you yell "Fire!" in the proverbial crowded theater and there is no fire, it's your malicious mischief that will bring the law down on you, not the state's intolerance of your freedom of speech. And when the Rosenbergs supposedly communicated information about how to build a nuclear bomb to Soviet agents some speech was involved, but their alleged crime went beyond an abuse of their right to open their mouths and form certain words! Etc. Which is all to say that preventing someone from explicitly inciting murder, or from instigating the mayhem that can result from shouting "Fire!" in a packed cinema, or from transmitting secrets about the design of the H-bomb is not an instance of government infringing on our speech, other actions are at issue.

The question is under what standard can the government infringe on our rights. That's why you have strict scrutiny.

No, the question of the debate is whether or not private gun ownership is actually an absolute right in the first place.

Under strict scrutiny, we do not have a prerogative to pack an uzi. We also don't have a prerogative to disarm any citizen who doesn't want to go to the black market.

But, again, the fundamental issue is should there be a Second Amendment to apply strict scrutiny to? Do we really have, from a moral and a human-rights perspective, a right to own a gun that should be codified in law and subjected to strict scrutiny. You'e taking it for granted that we do have such a right, when this is the whole question of the debate!

I always found the linguists attempts at explaining away state constitutions amusing. This is all just a rehash of the Heller amicus brief from linguists.

Well, you're the one trying to make the focus of the issue a legal one, and laws of course consist of words, so isn't a linguistic expert's perspective one that you should give great weight to?

The Anti-Federalist "Reasons of Dissent" gives this precursor to the second amendment:

Let me ask again, why should we sequaciously conform our thinking on this or any other issue to what the U.S. Constitution or any other legal document says? If gun rights was only a legal issue then of course the law should dictate our opinions, but it's also a social and ethical issue, and this trumps the legalities that you wish to sidetrack the discussion with.

The article you linked tries to argue that "bear arms" in this case refers to militias and not individuals.

Traditionally, this is how it was interpreted.

The second amendment is derived from Mason's combination of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights with Article 13 of Virginia's Declaration of Rights. It's essentially a copy and paste job.

Thanks for the history lesson, but how does the history of the Second Amendment bear on the question of whether or not gun ownership is a natural human right?

Concerns about arming and disarming militias were addressed by Mason with a different proposed amendment.

That's all well and good.

Virginia's proposed Constitutional Amendment 11, that "each state respectively shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining its own militia, whensoever Congress shall omit or neglect to provide for the same."

Mm-hmm.

Do you still agree with your source that in the above quotes with "bear arms" refers only to the funding, arming, and disarming of militias?

Many minds trained in the law have, but then I'm more interested in the ethical dimension of the issue; I think that I've mentioned that, several times.

The "well-regulated" part of the second amendment comes from the thirteenth article of the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Militia powers were mentioned only in Virginia's proposed Amendment 11 "that each state respectively shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining its own militia, whensoever Congress shall omit or neglect to provide for the same."

You'll have to do better than some english professors.

I could, if I had any interest in framing gun rights as a strictly constitutional issue.

And before you waste your time, I've read the Heller and McDonald amicus briefs. Christ, one of my old professors authored one of them (he unfortunately fell for the militia powers/individual rights equivocation due to Mason debating one issue on June 14 and another on June 16). My professor sadly pretended the two referred to the same issue. He was totally right on how f*cked up Scalia got things, though.

Thank you for your input, any thoughts pertaining to the social and ethical dimensions of the issue?
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Thaddeus
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1/15/2012 6:47:12 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
First all, props to Charlie for starting to debate again. The second props go to him not instigating the wall of text - instead providing us with a neat and readable challenge.
Wnope
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1/15/2012 9:05:32 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
"Even though speech is involved, soliciting the assassination of the president is not merely an exercise of speech; nor, I would add, is soliciting to kill anyone"

See, this is exactly what I'm talking about. Saying ANYTHING is an act of a free speech. However, if it involves free speech AND the violation of some state interest, then under strict scrutiny you can overrule somebodies ability to make speech-acts.

Let's say some state says "no matter what the intent, the law cannot prosecute someone for uttering opinions or statements."

When challenged under strict scrutiny, it quickly becomes evidence that the government has a major interest in violating this ban (such as when intent + free speech = crime).

Problems stemming from guns can usually be solved without a total ban. For instance, if the state doesn't want people shooting each other while drunk, they could make a law making it illegal to drink and have a loaded gun. Under strict scrutiny, that's the narrowest way to tailor the law with the least effect on the right.

Criminals have multiple means of obtaining guns. Closing off legal pathways doesn't stop them from being armed, it forces them to choose a more expensive or less legal route. Straw purchases would go towards major arms dealers instead of local gun stores.

What exactly is your method for extract what in the constitution is or is not a "sacred cow?"

Since colonial times, "self-defense" has consisted primarily of guns, not swords or knives. If you maintain we have a right to self-defense, why not a gun?

It's not self defense if you say "if someone with a real gun enters your home, you can only stab them with a knife or fire a one-shot taser gun."

Police response times in a great neighborhood average at, let's be generous, ten minutes. Those ten minutes come AFTER the intruder has broken in and AFTER you were sure enough that you called the police.

If the attack is one the street, a police response time of ten minutes means you're already mugged or beaten. All you'll do is give a statement.

So how can you have an inalienable right to self-defense but not to possess means to self-defense?
charleslb
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1/16/2012 1:18:58 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/15/2012 9:05:32 PM, Wnope wrote:
"Even though speech is involved, soliciting the assassination of the president is not merely an exercise of speech; nor, I would add, is soliciting to kill anyone"

See, this is exactly what I'm talking about. Saying ANYTHING is an act of a free speech. However, if it involves free speech AND the violation of some state interest, then under strict scrutiny you can overrule somebodies ability to make speech-acts.

This is a bit of not very good reductionism. It's like saying that when I select someone to solicit to commit murder I use my eyes to first size him/her up, therefore because vision is involved my crime can be reduced to an issue of my freedom to cast my eyes where I choose, and when the state prosecutes me it's trying to overrule my right to cast my eyes upon whomever I wish. Nonsense.

Let's say some state says "no matter what the intent, the law cannot prosecute someone for uttering opinions or statements."

When challenged under strict scrutiny, it quickly becomes evidence that the government has a major interest in violating this ban (such as when intent + free speech = crime).

You're still reductionistically arguing that something such as explicitly soliciting murder legally boils down to an act and an issue of speech. I maintain that freedom of speech is only at issue when incitement to an illegal act is not explicit. And even then what's at issue is not how one is entitled to exercise his/her freedom of speech, but whether or not his/her words constituted intentional incitement to a crime.

Problems stemming from guns can usually be solved without a total ban. For instance, if the state doesn't want people shooting each other while drunk, they could make a law making it illegal to drink and have a loaded gun. Under strict scrutiny, that's the narrowest way to tailor the law with the least effect on the right.

First of all, you are aware that what I'll call the ultra-NRAers in your camp tend to reflexively and adamantly oppose any gun control whatsoever, not just a total ban. I don't claim to know how they'd all feel about your law prohibiting possessing a legal gun while under the influence, but I know that they can't abide other reasonable gun control laws such as required waiting periods and background checks. For truly hardcore 2nd Amendmentites this is just too much of an infringement! At any rate, when you enshrine gun rights as an absolute in the foundational legal document of your society, well, it can become difficult to impose even the most sensible restrictions on private gun owners. Which is another reason to repeal the 2nd Amendment and to stop putting gun rights up on a constitutional pedestal.

Criminals have multiple means of obtaining guns. Closing off legal pathways doesn't stop them from being armed, it forces them to choose a more expensive or less legal route. Straw purchases would go towards major arms dealers instead of local gun stores.

This is just the ole pessimistic, counterintuitive rationalization that "Those clever and irrepressible bad guys will all get their hands on just as many guns as they currently can, no matter what we do".

What exactly is your method for extract what in the constitution is or is not a "sacred cow?"

It's called exercising one's critical faculties and ethical intelligence.

Since colonial times, "self-defense" has consisted primarily of guns, not swords or knives. If you maintain we have a right to self-defense, why not a gun?

I've already amply covered my reasons for thinking that private gun ownership should be restricted. Rather than rehashing I'll merely refer you back to the arguments in the debate.

It's not self defense if you say "if someone with a real gun enters your home, you can only stab them with a knife or fire a one-shot taser gun."

Will some potential victims of crime be at a disadvantage when confronted with violent villains if they aren't allowed to own a firearm? Of course they will be, but the overall positive effect on public safety of reducing the number of guns floating around in society will significantly outweigh the harm caused in those instances in which crime victims find themselves ill-equipped to defend themselves.

Also, we must remember that the usefulness of guns for self-protection and home defense is highly overrated. First of all, in many municipalities and states it's extremely difficult to impossible to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, which means that if you're a "law-abiding gun owner" you can't have your weapon on your person when you're away from home and about town. So, in all those situations on the supposedly mean and crime-ridden streets of our cities, such as muggings, owning a gun will provide you with zero protection because it will be back at your house when you come face to face with a malefactor (again, provided that you're a "law-abiding gun owner"). As for the safety provided by having a gun in your home, well, if you have children and store your gun in a child-safe fashion that means that it will be locked in a security box and unloaded, with its ammunition stored in a separate location. This will seriously reduce the likelihood of accessing it in time to protect yourself and your loved ones from a rampaging intruder.

No, owning a gun is not to be equated with having, at all times and in all places, a perfect shield of protection from crime. And let's not forget that there are some non-lethal weapons that one can carry in public that are quite effective.

Police response times in a great neighborhood average at, let's be generous, ten minutes. Those ten minutes come AFTER the intruder has broken in and AFTER you were sure enough that you called the police.

Not to be flip, but you know people can take measures to secure their homes against break-ins. And it makes a lot more sense to prevent a maniac or murderer from getting into your residence in the first place than it does having an unsecure home and hoping that in the event of a home invasion you'll be able to reach your gun in the nick of time to save yourself. My point is that guns are not the only basket to put all of your home defense eggs in.

If the attack is one the street, a police response time of ten minutes means you're already mugged or beaten. All you'll do is give a statement.

If the attack is on the street then, once again assuming that you're a "law-abiding gun owner", you won't have your weapon with you.

So how can you have an inalienable right to self-defense but not to possess means to self-defense?

When menaced you certainly do have a right to defend yourself and others, but it doesn't follow that you have the same absolute right to own every dangerous item known to man to use for purposes of self-defense. And in my view guns are among those dangerous items that no private citizen should be allowed to legally possess, regardless of the fact that in a limited number of scenarios he/she might possibly be able to utilize them for protection.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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1/16/2012 3:09:00 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Well, we can all remain up in the cloud-cuckoo-land of theoretical debate; we can speculate, in whichever direction we're ideologically inclined, about what the consequences of banning guns vs. making them easily available might be, and we can construct plausible arguments to support our speculative-ideological positions. But all of our rationalization and rhetoric on the issue of gun rights is rendered quite academic if we simply take notice of the fact that there are real-world social laboratories, as it were, countries in which unpermissive restrictions on access to guns are in place and have been for some time; and, conversely, in which easygoing regulation of private gun ownership is the law of the land.

Okay, and so what then are the results of these societies' social experimentation with strict vs. lax gun regulation? Well, firstly, Western countries that don't recognize any putative right of their citizens to bear arms do not have a higher crime rate than the U.S.; rather, they all have lower homicide and violent crime statistics. And secondly, a largely disarmed population has not led to the rise of statist repression of a Hitlerian intensity in Belgium, Britain, Australia, France, etc. Now then, if we look at the United States where of course we have the good ole Second Amendment blocking stringent gun control, we find a shockingly high incidence of murder and crimes involving the use of firearms. And we also find heavily armed right-wing militias whose members are currently taken to be harmless cranks who play weekend warrior in the woods with assault rifles, but who under the right circumstances would use their AK-47s to take over and establish their own tea party totalitarianism. So much for American exceptionalism!

Well then, my frienemies who are pro gun rights, I'm sorry but we can empirically say that not treating private gun ownership as an absolute right does not lead to catastrophic consequences, societies that don't have anything like the Second Amendment are in fact safer and more stable. This really ought to settle the question. Ah, but then many folks are more immersed in their subjective ideologies than they are in touch with objective reality, and not about to allow the facts to put a crimp in their conservative convictions.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Wnope
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1/16/2012 3:11:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Reductionism? This is how Supreme Court cases work. Even the crappy attempts at bypassing the first amendment worked off the principle of a trade-off between state interest and free speech.

The government has no beef with free speech alone because, by definition, there isn't some legitimate state interest involved. Now, if you were making a free speech act related to a political campaign, then a legitimate government interest becomes involved (though nearly always overruled).

What you call "reductionist" is how the framers intended rights to work. No right is absolute, but no right can be abolished.

My camp? I'm a Democrat.

I vehemently disagree with anyone who says background checks, registration programs, ballistics databases, and increased penalties for straw purchases of weapons do not constitute a legitimate enough government interest to infringe on the second amendment.

My only problem comes when a law is overbroad beyond reasonable government purpose. For instance, I don't consider the law "No RPGs in the house" to be overbroad. However, if you're worried about RPGs, and you say "No weapons in the house which shoot things" then I have a problem.

The framers never intended for the second amendment to be absolute. They were already banning "bearing" guns in the marketplace.

Only NRA nuts think that "shall not be infringed" means "you can own a bazooka."

This isn't pessism, it's economics. The demand for guns does not go down automatically when you ban the legal supply. The price DEMANDED goes up, but not the demand curve itself.

So, they'll get their guns, it will just cost them more money. Other than lost purchases due to increased cost, what reason do you have to think criminals will stop arming themselves if we make weapon possession illegal?

"What exactly is your method for extract what in the constitution is or is not a "sacred cow?"

It's called exercising one's critical faculties and ethical intelligence."


That's very cute. How about a real answer? I could just as easily say "by exercising your critical faculties and ethical intelligence you'd know freedom of speech is a sacred cow."

Talk about grey area. God forbid if any court thinks about rights the way you do. Scalia would probably say the 8th amendment is a "sacred cow."

Personally, I believe there should be concealed carrying permits for all 50 states. Better to force someone to earn a permit than to just stick it in their waistband.

Also, as to gun safety in the home, what most responsible parents do is keep the gun locked up whenever they are out of the house. Or, god forbid, you teach your child to not shoot at people. The chances of your kid dying from an accidental gun shot at home is LOWER than the chances of your kid dying in a home-installed pool.

When you say we have a right to self-defense, what level of weaponary do you have in mind? Taser guns?
Wnope
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1/16/2012 3:18:54 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/16/2012 3:09:00 PM, charleslb wrote:
Well, we can all remain up in the cloud-cuckoo-land of theoretical debate; we can speculate, in whichever direction we're ideologically inclined, about what the consequences of banning guns vs. making them easily available might be, and we can construct plausible arguments to support our speculative-ideological positions. But all of our rationalization and rhetoric on the issue of gun rights is rendered quite academic if we simply take notice of the fact that there are real-world social laboratories, as it were, countries in which unpermissive restrictions on access to guns are in place and have been for some time; and, conversely, in which easygoing regulation of private gun ownership is the law of the land.

Okay, and so what then are the results of these societies' social experimentation with strict vs. lax gun regulation? Well, firstly, Western countries that don't recognize any putative right of their citizens to bear arms do not have a higher crime rate than the U.S.; rather, they all have lower homicide and violent crime statistics. And secondly, a largely disarmed population has not led to the rise of statist repression of a Hitlerian intensity in Belgium, Britain, Australia, France, etc. Now then, if we look at the United States where of course we have the good ole Second Amendment blocking stringent gun control, we find a shockingly high incidence of murder and crimes involving the use of firearms. And we also find heavily armed right-wing militias whose members are currently taken to be harmless cranks who play weekend warrior in the woods with assault rifles, but who under the right circumstances would use their AK-47s to take over and establish their own tea party totalitarianism. So much for American exceptionalism!

Well then, my frienemies who are pro gun rights, I'm sorry but we can empirically say that not treating private gun ownership as an absolute right does not lead to catastrophic consequences, societies that don't have anything like the Second Amendment are in fact safer and more stable. This really ought to settle the question. Ah, but then many folks are more immersed in their subjective ideologies than they are in touch with objective reality, and not about to allow the facts to put a crimp in their conservative convictions.

Let's get this straight. You're attributing the crime rate in America to gun ownership?

You realize that over time gun laws have become much more relaxed in America (especially since Heller), and violent crime in America has been going down since the 90s, right? The main gun restrictions were put in during the 70s, and violent crime rose.

That's why big boys don't play with simple correlations like "gun ownership vs. violent crime."

How can you talk about "empirically" without providing a single source?
charleslb
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1/16/2012 3:49:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/16/2012 3:11:09 PM, Wnope wrote:
Reductionism? This is how Supreme Court cases work. Even the crappy attempts at bypassing the first amendment worked off the principle of a trade-off between state interest and free speech.

The government has no beef with free speech alone because, by definition, there isn't some legitimate state interest involved. Now, if you were making a free speech act related to a political campaign, then a legitimate government interest becomes involved (though nearly always overruled).

What you call "reductionist" is how the framers intended rights to work. No right is absolute, but no right can be abolished.

As you'll recall, my arguments don't attempt to approach the issue from a legalistic perspective.

My camp? I'm a Democrat.

I vehemently disagree with anyone who says background checks, registration programs, ballistics databases, and increased penalties for straw purchases of weapons do not constitute a legitimate enough government interest to infringe on the second amendment.

I'm glad you're not an extremist.

My only problem comes when a law is overbroad beyond reasonable government purpose. For instance, I don't consider the law "No RPGs in the house" to be overbroad. However, if you're worried about RPGs, and you say "No weapons in the house which shoot things" then I have a problem.

Well, I'm certainly not advocating banning guns merely for the narrow objective of preventing private individuals from possessing RPGs; for me there's a bit more to it than that!

The framers never intended for the second amendment to be absolute. They were already banning "bearing" guns in the marketplace.

That's an uplifting factoid.

Only NRA nuts think that "shall not be infringed" means "you can own a bazooka."

Mm-hmm, but there are plenty of extreme 2nd Amendmentites, they can't simply be dismissed.

This isn't pessism, it's economics. The demand for guns does not go down automatically when you ban the legal supply. The price DEMANDED goes up, but not the demand curve itself.

So, they'll get their guns, it will just cost them more money. Other than lost purchases due to increased cost, what reason do you have to think criminals will stop arming themselves if we make weapon possession illegal?

I refer you to the reply that I just posted above this one.


"What exactly is your method for extract what in the constitution is or is not a "sacred cow?"

It's called exercising one's critical faculties and ethical intelligence."


That's very cute. How about a real answer? I could just as easily say "by exercising your critical faculties and ethical intelligence you'd know freedom of speech is a sacred cow."

Again, in this debate I'm not interested in constructing constitutional arguments.

Talk about grey area. God forbid if any court thinks about rights the way you do. Scalia would probably say the 8th amendment is a "sacred cow."

Scalia should be tarred and feathered and ridden out of the Supreme Court on a nail-studded rail. Figuratively speaking, that is; I'm also opposed to corporal punishment.

Personally, I believe there should be concealed carrying permits for all 50 states. Better to force someone to earn a permit than to just stick it in their waistband.

Personally, I'd take other, somewhat stronger measures to prevent folks from just stiking guns in their waistband.

Also, as to gun safety in the home, what most responsible parents do is keep the gun locked up whenever they are out of the house. Or, god forbid, you teach your child to not shoot at people. The chances of your kid dying from an accidental gun shot at home is LOWER than the chances of your kid dying in a home-installed pool.

Perhaps you'd feel safe about allowing your child to spend time in the home of a playmate with access to a firearm and a bit of homespun gun safety instruction from his NRA-member dad, I for one would not.

When you say we have a right to self-defense, what level of weaponary do you have in mind? Taser guns?

Would that really be so sidesplittingly laughable? Perhaps it would be if crooks all had full-auto Uzis, but then again they won't be as likely to if such weapons are banned in an effective fashion. As to the realistic possibility of effectively reducing the number of guns in society, the empirical examples of other societies show that it can indeed be done.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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1/16/2012 4:09:36 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/16/2012 3:18:54 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 1/16/2012 3:09:00 PM, charleslb wrote:
Well, we can all remain up in the cloud-cuckoo-land of theoretical debate; we can speculate, in whichever direction we're ideologically inclined, about what the consequences of banning guns vs. making them easily available might be, and we can construct plausible arguments to support our speculative-ideological positions. But all of our rationalization and rhetoric on the issue of gun rights is rendered quite academic if we simply take notice of the fact that there are real-world social laboratories, as it were, countries in which unpermissive restrictions on access to guns are in place and have been for some time; and, conversely, in which easygoing regulation of private gun ownership is the law of the land.

Okay, and so what then are the results of these societies' social experimentation with strict vs. lax gun regulation? Well, firstly, Western countries that don't recognize any putative right of their citizens to bear arms do not have a higher crime rate than the U.S.; rather, they all have lower homicide and violent crime statistics. And secondly, a largely disarmed population has not led to the rise of statist repression of a Hitlerian intensity in Belgium, Britain, Australia, France, etc. Now then, if we look at the United States where of course we have the good ole Second Amendment blocking stringent gun control, we find a shockingly high incidence of murder and crimes involving the use of firearms. And we also find heavily armed right-wing militias whose members are currently taken to be harmless cranks who play weekend warrior in the woods with assault rifles, but who under the right circumstances would use their AK-47s to take over and establish their own tea party totalitarianism. So much for American exceptionalism!

Well then, my frienemies who are pro gun rights, I'm sorry but we can empirically say that not treating private gun ownership as an absolute right does not lead to catastrophic consequences, societies that don't have anything like the Second Amendment are in fact safer and more stable. This really ought to settle the question. Ah, but then many folks are more immersed in their subjective ideologies than they are in touch with objective reality, and not about to allow the facts to put a crimp in their conservative convictions.

Let's get this straight. You're attributing the crime rate in America to gun ownership?

You realize that over time gun laws have become much more relaxed in America (especially since Heller), and violent crime in America has been going down since the 90s, right? The main gun restrictions were put in during the 70s, and violent crime rose.

That's why big boys don't play with simple correlations like "gun ownership vs. violent crime."

How can you talk about "empirically" without providing a single source?

Whoa there fella, note that I nowhere in the above reply actually "play with simple correlations" of a causal nature; rather, I'm dealing with the pessimistic popular belief that if we ban legal guns the result will be disastrous for the "good people" of society. I refute this bit of frightened middle-class humbug with empirical examples of Western societies that don't share the American viewpoint on private gun ownership being a right and that nevertheless have lower crime stats than the U.S. Also note that up-front in round one of my debate I acknowledge that: "Certainly there's much more to crime & violence in America than the legality of guns (such as economic factors and the fact that American culture is quite violent!) ..." Your swipes here at my alleged simplism are, you see, quite unwarranted and untenable.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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1/16/2012 8:04:36 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Btw, happy MLK Day, everyone. Now there was a man of peace and social commitments who certainly would have been troubled by the destructive effect of guns in our society today, and who I'm sure would have supported enlightened gun control.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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1/17/2012 2:24:16 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Some Final Thoughts on the Topic

Not to sound like a lawyer here, but let's say that I stipulate that the buck of moral accountability should not be passed from criminals and killers to the weapons they use. But this being said, guns are not just blameless shiny objects with no share in the wrongdoing and wickedness they facilitate. Rather, guns are like crack to individuals contemplating committing a crime. The send out a subliminal siren's song that further tempts him/her to perpetrate the despicable deed being premeditated. That is, the presence of guns in the equation most certainly does affect people's decisions and behavior. They are not passive items, they sometimes give us that little extra push to be bad and belligerent. Sure, being under the influence of drugs or desperate for one's next fix doesn't absolve one of responsibility for one's evil conduct, and neither does being under the influence of the availability of a gun. However, this doesn't mean that we should dismiss the reality that guns do assist, embolden, and encourage those so inclined to do violence and crime. Guns are a factor in much of our modern society's crime, even if only a secondary factor, and this is a fact gun lovers need to face with intellectual honesty and moral courage, not evade with ideological sophistry and a morally chickens*t retreat into denial.

As for framing the issue of gun rights as a libertarian cause célèbre, a case of the private individual's rights vs. the government's putative propensity to become an overbearing big brother, well, that plays nicely to those with an ideological idée fixe about the state up their libertarian behinds, but since other societies in which the government enforces a greater measure of gun control (France, Australia, The Netherlands, etc.) haven't exactly gone totalitarian, it's hardly a realistic concern. A citizenry steeped in the values of democracy, not an armed-to-the-teeth populace, is the best insurance for the liberties we enjoy.

In most modern societies most sensible people realize that guns are dangerous items that shouldn't be too readily accessible to Jonh & Jane Q. Public, who may or may not be equipped with the mental maturity and moral conscience to be trusted with a lethal weapon. That so many otherwise levelheaded folks in this country can't seem to grasp this is a quite abberant bit of American exceptionalism, it would be quaint if it didn't cause so many tragic deaths.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Wnope
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1/17/2012 2:25:40 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/17/2012 2:24:16 PM, charleslb wrote:
Some Final Thoughts on the Topic

Not to sound like a lawyer here, but let's say that I stipulate that the buck of moral accountability should not be passed from criminals and killers to the weapons they use. But this being said, guns are not just blameless shiny objects with no share in the wrongdoing and wickedness they facilitate. Rather, guns are like crack to individuals contemplating committing a crime. The send out a subliminal siren's song that further tempts him/her to perpetrate the despicable deed being premeditated. That is, the presence of guns in the equation most certainly does affect people's decisions and behavior. They are not passive items, they sometimes give us that little extra push to be bad and belligerent. Sure, being under the influence of drugs or desperate for one's next fix doesn't absolve one of responsibility for one's evil conduct, and neither does being under the influence of the availability of a gun. However, this doesn't mean that we should dismiss the reality that guns do assist, embolden, and encourage those so inclined to do violence and crime. Guns are a factor in much of our modern society's crime, even if only a secondary factor, and this is a fact gun lovers need to face with intellectual honesty and moral courage, not evade with ideological sophistry and a morally chickens*t retreat into denial.

As for framing the issue of gun rights as a libertarian cause célèbre, a case of the private individual's rights vs. the government's putative propensity to become an overbearing big brother, well, that plays nicely to those with an ideological idée fixe about the state up their libertarian behinds, but since other societies in which the government enforces a greater measure of gun control (France, Australia, The Netherlands, etc.) haven't exactly gone totalitarian, it's hardly a realistic concern. A citizenry steeped in the values of democracy, not an armed-to-the-teeth populace, is the best insurance for the liberties we enjoy.

In most modern societies most sensible people realize that guns are dangerous items that shouldn't be too readily accessible to Jonh & Jane Q. Public, who may or may not be equipped with the mental maturity and moral conscience to be trusted with a lethal weapon. That so many otherwise levelheaded folks in this country can't seem to grasp this is a quite abberant bit of American exceptionalism, it would be quaint if it didn't cause so many tragic deaths.

If it's any consolation, you don't sound like a lawyer.
charleslb
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1/17/2012 2:36:52 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/17/2012 2:25:40 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 1/17/2012 2:24:16 PM, charleslb wrote:
Some Final Thoughts on the Topic

Not to sound like a lawyer here, but let's say that I stipulate that the buck of moral accountability should not be passed from criminals and killers to the weapons they use. But this being said, guns are not just blameless shiny objects with no share in the wrongdoing and wickedness they facilitate. Rather, guns are like crack to individuals contemplating committing a crime. The send out a subliminal siren's song that further tempts him/her to perpetrate the despicable deed being premeditated. That is, the presence of guns in the equation most certainly does affect people's decisions and behavior. They are not passive items, they sometimes give us that little extra push to be bad and belligerent. Sure, being under the influence of drugs or desperate for one's next fix doesn't absolve one of responsibility for one's evil conduct, and neither does being under the influence of the availability of a gun. However, this doesn't mean that we should dismiss the reality that guns do assist, embolden, and encourage those so inclined to do violence and crime. Guns are a factor in much of our modern society's crime, even if only a secondary factor, and this is a fact gun lovers need to face with intellectual honesty and moral courage, not evade with ideological sophistry and a morally chickens*t retreat into denial.

As for framing the issue of gun rights as a libertarian cause célèbre, a case of the private individual's rights vs. the government's putative propensity to become an overbearing big brother, well, that plays nicely to those with an ideological idée fixe about the state up their libertarian behinds, but since other societies in which the government enforces a greater measure of gun control (France, Australia, The Netherlands, etc.) haven't exactly gone totalitarian, it's hardly a realistic concern. A citizenry steeped in the values of democracy, not an armed-to-the-teeth populace, is the best insurance for the liberties we enjoy.

In most modern societies most sensible people realize that guns are dangerous items that shouldn't be too readily accessible to Jonh & Jane Q. Public, who may or may not be equipped with the mental maturity and moral conscience to be trusted with a lethal weapon. That so many otherwise levelheaded folks in this country can't seem to grasp this is a quite abberant bit of American exceptionalism, it would be quaint if it didn't cause so many tragic deaths.

If it's any consolation, you don't sound like a lawyer.

I have nothing against legal beagles per se; after all, Lenin, Gandhi, Ralph Nader, etc. are all lawyers and champions of social justice. I merely didn't wish to sound overly technical.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.