Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The 2nd Amendment

The Right To Bare Arms vs. Crime Rates

Kender at Kender's Musings had posted a few days ago about contacting the ACLU about the protection of the 2nd Amendment.

Linked to the title is the story of San Francisco wanting to ban handguns in the city.

The day this story broke I called the Southern California chapter of the ACLU and, in a voicemail, asked them to march straight up there and sue the hell out of S.F. for being ballsy enough to try to steal our Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

I really didn't expect a return call.

Imagine my surprise when they did indeed call me back.


Go over and read the rest of his conversation.

On his post, several commenters, both pro and anti-gun control, posted comments. The "pro-gun control" folks seemed to focus on the crime rate and how the drop in crime was related to the instituted waiting periods. Others talked about how the law was "ancient history" and didn't necessarily apply to our current world.

I decided to jump into the discussion as well as look up some data on the subject and it has engendered a slow, but thoughtful discourse with one of Kender's commenters.

I'm posting the conversation here, but, if you are interested in the continuing conversation, you should be sure to check back at Kender's place or feel free to jump in with your own thoughts, here or over there.

For the entire conversation to date, click on the link below to the inner sanctum.


Kat said...
Let me jump in here.

First of all, the second amendment was not made the second amendment so that we could bear arms and protect our property and persons from common criminals (ie, theft, robbery, car jackings, attempted murder or assault, etc). That is, as they say, a side benefit.

The purpose of the second amendment and why it was the second amendment as apposed to the tenth, is to protect ourselves and property from theft and assault BY THE GOVERNMENT or any other entity, country, force that seeks to take away all those other rights outlined in the constitution and additional amendments thereof.

Actually, the first rights that the founding fathers outlined were the "unwritten rights" outlined in the declaration of independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness
***************************

The preamble of the constitution goes further to indicate the general purpose of the constitution and by law, the amendments thereof:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
****************************************

Furthermore, the government of the United States is not just based on a federal repulic and representative government. The government was set up to provide redundancy and/or checks and balances on the system.

You are familiar with the three main bodies of government that provide checks and balances against each other: The executive, legislative and Judicial branches; each with their own powers and abilities to "check and balance" the other.

However, the founding fathers understood that, even in such a system, the government entities alone could not be trusted to provide checks and balances against each other for the common good of the people. That still gave too much power to the government. So they insured that a fourth "check and balance" was in place: the individual citizen.

That's right, we are the last "check" in our redundant system of government.

That check is not provided by the right to vote. While that right gives us the ability to elect our representative government, the founding fathers understood that that right could be taken away as they had experienced the abolishment of their own parliaments and councils by the British government as well as their right to representation in the British parliament.

That check is not provided by the right to free speech as given in the first amendment. While that right gives us the ability to protest our government and verbalize our demands, the founding fathers understood that right could be taken away as they had experienced imprisonment for doing just such a thing. You may recall that certain "pamphlateers" lived, worked and printed underground documents for years, fearing for their personal freedom and possible execution for crimes against the state.

No, the final check and balance in the entire system is the ability of the individual citizen to change the government, by force and through taking up arms, if necessary and to protect our persons and property from abuse by the government or other entity.

The left's desire to frame this argument as a safety issue or a program to reduce crime is a strawman argument. Anyone who wishes to argue the 2nd amendment should never stoop to their argument, but stay on the constitution and the guarantee of freedom.

Once you get down to trying to compare statistics about crime rates, you have already lost the argument and the point of the 2nd amendment. That point is the protection of freedom and our rights as outlined in the constitution, not the crime rate.

Being a person that once thought, "What is the harm if we restrict certain guns, or guns from certain areas? Who does it hurt?"

I'll tell you who it hurts, it hurts the very people that the left claims they are protecting from harm because they remove our ultimate ability to protect the key lynchpen, the individual, from the checks and balance system of our government.

Now, what the left or feel goods would like you to believe is that our system of government, the three branches with their checks and balances, are so entrenched and that our military is so full of fine upstanding citizens, that we really don't have to worry about that final check because we have other ways of stopping it. And, everybody who runs for government is a fine upstanding citizen that they would never contemplate harming our way of life or taking away our liberties. Therefore, we should not feel uncomfortable about giving a little (or a lot) on this one right.

These are the same people that will tell you that the PATRIOT ACT and any other number of laws are infringing on our rights as private citizens.

Now, I ask you, which is it? The government would never do such a thing so we don't need to keep the 2nd amendment intact and protect our rights? Or, they will, can, and have enacted laws on a regular basis that do infringe on our rights and we need to protect against them?

If anyone thinks for one minute that all three of our government branches could not be duped or corrupted at the same time and that they are all we need, you should think again. Also, reliance on a citizen military to take up arms on our behalf is equally foolish. Please look around the world to the armies full of citizens of their country have either been induced to take sides with the government in question or split with some protecting and some joining the citizens?

Lithuania? Ukraine? Bosnia?

I will tell you that I was not a gun owner all my life, thought I have owned one for the past year. However, the thing that actually re-enforced in my mind my need to protect the 2nd amendment at all costs was the last election.

When the democrat party demanded UN observers and then dispatched 10k lawyers in preparation to contest the vote, I understood right then that at any time in the future, a political party or leader could pull off what amounts to a bloodless coup by using the very system we protect against us.

Whether that was the purpose of these last actions, I don't know and don't care. What I do care about is what it represents. That is the possibility that my vote, my free speech will not protect me. It is me and my gun and other free citizens with theirs that is the last check in this whole system that does it.

Any township, city, county, state or federal government that interferes with or enacts laws contrary to the constitution and amendments thereof, is breaking the law of the land and it should be declared illegal and unconstitutional. Any court that upholds such a ban should be dismantled into little pieces for their complicity in the matter because they would have forfeited their right to interpret laws and actions that apply under the very laws that they violated.

Don't talk about crime and statistics. Talk about your rights and protection thereof.

6:57 AM

KraftyOne said...
Kat - I wish I lived in reality, in the same world that you appear to live in in your mind. In your mind, you appear to live in a world where the government's technology is not so vastly superior as to make your measly handgun pathetic. Perhaps you don't own a handgun. Maybe you own a shotgun or a semi or fully automatic gun. What is your plan when the tanks start rolling down the street? Do you have a bazooka? Maybe you should look into getting one...

In a few years (shorter perhaps?) they won't even have to kill you if you start getting a little uppity:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/09/19/wirq319.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/09/19/ixworld.html

(I read about that first on CNN or something, but couldn't find that same article again. The technology is the point though)

So, maybe you think you could take out the truck with the ADS system on it with your bazooka? Soon they will be able to do this from the air:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6182817/

Perhaps we should each have our own SAM unit in our backyard. You know - just in case we have to defend ourselves from our own government.

The truth is, in a war between the government and the citizen, we already lost before it has ever came to pass...and, its only getting worse.

So, what is the solution? Where do we find our balance? It seems that no access is not the answer. It seems that full access is not a good solution either.

Kat, I truly wish we still lived in the times when everyone pretty much had equal access to equal technology. Our founding fathers, while brilliant people, could not have imagined or planned for the kind of weapons we now have available. I don't know what the answer is, but ignoring the threat of violent crime and saying that the dialog does not need to take place because you shouldn't "talk about crime and statistics. Talk about your rights and protection thereof." is living in a different world than the one the rest of us have to live in.

10:14 AM
Kat said...
Krafty,

I am aware of the governments technology and advancements in non-lethal weaponry. My family is both law enforcement and military. Non-lethal weapons and explorations of the same. Non-lethal weaponry has been available for sometime (ie, bean bag shotguns, mace, foam, water cannon, you name it, it's been tried or being tried). Other technology is based on control. In otherwords, who has control of a weapon and operates it.

Before I go there, let's talk about the founding fathers and what they may or may not have imagined in their time. First, most of them were fairly well educated. DaVinci's drawings and other improvements to weaponry, just in their time, probably seemed amazingly advanced (Benjamin Franklin did some amazing things and that includes some inventions re: weapons). It hadn't been that long before the flintlock that men were using matchlocks (a burning fuse that could be affected by weather and an open powder pan that was constantly in danger of getting wet, not to mention the techniques for storing powder in the first place that could fall pray to weather and bad storage making it unusable). The flintlock gave the owner of such advanced technology the ability to shoot, even in the worst of weather.

Further, the rifled barrel (ie, rifles) far outgunned, out distanced and out accurately beat the smooth bore musket. Let's not forget the improvements to the cannon which also sported knew barrels and the ability to fire certain ordinance.

In the revolutionary war, our founding fathers were outgunned, out manned and out trained. If they were lucky, the men who brought their arms with them had the nice new fangled rifle barrel that had accuracy up to 300 yards or more compared to the smooth barrel which was lucky to be accurate at 100, which is what most of the boys had brought with them from their farms. Ancient arms of their fathers or grandfathers handed down.

Cannon in the beginning was nearly non-existant and was largely those pieces we had commandeered during the french and indian wars. In short, they were in short supply, crappy and not nearly as accurate as the cannon the British brought. Only after several years of fighting did we have sufficient foundaries to build our own and sufficient funds to buy them from other countries. In that time, the rebellion survived.

Next, they had a Navy. We had something we called a navy but largely consisted of a couple of frigates and a bunch of other smaller and less defendable (actually, make shift, strapping some cannons on a platform/ship that was never meant to be a weapon), many of which we added only after commandeering them in battle or from captured ports. You ever hear of "ships of the line"? That is the term for very big, very capable British ships of that period. They could move up and down our coast at will, dropping men and supplies, bombarding our forts or other areas, even coming up the rivers as far as they could (think West Point and Why Benedict Arnold gave it up).

These rifles, cannons and ships were the fully automatic rifles, the tanks and the F16s of their times.

AND, the british military was a trained, professional force with VETERANS of previous wars leading and serving.

What armed insurgencies do (see Iraq, but bigger and better organized) is take opportunities to destroy or capture these same weapons systems that you talk about. Armed insurgencies that are big enough can mount a very real offensive against an organized and professional military using hit and run tactics (see also Iraq, Indian Wars Circa 1850-1890, the revolution, Quantrails raiders, Jeb Stewarts cavalry, etc, etc, etc)

If the will is strong enough, the support is strong enough, the materials ready and able to be obtained, and tactics are suitable, an armed insurgency could overtake the very well armed oppressors. It would take time, but it would happen.

Further, while I comment on the potential for the military to be used by a rogue government against us, it is unlikely that all elements of the military would fall in line, thus giving us the advantage of having some of these very same technologically advanced weapons at our disposal should the need arise.

Now, I am by no means advocating taking out the government today. We are talking about the potential for a real Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Saddam or slightly lesser version but no less evil, taking power here or the potential for invasion from a foreign country (only a few possibilities exist today without the USSR, but there are some potentials).

Let's also talk about the possibility that on 9/11 or another day similar, the central powers of this country were devastated in an attack that was capable of taking out the Pentagon, congress and the white house. The beauty of the redundancy of our federalist and republic representative government is that we could fairly quickly establish new heads and representatives. However, things would be a bit chaotic for a brief while, until we re-organized.

The individual as a part of that redundancy becomes very important. First to hold those who would seek power at that time accountable for their actions. A well armed citizenry does not have to own tanks, SAMs or satellites to keep the government honest. Nobody wants to see 50k people marching on their state or federal capital with 50k guns.

This is of course, hypothetical but based in the real world as our fore fathers understood their own situation and as Thomas Paine points out in his pamphlets (and Thomas Jefferson in his writings, I could go on) that governments can and have turned despotic on a moments notice, that people in power learn to love power and often try to keep it at the expense of others.

You ask if I live in the real world. I ask if you live in the same world as I do. I mention only a few of the most notorious tyrannical and maniacal leaders known in the last century, much less the tyrants and kings of the centuries past or the ones yet to come or the ones we have yet to point to and say "tyrant" in this century (think China or North Korea, though we've named them they are yet to be the bogey we confront).

Men and their ambitions do not change just because we advance technologically or pretend we advance sociologically. They don't change just because we establish a type of government we think will last eternity and has some sort of "civilizing effect" on people or convince them that this is the best form of government. Democracies and republics have come and gone in what has been the blink of an eye in history.

Ancient Greece 3200 BC and it's democracies; where are they? The Roman Empire was technically a republic, representative in it's form and highly advanced technology. They were over run by the barbarians. The roman soldier had advanced armor, swords, spears, shields, catapults and ballistas (google if confused; these would be equal to missiles and cannon and airborne weaponry) and finally incorporated cavalry (tanks of thier times). They were a professional army and well trained and well kept.

The barbarians over came them with simple shields, swords that were not as advanced and they did not have catapults and ballistas until they stole them after a campaign.

In short, no government system is immune to corruption. No government nor army is incapable of being defeated. No technology so great that it cannot be brought low by the simplest man with a sling shot (or a pair of wire cutters).

Here in the real world, there are things bigger and scarier than a man who might be considering breaking into my house tonight and doing me harm. He would be but one and I would have the equal ability to defend myself against him.

Alone, with only me and my one pistol, I could do little if anything to effect the change of government or defend against it's inroads on my civil liberties. Together, with me and 50k to 1 million like minded individuals with pistols, shotguns, hunting rifles and semi automatic rifles, could make the government shit itself in short order; tanks, airplanes and rockets be damned.

That's 1 million people. Not even 1% of our population. Imagine if half of the half of our society that was above the age of 18 and felt the same and was armed could do? That's 75 million people.

So yes, the 2nd amendment still has its place in our society, has its purposes and yes, the founding fathers understood this implicitly and planned for it to be used for centuries upon centuries, regardless of technology or advancement because they understood the nature of man.

It is also why they argued for this pluralistic, redundant form of government down from the federal, to the state to the county, city and the citizen. Why they argued for small government and originally intended for a small military for defense. That is to insure that at every level, the ability to form and organize beyond the the federal level to overcome or defend, is insured and enshrined in our constitution.

It was not about crime nor crime rates. even in the revolutionary period men argued, shot and killed each other, stabbed and did atrocious things. Do you think they were overly concerned with this while writing the constitution? No. It was for and remains for the preservation of freedoms.

In the real world, the lack of guns of any form will not stop a man from doing harm to his fellow man. He'd just find another way to accomplish it, like knives or stones or his bare hands or any weapon that comes handy (we recently had two people beaten to death with a tire iron in our fairly quiet city).

So yes, I live in the real world. We're not talking flights of fancy nor lofty ideas that don't apply. History has kindly shown us the error of such judgements. Countries and governments rise and fall as we write here.

The real world is beyond the confines of one city limit and that real world can and will invade those city limits whenever it desires.

So we should always be prepared and not allow the potential for a few (and it is a few) to be harmed in the course of following the second amendment to keep us from ensuring that the majority are protected. Taking away the rights of millions and the ability to defend them because several thousand have been harmed by a weapon is not only statistically insupportable, it is the first voluntary step towards the demise of this nation and our freedoms.

You ask about the one gun or the rifle against a tank. What will you do if you have none? Will you become the students in Tianneman square facing a tank with your lunch bucket?

7:44 PM
KraftyOne said...
Kat,

You made some very nice, well-written points there. I also appreciate the cordial tone.

However, most of your post seems dedicated to arguing against a point I did not make. At no point did I say that we should not have guns. Actually I've made my position on guns known a few times at different places in this blog. (In a quick, incomplete nutshell: better background checks, required training prior to ownership, re-evaluation of age requirements, etc.)

My point was that crime needs to be a part of the national dialogue concerning guns. It cannot be ignored. It is this dialogue that has led to some of the restrictions that we have today (7 day waiting period, background checks etc.). These restrictions do not stop most people from arming themselves - either for protection or sport - but they do cut down on violent crime. Perhaps you have been fortunate not to lose anyone you know to a violent crime. Perhaps you have and this is one reason you own a gun yourself. I don't know, but I'm inclined, based on your arguments, to think the former is the case. I would think that if such a thing had happened to your best friend, your significant other or your child, you would not be discounting the need to talk about how crime is related to guns and what precautions should be taken. If we can still maintain our rights and yet do so in a smarter way that saves some lives from crime, should we not do so?

Even though I was not saying that we should not have guns, I did want to make one comment on the revolutions. You are correct that many revolutions have succeeded against vastly superior technology. However, both examples that you gave (American Revolution, fall of Roman Empire) were largely successful due to poor supply lines. Imagine if the American Revolution had instead been the English Revolution and it had taken place inside of Great Britain. Would it have succeeded? What if the Roman empire had not been the great sprawling mass that it was and had instead been one very powerful and smallish country (I know, it was what it was because of its size, I'm just saying if it had been same technology difference but not so spread out.). You can give other examples of successful revolutions (French, Russian) but the technology difference was not so great in those examples. You are possibly right that American's could lead a successful revolution if such a need arose, so I will admit to being wrong when I categorically said that we had already lost such a revolution. I do still believe that, due to the technology difference, such a revolution would be more difficult to accomplish than any other in history.


Side note: Yes, I know what catapults and ballistae are. Catapults = big rock throwing thingy. Ballista = oversized crossbows. See, and people say you don’t learn anything from video games… :-)

9:04 AM
Kat said...
Krafty,

Going a bit out of order, let me first answer the question of how I came by a pistol. It was not "for protection" actually, it was by luck, or providence I suppose. I knew someone who needed a computer that had just come into possession of Bersa .380 semi-automatic that did not actually want that, but wanted a hunting rifle. The Bersa is an older model and not worth much in terms of trade for a hunting rifle. When this person was telling me about their need of a computer and I had two, one not being used, and the fact they had this pistol they were going to sell or trade, I offered the computer in trade.

My reasonings were actually that I had wanted to go target shooting with my brother and cousin. Nothing so grandiose as even self protection or rights to protect my freedom.

It was only after this last year of owning it and reviewing purchase of ammunition, licenses to carry, etc that I really paid attention to the laws and what was being done with them. Before of course, they did not impact me.

Reminds me of that little poem written after world war II by a pastor:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.


Pastor Martin Niemöller

I think it speaks volumes about people's general feelings about laws and government. If it does not impact them then they pay little attention to it until it is too late.

Neither has a family member of mine been killed by such a weapon, however, two have been held up at gun point in their lives (my mom in a restaraunt parking lot for instance and, crazily, she told the kid to get lost because she didn't have anything worth stealing. He must have been new to the "job" because he continued to argue with her until another car pulled up and then he ran). it has not changed my mind at all and would not do so. My concern would be with the criminal that was running around, not the method which he used to perpetrate his act. That is a problem with this whole issue.

Since asked me, might I inquire if you have ever actually been a victim of a crime with a fire arm or had a family member be a victim of a fire arm?

Frankly, I don't think that this is a good place to frame an argument because it implies that people without direct experience cannot have a say in this issue. If that were the case, all public discourse on many weighty matters were dwindle to a dribble.

Now, you may have noticed that no where in the first part of my story did a license, registration or waiting periods come into effect. At any time, I can approach or be approached by a private citizen to purchase a weapon. As long as that person is not moving or advertising more than a certain number of guns or a certain type or selling stolen guns, licenses to sale, waiting periods, etc have no real effect on a person's ability to obtain a gun and are perfectly legal.

In the criminal world, issues like number of guns or a certain type or stolen weapons don't even phase them and certainly not waiting periods or registration.

My father is a 21 year police veteran, retired the last 10 years and I believe he has more experience in the criminal field than many folks who are selling this bill of goods about the waiting periods and registration. In his experience, as I've already noted, when there is a criminal who is intent on owning and using a gun, legal methods of obtaining them don't even register. guns can be "rented" on the street, used in a crime and returned to the "leaser" without any proof that the suspect ever owned one or had access to one.

I think, in short, that based on experience, these laws you point to have had little effect and will have little effect on buying and selling weapons in the criminal element nor on people who can find a weapon at their leisure, even advertised in the local papers.

I refered to the issue in an earlier post as a "feel good" issue, because frankly, you have been sold a bill of goods along with some manipulated data to make you feel good about the prospects of eliminating or decreasing certain crimes through the prospect of gun control via licensing and registration that only effects those who wish to legally buy a new gun or a gun from a shop.

To add to this, the person that wanted a hunting rifle with a scope, my brother sold him his after he purchased a different one from a friend of his who just happened to buy a new one from Wal-mart. So you see, in reality, there is no such thing as effective gun control barring the total elimination of gun sales and making them illegal and even then people will find a way to own them.

England, with it's unarmed constabulatory and it's rise in armed robbery and violent crimes with weapons is a perfect example. Those with the ability to obtain them through illegal means do so regardless of the law.

I purposefully did not respond to the issue of crime rates because, as I've pointed out, it is a moot point in regards to second amendment rights.

Your contention that waiting periods, licensing and registration have no effect on 2nd amendment rights is only partly correct. In effect, they currently have done little to stop the possibility of LEGAL ownership, but have delayed it. This in itself is actually an egregious inroad on these rights. At any given point, with this method of control over sales and ownership, the government could legally suspend legal gun sales in a state of emergency. they have this ability all along.

However, with the registration and licensing aspects and the push for a national database, there are risks involved that can have a damaging effect on the individual citizen, redundancy and the second amendment. I once thought that a friend of mine who was concerned about this national database was over reacting when they exclaimed about the governments ability to identify gun owners and have a ready list at their finger tips. I poo-pooed it because my thoughts were much like yours: 1) crime with a weapon needs some action against it and 2) our form of government would never allow for this to occur. We the citizens wouldn't stand for it. In essence, I told him to take a chill pill.

I don't think that he was over reacting anymore. With the advent of the PATRIOT ACT and laws that allow the government to basically troll public library data bases for people who check out certain books and use this as a means to compile potential "suspects" for the purpose of "preventing" crimes, it came to me that my friend was not far off base in his concern for national databases for gun owners and the use to which it could be put to by the government, even in the course of "public safety". My friend, by the way, told me that these things would come to pass over 10 years ago. and I thought he was a crazy right winger militia wannabe. I have since changed my mind and owe him very deep apologies (although, he might still be a bit crazy, but he was right).

In the course of "public safety", now, not only have we put in place things that impact the second amendment and the first amendment, we have also impacted the fourth amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Parts of the Patriot Act, particularly the ability to search library databases for people who read certain books (and we're not just talking about how to make bombs; we're talking about books on communists, revolutionaries and guerilla warfare, even novels of such, information on religious or other secular groups, etc, that the government has interest in) anything that you and I on any given day may feel inclined to read on a subject and become familiar with, including gun owners groups, books on owning guns, buying guns, etc, can be construed by the government to imply intent and demand a warrant or even begin an ex-parte general investigation into your personal life where any transactions like buying a book about Muslims and Jihad, registring or purchasing a gun and making large bank transfers, taken together, becomes reason enough to investigat you and me.

We no longer have the right under these laws to do as we please and only become subject to prosecution or persecution when we actually commit a crime. Innocent until proven guilty.

The fifth amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


by the very nature of the Patriot act and the gun owners national database, we violate these simple tenets. Nor compelled to give witness against himself. The rules which allow government investigators to do such things as troll databases for people that fit their "profile" based on purchases or reading materials, guns and banking, violates this very tenet as if mine and your actions could be construed on any given day to imply a potential threat to public safety.

That is also the problem with 7 day waiting periods
While you may see no harm in them, they are already implying that we are not "innocent until proven guilty" and some how untrustworthy of owning it but we can be trusted to vote, pay taxes and serve in the military.

The sixth amendment:

and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him;

When they do their search on a database for potential criminals, who is the witness for the government? What crime would have been committed outside of reading, owning a gun and making large banking transactions that would prompt the government to investigate a person? How is that "cause"?

Ninth amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

In other words, no amendment to the constitution (therefore, federal law) can have any ability to deny OR DISPARAGE any other right guaranteed within.

any law that prohibits gun ownership within city, county, state or federal limits, is a denial of the second amendment. Any law , such as registration, licensing, seven day waiting periods, laws against owning certain weapons, DISPARAGE the second amendment, a right granted by the constitution. Laws that give the government ability to review personal choices in reading materials or pull up a list of people that own a gun, even a specific type of gun that has been used in a crime, infringe on our rights.

2. To reduce in esteem or rank.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English disparagen, to degrade,

I'm afraid, my friend Krafty, that phrases like "national dialogue on crime" and talk about public safety are covers for depriving people of their rights, which is why I refused to debate the points, but made the point in my previous post that crime rates and public safety are NOT enough reasons to deny nor DISPARAGE the second amendment.

For the record, I am not a member of the NRA, gun owners group, militia, rightwing political group, or constitutional activist. Neither am I a constitutional scholar nor a lawyer.

What I am is a private citizen who is capable of reading the constitution and laws and has lived in this comfortable life of freedom for many years taking it for granted and little concerned with laws that I felt did not effect me. I took this freedom so much for granted that I assumed that my government, my vote, my free speech would protect me from being violated by my government.

I have been quite wrong and quite blind.

Each day, with each world event and with each law enacted in order to form this "perfect union", I see that we get further and further away from the original intent. We as citizens, in the desparation to "civilize" ourselves, to insure "public safety" have given up a little here and a little there. All in the name of good society.

laws do not create a good society, laws are meant to protect a good society, it is the people within that society that make it good or otherwise.

Now, by no means am I indicating that my government has gone "rogue" and is on the move to cleanse our country of undesirables or has it in their minds that someday they will take away my gun or some other right. At least most of them.

However, we have created a dangerous place for ourselves. We have, in the course of creating our utopia (not to be confused with socialist/communist utopia; but in essence, the utopia of "good society") allowed ourselves to be convinced that these little things that we offer, that we sacrifice, are for the greater good of our society. There are many out there, who like me in the days past, do not pay a lot of attention to the goings on outside of their little lives. At least until those goings on come to them.

By dent of media blitzes, barrages of information such as crime rates, etc, have served to convince a majority of people that this was an epidemic and that we should "give a little" on our rights in order to better institute "good society". Even though we have "representative government" we can still be ruled by a majority that inflicts its desires on its representatives. That majority is largely uneducated and unconcerned about what damage they might do to other civil liberties that do not have an immediate impact on them. Particularly as they are concerned with day to day life and not some theoretical future where their other rights might depend on the very right that they limited or eliminated in the course of "good society" and the "here and now".

It is up to us as citizens who are cognizant of history to remain vigilant on their behalf, however they might find that vigilance annoying or contrary to their current desires for utopia, lest they wake one day to find that their utopia has become hell.

Now, swinging back to crime rates and national dialogues, do you really think that waiting periods, registrations and national databases were the reason that crime fell or had a significant impact on crime? Let us look at the DOJ statistics on crimes with fire arms:

Non fatal crimes with fire arms fell from 1993 of 1.2 million a year, to just over 300k.

Firearms statistics for non-fatality crimes

That seems to be a phenomenal amount, yes? And would support your claims that crime rates have dropped due to this new waiting period and other gun control laws. But, below the diagram is a little disclaimer about the data collection process:

Note: The violent crimes included are rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
Source: National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Ongoing since 1972 with a redesign in 1993, this survey of households interviews about 75,000 persons age 12 and older in 42,000 households twice each year about their victimizations from crime.

Please note the phrase "redesign in 1993". The year that the crime rates with fire arms seemed to miraculously begin declining as well as the way the survey was performed. They also note a "continuing" redesign of the process.

Percentage of violent crimes with a fire arm:

Percentage of Crimes Related to Fire Arms

In 1993 it was at 11% of all crimes. It decreases drastically (in percentage points it's drastic) from 1993, in the same manner that the first graph indicated until 1999, where it experienced a leveling off with one small bump in 2001, but continues until 2003, level, in which time the waiting period existed. in 2003, it was 7% of the committed crimes).

Conveniently, this statistical graph also has the disclaimer about "redesign" and they don't tell you how many crimes were committed over all to indicate what "7%" would equal to in actual numbers.

how about a longer study of "crimes" since 1973

Gun Crimes since 1973

This graph shows you that the number of fire arms crimes reported to the police in 1973 was appx 370k crimes. This crime rate holds almost steady with a few blips until 1988 where it begins a sharp increase until 1993 at an all time high of 590k(conveniently when they begin to redesign the data gathering) and decreases until 1998-99, back to appx 370k with a blip back to 450k in 2001 and then back again to "leveL" with this comment below:

In 2003, about 67% of all murders, 42% of all robberies, and 19% of all aggravated assaults that were reported to the police were committed with a firearm.

According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2001 about 39% of the deaths that resulted from firearms injuries were homicides, 57% were suicides, 3% were unintentional, and 1% were of undetermined intent.

Suicides are included in this crime rate and are 57% of the crimes recorded. In 1993, according to the data, suicide was 48% of the crimes and climbs all through the data, regardless of the laws enacted.

As a person that routinely deals with statistics and analyzation of data in my regular job, the data miraculous decrease in crime statistics stinks to high heaven. In a GROWING population of 300 mil people (somewhere around 270 mil in 1993), you don't get those kind of decreases in any data, not in poverty, in healthcare, in highschool drop outs, none.

By their comment on the redesign, it is fairly evident that their previous data collection techniques were flawed giving an unreasonably high rate of crime. This could be anything from counting one act of armed robbery where there were ten victims as "ten" as opposed to "one". It could mean, in the solicitation of information during previous surveys, the question sets were predisposed to obtain or construe data in a certain manner. any number of things that prompted them to "redesign" their collection and data analysis.

What happened in 1988 to the justice department that might have precipitated this unusual data pattern?

In 1988, the Regulatory Flexibility Act was passed that required all agencies to present more data and information on programs they were managing (this is also in conjunction with "unfunded mandates reform act"). The DOJ had a rather large overhaul in order to meet this requirement and produce the data required.

What does that mean in relationship to our data and our discussion?

In short, the data was flawed and the collection techniques were flawed. This was pretty convenient for the "gun control" crowd, both the unprecedented highs and the unprecedented decrease. Without disclosing to you or other citizens the fact that the data collection method was redesigned (and of course avoiding the impression that there might have been something wrong with it), they conveniently point to these statistics as proof positive that this thing really works.

Interestingly, the data decline begins to level off around 1999 and remains fairly constant for the last 4 years of data collection until 2003 despite waiting periods. I would hazard a guess that it remains so today with possible little blips and increases what with the craziness of the last election.

But does it indicate that the 7 day period would be effective?

From the bradylaw campaign:

Since the implementation of the Brady Law in February 1994, almost a quarter-million prohibited purchasers have been stopped from buying handguns in gun stores, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Since 1994, gun-related violent crime has been dropping even faster than violent crime overall, and a 1997 study by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence demonstrated a dramatic decrease in interstate gun trafficking since the Brady Law went into effect.

do you know who was barred from purchasing handguns? Do you think that 250k violent criminals were kept from getting a gun? conveniently, they leave out the data for who was stopped from buying a gun. People convicted of non-violent federal offenses (ie felonies), most of which probably had no idea that they were prohibited from purchasing a gun. These non-violent federal offenses include writing checks that totaled more than $1k dollars that bounced, people convicted of tax evasion, defrauding social security (ie, pretending to be disabled or for spousal or other benefits), you name it, white collar, non-violent criminals made up over 70% of those felonious characters kept from buying a gun.

And what about the people who were committing crimes anyway (including suicide an ever increasing rates)?

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/guns.htm

According to the 1997 Survey of State Prison Inmates, among those possessing a gun, the source of the gun was from -

a flea market or gun show for fewer than 2%
a retail store or pawnshop for about 12%
family, friends, a street buy, or an illegal source for 80%In short, waiting periods and national databases and their effectiveness on combatting crime is a farce, perpetrated by the use of false data and by a pretty nifty media campaign.

In 1993, the brady law and three day waiting period was passed with a 90% support nation wide after a media campaign using inflated numbers and what has become known as "scare tactics". the year the brady campaign first kicked off 1985, the crime rate was no higher nor lower than it is today. If it wasn't for the mess of the data, this law would not have existed.

You ask for national debate on crimes and waiting periods. There it is. If the nation really knew this information and the media gave it the attention that it deserves instead of applying their sensationalist crime theories and complete bias, we would not be having this conversation and I would not be explaining to you how crime rates and 2nd amendment rights should be treated as mutually exclusive issues and actually have little or nothing to do with each other beyond the fact that our rights are being violated by the government today in the false name of public safety and good society and we did it to ourselves. We the people, were duped and allowed ourselves to be duped.

That included me because I supported this act on the grounds that the data presented did seem to imply an increased crime rate due to guns and the fact that I had just moved to a city where 15 people a night were injured or killed in gun related incidents. What I did not realize is that I lived in a city with over 1.5 million people and it would stand to reason that the crime rate would be higher just based on population than the far smaller city I came from.

Duped. And in the name of public safety and good society.

What should be on the lips of every person and in national debate is the decline of the rights of private citizens, the protection of their privacy and what it means to the average citizen, not just the prevention of suspected crime and capturing potential criminals. But, the founding fathers understood a few things about people and they wrote it in the declaration of independence:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

Think about that for a minute. You are becoming, through your desire to see good society by what you would call "limited government incursions", complicit in the demise of the rights of you and your fellow citizens. A right that protects all of your other rights.

Once that right is gone or limited in such a fashion that it becomes moot, what other rights will we infringe upon in order to promote good society? Free speech? Maybe we just ban a few words, fine people for cursing, maybe religious speech in public places is outlawed? Maybe books? Harry Potter promotes witch craft, maybe it should be banned? Or we should put limit the amount of violence in television and movies?

We already put ratings on things, how far until we decide that the case for promoting "good society" demands that we put limits on all of these rights?

My last comment tonight because I've written plenty, while I tell you that crime rates and the 2nd amendment are separate issues, the interdependence of all of the rights to exist, without exception, is not a separate issue.

If you are concerned about the PATRIOT ACT and it's possible uses and infringements on people's rights, you should be concerned about the 2nd amendment. If you are concerned about infringements on the right to free speech, you should be concerned about the 2nd amendment. The smallest infringement on one right, even in the name of good society, is the infringement of all rights.

Ben Franklin:

All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse.

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so. It is not so. It is so. It is not so.
*******************************

side note: yes, I agree that revolution would be difficult and I never meant to imply diffrently. No revolution is easy and yes, technology in the hands of the different players would be an issue. Necessity is the mother of all inventions they say and it stands true for revolutions.

Also, glad you know what a ballista and catapult is (I like those games too), it is difficult to know in this format, who knows what and from what place of knowledge they may argue.

Until the next time, good night.


22 comments:

riceburner147 said...

Kat: your post over at Kendermusings was powerful, incisive, detailed and BRILLIANT. I dont know if i have ever read such a powerful, well written argument such as yours. Frankly (I say this somewhat tongue in cheek) I have as big an ego as any person i know. But the way you have explained this issue intimidates me. And i mean that in a good way :). I have felt like the lone voice in the wilderness, crying out about (some) of the Patriot Act, even ALa supports it totally. I knew in my bones it went to far, though i have had trouble enumerating clearly the exact problems. None of the people in my circle of aquaintances agree with me about the PA. I will be printing out portions of your post and sharing it with some of them (with your permission).

Thanks again

riceburner147 said...

i didnt realize it was here also. i just jumped over there, my bad.

Kat said...

Rice...glad I could be of service. I think that I will have to do a serious review of the Patriot Act. These are the first things that I thought of as I read the information provided by the News Sources.

They aren't all a bunch of idiots, they just like to present the worst of everything. Guess we'll have to keep them around anyway and keep them honest with review.

And the government, we need to keep them honest. Just the media doesn't help all the time with painting EVERYTHING as a shitty government job.

But the government needs controlled by us and not allowed to get too big for their britches, even for our own good

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

What amazes me is the philosophical contradiction the far-left and far-right both get into when comparing Patriot Act implications with gun control implications.

Liberals, for example, who stand up and try to channel Benjamen Franklin in saying "those who sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither the liberty nor the safety", yet they turn right around and do exactly that with gun control, and their mushy brains just can't grasp what hypocrites they're being.

And many conservatives I know who are of the "cold dead fingers" school of GOA (Gun Owners of America, not that wishy-washy club at the NRA), will spin back around the other way and say "so what if the Patriot Act takes away a few rights, as long as it helps us nab the ragheads..." Say WHAT?

Part of the reason I like to stay in the center is to be able to hoist the two ten-foot poles it takes to extend the slapping arm out to the faces of both extremist sides in America.

Robert said...

Kat! Another ridiculously long post, as usual.

I'm sorry I never engage you in drawn out debates, but I've got one or two interesting things to add.

First, check out the DOJ's position on the Second Amendment as an individual right, here. It is great, don't miss it.

http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/secondamendment2.htm

I think, when considering the federal goverment, one must consider it in its entirety. Are the bloating of the federal government, and the federal government's infringment on all our rights, connected? You bet they are. In order for government to become oppressive it needs alot of money. I don't care what the hell the government wants to do to me if we're carefully strangling its funds from taxation. But, the blank check given to the federal government makes, in my mind, tyranny more than possible, most likely, probable, in the long run.

I see modest infringments of rights as something not to get totally worked up about, because I see all rights as an interconnected mesh. The pendulum between freedom and safety is always swinging back and forth. The most insidious type of restriction on rights is the useless one on false premises, like gun control.

With the Patriot Act, while uncomfortable with it, I can't quite make myself be against it. (I'm lukewarm for it.) Again, I need to look at the bigger picture. The worst government isn't the government that hasn't passed laws that restrict your freedom, but the government that has the capibility to do so. Look at our federal government, it is so large it always has the possibility of that happening. I see the essentizl root of government tyranny at the power of the purse.

Not that we shouldn't fight against infringements on our rights. We should. But sometimes the infringment isn't the disease, it is the symptom. Find that disease, and root it out ruthlessly.

Oh and, I love the right to "bare" arms, only it gets a bit chilly over here.

P.S-- Please do an analysis on the Patriot Act! I hear too much rhetoric about it, and not about what it actually is. Wouldn't it be nice if we actually knew what the law was, rather than what the pundits said it was?

Veritas said...

Good post over at Kender, but one slight correction.

There is no "right" to vote for ANY federal politician, except for the electors who vote for President.

You and I have no "right" to vote for a Senator, a Representative, or the President. Now, all 50 States have decided that we do, but Constitutionally speaking the "right" to vote does not exist.

Kat said...

Robert..hahaha...BARE...what do you want? It was o dark thirty in the morning when I was posting it. LOL And the computer didn't say there was anythiing spelled wrong.

But, I think you are right. In having several conversations with people, I have decided that I will review the patriot act and put some facts out here. In bullter point fashion so we all get an idea what it says.

**************

Veritas, thank you for the kudos, but I must correct you on one fact:

The fifteenth amendment:

Section. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

*************************

While I understand this was meant to address the potential issue of discrimination, it clearly states: "The right of a United States citizen to vote"

Indicating there is a "right to vote" otherwise the issue of discrimination during voting, literacy tests, etc, would have been moot.

all other points are valid, there is no right to vote for a President, only constitutional law that lays out how it is accomplished. There is constitutional law that indicates that representatives to the house will be chosen by the people, I believe this indicates "voting" or some sort of ballot/selection process, but you are right, the words "right to vote" do not appear, but are implicit everywhere else in the constution except in the 15th which clealy indicates "the right to vote shall not be denied or abridged" affirming that the "right to vote" exists.

Kat said...

Please forgive my multiple spelling errors. I will be presenting a "bullet point" review of the patriot act sometime this week.

And the a 15th amendment "clearly" states...yada, yada, yada.

I saw one or two others, just take my apology for it. Thanks.

By the way, Robert, I was at a loss as to whether the "ridiculous long post" was a compliment or a complaint. I chose to take it as a compliment. ;)

The Sandmonkey said...

Kat,

In response to your comments:

Thanks!

And yes, i would like it if you did pray for her!

:)

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter said...

Kat, you scare me - in a sociological sort of way.

Having grown up as an American, I never doubted the wisdom behind the 2nd Ammendment. Bear arms? Of course! Every right-thinking (no pun intended) citizen should have the provison to defend himself.

Now I think I know most of the arguments and they have been both propunded and refuted both on your page and many others.

What I would like to suggest is that this constitutional right has been subjected to something resembling a brainwashing process in both my generation, in yours and in generations prior to both of ours. I can still get a gut feeling that this is something justifiable, so strong is the pull of cultural upbringing. And this "pull" is of course transformed into a matter of dollars and cents by a powerful gun industry.

But having lived in Europe for more than 35 years, I have come to another intellectual conclusion, that is that the "right" to bear arms is a cultural artifact or remnant with no humanistic justification in a modern society.

The pull between inbred cultural attitudes and acquired empirical knowledge is a strong and disturbing factor for many of us. Cultural (including religious) influence can create major political, social and even demographic disturbances. In short, many times we know what should be a correct course (in a better world) but we follow a set of actions with no real intellectual foundation, just because we cannot free ourselves from habits, traditions and behavioural patterns.

I think the debate on the 2nd Ammendment is a perfect example of this.

In Europe, most countries ban the private possession of firearms. In Sweden, murders are often committed using sharp weapons - knives, razors and the like. If you want to commit armed robbery, kill someone or just "protect yourself" you will find a way. But guns are sort of special. To kill someone with a knife, you have to get close, engage in some sort of physical contact and interrrelation. With a gun, it's so much easier: just point and shoot from a distance. It is this "distancing" that makes firearms so humanly reprehensible. I think it takes a lot more guts to knife someone than to shoot him or her.

What I'm saying is this. I's much easier to kill someone - either by accident or on purpose -by using a gun. You can often read in the papers about fatal shootings, caused by playing with guns or by getting scared and killing an innocent person. It can happen when you've got a gun at hand, can't it? And, as I said above, it's more clinical.

There should be no "right" to bear firearms.

Robert said...

Peter- The reality that guns are easier to wield is actually why they are beneficial. Imagine who has the greatest advantage in the ideal, gunless society! Lifetime warriors and thugs, not every citizen. Not every citizen is six foot four, built like a brick wall, and capable of competently defending his person and property against a larger invader. The gun is, in many ways, an equalizer.

And of course, any attempt at gun criminalization must take into effect how gun confiscation would work. Could our government actually confiscate the millions upon millions of guns that exist in this country? There is no way they could. Unless you want to invade South America up to Panama and seal the border there. Just look at the War on Drugs. We banned drugs, so they are naturally more abundant in America now. And anyway, if you make it illegal to own guns, as the cliche goes, criminals, those who by nature disrespect the law, will not find it hard to go around the law. I mean, you think the murderer is sitting at home thinking, "Hrm, I *really* want to kill that guy, but you know... I'd like a gun, and it would be illegal to buy one, you know."

Those are my two cents, Peter.

Kat- you seem to be missing the point. You *still* don't have a right to vote. The states could deny you the right to vote, as long as they deny it equally. Absurd? Yes. Technically legal? Yes. (Anyway, the *right to vote* is still a bit foggy in my mind as being sacrosanct. Voting is only necessary to put a check on government, not to vote yourself entitlements as everyone seems to think. The ideal of universal suffrage would have been absurd to many founding fathers anyway, bereft of property exclusions. My rights are merely to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc... The ideal government would involve no voting, as the democratic impulse is often tyrannical, in many shapes in forms.)

Veritas said...

Kat,
To expound on Robert's commentary, the 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th amendments only state how people may not be excluded from voting.

Example:
If a State required a potential voter to successfully pass a test before voting, how is that Constitutionally illegal?
If a State required all voter registrations and ballots to be printed only in English, how is that Constitutionally illegal?
If a State prevented welfare recipients from voting, how would that be Constitutionally illegal?

Of course you could go with due process, or equal protection, but remember considering Thomas Jefferson's "Kentucky Resolutions of 1798", it's clear to me that the federal gov't is not the sole and ultimate arbiter of voter eligibility. Amendments have been passed to clarify certain standards of eligibility which may not be used.

Kat said...

Robert and Veritas...I believe my point is that the right is implied by the 15th amendment as well as by the fact that it is not denied.

9th amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

And findlaw says it better than I:

Aside from contending that a bill of rights was unnecessary, the Federalists responded to those opposing ratification of the Constitution because of the lack of a declaration of fundamental rights by arguing that inasmuch as it would be impossible to list all rights it would be dangerous to list some because there would be those who would seize on the absence of the omitted rights to assert that government was unrestrained as to those.
**************************************************

Peter, you in Europe may disarm yourselves forever and a day. While you do, I believe I will keep remembering these names:

Hitler (no, the Germans would not have resisted him, but the Polish and a number of other people in a number of other countries might have been able to help themselves if they had a traditiona of firearms)

Stalin (no, the Russians were pretty powerless to stop him, but again, all those lovely eastern countries didn't stand a chance, not even the partisan resistors)

Ceauceua, Uncle Tito, franco, Russia rolling through half of Europe on any given day whenever it wanted?

We look at Africa for genocide, but Europe seems to want to practice that too on a regular basis, or need I mention Milosovic, Bosnia, Serbia and Herzogovenia?

No offense Peter, but Europe can have it's tradition of being a self induced disarmed continent. You may also retain Europes lead as the place most likely to be over run or self inflict megalomaniacial leaders on its "civilized soceity".

Please note: Over 200 years and not one dictator. 200 years of rescuing the rest of the world from dictators.

So, you must see why I and many others find European attitudes on the subject quite funny really. If you think that Europe in its grand civilized clothing of the European Union is some how making itself safe from a potential future less a dictator, think again. From my analysis, you all are doing exactly what the greatest dictators of the past have always wanted to do and that is to bring Europe together under one flag and eventually, one leader.

Sort of Ironic really.

As for the comment:

In Europe, most countries ban the private possession of firearms. In Sweden, murders are often committed using sharp weapons - knives, razors and the like. If you want to commit armed robbery, kill someone or just "protect yourself" you will find a way. But guns are sort of special. To kill someone with a knife, you have to get close, engage in some sort of physical contact and interrrelation. With a gun, it's so much easier: just point and shoot from a distance. It is this "distancing" that makes firearms so humanly reprehensible. I think it takes a lot more guts to knife someone than to shoot him or her.
***********************************************
Actually Peter, this proves my point, if someone wants to kill you, they'll do it however they can: knife, rock, rope, candle stick, bare hands, you name it.
******************************************************
What I'm saying is this. I's much easier to kill someone - either by accident or on purpose -by using a gun.
***************************************************

This is, pardon my language, bullshit psychology they pander to you in Europe. Have you ever held a gun and pointed it at someone? Thought about taking their life? People are not preternaturaly disposed to kill each other by any weapon. Nothing makes it easier because killing someone, on purpose, goes against everything that is ingrained in us as western society. It does not take more or less to kill someone with a gun as it is with a knife.

However, once a person has killed someone, they have overcome that barrier and can and have killed again. Even in Europe.
*******************************************
You can often read in the papers about fatal shootings, caused by playing with guns or by getting scared and killing an innocent person. It can happen when you've got a gun at hand, can't it? And, as I said above, it's more clinical.
*******************************************

Which papers and how often are these accidental shootings you speak of. I live in a gun infested region, full of farmers and herders as well as city dwellers. There have been no accidental shootings that you speak of for over 6 years since I've moved to this place.

But that, like your comment, is totally anecdotal. I must say that you have fallen into quite a trap unless you are saying that it's more likely that you hear of "accidental" shootings in Sweden? In which case, I think I would start questioning your department of justice because, if you are having that many "accidentals", I think somebody is cooking the books as they say.

show me sweden's statistics and we'll compare.

However, you not in my printing above, this is not aboout crime rates, it is about freedom. Europeans have a tendency to give that up a little more freely than we do. so, I suppose it's all relevant.

You keep your "gun free" (that's probably wrong by a long shot) society, and we'll keep ours.

riceburner147 said...

kat: bravo on smacking down those european "I know better than you cause i live in europe and dont bathe" folks.

btw: i also read your whole posts. i suspect the person that made that comment prefers comic books (short ones)

riceburner147 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tom said...

Kat

Nice post! You've got the Second Amendment about right. Second Amendment rights are something that I studied in some detail about ten years ago. Interests change over time and all, but yes you're pretty much right on the nose.

Peter - Kat scares you? We can't live in a society in which we don't trust (to some extent) our fellows to the point where we trust our government more than we do them. The point of our founding is that the government is not to be trusted. It's all too easy to find an excuse to take away someone else's rights. And all for some nice excuse like safety.

"cultural artifact"... The Europeans banned firearms NOT for any public safety reasons, but because they didn't trust their own citizens not to rise up and overthrow the government. And for good reason.

We, on the other hand, live in a free society. If the Europeans wish to submit themselves to some supranational EU bureaucracy, so be it.

Tom said...

continued...

What I mean by trusting in our fellow citizens is this: Do you start by trusting or not trusting? What is your baseline assumption about people? With me, I assume that you will be law-abiding and thus can be trusted with firearms.

This does not mean that one shouldn't take basic precautions, like avoiding dangerous neighborhoods and such. As Reagan said, trust but verify. Trust but take precautions and use common sense. I do not think that this is contradictory.

If engaged in a political discussion and someone asks me why I own guns, I tell them I'll give them three reasons; a constitutional reason, a political reason, and a personal reason.

My constitutional reason is that it's none of your business. I am not being flip. It is simply not the government or any one else's business as to why I own this or that gun.

My political reason is to make a statement. I own them because I can.

And my personal reason is that they're fun to shoot.

Now some will say that we need to end or severely restrict gun ownership because of a crime problem. But why end there? After all, if you really want to crack down on crime why not just curtail the fourth and fifth amendments? But usually the people who are out to restrict guns are the same ones who think that the Patriot Act is an infringement on our civil liberties. Go figure.

And as far as the people acting as a check on the government, yes that is true as Kat says. But it's not like we're a bunch of gun crazies barricading ourselves and muttering about "black helicopters" and the like. It's more of a statment we are making. For me, anyway.

I look forward to your post on the Patriot Act, Kat.

atypical-academic said...

Its ironic that I got the following information from Moore's ``Bowling for Columbine'' movie -- thats when I figured out that he can not reason logically, but its a relevant point.

``Canada has more guns per capita than US but the crime rate is much less. So it does not mean that more guns means more crimes.''

In the movie, after making this point Moore goes on to harass the NRA president.

Tom said...

atypical

I think you have something in your quote mixed up.

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