Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Intrafamilial Debate (II)- Response

This response was sent in by a fellow calgunner by the name of Nick and I decided to post this as a blog post since posting as a comment would negate the italics and other editing measures that are present in this response.

With that, here it is.

“I think its an infringement of my rights to tell me that I NEED to carry a gun to protect myself, I am supposed to be paying people like the police to do that for me. If everyone should have guns, then I should save some tax money shouldn't I?. If I told Fox news that, they would call me "soft on crime."”

Well, to state the obvious, the police, even with the best of intentions, can’t possibly be there for every single individual. They can clean up the mess and find the responsible, yes, but other than that, it’s chancy. Moreover, in many, if not most states, including California, it was determined that the police doesn’t have the obligation to protect an individual, just the society as a whole. Which doesn’t really help the individual potential victim of a crime all that much.

Another problem with this expectation is the spirit of depending on the government, as opposed to striving for individual independence. A society of independent individuals can be great, as this country has proven over the first 100-150 years of its existence. The societies where people depend on their government… Well, do I really need to say more on this?

As far as saving the tax money on the police, it’s also not a good idea. While they can’t necessarily protect one directly, they do a lot to protect one indirectly by putting criminals behind bars, keeping public order (and as such keeping the society from getting into a state similar to that of New Orleans after Katrina, which, armed or not, makes the danger to an individual much greater), and deterring many crimes just by being present. Personally, I don’t begrudge my tax money to the police (well, I would to some departments, such as NOPD, but luckily I don’t live in any such place).

Also, saying that you need to carry a gun for self-protection, which of your rights does it infringe on? Someone other than the government saying this to you doesn’t have any power over you other than that of an advice, which you can either heed or not, as you see fit.

How do we stop 4 and 5 year olds from being caught in the crossfire of gang shootings? Obviously they cannot carry guns or protect themselves, and I think we'll all agree that even if these kids are safely in their houses, sometimes stray bullets come through windows and kill them, obviously this cannot be completely blamed on their parents. I would like a solution from the people on this forum that address this problem.

Well, first of all, we can’t prevent 4 and 5 year old kids from being caught in the crossfire of gang shootings 100%. No matter what you do, you’ll never eliminate 100% of the crime. Nothing really works 100% in this world, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Moreover, one has to consider the cost of doing things. For instance, Vlad Tepes prided himself on eliminating theft in his domain. Do I need to detail how he achieved such a feat? Just a hint, it had to do with mass executions in a very gruesome fashion. Moreover, he still PRIDED himself in it, it doesn’t mean theft was non-existent there.

Now, on this specific topic, first of all, the guns used in such crimes are usually obtained illegally, and whatever “gun control” laws are passed to combat it, they will apply to legally owned guns. By definition, law-abiding citizens are those who abide by the laws, and criminals are those who break them. So, a criminal willing to shoot someone will be stopped by the fact that the law prohibits him from having a gun?

Besides, even attempting to deal with the criminals’ guns would still be fighting the instrument, and not the cause of the crime. The cause being that gangs exist, and can operate without much of a deterrent.

The various steps that could be taken to deal with this would be to promote (and demand) greater integration of immigrants and various minorities into our society (as it is we promote the opposite), abandoning political correctness which prevents us from doing so, arming the population so that committing a crime becomes a dangerous proposition, changing the laws in a way that doesn’t punish people for defending themselves, get the government out of the family, so that families can exist (as gangsters come from dysfunctional families more often than not), ensure that the punishment matches the crime (and that includes death penalty), the list goes on.

There is some serious logic missing from the discussion. I'm just asking questions here, and they seem to be crucifying me. Also, I don't live in downtown Chicago. I live in a nice neighborhood with virtually zero crime, and I'm sure not every household has a gun. I love guns, I love the technology, I love the history, I'm not anti-gun by any means.

Well, tempers tend to run hot in such a debate. Part of living among humans. Although a bit more civility would be nice, I agree.

I live in a nice neighborhood which until recently had very little crime. It’s changing though, thanks to a liberal mayor and political correctness. The criminals discovered that nice safe neighborhoods are safe to commit crimes, too, as the people and the police are less prepared.

I'm sure everyone heard the story about the 8 year old who killed his parents and his neighbor with a .22 rifle 2-3 weeks ago. I'm sure that if he didn't have access to that rifle, they would still be alive right now (its a lot harder for an 8 year old to kill his parents with a knife then it is with a gun). Obviously that kid was messed up, and mentally unstable people will always find a way to kill each other, but seriously... it was pretty easy for that 8 year old. I don't think it should be that easy... this is where my questions come from. Incidents like that make me question everyone's right to own a gun. Obviously the parents are the blame for not teaching him and not keeping the gun locked up, but honestly, some parents are as irresponsible as 3-year old, and I wish we could say "alright, all the responsible citizens can have guns, and all the stupid ones can't" but that isn't what people on this forum are advocating.

Well, there’re a few issues here, but first I’d like to say that accidents, mistakes, etc. will ALWAYS happen. It’s simply impossible to prevent them 100%, and it’s dangerous and detrimental to the society to even try. Preventing them within reason is what the society should strive for. Which is why I have the problem even with the title of the No Child Left Behind act, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

I agree, if the kid in question didn’t have the access to that rifle, this wouldn’t have happened. And he wasn’t supposed to gain access to that rifle. In California, there’s a law saying that if there are kids in the house, guns have to be locked up. Like with any law, there will be people breaking it, but the law itself (and its proper enforcement) are good enough to deal with this issue. Trying to do more would only mean more government intrusion into the family without much of an improvement.

Preventing the good people from having guns (or driving cars, or… well, you get the idea) because of the few idiots/miscreants doesn’t sound like something that promotes a good society, or a sustainable society in the first place. It seems like that’s where we’re heading though. Also, call me callous, but we keep trying to eliminate natural selection. And to remove people’s responsibility for their own actions (and the consequences). While the former is a noble goal, I don’t think it’s a good idea. I also don’t think that the cost to society is worth it.

When you say "everyone should have the right to own a gun" I get confused, because time and time again, we are shown that some people just can't handle it.

Yep, and some people can’t handle driving a car, flying a plane, or using a gas stove. Humans are imperfect, and we have to recognize such incidents for what they are.

How do we differentiate between the people who should have the right and the people who shouldn't?

Well, the above should’ve addressed it. I can only add that there’re common sense provisions already in place (such as not allowing criminals or mentally ill people have guns). Beyond that, I don’t think any government involvement would do any good, both to prevent such incidents, and as far as costs to the society are concerned.

Second of all, I agree that everyone should have the right, but its just a hard problem to fix ya know? Obviously if innocent people get killed, and cops get shot while trying to defend themselves, there is a problem with our current setup. If the guys on the forums don't believe the system is flawed, then maybe that is where our different paths of thinking emerge from.

Once again, no amount of legislating will make the society perfect. If nothing else, it’ll make the society crappy to live in, just look at California. Moreover, I’m not sure I’d want to live in such a “perfect” society. Criminals will always have weapons, including guns, and our task should be to protect the non-criminals and to make committing a crime hard. I don’t see how taking guns away from law-abiding citizens and punishing them for self-defense achieves either one of these goals.

It rather reminds me of the debate of eliminating collateral damage (a.k.a. innocent bystanders) on the battlefield. A noble goal, but impossible to achieve (and the attempt to achieve it without common sense, as usually happens, lead to severe costs to society, once again).

You can post it if you want, but obviously I didn't expect to change minds, I just wanted my questions answered, and no one has been able to tell me how to give everyone guns, but keep cops and 4 year olds from being shot to death.

I think, the above addresses it. Also, approaching such matters only from emotional standpoint doesn’t usually lead to any good. To give an example, the last Russian tzar was quite a nice man, much nicer than most of his predecessors. That led to the suffering and deaths of tens of millions.

If people on the forum don't think that those deaths are a problem, and that there isn't a problem with guns in this country, then that is where we differ.

Once again, not all problems can and should be addressed 100%, and this what this seems to call for.


Thank you for your response Nick, you have done an excellent job.

Carry on!


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