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  1. #13
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    Re: First topic for debate



    No need to put in any effort, I'm fairly skilled at googling myself, and have already read quite a bit on it.

    A link I found very useful, also by Kopel.

    And wasn't clear enough in my fairly long response, I meant to say that it probably is a reason good enough for me to not question the American way of things in this regard.
    Last edited by Hrafn; 08-19-2006 at 10:50 AM.




  2. #14

    Re: First topic for debate

    Many people have guns in the US - murder rates are very high.
    Hrafn: that's a sweeping generalization. You have to dig deeper. The murder rates are significantly higher in major cities, and/or in the South, and/or close to the Mexican border, and/or among urban poor blacks, and/or where there is drug use, etc. There are many reasons, which are not really pertinent to this discussion.

    I am willing to bet you that the murder rate in the town where I live - where we are pretty well-armed - is as low or lower than the murder rates in Copenhagen or Stockholm.





  3. #15
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    Re: First topic for debate

    It is somewhat a sweeping generalization, but statistics show that there is a markedly higher murder rate in the US.

    75:13 per 1M people overall (US:SWE) and an even bigger difference when looking at murders with guns. 44:2 per 1M people (from a 1993 UN report)

    This would support the idea that gun ownership leads to more murders by way of firearms. Which is also supported by this report from the US commission on civil rights from 2003 p. 6

    We can also note in this regard the role of firearms as a contributing factor to the high murder rate in the U.S. As the only industrialized nation without strong gun control policies, guns clearly contribute to the disparity in murder rates.
    A 1988 comparison of the U.S. with England/Wales found that U.S. homicides rates were 5.6 times greater, but by excluding homicides with firearms, the differential dropped to 2.4.
    Guns are not the only cause of violence in the U.S., but they do contribute to higher rates of homicide -- essentially, it is far easier to kill someone with a gun than with a knife, fists, or other objects.

    And as far as comparison between larger and minor cities goes, it is hard to do since we don't really have any major cities here. Under 2M both of them (Stockholm and Copenhagen). But I can say that they don't differ statistically from the rest of their respective countries.
    Last edited by Hrafn; 08-19-2006 at 12:01 PM.




  4. #16
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    Re: First topic for debate

    If you accept this idea - criminals will do what is necessary to have the upper hand if voilence ensues. Banning weapons would decrease the magnitude of violence requiered for the criminals and thus probably lowering the amount of damage inflicted. This combined with the fact that it is very much harder to kill or injure someone with a knife than a gun, or at least is combined with greater risk for the assailant.
    This works okay if all crime were muggings, but when you have rape and murder a weaker person, particularly a female, needs something more than her hands to protect herself.

    As for our murder rate, the availability of guns has little to do with it. In Dodge City 150 years ago EVERYBODY carried a gun and there was maybe one marshall in the town. So with everybody packing and very little law enforcement and almost no court system the murder was...VERY LOW. If I use the same logic you did in comparing Sweden and American murder rates I could conclude that an expansive court system or more police led to higher murder rates. In fact, they are in response to them, as is the propensity to own a weapon (in regard to law abiding citizens).

    Drugs are illegal in this country. The very people who are problems with fire arms (drug dealers and gang members) are the same people who can get all the illegal drugs they need. Outlawing guns will not effect them at all, and if anything just give them something else to market.

    The problem is cultural, our underclass here does not value life as much as those in Europe do, that is the real problem. Our society for all of its positives has created a huge underclass that has no respect for life, including often their own.




  5. #17
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    Re: First topic for debate

    To argue that the wild west was a safe place to be in is hardly a way to sway me. The fact that there was close to no law enforcement or even judicial system is the only reason I can see behind your belief that few people got killed out west. Since no statistics are available and historic sources are a bit unreliable - no need to argue that point further.

    I agree, as you can probably see in my other posts that it is hard to compare countries and the very fact that the US is overflowed by guns make it very hard to change the policy to a stricter (European style) one.

    Indeed the socioeconomic factors are the greatest when it comes to crime rates in general and is a concequence of the political system, low welfare combined with a racist history with large groups alienated from society.

    Problems of this sort is on the rising in Europe as well. No one is able to beat us when it comes to racism, but we've been at it for so long that we've had more or less homogenous nations since the nationalistic ideas were invented in the 18th century. In Sweden and Denmark, recessions in the 80s and 90s and a growing number of immigrants that have a hard time getting jobs and live in poor neighborhoods with very high unemployment rates.

    Hence social segregation is a growing problem and it is based on racism, that was only gone for as long as the economy was growing and there was an immidiate need for foreign labor.

    It is still too early to tell whether or not the same problems with high crime and murder rates will appear here too when the situation worsens, but it is very much harder to aquire a weapon here than in the US, so there is at least still hope that it will not go as far.

    If I use the same logic you did in comparing Sweden and American murder rates I could conclude that an expansive court system or more police led to higher murder rates. In fact, they are in response to them, as is the propensity to own a weapon (in regard to law abiding citizens).
    True drawing conclusions from covariables in statistics is always a liability, and outcome of carry laws or shall issue, or whatever you want to call it, speaks against there being a causality.

    A priori however there seems to be a higher probability for gun availability to cause high murder rates than big police forces or an expansive judicial system. As these are matters where it is hard to find hard data, common sense is needed to evaluate arguments. As is always pratcised when there is not enough data to conclude what covariable causes the other or that they are caused by a third variable (as socieconomics in this case is probably a good suggestion).

    I guess that "common sense" is what makes us see things differently in this matter as my common sense is from a culture where the state has a monopoly on use of force. The US common sense is based on US culture where owning a gun is as natural as it is unnatural to me.




  6. #18

    Re: First topic for debate

    History has demonstrated time and time again one consistency about brutal dictatorships - they have ALL started with The Government effectively disarming its citizens by bullshitting them into believing that they are better off without weapons. Hitler, Castro, Lenin/Stalin, Mao... and so forth.

    Is violent crime a problem in the U.S.? You betcha. But guns and weapons, no matter how sophisticated, don't cause the crimes, folks. It's the people who use them. There was once a day in this nation where people who committed brutal crimes were put to death swiftly - none of this 20 years on death row crap and listening to how tough the monster had it as a kid.

    The general question seems to be where to draw the line with the 2nd Amendment. My place to draw it would be where the weapons themselves become dangerous. The example of chemical weapons was given. No, I should not be allowed to possess chemical weapons because those weapons in and of themselves are a danger to my neighbors - i.e. they have the potential to harm them without any action on the part of any person.




  7. #19
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    Re: First topic for debate

    As I've already stated, what I've read about the carry laws has made me rethink my position a bit at least.

    But your argument that brutal dictatorships starts off with disarming the people doesn't hold water.

    The Weimar republic was disarmed by the victors of the Great War, not Hitler.

    Mao took over after a civil war against the nationalists, disarming them of course.

    In Russia, the coup d'etat (I refuse to call it a revolution) was followed by war as well. With following disarmament of opposition.

    Of cuban history, I don't know enough. But the other three should suffice.
    Hrafn




  8. #20
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    Re: First topic for debate

    Banning weapons would decrease the magnitude of violence requiered for the criminals and thus probably lowering the amount of damage inflicted.
    On the other hand, a would-be victim of crime could avoid being injured at all by merely shooting his or her attacker.

    The vast majority of criminals in the United States carry illegal firearms. Whether we're talking about street gangs, drug runners, or the Mafia, none of these criminals use registered weapons. Outlawing the possession of firearms would hurt no one but law-abiding citizens. While we're at it, most of these criminals are also well-versed in using other methods of attack to maim and kill, such as golf clubs and baseball bats. Should we outlaw those, as well?

    The entire question of whether guns should be legal or illegal is moot, anyway...at least in America. The Second Amendment guarantees our right to bear arms. It's just as important as our right to free speech, freedom of religion, ability to petition the government, etc. There are no degrees of rights with one being more important than the other...one being more easily infringable than the other - they are all co-equal.

    We have them to protect ourselves. The right to bear arms is an extension of the right to go on living. We protect ourselves from that great infringer of human liberty called the government, from criminals, and from anyone else who would take our lives or our property from us by force.

    Contrary to popular belief, the Founders did not create the courts as arbiter over what the government can or can't do. At the end of the day, that question is up to the states and the people. Take away their arms, and they lie exposed to tyranny without recourse...and the history of man gave the Founders good reason to suspect that might happen. It's the nature of government to accumulate power. It looks after its own interests and no one else's.

    As far as nukes and chemical weapons go, the Founders obviously didn't foresee the advent of WMDs, some of which can be produced relatively inexpensively. That goes far beyond the original intent of being able to protect your person and your property. Even in those days, we had militia for the protection of a community. That being the case, I see no problem with a state having access to weapons such as these. If the feds have no intention of trampling state and individual rights, they shouldn't have an issue with it, either.
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  9. #21
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    Re: First topic for debate

    The vast majority of criminals in the United States carry illegal firearms. Whether we're talking about street gangs, drug runners, or the Mafia, none of these criminals use registered weapons. Outlawing the possession of firearms would hurt no one but law-abiding citizens.
    True, as I stated in posts after the one you quoted.


    The right to bear arms is an extension of the right to go on living. We protect ourselves from that great infringer of human liberty called the government [...] It's the nature of government to accumulate power. It looks after its own interests and no one else's.
    Government being a great infringer on human liberty and a self serving institution is a unnuanced statement. Sure, government can be an infringer on liberty, as seen on many occasions throughout history. But government is also the lone protector of human liberty. Since without any form of government violence would rule, as violence or force is the ultimate mean of power and power is what regulates society. E.g. pre-state civilizations and collapsed modern states.

    Government is formed to ensure human liberty, but is also can also be an instrument to opress. The institution for balance between security and freedom.
    Hrafn




  10. #22
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    Re: First topic for debate

    Government is not the lone protector of human liberty. It protects human liberty isofar as it is subject to the people it governs. The only way to ensure that is through the people (and the states) being armed. If not that, then what are we to rely on? The good will of the government itself? The courts, which are extensions of that self-same government? No, thanks.

    How many sham democracies have we seen throughout history? I can think of several that exist today. Iran comes to mind just off the top of my head. Even the 20th century dictators of Europe rose to power through democratic means. Our own American government has expanded its powers beyond the scope of the Constitution, in many cases despite specific constitutional bans against doing so. The court (that great protector of American liberty) often abbrogates its responsibilities by rubber stamping these new powers, but that my no means makes it right. It by no means makes it constitutional.

    So, unnuanced or not, the proposition that government is the antithesis of human liberty is the very foundation upon which our government was built. It was the foundation of the Enlightenment political philosophies of John Locke, Thomas Paine, and Jefferson. It is true that humankind needs organization to protect itself from anarchy and the violence that proceed from internal and external threats...but it needs a very limited government for that. Anything else is a power grab.
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  11. #23
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    Re: First topic for debate

    Then we agree. Although I prefer a larger body of government than that for other reasons than human liberty. I'm a bigger fan of Rawls than of Locke, to give you a hint.
    Last edited by Hrafn; 08-20-2006 at 10:11 AM.
    Hrafn




  12. #24
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    Re: First topic for debate

    What reason could there possibly be for large government? By definition, government power comes at the expense of the rights of the governed.

    To give you a hint at where I'm coming from, I consider property rights part and parcel of civil rights. One is indispensible from the other. From a political perspective, any kind of "fairness" in human affairs (which is what I assume you are referring to with your citation of Rawls) derives from an equal respect for individual civil rights, not from a civil interest in equality of outcome.
    Last edited by RavenMad2099; 08-20-2006 at 10:36 AM.
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