OK, as promised, here is my response to some of the many points that were raised towards the end of the earlier thread on gun control.
6 Kings said -
I would bet that having some of us armed citizens as neighbors and friends would give you an idea how this worldview you have is skewed.
Well, that all rather depends on whether one of them does a Derrick Bird and turns his weapons on his neighbours and friends. These incidents involving legal gun-owners may be rare but the fact that they stubbornly keep happening poses a significant problem for your whole argument. Even worse, Bird was by all accounts a fairly decent, rational person until very close to this incident. Tragedy only ensued because he snapped while in legal possession of deadly weapons.
What it seems to boil down to is that you fear people and no matter what circumstances are, keeping people unarmed allows you to feel safe.
I'm delighted that you have such a rosy view of human nature, which begs the obvious question - if people are essentially trustworthy, who do you need the gun to defend yourself against? It's clearly surplus to requirements - throw it away, man, it's far too heavy to be lugging around on a hot day.
There is no endangerment of fellow citizens. Where do you get this information? Do you think that normal people get around a weapon and suddenly murderous thoughts occur? More people carry every day and there continues to be fewer and fewer incidents of crime and an infinitesimal number of permit holders that are in trouble with the law. You have no basis for this other than your 'feelings' and Hollywood movies.
Don't take this personally, but I've always much preferred European cinema to Hollywood films, so you're on the wrong track there. My 'information' is derived from indisputable fact - that three massacres have occurred in the UK in the last twenty-five years, and that all three have been perpetrated with legally-owned firearms. There's actually no mystery about why this would be the case - as previously mentioned, the most dangerous scenario of all is when an ordinary person snaps very suddenly, in a wholly unanticipated way. If the law can make it less likely that such a person will have the means to kill at that crucial moment, the law can save lives.
Missed by a mile. Nothing can guarantee equality of outcome. Show me how equality of opportunity puts the weakest in a worse position? That isn't logical. There are hundreds of stories that show this to be false and you have nothing to stand on with this statement.
And I can present you with one very big story that demonstrates my point eloquently - nothing less than the national story of your own country. The most meritocratic country in the world, and yet with some of the most shocking and disgraceful inequalities in the western democratic world. You're right, nothing can literally guarantee equality of outcome, but that doesn't mean it's not an ideal we shouldn't be striving to get as close to as practicably possible (especially when it comes to something as important as public safety) - equality of opportunity simply doesn't do the trick, and never has done.
Not everyone, you have shown this yourself, wants to arm themselves. That is perfectly fine but forcing disarmament for those that are comfortable and want/need that security is terrible, especially because your 'feel' it is better that way.
And this simply highlights the importance of my previous point - the 'equality of opportunity' that some people will take up of owning a gun will create a much greater 'inequality of outcome', ie. a much more dangerous world in which more weak and vulnerable people are in fear and peril.
Nate : You keep talking about how important it is that people feel safe. Feeling safe and being safe are two very different things; you can feel blissfully safe in a very dangerously erroneous manner, and you can be terrified of perceived danger that doesn't exist.
You've been very good about answering my hypothetical questions, and I thank you earnestly for that. I'd like to ask another. Purely hypothetically, and assuming that you could have only one, which would you prefer, feeling safe or being safe?
The straight answer is being safe, but of course it's a wholly false choice and both are vitally important in a civilised society. Frankly, it would be a bit hard to claim that the other side in this argument are not themselves preoccupied with 'feeling' as well as objectively being more safe - we constantly hear about the feeling of security and empowerment that carrying a gun bestows.
But your postulate is that more guns equals more crime, right? So then, as we here in the United States amass even more guns year by year (around the order of 12 million annually), our levels of crime should rise, no? Since we now have millions and millions more guns than we did in, say, 1980, then we should have a higher level of crime now than we did then, right?
My guess would be that there's a saturation point beyond which having even more guns around can't really make matters much worse. And, yes, I do say guess - unlike Kevin Baker and several others I have never had the conceit to say my 'philosophy' is literally provable beyond all doubt. It's an observation I've made before, but if a neutral in this debate were to witness a no-holds-barred exchange consisting of nothing but detailed statistics, the only conclusion they'd come to is that neither side is capable of scientifically and definitively proving their case by statistical means - there are too many variables at play in the numbers. People will jump one way or the other based on common sense and force of argument, and I do think from a UK perspective our relatively low gun crime rate as compared to the US does for most people amply demonstrate the wisdom of our much stricter laws.
Last, and in every sense least, I turn again to 'The Happy Rampager' -
Simple. Because you didn't answer the question I put to you. You know, the one about whether, in the face of the clear failure of banning guns for self-protection, you would rather any of the victims would have used a gun to stop Bird from killing them, or whether you would rather they died because it's more important to you that they be disarmed.
You didn't answer because your answer would have been the latter. It's more important that people be disarmed, and if their disarmament leads to their death, you couldn't give a s***.
Congratulations on a landslide victory in the Stupid Comment Of The Week Award. This was an instance of disarmament leading to death, was it? Remind me - at what point was Derrick Bird disarmed of the legally-owned weapons with which he went on to kill twelve people?