- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on October 18, 1999 at 14:37:54:

In Reply to: Handguns have been heavily restricted for years. posted by DonS on October 15, 1999 at 20:29:50:

Let me weigh in with a couple of words on this. I disagree with the hard Left on this issue, particularly with the Maoists, who believe in 'arming the populace to resist the bourgeois' or some $^!# like that. i think that at the moment, in American culture, having more guns floating around is NOT what we need. i mean, think about it for a minute- do you really, from a rational point of view, want to live in a militarized society? America is lucky at the moment to enjoy some relative peace, you don't have to watch out for your life every moment liek you do in Colombia. Why do some gun nuts want to spoil yhis for everyone else?

: Don: And there is NOTHING you can do about this. You do not need a gun to kill lots of people (at one time mass homicide was comitted with swords with great effect), and you can't prevent people from obtaining guns (they are simple technology and they will always exist on the black market). What you will do by passing restrictive laws is: 1) disarm the GOOD citizens 2)Create a profitable black market for criminals.

first of all, the division of society into good citizens and criminals is an utter fallacy. i think that the basic premise of gun control is that having lots of guns floating around TURNS 'good citizens', as you call them, into criminals. It encourages people to commit crimes by making it easier.

Real-life example. My family knew a man out in california who was getting suspicious that his wife was being unfaithful,, and it was depressing the hell out of him. He happened to have a gun in hsi home. One day when the kids were out, and he'd been drinking, he took the gun and killed his wife and then himself, arranging it to look like a burglary. Now if he hadn't had the gun, it's unlikely that he would have been tempted in thsi way- by teh time eh applied to buy a gun, etcetera, he'd probably have come out of depression and life woudl ahve seemed good again. These kind of depressive fits are not uncommon, and they usually come and go pretty quickly. I suppose in theory he might have done the deed with a knife. But it's much easier to defend yourself against a knife attack than it is against a gun attack, and it takes much mroe determination to kill someoen witha knife.

Also, let's be realistic here. Mass murder of the modern variety is possible only witha gun. There is simply no way to kill as effectively and quickly with any sort of knife or blunt object. You can fire a bullet in a fraction of a second, to sever a major artery takes significantly longer.

: :Nobody needs a machine gun to defend themselves from a burglar.

: Don: My rights are NOT defined by what YOU think I need.

Erm, actually, they're defined by the common sense of the vast majority of humanity. There's a pretty good worldwide consensus on what human rights are. The right to free speech, to political participation, freedom from slavery, teh right to food, housing, medicine, education, teh right to a share in the national wealth, to social equality, to equal treatment before the law, to appropriate leisure time, to practice one's religion or ideology, etc. Gun ownership doesn't appear anwhere on the list. search the Universal declaration of Human Rights and you won't find it. Sweden, the freest country in the world, has extensive gun control. I can't believ that tehre are actually people who think that they ahve a right to kill people they think might be 'dangerous', but that tehre is no right to get adequate food or healthcare. This baffles teh hell out of me.

:Further, burglars are NOT the ONLY thing I may need to defend myself from.

Oh yes, I suppsoe you want to defend yourself against the working class when tehy come to claim their birthright.

: :If somebody is really intent on breaking into you're house and killing you in you're sleep then you are simply never going to wake up.

: Don: If someone tries that they are real stupid. We might as well label their death a suicide, 'cause they don't have a chance. They can not get anywhere near me without waking me up. I will wait for them and kill them. I am not bragging: it is easy for someone who is armed and prepared to ensure their security in these circumstances. If someone wishes to kill me, there are other ways where they would have a chance.
Well, you evidently live very differently from me. If someone wants to rob or kill me, if he has a good reason, then all power to him; if not, then he will suffer for it. I am not going to spend my life shooting at suspicious looking people in order to protect my unearned privileges.

: : *I tend to be a little cynical when anyone talks about increased break ins and assaults on the elderly - especially when they have an agenda to push. Politicians do it every election.

: Don: Gun control does seem to increase home invasion type crimes, and crimes against the week: woman, the old, the young . . .

Don't you see that by increasing the number of guns in ciorculation, an end to gun control would make it mroe likely taht I will get shot?See, I am not going to own a gun anyway, on principle. Therefore the cahnce that I woudl kill in self-defense are effectively nil. If a greater fraction of teh population carries guns, it's moire likely that someone will shoot and kill me. Frankly, this scares the hell out of me. You are making it mroe likely that I will get killed!


: : *Just a note, we don't have the same fear of government which seems to exist in the US. Our army is fully stretched doing peacekeeping stuff in East Timor. Asking them to repress every person in a country the size of Australia (7 million square kilometers) would be simply ridiculous.

: Don: You don't have the same concept of freedom, either.

Freedom as defined by you? I don't think teh US has much concept of political democracy, not compared to Nicaragua, which ghad far greater opportunities for grassroots participation. true freedom is realizable only in a socialist state which provides the material bassi to exercise one's human rights and freedoms.

: : : What do you reckon? Bad luck?
: : *Partly. I would say, however, that we have to look far beyond the simple availability of weapons to find the answers to the problem. Switzerland has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world but has nothing like the related deaths you see in the US. The culture which says that guns are actually a good thing mixed with an every man for himself mindset seems to make for dangerous times.

: Don: Likewise, countries like Taiwan and Russia and Mexico have strict gun control and very high homicide rates.

Oh, give me a break. Fine, the West African countries have the lowest rates of crime in teh world, infinitesimal compared to teh US, and there are hardly any guns in civilian circulation. An African I met once said that he'd never seen a gun in his life till he came to America as a college student.

Likewise, India and Japan have heavy gun control, and their murder rates are tiny compared to America. The South American countries, on the otehr hand, go to teh otehr extreme. Not only can you buy ghuns, you can buy people to fire them. The result si taht shopkeepers hire death squads to shoot homeless children.

: : I am not scared of the government.

: Don: I'm not scared of mine, either. But I don't trust it.

I trust the government, in spite of the evil anture of some of the m,en who've run it (Reagan? Reagan?) because I knwo that it's responsible to the people. i don't trust corporations or capitalists. But I'm not going to kill to express my distrust.

: : I don't think that my private property is worth killing for.

: Don: I believe that my life and liberty ARE worth killing for.

So your- and my- private property (= unearned privileges) are worth killing some less fortunate person to protect? Like we killed the Native Americans?

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