April 2007


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Archive for April 19th, 2007

In reply

Posted in Life on April 19th, 2007

Thom was kind enough to reply to yesterday’s rant, and my response has outgrown the comments area so I’ve brought it up here. Here are Thom’s thoughts:

Hey f*ckwad

Next time you go cherry-picking for stats to back up an opinion, at least make them contemporary. Itís not 2001. And a side by side of gun violence in totality in the U.S. and UK might round things out a bit. An increase, for example, of 1 to 2 per capita would mean little against say a drop of 4,000 to 3,999. Understand?

You like guns and you think they should be legal. Thatís your position and you deserve it. I like guns, donít shoot like I did when I was younger, but I always liked it. The question is: Would a sigificant drop in deaths by gun in the U.S. be a worthwhile trade for more restricive gun laws? If itís reasonably showable, Iíd say yes. People who have experienced gun violence in their family or among friends overwhelmingly do. They deserve that say, without derision.

Now, my first thought is this: dude, don’t hold back. You want to call me a fuckwad, go right ahead and spell it all the way out. Don’t censor yourself somewhere they still allow free speech. I’m an asshole, and I will freely admit it.

Okay, I didn’t choose a contemporary report because there isn’t one. I was specifically looking for crime stats in the time period after the English law went into effect, and plainly wrote that the numbers were for the two years after the law change. The date of the report does not change the validity of the information.

The point of the post was to point out to people that other countries have tried banning handguns, with little effect. Since I so plainly stated the two-year mark, one could hopefully be smart enough to infer that I am speaking in the short-term.

I specifically do not compare the UK to America because of the vast difference in the size of the two nations, and the differences in culture. The UK is slightly smaller than the State of Oregon in land area, but has a much greater population – over 60 million, compared to Oregon’s 3.4 million. That kind of density does not exist in the U.S., with the possible exception of New Jersey. I don’t have the background necessary to estimate what differences in culture are the result of that population density, so I did not compare the two nations.

It is likely, however, that a disarming of the American law-abiding public would leave them at the mercy of the lawless who retain their weapons. I have been unable to find a decent breakdown of gun violence by legally obtained vs. illegally obtained handguns, so I can’t estimate what that rise in violent deaths might be.

There is aso the point, however, that it doesn’t take guns to kill people. That maniac could have walked in to a roomfull of people with a baseball bat and done similar amounts of damage. A fast man with a kitchen knife could arguably have done as much as well.

And the rest of the world hasn’t had the best luck with gun laws. Russia, for instance, has very strict gun laws – and a horriffic murder and violence rate, most of which is not gun-related. They just kill each other with something else. South Africa has tough gun laws, but the criminals still have access to them so crime rates have not gone down as much as you would hope.

Perhaps I should have been a little more pointed in who I was railing against. The bereaved certainly have the right to voice their opinion for stricter gun control. My complaint is with un-informed celebrities, clueless media hacks and others of similar ilk spouting off about stuff when they haven’t done the research to back their opinions. People like Jack Thompson and Dr. Phil, who were trying to lay the blame on violent video games before we even knew who the asshole was in the VT killings.

The top problem, the Big Issue, is that people end up wanting to kill other people. It is my firm belief that if people were just a little bit kinder to each other, shit like this wouldn’t happen. There are simply too many people in this world who don’t give a shit enough to notice that the boy from next door is about ready to snap and go haywire.

No law can possibly help you if you cannot muster the gumption to ask someone if they are ok. In the long-term, an increase of human decency and kindness is the only thing that will bring the violence in check.

Dear $diety I sound like a hippie.