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At best they're useful tools in limited circumstances, at worst destroyers of lives.

 

Well, at best they're also fun to use in a wide variety of shooting sports.

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I think it would come down to the devil being in the details on a deglamorization campaign. For instance, how would it differ from the current efforts at demonizing gun ownership? In other words, how would you make it not look like the political rhetoric we currently have flying back and forth?

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47 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

That also means responsible gun owners cannot simply look after their own guns in their own back yard. As role models they have to stand up and vocally and forcefully insist that all gun owners be equally responsible, with substantial enforced penalties if they're not. IMO this is a case of not being part of the solution contributing to the problem.

 

You do realize that accidental shootings have been on a steady decline, right? There's massive promotion of safe gun ownership, and a wealth of information available through the internet on safety and the consequences of lethal force use. On the two most frequented gun forums on the internet, Walter Mitty fantasies about gun ownership and lethal force  use are routinely and quickly smacked down by the communities. Inexpensive training in basic use, storage and safety is widely available through the NRA. (And despite my distaste for their fear-mongering rhetoric, these courses are affordable and good quality barring the occasional bonehead instructor that gets through the cracks.)

 

I'd say that responsible gun owners are already out in force. OTOH, we have plenty of boneheads, because like many human traits, boneheadedness falls out along a bell curve. But the responsible segment is out there.

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1 hour ago, Zeropoint said:

 

Well, at best they're also fun to use in a wide variety of shooting sports.

 

See, this is the attitude that worries me, relegating gun use to the category of "fun," something that's harmlessly pleasant. Fun isn't a good enough reason to downplay the negatives inherent in something, which leads to people not taking it seriously. For some people, drag racing on city streets is fun. Surfing in the swell from an approaching hurricane is fun. But these activities can have dangerous consequences, not only for the people engaging in them, but those innocents who may be caught up in their fallout.

 

I understand that there are a few other uses for guns besides killing. I can use a garden hoe as a back scratcher if I want to. That doesn't change what it was designed for, and does best.

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1 hour ago, Pattern Ghost said:

I think it would come down to the devil being in the details on a deglamorization campaign. For instance, how would it differ from the current efforts at demonizing gun ownership? In other words, how would you make it not look like the political rhetoric we currently have flying back and forth?

 

I'd start by getting the "demon" out of the equation. Gun owners aren't evil. They aren't monsters. But they're doing something that, if treated carelessly without proper caution and respect, can harm them and society as a whole. That approach worked for cigarettes. It worked for seat belts. It worked for drinking and driving. I believe it can work for this.

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2 hours ago, Pattern Ghost said:

 

You do realize that accidental shootings have been on a steady decline, right? There's massive promotion of safe gun ownership, and a wealth of information available through the internet on safety and the consequences of lethal force use. On the two most frequented gun forums on the internet, Walter Mitty fantasies about gun ownership and lethal force  use are routinely and quickly smacked down by the communities. Inexpensive training in basic use, storage and safety is widely available through the NRA. (And despite my distaste for their fear-mongering rhetoric, these courses are affordable and good quality barring the occasional bonehead instructor that gets through the cracks.)

 

I'd say that responsible gun owners are already out in force. OTOH, we have plenty of boneheads, because like many human traits, boneheadedness falls out along a bell curve. But the responsible segment is out there.

 

That this promotion still isn't widely discussed, and that non-accidental shootings are still a major problem, suggest to me that responsible gun owners are still not being active enough. Communities of like-minded individuals aren't the needed targets for the message. The change in attitude has to be spread out across the wider society, reaching young people who only see the popular media images of guns. Responsible gun users have to get as motivated, as well organized, and yes, as loud as the more strident elements of the NRA. And they have to form associations with like-minded figures in government, just as the NRA does. They would carry a weight in this discussion that non-gun owners just don't have.

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3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

That this promotion still isn't widely discussed, and that non-accidental shootings are still a major problem, suggest to me that responsible gun owners are still not being active enough

 

Are we going to go down the road that law abiding gun owners are somehow responsible for criminal misuse of firearms?  I'm going to have to ask for clarification here.

 

Also, non-accidental shootings are ALSO on the decline. Mass shootings are trending upward for whatever reason, but violent crime as a whole is down.

 

3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

Communities of like-minded individuals aren't the needed targets for the message.

 

What message? I'm saying there are resources for information. It's up to the individual to seek out that information. Attempts to disseminate even the most basic gun safety information have been consistently blocked by the anti-gun crowd, by the way. 

 

3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

The change in attitude has to be spread out across the wider society, reaching young people who only see the popular media images of guns.

 

The popular media tends to skew very left in this country. So perhaps you're putting this one on the wrong side? It's not like the media can get even the most basic facts about firearms, firearms safety, self defense law, statistics on gun use or any other number of things right, and it's not like the many, many anti-gun actors, producers and directors are going to suddenly reverse years of hypocrisy in glorifying gun violence in entertainment.

 

3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

Responsible gun users have to get as motivated, as well organized, and yes, as loud as the more strident elements of the NRA. And they have to form associations with like-minded figures in government, just as the NRA does.

 

The NRA mouthpieces are political animals. They use emotions, and mostly negative ones, to promote their cause, to drum up funds, etc. So, I don't give them any funds. But they're also the only major game in town. The body of the organization is composed of responsible gun owners.

 

Whether you or I like their methods, their voice is the ONLY one that's going to get any media soundbites, precisely because they so often sound strident and absurd. There are other organizations that don't get the press coverage, and they won't. Because they are rational. What you are asking for already exists. Go look at the amicus briefs Heller or McDonald, and you'll find them.

 

This isn't on "responsible gun owners" this is on what passes for the press.

 

3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

They would carry a weight in this discussion that non-gun owners just don't have.

 

If it bleeds it leads. Rational discussion doesn't bleed enough for our news media to cover. There IS rational discussion, but you'd need to be Indiana Jones to dig it up. I heard a pretty decent roundtable discussion on NPR (which was unbiased, despite its reputation for a leftist slant) a while back. I think it was the middle of last year. I'll leave it to you to dig up the numbers on NPR's audience size vs. CNN, Fox, or the rest of the 24/7 news giants. Then figure that the one spot I heard ran maybe a couple of times during the week it was aired vs. the wall to wall stupid that our news media presents the public.

 

If you have any ideas on how to penetrate that wall of stupid, maybe we can then formulate a message of responsible gun ownership that will reach the masses.

 

I realize that's pretty heavy on the sarcasm, but I don't disagree in principle with what you're saying. I just don't think there's any reasonable way to get it done. As the song goes, you don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, and you don't shout down the NRA or Bloomberg.

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While american politics has lately been in the stuff of nightmares for the western world lately, this was a beautiful development.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/08/politics/danica-roem-virginia-transgender/index.html

 

Basically a right wing glass bowl who made persecuting lgbt people his political priority and proudly described himself as Virginia's chief homophobe just lost his position in the Virginia senate to a transgender person. Oooohhhhh, the delicious irony of it....

 

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Let's hope the message is sent loud and clear to my party of choice:

 

Trump only happened because he was facing a wildly unpopular candidate representing a two term government.  It wasn't anything he said, it wasn't anything he did.

 

Knock it off before you lose us the midterms (provided the President hasn't already done so).

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2 hours ago, Pattern Ghost said:

 

Are we going to go down the road that law abiding gun owners are somehow responsible for criminal misuse of firearms?  I'm going to have to ask for clarification here.

 

Also, non-accidental shootings are ALSO on the decline. Mass shootings are trending upward for whatever reason, but violent crime as a whole is down.

 

 

What message? I'm saying there are resources for information. It's up to the individual to seek out that information. Attempts to disseminate even the most basic gun safety information have been consistently blocked by the anti-gun crowd, by the way. 

 

 

The popular media tends to skew very left in this country. So perhaps you're putting this one on the wrong side? It's not like the media can get even the most basic facts about firearms, firearms safety, self defense law, statistics on gun use or any other number of things right, and it's not like the many, many anti-gun actors, producers and directors are going to suddenly reverse years of hypocrisy in glorifying gun violence in entertainment.

 

 

The NRA mouthpieces are political animals. They use emotions, and mostly negative ones, to promote their cause, to drum up funds, etc. So, I don't give them any funds. But they're also the only major game in town. The body of the organization is composed of responsible gun owners.

 

Whether you or I like their methods, their voice is the ONLY one that's going to get any media soundbites, precisely because they so often sound strident and absurd. There are other organizations that don't get the press coverage, and they won't. Because they are rational. What you are asking for already exists. Go look at the amicus briefs Heller or McDonald, and you'll find them.

 

This isn't on "responsible gun owners" this is on what passes for the press.

 

 

If it bleeds it leads. Rational discussion doesn't bleed enough for our news media to cover. There IS rational discussion, but you'd need to be Indiana Jones to dig it up. I heard a pretty decent roundtable discussion on NPR (which was unbiased, despite its reputation for a leftist slant) a while back. I think it was the middle of last year. I'll leave it to you to dig up the numbers on NPR's audience size vs. CNN, Fox, or the rest of the 24/7 news giants. Then figure that the one spot I heard ran maybe a couple of times during the week it was aired vs. the wall to wall stupid that our news media presents the public.

 

If you have any ideas on how to penetrate that wall of stupid, maybe we can then formulate a message of responsible gun ownership that will reach the masses.

 

I realize that's pretty heavy on the sarcasm, but I don't disagree in principle with what you're saying. I just don't think there's any reasonable way to get it done. As the song goes, you don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, and you don't shout down the NRA or Bloomberg.

 

And I do appreciate your acknowledging the reasonableness of the debate, and presenting your positions in a sensible fashion. :)  I don't normally engage in point-by-point rebuttals because they tend to degenerate into endless spirals; but since you asked for clarification I feel I owe it to you to provide it.

 

Calling any party in the United States "responsible" for misuse of firearms is something I've been trying very hard to avoid, because finger-pointing isn't accurate and just inflames people. If I failed in this case I apologize. Gun violence in the United States is a complex problem with many causes; but I do hold that everyone who isn't part of the solution is part of the problem. However, I have to strongly disagree with you that it's incumbent on individuals to seek out information that could change their minds, because it's not just individuals engaging in the activity who experience the negative consequences of it. All of society pays the price, both in dollars and in lives. I'm of an age to remember when smoking was ubiquitous and even encouraged, to remember when people didn't drive with seat belts because they wrinkled their clothes, to remember when every young person knew someone who died because they drank and drove. And I remember the massive public media campaigns highlighting the dangers of those activities, organized by governments with government funding, justified not just for altruistic reasons, but because their fallout cost tax dollars. The process took many years, but over time it built momentum, until attitudes finally did change. Nothing would have changed if we gave up the effort because it was hard.

 

But to get that kind of campaign going, every person who wants to see a change in attitude toward guns has to get pro-active. It has to be a group effort, a chorus of voices. And it has to get smart. The  National Rifle Association has a membership of five million. Five. Out of a population of 325 million.They didn't start out having such a disproportionate political influence. Spreading an emotional fear-mongering message is certainly part of their effectiveness; but another big factor is organized motivation. As soon as they hear of any legislative movement anywhere in the country toward restricting firearm use in any way or degree, they're on the 'phone and Internet to their local members, telling them to contact their representative to insist that restriction be killed. The representative is flooded with calls against the law, so they think their constituents are against it. The (I believe) far larger moderate part of the American public has to get behind the message of reason, and keep speaking loud and proud until the vote-counters in government, and the ad-revenue-counters in media, start taking notice. Then we may start to see advertising and elected officials singing a different tune, and the "wall to wall stupid" start to crack.

 

Look, in my country of Canada we have no tradition or mystique of gun ownership. Hand guns have always been considered an adjunct of law enforcement. Those of us who own long guns view them as tools, to be used when and where appropriate. And our per capita gun violence is a small fraction of what it is in the United States. That pattern is repeated in countries around the world. Your neighbors here look on the passions of the gun debate in the US with bewilderment and consternation, because we live the reality that it doesn't have to be that way.

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3 hours ago, DasBroot said:

Let's hope the message is sent loud and clear to my party of choice:

 

Trump only happened because he was facing a wildly unpopular candidate representing a two term government.  It wasn't anything he said, it wasn't anything he did.

 

Knock it off before you lose us the midterms (provided the President hasn't already done so).

Sadly I think its too late. But sometimes the only way to get past the stupid is a smack in the face....the fools who hitched this pony to their wagon are in for a bumpy ride.

 

It's my hope that the smoking ruins left of "my" party will come out better, and stronger...I don't dare hope for smarter.

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2 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

And I do appreciate your acknowledging the reasonableness of the debate, and presenting your positions in a sensible fashion. :)  I don't normally engage in point-by-point rebuttals because they tend to degenerate into endless spirals; but since you asked for clarification I feel I owe it to you to provide it.

 

Calling any party in the United States "responsible" for misuse of firearms is something I've been trying very hard to avoid, because finger-pointing isn't accurate and just inflames people. If I failed in this case I apologize. Gun violence in the United States is a complex problem with many causes; but I do hold that everyone who isn't part of the solution is part of the problem. However, I have to strongly disagree with you that it's incumbent on individuals to seek out information that could change their minds, because it's not just individuals engaging in the activity who experience the negative consequences of it. All of society pays the price, both in dollars and in lives. I'm of an age to remember when smoking was ubiquitous and even encouraged, to remember when people didn't drive with seat belts because they wrinkled their clothes, to remember when every young person knew someone who died because they drank and drove. And I remember the massive public media campaigns highlighting the dangers of those activities, organized by governments with government funding, justified not just for altruistic reasons, but because their fallout cost tax dollars. The process took many years, but over time it built momentum, until attitudes finally did change. Nothing would have changed if we gave up the effort because it was hard.

 

But to get that kind of campaign going, every person who wants to see a change in attitude toward guns has to get pro-active. It has to be a group effort, a chorus of voices. And it has to get smart. The  National Rifle Association has a membership of five million. Five. Out of a population of 325 million.They didn't start out having such a disproportionate political influence. Spreading an emotional fear-mongering message is certainly part of their effectiveness; but another big factor is organized motivation. As soon as they hear of any legislative movement anywhere in the country toward restricting firearm use in any way or degree, they're on the 'phone and Internet to their local members, telling them to contact their representative to insist that restriction be killed. The representative is flooded with calls against the law, so they think their constituents are against it. The (I believe) far larger moderate part of the American public has to get behind the message of reason, and keep speaking loud and proud until the vote-counters in government, and the ad-revenue-counters in media, start taking notice. Then we may start to see advertising and elected officials singing a different tune, and the "wall to wall stupid" start to crack.

 

Look, in my country of Canada we have no tradition or mystique of gun ownership. Hand guns have always been considered an adjunct of law enforcement. Those of us who own long guns view them as tools, to be used when and where appropriate. And our per capita gun violence is a small fraction of what it is in the United States. That pattern is repeated in countries around the world. Your neighbors here look on the passions of the gun debate in the US with bewilderment and consternation, because we live the reality that it doesn't have to be that way.

I understand, but unlike other "first world" countries, the US of A arose directly from armed revolution. England fought a civil war, executed their king, then shortly after went back to having a royal family that had a role in the government. So a return to status quo (sorta) (it was a constatutional monarchy) So our history plays a unique role, fueling passion. Up north, the Government could simply pass a law, and people had no tradition to resist such a law, Australia, England, etc all the same.

 

But here we have a tradition that an armed populace counters tyranny. So the passions are unigue as well.

 

Disclaimer: I am a bad speller, and my new meds are making me a little loopy, so please excuse my poor typing.

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4 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

I don't normally engage in point-by-point rebuttals because they tend to degenerate into endless spirals; but since you asked for clarification I feel I owe it to you to provide it.

 

Thank you. I'm not taking our discussion as anything other than a casual brain storming session, so perhaps that's a bit spiral-inducing, but sometimes it helps to examine an issue from all sides.

 

4 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

misuse of firearms

 

4 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

Gun violence in the United States

 

Let's pause here for clarification, because I think we're talking past each other. There are two issues that have been discussed:

 

1. Basic responsibility. That covers safe operation, understanding of when to use or not use the tool, how to store it and prevent unauthorized access, how not to endanger others when using it, etc. IOW, training.

 

2. Criminal activity. When I'm talking about educational activities, the only kind of criminal activity that those might curtail is inappropriate  defensive use of force. Mass shootings and murders aren't really going to be curtailed by training.

 

4 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

But to get that kind of campaign going, every person who wants to see a change in attitude toward guns has to get pro-active.

 

It's not an attitude towards guns that needs to change. The gun isn't seducing people into killing people. The problem of criminal gun use is not analogous to the smoking problem or the drunk driving problem because there is a HUGE difference in intent.

 

Think about this: When's the last time you think a smoker lit up a cigarette with the intention of getting cancer or causing bystanders health problems from secondary smoke? They don't. There's no ill intent, just a desire to feed a personal addiction, to seek relief from stress, or whatever other reason people smoke. Awareness campaigns work because people are not good about weighing long term consequences versus immediate gratification. That same problem factors into drunk driving.

 

Your theory is flawed because you don't account for intent.

 

I'm not responsible for someone else's intent.

 

As a society, we can influence intent. There have been programs proven to work to curb gang violence, for example, that were posted by me or someone else on the boards a few years back.

 

If you want to look at gun violence as a whole you need to look at motives, then do what you can to remove them.

 

5 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

Look, in my country of Canada we have no tradition or mystique of gun ownership. Hand guns have always been considered an adjunct of law enforcement. Those of us who own long guns view them as tools, to be used when and where appropriate. And our per capita gun violence is a small fraction of what it is in the United States. That pattern is repeated in countries around the world. Your neighbors here look on the passions of the gun debate in the US with bewilderment and consternation, because we live the reality that it doesn't have to be that way.

 

So, you're saying that your apples taste better than our oranges? :D

 

I think American attitudes toward individualism and rebelliousness are definitely part of our national identity, and that a lot of us take those attitudes a bit too far to say the least.

 

IMO, the firearms debate is a symptom of that. But it's just one of many issues that it's easy to get Americans riled up about. The key problem is we're easy to get riled up.

 

 

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Pattern Ghost, I'm having trouble figuring out how to break up quotations using the new forum software, so I'm going to respond to your points in plain text, with my replies in italics. I hope you'll forgive the awkwardness of this format.


Thank you. I'm not taking our discussion as anything other than a casual brain storming session, so perhaps that's a bit spiral-inducing, but sometimes it helps to examine an issue from all sides.

 

That's a perfectly fair approach. I will attempt to reply in kind. :)

 

It's not an attitude towards guns that needs to change. The gun isn't seducing people into killing people. The problem of criminal gun use is not analogous to the smoking problem or the drunk driving problem because there is a HUGE difference in intent.


Think about this: When's the last time you think a smoker lit up a cigarette with the intention of getting cancer or causing bystanders health problems from secondary smoke? They don't. There's no ill intent, just a desire to feed a personal addiction, to seek relief from stress, or whatever other reason people smoke. Awareness campaigns work because people are not good about weighing long term consequences versus immediate gratification. That same problem factors into drunk driving.


Your theory is flawed because you don't account for intent.


I'm not responsible for someone else's intent.


As a society, we can influence intent. There have been programs proven to work to curb gang violence, for example, that were posted by me or someone else on the boards a few years back.


If you want to look at gun violence as a whole you need to look at motives, then do what you can to remove them.


I believe you're interpreting "intent" a little too tightly here. It's not just what's motivating a specific action; it's the attitude and mindset a person carries into situations which prompts and guides their actions. I see numerous symptoms in contemporary social interactions, of an attitude that deadly force -- of which guns are the most popularized manifestation -- is a legitimate and desirable first response when a person objects to some element of another person's behavior. Someone gets into an argument, feels disrespected, gets a gun and shoots their antagonist. Someone who feels hard-done by a group, whether a private organization or the government, threatens lethal action if they don't get their way, and sometimes follows through. Proportionate response, respect for order, aren't considerations in the decision-making process. You see these symptoms in movies, television, games, where the protagonist kills numerous people, many of whom did nothing to him other than get in the way of what he wants. The protagonist usually acts in the name of "justice" however he defines that, but ignores or subverts law and authority. In many cases law and authority are actually depicted as the enemy.

 

Please understand that I'm not blaming entertainment media for this issue. They're merely a very visible manifestation of the attitude. But I do suspect the various social forces of synergy, reflecting and feeding each other.

 

As far as smoking goes, awareness of the harm it did wasn't the main factor that changed the behavior. People had been informed of the risks of smoking for years. What changed was the overall social attitude that allowed for smoking, excused it, made it socially acceptable. When that changed, peer pressure began to be exerted on people to stop, or not to take up the habit. And that came about as a result of constant propaganda, if you will ;)  , which gradually shifted the general attitude toward smoking.


So, you're saying that your apples taste better than our oranges? :D

 

Actually, I'm saying they're both related varieties of fruit. Blending them often produces a very tasty punch. ;)

 

I think American attitudes toward individualism and rebelliousness are definitely part of our national identity, and that a lot of us take those attitudes a bit too far to say the least.

 

IMO, the firearms debate is a symptom of that. But it's just one of many issues that it's easy to get Americans riled up about. The key problem is we're easy to get riled up.

 

With that I'm in complete agreement with you. I'm just not yet prepared to accept that nothing can be done about it.

 

I have to admit, though, that I've expended as much time and energy on this specific topic as I can spare. You're free to continue to explain your view, but if you don't mind, I shall gracefully withdraw.

 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

I see numerous symptoms in contemporary social interactions, of an attitude that deadly force -- of which guns are the most popularized manifestation -- is a legitimate and desirable first response when a person objects to some element of another person's behavior

 

I see this as aberrant behavior, and I disagree with you as to where its roots lie. I do agree that this attitude is more prevalent in the US than in other places. If you think it's a problem in the general population, though, you're seriously mistaken IMO.

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40 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

With that I'm in complete agreement with you. I'm just not yet prepared to accept that nothing can be done about it.

 

Sorry for extra post, forgot to pull this.

 

I wouldn't say nothing can be done about it, rather that it's something that's going to take generational shifts. I think that's already started, to a degree, but we're still a long way to go before we reach Canadian levels of politeness as a society. :D

 

 

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I have been drifting further and further towards the bomb-throwing anarchists as I grow older, but I am not convinced that anything further can be accomplished by increasing the restrictions on weapons ownership for people without criminal history.  I think there is something in our national mythos and psyche that tacitly permits, or even encourages, people who feel that they are pushed to the edge should take up arms and commit violent acts.  If you were to swap in "spinach" for "gun" and plug it into a Popeye episode, ... I think the parallel is obvious, though sanitized in the cartoon of the reality of bloodshed and death.

 

It's impossible to prove that, of course.*  But it has the potential to explain why the Swiss (who are up there with USers on gun possession) don't have twice-weekly mass murders.  Their national identity does not include the cowboy scenario, that an honest man with a revolver can make the world better by getting mad, hunting down the villain, and settling the issue once and for all.  Ours does, and it plays out every day in our entertainment.

 

But it's also impossible to get hard data on the situation.  If my suspicion is correct, then modest changes in firearms regulations in either direction wouldn't change the frequency of these indiscriminate killings.  At this time, it is forbidden to get funding, or cooperation from the relevant government agencies, to perform coherent, rigorous, controlled, and honest studies.  It is assumed by both sides that all studies (except theirs) cook the books to get an answer they want (and, of course, their studies cook the books to get their own desired answer).  And if you say you want to do such a study, bad faith is not only assumed, it is explicitly and loudly asserted, promptly, and their politicians but your butt to a fire if they possibly can.

 

And as someone who believes that good, honest, properly-conducted science is the way to solve just about any issue, that reflexive prohibition on trying to do science is especially galling.

 

---

*It may be that domestic violence, as opposed to the mass killings, could be made less lethal if firearms were less common.  I'm of two minds there, but the disparities introduced by gender roles and endowments might be a confounding factor here.  I don't pretend to have a much of a clue here.  DV is different enough, and the emotional charge involved with that, may engage the reach-for-a-gun act differently.  It seems to me like it interacts differently with the cowboy mythos, but I'm doing little more than blowing smoke out my ears on that.

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See, this is the attitude that worries me, relegating gun use to the category of "fun," something that's harmlessly pleasant. Fun isn't a good enough reason to downplay the negatives inherent in something, which leads to people not taking it seriously. For some people, drag racing on city streets is fun. Surfing in the swell from an approaching hurricane is fun. But these activities can have dangerous consequences, not only for the people engaging in them, but those innocents who may be caught up in their fallout.

 

I understand that there are a few other uses for guns besides killing. I can use a garden hoe as a back scratcher if I want to. That doesn't change what it was designed for, and does best.

 

 

I've fired thousands of rounds in recreational contexts. I've been to several cowboy action shooting matches, where dozens of people come together to enjoy shooting firearms in friendly competition. While I've never actually attended one, there's a thriving "three-gun" scene in which people do the same type of thing but with modern firearms.

 

So, from my perspective, saying that "there are a few other uses for guns besides killing" is at best coming from a place of ignorance about how guns are actually used. Your choosing to compare recreational firearm usage to things like drag racing on public streets and surfing on hurricane swells seems a bit disingenuous, because you picked one example that is illegal and stupid and one that's legal but even more stupid. A much better comparison would have been, say, playing sports: people get injured playing sports all the time, but playing sports is not something generally recognized as foolish or stupid to do. I've spent more time at the range than I have at sporting events, but I've still seen more people injured through sports than with firearms. Should we ban football because the players often suffer brain trauma? If public safety is the central issue, why should I be allowed to scramble my brain on the football field but forbidden from enjoying a harmless afternoon of blasting steel in a gravel pit?

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1 hour ago, Cancer said:

But it's also impossible to get hard data on the situation. 

 

The CDC still has death rate data. Looking at raw numbers doesn't a study make, but here are some raw numbers for 2015:

 

Total Deaths: 2,626,418

Death rate: 823.7 deaths per 100,000 population

Number of deaths for leading causes of death (spoilered for size):

  • Heart disease: 633,842
  • Cancer: 595,930
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 155,041
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 146,571
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 140,323
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 110,561
  • Diabetes: 79,535
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 57,062
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 49,959
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 44,193

 

All homicides

  • Number of deaths: 15,872
  • Deaths per 100,000 population: 5.0

Firearm homicides

  • Number of deaths: 11,008
  • Deaths per 100,000 population: 3.5

From the Washington Post:

  • Number of people shot and killed by police: 989

All suicides

  • Number of deaths: 42,826
  • Deaths per 100,000 population: 13.4
  • Cause of death rank: 10

Firearm suicides

  • Number of deaths: 21,386
  • Deaths per 100,000 population: 6.7

The CDC fast facts pages I'm referencing don't list Firearms related accidental deaths. It does give the top three causes of accidental death as falling, vehicle and poisoning.

 

Links (spoilered for length):

 

 

 

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OK, I apparently forgot to close a spoiler tag, so that last post is completely crapped up. I can't see the tags when I edit the post to fix it. Sorry about that. If anyone knows how to get the editor to show tags when editing a post that's already been made, let me know. Maybe there's a setting I'm not seeing?

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Wow.  50% of suicides are via firearms?  Interesting that if we cured all diseases and ended aging, we'd reduce the death rate about 90%, and the three leading(only?) causes of death would be accidents, suicides and homicides.  

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2 hours ago, Zeropoint said:

 

I've fired thousands of rounds in recreational contexts. I've been to several cowboy action shooting matches, where dozens of people come together to enjoy shooting firearms in friendly competition. While I've never actually attended one, there's a thriving "three-gun" scene in which people do the same type of thing but with modern firearms.

 

So, from my perspective, saying that "there are a few other uses for guns besides killing" is at best coming from a place of ignorance about how guns are actually used. Your choosing to compare recreational firearm usage to things like drag racing on public streets and surfing on hurricane swells seems a bit disingenuous, because you picked one example that is illegal and stupid and one that's legal but even more stupid. A much better comparison would have been, say, playing sports: people get injured playing sports all the time, but playing sports is not something generally recognized as foolish or stupid to do. I've spent more time at the range than I have at sporting events, but I've still seen more people injured through sports than with firearms. Should we ban football because the players often suffer brain trauma? If public safety is the central issue, why should I be allowed to scramble my brain on the football field but forbidden from enjoying a harmless afternoon of blasting steel in a gravel pit?

 

Just stopping by quickly to say, first, that I did not mean to offend. In my discussion I've been trying to keep emphasizing that I understand there are many gun users who behave responsibly and keep clear boundaries in mind. If I gave an impression otherwise, I'm sorry. (Although I admit I'm still have trouble seeing how the examples you gave aren't just minor variations on the same use, shooting at inanimate targets rather than animate ones. But that's a nitpick.) It's the people who take the rush of firing a gun beyond those boundaries, who want to carry that sense of power into other areas of their lives, who concern me.

 

Interestingly, contact sports organizations do seem to be grappling with the practical and ethical implications of people, including children, engaging in activities that are supposed to be fun and recreational, which carry a risk of permanent debilitating injury,. We'll have to see how that falls out; but it's clearly not the subject for this thread.

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