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Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)


Simon

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Gun tracing would be helped by automated processing like the fingerprint system, or Vicap, but the ATF is forbidden to computerize their records. Their Gov page tries to paint a rosy picture of the process but this is what NBC Chicago says:

https://www.nbcchicago.com/violence-in-chicago/how-crime-guns-are-traced-in-the-us-one-page-at-a-time/2615068/  

 

Pay attention to the fact that when they get a request to track a gun, someone has to go into the record area and manually search for the number from the manufacturer, and then call the manufacturer to find out the chain of deals that happened with any one gun.

CES  

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2 hours ago, Ranxerox said:

Personally, I consider everyone under twenty a quite a few people over 20 to be children. 

 

I consider everyone under 30 children, so with you there.

 

2 hours ago, Ranxerox said:

We could do those things and make gun access harder to get. 

 

I agree. But we won't figure out how to make it harder for them to access guns if we keep coming up with stupid solutions. Frankly, I haven't seen everything Stewart has to say on the subject. I tried to watch the full episode of his show that the YouTube clip was from last night, but the app kept crashing on me. Still, what I have seen is the same "common sense" nonsense that will do nothing to solve the problems it's supposed to.

 

I say again: I am NOT against doing something on the firearms end of things. I'm just against doing stupid crap to make people feel good in the moment, instead of look for actual solutions that solve the stated problem. Nothing Stewart mentioned in the clip, in the first half of the episode, or any other time I've seen him go off on an emotional tirade on the issue, will actually do what he wants. Intervention and diversion have proven to be effective in reducing deaths, yet  . . . we don't hear a damned thing about them when we talk about that demographic. If people like Stewart keep pushing for "common sense" gun reforms to "save the children" constantly, but NEVER mention intervention or diversion programs . . . they are part of the problem.

 

Try this: Search for the following terms: "John Stewart on gun control," and "John Stewart on reducing gang violence." Tell me how many videos you find of him talking about the latter.

 

By continuing to mislabel these preventable deaths as simply "children killed by guns" and not as gang-related violence, the root problem continues to be ignored.

 

 

1 hour ago, csyphrett said:

Gun tracing

 

I'm still looking for evidence that gun tracing does anything to actually solve crimes. And I'm also still looking for evidence that solving crimes prevents them.

 

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45 minutes ago, Ternaugh said:

Jon Stewart has a couple of episodes of his Apple TV+ show that deal with gun control. I haven't watched those specific episodes, but the interview linked above fits the format of the last half of each episode.

 

Yeah, I was trying to watch the one that the YouTube clip was from last night,  but the stream kept freezing at a certain point. I'm going to try again later tonight.

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11 hours ago, Ranxerox said:

Yes, they could still stab one another, but knives simply are not as good at killing people as guns in the hands of the untrained.

 

I'm going to insert a quibble here.

 

Even if you don't know the sharp edge cuts and the pointy end goes in the other person, as long as you can at least figure out which part to hold onto you can do a lot of damage with a knife.

 

On the other hand, while firearms are certainly more dangerous than a knife in most situations, I can't tell you how many new shooters I've worked with who can't figure out how to load a firearm without physical  assistance and multiple repetitions or have shown up to shoot without the correct ammunition to even fit into their firearm.

 

While one should always assume a firearm is loaded as a matter of best practice, an unloaded firearm is no more dangerous physically than any other paperweight of similar size and mass.

 

Yeah, I really don't have an issue with a training requirement before someone is allowed to own a gun.

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14 hours ago, Pattern Ghost said:

Note: I'm responding to this quote first, but don't take the length of the post as I continue on into the weeds personally, Tricksta. I just found myself expanding on a thought that started here.

Thanks for the start!

 

And yes, I think we can say that Stewart's tactics (and more importantly information) isn't right here.  I appreciate him, but do know he's just as liable as anyone else to do bad things.  Or use bad information.  Or simply be wrong.

 

55 minutes ago, Tom said:

Even if you don't know the sharp edge cuts and the pointy end goes in the other person, as long as you can at least figure out which part to hold onto you can do a lot of damage with a knife.

 

Yeah, but that's damage to an individual person.  I'm not sure how much damage a knife can effectively inflict on a crowd.  Like at a nightclub.


There have been 'stabbing frenzies', but I don't think they are as common.

 

Anyway it's not a conversation about whether we should allow knives or guns, it's a question of whether a knife is more dangerous than a gun.  A knife is very hard to use to seriously injure a dozen people.  It's very easy to improvise a weapon and coordinate with a group.  You are likely to get stabbed or hurt grabbing a knife, but rushing a firearm from a distance away is quite a different prospect.

 

Though as I said before, my priorities lie elsewhere.  And in general I'm quite willing to be wrong on an issue I don't know much about... >_>  but I think we, as a country, are a real outlier on this subject, so I'm also willing to push back a little more too.

 

Right now my biggest concern is... well, the fostering of more violence and death in this country by major politicians.  My second biggest is how this chaos is going to be exasperated by serious poverty being created by resource extraction of the American public.  And then from lack of resources and food and water due to overuse and climate change that will collapse any kind of reconciliation or revival.  And how technology can be leveraged by a government in such times to have a death-grip on society and the major suffering that can cause...

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I mean, I eye him warily on specifics, but I do think _disclosure_ is one of the most important moments for people to actually get information about political bodies like this.  Same with the court process.

 

So it really, really frustrates me when people talk about stolen elections but actually did zero review of the court proceedings.  There's no excuse to failing to look at public sources when and where they exist.

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Another angle to this is the Carlson portrayal of Jan. 6th that came out, what, last week.  Even now, it's doubling down yet again on the storyline...even when all these points about their real opinions are.  Even numerous Senate Republicans lashed out on them, but Fox ran with them anyway.

BTW:  Beau's right, IIRC, that many of the right wing media outlets aren't talking about the suit at all.  

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1 minute ago, unclevlad said:

Another angle to this is the Carlson portrayal of Jan. 6th that came out, what, last week.  Even now, it's doubling down yet again on the storyline...even when all these points about their real opinions are.  Even numerous Senate Republicans lashed out on them, but Fox ran with them anyway.

 

Yeah, which is setting the ground for... more attempts.  And whether it's attempts of trying to undermine an entire election with minimal evidence or effort or attempts to seize Capitol Hill, again, to intimidate Congress into making him/someone President through a public show of force... both of those legitimize the MTG call for either a national divorce... or worse.

 

Given I actually spent a few minutes to learn about the first civil war... and Mussolini's march...  Which was a nonviolent transference of power through intimidation via a public show of force

 

https://www.britannica.com/event/March-on-Rome

 

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, but I won't claim to be a historical expert.  Just that explicit bloodshed is often not necessary to seize control of a country.

 

You can tell it's been a few stressful years for some of us...

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24 minutes ago, Old Man said:

 

One must question whether the US can remain one country.

 

Thought experiment:  you are offered $10M, after taxes.  The only condition is that you must live full-time in Florida, Tennessee, or Texas for the rest of your life, for at least, say, 75% of the time.  Would you take it?

 

For me?  No.  But I'm financially comfortable...not rich, but comfortable.  So that obviously makes a big difference.  Oh, $10M would be awesome...but not at the cost of looking over my shoulder at my state's government, wondering when the hammer might fall.  

 

There are other states that might get included there, these are just the 3 that have been most front and center recently.

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Well, I don’t live in California because I love the politics. I live here because my family and friends are here, and because of the geography. So probably not, but not because of their government.

 

 Edit: I did live in Oklahoma for about seven years. There were things I can look back and say were better than here (sense of community, as in if the older person in the neighborhood got sick the neighbors signed up to mow their lawn… that actually happened once). There were differences I appreciated but had costs (greater value on self reliance than here versus expectations of government). And things I hated (the casual sexism in stratified gender roles, that sort of thing). The weather was horrific. The people were lovely, much nicer overall. I moved back for many reasons, but mainly the weather and wanted to raise my kids in my home State. They had as many misconceptions about California as admittedly I had about them moving there. 

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Yeh.  That kind of money actually insulates yourself from the issues living in a lot of these states... it's the poor that tends to suffer, whether it's Cali or Texas.  So the question isn't really a fair or well-phrased one.

 

I wouldn't live in those states for a variety of reasons, but sometimes things change.  In your own locale or others.

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30 minutes ago, unclevlad said:

 

One must question whether the US can remain one country.

 

Thought experiment:  you are offered $10M, after taxes.  The only condition is that you must live full-time in Florida, Tennessee, or Texas for the rest of your life, for at least, say, 75% of the time.  Would you take it?

 

For me?  No.  But I'm financially comfortable...not rich, but comfortable.  So that obviously makes a big difference.  Oh, $10M would be awesome...but not at the cost of looking over my shoulder at my state's government, wondering when the hammer might fall.  

 

There are other states that might get included there, these are just the 3 that have been most front and center recently.

 

Loophole: the Free Socialist City of Austin.  But I'm not LGBTQ, nor female, nor is my skin that dark, so I wouldn't be getting the full effect anyway.

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On 3/4/2023 at 4:04 PM, IndianaJoe3 said:

An, "assault weapon" is a rifle with all of these characteristics:

  • Fires a centerfire cartridge greater than 34mm in length
  • Has a detachable magazine
  • Is less than 41" long in fireable configuration
  • Capable of semi-automatic fire

 

On 3/4/2023 at 5:41 PM, Iuz the Evil said:

Well I think an assault rifle (not “weapon” although now we are hearing about “assault pistols” and I have no idea what that could possibly be) is generally “a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine.” They were designed for military use.

 

Coming back to this a bit, I thought I'd provide a bit of context for the typical (from a gun person perspective) on inclusion of selective fire as part of the definition of an 'assault rifle' and one possible explanation for why the term 'assault weapon' seems so hard to pin down.

 

For someone with a historic interest in military firearms, the 'assault rifle' is an actual thing.  We know what it is and what characteristics define it.  We can even point to a specific gun and say: "this is where it all begins..."

 

We might debate whether 'this' gun or 'that' gun is an 'assault rifle' or a 'battle rifle' (gun nerds can be as bad as Hero gamers tearing apart a character sheet -- well, maybe not that bad), but we can agree on what isn't an 'assault rifle' and selective fire is part of the core definition.

 

'Assault weapon' as we are seeing, is a nice vague term that sounds threatening, but that we're having a hard time (though we haven't really dug that deep into things here) actually defining it.  Sort of like 'pornography' - "I know it when I see it."  Or, more simply, it's whatever I say it is.

 

For anyone interested in a bit of military history:

 

 

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2 hours ago, unclevlad said:

 

One must question whether the US can remain one country.

 

Thought experiment:  you are offered $10M, after taxes.  The only condition is that you must live full-time in Florida, Tennessee, or Texas for the rest of your life, for at least, say, 75% of the time.  Would you take it?

 

For me?  No.  But I'm financially comfortable...not rich, but comfortable.  So that obviously makes a big difference.  Oh, $10M would be awesome...but not at the cost of looking over my shoulder at my state's government, wondering when the hammer might fall.  

 

There are other states that might get included there, these are just the 3 that have been most front and center recently.

 

I'm sort of stuck here it Texas anyway, so I might take the $10M, given I'm a bit insulated, here in Austin. I figure there's less than a 60% chance they'll be looking through court records to find those of us who changed our gender markers, then rounding us all up. At least until after the 2024 elections.

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28 minutes ago, Tom said:

 

 

Coming back to this a bit, I thought I'd provide a bit of context for the typical (from a gun person perspective) on inclusion of selective fire as part of the definition of an 'assault rifle' and one possible explanation for why the term 'assault weapon' seems so hard to pin down.

 

For someone with a historic interest in military firearms, the 'assault rifle' is an actual thing.  We know what it is and what characteristics define it.  We can even point to a specific gun and say: "this is where it all begins..."

 

We might debate whether 'this' gun or 'that' gun is an 'assault rifle' or a 'battle rifle' (gun nerds can be as bad as Hero gamers tearing apart a character sheet -- well, maybe not that bad), but we can agree on what isn't an 'assault rifle' and selective fire is part of the core definition.

 

'Assault weapon' as we are seeing, is a nice vague term that sounds threatening, but that we're having a hard time (though we haven't really dug that deep into things here) actually defining it.  Sort of like 'pornography' - "I know it when I see it."  Or, more simply, it's whatever I say it is.

 

For anyone interested in a bit of military history:

 

 


Totally. And that new “assault pistol” thing being bandied about hurts my head. A .22 center fire pistol with a threaded barrel is an “assault weapon” in California. Seriously, a .22 pistol, being equated to a military weapon.

 

 It’s dilution of language to the point it becomes meaningless. 

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A small irony of the video is the argument that the Left must learn and accept what used to be considered part of conservatism -- a particular kind of conservatism, anyway: that humanity must be constrained by rules, enforced by institutions. The only questions are what the rules shall be, and who sets them, to what ends.

 

The fence of a prison camp, keeping you in, is not the same as the fence of a minefield, keeping you out.

 

Dean Shomshak

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9 hours ago, Iuz the Evil said:


Totally. And that new “assault pistol” thing being bandied about hurts my head. A .22 center fire pistol with a threaded barrel is an “assault weapon” in California. Seriously, a .22 pistol, being equated to a military weapon.

 

 It’s dilution of language to the point it becomes meaningless. 

 

It's actually a bit more complicated than that, for even a not quite casual gun nerd like me.

 

If I break that down as you have it literally, it's absolute nonsense.  I can think of only two centerfire .22 caliber cartridges which are used in anything 'commonly' accepted as a pistol, .22TCM and .221 Remington Fireball - and while the .22TCM is available in a 1911-style handgun, I'm pretty sure the .221 Rem Fireball was only used in the Remington XP-100 (which is a bolt action, single shot, target pistol).

 

The 'threaded barrel' bit is just throwing stuff at the wall, as the primary use in most people's minds is to attach a suppressor (aka: silencer) and I'm fairly sure suppressors are already illegal in CA.  I haven't dug around yet, but I believe I've seen elsewhere that all NFA governed items are illegal in CA.

 

However...

 

The legal definition of a pistol is a bit broader than the more casual observer might suspect, as anyone who raised an eyebrow at my description of the XP-100 above might have guessed.

 

AR pistols are a thing (think sawed off AR-15 with no stock - which looks goofy because of the buffer tube) and 5.56x45mm is a centerfire cartridge firing a .22 caliber bullet.  Without digging for specifics again, I'm pretty sure these guns are already heavily regulated in CA, assuming they're on the official list of guns people of CA are allowed to own.  This type of pistol is also wrapped up in the ATF's new pistol brace rule which was talked about a bit further up thread. (like I said, it's kinda complicated)

 

Threaded barrels can also be used to attach barrel extensions (among other things).

 

If the new 'assault pistol' thing being thrown about (and isn't 'pistol' already covered under 'weapon') is just politicians showing the public they're 'doing something' following the dance hall shootings, and assuming the firearm used is actually what I saw mentioned in one media article (Cobray M11), then it makes a certain amount of sense (at least from the 'doing something' standpoint).

 

The Cobray M11 is a civilianized MAC-10 submachinegun (converted to fire from a closed bolt in semi-auto only).  From a shootability stand point, it has the ergonomics of a brick.  However, if you add a barrel extension (typically a faux suppressor, because, kewl - and why else would you want semi-auto submachinegun look-alike), it's a little easier to shoot.

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On 3/7/2023 at 8:03 PM, Pattern Ghost said:

 

Note: I'm responding to this quote first, but don't take the length of the post as I continue on into the weeds personally, Tricksta. I just found myself expanding on a thought that started here.

 

Microstamping isn't really viable. But, let's say it works exactly as advertised. The police recover a spent casing at the scene of a crime. They run it through a database and determine who the last owner was. Does this solve the crime?

 

Another point Stewart makes is that it should be easier for the ATF to trace gun transfers. Which they can already do.  Do gun traces solve crimes? These are essentially the same result as microstamping. I don't know the answer to that, because Google doesn't return any results for searches for crimes solved by ATW traces (and you can't prove a negative). I suspect the number of crimes actually solved by ATF transfer traces is low, because most crimes are committed by people who aren't the original owners. In the case of mass shooters, most of those (I'm guessing) seem to be legally obtained, but ATF traces are a moot point, because the person is usually caught or killed without the need for a trace.

 

But, let's look at this more optimistically and say that microstamping and better ATF tracing of firearms increases the solve rate for homicides by a significant amount. Does that prevent gun violence? I don't think it would. The death penalty isn't a deterrent, so I doubt an increased chance of getting caught would be.

 

So, even with the best rose-colored glasses on, these things that sound like good, "common sense," ideas just aren't going to curtail our murder rate.

 

Which is another lie told by Stewart in that interview, using statistics. Here's a decent, unbiased (as far as I can tell), analysis of gun death data from Pew:

 

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/02/03/what-the-data-says-about-gun-deaths-in-the-u-s/

 

So, how is Stewart lying about the increased number of murders? He isn't. But he is using the numbers disingenuously to sow fear.*

 

 

So far, so good. The number of gun homicides has clearly gone up. Horrible. We must do something. Stewart says we must reduce the number of guns (probably won't do squat), fund the ATF (agreed), research gun violence (agreed), require microstamping (disagreed), while Fox News says we all need to fund the police better (agreed, but not for their idiot reasons), and all go out and buy a gun (disagreed), because blood is flowing in the streets! Chaos! Calamity! (disagreed, as denoted by the sarcastic exclamation points).

 

OK, so what's the problem? The problem is that the number doesn't have context. Fortunately, the Pew report seems to be pretty clear at providing context:

 

 

OK, we can all breath a sigh of relief. Numbers are up, but it's not quite as bad as the raw numbers show, since our per capita rate is only slightly up.

 

Well, there were still 45,222 gun deaths in 2020, according to CDC data. That's a lot of people dead. This is a picture of a 44,000 people protest in Vienna, and it doesn't even have all the people in it:

 

Mass protest in Vienna against Austria's controversial COVID-19 restrictions

 

Imagine the United States losing all those people in 2020 from gun deaths. If we could reduce that, we could save a lot of people.

 

According to the CDC, there were 3,358,814 deaths in the US in 2020. I don't think I can find a picture of that many people in one place.

 

The percentage of people who died that died from firearms:  45,222/3,358,814 = 0.013463, so about 1.35%.

 

Now, saving some of those 45k+ lives is a good thing. But you aren't very likely to get shot just walking down the street or engaging in normal daily activities like going to school, going to the movies, going shopping, etc. You might, but it's unlikely.

 

How's our overall death rate looking? Surely we're dropping like flies, right?

 

Here's a sortable ranking of death rates from World Bank. The numbers are from 2020 and per 1000 population. The whole list is rather long, but here are some highlights:

 

Bulgaria is the winner with 18

Ukraine is 3rd with 15.9

Russia is 7th with 14.6

 

OK, that was just to show the higher end of things and the Ukraine/Russia pairing. Not to pick on them, but to give a baseline. Let's look at some countries who have it "good," or at least should: Canada, Sweden and Japan. Just pulled those out of a hat b/c they're frequently mentioned as pretty decent, civilized places.

 

Canada in 84th place at 8.1

Sweden in 50th place at 9.5

Japan in 29th place at 11.1

 

OK, I thought those numbers were going to be better, especially Japan.

 

How about the US?

 

USA in 38th place at 10.3

 

What does this mean? Means we're not quite as horrible as some people would have us think, but we're also not as awesome as others would have us think. We can do better, but we could do much worse.

 

And why did I zoom out to deaths in general vs. gun deaths? Partly for the obvious perspective. We could reduce gun deaths to 0 and it wouldn't move our death rate dial by very much at all. The panic is disproportionate to the threat. This does not mean we do nothing, it means, as the Hitchiker's Guide reminds us:

Don't Panic Embroidered Patch, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Hitchhiker  Warning, Retro Patch, Fan Patch, Geek Patch, Movie Patch

So, my first point in all of this is we can, and should, approach the problem rationally.

 

My second point is that just as "national death rate" is too broad in scope, so is "gun violence" or even "homicide rate."

 

I'll reiterate my basic stance on the issue again: We need to solve root causes. We need to interpret the data not for the sake of drumming up fear for our proposed solution (including that of "do nothing" that some hold), but for a study of the causes of violence and homicide. At the end of the day, acting like guns alone can cause or prevent homicides is not productive. Neither position is true.


And that's why both Stewart and his interviewees annoy me.

 

How much has been spent by either side on root cause analysis and removing the root causes? I'm betting it's a low number.

 

My point is this: We are not a society of Mutant Biker Cowboy Barbarians.

 

We're a Confederacy of Dunces ruled by an Idiocracy.

 

 

 

 

*Note: That sounds nefarious. I don't think Stewart is nefarious. I think he cares deeply and is simply engaging in his own fears and spreading them around due to not looking at the subject dispassionately.


Although my Hero gaming is not what it once was, posts like this are a large part of why I still lurk and occasionally post on these forums.  Disputes happen even in this community, but by and large they stay civil and mutually respectful.  Posters also tend to show far more effort and articulate thinking than the average comment section on FB or a typical online news article.  While there are many well-written posts, for me, this one is a recent stand-out.  Thank you for putting in the time and effort it took to write it!

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3 hours ago, BarretWallace said:

Although my Hero gaming is not what it once was, posts like this are a large part of why I still lurk and occasionally post on these forums.  Disputes happen even in this community, but by and large they stay civil and mutually respectful.  Posters also tend to show far more effort and articulate thinking than the average comment section on FB or a typical online news article.  While there are many well-written posts, for me, this one is a recent stand-out.  Thank you for putting in the time and effort it took to write it!

 

Yes.  I appreciate both Pattern Ghost and Tom talking and sharing more on subjects I don't know about, and having the patience to do so.

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