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  1.    #541  
    Originally posted by Rob
    No...
    Okay. Now, an insanely large percentage of terrorists to America have been Arabian. Should we temporarily relocate Arabs in America for the greater good?
    -Joshua
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
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    #542  
    Originally posted by Toby
    Yes, but the key difference is that I actually know a bit about guns and what they can and can't do.
    Fine. But there are definitely some people who are very knowledgeable about guns who also support gun control laws that include banning of certain weapons. I'm not sure that those who know the most about guns are the only people who should decide though. They need to educate the policy makers and politicians, as well as the citizens who put them in office so they can make informed decisions about how different types of guns should be classified and restricted, if at all. (and by education, I don't mean just imparting their opinion, but their knowledge and understanding and experience about the relative uses and power and risks of different weapons)
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    #543  
    Originally posted by ****-richardson
    Okay. Now, an insanely large percentage of terrorists to America have been Arabian. Should we temporarily relocate Arabs in America for the greater good?
    Nope. You always have to balance the costs and the benefits. Even if an insanely large percentage of terrorists in America have been Arabs, the percentage of Arab-Americans that are terrorists is miniscule. The costs of depriving a million innocent people of their freedom of movement, association, etc. far outweighs whatever benefit you get if a couple of those actually turn out to be terrorists.

    In the case of gun control, I think the cost of restricting the types of guns people can own is outweighed by the potential benefits. Yes, you are still restricting far more people than theoretically necessary, but since you don't know in advance which people may become violent or criminal, that's all you can do. The difference is the degree of restriction: is it a fundamental liberty that people cannot and should not live without, or is it an inconvenience? I think driver's licenses (and gun licenses) would fall in the category of inconvenience. Actually banning some types of guns is more severe, but still (IMO) does not constitute a restriction of an essential liberty (unless you subscribe to the slippery slope theory, but I think that theory proves too much -- how can you have order if any restriction at all will lead you down the slippery slope to fascism?)
  4.    #544  
    Originally posted by Toby
    I thought so too. Too bad the logic isn't consistent.
    Not in the least, but still funny.
    -Joshua
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
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    #545  
    (oops...double-post)
  6. #546  
    Originally posted by Rob
    Fine. But there are definitely some people who are very knowledgeable about guns who also support gun control laws that include banning of certain weapons.
    Name them. Sarah Brady and 'police' that have never been out from behind a desk don't count.
    I'm not sure that those who know the most about guns are the only people who should decide though.
    http://users.mwci.net/~chuckbri/amazingthings.html
    They need to educate the policy makers and politicians, as well as the citizens who put them in office so they can make informed decisions about how different types of guns should be classified and restricted, if at all.
    The problems arise when those policy makers and politicians are just as irrational and unwilling to listen.
    (and by education, I don't mean just imparting their opinion, but their knowledge and understanding and experience about the relative uses and power and risks of different weapons)
    Yes, and I'm referring to the same thing. I didn't mention the two names I did for nothing.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  7.    #547  
    Originally posted by Rob
    Nope. You always have to balance the costs and the benefits. Even if an insanely large percentage of terrorists in America have been Arabs, the percentage of Arab-Americans that are terrorists is miniscule. The costs of depriving a million innocent people of their freedom of movement, association, etc. far outweighs whatever benefit you get if a couple of those actually turn out to be terrorists.
    Actually, it's only a few thousand - and if just one of those Arabs has the ability to kill more than we "relocate," isn't it better to make 100 people uncomfortable vs. potentially killing 101? They're not going to beaten or anything, they'll live very comfortably with all their rights intact - in designated areas. "Since [we] don't know in advance which people may become violent or criminal, that's all [we] can do."
    -Joshua
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
  8. #548  
    Originally posted by ****-richardson
    Actually, it's only a few thousand - and if just one of those Arabs has the ability to kill more than we "relocate," isn't it better to make 100 people uncomfortable vs. potentially killing 101? They're not going to beaten or anything, they'll live very comfortably with all their rights intact - in designated areas. "Since [we] don't know in advance which people may become violent or criminal, that's all [we] can do."
    Not to mention that if 19 Arab terrorists can kill a few thousand people in less than an hour, can we really afford to take the risk of there being even 100 more out there?
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
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    #549  
    Originally posted by Toby
    Name them. Sarah Brady and 'police' that have never been out from behind a desk don't count.
    Ok, but I'll have to do a little research. Give me until tomorrow.

    Actually, I don't have to believe in any of those things in order to believe in (my version of) gun control. People who oppose gun control will typically lump all gun control advocates into one group along with the most extreme restrictions anyone has ever had. The only thing I need to believe in for my version is that there are meaningful differences between different types of guns (which I think Toby also agrees with, since he advocates different classes of gun licenses), that banning the most powerful class of guns will make a meaningful difference (which I could be convinced is not the case, but I'm not convinced yet), and that only banning the most powerful class of guns does not represent denial of a fundamental liberty, since all other classes of guns can be obtained legally after getting the appropriate license.

    I really need to get back to work now, but thanks for the debate. Sorry if I/we offended anyone...if so, just blame it on Josh who started this whole thing (as usual)

    Originally posted by ****-richardson
    Let's talk about something controversial. How about hunting? God knows we've beaten Jesus to death.
  10.    #550  
    Originally posted by Rob
    if so, just blame it on Josh who started this whole thing (as usual)
    Man! Some things never change.
    -Joshua
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
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    #551  
    Originally posted by ****-richardson

    Actually, it's only a few thousand - and if just one of those Arabs has the ability to kill more than we "relocate," isn't it better to make 100 people uncomfortable vs. potentially killing 101? They're not going to beaten or anything, they'll live very comfortably with all their rights intact - in designated areas.
    The restriction that they have to remain 'in designated areas' is a far greater restriction than someone not being able to own an AK-47. As I said before, freedom of movement, association, etc. is an essential liberty, and should not be taken away from one person without due process, much less a whole community. (and I'm pretty sure there are more than a few thousand people of arab descent in america...if you are willing to wait, I can find the statistics for that by tomorrow as well)
  12.    #552  
    Originally posted by Rob
    The restriction that they have to remain 'in designated areas' is a far greater restriction than someone not being able to own an AK-47...
    Not if the area is big enough. They only have the boundries of America as is. While you're looking up statistics, find how many people have been killed by AK47's (hell, go for "assault" weapons while you're at it - just make sure all sources agree on what an "assault" weapon is, i.e. don't include box cutters and airplanes), and calculate how many years it would take to equal 9-11. And, just to anticipate retorts, the fact that there has only been one 9-11 only proves that the Arabs are getting more violent and we need to act before more bad people hurt us.
    Last edited by dick-richardson; 01/18/2002 at 01:15 PM.
    -Joshua
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
  13. #553  
    posted by gunman.
    That's because you've convinced yourself into a false dichotomy.
    No, I haven't.
    There are at least four options (there are actually about 6 billion): 1) Likely to kill without means of implementation, 2) Likely to kill with means of implementation, 3) Unlikely to kill without means of implementation, 4) Unlikely to kill with means of implementation.
    Right. I never said that the two options I was presenting were the only two, I was just simplifying the probability matrix for "owns gun/doesn't own gun" WRT "likelihood of killing." I've attached said matrix, labeled with your definitions of each possible outcome.

    Now, what percentage of Americans own guns? According to a Gallup Poll taken in April, 1999, approx 36% of Americans report owning a gun. Let's round that up a bit to account for crazies, black market guns, and the like. Say, 40%.

    Now, I'd guess about 60% of murders are committed with guns. The NCPA thinks so, but what do they know. 60% seems reasonable, but my argument is plenty strong so long as it's above 50%. I think it is. So the ratio of gun murders to non-gun murders is about 3:2. Now, I don't know what percentage of the US population murders, but given there are less than 20k/year, let's just make it an even .5%, so that .3% murdered with guns, .2% without.

    Knowing this, we can estimate that about .76% of gun owners end up becoming murderers, compared with .33% of non-gun owners. My numbers are squishy, of course, but so long as guns account for a majority of the murders and a minority of the population owns them, you have a situation like this.

    Having a gun doesn't make one more likely to kill any more than having a pair of fishnet stockings makes a woman more likely to become a prostitute. If somebody wants to kill a person/people, they'll find a way to do it.
    And what better way than a gun?

    I will grant that given the number of killing, murders comprise a very small part, and that if we're really going to get into statistics, gun ownership WRT total unnecessary deaths in America is not much more than a blip.

    But it's a blip we can do something about, and I say, why not?

    ...but you say "why," so I'll reiterate:

    1)Guns have one purpose, to kill. I'm happy for you that you know more about guns than I do, but I don't think you can deny that their only function is killing (and target shooting, but I don't think you want to base your entire argument on that). Therefore, referring to banning cars, suburbs, urban areas, houses, and computer moniters is just distraction. These things have other purposes. Guns don't.

    2)Guns admittedly have other purposes associated with them because of their utility in killing. Namely: target shooting, protection, keeping the gov't in check. the last, I think, we're not going to effectively achieve with what guns would be available in the best of situations. Besides, I'd rather keep our gov't, thank you very much. the other two can be accomplished just fine without assault rifles. What non-murderous function of guns can't be accomplished without assault rifles?

    3)Assault rifles have only one advantage over handguns: extra killing. I don't like extra killing. Unless you have a pressing need for such a thing (i.e. your rancher, for example, or the nat'l guard), I don't think you ought to have one. Again, I reiterate (since it seems to get lost), there are no other uses for them. If you have a pressing need, get a special permit and get tracked by the gov't.

    I don't understand why I need to lay out this much apparatus just to prove a simple point: owning a gun increases your likelihood of killing. If a situation arises in which a person would kill, if that person doesn't own a gun, she must go through extra effort compared to the gun owner in order to kill. That extra effort makes it less likely she will kill.

    Actually, they require it.
    Thanks for the link, I was looking for quotable evidence that Switzerland does not equal America:
    from http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/wor...00/1566715.stm
    But other commentators suggest that the reality is more complicated. Switzerland is one of the world's richest countries, but has remained relatively isolated.
    It has none of the social problems associated with gun crime seen in other industrialised countries like drugs or urban deprivation. Despite the lack of rigid gun laws, firearms are strictly connected to a sense of collective responsibility. From an early age Swiss men and women associate weaponry with being called to defend their country.
    ...I too, am done talking about guns, having once again gone too far.
  14. #554  
    Browser got smarpy. here's my little matrix.

    odd, it's not letting me attach.

    oh well.
  15. #555  
    Though I understand the humor and the argument behind the references to Arabs, I don't find them tasteful. Arabs are not killing machines, unlike guns, which are literally killing machines.

    also, I find it ironic that the humor is coming from pro-gun folk, whose extremist pro-gun compatriots would take the jokes literally.

    sigh. good thing I like you all. Hopefully you'll still talk to me after that last post (though not about guns, i'd wager...)
  16. #556  
    Originally posted by dietrichbohn
    Though I understand the humor and the argument behind the references to Arabs, I don't find them tasteful. Arabs are not killing machines, unlike guns, which are literally killing machines.

    also, I find it ironic that the humor is coming from pro-gun folk, whose extremist pro-gun compatriots would take the jokes literally.

    sigh. good thing I like you all. Hopefully you'll still talk to me after that last post (though not about guns, i'd wager...)
    I am still angry with you for winning the Treo, now I may never speak to you again...

    In truth, the thing I love most about this board is the civility of its members. I have yet to frequent another board that can discuss PDA's without acting like babies, and here we have discussed some pretty intense stuff without anyone being a jerk.

    I enjoy the ability to express my opinion and listen to others without the need to make personal insults and act like children.

    **EDIT**

    I just realized I finally broke the 500 POST mark. Now, on to 1000.
    In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. JOHN 14:2
  17. #557  
    Originally posted by the hopeless hoplophobe
    I never said that the two options I was presenting were the only two.
    It was clearly implied in your reasoning. You offered only two choices in your question.
    Now, what percentage of Americans own guns?
    What difference does that make in the grand scheme of things? More important would be what percentage of those Americans are hurting others with their guns.
    Knowing this, we can estimate that about .76% of gun owners end up becoming murderers, compared with .33% of non-gun owners. My numbers are squishy, of course, but so long as guns account for a majority of the murders and a minority of the population owns them, you have a situation like this.
    Lies, damned lies...
    And what better way than a gun?
    "So, it'd be ok wit you, little girl, if they'da all been trown outta windas?"
    Guns have one purpose, to kill.
    No, they have many other purposes, but you wouldn't accept them anyway, so I won't bother.
    Therefore, referring to banning cars, suburbs, urban areas, houses, and computer moniters is just distraction. These things have other purposes. Guns don't.
    What difference does it make if they have other purposes if the net goal is to save people from themselves. Banning cars would save far more lives (and it would make it much harder for people with guns to kill over long distances).
    What non-murderous function of guns can't be accomplished without assault rifles?
    Haven't you figured out yet that the car or city-banning thing is a red herring purposely submitted because your 'assault rifle' ban is a red herring?
    I don't understand why I need to lay out this much apparatus just to prove a simple point: owning a gun increases your likelihood of killing.
    Because your point doesn't take into account all options. Owning a gun does not increase your likelihood of killing anymore than eating ice cream increases your chances for being bitten by a shark. You've fallen into a basic statistical trap. Correlation <> causation.
    If a situation arises in which a person would kill, if that person doesn't own a gun, she must go through extra effort compared to the gun owner in order to kill. That extra effort makes it less likely she will kill.
    And what if that situation justifies killing?
    Thanks for the link, I was looking for quotable evidence that Switzerland does not equal America: quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    from http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/wo...000/1566715.stm
    But other commentators suggest that the reality is more complicated. Switzerland is one of the world's richest countries, but has remained relatively isolated.
    Ironic that the most likely place where guns are common are in the 'poor' rural areas, and yet those are the places where people are usually much less worried about getting shot.
    It has none of the social problems associated with gun crime seen in other industrialised countries like drugs or urban deprivation.
    Hmm...neither do the rural areas of this country.
    Despite the lack of rigid gun laws, firearms are strictly connected to a sense of collective responsibility.
    Sounds like you need to move out of the city.
    From an early age Swiss men and women associate weaponry with being called to defend their country.
    Yep, sounds a lot like the America that I live in.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  18. #558  
    Originally posted by dietrichbohn
    Though I understand the humor and the argument behind the references to Arabs, I don't find them tasteful.
    This coming from someone who's going to tell religious people that God doesn't exist? Bah. I think the references are quite valid. Give them a bomb or a gun, and they become terrorists. You proved it.
    Arabs are not killing machines, unlike guns, which are literally killing machines.
    If 99% of guns never kill anyone, is their real purpose to kill?
    also, I find it ironic that the humor is coming from pro-gun folk, whose extremist pro-gun compatriots would take the jokes literally.
    I think you overestimate the number and power that the extremists hold.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  19. #559  
    I think I've posted some of Carlton Vogt's stuff in this thread previously, but as a seque from guns to a related concept, here's his latest column...

    NATIONAL ID CARDS STILL A BAD IDEA

    Posted Jan 15, 2002 10:08 Pacific Time


    When I first raised the issue of national ID cards in the wake of Sept. 11 (see here), I laid out some practical concerns with the idea. Despite the fact that many people agree, the notion still hasn't gone away and continues to surface from time to time.

    Most people who responded to my column agreed that it was a bad idea, but many others, as could be expected from a technical audience, wrote in to tell me technological solutions could get around any problems we might encounter.

    I can't disagree that this might be the case. We can probably build a technological solution for just about anything. But if failure analysis has taught us anything, it's that the more complex any system is, the more likely it is to fail. When it passes a certain point of complexity, failure becomes not probable, but inevitable. The question is not whether it will fail, but when and how.

    Technological feasibility, however, is a red herring. Even if we could construct a technologically reliable system, the question remains whether it's something we ought to do in the first place.

    The main objection to a national ID card system is that, although it is intended to protect one very important interest we have -- national and personal security -- it invades or compromises another interest that is just as important -- privacy. This sort of trade-off isn't unusual. We often find ourselves subordinating one important interest to another. And when we do, we often use a set of criteria, whether or not we articulate it in a systematic way, to decide whether the trade-off between competing interests is warranted and worthwhile.

    One method that I find useful considers various factors including efficacy, reasonableness, and a balance of benefit and burdens. This has been developed by ethicists for other situations, and I've adapted it to this one.

    First, we would need to determine whether the situation was serious enough to warrant even considering an invasion of an important interest. After all, to set back one interest, the threat to another interest would have to be credible, serious, and significant. To compromise something as important as liberty or privacy should not be something that's undertaken frivolously or for a threat that's not likely to happen.

    Next, we should be sure that what we're proposing has a reasonable chance of success. If it doesn't, then we stand the chance of setting back two interests instead of one -- the original threat would still exist and we'd have lost something else significant in the process. Here we need to determine what the likely outcome is, not just the desired outcome. If we look solely to the desired outcome, we end up in the same position as those poor souls who invest their entire life savings in tickets for the big lottery prize. They may want to win the $100 million, but the likely outcome is that they'll be disappointed.

    Another critical criterion is that the infringement should be the least amount necessary to bring about the desired result. Otherwise, we embark on an unnecessarily heavy-handed solution that in the case of basic and important interests can be dangerous overkill.

    Finally, we have to see some proportionality between the burden caused by infringing one interest and the expected benefit to the other. Again, it's important to consider the likely outcome, not simply the desired one. It would be a serious mistake either to overstate the probable outcome or to understate the probable burden.

    So let's apply this schema to the case of national ID cards. We can stipulate that the situation is serious. There is a terrorist threat. We know terrorist cells are operating in the country. And all indications are that they will try again -- although not necessarily on as horrific a scale as Sept. 11. So, we pass the first hurdle.

    Where the idea begins to stumble is on the question of probable success. Anyone defending a national ID system would need to show that this system would prevent future attacks. I'm not sure we can be that certain. The ID system might make life a little more difficult for potential terrorists, but it doesn't seem to be more than a stumbling block that can be overcome -- especially for dedicated people with significant resources.

    In the past, terrorists have taken advantage of an immigration system that didn't do a very good job of keeping track of such things as expired visas and students not enrolling in classes for which they had received permission to enter the country. A national ID system could put an end to that, but as long as we freely allow people into the country for many different reasons, potential terrorists would simply make sure that their "papers" were in order. They became lazy and sloppy about their immigration status because we had become lazy and sloppy. If we become more stringent, I think it's safe to assume they'll be more careful. These are dedicated and tenacious people.

    There's no question that a national ID system represents a serious compromise of our liberty and privacy. Many people who responded to my original column on the subject argued that we already have some type of ID in driver's licenses or passports. The quick answer to that is, while it's true, those who accept these forms of ID do so willingly, and, more important, not having one (unless of course you're driving) isn't a crime and doesn't constitute probable cause.

    Under a national ID system, a police officer could ask you for your ID at any time and if you were unable to produce one, you automatically would be suspected of a crime and could conceivably be taken into custody on the basis of that alone. So we need to ask whether such a system is the least infringement of our interests necessary to bring about the result.

    Key to answering that question is exactly what we're trying to do. Is it necessary that we track 95-year-old Aunt Tillie as she moves from the senior center to her apartment and to church on Sunday? Or are we trying to tighten up our borders and intercept possible terrorists at critical points, such as airports? If it's the latter, then perhaps we ought to design a system that does that without placing a burden on the millions of people who neither fly frequently nor cross international borders with any regularity.

    That brings us to the final criterion in our schema -- whether the burden of such a system would be justified by the probable benefit. A national ID system not only takes away some essential rights we have to privacy and liberty, it would create yet another layer of government bureaucracy -- with all that this entails.

    But the dangers for the individual go beyond this. We will come to rely increasingly on these cards for all sorts of identification -- from the convenience store to the bank -- in addition to its intended use. Those without an ID -- in addition to being a suspect -- will also become a nonperson, at least until they get a replacement. This leaves the way open for unscrupulous police officers or rogue judges to render someone invisible merely by confiscating, however temporarily, their ID.

    The system also would create a giant centralized database, and you don't need to be a security expert to know that this represents a big, fat target for anyone who wants to indulge in serious mischief -- including terrorists. Under the guise of increasing security, we would simply create another area where we were vulnerable -- an example of self-defeating behavior.

    So, comparing the probable benefits, which are slight at best and uncertain at worst, against the burdens, which on one hand are serious and on the other are dangerous, such an ID system just doesn't measure up. It was a bad idea before -- and it's still a bad idea.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  20. #560  
    Banning automatic weapons won't prevent criminals or 'psychos' from using them. It takes relatively little smithing to make a semi-automatic rifle fully automatic. Automatic weapons actually are less effective at killing many in a little time as a semi-automatic. As a Marine I was trained to use three round bursts as one is able to control the weapon much easier that way. Weapons used on full auto are almost uncontrollable (unless they're mounted on a tripod, vehicle, etc.) Unless your plan is just to make people feel better you're better off doing something else.

    Automatic weapons are scary, no doubt about it. They should be heavily regulated (Federal Firearms License). The Anti-gun lobby uses them (Full-Autos) as a big club to threaten the security of the voting public, and unfortunately instead of addressing that, the NRA has resorted to bombast in kind.

    I do take exception to removing cars from 'the list'. They are inherently much more dangerous than guns. They may not be 'designed to kill', but they manage to kill and maim far more people than firearms have in this country. If your goal is to save lives, invest your time and energy on reducing vehicular injuries and deaths.
    What needs to be addressed is accountibility and responsibility.

    As an example of what gun laws can inadverdently cause, I don't know how many of you remember what happened when Montgomery Co., MD (outside) banned handguns a few years ago. British criminals took advantage of the ban to stage a rash of brutal (people were beaten severely) daytime robberies in affluent neighborhoods around Potomac, Md. They had been doing the same thing in England and were encouraged by the lack of civilians able to carry guns in their own homes. Other counties in the areas which didn't have the bans suffered no such outrages.

    Outlawing particular guns doesn't seem to decrease the murder rates (neither does the threat of prison, nor the death penalty).
    Instead it seems to just affect the ratio of criminals and citizens killed.

    just a few more thoughts....
    "I am a debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish."

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