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Posted: 08 March 2012 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Far as I can see, guns have three legitimate uses:

(1) Hunting.

(2) Protecting yourself, particularly against someone with guns.

(3) Having fun at the shooting range.

Now, (2) more or less takes care of itself if we don’t have guns on the street. (And if we allow less powerful long guns for home protection). Otherwise it’s hunting and target practice. Target practice isn’t worth a significantly higher murder rate. Arguably neither is hunting, but I am willing to allow it for those rural folks who may live off of the produce.

(And no, overthrowing the government is not a legitimate use of guns. Putting aside its clear illegality, it is also a ludicrous pipe dream in this age of professional police forces and armies).

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Posted: 08 March 2012 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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dougsmith - 08 March 2012 07:40 PM

[...]
(2) Protecting yourself, particularly against someone with guns.
[...]
Now, (2) more or less takes care of itself if we don’t have guns on the street.
[...]

That’s a big IF, and I disagree with your conclusion.  You say “particularly” but you do not say exclusively yet you reason as if guns were the exclusive threat.  For an individual to protect him or herself from a group wielding axe handles and baseball bats, a nice semi-automatic pistol with a large clip is barely sufficient.  I bring this scenario up because it was the occasional practice of racist organizations here in the south once upon a time to terrorize individuals in just such a manner.

In so far as the IF goes, when you can show me how the government can effectively get drugs off the street (without extreme suspension of civil liberties) then I may listen to arguments for the possibility of doing so with guns (and resume the argument that it is still not a good idea.)

But in general, guns, cars, potent pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, can all be used for intentional harm.  A gun no less so than a garden sprayer full of gasoline and a book of matches, or a barrel of grease poured on the highway at a dangerous intersection.  We cannot pretend that malicious people will not find creative ways to inflict wholesale harm on others.  A gun makes no pretense about its function, its intended function is the infliction of harm.  The fact of that intended function however makes it no more evil than the barrel of fertilizer and fuel oil which apart were produced for benign reasons, perverted by an evil individual.

Gun *control* is an oxymoron and I suggest that the lawful prevalence of privately owned guns does as much to keep representatives of state in line as does the Judicial branch’s direct enforcement of the constitution.  Where I live, a local law enforcement officer is not going to burst into my house unannounced without a high degree of probable cause.  He is not worried about the supreme court or loosing his job.  He is worried about being mistaken for an intruder and being shot.  That keeps him polite and “by the book” and does not significantly hinder his job.  IF he has probable cause that I’m doing something sufficiently illegal to require fast and furious forced entry, he is no less suspicious that I may possess an illegal firearm than he would be if private handguns were illegal.

[ Edited: 09 March 2012 09:25 PM by jambaugh ]
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Posted: 08 March 2012 09:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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jambaugh - 08 March 2012 08:14 PM
dougsmith - 08 March 2012 07:40 PM

[...]
(2) Protecting yourself, particularly against someone with guns.
[...]
Now, (2) more or less takes care of itself if we don’t have guns on the street.
[...]

That’s a big IF, and I disagree with your conclusion.  You say “particularly” but you do not say exclusively yet you reason as if guns were the exclusive threat.  For an individual to protect him or herself from a group wielding axe handles and baseball bats, a nice semi-automatic pistol with a large clip is barely sufficient.  I bring this scenario up because it was the occasional practice of racist organizations here in the south once upon a time to terrorize individuals in just such a manner.

In so far as the IF goes, when you can show me how the government can effectively get drugs off the street (without extreme suspension of civil liberties) then I may listen to arguments for the possibility of doing so with guns (and resume the argument that it is still not a good idea.)

But in general, guns, cars, potent pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, can all be used for intentional harm.  A gun no less so than a garden sprayer full of gasoline and a book of matches, or a barrel of grease poured on the highway at a dangerous intersection.  We cannot pretend that malicious people will not find creative ways to inflict wholesale harm on others.  A gun makes no pretense about its function, its intended function is the infliction of harm.  The fact of that intended function however makes it no more evil than the barrel of fertilizer and fuel oil which apart were produced for benign reasons, perverted by an evil individual.

Gun *control* is an oxymoron and I suggest that the lawful prevalence of privately owned guns does as much to keep representatives of state in line as does the Judicial branch’s direct enforcement of the constitution.  Where I live, a local law enforcement officer is not going to burst into my house unannounced without a high degree of probable cause.  He is not worried about the supreme court or loosing his job.  He is worried about being mistaken for an intruder and being shot.  That keeps him polite and “by the book” and does not significantly hinder his job.  IF he has probable cause that I’m doing something sufficiently illegal to require fast and furious forced entry, he is no less suspicious that I may possess an illegal firearm than he would be if private handguns were illegal.

I pretty much agree that gun control is a oxymoron, and trying to “get rid of guns” would cause all hell to break loose.  It sounds like the law enforcement personnel in your area are more realistic than in many other areas though.  That might be because of a widespread familiarity with firearms combined with respect for property and people.

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Posted: 09 March 2012 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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mid atlantic - 08 March 2012 09:41 PM

... trying to “get rid of guns” would cause all hell to break loose.

Of course. Eliminating guns in the US—even the particularly dangerous ones, like concealable and semi-automatic or automatic weapons—is a sociopolitical impossibility at this point. So much the worse for us and our descendants.

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Posted: 09 March 2012 05:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Of course. Eliminating guns in the US—even the particularly dangerous ones, like concealable and semi-automatic or automatic weapons—is a sociopolitical impossibility at this point. So much the worse for us and our descendants.

And here’s one gun owner who believes wholehartedly in the above statement. For an example see the following: just happened yesterday.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/dead-pittsburgh-psychiatric-hospital-shooting/story?id=15879084

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 09 March 2012 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Florida Father of 3 saves his life by shooting back at 3 armed attackers.

Utah Homeowner Shoots Home Invader Who Broke into 20 Houses

Utah Mother Shoots Home Invader To Protect Her 3-Month Old While on Phone with 911

Idaho Man Shoots Woman’s Knife-Wielding Abductor 

Tennessee Man Shoots Armed Robber on Street

Florida Clerk Shoots Robber Who Grabbed 1-Year Old

Armed Assistant Principal Stops School Shooter

Two Armed Students Stop School Shooter [Note how most media reports purposely left out the fact that the two good students in this case used their firearms to stop the bad guy.]


Then there are the countless cases we don’t hear about where an armed citizen brandished their weapon, stopping the crime and went unreported.

All in all there are about 2.5 million cases of armed citizens stopping crimes each year.  But like the planes that don’t crash, the vaccines that work and the drivers who don’t drive drunk, they rarely make the headlines.  Thus the Fallacy of Misplaced Vividness causes even intelligent skeptics to make conclusions based on emotions.

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Posted: 09 March 2012 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Anecdotes, much?

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Posted: 09 March 2012 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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dougsmith - 09 March 2012 09:22 AM

Anecdotes, much?

LOL Like I said, the NRA logic would have me take a gun to the Reason Rally just in case a religious zealot opens fire. Sickening logic.

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Posted: 09 March 2012 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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The last link took it away from anecdotes (which, BTW, is all the anti-gun side relies on) and into the studies that show that the good that people do with guns far outweighs the bad that people do with guns, at least in the United States.  Different countries may be different due to different social and cultural norms and values. 

For a group that claims they are pro-choice, when it comes to guns it sure does seem that many want to take away that choice.

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Posted: 09 March 2012 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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mid atlantic - 08 March 2012 06:17 PM
Thevillageatheist - 08 March 2012 04:31 PM

I’ve been watching this thread to see in what direction it would go being curious to see if fellow atheists are gun owners and after Darron mentioned it in another thread I wanted to see if it would stir someone up to reply. I’ve been around guns my whole life and am a gun owner, one of the two conservative tenets I follow. the other is fiscal, teaching salaries being sparse. Gun ownership and hunting is common here and there are several shooting ranges for target shooters, which is what I am. Personally, I have no problem with responsible people owning firearms if used properly. However, there should be parameters to this, namely registration, restricted ownership due to past criminal behavior, mental illness, and a total ban on all military type weapons for civilian use. I know this is a heretical position for a gun owner but who needs to hunt deer with a grenade launcher or an automatic weapon? The NRA,s position on this is that all citizens should have the right to collect and use these antipersonnel weapons and BTW that’s what they’re for, but spotrsmen/women, have no need for them. They are very expensive, use tons of ammunition and are usually used by collectors to blow up derelict trucks. So, I have no problem with restricting auto or semi auto weapons. Also, each state’s gun laws vary as do laws in cities, many of whom ban handguns all together. You can’t hunt squirrels in Central Park. So my question to a gun owner is what is your motivation for gun ownership? If you trust the local police then you don’t need one for protection. Put a ball bat beside your bed. 99% of the sounds you here at night are your house settling, and the Mayan calendar isn’t signaling the end of the World as we know it so you don’t need that Uzi to protect the wife and kids. Besides, who wants to spend a thousand dollars on a gun?


Cap’t Jack

I also was curious to see how many freethinkers here are gun owners - because I don’t want to piss them off and have them hunt me down! LOL

I doubt that gun owning freethinkers would be any more likely than non-gun owning freethinkers to get angry and hunt you down. And if a person of either group did hunt you down, you would be more at risk of mind-numbing debate than any physical harm.

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Posted: 09 March 2012 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Rocinante - 09 March 2012 08:47 AM

Florida Father of 3 saves his life by shooting back at 3 armed attackers.

Utah Homeowner Shoots Home Invader Who Broke into 20 Houses

Utah Mother Shoots Home Invader To Protect Her 3-Month Old While on Phone with 911

Idaho Man Shoots Woman’s Knife-Wielding Abductor 

Tennessee Man Shoots Armed Robber on Street

Florida Clerk Shoots Robber Who Grabbed 1-Year Old

Armed Assistant Principal Stops School Shooter

Two Armed Students Stop School Shooter [Note how most media reports purposely left out the fact that the two good students in this case used their firearms to stop the bad guy.]


Then there are the countless cases we don’t hear about where an armed citizen brandished their weapon, stopping the crime and went unreported.

All in all there are about 2.5 million cases of armed citizens stopping crimes each year.  But like the planes that don’t crash, the vaccines that work and the drivers who don’t drive drunk, they rarely make the headlines.  Thus the Fallacy of Misplaced Vividness causes even intelligent skeptics to make conclusions based on emotions.

I own a wide assortment of guns.(pistols and long arms.  NO Assault-weapons though….that’s kids stuff!) And I agree with Doug wholeheartedly.  The above are anecdotes that prove nothing.  I have never carried weapons for protection.  I don’t believe in it.  I do know that carrying guns, or even having one to defend one’s home is pretty useless.  Often it invites more trouble than it’s worth.
I think guns should be legal.  I wouldn’t be upset if assault-weapons and high capacity magazines for pistols and rifles were outlawed. Seems the only succesful use we have seen for hi-cap mags are in school shootings, bank robberies, and other mass-murder events.
This whole gun thing is a wedge issue. It has very little value in terms of intelligent debate.

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Posted: 09 March 2012 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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I doubt that gun owning freethinkers would be any more likely than non-gun owning freethinkers to get angry and hunt you down. And if a person of either group did hunt you down, you would be more at risk of mind-numbing debate than any physical harm.


I don’t know, mind numbing deabte can be extremely bad for the psyche! You ever lost a game of chess? Ouch!!! confused


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 09 March 2012 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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VYAZMA - 09 March 2012 12:05 PM

It has very little value in terms of intelligent debate.

That’s ridiculous. Intelligent debate has great value when it involves anything with a strong impact on a society.

The problem is that the result of intelligent debate is diminished thanks to lobbyists.

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Posted: 09 March 2012 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Rocinante - 09 March 2012 10:07 AM

The last link took it away from anecdotes (which, BTW, is all the anti-gun side relies on) and into the studies that show that the good that people do with guns far outweighs the bad that people do with guns, at least in the United States.  Different countries may be different due to different social and cultural norms and values. 

For a group that claims they are pro-choice, when it comes to guns it sure does seem that many want to take away that choice.

Can you explain what you mean by doing good with guns.

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Posted: 09 March 2012 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 09 March 2012 12:55 PM

I doubt that gun owning freethinkers would be any more likely than non-gun owning freethinkers to get angry and hunt you down. And if a person of either group did hunt you down, you would be more at risk of mind-numbing debate than any physical harm.


I don’t know, mind numbing deabte can be extremely bad for the psyche! You ever lost a game of chess? Ouch!!! confused


Cap’t Jack

Oops, you shouldn’t have divulged that.  If any of the brainiacs on this forum are ever out to get you, all they have to do, now, is challenge you to a game of chess.  smile

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