Gun control

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by curunir's bane, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. EstuansInterius

    EstuansInterius Ira vehementi

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    First of all, I think people should stop equating the constitution with what is right. It's a bad idea to stop thinking for oneself about what is moral and to put such faith into a mere document. Instead of asking "is it constitutional?" we should ask, "is it right?"

    That said, I'll say that I think, for the most part, the constitution is a great thing. It sets up an awesome government, and I happen to agree with it on this issue. Just thought I'd put that introduction out there anyway because...

    I am a hunter, and pro-gun rights, but not an extremist. You will find that crime rates are LOWER in cities with looser gun control laws. If the bad guys are willing to break the laws with guns, they're going to be willing to break the laws to get guns. Gun control laws mostly make it harder for worthy citizens to arm themselves. Of course, there need to be regulations. We can't give guns out to everyone. No guns to felons, and a competency test should probably be conducted, including a required level of proficiency with the firearm, and testing the person's knowledge of the gun, since this is important to safety.
     
  2. Tamzen

    Tamzen New Member

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    If everyone did this, then each person could decide differently and there would be no laws. The Constitution is the basis of all our laws. Laws cannot go against what is written there, as the courts interpret it.
     
  3. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Well, of course.

    But the constitution outlines a bandwith in which everyone (including the gouvernment) should conduct.

    It doesn't mean everyone is at obligation to usurp that entire bandwith. That, too, would probably lead to chaos. In a well-functioning society, matters that are within that bandwith might be found immoral or unwise nontheless. And of course everyone should consider the slack given to him and what to do with it.
     
  4. EstuansInterius

    EstuansInterius Ira vehementi

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    People should never lay down the own consciences in favor of authority. That's how we get atrocities like the USSR. Read Thoreau's "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience."

    Chaos is better than organized immorality anyway. However, for those in the government who believe that what they are doing is right, I cannot argue. That they do what the think is right is all that can be asked.

    Again, breaking the law is better than obeying an unjust law. And by interpreting the situation and choosing to avoid the potential immorality of anarchy, you're doing what I suggested anyway: judging for yourself the best, most right path and following it.

    But this is off topic. Back to guns. I just suggest you argue why guns are right or not; not why they're constitutional or not.
     
  5. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Take away the thin veneer of society and humans are ugly nasty creatures. Might makes right, "nice decent people" will be prey for strong thugs with lots of weapons.

    I'd suggest that if the basic tenets of society broke down, you'd get chaos that would rapidly establish itself into organised immorality. Gangs would arise, local areas would have their own little turf wars etc etc.

    Humans are horrible creatures as a whole. All the things we've been able to accomplish under the facade of civility constantly surprises me, as the animal within humanity is never far from the surface.
     
  6. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Technically, the Soviet Union started out as a civil disobedience against the Tsar's oligocracy.

    But please look at Afghanistan. If ever a country lived by civil disobedience, it's Afghanistan. And look at it's history...

    I think you forget we live in a democracy. By deduction, one could conclude that not obeying the law, even an unjust one, goes against the will of the majority of the people.

    It's quite something to conclude for yourself that a law is unjust if a majority is for it...
     
  7. Blackness

    Blackness Well-Known Member

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    Yes laws can go against the constitution because it's the government and the constitutional courts who interpret them.

    @Mub, Not sure about that, i think we'd get a ton of vigilantes to deal with that.
    Hell i know i'd be one :p Just killing people who do harm to others.

    @Estuans, gotta agree with you, but don't forget a lot of people don't really have the access to their conscience, as it has been replaced by social norms and regulations (aka indoctrination >.>)

    @Tur, political systems change constantly, democracy might actually be the one least used, chronologically, and just because the majority thinks it's the best system, doesn't make it the best system. Personally i'd rather live under a dictatorship than a democracy, at least there'd be a chance of someone intelligent getting the throne rather than 200 greedy evil old men >.>
    To conclude, why should i care what the majority thinks? IF the majority thinks it can force me to do what the majority wants, then, by reciprocity, i have the right to force them to do what i want them to do (if i ever get that much power >.> *cough* i *would* do it though).

    AS for the topic, yeah, guns are awesome, if a couple of people in the street wanted to beat the **** out of me, guns would come in handy. Self-defense is above ''security''.
    So i'd allow anyone over 18 to have guns, except people who have mental issues concerning violence and murder >.>
     
  8. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Hmm - democracy vs. despotism is a hard nut to crack, I'll agree to that.

    Generally, I'd say that the main difference between a dictatorship and a democracy is that of revolution vs. evolution respectively. Generally, dictatorships start - and end - with civil unrest; often following into a new dictatorship. There is no pressure for a dictator to listen to the people - as long as he has the mandate from the military branch. The pressure to listen to the people is a great constant in the democracy. And, when democracy allows for people like you and me to represent the populace (along with free media and freedom of expression), there's actually very little that can go wrong. Problem is that progress will be less noticable (the nature of evolution).

    However, I want to add that democracy is by no means be-all-end-all. I believe now that stability and economic prosperity lead to democracy in the end; not the other way around.

    Buuuuut.... this was about guns, was it not?

    Errr... hmmm.... guns lead more often to revolutions, which, in turn, lead to more dictatorships?
     
  9. EstuansInterius

    EstuansInterius Ira vehementi

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    Guns are also used to fight off revolutions, which, in turn, lead to fewer dictatorships?

    K, let's go in order.

    Mububban, you suggest that chaos leads to organized immorality. You may be right, but think for a moment. Where did humanity start? We started off with anarchy (well that's what you think if you believe in evolution like me; otherwise you believe it was theocracy), and from anarchy, our political structure evolved into what we have now. Maybe you think it's bad, maybe you think it's good, but there are clearly good aspects. I think democracy is a good thing in general... so clearly, we CAN go from what is essentially moral neutrality to a positive (even if entails going through a few transitional negative periods).

    Something else I have to point out this this: MOST people will conclude that the most morally right path is to assume that they are NOT as wise as their leaders, and so they will follow, even if they take my advice. This is basically intended. If everyone followed my advice, those not fit to lead would not lead. My/Thoreau's advice is directed most at those who are potential leaders. I suggest to them that they DO what they think is right, even if it is different.

    This is what Thoreau had to say. I can't really say it better.

    "After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest."

    I will concede that they may be more likely to be right, assuming they are all using their consciences, but this is not usually the case. Also, I remind you that the US is NOT a democracy. It is a republic, and they are not the same thing. It is completely possible that the government may act against the will of the majority in a republic, while this is impossible in a true democracy, because the government IS the majority.

    "By deduction, one could conclude that not obeying the law, even an unjust one, goes against the will of the majority of the people.

    It's quite something to conclude for yourself that a law is unjust if a majority is for it..."

    You're right that by going against such a law I am going against the majority. But isn't this the most natural thing to do. Recall that I am an atheist. The majority of the human population is theist. I am going against them; concluding that they are wrong. For one thing, I've found that humans aren't the most intelligent lot, and I've found that I am more intelligent than many of them.

    Ok, so you're saying that the USSR constituted a bunch of people getting together and all doing what they thought was right? Lol!!! That IS pretty much how it started, which is what you're talking about, but your point is moot because that was the best part of the USSR (the origin), and after that it got worse and worse as it got farther and farther from the ideals. As for Afghanistan, I don't know if you can really argue that they are all doing what they think is right. For the purpose of debate, I will call doing what is "right" for someone acting in concurrence with their conscience.

    Now, to call in another quote.

    "Many things can motivate a fundamentally bad person to do bad things. Only religion can motivate a fundamentally good person to do bad things."

    That's pretty accurate, actually, considering. Especially if we tweak our definition of religion to be anything imposed by society on an individual with the aim of altering his or her moral values... which is pretty much what religion is!

    Obviously, I've implicitly adopted Blackness's point directed at me. He is right, and such people are not really fit to lead, nor does my suggestion really apply to them, because, after the slight clarification above, I am suggesting that people follow their conscience.

    It is true that this is rather off topic. I would not be opposed to moving these posts, but in the meantime, this is a good debate, and I don't want to let the name on the topic end it.
     
  10. Normf

    Normf Death 'n' Roll

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    No one needs guns.

    People say "guns don't kill people, people kill people."

    Well **** guns give them alot of help.
     
  11. Raff the Sweetling

    Raff the Sweetling Threadkiller

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    No one needs cars either. Cars give people alot of help as well, more people are killed in cars every year, but no one is trying to take those away.
     
  12. Normf

    Normf Death 'n' Roll

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    True, allthough the practicality of taking a car to work in the morning seems a little higher than killing stuff with a gun. Well that's just my opinion anywho.
     
  13. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Not quite.

    The Gouvernment represents the majority under a temporary mandate derived from elections. It doesn't necesserally represent the majority - as it's biased by, for instance, the spectrum of choice one is given in an election. Also, the majority might shift even though the mandate endures.

    But, in essence, every form of gouvernment is a democracy as, as Machiavelli was kind enough to point out, there's no way one can cling to power if the populace is against you. You will have to convince the majority (if not in numbers - possibly in power) that you are better than The Alternative.

    But that's just a side note.

    Aparrently, the majority in the Western World - even in those countries which can be called religious by majority. What's more, in most occasions, these laws have been installed by religious people. Deeply religious people. And, under that umbrella, you're free, as an individual, to be an atheist.

    Actually, that one goes really well with the discussion, as the basic discussion is one of liberties. Should we be at liberty to choose our own religion? Should we be at liberty to own a gun?

    And I don't think it's just about the majority (although they, inevertably, decide). Freedom is also about morality. Or - how does freedom effect our environment? Does our personal freedom limit the freedom of those around us? To be honest, speaking as an atheist, it's really hard to say whether that limits the life of the religious - but having religion forced upon me would certainly limit mine. Just like outlawing religion would limit theirs.

    Guns, on the other hand... Guns are a symbol of power. I think my sense of freedom would be affected if I knew my neighbour owned a gun. If course, his sense of freedom would increase under the knowledge of owning one - but, clearly, at the cost of mine. This a classic breach from liberalism. A ban on arms would elegantly nullify that disbalance.

    The bizarre thing is, of course, that a cultural difference dictates that, apparently, the freedom to privately own guns is needed to maintain freedom - from the gouvernment. That the gouvernment is a threat to personal freedom - rather than a protector for the environment from you (as an individual)? Anthropologically, very interesting...




    Hehhh... the longer I think about all this, the less sense it all makes. And the more my head starts to hurt. Only last week, a nutcase took out about 8 people on a national holiday, in an attempt on the Queen's life. He didn't own a gun - so he used a Suzuki Swift. The result will, of course, be that public events at which the queen will be present will be guarded much closer - at the cost of our freedom. Maybe we must conclude that incidents like these are part of modern society - as though sacrifices like these must be made for our freedom's sake and get on with our lives...

    In the mean time, the US has felt the devastating result of the efficacy of 4 Boeing 757's in the wrong hands - and given up a lot, an immense lot of it's freedom to prevent future recurrences. About 0.00005% of the American populace has been killed in that event. Wouldn't it be worth 0.00005% of your own life to regain the freedom lost after 9/11? Knowing that, when one would really implement the freedom of gun ownership (fighting the gouvernment) would indeed most likely end in death on your part?

    But only last week, I read that the daughter of one of my favourite musicians was shot "by accident" - a young, Texan boy who showed his girl friend his gun, ending up killing her. Is this, then, also a sacrifice we should willingly bring to that freedom?
     
  14. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    That's as practical as saying we don't need planes, or telephones, or the internet. Breaking thigns down to wants and needs for actual life and survival, no we don't need cars, but nor do we need guns to survive. People used to hunt with spears and bows and traps.

    The modern world would grind to a halt without our modern technology like cars. But if guns were removed from all except the world's armed forces, I could still get to work, earn a wage, provide for my family, see a movie, cook dinner, read a book etc etc etc. If we removed cars (and bicycles and horses etc) we'd all be limited to life in our own little village again, never venturing beyond our own tiny section of the world.

    Next argument! :D
     
  15. Dreamscaper

    Dreamscaper Royal Hamster Wrangler

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    I have to ask, have you ever lived in a dangerous area of a city?