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View Full Version : What do we want to get rid of; guns or violence?



John Smith
01-05-2013, 10:17 AM
I see "guns" on the president's agenda. I continue to see news of Sandy Hook school. I continue to see discusions/arguments over the need for new gun laws.

I admit I am tired and disappointed. I'm not sure what the goal is. My goal would to be cut down on the murders. I find myelf being the only sane, IMO, one entering any of this.

I'd like to get ride of the violence. That does not mean I don't believe guns make the violent acts more easily done, but it doesnt mean that the guns are merely a tool used to commit murder.

There is no one in this country that has not seen the studies showing a very high pecentage of gun violence directely related to drugs being illegal. We've all studied Prohibition and the all the violence and murders that created. There is no way to have a serious discussion on how to cut down on all this violence without factoring in our position on drugs.

This is not to say I like drugs. Hell, I don't like alcohol. I merely accept that alcohol being legal is better than it being illegal. Somehow we realized that and repealed Prohibition. Why can't we accept that if we legalized drugs we would take a very big step in eliminating a great deal of the shooting?

It is, I think, reasonable, to accept that some people, aside from drug issues, will go over the edge and hit a breaking point. If we think we can keep these people from getting their hands on guns, we are fooling ourselves. The question, I think, we need to ask is WHY people go over the edge and if there's anything we can do to prevent it.

"Desperate people do desparate things." We cannot prevent people being desparate, but maybe we can lessen their numbers.

Sometimes people get screwed by the system. Some time back I posted about car accident we were in. Let me briefly describe it and the outcome.

January we are hit in the back. No vehicle damage. Wife hit her head on the head rest. Three weeks later she had a seizure (In '99 we had been hit hard and she hit her head hard in the same spot and has a serious of seizures where it took 4 years to get her license back: have to go a year without a seizure) Behind the seizure in this accident she had to surrender he license. They guy who hit us had no insurnce card; he presented on the following day which was noted on the Police report that he was insured by Progressive.

Once we got the letter from the state demanding she surrender her license, I put a file together and sent it to Progressive. After a couple of letters indicating a settlement being considered, I was suddenly told they had an issue with his insurance. They sent me a letter saying "insurance was not applicable"

In order to get a more definitive statement, I had to go to my Assemblyman, who wrote the Division of Banking and insurance. Just a couple of weeks ago, we heard from them that the car the hit us was not insured. In my state there is a 6 months statute of limitations for giving a ticket for driving without insurance, which began the day of the accident, not the day it is learned he had no insurance.

If we had vehicle damage, it would be covered by "unisured motorist" on my policy, and we'd have learned quickly he had no insurance. All we had was the one seizure, and very limited medical bills which will be covered by our insurance if they decide there's a connection.

Pain and suffering would be on the guy who hit us. This breaks down to we get NO compensation for pain and suffering, my wife who was just a passenger, has a year where she can't drive, cook, go in the pool, etc. and the guy who caused this suffers nothing.

We could go to small claims court, but my insurance sent my wife to their doctor, and we all know their doctor is going to say the seizure was not caused by the accident, so they can avoid paying what amounts to one ER visit and two doctor's office visits. I can't imagine going into small claims and not being asked why my insurance company covered in regard to the medical bills.

My reaction to all of this was to put together a file and send it to the State AG. Minimally, maybe we can get the law changed so the 6 month window begins when it is learned he has no insurance. This man appared at our local police station on January 28 and presented something the police took as proof of valid insurance. If he didn't have valid insurance, how'd he do that?

My point here is I can undestand some other person having a different, and possibly violent reaction to this. Having my own health issues and having all the driving/cooking and such placed on my has made for an extremely difficult year which is, fortunately almost over. I am angry. I'm not angry enough to shoot someone, but I can see where someone else in this position might be.

I can imagine someone who is in need of assistance and has a phone call for help. He first goes through a menu, which is aggrevating. Then he pushes all the right buttons and reaches who who he needs to reach, but only to the extent that "all agents are busy; please stay on the line as your call is important to us" So he hangs on the line for maybe as much as an hour or more. Finally gets a live person. Maybe he has a conversation, or maybe he gets puts on hold and disconnected. Anyone here that hasn't happened to?

One last example. I had a neighbor who was a Newark cop. He and his partner found it entertaining to give a black guy a ticket for going through a red light he hadn't gone through. Both would tell the judge they witnessed him going through that light. Driver didn't have a chance. How angry might he be?

My point in this overly long rant is that I wish I'd hear some conversations about why people go over the edge. We have a growing number of "road rage" incidents. Why?

I think all the talk and consideration given to gun control is simply a waste of time and energy. There is no way in hell we're going to disarm the public. We need to think in terms of lessening the violence and forget about guns if we wish to make progress.

If we have another political argument over gun rights, we will further divide the country and our politicians. We need a conversation on how to relieve stress in our modern world.

Bob Adams
01-05-2013, 10:23 AM
If you want to get rid of the majority of the violence in the United States, end the "War on Drugs". Plain and simple.

Phillip Allen
01-05-2013, 10:28 AM
that is a good post, John, thank you

I tried and tried to have a conversation about getting rid of the violence (I called my attempts various things including "human Nature") but was repeatedly denied that opportunity... I hope you fair better.

Paul Pless
01-05-2013, 10:32 AM
I find myelf being the only sane, IMO, one entering any of this.FWIW, lots of insane people think that they are completely normal.

Peach
01-05-2013, 10:36 AM
We need a conversation on how to relieve stress in our modern world.

Sure, that would be a conversation worth having, again.

I doubt previous civilizations faced any less stress than modern people do today, perhaps significantly more. Stress undoubtedly makes people more prone to violence, but the reality is that humans are fundamentally an aggressive, hostile, intolerant, territorial, and exceedingly tribal species. Try fixing that with a conversation.

kenjamin
01-05-2013, 10:54 AM
As someone considering buying a gun your post is very relevant to me. I certainly don't want to shoot anyone but at the same time, I don't want to feel powerless if someone is breaking into my home or for that matter if I'm sitting in a movie theater and some idiot comes in and starts mowing everyone down. I think the solution might be better, lighter, smaller, non-lethal weapons that most people could legally carry everywhere they go. It's a shame that it has come to this but evidently that time has arrived. If a better pepper gas delivery system were developed or a better taser then maybe more people would be carrying these devices. Non-lethal weapon systems aren't as effective as a real live bullet but it could be a lot better than having nothing and just sitting there and waiting for your turn to get shot. Sure there would be more offensives of people using non-lethal weapons inappropriately but people will always be people. You don't have to watch very many episodes of Law & Order to realize that.

Sorry to hear of your misfortune with the uninsured motorist and the equally corrupt insurance companies.

Waddie
01-05-2013, 10:55 AM
Killing on a mass scale has been a characteristic of human beings since ancient times. We like to deceive ourselves and believe that in a modern, civilized society such behavior isn't typical nor commonplace. Yet we engage in killing on a regular basis. Armed conflict, the death penalty, abortion, drone attacks, bombings, suicide bombings, starvation, ethnic cleansing, the list goes on and on. The veneer of civilization is very thin. For all the rhetoric, our actions prove that we hold life pretty cheap. Any one individual may argue that they hold life dear, but considering there's suffering and death over much of the globe, what have they done to show it? Cutting a check to a charity is nice but hardly a commitment to holding life dear.

regards,
Waddie

Peerie Maa
01-05-2013, 11:16 AM
I think that we can categorise murders and consider the methods and outcomes for the different types separately. I will set out four broad groupings, you may feel that I have lumped two into one inappropriately, so feel free to address that if you will. My comments relate to the UK.


Gangland land grass wars, These are the most frequent gun crimes that we have, and will always be with us when illegal guns can be obtained.
Murders associated with theft. These are fortunately rare, and guns are also rarely used where there is a homicide.
"In the family", This is where one family member gets sufficiently pissed off and feels unable to walk away, so turns to violence. This will always happen, but in the UK a blunt instrument, an edged weapon or arson are the weapons of choice. I cannot recollect any equivalent to the recent case of an American worker ambushing an ex colleague with a gun. That included if I recall correctly 9 injured in the subsequent cross fire, both the crime and the collateral damage are extremely unlikely here.
The nutter on a rampage. Very rare. Since we made guns owned for competitive shooting more secure we have had only one instance, the perpetrator using guns used for vermin control/hunting.

I am normally a glass half full person, but that tells me that in order to reduce gun homicide, Americans really do need to reduce the lack of responsibility that is endemic in your gun ownership/availability. I am not optimistic.

Nicholas Scheuer
01-05-2013, 11:27 AM
Went through the same process, kenjamin. Not sure how "bad" your neighborhood is, but ours' is considered "one of the best in the city", yet our neighbor's house was burgalrized, including the master bedroom, with the neighbors faking sleep in the bed! On another occasion we heard a gun shot, and found a bullet hole in a window sash, along with a 9mm shell casing outside in the street!

My grandfather's Winchester '73 is no longer in real good condition, so I got something else in better condition.

Was ruminating on recent "nutjob shooting incidents" a couple of days ago, and decided we will experience more, maybe worse than Sandy Hook, before it gets better. "Copy Cat" incidents aren't necessary, I can think of worse ways to cause havoc with guns, but I'll keep them to myself for the sake of nutjobs having less imagination and looking for ideas. At this point the NRA has led us too far down the Second Amendment hysteria road to turn back, and it will be a long long time before we in the USA "change our culture".

Peach
01-05-2013, 11:41 AM
I've always thought it best to honestly face the reality that our culture is steeped in violence, and has the means to commit violence anywhere, anytime, and to anyone. With that mindset it's easy to justify some means of personal protection. I have a 12-gauge pump sitting in the corner of our bedroom. About once a year I clean the dust off it. I've never needed it and probably never will, but I sleep better knowing it's there.

John Smith
01-05-2013, 11:42 AM
If you want to get rid of the majority of the violence in the United States, end the "War on Drugs". Plain and simple.

I agree. The drug thing is Prohibition all over again.

John Smith
01-05-2013, 11:45 AM
that is a good post, John, thank you

I tried and tried to have a conversation about getting rid of the violence (I called my attempts various things including "human Nature") but was repeatedly denied that opportunity... I hope you fair better.

I hope so too. I hope we can prevent this discussion from falling into a gun debate. I'd like to see a study on road rage: I bet there's more of it these days. These are very stressful times. The economy adds to the stress. I think the division in Washington ads to the stress. From other posts, I see I'm not the only one who, at family gatherings, as to avoid certain topics. That's stressful.

Phillip Allen
01-05-2013, 11:48 AM
I hope so too. I hope we can prevent this discussion from falling into a gun debate. I'd like to see a study on road rage: I bet there's more of it these days. These are very stressful times. The economy adds to the stress. I think the division in Washington ads to the stress. From other posts, I see I'm not the only one who, at family gatherings, as to avoid certain topics. That's stressful.

one thing I would reccomend giving thought to... stress is not new nor are these particularly stressful times... OTOH, it behooves our media to 'create' stress for the sake of selling copy...

Peach
01-05-2013, 11:52 AM
If you want to get rid of the majority of the violence in the United States, end the "War on Drugs". Plain and simple.

Just consider the revenue a state-regulated marijuana industry would produce. Plus the massive savings in prison costs. I hope Washington State gets its act together quickly and starts reaping the financial benefit of our new pot law.

John Smith
01-05-2013, 11:54 AM
As someone considering buying a gun your post is very relevant to me. I certainly don't want to shoot anyone but at the same time, I don't want to feel powerless if someone is breaking into my home or for that matter if I'm sitting in a movie theater and some idiot comes in and starts mowing everyone down. I think the solution might be better, lighter, smaller, non-lethal weapons that most people could legally carry everywhere they go. It's a shame that it has come to this but evidently that time has arrived. If a better pepper gas delivery system were developed or a better taser then maybe more people would be carrying these devices. Non-lethal weapon systems aren't as effective as a real live bullet but it could be a lot better than having nothing and just sitting there and waiting for your turn to get shot. Sure there would be more offensives of people using non-lethal weapons inappropriately but people will always be people. You don't have to watch very many episodes of Law & Order to realize that.

Sorry to hear of your misfortune with the uninsured motorist and the equally corrupt insurance companies.

I'm trying my best to avoid this thread becoming about guns. Are there more burlaries/robberies when there is more poverty? That's the kind of questions I'm trying to raise.

Thanks for your comment on our accident. I am sure I'm not the first or the last who's been screwed by this system. I have never driven without valid insurance. It is what it is. I can see someone getting screwed, angry, and doing something violent.

I recall Katrina. Photos of white people bravely breaking into stores to feed their families; blacks doing the same thing were "looting". I can see that infuriating a few people.

I'd really like to see a serious discussion among the pundits who get to discuss in front of millions of people about why there is so much violence. I'd like someone to explain why we have no problem with out children watching violence, but a huge problem with anything sexual.

I stray, a bit, in being concerned with the back alley abortions we used to have becoming a thing of the present again.

beernd
01-05-2013, 11:59 AM
Drug addicts are in bad health NOT because they use drugs, but all the money thet gat a hold of is used to buy (highly overpriced, illegal) drugs.
There are some exceptions, like "Meth" that really destroys you, (there may be other drugs with the same effect, but this is one I am sure of).

Take a look at this and shudder: http://www.rehabs.com/explore/meth-before-and-after-drugs/infographic.html

Experiments, (in GB IIRC) showed heoin addicts that lived perfectly normal lives, they ate well had jobs etc.

I think that drugs should be legalized, one benefice would be that the criminality etc will go down, the other much bigger advantage would be that all drug addicts would have acces to help, (no more fear of being arrested), and they all could live their lives.

And I don't think ALL the problems wil vanish at once, but the problem would become a lot easier to handle, (not solve, but handle)

John Smith
01-05-2013, 12:03 PM
Killing on a mass scale has been a characteristic of human beings since ancient times. We like to deceive ourselves and believe that in a modern, civilized society such behavior isn't typical nor commonplace. Yet we engage in killing on a regular basis. Armed conflict, the death penalty, abortion, drone attacks, bombings, suicide bombings, starvation, ethnic cleansing, the list goes on and on. The veneer of civilization is very thin. For all the rhetoric, our actions prove that we hold life pretty cheap. Any one individual may argue that they hold life dear, but considering there's suffering and death over much of the globe, what have they done to show it? Cutting a check to a charity is nice but hardly a commitment to holding life dear.

regards,
Waddie

I don't think we can change that completely. I do think we can lessen the number of incidents. If study after study shows the vast majority of murders are related to drugs being illegal, we should take that seriously and change our policies on drugs. If we did this and five years from when we start, gun violence is cut in half or more, that would be a good thing. I think it's more than worth trying.

There is something different in today's world. I've mentioned before we discussed Watergate every day at work, and managed to do so without anyone raising his voice. Those days are gone. Why? Why did my son-in-law and his brother get into an honest to goodness fist fight over Bush and Iraq, in front of two small children? Why did people get so loud and angry when debating Pete Rose?

I wonder how much domestic violence is a guy getting dumped on by his boss taking it out on his wife.

Peerie Maa
01-05-2013, 12:04 PM
I hope so too. I hope we can prevent this discussion from falling into a gun debate. I'd like to see a study on road rage: I bet there's more of it these days. These are very stressful times. The economy adds to the stress. I think the division in Washington ads to the stress. From other posts, I see I'm not the only one who, at family gatherings, as to avoid certain topics. That's stressful.

Here is a report on road rage, so sociologists are working on it http://www.livescience.com/3696-road-rage-lose.html
It would seem to be about personal space as much as anything.

Phillip Allen
01-05-2013, 12:06 PM
I'm trying my best to avoid this thread becoming about guns. Are there more burlaries/robberies when there is more poverty? That's the kind of questions I'm trying to raise.

Thanks for your comment on our accident. I am sure I'm not the first or the last who's been screwed by this system. I have never driven without valid insurance. It is what it is. I can see someone getting screwed, angry, and doing something violent.

I recall Katrina. Photos of white people bravely breaking into stores to feed their families; blacks doing the same thing were "looting". I can see that infuriating a few people.

I'd really like to see a serious discussion among the pundits who get to discuss in front of millions of people about why there is so much violence. I'd like someone to explain why we have no problem with out children watching violence, but a huge problem with anything sexual.

I stray, a bit, in being concerned with the back alley abortions we used to have becoming a thing of the present again.

it is established that petty crime varies directly with the poverty level... ergo... poor people steal from one another regularly... perhaps they think that they have less to lose

John Smith
01-05-2013, 12:12 PM
I've always thought it best to honestly face the reality that our culture is steeped in violence, and has the means to commit violence anywhere, anytime, and to anyone. With that mindset it's easy to justify some means of personal protection. I have a 12-gauge pump sitting in the corner of our bedroom. About once a year I clean the dust off it. I've never needed it and probably never will, but I sleep better knowing it's there.

We are getting back into a discussion of guns. The more people get guns for "protection", the more guns are out there, and the gun originially bought for protection, might be used to kill a neighbor for too many loud parties.

I am really trying, unsucessfully it seems, to stop talking about guns, responsible ownership of them, etc. I'd like a discussion as to those things that drive so many people to the point of murder.

Consider how nice it would be to have our murder rate drop to one a month instead of one a day.

I've suggested we can modify buildings so smuggling an arsenal in would be more difficult; I think that's doable, but it might only move the massacre to the playground or parking lot.

It may be unrealistic, but I think once you get out of the drug related incidents, we have a lot of otherwise sane people driven over an edge by too many straws. Maybe we can cut down on the number of straws people have to deal with.

John Smith
01-05-2013, 12:19 PM
one thing I would reccomend giving thought to... stress is not new nor are these particularly stressful times... OTOH, it behooves our media to 'create' stress for the sake of selling copy...

I'm not sure the times aren't more stressful. Obviously our economy has gone through some truly hard times. People have lost pensions.

We have people in my state who really NEED help behind Sandy, and they haven't gotten it. House finally voted for $9 billion. Rest they'll vote on later, and there's no guarantee it will pass. I'd suggest that is stressful. Businesses will not be able to re-open because this help was delayed.

I think telephone menus are stressful. And they are more and more the norm.

At any rate, all of this should be a large part of any discussion. The discussion should not be limited to talking about guns and clips and background checks. Guns may make it easier to kill, but something has to drive a man to murder. or suicide.

Ian McColgin
01-05-2013, 12:19 PM
I am not convinced we can simply rid our race of violence any more than we can rid our race of sexual lust. Nor am I sure that just ridding or supressing those tendencies is even desirable. And learning to channel and use them is much more complex, fraught with only partial success no matter how enlighted one is, and culture dependent.

Nor am I convinced that the US culture can simply rid itself of firearms. So, I favor comprehensive user licensing, firearms registration, ammunition marking, and very strict liability. At least we can mitigate damage, make it easier to track criminal use of firearms, and somewhat reduce overly-easy access to a firearm.

John Smith
01-05-2013, 12:22 PM
Drug addicts are in bad health NOT because they use drugs, but all the money thet gat a hold of is used to buy (highly overpriced, illegal) drugs.
There are some exceptions, like "Meth" that really destroys you, (there may be other drugs with the same effect, but this is one I am sure of).

Take a look at this and shudder: http://www.rehabs.com/explore/meth-before-and-after-drugs/infographic.html

Experiments, (in GB IIRC) showed heoin addicts that lived perfectly normal lives, they ate well had jobs etc.

I think that drugs should be legalized, one benefice would be that the criminality etc will go down, the other much bigger advantage would be that all drug addicts would have acces to help, (no more fear of being arrested), and they all could live their lives.

And I don't think ALL the problems wil vanish at once, but the problem would become a lot easier to handle, (not solve, but handle)

Agreed. Based on everything I've read on this, legalizing drugs would eliminate the very vast majority of gun violence. It would also save money we waste on trying to enforce the unenforcable laws and on the prison space we need for users.

It needs to be a serious part of any discussion on violence. Too bad it won't be.

Nanoose
01-05-2013, 02:51 PM
What do we want to get rid of? Both.

The one, we can control.
The other, we can't, because it requires a change of heart.

Peach
01-05-2013, 03:15 PM
I'd like a discussion as to those things that drive so many people to the point of murder.


See post 5 above.

skuthorp
01-05-2013, 03:24 PM
I agree that violence is what humans do, and with Waddie in# 7. It's most likely why we're the dominant species and maybe will be our undoing in the long run. Ready access to long distance weapons makes it easier, and less personal, to kill. I also agree with the posts re drugs and the problems that a universal illegality cause, instead of treating it as a health problem. But good luck with that, the amount of private 'legitimate' business generated by keeping drugs illegal will by itself prevent a more reasoned approach. Just list all those government agencies whose career structure depends on the 'drugs' being illegal, add the private prison and legal businesses and all the knock ons.
From the original post re the insurance scams and dodgy police work and the lack of morals of the original perp. Hello, that's what humans do as well, dodge responsibility for their acts and their mistakes, employ vast numbers of lawyers so as to not pay up what you have insured for, and then there's the trite phrase, said almost jokingly "Business is business". Says it all about us really.