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In an ideal world, that Batman-movie Aurora, Colorado mass-murderer of twelve random innocent people would be openly and fairly tried, convicted, and executed within a month. This is because it's an open-and-shut case and because "justice delayed is justice denied." He would also be somewhat tortured first, because extraordinary crimes deserve extraordinary penalties. Social balance/retribution and abstract justice demand this. And friends of the victims and concerned observers would turn to philosophy and rational spirituality for comfort -- not to religion. And people would view the situation in context, and recognize that about 7000 Americans die every day, and thus not get overexercised about a mere twelve. People would rationally focus on saving the 7000 far the most. And as for preventing this type of atrocity "from ever happening again," people would have a natural and knee-jerk reaction in the direction of seeking more personal freedom in society -- not more gov't tyranny. They wouldn't consider banning guns. People would think about getting rid of gov't roads -- which literally pave the way for every madman and monster to come right up to us -- and the general public would demand that the various business venues like theaters and airlines and college campuses think about getting better security -- such as more public scrutiny, security guards, and metal detectors -- to more effectively protect their customers. They'd also think about legalizing drugs and prostitution, so the cops could focus more on preventing crimes of violence.

Of course -- this is how almost everyone would react to a random, meaningless, isolated, largely-unpreventable atrocity in an ideal world. Our society and culture is very different.

Edited by Wotan

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Wotan, I can't say that I agree or disagree with everything you've said. I am interested to know what the theater's firearm policy was. Do you (or anyone else), have a link to an article that describes either the cinema's weapon policy or an applicable state law?

I ask because these guys typically target places that prohibit weapons. In other words, they target defenseless people. I know this guy was wearing armor, but I've got a hunch that an FMJ .38 Super round would have ripped right through it.

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Wotan,

  1. The most a torture supporter can go rationally is to argue that it is correct in response to objective threats - ie torture a terrorist in order to gain information about threats. To torture for retribution is on another level and frankly monstrous.

  2. Over 30,000 people die in the USA each year from guns, so it is not difficult to see how banning them would save lives and help reduce those 7000 daily deaths. The only other rich country which has a problem with guns is Finland and surprise surprise, gun ownership is high there too.

  3. Finally, unlike you, Rand was hesitant on the issue - Ayn Rand Answers:

What is your opinion on gun control laws?

I do not know enough about it to have an opinion, except to say that it’s not of primary importance. Forbidding guns or registering them is not going to stop criminals from having them; nor is it a great threat to the private, noncriminal citizen if he has to register the fact that he has a gun. It’s not an important issue, unless you’re ready to begin a private uprising right now, which isn’t very practical.

What is your attitude toward gun control?

It’s a complex, technical issue in the philosophy of law. Handguns are instruments for killing people–they are not carried for hunting animals–and you have no right to kill people. You do have the right to self-defense, however. I don’t know how the issue is to be resolved to protect you without giving you the privilege to kill people at whim.

Edited by Kate87

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Kate, I challenge the phrase, "problem with guns." It is a prejudicial phrase; it assumes that the tools used to commit assaults are the root causes of assaults. Use of such term will lead people to make poor comparisons when thinking about this issue. For instance, a country with a high level of gun ownership may see higher levels of firearms related deaths and assaults relative to other countries, but lower relative totals for deaths and assaults. Somebody who's thinking is primed by the phrase, "gun problem," may be prone to ignoring the much more important overall totals and come to an incorrect conclusion.

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Thank you, Brian. While the story to which you linked only involved one AK theater, I don't think it is premature to expect the Aurora theater to have the same policy. I believe that if you deny people the tools required for their self-defense, you are partially responsible for any injury that results from an attack. While I don't think the two situations noted in this graphic are 100% comparable, it does illustrate the point:

GUn-Free-Zone.jpg

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Kate, I challenge the phrase, "problem with guns." It is a prejudicial phrase; it assumes that the tools used to commit assaults are the root causes of assaults.

I take your point - somewhat. I think it's more accurate to say that America has a problem with violence in general:

America-is-violent-graph.png

This problem with violence is definitely not helped by the free availability of guns.

Edited by Kate87

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This problem with violence is definitely not helped by the free availability of guns.

Your statement may seem obvious, but is it accurate? If more law-abiding citizens are armed, what effect (if any) does that have on the decisions of those violent offenders who have no interest in following the law?

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Over 30,000 people die in the USA each year from guns, so it is not difficult to see how banning them would save lives

What you are describing is intuition. There is a difference between intuition and knowledge. Here are some facts, that will hopefully make you think twice about relying solely on intuition before vying for others' rights to be taken away:

Over 30,000 people die in the USA each year from guns, so it is not difficult to see how banning them would save lives and help reduce those 7000 daily deaths. The only other rich country which has a problem with guns is Finland and surprise surprise, gun ownership is high there too.

Finland has an intentional homicide rate of 2.3/100.000 people. The world average is 6.9. The European average (most of Europe prohibits gun ownership) is 3.7.

Switzerland, where almost everyone has a gun, it's lower still: 0.6. One of the lowest in the world.

In the US, the rate is 5.4. In Mexico, right next to the US, where private gun ownership is prohibited, the rate is three times as high. Same with Russia, where private gun ownership is also prohibited. In Venezuela, where private gun ownership was recently banned, the rate is 50. That's ten times the US average, and 25 times the Finnish average.

If you look at the rates state by state, or city by city, within the US, you'll find that the same story repeats itself. Some of the cities with the tightest gun controls have the highest homicide rates.

Edited by Nicky

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As I've had to remind a number of my classmates this week: A results-based or crime statistics approach to gun control is pragmatism at best, and is almost always a confusion of correlation with causation (if there is any significant correlation at all).

While I am all for freedom to own and conceal-carry firearms, I have learned to hate the "This wouldn't have happened if victims were carrying" argument as much as the "It would have been worse if victims were carrying" assertion. Both statements are arbitrary Monday-morning quarterbacking from political motivations.

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Jake, if you were responding to my posts, perhaps I didn't make my point clear. While I don't agree with your position about "Monday morning quarterbacking" (I'll explain why if you want me to), I wasn't trying to make a prediction about what would have happened had things been different. I was trying to take a moral position. Here is a better restatement.

I have a right to the tools I need to defend myself. If someone wants me to go without such tools, they should take extra precautions to secure my safety. While I believe the statistics support my side from a practical point of view, I don't think I'd care much if they didn't. What matters is whether or not my friends and I are safer if I have a weapon. Generally we are. Now, of course I have a choice to endanger myself by entering a "weapon free zone," and I often do out of convenience. But I'd prefer not to. If I were disarmed by the law, you'd bet I'd be petitioning for an armed guard to be paid for by the state. From now on, when people ask me to voluntarily disarm, I’ll ask them if they have an armed guard on duty and if not, what precautions they’ve taken in case someone breaks their rules.

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As I've had to remind a number of my classmates this week: A results-based or crime statistics approach to gun control is pragmatism at best, and is almost always a confusion of correlation with causation (if there is any significant correlation at all).

While I am all for freedom to own and conceal-carry firearms, I have learned to hate the "This wouldn't have happened if victims were carrying" argument as much as the "It would have been worse if victims were carrying" assertion. Both statements are arbitrary Monday-morning quarterbacking from political motivations.

One person overpowered 100+ people. Correct? Why? That shouldn't happen. Not if all the one man has is a rifle and a vest. Maybe if he has a tank or if he's a Navy SEAL. But not some idiot lunatic.

A tribe of primitive savages armed with spears and arrows should even be able to stand up to one stupid looking redhead with a rifle. More than that, just 100 years ago, a theater full of Americans would've been able to defend themselves with ease against this guy. Why didn't a large group of modern Americans manage to do something pretty much any group of people during any other time in history could easily accomplish?

How on Earth are suggestions on what they should've done differently (or rather, what they should be allowed to do differently) to be able to defend themselves in situations like this illogical?

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Kate, I'm interested to know your position on the morality of gun ownership. Statistics, as we know, can indeed show that people are healthier when things are outlawed. But we also know that it wouldn't be moral to, say, outlaw binge drinking and potato chips even though people would be healthier. So what is your take?

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I take your point - somewhat. I think it's more accurate to say that America has a problem with violence in general:

America-is-violent-graph.png

This problem with violence is definitely not helped by the free availability of guns.

America also has a much larger concentration of poor inner cities, where most murder occur, where gun ownership is banned or at least highly restricted; most of the violence in America is drug related and committed by people in poverty in liberal areas.

Edited by rdrdrdrd

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Why when you cross your northern border does crime drop dramatically? Canada has the same drugs problems as does every Western nation. Stop dancing around the issue and recognise what to everyone else in the world is crystal clear.

I could quote lots of unbiased studies on this issue whereas I know all that you can quote is biased politically motivated right wing "studies". You'll even have a conspiracy theory ready to espouse why its not the right wing think tank that is biased, its the liberal universities! So that's why I'm not going to quote any studies because I think you'll be impervious to them.

Also, those of you who think it is somehow immoral to have strict gun control should reread Rand's words I quoted above.

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I could quote lots of unbiased studies

Could you? So why aren't you? Why do you instead just keep repeating how obvious it is that you're right and everyone else is wrong?

Why when you cross your northern border does crime drop dramatically?

It doesn't. Look at the murder rates by US states. In states all along the Canadian border (North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Montana, etc) crime rates are all the same or even a little lower than the Canadian average.

And yet, guns are just as available there as they are in other states. Often more so. Montana hardly has any firearm restriction for instance.

The only way you are going to find a correlation between guns and violence if you insist on keeping your blinders on, and only looking at the unusually high rate of the US compared to other western countries. That is one cherry picked example. It is deeply illogical to generalize from one example.

As soon as you decide to try and test your hypothesis on other samples (such as comparing areas in the US and areas in other countries that are demographically similar), it no longer applies. If your hypothesis were true, and gun availability is the source of violence, then those states I listed should have higher murder rates than Canada.

Edited by Nicky

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Wotan,

  1. The most a torture supporter can go rationally is to argue that it is correct in response to objective threats - ie torture a terrorist in order to gain information about threats. To torture for retribution is on another level and frankly monstrous.

  2. Over 30,000 people die in the USA each year from guns, so it is not difficult to see how banning them would save lives and help reduce those 7000 daily deaths. The only other rich country which has a problem with guns is Finland and surprise surprise, gun ownership is high there too.

  3. Finally, unlike you, Rand was hesitant on the issue - Ayn Rand Answers:

What is your opinion on gun control laws?

I do not know enough about it to have an opinion, except to say that it’s not of primary importance. Forbidding guns or registering them is not going to stop criminals from having them; nor is it a great threat to the private, noncriminal citizen if he has to register the fact that he has a gun. It’s not an important issue, unless you’re ready to begin a private uprising right now, which isn’t very practical.

What is your attitude toward gun control?

It’s a complex, technical issue in the philosophy of law. Handguns are instruments for killing people–they are not carried for hunting animals–and you have no right to kill people. You do have the right to self-defense, however. I don’t know how the issue is to be resolved to protect you without giving you the privilege to kill people at whim.

Here is how it is resolved: Handguns are legal and murdering people at whim is illegal. You say handguns are instruments of killing people but more accurately, hand guns are at the most basic level, instruments of accelerating a sizeable piece of metal to a high velocity. This power can be used for a lot of different things, one of which is killing people but the fundamental issue here is that, even if you say that handguns are instruments for killing people, they can either be used for good or evil depending on the choice of the individual wielding it. The good includes hunting animals (yes even with handguns), sports shooting, hobby collections, bear protection, killing criminals in self-defense, etc. The bad includes unsafe gun handling, poaching, theft, murder, etc. You don't have the right to ban something just because it can be used for evil. Another example would be a car which, fudamentally, is an instrument of transportation. Just because it can be used for evil (getaway vehicles, drunk driving, an outright murder weapon, etc.) doesn't mean that it is a comples philosphical issue as to whether to ban it or not.

As for banning guns saving lives, yes, it would prevent some but not nearly as many as you think. Accidental gun deaths would be reduced as well as some domestic murders but other than that, the effect would be nearly entirely negligible. In exchange, you give up a sport, hobby and industry which no one has the right to take away, but more importantly, you give up your right to self-defense while the criminals have an even easier time victimizing the innocent. The availability of guns to criminals does not help America's violence problem but banning guns wouldn't do a thing to curb it. Not only are there already hundreds of millions of guns in the country, it's also not hard to import them. Just look at Australia where hundreds of thousands of Chinese guns have shown up after their gun ban. Having Mexico to the south wouldn't help either (contrary to politician's lies, most guns in Mexico aren't from the US). If they can get millions of tons of drugs into the US, they can get millions of firearms in. The best a gun ban would do is raise the street price.

The issue also isn't whether we'll have a private uprising today, it's whether we will be able to have one 20 or 30 years from now when it may be neccessary. Even if it might not practical as the country is falling into dictatorship "live free or die" is truly something to live by. If, however, you banned guns today, any chance of peacefully saving America would die as the country would explode.

As to how to prevent more of these tragedies, more private security wouldn't hurt, but the only real way is to have a sizeable percentage of the general population concealing weapons in possible with the training to use them. The first step in doing this is to issue concealed carry permits. The second, more complicated issue is to foster a culture where people take their own defense into their own hands and are trained in the responsible use of firearms.

Edited by oso

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As to how to prevent more of these tragedies, more private security wouldn't hurt, but the only real way is to have a sizeable percentage of the general population concealing weapons in possible with the training to use them.

Would you really feel comfortable walking into a movie theater (or bar, restaurant, mall, etc), knowing that the person you sit next to might be carrying a loaded weapon? That some stranger you don't even know could decide to end your life at any moment? Sorry.. I just don't believe that letting people carry around loaded guns in public settings is going to solve any problems.

What is your attitude toward gun control?

It’s a complex, technical issue in the philosophy of law. Handguns are instruments for killing people–they are not carried for hunting animals–and you have no right to kill people. You do have the right to self-defense, however. I don’t know how the issue is to be resolved to protect you without giving you the privilege to kill people at whim.

Are handguns necessary for self-defense?

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Would you really feel comfortable walking into a movie theater (or bar, restaurant, mall, etc), knowing that the person you sit next to might be carrying a loaded weapon? That some stranger you don't even know could decide to end your life at any moment?

If strangers' ability to kill you makes you uncomfortable, you should stay away from strangers, not guns. A gun is not the only tool a stranger has to kill you.

Are you uncomfortable walking down the sidewalk? No? Allow me to make you so: look around. Do you see all those strangers in those large metal boxes moving at 60mph? Here's a fun fact about them: the people sitting behind the round thing in the front control the direction those boxes go. Any one of them, at any moment, could decide to end your life by just the slightest motion of his arms. Even worse, anyone on the sidewalk next to you could simply push you in front of a bus.

You're in the same situation in restaurants. They may not have more loaded guns than other places, but they have plenty of knives. And the person sitting next to you could just as easily kill you with his knife as he could with his gun.

Decided to stay off sidewalks and out of restaurants? Go out to the park. See any rocks? Do you realize how easy it would be for any of the strangers sitting or walking next to you to pick up a rock and kill you? It would take no longer than just shooting you. Are you at a baseball game? I hope it's not "commemorative bat day". All it would take is a swing of a bat any one of about 10.000 strangers was just gifted by the home team, and you're dead. Are you standing on a roof or balcony? Any stranger could simply push you off to your death.

Do you see absolutely no tools for killing around? Have all the dangerous guns, cars, knives, rocks, bricks, wires, bats, sharp surfaces, hard surfaces, tall buildings, mountains and canyons been removed? Don't frat, most men could easily kill any woman with their bare hands, simply by strangling her for about a minute.

Edited by Nicky

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Would you really feel comfortable walking into a movie theater (or bar, restaurant, mall, etc), knowing that the person you sit next to might be carrying a loaded weapon? That some stranger you don't even know could decide to end your life at any moment? Sorry.. I just don't believe that letting people carry around loaded guns in public settings is going to solve any problems.

Are handguns necessary for self-defense?

Whether or not people are legally allowed to conceal weapons doesn't change the fact that at any time, someone could try to murder me. If they're the kind of person who would murder me for no reason, they're not the kind of people who would obey a law against them carrying a weapon. At least, with concealed carry legal, the good people have guns too and I'm completely comfortable with that.

Are handguns necessary for self-defense? Yes. Not only would carrying around a rifle be a huge hassle, it would also comprimise your ability to defend yourself and the people around you as any person planning on committing a massacre would simply target you first.

Edited by oso

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If strangers' ability to kill you makes you uncomfortable, you should stay away from strangers, not guns. A gun is not the only tool a stranger has to kill you.

Let me ask you another question: would the gunman who shot 70+ people at the Batman viewing have been able to hurt as many people with a pocket knife? Or a rock? Probably not.

I'm aware that guns aren't the only tools people have to kill other people. But unlike a car, that was built to quickly get people from place to place, or a bat, that was built for players to play baseball, guns were designed to seriously injure/kill another person. A gun is one of the most powerful personal weapons you can have.

Whether or not people are legally allowed to conceal weapons doesn't change the fact that at any time, someone could try to murder me. If they're the kind of person who would murder me for no reason, they're not the kind of people who would obey a law against them carrying a weapon. At least, with concealed carry legal, the good people have guns too and I'm completely comfortable with that.

I didn't say strangers would murder you for no reason just because they have a gun. Have you ever gotten into a fist fight before? Imagine your opponent now having a gun, and pulling it on you. Imagine any situtation where people lose their tempers and usually resort to hand on hand attacks.. now imagine all those people with guns. I feel that the more guns there are around, the more people are going to use them. The only approach mentioned here to prevent massacre's of this kind is to increase security (ie: having metal detectors inside movie theaters).

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Let me ask you another question: would the gunman who shot 70+ people at the Batman viewing have been able to hurt as many people with a pocket knife? Or a rock? Probably not.

Not sure what that has to do with our conversation (in which you stated that having a stranger armed next to you makes you uncomfortable because he could kill you on a whim, and I explained why it either shouldn't or you should stay consistent and fear strangers armed with other tools that kill as well, because they could kill you on a whim too), but I'll answer:

Yes. In the most effective attack on American civilians in history, the murderers were armed with only box cutters. Their body count stands at over 3000.

Also, banning guns won't prevent mass murderers from getting and using them anyway. It will only prevent law abiding citizens from defending themselves against them.

I'm aware that guns aren't the only tools people have to kill other people. But unlike a car, that was built to quickly get people from place to place, or a bat, that was built for players to play baseball, guns were designed to seriously injure/kill another person. A gun is one of the most powerful personal weapons you can have.

Why would what something was intended for matter? If you're being bludgeoned with a baseball bat, does it really matter that it was designed for hitting a ball? The fact is, for a stranger sitting next to you and looking to kill you, it's just as effective a tool to use as a loaded gun.

As for guns being the most powerful personal weapon someone who intends to kill lots of people can have, I beg to differ. There is a reason why bombs, chemical weapons and hijacked planes are the preferred weapons of terrorists, and why they only use guns when they know for a fact that their victims will be disarmed. It's because, as it turns out, having a gun in a crowd where others have them too: not that effective at achieving mass murder.

If you're a mass murderer who's weapon of choice is a gun, having your victims conveniently disarmed for you is a prerequisite to success.

I feel that the more guns there are around, the more people are going to use them.

Ok, you feel it. Do you have any evidence to back up that feeling? Because I presented a lot of evidence that contradicts it.

Edited by Nicky

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Not sure what that has to do with our conversation (in which you stated that having a stranger armed next to you makes you uncomfortable, and I explained why it either shouldn't or you should stay consistent and fear strangers armed with other tools that kill as well)

I answered your first point already, but again: other weapons aren't as efficient in regards to range, power, and speed.

I didn't state that, but I will now: having an armed stranger next to me would make me extremely uncomfortable. I don't own a gun and I have no desire to. I choose to defend myself in other ways. There's many reasons for this, but one is that I don't think it's necessary to carry around a loaded weapon that could potentially end someone's life, especially while I'm taking my sister's kids to the movies. What if it accidentally went off and killed someone? Or someone stole it from my purse and used it against me? No.. a gun is not a good defense mechanism. Guns were designed to seriously injure/kill another person, and they're completely unncessary in day-to-day life. Instead of having everyone under the sun arm themselves like they're going to war, why don't you put a real defense mechanism into place: have security in place that prevents people with weapons from getting in to public places.

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