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World & Current Events > Is there any way to prevent another incident like the one in Las Vegas?

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message 1: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5791 comments For those of you not in the U.S., a gunman rented a hotel room, brought many guns and much ammunition to the room, and proceeded to fire on a crowd below with rifles that had been converted to automatic weapons, firing many rounds at once. 58 people were killed, 489 wounded. This man had no criminal record and no obvious motive. Details are still emerging. Is there any way to prevent something like this from happening again?


message 2: by J.N. (last edited Oct 06, 2017 09:34PM) (new)

J.N. Bedout (jndebedout) | 104 comments No.

Deranged people will find a way. If not guns, it will be some other type of weapon. The options are legion.

To borrow a liner from a Dolph Lundgren movie...

Potential Victim: Please don't shoot! I come in peace!
Loon: And you'll go in pieces!
[Loon pulls the trigger 'cause he thinks he's bulletproof...]


message 3: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments Our gun control laws have been pretty effective. But they came at a high political cost for some of our politicians. I will be forever grateful for them, however.

If you're interested, pop over and have a listen to our former PM talk about how they came about.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/p...


message 4: by Denise (last edited Oct 07, 2017 03:58AM) (new)

Denise Baer | 593 comments No. If someone or a group wants to harm others, they will find a way to do so. The homicide rates in the U.S. are staggering, and I believe it is related to a few things: lack of hope, anger, and hatred.

The U.S. is a melting pot of races, ethnic groups, and religion. Even though anger and hatred have always existed in the U.S., it's been on the rise over the past decade. We all have our suffering, our setbacks, beliefs, and opinions. No one is exempt. And from these hardships or strong feelings has risen rage. It’s everywhere: politics, religion, race, homosexuality, death, poverty, disease, natural disasters, etc. The list goes on regarding the fury, and as humans, we let it loose verbally or physically. Social media has only added stress on an already volatile atmosphere, along with our government, which I have no faith in anymore.


message 5: by Michel (last edited Oct 07, 2017 05:58AM) (new)

Michel Poulin I would love to see some sensible gun laws adopted in the USA, but am not optimistic about that because of the influence of the NRA with American politicians and also because of what I find to be loony toon, extreme thinking by too many American citizens who hold fanatical views about guns and their rights to acquire about anything short of a field howitzer.

Also, as many have said already, there are so many ways apart from guns and explosives to commit mass murder that it is impossible to completely prevent some nut case from killing if he/she wants to.

By the way, did you guys notice that, in the long history of mass murders and serial shootings in the USA, there was not a single female murderer in the lot? Do men only possess that gene that makes people massacre defenseless innocents?


message 6: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2250 comments Depends on how many freedoms you want to give up. As has already been said, if there are no access to guns, people will find other ways...just look at the latest tactic of using cars or trucks to plow into crowds. On the other hand, if you want to employ an army of law enforcement and conduct constant, unannounced searches of every house, business, structure, etc., you'll make it extremely difficult for people to keep secrets. But consider the discussion we're having over illegal immigration right now...in many cities, law enforcement doesn't want to know, and they're not they're not asking. Whatever we think of the issue, the fact is illegal immigration is "illegal," but in adopting the "sanctuary city" mentality, municipalities are basically saying we're not aggressively seeking out crime. Our Constitution intended for a lot of protections of citizens when it came to law enforcement - ideas like "innocent until proven guilty" and protection from illegal search and seizure.

As far as the gun issue goes, we have the 2nd Amendment because the Founding Fathers wanted the government to fear the people, not the other way around. Whenever these shooting incidents pop up, the gun control measures Democrats propose would have had no effect if in place before these shootings, most of these mass shooters buy these weapons in accordance to those proposed regulation - nothing would stop them from obtaining those weapons if the legislation was already in place. What's more, is criminals will still obtain weapons through illegal means. If a law didn't stop them from killing another person, another law certainly wouldn't have stopped them. However, restricting guns keeps weapons out of the hands of those who might resist the government if the Left's fear of a fascist takeover comes to pass.


message 7: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin This mad fear of 'government oppression' held by libertarians and militia members is in my opinion a major factor in the number of mass shootings in the USA and is nothing more than paranoia put to the extreme. Remember the past 'fears' and conspiracy theories (some still believe in them) about the US government plotting to let the United Nations 'invade' the USA and take control of it. No moderately intelligent and informed individual would believe such a harebrained idea, but many of the still existing private militias in the USA still use that 'threat' as a reason to justify their existence and acquisition of huge arsenals. Only in the USA, they say!


message 8: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer | 593 comments J.J. wrote: "But consider the discussion we're having over illegal immigration right now...in many cities, law enforcement doesn't want to know, and they're not they're not asking. Whatever we think of the issue, the fact is illegal immigration is "illegal," but in adopting the "sanctuary city" mentality, municipalities are basically saying we're not aggressively seeking out crime."

Yes. I have a big issue with Americans not understanding the word 'illegal' and with 'sanctuary cities'. Chicago is one of those cities, my hometown, and I hope to never live in that city or any other sanctuary city.

J.J. wrote: "As far as the gun issue goes, we have the 2nd Amendment because the Founding Fathers wanted the government to fear the people, not the other way around.

True. I'm not a fan of guns yet, I do believe Americans have the right to own one. BUT this should be heavily regulated.

The bigger problems are regarding the illegal guns, gangs, and types of guns. Any gun or device that fires more than one bullet at a time should not be sold to anyone. There is no logical need for these types of weapons. The legislation we have now is mild, and in some states, such as Nevada, it isn't difficult to get and carry one.

As stated several times, if someone wants to cause harm to others, guns aren't the only way to do it. Lots going on here in Europe.

Based on gender, men commit approximately 90% of murders in the U.S. Globally men also commit majority of homicides and violent crimes.

In the context of family and intimate
partner relationships, women are considerably
more at risk than men, yet 79 per cent of all hom-
icide victims globally are male. Moreover, some 95
per cent of homicide perpetrators at the global
level are also male; a share that is consistent across
countries and regions, irrespective of the homicide
typology or weapon used.


"The global male homicide rate is almost four times
that of females (9.7 versus 2.7 per 100,000) and is
highest in the Americas (29.3 per 100,000 males),
where it is nearly seven times higher than in Asia,
Europe and Oceania (all under 4.5 per 100,000
males). This is due in large part to the higher levels
of homicide related to organized crime and gangs
in the Americas than in other regions."


"There is a regional and gender bias towards male
victims in homicide related to organized crime and
gangs, but interpersonal homicide in the form of
intimate partner/family-related homicide is far
more evenly distributed across regions..."


message 9: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments As far as the gun issue goes, we have the 2nd Amendment because the Founding Fathers wanted the government to fear the people, not the other way around.

This is a thing I don't understand. Perhaps it's to do with the cultural differences between countries.

I can't imagine needing a weapon to overthrow our government - that's what elections are for.

And very seriously - we haven't had a mass homicide since our government enacted our gun control laws and instituted the gun buy back scheme. It was extremely unpopular in some areas, and some politicians backed the changes knowing that doing so would cost them their seats in parliament. But now, years later, it's regarded as one of the best things our politicians have ever done.

Sure, people may well try other means to kill people, but having those laws makes it that much harder.

And no, it doesn't mean we're free of gun related crime, we aren't, but our gun related homicides are down, and so are gun related suicides. It also doesn't mean that you can't own a gun. You can, but there are rules on what type of guns you can own, and there are background checks. You also have to have a genuine reason to own one.

Here's a link to my local state's reasons fact sheet. http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/__data/a...


message 10: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan All good points Leonie. However the Las Vegas killer bought all his weapons legally and passed all the background checks.

Complicating issues further is that 3D printing technology is not far away from producing reliable copies of fully automatic rifles.

Every society has a problem with anyone who is willing to sacrifice their own life to murder others.

I personally have no solution to the problem of violence.


message 11: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments Graeme wrote: "All good points Leonie. However the Las Vegas killer bought all his weapons legally and passed all the background checks.

Complicating issues further is that 3D printing technology is not far away..."


True, but if the US chose to ban automatic and semi automatic weapons for private sale, that might make at least a small difference. And what valid reason could anyone give to own what was effectively a small arsenal?


message 12: by Graeme (last edited Oct 07, 2017 09:09PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan I'm assuming in all seriousness that 'mass murder,' is not a valid reason for owning an arsenal.

I'm not advocating gun ownership or arsenals. The most potent weapon I have on my property is a axe in my garden shed.

What I'm suggesting is that those people with evil intent will find the means regardless of what laws we put in place especially when they are willing to sacrifice their own lives on the altar of atrocity.


message 13: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Michel, Leonie.

From my pov Democracy, and specifically any society where the average citizen has a large measure of control over their own life and destiny is the rare bird in the political zoo of human history.

Tyranny is by far the more common form of human society.

The relevant question is how to maintain democratic institutions and human liberty over time given that dictatorship, serfdom and slavery are such common social organizational forms.


message 14: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14912 comments At least two measures could've been helpful.
Security check upon entrance to the hotel, incl. metal detectors could've prevented bringing this much arms into it. This might sound far-fetched, but I see how security is organized and beefed-up in many countries. An access to Eiffel tower now is very different from how it used to be some years ago. In many places in France, Jordan, Israel, others - you need to pass a security check upon entering any public grounds.
We see how drastically airports and air -security changed during the last 15 years.

Re guns - I can't understand why a person should be allowed to have an arsenal on par with a commando unit? A liberty can still be subject to reasonable security concerns and still preserve constitutional right to bear arms. What's the point in having an arsenal? Just so that armaments manufacturers would have 'loyal, returning' clients?

Would having transmitters attached to some weapons, so that their unusual movement or dismantling trigger some software warning be helpful?

Not saying these incidents can always be averted, as about anything can be turned into a weapon.


message 15: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10697 comments My vote would also go for gun control, and banning automatic weapons and assault rifles, as well as other military stuff. The hunter does not need armour piercing ammunition, and the only reason to have it is to kill policemen doing their duty. Allowing that is just plain stupid.

Similarly, I agree with Nik that more security checks would be helpful. In my opinion, there is no way to stop the insane killing, but if you limit the means, at least it reduces the number of victims when something does go wrong, and with various controls you should reduce the number of occurrences. If you look at the number of times this is happening in the US, surely some measures would reduce the frequency.

The idea that the government should fear the people is just silly, in my opinion. Fearing the outcome of the next election is fine, but there is no way these militias have to fear the government - other than asking them to keep within the law. A lot of other countries manage freedom without being armed to the teeth. The key to freedom is that the population respect the rights of others and honour their own obligations to society, and to to go around shooting all and sundry.


message 16: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5791 comments I live in the Southern U.S., where people use guns for hunting and also use them to defend their homes. Everyone I know has a shotgun or rifle by the bed. Criminals think twice before invading a home in this area. So, gun control is not popular in this culture.

These weapons are illegal in my state: Sawed-off shotgun or rifle; machine gun; dangerous weapon ("rocket launcher," "bazooka" or "recoilless rifle," "mortar," "hand grenade") or silencer.

Bump stocks, which the shooter had and which make a semi-automatic weapon into one that functions as an automatic weapon, are not illegal. I don't understand why they're not illegal, since they make a semi-automatic into what is basically a machine gun. I think they should be illegal. Who's going to do any kind of hunting with a weapon like this?

I agree, though, that regardless of what's legal, people who want to inflict harm will find a way to do it. Criminals by definition disregard the law.


message 17: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments Scout wrote: "I live in the Southern U.S., where people use guns for hunting and also use them to defend their homes. Everyone I know has a shotgun or rifle by the bed. Criminals think twice before invading a ho..."

I cannot imagine needing a gun next to my bed to protect myself...

I think that may sum up some of the cultural differences.


message 18: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi Leonie, there are clearly cultural differences between Australia and the US that are part of the context to this problem.


message 19: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Hell, just look at the difference between Canada and the USA on gun control and gun culture, and we are next to each other! Gun ownership is strictly regulated, yet hunters can get rifles and shotguns and people can acquire handguns if they fill the paperwork and prove that they are not career criminals and are not insane. Any American who will say that Canadians are not as free as them because of our gun control laws is full of b.s.. If anything, we have more freedom: we are mostly free of the fear that some a..hole will take his legally purchased full auto assault rifle and shoot up kids in a school or fire into a crowd, out of some perceived frustration. Yes, a few such incidents did happen in Canada...over the last few decades, not a few every year!


message 20: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10697 comments I confess I am puzzled by the need for a gun to defend a home. In NZ there are plenty of guns for hunters, etc, but owners are licensed, and have to go through a course, not the least reason for which is to ensure they know enough not to go and get lost in the wilderness and waste a lot of time and resources looking for them. In the process, they learn some gun safety and demonstrate they are not insane. As Michel points out, it does not totally eliminate a shootout, but such incidents are rare, and more to the point, with the absence of even semiautomatic weapons, the number of innocent victims is very limited. And yes, we feel free.


message 21: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5791 comments Two things about guns in America:

First, banning guns in this country would be like closing the gate after the cows got out. There are so many guns here that you can assume that the criminals will have them, legally or not. It makes sense to have a gun by the bed, unless you want to be the one who can't defend your home and family.

Secondly, Americans, because of our history, believe that we have a right to bear arms and to form militias to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government. Jefferson said, “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” Even Abraham Lincoln said, "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it." It's ingrained in us to preserve our right to bear arms and to mistrust government.


message 22: by Graeme (last edited Oct 12, 2017 10:29PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Scout wrote: "Two things about guns in America:

First, banning guns in this country would be like closing the gate after the cows got out. There are so many guns here that you can assume that the criminals will..."


Hi Scout, as I said above, "Tyranny is by far the more common form of human society."

Arming the populace is one method of dealing with that. The question I have, is has it been effective? Could the modern population literally overthrow a US Government that had become an open tyranny?

Back in the day when everyone had muskets, the mightiest weapons were cannons and both sides could get those.

Now, the 'revolutionary,' battlefield would be very asymmetric with one side with assault rifles, and perhaps .50 cals - and the other has sensors that can see through walls, helicopter gunships, drones, battle tanks, and legions of trained soldiers.

Is it now simply too hard to conduct a revolution against a tyrant in a modern, developed country.


message 23: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10697 comments The real answer to tyranny is education. In New Zealand here, I rather think the soldiers ordered to tyrannise the population would be more likely to shoot the political that ordered it. I can't see the US Army shooting up the population just because some politician ordered it.


message 24: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5791 comments Of course, if the government could persuade troops to attack their own people, we'd be sunk. But the armed forces are composed of Americans from all states. Convincing them to turn on their own people to defend the government would be a hard sell. And if it came down to it, we'd rather be armed with guns than rocks.


message 25: by Holly (last edited Oct 13, 2017 06:46AM) (new)

Holly (goldikova) In rural areas of the U.S. guns are sometimes necessary for defense.

This happened to the neighbor of a friend of mine. She heard the horses in the pasture raising a ruckus and ran out to see what as going on. A pack of dogs (they appeared to have been abandoned by the same owner and gone feral as they were all the same breed; a breed known for unpredictable and vicious behavior) had already killed two young goats and were going to the horse pasture when they spotted the woman and started running toward her. She ran to the barn as it was closer than the house.

What was worse was the fact that her three young children were due to get off the schoolbus at any moment. They had a long, curving drive, with the main road not visible from the house, so the dogs wouldn't be spotted from a safe distance.

Her phone being in the house, she had no way of calling for help. Luckily for her there was a deer rifle locked away in the tack room of the barn.

This was a horrific situation any way you look at it, but it happens. Also, for people who raise livestock having a gun handy can mean the difference between a quick and merciful death for a horribly wounded animal or a painful wait for the vet to administer euthanasia.


message 26: by Michel (last edited Oct 13, 2017 09:59AM) (new)

Michel Poulin Holly, that's a bit of a specious case that does not explain or excuse the number of mass killings happening in such urban areas (no wild dogs or wolves) as schools, clubs, work offices and concert venues. Yes to hunting rifles and shotguns for farmers and rural inhabitants. No to people living in urban settings and owning full-automatic weapons and easily modified assault rifles. This business of 'Bump stocks' (which transform semi-auto rifles into full auto rifles) being legal is a complete, indefensible nonsense.


message 27: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10697 comments I also think having a gun in a rural situation is a good idea. In NZ, apart from being bothered by wild dogs (or uncontrolled dogs, and my daughter's farmlet had a number of sheep killed by someone's dog) there is often an infestation of rabbits. But you don't need a military style assault weapon for those situations, and this "bump stock" has no purpose whatsoever than to get around a restriction on machine guns, and they should be banned.


message 28: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5791 comments Thanks for your story, Holly, showing that guns aren't bad in themselves and are necessary for defense in some situations.


message 29: by Matthew (last edited Oct 16, 2017 10:46AM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) The number of mass shootings in America and the debate about how to prevent such tragedies has become a tragic joke. America continues to refuse to enact basic gun control laws, and yet its politicians seem resigned to thinking there's absolutely nothing they can do about mass shootings and gun violence.

I notice people saying that nothing can be done because psychos will find a way. What better example of a cop out is there? The leading excuse against banning assault weapons or passing strict laws against gun ownership is always that criminals and psychos will always find a way. Are they so cynical or fatalistic as to assume that these mass shootings are inevitable, or blind to notice that other developed nations don't deal with this problem to anywhere near the same extent?


message 30: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2250 comments Leonie wrote: "I can't imagine needing a weapon to overthrow our government - that's what elections are for...."

I believe the Supreme Court actually ruled at one point in history that the 2nd Amendment can't be used as a defense for plotting against the government for this very reason...as long as we still have the electoral process the argument that the government is corrupt and needs to be overthrown is invalid.

But corruption does happen, more so at the local level, and we have had incidents where citizens have taken up arms against their officials. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_...


But let's turn this around historically for a moment...What would have happened if the Japanese landed on the West Coast for an invasion before we had fully mobilized our military? Suppose the Russians decided on invasion instead of nuclear annihilation in the 50s and 60s? We have become such a strong military power today, we forget that our forces used to be mustered only as needed. There's a reason why attacks on the US from foreign countries are discussed in terms of ICBMs instead of ground forces...our citizenry is so armed, we would have a separate army of citizen soldiers running into the streets to fill in where the military couldn't reach. Look how the Kurds stepped up in Iraq against ISIS, building their own army from the ranks of their citizens.

Historically speaking, and this is one argument for why the 2nd Amendment is antiquated, people were required to bring their own guns when they mustered for battle in the early days of our existence. The militias spoken of in the 2nd Amendment were an early version of the National Guard with the local citizens required to participate for local defense. My 2nd Great grandfather was a member of the Georgia Volunteers in Southern Georgia. At the time, the area was still largely frontier and clashes with the Natives were common. During the 2nd Seminole War, the Georgia Militias were called up and sent into Florida because it was easier to use the existing militias than to muster a fresh army and spend time training green troops.


message 31: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10697 comments My view is that while J.J. makes a valid point about the past, surely it no longer applies. Does anyone seriously think some foreign invader is going to take on the US? Apart from the fact that you can't get at it, the US military is so stronger than anyone else that it just isn't going to happen.

The next question is, do you really want to be in a country where if they don't like the outcome of the electoral process, the two sides start a civil war?

Back to the question of arming oneself against home invasion etc, the question then is what happens next? There are two bad outcomes possible. The first is the people don't understand how to look after guns. One example - a four year old girl got killed when ferreting for sweets and inadvertently set off a gun. The idiotic mother had left it loaded and in the firing position, and "hidden" in the pantry. The second is, such people do illegally come in to steal. They may very well leave you, but you reach for a gun and they have no choice but to kill you. If you are surprised, do you really think you can get your gun out and shoot them before they can shoot you? If you are not surprised, is not your best chance to hide, run, or otherwise evade and call the police? The concept that you will stalk the invaders would work very well for a navy SEAL, but for the average Joe or Joan, that is just plain suicidal.


message 32: by Matthew (last edited Oct 16, 2017 11:20AM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Ian wrote: "My view is that while J.J. makes a valid point about the past, surely it no longer applies. Does anyone seriously think some foreign invader is going to take on the US? Apart from the fact that you..."

I agree. The days of frontier militias and undeclared wars against indigenous peoples are a thing of the past. And it is hardly a past that needs to be resurrected. During the frontier era in the US, America fought an ongoing campaign of conquest and genocide against Native Americans. People also died on a regular basis of typhoid fever, polio, tetanus and small pox. People paid next to nothing in taxes, but they also lived without running water, electricity and basic sanitation. The reality of their lives was starkly different than the one we deal with today, so it would insane to think that we should play by the same rules.

What's more, the militia of old was always intended to be "well-regulated", as is expressed in the 2nd Amendment. Citizens would not only be responsible for their weapons, but would be expected to undergo training and keep their weapons in good order. Otherwise, they would be completely ineffective. It seems to me that the current situation proves this, where civilians are still permitted to acquire firearms in a largely unrestricted and unregulated way but are not called upon to offer military service. It's a testament to how the 2nd Amendment has become effectively obsolete.

It would also seem the existence of the National Guard answers this challenge about "what if someone had invaded us?" Why would the US need a largely untrained and undisciplined mass of volunteers to take up arms against an invader when it has a professional army, trained reserves, and a National Guard to boot? And wouldn't it make sense to create a volunteer corps in the event of an invasion, rather than allowing anyone to stockpile guns in times of peace?

As for those who argue that civilians need to be armed in case the government turns tyrannical, what happens in the meantime? Has this paranoia prevented any of the abuses of power, corruption or overreach that we've seen in American politics for the past century? No, because politicians who seek to extend their power have historically succeeded by appealing to the paranoia and base instincts of the people (which includes their fear that the government is going to take their guns away).

The 2nd Amendment did not prevent Joe McCarthy and his House unAmerican Activities Council from ruining people's lives. It did not prevent Nixon from bombing Cambodia or using the resources of the president to spy on his domestic rivals. It did not prevent Bush from passing the Patriot Act, invading Iraq, or conducting wireless surveillance on Americans. It did not prevent Obama and the NSA from instituting PRISM and turning American's personal information into a means of spying on them. It did not prevent Donald Trump's collusion with Russia or his attempts to pass unconstitutional immigration bans.

In the meantime, the problems of gun violence and mass shootings persist, and nothing is done because people are more afraid of phantom hypotheticals than they are of what's happening right in front of them.


message 33: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2250 comments Matthew wrote: "The 2nd Amendment did not prevent Joe McCarthy and his House unAmerican Activities Council from ruining people's lives. It did not prevent Nixon from bombing Cambodia or using the resources of the president to spy on his domestic rivals. It did not prevent Bush from passing the Patriot Act, invading Iraq, or conducting wireless surveillance on Americans. It did not prevent Obama and the NSA from instituting PRISM and turning American's personal information into a means of spying on them. It did not prevent Donald Trump's collusion with Russia or his attempts to pass unconstitutional immigration bans...."

To Ian, history is not not irrelevant and times have not changed all that much even though particular situations have...and this is why. As Matthew points out, our leaders have been making a grab on our rights, and while many other attempts are taken to the courts and overturned, that takes time and the damage to civil liberties has been done. We trust in the system like that and sure, the courts work it out in the end, but what happens in the meantime? What happens our courts become politicized and the judges no longer unbiased?

In many states, judges are elected just like regular politicians. A couple election cycles ago here in NC, an outside group ran ads trying to influence one race against a sitting judge, trying to spin a single court decision she made into a full-blown endorsement of child sex offenders. The decision on the particular case had nothing to do with the crime itself, it was a technical matter; and people recognized what was going on with the ads so the campaign backfired. But we now have the Republican legislature trying to redraw judicial districts, expand the numbers on certain courts, etc. Democrats complain it's just an attempt to install more "conservative" justices and they're probably right. We've always seen the Supreme Court and the Presidents' nominations over the years as partisan attempts to shift the political leanings of the high court. It is not inconceivable to think there might come a day when the courts themselves are beholden to party politics and no longer uphold the Constitutional rights due our citizens.

But to the point Matthew made which I quoted, the reason we haven't invoked the 2nd Amendment against such grabs and injustices is because people still believe in the system and the process, and that things will still work themselves out without inciting revolution - we don't believe we're that broken just yet.

That doesn't mean that wild west, frontier mentality is gone or obsolete. Recall the racial tensions recently in Charlottesburg, Virginia. Not commenting on the situation itself, but that whole mess showed us that a chunk of our society is no longer content to sit back and let racism rule the day. Don't know how many of you heard of/remember the Clive Bundy standoff from a few years ago. I don't agree with his position and think he was wrong, but the overarching argument was over whether or not the federal government has the right to take control of lands.

This was an issue we dealt with a century ago when we started the National Parks movement. The government invoked eminent domain and forced people off their land during the acquisition and formation of the Mammoth Cave National Park. In some cases, the government adapted a siege mentality, blockading people in until resources ran out. When someone left a home, they swooped in a bulldozed the home before the resident got back so they had nothing to come back to. Issues do not just go away because time passes. The government does not become some benevolent entity just because we live in a more modern time. If that were so, we would not have crisis like the one in Venezuela; Myanmar would not be the focus of an ethnic cleansing scandal - and their leader is a Nobel Peace Prize winning, political activist!

For a society like the US that, on paper, places the rights of its citizens above the rights of the government, the kind of complacency toward the government discussed as reasons for moving away from our 2nd Amendment is the beginning of that shift toward authoritarianism.

Maybe we do have a lot of crime involving guns here in the US, but the solution is not to ban guns - that won't stop someone from robbing a convenience store or a bank. Instead of assaulting our Constitution and revoking the Bill of Rights, politicians should be focused on addressing the poverty that give rise to most of that crime. We should be looking at how to bring down recidivism rates, giving ex cons more opportunities to get honest jobs so our prisons don't become revolving doors, instead of allowing companies to throw up more and more barriers based on their past. Also on paper, we claim to be a land of opportunity, so we shouldn't be looking at more ways to take away that opportunity from our citizens.


message 34: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10697 comments J.J. raises one very important issue, namely the politicizing of the judiciary. I saw an article recently that said Trump my have the opportunity to replace four judges of the US Supreme Court, and this in my view, besides being a separate issue worthy of its own separate thread, is just plain wrong. The whole point of the judiciary is to interpret the law, and not to lead it in some political direction. This is a huge problem, and the subversion of the judiciary to a political end was critical to Hitler's taking Germany in the direction he did.
However, I do not think that arming the citizenry is the appropriate answer to that problem. There was an article in a magazine here that noted that in the US, about 30,000 deaths a year arise from guns. About 1000 are silly accidents through gross misuse. The biggest single category is attributed to suicide, but crime is a significant part. Isn't this worth trying to do something about?


message 35: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) J.J. wrote: "Matthew wrote: "The 2nd Amendment did not prevent Joe McCarthy and his House unAmerican Activities Council from ruining people's lives. It did not prevent Nixon from bombing Cambodia or using the r..."

I certainly agree that America needs to address its glaring issue of poverty and underdevelopment. In fact,t here was a recent article by Greg Palast, the investigative journalist, who grew up with the Las Vegas shooters. Without condoning a thing he did, the man indicates how the extreme disparity between the reality of America and its ideals (self-starting and opportunity for all) lead some to crack. Basically, he paints the shooter as a smart guy who snapped after years of being left behind while the rick kids got all the breaks. It's a co telling read:

http://www.gregpalast.com/went-school...

However, that does not change that America could also be addressing this issue through some simple gun control legislation. No one is saying "ban the guns" or recommending the Constitution be thrown out, and thinking that's what gun control means is a perfect example of projection. People who don't agree with an unregulated approach to guns must be in favor of banning them outright.

Not even close. We're talking about simple measures that would place limits on gun ownership, from civilians from being able to buy assault weapons, or people currently on terror watch lists, or those with a history of mental illness from stockpiling armaments. These are no-brainer solutions being resisted and being countered with purely hypothetical arguments.

Case in point, "that won't stop someone from robbing a convenience store or a bank" That's right up there with "then only criminals will have guns." In truth, stricter gun laws have a measurable impact on armed robberies and other forms of violent crime. The majority of illegally-owned guns are bought on the street after being stolen from people's homes - i.e. when they are NOT there - or guns stores. This is one of the consequences of people having guns for "responsible home defense" and open-access to firearms.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/...

As for what you said about land seizures and the like, I believe I already answered that. No one said the government has become benevolent in modern times. In fact, I pointed out that abuses of power have been regular in the past few decades. I should also include Standing Rock in that mix. In each case, civilians being able to stockpile guns did nothing to prevent it. The only thing that has made a difference is popular resistance through political action and non-violent action.

Paranoid people in enclosures with AR-15s circulating literature about how the government is controlled by the Illuminati or Jews, or that Obama is killing your grandma and brown people are threatening America, don't equate to benevolent government or freedom. A society that is resigned to mass levels of violence and crime because "o, its our history: or because its too afraid of guns laws doesn't either.


message 36: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10697 comments Problems like poverty and the incidence of crime are independent of the problem of guns. There is no doubt governments world wide have a lot of work that should be done, and only too many of them don't do it. Gun control cannot solve poverty, although it will reduce adverse consequences when someone tries their solution, namely armed robbery.

Matthew makes an interesting point that the US seems to have somehow become the ideal place for conspiracy theories, many of which are ridiculous. One that is not so silly, though, is that the politicians there are ruled by the NRA. There may also be a legitimate feeling in some places that they do not really trust their local police. I suspect to get sensible gun control, there is a bit of other work to be done.


message 37: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2250 comments Don't knock the conspiracy theories...they make life interesting. :D

But seriously, you knock conspiracy theories, but then offer one of your own concerning politicians and the NRA...the PBS Newshour looked at this question the other night and offered a rebuttal that the politicians are not influenced by the NRA, but rather they already hold the same views...that the NRA isn't influencing politicians, rather they're supporting those that already agree with them. But the issue over who's buying elections and whatnot is becoming almost irrelevant with regards to the right. The left still seems to support their candidates without questions, but the the election of Trump was just one step from voters on the right to thumb their noses at the Republican establishment and their habit of supporting their donors over the voters. It's a trend that seems to have begun with the Tea Party movement in 2010, and seems to be intensifying as we head for the 2018 season. The NRA's platform is not one of business, but one of citizens...they're an organization much like AARP which represents the interests of senior citizens. Their power comes from the citizenry, and that's why politicians give them so much weight.

The 2nd Amendment is kind of funny in that it has had its meaning twisted a bit. It is about insurrection and keeping the government in check, and not about personal protection against criminals. The funny thing is that if the politicians try to get gun control on that basis ("personal protection is irrelevant because that's not what the 2nd Amendment is about"), it opens up a lot of uncomfortable can of worms. If we are to arm ourselves for a possible revolution, to take on our own military, than we would need weapons on par with our military. I believe the Late Scalia once said the 2nd Amendment could be interpreted as to give citizens the right to own RPGs or their own nuclear missiles, etc. Furthermore, if we the people thought of the 2nd Amendment in those terms, we could see credible movements to take a theoretical assault on the government and turn it real. Maybe the anti-Trump agitators might storm Washington and forcibly remove him from office...maybe Bernie supporters might have stormed the DNC Convention last year and forcibly drove Clinton from the race. State and local politicians might be subject to violent revolt if our politicians gave us that idea by pushing the true intent of the Amendment.

I read a book from the 50s this past summer called the Lone Star Planet. The premise was that at some point in history, the entire state of Texas left Earth and founded their own, independent colony on another planet. As part of their society, people are allowed to kill politicians who push for policies that are not in the public's interest. The main character witnesses a trial in which the defendant claims his murder of a politician was justified because the politician proposed an income tax; as soon as the defense is offered, the judge agrees the killing was justified and dismisses the case.


message 38: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14912 comments In the aftermath of 2014 ousting of the president, conflict with Russia, separatism and all that, in 2015 Ukrainians started to buy arms like crazy. Wouldn't be surprised if every other household purchased something during that year.
Not sure about accuracy the of the statistics, but 2015 maybe did show a rise in crimes involving usage of firearms, while 2016 and 2017 show firm decline, while all the guns are still there.
Not saying it proves anything, but still interesting to follow...
Maybe indeed most people keep them for revolution and/or intervention?


message 39: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10697 comments First, I said the NRA ruling politicians was a theory put forward by others - it is not mine - and while "ruled" might be a bit strong, the statement "is not so silly, though" could be justified by the amount of money the NRA donates to specific politicians :-)

The idea that it is OK to kill a politician because (s)he is advocating something that person disagrees with is just bizarre in a civilized society. The concept that your constitution can have an amendment that permits civil insurrection also seems a bit bizarre to me - what politician would really want that? Every citizen with their own nuke aimed at Washington? Kim should offer to supply - and I rather fancy he might even get sales :-)


message 40: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10697 comments Not sure Nik's example was relevant - maybe they were buying them for a civil war? After all, there was a reasonable case that one, or something not that different to one, was on, re the East.


message 41: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14912 comments I just wanna c whether there is a correlation btw the abundance of guns and instances of unlawful usage of them, as we r discussing here gun control or ban on their sales as the means to tackle/prevent those heinous crimes as happened in Vegas and other places...


message 42: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10697 comments Nik, does Ukraine keep adequate statistics? (I am thinking of your BoM, which suggests nobody is too concerned :-) )


message 43: by Matthew (last edited Oct 18, 2017 02:34PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) J.J. wrote: "Don't knock the conspiracy theories...they make life interesting. :D

But seriously, you knock conspiracy theories, but then offer one of your own concerning politicians and the NRA...the PBS Newsh..."


How is the tie between the NRA and politicians a conspiracy theory??? They are the third most-powerful lobby group in DC and their sponsorship of Senators and Reps and their resistance to gun control is a matter of public record. For you to call that a matter of supporting people who share the same views seems naive (no offense). That assumes that politician's views and ethics are somehow set before they get into office, rather than being malleable in order to secure that office.

And a single glance at the NRA's financial support of politicians should be enough to dispel this notion that they are "people powered" or a fighting for rights. They have roughly 5 million members nationwide, and their annual revenue has reached $350 a year in recent years. Beyond membership fees and fundraisers, the vast majority of their money comes from corporate donors. The firearms industry is a multi-billion dollar business, and they pay good money to be represented in Washington by the third largest lobbying group in the country. As for their contributions to politicians, in 2016 alone they contributed over $36 million to the campaigns of pro-gun candidates.

Nuff said?

Speaking of naive (again, no offense), but you claim the left supports its candidates without question? If that were true, why did millions of potential Democratic voters refuse to vote for Hillary? It was because they perceived her as being part of the "establishment" and that she cheated their candidate of choice, Bernie Sanders. Meanwhile, Republicans all bent the knee to Trump and have patently ignored the evidence of his collusion with Russia and massive incompetence merely so they can secure what they want (i.e. repeal of Obamacare and tax cuts).

If anything, the election of Trump proved that voters on the right care more about political affiliation than they do overturning the establishment. Much like the Tea Party movement, Trump's supporters have become unfortunate dupes who's misguided anger was channeled by the GOP into votes. They thought they were fighting for their own rights, but ended up serving the very establishment they thought they were toppling.


message 44: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14912 comments Ian wrote: "Nik, does Ukraine keep adequate statistics? (I am thinking of your BoM, which suggests nobody is too concerned :-) )"

You grasped it right, maybe nothing is completely adequate in Ukraine -:) And statistics may differ depending whether an attorney-general wants to boast his massive achievements, for example, or not


message 45: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5791 comments We've talked here about the rights of people to own guns for home defense and for defending themselves against a tyrannical government or attacks from abroad. There's something we haven't discussed here, and it's something that many of us, gun owners or not, think about. I certainly do. For any number of reasons, society could fall apart, and we would have to defend ourselves and our families. It's not something people talk openly about, but I think it's on all of our minds. Any thoughts on that?


message 46: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10697 comments Ouch. Yes, I have written a novel about this situation, and life was not pretty in it. I think most of us do not expect society to fall apart where I live, and I guess most other people have the same expectation.


message 47: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 0 comments I cannot remember the exact quote but something along the lines of three meals from anarchy?


message 48: by Michel (last edited Oct 20, 2017 10:33AM) (new)

Michel Poulin This business of thinking that there is a realistic need for the American people to prepare to defend themselves against a hypothetical 'tyrannical government' sounds like complete and utter paranoia to me. The fact that laws that are not liked by some segments of the American population are sometimes voted in Washington does not shows the actions of a tyrannical government: it is simply called democracy. Please wake up out of your delusions, prejudices and unjustified fears and join the rest of the advanced world, America! Ban the legal sale of assault weapons.


message 49: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2250 comments Ian wrote: "First, I said the NRA ruling politicians was a theory put forward by others - it is not mine - and while "ruled" might be a bit strong, the statement "is not so silly, though" could be justified by..."

Sorry if I came on a little strong...so frustrated trying to upload a new project to Amazon and it won't go through. I guess the thing is, if the NRA "rules" our politicians, then it fits with our idea of government that the citizens rule the politicians, not the other way around, and the NRA is an organization of citizens in the way AARP or AFL-CIO are.

I think the reason a lot you don't exactly understand our "skepticism" (to put it mildly) with government, is that you really haven't had to fight for autonomy - you haven't had to fight what was perceived to be an abusive authority. Maybe I'm being naive with that, and if so, then I present it as a springboard to hear tales from other countries (I really would find it interesting, not meant to patronize). Our ancestors came to start a new life and were largely left alone to do so, but we ended up with a dispute over protection - colonists wanted the British government to do more in defense against the Natives and grew increasingly frustrated over rising taxes and increased regulation when the King left the burden of defense on those colonists. Maybe if George didn't send more troops over here to wage war on his own citizens than he he stationed for their defense we might have remained in the Empire.

Michel made the point in the N. Korea thread that threats recur and history does repeat itself when we let our guard down. The reason our Founding Fathers enshrined certain "freedoms" in the Constitution is because they knew people would surrender those freedoms in exchange for safety. When we disarm, when we surrender our right to open political discourse (no matter how heated that is right now), etc. etc., we open the door for future corruption, for a leader who rapes the country for personal gain, or one who won't let go of power when the people no longer want him or her.

To put it another way, we established our Republic with a certain degree of personal responsibility. We shrugged off British rule because we didn't think we needed a strong government telling us how to live our lives. Right from the beginning, that idea has been challenged and reduced - the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation because a nation does need a strong central government to hold itself together, and the Civil War basically ended "States Rights" because state and local governments were irresponsible when it came to extending Constitutional rights and freedoms to all citizens. But we still have in our social make-up the idea that people make their own decision, that people are responsible for their destiny and we largely accept the price that comes with that responsibility.

When you allow people to own weapons, accidents will happen, but by and large, we do not live on the idea that you can legislate stupidity. There are similar arguments when it comes to crime fighting, that judges are too easy on criminals, that they should not get off on a "technicality." But that is the price we pay and are willing to pay to live in a society where the police don't have free reign to run roughshod over average citizens. The controversies brought up through the Black Lives Matter Movement are things we can address and work to correct because we believe our rights are more important a single criminal. If we were to say police shootings are okay because "well they're just criminals anyway," even in those cases where they are legitimate criminals, we would allow the cops to act as execution far more freely than we're seeing. But like with the gun issue, we do not blame the criminal for the fact they "escape justice," rather we blame the cops for violating civil liberties during a raid or arrest, or we blame the prosecutors who withhold evidence because they want that conviction.

I should point out, since there does seem to be a misconception, that certain weapons are banned. Just because we have gun ownership enshrined, we are not legally allowed to purchase automatic weapons. Maybe the Supreme Court will someday rule the ban unconstitutional, but for now, it's not a total free-for-all when it comes to gun ownership.

And I guess where you look at us as gun-crazed lunatics, we see some of your countries as over-obsessed nanny states where the people need the government to hold their hands just to use the bathroom. I know that's a broad belief that's a little overblown, but I guess that is the difference - we just perceive the role of government and the role of the individual differently. And the thing about our global society is that people can choose to a degree which society they want to live in. After our Revolution, most of the British supporters left for Canada because they didn't want to live in the new non-British country. I have Tories in my family tree, and they decided to suffer through the humiliation of defeat and stay. My father's grandmother had roots in Canada going back to the 1750s, but she decided to leave and come to the States because there was something about this country she must have liked more. But we had citizens more recently who left for Canada in the 60s because they disagreed with our involvement in Vietnam and didn't want to fight for a cause they were against. That's the world we live in, and the US is not here to be a copy of other Western nations, but rather an alternative, and people are fine with that.


message 50: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin And nearly sixty innocent people had to die in Las Vegas, plus over 500 more wounded at the hands of a person who was able to legally acquire dozens of guns, including 'bump stocks' that transform semi-auto assault rifle-style guns into full automatic weapons. That is the kind of 'freedom' you are pushing for? Right now, I would say that a tyrannical government is not the real danger in the USA: it is deranged gunmen able to buy high-capacity assault rifles.


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