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Firearms in Modern Society
This is COOL.. It's my FIRST private debate.. I dunno HOW much I can contribute because I'm all over the board on this issue..
First and foremost, I'm a believer in the Constitution and a gun owner. Of course, the Constitution CAN be amended.. Toward that end, IF, as a nation it turns out that we CAN'T handle a right, it should be WITHDRAWN..
I was raised in the west.. When I was a kid, everybody had a gun, yet NOBODY shot up the place.. Now that we're doing that regularly, it MAY be time for repeal..
I dunno.. Is this a start? I don't think we should bog ourselves down with pages and pages of debate.. Besides, I don't have a long attention span..
Lemme finish with this.. It IS true that the 2nd was intended as the citizens bulwark against a tyrannical government.. But, to argue that an AR-15 can stand up to an Apache helicopter is patently ridiculous. Hopefully, that's NOT gonna be the basis of your argument, because I've already offended you..
Hello Excon; thanks for agreeing to chat. Hopefully we'll both be able to come away with new insights.
A little background on my position; I might be the biggest gun nut/nerd I know. I have been since I was a kid. I own guns for sport, for historical relevance, for defense, for target shooting, for investment, and some for no better reason than I wanted them, to include accessories such as bump stocks and (on its way, I'm waiting for the ATF tax stamp) a suppressor. I have a pocket in my wallet dedicated to my NRA life membership card, my GOA membership card, my local shooting range card, and my concealed carry permit. I intend to get into the firearms retail industry upon getting out of the military, and hopefully open up a store of my own one day. It is not much of a stretch to say I might be the most pro gun person to frequent this site.
I do believe that the right to bear arms is not just a constitutional right but a human one. I also believe that it makes no sense to punish the peaceful owner of an inanimate object just because someone else used a similar inanimate object to great lethal effect elsewhere.
All of that said, I'm not blind to the fact that many pro-gun arguments that are thrown about are illogical. I'm not pleased with the leadership or direction of the NRA, even though I consider them overall to be necessary. I do however find most if not all arguments for "common sense" gun control, as it's frequently called, to be based in misinformation and misplaced fear, and I find them consistently lacking in several important points. Most importantly: will a new law actually make it more difficult for someone with intent to beak the law anyway to obtain a weapon, or will it only make it more difficult for someone with law-abiding intent? And will this particular ban or regulation actually make an attacker less deadly without leaving someone who may act in defense less prepared to deal with that threat?
Besides, no matter whether we go with repealing the 2nd amendment (more on that later) or giving teachers rifles, either "solution" is just throwing a bandaid on the real problem: why we are having so many mass casualty attacks in the first place. We could ban every gun in the world (hypothetically speaking) and it's still going to be easy to make ANFO explosives out of instant cold packs (which contain ammonium nitrate) and siphoned diesel fuel. And we could prepare every which way to defend against the next shooting by issuing Glock handguns with birth certificates (again, hypothetically) and people would still simply find other ways to attack (probably the same way, with ANFO. I really don't know why we don't see that stuff used more often, it's cheap, plentiful and easy, but I'm sure grateful we don't). If I may borrow the words of John Oliver, If we're going to steer the conversation on guns in the direction of mental health, then the very least we owe them is a plan.
I agree, the ability to change the constitution can be a good thing. But on repealing the 2nd: that's inviting chaos. It is indeed true that if I am pitted against an Apache with an AR15, I am well and truly fucked, pardon my French. However, this isn't about a fight between me and an Apache. This is about a war between the Government and the citizens, one that most people in the government realize they can't hope to win.
First of all, there are more guns than people in this country. Most of them are unregistered. There is a quantity of bullets in private hands that can only be estimated to be in the trillions. First it would be a legal nightmare to get the amendment repealed, then to get the 4th amendment repealed (unreasonable search and seizure) in order to go door to door to collect all of those guns, with a nationwide movement that would require all hands on deck from every law enforcement agency in the country and the National Guard. However, those law enforcement agencies, and the military, to include the people flying our previously mentioned Apache, are the main problem. Many, if not most of them won't follow that order. Many will defect to the opposite side of the inevitable conflict- possibly with an Apache or two. Many of the rest simply won't fire on American citizens. Most law enforcement and military are pretty pro-gun, and aren't big fans of congress. So that's the 1.7% or so of the US population, minus those who would refuse to fight or defect, against... Let's guess about 3-5% of the US population that both owns guns and is willing to fight for and with them. I honestly think it's more. It would be the second American Civil War, and our military does not have a stellar track record against insurgencies. So if that kind of fight breaks out, there is no chance for our government to survive, and they know it.
Well, if we go off on all of these topics, we're going to have a novel by the time we're done (or at least I will, I can be pretty long winded on this subject). If you'd like to pick one direction at a time to go in, I'll try to keep my responses shorter. I suggest we discuss the root of why violence is such a recurring theme in this country and what can be done about it, but I'll let you take the wheel for now.
Hello again, SJ:
It was long - and informative.. I'm glad you told me that stuff.. I didn't know you were in the service. Thank you for doing so.. I'm thrilled to hear that you're going into business in an industry you are passionate about.. With your tenacity, you'll be wildly successful..
I joined the Navy at 17 in 1960.. The world was at peace, and all I wanted to do was fuck everything in every port we visited.. I knew nothing about politics, nor did I care..
Then the Cuban Missile Crisis happened, and my ship was called upon to blockade Cuba.. Reality smacked me in the face. At the height of the crisis, JFK came on the radio himself, and gave us a talk.. He thought we were gonna die. I fell in love with him then.. He WAS my commander in chief, and he still is..
We got to Vietnam in 63.. We sailed around for a while, did a little shore bombardment, and came home. I got out in '64.. I was a supporter of the war till one fateful evening, that I'll never forget.. Back then, every night on TV, they'd announce the American body count, show a few bodies, but they'd always say many more Vietcong were killed, as though that meant something..
Up till that evening, I always furled my brow at the body count and knew they were doing the best they could. This was during the Paris Peace talks too.. They couldn't sit down until they hammer out what shape the table should be.
Most nights, hearing that, I woulda furled my brow like always.. However, on this night, I smoked some glorious pot right before the newscast... On this night, when I saw my brothers on the ground, and them saying they couldn't agree on what shape the table should be, I thought, what kind of motherfuckers are these people? My brothers are dead on the ground, and they're talking about a fucking table?? For the first time in my life, I saw things for what they actually are.. In one fell swoop, I became rabidly anti war, very liberal, and a humongous pot smoker..
I still am that liberal hippie, even if I'm aging... Enough about me..
Notwithstanding what I said, I'm convinced that even if I did wanna round up the guns, it's gonna be nigh on impossible to do for all the reasons you outlined..
I will take issue with one thing, though.. I took an oath to defend this country. You did too. You seem to think that because there's lots of right wingers in the Army, if they didn't like their orders, they'd shitcan their oath and take up arms against the US.. That's not the kind of Navy I served in.
You'd know, because I'm talking about you.
My name is Steve..
PS> I won a distinguished pistol shot medal in the Navy.. I could plunk somebody's eye out at 50 paces..
And, there's one Chief Petty Officer I wished I woulda.. I'll tell you about that next time.
Hello again, J:
I can't get really fired up about our debate.. We don't DISAGREE enough..
Wanna discuss my PLAN to save the world from global warming, and solve the energy crisis at the same time?? That's big.
How about my PLAN to offer Medicare for all and have money left over for a few aircraft carriers? That plan is pretty simple.. All we gotta do is FIRE the health insurance industry.
How about my immigration plan, wherein we militarily ally ourselves with ALL the Americas? Kind of cross between the EU and NATO?? Our border would then be the sea, instead of a strip of land.. We'd have FREE passage from the southern tip of Argentina to the Arctic Circle.. Yes, brown people would move in.. But, white people would move in with them too.
Pretty radical stuff.. Or not.
I imagine we probably have a great deal to agree on when it comes to the energy/global warming crisis. Certainly, more needs to be invested in it, as well as toward many other avenues of science and progress. I want to live to see us go to Mars, I do hope that NASA will get off of their asses soon. If anything, we owe the next generation just one major advancement in science and technology that isn't rooted in war.
I definitely want to hear your immigration plan. However, how do we balance this with 1) keeping security threats outside of our borders, such as cartels or guerrilla fighters (such as ELM, which has lately taken to recruiting Venezuelan refugees in Colombia). 2) Are we sure we can accomplish this without a situation such as in the EU, where countries have greater power in other countries' legislation? For instance: Mexico sees the influx of guns into its country from the US as a major concern. This is commonplace; there are many smugglers who run guns south and drugs north. By opening the borders as suggested, smuggling would become much easier, prices for guns would drop in Mexico and beyond, prices of drugs would drop in the US and Canada. Would Mexico try to lobby our congress to make changes not only to gun legislation but also any other legislation within their interests?
I also wouldn't mind hearing about your medicare for all plan, but I think the problem is far more complex than just firing the health insurance industry. Primarily, because the government can't do anything right, and isn't held accountable for what they pay for goods and services. Do I think basic lifesaving healthcare is a human right? Yes. And it disgusts me that we are- seemingly begrudgingly- held to the standards of the Geneva Convention and required by law to provide lifesaving care to prisoners of war, but we can't do the same for our own people. But if the government is simply going to foot the bill for everyone, that means a few important disadvantages. Primarily, hospitals will be able to charge whatever the hell they want- and as someone who routinely orders parts for military aircraft, I can assure you that when it comes to a price markup when the manufacturer stamps "PROPERTY OF US GOVERNMENT" on the side, the sky is the fucking limit. Ever gone to Home Depot and paid $10,000 for a flush head screw less than half an inch long made from no special metals or with any special manufacturing treatment? Because I have half a million dollars worth of those screws in a drawer at work, right now, in a compartment that's only a few cubic inches, that you paid for. And they break all the time (they hold the brake keys in place on the F18E/F main wheels). No one is answering for this. Why would I trust the same government that pay for these screws to wisely use my tax dollars to cover healthcare cost when they're not even going to look at the price tag? Especially when, frankly, the healthcare I get onboard my ship is full of idiots who do anything they can to avoid doing their jobs?
The second concern I have, is how much individual choice is removed from the healthcare system? If the government is paying for it, then presumably, they will have veto power over many important health care decisions. For instance, will families be able to choose whether their loved ones will be kept alive if they're in a coma?
Hello again, Jonathan:
Not much of a debate, huh? Wanna try the Constitution?? I love debating it.. As a liberal, I believe it should be enforced as written. What? It is a very liberal document, after all.
Lemme dive in.. The 5th Amendment says that "persons" are subject to Due Process of law.. To me, that would mean Gitmo is unconstitutional, along with not letting asylum seekers in through the southern border, and torture, of course, would be unconstitutional..
People who believe torture is Constitutional think the founders meant "citizens" instead of "person".. Since "as written" is my standard, person means person, and citizen means citizen. They're not the same.
If you've got something else, lay it on me...
Hey- sorry for keeping you waiting. Shit happens when you're out to sea.
I agree with you that Gitmo is illegal. Those who are there need to be given fair, open trials now and if we can't do that, we need to ship them home. There's a lot of debate raging and bureaucracy surrounding it, but frankly I say fuck the paperwork and bulldoze that shit to the ground today. It was established extrajudicially, we can fucking end it extrajudicially.
I hold the same opinions on torture, and frankly, I'm not convinced that this problem isn't ongoing. I hate like hell that we have too many agencies without any form of checks and balances that are capable of basically whatever the fuck they want, whether it's torture, tapping your phone or putting you on a no fly list.
I do disagree with one thing in your interpretation of due process: asylum. I think a government is well within its right to close its borders partially or completely, to include shutting down asylum programs, if it chooses to. I think it isn't within it's right to do so for reasons that are directly racially motivated or otherwise designed to keep out a specific group, as we are seeing today, although exceptions can and must be made only if we are in a state of war as declared by congress (depending of course on the situation).
For the record: I am not saying we should shut down our asylum program. It is a basic function of human decency that we take in people who have no place else to go and fear for their safety. I am saying that it is well within any country's right to do so, even if I don't agree with it.
But on the subject of "person"- which, I agree with you, does not mean "citizen"- I have to bring up the 2nd (hey, it was a gun debate, after all).
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
I love how this is worded, I really do. Especially the second half. Now, there's the obvious and oft repeated sentiment that of course the right of the people refers to an individual right, not the right of the militia (although, to argue otherwise is to argue that the government had to give itself the right to bear arms in the Constitution, which is a little nonsensical, but I digress). But it goes deeper than that. Note that it doesn't say something to the effect of "the citizenry are hereby granted the freedom to bear arms". Why is that important?
...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
That doesn't give me the right to own a gun.
...the right of the people to keep and bear arms... is an acknowledgement of an inherent human right to fight for your life and freedom (note, also, the use of the word "people" here, not "citizen"). That can't be granted to you by a government, and frankly, to do it effectively you need a gun. ...shall not be infringed. is a only a guarantee (frequently broken) that the government will not interfere with that.
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