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In response

First, read Bernie’s comment on my last post.

Excerpt from his link: Firearm ownership in the home is associated with an increased risk of unintentional firearm fatalities among children. …No, really?

Bear in mind, Bernie et al., that I advocate libertarianism primarily at the national level. I think the states should adopt a variety of presumably widely differing laws on all sorts of issues, ranging from gun restrictions and regulation to abortion to business taxes et cetera.

Bear in mind that the powers granted and restricted in the Constitution of the United States of America apply, in almost all cases only to the federal government. For example, I do not believe it is against the US constitution for California (for example), to outlaw guns entirely. It would be an interesting experiment (and I predict a terribly catastrophic one), but whichever way it goes, even if I am wrong in my prediction, we would have learned some new, useful information which it is currently impossible to learn because all the the states are so homogenized by the pervasive federal government.

Yes, it is sad that children die from unintentional and intentional gun violence. But if you want to throw statistics around, check out these automotive death statistics. Why in the world don’t we outlaw cars before guns. After all, Americans own millions are cars, and I’d venture a guess that more people own cars than own guns (such as myself). Yet here is just one comparison (I leave the rest to you):

Automotive: 972 deaths of children 7 and under (2003)
Guns: more than 180 children ages 14 and under died from unintentional firearm-related injuries (1995)

Hmmmm… The simple truth is, far, far, far more people, including children, die from cars than guns, yet we hapily go on allowing cars to drive around (although we pile so many regulations on them that the least expensive cars are still out of the price range of the poorest families, further exacerbating their inability to lift themselves out of their plight), because, so far, their usefulness far outweighs the damage they cause. Now, some might argue that guns aren’t useful, therefore it does make sense to outlaw them where it doesn’t make sense to outlaw cars. But those people are projecting their opinions of usefulness onto others, and they are wrong. I, for one, consider guns to be extremely useful. True, not as useful as cars (which are a cornerstone of our modern society), but certainly more useful than the accidental – and purposeful illegal – deaths they cause each year.

And, since it is so easy to twist statistics whichever way one pleases, I thought I’d use the statistics from Bernie’s link to paint a very different picture.
Given:
223 million firearms owned by americans
1680 accidental deaths and injuries of children 14 and under with firearms

That means that 0.0007% of guns are accidently discharged and hurt of child. That kind of statistic makes guns seem like a pretty safe thing to have around. Who wants to bet that kids have a higher probability of falling down stairs and getting hurt or killed than they do of accidentally shooting themselves or a friend with a gun?Anyone want to do the research?

Drive safely. Peace.

11 Responses to “In response”

  1. Erik Says:

    Because guese what, cars serve a usefull purpose OTHER than violence, you can not say that for handguns. When an items only perpose is to hurt some one I do not see the point of having them around. I also add that the statisics you state above are only for ACCIDENTAL murder of the children, how bout all the intentional ones where a firearm is used?

  2. Arcanius Says:

    Ah, but guns can also be used to prevent violence. If they indeed serve no useful purpose, why do we as a society pay for police to carry them around?

    And yes, you are absolutely right about my distortion of the statistics, but that was really the point (remember, I said “since it is so easy to twist statistics whichever way one pleases”). Perhaps the question you are trying to ask is, “how much violence occurs because guns make it more convienient to cause violence?” And thats a good question. But an even better question is, “how much violence is prevented by outlawing guns?”

    If you take LA and NY to be valid examples, the more restrictive gun ownership laws become, the more violent crime rises. This is presumably because outlawing guns only prevents law-abiding citizens from getting them. Criminals will have guns wether they are legal or not. But that, of course, is simply one interpretation of some statistics, which, as we have shown, can be used for almost any purpose depending on their presentation.

    And the link Bernie gave also had some good suggestions: the primary reason behind accidental gun violence are that guns are left loaded and accessible with no trigger locks, to children who don’t know that they are real and without any training to use them safely. Its a shame that there are parents who put their kids in this situation, but there are also parents that let their kids fall down stairs. Why don’t we outlaw that too?

  3. Bernie Zimmermann Says:

    Debating opinions is such an exercise in futility ;) I don’t think banning guns is the answer. I think destroying all of them is. We need to load them up on a rocket ship and dump them in space…or something like that.

    The point is, we pay police to carry guns so they can defend themselves against criminals with guns. Take all the guns out of the equation and you find yourself back in the day when a man was a man…if you got beat up by somebody it meant something. Nowadays any fool with a gun can start popping off shots and taking people out…no one has a chance.

    I think guns were a stupid invention and we as humans should man up and admit that we screwed up in inventing and mass producing them. That will never happen though, so I’ll live with the fact that guns are keeping the population down. Afterall, there are too many nutjobs out there as it is. I’m sure if we got into numbers and percentages, we would see that a good number of those people being killed by guns probably deserved it.

    Oh, and I would seriously consider giving up cars if it meant everyone else would give up guns for good.

  4. Arcanius Says:

    So true, Bernie, but also so sad, that we all seem to have our opinions and then ome up with reasons for believing them, then pretend that we have the opinions because of the reasons. I’m guilty of this too, although I do try to fight back against the trend, which I like to think helps me be more open-minded than most.

    That being said, I can’t just let you get away with such a gratuitous miscarriage of the course of human events. Were guns really a mistake? They are, as you mentioned, a great leveler. Where before, the strongest man could rule over others because of his strength, now anyone can rule because a gun kills a strong man as easily as it kills a weak man. I don’t think thats neccesarily a bad thing – yet you seem to think that the earlier version is better somehow. Can you explain this to me?

    Now, would you seriously give up the car, and all the incredible porductivity gains that have come with it to merely change the method by which people die from quick, clean gunshot wounds to a variety of much more greusome methods? Because, certainly people killed each other before guns. Just food dor thought at this point. :-)

  5. Bernie Zimmermann Says:

    Yes, I think guns were a mistake. Look at the whole buffalo tragedy for an example. Granted I’m not planning on building a flux capacitor to go back in time and try and change anything, but I do kinda wish I could see what the world would be like today if there weren’t ever any guns. The reason I think “the earlier version is better” is simply due to the idea of “survival of the fittest.” Guns go against this natural course of nature.

    And the car comment was mostly a joke. Like I could give up 911 Turbos and Ford GTs. Come on now ;) But like I said before, debating opinions is all but pointless. I respect your views on gun control and I actually feel like you have more right to your preference than I do to mine, simply because you more passionately defend it.

  6. Erik Says:

    As many of you have probably watched Bowling for Columbine I would like to take an example from there. The UK has very strict guns laws, which require you to lock up your gun in a locker (not at your house) while not in use. Most UK PD only have night sticks, because they don’t need guns because no one else has them.

  7. Arcanius Says:

    Erik, maybe you should take your examples from a more credible source than Bowling for Columbine

    I’m not saying its not true, only that I need a much less biased source if I am to be convinced of its veracity. And really, I’d like to try out your guy’s “no guns” world. Lets say, California. Eliminate all federal laws on guns, and lets states decide. Then lets have California outlaw all guns, and lets see what happens. I truly would like to see this happen, although I’d be sure to stay out of California during that time period :-).

  8. Erik Says:

    Found an interesting site,
    http://www.banhandgunsnow.org/
    But not the point of this post. To give you a little info on UK gun law visit this site:
    http://www.cybershooters.org/law.htm#Great%20Britain%20-%20overview
    Go to number 4, which applies to handguns. 1 is toys, 2 is airsoft, and 3 is shotgun.
    This is a Pro gun site. Which wishes to educate gun users on the UK law.
    Exerpt:
    “An applicant must show “good reason” for each firearm he wishes to possess. Self-defence or personal protection is not considered a good reason in Great Britain.”

  9. Erik Says:

    First, I never sugested a “no guns world”. I sugested a “no hand-guns unless you have a damn good reason” world.
    Here is a site that gives information about the UK gun law:
    http://www.cybershooters.org/law.htm#Great%20Britain%20-%20overview
    Exerpt:
    “An applicant must show “good reason” for each firearm he wishes to possess. … Self-defence or personal protection is not considered a good reason in Great Britain.”
    I still stand by Micheal Moore as a good reporter of the facts, even if he only gives one side of them, I doubt he falsifies them. He is biased in the sense he has opinions and chooses to follow them, but no hidden agenda.

  10. Arcanius Says:

    The only thing I disagree with in your last statement is “world.” I’d like you do do whatever you want with your own life, as long as it doesn’t affect mine. When it does affect mine, I’d like to have a say. If you want a “no hand-guns unless you have a damn good reason” world, that affects my life, because I plan on purchasing myself a hundgun in the future. The same applies if you try to force those laws through within national, state, or county lines (since you and I share these Erik).

    But I’d applaud an effort to ban handguns somewhere where a large majority of the people wanted to try it out (as long as I’m not there – although I would probably move if I lived in such a place). I like to use California as an example, but Beaux Arts could work just as well. In either place, let them enact legislation enforcing “no hand-guns unless you have a damn good reason.” And then lets see what happens. I admit I could be wrong. Maybe a peaceful society would emerge, with less violence overall. Maybe it would cut down on gun violence, but other forms of violence would increase. But I don’t think that would happen – I think gun violence would probably increase.

    I could be wrong, I admit. But the only way to really find out is if we have real-world case studies with willing participants. And forcing the entire nation along with your view is not a good way to do it.

    Instead, lead by example. If you really think a “no hand-guns unless you have a damn good reason” law is good, then go ahead and prove it to me by enacting it in a area where most of the people agree with you, and prove it to me by the dramatic drops in violence. But right now, I don’t believe you.

    Unfortunately, you are not currently free to do what I propose, because our federal govenments tries to run most of our lives. They tell us what guns we can buy, and they also tell us what guns we are not allowed to prevent people from buying. It is a two-sided sword, hurting both of our causes simultaneously. Lets begin where we can agree: we need more freedom over our local firearms control legislation. Then you and I can test out our ideas, and we can settle this without ripping away personal freedoms willy-nilly. Even I would agree that harsh gun restriction laws are reasonable if they drastically cut down on overall levels of violence. I believe I would still choose to live where I could own a firearm, but I certainly don’t want to prevent you from pursuing your dream either.

    And even if “Self-defence or personal protection is not considered a good reason in Great Britain,” it is considered a good reason, even a “damn good reason” in my mind. Savvy?

    As for Michael Moore, if you consider splicing together unrelated movie clips to intentionally create false impressions and intentionally omitting salient and even overidingly important truths “good reporting of the facts,” then yes, you are right to stand by him. Do you, pray tell, feel the same about Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity?

  11. dc Says:

    *scratches head*
    if someone was gonna kill me, I’d prefer a gun (and specifically a nice straight shot right between the eyeballs, much like an un-kosher cow).

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