Alan Sanborn: Ascent Of The Greedy, Ignorant And Power-Hungry

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Now he worships at an altar of a stagnant pool

And when he sees his reflection, he’s fulfilled

Oh, man is opposed to fair play

He wants it all and he wants it his way…

…who’s gonna take away his license to kill

– Bob Dylan

 

As a parent, I still live with the adorable small children who my two boys no longer are. These two tall, talented young men will always be the smiling, trusting young souls that I once cuddled with.

Back then even a dream could leave me shaking for days – a nightmare of seeing one of my children lost in a war or drowned or just not coming home on the bus.

To this day, I remain haunted by the terrifying dread of the real near-misses. The just-learned-to-swim seven-year-old being somehow all of a sudden out in the middle of the current in the Trinity River. Seeing a head snap back at the neck from a fall off an overhang. Or losing a two-and-a-half year-old in a huge crowd at night. When any of those moments surface in my mind I can recall the numbing suspension of reality –what could have happened still scares me.

Yet, I don’t think I can even begin to comprehend the pain of the parents of the children who were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I picture them returning home to a small pair of pants still in the dryer. A first-grader’s drawing still stuck to the refrigerator door. I don’t know how one could remain the same person after losing a child – especially a young child, especially in such a horrific way.

President Obama visited and did what he does best. He said the right words. He said them with the right humility, tone and respect. And he said that we need to act as a nation to do something to end this random violence which is becoming all too common.

What he didn’t say, though, is that our nation, under his command, is doing the same thing again and again from Yemen to Pakistan. Mothers are left wailing in horror as their children are reduced to body parts by American drone strikes – mothers who will ask themselves for the rest of their lives “why didn’t I go for the firewood instead?”

Why is this different from Sandy Hook? This is, week after week, a story of stealth and awesome fire power visited on people who have no way to defend themselves –who have nowhere to run, nowhere to be safe, and no way to know where or when if if they might be the next target.

Why can’t we muster so much as a tear for the Pakistani mother who is left alone in a tiny earthen home with only a drawing or a tiny bracelet from her dead daughter’s arm?

Why is this really different from Sandy Hook? Because U.S. drones are not killing American children.

In that sense we are probably not that different from any other people. We feel death intensely in our immediate family and perhaps our extended family. As we are further removed from death and mayhem, we are interested, but it doesn’t change our lives significantly. And when floods and murders happen to our “enemies” or people halfway around the world we care little, if at all.

Nonetheless, Sandy Hook is happening every day around the world, and often in our name. It’s our history as a nation. We are a nation of guns and weapons – and we use them like no one else ever has. It’s our leading export industry. It’s our means of insuring an empire built on the idea that America has the right to all of the world’s resources. America still manufactures two things well – weapons and enemies to use them on. And woe to any Congressperson who says no to an arms contract or the NRA.

Since 911, we’ve had no end of military worship, weapons expansion and violent media. We’ve always maintained this reverence for all things military, whether we were liberating Europe or slaughtering Native Americans, going after bin Laden or trying to steal Iraqi oil.

We are a country that spends umpteen millions of dollars on the upkeep and ceremony and cult of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – but there is no National Monument to the Embattled Inner City Teacher, and no Eulogy for the Unfunded Mental Health Care.

Cut teachers’ benefits, gut social services, badmouth police, bust workers’ unions. But don’t think one impure thought about our men in uniform – or even consider cutting a military budget nearly as large as the whole rest of the world combined.

Less clean air, less clean drinking water, lower wages, fewer family-owned homes, less Medicare, less Social Security, less “government intrusion,” less healthcare, less social services, fewer mental health facilities. It seems that the only thing that Americans agree on is that we need more guns.

The logic seems to be that once everyone is packing a weapon, we will finally be safe. That would mean that everyone in every bar, every night would be carrying, everyone involved in a road rage incident would be armed, every hormonal ranting teenager would have a gun in a drawer nearby. The logic fails me. Is there anyone in the world who feels safer with the increasing power, the sophistication and the sheer number of weapons that we’re surrounded with today? I don’t.

Is it really all that strange that a confused and lonely young man, raised in a country that often solves it’s problems with belligerent power and weapons, chooses to do the same thing?

We’re all familiar with the experiments that have shown when you put more and more rats in a cage you get more and more abhorrent behavior. Since we’ve pushed our planet past its ability to sustain us, we can probably apply that idea to ourselves. It might be interesting to repeat the same experiment, but then throw in a dizzying number of little rat automatic weapons.

My experience with Americans is that we are not, as individuals, vicious or violent. Rather, the vast majority of us are caring and compassionate. I’ve traveled enough to believe that people in other countries aren’t all that much different than we are (although generally not as well-armed). My faith is that most people, given a choice, will choose health care over atomic weapons, education over belligerence and care for the planet that sustains us over blowing things up all over the world.

Most people want to pursue a career that they believe in, feed their family and breathe clean air. Unfortunately, the most insecure among us have the strongest desire to pursue power, money and guns. So they end up with the most power, money and guns. And because they have the power, the money and the guns, they get to manipulate the system and impose laws according to their own insecurities. Their laws are based on a fear of the future and not on a faith in their neighbor.

Congress will most likely start talking background checks and trigger locks – and doing something at least symbolic regarding gun-control. Once again, we will probably deal with symptoms and miss the underlying problem. As I see it, the real problem is that democracy is eroding – that the power of a caring, compassionate people is constantly being eroded and placed in a few greedy hands. The result is as Dwight Eisenhower pointed out so well:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Alan Sanborn is an Arcata father, husband, son and artist.

 

95 Responses to “Alan Sanborn: Ascent Of The Greedy, Ignorant And Power-Hungry”

  1. Elodie Eiris

    These very thoughts have haunted me for a long time. How will we come to view 'others' as 'we' enough to stop the slaughter of innocents? Thank you Mr. Sanborn for describing so eloquently what we all must begin to consider, that the loss of loved ones is excruciatingly painful on both sides of conflict. Perhaps, one of the most powerful things we can do as human beings is choose to reconcile conflict and to achieve resolution. South Africa began this process in the nineties… it is slow and grinding… and requires heartfelt sacrifices by all participants; maybe we could make a start with their model?

    #64836
  2. Laura Cooskey

    Well said, Mr. Sanborn.

    #64837
  3. Laura Cooskey

    Well said, Mr. Sanborn.

    #67913
  4. "Why is this really different from Sandy Hook? Because U.S. drones are not killing American children".

    Yet. Although we do in FACT have armed drone in our sky TODAY.

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/12/newly-released-drone-records-reveal-extensive-military-flights-us

    #64855
  5. "Why is this really different from Sandy Hook? Because U.S. drones are not killing American children".

    Yet. Although we do in FACT have armed drone in our sky TODAY.

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/12/newly-released-drone-records-reveal-extensive-military-flights-us

    #67914
  6. Charles Applegate

    Every new Mac Book/espresso/BMW/that is bought signifies the same theft.

    #64859
  7. Charles Applegate

    Every new Mac Book/espresso/BMW/that is bought signifies the same theft.

    #67915
  8. A pretty fair iteration of my own profound unease with the present state of the union. I collect guns, shoot them for amusement, and what is happening, top down, from troubling information about 9/11 to the nutty children with their obsession with body counts horrifies me. I am beginning to console myself with my advancing age. Perhaps I will escape into a quiet death in a nice place.

    #64864
  9. A pretty fair iteration of my own profound unease with the present state of the union. I collect guns, shoot them for amusement, and what is happening, top down, from troubling information about 9/11 to the nutty children with their obsession with body counts horrifies me. I am beginning to console myself with my advancing age. Perhaps I will escape into a quiet death in a nice place.

    #67916
  10. Though it shall entirely fall upon deaf ears and blind eyes, it should still be said that such a rant; which begs in earnest for reason, is flawed. A well written prose begging for a logical solution to one problem, the writers own fear. It matters not that fear is rarely a reasonable emotion. Fear derives from two places, ignorance of something unknown or failure to comprehend the entirety of something others know well. No matter how it's cut, fear is founded on a lacking within.

    The problem with fear is that it works like addiction, it demands that others fall in line. Fear compels a weak man to justify his flaws by inflicting them onto others. Fear is what leads people into willing subjugation, taking his neighbors, children, lovers and family with him.

    Not to worry, I won't reiterate the words of Ben Franklin or other founding patriots who instilled the rights of the people to defend themselves against a tyrant government. Such brave words by men who knew to stand against evil continue to fall unheard by men of fear, anyhow. I will simply say this, because you fear does not mean I shall obey. Because you would rather huddle in a corner shivering as the corruption of a police state allow's the workers of your locally elected mobster's to legally decimate your family for imagined slights. Because you are incapable of seeing the value of one man willing to draw any weapon to defend you against such men. Because few artists have ever done anything to make the world a better place outside of producing a few nice things to stare at, I would never expect you to understand that your world is a violent place. Not because there are weapons aplenty, but because there are so many of those who would use anything as a weapon simply because it pleases them to hurt others.

    Remember, it won't be the gun, the knife, the hammer, the bat, the golf club, the nail gun, the Drone, the poison, the electricity, the flame or the water that revels from harming you for they are just tools. No, it will the hands of the one using those tools that you will cry to for salvation. It will be those hands that not only deny you, but will terrify you with their sick enjoyment of your sufferings and sleep soundly at night for having had the awful privilege of inflicting those torments upon you because you chose to let fear disarm you, your neighbor, your friends and any other that could have saved you.

    #64902
  11. Though it shall entirely fall upon deaf ears and blind eyes, it should still be said that such a rant; which begs in earnest for reason, is flawed. A well written prose begging for a logical solution to one problem, the writers own fear. It matters not that fear is rarely a reasonable emotion. Fear derives from two places, ignorance of something unknown or failure to comprehend the entirety of something others know well. No matter how it's cut, fear is founded on a lacking within.

    The problem with fear is that it works like addiction, it demands that others fall in line. Fear compels a weak man to justify his flaws by inflicting them onto others. Fear is what leads people into willing subjugation, taking his neighbors, children, lovers and family with him.

    Not to worry, I won't reiterate the words of Ben Franklin or other founding patriots who instilled the rights of the people to defend themselves against a tyrant government. Such brave words by men who knew to stand against evil continue to fall unheard by men of fear, anyhow. I will simply say this, because you fear does not mean I shall obey. Because you would rather huddle in a corner shivering as the corruption of a police state allow's the workers of your locally elected mobster's to legally decimate your family for imagined slights. Because you are incapable of seeing the value of one man willing to draw any weapon to defend you against such men. Because few artists have ever done anything to make the world a better place outside of producing a few nice things to stare at, I would never expect you to understand that your world is a violent place. Not because there are weapons aplenty, but because there are so many of those who would use anything as a weapon simply because it pleases them to hurt others.

    Remember, it won't be the gun, the knife, the hammer, the bat, the golf club, the nail gun, the Drone, the poison, the electricity, the flame or the water that revels from harming you for they are just tools. No, it will the hands of the one using those tools that you will cry to for salvation. It will be those hands that not only deny you, but will terrify you with their sick enjoyment of your sufferings and sleep soundly at night for having had the awful privilege of inflicting those torments upon you because you chose to let fear disarm you, your neighbor, your friends and any other that could have saved you.

    #67917
  12. Laura Cooskey

    Jesus Christ, Michael, talk about somebody who wants to control by instilling fear, hell you should've been a speechwriter for Yahweh!
    When you say "Few artists have ever done anything to make the world a better place" of course we realize that you have no knowledge of human history whatsoever. Therefore i might consider you not worth responding to, except that i made myself a pledge: i will stay out of the gun debate until i hear somebody claiming some form of the "Guns don't kill people, people [baseball bats, knives, strong hands, oh yeah "the hammer, the golf club, the poison," ] kill people!" Then i must ask, and please answer, fearful fearmonger! If it's not the guns, but the intention that kills, why don't YOU just use bats and hands and clubs, etc.? If guns don't kill people, people do, why do you care if they take away your guns? You still are "people" aren't you?

    #64903
  13. Laura Cooskey

    Jesus Christ, Michael, talk about somebody who wants to control by instilling fear, hell you should've been a speechwriter for Yahweh!
    When you say "Few artists have ever done anything to make the world a better place" of course we realize that you have no knowledge of human history whatsoever. Therefore i might consider you not worth responding to, except that i made myself a pledge: i will stay out of the gun debate until i hear somebody claiming some form of the "Guns don't kill people, people [baseball bats, knives, strong hands, oh yeah "the hammer, the golf club, the poison," ] kill people!" Then i must ask, and please answer, fearful fearmonger! If it's not the guns, but the intention that kills, why don't YOU just use bats and hands and clubs, etc.? If guns don't kill people, people do, why do you care if they take away your guns? You still are "people" aren't you?

    #67921
  14. Laura, perhaps you are not familiar with statistics or perhaps you really don't care about the truth. The term 'YOU' in this quote, "why don't YOU just use bats and hands and clubs, etc." implies that I have personally made a threat or have a desire to harm other people. That you would decide to make such accusations on a personal level tells me a lot about you as a person. As such, I am rather convinced that the truth of things really don't matter to you, personally. However, before you go about supporting an idea, perhaps you should first do some actual research on the matter.
    Most violent crimes committed in the U.S. are accomplished without use of a weapon at all. 73% in fact. 19% of the violent crimes in this country are committed with weapons other than firearms. Only 8% of all violent crimes are committed with the use of a gun. You can get these stats right from the Bureau of Justice.

    #64904
  15. Laura, perhaps you are not familiar with statistics or perhaps you really don't care about the truth. The term 'YOU' in this quote, "why don't YOU just use bats and hands and clubs, etc." implies that I have personally made a threat or have a desire to harm other people. That you would decide to make such accusations on a personal level tells me a lot about you as a person. As such, I am rather convinced that the truth of things really don't matter to you, personally. However, before you go about supporting an idea, perhaps you should first do some actual research on the matter.
    Most violent crimes committed in the U.S. are accomplished without use of a weapon at all. 73% in fact. 19% of the violent crimes in this country are committed with weapons other than firearms. Only 8% of all violent crimes are committed with the use of a gun. You can get these stats right from the Bureau of Justice.

    #67922
  16. Laura Cooskey

    Ad hominem arguments will be ignored. The "YOU" was obviously addressed to a conceptual debater, the one who claims to need a gun against those who don't need guns to commit violent crimes. Again the question… if all those crimes (92%) are committed without a gun, why would anyone need a gun to prevent them, or to protect his/herself from criminals? The answer, please…

    #64906
  17. Laura Cooskey

    Ad hominem arguments will be ignored. The "YOU" was obviously addressed to a conceptual debater, the one who claims to need a gun against those who don't need guns to commit violent crimes. Again the question… if all those crimes (92%) are committed without a gun, why would anyone need a gun to prevent them, or to protect his/herself from criminals? The answer, please…

    #67923
  18. Nick Pratt

    The best implement ever devised for self-defense is firearm. It gives people the possibility to defend and protect themselves and others better than anything else we have yet. Pepper spray, tazers, stunguns are all good (less lethal) alternatives but are woefully inadequate. Would you remove the ability for a man or woman the ability to use the best defense possible? Police and the military carry and use firearms because those are the best tools to protect their lives. Citizens should not be denied the same ability to protect theirs. Whether or not the perpetrador has a gun or not, they still have the ability to maim or kill the victim. Using a bat or golf club would only escalate the situation especially for someone not properly trained in its use. Guns, cars even copy machines require training before their use. Responsible people get the training they need. 2.5 million Americans use firearms to protect their lives every year. Out of that very few need to actually fire the weapon. Just the presence of a firearm deters many criminals, but having a gun allows the the immediate use of the best tool. No one can tell how far a criminal is going to go with their crime, and when you do find out its too late.

    #64907
  19. Nick Pratt

    The best implement ever devised for self-defense is firearm. It gives people the possibility to defend and protect themselves and others better than anything else we have yet. Pepper spray, tazers, stunguns are all good (less lethal) alternatives but are woefully inadequate. Would you remove the ability for a man or woman the ability to use the best defense possible? Police and the military carry and use firearms because those are the best tools to protect their lives. Citizens should not be denied the same ability to protect theirs. Whether or not the perpetrador has a gun or not, they still have the ability to maim or kill the victim. Using a bat or golf club would only escalate the situation especially for someone not properly trained in its use. Guns, cars even copy machines require training before their use. Responsible people get the training they need. 2.5 million Americans use firearms to protect their lives every year. Out of that very few need to actually fire the weapon. Just the presence of a firearm deters many criminals, but having a gun allows the the immediate use of the best tool. No one can tell how far a criminal is going to go with their crime, and when you do find out its too late.

    #67924
  20. Laura, the principle concept behind violent behavior is that a criminal seeks to harm someone of equal or greater power then themselves. Your simplistic response shows a woeful lack of understanding of how crime actually happens and who it happens too. Most victims of violent crimes don't have the physical prowess to defend themselves with their bare hands. Your hatred of firearms is plain as those who hate always seek to take the thing they hate away from all others. That will always be the difference between those like yourself and those like me. I will never seek to take anything from you. I will only do everything in my power to prevent you from taking from me what I have a right to possess.

    #64908
  21. Laura, the principle concept behind violent behavior is that a criminal seeks to harm someone of equal or greater power then themselves. Your simplistic response shows a woeful lack of understanding of how crime actually happens and who it happens too. Most victims of violent crimes don't have the physical prowess to defend themselves with their bare hands. Your hatred of firearms is plain as those who hate always seek to take the thing they hate away from all others. That will always be the difference between those like yourself and those like me. I will never seek to take anything from you. I will only do everything in my power to prevent you from taking from me what I have a right to possess.

    #67925
  22. Laura Cooskey

    No, i understand what you're saying, you and Nick both… the subtext is, i believe, that since the criminal usually has the element of surprise, and astonishing ruthlessness (indifference as to whom or when s/he kills), that good law-abiding people need the "equalizer" of a firearm to protect themselves and other innocents? Is that right?
    So my question is, considering that you're granting that the best implement for KILLING is guns (Nick goes only so far as to say the best implement for for self-defense, but this is what incenses me… the BS wording! You mean, for killing or disabling an assailant, that is, for doing violence to person's bodies… yeah, guns work best! Admit it, using all the words, guns are most efficient of killing, other than bombs… better than bats or knives, etc.) OK once we agree, as we must if we're being honest, that guns are best for person-to person killing (as opposed to carpet bombing), then we have to assume that you would want to make sure you "good guys" have the guns, right? Well how do we KNOW you're good guys? Who says you're always going to act wisely in a panicked situation?

    I say, either take the guns away from everyone–i mean, have scanners or pat-downs in every public place, for firearms–or have nobody but cops have them, and do a much better job deciding who gets to be a cop. Many cops are ruthless assholes–that's a problem whether we're armed or not! People act like if we have guns we can protect ourselves from armed law enforcement–NOT! There are a lot of them, with all kinds of sophisticated weaponry and the power of the state behind them, and they will burn down your compound with drone attacks if they want you… the problem is not that you aren't armed. (Didn't the Branch Davidians have guns?)

    So, in my mind, between a bunch of intelligent, wise, cautious, slow-tempered cops, and a vigilantly watched, people-controlled government, and a peaceful, unarmed population… OR a police force with a high percentage of assholes on board, a government that cares nothing for the rights of the people, and a highly armed population–i'll choose the first, the civilized world! Guns are just a lazy way to fool yourself into believing you can protect yourself from evil when they can just as easily have you becoming the evil. Getting involved in your own community and government, and trying to change how it works, is the more challenging path, yet ultimately the only one that will keep us from living in some stupid dystopian science-fiction little-boys' wet dream of a bloodbath movie.

    #64909
  23. Laura Cooskey

    No, i understand what you're saying, you and Nick both… the subtext is, i believe, that since the criminal usually has the element of surprise, and astonishing ruthlessness (indifference as to whom or when s/he kills), that good law-abiding people need the "equalizer" of a firearm to protect themselves and other innocents? Is that right?
    So my question is, considering that you're granting that the best implement for KILLING is guns (Nick goes only so far as to say the best implement for for self-defense, but this is what incenses me… the BS wording! You mean, for killing or disabling an assailant, that is, for doing violence to person's bodies… yeah, guns work best! Admit it, using all the words, guns are most efficient of killing, other than bombs… better than bats or knives, etc.) OK once we agree, as we must if we're being honest, that guns are best for person-to person killing (as opposed to carpet bombing), then we have to assume that you would want to make sure you "good guys" have the guns, right? Well how do we KNOW you're good guys? Who says you're always going to act wisely in a panicked situation?

    I say, either take the guns away from everyone–i mean, have scanners or pat-downs in every public place, for firearms–or have nobody but cops have them, and do a much better job deciding who gets to be a cop. Many cops are ruthless assholes–that's a problem whether we're armed or not! People act like if we have guns we can protect ourselves from armed law enforcement–NOT! There are a lot of them, with all kinds of sophisticated weaponry and the power of the state behind them, and they will burn down your compound with drone attacks if they want you… the problem is not that you aren't armed. (Didn't the Branch Davidians have guns?)

    So, in my mind, between a bunch of intelligent, wise, cautious, slow-tempered cops, and a vigilantly watched, people-controlled government, and a peaceful, unarmed population… OR a police force with a high percentage of assholes on board, a government that cares nothing for the rights of the people, and a highly armed population–i'll choose the first, the civilized world! Guns are just a lazy way to fool yourself into believing you can protect yourself from evil when they can just as easily have you becoming the evil. Getting involved in your own community and government, and trying to change how it works, is the more challenging path, yet ultimately the only one that will keep us from living in some stupid dystopian science-fiction little-boys' wet dream of a bloodbath movie.

    #67926
  24. Laura Cooskey

    Michael Ventruszch I mean what bothers me is that constant refrain of "Guns don't kill people…" as if guns aren't the most efficient, most common means of killing people, and especially of committing suicide; then the totally contradictory "But we need guns to show that we can kill those bad guys." Just admit it–guns kill very well, and you want the best killers in your hand! I hate bullshit! No wonder you think you need guns when the strength of your logic, and your bravery in stating your truths, is so lacking!

    #64912
  25. Laura Cooskey

    Michael Ventruszch I mean what bothers me is that constant refrain of "Guns don't kill people…" as if guns aren't the most efficient, most common means of killing people, and especially of committing suicide; then the totally contradictory "But we need guns to show that we can kill those bad guys." Just admit it–guns kill very well, and you want the best killers in your hand! I hate bullshit! No wonder you think you need guns when the strength of your logic, and your bravery in stating your truths, is so lacking!

    #67927
  26. Laura, what I find the most prevailing aspect of your arguments is the complete lack of understanding of the human condition. In spite of your mild acquiescence of the possible corruption in law enforcement, you make it pretty clear that you believe in the innate goodness of those appointed above you in life and that there is an actual possibility that by removing weapons from the people, you will effectively remove violence and weapons from the whole nation. However, these things simple are not and cannot be true.

    What I find sad is that you truly believe that taking from those who have done nothing wrong will somehow alleviate the nature of those who enjoy doing harm to others. Additionally, I find it very foolish that you would start basing your arguments on something that is purely hypothetical, " Guns are just a lazy way to fool yourself into believing you can protect yourself from evil when they can just as easily have you becoming the evil."

    I suppose a long life of forming opinions based on hollywood movie scenes could have you believing in some kind of possible 'evil corruption' that a weapon is supposed to possess. Sounds to me an awful lot like you would prefer to have faith in weapons being formed from the spirits of evil beings then anything actually rational. Anyway, as it seems you have a habit of demanding people say precisely what you want, perhaps I can do the same. How about you admit that you hate firearms and, by proxy, any citizen who has them; and that you want to take peoples rights away from them because you do not possess the responsibility of character needed to manage the tool?

    The sad core of your entire argument boils down to this; Guns are doing the majority of the killing in this country (proven false) just as hammers are doing the majority of building, worms do the majority of fishing, pens do the majority of writing and shoes do the majority of walking. And I suppose somehow, you find these to be perfectly reasonable things to have happen without a single human motive involved.

    Also, as to the remark on suicide, no, guns are not the leading means by which people kill themselves. Most suicides are accomplished through overdose with hanging come in second and jumping from great heights come in third. Thus, using your fragile reasoning, we should be outlawing medication, ropes and strings, and of course, the hammers that make the buildings for people to jump off of. Gun assisted suicide is actually among the lowest percentile of methods used.

    Guns may well be an effective killing tool, but whether you like it, admit it or care about it, or not; they have also been the most effective tool in ensuring the survival of many people, you included. Their can be no equality between good people and bad people if the bad people are the only ones who possess these tools. In a perfect world, weapons wouldn't be needed. But then, if this were a perfect world, weapons never would have come into existence. Taking the right of the civil body to defend it's life, liberty and property away will, in no way, ever give you a Utopian world; no matter how much you cry over it.

    #64913
  27. Laura, what I find the most prevailing aspect of your arguments is the complete lack of understanding of the human condition. In spite of your mild acquiescence of the possible corruption in law enforcement, you make it pretty clear that you believe in the innate goodness of those appointed above you in life and that there is an actual possibility that by removing weapons from the people, you will effectively remove violence and weapons from the whole nation. However, these things simple are not and cannot be true.

    What I find sad is that you truly believe that taking from those who have done nothing wrong will somehow alleviate the nature of those who enjoy doing harm to others. Additionally, I find it very foolish that you would start basing your arguments on something that is purely hypothetical, " Guns are just a lazy way to fool yourself into believing you can protect yourself from evil when they can just as easily have you becoming the evil."

    I suppose a long life of forming opinions based on hollywood movie scenes could have you believing in some kind of possible 'evil corruption' that a weapon is supposed to possess. Sounds to me an awful lot like you would prefer to have faith in weapons being formed from the spirits of evil beings then anything actually rational. Anyway, as it seems you have a habit of demanding people say precisely what you want, perhaps I can do the same. How about you admit that you hate firearms and, by proxy, any citizen who has them; and that you want to take peoples rights away from them because you do not possess the responsibility of character needed to manage the tool?

    The sad core of your entire argument boils down to this; Guns are doing the majority of the killing in this country (proven false) just as hammers are doing the majority of building, worms do the majority of fishing, pens do the majority of writing and shoes do the majority of walking. And I suppose somehow, you find these to be perfectly reasonable things to have happen without a single human motive involved.

    Also, as to the remark on suicide, no, guns are not the leading means by which people kill themselves. Most suicides are accomplished through overdose with hanging come in second and jumping from great heights come in third. Thus, using your fragile reasoning, we should be outlawing medication, ropes and strings, and of course, the hammers that make the buildings for people to jump off of. Gun assisted suicide is actually among the lowest percentile of methods used.

    Guns may well be an effective killing tool, but whether you like it, admit it or care about it, or not; they have also been the most effective tool in ensuring the survival of many people, you included. Their can be no equality between good people and bad people if the bad people are the only ones who possess these tools. In a perfect world, weapons wouldn't be needed. But then, if this were a perfect world, weapons never would have come into existence. Taking the right of the civil body to defend it's life, liberty and property away will, in no way, ever give you a Utopian world; no matter how much you cry over it.

    #67928
  28. Laura Cooskey

    No, i don't think we will ever totally eliminate violence and killing. Of course not. How about reducing it massively? What if your child or spouse were one of those killed by guns, who wouldn't have been if the guns hadn't been available? Even then that ONE person saved would have made a difference. Have you even looked at the murder rates in European countries with far fewer guns? Have you noticed that there are far fewer deaths from violence? The lack of guns, rather than promoting violence by allowing outlaws to wreak havoc, actually works as a symbolic reminder to people that they are peaceful. I was advised (and quite rightly, i believe) that to be a woman walking around Stockholm and little towns in the Netherlands after midnight, looking for lodging after a music show, was not dangerous, not like an American city anyway, because not only are people not armed, they are just plain not as dangerous, because they see themselves as part of a civilized world, not a dog-eat-dog jungle where he with the most firepower wins. It's symbolic… kind of like being a vegetarian; you don't do it really to save animals, you do it because then you slowly start thinking of yourself as something other than a bloodthirsty animal.
    And while i never would think of taking anything away from anyone that had no potential to hurt me or my child (for instance, someone smoking weed, doing "worse" drugs, being involved in prostitution, etc…. "victimless" activities, other than for the person doing them, but that's their decision)–the gun is ONLY meant to hurt other people. Right? Not mainly to hurt oneself, as you pointed out about the suicides. (My mistake there… they are not the main means of suicide, though they are the most effective means–something over 90% of suicide attempts by guns succeed, whereas only about 5% of drug-induced attempts. Also, another study–just google it, the stats are everywhere–shows that 55% of gun deaths are suicides… so that is a common use for guns, though i don't suppose it's the main reason people buy guns, to kill themselves!
    I am basically a Libertarian, excepting for allowing the one thing–guns– that has only one use: wounding and killing. And of course i don't mean for bad guys to have them, either. NOBODY should have them, the kinds of guns that people pull out to kill people on the street. (I don't mean predator-killing rifles for ranchers, or other valid uses.) I already said that. Scan them all, disarm them. Pat them down and throw the guns away. Put the gun manufacturers out of business. They live so that others may die. They live BECAUSE others are dying! And people eat it right up.

    #64914
  29. Laura Cooskey

    No, i don't think we will ever totally eliminate violence and killing. Of course not. How about reducing it massively? What if your child or spouse were one of those killed by guns, who wouldn't have been if the guns hadn't been available? Even then that ONE person saved would have made a difference. Have you even looked at the murder rates in European countries with far fewer guns? Have you noticed that there are far fewer deaths from violence? The lack of guns, rather than promoting violence by allowing outlaws to wreak havoc, actually works as a symbolic reminder to people that they are peaceful. I was advised (and quite rightly, i believe) that to be a woman walking around Stockholm and little towns in the Netherlands after midnight, looking for lodging after a music show, was not dangerous, not like an American city anyway, because not only are people not armed, they are just plain not as dangerous, because they see themselves as part of a civilized world, not a dog-eat-dog jungle where he with the most firepower wins. It's symbolic… kind of like being a vegetarian; you don't do it really to save animals, you do it because then you slowly start thinking of yourself as something other than a bloodthirsty animal.
    And while i never would think of taking anything away from anyone that had no potential to hurt me or my child (for instance, someone smoking weed, doing "worse" drugs, being involved in prostitution, etc…. "victimless" activities, other than for the person doing them, but that's their decision)–the gun is ONLY meant to hurt other people. Right? Not mainly to hurt oneself, as you pointed out about the suicides. (My mistake there… they are not the main means of suicide, though they are the most effective means–something over 90% of suicide attempts by guns succeed, whereas only about 5% of drug-induced attempts. Also, another study–just google it, the stats are everywhere–shows that 55% of gun deaths are suicides… so that is a common use for guns, though i don't suppose it's the main reason people buy guns, to kill themselves!
    I am basically a Libertarian, excepting for allowing the one thing–guns– that has only one use: wounding and killing. And of course i don't mean for bad guys to have them, either. NOBODY should have them, the kinds of guns that people pull out to kill people on the street. (I don't mean predator-killing rifles for ranchers, or other valid uses.) I already said that. Scan them all, disarm them. Pat them down and throw the guns away. Put the gun manufacturers out of business. They live so that others may die. They live BECAUSE others are dying! And people eat it right up.

    #67929
  30. I'm sorry Laura, but there is no way in any universe that you could ever be a libertarian while promoting the large government it would take to handle the kind of regulations you propose over gun laws. Additionally, I have never met a libertarian who wouldn't find it disgusting to their very core, the abolition of our constitutional rights. You call yourself a libertarian because you believe the group will fight for your drug and marijuana addiction. Thank you for exposing the reality of your opinion, finally. Sorry to say, but I believe you to be a libertarian about as much as I believe myself to be a meth dealing communist. It just isn't so.

    #64916
  31. I'm sorry Laura, but there is no way in any universe that you could ever be a libertarian while promoting the large government it would take to handle the kind of regulations you propose over gun laws. Additionally, I have never met a libertarian who wouldn't find it disgusting to their very core, the abolition of our constitutional rights. You call yourself a libertarian because you believe the group will fight for your drug and marijuana addiction. Thank you for exposing the reality of your opinion, finally. Sorry to say, but I believe you to be a libertarian about as much as I believe myself to be a meth dealing communist. It just isn't so.

    #67930
  32. Laura Cooskey

    It's a techophobia thing. Even if you believe in allowing just about every other practice or item conceivable a couple hundred years ago, would you believe it wise to have some Humboldt low-IQ tweaker holding the world's supply of the AIDS virus, or some psycho genius cooking up a nuclear bomb? Do you believe that would be a right… to do anything you please, no matter what the potential harm to others? That's called chaotic anarchy, not libertarian government. The kinds of rifles used in the 1700s are not today's firearms. Big powers capable of creating widespread damage require balancing legal restriction. We didn't have those powers when these laws were made.

    #64917
  33. Laura Cooskey

    It's a techophobia thing. Even if you believe in allowing just about every other practice or item conceivable a couple hundred years ago, would you believe it wise to have some Humboldt low-IQ tweaker holding the world's supply of the AIDS virus, or some psycho genius cooking up a nuclear bomb? Do you believe that would be a right… to do anything you please, no matter what the potential harm to others? That's called chaotic anarchy, not libertarian government. The kinds of rifles used in the 1700s are not today's firearms. Big powers capable of creating widespread damage require balancing legal restriction. We didn't have those powers when these laws were made.

    #67931
  34. Well, as I mentioned previously, the most apparent motive by certain citizens who want to see guns completely removed are all based completely on fear. Guns have been around for centuries and have yet to be the reason for this anarchy you appear hell bent on proving will come to pass. As a libertarian, I absolutely refuse to accept conjecture as a legitimate reason to remove the rights of others from them. As a man of science, I will not accept that the fear of a thing by one person should establish a moral mandate be forced on all others. As a veteran, I can say with first hand experience what all governments have done and continue to do when given complete leverage over the population. it's is irrelevant that the technology has evolved for firearms because the knowledge of the tool and defenses against the tools have also evolved; the only thing that hasn't, is the will of any tyrant to use them against the will of the people.

    #64919
  35. Well, as I mentioned previously, the most apparent motive by certain citizens who want to see guns completely removed are all based completely on fear. Guns have been around for centuries and have yet to be the reason for this anarchy you appear hell bent on proving will come to pass. As a libertarian, I absolutely refuse to accept conjecture as a legitimate reason to remove the rights of others from them. As a man of science, I will not accept that the fear of a thing by one person should establish a moral mandate be forced on all others. As a veteran, I can say with first hand experience what all governments have done and continue to do when given complete leverage over the population. it's is irrelevant that the technology has evolved for firearms because the knowledge of the tool and defenses against the tools have also evolved; the only thing that hasn't, is the will of any tyrant to use them against the will of the people.

    #67932
  36. Kevin Hoover

    Should any weapons be outlawed? If people need military weapons, why not ricin and c4? After all, the "tyrants" have that stuff.

    #64920
  37. Kevin Hoover

    Should any weapons be outlawed? If people need military weapons, why not ricin and c4? After all, the "tyrants" have that stuff.

    #67933
  38. Kevin, first off, my principle point is the preservation of the rights we actually have managed to retain. Secondly, I believe, that with the proper training and reasonable civil usage, every citizen should have legalized access to any weapon the military can use.

    #64921
  39. Kevin, first off, my principle point is the preservation of the rights we actually have managed to retain. Secondly, I believe, that with the proper training and reasonable civil usage, every citizen should have legalized access to any weapon the military can use.

    #67934
  40. Kevin Hoover

    Thanks. That was the clarification I was looking for.

    #64923
  41. Kevin Hoover

    Thanks. That was the clarification I was looking for.

    #67935
  42. Laura Cooskey

    Michael Ventruszch well i am going to get off this depressing conversation. It has been nice to talk with someone pro-gun who is not a total moron. But one more thing that reminds me of, Michael– one upsetting thing is how so many of the people who fervently defend their rights to guns are really poorly-educated or just plain stupid people. Why ARE so many gun people morons? I wonder how that is explained. First, you would probably deny that it's true, but i would bet that there's a direct correlation between educational level and belief in gun control of some kind. If you don't deny the connection between literacy (as a catch-all term here for both intelligence and educational level) and wish for gun control, i would ask why you think that correlation exists. My answer would be that intelligence and study of the matter shows the ineffectiveness of arms against crime, and the association of a better- armed populace with more violent crime, etc.–that is, if you look at it with a brain and with the facts, you see that guns are not the answer. I am guessing your answer would be that we pointy-headed ivory-tower idealists have no clue about the real world, where presumably lots of things not reported in the statistics occur… and all we know about are studies and ideas, and not how often violent, maladjusted people attack innocents, in the real world. Is that it? Do you think that's what's wrong with better-educated, more thoughtful people? I wonder.

    Or maybe it's not so simple. Maybe the gun advocates don't actually care how many people actually get killed, it's the principle of being able to own the gun that matters. Where gun control advocates would seek to find a balance between safety on the one hand and freedom on the other, on the Conservative side there's an immature boyish fascination with freedom to do whatever one damn well pleases, no matter who gets hurt; no mommy gets to tell little Joey he can't blast away at his enemies because Joey wants to feel like a MAN. So, a psychological angle… the need to feel manly as opposed to feeling vulnerable and controlled by forces who tell us to play nicely and not hurt each other. Which is why the red-blooded American male so disdains the European model of a safer world, where men have given up their roles of cave-protectors and meat hunters, and joined the mommies in adult conversation and the serving of tea.

    OK as i said, i must stop, because i get too wound up over wondering what it is about this country that so reviles social progress, but then i reflect that (much as i hate his war operations and his federal interventions in state politics) Obama was elected handily, so (assuming most voted for him DESPITE those drawbacks, rather than FOR those aspects, for which a Republican would have better served)– it actually looks like America is leaning toward enlightenment. Yup a change is gonna come, think i'll go play a song!

    #64924
  43. Laura Cooskey

    Michael Ventruszch well i am going to get off this depressing conversation. It has been nice to talk with someone pro-gun who is not a total moron. But one more thing that reminds me of, Michael– one upsetting thing is how so many of the people who fervently defend their rights to guns are really poorly-educated or just plain stupid people. Why ARE so many gun people morons? I wonder how that is explained. First, you would probably deny that it's true, but i would bet that there's a direct correlation between educational level and belief in gun control of some kind. If you don't deny the connection between literacy (as a catch-all term here for both intelligence and educational level) and wish for gun control, i would ask why you think that correlation exists. My answer would be that intelligence and study of the matter shows the ineffectiveness of arms against crime, and the association of a better- armed populace with more violent crime, etc.–that is, if you look at it with a brain and with the facts, you see that guns are not the answer. I am guessing your answer would be that we pointy-headed ivory-tower idealists have no clue about the real world, where presumably lots of things not reported in the statistics occur… and all we know about are studies and ideas, and not how often violent, maladjusted people attack innocents, in the real world. Is that it? Do you think that's what's wrong with better-educated, more thoughtful people? I wonder.

    Or maybe it's not so simple. Maybe the gun advocates don't actually care how many people actually get killed, it's the principle of being able to own the gun that matters. Where gun control advocates would seek to find a balance between safety on the one hand and freedom on the other, on the Conservative side there's an immature boyish fascination with freedom to do whatever one damn well pleases, no matter who gets hurt; no mommy gets to tell little Joey he can't blast away at his enemies because Joey wants to feel like a MAN. So, a psychological angle… the need to feel manly as opposed to feeling vulnerable and controlled by forces who tell us to play nicely and not hurt each other. Which is why the red-blooded American male so disdains the European model of a safer world, where men have given up their roles of cave-protectors and meat hunters, and joined the mommies in adult conversation and the serving of tea.

    OK as i said, i must stop, because i get too wound up over wondering what it is about this country that so reviles social progress, but then i reflect that (much as i hate his war operations and his federal interventions in state politics) Obama was elected handily, so (assuming most voted for him DESPITE those drawbacks, rather than FOR those aspects, for which a Republican would have better served)– it actually looks like America is leaning toward enlightenment. Yup a change is gonna come, think i'll go play a song!

    #67936
  44. Kevin Hoover

    Laura Cooskey I've enjoyed your thoughts, and am with you on this.
    As stirring as the rhetoric can be and as well as it plays on Facebook, the libertarian philosophy just doesn't hold in the real world. If civilians can own anything the military has, then a whole hell of a lot of unstable and angry people are going to be walking around with even more ability to decimate masses of people at will, and they will.

    #64925

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