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"Gun Cult in the US and How to Change It" split from Las Vegas Massacre

FJAG

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BeyondTheNow

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I’ve been following these discussions and they all seem to go the same way. People who are in favour of gun ownership and people who aren’t debating/discussing whether to get rid of guns, which guns specifically, how many guns, etc. and which types of gun regulations will stop the same ridiculousness from occurring again. I have to chime in, simply out of frustration...

Gun culture isn’t what needs to change in the US. Guns and their accessibility simply contribute to an issue that isn’t going to change, because no one can figure out why the issue even exists. And the issue is, what, exactly, is wrong with (so many) Americans? There is something so fundamentally defective in their psyche—something in their very wiring—that pushes them to extremes. Their racial conflicts, their political views, their extreme beliefs WRT ‘their right to bear arms’, their numbers of serial killers, looking back at countless events throughout their history (and for such a young country) etc etc. They are a society of extremes and/or violence in practically all major facets of life.

If guns became/become severely restricted/governed, then someone would/will come up with some other method of destruction with which to take as many people out as quickly as possible. (Vehicles & crowds seems to be popular right now...)

I personally don’t understand why Joe down the street needs (or even has a desire to own) 10, 20, 40+ guns. I like the way Week-end Update on SNL put it (paraphrasing), ‘No one should own 48 of anything...If someone owns 48 cats, the person is considered a crazy cat-person, the government declares you an unfit, irresponsible cat owner and confiscates your cats...’ Humourous/tongue-n-cheek, but easy to see the point. I absolutely believe there is a problem with guns and gun ownership in the US. But I also have absolutely zero doubt that restricting them will do little, if anything at all, in curbing the violence in that country. Specifically gun violence? Maybe. But incidences where an individual (legally sane/mentally ill or not) seeks to kill/injure large quantities of people, for whatever reason, isn’t going to stop. These threads will continue, they’ll just have a different method in their title. 
 

Colin Parkinson

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There has clearly been a change that has led to more shootings and killings, is it education, drugs, family structures, movies or a combination of the above. As I said earlier looking at these factors than just the weapon will lead you to answers that might require people to acknowledge that their ideas or products are flawed. You can imagine how interested they are to do that. Far easier to beat on the NRA instead.
 

BeyondTheNow

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Colin P said:
There has clearly been a change that has led to more shootings and killings, is it education, drugs, family structures, movies or a combination of the above. As I said earlier looking at these factors than just the weapon will lead you to answers that might require people to acknowledge that their ideas or products are flawed. You can imagine how interested they are to do that. Far easier to beat on the NRA instead.

(Edit to add: Colin P: I read too quickly and initially misunderstood your point. Still agree. I’ll keep what I initially typed below though.)

I do agree. But I always come right back to the fact that other countries (with similar cultures) have the same access to info, education, familial struggles, etc and don’t deal with the same frequency, or escalation of violence in any given number of scenarios that they do, either now or in the past.

Obviously, when comparing we have to look at percentage/per capita vs plain figures because they have such a large population. But I really struggle to assume that (I’ll use us, because, well, it’s easy) Canada would be on par, or close to it, with our Southern neighbours if we also had a population of 300+ million. I deeply believe we wouldn’t have the same level of issues, either to the scale or the volume that they deal with far too often. We simply don’t think like they do. As a whole, I feel we are a population of far more critically thinking people, who analyze problems, outcomes, and solutions much more contructively than they (as a whole) do. We don’t display the same levels/frequency of divisiveness and anger that they do either.

 

daftandbarmy

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Colin P said:
There has clearly been a change that has led to more shootings and killings, is it education, drugs, family structures, movies or a combination of the above. As I said earlier looking at these factors than just the weapon will lead you to answers that might require people to acknowledge that their ideas or products are flawed. You can imagine how interested they are to do that. Far easier to beat on the NRA instead.

Re-introduce conscription.

Then they'll all be so p*ssed off with dragging weapons around and cleaning them, and getting charged for losing them/ having NDs, that they'd want nothing to do with bang bangs after their period of service was up.
 

Jungle

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I've been living in the US southwest for a few years now, and I feel quite safe here. Most discussions about crime in the USA take the numbers in isolation, but very few look at stats. This wiki entry uses stats from the  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for its table:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

When we look at homicide statistically (number of intentional homicides per 100 000 population) we find that the USA is far below some of the countries we like to visit for holidays:

USA: 4.88
Jamaica: 43.21
Belize: 34.4
Bahamas: 29.81
Dominican Republic: 17.39
Barbados: 10.91
Guadeloupe (France): 7.90
Turks and Caicos Islands (UK): 6.61
Bermuda (UK): 6.45

Canada sits at 1.68

Most countries above have strict gun laws. In the Bahamas or Bermuda, it is nearly impossible to own a firearm even for hunting. Yet their homicide rates are much higher than in the US.
 

Bird_Gunner45

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recceguy said:
Breathalyzer in every car. No semi auto firearms. (I assume you also mean .22 cal rimfire.) What else would you prohibit the masses from having because you don't like the reality of a situation?

So, basically, if you don't like it, it needs to be banned?

Like I said earlier, you can't legislate behaviour.

From your research:
"Table 12 also shows that more people were killed via the use of “hands, fists, feet, etc.,” than were killed by rifles of any kind. In fact, the tally shows that the death numbers were not even close. While approximately 374 people were shot and killed with rifles, roughly 656 people were beaten to death with “hands, fists, feet, etc.” "

Last I looked, assault causing death was against the law and 656 seems like an excessive number at least compared to those of rifles.

After cutting off everyone's hands and feet, we'll have to figure how far back to cut the stumps so they can't be used to club or poke.  ;D j/k

This is a weak argument. Drinking and driving is against the law, so if there is a way to better enforce the law, why wouldn't we, as a society, want that? Unless you believe that people killed by drunk drivers is just something we should accept for "reasons"....  There is no valid reason why anyone should drink and drive anymore (or ever for that point). So, yes, if the law prohibits drunk driving and a breathalyzer engine block will stop people from doing it, than why wouldn't this be something every law abiding citizen wants?

So no, it's not a case of "if I don't like it it should be banned". It's more of a case of "if the law says something it should be enforced".
 

Lumber

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SeaKingTacco

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Belize, Barbados and Bahamas could have gun violence issues due to the drug trade.

Not sure what to think about Bermuda.

I wonder- is there a correlation between former slave owning states and gun violence?
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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Jungle said:
I've been living in the US southwest for a few years now, and I feel quite safe here. Most discussions about crime in the USA take the numbers in isolation, but very few look at stats. This wiki entry uses stats from the  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for its table:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

When we look at homicide statistically (number of intentional homicides per 100 000 population) we find that the USA is far below some of the countries we like to visit for holidays:

USA: 4.88
Jamaica: 43.21
Belize: 34.4
Bahamas: 29.81
Dominican Republic: 17.39
Barbados: 10.91
Guadeloupe (France): 7.90
Turks and Caicos Islands (UK): 6.61
Bermuda (UK): 6.45

Canada sits at 1.68

Most countries above have strict gun laws. In the Bahamas or Bermuda, it is nearly impossible to own a firearm even for hunting. Yet their homicide rates are much higher than in the US.

Jungle:

Nice find on the statistics front.

However, we must be very careful here. If you read the beginning of the Wiki entry, you will see that they themselves indicate the stats are not quite reliable as "intentional" is defined differently from one country to another. Also, and this is the more important aspect: these homicide rates are all encompassing and do not in any way distinguish or indicate by which mean the homicide was committed. So, they include all forms of homicide, be it by gun, knife, broadaxe, intentional use of car to run over, etc.

The other thing that all the stats we have been looking at in this thread do not clearly indicate either (at least so far), is who is murdered and why. I say that because I believe, and any LEO in here feel free to chime in, that in Canada - for instance - the majority of our intentional homicides are instances of "domestic violence", internal to families (at large), in-laws and close friends.

I think that, if this type of research was done in the US, we would find the same thing. And here is the big problem I see in changing attitudes in the US: They don't want to find out. That's why Congress doesn't want the CDC to look into these matters. And I believe they don't want to look into it because Americans have no appetite for looking into their national psyche and social problems (from drug use, poverty, lack of education and underlying racism) and find out all the problems that exist there* - lest they have to actually start to do something about it.


*: While I don't want to blame Hollywood for the ills of US society, IMHO, one of the underlying problem in the American collective psyche is some of their foundational myths. For instance, and that was greatly propagated by Hollywood, one such myth is that of the wild West, with the gunslingers and shoot-outs. In fact, while there was certain number of criminals (that's what they were) of that ilk, the alleged wild West looked a lot more like Little House on the Prairie than Shooting at the O.K. Corral. Sure, the farmers had a single long barrel gun by the door, but it had a lot more to do with chasing the coyotes from the herd than to defend one self. And most cowboy's did their work totally unarmed (I know: sacrilege!) - and "Indians" were not constantly on the war path and a menace. Similarly, today, the myth is that of the whole world trying to come in and attack them at home, with all their TV drama and Hollywood movies foiling time and time again "bad people" trying to commit horrible crime against them. I suspect there have been more "foiled attacks" on the US in NCIS than have actually been detected by the CIA in its whole history  ;D.

Add to that the ingrained paranoia that is found in a large portion of the US population and it's a recipe for collective mental illness. That paranoia expresses itself, for instance in that person referred to in posts above, who wouldn't go to a theater in the US because he was not allowed to carry his gun for self defence. That person most likely had never, in his whole life, had to pull out his gun to defend himself, nor had probably ever had a friend, relative or any one lisle he knows need to do so either. The USA is simply not that dangerous a place. 
 

SeaKingTacco

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So where does that leave the US?

Guns aren't going away. It has been pointed out that gun ownership is enshrined in their constitution and a I believe a significant enough portion of the US population would literally go to war to stop a government from taking their guns.

If that is the case (and I believe it is), someone serious about reducing violence in the US (in all forms) actually has to approach the problem from another angle.
 

mariomike

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Bird_Gunner45 said:
Drinking and driving is against the law, so if there is a way to better enforce the law, why wouldn't we, as a society, want that?

Driver education, defensive driving courses, licencing improvements, suspensions, increased insurance rates for bad drivers, police ticketing and fines, distracted driving laws, MADD, breathalysers, ignition interlock, seatbelts and seatbelt enforcement, air bags, laminated and tempered glass, crumple zones, side impact protection beams, collapsible steering columns and padded dashboards.  Convertibles without roll-over bars are less common now. Less blowouts thanks to improved tires. Car fires are also much less common, thanks to improved fuel system integrity and fire retardant materials.
Improved highway construction.

I remember having to sit through the old Highway Safety films with titles like, "Mechanised Death", "Signal 30", "Red Asphalt" and "Highways of Agony" etc.
They put a waste paper basket in the aisle for those who had to puke.

Paramedic services at accident ( and shooting ) scenes have improved greatly. In 1960 President John F. Kennedy declared that "Traffic accidents constitute one of the greatest, perhaps the greatest, of the nation's public health problems". Then in 1966 Lyndon B. Johnson and President's Commission on Highway Safety/National Academy of Sciences declared the carnage "the neglected disease of modern society."

The report revealed that in 1965 alone, vehicle accidents killed more Americans than were lost in the Korean War.

Soon after, the National Highway Traffic Safety Act was adopted which standardized EMS training, promoted state involvement, encouraged community oversight, recommended radio communication, and stressed a single emergency number.

In Toronto, most traffic fatalities are pedestrians.

"Last year in Toronto, there was the lowest number of traffic fatalities in 50 years."
Police Chief Bill Blair
Star Jan 21 2010.

Metro Police don't do it anymore, but  I remember they used to fly black flags on those high radio whip aerials they had on their yellow cars. What was even more startling were the announcements made on CHUM radio. They were unbelievably somber and macabre, accompanied by a drum roll and grim music, announcing that, "The Black Flag is Flying! This is not a tribute to the dead, but a warning to the living"!!
The amazingly grisly and macabre announcements of the latest traffic fatalities in Metro Toronto.
There was also Elmer the Safety elephant.

Always room for improvement. We could return to the days of getting around on the backs of animals. < joking.

The public refused to tolerate the carnage and demanded their public safety officials do something about it.

More than just thoughts and prayers.

My point is that Presidents Kennedy and Johnson treated it as a "public health problem" and a "disease".

Perhaps, or perhaps not, Americans will one day come to feel the same way about this topic?



 

Jungle

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Oldgateboatdriver said:
Jungle:

Nice find on the statistics front.

However, we must be very careful here. If you read the beginning of the Wiki entry, you will see that they themselves indicate the stats are not quite reliable as "intentional" is defined differently from one country to another. Also, and this is the more important aspect: these homicide rates are all encompassing and do not in any way distinguish or indicate by which mean the homicide was committed. So, they include all forms of homicide, be it by gun, knife, broadaxe, intentional use of car to run over, etc.

If you re-read my posts, you will find that I do not talk about gun crimes. I simply prove that countries with much lower gun ownership (or no gun ownership) in the high income group still have a higher homicide rate than the USA.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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I understood that, Jungle. That's why I used a general "we" in my warning to be careful, not a specific "you".

The whole thread is about gun culture in the US, so I wanted everyone to be on guard as regards that specific statistic, for those who wouldn't have paid close attention.

And, yes, it is an interesting statistics to keep in mind and certainly useful to the discussion.
 

MAJONES

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SeaKingTacco said:
someone serious about reducing violence in the US (in all forms) actually has to approach the problem from another angle.

Agreed.  In line with politics being the art of the possible; you are not going to get the Americans to give up their guns.  My suggested alternative is money for social programs and education.  Well fed, educated and adequately housed people are less prone to violence. 
If the democrats were smart they would present it as an option to the republicans;  i.e. Offer to drop pursuit of gun control in exchange for support of more social spending.
 
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