Discussion in 'The Sanctum Santorum' started by Gabe Lewis, Dec 14, 2012.
The same blog has a direct response to what I posted above.
This is why I started my post with "While we don't know if Adam Lanza had an illness, I believe good mental health care could be a useful preventative to mass shootings. It would also have lots more benefits which overall would improve life for people with mental illness and the people around them."
This discussion is only taking place because of a dramatic incident, but it's trying to be about a broader set of issues. Mental health care can stand improving; some percentage of shootings may be stopped (nothing will ever prevent 100% of crime) and many others will have their lives improved.
1. Highlighting the risk posed by guns by downplaying the risks of explosives, poisons, and incendiaries misinforms people as to the risk posed by the latter. The problem with this should be obvious if you stop and consider what would happen to the kids instructed to barricade themselves in classes, closets and utility rooms during a fire, because there is also shooting occurring. Case in point.
2. An alternative argument is available which achieves the same end without spreading disinformation: why the everloving fuck does the USA regulate ammonium nitrate more strictly than guns?
Regardless of your position on this issue, there's just some basic decency to be had. I work with a bunch of right-winguts. Their first reaction to the shooting was shock and dismay...immediately followed by "I bet they're going to try to take our guns now". This wasn't the reaction of one person, but the reaction of 4 separate people at different times once they found out the news.
I'd be more annoyed if they weren't so accurate with that assessment.
Of course we feel it is especially tragic when it's 20 first graders. Why?
Because we're not monsters.
I'd be less annoyed if you could comprehend the notion that exploring stricter gun control laws isn't tantamount to taking away everyone's guns.
Ah, you are also someone who will only target one specific part of a post he believes to be able to refute. Pity. I just changed my 'argues in good faith' judgment. Hint - read my post again, and see my mention of other characteristics of insurgent organization not applicable to lone gunmen.
Perhaps a helpful link.
Note: IED are pretty much produced and disseminated by large networks of people. Why ? Well, it seems likely that the production of bombs is best left to experts. Also note that in the same series there is an offhand mention of the same groups only limited success trying to use self-made chemical agents. Limited since while the production is oftentimes easier than with explosives, the correct use (sufficient concentration) is a real problem, and was apparently to tricky for real world use by low-tech insurgents.
*sigh* 'I know a guy who can run 100 meters in less than 10 seconds. Obviously everyone can.' Anecdote will not cut it. The argument I am refuting is that removal of guns will not in any way lessen potential fatalities of violent crime; to that end it is necessary that the alternative means are a) as easy to procure as guns at the moment b) as easy to use c) as deadly. Self-made explosives do not fulfill a, period. Note that in my post I specifically mentioned individual that can. I call them 'bomb builder'. Of course there are people who can. If I wanted I would probably succeed, with a bit of research. But the original argument (see a to c above) assumes that anyone can, and finds it as easy as procuring a gun. If you really believe that, we can stop talking now. If you don't - why do you think that forcing potential criminals to use weapons other than guns, that are not fulfilling a to c will not result in a decrease in victims ?
Sure. I call them 'bomb builders', see above. They are responsible for disseminating already built within the networks. Are there killing spree networks in the US ? Or guys on the corner in every city that just hand them out like candy ? By the way, 'not insignificant' does not equal 'everyone'.
Have you ever worked in a chemistry lab ? Do you have any idea how easy it is to blow yourself up with tricky reactions even when following specific protocols when you lack adequate training ? Also, why do you keep assuming that some random guy with a garden shed and at most access to battery acid and fertilizer 'just needs to follow the protocol' ? It wouldn't work, it is as simple as that.
By the way - you do realize that Aum was part of his own little terrorist organization ? McVeigh was a trained soldier, with connections to militia groups and added help. Kaczynski was very close to a genius, with extensive academic studies, and he still needed years to arrive at really serious explosives. Breivik was able to spend 130000 to 180000 Euro within three years to get materials and knowledge to manufacture bombs using business contacts and contacts in right wing militia, including six tons of fertilizer. Is all that true of any mass murderer ?
So, not only are you falling back to single anecdotes no representative of the whole sample, your examples are either well connected, or well trained individuals. Which fits my initial description. The only exception is Kaczynski, who operated on a genius level, and still needed ages to get his bombs built. Did you even bother to check this before you typed out the names instead of an actual argument?
And there we are. That is the point. Guns are easier to use, are deadly and if available can be used on a whim. So reducing access to guns forces a would be perpetrator to fall back on less reliable or less effective methods. Anyone who just sees red when arguing with the wife, in front of the kids ? No guns, no bombs, no poison gas. And he might still be able to kill his family, but it will be considerably harder.
I doubt I would. Sadly, due to the used music GEMA has Google ban it in Germany. Yes, I hate it too. But let me guess - someone mixed ANFO ? Again, anecdote instead of argument. But even if you have the stuff, this is not a bomb yet. Perhaps try to think about the difference. Perhaps ask Anders Breivik why on earth he took so long to get his shit together when it is soooo trivial - one google search, and a random dude on Youtube would have just told him 'the protocol'. Or ask some insurgents why on earth they need to sen IEDs through their networks when it is so trivial to just have any guy built the things themselves. After all, it is as easy as taking the gun out of the handy cabinet in the good old USA. Good luck !
Oh, one thing - I am done with this threat. For reasons see my comments about John above. You work on the same level, and I decided years ago that debate with deniers is a waste of time. Take care !
My Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of completely naive "less guns, less mass shootings" posts with no nuance whatsoever from big liberal names and hollywood celebrities. The specific policies I've seen called for are assault weapon bans (which would have little to no effect on mass shootings; I guess they'd convert 10% or something of fatalities into woundings, even assuming perfect implementation, and ignoring the difficulty in classification), mandatory training (no effect on mass shootings by the mentally disturbed people), mandatory registration (small effect on mentally disturbed access, but I doubt it's all that significant given our gun counts; potential reduction in criminal gun counts, but that wouldn't have any impact on mentally disturbed), and mandatory mental health screening for gun owners (almost certainly unconstitutional).
In short, a lot of policies that would piss gun owners off but have little to no effect on the incidents.
I don't disagree with your conclusions, but given that most gun-related fatalities don't come from mass shootings, but instead come from incidents that these checks could better protect against, I'd still be in favor of them.
But yeah...I don't know how you stop these particular sorts of incidents as long as guns are floating around in society. As they said in The Dark Knight, "Some men just want to watch the world burn."
If we're going as far back as the 60s, what about Birmingham?
What about the Holocaust?
I don't consider a mass shooting in which the victims are 20 innocent adults to be any less tragic than a mass shooting where the victims are 20 innocent first graders. Both situations are equally tragic.
Do you think I'm a monster?
I don't know. I think it's pretty fucking obvious that first graders dying like this is much more tragic. But I was mostly commenting on how Jason was cavalierly saying that he was amazed that anyone would find 6 year olds gunned down especially tragic.
I think it matters here that most of the victims were literally physically incapable of fighting back. That makes it worse.
Not that adults getting killed this way would be no big deal or anything, but yes - this is definitely worse. And I do find it strange that some people don't think so.
Ok, so you think 20 children being murdered is worse than 20 adults being murdered. Is one child being murdered worse than two adults being killed? What relative values do you place on the lives of children and adults when you evaluate the tragedy level of different mass killings?
To me, a life is a life is a life. A mass shooting with X victims is worse than a mass shooting with X-1 victims, even if the former were all adults and the latter were all children.
Nope not a monster at all, they would be equal tragedies to me as well. Its not automatically more tragic because of the ages involved.
That is frivolous on multiple levels. If a bunch of kids have been murdered with an automatic weapon it is hugely distasteful to immediately start worrying about having access to your own automatic weapon, which you use either for shooting paper or for feeling dangerous at home. A minimally reflective response is to question whether your own interests might not be the most important consideration in light of what's happened. I can't decide for people what their answer will be, but knee-jerk protectionism of their precious handguns is unreasonable and indecent.
It's also glaringly part of the problem, because it defines stressing about any sort of gun restrictions as perfectly reasonable. That mentality should not be held up as axiomatic.
Nobody cares where you do (or do not) ultimately draw moral distinctions. It's having no particularly strong emotional reaction to children being gunned down in their own classroom that comes across as robotic at best. If you can't think why that's particularly horrific I can't help you.
I don't think it's worse. I knew that the American public would perceive it as worse when I heard about this story, but to me, deaths are deaths, age notwithstanding. Children are not more precious or important than adults. They don't get special value just because they're "innocent" or little or cute or whatever. Of course, I've never found human children to be cute, so perhaps that plays into my opinion.
I didn't say it's not horrific. Obviously what happened on Friday is a terrible tragedy, and of course I am emotionally moved by the plight of the victims and their families.
My contention is that the fact that the majority of the victims were young children does not make this particular shooting somehow more horrific than previous mass murders where a bunch of adults were gunned down in a movie theatre or office building.
I don't understand, Jason. If none of the policies you list in this post would be effective and banning private gun ownership is a conversation you're not even willing to entertain, do you have any suggestions? If you're arguing for a mental health approach, that assumes that the potential perps are all mentally ill, that they or someone else recognizes that fact and does something about it, and that treatment is effective. Those are very big "ifs.". Or are you just taking the position that incidents like this are just the price of liberty and we have to live with them? You keep calling for a reasoned debate but I can't figure out where you stand.
There's no objective measure of tragedy.
There is an objective scale for willful wrongheadedness and stubbornness, and it looks like you're on the scale with one brett-like, Meserach.
I dunno about that. There are reasonable ways to measure the value of a life-hour or a year, right? We have actuarial tables (I think that's the right term?) and we can estimate the number of life-years snuffed out by the killer and compare it to other attacks... or, for that matter, a year's worth of Baltimore crime.
I again do not care if you think 10 adults being killed is no more or less tragic than 10 children being killed. That's really of no interest to me and I don't think it's informative. What's strange is not being able to see what's particularly horrific about children being exposed to that kind of brutality. They have innocence and a lack of comprehension, and having that shattered, as with cases of child abuse, is particularly sickening. Not thinking this is any distinction at all is - and I repeat this term because it's the kindest I can think of - robotic.
Which is well and good if we're talking about the consequences of tragedy, but when you start getting into assigning quantitative levels of "horrific" you're edging out onto a cliff where dissembling just makes you sound overbearing and pompous.
I have no relation to Baltimore crime. It's nearby, but my personal sense of "horrific" tends to be reserved for more local cities...except in the case of the CT shooting, as I have family that live in the area. You can measure the body count. You can measure the public's reaction. You can measure the number of minutes spent by news networks covering it. But these are all vague, abstract ways of grappling with a tragedy that is inherently personal and unknowable beyond the self.
Why do you think people are reaching out? We want to be vindicated in our sorrow, to know that we aren't the only ones feeling it. Stop trying to put a number on it.
What's strange to me is that you have placed an arbitrary value on the age of the victims to determine that one crime is particularly more horrific than another. Someone being murdered is a terrible tragedy regardless of the age of the victim. I strongly refute your assertion that I'm an unfeeling robot just because I don't consider the mass murder of a group of children to be particularly more horrific than the mass murder of a group of adults.
And yet, even by your horrometrics, we can deduce that in terms of sheer number of years to be lived taken away, this tragedy involved an impressive ratio of potential years to live divided by actual lifespan.
Just what are you actually trying to prove here again? I forget.
A++, would Like again.
You forgot "*BEEP BOOP*"
I have repeatedly told you that I neither care nor am interested in comparative value judgements about individuals. I just told you, right in that post, why the age of the victims is relevant to how horrific the event itself seems.
You are equivocating between the value of individual lives and how horrific an event is for those concerned. To be plain: would you prefer an adult or a 6 year old to see someone else get shot? If you see no difference I really do think you're a robot.
By the way, when you click the reply button on a post the stuff after [quote= gives the person you are quoting an alert. It also gives the name of that person at the top of the quote, which makes for easier viewing.
Show us on the doll where the bad little child hurt you.
This is the direct result of Star Trek. Spock was cold, unemotional, and intelligent. Dumb people, instead of seeing these as three traits on a fictional alien from a fictional planet, saw it as a correlation: to be smart you need to be cold and unemotional. Combine that with the whole "left brain, right brain" myth and the internet and you have generations of dumb people who think that thinking in binary with your eyebrows slightly raised is how smart people do.
As it is people feel these types of things are worse when involving kids because kids have less of a capacity to understand and were more scared than the average adult would have been, more confused, and more vulnerable (not to mention that there is nothing these kids could have done and their even being there was not their choice). The same is true for animals.
I'm sure you have a practiced facial expression of not caring when being publicly shamed, people from the first paragraph often do, so feel free to put that on now.
And I have told you that the age of the victims is not a meaningful distinction to me.
I would prefer that nobody would ever have to see someone else get shot. Thankfully I've never been in that situation, but I imagine it would be traumatizing for both children and adults. I don't agree with your assertion that a horrific crime is somehow made worse if there are children involved. It's sickeningly awful regardless. Apparently that makes me an unfeeling robot in your view.
What if it's, say, sexual assault?
Go fuck yourself.
(Still catching up on thread, so apologies if this was mentioned already.)
Nobody has banned the sale of small, spherical neodymium magnets. What happened is that the CPSC objects to the marketing of such as toys, even with a "for adults only" disclaimer. You can still buy Buckyball-like magnets from a varity of suppliers.
Not everyone in this thread is from America, Jason, and gun control is a live issue in countries other than your own. I don't pretend to know what the best way of reducing the US murder rate would be, but I do believe that gun control can have ameliorative effects on rates of violent crime, and that access to firearms probably contributes to incidents of mass killing. The general slagging on gun control is annoying to me, because I do think gun control is worthwhile and effective, and that's true even if America can't get its shit together on the issue.
I also think this whole "it could never happen in the US so lets not bother talking about it" thing is totally stupid. Good policy is good policy. I don't think we should stop talking about things like copyright reform, single-payer health care, universal access to child care, and other progressive policy issues just because the US is not likely to jump on board those policy measures.
Either you have no clue how a debate works, or you're being wilfully obtuse, or you don't understand sentences, or you're an idiot.
You're a massive idiot.
You have made your point. I have chosen to disagree with your point. That doesn't make either of us idiots.
And for the record, I fully understand the point you're trying to make. You're asserting that children being exposed to unspeakable violence is more traumatizing and therefore worse than adults being exposed to unspeakable violence. I do not share that opinion.
My official position is that none of the commonly proposed solutions on the left or the right are actually politically feasible or have a decent likelihood of effectiveness. So we should look for others. For example, it's just something I made up without thinking about it, but I'm half serious about mandatory mental screening for the entire population. It's a horrible, huge attack on civil liberties, it'd cost a ton of money, but well, I'm not sure what other options there are. At least it's a horrible idea that could actually get passed and might actually worked.
Less outrageously, a sustained shunning of violent rhetoric, violent attitudes, and veneration of vigalente behavior could help, in the same way sustained pressure on racial or sexual attitudes worked.
Given the constraints of US public opinion and our legal system there don't appear to be any easy answers.
I abstractly know it's horrible, but I figured that the rest of America had been desensitized to the point of not getting much of a reaction anymore to mass killings, or the constant stream of murders in general, like me. I really underestimated the effect "people like me" would have in this case of snapping people out of that cynicism. The people I work with at Microsoft - at least those who had kids - were really, really shaken in a way they weren't by any other mass shooting event.
As pointed out in this ongoing thread, the case for "less guns causes less mass murders" is weak. The correlation is clearly there, but the causal mechanism story is a lot weaker. Even if it wasn't, the US public has explicitly rejected weapon restrictions the last 30 years. Even if you could convince them, the US gun supply is so enormous that it'd take enormous efforts to significantly reduce gun access. It's just think it's a pointless waste of time to advocate it in general in the US context.
Separate names with a comma.