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Gun control, the constitution and you, let's keep it civil.

235 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

I wanted to start a civil discussion among us, those that see this first hand. Please keep it civil or I will ask Admin to close it.

The way I see it, there are three prevalent issues in situations like this that can affect the outcome. The first is the security of the site. From what the news is saying, security was pretty high at this school. The mental illness of the shooter is the second. Mental illness is a horrible disease that affects so many people. Despite what certain news channels would have you believe, there is tons of research on the subject but treatment remain elusive. Our mental health system sucks and should be improved, but for many of these people they never make it to the system because there is just not enough to push them there. There are thousands of little signs that, in hindsight, add up to a devestating picture but that cannot be appreciated as they are happening. Often times, the first sign of a mental health problem is when they act out and go on shooting sprees. Do we just lock up anyone we have a concern for mental illness against their wishes? Our laws work against us in this case. There are fluridly manic people walking around all over the place. There is nothing we can do about that. Our laws pretty clearly say that unless someone is a danger to themselves or others, at that specific time, we can not hold them against their will. This does not mean that in an hour, in their mania, they will not become homicidal and go on a shooting spree. Even with a perfect mental health system, we cannot predict who will snap. We are not psychic. It is the same way with chest pain pts. We can admit them for their chest pain and work them up. It does not mean that as soon as they walk out of the door, one of their plaques isn't going to rupture and lead to a STEMI/death. So we have maximized the security and cannot do anything about the mental health issues. That only leaves us the last common thread, the gun. This is the only part of the equation we have any control over. We need to start seriously talking about gun control in a rational manner. It does not mean taking away everyones guns.

There are plenty of people that jump on the second amendment. Keep the second amendment in the proper frame. In the 1700s people used their guns for food, protection from parties (Indians, French, British, etc) when the goverment could not provide that protection. They also were dealing with single shot, smoothe barrel, rifles that had the accuracy of a sling shot when they actually fired. The founding fathers were smart guys and knew that times would change. Thomas Jefferson felt that any constitution would be worthless after 19 years and would need to be rewritten by each generation. In the end, we were given the amendment process, which allows a new amendment to overrule a previous amendment. It would be interesting if we could resurect one of the writers and get their impression on our current weapons technology (as well as several other issues). I would guess that they would say, "Hey, it's up to you guys. We dealt with what we had to in our time, you have to deal with your time. That is why we gave you an amendment process."

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Posted · Report post

While I am a Canadian working towards my US citizenship, I have lived in the USA for 6 going on 7 years. I must admit it was a shock to me to know that many, many people carry a weapon on their person. Coming from a Country where there is strict gun controls I found it somewhat discomforting at the ease in which people can acquire a firearm.

I will not pretend to say I know all there is to know about why people snap. My feeling is, especially around the holidays, people with a mental illness and left to their own devices feel lost and increasingly depressed causing things to spin out of control to a point where they can't help themselves. That is on us as a Society. I don't mean to sound callous but, while the events of the last few days are indeed tragic, the CT shootings are only different by the number of innocent victims and the ages. Unfortunately, innocent victims of GSWs happen everyday. The USA is not alone when it comes to citizens suffering from mental illness. I think that 100% of all other Countries also have the same problems as we. I don't know if their treatment of the mentally ill is different, but I do know that firearms are not as readily available anywhere else in the World.

When I hear people cite the second amendment as a reason for a firearm, all I hear is "The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed". What I seldom hear though is, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state". As Doc stated, this was written at a much different time. We no longer require a Militia as we have well trained LEOs and the Largest, best equipped and trained Military in the world. The chances of the lay public being called into service and them needing to bring their own weapon are virtually nil. I am all for some form of gun control. I understand that a rifle for hunting is a part of American hx and I don't think that is what needs to be regulated as stringently although plopping down a DL and walking out of Wal-Mart with a semi-automatic rifle and 500 rounds of ammo needs to stop. There are other controls that I would like to see put in place but, I do not wish to start a "big to-do". I do not have the time to check back as frequently as I would like.

I find it hard sometimes to discuss this issue with some as they become very defensive of the 2nd amendment and will not even consider a different point of view may carry some merit. The very word amendment means change but alas, they consider it carved in stone. The simple fact is, if there are less firearms, then there is. The argument that criminals won't comply or obey new legislation holds little water. If there are less guns and ammo available, where are they going to get them/it? If law abiding citizens keep their weapons secured in a locked cabinet and bring them out for hunting or sport shooting, I have no problem with that. But the fact that the guy sitting next to me at a restaurant is carrying a concealed weapon is a little scary. I have no way of testing this theory, but my belief is that 50% of the people that carry a concealed weapon, would never use it in a confrontation. It's all well and good to have the bravado to carry, it is quite another to pull the trigger and kill someone.

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Posted · Report post

But the fact that the guy sitting next to me at a restaurant is carrying a concealed weapon is a little scary.

Why is this scary to you?

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Posted · Report post

Why is this scary to you?

Dunno, what if he snaps?

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Posted · Report post

Dunno, what if he snaps?

What if he doesn't and is useful in the event of a violet crime perpetrated in the same room? I indeed hold you with respect but this is very subjective don't you think?

I am sorry that I started posting in this thread post because I really don't have a lot of time to chat right now. I will be back. I just don't know when.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

http://www.forbes.co...e-a-lot-of-guns

Actually Kaisu, when it comes to firearm ownership, the US is tops in the world. We also have the highest homicide rate among most first world countries but we are beaten by the central American countries. I'm not sure why we have such a culture of violence compared to the rest of the world, but would you leave a knife or gun easily accessable to a person with a propensity for violence? I don't know if allowing easy access to a society with a propensity is the best idea either. I'm tired of seeing the senseless violence at work everyday so, yeah, I'll admit I'm cranky and jaded.

EDIT: This was a reply to Kaisu, but her post no longer exists but the link is still informative.

Edited by ERDoc

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Posted · Report post

What if he doesn't and is useful in the event of a violet crime perpetrated in the same room? I indeed hold you with respect but this is very subjective don't you think?

I am sorry that I started posting in this thread post because I really don't have a lot of time to chat right now. I will be back. I just don't know when.

It's all good DFIB. That is my opinion. I'm not comfortable around guns. I don't like them. I just have a vision of the OK Corral as everyone pulls out their pistol and hits more innocents than perpetrators.

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Posted · Report post

It's all good DFIB. That is my opinion. I'm not comfortable around guns. I don't like them. I just have a vision of the OK Corral as everyone pulls out their pistol and hits more innocents than perpetrators.

I like guns and enjoy the company of law abiding citizens that enjoy them as well. I like walking into Wal-Mart knowing that 3-4 out of every 10 people in the store are most likely legally carrying a gun under their shirt, or in their purse.

It is probably due to being raised in a culture were guns are common and never seeing an accident or a gun misused before entering EMS or traveling to other countries, most of where guns are illegal or heavily regulated. I know gun violence existed but I never saw it among law abiding citizens.

I am glad to hear your opinion. I celebrate diversity.

@ ERDOC. I find your initial post interesting. I really want to talk with you in this thread, but will have to find the time to do it justice.

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Posted · Report post

Dunno, what if he snaps?

What if the person in the car next to you snaps? Are you going to argue taking cars away? How about knives on the table in a restaurant? That guy in the restaurant might snap and use the knife or fork on the table. Should we then take those away? I witnessed, and had to testify in court as a witness to, an assult involving a Bic pen. Should we then take away writing instruments "if" somebody snaps?

I'm not trying to be flippant or mock your position. That you don't like and are not comfortable around firearms is respectable. I can respect where you're coming from.

However, I think the discussions brought about by the events in Connecticut on Friday are slightly misguided. Everyone immediately jumps on the tools used but ignores the underlying factor at play. The shooter was out of his gourd. What person in his/her right mind would walk into a school and shoot children?

Gun control will have to be a part of the discussion in the fallout from this event. It is folly, however, to make it the main point of the conversations. Mental illness is huge, widely misunderstood and even more widely ignored by the vast majority of non-health care providers out there. (Hell, it's even widely ignored and misunderstood by a lot of health care providers, too!) Until we figure out what causes people to do this and develop a means to deal with people while respecting their rights it will continue to happen again.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Well, I'm a foreigner so please excuse me if I lack subtleness in my knowledge of US culture and Constitution.

I'll talk here only of the guns, and will not try to related it to the tragic shooting, because I think there are many more issues, way more complex and deep-rooted ones. I wouldn't like the "gun debate" to obscure the real issues.

That being said I grew up n a "no-gun" country, in a family that is against weapons. Here no one is supposed to carry any weapon, no billy, to taser let alone a gun. Only teargas sprays are tolerated. Oh and if you use any object to hurt someone, that object can be classified as a weapon is a trial was to occur (provided you managed to hurt the person with it of course).

That is because it is in the french essence that the state provides safety and that the state only holds the legal use of force and weapons. The concept of "milicia" has always been fought against in a country that developed the concept of administration and police quite early. The History of France was the struggle of the central power to establish unity and peace over the divided lands of the kingdom, and against the political aims of the Catholic Church.

That is why today in France, we are firmly attached to the concept of public services either EMS, Fire Dept. or Police Dept. We do not accept the creation of private armed groups (aka milicia). Of course, and as said earlier, the History of the US is very very different (event if closely linked with France's History) and it was back then obvious that the people had to bear arms to protect their land against all the actual threats lying in the countryside. But time have changed, so have the threats and society.

Why do I bother you with the opposition of public and private holding of legal violence? Because that's a choice you'll have to make if you want to move on with guns. I personally strongly think that as long as the state will not demonstrate it provides sufficient security, and fight to prove so, people will cling to their guns. Here I'm talking of the guns anyone can wear at anytime, not the hunting, sport and collection weapons, which are something different. The alternate model is of an unarmed civile population and a strong protective state that holds the legal use of violence.

In the US, one might think this looks like the onset of a state tyranny where the people is held hostage and disarmed by an all-mighty government.

In France we think having the people carry firearms spreads the seeds of a civil war that could not be stopped.

Of course these are exaggerated positions, but I think they're the underlying views in each country.

And what about the creep next door? Well, I talked about values and traditions, but I think that today's first argument favoring guns are self-defense in the everyday life.

I don't know about you, but I've never been in true danger, I mean I never felt my life at risk facing someone determined to hurt me. Yet, I know a lot of police officers and I'm a former crime law student and I know for sure that a situation of true immediate danger doesn't leave time to think. A non-trained person, in an extreme situation (or so perceived) will have extreme reactions.

To answer an example that was given above, I would not trust anyone carrying a gun near me that is not a policeman. Why? Because in case of danger, I wouldn't trust his/her reaction and most of all, I do not recognize him/her the right to kill of wound (maybe for lifetime) anyone.

Then what, do we simply let them do? No, here is a translation of an article of french crime law "statutes":

"When facing a crime punishable by jail, every-one has the legal habilitation to arrest the author of said crime and bring him/her to the nearest police officer."

That being said, the vision we have of blatant offenses is that the people can legally unite and use the strictly necessary violence to subdue the criminal and pass him/her over to the police. In most case, that person will not be armed, so the people will be able to proceed "safely" and no one will be killed in the process.

Of course, in real life people take blows, some people have knives and even guns, but overall we're doing fine.

The same concept of restrictive use of weapon applies to our Police. A field officer will carry a 9mm gun, a billy, a teargas spray, a taser and sometime even a "flashball". Many non-lethal weapons, since drawing your gun automatically starts a long and fastidious procedure.

That's because the law here is quite clear and stringent (that's a good side of the french law system, based exclusively on the Parliament acts and not the judges' precedents) and the right to kill can be granted only if a bundle of conditions are gathered. Why? because we think it should take a lot to clear of your criminal liability in seriously injuring/killing someone. Our version of the "stand your ground" doesn't leave place to interpretation.

I'm not saying it's the best system, because it can actually be too stringent and cause some situations to seem unfair for the people who did the right thing. Yet, killing someone has to be the ultimate resort.

A while ago, there was this video on the Internet: in the US, some drunk dude destroying a fast food with a metal club (no victim inside) then leaving when the police arrives. He faces them, they command him to drop his "weapon" he doesn't: they shoot him to death. More than 10 bullets. This situation can be sum-up the following way:

A man, clearly not in a reasonable state and armed with a low range weapon, threatens people and the police.

Now look at this video, in a little french city:

Exactly the same situation, yet not the same ending: a life was spared.

Again, I'm only bringing fact you may or may not have. I don't wanna discuss if they took too many risks, why the taser didn't work etc... I just want to bring to your attention how things are done here, so that you may think with more elements.

I hope it wasn't too boring, but I tried to bring more elements than just my feeling about this. When something is deeply anchored in a society, it's always good to try to look at as many elements as possible.

Edited by Secouriste

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