America's Guns

Discuss all non Star Trek related topics here.
Post Reply
User avatar
slawton
Can-Do Captain
Can-Do Captain
Posts: 533
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:37 pm
Location: Space Coast, FL

America's Guns

Post by slawton » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:07 pm

Random mass-murder gun violence strikes again! Texas church, Las Vegas, Orlando Pulse Nightclub, Sandy Hook, Columbine... It seems far too common and we are either becoming desensitized or traumatized by it.

Since I don't hunt, live in a high-crime area or could be endangered by wildlife (bears, mountain lions, etc.) I feel that I don't need to have a gun and currently do not own a gun, although I am not opposed to owning one or more in the future. Statistically a firearm is much more likely to harm a family member than be used in self-defense, so I do not have one in my home (didn't want my children to be hurt by one - fyi kids do many stupid, stupid things!).

Statistically, 3 in 10 American adults own a gun and another 1 in 10 have a gun in the household, so there are lots of guns out there with lots of people owning them. People don't want their rights to own a gun taken away, but they don't want to see crazy/dangerous people having access to guns. Still, many people are not normally crazy/dangerous, but could become that way after owning the gun (drinking/drugs, traumatic life event making them unstable, susceptible to radicalization, etc.). Possibly there were no warning flags were present when the gun was purchased.

So are we at the mercy of random fate (in the wrong place at the wrong time)? Can we put our fate in our own hands by carrying our own weapon (definitely helped in the church shooting, unlikely to have any effect in Las Vegas, etc.)? How can we solve this problem in a fair and cost-effective way or are we destined to just have to live with it? Should we hold the gun manufacturers, gun stores, owners accountable and therefore must compensate the victims -- making them more careful who gets access to guns? Ban/restrict/limit automatics/large magazines? Other ideas?
I'm a modeler, not a doctor...

Introduction
Galleries: Member, Comparison, Fleet, Action, Manufacturer

User avatar
Greyryder
Can-Do Captain
Can-Do Captain
Posts: 565
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:06 am
Contact:

Re: America's Guns

Post by Greyryder » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:47 am

Automatics are already heavily restricted. (and no crime has ever been committed in this country, with a legally owned one. The mobsters used to steal theirs from police and National Guard armories) Magazine capacity restrictions do nothing, and are easily gotten around. (This isn't isn't a 20 round mag, for 5.56mm, it's a seven round mag for .50 Beowulf.)

There's no perfect solution, but punishing law abiding citizens is not the answer. Gun control keeps proving to not work, but the politicians keep doubling down on it.

WarpNein
Legendary LT Commander
Legendary LT Commander
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:58 am

Re: America's Guns

Post by WarpNein » Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:25 am

I own four currently, might pick up a fifth at the next gun show.

The thing that always enrages me is seeing both sides focus on one issue and present solutions best aimed at the opposite issue, and do so in the most intellectually vacuous way possible.

"Expanded background checks" would do little to deter determined mass shooters. These people don't "just snap." They plan well in advance, and planning entails the circumvention of laws. Cho Seung Hui bought two pistols when Virginia had a one gun per month limit in effect. He waited at least 30 days to acquire his firearms. James Holmes took the time to booby trap his apartment prior to attacking the Aurora theater. What does "expanded" even mean? Generally mass shooters don't have criminal records. A background check isn't going to catch someone buying a gun to commit their first crime. (A notable failure of the system occurred in this case, since the Air Force apparently didn't report Devin Kelly's dishonorable discharge properly.) How far can we expand the checks without compromising other fundamental liberties. I suppose we could feed psychological or pharmacological data into it if we wanted to kiss doctor-patient confidentiality goodbye. And the tedious comparisons to the UK and Australia have long overstayed their welcome, as the US populations dwarfs both and sprawls over far more area (despite the size of the landmass, Australia's population is heavily coastal). Frankly Brazil would be a better comparison to make to the US as far as gun control goes.

Speaking of doctors and patients, the whole "mental illness" canard annoys the hell out of me too. What precisely do we mean by that? There's a world of difference between mental incapacitation and moral insanity. It is a common feature of psychopaths that they have enough superficial charm to pass for normal in most instances. At the extreme end, serial killers have been able to lure victims by feigning injury or need, deceiving them long enough to ensnare them. How are we actually going to find these people without them having a criminal background in the first place.

To this of course must be added the contemptible and recalcitrant ignorance of firearms found in so many political commentators, as they throw around jargon like "firepower" and "weapons of war" without understanding any of it. What is firepower? Muzzle velocity? The total amount of energy contained in a magazine (which allows small mags of very powerful ammunition like, say .300 Win Mag to trump larger mags of quieter stuff)? Seriously what is it? And weapons of war? Like the bolt-action Gewehr 98? The semi-automatic M1 Garand? Or do we simply ban from civilian possession any weapon currently in use by the military, which leads to the question of what happens when the military replaces the Stoner platform, or what to do about so many weapons that achieve similar results (e.g. the Mini-14)? Quite honestly I think most of these talking heads just want to inveigh against the gun culture.

As for solutions, it really depends on which problem we want to address. General gun violence and mass shootings have little in common causally. Most of the killing in Chicago could probably be helped by things like background checks, waiting periods and buyback programs (actually serious buyback programs, not offering nonsense like gift cards or the like. What gangbanger is going to turn in his heat for a gift card?) If we were serious, we could offer MSRP for firearms (thus prioritizing newer models more likely to be used in crime), provide a little jolt to the local economy, and offer significant civic infrastructure investments tied to certain buyback milestones. It would at least be an attempt to incentivize community involvement, and it has the advantage of not being compulsory. I'll concede an outright ban on semiautomatics might have some effectiveness, but it's a political non-starter. And what are our goals? How do we define success. Because if we're going by the old boilerplate drivel of "even if it saves one life" then count me out. No law is going to prevent all death. What is the acceptable level of gun violence we're willing to tolerate beyond which enacting new laws becomes ineffective and even counterproductive? We currently have a mix of suicides and homicides totaling around 33,000. Do we prioritize homicides or suicides? (And since far more men commit suicide than women, what do we do when the feminists inevitably stand in the way of any attempt to help male suicide)? What's success? 15,000? 10,000? 5,000? We tolerate more than that from cars and alcohol, so what is our tolerance here?

Those things are not going to be effective on mass shootings, since a dedicated mass shooter will simply wait out the waiting period and circumvent the background check. The first line of defense should be to fortify the soft targets they prefer to hit. And even before the cacaphony of strawmen starts, no we're not talking about turning schools into bunkers. I am an architect. There's this idea called design, wherein we balance competing demands to achieve an end product. It is possible to design security features that are unobtrusive.

If I sound combative, it isn't directed at anyone in particular. I'm just so tired of the same fruitless discussion.

User avatar
Tesral
Bear with me
Bear with me
Posts: 3300
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:58 pm
Location: Dearborn, Mi -- at my desk.
Contact:

Re: America's Guns

Post by Tesral » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:55 pm

One simple fact. Iceland has three times the guns per capa as the United states, and none of the violence.

Were lies the difference?

Guns cause violence like booze causes divorce. Objects, tools have no motivations.

Prohibition never works. Forbidding alcohol did not get rid of drinking in the 1920s. The war against some drugs is an utter failure. And we have lots of gun control, but no control of the violence.

Ergo, we are grasping the wrong end of the stick, or the wrong stick altogether. But politicians don't like spending money on people. We already know this guy got guns due to a governmental failure. The Air Force forgot to tell anyone he is crazy. Let us place the blame firmly on the right shoulders.

The solution I think is one of health care, not draconian control.

And the New York killer didn't use a gun at all. When do we get truck control.
Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
"I saw it done on Voyager" is no excuse for anything, even breathing.

User avatar
slawton
Can-Do Captain
Can-Do Captain
Posts: 533
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:37 pm
Location: Space Coast, FL

Re: America's Guns

Post by slawton » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:45 pm

Another senseless killing spree by an unstable person with access to guns, including an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle. I worked in that same town in the early 90s and have several kids in school right now and can only imagine with the parents, students and teachers are going through.

The sad fact is that this can, and does, happen almost anywhere in America. Roughly 1 in 5 people have some sort of mental illness, varying in severity. Statistics, percentages and probabilities say these things are going to happen, given 300+ million Americans with 250+ million guns. So, things like this are going to happen, but just how frequently or severe? Here's an article with some statistics and data. Unfortunately, the trends seem to be higher casualties and increased occurrences.

With this latest guy, there were many red flags that indicated he was capable of this kind of crime. So it seems like it could have been prevented entirely if the right steps had been taken. Maybe there would have been less victims if there were teachers and/or security also armed who could take out the shooter. Its just speculation and I don't have any real answers. Just a sad day.
I'm a modeler, not a doctor...

Introduction
Galleries: Member, Comparison, Fleet, Action, Manufacturer

User avatar
Tesral
Bear with me
Bear with me
Posts: 3300
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:58 pm
Location: Dearborn, Mi -- at my desk.
Contact:

Re: America's Guns

Post by Tesral » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:16 pm

Society will not take the right steps. There is your issue. Much sack cloth and ashes once it happens, but spend money on mental health? We have corporate subsidies and emollients to dish out. Thanks Trump.
Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
"I saw it done on Voyager" is no excuse for anything, even breathing.

Post Reply

Return to “Off Topic”